March 02, 2007

Making 12th Step Calls

In Alcoholics Anonymous, Chapter Seven, "Working With Others," contains specific recommendations and suggestions on how to best carry the message to wet drunks, such as:

"You will be most successful with alcoholics if you do not exhibit any passion for crusade or reform. Never talk down to an alcoholic from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked for you. Offer him friendship and fellowship. Tell him that if he wants to get well you will do anything to help."

Today, it remains the basic script for AAs carrying the message to other alcoholics. To read Chapter Seven, "Working With Others," visit Big Book Online Fourth Edition.

AAs have found that when experience is shared, good results often follow. Wanting to increase Twelfth Step efforts and avoid missteps, the St. Paul, Minneapolis Intergroup offered "Tips On Making Twelfth Step Calls" in their May 2001 newsletter, Lifeline....

Below is the list in full. You may also wish to contact your local area or intergroup to find more information about how AAs in your area make Twelfth Step calls and work with wet drunks.


Tips on Making Twelfth Step Calls

When a Twelfth Step call is received, we begin with the assumption that another human being's life is at stake -- literally. This means that, without delay, this call is to be answered at once.

1. Arrange for another AA member to go with you.

2. Have a quiet time, read Chapter Seven in the Big Book.

3. Maintain anonymity.

4. Talk to the prospect alone, if possible. (That is, without his family and friends there.)

5. Congratulate him on wanting to do something about his drinking problem.

6. Give him some AA literature.

7.Note well what the Big Book says at the bottom of page 94: "On your first visit tell him about the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. If he shows interest, lend him your copy of this book."

8. Each of you tell him "what you used to be like, what happened, and what you are like now."

9. If he wants to talk, let him.

10. At the top of page 95, it advises, "Give him a chance to think it over. . . . Sometimes a new man is anxious to proceed at once, and you may be tempted to let him do so. This is sometimes a mistake. If he has trouble later, he is likely to say you rushed him. . . . If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval (at least ask him to read the first 164 pages). After doing that (reading the book), he must decide for himself if he wants to go on .

11. When you are ready to leave, tell him you will call on him the following day if he wants, and he will have had time to read the first 164 pages, or had time to think about your conversation.

Note that the second paragraph on page 96 says, "Suppose you are now making your second visit to a man. He has read this volume, and he is prepared to go through with the Twelve Steps of the program of recovery." At this point you review the Twelve Steps with him, and arrange to bring him to your group meeting. If he does not want to go on, or feels that he can do it some other way, pick up your copy of the Big Book and invite him to call on you again if he changes his mind and decides that AA can be of help.

12.Finally, note how the Big Book, at the top of page 96 says, "We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot, or will not, work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that cannot recover by himself."

From the March 2007 online version of the AA Grapevine.

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