Secular 12-steps and co-sponsor/buddy
Hi. I'm new both to PA and to 12-step programs generally and, though I really feel like the community here is a fabulous find for me, I'm realizing that there are two things that are missing for me. Perhaps I'm not the only one.
First, I know that AA and the other programs use mentors. Though I've never done a 12-step program, I've certainly found that having regular check-ins with someone is ENORMOUSLY helpful in other contexts. While I realize a lot of us here are still struggling, I would love to find a 12-step buddy (if not a mentor) with whom I could check in regularly (and vice versa) about progress...however, ideally, I'd like to pair up with someone who, like myself, is trying to adapt the 12-step program to be more secular.
Which brings me to my second point. While I know a lot of people find the higher power aspect of 12-step programs essential to their progress, one of the controversial points of 12-step programs has long been the explicit use of religion. A number of atheists/agnostics have successfully used these programs by reinterpretting the terms "higher power", "God", etc., but it isn't a perfect translation into the secular world. For instance, steps 3 and 7 (turning your life over to God and asking Him to remove your defects) are tricky where you see the human will as the ultimate determinant of action rather than an outside force. Ultimately I want to do the 12-step program as best as I can, but I do not want to do it in a way that feels inauthentic (emphasizing God's role in fixing my life), so I'd love to explore ways to reinterpret the program with likeminded others. Please note, however, that I fully support those who find God to be a critical part of their recovery...it just doesn't feel right for me as a non-theist/humanist.
To get started on possible ways to reinterpret, I found this secular/non-theist interpretation of the AA 12 steps, which I then revised.
1. We admitted our lives had become unmanageable and that procrastination/compulive avoidance has taken over.
2. Came to believe that the application of evidence and reason, as well as the support of our friends, family and community, a power much greater than ourselves, could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to thinking based on evidence and rational reasoning and to the wider support of our community.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to reality, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have the cold light of logic, evidence and reason remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly sought, through logic and reason, to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory by the application of reason, evidence and rational secular morality, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through meditation, rational thought, and scientific evidence to improve our conscious understand of ourselves, to deepen our relationship with our community of support, and to foster the our individual growth and power to be the people whom we strive to be.
12. Having had an awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to procrastinators, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.