The 12 Principles :: RESPONSIVENESS


MY RECOVERY WORK THIS YEAR IS FOCUSED ON THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE 12 STEPS; ASKING KEY QUESTIONS THAT WILL HELP LEARN THESE CORE VALUES AND PUTTING THEM INTO PRACTICE. 






STEP NINE

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 


PRINCIPLE NINE
Responsiveness


KEY QUESTION: 
What is integrity?








“As our recovery deepens, responsibility grows into responsiveness. Spiritual intelligence unfolds into spiritual integrity.  Making amends expands into mending the world.” ~Patrick Carnes


Most addicts have a history of being reactive rather than responsive especially to situations of change. Thankfully at this stage of our recovery we are aware of the effects our decisions and actions have on those around us. We have taken the focus off ourselves and are more interested in helping others.

The one thing in life we can be certain of is change. When we are responsive we adjust quickly, and easily to changing external conditions. Being responsive prevents regret and that starts by doing today what we will be happy with tomorrow.

No matter how bad things may look the outcome may end up being for our good. In the reverse, circumstances may be seemingly be great then the winds of change sweep through with a dramatic change that spins our head around.

The challenge here is to not hold on too tight, being adaptive and spiritually flexible while staying true to our greater life purpose. Rather than leaning in to the situation with an emotional reaction, we can lean back, watch and wait; checking for any positive action needed on our part. If none is necessary we surrender to the moment and wait for change to come again. And it certainly will. 

KEY QUESTION: What is integrity?

in-te-gri-ty:  an undivided or unbroken completeness; moral soundness

When walking in our addictions our moral soundness was severely lacking. This is one thing that is most important to me as I continue the recovery journey. I don’t ever want to hurt the ones I love again. 


A life that exhibits integrity is crucial. There’s no turning back now!


RESOURCES: 
A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes ** 

12 Principles of Recovery :: COMMITMENT

MY RECOVERY WORK THIS YEAR IS FOCUSED ON THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE 12 STEPS; ASKING KEY QUESTIONS THAT WILL HELP TO LEARN THESE CORE VALUES AND PUTTING THEM INTO PRACTICE. 




STEP EIGHT:

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

PRINCIPLE EIGHT:
Commitment

KEY QUESTION:
How am I responsible?






Searching the Internet for images that convey the word “commitment” brought multiple pics of marriage proposals. Strangely enough I had much difficulty finding images which displayed the concept of commitment…

So I went to the dictionary and found the words: Pledge, Promise and Obligation. All of these words are hard to put into a visual image. They must be lived out.
As addicts living in addiction we knew about commitment. We were committed to finding our next fix. We would go to great lengths to get it, pushing others aside and often leaving destruction in our wake.
Now the recovery life challenge is to take that same determined commitment and turn it around for the purpose of our health and personal relationships.
If we break down the dictionary definition words from above: pledge, promise and obligation, we see words that imply a personal decision, thought processes, words spoken, documents signed, physical actions taken. 
The idea of commitment isn’t to be taken lightly. Though as addicts it’s sometimes difficult to grasp and maintain the seriousness of it within ourselves.

The key question asks: How am I responsible?


Am I responsible to keep boundaries in place so my triggers don’t snap?

Am I responsible to be honest with myself, friends and partners when I am weak and struggling?


Am I response-able?
My recovery-abled response: Pause and then do the next right thing!



RESOURCES: 
A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes ** 

12 Principles of Recovery :: COURAGE

MY RECOVERY WORK THIS YEAR IS FOCUSED ON THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE 12 STEPS; ASKING KEY QUESTIONS THAT WILL HELP TO LEARN THESE CORE VALUES AND PUTTING THEM INTO PRACTICE. 

The 12 Steps are rules to memorize The 12 Principles are ingredients to a healthy life.**


STEP 7

Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.


PRINCIPLE 7

Courage


KEY QUESTION

What risks must I take?






Addicts are not strangers to risk. When living in my addiction I do many risky things; often putting others at risk. 



In recovery, our approach to risk changes completely. We learn to consider our risks instead of following our impulses. We consult our inner observer, then consciously choose which risks to take. One day at a time, we become both more courageous and more discerning. ~ Patrick Carnes**

It takes courage to:

  • Get out of bed and face reality each day.
  • Be open and vulnerable in our relationships. 
  • Make amends for our wrong doings. 
  • Have faith for an unknown future. 
  • Process our internal pain and fears.
  • Name and feel the feelings so long numbed.
  • Keep boundaries in place.
  • Do the next right thing.

 What am I risking with my courage?   Pain. Rejection. Uncertainty.

Bottom line: There is no courage without risk.


RESOURCES: 
A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes ** 

 Image credit: [Jeanne Provost] © 123RF.com

12 Principles of Recovery :: HONESTY

MY RECOVERY WORK THIS YEAR IS FOCUSED ON THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE 12 STEPS; ASKING KEY QUESTIONS THAT WILL HELP TO LEARN THESE CORE VALUES AND PUTTING THEM INTO PRACTICE. 




