The 12 Steps – Why?

The 12 Steps illustrated and explained
The 12 Steps

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came  to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. 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.

The 12 Steps is The Path To Recovery
The 12 Steps is The Path To Recovery

At the top of page 58, Big Book, Bill W., wrote: “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed out path.

How many times have you read that beginning sentence, of Chapter 5, ‘How it works’ – and spent much time contemplating what it actually means?  We hear it read, or we have been the one to read it – in the majority of meetings that we’ve attended, where they begin by reading a portion of Chapter 5, How it works.

And then, down the same page, we read: “Here are the 12 Steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery.”

Okay.  So we have a path. The 12 Steps.  And that’s our ‘program of recovery.”

Well.  Why do you suppose that Bill W., began that Chapter, with the first sentence: “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed out path.

Why is this important?

1. Where does the path lead to?

2. What do I get if I thoroughly follow the path?  What’s in it for me?

3. What do I get if I fail to thoroughly follow the path?

4. Why can’t I just read and understand what the 12 Steps are – and do my best to memorize them and practice them, and that’s enough?

I believe those questions are important to ask. 

I think some other important questions to ask is:  Why did I decide to go to AA?  What do I hope it will do for me?  How is it going to help me get what I really want?  What do I really want?

Each of us have our own objectives and motives as to “Why am I even here?”  Often, they are different.

Perhaps this is why one member chooses one way to approach AA and the 12 Steps, and another member decides on different way. And we figure ‘That’s okay.’  It is okay according to traditions.  It’s okay according to the results that you expect to get.  If it’s not okay – then, you most likely will fail to achieve the results that you want to achieve.

It’s kind of like, it’s a hot summer day. You go to the mall to shop.  As you get out of your car, you realize the windows are up.  It could get up to 140 degrees with the windows up – so you decide to lower the windows some, before you go into the mall to shop.  Then, you realize you locked your keys in the car.

One person might say ‘Oh, that’s okay – I’ll go in and shop and come back to the car later after it cools down outside.

Another person may say, “Crap!  Just my luck!  I’m stupid but I’ll call the guy at  ‘Pop-a-Lock’ to come out and open my door.  Damn!  That will be at least $50 bucks I can’t afford! But I have to do it.

Then, another person might say, “Oh holy crap! God help me! I’ve locked myself out of the car, it will get 140 degrees in there and – my pet, or my baby is inside the car!”  They will (I hope) choose different actions to produce different results than the two other persons, above.

Think about it.

Dallas B.