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Restored to Sanity

Restored to Sanity

Essays on the Twelve Steps by Unitarian Universalists

Also available as an eBook in the Amazon Kindle Store and on Google Play.

Each of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and similar recovery programs are taken up by twenty-four different anonymous authors, who bring their Unitarian Universalist identity to their reflections.

Edited by: Ken And Cathlean

Price: $14.00


Unitarian Universalist writers reflect on their experiences while walking the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and other Twelve-Step programs. Some of the authors have been deeply inspired and affected by the Twelve Steps. Others have struggled with the God-language of AA and have had to reinterpret it for themselves. Still others have maintained long-time sobriety and have found lasting support from the larger fellowship of Twelve Step programs. All tell their stories with great honesty and humility, providing inspiration and hope for those who struggle with addiction and for their friends and family members. Each Step is explored with two separate heartfelt essays, plus a meditation or prayer. Ideal for small groups to read, reflect upon, and discuss, or for individual reflection. The editors and authors have remained anonymous, in keeping with the time-honored tradition of Twelve-Step practice.

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On Anonymity

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

The Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous

Step One:

Unmanageable  John

Powerless  Gail

Step Two:

A Power Greater Than Self  Andrea

Restored to Sanity  Paul

Step Three:

Made a Decision  Kent

Turning Over Our Will  Julie

Step Four:

Searching and Fearless  Alex

A Moral Inventory  Page

Step Five:

Admitting to God and Self  Chris

Exact Nature of My Wrongs  Rosemary

Step Six:

Entirely Ready for Defects  Celeste

All My Relations  Walks With Shield (Lakota)

Step Seven:

Humbly Ask  Josie

Humbled by Sobriety  Mark

Step Eight:

Making the List  Monica

Willing to Make Amends  Geoff

Step Nine:

The Extravagant Promise  Eric

Not to Injure Others  Tandi

Step Ten:

Spiritual Inventory  John

Right Relationship  Katie

Step Eleven:

Will and Power  Sarah

Conscious Contact  Ken

Step Twelve:

The Practice of Principles Jim

A Spiritual Awakening George


Twelve-Step Terminology


From "Entirely Ready for Defects" by Celeste

I quit drinking on August 27, 2005, after nearly twenty years of struggling with whether or not I was an alcoholic. I had realized about ten years before that my drinking had become a concern, but I could hide it pretty well. Or so I thought. I looked at others who claimed to be in recovery as weak and worthy of my pity. I did not see myself in their story. Now, facing the Sixth Step, I saw being labeled an alcoholic as the biggest defect of character-and the biggest shame I could imagine. I believed that if anyone else knew my secret struggles with self-doubt, if my imperfections were discovered and then possibly exploited, and all my character defects laid bare, I would no longer be able to be a minister and do the work that I loved. I was afraid that if I confronted my character defects in a direct and forthright way, the full awareness of them would crush something precious, innocent, and almost childlike within me. So when I balked at taking this seemingly simple step, my sponsor encouraged me to acknowledge my resistance.

From "A Spiritual Awakening" by George

The first message I try to convey to the newcomer is hope-the sense that their life can change, and they can change. Having been around so long, my life, more than my words, has to offer some message of hope. At the same time, I know that a member with just thirty days can seem more amazing and offer more hope to the new person than an old-timer with thirty years.

Once they experience hope, I try to help a newcomer, particularly a sponsee, understand the need to surrender. The surrender begins with accepting that there is no way we can control our drinking. From that point, we need to surrender the belief that we can manage our own lives or the lives of others, and that trying to do so actually makes life unmanageable. We accept that we are not God and cannot be truly self-directed-that we cannot go it alone without help from outside ourselves, whatever we want to call the source of that help. Over the years, I have known atheists and agnostics, as well as those holding conventional religious beliefs, all of whom have found their own way to surrender.

Spirit of Sobriety, God of my Understanding,
As I look back on my life, I see the places where I have been selfish and self-absorbed; where I have lied to myself or to others;
where I have sought after my own gain;
where I have been afraid and that fear has ruled my life.
What a burden these faults have placed upon me!
How weary I have become!
I am so ready to lay these faults down for the greater hope of being restored to sanity;
for the possibility of a new life no longer moored to the past.
Oh Spirit of Life,
Help me to step into this new future and to take this Sixth Step now.
(silence for a time)
Readers will find in these pages personal stories of heartbreak and hope and, ultimately, the inspiration to face life's challenges, embrace positive change, and find fulfillment. This important and easy-to-read book resonates with themes of commitment, connection, character, faith, and love. It's a must-read for those on the road to, or in, recovery.
-Stephen Gray Wallace, M.S. Ed., author of Reality Gap: Alcohol, Drugs, and Sex-What Parents Don't Know and Teens Aren't Telling

This collection of personal stories offers a compelling testimony to the power of recovery as a spiritual practice. Along with searing chronicles about what the road to rock bottom looks like, you will find here humor, insight, and wisdom- framed and illuminated by the rich spectrum of religious faith held within Unitarian Universalism.
-Rev. Kathleen McTigue, Director, The Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice

A beautiful collection of Unitarian Universalist voices of those who first came (to the rooms of AA), then came to (an awareness of themselves and their problem), then came to believe in a power greater than themselves. The book offers firsthand accounts of a solution to addiction that can be found in the meeting rooms and step work of Alcoholics Anonymous. The contributors share a common story of moving from fear, resentment, and selfishness to humility, honesty, and forgiveness; and in doing so, they are freed. Our movement will greatly benefit from their lessons.
-Rev. Tamara Lebak, Associate Minister, All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma
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