The 12 Steps
Here are the 12 Steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery The 12 Steps are found on pages 59-60, Alcoholics Anonymous, the Big Book.
The 12 Steps are referred to in the Big Book, on page 58, where it is written, "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed out path."
The 12 Steps is the solution for alcoholic addiction -- referred to in Chapter 2, of the Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, titled "There is a solution".
Read closely on page 17, Big Book, last paragraph, where it is written: "The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism"
Now, ask yourself: "On what subject can A.A.'s absolutely agree on -- AND upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action"?
We know from experience that AA's can't agree upon much of anything, especially, abosolutely agree upon it! This was one of the reasons that Bill W. decided that it was so important for A.A.'s to accept and adhere to the 12 Traditions of A.A. -- where permission to disagree upon just about anything is acknowled and accepted. The A.A. Groups are given "autonomy" through the 12 Traditions, so that they didn't have to agree on everything -- they simply had to agree on "carrying THIS message" to the alcoholic who still suffers, so that they too, can recover. (The message is: The 12 Steps)
Just look at Step 12: "Having had a spiritual awakening as THE RESULT of THESE steps, we tried to carry THIS MESSAGE (the message we get from taking all THESE 12 Steps) to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The alcoholic has a two-fold problem.
- A physically abnormal reaction to alcohol (referred to as an allergy of the body).
- An insane obsession that centers in the mind -- regarding alcohol
Therefore, the Solution MUST be two-fold, as well.
- Absolute abstinence from all alcohol.
- Absolute Transformation of Mind and Attitude
We know, and most of us can accept from our own personal experiences as alcoholics -- and from what is written in Step 1, that the alcoholic is POWERLESS over alcohol.
And, from Step 2, and other references in the Big Book, we could automatically jump to a conclusion that the Solution is: Power (as in Higher Power, or God).
However, that is only accepting something that is partially true and conditional.
A Higher Power, or God, has always been in existence and with us -- even when we were at our lowest points of inebriation. The Big Book indicates that God has ALWAYS been with us -- even during our drinking and rebellion in Life.
We just didn't have a way of connecting with this Power to bring about a transformation in our mind, thought, attitude and personality -- sufficient enough for us to stay sober and recover from our alcoholism.
The 12 Steps is The Way, the Path, the Road to Recovery
Many of us came to A.A., and stayed sober while we began to try and PRACTICE the 12 Steps. For some of us, we never got over that silent obsession in our mind with alcohol. Sure, we were sober. Felt good. Things seemed to be going good -- then, after a time, we got restless, irritable, discontented or depressed -- and much to our amazement, we discovered that we had returned to drinking.
Or, for some of us -- we might have hit the lotto and got so happy, forgot we were alcoholic and we started drinking again!
Our book indicates that if you ask us -- most of us will not even have a clue WHY we started drinking again -- other than because we are alcoholics -- and we did what alcoholics naturally do -- they drink.
Then, what IS the Solution?
The Solution is: TAKING the 12 Steps -- and THEN practicing the 12 Steps!
"Here are the steps we TOOK, which are suggested as a program of recovery:" ~Big Book, page 59.
We must begin to look at the 12 Steps from a different angle that we may not have previously considered.
The 12 Steps is a FORMULA. A recipe. A method. To bring about a personality change sufficient to allow us to recover from our alcoholism. (see Appendix IV in the back of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, "Spiritual Experience").
The 12 Steps is a FORMULA. When taken -- will remove the obsession in the mind
The 12 Steps is a FORMULA. When taken -- that will connect you and plug you in to a Higher Power, that can begin to do for you -- what you could not do without it.
It's kind of like baking a cake. You can go into your kitchen and practice throwing a bunch of eggs, salt, sugar, flour and other stuff into a bowl and throw some water or milk into it -- toss it into the oven and bake it for undetermined about of time -- and when you take it out of the oven -- you might call it a cake, but the cake may be so horrible that you're not even interested in biting into it! What did you do? Your PRACTICED baking a cake!
Now, break out the old cook book -- and PRECISELY TAKE (FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS) the recipe for baking the cake -- and, you'll end up with a different cake!
Read the Forward, to the First Edition of the Book, Alcoholics Anonymous: "To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book."
Believe me. I understand the problem because I faced the same problem when I first came to A.A. in December of 1985. I didn't drink. I went to at least three meetings a day for five and a half months. I did my best to practice the 12 Steps (without TAKING the 12 Steps). I felt wonderful. Never felt better while sober! I felt so good that I decided to take a little trip down to Mexico, get a nice tan and look good and healthy when I came back to get my six month chip!
Less than 24 hours passed after I left an A.A. meeting -- and I was drinking again and didn't even realize I was drinking again!
It took another five and a half months of trying to go back to A.A. to get 24 hours of sobriety together -- and I couldn't do it!
That was when I finally discovered that for all that time in A.A. -- I had been doing it wrong!
On November 14th, 1986 -- I surrendered to the fact that I must absolutely give up and let go of everything I thought I knew about A.A. and the 12 Steps and do something different. And, I did. And, as of this writing -- I have been sober, and reasonably sane and healthy, and happy, recreating my life beyond my wildest imagination for the last 10,398 days in a row!
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.
For many of us -- we got sober and remained miserable. We werent getting better. We only THOUGHT that we were actually taking the Steps and practicing the 12 Steps.
Here is the Great Fact For Us... We were doing it wrong!
Once we got the Big Book out and really started following the instructions PRECISELY to TAKE the Steps BEFORE trying to practice the Steps -- we not only began to see progress -- we became transformed!
You NEVER have to drink or use again.
You CAN be restored to sanity -- and live a very sane, healthy and good life!
There IS a Solution. The Solution is in The Big Book.