The Spiritual Principles of Step Twelve

Twelfth Step: We Spiritually Awoke, Carried the Message and Practiced

“Having had a spiritual awakening as result of these steps we tried to carry this message to addicts/alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs”

The first and foremost Spiritual Principle in Step Twelve is Service. It would seem the Twelfth Step would be a culmination of all the previous steps. In a way it is, but we are also introduced to a few new ones, too. Among them is Service as the basis for this Step, and for that we are grateful. For without the Spiritual Principle of Service, none of us would even know about 12 Step Programs. Everyone that is in recovery is so, due to this step. Someone in recovery created, printed and brought meeting lists to the probation/parole office. Someone in recovery introduced our judicial system to the benefits of meetings. Someone in recovery brought a meeting to a facility where we were institutionalized. Someone built a website, telling us about AA or NA in our area, region and around the world. Someone created a recording or answered the phone when we called the helpline. Thank goodness for all these “somoenes” as they did so as volunteers and in service to their fellowship. We are all here because someone else was of service.

A new Spiritual Principle to us in the Twelfth Step is Unconditional Love. Being of Service is new to the alcoholic/addict and practicing the Spiritual Principle of Unconditional Love may be new to us, too. Since day one, when we walked into our first meeting, we were greeted with Unconditional Love. Growing up, we may have been shown love by our family but a lot of misinformation about love may have been mixed in, too. The people in the Fellowship tell us that they love us until we can learn to love ourselves. Unconditional Love means that we give without expectation. We carry the message without asking for anything in return: a pat on the back, a slip of some cash, a “thank you.” We do it because it’s what has been done for us, that’s all.

We are now introduced to Selflessness, another wonderful Spiritual Principle in Step Twelve. Selfishness and self-centeredness are the heart of our disease. They were our nemesis, our M.O. It was all about us, and what we wanted and when we wanted and we wanted it yesterday. Selflessness had no room in our lives before recovery. Today, Selflessness is a huge part of our new lives. We give of ourselves, we sponsor, we volunteer, we give back what was so freely given to us, without any glory or kudos in return. We do it because it’s the right thing to do (for once), and it’s what has been done for us.

Steadfastness is another new Spiritual Principle we learn about in the Twelfth Step. This is where we “keep on, keepin’ on.” We go beyond the Commitment we’ve been practicing thus far, we stay clean and sober and are “of service” and learn to live a new way of life based upon Spiritual Principles. We do these things, no matter what. We continue to “practice these principles in all our affairs” despite how we feel. If we’re in a bad mood, we still answer the call from a newcomer anyway. If we’re feeling down, we make coffee at our homegroup anyway. If we’re feeling “less than spiritual” we continue to show up and be “of service.” This is Steadfastness. By doing these things, no matter what and staying clean and sober that day, we’re a success. And goodness, how far we’ve come!

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