Steps 10 11 & 12

How to Work Steps 10, 11 and 12 | Session 4

 

Both leaders introduce them selves {My name is ______ and I am an alcoholic}. Before we begin, lets have a moment of quiet time to invite the God of our own understanding into our hearts and ask for an open mind and the willingness to have a new experience followed by the Serenity Prayer”

Welcome everyone to the Fourth and final Session. This week we’ll be covering Steps 10, 11, and 12. During the past few weeks we’ve covered the directions in the Big Book for taking the first nine steps of Alcoholic Anonymous.

Last meeting we took Steps 6 & 7 together in class and covered the directions for making our 8th Step amends list and read the detailed instructions in the Big Book on how to complete our 9th Step Amends.

Remember, the key to Step 8 is not making the list; (that was done when we took inventory) it’s [the key is] becoming willing to make amends to all the people on the list. If you don’t have the willingness to make amends to some people, pray until it comes. In the mean time, start making the easier amends immediately. As we see the results of making amends to the easier names on our lists God will give us the Power and the willingness to proceed with the more difficult names. Don’t fall into the “drunk trap” of not proceeding with Step 9 until you’re ready to face everyone on your list. That’s simply an excuse for not moving forward. And remember, we agreed at the beginning to go to any lengths for victory over alcohol. Well, in this case any lengths means completing our amends.

We will now proceed to the directions for daily living the Big Book outlines for us in the rest of Chapter 6, Into Action.

Step 10:

 ”Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

Turn to page 84 of the Big Book. In the second paragraph the book says:

“This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past.”

So, if Steps 4 through 9 are all about cleaning up our past, then that means we can begin to practice the principals of Step 10 when we begin to take inventory. It’s important to note that you do not have to wait until all your amends are complete before living Step 10 on a daily basis. The book says:

“we vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past”

not after we clean up the past.

The text continues:

“We have entered the world of the Spirit.”

Think about what that statement means for a second.We have entered the world of the Spirit. No longer are we living a life run on self-will; but we begin to live life run on Gods will. Once I make a decision, in Step 3, to let God run the show then I no longer want to live life on my terms. I don’t even want to live life on life’s terms thats to difficult too. I want to live life on Gods terms.

The book continues:

“Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.”

So when one of my character defects appears during the day I don’t have to take action based on that defect. I can begin to practice the 10th Step. And if I do act out on a defect, then Step 10 also gives me the tools to straighten out any harm I might have caused. Once we’ve gone through the process of spotting the defect, asking God to remove it, discussing the problem with someone if necessary, and making amends if we’ve caused a harm the book tells me now to turn my thoughts towards someone that I can be helpful towards. If I happen to be a work, I can be helpful to my boss or one of my co-workers. If I’m in line at the grocery store maybe I can be helpful to the little old lady that has one or two items in her shopping cart by letting her go in front of me. If a defect occurs while I’m in my car and I’ve asked God to remove it and I’ve seen and done my part, maybe I can turn my thoughts in the direction of someone whom I can be helpful towards by letting the other person go first at an intersection before I do. After all, the book does say:

“Love and tolerance of others is our code.”

This takes lots of practice but, with Gods help and guidance, can be done if we work at it.

As with most of the other Steps in the Big Book, we get a set of promises after Step 10. They are listed on pages 84 and 85. Lets continue reading with the last paragraph on page 84:

“And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone, even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality, safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.”

What a remarkable set of promises for a drunk that at one time had no hope at all. We’re promised that by the time we get to Step 10 the booze battle will have ended, we won’t need to fight with alcohol or anything else for that matter. It says the problem is removed (remember: the main problem of the alcoholic centers in the mind, so according to this paragraph we’re restored to our right minds.) And alcohol continues to not be a problem for us if we keep in fit spiritual conditioning and continue to do the things the God of our understanding wants us to do. It’s important to remember that we are not cured of alcoholism but God will keep us safe and protected providing we draw close to Him and perform his work well.

The first full paragraph of page 85 further explains this:

“It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of Gods will into all of our activities. How can I best serve Thee, Thy will, not mine be done. These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.”

Practicing Step 10 on a daily basis takes discipline and commitment. It’s not always easy to admit when we’re wrong and to ask God to remove the obstacles in our path which have always caused us to be blocked off from Him, ourselves, and our fellow man. But we have to or else we pay the penalty of a drinking spree. And once we have entered the world of the Spirit our function is to be of utmost help to God and the people in our lives. And acting out on our defects, which will ultimately, over a period of time, cause us to drink again, will not place us in a position to be helpful. That we know for certain!

