First Step Assignments

Step One of AA: The Journey Begins

The first step of anything is a beginning, so the first step of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 steps is the beginning of your recovery process. It’s actually really exciting, because it’s the first day of a new life. This is where the healing starts.

Doing the 12 steps is also referred to as “working” the steps, because it requires willingness, effort and action.  It is said the 12 steps of AA is compared to markers put out lovingly on a path by those who preceded us, to direct us on our journey. The journey can seem daunting from the perspective of a person at the beginning but fortunately all we are asked to do is to take one step at a time.

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

If lucky, our journey has taken us to arriving at a point of surrender. For some people the road they traveled getting to the first step in AA has been more than enough to convince them that unconditional surrender is the only option for recovery.

For a lot of people in recovery, walking into a treatment center or an AA meeting the first time is a major part of “working” step one. Your simple and humble act of asking for help is effectively an admission of powerlessness and unmanageability.

Most addicts are filled with guilt, shame, remorse, and self-loathing when they come into the rooms of AA. They’ve also gotten very used to keeping secrets from pretty much everyone, so opening up about the nature and extent of your alcoholic behavior is going against the grain. It may even feel completely unnatural and you probably don’t want to do it. But sharing your experience and the unmanageability lifts the burden of lugging them around in secret. Letting go of your secrets frees you up to move forward with a different, better life. For many people, the act of sharing Step One in an AA meeting is the true start of recovery.

However, becoming abstinent from alcohol will also be a requirement for starting to work the first step. The first step is all about looking at the effects of alcoholism in your life and for what is needed to be clean: to find a way to stop the behaviors with a perspective that isn’t clouded by alcohol. If you’ve been clean for a while, then the first step is about powerlessness over behaviors that make your life unmanageable.

Step One: Doing The “Work”

There are a lot of things alcoholics can do to fully work Step One. Most of the work is designed to unearth your complete history of use and abuse.

Inventories are a great way to work the steps—even starting with Step One. You can make a few lists:

  • A Consequences List: The easiest way to break through the fog of addiction is to create a list of consequences related to the behavior.
  • Powerlessness List: Go for as many examples of your powerlessness over your addictive behavior as possible. Be as fearlessly honest as you can, starting with early examples and ending with the most recent. (A note on “Powerlessness” this is used to exemplify the cravings in an alcoholic [or any addict] that are so intense that the ability to resist is almost impossible. Once an alcoholic takes a drink, a chemical reaction occurs within that body, setting off an intense craving for more.)
  • Unmanageability List: Write out the ways in which your addiction has created chaos and destruction in your life.

Here are some other really great questions to ask yourself while doing Step One:

  • What does the disease of addiction mean to me?
  • How has my disease affected me physically? Mentally? Spiritually? Emotionally? Financially?
  • How does the self-centered part of my disease affect my life and the life of those around me?
  • Have I blamed other people for my behavior?
  • Have I compared my addiction with other people’s addictions?
  • What does unmanageability mean to me?
  • What troubles have been caused because of my addiction?
  • Have I used alcohol or drugs to change or suppress my feelings?
  • What reservations am I still holding onto?
  • Do I accept that I’ll never regain “control” over drinking, even after a long period without use?
  • What could my life be like if I surrendered completely?
  • Am I WILLING: to follow a sponsor’s direction, go to meetings regularly and give recovery my best effort?
  • Have I made peace with the fact that I’m an alcoholic and that I’ll have to do things to stay clean?

Responsibility & Acceptance in AA

For each and every one of the millions of success stories in AA you will hear repeatedly about responsibility. It is our responsibility to stay involved in sobriety and follow our sponsor’s suggestions. It is our responsibility to actively cultivate and grow willingness. It’s important to grasp that you are not “powerless” completely: you do have the power to engage in a program of recovery, the power to choose not to abuse substances….but you are powerless over drugs and alcohol if you put them in your body.

Acceptance comes when we feel a profound sense of hope and peace in coming to terms with our addiction and recovery. We don’t dread a future of meeting attendance, sponsor contact and step work; instead we begin to see recovery is a precious gift.

It has been my experience that doing the steps has brought me serenity and the welcome realization that AA is not just a program where sick people get well—it is a way of living that is rewarding in and of itself.

