12th Step Work
Share experiences and questions around 12th Step work!
I prefer meetings that end with a simple prayer and nothing more. I recently attended a meeting after being away for 12 years and was somewhat taken aback by the phrase "so work it you're worth it" at the end. Why is that necessary? I know someone somewhere thought it was a clever saying, and it caught on for a reason. Hopefully the group conscience decided it was a good thing to add and was not the result of people just not wishing to make waves. Anyway I have personally decided to skip out of the closing of any meeting I attend because of the phrase.
I'll admit, when I came into A.A., this was always done at the end of meetings I attended. I never gave it much thought for many a year. Occasionally I came across someone who didn't participate, or even was more vocal about their disapproval of it. Mostly, I scoffed and moved on.
Over the years however, I participated in other levels of service, and started helping with a meeting behind the walls of a prison. Obviously, they are autonomous too, but they had several chants and catch phrases they incorporated after the prayer, as well as other readings. I saw how others could see the addition as a bit offensive, or from a milder perspective, at least a bit hokey.
I met a group that didn't do it, and although odd at first, I really came to like it. At the close of the meeting, I still hold hands with other members, I just don't say the "Works If You Work It". Over time, I've noticed more and more of our group not participating in it. Depending upon the meeting, it even becomes a bit awkward for those that do. Sometimes people will ask me why I don't say it, and I compassionately explain my stance. When I attend other places that do it, I can still be a part of the unity without having to hop in on the chanting.
It's obviously your right to not participate in the closing of meetings if you so choose, but I thought I'd offer my experience of how I dealt with it, as well as the positive results that have came from my actions. Have a great day.
Thanks for your share. I stop at amen. Although I am not a Christian I understand that about 800 million followers believe that the Lord's Prayer was handed down from God Himself about two thousand years ago. It remained unchanged until a few years ago when some alcoholics got the idea that it wasn't good enough and needed to be improved and who better than themselves to do it.
I'm afraid I can't be as polite as you on the subject and have explained my thinking openly several times. If chairing a meeting I sometimes announce that we will close the meeting with the NEW AND IMPROVED Lord's Prayer so feel free to add whatever that you think it's lacking after the amen.
I was out of town and on vacation recently for a week. While out, I found a local meeting schedule. I like the Closed Big Book meeting types and I found one on Tuesday Night.
I got there early, helped set up a few chairs and talk to the coffee maker guy. Before the meeting started, I met a couple there - they looked pretty new and sure enough - the man was 'there to support his wife' and she was at her first AA meeting. I talked to them and got a little of their history and they seem like really great people.
The person chairing the meeting introduced himself as an 'Addict' only and announced this was a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Everyone went around and introduced themselves and almost half the people there introduced themselves as an 'alcoholic'.
I really hoped to attend a closed meeting that night and I had hoped I could find someone to help.
What should/could I have done besides just get up and leave?
I hear two things here, one, a concern about a visitor to a closed meeting, and two, a concern about Singleness of Purpose. (addict)
First, at the beginning if I had the chance, I might have asked a group member what the group process is when someone self-identifies as a visitor/ supporter, presumably without a desire to stop drinking.
Second, I hope I would have simply been able to enjoy and appreciate the meeting. It's not my home group, and I am simply a visitor. If I had a concern that someone not identify as an 'addict', and rather self-identify as 'alcoholic,' I might have remembered the Third Tradition that says "the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking."
Addicts can have a desire to stop drinking! They don't have to say the word 'alcoholic' for us.
I don't react the same way each time. Sometimes I talk to the chairperson after the meeting, sometimes I ask if the have a group conscience meeting to discuss changing their status to "open" on the schedule, sometime I talk about tradition 1,3, and 5 emphasizing on singleness of purpose. Sometime a share from the AA pamphlets "the group& problems other than alcohol" where AA information is stated regarding dual purpose groups. Other times I share how GSo dosent list dual purpose groups in the AA directory and how even though each group is autonomous, we shouldn't use that as a loophole to ignore 3 other traditions.
most importantly, I try to convey AA information from AA liturature with tact in a helpful and informative manner.
