Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

Re: Time Frame for Completion

Postby Lali » Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:49 pm

serendipity wrote:There is a wealth of information within this thread for me.


I agree in spite of some of the argument contained herein. I'm happy that you changed the subject line to be more specific. (So someone doing a word search will be able to bring this up). IMO this issue is very important as the steps are how we recover! This is also one of the most commonly asked questions.


Edited 8-24-16
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby Stepchild » Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:40 pm

It's a great explanation of actually "living the program".


That's exactly what it is....They tell us what we need to do from the moment we wake up to the time we retire at night. And it does become habitual...A working part of the mind.

I'd like to share a Grapevine article with you...It was written by Clarence Snyder...One of the original 100 that helped with the writing of the book. Enjoy.

I've Never Quit Being Active
by Clarence Snyder
A.A. Grapevine, November 1999

On February 11, 1938, I had my last drink. I was a chronic alky, and through a long, involved miracle, I met my sponsor, Dr. Bob, one of our co-founders. He put me in Akron City Hospital, where I met the alkies who had preceded me in the Fellowship.

Fifteen months later, I organized the Cleveland, Ohio AA group. The activity in the Cleveland area was hectic. I spent practically all my time obtaining and following up on publicity for AA, lining up cooperation with civic and church groups, hospitals, and courts, and helping new groups to start.

So what do I do now, thirty years later? I have never quit being active, although my position in the Fellowship has modified over the years. I attend an average of two meetings per week, when I am home. I am also asked to speak at various groups. In addition, I am invited to take part in numerous group anniversary programs and AA roundups around the country (and sometimes out of the country). Many people call upon me for counsel and advice on both personal and group problems. I have an extensive correspondence, since I have made so many friends in AA from coast to coast. Once in a while, I sponsor someone. Cases where about everything has been tried, by everyone else, often wind up in my hands.

I have not found the program to be difficult, and I maintain that if it does seem difficult for anyone, he is not doing it "right." Certainly, when I came to this Fellowship, I was in no position or condition to handle anything difficult! I kept things simple. But I must add that when I first began I was well sponsored.

I took measures now summarized in the first nine Steps of the program: admittance of need (the First Step), surrender (Second through Seventh), and restitution (Eighth and Ninth). Having done this, I no longer had a drinking problem, since it had been turned over to a Higher Power. Now I had - and still have - a living problem. But that is taken care of by the practice of Steps Ten, Eleven, and Twelve. So I don't have to be concerned about anything but a simple three-step program, which with practice has become habitual.

Step Ten enables me to check on myself and my activities of the day. I have found that most things disturbing me are little things, but still the very things which, if not dealt with, can pile up and eventually overwhelm me. My daily checkup covers good deeds as well as questionable ones; often, I find I can commend myself in some areas, while in others I owe apologies.

Step Eleven is done after my daily inventory. I usually need the peace resulting from prayer and meditation, and I do receive guidance for my life and actions.

Step Twelve, to me, does involve not only carrying the message, but extending AA principles into all phases of my daily life.

I learned long ago that this is a life-changing program, but that, after the change occurs, it is necessary for me to go on making the effort to improve myself mentally, morally, and spiritually.

This is my simple program, and I recommend it to anyone who wants a good life and is willing to do his share of helping.

C.H.S., St. Petersburg, Florida
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby D'oh » Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:51 pm

I know you are big on debating the book...But maybe you could share with us all where it states that. If you are referring to this line...
Yes there is a long period of reconstruction ahead.
pg 83


I thought it to be obvious. I am in no way Debating the BB, and never meant to.

I am aware of the quote. It might be why I said that my Sponsor recommended reading from pg 83 not just starting at 86.
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby Mike O » Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:56 am

Stepchild wrote:
It's a great explanation of actually "living the program".


That's exactly what it is....They tell us what we need to do from the moment we wake up to the time we retire at night. And it does become habitual...A working part of the mind.

I'd like to share a Grapevine article with you...It was written by Clarence Snyder...One of the original 100 that helped with the writing of the book. Enjoy.

I've Never Quit Being Active
by Clarence Snyder
A.A. Grapevine, November 1999

On February 11, 1938, I had my last drink. I was a chronic alky, and through a long, involved miracle, I met my sponsor, Dr. Bob, one of our co-founders. He put me in Akron City Hospital, where I met the alkies who had preceded me in the Fellowship.

Fifteen months later, I organized the Cleveland, Ohio AA group. The activity in the Cleveland area was hectic. I spent practically all my time obtaining and following up on publicity for AA, lining up cooperation with civic and church groups, hospitals, and courts, and helping new groups to start.

So what do I do now, thirty years later? I have never quit being active, although my position in the Fellowship has modified over the years. I attend an average of two meetings per week, when I am home. I am also asked to speak at various groups. In addition, I am invited to take part in numerous group anniversary programs and AA roundups around the country (and sometimes out of the country). Many people call upon me for counsel and advice on both personal and group problems. I have an extensive correspondence, since I have made so many friends in AA from coast to coast. Once in a while, I sponsor someone. Cases where about everything has been tried, by everyone else, often wind up in my hands.

