The Atheists, Agnostics, and Spirituality Group's
How It Works
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are usually people who will not go to whatever length is necessary for their personal recovery. Perhaps they have not learned a method of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty, but they can learn that here in A.A. if they are willing. There are those too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be rigorously honest.
Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to take certain steps.
With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old unworkable ideas and the result was nil until we leg go of them, and did whatever was necessary for our personal recovery.
Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baffling, and powerful. Without help it is too much for most of us. Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point.
Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery. We do not ask you to believe in anything except that recovery is possible.
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—because attempts to control our own drinking had failed to help us manage our own lives.
2. Came to believe that with the help of others who understood, we could regain our sanity and balance.
3. Made a decision to accept the things we cannot change, to find the courage to change the things we can, and to seek the wisdom to know the difference.
4. Fearlessly made a moral examination of ourselves and an inventory of our wrongs.
5. Admitted to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to admit that we had shortcomings and defects of character that were causes of our past behavior.
7. Acknowledged that we had these shortcomings and defects, and openly sought to eliminate them.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people where ever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through contemplation and other means to improve our spiritual self-awareness, as our primary means to carry out these steps.
12. Seeking a profound change in our spiritual consciousness as the result of these steps, we carry this message to other alcoholics, and practice these principles in all our affairs.
Many of us exclaimed, “What a task! I can't go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not without flaw. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.
Our description of the alcoholic, and our personal adventures before and after sobriety make clear three pertinent ideas:
• (a) That we were alcoholic and could not drink.
• (b) That with the help of others who understand, we can seek relief from our alcoholism.
• ( c) That whenever we reach out for help, the hand of A.A. will always be there.
Version 3. Unanimously adopted by group conscience May 8, 2010
Adapted from the fifth chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics can get sober without god, since there is none. Bill Wilson was wrong about self-will; but we must direct our will toward what keeps us sober. A higher power (HP) is no power at all if it doesn't help us. But as you will read in the page titled Higher Power, Part 2, that HP does not necessarily need to be outside yourself.
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