Lot’s of people find that once they do Step One, that all manner of help appears! I feel grateful to have a program that expands as I grow. Having a firm foundation in recovery through steps has also given me a welcoming fellowship to accompany me in my journey.

There are several of these emails going around. I have listed a few of them below. I have also created a video that explains the scam, just press play below.

How The Scam Works

This scam is similar to many other scams, however, this scam is disguised much better. Here are the steps of the scam:

  • First, you receive a recruitment email from a secret shopper service, sometimes called SS-Network, Link Sole Services LLC, or a variety of other names. The recruiter tells you that you have been selected for an assignment as a secret shopper in your area. You will get $200-$300 dollars and will receive a packet that will have the funds for shopping. All you need to do is send them your name, address, age, occupation and an alternative email address.
  • After they receive your information, you will receive another email with your instructions and a USPS tracking number. In this you will be given instructions. The instructions are listed below.
  • You then will receive by mail a money order for a large amount of money. This is normally several thousand dollars. The money order looks legit. Per instructions, you are to cash this at your bank, subtract your payment ($200-$300) and then proceed to Walmart and spend $20 on any item you want.
  • Now you are to survey you experience at Walmart. This is where the scammer is trying to gain your trust. Their goal is to make this secret shopping scam seem real so that you don’t expect anything.
  • Your next assignment is to either send the money to another secret shopper or secret shop Western Union. You are to send the remainder of your balance to the person listed in your instruction email. Once the money is sent, you are to take note of how the service was and send them back an email letting them know your survey results as well as the transaction number.
  • A few days later, or even a week later, your bank rejects the money order since they realize it is a fake and the funds are removed from your account.
As you see, this is just a play on many other scams. If you receive an email asking you to be a secret shopper and it smells fishy, DELETE IT! Most secret shopping networks will have an official website where you setup your account. Normally, the amounts they have you performing your secret shop with is lower amounts. They also never ask for you to send back the remainder of the balance.

The Scam Emails:

SS-Network Scam Email:

Hello Candidate,

You have been selected for assignment as a Secretshopper in your area.
You will get $200 has been a Secretshopper and your employment packet
will include funds for the shopping. Full job description will be sent to you
prior in your assignment. You will have access to training materials after
you register. Money order/Payment check would be in a certain amount
which you would be required to Cash a your Bank, deduct your salary
and have the rest used for the evaluation.

Provide the following information if you interested and we can shortly
to the next step when this one complete:

* Your Name (first/last):
* Your Physical Address:
* City, State, & Zip Code:
* A g e:
* O c c u p a t i o n:
* Alternative E-mail:

We are waiting your good response, Thank you.

(Candidate from USA & Europe are allowed to apply for this offer)

Laurie Ridgway
Head of Recruitment
SS-Network @2012

The Instruction Email


Below is the tracking number from WWW.USPS.COM of your first survey as a Secret shopper or you can as well track it yourself today via WWW.USPS.COM to see the delivery summary yourself,it will be delivered to you today,be on a look out for the package today and look your mailbox daily.


You don’t have to worry,the job given to you is 100% legitimate and you have nothing to loose or worry about in working with us,we have licensed to operate as a Secret shopper within the united states,so all you have to do is to follow the instructions carefully and get back to me as soon as possible,you are to cash the money orders at your bank,deduct $300 for your salary and shop with $20 at any wal mart store.

Below is the instructions to follow;

1ST survey: You will be Evaluating any Wal Mart Store in your City,cash the money order or deposit the money orders at your Bank and then Go ahead with any Wal-mart Evaluation in your area.The money order you received covers all expenditures including evaluation, shopping , transport and your compensation ( salary=$300 but you get $300 Per survey and you get 2 or More surveys Weekly ) for these surveys. You are to purchase Goods of your Choice for your own Use not more than $20, at any Wal Mart Store close to you,below is the guidelines to follow at the store;

-Name and Address of the stores
-Procedure of attendance:
-How many attendances in the outlet:
-How many minutes it took for them to attend to you:

Email me back with the above guidelines as soon as you get the survey completed.

Also you will be using Western Union services to send the balance to another Secret shopper to carry out her own survey. As a secret shopper, you should go there and study how to send money and memorize all you see at the outlet.

