the twelfth step in the program of recovery
12. Having Had a Spiritual Awakening as the Result of These Steps, We Tried
to Carry this Message to Alcoholics and Addicts and to Practice the Principles
in All Our Affairs
“The point is, that we were willing to grow along spiritual lines.”
(page 60). This may be our mission statement.
The twelfth step may be our statement of purpose. It has three points:
1) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, 2) we
tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and 3) to practice these principles
in all of our affairs.
The path for accomplishing purpose #1 occurs when we work steps 1-11 precisely
as detailed in the book from “The Doctor’s Opinion”
(8 pages) through “Into Action” (88 pages). The details for
accomplishing purpose #2 is found in Chapter 7, “Working with Others”
(15 pages). Therefore, the plan for purpose #3 — practicing these
principles in all of our affairs — must be contained in the last
four chapters (60 pages).
We too often hear people say they have worked all of the steps, but they
have not sponsored as much as one person. We also hear people refer to
the twelfth step as service, but they fail to mention sponsorship. By
watching their actions, they hardly practice the principles in all of
If we simply review the number of pages dedicated to each step, the twelfth
step occupies 75 of the 172 pages of the recovery portion of the book,
or 41%. If we have completed steps 1-11, we have only accomplished 59%
of the purpose, and if we sponsor one person, we still only accomplish
65% of the purpose of the program. So, practicing the principles in all
our affairs is where we actually become whole again.
My experience was that until I actually started sponsoring others, and
fully understood what it means to truly practice the principles in my
home, occupation, and other affairs, I did not have a contented life with
the potential for permanent recovery. Once I was willing to practice the
principles in all of my affairs, growing along spiritual lines just happened.