I have not found the program to be difficult, and I maintain that if it does seem difficult for anyone, he is not doing it "right." Certainly, when I came to this Fellowship, I was in no position or condition to handle anything difficult! I kept things simple. But I must add that when I first began I was well sponsored.

I took measures now summarized in the first nine Steps of the program: admittance of need (the First Step), surrender (Second through Seventh), and restitution (Eighth and Ninth). Having done this, I no longer had a drinking problem, since it had been turned over to a Higher Power. Now I had - and still have - a living problem. But that is taken care of by the practice of Steps Ten, Eleven, and Twelve. So I don't have to be concerned about anything but a simple three-step program, which with practice has become habitual.

Step Ten enables me to check on myself and my activities of the day. I have found that most things disturbing me are little things, but still the very things which, if not dealt with, can pile up and eventually overwhelm me. My daily checkup covers good deeds as well as questionable ones; often, I find I can commend myself in some areas, while in others I owe apologies.

Step Eleven is done after my daily inventory. I usually need the peace resulting from prayer and meditation, and I do receive guidance for my life and actions.

Step Twelve, to me, does involve not only carrying the message, but extending AA principles into all phases of my daily life.

I learned long ago that this is a life-changing program, but that, after the change occurs, it is necessary for me to go on making the effort to improve myself mentally, morally, and spiritually.

This is my simple program, and I recommend it to anyone who wants a good life and is willing to do his share of helping.

C.H.S., St. Petersburg, Florida


Excellent. :D
Thanks for sharing this.
It's helped me remain sober today.
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby Diego505 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:49 am

Greetings all. I am known in my home group as Diego. This means "Dare I Edge God Out?". I adopted this pseudonym as a reminder of what I wish my AA program to be on a daily basis. I ask myself the question repeatedly throughout the average day. My given name is David so that works equally well with "David Is Edging God Out".
On the speed, or lack thereof, regarding the Steps, I believe that the very question reveals our propensity to align ourselves with our fellow AAs. This does not, nor anything I write here, originate from a critical stance. I just think it is easy for us humans to think our goal is human-ness. I have been the brunt of many instances of criticism in the area of spirituality. Not a pity party here, but I have simply learned that enlightenment, total truth, love and kindness, and complete peace of mind are generally not found by consulting the general public. Following the crowd contributed significantly to my landing myself in the dockless boat on Lake Alcoholism. I truly find nothing wrong with completing the steps authentically in one day, or less, or never completing them after working on them an entire lifetime. If I am working on step 3, and my sponsor asks me how my step 4 progress is going, I tell him I don't feel that my work on step 3 is quite finished. This, as you all know, is a tick mark that only each individual can award to him or herself. No one can tell me when I have truly turned my life over to God at all, let alone when I have given the subject enough thought, consideration, evaluation of where my life in all of its forms and facets will take me, and if I am willing to Promise the promise to God. But this is just Diego, and Diego doesn't always speak the exact correct infallible truth. He only tries to speak in a way to keep God the focal point. Each morning I ask God to lead me on the path. Each night I pray that I have understood His directions. Ask yourself this: If God found serenity in infinite duplicity, everything being a carbon copy of another, would the world be comprised of trillions of vastly different creatures, different traits, looks, intelligence, everything? I believe God wants us to be different from each other. After all, if you believe in omnipotence, wouldn't you agree that 'same same' is the last thing God finds attractive? I received my 6-month chip recently. I have grown so much, and yet I am 'only' on step 3. I praise God that I am an alcoholic in recovery. I praise God that I am on step 3, without wondering about the accepted way, or the typical way, or the correct way. My sponsor says "it is good to be on the right track but if you stay in one spot you'll get run over". Is this true? I fully believe it may be. I also fully believe it may not be. But what I DO is send him love for sharing it with me, because I know he did that when he did that for me. I also know that God is okay with me trying my best whether my sponsor is correct or not, and this does not lesson my effort to be the best support I can be to others. Believe in your God, believe in your self, believe in love, it's all we've got.
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby Brock » Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:32 pm

Diego has a really nice refreshing view on this subject, and puts it over in an interesting way. The fact is it says having had a spiritual awaking you are good to go, it mentions as a result of these steps, but we are quick to admit that AA is not the only solution. It sounds to me he is very much on the spiritual path, more so than some I have read or heard speak, who claimed to have completed the steps.

Not being critical at all, but this -”No one can tell me when I have truly turned my life over to God at all, let alone when I have given the subject enough thought, consideration, evaluation of where my life in all of its forms and facets will take me, and if I am willing to Promise the promise to God.” I do believe that far too many people linger on this step, when the experience of very many I have read here, and heard in meetings, is that we just make a decision to do it and move on, as the book says 'next we launched out.' The fact is it takes considerable time, and the job of handing over the will is never entirely completed, but the steps following #3 are designed to give us a start on that. As life goes on and presents it's problems, we start to see the great benefit of practicing it, many people with many years still report to be learning this skill.
I have simply learned that enlightenment, total truth, love and kindness, and complete peace of mind are generally not found by consulting the general public.

