Step 12

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From the Foreword of the 12 & 12:  “A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.”

“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.”

The One Thing I Need To Know About Step 12:
Go Give It Away

of this Step:


Reading Assignment:
BB: Pgs. 89-103 / 12&12:  Pgs. 106-125
(Read Online)

Literature Reference:  “Here we turn outward toward our fellow alcoholics who are still in distress.” (12 & 12, Page 106, Step 12)

What Can I Surrender in this Step?
1.) Fear that I don’t have anything to give
2.) Laziness in practicing these principles in all my affairs


This step is divided into three (3) very separate and distinct parts. First, it’s an assumption that as a result of taking Steps 1-11, we’ve actually had a spiritual awakening. Bill W. describes for us his definition of the spiritual awakening (or experience) on page 567 (4th Edition) of the Big Book where he states that a spiritual experience is “a personality change sufficient to recover from alcoholism.” Once we have taken the first eleven Steps, it is widely believed that the alcoholic undergoes the kind of transformation needed to be able to actually BE a different person. A spiritual awakening is nothing more than a psychic change that, among other things, eliminates our obsession to drink. It is that change that becomes the foundation to the 2nd part of Step 12.

Going out and giving away what has been so freely given to us is our last and final written direction in our basic text. It’s no mistake that giving away the message that one can become recovered (not “cured”) from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body is the ultimate paradox in our program of recovery. It’s in the giving that we receive. Working with others has been the bedrock so many members of A.A. have found that will not only carry them through the hard times in their own recovery, but will strengthen and inspire their willingness to continue to “trudge” (one definition: to walk with purpose) our Road of Happy Destiny.

A.A experience has proven that NOTHING will insure immunity from drinking as much as intensive work (not just work, but INTENSIVE work) with other alcoholics, it works when other activities fail. You can help when NO ONE else can. It was the basis of Bill’s conversation with Dr. Silkworth shortly after his “white light” experience. One of Bill’s first thoughts (sitting on that bed) was that other people suffering from this illness could benefit from an understanding of what a personality change can look like for them too. So it was that God led Bill to Dr. Bob and what was to be a 15-minute first meeting, turned into over 5 hours.

It’s here that Part 3 of Step 12 starts. I get to practice these principles in all my affairs when I realize that my experience can help you and your experience can help me in ways that nothing else can. Practicing each of our spiritual principles is truly found in teaching another alcoholic how to take (not work) the 12 Steps of A.A. (and teaching them how to teach others). This will not only provide us self-centered alcoholics with a sense of joy in giving, but will help us to continue to uncover the flaws in our own character that continue to cause our failure along our journey.


You’re fully cured once you get through all 12 steps.  TRUTH:  There is no cure for alcoholism – for the physiological chemical imbalance in the body (the allergy) that causes an alcoholic to develop the phenomenon of craving once alcohol enters their system.  One CAN become recovered however from the seemingly hopeless state of mind and body that is found in every alcoholic.  Through an active taking of the 12 Steps, the alcoholic can find a life beyond their wildest dreams.


Taking a step displays a willingness to write inventory and allow it to surrender something within us. Write inventory on your most serious shortcomings around the practical application of this step in your life today (“How am I applying the principle found in this Step to every moment of my life?”).

In your Personal Relationships:

What have you done today to selflessly serve your personal relationships? (Be as detailed as possible failing not to miss anything in ALL of your personal relationships)

At Work:

As we did in this inventory for Step 11, go one step deeper and describe specific actions you have not yet taken to better serve your career/job.

With God and A.A.:

Provide three (3) specific examples of how you are serving God as you understand God today. Provide three (3) specific examples of how you are serving A.A. today.

Describe how you are practicing these principles in all your affairs.


  1. I have an alcoholic[s] (sponsee[s]) that I am teaching how to take the 12 Steps and teaching them how to teach others to take them?
  2. I am willing today to understand the difference between sharing my experience and my opinion. (Thought behind this statement: “You can debate my opinion all you want to, but you can’t debate my experience because it happened to me.”)
  3. I am willing to go to any lengths today to maintain my spiritual condition.
  4. I am willing to go to any lengths today to carry this message to other alcoholics.
  5. I am willing to practice every one of the spiritual principles found in our 12 Steps: Honesty, Hope, Faith, Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility, Love, Discipline, Perseverance, Awareness and Service in all my affairs today.

(If you can answer yes to these questions, you’ve likely taken this Step)

“It is in the giving of it away that we get to keep it.”

“Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.

May God bless you and keep you-until then.”

(Big Book, Page 164, A Vision For You)

DEFINITION:  Trudge – (verb) to walk with purpose.  🙂