In early sobriety, Step 12 is usually the furthest thing from the mind of the recovering addict or alcoholic–and rightfully so. After all, there are 11 steps that precede the twelfth step and each one requires special care and attention. Plus, this step is about selfless service. Because selfishness is at the core of our illness, those who are new to recovery are not in the position to practice the spiritual principles implied in this step.
However, Step 12 is a vital part of sobriety. It’s important to recognize the value of this step and understand how it relates to the recovery process. While you might not be ready to work Step 12 –or even ready to think about it –getting a crash course on the subject might help you understand the bigger picture of sobriety. When you appreciate this step, you have a greater appreciation for whatever 12-step program you’re attending.
Step 12 says, “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts/alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs.”
This step is recovery in action. It calls us to make ourselves available to those who are seeking sobriety. Step 12 is about giving back what was so freely given and offering help to the still suffering addict / alcoholic.
Without Step 12, you would not have the support of your sponsor. You wouldn’t have the new friends you’ve met in recovery. There would be no one to chair meetings, or guide you through the first 11 steps. If there were no recovering people living Step 12, there would be no one to help you along your journey to sobriety.
Without Step 12, there would, quite simply, be no recovery
When we are newly sober, we have very little to offer. We are sick people looking to get well and the reality is; we simply can not give away what we don’t have. In the first few months, we have little more than a desire to stop drinking or drugging. We are still deeply rooted in self-centeredness and we lack empathy, compassion and insight. Our lives are unmanageable and we are powerless. We need to focus on working Step One, but we can only do that by walking alongside those practicing Step 12.
In order to get healthy and enjoy the gifts of sobriety, we must accept whatever help is being so freely given to us. Whether it’s a hug, a kind word, a ride to a meeting or a sympathetic ear during a late night phone call, we have no choice but to rely on others to guide us through the confusion of our new life. We need them to carry us through until we can stand on our own and bask in the beautiful light of recovery.
In the beginning, it’s okay to lean on those around you. Let them help you get back on your feet. Allow them to show you how to live life on its own terms, without the use of drugs or alcohol.
Just remember these acts of kindness, support and service when you come to Step 12. If you work your program to the best of your ability, you will eventually arrive at a place when you feel the desire to reach out a helping hand to someone in need. Then and only then will you be ready to work and live Step 12.