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More Step One?

Do you think that one can write or discuss too much about any one of the Steps? Since the format of my Monday evening meeting is to read one step per month from “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions”, there are times when I wonder what more I could possibly hear that I hadn’t heard before. It happens, though, doesn’t it? When we share on a step someone always says, “I’ve been reading this for years and I never noticed or remember reading…”

So if you aren’t totally tired of hearing about Step One or reading about Step One, I want to share my own personal “new” discoveries. I have written quite a bit in my articles about Step One and forgive me if I repeat anything I had previously written. It is difficult to write anything about any of the steps without repeating because I believe the basics of each step provides the foundation for more and more understanding.

When we begin working the Steps, we learn that they are in order for a reason. We also learn that the Steps are “suggestions”. Although we say “progress not perfection”, we learn that Step One must be practiced every day for the rest of our lives and it must be perfect. It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Look around, though, when you attend any meeting on a regular basis and the faces that disappear. It’s not that easy.

Most sponsors, me included, give our sponsees “homework”. The majority of this type of homework is to answer questions about each step based on the Big Book. Not all questions are based on the Big Book. Some are personal experiences such as, “When did alcohol make you feel powerless?” Or, “How was your life unmanageable?” These are all quite important and relevant but when I was a newcomer, all I wanted to do was write the answers, make my sponsor think I was the absolute best sponsee she would ever have, and move on to the next step. As a newcomer I didn’t understand the power of Step One. I merely wanted to be done with it and move on.

Reading, writing and discussing Step One doesn’t make it happen. Obviously, these things need to be done but because it is a step that one can only feel deep within (as in Steps Two and Three, also) we can’t know if a person honestly gets it. We seem to know only when they relapse. When a person relapses there are all sorts of reasons but I believe the bottom line is they forgot Step One.

Step One in “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” is one of the shortest in the book yet the most important. That reaffirms my point that working it perfectly lays within each of us. Something else we read in this chapter sounded new to me. If given the choice to learn how to control drinking or working hard on all twelve steps to stop drinking which would you choose? I’m paraphrasing this, of course, but honestly, had I been given the choice I might have opted for controlled drinking. I had no clue what Alcoholics Anonymous was all about and I did believe they would teach me how to drink responsibly.

When I attended my first meeting I was shocked to learn that not only could I never take a drink for the rest of my life, but in order to stay sober I would have to go to meetings, get a sponsor and work the steps. They didn’t give me a choice. I had to embrace Step One sooner or later (the sooner the better).

Today I have a choice and I continue to choose to work Step One every day. I would be less than honest if I said I worked each step to its fullest and sometimes I am very guilty of two-stepping (Step One/Step Twelve). Prayer and meditation will continue to serve me in my sobriety. A spiritual connection must be maintained. In all honesty, if I work all of the other steps to the best of my ability, work with a sponsor and go to meetings, I have a really good chance of staying sober.

I want more than a really good chance. I want to feel that every morning when I wake, I will hold onto and believe Step One in my heart and soul and I will be that much safer in sobriety.

Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.

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