THE 12 STEPS FOR EVERYONE WHO WANTS THEM
Sometimes my emotions and mental health get on a runaway train; I have developed a lot of coping mechanisms and techniques to pull the brakes. I started helping myself many years ago thanks to a little book that translated the traditional 12 steps into an emotional health guidebook. This feels very Beta ListApp. Welp, here they are, in order.
- •We admitted that we were powerless over our emotions -- that our lives had become unmanageable.What? Sitting frozen in my dark room for two months isn't living? Okay.
- •Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.I need the sea and I need the woods and hills and sun and trees. When I seek peace I seek nature. Recently, I have assigned guardian angel duty to a whole bunch of dead relatives and loved ones. I call them my board of advisors. A friend has what she calls a God Box. Whatever works.
- •Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood himBaptism by nature. When things get really bad in the noodle I either scream underwater or climb a really big hill. I will also ask the board to illuminate the path I should follow. I get in big trouble when I resist this.
- •Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselvesI have to repeatedly surrender and remind myself of my faith in order to face this step. I have to unearth the ugly to get to serenity; sometimes it's quick and easy, other times it's a lot harder to identify all of the garbage. But, gotta "lance that boil" in order to clean the wound and start healing. This is my pain in the ass step.
- •Admitted to God, ourselves, and another human the exact nature of our wrongs.Housecleaning! Humility is key here, as is faith. Luckily I have the dog who is also a great listener.
- •Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of characterSounds easy, but it means letting go of my stories, of my pain that came to comfort me, the ego that is stroked by the attention. Heaping dose of humility, again.
- •Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomingsTwo things to remember: a) it doesn't say ALL of our shortcomings, this is a one at a time, single file deal, so I start with something small and work my way up; b) my higher power isn't a fairy fucking godmother who bibbidy bobbidy boops my issues away, I have to pull my weight too. If I did have a fairy fucking godmother I would be sitting in the @list office right now.
- •Made a list of all the persons we had harmed and became willing to make direct amends to them allSometimes it's just one person, sometimes the list feels like an open call for everyone I have known. Faith, humility, and leggo the ego help tremendously here.
- •Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or othersCall up courage, rely on humility and faith, and get to work. Except when what you have to say could be harmful, like if you cheated on an SO but they never found out, maybe don't be a dick and add insult to injury. Stop cheating. Or if they did find out, don't say with whom you cheated, bc what good does that do anyone? (These are adaptations of examples provided in the book; my personal views on cheating vary slightly from this, but you get the gist. If you're even still reading at this point)
- •Continued to take a personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted to itWe've crossed into the spiritual territory, where faith, humility, and forgiveness have all planted seeds in my freshly manured garden. Now I tend to that garden bc it is a delicate, biodynamic, high quality, fertile farm, wherein I will reap what I sow. If I sprout any weeds, I revisit steps 1-9 to see what broke in the food chain and fix it.
- •Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood him, praying only for our knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it outGod grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Accompanied by some big juicy @dena style breaths. I consider prayer like the asking/initiating portion of the conversation with the board and meditation to be the listening/receiving portion. They're different actions. Make the ask and listen for the answer.
- •Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry out this message to others, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.Once in a while I have these delightful epiphanies, often walking in the woods. I try hard to practice the principles and I don't always nail it, but I try and try again. If you're still reading, high five!
- •The book is The Twelve Steps for Everyone... Who really wants them. Published by Hazelden, 1975, 77, 87, 90.The preface includes "A Word about Pronouns", and how previous editions used gender agnostic pronouns so as not to isolate anyone- hesh and hier in lieu of he/she and his/her respectively. That is some inclusive, progressive, and heartwarming stuff to read as you tuck into the book. May I remind you of the publication dates.