I’ve been accused of many things, the latest being that me simply writing about my life experience of taking right and spiritual action to get well is killing people. I’ve also been accused of being some self-promoter, out to make money and so forth. That one is perhaps the most comical, since this is all free. I’ve also never made money with books and freely give them away to anyone who asks. At the drop of a hat, I will agree to speak at an event, sober house, treatment center or parent support group, let alone sit down with any parent, spouse or addict to help them. So to continue with my commitment to serve addicts and their families, I’m going to post every chapter of, “Anybody Can Take Steps.” Today we will start with the “Introduction.” All I care about is people getting better, finding a meaningful purpose, serving those around them and establishing a relationship with our Lord.
Anybody can take Steps, not just alcoholics and addicts. We are told to carry this message to others who suffer from addiction, but what about everybody else? Why hoard a process that can induce miracles? Shouldn’t everybody have access to these powerful and life-changing tools? Shouldn’t those we love feel the relief and serenity that we have procured for ourselves?
Letting go is a miracle. Once our basic needs are met, this is the secret to inner peace and happiness. If we can mentally/emotionally let go of all that is around us and inside of us, we can accept everything. We will have touched the great voice within and thus, the power of God. We can then touch the fabric of our universe and it is in this harmony that we continue to expand, know ourselves and give back. We’ll get more into letting go in Chapters 3 and 11, but to experience this inner evolution is something you do not want to miss.
While there are many ways to achieve our ultimate goal of peace, the Steps harness timeless wisdom and universal spiritual principles that we see at the core of any serious religious tradition based on love, faith and humility. The Steps then take this wisdom and apply these principles into practical actions such as writing inventory, making amends, praying, meditating and working with others. As such, they can be used by anyone to elicit both internal and external change.
The Twelve Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous was inspired by the Oxford Group, a Christian-based spiritual group that promoted the tenets of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love, known as The Four Absolutes. The program also involved four simple steps of admitting our wrongs, surrendering to God, making restitution and carrying out God’s will. Bill Wilson expanded these Steps when he conceived of the Twelve Step program for alcoholism, but you don’t need to be an alcoholic or a drug addict to take them or use them to effect real, lasting change and personal growth. Anyone can take Steps for any number of reasons, and we can all have a spiritual experience. I certainly believe our world would become a more enlightened and mature place if we all took it upon ourselves to embark on some variation of this timeless program.
In this book, I will analyze each of the Twelve Steps based on my own knowledge and experience, breaking them down to uncover how they can relate to anybody who may be suffering or powerless over, well, anything. Furthermore, I will describe how to take these Steps if I were a non-alcoholic or non-addict. My hope is that you will see how these spiritual tools can be used to achieve universal catharsis. More importantly, I want you to learn how to use the Steps to recover from what ails you, be it anger, rage, depression, anxiety, boredom, codependency, mental illness, personality disorders, narcissism, eating disorders, gambling, spiritual angst, lack of purpose, physical pain, or just the plain old blues. And the truth is that we don’t need to be suffering at all to enjoy the fruits of the Twelve Steps. Actively growing and evolving through right action and accountability is always a good thing. In fact, working on ourselves is a basic human responsibility. Don’t the people in our lives deserve that we continue getting better? Doesn’t the whole world deserve the same? And don’t we owe it to ourselves to do what we can to sleep well at night?
Every morning I ask God to help make me a better man. I continue to take Steps in order to fulfill this prayer. Compared to the absolute nightmare I once was, the Steps have helped me become a more honest person. They have helped me to remove unhealthy and excessive selfishness. They have helped me to remove anger, fear and resentment. They have helped me to get outside of myself and think about others once in a while. They have given me the willingness to serve and to continue growing along spiritual lines. They have given me purpose and meaning. Best of all, the Twelve Steps have given me a way to always be okay, rain or shine. It doesn’t matter so much anymore when life throws me great challenges. Because of the work I’ve done in the Steps and the resulting relationship I now have with God, I finally have some peace. I am free.
Trust me, there is nothing better in this world than simply being okay.