Tag Archives: 12 steps

There are a lot of folks out there who like to bad mouth the 12 steps.  They offer all kinds of way to get sober and stay sober.  I’ll admit it, I haven’t tried any of those things.  There are also all kinds of folks out there who claim to be atheist.  They also bad mouth the 12 steps.  And yet, I see they do believe in something.  Very strongly.  That isn’t atheism.  If you believe in science, you have a belief.

My book isn’t about bad mouthing the 12 steps.  It is, admittedly, a different take on the 12 steps, which I happen to adore.  I took the basic teachings of the old timers in AA, researching volumes and reams of books and pamphlets and anything else I could find.  I talked with old timers.  I studied the literature.  Then I took the wisdom of New Thought and metaphysics.

And out popped this book.  Twenty five years of study, all wrapped up and condensed into this little book.  Short read, but if you take the steps (meaning incorporate the into your life), I promise you that you will have a live more wonderful than you ever imagined.

What do I get out of this?  Not much, admittedly.  I’ll be honest here, sales of this book are not what I had hoped for.  Which I fail to understand.  And when it does sell, royalties are small.

I just want to help.  Really.  I see so many people struggling.  Some refuse to incorporate the 12 steps into their lives, for a bunch of reasons.  So they continue to live lives filled with misery.  That isn’t necessary.  Don’t struggle.  Check it out.  The book is available from me directly, or on Amazon and Balboa Press.

And......I have some offerings for you.  A workshop.  About expectations.  Yep..you know  that phrase “expectations are premeditated resentments.”  Yeah, that one.  I cringe every time I hear it.  So limiting!  Check it out, a different way to view it.  The workshop is online, and it is coming up quick, this Thursday.  Register now so I can send you the link to attend.


If you are anything like me, you have at least one person on your gift giving list that is difficult to buy for.  And....if you are anything like me, you know lots of 12 step people, and lots of New Thought people, maybe even a bunch who are both!  If so, I'd like to suggest a copy of my book as a gift idea.  It's affordable and presents a new way of looking at the steps that even non-12 step people love!

Order yours today on Amazon:

Or through Balboa Press:

I hope you have the most wonderful holiday season ever!

Register here!

The phrase "expectations are premeditated resentments" is very popular in 12 step circles, and just about anyone I've ever spoken to who is a member of a 12 step program believes this statement to be true.  In fact, they think it makes life easier to believe that they should not have expectations.

But in New Thought, the teaching is a bit different.  In New Thought we are taught that not only should we expect good in our lives, but we deserve it!

So which is it?

Join me for an exploratory journey to find out.

Do you believe that expectations are premeditated resentments?  I posted this question on Facebook and you would not believe the responses I received!  Obviously this is a hot topic!

So much so that I've created a workshop around it!  You should attend this workshop:

  • If you believe in the statement
  • If you believe in it but feel as if there may be some built in limitations there
  • If you don't believe in the statement
  • If you want to explore some other ways to think about things than what is "normal" for you.

The timing of this workshop is not an accident.  I purposely scheduled it for just before the holiday season because I know there are many people who tend to have some expectations about the holidays, and I know that sometimes those expectations are not met.

Plus, this workshop has a bonus:  two ways to restore or create some sacredness into your holiday season...we will explore gratitude and rebirth within us during the last portion of this workshop.

Three hours, $25....that's the commitment I am asking of you.  In return, you will get knowledge and skills that will last you a lifetime.  And you won't even have to leave the comfort of your home to attend!  Register and I will email you the link to attend the class via Zoom.  Zoom is very much like Sype, only a bit easier to use.

I hope to see you there!

Register here!

I was speaking with a mentor the other day about the phrase "Let Go and Let God."

I confessed to her that I had absolutely no idea how to do that but I knew what the results were when I was able to do it;  peace, absence of resentment, forgiveness, no more attempts to control.

Sounds nice right?  But how do we get there?  Especially if, like me, you are a New Thought person and have a god which is more inward directed than outward.  In other words, it isn't a god somewhere out there in the sky, but more of a "great reality deep within" kind of god.  How do you let something do something when it is a part of you?  How do you separate the action from the consciousness?

For me, this particular resentment stemmed from my own attempts to control.

Doing a 10th step definitely helped me, and following up with sharing my results with my mentor helped more.

In my book I talk about steps 6 and 7 as a process of enlarging my connection with spirit, replacing that which does not serve with something new, and asking for help.

