Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Step 1: We Admitted We Were Powerless

Twelve Step Videos- One man's interpretation of The 12 Steps. An Informative and articulate explanation of the principles of recovery.

Step 1: We Admitted We Were Powerless

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children


Anonymous said...

Hi C--A powerful video and I thank you for it. As a child growing up in a dysfunctional, alcoholic home, I was powerless to change my parents' behavior or stop the fighting. For me, I coped by developing OCD, rather than self-medicating to deal with the intense anger and rage I felt but couldn't express due to the fear it would ignite my parents. Unfortunately, though I'm far removed from being a "trapped teen" anymore, OCD still plagues me when I experience a deep, profound hurt or anger that typically pertains to my parents' ongoing behavior. In any event, I can see how accepting that I have OCD and am powerless to stop my thought obsessions is powerful. It doesn't mean I'll stop battling my OCD, but it does put it in the proper perspective.

sparky said...


The Twelve Step we created in Bill W.'s basement in 30 minutes, according to the 1953 Grapevine Article.

I feel what N.A. termed as "strong personalities" is fitting here. In my study of 12 step history, I feel Bill W. H.P. Love him was a sick narcissist, as I have some of that myself. Studying all this helps my recovery. Understanding how Bill created these steps and only got approval helps me understand "strong personalities" and how a soiety that "lets others take the iniative" can be easily influenced instead of thinking for ourselves.

I am so glad Tony A. thought outside the box and re-created 12 steps, sadly "I" feel that so many 12 step worshippers perhaps afraid of change voted aginst them.

Personally I get just as much out of Redenfield's "Celestine Prophesy" (The Insights) as far as guidance for recovery as I do from the 12 steps, yet perhaps the abuse I recieved in recovery turned me off and made me hard, I am considering that insight.

I feel so many in 12 step recovery with obsessions get obsessed over the steps instead of the principals in recovery; Love and Toerance.

Perhaps psychotics beating up the neurotics, maybe I just needed to learn to stand up on my own two feet,hindsight is 20/20..more will be revealed I'm sure.

12 steppism, been there done that...not to say I don't feel they are a wonderful tool.

Personally I love Tony A's steps, with perhaps adapting step one to be more inclusive.

Focusing on character defects etc...etc.. caused me more dfficulties and sadly I knew nothing of balance. I have met people that had a mental breakdown doing the step and was personally warned to be careful by several proffesionals.

I hear recognizing the insanity is the first sign of sanity.(mine and others)

Thankfully I am learning now more about dissociation, why I was choosing sick sponsors-because of my dissociation and learning more about codependency and PTSD.

I seem to always be blindsided in recovery and forget recvoery attracts sick people, I think it could be a good practice when they hand out keyfobs and chips inform the newcomers aware of the drama in 12 step recovery. (perhaps a disclaimer?)

Man, my 12 step story inlcudes lots of recovery!

Sorry, hope not tobe offensive to others but that is my truth. Yet, I have learned alot even from negative sponsorship and want to thank all my teachers...even wonder if my getting my butt kicked in recovery was not even part of the growing some wierd way.

I did learn that when I run away I loose. As I have stayed and learned about the steps,traditions and concepts learned ...but when I hear "some are sicker than others" and want to realize others had Tolerance for me, and I want to learn to have tolerance for them...even the sick oldtimer bleeding deacons with unresolved HERO they still trigger the hell out of me.

I am learning... more about love and tolerance and why "the 12 step authority figure" trigger me.

I wish more would talk about the un-healthy side of the 12 step fellowships perhaps in some why taking our "global inventory" would help us to stay safe.

I personally feel although Agent Orange, on the www. is a bit biased he is still doing a WONDERFUL service. I have learned alot there.

I certainly do not want to badger anyone in 12 step recovery and keep coming back myself ...although I have backed off alot becuse of my ptsd issues and the constant triggers.

Trying to keep Unity within myself, first always.

sparky said...

Hi again,

I have been thinking about Tradition Eleven:

Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, T.V. and films.

Can we even safely talk about the 12 step fellowships,steps or any part of it "at the level of film" without some how affiliating ourselves,even if we don't use are full names? I see people starting to do that and it concerns me a bit.

Oh no, am I becoming a bleeding deacon? :-)

I know the AA sevice manuel basically says the Traditions are to be interpreted by each individual group conscience.

As for instance this dvd:

Omer G.,The ACA Handbook Presentation can be ordered at Anmvideo 800-571-8500

Cost $15.00 delivered or $10.00 if you pick it up yourself.

Is this a new way to communicate or simply dishonoring the old established Traditions, I hope not to become an old fart, yet I think,suspect maybe this area is a "slippery slope" that was decided we avoid long ago.

I do like to see the message get out but part of "the message" includes the traditions,right?

Perhaps I could use some more clarity,


Anonymous said...

I have always interpreted "we" as the royal "we"- as in official 12 step groups, service centers and organizations. Hence it is the "public relations policy" of "AA" or "ACA" or "NA", etc. as entities to maintain personal anonymity. Probably so that no one person becomes the official spokesperson or authority for the organization as a whole.