You are attending an AA meeting and before the meeting starts, a person you've never seen before walks right up to you and says, "This is my first AA meeting. I think I might be an alcoholic."
What important words do you say to this person?
I normally am as excited to see a newcomer as I was when I first began learning about Alcoholics Anonymous and service work, such as, home group commitments and hearing a sponsor say, "Stay inside the middle of the pack." It was that time when not being able to truly and fully comprehend how important it is to pick up already smoked cigarettes from the Alcoholics Anonymous home group meeting sight(s) because my sponsor asked me to. This is if I could not get a commitment at my home group. I still realize I am able to display the same excitement and take the same action. Never give that away, it is adoring and precious. The next think that happens is someone who did not know anything or a uncomfortable retread becomes more active inside of Alcoholics Anonymous. You know he is more active because last week you see him/her wanting to speak with more people or speaking with more people because of your example. Especially after a resentment is formed because you recognized he/she can actually become a nice part of Alcoholics Anonymous and you know inside your heart, as you read this share, that this derives from newcomers who look more difficult to speak with.
When I am at my homegroup meeting, I look for people I have never seen before. when I see one, I walk up to them, introduce myself and introduce them to others in the group. If it's there first meeting ever, I explain the format of the meeting briefly. then we have our meeting topic from the big book chapter "more about alcoholism" we go around the room and focus on alcoholism and recovery from alcoholism.
After the meeting we talk before he leaves (I can talk to my friends after the newcomers leave)I ask what they think about the meeting, offer fellowship and friendship, give them a big book and ask if there interested to read it, I give them a meeting list and suggest going to several different meetings until they find one that fits. After that, it's up to them and God what comes next. Often they come back (sometimes after a year or two) and ask to be sponsored and taken through the steps. No pushing or prodding, just laying it out for them.
I am just listening have a great day.
Only one in three of those alcoholics attending meetings stay sober. And approx 40% of those who stay sober for a year will only stay active within the program for another year or better. It is said been said that many of us do not have another recovery in us. Is there reason to be hopful?
My take is that it's none of my business how many people stay sober or what their odds of success might be. My business is to work the program of AA that was freely given to me and to offer it to others. The goal is not to get them sober but to keep me sober. I keep my sobriety by giving it away.
Today, unlike the old days, it is quite possible that we see many people come to AA before they are ready. Thanks to treatment, courts and our growing awareness of alcoholism, interventions start early and occur frequently. There has also been a great proliferation of meetings. It is much easier today for a person to find and get to a meeting. Thus, we probably see a greater number of people who drop in and out.
These are probably good developments that give people a chance to recover earlier. It also means many people who come to AA these days just may not be ready. Unfortunately, nothing prepares a person for the surrender of the first step like alcohol. I have to accept this and let the process take its course. If and when they come back, I hope to still be here ready to help.
you summed up my experience with AA perfectly. Alcoholism is a tough disease to deal with. It's really shocking to compare the progress in other fields since 1935. If anyone has come up with anything better than AA's program they are sure keeping it a secret.
This message is the epitome of selfishness. It is very
much our business how many people stay sober or what their
odds of success may be. We have a moral obligation to know
whether what we are doing is working or not. If it is not
working, why isn't it working? Why must we always blame
the patient when the medicine we administer fails. We
need to change the medicine/technique.
Sure, we can rationalize and say Well, they are just
not ready. How ready do they have to be? Who judges when
they are ready? Most of the alcoholics approaching us
are about as ready as they will ever be. We ought to
help the rest to become ready. Sure, some are just too
sick, and it is too late. Some of these would have
made it if we had reached them earlier. And there are
those few who are coerced into A.A. by the courts, but
in my experience, many of them are saved.
