Stepping Through to Recovery

A Pagan approach to the Twelve Step programs

by Anodea Judith

E-Mail at shakti7@netdex.com

(Steps 13 through 15)

The beginning of this article may be found at pagan1.htm

Standard steps are listed in italics, adapted steps in bold, and commentaries in regular type.


Step 13: I examine my life story and my addiction (and codependency) in the context of my role in a patriarchal, capitalistic system.
Another good book to read on this is Anne Wilson Schaef, When Society Becomes an Addict.

Step 14: I use the events life brings as lessons for growth and accept my mistakes as part of my humanness.
Very important for keeping sobriety -- how not to fall down when life presents difficulties. Seeing problems as opportunities, having a sense of compassion for ourselves when we fail to be perfect, and learning from mistakes are valuable steps to ongoing progress.

Step 15: We grow in our awareness that we are sacred beings, interrelated with all living things and, when ready, take an active part in helping the planet become a better place for all people including ourselves.
We could include a few other species here simply by saying "all" and leaving off the word "people." This solidifies the connection between ourselves and the web of life, again between the power within and the power without.

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This adaptation is meant to coincide with the 12-steps as they are now, but we could combine steps 2 and 3, steps 4 and 5, and steps 8 and 9, making each pair into a single step. The additional three steps listed above could then be included for a total of twelve. Or throw them out altogether and start fresh, but however we proceed, the value does not lie in any of the individual steps but in the creation of a structural program. It takes more than wishing to change a lifelong pattern: we have to adopt a strategy, a plan, and then carry it out for a substantial period of time. The plan needs to fit the problem, and then each of the various wounds we suffer from this culture may require different programs.

The other deep value in the twelve step program is its inclusion of a spiritual dimension in the recovery process. Spiritual connection and healing are part of the same thing because a wound to the soul is a rupture of spirit. Since spirit has many forms, to truly become an open system we avoid qualifying spiritual experience for other human beings. Both the creation of a program and the experience of "spiritual awakening" are personal and profound. These steps are meant as a guide to creating a program that offers empowerment of the individual and validation of a variety of spiritual experiences. The paths are many. The journey brings its own reward.

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A SUMMARY:
A PAGAN 12-STEP PROGRAM BY ANODEA JUDITH

  1. Admitted we had a problem and that we were squandering our power.
  2. Came to see how the power within and without had been misaligned and made a decision to reconnect them, seeing them as One.
  3. Through sharing and feedback from others, took an intelligent look at our behavior, examining our relationship to family patterns and dysfunctional culture.
  4. Made myself ready and willing to let go of old patterns.
  5. Learned to ask for help.
  6. Made a list of harm done, and carried out rectification and balancing wherever possible.
  7. Made the commitment to continue the process of recovery, knowing that change takes time.
  8. Pursued the strengthening of our connection with the web of life through appropriate activity and spiritual practice.
  9. Having experienced a stabilized change from our awakening, we sought to help others along the path.
  10. Examine my life story and my addiction (and codependency) in the context of my role in a patriarchal, capitalistic system.
  11. Use the events life brings as lessons for growth and accept my mistakes as part of my humanness.
  12. Grow in our awareness that we are sacred beings, interrelated with all living things and, when ready, take an active part in helping the planet become a better place for all including ourselves.

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To read the rest of this article:

Many thanks to Marilee Lewis, Bronwen of Harvest Moon, Selene Vega, Maryanne Glazer, and Andrew Conn, for discussions and suggestions. Also many thanks to Charlotte Kasl, Ph.D., for her writings on the topic. Look for her books Women, Sex and Addiction: A Search for Love and Power; and Many Roads, One Journey: Twelve-Step Programs in an Age of Diversity.


Copyright 1998 by Anodea Judith.
Note: reprinted, with the author's permission, from Green Egg, vol.24, no.92, Ostara, 1991, pages 10 through 12.
Article is divided into four HTML files for convenience.

A short list of Recovery resources on the Net.

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Counseling Basics for Wiccan Clergy home page, by Judith Harrow and Gwyneth Cathyl- Harrow.

Also by Anodea Judith: Out of the Frying Pan - Into the Fire: Dysfunctional families and group energy.

Visit Anodea Judith's website, Sacred Centers.

Return to Elements of Recovery

Last Update: May, 1999 ce


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