1938 Original Manuscript for 1939 1st Edition BigBook Searchable 1976 3rd Edition BigBook On-Line
The Prescription
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-- The Daily Practice of Steps One, Ten, Eleven and Twelve --

From the very beginning of my recovery, my sponsors let me know (in no uncertain terms) that there were four steps of the program that were to be PRACTICED EVERY DAY ... that I was to TRY to the very best of my ability ... They are the 1st, 10th, 11th and 12th ... Obviously the 1st, because without it and total abstinence from the booze, there was damn little chance I would ever TRY to PRACTICE the other three....

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Now most alkies think that the 9th step promises are what we are shooting for in the practice of all the steps, but Tex pointed out 31 promises in the Step 10 portion of the Big Book on pages 84 and 85. (See if you can find them.) You know, the "if you want what we got, then we suggest you take 12 Steps" bit...

Step 10 tells me what they got as a result of learning to apply the steps to their lives, and the results I would get if I was diligent in my efforts. The promise on lines 8 and 9 of page 85 made it worth my while to follow the instructions given, because that is what I wanted more than anything, to get the monkey of that incessant craving and compulsion off my back and out of my mind, so that I could quit living in fear.

I found that as a result of diligent practice of the 10th every day, that my character defects quickly became damned obvious on a daily basis. It was not a problem listing them and seeing them in my 4th step, and each day brought more clarity for the causes of the defects, the "root causes and conditions," and a whole lot of clarity and understanding of the second half of the 1st step, about those things besides my boozing that I had carefully reserved for "my own management."

The bit about admitting I was wrong was difficult, but as I don't like making amends, still don't, I found it quickly brought the defects glaringly into full view, and I ceased doing them (as much). In the process I found that it is a whole lot easier to "eat crow" if it is still warm. This greatly helped to keep the wreckage of the present down to a dull roar, so that I could progress with the remainder of the "clean up steps."

I also found that as I did the 10th each day before I attempted to do the 11th, my mind would not race, that it would be at peace.. If I didn't, attempts at the 11th were filled with the cacophony of the committee in full swing with the band blaring...

As each day went by, as I began to get results, I found that I had more to share with the newcomer coming through the door, and what the old-timers were sharing began to make more sense to me, that maybe I was making some progress.

From the Big Book, pages 84 and 85.

This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.

And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone - even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality - safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.

It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. "How can I best serve Thee - Thy will (not mine) be done." These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.

Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action.

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.

His will for us is to stay sober every day, all day, (and all night too), Happy, Joyous, Free, living the 12 Steps in all our daily affairs in life, carrying a message of Love and Hope and Peace to our brothers and sisters around the world. That is the essence of the 12th Step as Originally written in the Manuscript:

12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action, we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

That is our PRIME PURPOSE in Life. We are to carry this message to OTHERS.

Love and Peace, Barefoot

ABC Page 60 from the Big Book



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