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How to Work Step 12 [Of the 12 Steps]

“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.”

The final step of the 12-Step Program requires you to carry the message to others and put the principles of the program into practice every day of your life. To help you learn how to do this, we’ll review this step in more detail below.

Related post: What to Expect at Your First AA Meeting

What Are the 12 Steps?

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 6: We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step 12: 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.

What Is Step 12 of the 12-Step Program?

Step 12 of the 12-Step Program is: “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.”

What Is the Purpose of the 12th Step in the 12-Step Program?

According to Bill W., the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, the only way to keep it (sobriety) is to give it away. He fully believed that helping others who were still struggling was just how the program worked. We can see evidence of that as there are countless AA groups around the world today.

AA members who have worked through all 12 steps have a lot of wisdom, experience, and hope to share with others who are just starting their sobriety journeys. However, if you are working Step 12 and choose to be of service to others, you’ll reap the benefits of this service work too! Not only can this service help give you a sense of purpose and keep you accountable to your own sobriety, but it can also enhance your relationships, inspire others, and remind you of how far you’ve come in your own sobriety.

However, working Step 12 isn’t just about helping others who are new to sobriety. Part of working this step is also setting a good example for others by consistently attending meetings and serving in other ways. For example, you might agree to speak at a meeting, help set up chairs, make the coffee, or give someone a ride to a meeting when they really need it. Regardless of how you choose to serve, it’s important to do these things without expecting any recognition or thanks, because that’s not what it’s about.

Step 12 is what keeps Alcoholics Anonymous going. Without people in recovery who are willing to help others and share their experience, strength and hope by speaking up in meetings, the organization as a whole would cease to exist.

Common Misconceptions About Step 12

  • You are fully recovered and the work is done. Recovery is a lifelong process so ultimately, the work is never done. While reaching Step 12 of the 12-Step Program is a true accomplishment, your work isn’t finished. Keeping up the hard work is what will help you stay sober, and with time, it will get easier.
  • You have to speak up in meetings all the time. Although speaking at meetings is highly recommended, just because you’re working Step 12 doesn’t mean you have to speak up at every single meeting. If public speaking isn’t really your thing, you can always share your perspectives and experiences in a smaller group setting or one-on-one with a sponsee. You can also choose to serve in other ways, such as making coffee at meetings, setting up chairs before meetings, or cleaning up afterwards.

How to Work Step 12: 3 Tips

1. Give to others and don’t expect anything in return.

One of the most important aspects of Step 12 is giving unselfishly and not expecting anything in return. This is part of what makes the 12-Step Program so great. If you think back to your earliest days in recovery and the love and care that others showed you in the program, this is why it’s so important to keep the work going.

2. Show yourself the same love and patience you give others.

It’s easy to be harder on yourself and begin doubting or struggling to stay sober, especially as you face difficult challenges in recovery. Just remember to be kind to yourself too and give yourself the same grace and love you show others who are new to recovery. 

3. Prioritize your spiritual growth.

Being giving of yourself does not mean giving everything you have. It’s not possible to pour into others if you’re an empty cup. Make sure to prioritize your own spiritual growth by continuing to meet with your sponsor, studying the Big Book, journaling, meditating, praying, and doing all the things that give your life purpose and meaning.

Related post: What Is the AA Success Rate?

Get Help to Work Step 12

The process of working Step 12 looks a little bit different for everyone. If you want help working through the final step of the program, your sponsor, counselor, therapist, or an addiction treatment specialist, can help you through it. 

At Eudaimonia Recovery Homes, our priority is helping individuals stay sober and achieve lasting success in recovery. We operate several sober houses in Austin, Houston, and Colorado Springs and offer intensive outpatient rehab in Austin and Houston. Our sober house managers all have personal experience working the 12-Step Program and provide ongoing support and accountability to residents who live in our homes.

In addition to requiring Eudaimonia residents to attend support group meetings, we also provide the following recovery support services to help these individuals sustain their recovery and continue working the steps of the 12-Step Program:

If you need help staying sober or you’re searching for safe, comfortable sober housing, please call (512) 363-5914 today to speak with a Eudaimonia admissions representative.

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