Saturday, June 11, 2011

Overheard in Recovery: How Long Does It Take?

"So tell me," a newcomer asked one of the old-timers the other week, "how long does it take to work all 12 steps?"

"So far, 23 years," came the response.
It would be nice if you could do a step a week and in 3 months be done. Or barring that, maybe a step a month and then be done in a year. The problem is that it doesn't work that way. No matter how you work the 12 Steps you still have a problem when you get through Step 12...You are still powerless and your life is still unmanageable.

Which simply means you have to go back and start all over.

Not because you didn't do it right the first time, but because you will find that practicing these principles in all your affairs only makes you more aware of your powerlessness (Step 1), your need for help (Step 2) and then asking for that help (Step 3).

Oh, yes. Then you end up taking a look at the recent (or even more distant) past (Step 4) and finding things you need to share with your Higher Power, yourself, and another person (Step 5). Guess what? You have now found some shortcomings that you need to be ready to get rid of (Step 6) and then ask for ways to do that (Step7).

Ooops. You have also found that even in this short time there are people you may have harmed by action or inaction and you are now willing to face that (Step 8). So you make amends (Step 9). Because of that you are now more vigilant and willing to take that daily self-inventory and admit it when you are wrong (Step 10).

Now that things are going better you find yourself wanting to get closer to your Higher Power so you get into more prayer and meditation knowing that you want to do what is right (Step 11).

Wow! What a great thing this is. You are now more awake to the world and the spiritual than you have been and you know your work is to share this with others who may need it. Then you are excited because you know you can live this life in all you do.

Until things don't go so well and you come smack dab into your powerlessness.... and you are back at

Step One!

But each time you do this you find that life keeps getting better. You are more sober; more happy, joyous, and free. As you keep going through this way of life it becomes just that- a way of life. And a pretty darn good one at that.

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