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15 Promises to Freedom

 

  Introduction  

Hi I'm Robert Beatty with the "How Free Do You Want to Be" eBook and video series.

 

Introduction: New Path to Freedom


Everyone on this Earth experiences hardships. Everyone’s burdens are different. What is a “life crisis” for one person, another might call “nothing at all,” and others experience more trauma, anxiety, depression, or health issues in their lives than you or I could ever imagine. We all have our cross to bear as they say.

 

What separates us is the weight and size of it and how far uphill we must haul it.

These crosses often involve mental health problems due to or arising from an addiction of one type or another—but these issues can be healed, and the truth is, as I’ve told many people I’ve worked with over the years, “We’re all crazy; we just need to learn to hide it a little better, that’s all.” And the truth is, we are all addicted to something. It might not be alcohol or drugs. It could be sex, gambling, pornography, playing video games, working, exercising, eating, shopping, hoarding, cleaning, even pain. The list goes on, ad infinitum.


Mental health issues were recorded as far back as 1900 BC, but around 400 BC, a Greek physician named Hippocrates identified the different levels of mental and physical health and, for the first time in history, endeavored to separate religion and superstition from health and well-being. He believed mental illness was something to be ashamed of and must be punished. Thankfully a lot has changed since then.


Alcoholism and addiction were recorded as far back as 7000 BC when fermented beverages were developed in China, along with many other mind-altering substances, in fact. In our society, alcohol and drugs have always been at the root of illegal activity, problems, and several mental health disorders.


The Volstead Act or Prohibition Act, passed by the United States Congress in 1919, made the distillation, sale, distribution, and transportation of alcohol illegal—but not its consumption. For the next thirteen years, Americans proved that even the law couldn’t keep them from a drink. Not only would they continue to use alcohol, but they would profit from it as well via the black market. So, despite attempts by the authorities to control alcohol, the problem was out of control. As one establishment was raided and closed down, another would pop up in its place.


The illegal use of alcohol fueled gangsters, moonshiners, and organized crime, and to add to the growing problem, the Italian mafia started to distribute heroin and cocaine. Like alcohol, the ever-increasing issues associated with the illegal distribution of drugs eventually led to the national prohibition of cocaine with the passing of the Dangerous Drug Act in 1920. Before this, heroin was regulated by the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act in 1914. The act made the sale and distribution of heroin legal for medical purposes only with a doctor’s prescription, but by 1924, new laws made heroin an illegal substance.
During prohibition, medical doctors even began to prescribe alcohol as a way around prohibition, and, at one time, over a million gallons of alcohol were prescribed per year. When prohibition was repealed in 1933, approximately 15 to 20 million Americans suffered from alcoholism.


There have always been people across the spectrum: those who can drink moderately, those who can take it or leave it, hard drinkers, and those who can’t stop drinking no matter what. Medical professionals and scientists have never really been sure about the cause of alcoholism, or addiction for that matter, but have identified specific things that lead to it—family history, drinking for long periods, mental health, anxiety, depression, and social acceptance to name a few. However, not everyone with these issues becomes an alcoholic.


In the past, alcoholism and addiction were perceived as character flaws or a conscious decision of someone with no morals, honesty, or control by “normal” society’s standards, and so sufferers were stigmatized. Thankfully all of this has changed over the years, and particularly since the medical profession came forward and publicly declared alcoholism and addiction as “diseases.” Since then, treatment has evolved substantially.


Two Pioneers in the History of Alcohol Rehabilitation


Alcohol rehabilitation started as early as 1750 when groups of Native Americans formed “sobriety circles” to help members of their community stay sober. More than 100 years later in 1879, a doctor named Leslie Keeley labeled “drunkenness” a legitimate medical disease and claimed he could cure it with injections of “bichloride of gold” (gold and chlorine). Keeley’s operations may have been the earliest makings of what we know as residential inpatient treatment centers today.


