The 17th Step

Aikya Param
6 min readNov 24, 2019
Photo by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash

What is your image of your future? For that matter, what is your idea of yourself right now: your self-esteem? As a child of an emotionally abusive unhappy mother, for decades I had chronically low self-esteem.

Nearly everything my mother noticed about me was met with disapproval so I began seriously hiding. I shared nothing. I stuffed my feelings as best I could. When this became both painful and nearly impossible, I drank. I drank too much. My liver isn’t strong enough for that to go on very long. I found myself in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. At one AA meeting, another attendee shared that she realized that she had low self-esteem and she’d started to address this in various ways. I recognized immediately that this was my problem too.

When did we stop dreaming? Not the dreaming that bridges deep sleep and waking but imagining while you are awake.

In the book Oh, the Places You’ll Go” Dr. Seuss says,

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

Dr. Seuss always affirmed the power and capability of all children to do great. things. I needed to claim a better idea of myself, so my choice was to heal and reclaim my wholeness so I could appreciate brighter possibilities.

Charlotte Karl

When I read the first of AA’s 12 Steps, “We admitted we were powerless…,” it was not a healing step up for me. I already felt powerless; that needed to heal. Nevertheless, I faithfully attended AA for 2 years. Later on, I learned that at the time insurance companies did not feel a potential customer had left their alcohol addiction behind until they had been sober for 2 years. Of course, in real life, relapses can happen at any time, even decades later.

I found an alternative to AA, It focused on self-esteem and was developed by Charlotte Kasl. She is a U.S. Psychologist ands author. She developed the 16 Steps to Discovery and…

Aikya Param

Rev. Aikya Param is a minister at Oakland Center for Spiritual Living in Oakland, California, a published author and visual artist.