Step of the Month: Step 12…A Small Word with HUGE Implications

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

There are three parts to Step 12 as you can see:

  1. spiritual awakening
  2. carrying the message
  3. practicing these principles

Today, let’s just look at the first of these by focusing on one very simple word that appears in Step 12. That word is the. As in “the result of these Steps.” If we remember back to our high school English classrooms, the expresses “definiteness,” while a/an are the indefinite article. So what? Consider these two phrases:

  • Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps…
  • Having had a spiritual awakening as result of these Steps…

Bill, Dr. Bob, and the early AAs were telling us very specifically what the Steps are doing for us. They are causing us to enter into a relationship with a Higher Power that will change our lives. Had they used the indefinite article, as in the second example above, what would they have been claiming were the other results of the Steps? Not drinking or eating, of course. Getting one’s spouse back? Or house? Restoring one’s health? Having one’s children move back into your home? Maybe money is coming our way? We could increase the list ad infinitum, which is precisely why the appears in Step 12. AA made no guarantees about circumstances and situations, rather they guarantee that, done honestly and thoroughly, the Steps will help us “enter into a new relationship with our Creator.”

Or we might say that they promise that the promises of the Big Book will come true. There are dozens of those sprinkled across pages i to 164, and they are not exaggerations if the experiences of millions of drunks, overeaters, junkies, gamblers, sex addicts, debtors, and others are any indication.

But what about our food??? The Big Book book has plenty to say on this. Here are three examples:

“The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power.” (43)

“When the spiritual malady is over come, we straighten out mentally and physically.” (64)

“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.” (85)

In other words, our food is no longer our problem. It’s God’s food now, and God is the one who removes our insanity and our compulsive eating through this process. Step 12 need not mention the food because it is already covered by the spiritual experience.

And that’s why the is so important. Because no other possible result from the Steps conquers our problem with food. But this one does, and it takes care of all our other problems too. Now that’s a great result!!!