Step 12 of AA
You have worked the previous eleven steps and you have come to number twelve. Now is the time that you commit to continuing to work the steps and to apply them to every part of your life. It isn’t just about addressing your drinking at this point. You are also asked to spread the message, often through behavior and actions.
Step twelve states:
“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
At this point, you should have had some sort of spiritual awakening. For some people, this is thought of more as a psychological transformation. This transformative moment is key to the 12 step process because it is a necessary component of freeing yourself from alcohol addiction. Now that you have experienced it, step twelve asks you to spread the message and to apply the steps throughout your life.
The following discussion should help you to better understand step twelve and how to work it. That’s one way to address recovery from alcoholism, for information about others, call 800-839-1686. All of your questions will be answered by qualified counselors. Call now.
What If I Haven’t Had a Spiritual Awakening?
First of all, you might think that you didn’t have one because you didn’t experience a grand epiphany, but it is fairly likely that any person working the previous eleven steps would have had one by step twelve.
Try taking a quick inventory. Answer the following questions.
- Has my addictive behavior come to an end?
- Are my ways of interacting with bosses, coworkers, neighbors, friends, family, and strangers healthier than it was previously?
- Am I no longer plagued with negative thoughts about myself and my place in the world?
- Do I accept others more than I would have in the past?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you diligently worked the first eleven steps. If so, you had a spiritual awakening. Your ways of thinking and interacting with others has shifted and that is an awakening.
Take time to celebrate your transformation. You are ready to work the rest of the step.
How Can I Help Others?
People working step twelve for the first time may think that talking about Alcoholics Anonymous a lot is the way to spread the message, but that isn’t really the most effective. Generally, you can do more good by setting an example with your behavior.
One common way to serve as an example and to support others is by being a sponsor. You need to understand the newcomer’s experience thoroughly and be prepared to guide newbies through the steps. Your own sponsor can help you to assume this role.
Another simple way to do good for others is to continue attending and participating in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. When you attend, you remind the other attendees that they aren’t alone and that they have a system of support. When you speak during meetings, you let others learn from your mistakes and to benefit from your successes.
If public speaking is hard for you, you can help set-up meetings and stay late to help clean after them. Without people doing this work, the meetings couldn’t happen.
When it comes to service work, the key is finding a job that works for you and doing it without expecting thanks or recognition. And studies show that helping others will also help you. Those who help are “significantly less likely to relapse in the year following treatment, independent of the number of AA meetings attended.”
How Do I Incorporate the 12 Steps into My Life?
This is often easier to figure out than spreading the message. You already have experience working the steps. You have been doing this consistently with the first eleven steps and you have step ten that you are practicing daily.
Now, you continue the work you have been doing and have already done on a continuing basis, you need to make sure that you apply all of the lessons you have learned to every part of your life and not just your alcoholism. For example, your moral inventory only dealt with defects caused by alcoholism. Now, it will contain all of your defects, regardless of cause.
Additional incorporation of the twelve steps is linked to longer periods of abstinence and lower chance of relapse, as well.
As you work on step twelve, you need to remember that the twelve step process is about progress and not about perfection. So, don’t stop working the steps because you can’t get them just right. It’s perfectly acceptable to fall short of your goal; in fact, it’s expected.
For additional support in your recovery journey, call 800-839-1686. There is an entire system of support waiting for you to ask.