We admitted we were powerless over the effects of addiction
-- that our lives had become unmanageable.

Like the blind we feel our way along walls and hesitate like those without eyes. We stumble as though noon were twilight and dwell in the dark like the dead -- Is 59:10

Rm 7:18-20 I do not do what I will but I do what I don't want to
Ps 6 I am worn out from groaning ... God has heard the sound of my weeping
Mk 4:35-41 In the midst of a furious squall, disciples yelled out for help
Jn 15:1-8 Vine and the branches ...
2Cor 12:9-10 My power is best in your weakness


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

 God, you are my God, I am seeking you, my soul is thirsting for you, my flesh is longing for you ... as in a parched land without water. -- Ps 63:1

Phil 2:13  For it is God who enables you both to will and to act 
Matt 14:22-34 Storm at sea
Matt 17:20 If you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can move mountains
Mk 9:14-29 Healing of the epileptic boy ... I do believe, help my unbelief
Ps 34  I sought my God who came to me and who is close to the broken hearted
2Cor 1:9  We felt the sentence of death so that we could rely on God
Is 40:28-31 God gives strength to the weary


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

I need only say "I am slipping," and your love, my God, immediately supports me -- Ps.94:18,19

Jer 29:11-14 I have plans for you - plans for your welfare ... 
Rom 12:1-2 I urge you to offer yourselves entirely as living sacrifices
Prov 3:5-6 Trust the Holy One with all your heart
Jn 1:12-13  All who received God's word were given the right to become God's children 
Matt 11:28-30 Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I shall give you rest
Matt 26:36-46 Agony in the garden


Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

If we say we have no sin in us, we are deceiving ourselves and refusing to admit the truth; but if we acknowledge our sins, then our faithful God will forgive our sins and purify us from everything that is wrong -- 1 Jn 1:8

1Jn 1:8-10 If we claim we have no sin the truth is not in us ...
Lk 12:1-6 Jesus warns us against hypocrisy ... nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered
Jm 1:19-25  Be both hearers and doers of God's word ...  get rid of all your evil ways
Col 3:1-10 Put to death whatever belongs to your old self ...
Jer 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful about all things
Mk 14:66-72 Denials of Peter
Gal 6:3-5  Each one needs to test his own actions
Ps 139:1-6 My God you know me through and through ... test my ways


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

Realizing one's predicament, a person comes to one's senses and says ... "My God, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your child" 
-- Lk 15:21

Ps 51:1-5  Have mercy O God ... against you ,you alone have I sinned
Lk 7:36-50 Sinful women washes Jesus feet with her tears
 Lk 15:11-24 Prodigal son admits his sin and returns home
Lk 18:9-14 Parable of the pharisee and the tax collector
Jm 5;13-18 Praying over each other ... confess your sins to each other
Ps 32:3-7 When I admitted my sin ...God took away my guilt


Were entirely ready to work in partnership with God
to remove our ineffective behaviour.

 Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness, in your great tenderness wipe away my faults; ... For I am well aware of my faults, I have my sin constantly in mind -- Ps 51:1-3

Ps 51:6-12 Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me
Phil 3:12-14 We press on to take hold of that for which Jesus grasped hold of us
Rom 12:2 Do not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed ...
Ps 119:10-12 I seek you with all my heart ... do not let me stray from your commandments


Humbly asked God to help us remove our shortcomings.

I am not worthy to have you under my roof; and for this same reason I did not presume to come to you myself; but give the word and let my servant be cured - Lk 7:6-7

Ps 51  Wash me from all my sin ...
Ps 25:8-22 God teaches us sinners God's ways
1 P 5:6-7 Cast all your anxieties on God who cares for you
Ti 3:3-7 We too were enslaved ... then the kindness of God appeared and saved us
Jn 14:25-15:11 I shall send the Spirit who will teach you all things ...


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

Let each of you examine one's own conduct -- Gal 6:4

Lk 6:27-38 Love your enemies .... do not judge and you will not be judged
Lk 19:1-10 Story of Zacchaeus
1Jn 4:11-12 Since God loves us so much we ought to love one another ... 
Mt 6:14-15  God forgives us in proportion to our forgiving others
Rom 2:1 At whatever point you judge the other, you yourself are judged
Mt 7:3-4 Take the log from your eye first


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

 Never let the sun set on your anger or else you will give the devil a foothold -- Eph 4:26-27

Mt 5:23-24 Leave your gift at the altar and first go and ask forgiveness from the one you  harmed
Mt 18:21-35 Forgive seven times seventy seven ... parable of the unforgiving servant
Ez 33:15-16  If one returns what one stole ... one will live
Rom 14:13 Do not put a stumbling block in your neighbour's way
Lk 6:35-36  Love your enemies ... do good to them ... lend without expecting anything back
Col 3:12-13 Clothe yourselves with compassion ... have patience  with each other


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

Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. God has forgiven you; now you must do the same - Col 3:13

Eph 4:22-28  Put off all falseness and speak honestly to all ... 
Jm 1:23-25 Any one who listens to the word but does not follow it, is like a person forgetting
Rom 12:1-13 Think of your self with sober judgement ... not more highly than the truth
Eph 5:15-16 Be careful how you live.. as a wise person making most of every opportunity


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 for the power to carry that out.

