Wednesday, July 7, 2010

“You’re Special”

When I was out of town a couple weekends back, I went to a meeting. I’ve been to a few meetings now as an out-of-town visitor. It’s a real comfort to sit there in a city I’ve never been in, in a meeting I’ve never been to, and know I’m surrounded by people just like me. The readings are the same. People share about many of the same issues. The newcomers have the same haunted look in their eyes. It’s a real comfort to know that, no matter where I go, there are people trying to get Recovery.

I do get to hear new things, too. The chair that day talked about when he first started working with his sponsor. He was told, “you’re special--you get to start on Step 11”. He was then to go on to Step 12, and only after that did he begin working the steps from the beginning. The chair concluded by saying that this is what he tells his sponsees now: “You’re special--you get to start with Step 11.” At first, this all sounded very strange to me. New and different can sometimes be strange. But the more I thought about it, the more I could see the wisdom of it.

They say Step 11 is the one step you don’t have to wait to start working. Throughout our Recovery, we are always trying to increase our conscious contact with our higher power. There’s nothing wrong with praying--for the health and happiness of those we love, for the strength to do the right thing, for the help we need to stay sober through just one more day. There’s nothing wrong with meditating, either. Listening for that soft, still voice that tells us God’s will for us, gives us direction, shows us the path to walk and the next right action to take is an invaluable practice for everyone at every stage of their Recovery.

Step 12 is all about helping others. We say it’s specifically about sponsorship, but helping others and being of service in general are crucial parts of the program no matter how much time you have. For a newcomer, the words of someone with only six months of clean time can be more relatable than those of someone with five years. To someone new who can’t even put together 24 hours, six months sounds possible; five years doesn’t.

Growing closer to God and helping others, these are two pillars of the program. Starting at Step 11 wasn’t how I began, but I can’t find anything wrong with the suggestion. When it comes right down to it, we should all be working Steps 11 & 12 all the time.

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