Origins and the Occasion to Create the Fifteen Creative Steps/Guidelines


A Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity discussion topic

Copyright 2005 by K. Ferlic,   All Rights Reserved

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There is a short story behind how and why the Twelve Steps of became the starting point for the Fifteen Creative Steps/Guidelines. The story span a period of about four years and centers on three events. The occasion to create the Fifteen Creative Steps/Guidelines and two event that provided the origins.

The original incentive to explore the nature of creativity arose because individuals within the work place did not seem to be free to explore the depth and breadth of the problem they face to find a solution that effectively addressed the root of their problem. That exploration, discussed elsewhere, (hyperlink journey) lead to the realization of the existence of a creative spirit within each of us. In writing about the creative spirit and trying to find a way to explain its relevance and the importance of (1) a creativity perspective and (2) an intimate relationship with our creative spirit to access our creative power and ability, a friend made the comment, “Don’t try and explain it, just tell them what to do - people don’t need or want explanations - they just want to know how to do it.” To be honest, the autor initially did not believe them. However, he was at a lost as to how to “just tell people what to do.” It was not something he thought he could put into a simple set of steps - so he thought. Yet, he was sitting on the key an didn’t know it.

As the author worked with people and saw what they needed to learn and understand if they really wanted to understand the creative process, he began to change his thinking and his writing. What the author observed was that to understand that one could be a conscious creator of their experiences and the reality of those experiences was too much to be believed for most individuals. The complexities of the concepts in creation process could be as conceptually demanding and challenging as understanding the concepts of physics and quantum mechanics without the mathematics. Both of where were something that has little interest to most. The mystical aspects of the creative process appear to be to fanciful and only applicable to the “spiritual” and nonphysical. At first they did not the physical world of mass and energy. I the end, the author began to look for a way that could make the creative process relative easy for people to use. He began to realize individuals did not need to understand. All they needed was a way to do it - but how?

The seeds for the solution were found in discussing addictive behavior and creativity with another friend who was in a Twelve Step Programs. In exploring creativity, one of the discussions he had several years earlier was with an individual who had spent many successful years in a Twelve Step program recreating part of their life to maintain sobriety from their addiction. The traditional Twelves Step Program uses the Twelve Step from Alcoholics Anonymous for other addictive programs such as Over Eaters Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous and the like.

Since this individual seemed to be doing so well at managing their addition through a Twelve Step program, the author asked the individual, “When are you cured and no longer need the Twelve Steps?” Having worked with several physicians to create mind-body health programs, the author was interested in how people arrived at being cured within the Twelve Step Program. The author, for whatever reason, was viewing the Twelve Step Program as a type of “medication” or “therapy” such that when the condition was corrected, the “medication” or “therapy” was no longer needed.

The individual to whom the author was talking seemed puzzled by the question and said, “You are never cured, you are always recovering.” They then went on to talk from the perspective that addictions are an illness. The are something that must be continually managed. The Twelve Step program helps them to manage their addiction.

That reply puzzled the author. However it peaked his interest. He was curious as to what the mind body connection could be for an illness in the form of an addiction that did not allow for a cure. If there is a mind body connection, he wondered what aspect of mind would give rise to such a condition in the body. Was the cause something like a biological or physiological inherent defect such that there was need to have an outside substance to supplement something the body could not produce itself or was the cause something else? He was stuck by the comment that an addict is always recovering and never were healed or cured. Whether this conclusion is correct or not, that was the view, as he understood it, contained within the Twelve Step approach. Yet, the Twelve Step programs were extremely successful. So, from a creativity perspective, he began to wonder why one could not find a solution to their addictive behavior in or through the Twelve Steps such that they were always recovering and never healed or cured.

At this time, the author’s initial inquiry into this question was to critique the Twelve Step program from a creativity perspective based on what he had come to learn about creativity up to that point in time and the mind body connection. Although he understood the Twelve Steps and their application in Twelve Step programs, he did not see any particular reason why the addiction was not something that could have a cure through the mind body connection. The literature which presents the Twelve Steps even suggests the addiction is only a vehicle for a deeper issue. To address the deeper issue part of the sobriety requires one to turn oneself over to a higher power. The surrender to a higher power appeared key to the program and was an essential realization in the life of the Founder of the Twelve Steps. The Twelve Steps embraced the understanding there was something greater than, or beyond, one’s thinking which was at work. The question was, “What is it?”Although the Twelves Steps were very successful, it seemed as thought there was a piece, or pieces, still missing. But the author could not see where the cure would lie. It remained a mystery - for a while.

Then, four years later, and shortly after the recommendation was made to “just tell them what to do,” the author had the opportunity to read about the life of the Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps. In learning about the life of the Founder of the Twelve Step program and what he experienced, the author began to see what the Twelve Steps did, and did not, address from the perspective of holding the creative spirit sacred. Given the powerful intention found within the Twelve Steps to recreate one’s life from addictive behavior to one to sobriety from that addiction the author saw a structure that, with modification, could be used in any creative endeavor.

In looking at the life experiences of the Founder of the Twelve Steps, the author realized there were many types of experiences he had in common with the Founder of the Twelve Steps. Of course, there were significant differences between their lives and a great difference in time and place. But the common experiences allowed the author to realize something. He look at why he was drawn to the experience that they had in common. he looked at his motivation and what was pulling him. The author realized there was probably something similar at work within the Founder of the Twelve Steps. What pulled the author to the similar life experience was honoring his creative spirit. It was very clear the creative spirit within the author had things it wanted to experience regardless of what the world wanted the author to do and become. Then all of a sudden it made sense. The Founder of the Twelve Steps could only give what he knew. Brilliant as the Twelve Step are, the Founder had not found a way to give the necessary freedom to his creative spirit. Consequently, the steps reflect as far as the Founder was able to go in giving freedom to his creative spirit.

