Hello Terri. Welcome to the site and thank you for sharing!
Some people mean different things when they say "working the Steps."
And, when they read a lot of books about the 12 Steps or go to a lot of meetings and listen --
(Like I did)
They end up really confused -- like I did. lol.
When I first came to AA, I knew that I was an addict, but I wasn't sure if I was an alcoholic.
I would identify in meetings as an alcoholic -- to keep the peace -- but, I wasn't really sure about it
because I wasn't sure "what" an alcoholic was.
I stayed sober 5 1/2 months "working the Steps" and going to tons of meetings.
I thought I was doing really good, so I decided to take a little vacation.
Less than 16 hours after my last meeting -- with no thoughts or intentions of drinking
(actually, I was determined "not" to drink -- I was drinking again.
I tried every day for the next 5 1/2 months to get sober again.
I went to lots of meetings and even tried "working the Steps".
But, I couldn't get sober again -- no matter how hard I tried.
To keep it kind of short -- what ended up happening to me was:
1. I became desperate in wanting to get sober.
2. I realized I couldn't get sober.
3. AA, as I understood it -- and working the Steps wouldn't work for me.
I began reading the book Alcoholics Anonymous -- trying to figure out "why does it work for them, but not for me?"
What I discovered by reading the book was: What I had been hearing in meetings and reading out of other books about the 12 Steps -- was not even close to the Program of Recovery that was described in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous. So, I had to forget everything that I thought I knew and had learned in AA -- and start over -- letting go of all my old ideas, absolutely.
One of the first things that helped me was: I could see in the book, that "Taking the Steps" was NOT the same as "Working the Steps." (re: page 58, Alcoholics Anonymous).
"Taking the Steps" is a specific course of actions to take, in a certain way, and in a certain time -- to produce a result, which most of us refer to as a "Spiritual Awakening." The term Spiritual Awakening, in itself can be confusing.
I wasn't sure IF I was having one or not! Or, if I had "had one" as a result of taking certain actions. So, I had to keep reading the Big Book, until I could find out "what" a Spiritual Awakening was. Much to my surprise, again, I discovered that a "Spiritual Awakening" described in the book -- was DIFFERENT than the Spiritual Awakening that I was hearing about in meetings.
So, I think my best suggestion to anyone would be:
1. Get a copy of the Big Book, and slowly but steadily -- start reading EVERY page, starting with the front cover, and NOT skipping a page, all the way up to page 103.
2. Then, read in the back of the book, in the Appendex section, titled: "Spiritual Experience."
3. I wouldn't read ANY other books, for now -- other than the Big Book. And, to do it, like described in #1 & #2 above.
That reading is just to get you started.
Next, read it like above again -- but, this time, with the intention of "Taking the Steps."
Trying to "work the Steps" before "taking the Steps" -- in my opinion, isn't a good idea.
Why? Because a person may end up like I did, on my first go around!
If you'd like some help w/ it -- after reading like described above -- I'll be more than happy to help you with it, if you want. If you don't want -- that's fine, too. Or, when you find someone that you might want to help you, if you want help w/ it, you'll be better informed about "what to look for" and "what to listen for" -- when selecting the person that you'd like to help you.
Also, keep coming back to the site and sharing!
Best wishes for you, and I hope that some of the above is helpful to you!