However, in the history of alcoholism, two individuals, Bill Wilson (Bill W.) and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith (Dr. Bob) stand out, when they came together in 1935 to form what is now known as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). They were passionate about the cause because they were both desperate to stop drinking. Shortly after Bill W. became sober, he helped Dr. Bob to stop drinking too. Soon afterward, Alcoholics Anonymous was formed. Their initial plan was to work with alcoholics at the Akron City Hospital in Ohio, and, at first, the only people in the group were Dr. Bob, Bill W., and a mutual friend named Ebby Thacher (Ebby T.). These early pioneers also began writing a guidebook about how to become and stay sober. In 1939, the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous was published, and the world started to learn about the success and methods of the authors, the “Twelve Steps.”


In 1956, the American Medical Association declared alcoholism an illness and a disease. Before this time, hospitalization and mental wards were the only answer, and “patients” were treated with large amounts of alcohol in an attempt to make them so sick that they wouldn’t want to drink again. At that time, alcoholism as was described as “drunkenness,” “a personal choice,” or “an uncontrollable alcohol habit.” Many doctors advertised cures, but there were no treatment or detox centers, just peddlers of elixirs, potions, liquid cocaine, and similar preparations.


Today, new treatment centers spring up every day all over the world, offering treatment for alcohol, drugs, and every form of addiction, including sex, pornography, eating disorders, and all mental health issues. Most treatment centers offer residential inpatient programs, as well as outpatient treatment and sober living services. Some of them also offer detoxification.
Along with group therapy and the traditional Twelve-step Program, these centers also provide individual therapy, adventure therapy, wilderness programs, cognitive behavioral therapy, high tech electro-encephalogram therapies, hypnotherapy, and various types of classes and activities. These advances in treatment show that alcoholism and addiction have become accepted as diseases and not an indictment of character for its sufferers.


In those early days, very few people had been through the Twelve Steps. The program was designed as a simple way to experience spiritual awakening and psychic change. The early AA groups typically shared the message of hope by taking another alcoholic through the Twelve Steps in one to two days with four to five one-hour sessions. Most of the time, they would require that all newcomers completed the Twelve Steps before introducing them to regular meetings. They wanted others to hear their experiences and follow the directions in their book because then “the promises found within the Twelve Steps will free you from alcoholism.” They believed by following and living the examples of their Twelve-step spiritual program, the cravings and compulsion to drink alcohol or use drugs would be removed.

 

I remember attending my first meeting, and the first time I read the book. It was very confusing. I was like a deer in the headlights—full of fear and overwhelmed because I had never been through anything like the Twelve Steps before.


I’ve often have wondered what it might be like for people attending their first meeting of AA or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) if they had already completed the Twelve Step Program before attending—if they had already made prayer and meditation part of their daily life, if they had already experienced a spiritual awakening and psychic change, if they had a genuine connection with a higher power or God. You would think their chances of success and recovery from addiction might be much higher.


During the 1940s, the AA program experienced a success rate of around 75 to 85 percent of all newcomers remaining sober and free from alcoholism. Today, that number is much lower. Published studies show the success rate at somewhere between 5 and 10 percent and only between 2 and 3 percent in some states and areas. As we’ll explore in more depth later in the book, I hope that this companion to the Twelve Steps will help make the Steps more approachable and bring you the outcome you need.


Experiencing the Twelve Steps


For the duration of this book, I will be referring to the same Twelve Steps as they were written in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, what we call the Big Book, that was designed to lead to a spiritual awakening and psychic change. I encourage you to think of each step of the program as an experience we will have together. Just like a mentor did with me. Just as they did in the 1940s.


These Steps are clearly just suggestions that can guide you to a spiritual awakening, which causes a psychic change, a change in the way you think. For that reason, I will be sharing a way through these steps that made more sense to me than anything I had done before, a process that created a spiritual awakening and a psychic change in my thinking. This is the same process that restored my mental health and led me to sobriety many years ago.