If and when they come back? In most cases we do not
get a second chance to make a first impression. ANONYMOUS
"There are lies, damned lies, and statistics." (Mark Twain)
It seems to me Bill W was unsuccessful when he tied to preach salvation to his fellow drunks, had more success when he stuck with sharing his own experience, strength, and hope: those who wanted sobriety and embraced the program tended to be successful, those who still thought they could exercise self-control tended not to be. What works for one may not work for another, what worked for me today may not work tomorrow. If you keep changing the "medicine/technique" as you put it, that which you changed from my be the very thing the next person needs. I go back to what a wise man here once said when asked "how does AA work" -- "Very well." So I trust in the program without trying to describe, define, or otherwise figure out why it works. It has worked for me very well, and I'll thank you for not changing it.
I ask you to read, study and try to understand what
Bill W. is trying to tell us in 1961. Bill writes in
The AA Way of Life, "As Bill sees It". page 199. The
page may be different, but the title of the article is
"Arrogance and its Opposite". Pride and lack of humility
have become AA's deadly enemy. ANONYMOUS
Well, since AA does no research on its members, I don't know where you are getting these numbers. What does it mean when you say people do not have another recovery in them? Is there an internal counter that determines the number of times someone may recover? My rule of thumb is that anything heard in meetings about alcoholism or recovery from a medical standpoint is a personal opinion by a non-professional and, as such, should not be relied on or repeated as established fact.
I guess the old saying is true, " you don't know what you don't know" every 5 years or so, AA does a membership survey. for the latest AA membership survey from 2011, go to http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-48_membershipsurvey.pdf
keep coming back, it works!
I had a discussion with the counselor of a very bright young man in treatment, who read somewhere of the dismal recovery statistics of treatment centers (5% manage to stay sober without relapse in first year, or something like that). I suggested the young man be told that since he invariably scores within the top 3 - 5 % in the country on standardized tests, he should feel confident about being one of the fortunate 5% who stay sober. Conversely, I figured I would use all my mental acumen to figure AA out in record time, only to overhear a couple of veterans suggest I had a chance if I "didn't over-think this thing." I will never know what will work for any individual until after it has. That it worked for one does not mean it will work for the next. I am of the opinion that the only way to figure out what works for you is to sit in meetings and listen to what others do to stay sober (not what they tell you to do to stay sober or what they claim is THE WAY), read whatever approved and unapproved literature on recovery floats your boat (or not), and let it happen.
I believe that if we just let it happen, it WILL happen.
And the happening is the greatest gift ever received by
a suffering alcoholic: A spiritual awakening, with all its
The message of Alcoholics Anonymous is passed on
by the A.A. GROUP, not the individual member. This is
simply stated in Tradition Five.
"If you want what we have" becomes "if you want what I
have, then you will have to do what I did, and I will tell
you HOW TO DO IT".
Bill W. offers an important explanation of this approach
in a Grapevine article September 1945: 'Rules' Dangerous
but Unity Vital.
We have made many mistakes. Bill called them blunders.
Bill had terrific insight. He wrote about our many mistakes,
some before we even actually committed them. ANONYMOUS
We do have reason to be hopeful !!! At my homegroup, we discuss one tradition or part of a pamphlet, followed by big book discussion. Prior to the meeting each week, some of us speak at the local detox. We encourage working the steps out of the big book, sponsorship, and homegroup membership. Two months ago we started a second meeting. We have 2 enthusiastic newcomers that have joined our group. It they do the work from the book the way the rest of us have, they will also recover.
There is a question I ask each time I am at the treatment center or detox sharing. I ask who here had a sponsor and worked the steps from the big book with that sponsor and regularly attend their home group meeting. In 20 plus years, I have never heard a relapser say yes to that question. So the answer is in the question. Get a sponsor, work the steps from the big book with that sponsor and get a home group and attend.
I've found that the simple sayings serve me and many I know. A day at a time seems trite to some, but I find it a relief that my responsibility is just for today. The other principles are simple and easy to follow when I don't complicate them and get out of the way. And then the faith vs fear conversation keeps me focused on the spiritual parts of my program. The obsession is removed for most alcoholics who do the work that a program requires. Then for me there are only thoughts and reminders, not the do or die compulsion that I used to have.
