Twelve Step Drawings

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About TwelveDrawings

[Content verified as being up-to-date by TwelveDrawings in 2018.] is a "Thank You" to my Higher Power

This website is not really about art. It is about Twelve Step recovery. I am not a professional artist and these drawings are not for sale. They are the result of a spiritual experience that has re-formed me.

NOTE: If you are not familiar with the Twelve Steps of recovery from alcohol, drugs, or behavior-based addictions, this website is not an introduction or explanation. If you want an introduction to Twelve Step recovery, go to the official website of a national group. Some are included in the "Other Helpful Sites" list (lower right).

If you are already in a Twelve Step program, please ignore anything you see here that does not align with the conference-approved literature in your particular program.

Drawing Attention to "Old-School" Twelve Step Words

I was born with the ability to draw. But for twenty years, my pen produced nothing more than a few nonsensical doodles. Then one day, I looked down and saw the "Serenity" drawing emerge from my pen. It was as startling as if the family dog suddenly stood on its hind legs and calmly recited Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet.

At that time, I had been in recovery for perhaps a year. I was surprised when more and more drawings sprang forth—it was inexplicable. Where were they coming from and where were they going? Then I remembered that people in Twelve Step meetings commonly offer "personal shares" or short talks. I recognized that my drawings were my own form of personal share. Not special; just different.

"Old School"

My ink drawings are out of step with a world of colorful, high-resolution, PhotoShop images. To be honest, the reason I create old-school pen and ink drawings is because I don't know how to create anything else. The archaic style seems appropriate, since the subject is old-school Twelve Step recovery. Whether you know or care about alcohol or addiction recovery, I hope you will glance through these illustrations. Downloads are free IF they are for your PERSONAL use only. 

About the Artist
This artist remains anonymous. Maybe that sounds intriguing or mysterious, but it shouldn't. In Twelve Step recovery, anonymity is the spiritual basis of all Twelve Step Traditions (see Tradition Twelve). So while my identity is not really a secret, I am remaining anonymous to please the Higher Power that got me sober.
          The particular programs I belong to remain anonymous as well. Each Twelve Step group deals with a distinct "Problem", but their common "Solution" is found in its original form in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Thanks to the "Big Book Comes Alive" recordings by Joe and Charlie, that has become very clear to me. (More about Joe & Charlie here )

There are "Artist's Comments" Below Individual Illustrations
As time permits, I am adding Artist's Comments to each drawing. There is not text with every drawing yet, so you may have to poke around to discover all of them. My comments explain exactly what that image meant to me in my recovery, for whatever that is worth. If you do not wish to read the comments, I suggest you not scroll down and, instead, simply enjoy the drawings alone.

There are seven completed sets of TwelveDrawings, which are:

• Twelve Words from the Serenity Prayer - this title is self-explanatory

• Twelve Steps - one key word from each of the Steps

• Twelve Traditions - one key word from each of the Twelve Traditions

• Twelve Promises - one key word from each of the Promises

• Twelve Metaphors - metaphors (or verbal imagery) used in the Big Book of AA

• Twelve Insanities - words taken from the Big Book description of alcoholic insanity (p. 37)

• Religious or Not? - twelve words taken from the 1934 Webster Dictionary definition of "religion"

Only four of the above sets are included in the website. More may be added in the future. Some of the new drawings can be seen in my Twitter profile.

My ideas arise from prayer and meditation. Sometimes, the emerging illustrations startle me. Certain drawings (like "Courage") make my eyes brim with emotions every time I see them. My hair stands up as if God was pressing nearer to see. For that reason alone, I have continued.

I have deliberately tried to avoid using classic symbols. For example, there are no mythical or Biblical images such as an angel hovering in the air while wielding a fiery sword. I wanted each drawing to contain things I have seen in real life—or reasonably might. That was important to me, because that's how Recovery was for me: drawn from real life. So, instead of mythical figures, there is a fairly ordinary looking squirrel in the Twelve Steps "Ready" drawing. His energetic leap is a visual reminder of a leap of faith I took in Step 6: feeling exhilerated and entirely READY for whatever was coming next. 

