Step 12

Dealing with Tragedy

One day after visiting the grave of my brother, I began to stroll through the cemetery and found the grave of woman whom I had grown up with. Not only was she buried there but also her teenage son. As I stood there reflecting on what could of went wrong in their lives, I noticed as two car loads of young men parked and exited their vehicles. I waited for a few seconds as the men stood behind me and then I turned and ask them "Was this someone's mother? One of the men stepped forward and said "No, her son was our friend." My response was "I see." Then I proceeded to share with them that I had grown up in the same Santa Ana, CA neighborhood as the mother and began to mention names of her family members.

12 Step A.A. History Review

Research in the last twenty years has made available lots of new information about where each of the Twelve Steps came from, so far as its language and ideas are concerned.

Therefore, if you put these and other thoughts together, you may find why the rapidly disappearing spiritual roots of A.A. are important. The reflections in this article, however, are just designed to remind us all of some principal historical roots of the 12 Steps. And to show how they can help you, as they did me, to see what the Twelve Steps are really about–or at least were, when Bill Wilson first penned them.

Where They Did Not Come From

The Importance of "STOP!"

That’s odd for me. I want to focus on moving forward, dreaming big dreams, taking risks. And lately, for some reason I don’t understand, I seem to hear STOP.

I don’t think it’s about the big things, I’ve no sense about stopping those efforts. So I’ve wondered about STOP as it relates to the ordinary, everyday stuff. I think I might have noticed something interesting.

STOP is nearly always useful advice when I’m uncertain.

Are you lost? STOP. Don’t keep wandering, compounding the problem. Get your bearings. Ask for help. (Hint: Works for more than driving.)

Are You Cultivating Seeds or Weeds?

How do you get vegetables out of your garden? By planting vegetables, of course. This is a fact almost too obvious to mention, except for the fact that most people seem to have forgotten that you reap what you sow and you harvest what you plant,

for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)


Now if a man simply kept weeding a garden patch without ever planting it to vegetables, we would certainly have a right to call him at least a fool if he expected weeding to give him vegetables. We should, in fact, question his sanity.

But this foolishness is exactly what millions of "good Americans" are dedicated to: they do nothing but pull up weeds, and they expect to harvest vegetables. How? They are always fighting the weeds which crop up in the life of America, in the churches, schools, and organizations, and this is all that millions of them do-pull weeds.

Meanwhile, the country and everything in it goes downhill.

Make no mistake about it, the weeds of communism, atheism, and permissiveness must be uprooted, but what good will all this weeding do if no sound seeds are sown? The net result is simply a better patch for new weeds to sprout in. Jesus said of the man who rid himself of an unclean spirit without submitting himself to God and bearing fruit to God that such a man becomes then a dwelling place for eight unclean spirits, "and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

"Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation." (Matthew 12:45) When people are simply interested in getting rid of their weeds, their problems, and have no desire for planting seeds, for moral and spiritual regeneration, then they are only the worse off for their efforts.

Plant me by a river, Lord

Plant me by a river, Lord,
Pull me down, by the roots
To Truth,
Draw me up to the heavens, Lord,
Lift my arms, in Your Son
Suffuse.

Grant me gift of bark, Lord,
When rain, and wind
Beat strong,
As well as tender leaf, Lord,
Where wind, and bird
Play song.

Wash me in the spring, Lord,
Laughter, joy,
Renew,
When limbs grow heavy in fall, Lord,
I pray, may it be
With fruit.

In winter be my strength, Lord,
In trials, my Hope,
My shield,
And gather over time, Lord,
By Grace of Your gifts,
Thy yield.

He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season...

Psalm 1:3

A Lesson from the Sea of Galilee

There are two seas.
One is fresh, and fish are in it.
Splashes of green adorn its banks.
Trees spread their branches over it and
stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters.
Along its shores the children play, as children have played for 2,000 years.
The river Jordan makes this sea with sparkling water from the hills.
So it laughs in the sunshine.
Men build their houses near it, and birds their nests;
and every kind of life is happier because it is there.

The river Jordan flows on south into another sea.
Here is no splash of fish, no fluttering leaf,
no song of birds, no children's laughter.
Travelers choose another route, unless on urgent business.

Prayers for Each of the 12 Steps

~First Step Prayer~

Dear Lord,
I admit that I am powerless over my addiction.

I admit that my life is unmanageable when I try to control it.
Help me this day to understand the true meaning of powerlessness.
Remove from me all denial of my addiction.

~Second Step Prayer~

Heavenly Father,
I know in my heart that only you can restore me to sanity.

I humbly ask that you remove all twisted thought and
addictive behavior from me this day.
Heal my spirit and restore in me a clear mind.

Getting Started with Sponsorship

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A Prayer for the New Year (by Matthew Henry)

"My times are in Your hand!" Psalm 31:15

Firmly believing that my times are in God's hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God's divine providence. Whether God appoints for me...

    health or sickness,
    peace or trouble,
    comforts or crosses,
    life or death--

may His holy will be done!

All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus--and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor--that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me.

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