Step Prayer Flags- Spiritual Tradition with 12-Step Principles

12 Step Prayer Flags

 Art Therapy at South Orange County Detox and Treatment this week was a beautiful collision of spiritual tradition and 12-step principles. Rather than merely adopting the Tibetan prayer flag practice of painting mantras, the group designed flags that represented their understanding of the first 7 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. The idea was to paint a symbolic representation of their knowledge of the steps in the hopes that, like the traditional Tibetan prayer flags, they might blow in the wind and spread their intentions and understanding into to all pervading space. While some participants had a deeper and more rich understanding of the principles that underlie these steps, others had less history within AA and were excited and determined to harvest this essential understanding that is so integral to one’s recovery. During the introduction and initial presentation of the project, most of the group was able to regurgitate the first 6 steps word for word, however, as the discussion evolved, there seemed to be a general understanding and recognition that they may not necessarily know how to apply these steps in a pragmatic way. The group began to really immerse themselves into the processing of unpacking the meaning behind the readings, and through these insights, they were able to experience and gain flashes of wisdom that should prove to be of great help in their ongoing recovery process. During the first 3 steps, they learned how to demolish the foundation that they had built up which had preserved their self-destructive patterns for so long. They began to discover ways to build a stronger and more resilient foundation for living that works in any situation and under any circumstance. In steps 4-7, they learned that working these rigorously and honestly would help aid them to develop a positive concept by encouraging authenticity, promoting self-awareness, and learning to keep personal accountability in order to keep their side of the street clean. All in all, the group was able to extract their own personal meaning from these steps and transfer it onto their flags as a reminder that they can become their best selves if they continue to put in the work.