The author went back to the review of the Twelve Steps he had done four years earlier. He looked at them not only with a creativity perspective but now he looked to see how effective they were in holding the individual’s creativity sacred. This latter point was the missing link and what the author had missed when he first look at the Twelve Steps. The Twelve Steps themselves only hold the individual’s creativity sacred up to a point. What he perceived was how the Founder was unable to find a way to live his life that effectively served his creative spirit and the desire his creative spirit had to express itself. The author realized the founder of the Twelve Step program was unable to find a way to hold his creativity sacred and yet fit in with the world. The author suspect addictive responses became the way the Founder suppressed the pain his creative spirit was feeling. The author had experienced many similar things in his own life so he recognize them when he saw them described in the Founder’s life. In essence, when the Twelve Steps were created, they reflected the Founder’s understanding up to that point in time.

This aspect, that the Founder could only give the understanding up to that point in time, addresses a very important facet of the creative process. We cannot give what we do not have. The Founder could only give what he knew. Brilliant as the Twelve Steps are, the Founder had not found a way to give the necessary freedom to his creative spirit. So, the Steps reflect as far as he had gone in giving his creative spirit freedom. When the author realized how the Founder was unable to find a way to effectively hold his creative and creative spirit sacred and give it the freedom it desires, the author then realized three things.

One was that the author did not initially recognize the Twelve Steps for what they really are. Although they are about finding sobriety from an addiction, they were about helping the creative spirit within the individual find its freedom. They are a brilliant vehicle to recreate one’s life. Application of the Twelve Step approach is actually a very powerful creative act of recreating one’s life. Although not packaged as a creative process to be readily recognized as such, the Twelve Steps reflect many of the things one needs to do for any creative process. From a creativity perspective, the Twelve Steps are not presented to fully capitalize on the creativity inherent within the Steps.

The second thing the author realized was, although the Twelve Steps were actually a powerful way for one to recreate their life, the Steps did not go far enough to honor the creative spirit that was giving rise to the illness. The reason for this is that creative spirit was not sufficient space to be free to express itself true to its nature. That is, the steps did not provide all that what the creative spirit was asking.

In essence what was happening is that the individual’s creative spirit was being held between two worlds. In one world the creative spirit was not free to express itself. An addictive pattern was developed to suppress the pain which arose because the creative spirit and the life it desired to express was being denied.. In the world of the Twelve Steps, the creative spirit was given the space to express itself and come out to one degree or another. However, the individual was unable to leave the world that gave rise to the addiction and they were unable to step totally into a world where their creative spirit was free to express itself. Hence it was held captive between two worlds and the individual was always recovering.

The third and most profound thing addressed how and why the Twelve Steps participants talk about always recovering rather than being cured. It is the difference between seeing oneself as always recovering and bound to the past versus always creating based on the past. In always recovering, the focus is actually on the past and thinking the past is fixed as it was perceived. In this case the focus is not on the future and what is possible. If one cannot see themselves as always creating and free to create whatever they choose even if they are often overwhelmed by habits of the past, they will held victim by the past they have experienced.

The author realized the modifications could even address items about the creative process that could lead to the opportunity and possibility of recovery and cure for individuals within a Twelve Step program. He realized the possibility that modifications could lead the individual to creating a way of being that freed them from the need to always be recovering to one where they created a life that recovery was no longer needed. Obviously a very big challenge. But yet the seed for such possibilities seemed to exist

From a creativity perspective, it all really depends on what the individual really desires to create and why. When the realization of this possibility exits, the attempt can made for it to become a reality. One can free themselves to look at the reasons they give themselves for taking the action they do in their life. Within that awareness they can change what they do. To help achieve this, the Fifteen Creative Steps/Guidelines were intentionally structured analogously to the traditional Twelves Steps. Although they are focused differently, the commonality does allow for a bridge over between creating a life of sobriety to recreating their life without an addiction.

The question became, “how does one address these three issues and can the Twelve Steps be repackaged and/or supplemented in a way that allows one for these issues to be addressed. Or, alternatively said, “Can the Twelve Steps be ‘retooled’ or evolved into a creative tool that can allow one to recreate one or more aspects of their life, no matter what those aspects may be, if not their whole life.” In the end, the author was able to find a way to repackage or evolve the Twelve Steps and find a way to “Just tell people what to do.” He was also able to address where he perceived changes could be made based on the creativity perspective and holding one’s creativity sacred.

There is no doubt the Twelve Step approach is very powerful and helpful to many. Whether or not you feel the Fifteen Creative Steps/Guidelines can take the individual to step beyond the Twelve Step is something you will have to determine. No claims are made here about the Fifteen Creative Steps/Guidelines helping you or anyone manage an addiction or find a cure for their issue. The Fifteen Creative Steps/Guidelines are a creative tool. They are a tool that you or another can use to become a conscious creator that builds on what the founder of the Twelves Steps discovered about recreating an aspect of one’s life. They are something that you can use without explanation as to how and why they work.

Related topics
Understanding from where a creation ultimately comes
Pieces of the puzzle

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