The Miracle of The Twelve Step Recovery Process
by Robert Burney
It is out of the Twelve Step Recovery movement that our understanding of the dysfunctional nature of civilization has evolved. It is out of the Alcoholic Recovery movement that the term "Codependent" has emerged."
This is the first of 6 (possibly 7) articles about the Twelve Steps. In March of 2002 as I was preparing to move the bulk of the book I wrote and published online about the September 11th Attack on America to my Joy2MeU Journal (as I forewarned in my January 2002 Update) I decided to move this series of articles to the regular Joy2MeU web site. I realized that - though the foundation of my work is the ancient Spiritual Principles and process that I learned by working a twelve step program, and I talk about those principles and that process to some extent in all of my writing - I did not have very much written here on my regular web site that actually talks about the steps themselves.
When I originally started publishing these articles in the Joy2MeU Journal, it was because I thought I would need to create enough content to make the Journal attractive to potential subscribers. The Journal has turned into something quite different from my original vision of it, and because the story of my recovery and Spiritual journey expanded to include a personal intimate journal about my process over the last 3 years, there is plenty of content in that Journal for people who resonate strongly with my writing. Thus, moving this series of articles (which has been expanded from 4 to 6 articles) to Joy2MeU to make them available to the public as a whole makes sense.
I am profoundly, deeply, everlastingly grateful for the gift of the 12 steps. The process of learning to apply the Spiritual Principles in my life has changed my life from an unendurable hell to an adventure that is exciting and enJoyable most of the time. The twelve steps work. That is the bottom line. They work to help a person transform their experience of life into something better. They work to help a person learn to develop a relationship with life and self that allows room for inner peace, happiness, and Joy. The twelve step process works to help a person open up to Love.
As I explain in my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls, planetary conditions caused human beings to develop a relationship with being human that was reversed to Love and Truth. The reason this human experience is so screwed up is because humans have been doing life backwards - looking outside for Truth and Love, for validation, meaning, and purpose. Outer dependence is dysfunctional. It is the reason we do not know how to love our neighbors as our self - because we do not know how to Love our self. It is the reason we have war and poverty, pollution and child abuse, rape and bigotry. This world would be a much nicer place if everyone was working a twelve step program.
The good news is that there has been a major change in those planetary conditions, and a new age - an Age of Healing and Joy - has dawned in human consciousness. The human condition is changing. We have entered a new time in human evolution - a time in which we are learning to manifest Love into the world by learning to access Love for self. The twelve step process has played a major role in the Spiritual Revolution that is taking place on this planet. The mystical gift of the twelve steps greatly accelerated the process of bringing the planetary energy field to critical mass so that this change could take place. In this series of articles I am sharing my perspective of the twelve steps.
Besides the invaluable gift of sobriety that AA has given to millions of Alcoholics, it also started a revolution in Spiritual consciousness.
The dramatic success and expansion of AA facilitated the spread of a radically revolutionary idea which has traditionally, in Western Civilization, been considered heresy. This was not a new idea but rather a reintroduction and clarification of an old idea, coupled with a formula for practical application of the concept into day-to-day human life experience.
This revolutionary idea was that an unconditionally Loving Higher Power exists with whom the individual being can personally communicate. A Higher Power that is so powerful that it has no need to judge the humans it created because this Universal Force is powerful enough to ensure that everything unfolds perfectly from a Cosmic Perspective.
This reintroduction of the revolutionary concept of an accessible Loving God has been clarified to specifically include the concept that the individual being can define this Universal Force according to his/her own understanding, and can develop a personal, intimate relationship with this Higher Power.
In other words, no one is needed as an intermediary between you and your creator. No outside agency has the right to impose upon you its definition of God.
The spread of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the other Anonymous programs which sprang out of AA, is the widest and most effective dissemination of this radical revolutionary concept that has ever occurred in Western Civilization.
Mystics, gnostics, and certain "primitive" peoples have, throughout recorded human history, understood the Truth in this concept - but the "organized religions" of urban-based civilizations have persecuted, tortured, and crucified any messengers or groups of people who believed in a Loving, personal God or Goddess - because it threatened the power of those organized religions' control over the masses and therefore their very existence. This time the dissemination of the message has been effective because: The time was right; the revolutionary concept was camouflaged as part of a successful treatment for a fatal, incurable disease; and it was accompanied by the Twelve Step Spiritual program."
In moving what was originally a 4 part series of articles to this web site it has expanded. The series could end up being as many as 7 articles before it is finished with me. On this page is the most recent succinct discussion of the twelve step process that I have written. The next article will be the body of the first article of my original Journal series slightly expanded - to be followed by a completely new article about the recovery concepts of powerlessness and unmanageability from multiple perspectives in relationship to multiple levels.
Immediately below are several excerpts from Chapter 2 of Attack on America - A Spiritual Healing Perspective. Below that are some tables with different versions of the twelve steps. The last section of this article is a short excerpt about the Principles of Twelve Step Recovery along with my version of the of the first three steps from intellectual and emotional levels as I understand and apply them - originally published online in 1998. At the bottom of the page is a disclaimer to let you know that Alcoholics Anonymous has not approved any deviation from their approach to the Twelve Steps and any reference I make to the steps is not meant to imply otherwise.
Life is not black and white. Life involves the interplay of black and white. In other words, the gray area is where life takes place. A big part of the healing process is learning the numbers two through nine - recognizing that life is not black and white.
Life is not some kind of test, that if we fail, we will be punished. We are not human creatures who are being punished by an avenging god. We are not trapped in some kind of tragic place out of which we have to earn our way by doing the "right" things.
We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience. We are here to learn. We are here to go through this process that is life. We are here to feel these feelings."