Some Thoughts to use in conjunction with the 12-Steps Program.
Founded in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was the first program to use the 12 steps to help people overcome addiction to alcohol. There are 99,000 local chapters in the U.S. today and two million members worldwide. Over the years, literally hundreds of programs using the AA model have been designed to help people with problems such as drug addiction, gambling, overspending, or sexual compulsivity. These programs usually survive on voluntary donations and are free to all who need them.
Francis de Sales meets Bill W.
The link below will take you to a booklet entitled "St. Francis de Sales meets Bill W." This resource offers selected insights from the writings of St. Francis de Sales and associates them with each premise of the 12-Steps Program. This is not intended to be a scholarly presentation, but rather, a simple and practical way to offer an additional resource to recovery literature and/or introduce the tradition to those in recovery who have not yet met Francis de Sales.
Simply print the pages out, alternating the landscape orientation of the sheets (top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top) with the print all facing up, first page to last page, drop in the rapid document handler, reproduce "1-to-2" sided, fold, and you have a booklet! (PDF format requires that Adobe Acrobat Reader be installed on your computer, a free download from www.adobe.com)
Salesian Steps to Spiritual Serenity
In Part III of his Introduction to the Devout Life, Francis de Sales wrote this about the virtue of patience: "By patient endurance we will win our souls. It is our great happiness to possess our own souls, and the more perfect our patience the more completely we will possess our souls. We must often recall that our Lord has saved us by his own suffering and endurance and that we must work out our salvation by sufferings and affliction, enduring with all possible gentleness the injuries, denials and discomforts we may experience."
In this consists the secret of spiritual serenity as seen through the eyes of Salesian spirituality. Serenity is the ability to possess your soul, knowing who you are, being unmoved by agitation or turmoil, managing to deal with life's challenges in a calm and unruffled manner, experiencing the power that comes from self-discipline and self-mastery. As the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language suggests, being serene or tranquil is to be "cool or calm, especially in trying circumstances."
Serenity is not about having a care-free life. Serenity is about dealing with the cares of life in a clear, conscious, calm and anxiety-free manner. Fr. James Harvey, OSFS shares his reflections and own struggles of trying to experience and share this gift of spiritual serenity in his article entitled Salesian Steps to Spiritual Serenity.
We hope that his outline of these steps (nine in all) may assist you in coming to understand more clearly how to achieve the kind of serenity that only God can give, a serenity which nevertheless we can own and share with others. There reflections may be especially helpful to anyone who is in the process of any kind of recovery.
The 12 Suggested Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.