The Next Steps

Step 2: "We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

For me, my concept of a greater power has changed over time. I'm not sure I have a definite concept of God right now. God is breath. God is wind. God is energy.

Whatever we believed, or DIDN'T believe, we went through a process of thinking along these lines: We've tried, and we can't, so we need something besides ourselves to make us better, finally. And keep us better. So we eventually realized that there is, in fact, something bigger than us, a force or power or being that can make the impossible happen. A miracle has happened for other people, so a miracle could happen for us too. We weren't powerful enough to fix our emotional problems, addictions or codependency.

For those of us who've gotten a lot better, this Second Step was just us getting the idea that there is some kind of greater power, one that is powerful enough to finally fix us.

About the concept of God. Different people have different ideas about what God is like. For me, lately I've been pretty sure that God is a lot like Jesus of Nazareth. Here's a 30-minute version of what Jesus said and did:

For us sufferers who have actually gotten a lot better, it was simply this: When we'd gotten to the point where we were pretty sure something bigger than us could give us healthy feelings, thoughts and behaviors, then we were ready for the next step.

I invite you to email me some of your thoughts:

Step 3: "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God."

For me, I said, out loud, something like, "Greater Power, I commit my will and my life to your care."

The book Alcoholics Anonymous has a 3rd Step prayer: "God, I offer myself to thee, to build with me and to do with me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness, to those I would help, of thy power, thy love, and thy way of life. May I do thy will always!" (from the chapter entitled "How It Works").

So this was Step 3. We decided AND VOICED IN A PRAYER something like, "Okay God, you can do whatever you want with me, just fix me. I'm willing to do whatever you want me to do, for the rest of my life. Move me, so I can finally really live life." Once we'd made this decision, expressing it with a prayer, then we took action on it. We took action by taking the next step of life-healing: taking stock of our lives, our past.

Step 4: "We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

For me, in writing, I made some lists. Here are lists I made:

--- a list of resentments
(Who it was, What they did, What the effect on me was, and What my part in it was)
--- a list of what I've felt guilty about
--- a list of who I've hurt, and how I hurt them
--- a list of fears
(I've had a fear of [___], Why did I have this fear? Because [___], and really because self-reliance failed me.)

I went back through my entire past, my whole life. Like, when had I ever felt anger/resentment over the course of all my years? Who had I ever hurt, and how did I hurt them? I wrote down each single situation: the big things and the little things. For me, it all added up. I wrote a lot. Pages and pages and pages. Writing down the truth, honestly and thoroughly, was an important part of me getting free from my issues.

One thing that has been very helpful for me has been using the book entitled Alcoholics Anonymous, specifically the stuff about Step Four in the chapter entitled "How It Works."

The bottom line: I took stock of my whole life, by writing some lists.

Then I took the next step of this process: reading it all out loud.

Step 5: "We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."

For me, I simply took my written inventory and read it out loud 1) to my Greater Power (i.e. God), 2) to myself, and 3) to someone I trust. In total, I read it out loud three times. About "someone I trust," I thought about another person who wouldn't blab about my stuff to others, but instead would keep what I say confidential. And I also made sure it was someone who wouldn't judge me, but just listen and be supportive and kind. Also, it couldn't be someone who would be hurt by hearing it. Additionally, I'm a man, and I chose another man. For all of us who have done this kind of confession, most men chose a man, and most women chose a woman, and that's probably for the best.

The bottom line: I read my inventory to God, to myself, and to someone I trust.

Step 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

For me, I said out loud something like, "Greater Power, would you please give me the willingness to have you remove all my shortcomings out of me?"

Step 7: "We humbly asked God to remove all our shortcomings."

For me, on my knees, I said out loud something like, "Greater Power, would you please remove out of me all my shortcomings?" For me, this was just the request, and then a lot of my shortcomings were actually removed around the time I completed Step 9. So for me, this Step 7 was just asking, and God actually removed them only after more action steps.

Step 8: "We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all."

For me, in writing, I made a list of names. How? I looked at my Step 4 inventory, looked for who I had ever hurt, and wrote down each name, making a list. It took some time. I ended up with about 70 names.

Then I also took some time becoming willing to make amends to them. This part was also a process. It took me some time, thinking, to get okay with the idea of going to all these people, acknowledging what I did, saying something like "I'm sorry," and paying back any money I owed them. Eventually, I became willing to do this kind of thing to all the people on my list. Not for their sake, but for my sake, in order for me to get better. I prepared myself to expect nothing in return from their end.

The bottom line: I made a list of names, and got willing to make amends to them all.

Then I took the next step: actually making the amends.

Step 9: "We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

For me, I took my Step 8 list of names, and as best I could, I made amends to each person on my list. I tried to do this face-to-face as much as possible (in private with no one else around), but with some I wrote letters, or sent an email or a Facebook message (like when they lived too far away).

What did I say and do? I acknowledged what I did, said the words "I'm sorry," and paid back money to people I owed money to. For example, my brother was on my list. I met with him, and I said a whole bunch of different things like, "I hit you many times. I'm sorry," and, "I was arrogant many times. I'm sorry." I didn't give him any money. For another example, I met with this one woman and said something like, "I lost your laptop. I'm sorry," and I gave her money, to repay the cost.

There was this one person on my list. It would have been too much like harming her if I had even approached her (it may have caused fear in her). So I wrote her a letter, and I did NOT send it. Instead, I read it out loud to someone I trust, and then destroyed the letter.

