Sunday, August 13, 2017

12 Steps for People of Conscience (Group Format)


Welcome to 12 Steps for People of Conscience. We are a community of respect and regard for all members of the Human Family. We welcome people from every walk of life and with every kind of life challenge. Our primary purpose is to live with dignity and conscience in harmony and equality with other human beings. The only requirement is a willingness to respect the dignity and conscience of other community members.   No religion or admission of illness is expected or required.

We start this meeting with a moment of silence for personal reflection.  This is a time to consider what matters to you most to share with others over the next hour.

Twelve Steps for People of Conscience

The following steps offer a shared process for supporting dignity and conscience:
  1. We acknowledge that life is difficult and sometimes overwhelming.
  2. We dare to hope that our deepest needs and longings can somehow be addressed.
  3. We become willing to listen for our own Truth with open hearts and open minds.
  4. We take an honest look at ourselves and our life to date, letting experience and conscience be our guide.
  5. We share what we find - both strengths and challenges - with others who we hope will prove worthy of our trust.
  6. We become aware of our highest values, as well as attitudes and actions that are no longer working.
  7. We let go of out-moded ideas and habits and try to live by Principles that truly inspire us.
  8. We examine the impact we have we have had - both helpful and hurtful – on ourselves and others throughout our lives.
  9. We take credit where credit is due and look for ways to set things right where we come up short.
  10. We reflect regularly on our values and practice them in real life.
  11. We continue to develop our understanding and vision as members of the Human Family.
  12. We demonstrate in our lives the meaning and purpose we find as a result of our 'peerly human' learning and growth.

Twelve Principles for Group Relations

The following principles promote harmony and equality in our group interactions:

  1. We set aside social labels, reputations and roles.
  2. We meet each other, first and foremost, as human beings.
  3. We listen to understand, rather than to judge or enlighten.
  4. We learn from the diversity of our abilities, experiences and beliefs.
  5. We notice and celebrate what we share in common. 
  6. We honor our differences and explore what they mean for us.
  7. We do not condemn, condone or make excuses.
  8. We grapple with the reality of pain and suffering. 
  9. We grieve for losses and what could have been.
  10. We reach out to others who share similar struggles.
  11. We put hard-won lessons to good use by making the world a better place.
  12. We support each other to live with dignity and conscience as valued members of the Human Family.


Now we go around and ask everyone to introduce themselves.  You can use your first name or any name you would like to be called.    


This one-hour period is a time for personal sharing and reflection.  The focus of this hour is on ourselves - and our relationship to our own values and conscience.  We make space in the group for everyone present to share. We start by offering each person a chance to share for 3-5 minutes without comment or interruption.   If you like we can hold a space for you even if you can't find words or would prefer not to use them.  If you would like a response from others to your sharing, please let us know when you would like us to respond and what kind of response you would like.  Members are welcome to share a second time after everyone present has had a chance to share.  After the hour, people are welcome to talk freely and exchange ideas and feedback.  Who would like to begin?

[group sharing]

Last 10 Minutes

This is a time to reflect on our group process.  Please take a moment to check in with yourself about how you are feeling about the group we just had.  Without mentioning names or pointing any fingers:

What happened in this group that really worked for you?  and
What would you like to see happen differently for the future?

[after feedback:]

Thanks for everyone for your feedback.  This is how we learn and grow about what works well for our community.


Thanks to everybody for joining us today.  You're welcome to join us after the group for informal discussion.  Please take what you learned with you and use it to make a better world.   If something didn't sit right with you, please practice the steps and traditions and bring it back to the next group as needed for our shared consideration.  Remember, above all to respect the dignity and conscience of other group members, including the community wisdom of 'nothing about us with out us.'

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