Sunday, 31 July 2016

A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Principles

Part 2/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)
Working the 12 steps can take us to a place of safety, sanity and serenity. But the 12 steps are the beginning of the journey, not a destination. Over time, as our recovery deepens, we need to internalize and practice the PRINCIPLES that are suggested by the Steps ever more. Principles require a higher level of thinking and learning than any rule, because a principle requires reflection and mindfulness. The 12 principles also help us integrate the many different areas of the brain. It lays the foundation for what is a life-long process and journey. Just like learning a new language, principles help you make the steps as common to us as simply speaking.

This discussion is based on Dr. Patrick Carnes' classic best seller, A Gentle Path through the 12 Steps.

by Allan J. Katz, LPC (See all authors)

Responsibility

The fourth Principle of Responsibility is to stop hiding from ourselves. There can be no recovery when we continue to isolate ourselves and our feelings from the outside world. In addiction we used our emotions to protect us from reality. We guarded our delusions with anger. We masked our pain with fear. We obscured our difficult choices with shame. We blurred our send of self with sorrow. In recovery we take responsibility for our decisions and our actions. We somberly realize our past does not let us off the hook. We are now ready to truthfully examine our life.

In step four we make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Self examination becomes our ongoing commitment to recovery. We now accept reality; surrender to what is real, no matter how inconvenient. In essence we are taking responsibility for our own lives without masking the fear, pain, and sadness. Instead we look back and realize things don't always turn out precisely the way we thought they would. We now gently replace fear, pain, and sadness with our hopes, dream, and intentions.

Responsibility is about asking the question, "Who Am I." During addiction we wove a tapestry of frightening threads: denial, avoidance, justification, and irresponsibility. In recovery, we examine our life and weave a new tapestry of eclectic threads of joy, sorrow, loss, achievement, friendship, love, disappointment, loyalty, and betrayal. This new tapestry - one of hope, health, sanity, and serenity becomes our security blanket. We do not gloss over anything as we examine our feelings and actions only to discover what part we may have played in all this. We no longer expect everything in our lives to turn out the way we thought it should. Instead we follow the principles of acceptance, awareness, spirituality, and now responsibility.

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