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Bob D. - AA Speaker - "The Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous" (Very entertaining!)
The following are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. 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 that out. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. In some cases, where other twelve-step groups have adapted the AA steps as guiding principles, step one is uniquely different for each organization, these are sometimes altered to emphasize principles important to those particular fellowships, or to remove gender-biased language. The Traditions provide guidelines for group governance. They were developed in AA in order to help resolve conflicts in the areas of publicity, politics, religion and finances. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers. An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose. Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers. AA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always to maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. Process[ edit ] In the twelve-step program human structure is symbolically represented in three dimensions: The problems the groups deal with are understood to manifest themselves in each dimension. For addicts and alcoholics the physical dimension is best described by the allergy-like bodily reaction resulting in the compulsion to continue using substances after the initial use. The description in the First Step of the life of the alcoholic or addict as "unmanageable" refers to the lack of choice that the mind of the addict or alcoholic affords concerning whether to drink or use again. New members in twelve-step programs are encouraged to secure a relationship with at least one sponsor who both has a sponsor and has taken the twelves steps themselves. Sponsors share their experience, strength, and hope with their sponsees A sponsor's role is not that of a legal adviser, a banker, a parent, a marriage counselor, or a social worker. Nor is a sponsor a therapist offering some sort of professional advice. A sponsor is simply another addict in recovery who is willing to share his or her journey through the Twelve Steps. Experiences in the program are often shared by outgoing members with incoming members. This rotation of experience is often considered to have a great spiritual reward. Completing the program usually implies competency to guide newcomers which is often encouraged. The Fifth Step, as well as the Ninth Step, have been compared to confession and penitence. As the relationship is based on spiritual principles, it is unique and not generally characterized as "friendship". Fundamentally, the sponsor has the single purpose of helping the sponsee recover from the behavioral problem that brought the sufferer into twelve-step work, which reflexively helps the sponsor recover. Effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous , Effectiveness of Crystal Meth Anonymous , Effectiveness of Gamblers Anonymous , Effectiveness of Narcotics Anonymous , Effectiveness of Neurotics Anonymous , Effectiveness of Nicotine Anonymous , and Effectiveness of self-help groups for mental health Alcoholics Anonymous is the largest of all the twelve-step programs from which all other twelve-steps programs are derived , followed by Narcotics Anonymous; the majority of twelve-step members are recovering from addiction to alcohol or other drugs. The majority of twelve-step programs, however, address illnesses other than substance addiction. For example, the third-largest twelve-step program, Al-Anon , assists family members and friends of people who have alcoholism and other addictions. About twenty percent of twelve-step programs are for substance addiction recovery, the other eighty percent address a variety of problems from debt to depression. Criticism , Narcotics Anonymous: Controversies , and Overeaters Anonymous: Criticism The criticisms of twelve-step groups are as varied as the pathologies they address. People have attended twelve-step meetings, only to find success eluded them. Their varied success rate and the belief in a Higher Power suggested in them, are common criticisms of their universal applicability and efficacy. Professionals and paraprofessionals who refer patients to these groups, to avoid both civil liability and licensure problems, have been advised that they should alert their patients that, at any time, their statements made in meetings may be disclosed.
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