Step 12: Having made an effort to practice these principles in all our affairs, we tried to carry this message to other compulsive gamblers.
Step 12, Exercise 1
Are you practicing the 12 Steps in your life, one day at a time? Give specific examples.
I’m not practicing every Step every day but I like to think I apply them a lot of the time. Step 12 is an easy example and that comes with attending meetings, Sponsoring, writing my blog etc etc. Probably the most important part of this question for me is the one day at a time part. I do live my life one day at a time now. It was important for me to realise that if I try to do the right things today, I won’t gamble. I then get up and do the same again tomorrow and repeat each day. I have incorporated one day at a time in my recovery and it does make a lot of things easier to handle, especially things that are not positive. That’s not to say I don’t plan for the future or look ahead, I do, but I am also aware that if I do not get through today, then any plans I have for tomorrow may not happen.
Step 12 involves showing that we care for other compulsive gamblers. We demonstrate caring through our words and actions. What words and actions of yours demonstrate your caring for your GA brothers and sisters and for compulsive gamblers who still suffer? Give specific examples.
I still attend three to four meetings a week, one of which is the group I helped set up and another is my local G.A. Monday Zoom meeting that I set up. I also attend GamCare chat a few times a week and of course I still sponsor two people. I also write this blog, put my Step work out there for people to read. I like to think through my words and actions that people know I am there for them should they need to reach out.
How will you balance carrying the message to others with taking care of yourself and your own recovery? Give specific examples.
It’s quite simple, if I am not getting something from a meeting or an activity linked to recovery and I do not feel like anyone else involved is getting something from it then I will take a step back and I will find something different to try. I also make sure that my meetings etc do not have a huge impact on my family life. All of my meetings take place when my kids are in bed and after dinner with my partner. If I am busy and someone reaches out to me I will inform them I am busy and will get back to them. It is important for me to maintain balance and I do not want to simply swap a gambling addiction for a recovery addiction. My recovery is about a change of lifestyle of which meetings and carrying the message are a part of but there is also plenty of room for other things in my life. I do not want to be tethered to my recovery because I fear relapse, I want my recovery to be a part of my lifestyle going forward. I want to enjoy my recovery and be able to see what good it is bringing. For me that is something that I have worked hard to achieve and have been successful at.
Step 12, Exercise 2
As the Combo book reminds us, the greatest challenge with which we will be faced is that of bringing about a character change within ourselves. This challenge should be worked on immediately and continued throughout our lives, through the study and practice of the Twelve Steps of Recovery.
After having worked all 12 Steps, ask yourself these questions:
Am I still powerless over gambling?
Do I believe that a Power greater than myself can restore me to a normal way of thinking and living?
Have I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of this Power of my own understanding?
Have I made a searching and fearless moral and financial inventory of myself?
Have I admitted to myself and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs?
Am I entirely ready to have these defects of character removed?
Have I asked my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings?
Have I made a list of all persons I have harmed?
Have I made amends to all the people of my list?
Have I continued to take personal inventory and, when I was wrong, promptly admitted it?
Have I improved my conscious contact with my Higher Power?
Am I carrying the message of recovery to other compulsive gamblers?
If you answered “No” to any of the above, or if you have any doubts, please take this opportunity to look inside yourself and see what’s holding you back. This exercise may help you to become more willing to commit to doing the work that will enable you to answer “Yes” to all of these questions.
Now, ask yourself and answer one more question;
Am I willing to work the 12 Steps again starting with Step 1?
Absolutely not. There are a few of the Steps I have zero interest in working again and I’m not ashamed to admit that. I can see myself doing a yearly Step 10 and maybe going back and working Step 4 again as it was one of my favourite Steps. Of course, Step 12 is an obvious continuous one but that is probably about it. I know where they are if I feel the need to work any in this way but for me applying them to my daily life is the next step for me.