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AA's 12 step program
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I attended my first AA meeting in 1974. In 1983, two years sober again after one slip, experienced AAs directed my focus to AA's Basic Text titled "Alcoholics Anonymous." Also called AA's Big Book, it's "clearcut directions" led towards my first actual recovery from substantial "underlying mental, emotional and spiritual causes" of addictions and mental disorders.
I attended early years of the circa 1980 Hyannis, Cape Cod Big Book Step Study Group. Several dozen BBSS groups "spun off" and follow the disciplined, complete and effective Hyannis BBSS format.
The 1939 first edition AA Big Book was followed by the 1953 AA book "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions." The 12&12 did not repeat vital Big Book directions, but "broadened and deepened the understanding" of those basic directions of "precisely how we recovered."
With this March 2003 update, my experience affirms ever stronger that the 12&12 added a life sustaining essential, Assets, in step 4. Clear recognition of Assets, that is, positive conditions, maintains emotional balance. The 12&12 infers that flaws-only inquiry may cause "wallowing in a messy bog." Some persons wallowed, then drank. Some died. (12&12 step4).
The 12&12 also adds "redoubling our efforts" when listing amends. This includes harms done to persons who did not fit Big Book 4th step categories of resentments, fears and sex episodes.
I now suggest studying each step from both books side by side.
While passing on the 12 step program, details presented here were developed from the Big Book, the 12&12, other AA literature and "other helpful books" as encouraged by AA's founders.
to Step details and examples: 1 -- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12 - step 4 worksheets
"We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable."
The preceeding "short form" of step one appears simple. Gut level permanence of sobriety, however, "develops slowly over a period of time" as the 12 steps treat underlying causes of compulsion to drink, while retraining us for "contented useful" lives.
Five "One Day At a Time" suggestions were passed down by my sponsor.
---- make a statement that I will not drink for one day;
---- attend at least one AA meeting;
---- talk to another alcoholic of sponsor level sobriety.
---- read AA literature. I read the Big Book Step 11 page 86 about "Upon Awakening......to end of chapter" each day, for several years.
Today, December 2001, my morning prayer inludes -
--- thanks for yesterday's sobriety,
--- Please help me stay away from a drink or drug.
--- the p86 statement, "Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be - divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives."
I make a statement of thanks before retiring at night and contemplate upon page 86 top paragraph which begins with "On retiring........"
to Step details and examples: 1 -- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12 - step 4 worksheets
"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity".
About ten years ago I spotted action sentences from the 12&12 about step 2.
"Just resign from the debating society and quit bothering yourself with such deep questions as whether it was the hen or the egg that came first." (about what God and sanity are.)
"The fact is that we had not cleaned house so the Grace of God could enter."
The word sponsor is used about 12 times in 12&12 step 2 . The Big Book, (Alcoholics Anonymous), tells that helper to "walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress" with the new person.
Instead of discussing God and insanity in discussion meetings, sane action suggests brief remarks about our use of action tools. "Keep it effectively brief."
Two minutes max in discussion meetings demonstrates sane effective recovery.
Fifteen minutes max in a speaker meeting was suggested by AA's co-founder Bill Wilson.
The Big Book suggests a structured three part story: "What it was like, What happened, and What it is like now." Some experienced convention speakers even use cue sheet cards or sheets. AA's #M1 beginner's meeting package instructions suggest that chairpersons might even prepare their presentation prior to that life-critical event !
to Step details and examples: 1 -- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12 - step 4 worksheets
"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him."
I don't dwell upon God to a newcomer. Even Atheists can transform their lives with tangible 12 step action to restore rational thinking processes and treat grosser handicaps.
From the 12&12 Step 3 - How to do it,
"We made a beginning by coming to AA.
"At first this higher power is likely to be our closest AA friend, our sponsor, who points out that coming to meetings is a good beginning but a far cry from a contented useful life.
That is just where the remaining steps come in."
From the Big Book Step 4 p64
"Though our decision was vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions."
While improving mentally and physically, then, Step 11 suggests improving understanding of whatever external power(s) we choose.
