The twelfth step of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) recognizes that the practice and principles applied in the entire ladder continue throughout a lifetime. It is having the awareness to continue to live out the values of AA in our life and our relationships. Learning and personal growth doesn’t stop once we complete all the steps. It is a gradual and continual process. It continues as long as we are open to noticing, observing our inner and outer world, and it’s affect on others and ourselves. It is continuing responsibility for our actions, attitudes, and assessing our values and goals to ensure we are moving in harmony.
Maintaining sobriety is equivalent to a dieter who lost (fifty) 50 lbs. To upkeep the recent weight loss; personal habits, choices, and a support system must be maintained. The new physique is taken care of by consistent exercise, healthy food choices, and constant consciousness of the things they do, don’t do and consume. The same is true for a member of AA. Abstinence of alcohol unmasks many of the insecurities, fears, anger, sadness, and hurt covered by the veil of alcohol. To help continue the change in behavior the recovering alcoholic must find healthy ways to acknowledge and process those surfacing emotions on a daily basis. The principles of the twelve steps are a roadmap to notice, assess, and make adjustments to personal behavior that was denied while drinking.
Step twelve is based on the principles of service and gratitude. In service, we are helping others. In gratitude, we are thankful for the support, guidance, and safe environment to express our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs associated with our continued sobriety.
Since we have awakened from our own misguided beliefs, we have the experience, knowledge and ability to help others who may be struggling. As a member of AA it is our duty and privilege to pass on our wisdom, our understanding, and our support. It may be as simple as listening with an open mind and kind heart. It may be validating for the first time someone’s thoughts and feelings. It may be sharing from personal experience. It may be sponsoring a newcomer and providing consistent friendship and support for their sobriety. It may be any one or more of these deeds of service. The most important component is to offer compassion, understanding, and an empathic listening ear.
As part of the AA program we provide service to others with humbleness and gratitude. Having appreciation for a spiritual awakening is being thankful for the people who were there for us when we needed help. It is reflecting on what we learned, being grateful, and in turn sharing our knowledge. It is also assessing the approach that was given to us and adjusting it to what we would have liked when we first entered AA. How has AA helped you and how would you convey that to others in a helpful manner?
AA is about living a clean and sober life with meaningful and honest relationships. The twelve steps provide a foundation and platform to launch your personal growth and development of healthy relations with yourself and others. Following the principles one day at a time enhances our lives. The program when followed correctly ensures when we pass, we are remembered for being present, honest, courageous, humble, responsible, patient, and charitable with faith and hope for the future.
Here is a list of seven questions to help ponder your experience with the Twelfth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous.
1. Have you been able to reach out to another recovering addict? If so, describe the situation and how it feels to you.
2. What kind of approach would you like to have had when you first started the program? How can you implement your desired method in your life to others now?
3. How has the 12 Step program worked for you?
4. How do you usually handle conflict? Do you know of any way to be more effective in conflict resolution? If so, how would you become more effective? What would be the steps?
5. How much time are you willing and able to work with others on their program? How will you go about setting that time aside?
6. What resources other than AA can you call upon when you need help as a sponsor?
7. How and when do you know if you are suited to helping another person on working a 12 Step program?