The reason for the western union is because our Finance department has just established a new system that you might have never heard of and it is called Alert pay,and this service is been Privately owned and established under our management since 2004 with many competitors we have a very low rating and few customers and we want to develop and upgrade our service to the best and fullest. So we only need the report you provide so we can work on our service.This is why we want you to send the balance via western union transfer in minutes so that we can test the service if it is working properly.

Please try as much to be discrete while doing your work as a Secret shopper, just observe all you see and report back when you get back home. Your next survey would be giving to you immediately you complete your first survey.

Also to further finalize this survey, you have to get back to us with the below western union transfer information for the money you sent,you are to send the money in minutes :

As a secret shopper your job is to observe any thing useful going on in the outlet.Make sure you observe everything you see in there because you would be asked some other questions when you return.So then you would go ahead and make western union transfer to another Secret shopper for another survey.


Address: 15 AVON STREET
ZIP CODE : 1250

Email me the below details as soon as you get it done;

1. Senders Name and Address
2. 10 Digit Money Transfer Control Number {M.T.C.N}
3. The amount transferred after deducting western union transfer charges.
Thanks And Best Regards,
Bill Gary,
Hiring Manager

Many Other Secret Shopper Scam Emails:

Congratulations, We would like to let you know that you have been selected in your area. We do have all the required details needed and we are happy to congratulate you on your new employment. So I have documented a file for you and it’s in record.

Shopper’s Guide wants you to run a survey on two prominent companies in your area.

The 1st is a WalMart Store
The 2nd is a Western Union/MoneyGram Location

A Check/Money order of between ($800 – $2,850) will be mailed out to you to carry out the Evaluation.
The funds have been calculated to cover both aspects of this survey. You will be allocated $100 for the Walmart shopping section.

All you have to do is walk into any of its location buy, buy and buy till you exhaust the money provided for this section, but you have to be in the store for at least 30 minutes, watching and taking note of everything (Remember that everything you buy is totally yours).

The management of Walmart intends to change the store’s environment, color, gift items and shopping/carrier bags etc, we are also looking into putting a stop to poor services. For these reasons we have decided to give the customers the opportunity to decide.

NOTE: You are to keep the WalMart receipt of everything you buy to the report.

There has been reports about lapses in the services of their Management and some of their staff,the complaints were based on reports which their customers forwarded anonymously and Phone calls which were also made to the Head office.The Walmart locations were reported for Evaluation and Negligence for the following reasons:

(I) Poor services
(II) Rude behaviour to customers
(III) Excess charges
(IV) Late opening time and Closing before time.

YOUR SECOND EVALUATION ( Between $600 – $2550)

The 2nd assignment Western union/MoneyGram
As you know there are Western Union/MoneyGram Outlets offering Money transfer services.
A lot of customers have reported lapses in Money transfer services in some Outlets around the U.S. Our need to act is based on reports and complaints which some customers forwarded anonymously and phone calls that were made to our head office.

Agent’s locations were reported for evaluation for the following reasons;
Slow services
Unbalanced exchange rate
Poor services
Rudeness to customers
Excess charge


To make a transfer of funds from the location to our agent with the remaining funds after you complete your first task.Funds would be picked up by our agent at the exact location which a customer reported his/her funds missing from.

You will have to record the time at which you got to the Western union/MoneyGram Outlet and how many minutes it took you to get the service.

You will also provide us with the Name of the cashier that attended to you along with the Address of the WalMart store.

You will be paid a commission of $100 for completing both tasks. Also you will be on a basic monthly salary of $1000.00 which you will be receiving every last day of the month end. Your reports should be drafted and sent to me via email immediately the assignment has been completed.

Please remember what we are really after are the lines of Questions stated below, these are guidelines that you will lookout for during your visits to the WalMart and Western Union/MoneyGram Outlet.

-How long it took you to get services.
-Ambiance/ Outlook of the Shop/ Outlet.
-Name and Smartness of the attendant.
-Customer service professionalism.
-Reaction of personal under pressure.
-Information that you think would be helpful.
-Your comments and impressions.
-Your personal opinion.

Note: Please, confirm that you did received this message so that the we can process funds that would be sent to you for the assignment.You Are not required to use your money upfront for any reason. We would be sending funds for the survey.

We want your total Co-operation, Support, Availability and Trust. Please confirm(Acknowledge) receipt of this email, by writing back before we proceed further.

