Are the 12 Steps only suggestions?

12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.
Serenity Seeker
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Postby Serenity Seeker » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:01 pm

Camel wrote:Taking the 12 Steps as suggestions almost killed me. My alcoholic mind understood "suggested", as "If I wanted to, but really didn't have to." There are 103 "MUSTS", in the Big Book. 51 in the first 164 pages, by my count. Not necessarily the word "must", in every respect, but words or phrases that indicate must. Such as, "have to", or "had to", or imperative.

Awsome!!! I shared this in a meeting lastnight. I stated that for me it was like a revalation to find in the BB that if we want what the program has to offer that a few simple rules are required not suggested. And oh how this has helped me. For me I have to do this today... there is no suggestion to it!!! Thanks Camel!


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Postby jzarvey » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:23 am

I tell my sponsees that there are suggestions and then there are "AA suggestions." AA suggestions are the things we do if we want to make the changes necessary to stay sober. I work THE Program, not MY program. I spent 25 years working my program before i got to AA and all it got me was drunk and miserable. When I started working THE program, I found the promises that are listed throughout book being fulfilled.

In life, we have many suggestions put to us everyday. It is suggested you drive the speed limit and pay your taxes. If you don't drive the speed limit and pay your taxes, there are consequences. Same with sobriety. If I choose to do step 2, step 9, then step 12 and only those steps, in that order, I am free to do so. The AA Enforcement squad is not going to come and punish me. My consequences will be far worse than anything any human being could inflict on me. I will lose my sobriety, serenity and contact with my Higher Power.


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Postby jzarvey » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:27 am

That is what I love about this site. I can come here with an opinion about something and read how others here see it and log off with an entirely different view.


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Postby lenny » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:48 am

Do the steps or Die! how sick do you want to be?

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Postby Toast » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:04 pm

To continue with the topic of change via the AA programme it’s been my observation lately that my fellow alcoholics that are so outspoken against change and seem to be anti-programme are the ones that are financially sorted for the rest of their lives. Over here these people all seem to have nice secure jobs, i.e. local government posts, big corporations, utilitites companies etc, that pay a good salary and a good pension at the end of 30 yrs service so why do they need to change? Some are already on a pension from a previous career and now have another salary to go with it. Others are 3rd generation in the same line of work and just like their folks before them all they have to do is sit still and keep doing the same thing day in and day out and someone will take care of them until the day they die. The fear they have of losing this whole protected way of life tells them not to change as they try really hard to stay under the radar so no one will even know they’re here! Anyone mention change to people like this and they see it as a threat to their financial stability. Just dare mention the word from a Top Table and they look at you as though we were trying to put them out on the street! :shock:

For them to change is to get noticed and to get noticed means they may be asked to perform a task that’s outside their comfort zone and then maybe just maybe their game will be up, they may be found wanting and then they could be asked to justify their privileged existence? Then panic sets in and they run to the HR (Human Resources) department telling them they’re being bullied and victimised in the workplace! HR then gives them a huge big hug and sends them off for 6 months retraining on ‘ Coping With Change, How to Stand on Your Own Two Feet.’ Which is exactly what AA had been trying to teach them all along! 8)

But the greater danger is these people eventually do retire and with all their new found spare time they throw themselves at AA meetings driving around the county in their nice new cars telling befuddled newcomers, who like myself come in unemployed and unemployable, that they’ve been attending the fellowship for the last 30 yrs and they haven’t had to change one iota! Therebye everyone stays sick. :?

The fact that their long suffering partner and kids move out the family home the minute they retired into it never even gets a mention. As long as there bank account’s all right then everything’s fine isn’t it, after all they’re still not drinking so who needs a programme of change? :lol:

Thank God it was never like that for me! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Postby MKL » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:55 am

I must follow spiritual principles if i hope to live just i as must wear a parachute if i jump out of an airplane.

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Postby Camel » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:13 pm

I was an obnoxious, big, arrogant, highly intelligent in matters of deceit, (in my mind, anyway), professional liar when I came to AA. A "real" alcoholic. The mamby-pamby approach would not have worked for me. I thank God that some people told me to sit down and shut-up and listen. I thank God that those people told me I HAD to work the Steps or I was going to die! I thank God they guided me through those steps. When I worked them to the best of my ability, my sponsor then told me I now had more ability, so we were going to work them again. He took the time to point out my character defects, and what I needed to do about them. We all may be alcoholics, but some have different personalities. I needed someone to lay down the law to me. Some of us have to be nurtured more gingerly. But that's not the way I needed it, and the Old-Timers saw that. It saved my life. It is my belief, if your own house is in order, you will know how to carry this message to people, or know someone who can. Some have to be handled with kid-gloves, others have to have it laid on the line. After all, we have been given the power to help other alcoholics. No other human beings have this power. If none of the Old-Timers had picked this up from Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson, and carried it forward, all of us would more than likely be dead. I know I would be.


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Postby Toast » Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:58 pm

Thanks Hub,

I like nothing better in AA than a straight shooter.

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