Lets read the second paragraph on page 85:

“Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action.”

Step 11:

 ”Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.”

The Eleventh Step starts at the bottom of page 85 and extends through page 88. But, as we have already seen, the Big Book has been writing about prayer and meditation throughout the Book

At the bottom of page 85, we find:

“Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. We shouldn’t be shy on this matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly. It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it.”

What does the Big Book mean when it says it works?

In essence it is telling us that prayer and meditation puts us in contact with God. Hopefully that’s what we’ve been doing during the past couple weeks with the prayers we’ve learned while going through the steps – making conscious contact with the God of our understanding.

Then at the top of page 86, they make the statement:

“It would be easy to be vague about this matter. Yet, we believe we can make some definite and valuable suggestions.”

At night, the book suggests we review the days activities. Here are the directions for the evening review: Page 86

“When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe and apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review, we ask Gods forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.”

What we’ve just read are the questions that we ask ourselves when our day is done. Some people like to go through these questions when the work of the day is finished and they are done for the day, or maybe after they get home from their evening meeting. Others prefer to do this immediately before they shut their eyes to go to sleep. The important thing is that you find a routine that is comfortable for you and that you stick to it with consistency and discipline.

The next paragraph gives us suggestions on how to begin our day page 86, second paragraph:

“On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.”

So the book suggests a quiet time in the morning to meditate.

Then Big Book tells us that God will provide us with the answers to all of our questions. And we will receive these answers providing we are not blocked off from Him.

The text continues, next paragraph:

“In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.”

So, God is going to tell us his plan for our lives in the form of inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision.

The Big Book tells us to test our thoughts. Not all of them come from God. But, with time and practice we begin to rely upon these thoughts. On the top of page 87, they write:

“What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We may pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.”

To protect ourselves from absurd actions and ideas, we must test our thoughts to separate self-will from Gods will. Gods will has to grow, so it is important to discuss these inspirations or thoughts with a sponsor or spiritual advisor. In the 12 & 12 on page 60, it says:

“Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times we have heard well-intentioned people claim the guidance of God when it was all to plain they were sorely mistaken.”

Next paragraph:

“We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.”

The Book is giving us information to create a healthy prayer life. First thing is that we pray for freedom from self-will. And the second is never to request for our-self only. But we can request for ourselves if others will be helped.

The next paragraph tells us how to share prayer and meditation with other people:

“If circumstances warrant, we ask our wives or friends to join us in morning meditation. If we belong to a religious denomination which requires a definite morning devotion, we attend to that also. If not members of religious bodies, we sometimes select and memorize a few set prayers which emphasize the principles we have been discussing. There are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained from ones priest, minister, or rabbi. Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer.”

The next paragraph tells us how to practice the 11th Step during the day in conjunction with Step 10

“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves, many times each day Thy will be done. We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.”

The next paragraph says this about prayer and meditation

“It works- it really does.”

But, what if we don’t receive any God given thoughts or guidance? Well, this can happen at any time. Remember, all we really have is a daily reprieve contingent upon the maintenance of our spiritual condition. If we don’t receive any guidance, it means we have work to do. Maybe we’re not following Gods will in some area of our lives, or, maybe we haven’t made necessary amends. If this is the case, we need to take the actions necessary to re-establish our connection with our Creator.

So, in our effort to fulfill AA’s promise of practice makes progress, lets follow the directions for the Morning Prayer and Meditation that the Big Book and many other spiritual books suggest. As a group, lets experience together what it’s like to share our Quiet Time.

Lets begin by asking God to direct our thinking, and ask Him to remove from us from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.

Take a moment to think about the twenty-four hours ahead and consider your plans for this time. If when thinking about your these 24 hours you face indecision or if your not able to determine which action to take, ask God for inspiration and an intuitive thought or a decision. Remember relax and take it easy. Don’t struggle.

Lets conclude this period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems.

3rd Step Prayer

“God, I offer myself to Thee- to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!”

7th Step Prayer
“My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.”

The Prayer of Saint Francis
Also know as the 11th step prayer, and can be found on page 99 of the 12 & 12:

“Lord, make me a channel of thy peace, that where there is hatred, I may bring love, that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness, that where there is discord, I may bring harmony, that where there is error, I may bring truth, that where there is doubt, I may bring hope, that where there are shadows, I may bring light, that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted, to understand, than to be understood, to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.”

Back in the beginning, AA members would commonly meditate together, and then share there guidance with the group, they would put there guidance to a test. It is not always easy to tell the difference between self-will and guidance from a higher power. If your guidance seems based on fear, selfishness, dishonesty or a resentment, it is more likely to be self-will. If on the other hand it is based on Love, Honesty or Unselfishness, it is likely to be true guidance from your higher power. If there is someone here now that has just received some guidance and would like to put it to the test with the group please raise your hand.

