Millions of people credit the Twelve Steps for their recovery from
addiction to alcohol and other substances. But the original 12 steps are not a list of instructions specific to substance
abuse or addiction. They describe a path toward self-discovery and personal
growth. This is what I find very inspiring.
I believe that, as we develop a deeper sense of who we truly are, we
increase our ability to lead a more fulfilling life. This, in turn,
makes it easier to make difficult changes.
On this site, you will find the traditional wording of the 12 steps
together with an original approach: the "Proactive Twelve Steps".
With this different wording of the Steps, and the accompanying commentary, my goal is
to describe the “steps” as a self-directed process—as
opposed to a mystical process in which change somehow happens to you.
This is about how you can take a proactive role in your growth as a
person. This is meant for all people who seek wholeness in their lives, and are not necessarily dealing with alcoholism or addiction.
I originally wrote these steps for people who, like me, were not part
of the “twelve steps” culture. Over time, many people involved in 12 steps recovery have told me that
they find inspiration in these “proactive steps”: Not necessarily as
a replacement for the wording they are so familiar with, but as a way
to gain a new perspective on it.
This down-to-earth approach describes a path that is meaningful regardless
whether your orientation is humanist, secular (non-religious) or spiritual
I am inviting you to see the “proactive steps” as an invitation
to a dialogue, as opposed to a directive that is carved in stone.
Let yourself explore what comes up for you as you go through the steps.
Take the time to digest each step before moving on to the next.
See 12 steps workbook: online from list of steps OR book & eBook.
Note for clinicians:
Therapists are using the "proactive 12 steps" with groups as well as individuals. The following comment is typical: The direct feedback from them is that they "can relate" to the wording and explanation of the steps, they find it's easier to personalize.
Your clients do not need to purchase the book. They're welcome to use the pages on this site or the free PDF eBook download.
I appreciate your comments and feedback about using these steps in your practice.