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  • Writer's pictureMike and Glenn


Watching a well-thought-out and well-executed dance performance is a thing of beauty. The rhythm and grace, the creative and expressive, are alluring. An occasional concentration on the performer's face often reflects satisfaction, pleasure, comfort, and peace.  One can only imagine the hours of planning, preparation, production, practices, and pains that went into the making of a few moments.

All world-class and beginner dance consists of six basic elements: step pattern, footwork, timing, lead and follow, style, and continuity.

Sobriety, a lifestyle choice, also has fundamental components. We are not smart enough or organized enough to present a concise list, as we only have what we have learned and what experiences have played out for us.  We guess there are more than six but less than sixty. 

It is the similarities to dance that strike us today. We look to build to a work that we can be pleased with in the basics. 

Starts with a plan – the creation of a step pattern

This one is easy.  There is no need to create a new step pattern. We have chosen to compete using the proven moves of 12-step recovery.  Here they are in all their beauty:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

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

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

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

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

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

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

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

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Seeing this step pattern played out in ourselves and countless others has given us the desire and confidence to pursue this as our final output. 

This becomes the framework for life; as we grow, we add flare to each step.

Do the work – the importance of footwork

Recovery is a work of action.  There is no easy path to better living.  We have found these to be truths in our lives.  We need to do the footwork if we are to produce the fruit. 

As the dancer exerts unmanageable effort to ensure the very best result, we have taken a thorough and fearless approach to practicing our newfound art. Like the dancer, we mess up, falter, and fall often. We get up, strap up, and continue our pursuit of a performance that we can be proud of. 

This is the differentiator. Without the endless practice of proper maneuvering, we will settle for mediocrity, which is unacceptable. 

Practice Patience – the element of timing.

As we can see, the steps are laid out in a certain order – and that is for a reason.  They represent a rhythm and theme that has stood the test of time.  Establishing a base to build off of, taking inventory, clearing away the wreckage of the past, and then living a life of integrity and service make for what promises to be a place of peace.  These are the sequential steps for serenity. 

Our natural instinct, as alcoholics, is to rush the moves when they are meant to be fluid.  We tend to want immediate results as this is what the world promotes. 

In the end, we strive to find the fluidity that nears natural movement—to accept with grace where the universe meets us. Timing is everything, they say, so we pay close attention to when a leap or jump is appropriate. As the steps keep us grounded, our instincts keep us creative.

Life together – Lead and follow; the strength of us

In dance, the ebb and flow of one partner to another highlight the art of a great act.  In sobriety, we find that it is through a solid lead that allows us to shine. 

Others lead, as they have practiced their part, and we follow, staying in step as the plan unfolds as it should – as it has for millions. 

We have tried performing solo for much of our lives.  The results were not favorable by any stretch.  Joining a company was the best thing that ever happened to us.  The lifts and support are what make the whole thing work. 

Celebrating the uniqueness of us – Our Style

This is where the flare comes in.  It is not merely doing the steps but in the reflection of the principles of acceptance, hope, faith, courage, honesty, patience, humility, willingness, brotherly love, integrity, self-discipline, and service that life comes to life.

Understanding our personality traits can be helpful and hurtful. Acknowledging what is attractive and what needs to be eliminated can bring about fresh change. This clean approach acts as a magnate to purity. 

This is the character that those around us attract to.  This is where we see a certain satisfaction, pleasure, comfort, and peace come over us.

It is the knowing that we can be anew, that we can be ourselves, and that we can be good with that.

Continuity  - practicing consistency

Continuity is defined as the unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over a period of time. This is where mastery comes in.  It is not the individual moves but the constant stream of forward movement that separates the distressed from the reconciled. 

A jerky movement, which we still experience at times, indicates that something is not right with our fundamentals, footwork, timing, ability to follow, or character. 

The goal is to strive for a performance worth our effort—not for an audience but for ourselves.



Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from bonus podcast titled “To Worry Less, NOW: Session with Gigi Langer, Ph.D.“ … The session dropped on. 4/24/2024    Click here to hear the podcast. 



Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.


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