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Carrying the message (1)

A friend in Program says:

Most of us thought that the message we carried was: "You don't have to drink any more!" or "You don't have to live in debt!" or "You don't have to keep getting into inappropriate relationships."

A sincere attempt to work Steps 10, 11 and 12 suggests something more. The message isn't simply about stopping doing whatever was causing us and other people all that grief and pain. It's about there being a spiritual solution to those -- and all our other -- problems.

Step 12 is divided from all the other Steps by those words, "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps ...." It sits all by itself on the other side of that spiritual awakening. Of course, that doesn't mean that we don't begin to awaken long before reaching Step 12 -- indeed, the AA Big Book traces that development to some extent. But it is clear that the tasks of carrying the message to others and of practicing these principles in all our affairs are really intended to be done as a result of that awakening, not in order to bring it about. As the Big Book says when talking about twelfth-Step work, "Stress the spiritual feature freely." For many of us, our journey into Steps 10, 11 and 12 really began when some old-timer in Program stressed that spiritual feature to us, though we might have been in recovery for many years.

"The spiritual life is never one of achievement:
it is always one of letting go."

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