"Taking" the steps

Old 11-13-2009, 09:37 AM
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"Taking" the steps

What specifically does this mean? I have sponsor and we have completed step one. We read the BB and 12 & 12 and discussed it.

I wonder if I am doing this right as I did not have a lot to say other than I have accepted that I am powerless over alcohol and that my life was completely unmanageable.

I feel like I am not getting the light bulb moments that so many of you are. I know it says that is not necessary, that it can be a learned thing over time, but still.

I interpret the program so far to be that a spiritual awakening is necessary to relieve the obsession to drink. That is the only thing that will work. Correct?

Next I have to turn my will over to the care of God and work the rest of the steps. These are the tools of sobriety. ?

Sorry if these questions seem stupid.
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:40 AM
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I just allowed it to unfold

it did

if it doesn't unfold for you after working them, work them again with another sponsor

trust the process

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Old 11-13-2009, 09:56 AM
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Well you know me, so we can skip the whole AA hardliner thing... nothing against it, I'm just not that.

Does it work?

If it works...

As far as those spiritual awakenings, or as I tend to view them, new realities... 'cause thats what they are--they hit me hard enough, and prove that they are in fact the reality I should have seen all along--give them time. They don't come on command, nor do you want them that way.

How it works (in my life, and yeah, bubbaland's a strange place) is it'll happen in EXACTLY the way that *I* will comprehend. In other words, in y'all case, it'll happen in a way YOU can understand... You don't want to rush it, and more importantly, it's so weirdly accurate, you find yourself kinda shy after it does happen....

Because who the heck are you to know my brain?

Banana, I think you're on the right path... keep marching lady. We're here.
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:56 AM
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I have heard of working the steps and taking the steps. For this alkie I took the steps, I took them to heart, to the inner depths of me and it led me to have a spiritual experince.

One thing you need to be aware of is a sponsor real purpose is to take you through the steps by sharing with you thier ES&H in doing the same thing. Do not hesitate to be totally open and honest with your sponsor, if you feel any where inside of you that perhaps you do have power or will have power over alcohol once you ingest it talk to them about it. If you feel that you managed your life just fine while drinking speak to your sponsor about it. For an alcoholic this is a matter of life and death.

As Ago said, it is a process though, you do not have to take every step to absolute perfection, take them with an open mind to the best of your ability, trust in the process, stay willing, keep moving forward. Remeber in "How it Works" we strive for spiritual progress not perfection, do not expect a bright light, a moment where everything just falls together at on instant in time, for many of us, myself included it was a series of small "Aha" moments that when all put together was the same as that flash of light instant realization.

I really like what Ago said here also:

if it doesn't unfold for you after working them, work them again with another sponsor
There are no rules in AA, take the steps with your present sponsor, if you feel you are still not there, I am sure you will be closer any how, find another sponsor and take them again.

It also says in the 10th step promises that these promises will come true, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, they will always materialize IF we WORK for them!

Take it easy, but take it!!! Even though this is life and death, do not panic if you feel you are not fully getting it, if you feel you are making progress then you are headed in the right direction and worrying or panicking will not help. Relax........ go with the flow, let in what comes in and accept that what does not enter now will as long as you work at it enter at some point in time.
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:02 AM
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BB appendix
Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.

Question: What is the difference between a "Spiritual Awakening" (where Step 12 says "as a result of these steps") and a "Spiritual Experience?" Is there a difference between the two?

Answer: In the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, the terms "Spiritual Experience" and "Spiritual Awakening" have become synonymous. The 1st edition of Alcoholics Anonymous "Big Book" published in 1939 used the term "Spiritual Experience" in Step 12; later editions changed the term to "Spiritual Awakening." In Bill's Story, his spiritual experience is described on page 14 in Chapter 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous' Basic Text. A more detailed explanation can be found where Dr. Jung carefully described the concept to Rowland H. on page 27 in Chapter 2 - There Is A Solution.

