A Beginner’s Guide to Overcoming Perfectionism

This guide has 50+ free resources for overcoming perfectionism including assessments, worksheets/handouts, workbooks, guides, videos, articles, and more.


Do you hold yourself or others to unrealistic standards and find yourself defeated or frustrated when those standards aren’t met? Are you sensitive to criticism and have a fear of making mistakes? Do you have a tendency to procrastinate? Are you driven by fear or have an intense fear of failure? If so, you may be a perfectionist. And it may be hindering you instead of helping.

The Dictionary.com definition of perfectionism is “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.” The American Psychological Association further defines perfectionism as it relates to mental health as “the tendency to demand of others or of oneself an extremely high or even flawless level of performance, in excess of what is required by the situation.”

Perfectionism can be unhealthy – harmful even – and is associated with depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.


This beginner’s guide to overcoming perfectionism provides free resources for assessment, exploration, education, and motivation.


Assessment & Screening

How much of a perfectionist are you? Take a test!

Worksheets & Handouts for Overcoming Perfectionism

Use the worksheets below to learn more about perfectionism and to do some self-exploration.


For additional worksheets and handouts see 200+ Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts.

Workbooks & Guides for Overcoming Perfectionism


For additional PDF workbooks, manuals, and guides see 500 Free Printable Workbooks & Manuals for Therapists.

Videos for Overcoming Perfectionism

Podcasts About Perfectionism

Articles & Research About Perfectionism

Increase your knowledge and find out what research tells us about perfectionism.

Quotes for Overcoming Perfectionism

“Perfectionism is the art of never being satisfied.”

Unknown

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

Salvador Dali

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to do our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield.”

-Brené Brown

“Have the courage to be imperfect.”

Alfred Adler

“Perfection is the enemy of progress.”

Winston Churchill

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”

— Leo Tolstoy


Additional Resources for Overcoming Perfectionism

Disclaimer: This section contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Free Grief Workbook PDF

Coping with Loss Workbook: Healing Grief & Loss

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”

WINNIE THE POOH

Grief Workbook PDF for Download

grief workbook pdf

This free, original grief workbook PDF may be reproduced and distributed for personal, therapeutic, and/or educational purposes with appropriate citation. Please link to Mind Remake Project when sharing electronic copies.


For more grief resources from Mind Remake Project, click here. For help with prolonged grief disorder, visit the Center for Prolonged Grief.


36 Resources for Finding Happiness

This is a list of websites, books, free printable PDF workbooks, and free online courses for finding happiness.

“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.”

Lucille Ball

Authentic Happiness | A University of Pennsylvania website developed by the Positive Psychology Center with resources including readings, videos, research, questionnaires, and more

Center for Healthy Minds | A University of Wisconsin-Madison website with a mission to “cultivate well-being and relieve suffering through a scientific understanding of the mind”

Feeling Good | A David D. Burns website with free articles, assessments, podcasts, and more

The Greater Good Science Center | Free toolkits, articles, quizzes, courses, and more from the University of Berkely

Gretchin Rubin | Happiness resources from “one of today’s most influential and thought-provoking observers of happiness and human nature”

The Happiness Trap | Free resources from Russ Harris

International Positive Psychology Association | A professional membership organization dedicated to promoting the science of positive psychology

Positive Psychology | A science-based positive psychology platform with articles, trainings, and more

Pursuit of Happiness | A nonprofit site dedicated to providing articles, quizzes, quotes, courses, and more

Rick Hanson, Ph.D. | Resources for wellbeing

Thnx4 | An online gratitute journal

Zen Habits | A blog for implementing zen practices into daily life

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Disclaimer: This section contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People: What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It (David Niven)


Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment


Feeling Great: The Revolutionary New Treatment for Depression and Anxiety (David D. Burns)


Flourish (Martin Seligman)


The Happiness Advantage (Shawn Achor)


The Happiness Hypothesis (Jonathan Haidt)


The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT (Russ Harris)


Hardwiring Happiness (Rick Hanson)


The How of Happiness (Sonja Lyubomirsky)


How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything: Yes, Anything (Albert Ellis)


No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering (Thich Nhat Hanh)


Year of Yes (Shonda Rhimes)


“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”

Martha Washington

6 FREE PDF WORKBOOKS


For additional printable workbooks, see Free Printable PDF Workbooks & Manuals – Mind ReMake Project.


