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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Twelve Steps and Lent: Step 1

NB: The meditations and interpretations in this series are my own and do not necessarily express the opinions of Alcoholics Anonymous or any of the other 12 step programs which have been modelled after the original 12 steps.

We know that the head grows - the brains grow (and can shrink... yuck)- the body grows - the human heart grows.

None of these, however, appear to grow to their fullest potential in a vacuum or in weightlessness. We are challenged to use all of our parts to bring them to superior functioning.

Why not, then, the soul? or our humanity? our humility? our God-given gifts, whether of the spirit or of the intellect or the physical?

Lent is an extraordinarily good time to flex those organs or gifts or states of being. At the center of things, discipline provides the structure for that growth.

Abstinence is one viable option. Using the twelve step path can be an extremely freeing experience for nearly everyone.

There may be those of you who have not experienced or read 'The Twelve Steps' of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). I encourage you this day to do so. It can be used as a basis for giving our inner life the close examination it periodically needs; it fosters a spirit of forgiveness of ourselves and of others; it sets in motion a chain of amendment to free ourselves of baggage we need not carry any longer.

Here are the 12 Steps as shown on their website:

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

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

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

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Copyright © A.A. World Services, Inc.


How has your life become "unmanageable"? Unhealthy focus on work alone - to the detriment of health or a personal life? Problems with food, drugs (including prescription drugs), shoplifting, 1/2 truths, lying, gossip, melancholy, hoarding, a chaotic (beyond messy or cluttered) home or work environment, fear of intimacy, the need to control people/situations/outcomes, reckless spending, inappropriate anger directed at others. You can add to this list. Focus on any of these things to the point that it disrupts your life and the interaction with others and your God is unhealthy and cries out for the healing of the Great Physician.

I just ask you to think about it and be gentle but honest with yourself. God knows what you do and what you have done and how it has affected others. Those things cannot be hid. Admitting to the shortcomings is what brings us growth - slow sometimes painful but more oftentimes uncomfortable growth - just like going to the gym after 20 years of being a couch potato or trying to do a challenging crossword puzzle.

If you would like to put a comment on this post, please do so. If you would like me to spend some time on the steps during lent, post a comment as well, or drop me a line or two at I will answer anyone that writes in. In the case of a post.... due to come inappropriate spamming activity, you put the post there, I clear it and you will see it pop up, probably the next day.

My other idea for a Lenten aid is to give you a quotation from a saint for each day - with a short comment if necessary - as food for thought. Again - put down whether you would prefer this option as a comment on this post or send me an e-mail directly.

Wishing each of you an enriching, informative, transformative Lent. With love from DJ


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like you to do additional posts on the 12 steps for Lent. I think many believe they are only a discipline for those addicted to alcohol or drugs when in fact we all have unhealthy habits that interfer with our spirituality.

12:17 PM  

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