Non-religious Twelve Steps for agnostics & atheists

There is a constant dialogue with God in the original Twelve Steps. The process of transformation is described as finding your “wrongs”, making amends for them, and eventually having God remove your defects of character.

Is that all there is to this process? If so, it would be of very little use to non-believers, agnostics, and atheists. And, actually, it would be quite mystifying to religious people as well, because it doesn’t give much of a sense for how it works, other than by the grace of God.

Let’s use an analogy. If you’re religious, you might believe that your health, your happiness, your prosperity, are ultimately determined by God. But, while you might pray for this to happen, you also strive to do what it takes to stay in good health, to be happy, to make a living. You would not just leave it to God’s intervention. It helps to understand how the world works, whether you believe in God or not.

Understanding how we work does not mean assuming that we function like a machine or a computer. One does not need to be religious to have spirit, or to have faith in human nature. These experiences are part of the human condition. It is misleading to just describe them in religious terms.

In fact, what some people experience as being in contact with God can also be described as a connection with an inner sense of meaning and purpose.

So, describing how the Twelve Steps work without reference to God is not just useful for atheists and agnostics. It is a great opportunity for everybody to reflect on what makes this process work. The Proactive Twelve Steps provide an alternative description of the 12 Steps as a mindful, proactive process.