12 Steps in 12 Minutes Workshop Leader Guide

 This is one of the handouts from the ACA Afternoon of Recovery Workshop - June 25, 2017 main page.

Get a head count of the group before you start.



Welcome: Thank you for joining us today, now for a really exciting part 12 Steps in 12 minutes, with a group this size we it will be more like 30 minutes. We all are going to work all 12 Steps right now, so I hope you are ready. Because of time constraints I will be moving quite fast, but I tried to make this as smooth as possible. I’m sure there will be some confusion along the way, and if there is just please just speak up. If someone does not have a copy of the handout please share.

We are going to start off by reciting the Opening Prayer. Please find it on Page 2 of your 12 Steps in 12 Minutes Handout.


Opening Prayer

Please join me in the…

Set Aside Prayer:


Please help me set aside everything I think I know about myself, my past, my spiritual path, and especially you.

So I may have an open mind and a new experience of myself, my past, my spiritual path, and you.

Please let me see the truth.

  • This workshop today is Entitled: Taking Action And Overcoming Fear of Sponsorship, in my opinion the Steps are all about taking action, so in the spirit of taking action there is some participation required of all you for this 12 Step exercise.
    • This participation will involve the following from you.
      • If I ask a question I would like everyone to say their answer out loud!
      • There will be various prayers throughout this process, they are all in your handout.
        I ask that you say them out loud with me.
      • Writing, requirement. On the previous page, there are 3 lines that you can fill out, these are the only required items you need to write down.
      • Pens have been passed out.

One last note before we jump into it. We will be referring to the Laundry List through out this process, you will find it in it’s entirety on Page 3 of your handout.


HERE WE GO!!!!!!  Please go to Page 4 of your handout.


Step 1:

"We admitted we were powerless over the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction, that our lives had become unmanageable."

First thing with Step 1 is we need to verify that we qualify. Answer these questions to yourself, and feel free to follow along.

Was there an alcoholic or addict in the family?

Was there perfectionism in a parent?

Was your family militaristic (mili-a-t-air-istic)?

Was there a hypochondriac parent?

Was there an emotionally ill parent?

Was there sexual abuse?

Was there incest?

Was there mental illness in a parent?

Do you feel there was some other form of family dysfunction present while you were a child?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then you grew up in a dysfunctional family system.

We are now going to refer to the Laundry List on Page 3, and see how we were effected by growing up in a dysfunctional family.

Please read through the Laundry List now, and as you read through it, I want you to note one trait that you feel you relate to more so than the others. Just pick one. In fact read it until you find that one, and stop.

I will give you about 20 - 30 Seconds to do this. Please write down this one trait on the front page of your handout.

So we just determined that we not only grew up in a dysfunctional family, but that it also has effected us. So please let’s go back to page 4, and we will address the Unmanageability Questions. Please answer these questions to yourself, and follow along on Page 4 where it says Unmanageability Questions.


Unmanageability Questions:

-Do you feel that growing up with your family of origin has effected your life in a negative way?

-Do you feel that the Laundry List Trait that you identified with has effected your life in a negative way?

If you answered yes to any of those questions then your life has become unmanageable due to the the effects of the household you grew up in.

Next to address powerlessness:


Powerless Questions:

-Have you ever tried to change the behavior of your dysfunctional family with no result?

-Have you ever tried to change the effects or behavior of the Laundry List Trait that you identified with, with no result?

If you answered yes to any of those questions then you just admitted you were powerless over the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction, and that your life has become unmanageable because of it.

Moving right along.


Step 2:

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

Step 1 blends nicely into Step 2, the very fact that we are here, shows not only that we believe our life have become unmanageable, but it also shows that we believe that there is something here that can restore us.

Every time we go to a meeting, think about going to a meeting, talking to someone about our program, thinking about talking to someone about our program, or thinking or talking about any portion of the ACA Solution we are practicing Step 2.

Moving on.


Step 3:

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God."

