In the present day’s article is taken from a dialogue within the AA Past Perception secret Facebook group. We’re using first identify and final preliminary to guard anonymity, and we edited the comments for the aim of creating them simpler to learn. The unique intent of the comment and the private fashion of the commentator was left in tact.
Nye R: For those atheists and agnostics who have carried out the Twelve Steps, how did you do these steps that don’t have concrete actions in them? Notably two and three, six and 7. I’ve learn the chapters in the ebook The Various 12 Steps – A Secular Guide to Recovery, and there’s a number of speak about what Steps Six and Seven are about, but no speak about what you DO.
Kate W: You’re sensible to have observed the action verbs. I typically take a look at the verbs within the steps.
2. “Got here to consider” means believing that recovery is possible.
three. “Made a decision” means to make a commitment.
6. “Have been solely prepared” just means to let go of all the preconceptions, previous experiences and coping mechanisms that I developed to outlive my alcoholism.
7. “Humbly ask” means to ask. Don’t assume I have all of the answers.
I’ve typically seen the steps this manner. I ignore all of the mumbo jumbo and just concentrate on the actions.
Nye R: Thanks for the answer. So how did you know you have been completed with each step? With steps two and three, my sponsor and I agreed that with my willingness to vary and search help that I had achieved them. I suppose it might be the identical with Steps Six and Seven?
I am the primary sponsee of my sponsor who I met at one of many atheist/agnostic/freethinkers AA groups. We’re learning learn how to do the steps in an atheist approach together—she did the steps the normal means.
Kate W: I’m never achieved. Part of the process is to recognize that I’m all the time in process. You’ve in all probability heard that step one is the only one you’ll be able to, and should, do 100%. I consider that the results of every step is to vary something in myself. Changing my perspective even slightly bit is enough. I accomplished Step Six and Seven in the time it took to attend my first secular meeting at three.5 years sober. Once I read the difference, my heart modified. I not hated the steps. I finally understood them.
In case you can’t inform should you’re executed and you are feeling like you’re beating a lifeless horse, you’re in all probability finished already. Feeling bored and insufficient aren’t especially good for recovery. Perhaps the change is just to study to let go. When you’re not truly accomplished, you’ll be able to come back to the step later when you’ve gotten more tools. AA isn’t a timed check. We now have no commencement. It’s okay to not do every thing utterly or completely. My only aim is to get better, typically shortly, typically slowly.
James M: I consider that consuming has a adverse impression in my life. That not consuming will mitigate these qualities. I do Step Three by remembering these consequences(Step One) after which not consuming. Being sober is a greater power than being drunk. I choose to be sober by believing that sobriety permits me many extra choices than not being sober. With the ability to recall with adequate drive the absence of these choices is significant to me.
John M: Six and Seven have been a few of the most enlightening for me. In Step Six, I listed a few of the behaviors and attitudes I felt problematic. My sponsor requested me if I was prepared to vary them or allow them to go. For arguing, I stated “not likely.” Over the subsequent 15 years I went from 90% not prepared to stop arguing to shut to “being completely prepared.” Step Seven for me was acknowledging this willingness and being open to new ways to vary. In this example, I began meditating and working towards non-violent communication. It was a course of over 15 to 20 years, and a number of journeys via the steps, also evolving in my concept of upper power, including identifying as an atheist.
Robert B: To a big extent Steps Six for me turned setting my intention to be trustworthy, loving and type, and Step Seven was doing my greatest efforts to act on my intentions. The first revision I made to Step Six was to determine character/character/behavioral tendencies. Like many I am delicate. I didn’t see that as a ‘defect’. What was dangerous to myself and others is once I take things personally. Similarly, once I apply empathy, I am helpful to myself and others. Taking issues personally and having empathy come from the identical place for me, I feel, my sensitivity.
Debbie H: I felt like Steps Six and Seven have been more a choice to need to change my conduct. I truly did the 7th step prayer in the Huge Guide, making an attempt to see if it will deliver me to something. All it did was make me conscious that prayer is a method to convince your self, you want and wish to vary. I really feel like these steps are additionally preparation for Steps Eight and 9 because we ought to be humble once we make amends. So, these steps prepare us for the subsequent activity.
Kate W: I agree! To me, Steps Six and Seven are comfort steps. They train me about trusting the method. I feel it’s very helpful to be comforted and empowered by these steps before making amends. It helped me maintain my give attention to the actions, not the outcomes. The steps really are in order for a cause.
Allan B: In Step Six, I’m uninterested in appearing like a prick. It makes me sad and alienates my household and associates. In Step Seven, I cease appearing like a prick.
John S: Not all the Steps are actions, however as an alternative are merely a recognition of an experience. Steps One and Two, for my part, are nothing more than recounting the expertise of acknowledging the issue and finding hope for an answer. Step three is the experience of creating a choice to do something. These three steps describe what happens naturally to anyone who decides to get help with their habit.
Steps Four and 5 involve motion. We truly put pen to paper and speak to another individual about our lives if we choose to try this.
