Carry This Message
I used to expect reward for helping others – I now live a life of serving others whilst expecting nothing in return. It is by giving that we receive.
Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of working these steps, we tried to carry this message to the alcoholic who still suffers and to practice all these principles in all our affairs.
Living A Life A Life worth Living
An overwhelming sense of satisfaction and completeness is the effect delivered by helping another person without expecting reward. It is in my experience the most powerful currency a person can posses is Living a life of serving others above serving their own selfish means.
Step 12 instantly awarded me my life’s purpose. Most people go to the grave without ever discovering the joy of living life driven by a powerful purpose. Helping and serving other people without expectation, is the catalyst to a life worth living. Step 12 is the why I get out of bed every morning, is the why I am excited about life, why I am driven to succeed and why I go to bed feeling a sense of accomplishment.
In order to remain sober for the rest of my days, helping the alcoholic and addict who still suffers is mandatory. If I do not help other drunks like me I will eventually drink again. This is the truth of my reality. Notice the words intensive work with others. A part-time, now and again approach to working Step Twelve will not do! I have witnessed the majority of addicts in recovery taking this step far too lightly, and ending up miserable, separated, full of ego, drinking or dead. There is a price to be paid for the freedom we have been given through this program. What we have been freely given (our lives), we keep by giving away. There is a misconception that this miracle solution to addiction comes for free. It does not! The very essence of human nature quickly discards the value of anything given for free. Bill. W wrote – Unless the alcoholic continuously seeks to enlarge his spiritual life through constant self-sacrifice and intensive work with other alcoholics, he will not survive the low spots that lie ahead.
This is the price we pay for our sobriety, self-sacrifice, intense work with others and living a life serving others.
I am not going to go into the many intricacies of how to go about a Twelve Step call. The chapter “Working with others” in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is a masterfully written chapter on how approach the man who still suffers. Follow the precise and clear cut instructions in this chapter and you will have everything you need to equip you with the knowledge and skill of how to practice Step Twelve correctly.
The second part of Step 12 suggests that we practice these principles in all our affairs, what principles are they talking about? The principles outlined throughout this journey of working the previous 11 Steps, which has now started to become a manner of living. The correct way to practice these principles in all our affairs is to grow in understanding and effectiveness of Steps Ten and Eleven. Spiritual fitness is our goal.
There is no better spiritual work out than practicing the strict disciplines of Steps Ten and Eleven. Why do we need to keep spiritually fit? A great state of spiritual health promotes and insures permanent conscious contact with God. This is called living in an undisturbed state. If we slide down the slippery slope of separating from God again, by not engaging and living in the principles of Steps Ten and Eleven, or not making this way of life our priority, we will become diseased once again, and relapse will be imminent.
Above ALL our recovery MUST come FIRST, it must or we shall perish. Now what would above all look like to you? To me it means my recovery comes first above my career, my family, my partner, my hobbies, my friends, my sport, my TV, my entertainment, the list could go on to the moon and back!
So you have been suitably warned, put your recovery anywhere but in first place in your life and you can eventually look forward to a life NOT worth living, a life of misery and pain and the horrible fact of this awful half hearted way of life is that most of you will know that going back drinking and drugging is just not an option and that will slowly drive you back to the edge of insanity where the real darkness and death of addiction lurks.
The first part of Step Twelve states – “having had a spiritual awakening as THE result of working these steps”. This means just what it says. Unless the alcoholic has a complete psychic change, he is doomed to die the alcoholic death. A spiritual awakening is that complete psychic change, it is a dramatic change in the alcoholics perception of his situation and of life indeed. It is the revolutionary inner shift in the alcoholic that brings about miraculous changes in the life of one who used to suffer from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. It is a rebirth of possibly one of the most broken types of human beings that walks God’s given creation called earth.
I have had a spiritual awakening during my incredible 12 Step journey and find it less than easy to put into words how it feels, except that if heaven was ever a place on earth, the massive shift in my perspective on this world would be a quiet place in the warm sunshine of God’s everlasting kingdom where broken people like me can finally find peace and shelter from the raging storm of addiction.
The effect delivered by my spiritual awakening is proof enough to me that all I was seeking in the first place through my addiction was God and his power that is to be accessed in living his way of life.
I pray many times throughout the day “thy will be done not mine!” and I can feel his power flowing through me and washing all my doubt away.
I used to pray only two different types of prayers – God help me and God give me. I only pray one prayer now – God USE me.
The Step Twelve Promises
- You can help when no one else can.
- You can secure their confidence when others fail.
- Life will take on new meaning.
- When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.
- Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
- Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do.
- … God will keep you unharmed.
Paul Nobes – Author