The twelfth step of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principals in all our affairs”. A spiritual awakening is a change in attitude toward God and the way we live our lives.
We realize that God has touched our lives in a way that is profound. We no longer worship a bottle nor do we need to drink. Most of us live by the slogan “do the next right thing” which is taken from Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. We earnestly try everyday to be honest with others and ourselves. When our behavior becomes questionable we immediately try to figure out what is driving us and what we can do to change it. If we have offended someone, we make immediate amends. Most alcoholics and addicts have lived a long time with shame. As we mentally do all of the steps everyday we will find that the shame is leaving and it gives us impetus to continue to change. Many alcoholics had a hard time looking in a mirror when they were drinking. What we find once we have put the bottle down is that we have no problem looking in a mirror because we are learning to like the person we see.
The second part of step twelve is carrying the message of sobriety to other alcoholics. Dr. Bob, one of founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, continued to crave alcohol for the first two years of sobriety. He found that the only way to combat that craving was to go help another alcoholic. There is an old adage that says “to keep something, you have to give it away” and it is so true of a recovering alcoholic. I believe that no one understands and can really help another alcoholic or addict unless they have been there. I in no way discount the invaluable help of therapists that have never had a drinking problem. To truly understand the insanity of drinking and doing drugs long after we have lost everyone and everything, I believe that you have to have been down that road before.
It is important to remember that doing the steps is not a one time thing. To have quality and long lasting sobriety we must do all the steps everyday to the best of our ability.