I do not think one man giving his personal opinion and interpretation of The 12 Steps is prohibited by The 12 Traditions. I, for one, welcome this information and insight. It is sorely lacking and even if I don't agree with 100% of it, getting an experienced perspective adds to my understanding. "Take what you like and leave the rest" applies here.

Certainly there are many celebrities who have admitted and even openly discussed their personal involvement with 12 step groups in the media. Not as sponsored spokespeople for the movement but as everyday people expressing their experience strength and hope.

As long as it's done on an individual level and not as part of the official "we", I think it is not only ok but a crucial part of the message.

Well, that's my 2 cents.


sparky said...

As for ACA and ACA Step's I like Tony's alot better, although step one could be more inclusive. Actually in this day and age perhaps there needs to more inclusion of a blend including drugs and addictions too and stay away from the word alcohol all together, which may exclude LOTS of people by simply listingalcohol first.

I did attend a Nar-anon meeting last year for the first time, that was pretty cool. Things are changing!

Tony A’s 12 Steps of Recovery

Hope not to confuse things and as Tony says in his book,suggesting, work these steps first then the adapted AA steps.

I personally like Tony's version of the 12 steps for my inner child.

Tony A’s 12 Steps of Recovery
The Laundry List (say on the back potentially the big book of the movement,written in 1991)
by Tony A
with Dan F

Published by
Health Communications, Inc.,
Deerfield Beach,

1. We admitted that we were powerless over the effects of living with alcoholism and that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could bring us clarity.

3. We made a decision to practice self-love and to trust a Higher Power of our understanding.

4. We made a searching and blameless inventory of our parents because, in essence, we had become them.

5. We admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our childhood abandonment.

6. We were entirely ready to begin the healing process with the aid of our Higher Power.

7. We humbly asked our Higher Power to help us with our healing process.

8. We became willing to open ourselves to receive the unconditional love of our Higher Power.

9. We became willing to accept our own unconditional love by understanding that our Higher Power loves us unconditionally.

10. We continued to take personal inventory and to love and approve of ourselves.

11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our Higher Power, praying only for knowledge of its will for us and the power to carry it out.

12. We have had a spiritual awakening as a result of taking these steps, and we continue to love ourselves and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

I want to make sure I take the first step in the right direction.

sparky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sparky said...

Here is an excerpt from the GSO website at
"Why Alcoholics Anonymous Is "Anonymous"

"Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of A.A. It disciplines the Fellowship to govern itself by principles rather than personalities. We are a society of peers.

We strive to make known our program of recovery, not individuals who participate in the program.

Anonymity in the public media is assurance to all A.A.s, especially to newcomers, that their A.A. membership will not be disclosed."

I suppose maybe that is why I have "heard" tapes and speakers etc...and never actually seen them. (until recently)

Perhaps people could put simple masks on like in the old days.

Please don't take this as personal criticism. I am just asking questions and looking for my own clarity.

Ray said...

I believe that the powerless concept is the most damaging of all AA beliefs. If a person was truly powerless over their addictions, how would anyone volunteer to join a program to quit?

It also invites relapse, along with the other AA concepts of having a life-long disease and that only God can remove the desire to drink on a day by day basis. That last one has people living in fear.

I believe, and the statistics appear to show, that people who are empowered, shown to see that they do have choices, have better outcomes.

Anonymous said...

"If a person was truly powerless over their addictions, how would anyone volunteer to join a program to quit?"

That is precisely why they join. If you weren't powerless over your addictions and dysfunctions, why would you continue to indulge in them?

Memu said...

Being a member of both I believe it is important to mention that the way of working the 12 Steps in ACA is quite different than in AA, in my opinion.
For example in the 4th step the focus is much on looking at my defects of character, on what I have done wrong. In ACA instead we are trying to find how what our families did has harmed us, and look at our parents charcter defects because we have become like them.
As you may know, the co-founder of ACA wrote a new set of 12 Steps for ACA, which ACA didn't adopt, but it is very illustrative of my point to quote his proposed 4th step for ACA:

4. We made a searching and blameless inventory of our parents because in essence we had become them (…as a fear based person it’s impossible for me to make a fearless moral inventory of anything whole life as a victim has been predicated on fear ...fear has been probably my motivating factor)...

Thanks for your good work by the way. I think that all efforts to give information on ACA and the disease is very useful.

RETROCA (in Spanish mainly)

Anonymous said...

I basically aid myself by becoming aware of putting the cart before the horse. That said, as a flower unfolds it takes nourishment and able sunshine in order to become. One is sure that the true path is one of awareness. Emily D. wrote "as freezing persons recollect the snow, first chill, then stupor, the the letting go. This in turn becomes the scripture that we are reeling with. To stand "on point" in order to see one side of the building AND the other is an opportunity not to be missed.


Anonymous said...


Developing trust will take some time as will trusting in the initative to take action. This is by far the only one that we work 100% of the time. The rest are tended to a laundry list of ideas. A means rather than a destination, in other words a starting point. Grandest thoughts are out to you who may think they have a solution.