Step 4 has 6 parts in this version - The Big Book includes 4 parts. The 12&12 added thoroughness in Step 8 and assets in step 4.
Our Life's Names- Resentments - Turnarounds - Fears - Sex - Assetts.
A 5 subject, spiral bound, full size, college ruled binder is most popular in our area for the 4th step writing.
Part One - "Our Life's Names" is a master index which I added in response to a 12&12 step 8 sentence about an amends list.
"To a degree, he has already done this (list) when taking moral inventory, but now the time has come when he ought to redouble his efforts to see how many people he has hurt, and in what ways."
Because both the 12&12 and the Big Book state that the step 8 list begins with step 4, thoroughness is enhanced with this extra measure from the start. (for approx 10 years, this has been well received)
On 3 columns, front and back, of the first 10 pages of our notebook, list names of persons, institutions or principles as they enter our mind. Not necessarily resentments, this unclutters minds and enhances emotional balance for a hundred or more friends during eight years of use.
OUR LIFE'S NAMES - some may eventually qualify for resentment and/or amends work.
An R pg _ _ and/or A pg _ _, can be added later for quick finding of that work.
Wife Mary -- R pg11, A1 Judge Wapner -- R pg12 add any name whenever it Marriage -- R pg12 comes to mind. Son Jim -- R pg13 GMAC -- R pg14 A1 Not necesarily resented or Gas Attendent Joe for amends, this list Janice R pg15 A2 enhances thoroughness. The AA book "12&12" step 8 broadened upon the AA "Big Book" with, "To an extent, we have made this list (step 8 amends) when we took inventory, but now we should redouble our efforts...."
Part Two <> "List of Resentments" a.k.a "Grudge List." from BBp65
From Big Book page 65 (perhaps after "Our Lifes Names" on the back of sheet 10 in our notebook), we write headings in the top margin.
Also use 5 subject notebook section 2 for this.. It is not unusual to need another entire notebook for the resentment -- turnaround process..
Example of listing a resentment (grudge). in the top margin. Note: Other BBSS people may use different notebook layouts. Some use word processors, etc.
(Note, in the 12&12, BillW divided security (BBp65) into Material and Emotional.)
I'm resentful at: The cause: Affects my: Mergantha She's a meanie! Self Esteem She got restraining Emotional security order Material Security Ambitions Personal relations Sex relations
Every Big Book sentence about step 4 offers guidance on thinhg and acting to overcome the suffering of resentments. The 4th step prayer paragraph is thought by my friends as particularly important to contemplate each time we ponder a newly written description of a resentment. Big Book page 66 : It is appears on the path to the analysis and growth directions.
4th step prayer.
This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, "This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done. We avoid retaliation or argument.
So far, we have described the resentment. We frequently contemplate the 4th step prayer. Next is a structured analysis of the description. We learn how to perceive and treat defects in thinking and acting that contributed to the episode.
Called the "Turnarounds" in our East Coast Big Book Step Study groups founded on Cape Cod, the 4 Big Book basic flaws are: Selfish; Dishonest; Self Seeking; Frightened? (BBp67). The 12&12 added specific manifestations of the BB four. These are the seven cardinal sins. Note (again) - the 12&12 does not repeat but adds to the AA Big Book. The 12&12 forward stresses this important point. The two books are not either/or, but are both-together for the entire AA 12 step process.
In the Turnarounds, we contemplate and write a short phrase about each "Affects my:" that applied in previous description of the resentment. Thoroughness with Turnarounds clearly exposes our flawed thinking and acting. How to act effectively from now forward relates to 12&12 instructions in step five. "We must be willing to accept guidance and advice." I also try to teach how to research solutions for problems that triggered our past drinking.
As 4th and 5th steppers learn how to research "sane ideals" and to spot "flaws which block us", gradually they become freed of underlying causes of addictions and undesired types of dependence. Next is an example of a "Turnaround" - a name created by the Hyannis BBSS groups for the analysis of each "Affects my" from the resentment description.
From the BB p67, Where had we been.....