I hope you enjoy looking at the drawings. I hope they may make some small contribution to living better Today. I hope you will keep coming back.


NOTE: All of my drawings and written material are protected by ©opyrights and I take those rights seriously. You may download whatever drawings or text you want for personal use. Any other use or reuse will require specific permission, obtained in advance by writing to [email protected] . National Twelve Step Organizations welcome and will be charged nothing for the use of my art when arranged in advance. All Twelve Traditions will be maintained.

What's the REAL reason for this site?

[Content verified as being up-to-date by TwelveDrawings in 2018.]

When I first achieved lengthy sobriety, I found that every word in the Big Book made much more sense to me. I thought I could get others sober by sharing the Big Book, word for word. However, I had difficulty getting others to see what I was seeing. I would speak with passion and confidence and verve and clarity—only to see their eyes glaze over with boredom. I have since discovered this is not unusual. Even AA co-founder Bill Wilson spent months of early sobriety going from bar-to-bar, trying to share his spiritual experience with other drunks. I had no better luck than Bill did.

I did not give up. I still worked with others. I encouraged them to listen to "The Big Book Comes Alive" study (see the "Who are Joe and Charlie?" link in the far right column of this website). Unfortunately, most newcomers were far too rattled to patiently sit and listen to these recordings. They needed smaller bites of information. 

I had recently been looking up some Big Book words in a 1930s Webster's Dictionary. Their definitions really brought the Twelve Steps alive in a way that my oridinary "modern day" definitions did not. I believed that those old school definitions revealed much about what Bill Wilson seemed to be saying. I made some personal drawings to help me remember each definition in case my memory faded. That plan worked, and many more drawings followed. They were very personal responses to the deeper meanings I found in the 1930s definitions AS THEY RELATED TO MY OWN TWELVE STEP WORK. (Sorry for the all caps, but I really want this point to be clear.)

I wanted to call attention to those 1930s definitions of Twelve Steps words. That's the REAL reason for this site

FAIR WARNING: This website is not conference-approved by any Twelve Step program. If you don't understand why, I strongly suggest you ask your sponsor or anyone who has long-term sobriety in your program. Conference approved literature has been carefully reviewed hundreds of times by countless sober people. The information is considered safe and sound for use in recovery work. By comparison, only one person has reviewed the information on this website. 

Please be wary of the information on this site or on personal sites like this. Common sense should tell you this. You don't know anything about me (the sole person involved in creating the artwork and writing). You have no way of knowing whether I am sober now or ever have been. I warn my sponsees that their desperation for recovery will cause them to latch onto ANY idea that sounds good to them. Worse, they will eagerly believe anything which reinforces their incorrect old assumptions, biases, sickness, etc.

So please do NOT assume that just because you find my pictures to be interesting or because you agree with anything written here, that you are headed towards sobriety. If you are not yet sober, I urge you to leave this site right now. It will only confuse you. I am very serious about this.

However, if you have become sober using the Twelve Steps as first outlined in the book Alcholics Anonymous (the "Big Book"), then this site may be of interest. My words and images are personal shares, comparable to someone sharing their experience, strength, and hope in a face-to-face meeting. 

If someone's share includes statements that are not found in conference-approved literature, everyone in the meeting should know to ignore that part of the share (e.g., If someone shares, "I could not get sober if I did not take a hot shower while chanting the Pledge of Allegiance before working the Steps every day." My reaction would be: "Good for you, friend. But that is not found anywhere in the Big Book so it is NOT necessary in order to achieve sobriety.") Please approach what I have shared here with that same caution.

I hope you find inspiration. I pray you find experience, strength, and hope. But you will only find sobriety through the grace of God as you understand God. And the most reliable path I know to that Higher Power is to 1) attend meetings, 2) get a sponsor, and 3) work the Twelve Steps daily and without holding anything back.

Once graced with sobriety, I invite you to come back here. Maybe what seemed mildly interesting during your first visit will become more meaningful with each new visit during your lifetime of recovery.



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