Back in the summer of 2021, sober.coffee did a series of podcasts; each focused on a particular step. The series concluded on June 30th of that year when Mike and Glenn discussed the 12th step. You can hear that episode by clicking here.
There is so much packed in the 28 words that read:
Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
This post will bust this step down into three digestible segments:
Many get stuck on this sentence and the notion of a spiritual awakening.
Some have experienced a lightning bolt-type scenario where they just felt an overwhelmed sense of godness, followed by an immediate mindset change. Our experience was different, and nowhere in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous does it indicate a certain type of spiritual experience needs to happen.
We like to keep things simple, so we suggest that there is evidence of spiritual awakening as we and others can see changes in our lives that are consistent with a healthy recovery.
We're not suggesting conversion but like it more to transformation. For some, this happens rapidly. For others, it takes time.
The point is that our attitudes and actions morph into a better way of living.
The reality is that we have been through hell and awoken to a place of peace. It is this transformation that we believe is possible for everybody.
Carrying the message
It's that message of reconciliation that we feel obligated to share. We move to this requirement not because we are instructed to but because we hunger for this feeling to be experienced by others, for we know that those who walk through the doors of an AA meeting are desperate to change chaos for calm, pain for peace and darkness for light – they seek the hope we hang onto so tightly.
Whether we have a day or 50 years of sobriety, each person in recovery has a history to show and direction to give the newcomer. As a result, we regenerate hope and find purpose in the passing it along.
Carrying the message looks different for each individual, but there are more service opportunities than spacing in this blog to define each service area. It can be found in a warm, welcoming smile, a genuine sharing of one’s experience strength and hope, the gifting of a big book, a follow-up call or text, a trip to a hospital, setting up chairs or making coffee for a meeting, mowing a lawn, sponsoring someone, cleaning the toilet or starting a podcast.
The question we ask ourselves is; how do we pay back our community for the gift we've been given?
Practicing the principles
We find in the last of the last instruction a call to practice the principles laid out in the program of AA, which are hope, honesty, acceptance, patience, courage, integrity, humility, responsibility, willingness, forgiveness, discipline, service, and love.
We did not wake up one day conforming to a life lived on these principles. As the step pointed out, the transformation occurred over time and resulted from working the other 11 steps.
As a matter of record, we have not seen anybody consistently practicing these principles with each measure of their walk of life. It is progress we seek, not perfection.
May we walk in step today – the best we can!
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from a bonus drop sober.coffee podcast titled #E13 Step 12 - Carrying the Message……The podcast dropped on 06/30/2021. Click here to hear the podcast.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.