Selfish: (our Thinking): I wanted her to act the way I wanted her to act // I wanted her to think I was the greatest// I wanted her to depend on me // I wanted her to work more // wanted her to be a willing partner// I wanted sex only when I wanted it//I wanted............
These statements of selfishness describe our personal thoughts for each "Affects my:" from the left page. We don't put the action on the thought here. We describe the action under Self Seeking.
Dishonest: (Analysis): Illegal to hit her // Was copping out by drinking //Irrational to think I can not be happy if she leaves me // I did not have effective communication skills. // Irrational to think that it was her fault // Not realistic to think I can sleep around without arousing suspicion //..........
Consider all else written on this page as we list: Conflicts with the law and religious principles of choice. Indiscreet actions, Self delusion, Irrational thinking, Rationalization, Lack of skills -- particularly communication.
Self Seeking: (action or omission of action)(emotions = feelings in action!): I drank that night // I hit her //I slept with Suzy Q // Now I am sober // I'm putting into action my decision to work the 12 steps // I don't cheat on my beloved bimbo // I take care of the kids firsta fter my sobriety // I treat my wife as if she is a sick Alanon-- (page 452, BB) //
The action or omission of appropriate action. Did we drink, etc, over this resentment?
What would a recovered person do today in a similar event?
We probably don't accurately know up to this phase of recovery.
We become willing to accept advice and guidance from others who have surmounted similar difficulties.
Frightened: (Feelings): Fear she won't keep me // Fear I may need to find have another place to ive // Fear I will flip out // Fear I will drink // Fear I'll never a healthy relation // Fear I won't get along with people ever // Fear I won't feel sexually full filled //Fear of................//Fear that...........
"We ask God to remove the fear that... (Fear Prayer - AA Big Book p67)
........plug in the specific fears one at a time here.............
..... and direct my attention to what you would have me be."
"At once we commence to outgrow fear ! "
"FEARS" from BBp67 -- write in notebook section 3
Of what specifically, were we afraid ?
As we write the Fears in the preceeding section, AA's Big Book suggests the "Fear Prayer" BB p 68.
In the 3rd section of our notebook, we set aside 2 pages to list the general natures of recurring fears from the previous sections. We add known fears which did not relate to resentments.
After the 2 pages above in section 3, we answer BBp68 questions for each fear on one page each.
Fear of people's opinions Why did we have them? e.g. People criticized me // I felt I was ugly // When, where and how did the general nature of this recurring fear begin? As a kid, I got bored and noisy // My father then beat me // ..... Wasn't it because self reliance failed us? Yes, I see now that I did not know how to be think and act //
I did not know that strong persons utilize affirmation and wisdom of others who are effective.
This fear was irrational due to my lack of understanding.
Part four <> "Now about sex." from BBp68 - write in Notebook section 4
In section 4 of our 5 section notebook , some of us answer questions on Big Book page 68-70 3rd ed and the 12&12 page 119 for each episode.
Suzy Q Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? I only saw her after drinking with my friends // I told her I was working late // I did not call //........... Whom had we hurt? I caused her and her parents much anguish //............ Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness? Yes, I would not recognize my alcoholism //I was short tempered // .............. We got this all down on paper and looked at it. Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead? I should have called her // I should have left her //................... We subjected each relation to this test -was it selfish or not? Yep // I only used her for a feel-real-good rush // .................. Was compatibility at spiritual, emotional and mental levels a fact and not wishful thinking? I am a mental health client with meds, she is not . // I am hyperactive, she is calm //.............. I have just begun step 4, she has been through the steps at least once and helps others do the steps - hmm?
update 3/21/03 - An AA emailed his concern that I ignored part of the 4th step. The following quote from the Big Book includes prayers and directions how to think and act about sex.
"In this way (above writing) we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life.
- We subjected each relation to this test -was it selfish or not?
- We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them.
- We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.
Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it.
-We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing. In other words, we treat sex as we would any other problem.
- In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come, if we want it.
God alone can judge our sex situation. Counsel with persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge. We realize that some people are as fanatical about sex as others are loose. We avoid hysterical thinking or advice.
