- Admitted we are powerless over death. Morbidity curves can be flattened temporarily — only. Ultimately, mortality — stalking us since birth — wins. Our lives will be unmanageable until we face reality — life ends; all saves are temporary.
- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity and inspire us to plan and prepare for the final stage of life. We release our insanity — doing the same things repeatedly and expecting different results – in order to reclaim sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our lives over to the care of a higher power, recognizing that medicine can provide only impermanent “saves.” Health care workers are magician’s assistants, not the Magician.
- Made a fearless inventory of ourselves, including our false expectations and where we’ve missed the mark.
- Admitted to a higher power, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our delusions.
- Were entirely ready to have our higher power remove defects of character, including our obsessions with being alive, as a substitute for living fully. We also release our willingness to demonize the “other”: those who think, look, or act differently.
- Humbly asked our higher power to remove our shortcomings, including short-term thinking and what’s-in-it-for-me (WIIFM) focus.
- Made a list of all people we will harm if we don’t change. Vowed to prepare advance directives, say the magic words (forgive me, I forgive you, thank you, I love you), and live a no-regrets life.
- Made direct amends in a calm, non-judgmental voice to the people we love. Also, know there will be times we unintentionally hurt others. Say you’re sorry.
- Continued to take personal inventory. When we were wrong, admitted it and tried to make amends: The next time, better.
- Sought intentionally through prayer, meditation, and selfless actions to improve our conscious contact with our fellow beings, knowing that the spirit of the living God is present in each person. Recognizing that since God is not on social media, we “friend” the Divine by praying for insight of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out (and not just make promises or talk about our good intentions).
- Having had a spiritual / pragmatic / emotional / practical awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
As I’m writing End of Life 101: A Mortal’s Guide to Making Goodbye Good, I was inspired by AA’s 12 Steps. EOL101 outlines a holistic approach for a universal problem. It’s not about solving death but softening its side effects by building a foundation for good goodbyes.
Thanks to Susan C and Virgie M for editorial review and to my co-blogger, Jane Collen for legal review.
© Joan S Grey, 4 SEP 2020 ∞
IndexCardCure™: Steps to recovery