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Step 12 - Purpose

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs


Spiritual Experience: Defined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as a psychic change. What is a psychic change? It is a complete personal mental revolution. The individual perceives, processes and reacts differently. They see and react to the world with completely new eyes. The person is physically the same, but spiritually, mentally and emotionally new.


The Spiritual Experience/psychic change is the result of the successful consummation of the recovery process. It is not a finale but rather a peak. It is the point in the recovery journey where the Addict can finally acknowledge their change and see a new life ahead of them. By this time they have had massive adjustments in their relationships, finances, physical appearance and selflessness. They will feel a sense of purpose and value that did not exist before.


It is not a place to stop. It is a point in their journey to press forward into the most critical aspect of the recovery process. Sponsoring (or helping) others. No activity has more impact on long term sobriety as much as intensive work with another Addict or Alcoholic.


Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry the message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail.

Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Chapter 7 pg. 89


We get what we give. As we give sobriety to others we receive it. As we help others we are helped. What we lecture or suggest that they do, we must do. What advice we provide is our own. We see OURSELVES in the individuals that we seek to support. It is our 10th and 11th step in 4D. It is our changing step. It is critical to our future recovery. If we don’t give we don’t get.


This was such an important aspect of the change process. The original members of the 12 step community would cold call churches, jails, mental wards, and hospitals looking for other Alcoholics in need. If they found any, they would share their stories with those individuals that were locked up over their issues. If one of them expressed a desire to know more or try to change they would begin right away. This was an altruistic endeavor. They freely gave what was given to them. This is the primary way the 12 step fellowships grew from 2 men to 100 to 150,000 to 1,000,0000 and so on. The need to carry the message has never changed but access to new people looking for help has become so much more abundant due to awareness, agreement and technology.


The original group had a hand full of men and women that met once per week to discuss their past, actions and results. Today there are hundreds of meetings with 30 + people every week in practically every city in America. The fellowships are currently active around the world on every continent (other than Antartica). New Addicts ask for help in every community around the country every day. All the individual needs to do is go to meetings, take commitments, open their mouth and share their story a few times per week. Offer a new person a ride to a meeting or join the HnI (hospitals and institutions) committee and bring the message to those who can’t get to it.


It is easy for any Addict to find someone to help. As they do, they ensure their future sobriety and continued change. This activity is the most critical aspect of the process. They simply must do it. It is not necessary to sell someone on getting sober. We don’t do that...ever. we work with those that have asked for help and are ready to get and stay sober. If someone won’t take direction/suggestions then we move on to another person and try again.


Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy.

Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Pg. 96


Step 12 Big Book Work (Carry the message)


1. Read Chapter 7 (Working with Others)

2. On a pad of paper write down what you did in short form to get to this point in sobriety

3. On a pad of paper answer this question - would you be willing to show someone who needs help, what you did

4. Do you have a sponsor? If not make sure you get one that you keep accountable too

5. Take 3 commitments (at 3 different meetings: book study, gender specific group, speaker meeting).

6. Share at least 3 x per week at various meetings your experience in recovery

7. Offer a new person a car pool ride 1 - 2 x per month

8. Join HnI and go on one panel meeting per month

9. Introduce yourself to new comers You can find them at any meeting. (gender same)


Principles: a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.


We have concepts and principles that we live by in 12 step recovery:

1. Character principles: such as honesty, willingness, forgiveness, diligence etc.

2. Steps: inventory, humble acceptance and service

3. Fellowship and support

4. Living in today

5. Traditions that help the fellowship stay strong


These concepts are tools that we use to stay sober, but they are much more than that. They are tools to help us navigate life in general. If we have other addictions we practice our principles to abolish them as well. If we have a family we relate our steps and traditions to our home life and make changes. The same in our career, finances and relationship to our body and mind. We apply our principles in our education, friendships and community. We adopt these tenants as tools to live our lives by. 12 Step recovery has simply introduced us to a process that makes our lives more successful. We don’t simply apply them in our limited addicted area of requirement. We use them universally in our life. At the 12 step we begin the process of investing them more and more into each aspect of our daily walk.


Step 12 Big Book Work (Practice the Principles in all our affairs)


1. How could the steps benefit you in another addicted area?

2. Make a plan to invest them in that area

3. How could the steps or traditions be translated into your relationship/work/or community

4. How could working with a sponsee by translated to helping an employee/child or friend?

5. How could taking commitments in your home/work/or community bring you closer to that group?

6. Make a plan to invest them in your home/work/community


How could helping another alcoholic change you? What would a psychic change create in you? How can you assess this? What is the benefits of consistent investment in the groups and others going to do for you? Next we will look at the traditions and better understand how they work in the fellowship so that we can better inject them into our home/work/community

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