Saturday, August 8, 2009

Step Twelve

"Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practise these principles in all our affairs."

We all have our own ways to carry the message. Some of us bring newcomers to meetings, so they can be exposed to our wonderful program. Some of us are great at post-meeting parking lot encounters. Some are good at desperation phone calls. That last one is my forte. My phone line is always open to those who are wrestling their demons, and need a warm, welcoming, calming voice at the other end of the line. I will talk to my sponsees, or anyone in program, for as long as they need to, to get themselves back on an even keel.

I know full well how it feels to be on the calling end of that encounter, and how hugely grateful I would be to the Al-Anon member that slowly helped me work my way around to feeling that maybe life wasn't so bad after all, and I could handle whatever the crisis was, if I took it in small manageable sections rather than facing it as a whole, and how some could, once they'd calmed me down, get me into a laughing fit over the very thing I'd felt completely unable to deal with, when I'd dialed their number. I'd put the phone back onto the receiver and feel....better.

That's the word I listen for, when I get one of these calls. At times, it comes after 15 minutes, other times, it might take an hour and a half. It's almost always accompanied by a gusty sigh, and with that, I know I've done my bit, they've got a good chunk of program wisdom to carry with them into the rest of their day, and we can say goodbye.

I once had an Al-Anon member make a snide comment about the fact that I don't bring newcomers to meetings, and how was I working my program if I didn't do that? I went home, called my sponsor, and asked her directly if she felt I was lacking in this area.

Wise woman that she was, she briskly disposed of that, saying God uses each of us as He sees fit, and we are not expected to go out and proslytise for 12-Step - it's attraction rather than promotion, and if we don't run into those in need in our daily lives, nowhere is it suggested that we go hunt them down and drag them in, like trophies to our program.

I felt better after I talked to her.

The second half of Step Twelve, "practise these principles in all our affairs." explains that the wisdom we learn in our meetings can be expanded to our lives at large, to help make the world a better place. Not because of any glory we will get from it; (and there have been instances when I have had to wrestle a part of myself to the floor, put a gag over her mouth, and sit firmly upon her, in order to be able to practise these principles in a part of my life) we do it because it's the right thing to do.


  1. I know about that "calming voice". I have it to give and I have been on the receiving end of it. I am so grateful to God for that blessing.

    Thank you for this blog.

  2. I have had quite a few calls lately from those in trouble. I'm glad to be there for them. I'm thankful that I have something in the way of hope to offer.