I want to be clear; this approach may not reflect AA as you know it today. This series is a guide that will help you understand the simplistic principals that were taught in the 1930s by the founding fathers of a program they called Alcoholics Anonymous, principals that had tremendous success. Also, please understand that this book is not about just alcoholism or addiction. We will be talking about alcoholism and addiction in general, however the principles can be applied to every addiction and mental health issue. They can also be used to overcome every problem in your life—eating disorders, smoking, sexual addictions, pornography, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, mental disorders, and even personal relationship issues. Every troubling issue in your life can be overcome through the promises found within these Twelve Steps.


The spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps as they were taught in the 1940s and 1950s worked for thousands of men and women who found sobriety from their teachings. It worked for me, for the mentors that taught me their principals, and it will work for you. Why change something that works? When a mentor took me through the Twelve Steps in the same manner, I was told that following the directions would allow me to realize the promises held within the Steps, and I would be free from alcoholism, addiction, and mental health issues for good. This was the case for me.


Before going through the Steps in this manner, I’d been through seven different treatment programs without success, each one about the same. I was given assignments on the first three Steps and then usually started work on Step Four before finishing the program and going home. I was told so many rules about the Twelve Steps which created confusion and conflict in my mind. I could not understand any of it.


I would leave and always drink the day or night I returned home. Sometimes on my way home. Nothing changed, and nothing stopped me from drinking alcohol or using drugs—not even jail—until a mentor took me through the Twelve Steps just as they were taught by those in the 1940s. Doing the step work freed me from compulsions and cravings. By sharing this same process with you, my experiences, and a message of hope, I believe you will have the same experience that I did.
I don’t wish this series to be interpreted as a study guide for the Alcoholics Anonymous nor do I want to stand on a soapbox and tell you that there is only one way to do this. I do have a strong opinion the only path to sobriety is a spiritual one—whatever that means to you and whatever you name it—but I’m not here to argue or debate.


I’m simply here to tell you that if you approach these Twelve Steps with an open heart and mind, you will have an experience you haven’t yet had in your life. You will discover things about yourself that you probably didn’t know. Moreover, you’re likely to find how we approach the Twelve Steps in this book is quite different, and I’ve witnessed people with years of long-term sobriety being mentored by someone who has only been sober a few months because they had gone through the Steps in the same manner, we will be going through them.


Sobriety Is More Than Just Numbers


Years of sobriety are just numbers, nothing more. They don’t make success. Proof of this can be found in every AA or NA meeting room. Here you’ll witness individuals walking up to the front to take a newcomer chip for attending their first meeting or first twenty-four hours of not using. I can tell you something about this because I did it for an extended period before I fully recovered from my alcoholism and addiction. I would get a little sobriety and then relapse over and over, always taking a newcomer chip and starting over.


Receiving a one-year, two-year, five-year, or 10-year achievement coin or chip isn’t what got me sober, nor is it what keeps me sober today. What does is my daily connection with God, prayer, meditation, mentorship, and serving others still suffering. The simple concept of one alcoholic working with another alcoholic or addict and sharing the message of hope with someone who suffers keeps me close to God and my sobriety.


What I’d like to encourage you to do is to have an open mind as we walk through this journey together. If you follow what the pioneers of the process tell you to do, you will experience what they experienced in the early 1940s. Alcoholics Anonymous, as it was written and first published in 1939, is an excellent publication and gives the Twelve Steps. However, it can be somewhat challenging to understand and usually requires someone who has knowledge of the writings to help you.


You have a right to have a Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. If you do not have a Big Book, one will be appointed to you and paid for by a grateful fully recovered member of one of these organizations. I can’t count the number of Big Books I have given away over the years. All you need to do is ask for help. You can start the process by reading the foreword, “Doctor’s Opinion,” and then the next 164 pages to help you gain a basic understanding before we walk through the Twelve Steps in the following chapters. A copy of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous can be purchased at most book resellers or online. It should be fun and easy for you to follow along. As we journey through this process, we will reference some of what is found in the writings and teachings of the Twelve Steps.


Again, just to be clear. Please don’t confuse this process with some kind of test that must be passed to have a spiritual experience or to find sobriety. These suggestions are simply a guide to allow you to have your own experience. I also want to say that you must understand:


You can’t go through these steps too quickly.