“Happiness is a warm puppy.”

Charles M. Shulz

6 FREE ONLINE COURSES


finding happiness

9 Effective Strategies for Self-Confidence

self-confidence
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Strategies and Resources for Developing Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is “the belief that you can do things well and that other people respect you.” Someone who is self-confident feels worthwhile and is optimistic about their abilities.

Early Experiences Influence Self-Confidence

How do we develop self-confidence? Early childhood experiences with parents (or caretakers) shape how we view ourselves and our capabilities. A child whose parents are supportive and encouraging develops a sense of self-efficacy; they feel nurtured and secure. In contrast, children who are neglected or abused may be fearful or uncertain.

Peer relationships also impact the development of confidence; positive social interactions foster self-assurance and high self-esteem. Conversely, a child who is rejected or teased may experience a sense of unworthiness or feel unsure about their abilities.

Once a child develops low self-worth, it can be difficult to bounce back. Children who are ostracized or bullied by their playmates become hesitant to initiate or engage in play. The absence of peer socialization leads to further isolation. As a result, critical social skills are not learned, making the child an even less desirable playfellow, which only reinforces the belief that they’re undeserving.

Lack of Self-Confidence

The patterns formed in early childhood tend to repeat themselves. A child who never develops a sense of competence will not grow up to be a confident, self-reliant adult.

“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”

John Connolly

Traits of low self-confidence include discounting yourself and doubting your capacity for effectiveness. A person who lacks self-assurance may believe they’re inferior to others. They may experience anxiety or depression and struggle with learned helplessness (the belief that one has no control over what happens to them in life).

A lack of confidence can also lead to fear of rejection or criticism. Constructive feedback can feel like a personal attack. This person may have trouble accepting compliments or expressing their opinion.

When someone is highly insecure, they avoid social events. They’re more likely to be bullied at work or involved with an abusive partner. As a result, their relationships and overall quality of life suffer.

Self-Confident Traits

In contrast, someone who is self-confident views themselves as competent; they feel good about themselves. They have a positive outlook on life and are generally optimistic. A self-confident person is often resilient and able to quickly recover after experiencing setbacks.

“The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence.”

Blake Lively

10 Traits of Self-Confident People

1. Genuine

2. Optimistic and positive

3. Ask questions and are eager to learn

4. Open to feedback and constructive criticism

5. Take healthy risks

6. Able to laugh at self

7. Don’t internalize failure

8. Take ownership (of both successes and mistakes)

9. Take pride in accomplishments

10. Able to make decisions without too much difficulty


9 Effective Strategies for Developing Self-Confidence

1. Correct cognitive distortions

A cognitive distortion is an error in thinking or a self-defeating belief that is not an accurate reflection of reality. Cognitive distortions impact how we view ourselves and our abilities. For example, black-and-white (or all-or-nothing) thinking is a distortion of “absolutes” (i.e. “If I fail at something, I’ll fail at everything”).

By replacing irrational views with ones that are reality-based, you’ll feel more confident. (See 50 Common Cognitive Distortions for a list of thinking errors from Psychology Today.)

2. Adjust your attitude

Your overall perspective greatly impacts confidence. If you’re generally negative and believe that failure is inevitable, it will become your reality. Instead, practice optimism and gratitude. A positive attitude enhances self-confidence.

Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure.

Albert Bandura

3. Track your achievements

Is optimism challenging due to circumstances, barriers, or obstacles? Try creating a list of all the things you’re proud of – your biggest accomplishments in life. Did you graduate college? Quit smoking? Pay off a loan? Raise a child? Earn an award? To enhance self-confidence, take pride in your successes. Review the list often and update it with successive achievements.

4. Identify talents, skills, and knowledge

In addition to acknowledging accomplishments, recognize your unique talents, skills, and knowledge. What are you good at? What are your areas of expertise? Instead of lamenting a lack of athleticism, relish in your ability to make others laugh or your mastery of the Dothraki language.

5. mistakes happen

You’re only human after all, and as a human, you are going to make mistakes. You will never achieve perfection, so let go of unrealistic standards or expectations you have for yourself. Also, don’t beat yourself up for your mistakes; be kind to yourself… and be wise. When you mess up, own it, and then learn from the error. Every mistake is a growth opportunity; you only fail when you give up.

6. Don’t compare out

(Or if you do, compare yourself to others who lack what you have!) There will always be people who are better off and there will always be people who have it worse than you. To build confidence, use yourself as the measure for success, not someone else.

7. Fake it till you make it (“act as if”)

To feel confident, act confident! Be intentional in your speech, actions, and how you carry yourself. Act like you know what you’re doing, and people will believe it, which in turn will influence how you feel about yourself. Just like thoughts have the power to alter behaviors, behaviors can impact thoughts and beliefs.

“I taught myself confidence. When I’d walk into a room and feel scared to death, I’d tell myself, ‘I’m not afraid of anybody.’ And people believed me. You’ve got to teach yourself to take over the world.”

Priyanka Chopra

8. Seek support

Ask for help when you need it. Rely on trusted family and friends for support and encouragement. (It should also be noted that if you have a mental illness, you may require professional help. Feelings of worthlessness, panic, and extreme self-consciousness are examples of symptoms that interfere with someone’s ability to feel confident; they can be treated with psychotherapy and/or medication.)

9. Lastly, practice regular self-care

When you’re tired or rundown, it’s difficult to feel good about yourself. It’s also true that you won’t function as well when your basic needs aren’t met. If a vehicle is not well-maintained, its performance suffers; the same is true for people. Eat healthy foods, get adequate rest, drink plenty of water, exercise daily, and seek treatment when ill.

Resources for Self-Confidence

Free Kindle eBooks

Free PDF Workbooks

Conclusion

Everyone is good at something. Recognize your unique abilities, and take pride in them. Allow yourself to feel confident; life is too short for inaction related to self-doubt.

At the same time, assess and remain aware of areas for growth. Strive for self-improvement; be assured that you can learn new skills and make positive changes in your life.


self-confidence

Cassie Jewell, M.Ed., LPC, LSATP


References

75 Helpful Anger Management Resources

This resource list for anger management includes 75+ articles/guides; free anger assessments (both interactive and PDF formats); free printable workbooks, manuals, handouts, and worksheets; treatment planning resources; research articles/dissertations; and recommended mobile apps.

Please share this resource with anyone you think would benefit!


75+ Anger Management Resources

Articles & Guides

Free Assessments for Anger


For additional free assessments, see Free Online Assessment & Screening Tools.

Free PDF Handouts & Worksheets


For additional sites with free therapy worksheets, see Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets.

Free PDF Workbooks & Manuals


For additional printable PDF workbooks and manuals, see Free Printable PDF Workbooks, Manuals, & Self-Help Guides.

Treatment Planning Resources

Research Articles & Dissertations


anger management

36 Free COVID-19 Resources

(Updated 1/19/21) A COVID-19 resource list with free workbooks, e-books, online courses, and links

(Updated 1/19/21) Share these free COVID-19 resources with anyone you think might benefit!

COVID-19 resources

11 COVID-19 WORKBOOKS

Activity Resource Booklet (Jennifer Jorgensen) 55 pages

Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook (The Wellness Society) 28 pages

Doing What Matters In Times of Stress: An Illustrated Guide (World Health Organization) 132 pages

Guide to Anxiety Relief and Self-Isolation (Tamsin Embleton)

Learn About Coronavirus and COVID-19 (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital) (For older children and tweens) 12 pages

Learn About the Coronavirus Coloring Book (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital) (For children ages 5-9) 8 pages

Safe & Sane: A Coping Skills Workbook for When You’re Stuck at Home Due to COVID-19 (Harriet Gordon, LPC) 38 pages

Taking Care of Your Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Angela M. Doel, MS, Elyse Pipitone, LCSW, & Lawrence E. Shapiro, Ph.D) 171 pages

Thriving at Home: A Mental Wellness Workbook for Children and Their Parents During Quarantine (Katie Bassiri, LPCC RPT-S, Shannon Grant, LPCC RPT-S, Amy Trevino, LPCC RPT, Marisol Olivas, LMFT, & Kelsie Bacon, LMSW) 38 pages

Tolerance for Uncertainty: A COVID-19 Workbook (Dr. Sachiko Nagasawa) 35 pages

The Working Mind Self-Care and Resilience Guide (Mental Health Commission of Canada) 12 pages

(Click here for additional free PDF workbooks.)

COVID-19 E-BOOKS

Face COVID: How to Respond Effectively to the Corona Crisis (Dr. Russ Harris)

The New York Times: Free E-Book – Answers to Your Coronavirus Questions

2 COVID-19 E-Books for Children

5 COVID-19 ONLINE TRAININGS

Coronavirus Anxiety Online Course

CPD Online College: COVID-19 Awareness

Sentrient: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Safety at Work Online Courses

Virginia Nurses Association: On-Demand Continuing Education

World Health Organization: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Training – Online Training

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families: Coronavirus Support

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Coronavirus Corner – Helpful Expert Tips and Resources to Manage Anxiety

APA (American Psychiatric Association) Coronavirus Resources

Ariadne Labs: Serious Illness Care Program COVID-19 Response Toolkit

ASAM COVID-19 Resources

CDC: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

EBSCO: COVID-19 Information

Frontline Wellness VA

Guilford Press: Guilford’s Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Resources for Self-Help, Parenting, Clinical Practice, and Teaching

Michigan Psychiatry Resources for COVID-19

National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI): Health Care Professionals

National Council for Behavioral Health: Resources and Tools for Addressing Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Pew Research Center: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Psychology Tools: Free Guide To Living With Worry And Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty

Safe Hands and Thinking Minds: Covid, Anxiety, Stress – Resources & Links

SAMHSA Resources and Information: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Grief & Loss: A Comprehensive Resource Guide

This resource guide for grief & loss is for mental health professionals as well as for anyone who is grieving. This grief & loss guide includes a list of recommended books (for both adults and children); free printable PDF workbooks and handouts; and links to education and support sites.


Disclaimer: This section contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (2000) by Pauline Boss, Ph.D. (176 pages)


Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief (2017) by Joanne Cacciatore, Ph.D. (248 pages)


The Grief Club: The Secret to Getting Through All Kinds of Change (2006) by Melody Beattie (368 pages)


Grief Day by Day: Simple Practices and Daily Guidance for Living with Loss (2018) by Jan Warner (272 pages)


The Grief Recovery Handbook, 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith (2009) by John W. James & Russell Friedman (240 pages)


Healing a Teen’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Families, Friends and Caregivers (Healing a Grieving Heart Series) (2001) by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. (128 pages)


How to Survive the Loss of a Love (2006) by Melba Colgrove, Ph.D., Harold H. Bloomfield, MD, & Peter McWilliams (208 pages)


It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief & Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand (2017) by Megan Divine (280 pages)


I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One (2008) by Brook Noel & Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D. (292 pages)


No Time for Goodbyes: Coping with Sorrow, Anger, and Injustice After a Tragic Death, 7th ed. (2014) by Janice Harris Lord (240 pages)


Permission to Mourn: A New Way to Do Grief (2014) by Tom Zuba (121 pages)


Resilient Grieving: Finding Strength and Embracing Life After a Loss That Changes Everything (2017) by Lucy Hone, Ph.D. (256 pages)


Unattended Sorrow: Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart (2019) by Stephen Levine (240 pages)


When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (2016) by Pema Chodron (176 pages)


The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief (2015) by Francis Weller (224 pages)

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages (1982) by Leo Buscaglia (32 pages, for ages 4-8)


Healing Your Grieving Heart for Kids: 100 Practical Ideas (Healing Your Grieving Heart Series) (2001) by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. (128 pages, for ages 12-14)


Healing Your Grieving Heart for Teens: 100 Practical Ideas (Healing Your Grieving Heart Series) (2001) by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. (128 pages, for ages 12-18)


The Invisible String (2018) by Patrice Karst (40 pages, for ages 4-8)


The Memory Box: A Book About Grief (2017) by Joanna Rowland (32 pages, for ages 4-8)


Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss (2005) by Pat Schwiebert & Chuck DeKlyen (56 pages, for ages 8-12 years)


When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death (Dino Tales: Life Guides for Families) (1998) by Laurie Krasny Brown (32 pages, for ages 4-8)


When Someone Very Special Dies: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief (1996) by Marge Heegaard (32 pages, for ages 9-12)


When Something Terrible Happens: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief (1992) by Marge Heegaard (32 pages, for ages 4-8)

Creative Interventions for Bereaved Children (2006) by Liana Lowenstein (205 pages)


Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy, Fifth Edition: A Handbook for the Mental Health Practitioner (2018) by William Worden, Ph.D. (352 pages)


Grief Counseling Homework Planner (PracticePlanners) (2017) by Phil Rich (272 pages)


In the Presence of Grief: Helping Family Members Resolve Death, Dying, and Bereavement Issues (2003) by Dorothy S. Becvar (284 pages)


Transforming Grief & Loss Workbook: Activities, Exercises & Skills to Coach Your Client Through Life Transitions (2016) by Ligia Houben (264 pages)


Treating Traumatic Bereavement: A Practitioner’s Guide (2014) by Laurie Anne Pearlman, Ph.D., Camille B. Wortman, Ph.D., Catherine A. Feuer, Ph.D., Christine H. Farber, Ph.D., & Therese A. Rando, Ph.D. (358 pages)

Free Printable Workbooks & Handouts for Grief & Loss


grief & loss

For grief & loss related to suicide, see Resources for Suicide Prevention & Recovery.

200 Free Printable Workbooks, Manuals, & Self-Help Guides: Children, Adolescents, & Families

(Updated 4/6/22) This is a list of over 200 free printable workbooks, manuals, toolkits, and self-help guides for children, adolescents, and families. This post is divided into two sections: printable workbooks and resources for providers and printable workbooks and resources for families.

family
Image by Brad Dorsey from Pixabay

Please repost this and/or share with anyone you think could benefit from these free printable workbooks, guides, and other resources!


For additional resources for youth and family, see Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts and Social Work Toolbox. For additional printable workbooks and guides, see 500 Free Printable Workbooks & Manuals for Therapists.


200+ Free Printable Workbooks, Manuals, & Toolkits: Children, Adolescents, & Families

Disclaimer: Links are provided for informational and educational purposes. I recommend reviewing each resource before using for updated copyright protections that may have changed since it was posted here. When in doubt, contact the author(s).

FOR PROVIDERS

Printable Workbooks & Treatment Manuals/Curriculums

Printable Workbooks for Mood & Anxiety Disorders
Printable Workbooks for Substance Use Disorders
Printable Workbooks for Anger
Printable Workbooks for Self-Esteem
Printable Workbooks for Communication, Relationships, & Sexuality
LGBTQ+ Youth
Latinix Youth

Group Counseling Resources


Toolkits & Guides


FOR YOUTH & FAMILIES

Printable Workbooks For Children & Adolescents


Toolkits & Guides

For Parents & Caregivers
For Youth & Adolescents

Please contact me if a link isn’t working or if you’d like to suggest a resource for free printable workbooks or tools for children, youth, and families!

free printable workbooks

Book Review: Staying Sober Without God

Munn wrote this book because, as a nonbeliever, he felt the 12 steps of AA didn’t fully translate into a workable program for atheists or agnostics. This inspired him to develop the Practical 12 Steps.

staying sober

I stumbled upon Staying Sober Without God while searching for secular 12-step literature for a client who identifies as atheist. Jeffrey Munn, the book’s author, is in recovery and also happens to be a licensed mental health practitioner.

Munn wrote the book because as a nonbeliever he felt the 12 steps of AA didn’t fully translate into a workable program for atheists or agnostics. (For example, the traditional version of Step 3 directs the addict to turn his/her will and life over to the care of God as they understand him. If you don’t believe in God, how can you put your life into the care of him? Munn notes that there’s no feasible replacement for a benevolent, all-knowing deity.)

The whole “God thing” frequently turns nonbelievers off from AA/NA. They’re told (by well-meaning believers) to find their own, unique higher power, such as nature or the fellowship itself. (The subtle undertone is that the nonbeliever will eventually come around to accept God as the true higher power.)

In Staying Sober Without God Munn asserts, “There is no one thing that is an adequate replacement for the concept of God.” He adds that you can’t just replace the word “God” with “love” or “wisdom.” It doesn’t make sense. So he developed the Practical 12 Steps and wrote a guide for working them.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

The Practical 12 Steps are as follows:

  1. Admitted we were caught in a self-destructive cycle and currently lacked the tools to stop it
  2. Trusted that a healthy lifestyle was attainable through social support and consistent self-improvement
  3. Committed to a lifestyle of recovery, focusing only on what we could control
  4. Made a comprehensive list of our resentments, fears, and harmful actions
  5. Shared our lists with a trustworthy person
  6. Made a list of our unhealthy character traits
  7. Began cultivating healthy character traits through consistent positive behavior
  8. Determined that the best way to make amends to those we had harmed
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would cause harm
  10. Practiced daily self-reflection and continued making amends whenever necessary
  11. We started meditating
  12. Sought to retain our newfound recovery lifestyle by teaching it to those willing to learn and by surrounding ourselves with healthy people

The Practical 12 Steps in no way undermine the traditional steps or the spirit of Alcoholics Anonymous. Instead, they’re supplemental; they provide a clearer picture of the steps for the nonbeliever.


Before delving into the steps in Staying Sober Without God, Munn discusses the nature of addiction, recovery, and the role of mental illness (which is mostly left untouched in traditional literature). He addresses the importance of seeking treatment (therapy, medication, etc.) for mental disorders while stressing that a 12-step program (secular or otherwise) is not a substitute for professional help. In following chapters, Munn breaks each step down and provides guidelines for working it.

The last few chapters of the book provide information on relapse and what the steps don’t address. Munn notes that sustainable recovery requires more than just working the steps, attending AA meetings, and taking a sponsor’s advice. For a balanced, substance-free lifestyle, one must also take care of their physical health, practice effective communication, and engage in meaningful leisure activities. Munn briefly discusses these components in the book’s final chapter, “What the Steps Miss.”

Image by xxolaxx from Pixabay

Staying Sober Without God is well-written and easy to read. The author presents information that’s original and in line with current models of addiction treatment, such as behavioral therapy (an evidence-based approach for substance use disorder). Working the Practical 12 Steps parallels behavioral treatments; the steps serve to modify or discontinue unhealthy behaviors (while replacing them with healthy habits). Furthermore, a 12-step network provides support and meaningful human connection (also crucial for recovery).

In my opinion, the traditional 12 Steps reek of the moral model, which viewed addiction as a moral failure or sin. Rooted in religion, this outdated (and false) model asserted that the addict was of weak character and lacked willpower. The moral model has since been replaced with the disease concept, which characterizes addiction as a brain disorder with biological, genetic, and environmental influences.

The Practical 12 Steps are a better fit for what we know about addiction today; Munn focuses on unhealthy behaviors instead of “character defects.” For example, in Step 7, the addict implements healthy habits while addressing unhealthy characteristics. No one has to pray to a supernatural being to ask for shortcomings to be removed.

Image by m storm from Pixabay

The Practical 12 Steps exude empowerment; in contrast, the traditional steps convey helplessness. (The resulting implication? The only way to recover is to have faith that God will heal you.) The practical version of the steps instills hope and inspires the addict to change. Furthermore, the practical steps are more concrete and less vague when compared to the traditional steps. (This makes them easier to work!)


In sum, Munn’s concept of the steps helped me to better understand the 12-step model of recovery; the traditional steps are difficult to conceptualize for a nonbeliever, but Munn found a way to extract the meaning of each step (without altering overall purpose or spirit). I consider the practical steps a modern adaptation of the traditional version.

I recommend reading Staying Sober Without God if you have a substance use disorder (regardless of your religious beliefs) or if you’re a professional/peer specialist who works with individuals with substance use disorders. Munn’s ideas will give you a fresh perspective on 12-step recovery.


For working the practical steps, download the companion workbook here:

Note: The workbook is meant to be used in conjunction with Munn’s book. I initially created it for the previously mentioned client as a format for working the practical steps. The workbook is for personal/clinical use only.

50 Free Mental Health Worksheets & Handouts

(Updated 1/23/22) This is a list of 50+ mental health worksheets, handouts, forms, and more for mental illness/substance use disorders.

Please repost and share with anyone who might benefit! New resources are added on a regular basis.


Click here for a list of sites with mental health worksheets/handouts and here for for a list of free PDF workbooks, manuals, and self-help guides.

Find additional free mental health worksheets and resources at TherapistAid, GetSelfHelpUK, and Taking the Escalator.


Mental Health Worksheets & Handouts


Group Ideas & Topics

Group Activities

Good for newly formed groups. Each group member writes down their “first impression” of other group members. The facilitator then reviews each “impression,” and group members have the opportunity to share their answers.

Print/cut the cards, fold, and place in a container. Group members take turns drawing the cards and answering the questions.

Give group members 15-20 minutes to collect signatures. The first person to collect all signatures wins.

Print/cut the cards, fold, and place in a container to pass around. This activity works best with a working group.

Clinical Film Discussion Questions

Mental Health Handouts

Mental Health Worksheets

Workbooks & Bonus Materials


Daily Self-Inventory for Mental Health Professionals

Free Coloring Pages for Adults

Miscellaneous Printables


mental health worksheets