For this particular resentment I knew that I needed to quit judging and love them unconditionally.  I began to do that and immediately began to feel better.  I also knew that I needed to keep the boundaries I had set......as I do not feel safe around the person on my resentment list, and I am continuing to do that.

Somehow, the combination of unconditional love, no judgement and taking care of my own needs so that I feel safe has resulted in that feeling of peace that I so wanted in this situation.  To me...that is letting go and letting god.

What is your experience of this phrase?


Purchase the book at Amazon or Balboa Press, or directly from the author.

"Whenever you take an adversarial attitude towards something you give it power."  Dr. Christiane Northrup

The first step of just about any 12 step program wants us to admit that we are powerless.  For many, whether in New Thought or not, powerlessness is simply not something that is done.

New Thought teaches us that we have power over our thoughts and beliefs and emotions, and that what we think tends to manifest in our lives.

For others, powerlessness signifies some type of weakness.  How many times has the average alcoholic heard someone tell him that if he were stronger he could control his drinking?

The reality is, we do have a lot of power, but it is misplaced power.  We give power to the substance.  We give power to people in our lives.  We give our power up to all sorts of things:  possessions, jobs, busyness.  And I would venture to say that if we really stopped to take a look at what we give our power to, it would be a love/hate relationship.  We love the temporary escape the subtance provides, but hate the consequences.  We love all our possessions, but it really complicates lives.  They say busyness is a status symbol, but how come we are so tired all the time?

So we move through life living out of congruence with our true values, giving power to something we really don't believe in, because we think there is no other way.  And in the case of substance abuse, we can't fight it, because we've given all our power to it.

Eventually there comes a time when something has to give.  Something has to change.

So we go to a 12 step program and it tells us the first thing we must do is declare our powerlessness.  This goes against everything we've ever been taught, and goes against most societal value systems.  It also goes against New Thought teachings.  And because of these values and teachings, we instead create an adversarial relationship with whatever it is we are having problems with.  Instead of helping, this simply gives it more power and takes more away from us.

So now we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place.

What's a person to do then?

I advocate a different way of looking at the first step.  In my book, I've reworded it to say, "We admitted we were ready for a change in our lives."

If you find yourself unhappy, overwhelmed, consistently worried, experiencing stress related health problems, or unable to accomplish what you wish in your life, you may be ready to admit that a change is necessary.  The good news is that you get to decide what to change to!

In the next blog post, I will speak to this in more detail.  You can sign up to receive notification of new posts at the right if you are on a computer and at the bottom if you are on a device such as phone or iPad.  You can purchase the book here:  http://karenlinsley.com/?page_id=1174#!/A-New-Thought-Journey-Through-the-12-Steps-book/p/70971359/category=0


Every faith and spiritual tradition I know of advocates some sort of introspection.

In 12 steps, the inventory process tells us to go within and examine our thoughts and actions and attitudes.  This is not so we can shame and blame ourselves.  It is so we can set things right...make amends by changing those thoughts and actions.

In New Thought, we are told to change our thinking to change our life.  The Law says that all manifestation begins in thoughts and beliefs, so if we wish to change our life, the place to go is within. Again, we need to have an awareness of what is and isn't working in order to change it.

Lately I've been studying a book by the Dalai Lama called "Ethics for a New Millennium."  In it, he says that spirituality is about going within and finding and developing traits such as compassion, tolerance and unconditional love.

I'm also reading a book called "Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential within us All."  That's where I got the quote for the meme.  The authors, David and Tom Kelley, say that unexamined failures limit us.

I love it when I keep getting the same message everywhere I turn!  I believe introspection to be one of the most powerful spiritual practices we can do, and yet, so many people either cannot or will not take advantage of it.

If you don't have a regular introspection practice, why not?


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Join me for a Death Valley camping retreat, April 11-14, 2017.  Details and registration here


It is the day after winter solstice.  Until summer solstice in June, each day will last a couple of minutes longer.  This planetary adjustment makes it seem like the days get brighter, and maybe they do.

It is also the end of the year, that time when many of us begin to review the year just past, and look forward to what is to come in the following year.

Twelve step folks generally like to say that we do the footwork and leave the results up to God, but I think we have more power than that.  Remember that power we gave up in the first step?  We get it back in the tenth step.  The original steps and the original process of working the steps as described in the Alcoholics Anonymous textbook were written for those folks who had no access to anyone who could teach them the process.  The book was intended to stand alone as a sufficient way to introduce people to the power and beauty of the program.  It was written for newcomers.  There is nothing in the literature that says steps 1, 2 and 3 are done over and over again everyday as a lifestyle.  That is an initial way into a new way of living.

