The 12th step of any recovery program goes: “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Of course, depending on what recovery program one may be in, the word “alcoholics”, pertaining specifically to Alcoholics Anonymous, would be different, i.e. addicts, overeaters, etc.A Spiritual Awakening
But the main idea remains the same throughout: the point of the twelfth step is, once someone has completed the preceding 11 steps of whatever recovery program they are in, a spiritual awakening occurs. A spiritual awakening is defined as “a personality change sufficient enough to bring about recovery” from whatever it is the person is trying to recover from.
Every spiritual experience is unique to each person, and there are a variety of different types. One may think, at first, that a spiritual experience comes as the “burning bush” variety, wherein someone suddenly has an experience so profound that they are changed forever. Although this happens, it is not by any means the kind of awakening that most people experience.
The two main types of spiritual experiences that one could have are, first, the aforementioned and uncommon awakening that comes about suddenly and with vigor. The second is referred to as the “educational variety”, wherein someone changes slowly and over time and, looking back over their recovery, realizes that they are a different person.
Once someone has completed the 12 steps and achieved a spiritual awakening, be it immediate or over time, they are now in a position to help others.No Longer Alone
What keeps people coming back to recovery programs is the sense that they are among fellows- they are no longer alone and isolated in their affliction. Most addictions bring about isolation from the rest of the world; someone is “stuck” in their addiction and feels they are totally alone, with no one around who understands them. Once a group in recovery is found, the addict begins to recover because they feel they are now around people who actually understand what it is they are going through.Helping Others
People who have been in recovery for a while, be it in any program, are in the best position to help someone who is new. The veteran has experience in the 12 steps and what a spiritual awakening actually is.
Everyone who enters a recovery 12-step program is suggested to get a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who has worked the 12 steps and achieved a spiritual experience. They are in a position to lead someone else through the 12 steps they way they were in order to convey the same type of experience of recovery they had.
One way someone can help others in recovery, which is up to the person, is to be open about their recovery to others they know personally. There is the chance that someone else they know, or someone known by a close friend, may also be in need of help and can be referred to the recovering addict.Hospitals And Institutions
Another way to help those in need is to do something that is called “Hospitals and Institutions” or H&I for short. This is where someone who is in recovery goes into the hospitals and institutions wherein other addicts have been put because of the fallout to their health their addiction has brought.
There, the recovering addict can share the experience and hope they have received from the work they have done in their respective 12-step programs to someone who may not necessarily believe that the program works. This way, hope can be conveyed, hopefully letting the sick individuals who have been institutionalized to realize there is life outside of their affliction.