Before we proceed to Step 12, lets read the last paragraph on page 88 which says:

“We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined. But this is not all. There is action and more action. Faith without works is dead. The next chapter is entirely devoted to Step Twelve.”

Prayer and meditation take dedication and practice. If we do the work, we will receive the rewards-

The 12 & 12 says on page: 98

“There is a direct linkage among self examination, meditation and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for living.”

Step 12:

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.”

If you’ve had the Spiritual Awakening as the result of taking the actions in Steps one through eleven, then you’re ready to carry our life-saving and life-changing message to others.

Lets concentrate on carrying this message to other alcoholics as the basis of our discussion of Step 12.

Chapter 7 of the Big Book tells us exactly how to make a Twelve Step call. Here are some of the main points it describes. I suggest you read the chapter in its entirety and discuss its contents with you sponsor or other members of the group.

Page 89, first paragraph:

“Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when other fail.”

More promises are given in the next paragraph:
“Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friend-this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.”

The rest of this chapter, for the most part, is step-by-step, clear-cut directions on how to make a Twelfth Step call and work with a newcomer.

Here are the directions. Top of page 90:

“When you discover a prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous, find out all you can about him. If he does not want to stop drinking, don’t waste time trying to persuade him. You may spoil a later opportunity.”

Skip to the third paragraph:

“Don’t deal with him when he is very drunk, unless he is ugly and the family needs your help. Wait for the end of the spree, or at least for a lucid interval. Then let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered.”

Next paragraph:

“If he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon him.”

Next page, third paragraph:

“See your man alone, if possible. At first engage in general conversation. After a while, turn the talk to some phase of drinking. Tell him enough about your drinking habits, symptoms, and experiences to encourage him to speak of himself.”

Last paragraph of the page:

“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. If he is alcoholic, he will understand you at once. He will match you mental inconsistencies with some of his own.”

Second paragraph of page 92:
“Continue to speak of alcoholism as an illness, a fatal malady. Talk about the conditions of body and mind which accompany it. Keep his attention focused mainly on your personal experience. Explain that many are doomed who never realize their predicament.”

Top of page 93 in Italics:
“Tell him exactly what happened to you. Stress the spiritual feature freely. If the man be agnostic or atheist, make it emphatic that he does not have to agree with your conception of God. He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him. The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual principles.”

Page 94, first paragraph:
“Outline the program of action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to him plays a vital part in your recovery. Actually, he may be helping you more than you are helping him.”

Page 95, middle of the first paragraph 8 lines down:

“You will be most successful with alcoholics if you do not exhibit any passion for crusade or reform. Never talk down to an alcoholic from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked with you. Offer him friendship and fellowship. Tell him that if he wants to get well you will do anything to help.”

If you’re not successful with this prospect, the first paragraph on page 96 tells us to just seek out someone else that is interested: “Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy.

Page 100 gives a description of the relationship between a sponsor and the protege:

“Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist, remarkable things will happen.”

Back in the Third Step on page 63 it said:

“we have a new employer”
Well, if we have a new employer, that means we’re the employee. If we’re an employee, that means we have a job to do. On page 102 they give us our job description. It says:

“Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand. Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed.”

By taking the Steps and following the directions, we will have the spiritual awakening that the first part of Step 12 talks about.

The remaining chapters of the text, Chapters 8, 9, 10, & 11 are about practicing “these principles in all our affairs.”

On page 132, first full paragraph, it says:
“But we aren’t a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn’t want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life.”

Next paragraph it says:

“So we think cheerfulness and laughter make for usefulness. Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we bust into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why shouldn’t we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.”

“Everybody knows that those in bad health, and those who seldom play, do not laugh much. So let each family play together or separately as much as their circumstances warrant. We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free.”

Lets end our fourth session together with a couple readings from the Eleventh Chapter, A Vision for You. Last line of 162:

“Thus we grow. And so can you, though you be but one man with this book in your hand. We believe and hope it contains all you will need to begin.”

“We know what you are thinking. You are saying to yourself: & I’m jittery and alone. I couldn’t do that. But you can. You forget that you have just now tapped a source of power much greater than yourself. To duplicate, with such backing, what we have accomplished is only a matter of willingness, patience and labor.”

Page 164, second paragraph:

“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.”

My hope and prayer for you is that you continue to do this work and helps others in taking the Twelve Steps as the early members of our Fellowship simply outlined in the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous.