virtues 5

1. Practising Virtue

My goal in writing this essay is to demonstrate how practising virtue – defined as a trait or quality of character considered to be morally good or desirable – is fundamental to the practice of the 12 step program of recovery originated by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

I am particularly interested in the application of Aristotle’s “Virtue Theory” of moral philosophy, which can be described as a ‘humanistic’ approach towards an ethical life, to AA’s program of recovery which is based upon basic Christian principles.

Continue to the full article.


Other articles by Steve K.

Discovering a Relationship with an Inner Power.

Cross Talk in AA.

The Power of Example and Inspiration In Recovery Rooms.

The Multiple Pathways to Addiction and Recovery.

An Authentic Attitude of Gratitude. 

Living with Chronic Illness In Recovery.

Recovery and Spiritual Bypassing.

How Do The Twelve Steps Work?

Humility, Defense Mechanisms and the False-Self.

Addiction Treatment, Coercion, and Alcoholics Anonymous.

Surrender, Vulnerability and Connection.

Humility – A Fundamental Virtue of Recovery.

Morality, Altruism and Spiritual Growth.

The Trees of Addiction & Recovery.

Instincts, Desires and Ego Defenses.

Podcast Interview & Article: The 12 Step Philosophy of Anonymous Anonymous.

Can Anger Be An Addiction?

Recovery Is Practicing Love Over Fear.

Suffering and Adversity – An Opportunity for Growth.

Synchronicity and Spiritual Experience.

Twelve Step Recovery – A Holistic Approach to Healing (Revised Version 2018).

Recovery – A Journey of Self-Actualization.

Step Twelve – Love and Service.

The Roots of Addiction – Unmet Needs for Love and Security.

The Ego and Shame – A Barrier to Humility.

Is Opposite-Gender Sponsorship In AA OK?

The AA Tradition of Anonymity.

Freethinking Rather Than Platitudes and Reliance Upon Dogma.

The Mutuality of the AA Fellowship and Program.

Drug Talk In AA Meetings.

Resentments, Inventory, Amends and Forgiveness.

The Therapeutic Value of the Group.

Is Addiction A Disease?

AA Spiritual and Religious.

AA Conference Approved Literature.

Spiritual, Rather Than Religious (edited version 2017).

Co-Occurring Disorders in Recovery. 

Steps Six & Seven.

Step Three.

Step Two.

My Recovery Journey – By A Twelve Step Agnostic.

The Twelve Steps.


2. Jim Burwell


Article about atheist Jim Burwell, one of the early members of Alcoholics Anonymous, who influenced the wording of Step 3, and its: ‘God as we understood him.’

Jim Burwell, read here.


3. Jung and the Labyrinth of Addiction

Carl Jung

This article about Carl Jung’s insights into addiction, as well as a previous article about him can be found on the AA Agnostica website:

Read here.


4. Spiritual Need, Addiction and Relationships

heart-hands (1)

Essay written by Ben H, available to read on the ‘Addiction Today’ website. The author uses the word God in relation to the broadly mystical concept of the ‘numinous’ or transcendent. It links well with, and is no doubt influenced by, the article above in relation to Jung’s view of addiction and the spiritual thirst for wholeness. 

Addiction Today. 


5.  80th Anniversary Tribute to Alcoholics Anonymous.

AA Anniversary Image

The following essay is written by Ernie Kurtz & William L White, explaining the resilience of Alcoholics Anonymous and is available to read on the: 

Selected Papers of William L White.


6.  A Fellowship of the Religious?  By Thomas B.

Back to Basics

This article is in relation to fundamentalism within the fellowship of AA.  It details the origins, history and development of the various brands of  the so called “back to basics” approach to the Big Book and 12 Steps.  In my view the fundamentalist interpretation of AA philosophy and its history is a distortion and a rejection of the liberal principles contained within the fellowship’s ‘Traditions’.

Press the link to read the article on the AA Agnostica site:

A Fellowship of the Religious?

Also see the following article written by Tom Powers & Tom Powers Jr. which sums up the fundamentalist point of view. It’s entitled:

Gresham’s Law and Alcoholics Anonymous.


7. Predicting Addiction/Recovery Trajectories.  By William L White.

 Signpost along the road to recovery.

It has become fashionable by commentators in the addictions arena to point to research studies confirming three linked findings:  1) the course of alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems are highly variable rather than inevitably progressive, 2) the majority of people experiencing substance use disorders and broader patterns of AOD-related problems resolve these challenges without specialized professional care or mutual aid assistance, and 3) the majority of such resolutions occur through deceleration of the frequency and intensity of use rather than through complete and sustained abstinence.

The full article can be read at:  The Selected Papers of William L White.


8. Anonymity and Recovery Advocacy.  By William L White.

Masks of RecoveryThe recent surge in social media discussions about anonymity and recovery advocacy (see here and here for examples) have triggered increased email inquiries about my thoughts as a recovery historian on these discussions.  Some have pointedly asked which side I am on, as if an anonymity war had been launched forcing one to choose one camp or the other.  If there is such an emerging split, I find myself challenging all who frame this issue as a war.  I challenge recovery advocates who feel anonymity is a musty, outdated concept that has lost all value in the 21st century, and I challenge those in 12-Step fellowships who suggest that public disclosure of one’s recovery status is a breach of 12-Step Traditions.  Here are selected excerpts from what I have written on this topic over the past 15 years.   

Read the full article here.. williamwhitepapers.


9. Podcast by John S and Thomas B.


The two discuss Thomas B’s experiences in AA over the past 43 years. They also talk about the development of the “back to basics” brand of AA, and the main characters in its history. The podcast was published on AA Beyond Belief, 2/12/2015.

Listen here.


10.  Addiction: A life long illness not a lifestyle choice. By Professor David Nutt.


 Article Link.


11. Step Four Essay & Podcast. By John S. 



AA Beyond Belief.


12.  Step Five and Sponsorship.  By John S.



 AA Beyond Belief.


13. Is Addiction An Attachment Disorder?  By Paul Henry.


Article Link.

14.  How Addiction Occurs.  By Professor John Kelly.  (11 minute video)

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