As I, we, move toward the end of this series on the 12 steps, I reflect on another text, Ecclesiastes 7: 8a ‘the end of the matter is better than the beginning.’
Endings don’t just happen and this Step 12 did is not randomly placed here, at steps end. This step is not the last of the 12 but the first. Bill and Doc Bob only saw success when they shared: the message and themselves; with another sufferer or a wife, husband.
I can share without truth; honesty; willingness. And Step 1 begins with these qualities when I am first by myself, and then with my higher power. These are internal moments.
Step 12 is my external moment. Outside of myself, I am now active with my home group, my fellowship and men I sponsor and my sponsor. All is service.
It is said in the fellowship that, ‘ I can only keep it ( serenity.., ) by giving it away. What is it?
All that is me, my peace, my silences, my speech, my service.
Step 12 is giving myself.
Freely, I give.
Step 12 is about being a living message to others as we, I, serve. What is that message? Family, I am now in a new family. Serving and loved; heard and seen; in community and without fear. Wassie shared this with me today,
“I once heard a Longtimer say that the will of God will never take me where the grace of God will not protect me. I believe God loves me always. I can now be alone without being lonely, and I can now spend time
with strangers, casual acquaintances, employees and friends without feeling such fear of close contact. I have been affected by a terrible disease. But because of my recovery in the We Program, I will not continue to let it rule my life. I am becoming free. Through the simple experience of sitting and sharing with recovering members I have to realize that I have found a place where I belong. I find I can take this experience of community out into the world, bit by bit, and that, as I do, my sense of isolation from God and humanity falls away. As a result, I no longer live controlled and dominated by silent suffering, fear, loneliness and isolation. We are blessed for being given a loving and caring new family.”
Step 13 is about family, a new family.