During my seven years of sobriety, I find that is getting easier to "practice these principles in all my affairs" when I help a newcomer or give a friend a ride to a meeting, among other things. It comes naturally to me today to admire a newcomer for their courage and strength to take that first step and admit complete defeat to alcohol. When I finally admitted to myself that I had a problem, I ran home on my lunch hour and opened the yellow pages and contacted AA. The angel on the phone immediately found a meeting for me close by and that was my first step to recovery. My daily meetings to this day keep me humble and remind me I am one drink away from going right back right to the loser that I was. Knowing people like me can help people like the person I used to be in my twelfth step makes this program so valuable to me. I changed and was probably the biggest long shot because I never would admit I had a problem and really still can't believe nothing today would make me pick up a drink. I know in my heart the AA program works and I strive to this day to be an example to those who still suffer all over the world. I beam with pride when I hear the accomplishments of a newcomer in the program because I know in my heart they are well on their way to a better and more productive life without alcohol. Anything I can do to help them achieve and, most importantly, maintain their sobriety is what 12th step work is all about.
RE: I have been sober for over a year but have not completed my steps. I am still working with my own sponsor on my own steps. I am currently out of the United States & a girl who is a new comer needs a sponsor. I had a male tell me to sponsor her even though I have not finished my steps. He says I can help her with the steps I have done. That was my reason for the question about being a sponsor even though I have not finished my steps.
that's what sponses can do. the get YOU into the steps!
It is not a good idea to sponsor folks of the opposite sex when you may develop sexual motives. If your own character defects in the sexual area have not been examined and removed one day at a time, you are not safe in sponsoring a woman. Neither of you is safe. Sponsor/sponsee is a very intimate relationship with closeness that men and women do not usually develop without sex.
Can anyone give me some advice about being a sponsor. Has anyone ever sponsored someone else even though they have not completed the steps.
I always have to remind myself that helping others (being a sponsor) is about saving my butt, not yours. Our founder, Bill, worked with a lot of folks who did not stay sober - but HE did. My job is to be willing, able and ready to help others by sharing my experience, strength and hope. What can I honestly share with another member? Even if I have only one day sober in the program, there are lots of ways I can help. I can share my story of how I got to AA, make coffee, clean up, put away chairs...One of the best ways I can help another alcoholic is by asking for help and giving that alcoholic the opportunity to be of service.
There is a very important line in our readings.
It says "We can not transmit what we haven't got."
If we don't have experience in working the steps, we can't sponsor someone else through the steps.
Sponsorship is helping someone go through the steps using our own EXPERIENCE in working the 12 steps, We can only share whatever STRENGTH the Higher Power has given us as the result, and the HOPE of gaining a deeper relationship with the Higher Power as we humbly stand by with another Alcoholic seeking the same blessings that we have been given as the result of deep and humble step work.
I hope that you are given the willingness to work the steps with your own sponsor.
"We can not transmit what we haven't got". I question this
statement. The AA member who took me to my first AA meeting
was not sober and never achieved sobriety, It seems he was
working step twelve, at least part of it, for which I am grateful.
Bill wrote about sponsorship. On page 52 in The Language of the Heart, May 1947 Grapevine article Bill writes about the idea of "sponsorship". Bill writes; Each newcomer is
assigned a reasonably stable AA member whose ward he becomes during his BRIEF period of introduction to our
way of life. The sponsor helps make hospital arrangements,
takes his man there, visits him frequently, and sees that he is visited by other AAs whose experience might be
Our position as sponsor has been diminished and IMO ought to be abolished. I believe we ought to encourage our AA newcomers to develop dependence on a Higher Power who is
not a fallible human being. Dependence on God or a group
of recovering AA members is just safer. ANONYMOUS
""We can not transmit what we haven't got". I question this
statement. The AA member who took me to my first AA meeting
was not sober and never achieved sobriety, It seems he was
working step twelve, at least part of it, for which I am grateful."
The only thing that member transmitted to you was where a meeting was being held. A cab driver can do the same thing, would you call him a sponsor?