Out of infinite glory, may God give you power through the Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that ... you will ... have strength -- Eph 3:16-19

Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious ... in prayer present your requests to God
Lk 11:1-13  Teach us to pray ... how much more will my Abba give you the Holy Spirit
Lk 6:49 Listening to God's word ... building a house on a firm foundation
Matt 6:6  Praying in secret ... rewarded by God who sees in secret


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

 "... Lord ... you know I love you." "Feed my sheep." -- Jn 21:17

 Phil 4:8-9  Put into practice what we taught you
Col 4:5-6 Be wise in the way you act towards others ... let your conversation be full of grace
Eph 5:1-2 Be imitators of God and live a life of love
Gal 6:1 You who are spiritual should support those who are in need ... 
Lk 8:16-18 You are light  ... you are salt 
Phil 2:1-18 Put on the mind and heart of Jesus in everything you do
Gal 5:22-26  The fruit of the Spirit
2Cor 1:3-6 God has consoled us in our affliction so that we can console others in theirs ...



       Teach me, Lord Jesus, to be compassionate during those hurtful events of life -- in disappointments, in thoughtlessness of others, in the insincerity of those I trusted, in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.
        Let me put my self-righteousness aside, to exercise respect for others, sometimes hiding my little pains and heartaches, so that I may not cause others to suffer needlessly from them.
        Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path.
        Let me so use it that it may mellow me, not harden nor embitter me.



        Recovery is a life-long journey for both the chemically dependent and co-dependent, for both the primary addict and the co-addict, a journey that begins with our acceptance of our powerlessness, and advances as daily we renew our commitment to truth, to growth, to life, as we step out one day at a time.

        The consciousness examen can become one of the many tools of recovery, a vehicle, in fact, which helps to "create a safe space" for the adult child or co-dependent to trust, to feel, to begin to share. Different models of the examen are helpful for different stages of recovery as well as for the different roles assumed by members of dysfunctional families.

        The examen is prayer, and so remains gift, grace. We need to come to God in a receptive stance, seeking to listen to God and to our day. To lose this focus, we run the risk of falling into self-reflection, of becoming "me-centred." As prayer, the examen is carried out as dialogue with God, asking God to draw our attention to those moments requiring our attention, accepting God's direction and letting go of control -- always a gentle process as seen in the following models.

If you have been in recovery only for a short while choose one of the suggested examens below by clicking on that title:


On the other hand if you have been in recovery for a long time click here.


  1. Consciously place yourself in God's presence. Remember this is an act of faith and not based on feelings. Allow yourself to remember that God has been present throughout your day -- whether or not you were aware of God.
  2. Ask God for the grace to see your day through the Spirit's eyes.
  3. Allow God to show you what there is to be thankful for. Respond to what is shown -- share your true feelings and reactions. Is there something for which you find it difficult to be thankful for? Look at it together with God.
  4. Now begin to review your day with God, asking God to show you where you gave up "being you" in order to do, to accomplish moments of -- perfectionism -- of control.
  5. Freely share your feelings with God.
  6. Take time to allow God to love you -- allow yourself to soak in that love.
  7. Ask God to show you where God is inviting you to grow, to change, how God may desire to forgive and heal you. How would these changes look in your day tomorrow?
  8. Pray for the grace to co-operate and respond to God's call in specific ways that will unfold tomorrow.


Steps 1,2,3, as outlined above for the Hero.

 4. Ask God to show you where you acted in order to draw attention to yourself or to deflect attention from problem areas or persons. Continue as for Hero


Steps 1,2,3, as outlined above for the Hero.

 4. Ask God to show you where you chose not to speak up, not to share although you had a contribution to make -- where you disregarded your needs or chose peace at any cost. Continue as for Hero.


Steps 1,2,3, as outlined above for the Hero.

 4. Ask God to show you where you may have used humour or self-attention to deflect the seriousness of the moment. Continue as for Hero.


Steps 1,2,3, as outlined above for the Hero.

 4. Ask God to show you where you assumed another's responsibility -- where you denied your own needs -- where your "help" allowed another to continue in dysfunctional pattern and denial. Continue as for Hero.


        The full examen here is more appropriate for one who has been in recovery for some time ...

Place yourself in God's presence. Remember this is an act of faith and not based on feelings. Allow yourself to remember that Our Caring God has been present throughout your day -- whether or not you were aware of this presence.
Ask for the grace to see your day through the Spirit's eyes.
Allow God's Spirit to show you what there is to be thankful for. Respond to what is shown -- share your true feelings and reactions. Is there something for which you find it difficult to be thankful? Look at that together with the Spirit.

Now begin to review your day with God's Spirit, allowing your attention to be drawn to what the Spirit finds significant.

