12th Step Theme – “THE joy of living is the theme of A.A . ‘ s Twelfth Step , and action is its key word . Here we turn outward toward our fellow alcoholics who are still in distress . Here we experi – ence the kind of giving that asks no rewards . Here we begin to practice all Twelve Steps of the program in our daily lives so that we and those about us may find emotional so – briety . When the Twelfth Step is seen in its full implication , it is really talking about the kind of love that has no price tag on it .”
Spiritual Awakening – “When a man or a woman has a spiritual awakening , the most important meaning of it is that he has now become able to do , feel , and believe that which he could not do before on his unaided strength and resources alone . He has been granted a gift which amounts to a new state of consciousness and being . He has been set on a path which tells him he is really going somewhere , that life is not a dead end , not something to be endured or mastered . In a very real sense he has been transformed , be – cause he has laid hold of a source of strength which , in one way or another , he had hitherto denied himself . He finds himself in possession of a degree of honesty , tolerance , unselfishness , peace of mind , and love of which he had thought himself quite incapable . What he has received is a free gift , and yet usually , at least in some small part , he has made himself ready to receive it . A.A . ‘ s manner of making ready to receive this gift lies in the practice of the Twelve Steps in our program.”
12th Step Service – “Even the newest of newcomers finds undreamed rewards as he tries to help his brother alcoholic , the one who is even blinder than he . This is indeed the kind of giving that actually demands nothing . He does not expect his brother sufferer to pay him , or even to love him . And then he discovers that by the divine paradox of this kind of giving he has found his own reward , whether his brother has yet received anything or not . His own character may still be gravely defective , but he somehow knows that God has enabled him to make a mighty beginning , and he senses that he stands at the edge of new mysteries , joys , and experiences of which he had never even dreamed . “ Freely ye have re – ceived ; freely give . . . ” is the core of this part of Step”
Wisely Accommodating To Life As It Is – “We know this because we see monotony , pain , and even calamity turned to good use by those who keep on trying to practice A.A . ‘ s Twelve Steps . And if these are facts of life for the many alcoholics who have recovered in A.A . , they can become the facts of life for many more .
Complacency – We temporarily cease to grow because we feel satisfied that there is no need for all of A.A . ‘ s Twelve Steps for us . We are doing fine on a few of them . Maybe we are doing fine on only two of them , the First Step and that part of the Twelfth where we “ carry the message . ”
Practicing A Way Of Life – Our basic troubles are the same as everyone else’s , but when an honest effort is made “ to practice these principles in all our affairs , ” well – grounded A.A.’s seem to have the ability , by God’s grace , to take these troubles in stride and turn them into demonstrations of faith . We have seen A.A . ‘ s suffer lingering and fatal illness with little complaint , and often in good cheer . We have sometimes seen families broken apart by misunderstanding , tensions , or actual infidelity , who are reunited by the A.A . way of life. Like most people , we have found that we can take our big lumps as they come. But also like others , we often discover a greater challenge in the lesser and more continuous problems of life . Our answer is in still more spiritual development . Only by this means can we improve our chances for really happy and useful living . And as we grow spiritually , we find that our old attitudes toward our instincts need to undergo drastic revisions . Our desires for emotional security and wealth , for personal prestige and power , for romance , and for family satisfactions — all these have to be tempered and redirected . We have learned that the satisfaction of instincts cannot be the sole end and aim of our lives . If we place instincts first , we have got the cart before the horse ; we shall be pulled backward into disillusionment . But when we are willing to place spiritual growth first — then and only then do we have a real chance .
