Step 12 is all about spreading the message of hope to other people who are just beginning their recovery journey.
In Step 11, you committed to daily prayer and meditation to consciously commune with a power greater than yourself and to tap into your higher consciousness to draw from the inherent love, joy, wisdom and strength that resides there. As a result, you have achieved emotional stability, and you conduct your daily activities with a mindfulness that's so powerful you may feel infinitely removed from the sick, depressed and confused person you were when you walked into an AA meeting for the very first time.
Still, you fully understand the importance of maintaining a high level of mindfulness in your interactions with other people and continually assessing your thoughts, attitudes and behaviors, because even now, it's still possible to fall into old patterns of thought and behavior that can put your recovery at risk.
Hope is the Foundation of Recovery
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, hope is the foundation of recovery, which is built on inherent strengths, values, and coping skills, and recovery is most successful when it's supported by peers, family members and friends.
You remember those early interactions with AA members who had been sober for years and years, and how they gave you hope that you, too, could someday be confident in sobriety. They lit the way during your darkest days, because they understood exactly what you were going through and insisted that if they could do it, so could you.
And you did.
It was never easy. Sometimes, it was the hardest thing you've ever done, but you kept at it, one day at a time, and now, thanks to the support of others, your higher power and your own inherent positive qualities, you're ready to tackle Step 12 and show others by example that you made it through to the other side. And if you can do it, so can they.
Step 12: The End is Only the Beginning
Step 12 transitions you to a leadership role in AA. You're now qualified to offer sponsorship and peer support to those who are taking their own first steps toward a life of sobriety. You know exactly how addiction poisons the mind, and you understand how the destructive thoughts and attitudes that come with addiction can trick you into believing that there is no hope. You know how difficult it is to beat the cravings and how much focus it requires to stay sober each day. You went through it all, and once you reach the end of the line, you realize that Step 12 is really a new beginning.
Your Unique Position
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence stresses the importance of education when it comes to helping someone overcome a drug or alcohol addiction. By now, you've learned a lot about addiction and the games people play with themselves and others when they're in the throes of an addiction.
You're in a unique position now to see through the lies, the posturing, the excuses and the denial that close friends and family members without an addiction may not recognize. You know the right thing to say to someone who's either in denial about their addiction or who has had enough and is ready to recover. You know what to do when a relapse occurs, and you know that no matter what, there is always hope.
Helping others navigate recovery is, in itself, a joyful experience, and it's one that continues to strengthen your own resolve for lifelong sobriety, give your life immeasurable meaning and leave you deeply satisfied.
Although you are still a work in progress and you still face challenges every single day, it's easier now, and after navigating the 12 Steps, you're strong enough and educated enough to be the beacon of hope that can light the way for countless others to transform their own lives from one of illness and dysfunction to one of joy and purpose.