Of The 12 Steps, Copyrights, Nonsexist Language and Other Issues
The 12 Steps as used in 12 Step recovery programs originated with Alcoholics Anonymous and were first copyrighted in the book by the same name, colloquially known as The Big Book. As you’ll see it can now be read online for free, although most 12 Steppers want their own copy.
A.A. still owns the copyright to the 12 Steps as presented therein. Other 12 Step groups use the steps changing the name of the addiction. Most do so with permission which sometimes requires producing the 12 Steps as they were originally written. I have done so here.
In 2001, AA issued the 4th edition of The Big Book and unfortunately in my opinion, some of the page numbers shifted as they moved stories around. They also issued The Big Book in a large format which I just love – it’s the 4th edition, which has become the edition I use most. Occasionally I still refer to the 3rd, and have worked to so indicate in parenthesis following a quote.
You’ll notice that I make every attempt to use gender-neutral language. It was actually a man in an AA meeting who showed me how important it was for me and other people when he asked my how I felt about God being only male. I realized then, and through other experiences, that the so-called generic ’he’ or ‘He’ led to feelings of being left out or unworthy. I’ve heard innumerable women say the same thing over the years and have been delighted when men also understand.
So when I use the word “God” instead of “him” in the Steps and in other places.
I use The Handbook of Nonsexist Language as a guide.
Here is the portion of Chapter 5 so often read at the beginning of meetings using nonsexist or gender neutral language.
Love and blessings,