12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous: Step 12

This series of articles is a PERSONAL perspective/interpretation of The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous began on June 10, 1935 and has helped scores of people around the world obtain and maintain sobriety from drugs and alcohol.

STEP TWELVE—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.

Step Twelve of The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous almost feels sacred to me. It has such profound meaning and significance in the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous that it cannot go unnoticed—or without enormous respect. It IS after all what the program was founded upon. One alcoholic talking to another alcoholic. THAT is what Bill Wilson did to begin the entire program of Alcoholics Anonymous. And, it is consistently taught that we cannot keep what we have without giving it away.

Bill Wilson describes it as being “amazingly lifted up”—that is what happens when we work with others. It is not without significance and not an accident that Step Twelve of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous has an entire chapter devoted to it in “Alcoholics Anonymous”.  All prior Steps are interspersed throughout several chapters. But, Step Twelve of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous has its very own chapter. Very significant. We pass what we have learned on to “newcomers”. We guide them through the Steps and provide hope when the going gets rough. We give this to them because it was given to us. And it saved our lives. Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous summed this Step up in the first sentence in Chapter 7, Working with Others in “Alcoholics Anonymous”: “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.” This has been proven through personal experience of many. And, the tradition lives on—as many follow the path that was forged for us by Bill W. and Dr. Bob. And for that—many are endlessly grateful.


1. Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition; Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. 2001.

2. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions; Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc. 1952

***NOTE: this article is a personal interpretation of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and is neither endorsed nor approved by Alcoholics Anonymous. ***

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