“The Emotions Anonymous 12-step recovery program is for people experiencing anxiety, grief, depression, anger, low self-esteem, and other emotional difficulties.”
Just as there are 12-step programs available to individuals struggling with alcohol and drug addictions, eating disorders, and other challenges, there is a program designed to help individuals living with emotional challenges. The Emotions Anonymous 12-step recovery program is for people experiencing anxiety, grief, depression, anger, low self-esteem, and other emotional difficulties. Anyone who is interested in obtaining emotional wellness can join.
What Is Emotions Anonymous?
Emotions Anonymous (EA) was founded in 1971. According to Emotions Anonymous, more than 1,000 chapters existed in 35 countries as of 2007. Like other 12-step programs, EA involves group meetings and applies a 12-step approach adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous to help people with emotional challenges. In addition to the 12 steps, Emotions Anonymous is based on 12 traditions, 12 concepts, and 12 promises.
The 12 steps members of Emotions Anonymous go through to help with their emotional challenges include the following:
- Admitting powerlessness over emotions
- Acknowledging a higher power
- Turning one’s life over to that higher power
- Taking a moral inventory
- Admitting personal wrongs
- Acknowledging the ability of the higher power to remedy character defects
- Asking the higher power to remove any personal shortcomings
- Listing the people one has harmed and developing a willingness to make amends
- Whenever possible, making amends with any individuals who have been harmed
- Taking personal inventory on a continual basis and admitting any wrongs
- Improving one’s connection with the higher power through prayer and meditation
- Living the Emotions Anonymous principles and sharing the program’s message
The 12 Traditions of EA
Here are the 12 traditions upon which Emotions Anonymous is based:
- Common welfare and unity.
- Authority in the higher power only, not in group leaders.
- Acceptance of any member who wishes to experience emotional wellness.
- Autonomy of each group.
- Sharing of the Emotions Anonymous message with those suffering from emotional challenges.
- Avoidance of using the program name as an endorsement for any outside interests in order to prevent attention being diverted away from the mission of Emotions Anonymous.
- Declining financial assistance from outside sources.
- Group leadership and support from nonprofessionals.
- Lack of formal organization.
- As a means of bringing controversy to Emotions Anonymous, refraining from opinions on outside issues.
- Focus on attracting members as opposed to promoting the program, including anonymity from the media.
- Anonymity in all program practices in order to maintain focus on the program’s principles as opposed to any person’s principles.
The 12 Concepts of the Program
Emotions Anonymous applies 12 concepts to guide the program and its members:
- Living the program as a way of life and supporting other members.
- No individual program member speaking for Emotions Anonymous as a whole.
- Fostering an atmosphere of anonymity, love, and acceptance.
- Freedom from judgment, criticism and arguing.
- Living at peace with issues and not focusing on problems.
- Avoidance of discussions regarding religion, politics or other outside issues.
- Remaining a spiritual program without promoting any particular religious system or beliefs.
- Focusing on a higher power, with this higher power being of each participant’s individual choosing.
- Members applying the program daily.
- Placing focus on the common emotional challenges participants share as opposed to specific symptoms.
- Respect for each individual’s opinion and importance.
- Complete confidentiality of anything shared at Emotional Anonymous meetings or with program members.
What Are the Promises of Emotions Anonymous?
The program says that it offers members 12 promises:
- Freedom and happiness.
- Freedom from regret.
- Serenity and peace of mind.
- Ability to help others.
- Lessened feelings of pity and uselessness.
- More focus on others.
- Less self-seeking behavior.
- Changed outlook on life and attitude.
- Improved relationships with others.
- Improved ability to handle situations.
- Feelings of security.
- Realization of the difference the higher power is making in each member’s life.
If you or someone you know is living with emotional difficulties, you don’t have to face these challenges alone. Emotions Anonymous may be able to help.