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Inward and outward

Step 12 consists of looking inward and looking outward.

Outwardly, the Step directs us to other people -- alcoholics, addicts, people with the same compulsions that nearly destroyed our lives. Although most of us work with other people in our programs long before we reach Step 12, this Step places that work in a new context. We do it not only to maintain our personal recovery, but as a result of a "spiritual awakening" -- an awakening that has permitted me to see that these others are not merely like me, but are me. As my ego drives me less and less, so I see these people -- indeed, everyone in the world -- as myself. And if they are part of me, and if I am part of them, then carrying the message to them is the same as carrying it to myself.

The Step suggests we practice the principles we have learned in all our affairs. At first this may look like an "outward" practice as well. But there will be no outward change unless something has profoundly shifted inside us. This part of Step 12 is not some sort of worn-out moral goal, which if achieved successfully will somehow "save" us. It is a way of life that we can only attempt if the old "I" has begun to die against the daily practice of Steps 10 and 11.

"The spiritual life is never one of achievement:
it is always one of letting go."

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