There is, however, lots of advice about doing 10 and 11 every day. This is where we were meant to live:  in a place of power gleaned from a daily practice of introspection and connection with a god of our understanding.  It's pretty simple really:  go within....every day.  Get in touch with the fears that are activated and causing behavior that doesn't serve, and replace those fears with faith and change the behavior.  And meditate to connect with that Great Reality deep within.  Then affirm (pray).

This place, this place of living in 10 and 11, is what I call the place of beauty and joy.

It hurts my heart to see people who think that just stopping the addiction is recovery.  It isn't.  That's just the beginning.  It hurts to see people constantly fighting their addiction, always having to be on guard, always denying themselves what they really want, always saying to themselves, "I should not do that."  That isn't what this program is about.  It is about turning away from the addiction and into a new way of living, so that there is no more struggle.  The substance is not even an issue any longer.  It just goes away and there is no desire to consume it.   And that desire to consume a harmful substance is replaced with a desire to live a more satisfying life.

New Thought folks (and those who call themselves atheist and agnostic) like to protest against the christian language used in the program.  Consider this:  back when the steps were originally written, they really had no other way to speak of these things.  There was no such thing as "spiritual but not religious."  There was no language for that.  There was just religion.  This is not a christian program, and if the language bothers you, and you are having a tough time in recovery, you may want to consider that being bothered by the language is simply a barrier that your ego has put up to prevent you from changing.  That's the ego's job:  to prevent change, because change is scary.  And it does it's job very well.  But if you are living an unsatisfactory life, then perhaps some change is needed.  And such change always begins within, with our thoughts.

This New Year can be a time to change our thinking, especially if there are things in our lives we see as negative.  It all begins with our thoughts.  So....change your thinking, change your life!


I wrote my book because I have experienced the power of the 12 steps and I have witnessed too many people deny themselves that power.  And because I want everyone to experience the absolute freedom and happiness that can be experienced in recovery.  Recovery does not have to be a struggle.  In fact, I believe it should NOT be a struggle.  These steps are the way to move from struggle to rest.  From lack and limitation to prosperity.  From fear based lives to love based lives.

These simple tools have the power to turn fear based lives into love based lives full of joy and freedom.  And yet...I know so many people who live unsatisfactory lives because they refuse to employ this power.  They say things like, "I can't get past the religion."  Or, especially in New Thought circles, "I'm not powerlesss."

I think these are self imposed obstacles.  What if...just think about it...what if you thought of the obstacle as simply something that is getting in the way of what you want or need?  Instead of embracing the obstacle and saying, "no, I won't do these steps...they are not for me because....".  You could instead say, "I will give it a try.  It can't hurt."

So...let me just address the two most common arguments I hear.

Let's take the powerless one first.  Working these steps is a process.  You get your power back in the tenth step.  And, I submit that if you are drinking when you don't want to, or eating when you don't want to, or fighting the urge to consume that substance, whatever it is...isn't that a type of powerlessness?  If you are experiencing a life that is unsatisfactory in some way, isn't that a type of powerlessness?  What's so wrong about asking for help?  Especially if that help could facilitate a movement into a life greater than you ever dreamed of?  Especially if asking for help could move you into a state of power?

Declaring powerlessness isn't an obstacle, it is a doorway.

Now...let's take the religion piece.  It is written right into the literature of every 12 step program:  it is spiritual not religious.  And yet, it talks about God.  I know.  I had the same problem when I first entered recovery.  In fact, I crossed the word God out everywhere I encountered it and replaced it with a word of my choice.  I have news:  god isn't religious.  It's just a word.  There are as many words for god as there are for the color blue.  More in fact.  All are valid.  Perhaps you have been wounded by religion.  Many of us have.  This is where the struggle with the words come from, usually.  Wouldn't you like to be healed of that struggle?  This is where New Thought comes in.

