I understand, Stan!
What an awesome experience it is to walk through the Journey of the 12 Steps ... and I think this is what Bill W., was referring to when he wrote in regards to him feeling like he had been rocketed into the 4th diminsion!
In each one of the Steps there is a "feeling" (an emotional reaction) that is associated with each Step.
We can actually devise a way to "measure" and "test" to see if we have thoroughly taken each of the Steps, by checking "Did I experience this while taking this Step?" Or, "did I experience that... while taking this Step?"
The best device that I've discovered to "measure my progress through each Step" (or to measure the progress of the person that I'm taking through the Steps)... is to use the Big Book's instructions and comments for each Step, and turn it into a test... Where we can ask: "Did you experience this?"
It's kind of like going to an amusement part for the rides... then, buying a ticket for each ride... and patiently waiting for my turn to get on the ride.
I watch the people getting off the ride, and see what happened to them... and listen to them as they pass by me, talking with each other and describing "what it was like for them."
If I didn't have a similar experience... I can ask myself "Well, did you buy the ticket, wait in the line... and spend your time just listening to the experience of others... Or... did you get on the ride yourself?"
While it's true that we won't be able to measure ALL the progress that took place for us on each Step, or after all 12 Steps... we will notice many demonstrable differences in our state of being. (Others will notice the changes more and faster than we will... which is one good reason for having a guide... When we have the fortunate opportunity to have a guide...through the Steps... we're not left to our own thinking about it and they can help us). A guide isn't necessary to get from point A to point B... but it can be like the difference in driving a car or riding a bicycle on a journey... the car has A/C, nice seats, gets you there faster, nice music, a radio, and you can have the company of friends with you while you travel!
Another illustration might be in having your own personal GPS device with you as you trudge the road through the 12 Steps... the GPS device can alert you when you're on-course and off-course. The GPS isn't necessary... but, it sure is handy and nice! Of course, then again... perhaps the Big Book can be used as a GPS... and it becomes "more than a map" to progress.
I remember an experience, when I was new... sitting in an AA meeting thinking...
... and my thoughts were "Well, if by practicing these principles and becoming a better person, and a good person, and knowing about God, and living with better morals... will solve my problems... why is that Priest and Policeman and a Judge... and that little mom over there... that I can tell is a good person... in here?
Surely! The priest knows way much more than I do about being good and having higher standards of morals! And, he's saying... that... in a way... he's just like me... he can't stay stopped in his drinking! That he's powerless over it! Surely, he's not only a better and gooder (yep, my word again)... and more spiritual, and more loving and kind - than me! But, he's got to know God! That's his job!"
Then, the priest shares about his little Home Group that is filled with priests!!!
And, I was shocked! Surely! They have wonderful relationships with God!
And, then, when I read of Dr. Bob... Dr. Bob was a Charter Member of the Oxford Groups... he was like the equivelant of a deacon in his church... he prayed, he had most of the formula that Bill shared with him... but, Dr. Bob was very religious, very spiritual, very close to God... but, he couldn't stay sober! Bill was known to refer to Dr. Bob, when it came to spiritual or religious questions... saying "Dr. Bob knows way more than me in those areas!" Yet... Bill had experienced the "Awakened" experience, he was trying to help alcoholics... AND he had the information that Silkworth passed on to him, in regards to alcoholism.
I don't write these things to discount what a wonderful experience it is to have a relationship with a personal God... nothing could compare with that. I don't discount the value in having and living with a higher standard of morals and higher ideals... (they are all imperative, in my opinion... to lasting long-term happy... sobriety)... but, they are NOT ENOUGH in themselves... to keep me sober!
There are many way-good people out there... much better of a person than I'll ever be... and some of them are living homeless on skidrow, drinking daily till they pass out and wake up again and start the cycle all over. It isn't about them "not being good people"... it's about them "being alcoholic." They are good people -- and -- they are alcoholic.