Eliminating Limiting Beliefs in the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step groups


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Step 12 - Carrying The Message

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.   

Part 1 - It's Not Just Carrying the Message

Carrying the message of recovery to others who are still suffering from their addiction is an integral part of the any 12 Step Program.  It serves two major functions the most obvious is getting the word out that recovery is possible.

Back in the 1930s, 40s and even 50s, Alcoholics Anonymous grew mostly by this type of word of mouth, or as AA's say it, 'one drunk talking to another.' Back then 12 Step Programs weren't widely known and there was much more shame associated with alcoholism. Even admitting an addiction and trying to recover often meant the addict would loose his (and yes, in the early days it was mostly men) his job if his employer got word. So one talking quietly to another was the rule.

One addict to another

Early on, it was also recognized that a recovered alcoholic often got much better results working with a practicing drunk than did the clergy or people in medical or psychological professions. Some how, when I tell my drunk-a-log (or war story as they call it in Australian Narcotics Anonymous) to a fellow drunk, identification is often set up. The practicing addict can often believe me where he or she might not believe a counselor who hasn't been through the same sorts of problems.

Of course, that's part of the secret telling the truth about what it was like. The other part is having a willing listener. Like so many newly to recovery, I wanted to get everyone sober. Although I quickly did realize I couldn't jerk people off barstools, I was convinced that anyone who asked for my help really wanted it.

Not everyone wants help

Unfortunately, this just isn't true! Many come and just aren't ready, whatever that really means, to let go of their addiction. It took me awhile, and almost getting drunk because a woman wouldn't do it 'my way,' to realize that my job was to carry the message as best I could, but not get caught up in the results. The results do not belong tome, but to the other person and their God.

The other major reason we need to stay willing to carry the message is because it's so darned good for us! What better way to "keep the memory green" than to work with someone who is practicing? It puts our addiction in our face and is often a needed reminder of where we've come from.

There are lots of ways to get involved with this type of 12 Step work. We can reach out to a new comer, volunteer to help take a meeting into a jail or other institution or give our name to the Central Office or Intergroup that fields' calls for help. We can also, if we're inclined, let a few others know a bit of our story. I've had one doctor and one landlord refer people to me because I had told them a bit about where I come from not when I first met them, but over time.

Of course, carrying the message and being willing to carry the message also means we have a message to carry. Most often that is real experience with the Steps, or at least a few weeks of freedom for our

Love, peace and abundance,

 

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