Once we have reached Step 10, we have already put our trust into a higher power (Steps 1-3), took a thorough inventory of our character defects and became ready to let them go (Steps 4-7), and made amends for all the harm we had caused in our addictions (Steps 8-9). We are not done, however.
We can easily fall back into old habits, and therefore need to maintain the work we have accomplished while also continuing to grow. This is precisely what Steps 10, 11, and 12 achieve, earning them the nickname “the maintenance Steps”. Here’s a brief overview of Steps 10-12, as taken from Alcoholic’s Anonymous, pages 59-60:
“ 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
We are still human. We are still going to harm others from time to time, even after we have completed our Step 9 amends. Now that we have a much stronger understanding of when we are at fault, however, it is expected we immediately make amends when we harm someone. We often will spend a small portion of our evening making a mental personal inventory, checking if we were at fault in any situation.
“ 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.”
Our understanding of our Higher Power is often a fluid concept. While some may have a firm understanding, most often have a conception that continues to evolve over the years. Step 11 simply advises through prayer or meditation to continue to develop our concept of a higher power and to further align our own will with that of our Higher Power.
“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.”
We can only keep what we have if we give it away. Step 12 is what keeps the fellowship alive. It calls for sponsoring newcomers and taking them through the steps, just as was done for us prior. It also calls for promoting the program through attraction, by displaying our newfound principles in all our affairs. While we achieve sobriety and freedom from drugs and alcohol from the steps, many will often cite the 12th Step as the most rewarding of them all.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783.