What are the principles?

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

Postby Yvon P. » Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:45 pm

Hi there All!

These are the 6 "principles" of recovery;

1. Complete ego deflation.
2. Dependence on and guidance from a Higher Power.
3. Moral inventory.
4. Confession.
5. Restitution.
6. Continued work with other alcoholics.

These were penned by "earl" in his story, "He sold Himself Short" on page 292 of the Big Book 3rd Edition. They can also be found on page "xvi".

These are the 4 "essentials" of recovery;

1. Willingness.
2. Honesty.
3. Open-mindedness.
4. Belief in God.

This is the "order" of recovery;

1. Spriritual.
2. Mental.
3. Physical.
Last edited by Yvon P. on Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Principles

Postby Jim 725 » Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:50 pm

What was that comment by Dr Bob to Bill, that goes something like ....."let's not mess this thing up....."?
The idea was that we should keep it (the program) simple.
I've been trying to remember this, I think it is referred to as Dr Bob's last message. He was talking about his funeral.

From Dr. Bob's last talk, at the first International Convention:
"But there are two or three things that flashed into my mind on which it would be fitting to lay a little emphasis; one is the simplicity of our Program. Let's not louse it all up with Freudian complexes and things that are interesting to the scientific mind, but have very little to do with our actual AA work. Our 12 Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words love and service."
From "AA Comes Of Age" page 342:
"A few hours later Bill said goodbye: "I went down the steps and then turned to look back. Bob stood in the doorway, tall and upright as ever...This was my partner, the man with whom I never had a hard word. The wonderful, old, broad smile was on his face s he said almost jokingly, 'Remember, Bill, let's not louse this thing up. Let's keep it simple!'"
It was on another occasion that he told Bill, "Lets you and me get buried like other folks."
We can get so busy trying to find hidden meanings in the steps that we don't have time to put them into our lives.
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Postby michael » Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:45 pm

My understanding.

Bill wrote in a style typical of his time and one of the features of this style was to avoid repetition. The principles referred to in step 12 are the 12 steps themselves. Similarly the "exact nature of our wrongs...defects of character ...shortcomings" referred to in 5, 6 and 7 are all the same thing.

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Postby From the heart » Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:04 am

One thing for sure, a principle is something one lives and doesn’t have to talk about - like a tradition
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Postby michael » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:15 am

One thing for sure, a principle is something one lives and doesn’t have to talk about - like a tradition

Living by these principles is a personal aim but we must talk about them or newcomers can't learn...

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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Ksbierman24 » Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:55 am

I know I'm a little late on this post but I ran across it in a search I was doing. My first sponsor out outlined the spiritual principles of the steps while working them. He was taught them from his sponsor who got sober in the early early days. The principals that I was shown and was directed to practice were these:
1. Surrender
2. Hope
3. Commitment
4. Honesty
5. Truth
6. Willingness
7. Humility
8. Reflection
9. Amendment
10. Vigilance
11. Attunement
12. Service

In the 12th step it says to practice these principals in all our affairs. Over the years I have asked other alcoholics "when it says in the 12th step practice these principals in all our affairs, what principals does that mean? " it has been very interesting the responses that I have gotten.
"Understanding is the key to right principals and attitudes; and right action is the key to good living" pg. 125 12 steps and 12 Traditions
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Re:

Postby Stepchild » Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:26 pm

michael wrote: The principles referred to in step 12 are the 12 steps themselves.


That is correct. Right after they list the 12 steps on page 60 they follow with this...

Many of us exclaimed, "What an order! I can't go through with it." Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

The only thing they set down....Was the steps. From what I've read about these lists of words...which do vary in lists I've seen...Is they showed up on cards or signs in early AA...Sometimes for sale. And the author is unknown. Not real sure where they came from.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Ksbierman24 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:01 am

The answer to your question is that the original set of principals that are listed came from the actual Oldtimers of A.A. In the late 1950's a gentleman asked Bill W. after the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions book was written, what it meant to practice the principals in all of our affairs. The same question that was asked above. Bill explained to him that the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, each step has a principal that we are to practice and those principals are laid out in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Bill went on to explain that in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous it also lays out a set of principals which the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions book defines in more detail.
He informed the gentleman to read the 12 Steps and see what he finds and then give him a call.
The gentleman did just that and as close as he was Bill laid out what the principals were to him for each step. Those principals are the ones listed above. The principals above were what the each principal of the step meant to Bill Wilson.
Over the years other people found different principals meaning somewhat similar but somewhat different but as long as an alcoholic has a principal to practice in their daily life then it is all good.
Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
Before you ask how I know this. My sponsor's sponsor knew the gentleman who spoke with Bill Wilson and another gentlemen who knew the gentleman who spoke to Bill Wilson. As my sponsor's sponsor has passed away, and my sponsor of 25 years has passed away, the gentleman who knew the gentleman is still sober and still active in Alcoholics Anonymous.
"Understanding is the key to right principals and attitudes; and right action is the key to good living" pg. 125 12 steps and 12 Traditions
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Stepchild » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:48 am

I'm not saying that one word summaries for the steps weren't done...Apparently it's been done by more than one. I've never seen anyone get credit for them...Maybe you can get the guy his due.
If you read Bill's Story...After Ebby takes him through what later became the 12 steps...Bill makes this comment...

