In 1935, Bill W, the founder of AA, made a business trip to Akron, OH. The business venture didn’t go well, and Bill found himself returning to his hotel without enough money to pay the bill or to pay for the trip home to his wife. As he passed the hotel bar he heard the familiar sounds and was hit with a strong desire to enter the bar to seek comfort for his frustrations. As he stood outside the bar he noticed a pay phone nearby. Bill decided that his only hope for staying sober was to help another alcoholic, so he entered the phone booth and started to call numbers on a church directory that he saw there. Eventually Bill was introduced to Dr. Bob. Dr. Bob had been unable to stay sober on his own so after a little coercion, he agreed to give Bill W 15 minutes. 15 minutes turned into 4 hours as Bill shared his story with Dr. Bob and shortly thereafter Dr. Bob took his last drink. This approach, of sharing one person’s story with another, seemed to have worked, so Bill W and Dr. Bob decided to try it with another alcoholic and AA was born.
It was my experience that hearing another person share their story of recovery gave me the courage to attempt recovery for myself that I was never able to find in lectures from friends and family, or even in the consequences of my addiction. I found courage when I heard the story of another person that I could identify with. It has also been my experience that If I want to continue in my recovery then I must share my message of hope with others and the steps that have led me to recovery must continue to be followed. As I share my journey with others the work that God has done through these steps is constantly in front of me. I continue to recognize my powerlessness apart from God. I continue to take inventory and promptly admit my wrongs. I continue to make amends and to seek God through prayer and meditation. And I continue to walk in recovery.
My experience of Step 12 has also expanded to include service. This can be things like setting up chairs or making coffee for a meeting. It can mean offering a ride. It may look like listening when someone needs to unload a burden. My experience has been that my recovery grows and expands when I loosen my grip in order to share what I have experienced with someone else.
I will close by sharing a thought once again that I have mentioned many times through this series. The 12 Steps are an ongoing process. There is no end. When we stop practicing the Steps we begin to step back towards addiction. Why do I believe this? Because even at my best, I continue to commit wrongs and if I fail to admit this and make amends I will be caught up once again in my old patterns.
If you have questions about the 12 Steps or recovery in general, shoot me a message. We can talk. Rwcoaching2@gmail.com