1. Many people think that the directions for working the Twelve Steps are the Twelve Steps themselves.
2. They are not!
3. They do not see or understand that the Big Book is an instruction manual containing the "clear-cut directions" for working all Twelve Steps.
4. This misconception gives people license to invent many different ways of working the Twelve Steps. Most of these ways of working the Twelve Steps have nothing to do with the "clear-cut directions" in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book.
5. In other words, some people think that Step One only requires for them to admit that they are powerless and that their lives are unmanageable.
6. They are wrong!
7. There are specific directions in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book for taking Step One.
8. Once someone thoroughly follows these directions, they will end up admitting that they are powerless, and that their lives are unmanageable.
9. This may seem to be the same thing, but it isn't. After they have followed the directions in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, they will make their admission at a far deeper level than otherwise, and they will have the foundation they need to move on with the directions for Step Two.
10. Therefore, each of the Twelve Steps sums up the results of following the "clear-cut directions" for working each step.
11. Reading the "clear-cut directions" in R.A.'s MultilithBig Book, and then following these "clear-cut directions" to take the actions each step calls for, is how we work all Twelve Steps in Recoveries Anonymous.
12. For those having a problem accepting this, lets review some things.
13. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, in the first paragraph, it says:
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our directions."
14. In the second and third paragraphs, it says:
"Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to follow directions.
"At some of these you may balk. You may think you can find an easier, softer way. We doubt if you can. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely."
15. This of course repeats what it says on page 13, in the fifth paragraph:
"There is a group of personal narratives. Then clear-cut directions are given showing how an alcoholic may recover. These are followed by more than a score of personal experiences."
16. As an aside, the current Big Book says: "Then clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered."
17. In R.A., we believe that after reading these quotes, many people will agree that the original "clear-cut directions" for working the program are in the Big Book. In R.A., we also believe that most people will agree that these "clear-cut directions" are easier to see in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book.
18. Now comes the question of what exactly are the directions.
19. In R.A., we think most people will readily admit that, "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves" is not the instruction for taking the Fourth Step.
20. If the directions for the Fourth Step were simply "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves" anyone could do a fourth step in any way they wanted, as long as it fit their own definition of "searching and fearless."
21. This is the reason there are so many different versions of the Fourth Step inventory around. Most of them have nothing to do with the "clear-cut directions" that are in the Multilith Big Book.
22. The original directions for taking the Fourth Step are written in the Multilith Big Book, starting on the bottom of page 28.
23. When we finish following these clear-cut directions, we will have "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves" as defined by the pioneers in the Multilith Big Book.
24. Let us now look at the Fifth Step.
25. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 33, in the first paragraph, it says:
"Having made your personal inventory, what shall you do about it? You have been trying to get a new attitude, a new relationship with your Creator, and to discover the obstacles in your path. You have admitted certain defects; you have ascertained in a rough way what the trouble is; you have put your finger on the weak items in your personal inventory. Now these are about to be cast out. This requires action on your part, which, when completed, will mean that you have admitted to God, to yourself, and to another human being, the exact nature of your defects. This brings us to the fifth step in the Program of Recovery mentioned in the preceding chapter."
26. In R.A., we believe that most people are familiar with this paragraph, and the part that says "This requires action on your part, which, when completed, will mean that you have admitted to God, to yourself, and to another human being, the exact nature of your defects."
27. Note that this paraphrases the Fifth Step, and says that when we complete the required actions, we will have "admitted to God, to yourself, and to another human being, the exact nature of your defects."
28. In other words, when we completely follow the specific directions written in the Big Book, starting on page 33, we will have taken Step Five as the pioneers intended for us to take it.
29. In R.A., we do not think many people will disagree with any of this, or do not already know all of this.
30. Therefore, we think most people will not have a problem agreeing with what we are going to say next.
31. The "clear-cut directions" for taking Steps One, Two and Three are also in the Big Book, and are easier to see in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book.
32. Based upon what has just been shared, doesn't it make sense?
33. If Steps Four and Five have specific directions in the Big Book that require specific actions to be completed before these steps are taken, doesn't it make sense that the Big Book would also have specific directions for Steps One, Two, and Three.
34. The Big Book does have specific directions for working Steps One, Two, and Three!
35. Once we have followed these directions and taken these actions, we will wind up having "Admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable."
36. Once we have followed these directions and taken these actions, we will reach a point where we "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
37. Once we have followed these directions and taken these actions, we will reach a point where we have "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care and direction of God as we understood Him."
38. Thinking that the Twelve Steps themselves are the directions for working the program leads to many problems.
39. For example, many people who do not follow the "clear-cut directions" that are in the Big Book for working Step One, often misunderstand what powerless means.
40. They equate being powerless with being incompetent!
41. They think that they can't control their behavior or solve their problems because they are just not trying hard enough, or doing the right things, or going to the correct meeting, or working with the perfect sponsor, etc.
42. They do not understand that they simply do not have the power, the ability, to control their behavior or solve their problems.
43. Another example involves the Second Step. Many people who do not follow the "clear-cut directions" that are in the Big Book for working the Second Step, often miss the point of the Second Step. They think that it just calls for them to believe in some form of Higher Power.
44. If this were true, the step would read: "Came to believe in a Power Greater than ourselves." This is how many people mistakenly interpret the Second Step.
45. They do not see that the whole point of the Second Step is for them to come to believe that God can and will RESTORE THEM TO SANITY.
46. However, they often are not able to see that their past behavior was insane, because they never read how the Big Book defines being insane.
47. Because they cannot see that their behavior was insane, they never understand or accept the second half of the Second Step—that God can and will restore them to sanity.
48. This leaves them striving for unrealistic expectations of perfection instead of sanity. This in turn ultimately causes them to be disappointed and discouraged, and will often cause them to leave the program.
49. A final example involves the Third Step. If someone does not follow the "clear-cut directions" that are in the Big Book, to take this step, they often equate it with just believing in some kind of a higher power, which is what they already did in Step Two.
50. We have heard various people say they have "turned" their lives over to a light bulb, a bus, or their group, because these things had more power than they did, and could do things they couldn't.
51. The result is that they still try to run their own lives, and feel that they are still responsible for what they do, and how they do it.
52. If someone has not read or followed the directions for taking Step Three that are in the Big Book, they will not understand what character defects are and the important role that they play in working Steps Three through Eleven.
53. Therefore, not taking the first three steps by following the "clear-cut directions" from the Big Book makes it far more difficult for many people to effectively work Steps Four through Twelve from the Big Book.
54. In R.A., we feel confident that most people, in light of what has just been shared, will now know and agree that the specific directions for taking Steps Six through Twelve are also in the Big Book.
Please use R.A.'s Questions and Answers Forum to ask any questions or make any comments about any of this.