In recovery, we try to take the opposite of our character defects/shortcomings and turn them into principles.
The 12 Steps of AA ARE the Principles of the Program that we practice, as listed on BigBook pages 59 and 60! Over the years many lists of virtues that correspond to each of the Twelve Steps and their underlying spiritual nature have been printed in local area AA newsletters and on pocket cards.
1. Honesty: fairness and straightforwardness of conduct; adherence to the facts
2. Hope: desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment; expectation of fulfillment or success; someone or something on which hopes are centered
3. Faith: allegiance to duty or a person; loyalty; fidelity to one's promises; sincerity of intentions; firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete trust;
something that is believed especially with strong conviction. Re. religion: belief and trust in and loyalty to God; belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
4. Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
5. Integrity: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values; incorruptibility; an unimpaired condition; soundness; the quality or state of being complete or undivided
6. Willingness: inclined or favorably disposed in mind; ready; prompt to act or respond; done, borne, or accepted by choice or without reluctance; of or relating to the will or power of choosing
7. Humility: the quality or state of being humble.
Humble: not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive; reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission; ranking low in a hierarchy or scale; insignificant, unpretentious; not costly or luxurious
8. Brotherly Love: "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
9. Justice: the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments; judge; the administration of law; especially; the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity; the quality of being just, impartial, or fair; the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action; conformity to this principle or ideal; righteousness; the quality of conforming to law; conformity to truth, fact, or reason
10. Perseverance: the action or condition or an instance of persevering; steadfastness
Persevere: to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counter influences, opposition, or discouragement
11. Spirituality: This one was hard because almost all of the definitions relate to religion, and not as we know it: "Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for people who've been there."
12. Service: the occupation or function of serving; help, use, benefit; contribution to the welfare of others; the act of serving; as a helpful act; useful labor that does not produce a tangible commodity.
A search on the web brought up this site, BareFoot's World, with lots of interesting historical references and more discussion of the principles. I include it here because it gave me food for thought on the topic and I appreciated having the principles connected to the steps.
Bob's opinion is:
"The 12 Steps of AA ARE the Principles of the Program that we practice, as listed on Big Book pages 59 and 60! Over the years many lists of virtues that correspond to each of the Twelve Steps and their underlying spiritual nature have been printed in local area AA newsletters and on pocket cards. The origins of these lists are unknown, although they are used by many Twelve step members."
AA Principles and Virtues
Honesty | Step 1 We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. (Surrender: capitulation to hopelessness.)
Hope | Step 2 Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (Hope: Step 2 is the mirror image or opposite of step 1. In step 1 we admit
that alcohol is our higher power, and that our lives are unmanageable.
In step 2, we find a different Higher Power who we hope will bring
about a return to sanity in management of our lives.)
Faith | Step 3 Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him. (Commitment: The key word in step 3 is decision.)
Courage | Step 4 Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. (Honesty: an inventory of self.)
Integrity | Step 5 Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. (Truth: candid confession to God and another human being.)
Willingness | Step 6 Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. (Willingness: choosing to abandon defects of character.)
Humility | Step 7 Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. (Humility: standing naked before God, with nothing to hide, and asking that our flaws – in His eyes – be removed.)
Brotherly Love | Step 8 Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. (Reflection: who have we harmed? Are we ready to amend?)
Justice | Step 9 Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. (Amendment: making direct amends/restitution/correction, etc.)
Perseverance | Step 10 Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. (Vigilance: exercising self-discovery, honesty, abandonment,
humility, reflection and amendment on a momentary, daily, and periodic
Spirituality | Step 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. (Attunement: becoming as one with our Higher Power.)
Service | Step 12 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. (Service: awakening into sober usefulness.)