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Everyone Else Knows That He'll Be Okay

GYE Corp. Wednesday, 08 February 2012

Someone wrote on the forum:

I've failed the 12 steps because I got stuck on step 3 ("We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God"). I don't have much faith in myself succeeding at this point.

Uri Responds:

A kid is always unsure that he will ever be able to bike, swim, or anything. But everyone else knows that he'll be okay.

Dov (sober in SA for over 18 years) responds:

Absolutely beautiful! (and true). Never thought of it quite that way Uri, thanks!

Who does the third step perfectly? Who even does it well? I never did, for sure!

That it why it reads: "Made a decision to turn... over to G-d" and not "turned our will... over to G-d". Practically no one turns their will over. It takes a lifetime for most folks I know, and so far, for me.

The fourth step ("We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves"), and basically all the rest of the 12 Steps, are needed precisely because none of us succeed at "turning over our will..." - because we are messed up a bit, emotionally and mentally. We are addicts, after all. We really need some work and a lot of help.

So "swim, bike, or jog" right into the 4th step, fresh and new as if you never saw it before, with a fearless gusto! And please don't fall prey to the silly idea that you can do any of the steps (including the 3rd step!) without another person. For me, that game would be just trying the same crapola I had always tried, just trying it harder. Oy vei....

Someone else posted on the forum:

The 12 steps sound like they are the "end all" and "be all" for us to recover from our void left by this disgusting addiction. I, however, have yet to find a good way to go through the 12-Steps. For me, reading them through, even thoroughly, just doesn't work. I really don't internalize it that way. I have suggested in the past, and will make another bid now, to have someone give a shiur on it.

Dov Replies:

Please don't strangle me, but: The 12 steps are not read about, learned about, or darshened. They are done, literally and simply. We don't need shiurim, we need to watch others do them more often. You witness a lot of that in healthy 12 step meetings.

Now, if you'd be a ger and just read the Torah, even the Shulchan Aruch, you'd still have a hard time getting yiddishkeit "right". Sort of like driving - from a manual. You'd need to meet practicing Jews and see how it's really done. (Hopefully they'd be ehrlich and have a mesora and sechel too!)

Le'havdil, it's like that with the 12 Steps. The minhag of AAs was generally to do the steps in order and with a sponsor, or at least with another recovering AA who is ahead of you in the steps (and sober). It was generally to do it on paper and to share it with others.

The best "shiur" I know on how to do the 12 steps is reading the Big Book and the 12&12 of AA for more detail, but when all is said and done, the only thing that will get us better seems to be actually just doing the steps with others - awkwardly and geekily, but simply.