Because of confusion regarding the meaning of the terms, Appendix II was added to the Big Book fifty years ago to explain that a Spiritual Experience is relatively sudden, lasting only minutes or perhaps a few hours while a Spiritual Awakening is a gradual transformation that can take days, weeks, months or even longer; Prof. William James described a spiritual awakening as an experience of the educational variety. In his writings, Bill W. explained the difference, noting that among AA members who perform all the spiritual exercises described as "the steps", experiences like his are far less common than spiritual awakenings.

In any event, the result is the same; the individual has a personality change sufficient to recover from alcoholism.

For further explanation, see Appendix II -- "Spiritual Experience" on p 567 in the book Alcoholics Anonymous: the story of how many thousands of men and women have recovered from alcoholism 4th ed. (AA's Big Book) or at

It begins: "The terms "spiritual experience" and "spiritual awakening" are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms..."
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:19 AM
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The doctor's opinion, Bill's story and chapters 1-4 of the BB are really chock full of nuances about powerlessness and not having an adequate mental defence against the first drink.

Like the person named Jim mentioned in one incident I went back to drink because I hadn't maintained spiritual progress in my life. If you haven't relapsed (and I hope you don't have to) just bear in mind that this is what is needed, as you go along.

Some personal stories contain prayers with a good bit of step 1 in them e.g Our Southern Friend on page 215 (4th ed).

Step 2 is next. The above mentioned sections also deal a lot with this. And by the time we finished reading 'We AGnostics' both my (present) sponsor and I admitted to each other that we had not had a problem with the scientific issues mentioned in that chapter but simply that we didn't believe that HP had a shape and size of solution to fit my (and his) exact problems (wasn't personally concerned with us), in other words that was the point on which we too had been agnostic.

At meetings focus attention on those people who talk of their experience on the steps but among those, ignore those who talk of sponsors 'throwing their inventory back' , calling their inventory 'rubbish' or some such.

Listening to people who speak well of the steps has helped me place before my mind's eye an inviting prospect. With the approval of my sponsor I am jotting down points towards my step 4 inventory as I identify them.

Some sponsors get you to choose a church, a glade in a wood or other special (for you) place to kneel and pray the step 3 prayer. (I expect lots do it at their or their sponsors home - I know I did when I was on the steps previously)

I got to step 3 once before (before drinking again) but this will be the first time I will have started the inventory. It looks a far more pleasing prospect than it did before. Whilst the huge damage drink did in my life in the last few years has had a big influence on the way I view it, I am sure others speaking well of step 4 has also been influential.
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:24 AM
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First, bananagrrrl, these are not stupid questions. These are great questions.

In their simplest form, the steps are a set of actions that, when taken, will produce a psychic change sufficient to overcome alcoholism. The sponsor's job is to show another what those actions are by sharing their experience with them.

Here is the real kicker, though. You have to have your own experience with the steps. Based on your own experience with drinking.

Originally Posted by bananagrrrl View Post
I did not have a lot to say other than I have accepted that I am powerless over alcohol and that my life was completely unmanageable.
So, what does that mean to you? What does it mean to be powerless over alcohol? I can share with you what that means to me, and I have many times with others, but what's really important is what it means to you. That's how you take the steps to heart.

Light bulb moments don't necessarily happen at Step 1. In fact, Step 1's only purpose is to convinve you that you are hopeless. The design of Step 1 is to lead you into Step 2.

I had enough experience with not being able to stop drinking for any length of time to be convinced that I couldn't stop drinking. I was convinced that I was going to drink again, despite knowing exactly what the consequences would be. I knew I'd drink and my life would keep getting worse.

Originally Posted by bananagrrrl View Post
I interpret the program so far to be that a spiritual awakening is necessary to relieve the obsession to drink. That is the only thing that will work. Correct?
I think, on a general forum, it's unwise to talk in terms of the 'only thing that will work.' Others on here have maintained sobriety without AA. From the AA position, though, experience of others and my personal experience has shown that all these human efforts failed. I wasn't willing to seek a spiritual solution to my problem until I'd exhausted the other options. I would have preferred recovery without resorting to spiritual means. For me, however, it just didn't work. And I couldn't go on living like that. So when a solution was presented, I grabbed it. I didn't care if I didn't agree with it. I just wanted to end the nightmare I was living.
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:34 AM
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Thank you all very much. I appreciate it.
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