You can, however, go through them too slowly. This is because these suggestions hold within them specific promises that lead to a spiritual awakening, which causes psychic change. Changes in the way you think.


Remember, if you are still suffering, you are still very sick. You need the power that comes from these promises now. Not six months from now.


Many times, I’ve heard things like:


You’re too early in sobriety to be doing anything except the first Step.


The fourth and fifth Steps are the hardest ones and will take you a very long time to get through.


You shouldn’t be working on your fourth and fifth Steps for six to twelve months.


You shouldn’t mentor anyone unless you have at least twelve months of continuous sobriety.


The only way to ever be sober is to get the Big Book, get a mentor, attend an AA meeting once a day, and ask God to keep you sober just for today.


Are you kidding me?


There is no way I would be able to stay sober if I thought the only way was to attend a meeting every day of my life, if I had to call my mentor every day to receive instructions on what or what not to do next, if I had to ask God to keep me sober just for today. What about for good? I couldn’t live this kind of existence. I might be drinking before sundown.


In this book, I’d like to encourage you to follow the process as it was intended. Work the Steps with someone who understands them as they were outlined. Have a spiritual experience of your own. Enjoy a connection with God or a higher power that you’ve never had before and asked for your compulsion to use drugs and alcohol be removed for good. What’s wrong with that?
This is the way they did the program in the 1940s, and it worked for them. It has worked for thousands and thousands of men and women before you and me. It worked for me many years ago. Why wouldn’t it work for you today?


If you’re reading this book, then you have come to a crossroads in your life where you haven’t or can’t find the answers you need, and you are searching. You are reading various books. You are seeking answers to the issues in your life. Sometimes in the wrong places. After all, happiness is not a person, place, or thing. It is a state of mind. As I said, you may have already been through the Twelve Steps or you are working through them but can’t stay sober. Maybe you are a chronic relapser like me. If you can relate to this, you need the promises found in the Twelve Steps, and you need them right now!


As I’ve already described, the pioneer of these fundamentals, Bill W., was only a few days sober when he shared the message of hope with someone else for the first time. He typically took people through the Steps in as little as one to two days. Imagine what would happen if he’d waited six months or a year? His program, Alcoholics Anonymous, would never have gone anywhere.
A few words on sponsorship or mentorship


Alcoholics Anonymous promotes the concept of sponsorship. For the duration of this series, I will refer to sponsorship as “mentorship” because it has been my experience that having a mentor to assist you through the Twelve Steps program is the only way to finally understand them. Either way it is an important aspect of your recovery. At the very least, feel free to consider me your mentor while we work through the principals of the Steps together.


I soon found that it became essential for me to find a good mentor. Someone with more knowledge of the teachings, Steps, and promises than I had. The guys with long-term sobriety would say things like, “Cord, you won’t ever get sober without a someone to help you understand the process.” So I found one. It was an uncomfortable process I didn’t relish, but I recognized that, like everyone else, I couldn’t understand the Twelve Steps as they were written and needed help.


Early on, I met a man I called Big John, who was 6'5" and at least 300 pounds of solid muscle. I’ve never been around a larger man in my life and will always remember the first time I met him. He walked into an AA meeting just as they were starting to go around the room. He didn’t even sit down before he commanded the space by calling out with a booming voice, “My name is John, and I am a real alcoholic! I did my first Step while serving twenty-one years in San Quentin State Prison. If any of you think you’ve had it worse off than me, come and see me after the meeting so I can explain a few things to you!” That’s not exactly what he said, there were actually quite a few vulgarities as well.


After his dramatic entrance and announcement, he sat down directly across the table from me and stared straight at me with the coldest, hardest, steely red eyes I’ve ever seen. He looked a lot like the Brawny™ towel man. He was spooky, but I was impressed! So, when John got up to go to the bathroom, I turned to my friend, who was sitting next to me, and said, “That’s a guy I would want to have as my mentor.”


