I first read of Objectivism in the early 90's. I had abused drugs for much of my life, primarily marijuana and alcohol. In the 80's I began to exercise regualry and to think about health. (some semblance of growing up)
This led me to the writings of Mike Mentzer, a bodybuilder who regularly quoted Ayn Rand in his books and articles. It also led me to give up drugs and alcohol, at first on my own and eventually through 12 step programs. I picked up Atlas Shrugged quite by coincidence when visiting a relative, seeing it in his bookshelf, and recognizing the name due to the references from Mike Mentzer. As for many reading this, it was a life changing experience and I've not looked back.
During this time, I continued to attend 12 step meetings, and became aware of apparent contradictions between Objectivism and some of the principles in 12 step groups. I use the term "apparent" because I would argue that there is much alignment as well.
I also realized that had it not been for 12 step groups, I would never have discovered Objectivism, as this would not have been possible in my drug induced fog. (Evasion is necessary to use drugs, and drugs facilitate evasion, a vicious circle)
I discovered with delight the essay by Ayn Rand in which she spoke of the Serenity Prayer in a positive way. (I believe this may have been in the essay "The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made".)
I also wrote Leonard Peikoff asking about what what I thought may have been a dilemma for me, but explaining, among other things that my "higher power of my understanding" was Reality itself and not any mystical god.
My interpretation and paraphrasing of his reply (this was a while back, and I don't want to put words in his mouth) was that my interpretation and continued use of this support system was not unhealthy.
All this to say, that my blog entry today, is my first attempt at taking the "12 steps" and reinterpreting them in a manner that I believe comes closer to correctly expressing their underlying basic principles, in a manner that I think most Objectivists would relate to.
Having said that, I post this, openly requesting suggestions for better wordsmithing to achieve what I am attempting, pointing out to any potential errors in my thinking or choice of words.
So here it is:
1. We admitted that "evasion" of reality was not only impractical, but was either the actual cause of every problem in our lives, or at the very least made those problems much, much worse, and prevented any solution.
2. We realized that dealing with reality through reason, was the only sane way to deal with all challenges and achieve happiness in our lives.
3. We made a decision to align our lives with focusing on and cherishing reality, avoiding rationalization and justification (evasion) at all costs.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our strengths and weaknesses to the best of our awareness and ability.
5. We admitted publicly and especially to ourselves, with absolute honesty, the exact nature of our wrongs, to the best of our knowledge.
6. We assumed an attitude of complete commitment to lifelong character improvement.
7. Humbly realizing that this process would involve lifelong learning about ourselves, as well as making additional distinctions about our character and how to deal with them, we continually looked for sources of wisdom to aid us in our quest.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and took the responsibillity to make amends to them all.
9. We made direct amends to such people, wherever possible, except when to do so, would injure them or others.
10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. We sought through inquiry, and continual learning to improve our conscious focus, cherishing and alignment with reality, not only obtaining knowledge, but acting on it in accordance with reason, purpose and self-esteem.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.