There are three types of problem tackled by An Atheists 12 Steps – best classified by solution: those requiring complete abstention like (non-prescription) drugs including alcohol, and gambling; those requiring abstention from addictive behavior around the likes of eating and sex where physical and mental health demands carefully defined residual non-addictive activity; and those where abstention is not possible, like bad behavior, where progressive improvement is the aim.
Six of An Atheists 12 steps are unaltered from the AA versions, except for replacing alcohol with addiction: 1, 4, 8, 9, 10 & 12. The other half dozen have been changed to remove god references and demonstrate how the program can be worked with no god.
- We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe we couldn’t solve the problem on our own, but that the group power of our 12 step fellowship and the rest of our program could restore us to sanity.
- We each nominated greater powers to remind us there are things bigger than ourselves and not to play god – then we began to let go of self-will.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted without reservation to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Every few months made a shortlist of our defects most in need of attention.
- Made it a project to minimize one or more of our worse faults and improve our behavior.
- 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 (a) to improve our spiritual awareness and our understanding of a way of life determined by belonging to a fellowship and living by a program – and (b) to discover the power to carry out that way of life.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts like us, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.