Straightening Out With The Steps

AA was thoughtful enough to allow their program to be used for a group of crazy, albeit very tastefully dressed, Catholics who use the steps to help shame themselves into praying away their gay:

“The following five goals of Courage were created by the members themselves, when Courage was founded. The goals are read at the start of each meeting and each member is called to practice them in daily life.

Live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality. (Chastity)

Dedicate ones life to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. (Prayer and Dedication)

Foster a spirit of fellowship in which all may share thoughts and experiences, and so ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone. (Fellowship)

Be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a chaste Christian life and in doing so provide encouragement to one another in forming and sustaining them. (Support)

Live lives that may serve as good examples to others. (Good Example/Role Model)”

The Steps:

We admitted that we were powerless over homosexuality and our lives had become unmanageable.*

We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

We made a decision to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood Him.

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of our character.

We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make direct amends to them all.

We made the direct amends to such people whenever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.

We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of God’s Will for us and the power to carry it out.

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.

*Based on the original Twelve Steps of A.A.

The Twelve Steps are reprinted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that A.A. is in any way affiliated with this program. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism – use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs and activities which are patterned after A.A., but which address other problems, does not imply otherwise.

Read the entire program of crazy here

  • But what of those with “unwanted same-sex attraction” who are not Catholic? Fear not (or maybe DO fear!), for there is Homosexuals Anonymous:
    I first saw that page perhaps ten year sago in some very long list of 12-step groups. This group apparently finds “Teh Gay” such a problem that they have FOURTEEN steps:
    Here’s Step Six:
    6. We learned to claim our true reality that as humankind, we are part of God’s heterosexual creation and that God calls us to rediscover that identity in Him through This appears to be pretty much the same thing from the Protestant perspective.

    What about a generalized Christian 12-step program named “Sinners Anonymous?” Actually, that’s about what we have with Saddleback Megachurch pastor Rick Warren’s “Celebrate Recovery:”
    Rick Warren is the author of the hugely popular Christian book “The Purpose Driven Life.” He’s a little critical of AA for not specifying exactly who “God” is:

    “Most people are familiar with the classic 12 step program of A.A. and other groups. While undoubtedly many lives have been helped through the twelve steps, I’ve always been uncomfortable with that program’s vagueness about the nature of God, the saving power of Jesus Christ, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. So I began an intense study of the Scriptures to discover what God had to say about “recovery.” To my amazement, I found the principles of recovery, and even their logical order, given by Christ in his most famous message, the Sermon on the Mount.”

    Well surprise, Pastor Warren, AA came straight out of the Oxford Movement, and I’ve seen the Emmet Fox book “The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life” strongly touted informally (before and after meetings, and copies available as some clubhouses) in AA.

    Sorry if I ranted too long, but this got me going.

  • I messed up that quote of Step Six of the HA group, so here it is in all its glory:

    6. We learned to claim our true reality that as humankind, we are part of God’s heterosexual creation and that God calls us to rediscover that identity in Him through Jesus Christ, as our faith perceives Him.

    NOW we see we’ve got essentially the same program, except this one is meant for Protestant Christians.

  • KellyRyan

    One of my sponsees, (I prefer mentoree because I stepped out of the sponsor role years before I left AA), decided to become a Catholic because she married into a Catholic family. After her first few catechism lessons she called me full of laughter saying, “It’s just like AA.”

    And don’t get me started on Rick Warren who proclaimed himself America’s pastor because he was invited to speak at the Inaguration. Warren, like so many, condemn homosexuality but welcome gay’s into their churces for the income they bring.

  • disclosure

    Bravo Mark,
    Your post has the three elements I love to see in a piece.
    1) Total lack of decorum.
    2) A teabaggerish politically incorrect flavor (unlike gum whose flavor only lasts 5 minutes and is then followed by repetitive blandness- Hat Tip L. Schiller).
    3) A sense of humor and unbridled cynicism.
    Thank You,
    I am not here by accident.

  • MikeAugustine

    I’m sure the suicide rate among these poor souls dwarfs that of AA. Sad.

  • Sally


    I never understood how someone could “decide” to change religions. On a Sex in The City episode, a gal decided to become a Jew because her future husband was Jewish. Side note: She decorated a christmas tree in July because she wanted to say goodbye to Christianity. She was crying if I remember right. -No offense to your friend, or anyone else.

    How do you decide to not be gay or to be gay? Oh that’s right. You have to be brainwashed and miserable to live “normally”.

  • Lucy

    This is the group my former sponsor joined after she “did” the Big Book Experience. Then she got strung out on sin all over again.

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  • Vera

    I’m betting the 13th stepping sex is hot…followed of course with excruciating guilt, shame and remorse. Leave it the Catholics to figure out a way to squeeze a few extra drops of guilt out of a soul. I’m happily gay and even happier ex-Catholic and I’m also sober for almost a year without 12 steps.

  • Amy


    Welcome and congratulations on sobriety without the steps. Ive got a year and half without the steps. Unfortunately, it took me allot of years before I gave up AA for good but I never went for the step bate. Left AA one year ago.

  • AA membership is dangerous enough for people who live the alternate gay life style as well as the people they confess to, as can be seen by the murder of Uriel Noriega by his sponcee Scott Gordon Reynolds in 2008 in California:

    “LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A California man has been sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for shooting to death his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor at a meeting.