Anonymous said...

amen and amen brother! I have been in and out of recovery meetings for 30 years and never felt peaceful about doing steps 4-9. I was always scouring my soul for "wrongs" I did to my very abusive mother and the sick friends/churches and sponsors I chose who blamed me for my "character defects." Finally, I realize I am not ready to look at my character defects. Until I experience the freedom to let the real me breathe and live, any "amends" I try to make will be shallow because of my fear of abandonment.
Thank you for a great blog and for making Tony A's steps public. I wish they were in the big red book--or are they? I can't find them. But I will sure use them instead of the AA steps. THANKS SO MUCH. I can't say it enough.

Anonymous said...

My comment is a question to the videos of the 12 steps. Are they available as MP3 down loads? If not, will they become available as MP3 down loads at some time. I find them to be helpful in my recovery journey and would like to have access to them on my Ipod.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the 12 step videos are not available as MP3 downloads here. There may be programs that convert them, you can do a search on Google for them.

Or if you have an audio program in your computer such as Garageband or Audacity, you may be record the audio from these videos using your computer's built in speakers and microphone or by connecting an auxiliary computer mic and placing it near the speakers.

If you have a stand alone CD recorder you can plug your computers' audio output into it and record, then put the CD in your computer and import as MP3.

Thanks for your interest!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting Tony A.'s adaptation of the steps. I can see how they will inform and compliment my ACA step-work. Yes, the approach in ACA's big book is very different than in AA. I can see value in and have benefitted from both.

I've been in AA 33 years and worked in the field profesionally for 15. I've seen the concept of powerlessness get batted around & battered every few years. I've struggled with it myself. Using the ACA 12 Step Workbook got me to thinking about the difference between powerlessness and helplessness. My own religious faith also addresses this. My reading, writing & meditating on this difference has brought me clarity, understanding and peace with my powerlessness. I would suggest this approach to others.

I have seen how each new 12-Step fellowship's materials incorporates the experience of those that have gone before. For example, years of Alateen & later AlAnon kept telling me I was powerless over alcohol, but when I got to Nar-Anon I was told up front that it was the addict, the person, I am powerless over. Eventually you figure that out/learn it from others in Alanon, but it seems to cut through the crap to say it at the begining. The theme carries on through the rest of Nar-Anon's literature, especially the Blue Booklet.

I'm not terribly familiar with NA, but I recently attended a meeting where a large section of text was read aloud. I was amazed. It was word for word what the old-timers told me when I first came to AA, but here it was in writing!

Now I'm observing the same thing with the ACA Big Red Book. Sections with suggestions for ongoing recovery, newcomers & 13th stepping, cross-talk, sharing in meetings, and a whole chapter about recovery in the workplace put into print the collective recovery "wisdom of the ages." And the process continues. Like the AA Big Book assures us, "More will be revealed..."

sparky said...

I personally find the ACA Big Red Book a bit controlling in itself for me. Way too many "we" statements.

It is also easy to tell it was written by many different authors that did not quite flow together on definitions Example: Inner Child

One section says our Inner Child is our True Self and connection to God. Another section says to leave our Inner Child home at business meetings.

I personally fell the ACA Text itself is a bit schizophrenic. I will be so glad to see the Second Edition.

If ACA was about non-existent and a few decided to start a website and print a book. Although they may have collected alot of wisdom the forgot about the "group conscience" of the fellowship that was attracted "after" it was printed.

When I was mailed the Omer G. ACA Handbook Presentation DVD, by the ACA WSO chair the note inside made sure I knew the one year was up on additions of "criticism".

I also heard although they asked for a "group conscience" during publication that was the decisions what to print were somewhat "controlled" as Tony A. said,

"The hero almost invariably pushes to become one of the leaders of the ACOA movement. Not surprisingly the heroes seem to be the driving force of the ACOA recovery program....the active hero must learn the recuperative value of sitting in the back row, relinquishing control and wisely replacing it with self-examination."

It stands to reason then that the ACA Text was created by the HEROES. I sense this is so from my exposure to their website, the abusive moderations, the Tradition violations, my being banned from the adultchildren website etc...etc..etc...

Although I think there is an amazing amount of new material than the 1939 Big Book, and the 1984 NA book...

Personally I am waiting for a just a tiny bit MORE TO BE REVEALED in the second edition of the ACA Text when an actual service structure is existent and a global group conscience.

Many suspect today that Bill W. was a suspected narcissist and controlled alot of the A.A. big Book in 1939....I feel history has repeated itself...again.

As Bill w. said when the Traditions came out "Now AA is protected from even me."

I am waiting for something similar to happen in ACA when it actually does come of age.

I certainly would not want to confuse a new member to ACA. When I learned about the word "groupthink" and the dangers of it in 12 step recovery my personal recovery advanced.

The NA Text says omething to the effect,"There is vast difference between a group conscience and group opinion that can be dictated by strong personalities."

Heros, Strong personalies, bleeding deacons... Dr Whitfield in the ACA Tex Dr. Opinion says all the steps are about control and confilct.

They say in the AA 12/12 page 134 sometimes the rooms are littered with bleeding deacons. I agree. I often think with my introduction to ACA perhaps ACA attracts even more heroes than AA does. Spot it I got it? lol

Progress not passive agressive perfectionists. LOL