I did not come willingly to Twelfth Step work. My sponsor, the S-Anon literature and other meeting members suggested to me that while it is very important to work all Twelve Steps, I did not necessarily need to finish Steps One through Eleven before starting Step Twelve. In fact, it was suggested that doing Twelfth Step work (and focusing on something other than myself and my problems) would help me with the other Steps and with opening myself to receiving God’s spiritual awakenings. Yet I was still reluctant to do such things as volunteer to lead a meeting, come early to set up or stay after to clean up. I realize now that this Twelfth Step action was hard because it confronted the nature of my problem: denial and isolation.
The members of my S-Anon group continued to gently say, “Take the action and the feelings will come.” Slowly I began to do one bit of simple service — I stayed late to help clean up and began to talk with others. After a time, I volunteered to lead a meeting and found it helped me to be more honest with myself. I noticed that as I gave my time to the fellowship, I felt like less of an outsider and felt more accepted as a male in what I initially had labeled a “sorority.” Later, I was approached by another male member in S-Anon with the idea of starting a special semi-monthly men’s S-Anon meeting to supplement our attendance at general S-Anon meetings. Again, my initial reaction was to stay isolated and let someone else do it, but instead I “took the action” and stopped worrying about it. We began to meet and soon realized that not only did we need to connect with other men, we needed to become involved in the larger S-Anon fellowship, too. In a group conscience, we agreed to send a representative from our special meeting to our local intergroup. Surprisingly, I found myself volunteering for that role. Each time I ventured into Twelfth Step activity I would initially cringe, thinking, “How can I do this? What do I have to offer?” And, of course, “I don’t have the time!” or “I don’t want to!” Yet as I have worked the Steps, and especially the Twelfth Step, the clamor of fearful and self-doubting thoughts has steadily grown softer and shorter. I have seen my denial and isolation decrease, my confidence increase and spiritual awakenings from my Higher Power multiply. I have come to see the truth in the statement “As I give to the world, so the world will give to me.”
Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, page 148-149.