Learning the Steps vs. Living the Steps

Freedom In Sobriety
August 30, 2018
History of AA Slogans
September 7, 2018

The Event is Not the Process

During his third day of treatment at Towns Hospital, Bill W. ingested the essence of our Twelve Steps while being assisted by his schoolmate, Ebby T. (p. 13). Directly thereafter, Bill experienced a radical personality change which allowed a release from his alcoholic obsession. However, this blessed happenstance would have been only temporary unless followed by putting Ebby’s “neat little formula into action, which was, at that time, of course, the tenets of the Oxford Group.

  • Learning the Twelve Steps is an event
  • Living the Twelve Steps is a process

Directly after leaving Towns Hospital, Bill didn’t return to his long-standing passion of Wall Street finances, but was instead guided to Calvary Mission in attempt to carry his new-found sobriety message to drunken sots. Lucky for us this became a lifetime process which allowed him to maintain permanent sobriety. His spiritual experience event became a lifetime process.

Dr. Carl Jung explained to millionaire, Rowland H: “Ideas, emotions, and ideas which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast aside, and a new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them” (p. 27). Although armed with this invaluable knowledge, Roland was unable to follow the Oxford Group tenets; consequently, he maintained only spotted sobriety. Learning the Oxford Group tenets was sadly only an event, but not the necessary lifetime process.

Dr. Bob had been exposed to the Oxford Group tenets for over two years before meeting Bill W., but was not actually living in the spirit of them. And no matter how had he would try, he would end up boiled as an owl.

After a five-hour talk with Bill, he experienced a much stronger desire to stay sober. This was an exciting event, but he was unwilling to follow the process of making the required amends. He got drunk! But later, he made amends, thus began living the Twelve Steps (as they were later to be called), he never drank again!

Half measures availed us nothing (p. 59).

By Bob S.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.