Please make sure you reply to this email with the following information below :
First Name
Last Name
Street Address ( NO po box pls)
Zip Code
Cell Phone Number / Home Phone Number
Current Occupation:
Alternate Email Address
Days / Hours Available

Email all your information to our email:

Thanks for your anticipated co-operation in order to start work soon.

Michael Bryan
Evaluation Coordinator


Welcome To Our Program – Secret Shopper!

We are accepting applications for qualified individuals to become Mystery/Secret Shoppers.

Job Description:
1. You will receive funding for the assignment.
2. You will receive the Instruction for your assignment via email on the location and details of the assignment.
3. You are to complete the assignment as fast and discreetly as possible.
4. You will be asked to visit a business location to conduct business be it a restaurant, shopping store etc.

You will receive a flat sum of $200 per assignment.
The company will furnish you with all expense needed for the assignment and any other expense incurred during the course of executing your assignment.

Interested Applicants are to forward Information below:

Personal Information:
Email Address:
Full Name (First, Middle, Last) :
Phone (Home & Cell) :
Full Address (No PO BOX):
City, State, Country :
Zip Code :
Gender & Age :
Occupation :

Thank you for participation.

Best Wishes and Regards.
Regional Instructor
Secret Shopper @2012



You have been selected for assignment as a Detective Shopper in your area, and You will get $200 being a Detective Shopper.Your employment packet will include funds for the shopping. We want you to participate because it’s fun & rewarding.

You will have access to training materials.

Provide the following details if you interested:
F u l l N a m e:
Address (NOT P.O Box):
City, State, Zip:
A g e:
E m a i l:
Phone Number (Cell&Home):

As a Detective Shopper You work and shop together for pleasure, and You only work 2-3 hours twice in a week.

We wait your good response, Thank You!

Secret Shopper ®


From: MS Network

Hello Candidate,

There is no charge to become a Agent shopper and you do not need previous experience.
The assignment will pay you $200/ assignment of 2 assignment a week.
This is a part time job and and you would have flexible hours.

We will provide you the money for all of your assignment.
Money order or payment check would be in a certain amount which
you would be required to cash at your Bank then deduct your salary and have the rest used for evaluation.

Provide the following information below to continue Sign up :

Name :
Physical Address :
City,State and Zip :
Contact Numbers :
Email addresses :
Age :
Occupation :

We are waiting your good response, Thank you.

Brad Smith
Manager Recruitment

 The Many Different Names and Titles:

Wilson Egan, Wilson Hudson, Peter Hudson
Lattern Survey Corporation

HireRight Mystery Shopper

Bryant Russell, Leisa Dobson
Premier Research Inc

Merlin Barret
MS Recruitment 2017

Lola Jonsen
MSA-Services Groups

Angela Baldwin.
MarketResearch® Secret Shopper
Task Manager

Robin Phillips
Project Co-Coordinator
Shadow Survey LLC


The Shopping Group

Walmart Inc
WM New Talents

Laurie Ridgway
Head of Recruitment

Michael Bryan
Evaluation Coordinator

Bill Gary
Hiring Manager

Angela Powell
Official Shopper

Peter Cullen
Secret Shopper®

David Kelly
The Mystery Shopper Team

Dr. Marine Anderson
Head Recruitment

G.A Spoon
Mystery Shopper(R).

Jennifer Holmes
Head Of Recruitment

Anthony Fitzgerald

Communications & Human Resources Center, USA.
Brent Consult®
1211, Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036

Alex Rogers
Link Sole Services LLC

Jeffrey Walker
Head of Recruitment

Brenda Atkins
Copyright @ 2016
National Shopping Service Network Inc.

Mark Tyler
Head of Recruitment
SS-Network @2016

Robert Pelland.
MS Manager

Greet America, Inc

Team Recruitments
MSPA Application 2016

Paul Briscole
Recruitment Officer/Payment Co-coordinator
Evaluating Research Inc.2016

Laurie Yeager
Recruiment Staff
MSPA Departement
Market Force Information
Team MS USA 2016

Lisa Green
HM-Agency Groups

Did You Receive One Of These Scams?

If you did, please post the email in the comments below if it is different than any of the ones shown above. Please remove any phone numbers or email addresses from the emails as I believe these numbers are fake and are actually phone numbers of actual people that are not involved in all of this.

Filed Under: Online Scams


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