The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
If anyone is struggling with a particular chronic behavior problem with themselves that is interfering with the way they would prefer their lives to be (in other words "unmanageable"), the 12 Step Fellowships offer an infallible solution. In the midst of this solution (doing the steps, attending meetings, using the tools and suggestions) the fortunate individual who has chosen this path will find a near inexplicable lifting of the symptomatic behavior, an improvement in character, far more peace, and an opportunity to share themselves and help other individuals baffled by the same unwanted behavior.
Unfortunately, due to the original development of the 12 Steps to help alcoholics with the overwhelming insidiousness of alcoholism, the current public perception of the 12 Step programs is sometimes tinged with a negative connotation or jaded cynicism. Sadly, this prevents an open-minded consideration of its profound power and the mystery of the principles preventing countless in need from enjoying the incalculable benefits and freedom.
Unlike any other therapeutic approach and yet complimentary and compatible with other therapeutic approaches, Twelve Step programs do not rely on one's intellectual grasp or psychological analysis of the behavior. Neither does the incomparable success rely on the assertion of one's will power to dominate the behavior - "au contraire mon frere", quite the contrary, it is the counter-conditioned response of surrendering one's will and one's problem to a Higher Power (of any personal choice and definition) that is the fulcrum upon which the sometimes crushing problems are lifted.
In the process of my discovery of the 12 Steps, I realized they were like generic keys and that the nature and order of these steps or keys created a combination that unlocked specific areas of an individual's psyche that result in real and permanent growth. Without this combination, the distortion in thinking and feeling would continue to generate the destructive behavior and the "Promises" (see below) would remain a foreign world away. Frequently "twelve steppers" experience such relief that they have the impression the problem is solved once and they cease attending. But soon, despite their intelligence and best independent efforts, they recognize their lives reflect a return to the original dilemma and that experiencing the Promises is a result of an on-going acceptance of the un-conscious nature of their compulsion and the need to actively live in the program to enjoy the great gift of its grace.
Through enjoying the A.R.T.S. Anonymous program (Artists in Recovery Through the Twelve Steps [recovery from creative block]) I saw the founder had acknowledged the International Step Foundation (www.stepgroup.org). This organization's literature clearly describes the nature of problems and offers a writing practice that helps individuals find and eliminate the original source of their difficulty, thereby helping one find their real, undistorted identify.
There are Twelve Step programs for problems with alcohol, drugs, prescription drugs, tobacco, food, gambling, sex, emotions, relationships, workaholism, artistic block, money, excessive excersing, – you just about name any chronic or obsessive compulsive behavior and dedicated, pioneering people have realized the healing power of applying the Twelve Steps and published insightful literature on the subject.
THE TWELVE TRADITIONS
Based on the understanding that through the unity of its original members, others' lives could be saved, the Twelve Traditions are the sterling insurance policy by which the Twelve Step groups remain healthy and alive in order to continue to help those in need. Preventing any dominance by any one singular individual and providing time–proven rules by which the groups are governed, the group conscience becomes the leader through which the group's Higher Power is expressed. Avoiding publicity, advertising, controversy, financial dependence, and disclosure of personal names and information, the Traditions are to remind members &nquot;to place principles before personalities&nquot;. (See pages 564 and 565 in &nquot;The Big Book&nquot;: Alcoholics Anonymous for both the short and long forms of the Traditions)