Suppose we fall short of the chosen ideal and stumble? Does this mean we are going to get drunk. Some people tell us so. But this is only a half-truth. It depends on us and on our motives. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. We are not theorizing. These are facts out of our experience.
To sum up about sex: We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing. If sex is very troublesome, we throw ourselves the harder into helping others. We think of their needs and work for them. This takes us out of ourselves. It quiets the imperious urge, when to yield would mean heartache."
"ASSETS (12&12 p46), and other status."
NOTE - March 14, 2003 - This updatable assessment of our condition is similar to the various inventorys described in the 12&12 Step 10.
Writing this part is commonly done in our main notebook section five.
Assets and other Status column labels material and emotional aspects of our life.
- In dated columns, we can rate 0 to 5 or 10, the status of each item. Rating is not detailed in AA literature.
- Regardless how we might feel at the present, we can look at this and quickly rejoice about improvement of our lives.
The categories below are examples, Others may be added.
Assets and other Status 1/3/82 1/1/90 6/3/93 8/5/96 3/11/99 Health - mental 1 3 5 7 8
1 2 4 6 8
5 5 7 7 8 Drivers License 10 10 10 10 10 Relation status spiritual 1 2 4 6 8
2 3 5 6 8
4 5 7 7 8 AVERAGES of above. Note improvement ! 3.6 4.5 6.3 7.5 8.7
6 6 7 8 10
5 6 8 9 10
2 5 7 8 9
1 2 5 8 9
1 2 4 7 9
1 2 4 7 10
1 3 4 7 9
1 3 5 7 9
1 3 5 6 8
2 5 6 7 8
3 5 7 8 9
2 3 6 8 9
Average of Step work
2.17 3.8 5.7 7.5 9.08
Recovery_Main_Page ,Print Format Step4-OurLife'sNames - Resentments - Fears - Sex - Assets.
Steps 1 -- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12
Step 5 - Dec 2001 - From AA's Big Book " We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world." to BB Step 5.
Since discussing my first 4th step with a Psychologist -- (one Big Book option for a 5th step helper), my perception of the 5th step has widened. Grasping the "Exact nature of wrongs" is much more than unloading moral defects. Flawed and omitted actions written in the 4th step under Self Seeking trigger the Big Book question,
"What should we have done instead?"
I can not over emphasize the value of every sentence about step five in both the book Alcoholics Anonymous, (Big Book) and it's broadening and deepening, The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, (12&12). Several excerpts from the 12&12 suggest a widened scope of effective 5th stepping additional to the Big Book's "precise" clearcut directions.
"The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comment and counsel on our situation, and there can be no doubt in our minds what that advice is."
"Only by discussing ourselves, holding back nothing, only by being willing to take advice and accept direction could we set foot on the road to straight thinking, solid honesty, and genuine humility."
-Added February 25, 2002
For my first 5th step, I literally followed a Big Book option from the sentences,
"If we cannot or would rather not do this, we search our acquaintance for a close-mouthed, understanding friend. Perhaps our doctor or psychologist will be the person. It may be one of our own family, but we cannot disclose anything to our wives or our parents which will hurt them and make them unhappy."
Looking back, I am grateful for that decision for myself. I sought a new psychologist for me for that task. First visit, I gave him a Big Book in order that he could read about steps 4 and 5.
The next five visits, we read my notebooks, one resentment at a time down through the "Referring to our list again............" analysis, then fears that had not revealed during the resentment part, then the sex episodes with answers to questions on pages 68 through 70 (BB 3rd ed).
What that psychologist did, I now regard essential to my condition today.
He discussed each episode. Psychologists and the next medical level up - Psychiatrists, in my experience, have had enough additional education and scope of experience to thoroughly listen and develop direction about all aspects of lives of most prospects.
Certified Counselors of my knowledge, who have less required years of training, may specialize in areas such as family counseling. They may not be as adequately trained for all things they hear from a thorough 4th step. Usually, they are competent to know when to refer certain tweaks elsewhere.
