I thought I knew the meaning of love until my first grandchild was born. Grandmothers told me it would be indescribable and even more amazing than having my own children and not until I held my grandson have I felt a joy this intense.
The following is my final entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.
Step 12: “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.”
Step 12 is found in Chapter 7 (Working With Others), page 89 through page 103 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking (relapsing into addiction) as intensive work with other alcoholics (others with like addictions). This is our 12th suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you – to have a host of friends – this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.”
The following is my ninth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.
Step 9: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
Step 8 and 9 are combined in the literature and are found in Chapter 6 (Into Action), page 76, third paragraph through page 84, second paragraph of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. This time we will focus on Step 9 which is the step where we actually clean up our past so we can go forward into freedom.
The following is my eighth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.
Step 8: “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
Step 8 and 9 are combined in the literature and are found in Chapter 6 (Into Action), page 76, third paragraph through page 84, second paragraph of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. However, I will focus on Step 8 in this blog entry, which is, like Step 6 is to Step 7, a preparatory (willingness) step for Step 9. “We have a list of all people we have harmed from Step 4. Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will. If we haven’t the will to do this, we ask until it comes. Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over our alcoholism (addiction).”
The following is my fourth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.
Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
Step 4 is found in Chapter 5 (How It Works) page 63, last paragraph, through page 71 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. We are to take a personal inventory in order to “face, and be rid of, the things in ourselves which have been blocking us. Our addiction is but a symptom. We had to get down to causes and conditions”. Searching and fearless means thorough and honest. We cover our entire life, past and present, leaving nothing out, exhausting everything we can bring to consciousness. Having set a firm foundation in Step 3, we now have the courage and strength to look within and shine light on the true causes of our problems. What we discover we write down. We search through every emotional aspect of our lives, resentments (anger), shame/guilt (I am a bad person/what I did was bad), fear (stress, tension, anxiety, terror) and all of our life situations: relationships (sex/people/institutions), work/career (people and institutions), finances (beliefs and fear around money), spiritual (God/religion), health (physical/mental health problems). We look at our life events, real and imagined, how and why we were threatened by what we believed was happening, and how our actions and reactions created or contributed to the destructive outcome for ourselves and others.
The following is my first entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.
In my opinion, alcohol is a drug. Just as cocaine, heroin, or crystal meth is a drug. The 12 step program will work for any drug of addiction. However, since I am referring to the 12 step program defined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, I keep the wording of each step found therein. Please, feel free to replace the word "alcohol" in this issue with whatever suits your situation.
It takes more than one time to really get it. But when you really get it, you realize this isn’t just about alcohol, drugs, food or sex. It’s about being addicted to our own selves: our attitudes, our grudges, our resentments, and our pain...