Recovery means to return to a state of normalcy. What is normalcy, but an approximation of O.K.; returning to a state of adequacy after whatever event caused you to deviate from your path. What has occasioned us, as Spiritual Beings, to stray from the path of love, peace and unity? How did we end up in such a state? What can help us recover from our servitude to illusions and return us to an awareness of our true Self? Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook first established The Twelve-step Plan to recovery in 1935. Originally it was designed to help alcoholics recover from their addiction to alcohol, but was later adapted to all manner of addictive behaviors. It may provide the road-map we need to realize our own divinity.
The first step is the realization and admission that we are powerless over conditions in which we find ourselves. The illusion of being separate, of being distinct from everyone and everything else is so pervasive that we find we cannot perceive the unity and awareness that we are one. This awareness is paramount to our understanding of who we really are, but remains hidden and intangible behind the illusion of differences.
The second step is the belief that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. For most, that greater power means God. The concept of God means many things to many people. Whatever your belief is, trusting in a power greater than yourself to help will be a great benefit.
The third step is to make the decision to turn our will and our lives over to God, however we might understand him. This step deals with intention. We have to want to see clearly. Without intention, we will continue to stay immersed in the illusion of self and be unaware of our true nature.
The fourth step is to take a sincere moral inventory of ourselves. Most people consider themselves moral and justified in their actions. The wrongs they believe they have committed seemed warranted at the time. The circumstances of their life influenced the actions they took. A moral inventory involves weighing the perceived good against the perceived bad and judging your actions.
The fifth step involves the admission to God, yourself and another person the wrong-doings that you have perpetrated. This list would be endless if you were aware of all of the lifetimes you have had previous to this one. Your principle offense, however, is your failure to acknowledge your own divinity and that of everyone else. This error is what has given rise to all other transgressions. Admitting and realizing that is essential to your recovery.
The sixth step is the readiness to allow God or the higher power to open your eyes and your heart to the truth of your purity; releasing control of our own interpretation of self and supplanting it with Spirit’s truth.
The seventh step is to ask that Spirit removes our shortcomings. This is more than asking to be forgiven from our sins and transgressions; it is also the desire to remove flaws in character that perpetuate our misdeeds. It is the request to see through the veil of ignorance and view our innocent soul. Illusion is due to ignorance and truth dispels ignorance.
The eighth step is to make a list of everyone you feel you have harmed and be ready to make amends to them. The Course in Miracles states that ‘whatever is real cannot be threatened and whatever can be threatened is not real’. Despite that truth, it is important to acknowledge those with whom you have had negative interactions.
The ninth step is to make direct amends with those you can if it will not harm them or others. We are all eternal Beings and our energy is everywhere always. You can connect to anyone with a thought, whether they are still in a physical form or not. When you apologize to them you are actually asking yourself for forgiveness. Their spirit has long since forgiven you.
The tenth step is to continue to be aware of your actions and if you find yourself going astray, redress it immediately. As we shift in perception from our contrived self to our real Self, old habits and patterns of behavior may crop up from time to time. Recognize and acknowledge them, but don’t let them blind you. Constantly remind yourself of who you are.
The eleventh step involves asking for guidance from Spirit through prayer and meditation. Connecting with Spirit and requesting direction will strengthen your commitment to higher consciousness and lead you to a place of peace.
The twelfth and final step in the 12-step plan is to share your success in your spiritual awakening with others. Most are still immersed in the quagmire of ignorance and see no way out. Teach them and support them in the process of remembering that we are all one!