Twelve Steps

I was reminded of the twelfth step in the traditional Twelve-Step program last night after I left my last session with my therapist. The twelfth step says: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

I’d only been working with my recent therapist for two years, but with a collective ten years of therapy under my belt, I knew what she meant when she said the words: “Call me if you need me.” It was the clinical goodbye that doctors use to tell you not that your work is done, but that you now have the tools to do the work alone.

So I went home and wrote out my twelve steps…to help those who have ever been mired by addiction (of any kind), confused by relationships, unsure of who they really are, anxious, fearful, or sad. This list is for you:

  1. Meditate.
  2. In any scenario, ask yourself 3 questions: ‘How does this make me feel?’ ‘Where is there fear? ‘What or who is getting in the way of feeling peace?’
  3. Be courageous enough to say ‘No’ to anything that doesn’t bring you peace.
  4. Be confident enough to say ‘Yes’ to everything that does bring you peace. (Even if it doesn’t work out in the long run, it’s there to teach you a lesson.)
  5. Take nothing personally, not even heartbreak.
  6. Examine immoderation in your life. Being moderate is not boring, it’s peaceful.
  7. Trust love. It’s not out there, it’s in here.
  8. Write your thoughts down.
  9. Read books that address what you’re feeling.
  10. Observe nature.
  11. Listen to everyone (even your enemies) with compassion.
  12. Believe in your strength and your ability to bring peace to others.
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