“Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
By the time you’ve reached Step 12, you might be feeling relieved that it’s almost all “over.” But you’ve probably already started to have a sneaking suspicion that you’re never really “done” working the steps.
Indeed, Step 12 is a way of life that you’ll carry with you for years – one day at a time.
That’s a big concept to fit into one sentence, so a lot of people like to think of it as three separate parts.
- The Spiritual Awakening
Many addicts and alcoholics have experienced some kind of “spiritual awakening” by the time they reach Step 12. But if you didn’t, that doesn’t mean that the program doesn’t work or isn’t for you. For a lot of people, the spiritual awakening is less of a lightening bolt moment, and more of a gradual process – an increasing feeling of serenity. By the time you’ve reached Step 12, you should be able to see – even in a small way – how that has been happening in your life. If not, talk with your sponsor about ways to connect with your Higher Power and the spiritual side of your program.
- Carrying the Message
To keep your recovery, you’ve got to give it away. Working a strong program means reaching out to help the addict or alcoholic who still suffers – but only if they want it. Remembering the concept of attraction rather than promotion is key: The best way to convince people to explore the path of recovery is to live a vibrant, happy, full life in recovery yourself. And when your Higher Power or your sponsor sends you an opportunity to help someone through service, say yes.
- Practicing the Principles
Remember, once you tell someone in recovery, you’re basically a walking endorsement. The way you treat people, the way you act in public – almost anything you do can be seen by people as an extension of your program. You could be the reason someone decides to explore recovery or not. And certainly, your behavior will affect how strong your own recovery is. Keep that in mind as you do your inventory every day.
Now that you’ve finished the steps, you may want to work them again in a year, or work one particular step as problems arise in your life. But no matter what, you’ll hopefully keep working Step 12 for a lifetime. It’s about developing your own serenity, and sharing that with others. Enjoy it.