Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness (Alcoholics Anonymous, p.84).
Study shows the typical baby falls 300 times before they walk on their own. We are going to make mistakes (fall) for the remainder of our lives, but the number and severity of these mistakes will decrease as we grow in our relationship with God.
Step 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
“But how can I ever know what sins are lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. And keep me from deliberate wrongs; help me to stop doing them. Only then can I be set free of guilt.” – Psalm 19:12
Personal – intended for or owned by a specific person rather than anyone else
Prompt – done at once and without delay
Having begun making our amends, we discover that we are developing a whole new attitude toward life. Our initial problem is losing power in our lives without any thought or effort on our part. We have come to rely upon God for our needs and they are met before we are even aware of them. We begin to laugh again, maybe even sing out loud just for the feel of it and it feels great! Ours is a path of action, though, and with each action comes results or consequences, depending upon whether we choose wisely or poorly. We can and do make mistakes, but our 10th step inventory allows us opportunity to identify, accept, and rectify our mistakes. We set things right without delay and learn from our mistakes how to better serve God and our fellows in the future. We see that though we do not approve of the actions or remarks of others, we now have the tools of forgiveness, tolerance, love, and acceptance to help us avoid judgment or retaliation. We are learning to help others as we grow in our new freedom. Neither our past defeats nor victories define us any longer. We have placed our lives under the care of God.
Step 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. … Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” – Isaiah 30:19-21
Seek – to try to achieve or obtain something Prayer – something that is wanted or hoped for very much
Meditation – think about something carefully, calmly, seriously, and for some time
Now we try to be in closer contact with God by regularly talking to Him (praying) and listening to Him (meditation). We seek what God desires us to be and what He desires to be for us. As our relationship with God improves, we understand His will for us and come to rely on His direction and guidance.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – Proverbs 9:10
At first we approach in awe and wonderment, and as we gain knowledge through study of the Word and daily reflection upon it we apply this knowledge in our daily walk, with wonderful results. We begin to “understand” God as how His will manifests in our lives. This is the result of our personal relationship with Jesus – a relationship we strive to expand with frequent quiet time and prayer, and one that is personal to each individual. We don’t ask God to do things “our way” but instead seek to know only what He would have us do, one day at a time, even one moment at a time. We trust He will provide us with the strength necessary to carry out His bidding.
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8
Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
“Quietly trust yourself to Christ your Lord and if anybody asks why you believe as you do, be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way.” – 1 Peter 3:15
Spiritual – relating to the soul or spirit, usually in contrast to material things
Awakening – a sudden recognition or realization of something
Principles – important underlying law or assumption required in a system of thought
Affairs – personal responsibilities or business
Those problems that brought us to the beginning of this journey have lost their power over us. We sense a freedom we may never have known before. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Our eyes and hearts have been opened to some simple yet powerful truths:
- We must forgive
- We are forgiven
- God provides everything we need here and now
- We have a real and personal relationship with Christ
- Through His love for us do we learn how to love others
We look back on the pain and fear we have come through and see that having “been there” ourselves now equips us to help others in a way no others could.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” – John 8:32
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” – Revelation 21:5
We are reborn! Every day is a new opportunity to glorify God in all we do. If we fall short, we have a 10th step inventory process to recognize our mistakes and promptly set them right. And every day is a new opportunity to come to God and seek to serve Him. We do this through prayer and meditation, ever growing in our relationship with Him. Like changing water into wine, our past problems have become strong assets as we reach out to help others suffering as we once did – a true miracle! With our newly acquired spiritual “tools” (the principles of the 12 Steps) we continue to grow in usefulness, wisdom, and understanding. We think of what we may bring to an occasion rather than what we might get from it, and we focus on helping others, as God has commanded us to do. We are not limited to our own little groups, or the church, or our homes. We practice these principles in all our affairs, advancing the Kingdom wherever we go as we are led by His Spirit. We humbly preach the gospel of love by our actions, using words only as necessary or when asked. Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. – Luke 9:23-24
We practice this new way of living every day in obedience and gratitude. We meet with others to share our greatest gifts – God’s love for us and our love for Him – and to be there to offer our experience, strength and hope to others who may be suffering. We give freely of ourselves and that which has been given us, so we may serve as channels of His peace.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
Overcomers Outreach uses the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Holy Bible to discover the wisdom of God and apply His teachings to our daily lives. We claim Jesus Christ as our “higher power” and share our trials and victories with one another in a confidential and secure environment. We meet weekly in loving support of one another, not as a substitute for, but rather a supplement to other 12 step groups. We are non-professional and non-profit, and we welcome anyone who is not opposed to our general method of recovery, whatever his or her presenting problem.
The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous teach us how to apply principles of living as God would have us live. One way to understand the steps is to group them into four parts: give up, clean up, make up and grow up. First we learn these principles by “working” the steps, then apply these same principles to our daily walk.
For more information or to find a meeting, contact us:
6528 Greenleaf Ave., Ste. 223, Whittier, CA 90601