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The first nine steps get us sober

tcr! · Apr 14, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Audio (MP3): 20170414 - The first nine steps get us sober

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The first nine steps get us sober. The last three keep us sober.

It’s one of the two mindsets in recovery circles and I struggled with it for a long time. Not so much because I was in one camp or the other, but because I often find myself returning to Steps 6 and 7 in the here and now. Returning even though I’ve worked the “suggested program of recovery.” I return to them when I’m sick of being me, overly tired of living in a way that keeps me stuck. All done with feeling insane.

Six and Seven aren’t accounted for in the last three steps of Alcoholics Anonymous as the others are. I guess maybe they fall under Step 11, seeking only God’s will…but that doesn’t do it for me. I know the importance of God’s will and seeking only that. I won’t say “I have a few 24 hours” because that’s almost annoying.[1]

Step 11 keeps me on the spiritual path, keeps me out of me, brings enlightenment and whatnot. Sure, I’m all for it. It’s one of my daily pursuits. But sometimes I’m really stuck on a character defect. I mean like seriously, “this is screwing up my life” kinda stuck. My shortcomings, ladies and gentlemen, can literally drive me painfully to my knees, searching for divine relief.

I could seek God’s will through prayer and meditation and after said search I’d be given direction. But when I’m only seeing dysfunction in my behaviors, only living in the problem — I need to feel that “entirely ready” part and I need to “humbly ask.” I need to revisit the Sixth and Seventh Steps.

Okay, maybe if I was “better” at working Step 11, I wouldn’t get to that pain point, get to where I’m almost loosing it, shaking with hate, spouting venom at people who aren’t even there. In stressful situations with plenty of history (such as me getting divorced this past year) my fear can and has sent me kneeling before God in emotional agony, asking for God to take away this mess in my head. Even though I am walking the spiritual beam on the whole.

But back to my point.

So do we only work steps 1-9 once and then practice steps 10-12 for the rest of our lives?

It doesn’t matter. As usual. Do what works for you. Revisiting six and seven isn’t going to hurt anything or anybody. It’s not violating some obscure twelve step recovery law.[2] It’s not going unholy against the grain of god’s will.

Revisiting six and seven is only going to help remove obstacles that stand in the way of us being the best people that we can be, that stand in the way of us serving our fellow humans, serving each other. It brings relief from the prisons we’ve built and grown accustomed to living in. It ends the suffering, expands trust and faith, and brings us closer to god.

Steps 6 and 7 unbuckle us from our human limitations and let us move about the cabin. Freely. It parts the clouds and lets us stand in the sunshine of the spirt. And that, my dear good peeps, is not against tradition.

#alcoholism #advancedsoul #diariespodcast


  1. Hopefully my words qualify my sobriety without me needing to use time stamps. I’ve heard people use “a few 24 hours” as a stand in for actual recovery talk.

  2. If it is written somewhere, it needs to be unwritten.

tism tism · Apr 14, 2017 at 2:02 pm

I completely agree with the “do whatever works for you” mentality. Of course I’m not in any position to understand your daily struggles. That fact may make my opinion completely moot.

tcr! tcr! · Apr 14, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Nope, not at all. There’s few “one size fits all” designs for living.

tism tism · Apr 14, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Life style long johns so to speak”.

tcr! tcr! · Apr 14, 2017 at 5:47 pm

Haha! Exactly. 😊

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Momma J Momma J · Apr 14, 2017 at 6:59 pm

There is a lot of introspection

tcr! tcr! · Apr 14, 2017 at 7:07 pm

Introspect is one of my favorite things 😉

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jimi hindrance experience jimi hindrance experience · Apr 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm

“…some obscure recovery law…”

that sums up too much of what i thought of “the program”

jimi hindrance experience jimi hindrance experience · Apr 15, 2017 at 1:27 pm

back to the topic.
it’s been so long since i commented on what the speaker led the meeting with…

i never understood anyone who insisted the steps or the program had to be “worked” a certain way. some of it would logically follow the rest, but i always felt like the minute you were serious about staying sober you had worked steps 1, 2 and 3. and every time you kept sober and sane after that you were working the rest of the steps.

the “staying sane” part was especially hard for me. i could “not drink” with the best of them but i could “make crazy” better than most. my own harshest critic. other people in the program were candidates for the loony bin as far as i could tell but i was only in charge of my own behavior. i have behaved every bit as dishonorable stark raving sober as i ever did when i was drunk.

tcr! tcr! · Apr 15, 2017 at 7:13 pm

You’ve also behaved every bit as honorable as the best spiritually enlightened person I know.

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HideAndSeek · Apr 14, 2017 at 10:23 pm

First 3 get us sober. Last 3 keep us sober. But the quality of our sobriety depends on the how well we work the ones in-between.

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