Home Steps Principle Focus

Principle Focus

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The last line of our Twelfth Step reads, “to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Twenty years ago, when I first came to OA, this part of the Twelfth Step seemed a lofty goal. What were these Principles? And what a tall order, to practice them in all my affairs!

To do as instructed, I first had to become familiar with the Principles; only then could I practice them. I knew I would need the help and guidance of my sponsor, OA friends, and my Higher Power. Today, the Principles of the Steps enrich my life and enable me to live it sanely. At last I have a guide for living that shows me the route to becoming the person my Higher Power’s love would like me to be.

The Step Principles are so beautiful in their simplicity: Step One, honesty; Step Two, hope; Step Three, faith; Step Four, courage; Step Five, integrity; Step Six, willingness; Step Seven, humility; Step Eight, self-discipline; Step Nine, love; Step Ten, perseverance; Step Eleven, spiritual awareness; Step Twelve, service.

To live a life grounded in these Principles, what works for me is to continually study them. Every month I focus on one Principle; I reflect, write, and read about it, and discuss it with my sponsor and OA friends. For example, since September is the ninth month of the year, I focus on love, the Principle of Step Nine. I do the same thing for all the other Step Principles every month of the year. This way, their meanings continue to evolve for me.

There have been times in my life when one Principle would stand out, seeming to be just the one I needed most or the one that would help me through a difficult time. Courage has been key for me, and I like to think of it as Confronting Our Unfortunate Realities Aware of God’s Embrace. Other times, I have needed hope: Hold Onto Positive Energy. Integrity speaks to me daily: Intuitively Nurturing Truthfulness, Embracing Goodness and Rightness In all That You do. Another favorite is humility, which I like to think of as Honestly Understanding My Instincts, Limits, Insecurities, Triumphs, and Yearnings. Of course, faith keeps me centered daily, For Always I Trust Him.

These Principles of the Twelve Steps now guide me every day, lighting the way to peace and serenity.

— Elaine Z.

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