In Alcoholics Anonymous the principles involved in the 12th Step are;
by helping other alcoholics we help ourselves,
by helping ourselves we help other alcoholics.
Fred P. shares his recovery experience, strength and hope;
During the early days of my sobriety, I was not aware that this suggestion was made to us in the 12th Step of the program. To me the Step read, “as a result of a spiritual awakening we carried the message to the other alcoholics.”
To this day, I am not sure of the spiritual awakening, but in those days I tried to carry
the message. Sometimes I think I tried too hard, not only did I try to carry the message, but on occasions tried to carry the alcoholic. Whether this did me much
good I do not know but one thing I am sure of it did not help my 12th Step work whatsoever.
Then one day when reflecting upon the Steps, I discovered the suggestion to “practise these principles in all our affairs.” It then came to me that if I tried to do this sincerely’ I would be doing 12th Step work continuously, not only with other alcoholics but also with my fellow man enabling me to live in harmony with the latter.
It still amazes me to what ends a practising alcoholic will go to resist getting his house in order and I am no exception. I resisted the change for the first two years of my association with AA. I might add that these years were most turbulent, of course, all of my own making, because I resisted changing my way of life. I did realise that it was necessary to make the change as I could see that it was as a result of a way of life that I persisted to drink but I still resisted the change.
However’ when I reached my own personal “rock bottom” and decided to join AA and accept that I was an alcoholic, and listen to my fellows with an open mind the way was made clear for me to climb the ladder of sobriety.
To maintain this change I had each day to try and practise the principles in all my affairs this being difficult at first as I was prone to want to revert to type. Here was where the 24 Hour Program stood me in good stead, I found I could manage one day at a time.
I must point out that I did not come to the 12th Step in haste. After a time of taking stock of myself a sponsor advised I was lacking in some regard and on examining the 12th Step I read what has now become the most important sentence in the Step “practice these principles in all our affairs,” and in trying to do this, I have found that the spiritual awakening and carrying the message are looking after themselves.