1. Powerless

1.  POWERLESS   When I decided to try the Twelve Step program, it became clear I didn’t really know anything about them. So I was relieved when Step One appeared to be so self-explanatory. It asked me to admit that I was powerless over my problem, and that was not hard for me. I had…

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2. Restore

2. Restore

2. RESTORE   ​​​​​​​Step Two reads as follow: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Some Steps were hard to understand but the wording of this Step was straightforward. The phrase “Power Greater than myself,” was a familiar one, so I wasn’t surprised to see it in this…

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3. Decision

Decision

3. DECISION “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.” Back in the 1930s, the definitions of common words were sometimes difficult to understand. My best evidence of that is found in a 1934 Webster’s Dictionary. One example is the word “Decision”. I myself might have defined…

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4. Inventory

Inventory

4. INVENTORY Step Four consists of a short sentence, but it sounded like a big deal to me when I first read it: Made a searching and moral inventory of ourselves. I did not know exactly what this meant, but as a still-suffering addict, I did not like the sound of it. I was in…

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5. Admit

Admit

5. ADMIT Every Step puzzled me at first. I might think I understood a given Step, then my sponsor or the literature would offer an important insight and I realized I didn’t understand it very well at all. The same was true when I looked up words in the Webster’s Dictionary that was published back…

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6. Ready

Ready

6. READY Poor little Step Six. The short, short step. I sometimes see it and Step Seven clumped together in certain literature. It is as if taken alone, the Step is not worth much so it settles for an undignified “Buy One Get One Free” deal. Step Six reads as follows: “We were entirely ready to…

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7. Remove

Remove

7. REMOVE   The 1934 Webster’s Dictionary gave me a very lively connection with the Twelve Steps. It revealed the exact meanings of the words used in the Big Book. Take the word “remove” as found in Step Seven: “We humbly asked God to remove our defects of character.”   Before finding the 1934 dictionary, I had…

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8. Harm

Harm

8. HARM   I reached Step Eight: “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” The word “harm” was a strong choice for the Step Eight drawing. Unfortunately, I found the Webster definitions ran in a loop on this word:   •   My old…

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9. Amends

Amends

9. AMENDS   I have an old Webster’s Dictionary that was new when the Big Book was being written. I like to use it to find the definitions of key words from the Twelve Steps. What I found by studying these old definitions and reflecting on my own personal recovery has inspired me to make…

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10. Continue

Continue

10. CONTINUE   Step 10 is: “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”   I knew from the beginning that an illustration on the word “continue” would come easily. Some of my other drawings may seem complex, but I honestly try to keep things simple. There are plenty of…

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