Therapists, a rung further down the ladder of training, may not in my state, be certified at all. These should be chosen carefully, perhaps with the advice and blessing of a higher level professional - doctor, psycholgist or psychiatrist.
Many readers probably know all of this. But, I have learned from experience to not blindly assume that another has all necesary insights about our life and death journey through recovery.
Fascinating that the 12&12 5th step added words about accepting advice and guidance. They also added qualifications,
"We shall want to speak with someone who is experienced, who not only has stayed dry but has been able to surmount other serious difficulties. Difficulties, perhaps, like our own. "
Realistically, most AA's have honest intent, but may not been challenged with. then realiably surmounted types of difficulties we may present. Again, we mean well, but may not perceive some limitations.
I try to follow AA suggestions from the Sponsorship Q&A pamphlet about having more than one sponsor. One reason given is to gain different viewpoints. I feel more secure about my sponsees if they also use a high level professional when more abstract needs exist.
The end of Big Book's step 5 reads:
"Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for an hour, carefully reviewing what we have done. We thank God from the bottom of our heart that we know Him better. Taking this book down from our shelf we turn to the page which contains the twelve steps. Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last. Is our work solid so far? Are the stones properly in place? Have we skimped on the cement put into the foundation? Have we tried to make mortar without sand? If we can answer to our satisfaction, we then look at
Early in my Big Book Step Study days, I heard that,
"Entire" willingness to be rid of defects of character is a product of thorough work on steps 4 &5. Note that step 6 in the Big Book is but a few lines.
I'll never forget the feeling near the end of my first step 5 , that obsessions with lust and anger could be removed. Entire willingness to proceed had occured!
A year or so later, a deeper layer of discontent surfaced. I had intended a thorough, perfect series of steps the first try, but what happened? Once again, the 12&12 offered a shot of reality. In it's Step 3, are the words,
"Nothing short of continuous action upon these (remaining steps) as a way of life can bring the much-desired result."
"Progress not perfection" appears a timely reminder at moments of confusion and doubt about the veracity of AA's 12 step program. Heard at this morning's meeting,
"Don't drink and do the next thing right."
Step 7 The short form of step 7 begins with "Humbly asked.........."
A tangible definition for humility helped me understand step 7. From the 12&12 step 5 is:
"Another great dividend we may expect from confiding our defects to another human being is humility-a word often misunderstood. To those who have made progress in A.A., it amounts to a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be. Therefore, our first practical move toward humility must consist of recognizing our deficiencies."
For me, therefore, thoroughness with steps 4 and 5 created step 6 willingness and step 7 humility as defined above.
Big Book step 7 prayer reads, "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen. We have then completed Step Seven."
The words shortcomings and defects of character are different, in my opinion. Like many other AAs, I interchanged them at first. But, I felt uneasy. Today I regard a defect of character as thinking that conflicts with recovered ideals.
A shortcoming is tangible action or omission of responsible action that fall short of recovered behavior. It could be thought of as a defect of character in action, or omission of appropriate action by a responsible person.
Considerable relief occured knowing that it is impossible to delete all undesirable thoughts. However, healthy action can be within our willingness to act correctly regardless of feelings and occasional wrong thoughts.
Repetition of recovered behaviors develops intuitive responses to things which used to baffle and frustrate us. Former faulty responses to life's events may pop into mind. Quickly however, newly learned and practiced thinking and acting overpower the old ways.
The 7th step prayer mysteriously and gratefully hastens this process for me in stubborn situations.
"It works it really does." (BB end of ch 6)
Step 8 - Made a list of those we harmed................
My experience with step 8 went the path of early AA's.
"We made it (the list) when we took inventory." (BB step 8)
However, during a score of years after those words were published, AAs observed that some folks harmed were not resented, feared or sex objects - (the three parts of the Big Book inventory format.)
A significant update appeared in 12&12's step 8. About the amends list, "To a degree, he has already done this when taking moral inventory, but now the time has come when he ought to redouble his efforts to see how many people he has hurt, and in what ways."
The 12&12 discusses emotional and other damage to those not necesarily resented, feared or romanced. We sincerely intended to love many people, but actually abused them at times with our "isms".
