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The Long Beach Gazette-Saturday, February 11, 2012

By Ashleigh Oldland

When Steve and Angie McCord first met, they were both participants in a 12-step program designed to help them overcome addiction — what they didn’t know then was that those steps toward recovery would help them find love.

“After meetings, we would find ourselves in the same coffee circle,” Steve said, admitting that he admired Angie from afar, thinking that she was out of his league. “Our friendship grew, and we started finding that we were always the last ones there (at the coffee circle) and our hugs began lasting longer and longer. The attraction really grew.”

Today, the two Long Beach residents are nearing their ninth wedding anniversary and are celebrating the release of their co-authored book, “A Spiritual Path to a Healthy Relationship.” Using principles of 12-step programs that can be applied to having healthy relationships, Steve, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and Angie, a certified life coach, use the book to share their story as well as 11 other stories  from couples.

“There are 11 stories in the book, plus ours, so those are 12 relationships and that’s a nod to the 12-step program,” Steve said. “The world is a better place with healthy relationships.”

The book, published in October by Central Recovery Press, shares effective tools, exercises, nondenominational prayers and anecdotes for single people and couples. Steve and Angie said the book includes methods that helped them stay together, and the two said they wrote the book — and gathered stories from other couples — to give others hope of finding and maintaining a loving relationship.

“We are exposing our own humanness and using ourselves as an example to offer hope in a way that people can relate to,” Angie explained. “We went from being hopeless and despairing over unsuccessful relationships in our past to feeling like we have something to share that can help others.”

When Steve and Angie decided they wanted to write a book together, they kept separate manuscripts and then combined them into one book broken down into five sections: how they found one another when they were single; how couples, such as Steve and Angie, overcame obstacles and personality differences; activities and exercises that can be used to maintain a positive relationship; keeping the “I” in relationships and practicing personal care for yourself in a relationship; and stories from other couples Steve and Angie have met during annual Valentine’s Day couples’ retreats.

The two said the book is meant for anyone who longs for love, anyone who seeks recovery from any addiction or really anyone who wants to improve themselves or their relationships with others.

“We are eternally grateful for the forces that brought us together and for the honor and privilege of trying to pass on what has been so freely given to us,” the two wrote in the book’s acknowledgements page.

Copies of “A Spiritual Path to a Healthy Relationship” are available in paperback online at www.centralrecoverypress.com/books/aspiritualpath.

Also, the website includes exercises for couples. The book is available in local bookstores such as Easy Does It and Barnes & Noble.