Step 12 of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is quoted as follows:
“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 our affairs.”
The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are intended to evoke a sea-change in attitude and behavior that allows individuals to recover from the chronic and debilitating disease of alcoholism.
Although addiction is technically incurable, AA offers persons driven to improve their lives a level of guidance, support, and accountability that promotes sobriety and the motivation to steer clear of the use of alcohol or drugs. And why should we, you ask? We should do this to ensure that we do not allow ourselves to return to a miserable state of helplessness, hopelessness, and suffering.
The steps are meant to be a set of universal principles that describe a course of action that purge the obsession with alcohol from the mind and connect people in recovery to a higher power. As members evolve and thrive, the steps will teach participants how to help others who still struggle.
Step 12 AA and Spiritual Awakening
The idea of a “spiritual awakening” can bring to mind many meanings. However, the basic idea of a spiritual awakening is a mental change that eliminates our infatuation with drinking. It can be a paramount and intense experience for some, while it is a continuous part of working through the twelve steps for others.
In fact, for most of us, these enlightening moments are not necessarily abrupt and dramatic. They are everyday events that are part of a greater, gradually-forming awakening that subtly occurs over an extended period.
Carrying the Message
Carrying the message means that each person in recovery must respond accordingly when another individual reaches out for help. When we support and live up to the expectations of others, we reaffirm our dedication to abstinence, and our lives continue to change and improve for the better.
Moreover, we don’t reach out to help and support other alcoholics merely because they have a disease. We also do so because we have that same disease, and part of our recovery is that we benefit from helping others.
Essential points to remember about this aspect of step 12 include the following:
1) AA is a program that seeks to attract those with the desire to recover—it is not intended for promotion.
2) Members must be free to talk to people when they are ready, not forcibly. When the time is right, they will begin to ask questions or consider attending/participating in a meeting.
3) Personalize your message for the person who is still dependent on alcohol, and place focus on your own individual experiences and how your recovery developed.
4) When speaking to a potential new member, do not refer to that individual as an alcoholic or addict.
5) Tell your story honestly and in-depth and let the other person decide if it is comparable to their own experiences.
Often, carrying the message can guarantee each member can expect a welcoming, compassionate, non-judgmental environment for other persons battling alcoholism to come back to. This lets them know that they have a fellowship of friends they can lean on for support and advice. AA should, at all times, be regarded as a haven that is accepting and encouraging and supports and educates rather than debase others for their personal failings.
The ultimate vision of step 12 is that life can take on new meaning when we help others and witness them recovering. Regular contact with new members and each other can be an especially illuminating place in our transformed lives.
Practicing the Principles
When a person has experienced a spiritual awakening resulting from their efforts, they can finally do and feel things they couldn’t before. This gift is a new and exciting state of consciousness and being. We have now seized the opportunity to engage in the healthy attitudes, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that we have been depriving ourselves of for so long. These include honesty, unselfishness, self-forgiveness, self-love, self-reflection, and peace of mind.
Getting Professional Help for Alcohol or Drug Addiction
Over the past several decades, the AA fellowship has helped countless men and women recover from alcohol addiction and go on to lead happy and fulfilling substance abuse-free lives. However, modern research has overwhelmingly shown that group support works best when combined with a comprehensive treatment program such as Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery.
Our compassionate, highly-trained staff use several forms of evidence-based therapy to help those we treat develop and enact the coping mechanisms they require to abstain from substance abuse and prevent relapse indefinitely. We aim to ensure that each person receives the tools and support they need to experience a full recovery and reclaim the healthy lives they deserve.