Working the Program


How It Works

The practice of rigorous honesty, of opening our hearts and minds, and the willingness to go to any lengths to have a spiritual awakening are essential to our recovery.

Our old ideas and ways of life no longer work for us. Our suffering shows us that we need to let go absolutely. We surrender ourselves to a Power greater than ourselves.

Here are the Steps we take which are suggested for recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over marijuana, that our lives had become unmanageable.

  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God.

  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

  7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to marijuana addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Do not be discouraged, none of us are saints. Our program is not easy, but it is simple. We strive for progress, not perfection. Our experiences, before and after we entered recovery, teach us three important ideas:

  • That we are marijuana addicts and cannot manage our own lives;

  • That probably no human power can relieve our addiction; and

  • That our Higher Power can and will, if sought.

We say, “we take” these Steps, not “we took” them, because we live these Steps continually. This is a program guided by spiritual principles, not a religious program. We have lived too long in our own small world and this is how we stop being the center of the universe and learn to turn our focus outward. We turn our lives over to a Power greater than ourselves, clean our own house, and work with other marijuana addicts; both getting help from and giving help to them. The HOW of this program is that we must be Honest not only in the practice of this program but in all of our affairs, Open minded about this new way of life, and Willing to take direction and sincerely try the precepts of this approach to life. Living in this manner and practicing the spiritual principles of these Steps in all of our affairs, we can and do arrest our disease— one day at a time.

In working the First Step, we at last found the courage to face the truth and tell it; we were practicing the principle of Honesty.

In working the Second Step, we were practicing the principle of Hope.

In working the Third Step, we were practicing the principle of Faith.

In working the Fourth Step, we were practicing the principle of Courage.

In working the Fifth Step, we were practicing the principle of Integrity.

In working the Sixth Step, we were practicing the principle of Willingness.

In working the Seventh Step, we were practicing the principle of Humility.

In working the Eighth Step, we were practicing the principles of Love and Forgiveness.

In working the Ninth Step, we were practicing the principle of Justice.

In working the Tenth Step, we were practicing the principle of Perseverance.

In working the Eleventh Step, we were practicing the principle of Spiritual Awareness.

In working the Twelfth Step, we were practicing the principle of Service.

The principles of this program are something suggested or achieved by working the Steps. The Steps are the tools to be used to discover the principles. Of course, this is a program of action and a personal thing, an individual program, so each person will probably find their own principles for themselves. But, when all of these principles are given meaning and purpose through love—love of God, and of others—and respect for ourselves, then they truly become the heart of our program of Marijuana Anonymous. With a deep sense of gratitude and the help of a Power greater than ourselves, we can live in emotional and physical sobriety with serenity and comfort— one day at a time.

The concept of one addict helping another and the privilege of practicing the Twelve Steps are very special gifts to marijuana addicts. The fact is that for thousands of years drug addicts and alcoholics had little or no hope of arresting their disease. For centuries upon centuries the disease was recognized, including the fact that it was sometimes familial. The Greek essayist Plutarch (born 46 A.D.) noted nearly two thousand years ago that, “Drunkards beget drunkards.” Recognizing the problem as a disease did nothing to arrest or cure it.

In recent centuries all types of cures were attempted by the medical professions, including incarceration in mental institutions. None of their remedies seemed to work. Every once in a while, through some miracle or another, an addict or alcoholic would stop using their drug of choice. However, apparently no one could figure out why one addict stopped and the next one thousand addicts didn’t.

In 1935 all of that changed when two alcoholics discovered that together they could do something they had not been able to do alone. That was the beginning of Alcoholics Anonymous.In 1953 the same principal of one addict helping another was used to start Narcotics Anonymous. We are deeply grateful to both of those programs for pioneering a new way of life for us and proving how one addict helping another is of more assistance than all of the medical knowledge in the world.

The Twelve Steps of Marijuana Anonymous are adapted from the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is the foundation of our program. These Steps are recommended, not required, but for decades they have proved to be unparalleled for a long range program of living in recovery.