Step 12 - Some thoughts on Step 12 shared with 12 Step Recovery.
The 12th step reads exactly “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs”. It is first very important that we read the step as it was written so many years ago. Why? You ask. The founders of this 12 step program were painstaking about writing these suggestions down. They based their writings on their personal experiences: what worked! So, if you want to get the true meaning of this, the 12th step; remember all that your English teacher taught you in school…notice where the commas are and know why they are there. If you do this, you will come to understand the overwhelming miracle that is step 12.
Now, let’s break it down together. There are three distinctive parts to the 12th step. The first part states “having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps”. That means, very simply, if you have worked the steps, you will have had a spiritual awakening. It doesn’t say you might, it asserts you will! So my fellow, if you are painstaking about your work with the first 11 steps you will have met and come to know your Higher Power. Ah, then you do know serenity and joy! Let me welcome you to a life that knows no bounds!
The next part of the step says “we tried to carry this message to alcoholics”. That’s pretty self explanatory. We carry the message that God can and will bring peace to the most wretched souls. In short we make ourselves available to our fellows and share our strength, experience and hope. Do I hear you question the word “tried”? That’s ok, most of us did. Trying means we make ourselves available; we share our strength, hope and experience; and we pray for those fellows that are still sick and suffering. Some will and do reject you and the 12 steps. That’s ok, we do not judge. We carried the message.
The last part of step 12 says “and to practice these principles in all our affairs”. Ok, here’s where life becomes simple. Now, now, I didn’t say easy, I said simple. the 12 steps won’t really work if you only practice them at meetings or in the company of other fellowship folk. The principles of honesty, spirituality and interest in others must become our way of life... at work, home, marketplace. When you apply these principles to all of your affairs, life is not longer complicated. There is not decision, “should I or shouldn’t I”. You will “intuitively know how to handle situations which in the past would baffle you”. Isn’t that the promise? Yes. And you know what? My experience says it works!
As I write this to you, I have a feeling of joy in my heart that you have come to this place. With our Higher Power behind us, in us, driving and navigating we do know peace.
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