12th Step

Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.  Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.                    Philippians 2:3-4 (Living Bible)

There is a story in Alcoholics Anonymous about how Bill W. met Dr. Bob for the first time. These two gentlemen were the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, and they first met in 1935 in Akron, Ohio. There are many versions of the story, but the general outline is that Bill W., travelling and away from home and sober less than six months, was struggling with an alcohol craving.  He recognized that what he needed to do was to find another alcoholic in order to maintain his shaky sobriety. In a bar in the hotel, he met “Dr. Bob”, and from there is history. Their relationship and commitment to sobriety led to the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

I recall this story because recently I spoke with a man in recovery who said that he maintains his sobriety by finding other addicts to help. He helps himself by helping others. That constitutes the 12th Step of AA – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

This statement may at first seem paradoxical, but it is completely consistent with Christian theology. By looking out for the needs of others, we in turn are fulfilled and healed. We are all vulnerable, and when we can share that with others, we can help them on their healing journey. In turn, it reinforces our own recognition of dependence upon God.

Mighty good strategy, right?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the simple wisdom of Jesus, and all those who recognize dependence upon him as higher power, Amen

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