That being said, I agree with most of your final paragraph. Rather than trying to abolish sponsorship we must let newcomers know that modern sponsorship has little to do with AA's program of recovery. I pass on what Leo R. posted to the Grapevine, when a sponsor tells you to do something, as him/her to show you where it is in the AA literature. Perhaps if we can get this message across AA will once again have true sponsorship.
"here are the steps WE took which are suggested as a program of recovery "
this is part of the big book chapter "how it works " it's called how it works for a reason, because it is how it works.
if you haven't worked AA 's program of recovery, you don't have AA 's message to carry.
the solution is simple, get a big book and do what it says. then you will no longer have to ask how to carry the message.
sounds like your ready to be part of the solution, great to hear.
there is a reason AA has 2.1 million members in 2013 & had 2.4 million. in 1992. the further we get away from "ho
w it works, the less it works.
good luck and God bless you,
Corey, Until I found out why we have lost our effectiveness
I, too, thought that we ought to press harder with "How It Works". Upon thorough investigation, I found that the
constant reading of HIW at meetings has actually been the
problem, and a major cause of our loss of effectiveness. The reading of HIW pushes alcoholics away before we have
our hooks firmly in place. Why do you think Bill placed
this material in Chapter Five? He concealed it there for
a special timed effect. We found it and made a grave,
perhaps fatal, mistake by bringing this reading to the
podium. Putting all the pieces together, today I understand why we fail so many sufferers today. We are doing it all
wrong. We have the cart in front of the horse. We are
dishing out buckets instead of teaspoons. We are not
using the sledge hammer, Dr. Silkworth's advice to Bill
w. in the spring of 1935 to "Go easy on the God Stuff".
We ought to have AT LEAST eight million counted in AA
today. We have failed to administer the medicine of AA
properly. Bill tells us how to carry the message in
the book Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age. Page 70.
Read it and get back to me. We owe a great debt to AA.
We must protect its future. ANONYMOUS
I would agree that you have a valid concern and I have wondered the same. But how do you know that this is the problem? What type of investigation did you do? What were your results and what geographical area are you talking about?
I agree 100% that we should not read “how it works” at each meeting. That being said, I believe the “cart before the horse” was written into the big book. I use the method listed below out of the big book. Using this method, I have been successful with 5 alcoholics so far this year. All were taken through the steps after being offered the solution as listed. Disregard the order, as I was reading my book backwards!
Pg 153 “in the chapter working with others you gathered an idea of how we approach and aid other to health”
Pg 144 “When a man is presented with this volume it is best that no one tell him he must abide by its suggestions. The man must decide for himself”
Pg 112 “if you think he will be shy of a spiritual remedy, ask him to look at the chapter on alcoholism”
Pg 111 “when a discussion does arise, you might suggest he read this book or at least the chapter on alcoholism”
Pg 96 “ Suppose now you are making your second visit to a man. He has read this volume and says he is prepared to go through with the 12 steps of the program of recovery”
Pg 95 “If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval. After doing that, he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded……….”
Pg 94 “outline the program of action,………”
Pg 93 “he has become very curious to know how you got well. Let him ask you that question, if he will. Tell him exactly what happened to you.”
Pg 91 “when he sees you know all about the drinking game, commence to describe yourself as an alcoholic. Tell him how baffled you were, how you finally learned that you were sick. Give him an account of the struggles you made to stop, show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. WE SUGGEST YOU DO THIS AS WE HAVE DONE IT IN THE CHAPTER ON ALCOHOLISM(the bold is mine)”
Here is my summary of the chapter on alcoholism, which includes some of the Dr.’s opinion and there is a solution:
Cannot control and enjoy
No alcoholic ever recovers control
We get worse never better
Physical allergy- try some controlled drinking
Mental obsession- try leaving alcohol alone for one year
Can’t stop on self-knowledge alone, described in Bill’s, Rolland, Jim, and Fred’s stories
The subtle insanity that precedes the first drink
At times the alcoholic has no effective mental defense against the first drink.