Some on my list had died, and some I couldn't find. So I wrote a letter to each of these people. Then I read each letter out loud to someone I trust, and then I destroyed the letters.

For the most part, my amends were well-received.

After one particular amends, for about a half an hour I felt some of the greatest, warmest joy I have ever felt in my life.

And more than that, it was around this time that I finally got a lot better. My feelings, my addictions, the ways I related to other people, all changed pretty quickly. In a lot of ways, I was finally free. I was starting to really live life. Anxiety-free most of the time. Anger-free most of the time. I felt less sad. A huge chunk of my addictive cravings were simply gone, poof, vanished. Not 100% of cravings, but a huge chunk, gone. A lot of the time I didn't even have thoughts about what I was addicted to, didn't feel tempted. And as far as codependency (like my people-pleasing, and trying to control and manipulate other people), that got a ton better too.

The bottom line: I made the amends, except when it would hurt someone.

I invite you to email me some of your thoughts:

I wanted to keep what I had got, because it was so good. And I wanted even more life-healing, more improvement. So I took the next step: doing a mini version of Steps 4 through 9 pretty much every day.

Step 10: "We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."

For me, I've been usually fairly aware of positives and negatives during a given day. I've done many written daily inventories (though not every day). And lately when I've truly wronged someone, fairly soon after it happened I've made amends to that person.

Step 11: "We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out."

About prayer. For me, many times I've prayed out loud something like, "God, would you please give me knowledge of what you want me to do, and the power to carry that out?"

About meditation. For me, many times I've meditated out loud using words. When I've meditated out loud, I haven't been silent. Instead, I've been reading out loud or saying out loud, to myself, certain words or phrases of truth. Like the ones in the pdf document...

And it's also available as a book, and can be found on The title is "Words To Meditate On" and the author is Anonymous.

Step 12: "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs."

"WE TRIED TO CARRY THIS MESSAGE TO OTHERS...." I've experienced a lot of life-healing, and I have to share with others, so they can too! For me, I've carried the message to others by telling others about my suffering, my healing, my hope for more, the principles of recovery, and my experiences with those principles. The principles of recovery, in a nutshell, are: being sorry, and forgiving people for true wrongs. These two principles were spoken by Jesus. More specifically, the principles of recovery are the Twelve Steps and the Additional Principle (found below on this page). I've approached people at official recovery meetings (like AA, EA, CoDA, CR, etc.), in shopping malls, in a supermarket. To communicate, I've used: speaking; handing out flyers; writing (like this site); and YouTube. So that other people know why I'm sharing with them, I've often said something like, "Part of my continued healing is that I share with others the solution." And I've often said, "Thanks for listening," because they're doing me a favor, so that I can be free from my personal problems.

"TRIED TO PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS." For me, I've simply done all the Twelve Steps on a fairly regular basis. For example, multiple times I've practiced Step 4 by doing another inventory of my entire life, similar to how I did it the first time. For another example, I've practiced Step 5 many times by reading out loud my Step 10 daily inventories -- to God, to myself, and to someone I trust. And I've practiced Step 1 many times, by saying out loud, "I'm powerless over my addictions," and, "I'm powerless over my emotions," and, "I'm powerless over other people," and, "I'm powerless over work." By doing stuff like this, I've been living the principles of recovery on a fairly regular basis.

The bottom line: I've been letting others know about my life-healing, and I've been keeping on doing the Twelve Steps.


Because I've found something, and I want to keep it, and I want more of it! I've experienced a lot of recovery, and I want more!

--- An Additional Principle: "We offered forgiveness to those who had hurt us."

For me, I met with different people, and I told them what they did to me that was truly wrong, and I said the words "I forgive you."

After I made amends to a lot of people, I could see reality more clearly, in terms of what's truly right and what's truly wrong. And I saw that some people had truly wronged me, like some of the people I wrote on my resentment/anger list in Step 4. In other words, I had been hurt, and they were responsible, or partly responsible. I needed to practice mercy. Like I did in making amends, I went to people. I said the thing they did, and then I actually used the phrase, "I forgive you." With some people I sent letters or emails or Facebook messages. And with at least one person, I wrote a letter and didn't send it, but instead I read it to someone I trust and then destroyed the letter. But I did face-to-face as much as possible.

Doing this kind of thing was important to my life-healing. It has helped me get over portions of my issues, like the other principles of recovery. And I've been trying to practice this principle in all that I do.

The bottom line: I told some people what they did, and said "I forgive you."

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...and so the journey continues! We recover from our life issues by practicing the principles of recovery.

To meet others, there are lots of groups:
Alcoholics Anonymous:
Overeaters Anonymous:

Eating Disorders Anonymous:
Narcotics Anonymous:
Emotions Anonymous:
Co-Dependents Anonymous:


Celebrate Recovery:

For me, I have attended recovery meetings lots of times. Meetings have been a tool that I've used, to help me work the Steps of Recovery. At meetings, I've met people who have already recovered from a big chunk of their issues, giving me inspiration to work the Steps. I've listened to people, giving me information to work the Steps. And once I finally got over a big chunk of my own issues, at meetings I've shared my experience with people. But how we recover is by working the Steps.

I've read stuff about how to get over my life issues, and gone back and read the same stuff again, and again. I did this so I could work the Steps, in order to get over my issues.

Part of my continued healing is that I share the solution. Thanks for reading! I invite you to read and re-read whatever parts you need to, so you can take the first step, or the next step, to get life-healing.

I also invite you to email me some of your thoughts: