Notice: This website is to assist in the spiritual growth of those applying the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is not an AAWS publication. To reach the official website of Alcoholics Anonymous, click here.
Since the Twelve Steps were written into Alcoholics Anonymous over sixty years ago, millions of people in 180 countries all over the world have successfully used them. The Steps are synonymous with Alcoholics Anonymous and are the basic foundation of the A. A. program.
Thousands of others have not benefited from the Twelve Steps. Some of those who did not benefit became detractors and even enemies of the Twelve Steps, Alcoholics Anonymous, and anyone who endorses them.
We wonder why. Why are so many good Twelve Step results dotted with so many highly visible failures?
Most of those who have succeeded in the Twelve Step Program attribute their success to its spiritual nature. These are the ones who thank God for their release from addiction slavery. They know their release was beyond their ability because they often sought their self-healing by will power. Will power always failed them. Freedom from addiction came only after they met Alcoholics Anonymous and "worked" the Twelve Step Program.
The testimonies of those who have "made the program" always give credit for their success to their "Higher Power," who usually is called God as seen in Step Five, of the Twelve Steps.
In my personal experience with Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Step Program, I found there are two important keys for improving spiritual life and spiritual growth.
First, I discovered a simple key was to properly take Step Three. Properly done, the step is simple. Properly done, it allows anyone to move quickly ahead with the Steps that follow. My experience is that those who did not "make the program" are those who never completed the third step.
While the "Big Book" clarifies the key element of Step Three, reading the Step as it is written can confuse a new comer. The step says "We made a decision" but doesn't say what to do with that decision. I call making this decision part of Step Three (a). Part (b) of Step Three is in the Big Book, page 63, paragraph two, lines 14-19. That paragraph offers wording for a prayer.
Making your decision must be joined to knowing what to do with the decision. There must be action! Make your decision, then go to a private place. When alone, read the prayer on page 63. Can you pray this prayer to your higher power? You must if you are ever going to enjoy the benefits of Alcoholics Anonymous' Twelve Step Program.
The suggested prayer is: "God, I offer myself to you - to build me and do with me as you will. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do your will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of your power, your love, and The Way of life. May I do your will always!"
This is a prayer of surrender of your self and all your rights and belongings to God to do with as he pleases. Because God is smarter than us, and loves us more than we love ourselves, he will always do a better job running our lives than we can do for ourselves.
ON REACHING THIS STEP, WE HAVE ADMITTED OUR PRIOR LIFE HAS BEEN OUT OF CONTROL AND WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED THE INTERNAL PEACE AND EXTERNAL SUCCESS WE HAVE BEEN SEEKING. WITH THIS PRAYER WE ARE ASKING OUR HIGHER POWER - OUR MAKER - TO REMAKE US INTO ANOTHER AND CHANGED PERSON.
ARE YOU WILLING TO BE COMPLETELY CHANGED TO FIND AND LIVE BY THE SPIRITUAL RULES OF CREATION, TO BE REMADE IN YOUR MAKER'S LIKENESS, AND ACCEPT THE CHANGES THIS PRAYER WILL BRING INTO YOUR LIFE?
TOTAL WILLINGNESS TO BE REMADE, AND TO FOLLOW GOD'S GUIDANCE, IS NECESSARY TO WIN THE ABUNDANT LIFE OUR MAKER - OUR HEAVENLY FATHER - PROMISES HIS CHILDREN. GOD IS DESCRIBED AS "HEAVENLY FATHER" IN THE BIG BOOK BY DR. BOB, p. 181. THERE HE WROTE, "YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN."
SINCERELY OFFERED, THIS PRAYER WILL MAKE POWERFUL AND POSITIVE CHANGES IN YOUR PERSONALITY AND FUTURE LIFE. BILL W., IN THE BIG BOOK CALLS THIS BEING "REBORN"(p 63).
Say the prayer to your Higher Power. Say it again to show you really mean it. Say it a third time to make it really stick in your memory. You must remember what you did on Step Three if you are to affirm Step Twelve. You need to be honest and always remember something was done for you. This was not something you did for yourself.
If you prefer prayer words different than those of the Big Book, use your own words. It is your intent that matters. Are you willing to give yourself back to your maker in this life, right now? We might as well do it now because we must do that when we die. If we wait until then, we will have to explain why we didn't do it now!
When you finish Step Three, you should actually feel different. Did you? If not, rethink the prayer and its meaning and continue to pray it until you know you mean what you said and God accepts it. You will know! Keep at it. I had to work on this prayer for several days to fully understand its meaning and honestly commit my intentions to it.
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The second most important key to me is learning about the spiritual experience, and how to nurture it. Twelve Steps are to conquer addictions and to prevent slipping. The Twelve Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous does not attempt to provide all the spiritual directions and answers you will want after addiction release.
In the fifty years since I found the Twelve Step Program, I have explained my experiences with it to many newcomers. Sharing stories with other old timers has caused me to review my early experiences and my needs in my early times working the Twelve Step Program.
To pass on what I have learned, I have written GOD 101. I believe you will find it is a clear and simple guide for your spiritual progress. Click below to find it. Like the Twelve Step Program, there is no charge. It is free. Come and get it. Print it and read it in your own good time. It has been read by thousands, from 127 nations of the world, plus the USA and US Military.
GOD 101 has only a few short pages. If you are a "Stepper" who wants more spiritual understanding, you will find GOD 101 gives many answers. A clear explanation of the "Lord's Prayer" that is used for closing meetings is at www.Lordsprayer-101.info/
For discussion of basic spiritual ideas and objections, click here for essays in our LIBRARY.
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