Definition of How:
In what way or manner; by what means.

of How:
Approach, form, manner, methodology, strategy, technique, etc.

These notes are from recovery in AA and/or related 12 step programs. Readers are encouraged to click external links for more detail. We hope you find them helpful.

Love in fellowship.


Thank you for coming to Biarritz
Our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making.
This is the how and the why of it.

 First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. –Big Book p.62 | More…

Many days we are tempted to ask Why? Whys lead only to clever explanations and rationalizations of what we do/what we are. The question for us is not Why? but How? “How” will lead to everything needed for recovery and personal growth. “Why” is irrelevant. –Day by Day | More…


In the Morning:
“On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead,” notes the Big Book. “We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.”

Of course, people in recovery often face uncertainty. Even when we’re open to good orderly direction, we can still be unclear about moment-to-moment choices in daily life.

In response, the Big Book suggests that we “relax and take it easy.” Instead of struggling, we can wait patiently for an answer to come.

Over time, we’ll find that “what used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind.” The Big Book further suggests that we end our morning meditation with a prayer to receive guidance throughout the day for the next action to take.

And the sum total of our needs in this area can be summarized in one phrase: Thy will, not mine, be done. Fred Holmquist, director of the Lodge Program at Hazelden, emphasizes the timing of morning meditation and prayer.

“The directions for what to do on awakening are truly about what to do on awakening,” says Holmquist. “These are not things to be done on going to the bathroom, on making coffee, or on feeding the cat.

Rather, it’s on awakening that I do a litmus test of my spiritual condition by thinking about the 24 hours ahead. If I’m already full of self-pity, dishonesty, or self-seeking motives, then this is a practice that literally gets me out of bed on the right foot.”


Throughout the day:
After grounding our day in morning practice, we can stay open to guidance while moving through events at work or home. When we’re feeling emotionally unbalanced or confused, we can simply stop for a moment and ask our Higher Power for an appropriate thought or action.

At especially difficult times we can repeat a helpful passage from our reading or a particular prayer that we find meaningful.


At night:
During his lectures about Step Eleven, Holmquist emphasizes the unity of the Steps. In fact, Steps Four to Nine prepare us for most of the processes described in Steps Ten and Eleven.

This is especially clear in the Big Book’s list of questions to ask at night, as we review and end each day. For example:

  • Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? “This means asking how I did on my Fourth Step today,” says Holmquist.
  • Do we owe an apology? “This is asking about how I did on my Steps Eight and Nine.”
  • Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? “This means: How did I do on Step Five today?”

“In Steps Four through Nine, I clean up the wreckage of the past,” Holmquist adds. “In Steps Ten and Eleven, I clean up the wreckage of today–how my imperfections as a human complicate my life.

These two Steps define what it means to completely give ourselves to this simple program.” –Hazelden | More…


way of A.A. is the way of service.
Without that, it would not work.

Think of your spiritual home as a place full of peace, serenity, and contentment. Go to this quiet, meditative place for the strength to carry you through today’s duties and problems. –24 Hours | More…

Perhaps for some, ‘How It Works’ has become a tired, an opportunity to daydream. But not for this alcoholic. I get more out of those words with each passing day. The words don’t change, but I do. –Grapevine: Paradise, California, October 2003


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