This is HOW the program works

As I was studying in the green book this week, I came across some great material about the HOW of the program.

HOW is an acronym that stands for:


These 3 attitudes are the essentials of recovery.  But what do they really mean?  Here are some insights from Working the S-Anon Program.


“HONESTY:  Are there two types of honesty?  For me, there seems to be.  First is the ego-boosting kind where I look like such an honest person.  For example, I may have returned something given to me by mistake or corrected a clerk who gave me too much change.  This type of honesty is important, but compared to the second type, it’s easy because I will usually get a lot of approval and others are so pleased.

HONESTY of the second type is much harder for me because I must own a wrong I have done or a character defect.  HONESTY brings me to my knees with humility.  In the fellowship of S-Anon I have been finding the love and support to work on this more difficult, yet rewarding form of HONESTY.  It is like a “breath of fresh air” as the weight and pain of dishonest secrets are acknowledged.  With the first type of honesty I can be relatively sure that others will respond in a positive fashion.  Since one of my character defects is to try to control things, this honesty is easier for me.  It seems risky when I venture out with the second type of HONESTY.  Others could respond by rejecting me or being hurt or angry–emotions I prefer to avoid in my life as I try to protect myself.  Thanks to the trust I am developing with my fellow S-Anon members, I am being more HONEST and finding warmth and loving acceptance.  What a wonderful gift!  I continue to be grateful for what I have been given.”
-Working the S-Anon Program, p.50


OPEN-MINDEDNESS is being receptive to new ideas.  For me, open-mindedness has included the earth-shattering truth that perhaps I don’t know EVERYTHING.  Now I try to approach any given situation with the perspective that I see through a glass darkly just like every other human.  This has allowed me to be taught and changed; to see the world through new lenses.  This could not have happened until I began to accept the idea that my perspective might not be the only way to see things.


WILLINGNESS is being ready to do whatever it takes to recover.  Sometimes willingness speaks to taking action, such as going to meetings, getting a sponsor, working with a qualified therapist, work the surrender process in the moment, making phone calls, etc.  Sometimes willingness speaks to our attitude and trust in our Higher Power.

One S-Anon member shares this wisdom:  “Step Six speaks to me about willingness.  Understanding that Step Six is not an “action” step brought about a mini-spiritual awakening for me.  For most of my life, I was trying to heal my being by doing.  Working on Step Six gave me the confidence that all I needed was willingness.  I didn’t have to remove the character defects myself.  I just needed to identify my shortcomings and be willing to allow God to remove these defects in His time and in His way.” -Working the S-Anon Program, p.53

These attitudes of HONESTY, Open-mindedness, and Willingness, have changed my entire outlook on life as I have worked my program and am learning more deeply how to implement them into my daily life.  They have laid a foundation for Humility and Trust and allowed my Higher Power to truly heal my BEING.  I am so grateful that I can learn more about HOW this program works in EVERY aspect of my life as I continue to work my Steps.

Keep working it!  It works!





1 thought on “This is HOW the program works”

  1. I love this! I agree applying these three principles in my recovery are vital. It is an everyday process for me. Some days I am not as good as other days, but the beauty of the program is progress not perfection! Thanks for sharing this. I still need to read the green book all the way through.

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