Once again, the very fact that we are sitting here trying this together and participating, big or small, is a sign of that decision. There will always be more we can turn over, but the point I wish to make today is the decision doesn’t necessarily have to be all or none, black or white.

See I don’t know what will happen with this experience right now, but I have faith that it will guide me to realize I’m being taken care of, and I no longer have to do it alone. The same goes for you, look around you, see that you are not alone in doing the 12 Steps in 12 minutes.

I bring this up because we are in the care of each other, The Fellowship of ACA is and can be seen as an understanding of God.

Side Note before Step's 4 & 5…*

*The more you trust and dig deep on these next 2 steps, the bigger healing you will experience. We only have a few minutes, so just focus on being honest and share what you can.


Step 4:

"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

Going back to the first step, recall the trait that you identified with.

Referring back to the Laundry List Trait you related to in Step 1…

I want you to ask yourself or take a minute to reflect on…

How does this trait interfere in my life today?

How do you identify with this trait?

Are there any memories that are tied to this trait?

What are you feeling when you process this trait?


Step 5:

"Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."

Suggestions for the person sharing:

Avoid Half Measures.

Go through the Pain.

Be Honest.

Try to share something you have never shared before.

Be kind to yourself.

Share what you can.


Guidelines for the listener:

No touching.

No feedback.

No cross-talk.

Your role is to be a mirror, a mirror of love and compassion.

Look at the person who is about to share, smile at the person, listen be there for them as you want them to be there for you. And when the time is up say thank you for sharing, I appreciate you and the time we just spent.

Before we pair up, the way this will work is I will be setting a timer for a minute, and one person will start sharing what they reflected upon in their 4th Step. Remember try to dig deep. After that minute is up, the person who was listening will say thank you for sharing, and I will set another minute timer, and the person who was listening will now share, and the person who shared will listen.

Alright please pair up: (Individuals in the workshop get up and pair up).


Acknowledgement by the leader:

We just did a 4th and 5th step. Great job Everyone!


Step 6:

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

So to determine your defect of character, we will be looking at the Laundry List Trait you just shared about, and finding a survival trait that is linked to that Laundry List Trait. The survival trait is a defect in your character because it no longer serves you.

I have created a cheat sheet to identify a survival trait of yours. This is not an exhaustive list, but it will suffice for the purpose of this exercise. You can find the cheat sheet on Page 8 of your Handout. The trait number is associated to the Laundry List Trait you identified with. The words next to that trait number represent your survival trait.



Laundry List Trait #1: We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.

This Laundry List Trait associates with Trait #1 on your cheat sheet.

Meaning your survival trait could be (isolation, or fear of people).

Use the cheat sheet to determine the survival trait associate with the Laundry List try, and feel free to write it down on the front cover of your Handout.

Go to Traits on the next page.

Trait 1. fear of authority figures, isolation, fear of people.

Trait 2. People pleasing.

Trait 3. Fear of angry people, hyper sensitivity.

Trait 4. Addiction, codependency (addiction to the addict).

Trait 5. Living as a victim.

Trait 6. Overdeveloped sense of responsibility…

Trait 7. Guilt, Shame.

Trait 8. Addiction, fear.

Trait 9. Confusing love with pity.

Trait 10. Stuffed feelings.

Trait 11. Judgement, low self esteem.

Trait 12. Dependency on others.

Trait 13. Addiction.

Trait 14. Reactors.


Now let us all say the 6th Step Prayer together

God give me the willingness”


Step 7:

"Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings."

We are now going to say the 7th Step Prayer, but I must say it is going to be a little interesting. At the end of the prayer you will input the survival trait you just discovered in Step 6, as we say this together it is going to be a little chaotic because at the end everyone is going to be saying some different trait or if you are like me you may accidentally say “insert your survival trait” instead of the actual survival trait. I am going to try and take a pause/breath before I say my trait. Otherwise I hope we can all find the humor in the chaotic end to this prayer.

God. I am now ready that you should integrate my survival traits, which block me from accepting your divine love. Grant me wholeness."

