Step work in recovery: Step 12

Having had a spiritual awakening, as a result of the previous steps, we try to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice the principles in everything we do.

Step 12, simply explained, is a solution to the disease of addiction or alcoholism.

“Ultimately, it’s about having a spiritual awakening, which has different meanings for different people. Simply put, a spiritual awakening is a psychic and personality change and takes the desire and obsession to use or drink away. For some it’s a powerful and immediate experience, while for others it’s a slow, ongoing process,” says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

The second part of Step 12 is about carrying the message of recovery to other people… This is because ‘we keep what we have by giving it away’.

“To explain it easily, when we work with others, our lives change. Sometimes carrying the message can be as simple as making sure that there is a warm, caring, non-judgmental place for others to come back to, and a handshake or hug that lets them know that we are here for them and they should keep coming back,” says Griessel.

The following principles are used to live by: honesty, hope, faith, action, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, brotherly/sisterly love, discipline, justice, perseverance, spiritual awareness and service.

Ultimately Step 12 teaches us that by helping others, we help ourselves.

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit or call 011 430 0320.

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