The Importance of Working the Twelfth Step

The program of Alcoholics Anonymous has been sustained for almost a century thanks to its members understanding of their responsibility to the program. One of the maxims you hear in the rooms of recovery is “we keep what we have only by giving it away.” In other words, the only way for a person to successfully stay sober is by helping another suffering alcoholic or addict achieve sobriety. This is what the twelfth step is all about, and it is crucial you consistently work your twelfth step in order to succeed in recovery.

Many people balk at the idea of sponsoring other alcoholics and addicts at first, believing they are not ready and are not equipped to handle such a responsibility. This is just your disease complicating something which is not complicated at all! The only job a sponsor has is to lead their sponsee through the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous and help them work the twelve steps outlined therein. You have worked the steps thoroughly yourself, so you have the necessary knowledge and experience to guide another individual through the work. Do not question your abilities, but instead take a leap of faith as you did when you first entered the program and start sponsoring newcomers as soon as you can.

The other part of the twelfth step which often gets overlooked but is equally important is the need for us to practice the principles of AA in all our affairs. As a recovering alcoholic or addict, you are a living and breathing example of how the program of Alcoholics Anonymous can work in a person’s life. It is therefore critical you live as a beacon of hope for all those still suffering in active addiction, demonstrating exactly what a thorough adherence to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous can do to transform a person’s life. Falling short of perfect practice of the principles of AA is to be expected, but you must put forth consistent effort to live by these principles lest you appear to be a person lacking moral fiber, which would surely fail to provide an active alcoholic with motivation to try AA in order to change their lives.

Every one of the twelve steps of AA is important to our success in recovery, and unfortunately the twelfth step often goes without receiving sufficient effort and attention, perhaps due to your excitement to have completed the steps or your aversion to taking on the responsibility of sponsoring a newcomer. No matter the reason, you need to set it aside and be sure to work your twelfth step as thoroughly as you have worked the previous eleven. Without the twelfth step, the program of AA would cease to exist, and would not be here to help all of us recover from a hopeless state of mind. Do your part and keep the spirit and program of Alcoholics Anonymous alive and well so we may continue to live and thrive in sobriety!