My heart has belonged to Unity ever since I walked into a Unity church in 2012. I am also grateful to attend a 12-step meeting for addiction recovery at least twice a week. The nature of my addiction does not matter here. Suffice it to say that I am engaged in working the 12 steps as outlined in Alcoholics Anonymous to mitigate the effects of my addiction and to help me in my journey to achieve recovery. Those of us who are also Unity members have the additional support of the Five Principles that Unity teaches.

Recently, a friend who is a lifelong Unity member asked me if anything in the 12 steps was contrary to Unity teachings. She just started attending a 12-step group and wanted to be sure there would be no conflict with the teachings she has followed all her life. The more I ruminated on her question, the more I realized how close the 12 steps are to the Five Principles.

The Five Principles and the 12 steps surely serve as guideposts to positive and Spirit-led lives. They are blessings laid before us by our generous God flowing through their creators.

I examined the principles carefully, side by side with the steps that support recovery from any kind of addiction. The goal of both is to support a way of living that is positive, productive, and spiritual.

Here is each Unity principle, followed by a comparison from the 12-step program.

1. God is Absolute Good, everywhere present.

The first three of the 12 steps emphasize the need to search for a power greater than ourselves to help us overcome whatever addiction is gripping our life. The first step is an admission that we are powerless over our addiction. Step 2 says we “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity,” and step 3 affirms that we “made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.”

Like the first principle, the early steps help us realize that we need not be alone as we face our difficulties. We learn that our inherent goodness comes from a power much greater than ourselves, and that this power is available to all who seek it. The emphasis in 12-step work is the truth that a higher power is critical to the recovery process.

2. Human beings have a spark of divinity within them, the Christ spirit within. Their very essence is of God, and therefore they are also inherently good.

Step 6 says we “were entirely ready to have God remove our defects of character.” Step 7 says we “humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.” By this time, we have identified parts of ourselves that no longer serve us. We are encouraged to ask God to reveal our natural goodness and to remove what stands in the way of living a good life in service of God and our fellow travelers on this earth. We learn that despite our shortcomings, we can always maintain hope for drawing closer to the essence of God.

3. Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought.

Step 4 asks us to “make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” That requires a thorough and solemn review of thoughts that do not follow God’s Truth. Step 5 then says we “admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Thus we confess the thoughts and actions that have affected our heart, mind, and soul in a negative way. We first look deep within to find ways in which we have not honored our ability to affirm thoughts and behaviors that are helpful to ourselves and to others. We are then asked to expose this part of ourselves to God and to another person. Doing so is powerful and cleansing.

4. Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity, and everything good.

This principle meshes perfectly with step 11, which says we “sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.” We can use the Unity tools of affirmations and denials to help us reframe our thoughts and ideas to bring them in line with what God and Spirit provide for us. We work on creating a prayer life where we can go to our heart space and listen for the still, small voices of God and Spirit. This invariably helps us clarify the next right thing that lies before us to do.

5. Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, are not enough. A person must also live the truth that he or she knows.

Steps 8 and 9 encourage us to ask for forgiveness for any wrongs we may have committed against another person. Step 8 suggests we make “a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.” Step 9 continues that thought with a suggestion that we make “direct amends wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.” These careful actions are designed to hold us accountable for behaviors that may have been hurtful to others and provide a way to ask for forgiveness when it is appropriate to do so.

Step 10 says we have “continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” By taking a daily inventory of our behaviors and actions we have the opportunity to quickly set right anything that requires an amends.

Finally, step 12 says, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” This encourages us to match our thoughts, words, and actions with the goodness and abundance that God provides to all. Then we are better able to serve our fellow travelers. We show through words and actions that we are on the path that God illumines for us. We are always in search of ways to live into God’s Truth, one day at a time.

The Five Principles and the 12 steps surely serve as guideposts to positive and Spirit-led lives. They are blessings laid before us by our generous God flowing through their creators.

This article is an online exclusive of Unity Magazine®.

About the Author

Lynn Mark is a retired nurse who appreciates the joy of writing. She is the author of two books, including the 2018 self-published Writing with the Psalms: A Journey in New Thought. She is a member of First Unity Church of St. Louis, Missouri.

Lynn Mark


No Results