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Enlightened Solutions Step Study: The Spirituality of Service in Step 12

After Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, had his breakthrough spiritual experience, wrote out the inventory of his grievances, and made amends wherever possible, he began to help other alcoholics. Throughout the hospitals and wards he had once resided in as an incurable patient, he sat, sober, at the bedside of other men who were struggling with alcoholism. Day by day, man by man, Bill shared the wisdom of his experience, strength, and hope. As Bill related his story to others, many men found they shared a common ground. Inspired by Bill’s miraculous ability to recover, they began to think recovery might be possible for them as well. This is the foundation of 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,” is how the twelfth step reads. “Nothing,” the authors describe in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, “will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail…You can help when no one else can.”

Feeling misunderstood is the plight of many suffering alcoholics. With as much love, anger, urgency, or patience as they could withstand, family members and loved ones of alcoholics tried to point out their problem. In the depths of misery and despair there is a certain self-centeredness that disallows the perspective of another to get in. Many alcoholics experience a deep and toxic sense of shame, guilt, or stigma for being an alcoholic. Before they can recover, they must believe they have a problem. Additionally, they must believe that problem is not without a solution.

Having experienced the power of recovery, treatment, and transformation, you have the responsibility, which is truly more life a gift, to give back and give it away. Often it is said in recovery that in order to “keep it” we must “give it away.” Think of it like this: when one finds a diet that works, they are quick to tell the world. Whatever the gimmick that helped them lose weight, the underlying celebration is that they feel better after not feeling well at all. Step 12 is our spiritual diet. We feel better after we were practically banging on death’s door. Being of service to other alcoholics is the way to carry that message and say, “If I can feel better, so can you.”


Enlightened Solutions uses 12 step philosophy to help clients grow along spiritual lines as a way of enhancing their recovery. We believe in the power of participating in a positive and supportive community, like the one 12 step fellowships encourage. For more information on our programs of treatment for men and women seeking to recover from addiction, alcoholism, and co-occurring disorders, call 833-801-5483.

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