Could someone please put up ‘further understanding of this concept and how it is implemented’ concerning the HOW approach – as advertised on:

I understood HOW groups have a more prescriptive approach to bottom lines – am I correct ?

The other reason to ask this, is to help us in our explanation to newcomers at a non-HOW SLAA groups.



6 thoughts on “HOW

  1. Markjfc Post author

    Thanks, that’s helpful.

    Thanks, that’s helpful. Perhaps the other differences could be explained on this forum or perhaps I should simply go along to H.O.W. and see… but then I am very satisfied with the format at the non-H.O.W. meeting/s.
    It’s the potential newcomer reading this that I wonder about. Maybe it’s best they understand there’s differences and try both?


  2. Nero Post author

    One of the main differences is that regular 12 step Fellowships SUGGEST the 12 Steps as a means to recover from addiction, while the H.O.W. (Honesty, Openmindedness, Willingness – from the AA Big Book Pg 570) format says the 12 Steps are REQUIRED.

    The format has been applied to several Fellowships, originating in Overeaters Anonymous, existing in Debtors Anonymous as well as SLAA.

    The format sets out clearly the route for sufferers to identify their bottom lines & work the steps on a daily basis.

    The How format is simply another way to get well & recover from addiction.

  3. Fergus Post author

    I have been attending both HOW and other types of SLAA meetings since Easter. I must say that I have not made my mind up yet what road to take. I am determined to start and follow the 12steps but fear that I am used to attending al-anonwhere everything is suggested although there is some expectation that people eventually get on with doing the 12 steps. I do intend to keep an open mind. Although I don’t yet have a sponsor, still looking, I have set some bottom line behaviours that are keeping me from acting out on a daily basis. I don’t want to not do SLAA the HOW way if it would be the best thing for me. However I will keep attending HOW and other SLAA meetings and if I do eventually think that HOW is for me then I will do it. Have other people experience of doing the 12 steps the more traditional way? Did the traditional way not work for some people and did they move to HOW because of it? I would be grateful for anybodys opinion on this subject. I am listening and learning every day and intend to keep on doing it.

  4. Fergus Post author

    Nero thank you for the reply on the disability topic, I had a question regarding the success or otherwise ofthe traditional and HOW method of doing the programme. Your post really helped mesee that there is no one way to do it as long as I am honest,open and willing in any SLAA 12 step process. Thanks for that. It has really helped me. Also to the person who is disabled surely the only requirement for a SLAA meeting is if two people join together in fellowship. I totally agree with you Nero that any form or meeting f2f or via the internet/skype is fine if people’s circumstances mean they cannot attendf2f meetings. If the founders of AA had known about the internet when the fellowship started I am sure they would have recognised the validity of any meeting as long as it is done in a manner that is honest and open. I am still finding it difficult though to see how anything other than suggestion can be part of any 12 step fellowship. It is after all “adherence to the unenforcable” that makes the fellowship work. How can a prescriptive method of doing the 12steps fit into this idea? I am not trying to be difficult but the traditions are very important to me as they have helped me move from chaos to serenity as much as the 12 steps have helped my spiritual growth.

  5. Nero Post author

    Thanks Thanks, Fergus. The H.O.W. concept only REQUIRES the 12 steps to people who WANT it to be required, so there is no question of prescription or enforcement. Otherwise I would have steered well clear of it years ago. I am very sensitive to these kinds of issues, because of things that had happened in my past and it took me a long time to realize that I needed recovery at any cost, and was able to surrender to the fact that at the time & circumstances I found myself in, the only available (to me) & healthy sponsors I could see were in H.O.W. meetings. In fact my chosen non-H.O.W. sponsor right at the beginning of my journey committed suicide, so this propelled me into taking urgent, definitive action fast because I was feeling exactly the same way. Had I found a suitable sponsor in the first place, I would probably have not moved into doing the H.O.W method of recovery.

  6. Narcissus Post author

    Hi Mark

    The text below was included in a thread for someone asking about the 30 questions. It explains the initial stages of beginning to work the H.O.W programme. A fuller explanation is anticipated to appear on the site in due course.

    The 30 questions are something different to the 40 Questions of Self Diagnosis. There is a variation of SLAA called the H.O.W concept which is a more disciplined approach to the ideas of the fellowship. In brief, you obtain a sponsor by going to meetings. After seven days of a question a day, to identify what your core issues are, you set your bottom lines – your own specific compulsive behaviours related to sex and love that you feel you have difficulty with and need to refrain from.

    Once your bottom lines are set, you phone the sponsor every day for 30 days. You read out your latest answer to the previous day’s question and get to hear the next question for the following day. All the time, refraining from your bottom line behaviour. And before you know it, you’ve clocked up your first month of sobriety and had a very interesting time along the way, where many thoughts and feelings will have been experienced with a very different intensity because you’d have not resorted to compulsive behaviour to smother those feelings and anxieties. There’s more, to the H.O.W programme than that but, for now, you should go to meetings, take your time to find a sponsor and then just focus on working through the 30 questions.


    If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got.


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