Steps Six and Seven can either be disregarded or looked at as persevering with self-improvement. I acknowledge that I’ve some issues to work on, and I make an effort to try this. In my case a variety of that work facilities on mental well being issues for which I receive professional assist.
In Steps Eight and Nine, again we truly are doing one thing. We make an inventory and we go and set things proper. Personally, I’m not crazy about Steps Eight and Nine, and I are likely to assume it’s higher to only change our behaviors and depart individuals alone if we had completed them harm.
Step Ten is being aware of my behaviors and making modifications when essential.
Step Eleven is looking for serenity and peace so I can stay a productive life. There are issues that I can do to realize that, whether or not it’s meditation or going for a motorcycle journey.
Step Twelve is helping others and being of service, and for me that isn’t simply being of service to other addicts, but to have the angle of giving again and doing so once I can.
Val B: I like your interpretation of the secular steps (or any steps for that matter). Even the best way the Secular 12 steps are written, it nonetheless demands giving your life over to AA, that we now have shortcomings or character defects because of a religious malady, and that religious awakening continues to be the objective. That is one thing I utterly disagree with.
You set the steps in terms that make much more sense to me.
Glen G: I don’t necessarily see it as “giving my life over”, but as making a commitment that I reaffirm with every motion. Intention and commitment are elementary for me.
John S: Val, it relies upon. I feel the Steps imply different things to totally different individuals. If somebody needs to see it as turning their life over to a better power or AA, that’s their right, however it’s not how I see it. There was a time once I made a decision to vary and I took motion to assist myself. This consists of assets aside from AA.
I have combined emotions concerning the Steps. In some methods I feel they’re harmful, as a result of they arrange an expectation that we get a end result for doing things just the appropriate method, or that we all should align ourselves to what they mean. Primarily, they’re nothing greater than how some religiously oriented men in the 1930’s described their restoration. They thought it was supernatural and that they have been turning their will over, however actually they weren’t as a result of for my part there isn’t any god and there is no strategy to turn over one’s will. I feel I am sober as we speak because I don’t drink, and I took and take actions that assist me with that. The Steps are a aspect dish.
Val B: Sure, Steps are a aspect dish. Great way of defining that concept. I’ve gone forwards and backwards on this for the last 25 years. I’m not lively in my habit. I am not lying anymore about believing in a Larger Energy, and not having that stress is definitely doing rather a lot for my emotional progress.
John S: At one time it might shock me to hear someone say that, however now I say it myself. I was very conventional and barely brainwashed for about 25 years. I know that’s not utterly true to say I was brainwashed, but in the future it seems I awoke and realized that I just don’t purchase it anymore.
Starr J: Thanks for asking the question. I’m still working via the steps as an atheist and love listening to how others work them. I likes Kate’s view.
Sal N: For me, Steps Six and Seven are all the time related. One in every of my sponsor’s idea of it has labored properly for me. My character defects are like my alcoholism, I can only attempt to be in remission of them. I’m human and I will all the time have them. My shortcomings are qualities I’ve very little of, and I should take action and try to attain them. So, if I’m indignant, I have to follow extra tolerance. If I’m greedy, I have to follow generosity, and so on. Dependence on my taking motion as opposed to asking for supernatural assist. The more tolerant, the much less indignant. The more beneficiant, I am much less grasping. Underlying them all, the extra unselfish, then I am of more help.
Jennifer S: What to do? Get humble – as long as I keep in mind that I’m not the Ruler of my Universe, and have all the things I want at the moment. I am conscious of my place within the universe, and grateful. My ego needs me to return to self-centeredness, and retains making an attempt to justify my fears and wishes—dwelling sober means being objective about life. Low expectations = greater serenity.
Glen G: Reprogramming, changing the story, creating workarounds.
John L: Each Step has a human principle. They don’t seem to be godlike rules. The Steps are “tools not guidelines”. I exploit the instruments which might be the Steps to convey these rules into my life. As a lifelong atheist/agnostic, I appeared on the Steps as written and stated, “WTF is all this then?” After somewhat help from those that went earlier than and I was superb. I don’t “marvel” about “god” or hassle with the try and reconcile my ideas with the theistic steps. There appears to be no helpful level in that.
The AA god is a senseless construct borrowed from an inappropriate world view which presents me nothing in any respect in consolation or information. Prayer is a placebo. It has analogs I can use. If god was real there would only be one and it wouldn’t have human fingerprints all over it.
Lisa F: Listed here are my Steps:
Step 1: Admit I can’t do that alone.
Step 2: Consider that AA/12 Steps may help me.
Step three: Determine to trust the method.
Step four: Do inventory.
Step 5: Inform Sponsor my inventory.
Step 6: Acknowledge how my conduct and selections have triggered problems in my life.
Step 7: Comply with work on the problems that I’ve recognized.
Step 8: Listing of people I’ve harm.
Step 9: Amends to individuals.
Step 10: Continue to do a mini-inventory / evaluate of my day every night time.
