Importance of Working the Steps

on Sunday, 20 September 2015. Posted in Questions & Answers, 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)

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