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

PTP Steps 1, 2, 3 – Excerpts 

These Principles: Quotes in Brief

"The Steps are guides to action, and the action is based on certain animating principles embedded in them." – p. 7

"Over the long haul—and it is a long haul—how well we work the Steps depends on how well we practice the principles inherent in them. To work a Step fully is to practice all of the principles it embodies. To practice these principles in all our affairs is to practice all of the principles in all of the Steps." – p. 8

"If we are to practice these principles, and not some other principles, and if we are to practice them in their full scope, it helps to know in what sense AA says they are spiritual" – p. 11

"Recovery in AA is no different. It too has its own set of disciplines. These disciplines apply to two fundamental aspects of our lives: the spiritual and the moral, that is, our relationship with God and our relationship with others." – p. 13

"Virtues are interior habits or traits of character, and in recovery we acquire them in the process of practicing them within the framework of the disciplines. We practice the virtues that they may take root in us, that they may become an ingrained and integral part of our character, disposing us to think, to feel and to act in certain ways." – p. 18

"Without growing in the virtue of honesty beyond the minimum required to admit we are powerless over alcohol, we cannot make progress in our practice of the discipline of self-examination in Step 4, of confession in Step 5, of restitution in Steps 9 and 10. And without such growth and progress, we cannot continue to change and achieve full sobriety." – p.21

"The moral virtues that animate the Steps are qualities or attributes that mark the human character as it is conformed to the will of God. To be virtuous is to embody God’s will for me in my being and to live it out in my conduct day by day. As I grow in virtue, so do I grow in spirit and in character and in the good and happy life." – p. 23

"There is as well a two-way interaction between virtue and discipline. As we continue to practice the discipline of self-examination and continue to take inventory, we grow in the virtues of humility and honesty, and, conversely, as we grow in these virtues we become better at looking at ourselves and discerning our shortcomings." – p. 29

"If I am having trouble with a Step, the likelihood is that I am having trouble practicing one or more principles behind that Step. Upon closer examination, I may discover that I am having trouble practicing a particular discipline because I am not practicing the virtues that make that discipline work." – p. 31

"The virtues are the perfect antidote to self and the selfish imperative, for they in all instances represent ways of giving. We grow in virtue by doing virtue, and to do virtue is to give of ourselves such good as, by the grace of God, starts to take root in us. As we grow in character we desire to give the best of who we are. We become interested in what we can add to the good in 'the stream of life.'” – p. 35

"Steps and Traditions share common spiritual principles because the problems they address are the same, originating in our individual hearts, manifesting themselves variously in the AA group, at home, work, church, among friends, and in other areas of our lives." – p. 37

"More than not revealing our last name in the rooms or our AA affiliation outside, anonymity is a way to strip the self of all the superfluous marks of identity by which we seek to set ourselves apart from or above our fellows, alcoholic or not." – p. 38

– From Chapter A. These Principles

(For fuller excerpts from These Principles, please click on subtabs.)