Centering Rituals are regular, alone-time activities that help keep one recovery-focused. Praying, meditating, reading pro-recovery literature, journaling, setting daily goals and taking an end-of-day inventory, and carrying/wearing sacred objects/symbols are common centering rituals of people in recovery. Other such rituals within the history of recovery include fasting, sweating, seclusion, aerobic exercise (running, swimming), chanting, singing, dancing, artistic expression, and pilgrimages to sacred places.
Character Defects (Shortcomings; Wrongs)within Twelve Step recovery, are those “emotional deformities” that have harmed alcoholics and those close to them. These liabilities include pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth (the “Seven Deadly Sins”). They include obsessions (“instincts gone astray”) with sex, power, money, and recognition, and also self-centeredness, selfpity, intolerance, jealousy, and resentment. The A.A. program suggests that if identified and disclosed via the Forth (“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”); Fifth (“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs”); Sixth (“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character”); and Seventh (“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings”) Steps, these “ghosts of yesterday” could be replaced by a “healing tranquility” (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 1981, pp. 42-62).
Character Reconstruction is the process of bringing one’s personal character into congruence with the aspirational values imbedded within recovery frameworks, whether these be Twelve Step groups, secular support structures, religious organizations or cultural revitalization movements. Character reconstruction underscores that full recovery from severe alcohol and other drug problems entails more than the removal of alcohol and other drugs from an otherwise unchanged life. It entails instead the transformation of the whole person— creating a character and a lifestyle in which alcohol and other drugs have no place.
Chips (Medallions) are symbols/icons carried or worn on the clothing as a strength-bestowing amulet that reaffirms one’s recovery identity and serves as a token of membership (and tenure) in a larger community of recovery. Chips, ribbons and pins originated within the 19th century recovery mutual aid societies, e.g., the Blue Ribbon Reform Club, the Keeley Leagues.
Choice (versus coercion) refers to the role of volition and human will in addiction recovery. As treatment has taken on a coercive nature in past decades, the admonition that “recovery is a choice” is a reaffirmation that while treatment can be coerced, the state of recovery is a doorway that can only be entered through one’s own act of choice. It is in exercising this ultimate power of choice that one moves from the self-conscious and oft-uncomfortable state of not using to the state of being free to not use.