Trust God. Clean House. Help Others.

A Mantra Perfectly Encapsulating the Twelve Steps

Sean Cardinalli
2 min readMar 4, 2020
Photo by Dave on Unsplash

November 29, 2010

I heard a simple mantra last week which means so much; a fellow in group called it a little bit of awesomeness.

The mantra is: “Trust God. Clean House. Help Others.”

How perfectly does that encapsulate the steps of recovery?

“Trust God” is Steps 1 through 3. If I admit to the God of my understanding that I am powerless over addiction and then surrender any difficulties I have, then I no longer come from a place of fear, but of trust. And fear is a great motivator for my addiction. I can depend on fear to scare me right back into acting out every time. Trust in God’s will for me on this planet keeps me sane and sober instead.

“Clean house” is Steps 4 through 10. To the best of my ability, I strive to be rigorously honest with others and myself. My life in addiction was so characterized by lies and self-deceit that I couldn’t keep track of all that lying without causing myself — and others — serious stress and anxiety. I started to lose sight of what I wanted to do and be in my life. When I fed my addiction, everything around me was consumed as well. The appetite for porn took precedence; everything else was spiritually, mentally and physically starved. And so, I am rigorous yet compassionate in examining what I did in addiction, how I changed, and what I can do differently now in recovery. I come clean and strive to stay clean, having learned and accepted through prayer and program that I don’t want to go back to how I was.

“Help others” is a beautiful way of making peace with the world around me and inspiring others. It’s paying it forward. The 11th and 12th steps remind us that there is more to life than just me. We can do service, we can make amends, we can fellowship with others and help others by our sober example. There is no haze of addiction preventing us from seeing what is truly important in life, and that we live in a diverse and beautiful world in which we can spread the word of spiritual health found through a Twelve Step program.

“Trust God. Clean House. Help Others.” It takes work, but it can be that simple.



Sean Cardinalli

coaching, podcasting, and blogging on sex / love addiction, intimacy, relationships, divorce, dating, and the creative process