Spiritual Program

Most people are aware that stress and anger are leading contributors to all kinds of diseases and just like other people we have suffered the destructive effects of stress, anger and fear in our lives. Spirituality can be described as simply a way of thinking and acting that helps to remove these destructive agents from our lives. At Cancer Anonymous™ we discovered that we were not only physically sick but also spiritually and emotionally sick. We found that when we overcame our spiritual and emotional illness, this also gave us a much better chance of getting & staying well physically.

Nobody should have any problem with the spiritual dimension of our program of recovery. Cancer Anonymous™ is not connected to any denomination or sect and our members come from many different religious and non-religious backgrounds. We do not demand that anyone believes anything – we simply pass on our own experience of what works for us. Most of our members welcome the different spiritual opinions of other members at our meetings and we find that this attitude helps us to be useful to others and to stay open minded so that we can all continue to learn and grow spiritually. The principles of the Cancer Anonymous™ spiritual program of recovery have been practiced by millions of people with other fatal and progressive diseases with great success for decades. Our program also emphasises the importance of giving our time freely and without demand to help other people with cancer in order to carry the message and stay well ourselves.

When we accepted that we were also spiritually sick, we realised that we could not change our way of thinking and living by ourselves. This helped us to become open minded to the simple and practical spiritual program practiced by members of Cancer Anonymous™. Finally when we admitted to our innermost selves that we could not get well and stay well alone, we became open to the concept of a Power greater than ourselves. In our early days some of us felt that we did not need a Higher Power and that all we needed was our nutritional program and each other. However we have now come to believe that we only found Cancer Anonymous™ and our nutritional program because we prayed for help or somebody else prayed for help for us.

Here are the Steps we took which are suggested as a program of spiritual recovery:

(1) We admitted we were powerless over cancer — that our lives had become unmanageable.
(2) Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to spiritual, emotional & physical health.
(3) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
(4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
(5) Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
(6) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
(7) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
(8) Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
(9) Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
(10) Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
(11) Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
(12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to people with cancer and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

When we first read these proposals, some of us were overwhelmed by thought that we could never attain these principles. However we were comforted by the fact that only Step 1 can be practiced with absolute perfection and that we can only strive for spiritual progress on the remaining Steps one day at a time for the rest of our lives. By sharing our own personal experiences of cancer with each other we developed a deeper understanding of this fatal and progressive disease and came to realise that:

(a) We were powerless over cancer and our lives had become unmanageable.
(b) Probably no human power could have relieved our cancer.
(c) God as we understood Him could and would if He were sought.