Practicing the Principles in all Our Affairs
“What does it mean to practice?” “What is a principle?” A couple of definitions are:
1. An important underlying law or assumption required in a system of thought.
2. A way of working – the basic way in which something works.
“What are the principles in recovery that we are to practice?”
In essence, the principles in recovery are outlined through the 12-steps and reflected through the entirety of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
In the chapter “There Is A Solution”, (on pg.28 – second paragraph), it says: We in our turn, sought escape with all the desperation of drowning men. What seemed at first a flimsy reed has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God. A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, “a design for living” that really works.
When we come in the doors of the 12 step community, I believe it’s a safe bet that the “escape” we are seeking is from the grips of active addiction and all the pain that comes with it. Later we certainly all face life situations in recovery that have caused us to feel that same way. The solution is the very same. So, what is that solution? The solution is that “flimsy reed” – otherwise known as the 12 steps.
If we look over the steps and just pull “one” principle found in each one we might find the following:
Step 1: Acknowledging that I am finite/limited in the power I have to control all of my surroundings.
Step 2: Recognizing that no matter how bad the situation is that I am in, I only need to have a “belief” that sanity (wholeness) can be restored to my thinking/direction by a Higher Power.
Step 3: Realizing that at any time I can review my circumstances and make a decision to include God in my thinking and decisions.
Step 4: Willingly look for my own role in situations that have occurred.
Step 5: Making admissions of the wrongs I see in myself to God, myself and another person.
Step 6: Through admission that “I” can’t “fix me." I am “willing” for God to take my defects.
Step 7: I see how limited I am to “fix me.” I am then able to ask God to do take over where I fall short.
Step 8: I now know where I’ve been wrong, so I am willing to make amends.
Step 9: I take my willingness & put it into action through making amends (with the exception of it causing more pain for someone else).
Step 10: By acknowledging that I will never be “perfect,” I continue on a daily basis to look at my thoughts, motives and actions. When I’m wrong I take care of it as quickly as possible.
Step 11: Realizing that the “problems” of my life came from “my” self-centeredness. I am to strive for finding a “greater purpose” by asking God’s will for me and remembering that the ability to carry it out comes from God as well.
Step 12: As these principles are practiced I will grow spiritually. I will find freedom where I had none, I will attain peace where there was chaos and where I was once lost I will gain purpose and direction. Because of the peace and hope I find, I will want and "need” to share with others what I have found.
To practice these principles in all of our affairs, we have only to realize that “we” are not the solution. God is the solution, and by following some simple guidelines our lives will improve and we will have a tremendous impact on the world around us.
© Rebecca Balko