Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Twelve Steps and Jesus: Steps 10 through 12

Click here for post on Steps 1 through 5

So we’ve talked about the first 9 steps used in fellowships like AA, NA, GA, and so on. These steps work. And every single person in this room who is in this program needs to work those steps with a sponsor, because we need a psychological change to sustain true recovery. Showing up at church once a week, and hitting a meeting here and there isn’t enough. All the trauma, the hurt, the brokenness inside ourselves, and around ourselves that we’ve done to others is a cancer that eats away at us. And all that trauma causes us to give way to the impulse of self-destruction. We sabotage our own recovery, even when things are going well, we’ll go back out, because we’ve never faced our past, we’ve never cleaned up the wreckage, and gotten right with God. So that’s why we work those steps 1 through 9.

Now let’s talk about steps 10, 11, and 12.

Step 10 says: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 10 is essentially saying, as an addict in recovery it’s my job to continue to practice steps 4 through 9 on a daily basis. I’ve been given a simple spiritual toolkit. So I gotta crack it open and use it. Is something bothering me? Then use the step 4 tool, put it on paper, and then grab the step 5 tool, share what’s going on with someone. Is my crap behavior getting me in trouble again? Then pull out those step 6 and 7 tools, identify the character defect, selfishness, pride, ego, whatever it may be, and ask God to remove it. Did I hurt someone? Did I make someone angry? I go to my toolkit, pull out the step 8 and 9 tools, and I go directly to that person one on one, and I ask for forgiveness, and let them know it won’t happen again. Step 10 is making the steps my daily lifestyle.

Step 11 says: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.

The problem with a lot of folks in AA is they don’t work this step, they don’t continue to grow in their understanding of who God is. This step is huge. This is how we learn to walk with Jesus our Savior.

The two great communication tools between God and man, prayer and meditation. I try to pray for an hour a day, I don’t always succeed, but pick a time that’s good for you, some are early risers, for me I prefer to pray late at night. And talk to God, praise Him, pray for others, pray for yourself. Then we got meditation. I like to lay down in bed with my Bible, and just invite God to speak to me through the scriptures. And I’ll just page through the word and see what He has for me.

And as we do that daily, we’re looking to improve our conscious contact with God. Conscious contact is like, being aware of God throughout the day, and a lot of times I’ll just talk to God throughout the day, in my mind. And God communicates back, through people, through looking out the window and seeing a beautiful sunny day, and through thoughts that come. But the best part of growing in conscious contact with God is feeling the joy of His presence.

Ultimately the goal with step 11 is to understand what God’s will is for us each day. We need knowledge of His will. Like for me, when I was sober about 18 months, I really wanted to become a Baptist minister. But every time I tried, it seems like the doors were closing in front of me. So I prayed God what is your will for me as far as a career? And boom, God led me into the salvation army. I didn’t choose the Salvation Army, in fact I wanted something more hip and cool, maybe some fancy college apologetics ministry, so I could seem important to the culture and all that, but God said nope, Salvation Army is where I want you. So I followed. We’ve got to pray and check our decisions on God’s will.

And finally, we seek power from God. That’s capital P power. Our problem has always been lack of power over dope and drink. It was our king and god. God gives us power to be free from addiction, if we do our part by following His will.

Lastly, Step 12 says: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The ultimate goal of the twelve steps is that you would have a spiritual awakening. The goal is that your attitudes, ideas, your mind and your whole approach to life would be transformed.

Now do you see why so many people will go to meetings for a few months, then relapse? They never worked the steps, they never had the psychic change, the spiritual awakening, so they sat there, trying to turn magically into a Ford F150 by sitting in the garage. But it never happened. So they got wasted again.

If you sober up a car thief, what do you get? A sober car thief. If you send a retail thief to college, they’ll come back and steal the company. We need to work the steps, duh. That’s what changes us internally. The meetings help us grow through that process and stick with the victory, but we need the steps.

So if we’ve had the spiritual awakening, we’ve worked the steps, then the goal is to share the message of recovery with others. We work with others. When a newcomer is looking for a sponsor, we go up to them and offer to take them through the steps. We go on 12 step calls with friends in the program to help someone who has relapsed. We visit people in the hospital. We do service work, pick a home group, and help out with that home group faithfully. And we look to practice all the principles, the various twelve steps in all areas of our lives. That’s the whole deal. And I’ve heard many old timers in recovery say: When nothing else helped me, and I was feeling miserable and wanting to drink or drug again, they went and worked with someone else, helped someone else, and that saved them, because they got their sick mind off themselves. So working with others is a big deal.

Those are the twelve steps, and they work. They were put together by drunks and junkies for the purpose of helping themselves, and then it spread across the world, because it works. So work those steps, and know the name of your higher power, which is Jesus Christ.