Personalizing Step 1

Step 1 in 12-step recovery programs of all varieties is simply the recognition of a major problem in our lives.

That problem stops us from living the way we want to. It stops us from making changes to become a healthier human, both physically and mentally. It stops us from being a good family member, a good neighbor, and a good citizen of the world.

We know there is a problem. We know that if it can’t be changed, we are destined to fail in life. We have made temporary improvements in the past, but we always return to this path of failure. We may think or believe this is our fate — we can never beat this problem permanently. This is only what we believe or fear is our fate: a flawed person, doomed inevitably by this problem.

That is all Step 1 is … recognition of a major problem that can kill us, at least spiritually if not physically.

Our first step is seeing this problem. Many of us never get beyond this step.

In Alcoholics Anonymous this Step 1 can be variously worded. It can be personalized to our purposes. The Alcoholics Anonymous book offers a suggested wording for this step, but many others are available to us. In the end, we can personalize this step (and all the 12 Steps) if it helps us express and truly feel the seriousness of our problem.

One example of another wording for Step 1 is this: “We admitted we could not control our drinking, nor do without it, that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Another example: “I have a life threatening problem. My past efforts to establish sobriety have been unsuccessful. I believe I have choices and that my life no longer needs to be unmanageable. I accept responsibility for myself and my recovery.”

These examples and many others are in “The Little Book”, by Roger C.

Valuable daily resources


These two books — “Beyond Belief” and “The Little Book” — are good resources used in the Many Paths meeting.

“Beyond Belief” is a daily reflections book using sources of wisdom from many 12-step recovery programs. It also includes wisdom from many other sources.

“The Little Book” is a source for 12 steps — from the “Big Book” and others — including secular and interpretations from other religions, psychology, etc.

Both of these books are available at the Many Paths meeting on Sunday mornings (10:30 – 11:30) at the Burien Community Center.  They can be purchased at the Solutions store (or ordered if not in stock). The Solutions store is on 153rd St. in Burien.

How is this meeting different from others?

I’ll refer you to one of the newer AA pamphlets called “Many Paths to Spirituality “. This gives many examples of individuals with differing world views and religions (or with no religion) finding recovery and a better life in AA.  We need to know this is possible.

We must acknowledge that any meeting — however small or large — has as many beliefs and opinions as it has people there. All are seeking recovery & a better life. Freedom from addiction is possible, no matter your beliefs.

This meeting strives to prove that point. Among us are persons of faith and no faith.  As we share today, you’ll hear the voices of sincere persons telling us about their path to recovery.

Many Paths begins


Welcome to the Many Paths meeting site.

Many Paths is an open AA meeting for anyone seeking recovery in a 12-step environment.

Everyone deserves recovery, regardless of faith or religion. This includes those with no religion or belief in God. No one has to conform to specific beliefs for meetings at Many Paths. All attendants are treated with respect.

There are no required prayers or chanting at our meetings.  Sharing of personal experience during meetings is encouraged, but no one has to share if uncomfortable. No one has to declare what addiction(s) brings them to this meeting.

Our goal is that you will be find hope in Many Paths – hope that addictive behaviors can be changed as you listen to others at Many Paths.

The weekly meeting is 10:30 to 11:30 am every Sunday morning in the Eagle Landing room of the Burien Community Center. Stop by the reception desk in the community center if you need directions.

Successive posts in will provide topics to be discussed at the weekly meetings.

Hope to see you at Many Paths soon!