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

Spiritual Awakening: The Caring Heart 

More Insights from the Big Book and the 12&12


“When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith.” – “We Agnostics,” p.51

“We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn’t control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn’t make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn’t seem to be of real help to other people—was not a basic solution of these bedevilments more important than whether we should see newsreels of lunar flight?” – “We Agnostics,” p.52

“Established on such a footing, we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.” – “How It Works,” p.63

“If he is to find God, the desire must come from within.” – “Working with Others,” p.95

“First Things First.” – "The Family Afterwards," p.135

 “[H]e must undergo a change of heart. To get over drinking will require a transformation of thought and attitude. We all had to place recovery above everything, for without recovery we would have lost both home and business.” – "To Employers," p.143

"Being wrecked in the same vessel, being restored and united under one God, with minds and hearts attuned to the welfare of others, the things which matter so much to some people no longer signify much to them." – A Vision for You," p.161


“Who wishes to be rigorously honest and tolerant? Who wants to confess his faults to another and make restitution for harm done? Who cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone meditation and prayer? Who wants to sacrifice time and energy in trying to carry A.A.’s message to the next sufferer? No, the average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn’t care for this prospect—unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself.” – Step 1, p.24

“Our desires for sex, for material and emotional security, and for an important place in society often tyrannize us.” – Step 4, p.42

“When thus out of joint, man’s natural desires cause him great trouble, practically all the trouble there is.” – Step 4, p.42

“We want to find exactly how, when, and where our natural desires have warped us.”
– Step 4, p.43

“When an individual’s desire for prestige becomes uncontrollable, whether in the sewing circle or at the international conference table, other people suffer and often revolt.” – Step 4, p.44

“All of A.A.’s Twelve Steps ask us to go contrary to our natural desires . . . they all deflate our egos.” – Step 5, p.55

“Since most of us are born with an abundance of natural desires, it isn’t strange that we often let these far exceed their intended purpose. When they drive us blindly, or when we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures than are possible or due us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us here on earth. That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins.” – Step 6, p.65

“No matter how far we have progressed, desires will always be found which oppose the grace of God.” – Step 6, p.66

“Nor do we enter into debate with the many who still so passionately cling to the belief that to satisfy our basic natural desires is the main object of life.” – Step 7, p.71

Seldom did we look at character-building as something desirable in itself, something we would like to strive for whether our instinctual needs were met or not.” – Step 7, p.72

“That basic ingredient of all humility, a desire to seek and to God’s will, was missing.” 
– Step 7, p.72

“We may still have no very high opinion of humility as a desirable personal virtue, but we do recognize it as a necessary aid to our survival.” – Step 7, p.74

“We have seen that character defects based upon shortsighted or unworthy desires are the obstacles that block our path toward these objectives.” – Step 7, p.76

“A continuous look at our assets and liabilities, and a real desire to learn and grow by this means, are necessities for us.” – Step 10, p.88

 “Our desires for emotional security and wealth, for personal prestige and power, for romance, and for family satisfactions—all these have to be tempered and redirected.” 
– Step 12, p.114

“If we place instincts first, we have got the cart before the horse; we shall be pulled backward into disillusionment. But when we are willing to put spiritual growth first—then and only then do we have a real chance.” – Step 12, p.114

“When a job still looked like a mere means of getting money rather than an opportunity for service, when the acquisition of money for financial independence looked more important than a right dependence upon God, we were still the victims of unreasonable fears.” – Step 12, p.121

“We no longer strive to dominate or rule those about us in order to gain self-importance.”
– Step 12, p. 124

“True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.”
– Step 12, p.124

“He learns that the clamor of desires and ambitions within him must be silenced whenever these could damage the group.” – Tradition 1, p.130

“Moved by the spirit of anonymity, we try to give up our natural desires for personal distinction as A.A. members both among fellow alcoholics and before the general public.”
– Tradition 12, p.187