My friend promised when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems. Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements.
pages 13-14

I get those are important requirements. But he goes on to say...

These were revolutionary and drastic proposals, but the moment I fully accepted them, the effect was electric. There was a sense of victory, followed by such a peace and serenity as I had never known.

And...

My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Ksbierman24 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:59 am

Yes I know what it says in Bill's story. I would love to give this man his due but since he does not inform large groups of his experience and he only shares this experience with the people he sponsored or has sponsored I will respect his anonymity as he does not gloat about it, he does not brag about it, and he does not advertise it. He only shares it with another alcoholic, who shared it with another alcoholic, who shared it with me.

"And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities: that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all." Pg. 192 of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions - Tradition 12 - Long Form.

I only share it because so many people have asked the question and so many people have different answers. The bottom line comes down to no matter what list you go by or what list you prefer, as long as the alcoholic has a set of principals that the are practicing on a daily basis to the best of their ability, isn't that all that matters?
Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
"Understanding is the key to right principals and attitudes; and right action is the key to good living" pg. 125 12 steps and 12 Traditions
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Stepchild » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:22 pm

The bottom line comes down to no matter what list you go by or what list you prefer, as long as the alcoholic has a set of principals that the are practicing on a daily basis to the best of their ability, isn't that all that matters?


Sponsors are different. I practice steps 10 through 12 on a daily basis...A design for living that really works. So far...So good.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Brock » Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:23 pm

The bottom line comes down to no matter what list you go by or what list you prefer, as long as the alcoholic has a set of principals that the are practicing on a daily basis to the best of their ability, isn't that all that matters?

Welcome to e-AA Ksbierman. The list you put up is one of three I have seen, they all really contain more or less the same ideas. Personally I may have had some of these things in mind when I was doing the steps, like having to remind myself to be honest when the cashier gave too much change, or remembering willingness when I was about to say no to an AA request. I like to think that having completed the work and now living in the solution, I don't need lists anymore to remind me how to be a decent human being, to the best of my ability on a daily basis. To me it's all pretty well contained in the last three steps, as Stepchild indicated. Just in #10 while watching for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear, and asking for their removal, plus turning my mind to someone I can help, right there I have the list quite well covered.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Ksbierman24 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:27 am

I agree with both you it is about what we are doing today in our recovery that matters. You are right, each sponsor is different. It is not so much about a "list" as it is about the principals they refer to. I do like what was said about the daily 10th step but I have found that no matter how long I have been sober on a daily basis I still have to practice surrender, powerlessness, or complete defeat. However you want to perceive it.
As I have heard people say that steps 10, 11, and 12 are considered the maintenance steps for recovery and have practiced that. As for each alcoholic I agree each sponsor is different and each home group is different.
I was just merely expressing my experience and opinion and what works for me.
I consider all of the steps imperative to my recovery as it states in the 12th step we practice these principals in all our affairs. I guess what I meant to say was as long as the alcoholic has principals that they are practicing then isn't that all that really matters to hold to our primary purpose of staying sober and helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety?
"Understanding is the key to right principals and attitudes; and right action is the key to good living" pg. 125 12 steps and 12 Traditions
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Stepchild » Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:05 am

Ksbierman24 wrote:I do like what was said about the daily 10th step but I have found that no matter how long I have been sober on a daily basis I still have to practice surrender, powerlessness, or complete defeat. However you want to perceive it.


Again...Sponsors are different. One of the first things my sponsor said to me was...

"You have no power and you need a new manager."

It really was as simple as that.

One of the reasons I made it a priority to find someone that understood the book is I wanted what they had...And there was no way I could afford to fail. This was life or death for me. As far as the book goes concerning powerlessness...These two passages resonated with me....

Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power?

Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.

page 45

We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.
page 132

If those two above passages are true....Which I believe 100% they are....How or why am I going to practice powerlessness on a daily basis?
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Ksbierman24 » Sat Jul 23, 2016 10:01 am

In my perception it talks about that we have recovered from our drink problem yes, but we are still powerless over people, places, things, and situations. Therefore, if I practice surrender to a higher power on a daily basis and allow god to be in control of the results then I find my life a lot less conflicting.

Pg. 85. It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed fro trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.

So yes we have recovered from our drink problem but we are never recovered from the disease of alcoholism. Therefore, for me, I have to practice all of the principals of the steps on a daily basis because I can't stay sober on what I did yesterday all we have is today.

Pg. 62. This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal: we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children.

Therefore, if I practice a daily surrender to my higher power and allow him to be in control of the results and as long as I take the right action and work with others, practice the principals in all of my affairs, and stay sober for today as stated all I have is a daily reprieve then my life today goes well.

It's all laid out in the book, we don't stop practicing the principals just because we have worked the steps that's why the 12th step states we practice these principal in our affairs.

All sponsors are different. That is just how my sponsor directed me. There is no good or bad way, we are not bad people trying to get good we are sick people trying to get better.
"Understanding is the key to right principals and attitudes; and right action is the key to good living" pg. 125 12 steps and 12 Traditions
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