I humbly ask you to integrate my trait of…__________________________ Amen.”


Step 8:

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all."

Taking the survival trait from Step 7.

I want you to think about how this trait has tormented and prevented you from living the life you have wanted to live.

This survival trait although at one time allowed you to survive, now harms you. Not only in the sense of the relationship with yourself, but it also distances you from others especially those you wish to be close to.

For this Step 8, I want your list to have only one name on it, your own.

Now if you could please answer the next question out loud.

Are you willing to make amends to yourself, and the harm you have caused yourself?


Step 9:

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

Please refer to the Step 9 Amend on Page 9. Similar to the prayers we will be saying this out loud, and I would like you to envision saying it to yourself as you read the amend out loud. However unlike the prayers we will not be reading this in unison. Please read it out loud to yourself in your own pace and time.

When ever you are ready, read your amend.

I am involved in a program in which I am learning to change my behavior and to live more honestly and openly. Part of the process involves making amends to people I have harmed with my behavior. I am making amends to you for using _____(insert your survival trait from Step 6)_______________."

I want to make it right. I am not making excuses but I have harmed people especially myself based on my lack of knowledge about living.”


(Insert first name), I forgive you, I accept you exactly the way you are, and I truly do love you...Thank you”


Step 10:

"Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."

Knowing what you now know, I want you to answer these questions out loud, you can follow along on Page 10…

-Do you promise, to yourself, to do your very best to keep an eye out for this Laundry List and Survival Trait that you identified?

-Do you promise, to yourself, that when it does pop up in your life to promptly admit it?

-Do you promise that when it pops up to forgive yourself?

-Do you promise that when it pops up, and it harms you, or others, that you will make amends to those that have been harmed?


Step 11:

"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out."

Prayer = Talking to God/Inner Child.

Meditation = Listening to God/Inner Child.

Excerpt from Page 164 of The ACA Yellow Steps Workbook.

Step Eleven is also where we further address our addiction to excitement… Through meditation we learn to quiet our minds and to relax. With meditative techniques, we let go of racing thoughts. We learn to be in the moment and to be present in our bodies… In Step Eleven, we take time out of the day to focus on our spiritual path. We connect with God through our True Self when we find stillness and listen for God’s footstep. Our True Self knows God’s call. The True Self knows the path that our Higher Power takes to the heart. It is the path of love."

"Through Step Eleven, we find God’s will and a personal power that we did not know existed. There is real power. We can have it if we make the effort and let our Higher Power lead the way.”

By working this workshop today you are practicing Step Eleven.

Please answer the following questions out loud, you can follow along on Page 11…

-Are you willing to make a commitment that when things are off in your life that you communicate where you are, and if needed ask for help within your growing support network?

-Are you willing to make a commitment that when things are off in your life that you listen to your body and your instincts?

-Are you willing to make a commitment that when things are off in your life that you listen to the stories within your growing support network to help determine your next indicated action?

We have reach Step 12…


Step 12:

"Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others who still suffer, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."

The level of growth that we experienced today whether it be large or small was a result of a Higher Power, which was equally found within our inner power as well as the collective power of the group.

Because we have gained insight (once again large or small) from taking action by participating in Today’s workshop, we all do have something to share.

You now have a tool to walk through the 12 Steps of ACA

You now have a tool as a Fellow Traveler that can help yourself and others in recovery.

What your insight is and how you share it is established in Step 11.

However the question remains, will you leave here today, willing to share it?

Congratulations everyone, you just worked all 12 Steps of ACA.
Thank you for your courage, your honesty, your open mindedness, and your willingness. You did a great job!

I want to thank all of you who came and participated in this workshop, and I want to thank SHARE, and all those who helped me make this workshop happen. I will be available for questions after this.

We will now close this workshop with the ACA Serenity Prayer.


Closing Prayer

ACA Serenity Prayer:

God, Grant me the serenity,

to accept the people I cannot change,

the courage to change the one I can

and the wisdom to know that one is me