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March 8, 2012

12 Steps For “Normal” People. ~ Herb Deer

Photo: Alan Cleaver

 

 

 

Issues with lust, power, control, drugs, etc., do not simply go away by themselves after some experience of oneness or enlightenment or God! It takes a lot of self-reflection, conscious “letting go” and the ability to ask for help and apologize, regularly.

Who said normal people can’t work the 12 steps?

Just because these step are usually reserved for people who either sold their baby or their mother on Ebay for another fix doesn’t mean you “normal” people can’t get help too!

The beauty of these steps is that what they really do is help us see we’re trying to control things we can’t and help us let and ask for help, take responsibility and apologize when we screw up! Who would have imagined that apologizing was a spiritual practice?

This has less to do with hard core addiction and everything to do with ego! Which applies to everyone—especially assholes!

And of course, if by now you have not gotten the irony of the word “normal” then these steps will be perfect for you!

In examples of public people who act out in weird ways, such as priests, teachers and spiritual leaders, there is always some compulsive/addictive issues that could have been resolved with some simple step work.

I worked the steps due to being addicted to drugs, alcoholic, sex and food.

They helped me a lot, not the drugs, the steps. Now all my normal friends are jealous because I’m so much happier and stable then they are, so I thought I’d try to help them too, even though they don’t qualify for an addictive program.

Before I became a teacher, when I saw silly behavior or heard stories about Zen masters, I wondered how a Zen teacher could act that way! Doesn’t enlightenment somehow protect us from being an addicted asshole? Well—no, actually, I’m sorry to say it doesn’t! But now I know why they acted that way because now I see that I wish I could act that way too. And if I’m not careful, I will. Sometimes it takes more than a spiritual practice to resolve all of our issues. Sometimes it takes two spiritual practices. This applies to all different religions and spiritual leaders who have fucked up! But more importantly, this applies to you and me.

Issues with lust, power, control, drugs, etc., do not simply go away by themselves after some experience of oneness or enlightenment or God! It takes a lot of self-reflection, conscious “letting go” and the ability to ask for help and apologize, regularly.

I have translated the 12 steps in the following way to be more palatable to “normal“ people:

1) Admit I have issues and im unhappy because of them

2) Believe I can heal if I let go and ask for help

3) Let go of “control”

4) List all resentments I have caused or have gotten, list my part in them and my issues/triggers

5) Share this list with someone

6) List my emotional issues and triggers

7) Ask for help with these issues

8 ) List all the people I’ve hurt

9) Apologize to them

10) Do all these things regularly

11) Meditate/pray

12) Help others

Good luck! Look for a meeting popping up near you and “Like” our 12 Steps For “Normal” People!

~

Editor: Kelly Brichta

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Herb Eko Deer is a Zen teacher at Sweetwater Zen Center in National City, CA near San Diego. He’s been sober since 2004, and grew up in Dallas, TX. He incorporates these 12 steps into his Zen teaching, as well as martial arts.

 

 

 

 

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