Emotional Balance & Spiritual Progress – As we made spiritual progress , we saw through these fallacies . It became clear that if we ever were to feel emotionally secure among grown – up people , we would have to put our lives on a give – and – take basis ; we would have to develop the sense of being in partnership or brotherhood with all those around us . We saw that we would need to give constantly of ourselves without demands for repayment . When we persistently did this we gradually found that people were attracted to us as never before . And even if they failed us , we could be understanding and not too seriously affected . When we developed still more , we discovered the best possible source of emotional stability to be God Himself . We found that dependence upon His perfect justice , forgiveness , and love was healthy , and that it would work where nothing else would . If we really depended upon God , we couldn’t very well play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care . These were the new attitudes that finally brought many of us an inner strength and peace that could not be deeply shaken by the shortcomings of others or by any calamity not of our own making .
Belonging – We begin to learn right relations with people who understand us ; we don’t have to be alone any more
Recognition & Response To Being Off Balance – This all meant , of course , that we were still far off balance. When a job still looked like a mere means of getting money rather than an opportunity for service , when the acquisition of money for financial independence looked more important than a right dependence upon God , we were still the victims of unreasonable fears . And these were fears which would make a serene and useful existence , at any financial level , quite impossible . But as time passed we found that with the help of A.A . ‘ s Twelve Steps we could lose those fears , no matter what our material prospects were . We could cheerfully perform humble labor without worrying about tomorrow . If our circumstances happened to be good , we no longer dreaded a change for the worse , for we had learned that these troubles could be turned into great values . It did not matter too much what our material condition was , but it did matter what our spiritual condition was . Money gradually became our servant and not our master . It became a means of exchanging love and service with those about us . When , with God’s help , we calmly accepted our lot , then we found we could live at peace with ourselves and show others who still suffered the same fears that they could get over them , too . We found that freedom from fear was more important than freedom from want .
Grandiosity & Emotional Immaturity – A number of eminent psychologists and doctors made an exhaustive study of a good – sized group of so – called problem drinkers . The doctors weren’t trying to find how different we were from one another ; they sought to find whatever personality traits , if any , this group of alcoholics had in common . They finally came up with a conclusion that shocked the A.A . members of that time . These distinguished men had the nerve to say that most of the alcoholics under investigation were still childish , emotionally sensitive , and grandiose … We have had a much keener look at ourselves and those about us . We have seen that we were prodded by unreasonable fears or anxieties into making a life business of winning fame , money , and what we thought was leadership . So false pride became the reverse side of that ruinous coin marked “ Fear . ” We simply had to be number one people to cover up our deep – lying inferiorities . In fitful successes we boasted of greater feats to be done ; in defeat we were bitter . If we didn’t have much of any world – ly success we became depressed and cowed . Then people said we were of the “ inferior ” type . But now we see ourselves as chips off the same old block . At heart we had all been abnormally fearful . It mattered little whether we had sat on the shore of life drinking ourselves into forgetfulness or had plunged in recklessly and willfully beyond our depth and ability . The result was the same — all of us had nearly perished in a sea of alcohol .
Some Powerful 12th Step Promises – We no longer strive to dominate or rule those about us in order to gain self – importance . We no longer seek fame and honor in order to be praised . When by de – voted service to family , friends , business , or community we attract widespread affection and are sometimes singled out for posts of greater responsibility and trust , we try to be humbly grateful and exert ourselves the more in a spirit of love and service . True leadership , we find , depends upon able example and not upon vain displays of power or glory . Still more wonderful is the feeling that we do not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy . Not many of us can be leaders of prominence , nor do we wish to be . Service , gladly rendered , obligations squarely met , troubles well accepted or solved with God’s help , the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort , the well – understood fact that in God’s sight all hu – man beings are important , the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return , the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self – constructed prisons , the surety that we need no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things — these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstance , no heap of material possessions , could possibly be substitutes . True ambition is not what we thought it was . True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God .
12th Step ‘How It Works’ Supplements – Understanding is the key to right principles and attitudes , and right action is the key to good living ; therefore the joy of good living is the theme of A.A . Twelfth Step . With each passing day of our lives , may every one of us sense more deeply the inner meaning of A.A . ‘ s simple prayer : God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change , Courage to change the things we can , And wisdom to know the difference .