November 7, 2009

A Consumaholic 12 Step Program

What is the most difficult addiction to kick? Some say heroin. Cigarette smokers will tell you nicotine is the hardest to beat. Will our consumaholic tendencies be more difficult to recover from than both of these? 

Our sickness is leading to obesity, cancer, and depression. The planet is the enabler and it, too, is suffering. We need help, and quick. T

he situation requires a speedy shift in mass behaviour. We need to kick the habit. 

We all consume in order to survive. Over the past few decades we have become addicted to over- consuming. We make our purchases not to survive, but to satisfy other less visible, less rational needs. 

 We need a program to get us back on the healthful path of sustainability, limits, and contentment. If someone is addicted to a drug you don't tell them they are harming themselves and their family so, "JUST QUIT!" 

The problem is bigger than that, and 12 step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous reflect this fact. 

An addiction-afflicted individual may require a program and a supportive community to assist in recovery. 

Along this vein, I adapted a 12 step program to see how it might apply to our addiction to over-consumption.

A 12 Step Program for Consumaholism
  • Step 1 - Admit we are powerless over our addiction to consumption - that our lives have become unmanageable
  • Step 2 - Believe that Nature, a power greater than ourselves, can restore us to sanity
  • Step 3 - Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the Earth as we understand the Earth
  • Step 4 - Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, and our stuff
  • Step 5 - Admit to the Earth, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
  • Step 6 - Be entirely ready to have Nature remove all these defects of character
  • Step 7 - Humbly asked Nature to remove our shortcomings
  • Step 8 - Make a list of all persons, other life forms and natural systems we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all
  • Step 9 - Make direct amends to such people, life forms and natural systems wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
  • Step 10 - Continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it
  • Step 11 - Seek through thought and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the Earth as we understand the Earth, asking only for knowledge of Nature's will for us and the power to carry that out
  • Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we carry this message to other consumaholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

We have been mass mainlining consumerism for several decades, but we can, and will get better. I am hopeful that we will recover from our addiction to things, and the work that supports the continuance of our disease. I look forward to the coming cultural shifts that will sustain our recovery and return to healthful, balanced relationships with our planet and each other.


  1. Anonymous11/10/2009

    This is a powerful piece Mr. Koep.

  2. Anonymous6/08/2012

    I love your way of thinking!
    Reading from Sweden, where most things are on a smaller scale than in the US, but we to are too materialistic and too oblivious of the harm we do to Earth. It is a comfort that there is a growing awareness all over the world.

    1. You are so right - a global awareness is growing like never before. People are refusing, reducing, and re-thinking.

      Thanks for reporting in from Sweden. It is good to know what is happening in other parts of the world.


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