Dear Fellow Travelers,
Step Twelve Essay
We are now at the next Step before Step One. Working the Steps ought to
become a daily practice for us. Doing the Twelve Steps is the best exercise
we can do! And then we ought to make up some discipline for giving them a
thorough going over from time to time. For me, this has usually been an
annual trek, but this time it will have been a three months' experience. And
it has done me a world of good. I hope it has helped you.
For you will realize that I have done nothing more than a part of the
Twelfth Step, trying to carry this message to other COEs. But how important
that is. Service is one of the major ways we have of staying abstinent -- and
service is carrying the message, whether by word or deed.
Finishing the Steps is the first act. Many of you are behind, but do not
despair. There is no time limit on it, so long as you progress. You may
post your Step work to WTS at any time, and you may use my
suggestions or those of another. The main thing is to work them through to
the end. Recovery is fragile, but it is so much stronger when we have
actually worked the Steps. That's why this is a Twelve Step Program. There
are Tools of Recovery, and they are very important, but the Twelve Steps are
the sine qua non (without which nothing) of recovery.
A part of the plan which we unveiled in late December of 2000 was that
those who participated in this round would be asked to serve as Step sponsors
for any in the next round who might seek such. I plan to volunteer myself,
and I hope all of you will, too. I can assure you that there is nothing that
consolidates our own work better than sponsoring others in it.
The Twelfth Step speaks of having had a spiritual awakening. Now,
spiritual awakening is something that is highly personal to each individual.
But there are some things that may be universally true, or nearly so, that we
can say about it. A spiritual awakening has been described as turning around
and noticing reality for the first time. The reality we may have noticed is
that we have a Higher Power who can and will keep us in recovery if we stay
in touch with HP. For some, this is also a religious conversion, but for
others it is not, and whichever way is your way is what is best for you. But
the Awakening is the real key -- we find someone/something that we can trust,
and which is worthy of our trust, often for the first time in our lives.
But this awakening is just like everything else in our program. To keep
it, we have both to give it away and to internalize it. Thus we take the
message to other COEs and we practice these principles in all our affairs.
Taking the message may be to help someone to come to the program, or it may
be helping others already in the program. It may be as simple as coming a
little early and helping to arrange the chairs at a face to face meeting, or
an encouraging word to someone on the loop. We help keep our egos smaller by
service to others in program.
But also, we internalize the program. Whenever I have an encounter with
someone, I can choose to run that relationship by some evaluative parts of
the Steps, and see if I am OK with what is going on, or perhaps owe an
amends. They get so much easier when this becomes a habit. And we live so
much easier without harboring all those resentments. Each day, we strive to
stay conscious, by having a food plan of some kind, by turning it over, by
keeping in touch with good old HP. We learn to recognize the things we
cannot change, and give them over to HP, while working on the others. We are
becoming deeply serene.
And abstinent, and more normal in our relationships, and healthier, and
We will be free from this compulsion one day at a time for the rest of
I would like to conclude with this prayer:
O Higher Power, you seek to heal all who come to you. Look with compassion
upon all who through addictions have lost their health and freedom. Restore
to us the assurance of your unfailing mercy, remove from us the fears that
beset us, strengthen us in the work of our recovery, and to those who care
for us, give patient understanding and persevering love. Amen.