alternative 12 steps
The Proactive 12 Steps alternative 12 steps


Secular alternative 12 Steps without God: The Proactive Twelve Steps


This is the 5th edition of the Proactive Twelve Steps. It is an alternative version of the Twelve Steps, without God. It is not just for atheists and agnostics, but for everybody who wants to make sense of how change happens.

Click on the link under each step for commentary. The commentaries are in the process of being revised. The first ones are already posted, others are going to be posted soon, one by one. To be appraised of new postings, please subscribe to the newsletter.


Step 1:

There is a big difference between who I want to be and what I do. I am stuck in what I do.

Original wording (AA): We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable.

See: Commentary on Step 1


Step 2:

To get unstuck, I need to find, in myself, a calm and open space.

Original wording (AA): Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

See: Commentary on Step 2


Step 3:

To find myself, moment by moment, I take a mindful pause.

Original wording (AA): Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

See: Commentary on Step 3


Step 4:

I look at my life systematically, to see patterns in how I have been relating to people and situations.

Original wording (AA): Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

See: Commentary on Step 4


Step 5:

I look at my behavior patterns with compassion, to understand the emotional logic behind them.

Original wording (AA): Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

See: Commentary on Step 5


Step 6:

I see how my behavior patterns have been ways of coping with what feels overwhelming.

Original wording (AA): Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

See: Commentary on Step 6


Step 7:

I learn to accept the sense of vulnerability that comes from facing what feels overwhelming.

Original wording (AA): Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

See: Commentary on Step 7


Step 8:

I explore alternative behaviors and rehearse them in safe settings.

Original wording (AA): Made a list of all the people we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

See: Commentary on Step 8


Step 9:

I apply these new mindful behaviors in my everyday life.

Original wording (AA): Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

See: Commentary on Step 9


Step 10:

I keep paying attention to the causes and effects of my actions, and act accordingly.

Original wording (AA): Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

See: Commentary on Step 10


Step 11:

I keep facing reality mindfully, moment by moment, with a mindful pause.

Original wording (AA): Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

See: Commentary on Step 11


Step 12:

My life reflects a growing sense of respect for myself and others.

Original wording (AA): Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

See: Commentary on Step 12


Also: Printable PDF of the Proactive 12 Steps



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