  • Ask the Spirit to bring into the God's light anything you would rather hold secret. Look at this together. Share openly. 
  • Allow the Spirit to bring to your attention what you are feeling right now, at significant points in your day -- feelings you may not have allowed yourself to feel. 
  • Ask the Spirit to remind you of when and how you handled certain situations quite well and help you acknowledge and rejoice in that knowledge. 
  • Ask the Spirit to show you where God was inviting you to trust today -- perhaps to trust yourself, your feelings, your experience -- calling you to trust others -- calling you to trust the God. Respond freely and openly to what the Spirit shows you.
Spend a few moments with God as Mother or Father or Friend or with Jesus or with the Spirit in gratitude for loving you; allow yourself to soak in that love.
--  this whole section on the examen
for the co-dependent and the adult child
has been created by Bonnie Kirk, with thanks.


O God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Help me to live one day at a time, to enjoy one moment at a time,
to accept hardships as the pathway to peace.

May I learn from Jesus to take this broken world as it is
and not as I would have it.

Give me the grace to trust
that you will make all things right,
if I embrace your desires for myself and my sisters and brothers.

May I be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with you forever in the next.

-- adapted from the prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr


My soul glorifies you my God,
My spirit rejoices in you my Saviour!
For you have blessed me lavishly
and make me ready to respond.
You shatter my little world
and let me be poor before you.
You take from me all my plans
and give me more than I can hope for or ask.
You give me opportunities and the ability
to become free and to burst through
my boundaries.
You give the strength to be daring,
to build on you alone, for you show
yourself as the ever greater One
in my life.
You have made known to me this:
It is in my being servant
that it becomes possible
For your realm to break through
here and now.

-- adapted from Olga Worenski, IBVM



In Relationship

God - you are the mother some of us have ...
the mother who embraces because the child is cold
the mother who feeds because the child is hungry
the mother who constantly affirms, because
the child is afraid.

 God - you are the father that some of us have ...
the father who listens, because the child speaks
the father who knows his gentleness,
because the child reaches up,
the father who guides and answers, because
the child asks and seeks.

 God - you are the friend some of us have ...
the friend who is always there, even when we shove them away,
the friend who believes in us, even when we don't believe in ourselves
the friend who stands face to face, even when we turn away.

 God - you are the brother or sister some of us have ...
the brother who teases, when we take ourselves too seriously
the sister who sings, when we have lost the song
the brother, the sister who comes, when crisis comes
and we know we are not alone ...

 God - you are all this and more.

 You take the image of that one ...
that relationship that loves us into living ... and say,
Here I am
Thank God - you will not be limited by us.
You come again and again!

--- written by Karen Toole-Mitchell

Letting Go
To a dear one about whom I have been concerned.

I behold the Christ in you.
I place you lovingly in the care of the All Caring One.
I release you from my anxiety and concern.
I let go of my possessive hold on you.
I am willing to free you to follow the dictates of
the indwelling Spirit.
I am willing to free you to live your life
              according to your best light and understanding.
Husband, wife, child, friend,
I no longer try to force my ideas on you, my ways on you.
I lift my thoughts above you, above the personal level.
I see you as God sees you,
a spiritual being,
created in God's image,
endowed with qualities and abilities that make you needed
               and important not only to me but to God and God's larger perspective.
I do not bind you.
I no longer believe that you do not have
the understanding you need in order to meet life.
I bless you
I have faith in you,
I behold Jesus in you.
-- from the late Herve Marcoux, OMI

Act Of Hope And Confidence In God

My God, I believe most firmly
that you watch over all who hope in you,
and that we can want for nothing
when we rely upon you in all things.
Therefore I am resolved for the future ... to cast all my cares upon you
People may deprive me of possessions and status.
Sickness may take my strength from me. I may even jeopardize our
relationship by sin; but my trust shall never leave me.
I will preserve it to the last moment of my life,
and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to grab it from me.
Let others seek happiness in their wealth and in their talents.
Let them trust in the purity of their lives,
in the number of their activities, in the intensity of their prayer;
as for me, my confidence in you fills me with hope.
You are my divine protector. In you alone do I hope.
I am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness,
for I firmly hope in it and all my hope is in you.
"In you, O Loving God, have I hoped: let me never be confounded."
I know too well that I am weak and changeable.
I know the power of temptation against the strongest virtue.
I have seen stars fall and foundations of my world crack.
These things do not alarm me.
While I hope in you, I am sheltered from all misfortune,
and I am sure that my trust shall endure,
for I rely upon you to sustain this unfailing hope.
Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed your generosity,
and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from you.
Therefore I hope that you will sustain me against the ways
in which I deceive myself.
I hope that you will protect me against the deceitful attacks
of the evil one. I hope you will cause my weakness
to triumph over every hostile force.
I hope that you will never cease to love me
and that I shall love you unceasingly.
"In you, O God, I have hoped, let me never be confounded."

-- adapted from the prayer of Claude de la Colombiere


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