Importance of Working the Steps
Questions and Answers on Working the Steps
1) What is meant by "working the Steps"?
For me, working the Steps means studying them and applying them. I study the Steps by reading different literature like the pamphlets or other 12 Step literature, and attending Step meetings. By studying the Steps I come to an understanding of what they mean to me. Then I practice using them in my daily life. Working the Steps means I am developing a new (effective) way to deal with old problems and that I am becoming an active participant in my own life.
2) Why is working the Steps important?
Working the Steps is important because I have chosen to be in a 12 Step program. If I don't work the Steps, what’s the point? I spent about a year not working the Steps when I first got into my meetings. I didn’t know what to do or how to find out. I listened to people share and that was comforting but my life didn’t change; the group did not have that power. I began reading all the 12 Step literature I could get my hands on. I found a sponsor that I could relate to. I came to understand that I have the power to change my life and I began to actually change when I started doing the work and working the Steps.
3) Can I recover if I don't work any Steps?
I don't know if you can, but I don't think I can. Everyone has their own path. The Steps are my path out of my addiction. When I don't work the Steps then I practice old behavior instead. When I do what I used to do I get what I used to get and that is craziness. I prefer recovery and for me that involves working the Steps.
4) How do I know when I have worked a Step?
I know I have worked a Step when I have found personal meaning in that step. The Step becomes an understandable, relevant idea that I can use in my daily life
5) Do I have to work all 12 Steps?
Of course not, but it's a good idea. Taken together, the Steps are a healthy, practical philosophy for being human. Each Step fits together into a whole way of life. I chose to work all 12 Steps because I wanted a whole new way of life, free from perpetual agony and self-hatred. I got what I wanted.
6) Is there a time frame for working all 12 Steps?
The only time frame is yours and your Higher Power's.
7) Do I have to do the Steps in order?
You don’t have to but it works best that way the first time through. Each Step serves as a foundation for later Steps. Developing a relationship with a Higher Power in Steps 1-3 gave me the spiritual support I needed to do a fearless moral inventory, and the trust that my HP would remove any defects I was ready to let go of as I worked Steps 4-7. The relationship I developed with myself in those steps helped prepare me to develop a relationship with other people in Steps 8-10. At first I thought I could start off with 8 and 9 then people who hated me would like me and I would be OK. Not! By releasing much of my past baggage in previous steps, I was freed to just practice being myself in Step 10 and to deepen my relationship with a power greater than myself in Step 11. As the result of working all the previous steps, I was ready both to live my recovery and to share my recovery with others in step 12.
8) When I have worked all 12 Steps can I quit?
My first thought is "why would you want to?" For me, working the Steps has not been like following a recipe from start to finish, but more like learning to play a musical instrument, starting with the basics and then continuing to refine and practice. My first time through the Steps I learned and I grew but it didn’t end there. Whenever I am faced with the codependent crazies I can choose to work the Steps on that issue. Each time I do that, I release a little more old behavior and find a little more freedom and joy. The Steps are a way of living and a progressive unfolding discovery for me. This is not something I want to quit.
(From a Coda email)