As you can see Dr. silkworth’s advice of “give the hard medical facts first” is totally encompassed in the method or suggestions of how to carry the message.
I also agree with you that we owe a great debt to AA. That’s exactly why I will spend the next 4 Fridays in our county jail taking 5 inmates through the program of AA as it is suggested in the big book. At last weeks jail meeting, I simply said “ I am a real alcoholic as described in the big book. I have recovered from my obsession with alcohol. If anyone thinks they have a problem with alcohol and would like to recover also, give your name to the jailer, they will call me and we will get together and do the program of AA together.”
Well the jail called and 5 inmates are willing. If they do the work, all 5 will recover. that's been my experience over the years.
Awesome summary. I am copying it and adding to my short list (growing) of AA/Big Book favorites. Thanks
This pamphlet has a nice discussion of sponsorship. http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf
There are a couple of people I know in AA, whom I trust implicitly, who have not "completed the steps," that is, have not worked the steps. Similarly, there are quite a few folks in AA who indicate they have worked the steps but who I would never trust nor solicit advice from.
Well... Im pretty sure Bill W and the Doctor kept it simple by just working with others
Get a 2 copies of the AA pamphlet "Questions and answers on sponsorship". The answer to your question, yes. I've seen more than once an eager sponsee embarrassing his sponsor enough to get him moving. We stay sober by helping others. That is one of the millions of examples of how it is done.
Most don't recover from alcoholism. If you provide the tried and proven method to the best of your ability that's all you can do. If you don't and he dies...? Many try to pass off some watered-down version that has kept them in remission as AA. They tell us It worked for me. The foreword to the first addition starts - We of Alcoholics Anonymous are more than one hundred... Plus you know that there has been hundreds of thousands since.
Sounds like your life just took a turn for the better.
Step 12 in 12x12 states "It's only where 'boy meets girl on AA campus' and love... many who commit this on newcomers are people who have been aober and are looking for 'fresh meat'. As such, I disagree with the author of the '13th Stepping' article in Grapevine Sept 2013: Newcomers are our life blood, if we allow predators to turn them off to AA (just a bunch of dirty old men) we are wrong. I stand up to these predators and warn newcomers about this threat to them. And it's not just for sex: free labor, money, place to stay, any means to mooch off the newcomer and ultimately drive them away... The Traditions state 'Carry this message to the still suffering alcoholic' the message in the 12x12 is allow the newcomer to work the steps and then let them decide who they want to be in a relationship with...the responsibility declaration!
Hi, nice thread. I am just going to just listen/read today.
Go to meetings and gab the new comer that comes in the door. Or talk with anyone who might need it. Sometimes the old timer needs help as well.I get to take meetings in to a Treatment Center,man it charges my batteries . Man I love bein Sober. What a kick and a lot of fun this life is . SO thank all u sober members for stayin sober for people like me . 10-20-1996
I get to go into a Treatment Center w some friends. Some of the people look and listen.And after the mtg some say thank you to me , And I tell them , thank you for letting me be here.I get some charged up talking about a sober life in AA . And let them know they never have to drink ever again.And the big bonus is we have a lot of fun sober.I myself went thru detox, treatment and half way there in 1996.What a blessing this has been in my life.Thank all you in AA for this great life and thx for letting me b a member.peace
You could pray for guidance to the right person to help you. It usually works!
I have been sober 23 yrs, 7 months, and 20 days with the generous help of my Higher Power. During that time, I have not once wanted a drink or a sedative. I have stood by and helped many women through the steps, the Big Book way, as far as they were willing to go. I have given rides to meetings, spent a gazillion hours on the phone, answered it no matter the time day or night. I am thinking now that is is time for me to go to the sidelines with some of the other old timers and let younger people do the sponsoring of new comers.
I just am tired of giving and giving, and getting dumped on when they balk. I will still be in the prayer brigade of course.
Just this week,someone called me for help after a relapse. I have been available and supportive in every way I can. But I was working this morning, got a call, and couldn't give that person a ride to a meeting. Mt. Vesuvius erupted and I got sprayed with hot acid. Then the person called after work to do it again.
