AA tells us and personal experience confirms that not drinking is not enough. Recovery is a journey of continued spiritual, moral, and emotional growth, and to “practice these principles in all our affairs” the path that takes us beyond physical to emotional sobriety and the happiness and freedom the program promises and we naturally long for. Understanding these principles and how to practice them as a way of life is therefore essential to a full recovery.
PTP is based on the understanding that “these principles” are embedded in the Steps, and that we work the Steps by practicing the principles they embody. These principles are spiritual in nature, for they are grounded in God and his will for us. They consist primarily of a set of disciplines and a series of moral traits or virtues. We intentionally and repeatedly practice the virtues (e.g. honesty) through the disciplines (e.g. self-examination in Steps 4 and 10) in order that those virtues may become ingrained in the self as habits of mind and heart, giving shape to our character and emotions.
These habits are stable dispositions to think, to see, to care, to feel, to be motivated, and to act, in each of their characteristic terms, all of which foster human wellbeing and flourishing. As they gradually take root in us, they displace and replace our old and habitual defects of character and emotion. The new habits become progressively automatic, instinctive, and almost unconscious, much like a second nature, enabling us to live them out consistently and with increasing ease in all areas of our lives.
This is the process we explore in our book. For an introductory discussion of the principles, please see PTP chapter A: These Principles; of their relation to the emotions, chapter B: In All Our Affairs: Emotional Sobriety.
This section of the website builds on those discussions, focusing on each of the principles and offering a variety of additional resources to increase our understanding and practice of them.
In offering these resources we are focused on the message, not on the messenger. Nor do we necessarily agree with all of the content of a given resource. Our attitude is that of AA: take what helps and leave the rest. That applies to all areas of this site.
We start with the virtues.