Bill W, Dr. Bob: 12 steps, Eucharist

Big Book of AA
“Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. we asked His protection and care with complete abandon.
Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. 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.” 

Chapter 5 “How It Works” (pg 59 &60) Big Book of AA


These are the principles of any 12-step program. On the first Wednesday of the month St. Mark’s Episcopal Church has begun a 12-step Eucharist at our mid-week 5:30 pm service  where the steps are read at certain parts in the liturgy of the word and table. It is a reminder to those not in 12-step recovery that these programs are based on very spiritual principles and that recovery involves a spiritual program. It also can send a message to those in 12-step programs that the principles they live by are also in and supported by the church, their religious community. Note that this is a “we” program. Recovery comes about in community.  These are principles that can change people’s lives.  As any of us live these principles in “all our affairs” we see miracles happen. If we attend a 12-step meeting, we are sitting in a room full of miracles.

 The first miracle happened with a New York stockbroker, Bill Wilson, who had been a hopeless alcoholic. After multiple hospitalizations in 1935 he cried from his most recent hospital room out to a God he had heard about from his friend Ebby Thacher in the Oxford Group, “I’ll do anything!  Anything at all! If there be a God, let Him show Himself!” Suddenly he felt a feeling of ecstasy and experienced the feeling of a bright white light and a feeling of peace. He never drank again. On a later trip to Akron, Ohio, he believed the answer was “we” and that he could stay sober by talking to another alcoholic. The next day, the day after Mother’s Day in 1935, he visited in the upstairs bedroom for six hours with Dr. Bob Smith, a physician whose practice was almost destroyed by his alcoholism.  Together they began a spiritual “we” program of recovery that has saved millions of lives all over the world.

Bill Wilson died on this date January 24, 1971, years before many of those today have been born to save our lives.    (Pass It On)