Working the Steps: Procedure before you begin

The 6 original steps were:

  1. Complete deflation
  2. Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power
  3. Moral Inventory
  4. Confession
  5. Restitution
  6. Continued work with other alcoholics
    (P 263 B/B)

I use a procedure for working the steps formally, as well as for my daily homework. I firmly believe in breaking things up helps so that the work doesn’t overwhelm me. There are schools of thought which suggest that the steps be all done in four one hour sessions, or done one step a year, that they be done one per month, one per week etc… Each one of us approaches the steps differently, and one thing I can tell you. My Sponsor did not work the steps for me, they worked them with me. I can’t work your steps for you; I can only work them for myself. Almost all of this homework, the steps etc… is done on your own time. I have helped sponsees while they worked on them, sometimes offering suggestions based on experience.   I can’t write your step work, if I did it would be my step work, not yours.

The procedure:

  • I schedule time for my recovery outside of meetings. I’ve learned that when I don’t set a schedule, then the rest of life will crowd it out. I end up getting sicker. Usually I set aside an hour for formal step work, and an hour or two for the daily homework. That’s 3 hours a day, (outside of meetings if you are keeping track) that has nothing to do with the fellowships, or other members in the program. Here’s how I’ve got it set up.
  • I take an hour or so in the morning for morning meditations, morning homework and daily prayer.
  • I take an hour during the day, to focus on my step work and studies.
  • I work an hour in the evening to focus on my bedtime homework.
  • Since cell phones are everywhere, I set a timer on my phone for fifteen minute intervals, (I do vary it depending on what I’m planning to get done.) so that I’m not overwhelmed. I can take a short break in between for the chaos my mind comes up with, and to grab another smoke or cup of coffee.
  • The time I set aside for recovery work is time in which I do not want to be interrupted. Distractions such as cell phones (I use airplane mode to keep from going nuts), TV, family, dogs, etc… mean that I can’t focus on the task at hand. I try to give the program my undivided attention. (Hint, if you call, and I don’t answer, guess what I am probably doing.)
  • Always say a short prayer before I begin, it can be short, such as “God help me, I’m hurting”.
  • Set my timer.
  • Have my supplies and books ready, as well as this manual (I’ve used an earlier version of this for a very long time, and yes, I actually use a more beefed up version of this manual.)
  • When the timer goes off, I do something else for 3-5 minutes before I reset the timer.
  • Keep working for the total hour, with short breaks.
  • When done, say a prayer of thanks.
  • Go do a physical activity away from my homework before I do anything else. It helps me to get unclouded.
  • If I have any questions, I’ll write them down, and contact my Sponsor, or another member.
  • Heads up, your sponsor probably want to see your work, to let you know if you are on the beam, or barking up the wrong tree. Don’t take it personal, others have done the same thing for me.

These are the tips and tricks that I use. Your results may vary. Huge hugs.

If you have any questions, please email me at


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