About ten years ago, I added OUR LIFES NAMES in front of step 4 notebooks. It is a "master index" of our lives inspired by that 12&12 direction that, "he ought to redouble his efforts..............."
I may be in a minority that has added a master index to the front of the 4th step inventory. It's use, however, is well received. Our Life's Names appears to unclutter and calm the minds of 4 thru 9 steppers. When in doubt, put the name down.
Each time a name, principle or institution pops into mind, we add it in the 3 columns on both sides of ten pages in the front of the inventory book.
Obvious resentments are processed with the Big Book Step 4 outline.
Gradually, we see our part and the harms to others.
We add an "A" beside the name in "Our Life's Names."
Little by little, we gain understanding of subtler harms to others we did not resent or romance. The 12&12 adds to the Big Book about less obvious behaviors that affect relations with others. update to step 8 - 1/28/03
Step 9 - Made amends except when to do so would harm.......(12&12)>......and have begun, by our behavior and example, to convince those about us that we are indeed changing for the better,.......
Credibility of amends assumes that damaging behavior has been treated and changed during steps 1, by not drinking, and 2 through 8, by achieving non abusive sobriety.
Every sentence in the Big Book and the 12&12 has guidance for the different settings that warrant amends. Please read these books together over and over about step 9, in order to not cause more harm.
Step 10 - Continued to take inventory.................From the Big Book p84 3rd ed,
"Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime."
By step 9, we probably have improved grosser flaws in our makeup. About ten years sober, with 8 years of Big Book focused step work, my sober life still had rough edges. I returned to college at age 57, studied Interpersonal and Group Communications, Logic, Psychologies - 101, Abnormal, Child , Adolescent - Crisis Intervention/Counseling, etc.
Gradually, I added 12&12 step meetings. I believe now that the 12&12 was inspired by early AA's struggling with rough edges even after grosser defects were treated by the Big Book. The 12&12 Steps 8 thru 12 plus the Traditions add much guidance to correct thinking behind rough edges of behavior.
Again from the Big Book p84, perhaps my most important alternatives to drinking,
- "Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.
- When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them.
- We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone.
- Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.
- Love and tolerance of others is our code."
Step 11 2007 updates about this writers experience follow paragraphs, as of 2004, next.
St. Francis Prayer in the 12&12 confronted me about motives during my early AA days . "By self forgetting, one finds." Some years later, the Big Book words loomed out with similar wisdom. "Resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help."
Most helpful to meditation about powers outside of myself were Big Book page 86 directions for starting and ending each day at a time. Link to p86 directions with comments.
With the linked page up or the Big Book open to page 86, consider that the first paragraph's directions calm and prepare the mind. Then we are in better state to consider changes in our usual opinions. We are ready for later directions such as "see where religous people are right" and "There are other helpful books also."
After a few hundred daily readings of p 86 , I heard mention in an AA meeting of the book "Sermon on the Mount" by Emmet Fox. Fox's book is reported as a main reference of AA's co founders before publishing the first Big Book. Indeed, my reading "The Sermon on the Mount" improved and even reversed many flawed perceptions of religion and God. Please read this reference revered by Bill and Bob. After AA's Big Book, many friends feel Fox's book to be most enlightening about step 11.
2007 January update.
Step 12 -- Three major parts --
-- Having had a spiritual awakening.....
-- Practice these principles in all our affairs......
-- Carry this message........
I can not stress enough that the 12&12 did not repeat the Big Book's clearcut directions for effective communication with a suffering alcoholic. Please read the Big Book chapter "Working with Others" over and over before saying much more than hello to prospects for AA.
I've come to value the 12&12's step 12 as a "check list" for self evaluation of one's recovering condition. This extra measure of rigorous honesty of one's self may be surprising. We can benefit much by careful contemplation of each comment about interpersonal relations, motives, etc.
Please carefully read both book's step 12. Big Book's step 12 opens with:
" Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure
immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.
It works when other activities fail."
to Steps 1 -- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12
Enjoying a contented useful life
July 25, 2004 (minor tweaks)
email to RogerG