Practice These Principles
Living the Spiritual Disciplines and Virtues in 12-Step Recovery

PTP Steps 1, 2, 3 – Excerpts 

In All Our Affairs: Quotes in Brief

"In the context of recovery we could therefore say that there is such a thing as mind over matter. But it is not a question of willpower ifying or overriding a physical system like the brain. It is a question of spiritual practice reshaping it." – p. 45

"Character development is a gradual process of acquiring virtue through repeated practice of right action, right intention, and right emotion. We cannot grow in character without an accompanying growth in our emotional disposition, for virtuous character and virtuous emotion work off each other, just as character defects and defective emotions do." – p. 46 

"A radical change in perception and orientation that God brings about in us, enabling us to see, to think, to feel and to act in distinct spiritual ways that transform our lives and can significantly impact the lives of others is the essence of a spiritual awakening and what makes it an eminently practical proposition, playing itself out as it does in our ordinary, everyday affairs." – pp. 49–50

"By practicing the virtues we cultivate the soil from which healthy emotions sprout; by letting go of our character defects we drain the swamp in which diseased emotions breed." – p. 52

"Gratitude becomes spiritual, a spiritual virtue and a spiritual emotion, when we are moved in our response by a God-centered view of the three: gift, recipient, and giver." – p. 56

"Gratitude is our just and our loving and distinctly human response to God’s providence, for we are his creatures and his children, equally made in his image and equally dependent on his grace." – p. 56

"Saying that 'I am a grateful alcoholic' will then reflect the truth about who we have become in our person, having understood deeply and intimately that God in his grace can turn any evil, any pain we have suffered or inflicted, to good purpose." – p. 57

"If my deeply held view of the goods I have—physical attributes, skills, abilities, talents, accomplishments, wealth, possessions—is that they are God’s blessings, then I have in this construal the emotional basis for feeling grateful rather than proud, rightly seeing God as the giver and myself as the receiver." – p. 57

"A spiritual awakening that wholly reorients our heart and makes God and his will for us the ground of our view of life and of the things that we value makes it possible for us to practice the disciplines and the virtues as distinctly spiritual principles." – p. 58

"Repeated action and reaction will habituate us to that emotional response to the point where the response is unconscious, lying deeply engraved in the brain and beyond our mind’s awareness and control. We lose the freedom to think, to feel and to act differently in those situations. The brain goes on automatic pilot and we keep thinking, acting and feeling the same way. This is how we develop our dependencies, or, if you will, our addictions." – p. 62–63

"When we put first things first and we see our spiritual needs as preceding and informing all other needs and we seek to fulfill them in concrete action through right dependence on God, we will be engraving in us the virtue of faith and with it the deep sense of security that no amount of striving after some spurious self-esteem and recognition can ever bring." – p. 64

"Desire and willingness are necessary, but they are not sufficient. They need to be directed to right principles and right practice. Otherwise they are thwarted and frustrated and our actions come to naught, leaving us in the predicament of wanting but not being able." –     p. 64

– From Chapter B. In All Our Affairs: Emotional Sobriety

(For fuller excerpts from In All Our Affairs, please click on subtabs.)