He said, “That’s not a good idea. He’s pretty rough and hard to be around most of the time. He doesn’t mentor anyone, but he definitely knows his stuff when it comes to the Steps. Hell, he had twenty-one years to study it.”


I said, “I’m going to talk with him after the meeting and ask him to consider being my mentor.” My friend wished me luck, and I said, “He’s not going to get my goat!”


He said, “Really? I think he just rode in on your goat!”


After the meeting, I approached John. He asked if I had done the first Step yet. I said yes and that I had been through the Twelve Steps a few times. He asked me how I was managing to stay sober. I told him I was sober now but had slipped up a few times and that I go to meetings and ask God to keep me sober one day at a time. He said, “There is no such thing as a slip-up, brother. There is only a conscious decision to drink or use.”


John then did something next that absolutely blew my me away. Something no one had done with me before. He pulled open his copy of Alcoholics Anonymous, turned to page 59, and handed it to me. He told me to read the first Step in the first person in my own words. I read: “I admit that I am powerless and that my life has become unmanageable.”


He asked me what it meant to me. I said, “I am powerless when I have a drink of alcohol, or I use drugs. I crave more. I can’t stop”.
He said, “You couldn’t be more wrong!”


He said, “You told me you had done your first Step? And I asked you how you have been managing to stay sober, and you said, meetings every day and asking God to keep you sober one day at a time.’ The keywords here, Cord, are the ones you skipped over—‘powerless’ and ‘unmanageable.’ If you’re managing to stay sober one day at a time or having some periods of sobriety, if you’re one of those guys that thinks God isn’t real or can’t hear you, if you continue to relapse over and over again, then you haven’t completed your first Step as you said you have. And you certainly have never been through the Twelve Steps! You don’t recognize that you have no power. That the alcohol and drugs are managing you. That your life is a three-ring shit-show! Does this sound familiar to you?”


Wow, was this me! My life was a complete disaster. An unmanageable blob of chaos. I was going through life like a big ole wrecking ball. Bouncing and smashing my way from one disaster to the next. Obliterating every opportunity and every relationship. I couldn’t get out of my own way!


John said, “You can’t move past the first suggestion until you understand it and have an experience with it and you can’t move past the next suggestion either until you experience the same. He continued, “Would you like me to spend more time humiliating you further about your so-called knowledge of the next eleven Steps? Or do you want to get real and honest with me about this issue?”


I said, “Okay, I’m an idiot, and I need help. Can you help me?”


John declined to help me. He said that he didn’t spend time with someone as new to sobriety and uncommitted to the process as me. But John did offer to be my friend and said I was welcome to talk with him about the Steps anytime. I knew he didn’t have any faith in me. I was trying to stay in control of something that was out of control.


He turned out to be an excellent friend and one that I learned a lot from, and in his own way, he did become a mentor to me. He was the first guy that helped me understand what I was really dealing with, that my issue was a disease and a form of mental illness. I am grateful for him and the advice he has given me over the years. John and others like him that I’ve worked with, I still consider friends and mentors. I often call on them for discussion and insight on issues in my life or someone I’m working with. This is what the Step process is all about: one alcoholic/addict working with another.


I had another mentor, Bill, who was a rough old cowboy—a real old-timer in AA. One of those guys who had been around since before there was hair, and he had great stories to tell. But we just didn’t get along. Every conversation usually ended up with him insulting and humiliating me. I soon ended up telling him I was done asking his help.

 

Bill took it very personally and told me he never wanted to talk to me again. It made me wonder if he had ever been through the Steps himself. Someone who has actually been through the Twelve Steps and had a spiritual awakening, experience, and psychic change wouldn’t act that way.

 

The point is, you don’t have an obligation to stick with a mentor just because you are new to the process. And you can have more than one. You can have as many as you like if it helps. If your personality with one person doesn’t mix, you have permission to fire them and move on. Just be honest about it and let them know. If they are true to their sobriety, honest themselves, and working on their personal life like they should, they won’t care about you moving on to find someone else. Sometimes personalities just clash. Sometimes people just can’t get along for one reason or another. For the guys I mentor, I hope they learn as much from what I did wrong as I did right, so it’s a quicker process for them. Because from the day I decided to become sober, I continued to suffer for seven more years.


