More Comments About Step 12
Although we enter recovery to heal a particular affliction, we
find that, in the end, we have
received far more than a specific healing of an addiction; we
have received the gift of a
profound spiritual awakening...
The second phrase in Step 12 reads: "we tried to carry this
message to others." Twelve Step programs
place great emphasis on outreach to those who still suffer.
Another oral tradition says, "You can't
keep it unless you give it away." Having received healing and
spiritual renewal, we can retain
them only as we offer them to others...
On a practical level, psychologists have long believed that
there is a special capacity for
empathy between persons who have shared the same addictions.
That is why Bill Wilson encouraged
alcoholics to help other alcoholics, and it is also why we now
have such a proliferation of recovery
support groups for different dependencies. Again, the premise is
that people who have suffered from
an addiction and have found spiritual healing from it are in
better positions to understand and help
others with similar problems.
- Serenity, A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery, p.
Step Twelve is considered to be so important that it takes up
much more space in the literature
than any other step. It's almost three steps in one. I have
divided it into three parts to look
at in this chapter.
Having had a spiritual awakening...
We tried to carry the message to others...
And to practice these principles in all our affairs.
1... In the Twelve Step community the word spiritual
usually doesn't mean the same thing as the
word religious. For many, spiritual refers to being in
touch with and living on the basis of
"reality". A spiritual woman, for instance, would be in touch
with her own reality, her own feelings,
her own controlling and diseased behaviors and character defects
as well as her own preciousness and
gifts. She would be in touch with the reality of other people
and with ultimate reality in the
experience of a Higher Power, God. In that sense a "spiritual
awakening," whatever else it might
is an awakening to seeing and dealing with reality in one's own
life and in relationships with other
people and with God...
2... in the Twelve Steps, where people learn about God through
their own experiences with him, there is
no need 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. We know that until the pain of our lives was
greater than the fear of swallowing our
pride and going for help, we were not hungry enough for healing
to go for it through the Twelve Steps...
3... When we first read that we were to "practice these
principles in all our affairs," some of us
didn't understand. How could we use the Twelve Steps to deal
with conflict in a personal relationship
or a decision about buying a house? Gradually we realized that
"practicing principles" means taking
specific usable pieces of truth out of larger truths and
applying the smaller principles to a
- A Hunger for Healing, by J. Keith Miller, p. 196, 199,