Over the years, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) spawned a variety of descendents based on the original Twelve Steps. Among these were Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) and CoDependents Anonymous (CoDA). I completed the CoDA program while recovering from a failed marriage. My reactions are enclosed in a box: (Note 97)

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

    Rather than powerless over alcohol, I was obsessed with influencing and controlling other people's behavior especially family members.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

    Even though Twelve Step programs were Christian based, I was impressed with the emphasis on a Higher Power. Since I was not a Christian but believed in a Higher Power, I felt at home.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

    My work with subpersonalities made this step easier. As ruthlessly as possible, I listed ways their dysfunctional behavior had been harmful to my family and others. One way I recognized these betrayals was remembering comments people had made about my behavior.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

    Steps 6 and 7 were not as suited to my recovery process. I had taken responsibility for my behavior and was using depth psychology to transform the subpersonalities responsible for those behaviors.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

    My former wife headed the list followed by my daughter and son. There were others who in one form or another I sought to control by casting them as the object of my victim routine. Along with naming family members, I identified the behaviors from Step 4 that were harmful to each of them.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

    I decided to make direct amends to my family since that would not do further harm. Using results from Steps 4 and 8, I completed a list of behaviors for each person. This was not completely altruistic since subpersonalities behind the scenes sought recognition from my family for what I was doing to make things up to them.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

  11. 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.

    During this period, I became aware of how important a connection with The Intuitive Self was for access to knowledge of God's will. I was also developing an active will that was powerful enough to achieve what was best for me and others.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

    My Twelve Step work in CoDA nurtured the spiritual awakening that was well underway when I became a member. As part of my continuing rediscovery of The Intuitive Self, I tried to remain aware of the ways I harmed others. Once aware of the harmful behavior, I tried to stop and make amends for what I had done.