I quietly battled my addiction and hid it from my family. I might gain a little sobriety and then relapse. More times than I can count. I quietly went to AA meetings, NA, counseling, and therapists without the knowledge of my wife or family. I suffered, struggled, fought the compulsion to drink, and relapsed over and over again. I just couldn’t find the answers I needed. Fighting the disease to the end, I lost everything until I was defeated and broken.


One day, I found one man who knew the Steps better than anyone I had ever met. I assumed he had studied them for years, read every book on the Steps, taught workshops, and must have attended more Twelve-step study meetings than anyone I had ever met. I quickly realized that this man had clearly had a spiritual awakening. He clearly had fully recovered from the disease of addiction. I asked him, “How did you acquire your knowledge of the Twelve Steps, was it by reading, meetings spiritual awakening, psychic change?”


He said, “Nope! I had a mentor take me through the Steps in the same way they did in the 1940s. He said there’s only one true path to sobriety and it’s a spiritual one. Over time, people have come up with their own interpretation and meanings about the Twelve Steps. Those men, especially, develop a God complex and their own versions of the Twelve Steps and how they should be taught. But why change something that is so simple and that works? Why fix something that isn’t broken?”

“There is great importance of doing things exactly in the way that it was taught in the 1940s and 1950s by great men like Bill W., Doctor Bob, and the early pioneers of the AA movement because within these Twelve Steps there are specific promises to be gained that will take you to a life free from addiction.”


It all made sense to me and sounded really good.


Awakening to the Steps


You need to make a commitment to work on all Twelve Steps to completion, and we’ll discuss each one before moving on. If you complete the Steps as they were taught initially, you’ll find out a few things about yourself that you didn’t know. You will experience a psychic change. You will experience a spiritual awakening that will take you further in your recovery from alcoholism or addiction then you’ve ever gone before. So, while you’re reading, when you see questions, take a break and think about what you are reading and contemplate your own work and experiences as you have them.


Following are some points I found important.


Work with someone who truly understands the steps. When I read Alcoholics Anonymous for the first time, I found some written instructions hard to understand and confusing because of the era in which they were written, which is why it sometimes takes mentors and newcomers so long to work through all the Steps.


You might wonder why the authors devoted half of the book to Step One. My understanding is because it is the foundation of sobriety. It’s like building a commercial building or a home. The first thing you do when commencing construction is to lay down a solid foundation.


I didn’t know this was the case when I started going through the Steps, and I’ve experienced more relapses than I can count and been through multiple treatment programs. One might think my history in this process is full of pathetic and failed attempts at sobriety. I went in and out of AA meetings, counseling, and treatment programs for years, trying to find my way. I went to a lot of AA and NA meetings, sometimes while intoxicated. I just couldn’t stay sober. I couldn’t stop drinking and using. I thought there was something very wrong with the Twelve Step Program.


Looking back, there were a few things I overlooked. Little things such as finding a mentor to help me with the Twelve Steps, reading The Big Book, experiencing all Twelve Steps to completion, building a relationship with a higher power—or God as I choose to call it—and sharing the message of hope with someone else. Yeah, I guess in hindsight, I overlooked a few things.


You see, I came to sobriety kicking and screaming. I came in with a big ego, and I thought I was smarter than every one of you. I was better than you and was convinced that I wasn’t an alcoholic or an addict like you. I was the guy walking in late to every meeting I ever went to, just to make sure you knew I had arrived. The one sitting in the back and usually leaving early to make sure you knew that I really didn’t need to be there. The guy pushing all my views on everyone about what the Twelve Steps were all about. I had a lot of opinions, and I wanted you to hear every single one of them. I had it all figured out and didn’t need any one’s help.


