TWELFTH STEP GUIDE
“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
If we have worked and lived
the previous steps in a thorough and honest manner, the following is apparent.
We admit that we are powerless
over not only alcohol/drugs, but also others and that our lives have been, are now, and shall remain unmanageable by us alone.
We are coming to believe
that God can restore us to sanity as we rightly relate ourselves to Him.
We make a daily decision
to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.
We made a searching and fearless
moral inventory of ourselves by uncovering our acquired character defects as well as our assets.
We admitted to God, ourselves
and another person the exact nature of our wrongs. We started to clean our house.
We became entirely ready
to have God remove all these defects of character as we practice to correct them daily.
We humbly asked Him to remove
our shortcomings as we became more aware of the fact, “I, of myself, am nothing.
The Father doeth the works”.
We made a list of all those
we had harmed and became willing to make amends.
We made direct amends to
such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others. Finally,
we put the past in the past!
We continue to take personal
inventory and when we are wrong, promptly admit it. Thus, we are cleaning up
the wreckage of the present, now.
We are seeking through prayer
and meditation to improve our conscious contact of God within and without by praying only for His guidance and the power to
carry it out.
At this point in our recovery
process, we must be practicing the first two maintenance steps, Steps Ten and Eleven, to the best of our ability. In addition, we constantly check to make sure that Steps One through Three are evident in our lives on
a daily basis. If this is true, we are ready for Step Twelve, the last maintenance
Step Twelve can easily by
grouped into three areas. The first area concerns a spiritual awakening. The second asks us to carry this message to all alcoholics/addicts. The last suggests we practice these principles in all our affairs.
What an order—but we can carry it out if we look at those three areas and what they mean.
The first portion of Step
Twelve is—“having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps…”. This implies, in no uncertain terms, that as a result of practicing
all the steps, we have each found something called a spiritual awakening. This
spiritual awakening, which has come slowly and sometimes painfully as we were living each step in sequence, is nothing more
than a transformation to a new state of consciousness and being. At this point
we find ourselves in possession of a degree of honesty, tolerance, unselfishness, peace of mind, and love which we had thought
ourselves quite incapable of attaining.
In addition, we are now aware
of the havoc that the false self has caused us and are now determined to keep the “thinking mind” in its proper
role as our servant instead of our master. Each time that we gained deeper and
deeper awareness of God’s presence within, our consciousness was raised. This
program asks for progress, not perfection. So we must now continue daily to realize
a deeper awareness of God’s presence within us, or we will once again separate ourselves from Him. We are on a lifetime spiritual path. But at this point, our
spiritual growth is fragile and we should guard it closely. Seek truth and then
live it. Truth shall set us free. Therefore,
in order to allow this gift of a spiritual awakening to grow, we should look at the remainder of Step Twelve and find out
what we should be doing.
The second part of Step Twelve
is—“…we tried to carry this message to alcoholics/addicts…”.
As we carry the message to the next suffering alcoholic/addict, this finally translates the twelve steps into action. In order for us to properly twelve-step other alcoholics/addicts, we should have a
thorough foundation of this program and make sure that our own recovery process is in order.
The message we carry is one that shows how the steps transformed our lives—from what we used to be like to what
happened and how this transformation occurred. In other words, we must practice
this program daily before we can have a message to give away. Those of us who
have done this spread the message of hope with love, never forgetting that this program is a spiritual program—period!
Many program members declare
that no satisfaction has been deeper and no joy greater than in a twelfth step well done.
The unconditional giving and helping of others to move from darkness into light, to see their lives filled with new
purpose and meaning and, above all, to watch these people awaken to the presence of a loving God in their lives—these
things are benefits that we receive as we carry the message.
There are other kinds of
‘twelfth step work’. We sit in meetings and listen, not only to receive,
but to give the reassurance and support which our presence can bring. If called
upon to speak, we again try to carry the message. We can also give of service
to the program by making efforts; being a group secretary, treasurer, cleaning up, and in general doing whatever the traditions
suggest that needs to be done to keep the program together. Sponsorship, if approached
rightly, “freely you have received, freely give…” is the core of this part of Step Twelve.
The third part of Step Twelve—“…and
to practice these principles in all our affairs”—is the final section of Step Twelve. The program of recovery that each of us has developed in the doing of the steps means absolutely nothing
if we do not practice these principles in all our affairs. At this point in time,
many things may be going well for us. Beware—we temporarily cease to grow
because we feel satisfied there is no need for all the program’s twelve steps for us.
Maybe we are doing fine on the first half of the first step and that part of the twelfth step where we “carry
the message”. If this is the case, we are “two-stepping” back
Our troubles are the same
as everyone else’s, but when an honest effort is made “to practice these principles in all our affairs”,
well grounded programs seem to have the ability, by God’s grace, to take these troubles in stride and turn them into
demonstrations of faith. If we find ourselves still challenged by the lesser
and more continuous problems of life, our answer is in still more spiritual development.
As we grow spiritually, we find that the old ideas and negative thinking associated with the false self slowly disappear. So in order to grow, we must continue to practice the program’s principles in
all our affairs.
The purpose of writing the
twelfth step is to help us identify which areas of our own personal program need to be strengthened. In each of the three areas—spiritual growth, carrying the message, and practicing the principles
in all our affairs—we need to take a long hard look and see how they can be improved upon.
The following questions are
to help you improve your program by recognizing the areas that still need honest, thorough practice. Remember, your program of recovery does not end with the twelfth step.
It is just the beginning!
What does “having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps…” mean to you?
In what ways have you had a spiritual awakening?
Has your awareness of God’s presence within increased since you started to practice this program? How?
What does “…we tried to carry this message to alcoholics/addicts…” mean to you?
What is the message that you are trying to carry? In what ways are you carrying it?
What is meant by “two-stepping”?
What does “…to practice these principles in all our affairs” mean to you?
What are these principles that you should practice?
Why is practice so important to your continued spiritual growth?
10. If you are still having problems with life, what is the answer? Why? (see the 12th step in 12 & 12)
11. What is meant by “twelfth stepping”? How
can you successfully do this?
12. Explain why you have to stop fighting anybody or anything.
13. What does “understanding is the key to right principles and attitudes, and right action is the key to good living…”
mean to you?
14. Describe the essence of each of the twelve steps.
15. How does this program of recovery work?
16. Why does it work?
17. Now that you have finished doing the twelve steps once, how are you going to expand your program from this point on?
18. Has this program changed your life? In what ways?
19. Describe your view of yourself at this point.