For Newbies

What is a “Higher Power?”

In the world of anonymous programs, “Higher Power” refers to anything that you can believe-in that is both outside of yourself and more powerful than yourself.  (Of course, it can be argued that your Higher Power dwells inside you, but that is a different topic for a different day.)  This Higher Power can be anything …Continue reading →

What are “The Promises?”

“The Promises” of all 12-Step programs come from “The Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous.  (You can read all of them by clicking on “The Promises” at the top of this page.)  They are the reason why we go through all the hard work of “doing” the 12 Steps.  Like myself, millions of people in recovery …Continue reading →

“Recovering,” “Recovered,” “Cured”: What’s the difference?

After you have a few meetings under your belt and you have listened to several different speakers, you will probably start to notice that some of them say they are “recovering,” others say they have “recovered,” and still others say they are completely “cured.”  Is there a difference?  To many in program, there actually is. It has been my …Continue reading →

What is a “food plan” and where can I get one?

A “food plan” is a written list of what you can and cannot eat.  It is what you will use to decide if you are abstinent or not.  Food plans can come from a doctor, a nutritionist, a book, a “diet club,” or from your food sponsor.  Some sponsors will tell you that they will …Continue reading →

What goes on at a 12-Step meeting?

If you have never set-foot in a 12-Step meeting, the whole thing can seem a little intimidating.  Following is a format that most anonymous meetings follow, more-or-less.  It is my hope that if you know what to expect ahead of time, you will be more likely to stop-by and check one out. When you first arrive.  …Continue reading →

What is an “old-timer?”

When you hear someone being called “an old-timer,” it is not an insult about their age.  It is actually a term of endearment for someone who has been sober/abstinent AND active in 12-Step programs for many years – – usually 20 or more.  They are the true inspirations of the program.

What if I don’t believe in God?

That is not a problem.  What would be a problem is if you were unwilling to believe in anything outside of yourself.  Do you at least believe in the power of “Love?”  Or in forces of “Good” that you can actually see, like the way people come together to help others after a disaster?  Or in …Continue reading →

“Step 0″ = Courage

Before you even begin to think about “doing” the 12 Steps, I think it is important to acknowledge how difficult it is for newcomers to make that vital first “pre-step” to attend their first meeting.  Few other things in life require as much courage as the decision to take-on your inner demons.  And the way I see it, there are at least …Continue reading →

Forget What You Know (a.k.a. “Step 0.5″)

As you cross the threshhold into your first 12-Step meeting, try to leave all your mental baggage at the door.  (You can have it back on your way out, I promise!)  Just try for that hour or that hour-and-a half to put aside all of your pre-conceived ideas about what you expect to get from …Continue reading →

What are “The 12 Steps?”

The 12 Steps are the instructions on how to break-free from addicition.  In the original steps, they only referred to alcohol, but they have since been adapted to work for any “drug of choice.”  The 12 Steps are taken directly from The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (see “12-Step Links” on the side of this …Continue reading →