By Mark E. Smith
- Admit that we are powerless over abuse of the planet – that the degradation of the planet has become unmanageable.
- Stop believing that the political systems exacerbating the problem could restore us to sanity.
- Recognize that politicians are just human beings like us and not a “higher power” in any sense that could be understood, and make the decision to stop turning our will and our lives over to their care.
- Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admit to ourselves and to others the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Be entirely ready to remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly ask ourselves, our friends, and any higher power (other than politicians) we may believe in, to remove our shortcomings.
- Review some of the lists of all the environmental damage we have caused, and the millions of innocent people killed in our names.
- Recognize that it would be impossible to make amends to them all, and resolve to try to stop doing further harm.
- Continue to take personal inventory, and when we are wrong, promptly admit it.
- Seek to improve our conscious contact with the earth, our only habitat, and to stop destroying it.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, try to carry this message to those still abusing and destroying our planet.
Of course we can’t have meetings unless we have them in our own homes, as very few churches or other institutions would allow them. Most are too dependent upon the political systems destroying the planet and will allow only organizations formally and legally recognized by those political systems to use their facilities.
This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to adapt the 12 Steps to voting. But while many voters are ready to admit that there are problems beyond their control, like climate change and the wars that make possible the lifestyles driving climate change, they are unwilling to admit personal responsibility. They seem to think that by voting, they have already turned things over to a “higher power” and are therefore not responsible. The rationalization seems to be, “They did it, not me, and while I may have authorized them to do it in my name by voting, I didn’t do it, they did, so therefore I am not responsible.”
Until voters can accept personal responsibility for what is done in their name, they are still in denial and not ready to admit that they have a problem.