New Thought recognizes that there is great wisdom in the ancient writings.  All of them.  Not just the Bible, but also the Torah, the Koran, the Bagavad Gita, the Buddhist writings.  All of them.  Unfortunately, the wisdom is hidden because of the way the people spoke when those things were written, and the way they taught back then.  The 12 step literature is the same.  The founders of AA, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, came from an era when religion was the only way to speak about spirituality, but they were beginning to realize that there were other ways to speak to this profound wisdom.  I have evidence that Bill Wilson and Ernest Holmes, the founder of one of the biggest New Thought organizations in the world, Centers for Spiritual Living, had conversations.  I have found similar or exact phrases in the writings of both of them.  In the original text book of AA, called the big book, written by Bill Wilson (with collaboration) there is a reference to "The Great Reality deep within us."  In a book written by Ernest Holmes called How to Use It, he has the phrase, "the Great Reality within."  This is not the only time I've found examples of this.

So.  If you are living an unsatisfactory life, try this path.  I don't care why the living is so unsatisfactory.  What I care about is that it becomes so much more.  What I care about is that you are empowered to live a life beyond your wildest dreams.


I believe the language in the first step, "admitted we were powerless..." is really another way of saying we are ready for a change.

In my book I mention that when we reach this point in our lives, it means we have a quality of life that sucks.  Historically in the 12 step world, one has to reach a point of hopelessness before one is able to work that first step perfectly.  A perfect working of the first step means that one is free.  It is both an ending and a beginning.  It's an end to a sucky lifestyle, and a beginning of a way of living which is usually unknown, but....as I said to myself in my early recovery, "anything has to be better than this!"

James Hollis, in his book "What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life," says, "something in me had to die before the rest of me, the larger part, could live."

In New Thought, the teaching is that what we think manifests, and that our thoughts have power.  In what has been called a First Step Promise in the text book of Alcoholics Anonymous, it declares, "they have solved the drink problem."  And, "there is a solution."  What it is speaking to is the solution to a quality of life that sucks.  But the focus needs to be on what one would like their new life to look like, not on not wanting the old life anymore.  As James Hollis says, the old life must die.  As they say in meetings, we must give up our old playmates and playgrounds. I don't know about you, but when I want to release something, it simply does not work to tell myself I don't want it anymore.  I must instead ask myself what I do want....and focus on that.

If we want anything to change in our life, we must first be willing to give up the old way.

Unfortunately it can be extremely scary to give up a way of living when the option is to step into the unknown.  All those "what ifs" and "yeah buts" come up, and our ego, whose job is to keep us safe, steps in to talk us out of stepping into the unknown.

And....this happens not just with addiction and alcoholism, but with everything.  Ways of thinking and believing that used to serve us quite well sometimes stop serving us.  Yet we cling to those old ways in spite of them not working, because it means stepping into the unknown.

If you are experiencing unpleasantness, or a quality of life that sucks, you may want to consider that the call is to release an old way of being or thinking, and step into the new.  In my experience that has always worked extremely well.

Matsuo Basho, the famously insightful Japanese poet, said this: “Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.” From Tama Kieves' book Inspired and Unstoppable.

There is a saying in 12 step wisdom, "if you want what we have, do what we do."

Well, yes. There is some wisdom in that. As long as it is confined to the working of steps, and not dictating the behavior and decisions of people.

But I believe there is a deeper level to this. Kieves points to it with her quote. Maybe you've heard this story before, the one about the Zen master who tells his students to reach for the moon, and points to it. The students concentrate more on the finger then they do the moon.

I believe that when we are in the midst of this process called "working the steps," the tendency is to sometimes dwell in the problem.  After all, part of the addiction picture is drama and worry. So we make working the steps a big fat hairy deal, and we worry. We worry about whether we are doing it right, whether they will work, whether we want to do them, whether we should do them.

It's akin to concentrating on the finger, not the moon. In New Thought, we teach that we must have a vision of what we want. It is called a mental equivalent. Ernest Holmes, the founder of what is now called Centers for Spiritual Living, says that "Prayer does something to the mind of the one praying." He then goes on to describe a version of "if you spot it, you've got it."  What we see is what we get....what we see is what we already have and we will get more of as long as we continue to see it. We must change what we see in order to change what we get.

The point here is that we must change our minds, and it is as simple as that. Change the thought...one thought at a time. That is a form of praying. Instead of concentrating on how hard it is to not drink, instead think about how wonderful life can be in recovery. Instead of telling yourself your thinking got you into recovery as if your thinking was something not to be trusted, think, "YES! My thinking got me here, where there are directions to living life more wonderfully than I ever imagined!" Follow those directions, and aim for the moon.


You can puchase the book A New Thought Journey through the 12 Steps on Amazon in either print or e-version.

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