Step12. Gratitude, an action word.
Signals Disclaimer: The following information on the 12 steps, are from how I interpreted the Big Book and/or the 12 & 12 book. I did my absolute best to explain what the books say on a step as simple as possible, but without straying from what the book says. All exact quotes have been changed for copyright reasons. Any quotes that do appear are from the first edition in the BB. Some of what I have written is from original homework assignments on the steps from what my sponsor gave me to do. Hopefully what I write can help. If anything, take what is useful and leave the rest. Keep it simple!
Chapter Seven (Big Book)
Working With Others
“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principals in all our affairs.”
As I have traveled through my journey of sobriety in the program of AA, the amount of support, concern, and assistance from others have been the key factors in the spiritual discoveries and achievements to my success. There is no question, to the importance of helping others. Without this, there would be no AA.
The majority of Chapter 7, Working With Others in the Big Book explains the vital importance of helping alcoholics, epically newcomers and those suffering from the torment of our disease. “Helping others is the foundation stone of our recovery”. And that foundation cannot exist without carrying the message. Step by step I have acquired the spiritual tools, gained knowledge of the disease of alcoholism, and given the gift of the ability of being able to live life on life’s terms. Step Twelve is the action step of giving back.
I like how this chapter gives suggestions on how to approach the newcomer. I will certainly turn to this chapter for help and motivation when speaking to one who is interested in a solution to their problem with drinking (and their lives.) To me, this chapter is like a “how to” guide. Many great points are made to make it easier for me and to help make sure my intentions are correct. Giving our personal experiences to the newcomer by talking about our past misery, our current solution, our realization of a higher power restoring our sanity, the importance of helping others, etc. are some of the tools we show them and how they helped us.
The chapter also talked about situations that I might encounter when speaking with a prospect and the best way to approach them. This chapter also made a point advising that it is up to the newcomer to have the willingness to change. If they are not ready, not to push it, for it could spoil a future chance to help them if they are ready someday. If someone isn’t ready or interested, the book reminds me to use the time and effort for those who show willingness. Once gaining the interest of a newcomer, and possible sponsee, I liked how the chapter talked about the newcomers family and domestic situations that I could encounter. Again, when situations arise, I love how this book gives suggestions for solutions. These are just some of many useful suggestions when doing action steps of giving back to the program that gave me a life I didn’t think I could obtain. Helping others is a way of not just being grateful, but showing my gratitude through action. I now understand when members in the fellowship say, “Gratitude is a action word.”
The last part of chapter seven, I saw as good inspiration of the joys of being spiritually fit. Being able to go anywhere, enjoying time with your friends even when there is alcohol being served, etc.
With the tools and knowledge we have received in AA, we learn that attitudes, emotions, and actions we were upset with, were of our own making. Every time I help a fellow alcoholic, I receive a spiritual boost that makes me realize how grateful I am is to be a member of AA.