Step 12 of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous reads as follows:
“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 twelve steps are intended to elicit a personality and attitude change that allows people to recover from alcoholism. Alcoholics Anonymous, essentially, is designed to be a solution to the chronic, debilitating disease that is alcoholism.
Although addiction is technically incurable, AA offers a level of support, guidance, and accountability that fosters sobriety and the motivation to avoid the use of alcohol or drugs. And why should we? We should do this to ensure that we do not return to a state of suffering and helplessness.
The steps are a set of universal principles that describe a course of action that will remove the obsession with alcohol from the mind and connect individuals to a higher power. As members continue to grow, the steps will show individuals how to help others who still continue to struggle.
Step 12 AA and the Spiritual Awakening
The idea of a “spiritual awakening” can have many meanings. Simply put, a spiritual awakening is a mental change that eliminates our obsession with drinking. For some, it can be quite an intense and immediate experience, while for others, it is a continuous part of working the twelve steps.
For most of us, however, enlightening moments are not sudden and dramatic. They are regular events that are part of a gradually-forming spiritual awakening—one that happens over a prolonged period in a relatively subtle way.
Carrying The Message
Carrying the message means, in part, that each person in recovery must act when another person reaches out for help. When we support and assist others, we reaffirm our commitment to sobriety, and our lives continue to evolve and change for the better.
Moreover, we don’t help other alcoholics merely because they have a disease. We do so also because we have that same disease, and part of our recovery is that we ourselves benefit from helping others.
Important points to remember about this aspect of step 12 include the following:
1) AA is a program of seeks to attract those with the desire to recover—it is not intended for promotion.
2) Members must talk to people when they are ready, not forcefully—when the time is right, the person will begin to ask questions or consider attending a meeting.
3) Personalize your message for the individual who’s dependent on alcohol and focus on your own experiences and how your recovery unfolded.
4) When talking to a potential new member, do not refer to that person as an alcoholic or addict.
5) Tell your story truthfully and in-depth and let the other person decide if it is similar to their own experiences.
Often, carrying the message can ensure that there is a welcoming, compassionate, non-judgmental environment for other alcoholics to come back to. This lets them know that they have friends whom they can count on for support and advice. AA should be considered a safe haven that is accepting and encouraging, and one that supports and helps rather than criticizes others for their failings.
The beauty of step 12 is that life can take on new meaning when we witness others recovering and helping others. Continual contact with new members and with each other can be a particularly illuminating spot in our transformed lives.
Practicing the Principles
When an individual has experienced a spiritual awakening as a result of their efforts, he or she is finally able to do and feel that which they could not do before. This gift is, in essence, a new and exciting state of consciousness and being. We have seized the opportunity to engage in the healthy thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and behaviors that we have been bereft of for so long. These include honesty, tolerance, unselfishness, self-forgiveness, love, and peace of mind.
Getting Help for Alcoholism or Drug Addiction
Over the past few decades, the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship has helped countless men and women recover from alcoholism and go on to lead fulfilling substance abuse-free lives. However, modern research has shown that group support works best when used in combination with a comprehensive treatment program such as that which is offered by Recovery By The Sea.
Our compassionate, highly-skilled staff use several forms of evidence-based therapy to help our clients develop the coping mechanisms they need to abstain from substance abuse and prevent relapse. We aim to ensure that each client receives the tools and support they need to experience a full recovery and reclaim the lives they deserve.
If you are ready to end the cycle of addiction for good, contact us today and find out how we can help!