    Jurors in Long Beach convicted Scott Gordon Reynolds of first-degree murder in the slaying of 33-year-old Uriel Noriega.

    The 29-year-old Reynolds was sentenced Thursday. He testified he snapped after Noriega told other members at an AA meeting two years ago that Reynolds is gay. It’s a secret confided by Reynolds to only his mother and AA sponsor.

    Reynolds claimed he brought the weapon to the meeting at a church because he planned to commit suicide in front of fellow AA members. But prosecutor Patrick O’Crowley says that motive was never substantiated during the trial for Reynolds.”

    When you put stories about the AA Sponsor Uriel Noriega betraying the trust of his Sponcee Scott Gordon Reynolds into the big picture, along with the initiatives of the Courage Apostolate out of Norwalk Connecticut you end up with a deadly recipe for disaster. What happens when people are directed their by the emissaries of Courage: A Roman Catholic Apostolate looking for prospects for their church? What happens when your child is struggling with their sexuality and end up there because they confide certain urges to you in confidence?

    Remember that the 12 Step Program was brought to you by Bill Wilson, who nurtured its growth while researching Spirituality with Aldous Huxley and LSD in the 1950’s, and most likely hallucinating while discussing what the “Brave New World” and the 12 Steps can do for the world.

  • Jill

    Wait! Thee Catholic church..the one with the homosexual priests? Doesn’t surprise me…after all, Frank Buchman was a homophobic, closet case homosexual.

  • Soberpunk

    This is sick. Sick Sick Sick. A twelve step program to overcome homosexuality?! On the outside it appears to be absolutely ludicrous and stupid. I thought it was a joke at first. After thinking about it and realizing that it’s totally real is pretty alarming. Being gay or lesbian is hard enough as it is. People have committed suicide over it. People end up in counseling for a long time to deal with the guilt and shame involved with coming out. People have been disowned by their families. Now they’re being subjected to the 12 steps as a way to become “straight” What the hell?! This is one of the few times I’m going to defend AA/NA. At least in AA or NA you can stop using drugs and alcohol. You can’t just stop being gay. There’s no switch or program that’s going to change that. I can only imagine what a sponsor/sponsee relationship would look like. Could you imagine having to list your character defects or having to make amends with people you’ve harmed? This is sick and a flagrant violation of ones civil/human rights!

  • humanspirit

    I don’t think I’ve ever had the misfortune to read such a vile website. It’s kind of similar to the 12 step literature inasmuch of it pretends to be sympathetic to the “problem” (aargh!!!) but then goes on to lay down a strict line on why a person’s sexual orientation goes completely against God’s will. Ludicrous for those of us who don’t believe in God, maybe, but presumably people who even begin to take this stuff seriously actually are believers.

    There are articles on there, too, about why sex outside marriage is sinful in any circumstances, and why any heterosexual married couple who use contraception are going against “God’s design”. It is not just deeply homophobic but deeply sexist – men were apparently designed by God to “protect”; women to “nurture”, for example. One article says that concerns about overpopulation are wrong, because in developed countries, the birth rate is 0.7%, so we are actually facing a drop in population. Not only does this completely fly in the face of reality (even in China, with its one-child policy, the birth rate is closer to 1.7 children per couple – higher than in the UK), but it ignores the fact that less developed countries tend to have much higher birth rates – often by courtesy of the catholic church that denies access to birth control services in countries in Africa, South America, etc., and even states the women whose husbands have contracted HIV are not allowed to use condoms. Thereby telling these women that they should willingly contract this deadly virus for the greater glory of the Pope and happily give birth to children that would suffer from it too.

    I could rant about the above points for ever, but one thing that puzzles me too is that the catholic church allows the 12 step program to be used at all. It is very clear on its own doctrine and theology and has historically imposed it with a great deal of violence, threats of eternal damnation, etc. Why would they condone the confession required in the fifth step being made to anyone but an ordained priest, for example?

    On the other hand, there’s part of me that thinks any gay person who signs up for this ludicrousness has problems far beyond anything their sexuality might have caused them. Yes, it can be hard being gay in certain parts of the world (especially the more religious parts) but why make it so much harder for yourself?

  • Vera

    My gay addiction is out in the parking lot doing push-ups, getting all sweaty and buff.

  • humanspirit

    That’s a really good observation, Vera. Do you think these people see homosexuality as a “progressive disease” too? In which case, I know quite a few gay people who would regard this as quite an encouraging thing and would sign up immediately.

  • Jonny Quest

    There is a really cheesy B-grade lezzie movie called “But I’m a Cheerleader” that makes fun of the this sort of thing. Complete with rehab, sharing, higher powers, family day, and denial hazing.

  • Interesting…….

    Fox News psychiatrist wants Obama investigation of transgender therapy – By David Edwards, October 18, 2011

    “Fox News medical “expert” Dr. Keith Ablow is so concerned about transgender people that he is calling on President Barack Obama to investigate gender reassignment therapy.

    Ablow used his Fox News online column last month to recommend that parents boycott ABC’s Dancing with the Stars over the inclusion of Chaz Bono, a transgender man.

    “Open up the DSM-IV diagnostic manual on psychiatry, take the heroin dependent people, put them on TV with their drug paraphernalia and speak about how happy they are,” he told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. ”

    read more:

  • causeandeffect

    What the hell does transgender identity have to do with heroin addiction? This can only make sense to the rabid “moral majority” Fox News viewers.