Bill Wilson wrote in the book 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, for Step 12:
"The joy of living is the theme of A.A.'s Twelfth Step, and action is its key word. Here we turn outward toward our fellow alcoholics who are still in distress. Here we experience the kind of giving that asks no rewards. Here we begin to practice all Twelve Steps of the program in our daily lives so that we and those about us may find emotional sobriety. When the Twelfth Step is seen in its full implication, it is really talking about the kind of love that has no price tag on it. "
When outsiders ask "Just what is A.A.?" they may get any number of answers. It's a book. It's a Fellowship. It's a program of recovery. It's a lose-knit organization that tries to help alcoholics. It's a way of living -- a design for living, that works in fair weather and fowl.
Step 12, reads, "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs."
For me, the core and the root of A.A. is "this message." It's A.A.'s message. The message is A.A. And, it's the message that conveys the power to recover to those alcoholics that are seeking help.
The uniqueness of A.A. is the message. The message is what made Alcoholics Anonymous different from all the methods that were tried before it, and it's the message -- that makes the difference in the methods that have come since the beginning of A.A.
Having had a spiritual awakening: A coming to life. A resurrection from the ashes and into a new life.
As the result -- of these Steps: The result of taking and practicing all 12 Steps -- is what produced this awakening, and brought about this innermost living change.
We tried to carry this message: The message of the 12 Steps.
to alcoholics: The singleness of our own higher purpose -- and our efforts, that bring about our own recovery from alcoholism.
And: meaning there is more than the spiritual awakening, more than being delivered from our own alcoholic dilemma
to practice these principles: The principles of the 12 Steps. To clear away the wreckage of our past, to rely upon our newly discovered relationship with a Higher Power, and living a life designed for a Higher Purpose -- we begin to seek to be part of a solution that helps those about us -- rather than participation as an accomplice in problems.
In all our affairs: With myself, with God, with others -- regardless of who or what that might be.
As a result of following this simple recipe of actions -- that was outlined in a simple message -- it rocketed me, into a joy of living.
Thank you to A.A. And, thank you to those who carried and still carry the message of the 12 Steps to me.