Principles of Alcoholics Anonymous

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Spiritual Principles

Over the years, I have read the references to the principles in the Big Book and heard the 12 Traditions read aloud at the beginning of meetings, but I was perplexed by not seeing a stated list of any 12 spiritual principles in the literature or on the walls of A.A. meeting rooms.

The AA Journey

To put the timeline into the perspective of my search, I have been sober for over 35 years in the program with continuous sobriety. In 2019, I made a list of what principle(s) were meaningful to me in each of the twelve steps and shared that list with my sponsor. It was a revealing process for me to list what was important to me and what twelve spiritual principles resonated in my experiences when working the twelve steps all these years.

The global pandemic changed my meeting schedule from in-person meetings to the virtual format for my regular cadence of weekly meetings. One virtual meeting, in particular, is out of Jupiter, Florida that has a specific focus on the principles and their application in our daily lives. When comparing my original list to the principles discussed in the virtual meeting, the comparison revealed that my original list was not too far off from what other AA members have seen in the steps while attempting to practice these principles in all my affairs.

What are the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous?

I wanted to share this list of 12 spiritual principles with the Sober Speak community to create some dialogue for others who experience the same connections. This list is not all-inclusive or official by any means, but rather a starting point from which we can think about the practical application of the steps in our daily lives.

Do you see the same twelve spiritual principles in the steps with this list?

  1. Honesty
  2. Hope
  3. Faith
  4. Courage
  5. Integrity
  6. Willingness
  7. Humility
  8. Understanding
  9. Forgiveness
  10. Perseverance
  11. God Consciousness
  12. Service.

I am exploring how this list can provide navigation into how I am feeling and what step I need to focus my attention on to activate that specific principle. In many cases, it is the opposite of the principle I seek that is my guide.

For example, if I am experiencing fear, then I may need to lean into Step 4 (courage) and see what needs to be written in an inventory to find the causes and conditions for my fear. If I am having doubt about my abilities or doubt if my Higher Power is in charge, then I may need to focus on Step 3 (faith) in the program and utilize the 3rd step prayer:

God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!

These principles are the path and foundation to my emotional sobriety.

I am a human that is experiencing life without drinking alcohol instead of the numbing of emotions I experienced when I drank alcohol.

I am a human being; being present at the moment with all the emotions and feelings that one experiences in a life worth living. I get caught up in the fast pace of life and regularly become a “human-doing”; doing work and more work that builds walls between my emotions and the principles.

My focus on the principles allows me to connect with my emotional sobriety and to be a better human being; being present with the gifts of sobriety.

I hope you have found a connection with this topic about the principles that I have experienced in the steps of A.A. My sobriety has been elevated to a new level with the curiosity of exploring new principles and the passion of applying the awareness of these principles to a life that is worth living.

What spiritual principles will you add to this list?

I hope to meet many of you as I trudge this road to happy destiny. Be well.

John P.