Step One: We admit to ourselves and fellow members that we are powerless over our thoughts and emotions about our ex, and we struggle daily in life as a result
(Honesty) We cannot recover without being honest. It takes great honesty to acknowledge that we have something in our lives that we need help with. It takes courage and humility to honestly face the things we have done and the attitudes we have held onto. It takes painful honesty to admit that our struggles have become unmanageable rather than lying to ourselves about the control we have over a situation. We must admit that we have given into the pursuit of desire at the expense of our freedom. If we minimize or close our eyes to the things we must face, then we continue to stay stuck, or even grow worse. When we are honest we can change, grieve, and heal. This is the first step towards freedom. The more honest we are, the more thoroughly we take this step.
Step Two – We have come to believe that those in our support network, who share in our stress, are the ones to turn to for love and support
(Hope) We must admit that we cannot always do things all by ourselves, and that at times we need to lean on the strength of others to grow and change for the better. We find hope in our support network and recovery program that we will find freedom from this stress. Connecting with others who share similar experiences and learning from professionals provides us with the unconditional love and support that we need during this difficult time. We find comfort in knowing that this support network will be available for us throughout our time of need.
Step Three – We place our faith in this kindred network of unconditional support, and trust that with their support we have the power to heal and grow
(Faith) It takes courage to trust another person. Being honest with ourselves and vulnerable in front of others takes great bravery and faith. We recognize that placing our faith and reliance on a support network who can keep us focused on rational thinking is essential for positive growth. We develop a greater ability to tell our story to other people and experience what it is to be heard. In placing our faith in this kindred network, we accept that those that offer us unconditional support have our best interests in mind.
Step Four – We begin to accept our support network as an integral part of our lives, allowing the love and acceptance we find here to help us heal and rebuild our strength
(Courage) We now have the confidence in our support network that encourages and sustains the firmness of our individuality in times of admitting the painful truth or taking difficult actions. We feel the unconditional support of our network during our daily lives as we make decisions and face our fears. Our feeling of belonging is sustained, bringing us a greater sense of being at peace with the universe and with other people.
Step Five – We use the feedback of our support network to help us develop a more complete understanding of who we are, and where we need to grow
(Integrity) We use the feedback and the help of our support network to recognize our defects of character. This includes taking responsibility for our own actions and inactions, past and present. The challenge of this step involves taking an honest inventory of all that is good and bad about ourselves and sharing what we have learned about ourselves with our support network. Throughout this self-analysis, we continue to be embraced by our support network, allowing us to fully accept our fears, weaknesses, and incompleteness.
Step Six- We resolve to become stronger, wiser, happier people as a result of what we learned from our past relationships, so that we might have more joyful and loving relationships in the future
(Willingness) After an honest assessment of those areas in which we would benefit from growth, we make a commitment to learn from our flaws and past mistakes. We give up on our past agenda for our lives and trust that we are on the future path that is meant to bring us greater happiness and joy in our relationships. We allow ourselves to open our minds and change those tendencies that have not served us in the past. Through this commitment we develop the ability to act, not just react, with the strength and wisdom this experience has brought us.
Step Seven – We made the decision that we were ready to improve ourselves with the help of our support network and /or our inner wisdom.
(Humility) After becoming free from our pride and arrogance and admitting our faults, we have been unconditionally accepted by our support group. The more we use our tools and support network, the more we learn to face the truth and grow. We develop a sense of individual self as distinct from others and a greater understanding of our life’s larger purpose. By keeping this promise to improve our strength and wisdom with the help of our support group, we are honoring ourselves, our physical and spiritual body, and our futures. Our readiness to change has increased as we are no longer ambivalent or contemplating the decision to move forward, but ready to take positive action without hesitation.
Step Eight – We ask our support network to help us identify and remove all of our unhealthy relationship patterns, and we commit to practicing healthy new relationship skills with our network
(Brother/Sisterhood) It takes honesty and humility to admit that we cannot always recognize our unhealthy relationship patterns alone. Through asking our support network to assist in identifying our unhealthy patterns, we lessen our need to be in control and accept the wisdom provided to us from others. Because of the help of our support network, we no longer have blind spots to our unhealthy tendencies in relationships. The objective perspectives from our supports allow us to finally see our patterns with full clarity and to practice more healthy relationship skills moving forward.
Step Nine – Make a list of all the persons who our unhealthy relationship patterns have injured in the past, and who we must make amends to
(Integrity) It is extremely difficult to admit that we have wronged others, especially if that person has wronged us as well. This step involves recognizing the unfairness and injustices from all perspectives, especially those in which our choices have had an effect. We must put our pain aside and focus on the pain of others to which we may have intentionally or unintentionally made a contribution. With a fresh perspective of our unhealthy relationship patterns, we learn to see others with less blame and criticism. Removing our self-pity allows us to recognize the devastating affects our choices may have had on others.
Step Ten – Directly apologize and make amends to these persons except in cases where it might be injurious to them
(Justice) After we have seen how our unhealthy relationship patterns may have injured others, we must humbly take action to repair and/or resolve our damage. We recognize that we may not always receive forgiveness for our past mistakes, but that the importance of this step is in recognizing, repenting, and resolving to have a greater awareness of our effect on others moving forward. Deciding whether or not to make amends where there is a chance that someone may be injured by our bringing the matter up is the most difficult assessment during this step. We must take caution that we are not making amends just to make ourselves feel better. We must also be careful not to use the fear of inuring others as an excuse to not make amends where they are needed.
Step Eleven – We continue our efforts to understand ourselves and admit our character flaws without delay. We continue to strengthen our relationships within our network
(Perseverance) Repeated work on steps 5-10 are also required of us on an ongoing basis as we continue to take our inventory if we are to keep what we have gained and continue to grow. The working of these steps is in a constant flow, as we continue to deepen our relationship with our support network and expand our own self-awareness. As we continue our journey of individual development and progress in maintaining healthy relationship patterns, we achieve a greater acceptance of ourselves and others in our forward movement.
Step Twelve – Having had a spiritual rebirth through the practice of these steps, we present these healing steps to Exaholics who are in emotional pain.
(Service) As we continue to apply all these steps to our lives, we commit to carry this message to others who still suffer. Now that we are well on our way to emotionally healing, our scars have made us stronger and wiser. It is our duty to use this strength and wisdom to assist in healing other Exaholics who continue to be in emotional pain. We provide our unconditional love and support to those in our network, as we continue to reflect on where we’ve been, teach how we’ve healed, and inspire by where we are today.