It is always a challenge to feel hurt without lapsing into self pity or covering it with anger. So I sit here feeling sad and knowing that at this time of my life, when so many family are newly passed on, I sometimes just feel sad anyway. I've had to rededicate myself to my own step work and step prayers just to stay out of despair.
That caller today wasn't the first balker who has dumped on me, and I don't expect anybody to stay sober from the work but me. I am grateful for all the times I have felt the Higher Power in my heart as a woman did her first 3rd step beside me.
But now I understand the AA elders who do not sponsor. I have a couple long time sober sponsees who could and do sometimes listen to my 5th step. But for today, and tomorrow, I'm a bit too vulnerable. And I'm not stupid.
That's why they call them pigeons.
Seriously, it's a real problem, particularly if you take on the unsponsorables because somebody has to sponsor them.
If you take too much of their baloney you're enabling them but I guess you have to give everyone a chance. I tell sponsees that tantrums are not acceptable and that I won't sponsor anyone who acts like a two year old; I give them one chance and move on.
I would not know were to begin. on my 4th step. I know I am ready to do it.
my sponsor is always busy for me.
Doing a fourth step does take a considerable amount of time
and effort. I found that it was worth it. But you
do not need a "sponsor" to do the fourth step. Bill W. left
us the instructions in the 12 + 12. Look on page 50. Bill
writes: "Just how do I go about this? HOW do I take an inventory of myself?" There are about thirty questions
to be considered. Not all of them pertained to me, but
many I had to claim for my own. Answer the questions as
honestly as you can. Keep your work secure. The only
person who will see it is you.
Take great care in choosing the individual to share
the fourth step, when you decide to do the fifth step.
A priest may be the best bet. Or maybe an early timer,
whom you totally trust.
This process may not help you at all. Not every
alcoholic benefits from writing an inventory. But I
found that it helped me personally. The steps are
offered to benefit us, not as penitence. Note: When
we get sober, most of us ARE busy. So don't be
Get yourself a copy of AA’s text book, “Alcoholics Anonymous”. Start with the Dr.’s Opinion. If you are having trouble with step 4, you probably haven’t done step 3, and so forth. Working the steps can be confusing with all the different advice given in meetings from members with a lot of treatment center smarts. Some even think the first 5 steps some treatment centers put patients through are the same as AA’s. In my opinion they are not even close. I know because I have done them both ways.
Anyway, AA’s 4th step begins on page 64 of the big book, but you really should work through the first 3 steps out of the book first. If you are like me, nothing but the best should do for your sobriety. If someone suggests using the 12x12, tell them to read the preface of the 12x12. The 12x12 is not a replacement for the big book, it is simply essays about the steps by one of our founders.
Now about your sponsor. Fire him/her. Any sponsor that avoids a sponsee trying to do their 4 step is killing their sponsee. That is the danger of not working AA’s steps and not having a working knowledge of how to work our steps. Go to different meetings and ask for someone to take you through the steps in the big book. If you can’t find someone, the book was written for you to do the steps using that book as a guide. If you still have trouble or have questions, ask them here and I will answer them to the best of my ability through my experience with working AA’s steps out of the big book with my sponsor and sponrsees.
Good luck to you and God bless you!
I want to preface this comment with knowing that this path has worked for me and may not work for all alcoholics who have recovered from a hopeless state of body and mind. I'm coming up on 19 years sober. For the most part I stopped going to meetings at 5 years though I make a dozen or so meetings a year. I support my local Alano Club. I still read the BB and do meditation. My niche has been 12-step work in the community...at bars, at homeless shelters, in the streets, at recovery homes and hospitals. I still present myself as a member of A.A. and know that my face may be the only face of A.A. that any one person may see. I also explain that what I believe espouse derived from the BB and the practice of the steps in my life. I know of several instances in which people got sober or at least attempted it. But that has never been the point of 12-step work in my mind. The point is that I stay sober.....and that has worked for six thousand and some odd days.