STEP 6
We were entirely ready to have God remove all these character defects.

PRINCIPLE SIX: Honesty

KEY QUESTION:
What must improve?




“When our addiction was the center of our world, we lived a double (or triple or quadruple) life. We said one thing and did another. We told different people different stories. We told ourselves contradictory stories. And we tried to keep track of it all. But of course we couldn’t. No one could. And eventually our world of lies and contradictions imploded.”  ~Dr. Patrick Carnes**


As a recovering addict, honesty is one of the most difficult yet critical things I must practice. After 10 years of recovery I’m still learning how to be honest.


To walk out Principle Six I have made a deal with myself. If I slip or struggle in my area of weakness I must be willing to admit it. Admitting it is far easier and less painful than the potential fall out that might come if it is discovered.

Our confession must not be used against us. We have to feel safe when sharing the weaknesses we have with others. It can’t be used as ammunition later.

The beauty of honesty is its simplicity. Life is much less complicated when we are able to be honest with ourselves and others.

Keeping a check on my self-talk is key. If I am tempted to, or actually do slip, I must ask:

What story am I creating in my mind around my behavior? 

Am I willing to accept the consequences that may come with the honesty that is needed?



RESOURCES: 
A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes **

Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

The 12 Principles of Recovery :: OPENNESS

MY RECOVERY WORK THIS YEAR IS FOCUSED ON THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE 12 STEPS, ASKING KEY QUESTIONS THAT WILL HELP TO LEARN THESE CORE VALUES AND PUTTING THEM INTO PRACTICE. 



STEP FIVE
Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of or wrongs.

PRINCIPLE FIVE: 
Openness

KEY QUESTION
How do I trust?




Addicts have a sordid history with trust issues. We’ve trusted people we shouldn’t have. We didn’t trust people we should have. We violated our own values. We invaded other people’s space. We didn’t do what we said we would. We weren’t faithful to our partner. We kept secrets. We didn’t trust ourselves. We weren’t trustworthy. 


Most of us were deprived of bonding with our parents as young children causing us to feel unworthy. The ability to trust is closely linked to feeling wanted and having a sense of belonging. 

Even after nine years in recovery I still struggle. Maybe not every day or even every week, but when the struggles come they sometimes hit hard. One thing that has made the biggest difference over these years is having a trusted friend with whom I can share my challenges. 

It’s most important to find a friend or mentor with whom we can share our pain. We must seek out a fellowship community or recovery group where we can make trusted friends. There we can begin to bond, open up and heal. 

Learning how to trust others isn’t a quick process. We’ve had bad examples most of our lives so we will need to walk this path slowly. When sharing our story we must not over share but yet not hide things God is trying to bring into the light where the healing can start.

When we honestly ask ourselves which [people] in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness that is a friend who cares. ~ Henri Nouwen **



RESOURCES:

A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes **

Copyright: pinkstudio / 123RF Stock Photo

The 12 Principles of Recovery :: RESPONSIBILITY

MY RECOVERY WORK THIS YEAR IS FOCUSED ON THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE 12 STEPS; ASKING KEY QUESTIONS THAT WILL HELP TO LEARN THESE CORE VALUES AND PUTTING THEM INTO PRACTICE. 




STEP 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.


PRINCIPLE FOUR: Responsibility


KEY QUESTION: Who Am I?


When we are living in addiction our life is ruled by emotions. We are afraid of our true feelings, numbing them with our drug/behavior of choice to the point of delusion.

Our perception of reality is warped. We believe we are not responsible for our actions no matter what they are. Until we can wake up to this sickness there will be no recovery.

There can be no recovery without responsibility. ~ Patrick Carnes

Taking our moral inventory is a painful process. But only by reflecting on our life can we develop the mindfulness needed to go forward as a productive, healthy person.


***   RESPONSE — ABILITY   ***


What is my response to life today?

This moment? 

Am I using my abilities in a positive way?

Making conscious choices based on values rather than emotional responses to circumstances is living with RESPONSIBILITY!

If you can’t see the screen below CLICK HERE for a short video clip on Responsibility.

RESOURCES:

A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes **


Image credit: klavapuk / 123RF Stock Photo

The 12 Principles of Recovery :: AWARENESS

My recovery work this year is focused on The Principles behind the 12 Steps, asking key questions that will help to learn these core values and put them into practice. 



STEP 2: 

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.


PRINCIPLE TWO: 

Awareness


KEY QUESTION

How do I know what is real?





As an addict I lived the bulk of my life unaware of those around me, clueless to how my behavior affected others, actually not seeing much of the world at all. But after I turned back to God I had an amazing experience of awareness in, of all places, Walmart! 


On a hot summer day I was shopping for groceries when suddenly it was as if scales fell off my eyes and I could see people all around me. Like the day I got my first pair of glasses and I saw the trees weren’t just green blobs, they actually had individual leaves. 

