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DIGEST, Vol. 7(7): 5-6, May, 1943
STEPS TO SOBRIETY
there will be monuments in hundreds of public places to
the anonymous drunk who prayed to God to deliver him from
the despair of chronic alcoholism, and in thanks-giving
wrote the now famous 12 steps.
the seven years that have elapsed since he wrote down those
12 steps, many thousands of men and women have taken them,
and have achieved sobriety after many a wife, husband, physician,
cop, judge, and welfare worker had looked on them as headed
for madness, suicide, or some skidrow of forgotten creatures.
other night, while waiting to address a local Alcoholics
Anonymous group, I thumbed over a pamphlet enumerating the
12 steps. I had read over the 12 steps many times, and had
marveled at their economy of means, their adherence to essentials.
But suddenly I saw their higher and wider significance.
12 steps really are a masterful abridgment of the only possible
ultimate international peace program. It has often been
said the highest and clearest truth is given men only when
they are at the brink of an abyss of final despair. The
splendid truth given to a half-crazed drunk who fell to
his knees and asked God for light may some day deliver all
mankind from chaos just as it delivered him. The mustard
seed may become the tree.
as this truth came to one man only when long and acute suffering
had made him ready to receive it, SO it may come to nations
of men when all are crazed with suffering to a point of
such mad confusion that statesmen will fall on their knees
and beg a forgotten God for light toward a true peace.
me set down the 12 steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous program
of recovery, asking that you substitute the word materialism
for the word alcohol in considering the 1st. step, and the
word materialists for the word alcoholics in pondering the
remember that drunks meet in the Alcoholics Anonymous groups
to help one another. They remodel their lives cooperatively.
They could not do it alone. Note that the word we is used
and not the word I in the steps:
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives
had become unmanageable.
2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to
the care of God as we understood Him.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human
being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We were entirely ready to have God remove these defects
of - character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became
willing to make amends to them all.
9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we
were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our
conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying
only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry
12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these
steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and
to practice these principles in all our affairs.
anonymous author declares that these steps are guides to
spiritual progress but not to spiritual perfection. Not
only drunks, but any family or social group could use them
by substituting the word selfishness for the word alcohol,
and the word egoists for the word alcoholics.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a sort of St. John the Baptist,
clearing away obstructions, preparing members for the coming
of the Lord. It's membership embraces persons of Catholic,
Protestant, and Jewish background. It is a democratic platform
on which anyone may stand to find a new beginning, a remembering
of a "higher power," a road back to God.
persons in all the nations have long forgotten God in one
degree or another to worship the golden calf and have gotten
drunk on Satanic illusions or an all-satisfying world. All
will need a democratic platform upon which all may stand
after the next armistice.
day or this night, any drunk, man or woman, any poor child
of God who is lost in the dark, may write Alcoholics Anonymous
and without it costing a penny, find kindly, good-humored
companionship and understanding on a road home.