But, at the same time, I think that there are fairly relevant bits of information and insight in my step work that serve to really define who I am in a way. Or at least to define at varying times who I am. We are, after all, forever changing.
There are things in my step work that I assume are probably identical to the stuff in other people's step work. Addicts are a diverse group, but we share so much in common.
The way my sponsor has me work the steps is to answer a series of questions on paper that come from the twelve step literature. There are some reading assignments associated with each step as well. The questions are answered, and then I go over the questions and answers with my sponsor. He offers me insight regarding the questions, and how they apply to me and my ability to stay clean and to not self-destruct. His insight all comes from real life experience. He doesn't bullshit me or postulate... he explains to me what has worked for him (and what hasn't). He will sometimes share with me the answers that HE wrote for the very same questions.
He talks a lot about applying the principle of each step to my life. We do the step work to identify patterns and to find direction in our lives, and then we use those patterns to identify where and how to apply different spiritual principles, such as faith, honesty, hope, acceptance, etc.
Previous failures at staying clean have indicated that I may have been trying too hard to intellectualize the process of the steps. I may have been focusing too hard on saying something profound or DEEPLY true in my step work, and not focusing hard enough on becoming perpetually cognizant of the new spiritual principles. I have worked many "first steps", behind which the main principle is "honesty", but working the step availed me little when I continued to be dishonest in almost all areas of my life.
It's all about finding ways to change something every day about my modus operandi. The change never has to be complete, dramatic, or overwhelming. It can be small and subtle transformations that remain consistant that eventually build into a spiritual awakening. A re-definition of self. A new way of thinking and living.
I am making my best effort at this today. I'm working on "step two" and I am going to share with you all one of my questions and my answer to that question. I won't expound upon my answer at all... I think it stands alone, helping define the problem and helping define a portion of me.
12 step people: does this sound about right?
Non twelve step people: does this sound crazy?
Question: In what ways does my insanity tell me that things outside myself can make me whole or solve all my problems? Using drugs? Compulsive gambling, eating or sex seeking? Something else?
My Answer: My insanity tells me that drugs will cure the pain and bring me spirituality, that pussy will make me love myself, that food will make me comfortable, that puking will make others love me, and that stealing will fulfill my desires.