Where did all these people come from? 

Had there always been so many people in the world that I never saw?

Not only could I suddenly see the people, God gave me the ability to look into their heart and spirit, almost like an x-ray, I was seeing their emotional pain. It was overwhelmingly heartbreaking. I wandered through Walmart thinking…

What can I do? I’ve got to help them. But who am I to help them? I’m nobody.

This incredible awareness stayed heavy on me for months. It was almost too much to endure. It was as if God gave me a taste of what He sees every minute of every day. This experience has repeated only a few times since that day in Covington, LA. But it changed my life forever.

This is what Principle Two wants for us. To be aware, not only of ourselves and the world, but to be aware of how our behavior touches others, to be sensitive to the needs of those around us.

To answer this month’s key question, How can I know what is real?  We must look to God. I believe this answer comes only by divine revelation, after much seeking, prayer and meditation. God promises to make Himself real to us if we seek Him. And with that our awareness begins.

Wake up, sleeper, rise from death and Christ will shine on you. ~ Ephesians 5:14

If you can’t see the screen below CLICK HERE for a great song called Wake Me Up.




RESOURCES:
A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes

Image credit: carpathianprince / 123RF Stock Photo

The 12 Principles of Recovery :: ACCEPTANCE

My recovery work this year is focused on The Principles behind the 12 Steps and asking key questions that will help to learn these core values and put them into practice. 




STEP ONE: We admitted we were powerless over our dependencies, that our life has become unmanageable. 

PRINCIPLE ONE: Acceptance  

KEY QUESTION: What are my limits?


It’s no big surprise that acceptance of our limits should come first in this list! Acceptance is foundational to the recovery process. It is at the core of the 12 Steps and their Principles. 

One of the biggest challenges for any recovering addict is seeing the need for and accepting limitations. Only after recognizing the mess we have made of our lives are we able to accept the limitations needed to prevent future problems.


Most of our limitations are a flimsy fence that’s barely able to stand on its on let alone withstand the wind of temptation. Without a strong fence holding our limits in place we set ourselves up for possible failure. 


I must ask myself now:  Where is my fence weak today? How can I repair the weak places?


CLICK HERE for a song that helps keeps me strong!

**RESOURCES:
A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes

Image credit: 72soul / 123RF Stock Photo

The Road to Recovery :: STEP 12

IN THE ROAD TO RECOVERY COLUMN WE ARE WORKING THE EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF CELEBRATE RECOVERY THAT ARE BASED ON THE BEATITUDES, ALONG WITH THE TRADITIONAL 12 STEPS OF RECOVERY AS THEY ALIGN WITH THE YEARLY CALENDAR.

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

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:8-9

Principle 8 (Celebrate Recovery): Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.

Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires. ~ Matthew 5:10


The Twelfth Step is not a graduation into a life free of addiction. Times of temptation are sure to come, but that is our opportunity to practice what we’ve learned from The Steps and hopefully show others we have changed. 


Staying mindful of our recovery walk daily. One thing that has helped me consistently over the years is reading the Life Recovery Devotional. It has 30 readings on each of the 12 Steps which makes it perfect for the entire year. I start with Step 1 in January and follow each step with the calendar month. 

We must find a way to share our story. We can’t waste the lessons we have learned. We must be sensitive to when, where and how the Holy Spirit nudges us and share our message of healing. 

Fellowship with healthy believers is critical. We need friends who love us enough to be honest with us and call us out when necessary. Most importantly we need to keep God a priority so we will stay on the right path.  

If you can’t see the video screen below Click Here for our Road to Recovery theme song.

The Road to Recovery :: STEP 11

IN THE ROAD TO RECOVERY COLUMN WE ARE WORKING THE EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF CELEBRATE RECOVERY which are BASED ON THE BEATITUDES, ALONG WITH THE TRADITIONAL 12 STEPS OF RECOVERY AS THEY ALIGN WITH THE YEARLY CALENDAR.

…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. ~ Philippians 2:13 NIV

Step 11: We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out.


Principle 7 (Celebrate Recovery): Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. 



At this stage of our journey we are growing stronger every day with God. By taking time each morning, or perhaps throughout the day, to sit with Scripture, to be quiet in prayer and mediation, listening for that still small voice to bring us guidance. 

As we grow in confidence and faith it becomes easier to walk in God’s will. But make no mistake, we cannot do it alone. The moment we take our eyes of The Source of our strength we set ourselves up for a fall.

The verse I chose for this week is one very close to my heart. It is one my husband and I pray over ourselves and our family regularly. Without God working in us we can’t even begin to know what His will is, nor have the ability to walk it out.  

All God is asking is that we be willing and available to let Him work. Then He will show us His will so then hopefully we might bring Him pleasure from our lives. 

Success requires us to be intentional and committed minute by minute. This can only be done prayerfully with the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: What is your mediation/prayer routine like?


If you can’t see the video screen below Click Here for our Road to Recovery theme song for prayer.