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Old 12-01-2013, 09:12 AM   #1
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Default Step Twelve


Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

About Step 12

"Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics!" [Anonymous, The Big Book, A.A. World Services, 1939]

"When a man or a woman has a spiritual awakening, the most important meaning of it is that he has now become able to do, feel and believe that which he could not do before on his unaided strength and resources alone. He has been granted a gift which amounts to a new state of consciousness and being. He has been set on a path which tells him he is really going somewhere, that life is not a dead end, not something to be endured or mastered. In a very real sense he has been transformed, because he has laid hold of a source of strength which, in one way or another, he had hitherto denied himself. He finds himself in possession of a degree of honesty, tolerance, unselfishness, peace of mind, and love of which he had thought himself quite incapable. What he has received is a free gift, and yet usually, at least in some small part, he has made himself ready to receive it." [Anonymous, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, A.A. World Services, 1939]

"One of the paradoxical bedrock truths of the Twelve-Step program (and the Christian message) is that we can stay spiritually alive only by giving away what we are receiving. We do this through sharing our experience, strength, and hope as we tell others how we came to the end of ourselves and stepped through powerlessness into the program. We share what is happening to change our lives and give us hope. And we carry the message by helping people who are still hopeless, helpless and afraid. Christians call this "evangelism," but in the Twelve Steps, where people learn about God through their experiences with him, there is no attempt to "persuade" with theology or verbal arguments. We let pain do the persuading, because we know that it is only through pain that the hunger for healing comes that will make us ready to admit our powerlessness." [J. Keith Miller, A Hunger for Healing, Harper, 1991]
Step 12: Related Biblical Themes

* A spiritual awakening It is a fundamental conviction of all Twelve Step programs that we need more than just some new psychological technique. We need a spiritual awakening. This is a fundamentally biblical conviction:

"The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber. . the night is nearly over; the day is almost here." [Romans 13:11-12, see also Ephesians 5:14]

Exactly what this awakening looks like may vary considerably. For some of us it is the impact which powerlessness has on our entrenched grandiosity that leads us to a revitalized spirituality. For others, it is the process of doing our inventories that leads us to see for the first time that God is at work in our lives. For still others, it is when we begin making amends that we recognize that God is not just some magical, metaphysical, Santa Claus but rather a powerful, personal presence in our lives. The point of this part of Step Twelve is not to define exactly the nature of the spiritual awakening which is taking place in us but to gratefully, humbly acknowledge that it is, in fact, happening. We were asleep. Now we are waking up. Praise be to God!

* Carry the message to others To "carry the message" is to practice the spiritual discipline of testimony and it is essential to long term recovery. Testimony is a spiritual practice with a long history in the Christian community. Jesus put it simply:

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." [Matthew 5:16]

Unfortunately, in many Christian communities the spiritual discipline of testimony has become a predictable, tiresome exercise in evasion, half-truth and hype. People have learned how to give a good testimony but have forgotten how to give an honest one. The spiritual core of this part of Step Twelve is intimately connected to all that has gone before. We have been learning how to tell the truth and this step suggests that we continue that truth telling in relationships with other people. Neither biblical teachings nor Step Twelve encourage us to pretend we are further along in the journey than we actually are. Carrying the message is not a sales technique. We do not seek to market the spiritual transformation we have received. We simply seek to tell the truth about what has happened - and what is continuing to happen on our journey of recovery. The emphasis is the same as that found in Colossians:

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." [Colossians 4:5-6]

* Practice the principles in all our affairs The Twelve Steps ends with a powerful statement of the need for a comprehensive application of recovery principles to every area of life. Clearly, as far as the Twelve Steps are concerned, recovery is not just about sobriety. Sobriety by itself would be a gift of immeasurable value. But the goal of the Steps is larger than that. It is important to remember that the focus here, as in all the Steps, is on action. To "practice the principles" means to do them. Paul made the same point:

"Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice."[Philippians 4:9]

Another text making the same point is:

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." [James 1:22]

Finally, it is worth emphasizing that what we have learned in the Twelve Steps are principles which can be applied to anything we will face in our lives. We have learned here to face some painful truths about ourselves, we have learned to accept help, we have learned to tell the truth, we have learned to share what we have been given, we have learned to take responsibility for our actions and much more. We may find ourselves doing more advanced spiritual studies at some time in our lives, but we will not outgrow these foundational principles learned in Spiritual Kindergarten. May God grant you the serenity, the courage and the wisdom you need this day!
"No matter what you have done up to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day." --Brian Tracy
AA gives us an opportunity to recreate ourselves, with God's help, one day at a time. --Rufus K.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
God says that each of us is worth loving.
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