The Joy of Living (Step Twelve)

The joy of living is the theme of A.A.’s Twelfth Step, and action is the key word.  Here we turn 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.

It is a very special and unique kind of giving that I see happen in AA.  In my time and place, we don’t, as Bill W sometimes described it, get a call, get in the car, and travel great distances to help another alcoholic.  That must have been amazing and exciting and rewarding in a way I can only imagine.  I’ve gone through a few modern day extreme situations, though.  I find it amazing, the way we all truly, truly, want each other to succeed, and the time and effort we’ll put in to people year after year  It’s just different than anywhere else.

I haven’t previously considered it in the way I’m reading it now, that by practicing the steps in all of my life and becoming a better person, in that way I also help the people in my life be emotionally healthy, whether they are alcoholics or not.  I do influence and affect people, for good and for bad, whether I want to or not.  The better I do with the steps, the better I’ll do by them.


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