When we showed up at our first AA meeting, the idea of ever reaching step 12 in AA may have seemed like a far-off fantasy. For some, it may have seemed impossible. But here you are, ready to embark on your final step.
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.
You’ve come a long way in your journey to recovery. When you began working the steps, you were practicing accepting the problem that these substances had created in your life. Now, here you are on the other side of the hill, awoken spiritually and ready to help others going through exactly what you went through.
What Does Step 12 in AA Mean?
The definition of a “spiritual awakening” is broad and can mean something different to each individual. In the end, though, it’s a psychological shift that allows us to connect to something bigger than us and eliminates the compulsive need to drink or use.
The concept of a spiritual awakening looks different to everyone. For some, it’s like a white light, happening suddenly and overwhelmingly. For others, it’s simply an ongoing process of working the steps.
How to Work Step 12 in AA
To work step 12 in AA, we commit to practicing the principles of step 12 in our everyday lives. These guiding principles will help to keep the obsession out of our minds and help us to continue growing spiritually while connecting with our higher power. These 12 principles are:
- Brotherly/Sisterly Love
- Discipline/ Justice
- Spiritual Awareness
Carrying the message means sharing the joy of the 12 steps with other addicts and alcoholics. Now that we are working step 12, carrying the message becomes a lifelong duty. This doesn’t mean actively going and recruiting new AA members; AA is a program of attraction rather than a program of promotion. Carrying the message can be as simple as providing a safe and welcoming space to anyone who is thinking of joining a 12-step program.
Will I Ever Be Done Working the Steps?
The short answer is no.
Just because you’ve made it to step 12 doesn’t mean you are completely done your program. You may feel like you are perfectly set up for a sober life. You very well may be, but be careful not to become too complacent. Complacency in recovery makes people more susceptible to relapses.
If you ever feel yourself slipping back into your addicted thoughts, turn to your sponsor, your loved ones, or your AA fellowship for support. Don’t be afraid to try another program to supplement the 12 steps, either. Many recovery programs use much of the same methodology as AA.
The gift of having worked the 12 steps of AA is that we’ve created a new state of consciousness for ourselves. It’s important to know, though, that maintaining this elevated state of consciousness requires work, so prayer, meditation, and self-reflection should be part of your habits moving forward. There’s no shame in choosing to work through any of the previous steps again if you feel a specific principle needs to be reinforced.
Need Help Working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous?
The 12 Steps of AA will definitely change and could even save your life if you’re struggling with addiction. The feeling of freedom that comes with reaching step 12 is like no other.
At Any Length, we use the healing power of the 12 steps to help addicted men find lifelong recovery from addiction. If you’re interested in starting the steps and would like to hear more about our programs, please give us a call today at (512) 746-7036 to find out how we can help you on your road to recovery.