Step 11: Meditate and mantras each day for mental well being stability.
Step 12: Assist others.
Tim M: This can be a nice dialogue. I am additionally working the steps for the first time and I just accomplished Step 5 with my sponsor who is a Christian. I am his first atheist sponsee, so it’s been a learning experience for us both.
Bobby V: Step Two is “I feel these individuals may help me.” Step Three is “I feel I’ll ask them for help, and attempt to do what they recommend.” Step Six is “Did I eliminate ALL the shit? Is there one thing I didn’t tell anyone? Is there ANYTHING about me that a minimum of one other individual doesn’t know?” Step Seven is “I’m prepared to start out cleaning up my mess.”
Robert M: Steps Six and Seven are about setting objectives for improvement. With a listing, I see what concern is at hand and in these two steps, I set objectives as a metric to see how I am doing on a day by day and long term basis.
Glenn G: In Step One, I give up every day to the concept I can’t control alcohol and drugs. Step Two for me is the collective of the fellowship or multiple is a power larger than myself. Step Three is when confronted with a serious determination, disaster, or dilemma to be prepared to simply accept recommendations given me fairly than what I feel I actually ought to do. This has labored out for me many extra occasions positively that negatively subsequently, I have a basis for faith in Step Three.
Within the Step Four stock, I took a take a look at my part in the whole lot. In Step 5, I work this step on a regular basis by sharing EXACTLY what’s occurring with a select group of women and men who I call or meet in individual. In Step Six, I acknowledge my patterns of unfavourable conduct from Step Four. I try to stay aware of once I’m appearing that approach. In Step Seven, I stay trustworthy with individuals and I stay on guard with their assist once I start these behaviors. In Step Eight, I proceed to attempt to do the proper thing and clean up my past. In Step 9, I amend previous behaviors or actions until it causes more hurt than good. In Step 10 if I get up within the morning and something is bothering the shit out of me, I know I want to repair it. For Step Eleven, it’s meditate meditate meditate. Step Twelve is simply completed doing that.
Joe C: I take a reasonably materials strategy to “Steps.” I don’t assume they are exactly twelve ( it may be six, three, ten or twenty) and I don’t assume they occurred for me in a 1-to-12 method or order. In answering the question, I’ve to be careful to not shade my experience at the time with my view of the world, in the present day. I definitely don’t assume any of the words are sacred. Take “powerless” or “ethical” out of it in the event you like, there are other phrases that may do. I like a variety of what’s been stated. Step Three is about “care.” Where do I’m going, what do I do, who do I call to get the care and assist I want? That’s what the Step means to me. It’s not religious or supernatural; it’s sensible. I read, I’m going to meetings, there are individuals I belief, there are things I do, therapies and workouts I have wanted and I sought them out.
Step Six and Seven for me are the fuzziest of all of the steps. A lot of the language is unworkable for me. I don’t see myself as evil, deviant, flawed, insufficient. Fact be informed, I can and do really feel this stuff, but I don’t assume they are true or right-minded. I additionally don’t assume that procrastination, for example, could be prayed away. However I can see why there’s a course of between realizing my manipulative, dysfunctional and hurtful ways in Step 4/5 and re-engaging with those I’ve harm in Steps eight/9. Even with the perfect of intentions I can re-traumatize these I’ve betrayed if I pounce on them to confess my sins.
So, Steps 6/7 are, for me, about not being a dick, identifying my values and dwelling by them. It’s not enough to need to be an excellent individual, I additionally should see how and why I rub individuals the mistaken approach, and come to terms with what extent I’m going to take that on as my obligation to right or accommodate. Also, in 6/7 there are plenty of self-destructive tendencies I can work on. I don’t pray, although I tried simply to be open-minded. I find meditation irritating, at the very least the thought of clearing my thoughts, which seems like wishful considering (I don’t/can’t management the emotions/ideas I have). I ultimately found mindfulness, some would name that a form of meditation. Taking time to be interested in emotions/ideas/sensations I’m experiencing does have a relaxing effect. I catch myself in states of flawed reasoning, positively, negatively, wanting to regulate, feeling overwhelmed, and so forth. Typically just shedding a light-weight on my psychological traps disables them.
Bob Okay: Steps One and Two, secular or in any other case name for conclusions of the mind. My present version of Step Two is: AA has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals; perhaps it might assist me. Step Three requires a choice, whether historically or otherwise. “I decide to offer AA a honest attempt, albeit I will alter some terminology.” Steps Six and Seven are extra fascinating. In Step Six, I look at my attachment to “character defects” or unfavourable behaviors. I used to see Step Seven as ANY path to self-improvement. Immediately I focus extra on the letting go facet.
Maria B: Steps Six and Seven for me simply boils right down to compassionately wanting at the patterns of conduct that not serve me that have been uncovered in Step Five after which taking opposite motion. Again and again.
Peter T: As an atheist/agnostic, I technically haven’t finished the steps, because I haven’t been led to a god of my understanding.