Agreed absolutely, and also not generally found by listening to one person either. But Bill said a smart thing “be quick to see where religious people are right,” and some of them can kick a spiritual awaking into high gear. A good man here the atheist 'Tosh,' said he reads Thomas Merton, I figured if an atheist reads it I better have a look. I recently found one of his books 'new seeds of contemplation', and a torrent for a free download, it's not the easiest of books to read but this fellow knows his stuff. People like him can explain the dangers the ego presents, and ways of handling it, the steps are also designed to help us control the ego, but the more help we can get the better, because once the ego is in charge God can't be.
Believe in your God, believe in your self, believe in love, it's all we've got.

Well said.
Last edited by Brock on Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby ezdzit247 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:24 pm

Hi Diego and welcome to the forums.

Congratulations on receiving your 6 month chip!

Loved your share. Found myself agreeing on every point, especially regarding the 3rd Step. Looking forward to 'reading' more of you.... :D

Another forum member, PaigeB, shared this quote in the forums a while back:

There are hundreds of paths up the mountain,
All leading to the same place,
So it doesn't matter which path you take.
The only person wasting time
Is the one who runs around the mountain
Telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.

~Hindu Proverb~


Believe in your God, believe in your self, believe in love, it's all we've got.


Works for me..... :wink:
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby Reborn » Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:13 pm

This, as you all know, is a tick mark that only each individual can award to him or herself. No one can tell me when I have truly turned my life over to God at all, let alone when I have given the subject enough thought, consideration, evaluation of where my life in all of its forms and facets will take me, and if I am willing to Promise the promise to God.


The 3rd step is a decision.."Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him." Alot of people over think this step and get stuck...I've seen it quite a few times...they either get stuck or they are affraid to do the 4th step. I don't believe that we ever really completely turn our will and our life over to God...free will, will always exist in humans...we always have a choice. That being said this program is not meant to be over analyzed...we just have to carefully follow direction and God will reveal himself to you. I do not believe anyone can begin to think they have actually turned their will and life over to God until they have completed their house cleaning. My two cents is stop thinking and start doing...analyze until you paralyze or take the action necessary to produce a real spiritual experience.
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby Stepchild » Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:56 pm

I praise God that I am on step 3, without wondering about the accepted way, or the typical way, or the correct way. My sponsor says "it is good to be on the right track but if you stay in one spot you'll get run over". Is this true? I fully believe it may be. I also fully believe it may not be.


I don't think your sponsor would be telling you that because he wants to see you fail. Is there a correct way?...I guess if you believe these passages from the book are true....Then that would be the case....

From Chapter two..

Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.
pg 29

Upon completing step 9...

Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense.
pg 85
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby Stepchild » Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:58 pm

I don't believe that we ever really completely turn our will and our life over to God...free will, will always exist in humans...we always have a choice.


"Care" of God....People always leave that word out.
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby PuppyEars » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:32 pm

My sponsor says "it is good to be on the right track but if you stay in one spot you'll get run over". Is this true?

I dig it. Trying to keep wind in your sail. I would stick with someone like that. Mine was telling me let go or get dragged. So much of this process for me is learning to let go and recognizing when my ego is telling me something isn't right (thru some feeling) when everything is exactly the way it should be. Awesome share Diego.
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby Reborn » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:41 pm

Stepchild wrote:
I don't believe that we ever really completely turn our will and our life over to God...free will, will always exist in humans...we always have a choice.


"Care" of God....People always leave that word out.


That's the point I was trying to make...just didn't say it very well...Great point Stepchild thanks man.
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby Stepchild » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:45 pm

Reborn wrote:
Stepchild wrote:
I don't believe that we ever really completely turn our will and our life over to God...free will, will always exist in humans...we always have a choice.


"Care" of God....People always leave that word out.


That's the point I was trying to make...just didn't say it very well...Great point Stepchild thanks man.


I know...I never question your knowledge of the program buddy....You carry the message well.
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby D'oh » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:01 pm

The 3rd step is a decision.."Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him." Alot of people over think this step and get stuck...I've seen it quite a few times...they either get stuck or they are affraid to do the 4th step. I don't believe that we ever really completely turn our will and our life over to God...free will, will always exist in humans...we always have a choice. That being said this program is not meant to be over analyzed...we just have to carefully follow direction and God will reveal himself to you. I do not believe anyone can begin to think they have actually turned their will and life over to God until they have completed their house cleaning. My two cents is stop thinking and start doing...analyze until you paralyze or take the action necessary to produce a real spiritual experience.


Thanks. You said it well.

Utilize what God offers, We need not Analyze it.
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Re: Time Frame for Completion of the 12 Steps

Postby Mike O » Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:58 am

Reborn wrote: ...this program is not meant to be over analyzed...


Yep. Absolutely.
Keep it simple.
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