I was the guy in the meeting that was standing on my soapbox, pontificating about experiences that I had never had because I hadn’t completed the Twelve Steps myself. I was telling you someone else’s experiences. I had opinions on the Steps that were better than anyone else because I thought I was smarter than you. I didn’t need a mentor. I didn’t need to work through the Steps like everyone else. I had it all under control.


The only time I ever had any humility was on those days when I would walk to the front of the room with my head down to pick up another 24-hour chip and a hug after a relapse. But as soon as you would all applaud me for my stupidity, cheer me on and say, “Atta-boy Cord!”, I was right back to the same ole me.


“Yeah, I know the Twelve Steps, I’ve had my spiritual awakening, I’ve done my Step Four. Just ask me about making amends, I’ll tell you all about that. I know God. You want my opinion? I’ll give them all to you!” Then I’d relapse a few weeks later and start it all over again. I was hopelessly pathetic.


There was a period before I got sober that I didn’t have a home or job. I had lost everything. I didn’t have a car. I lived in hotel rooms or on the street. I did anything to survive, including begging for just enough money to buy another bottle and a night in a hotel. No one wanted to be anywhere near me. I was like a lightning rod for bad luck. The point is that because of the Twelve Steps and the promises, my life began to change.

 

Before We Begin . . .


For the purpose of this book, I will be referring to alcoholism because that is primarily who I am. I am a grateful recovered alcoholic/addict. However, in my opinion, the Twelve Steps apply to all addictions and can be used in daily life as a method of overcoming any issue messing up your life. I’ve also used the Twelve Steps to help me through personal relationships, depression, anxiety, mental health issues, even smoking.


The point is that you can use these Twelve Steps to overcome anything in your life once you understand the Steps. I personally believe that the Steps must have been divinely given to the authors that wrote them. There is a simple proven plan of action found within them and a promise that will set you free. Free from addiction. Free from the struggles you go through in your life on this earth. If you complete the Twelve Steps as outlined in the following pages of this book, I promise you that you will find serenity, freedom, and peace as have thousands of men and women before you.


For the young people reading this book, I admire you for working on the Twelve Steps early on in your life. I wish someone had taken me through them when I was your age. My life would have been so much happier in my early adult years if I had been free from my addictions.


Have you ever heard anyone say, “Our youth don’t stand a chance?” Really?! They have a better chance of overcoming their addictions using these Twelve Steps than anyone on this planet. They are fantastic to be around. Case in point, the movement of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous (YPAA) is more significant than you would imagine.


I’ve attended many YPAA (Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous) conferences over the past years and have always been impressed by the numbers of young people in this group. These conferences aren’t attended by hundreds but thousands of young sober individuals having the time of their lives. I’ve never witnessed so many of our youth in one place without the presence of drugs and alcohol. Some will say that the movement of YPAA is much larger than that of AA.


I believe that all addictions are a disease and a form of mental disorder. I repeat: It doesn’t matter whether you suffer from addiction to alcohol, drugs, or sex, an eating disorder, anxiety, depression, gambling, adrenaline, cigarettes, or compulsive hoarding. They are all addictive mental disorders and behaviors and can be cured through the use of the Twelve Steps.


Lets Begin With The Serenity Prayer


On the inside cover of your workbook, you will find some information about the origin of the Serenity Prayer. With organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, the serenity prayer is nothing short of biblical scripture. It's printed in every handbook, embossed everything from clothing, pens, banners and plaques. Hanging in every meeting hall and recited daily by individuals at group meetings.


The Serenity prayer was written by a German American, Christian named Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971). He wrote the original words of what became the serenity prayer in 1932 and the one used today by AA and NA organizations around the world.

American historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. wrote, “Niebuhr may have been one of the most influential American theologians of the 20th century” President Barack Obama stated that Niebuhr was one of his favorite philosophers. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said Niebuhr was a man of "great prophetic vision" with "unswerving devotion to the ideals of freedom and justice." 

 

The original words that were written by Niebuhr in 1932 are as follows.


God, give us grace to accept
with serenity the things that
cannot be changed, courage to
change the things that should
be changed, and the wisdom
to distinguish the one from
the other


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