Tuesday, December 26, 2023

December, Step 12, and Jumping off a 100 foot pole...

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and practice these principles in all our affairs.  




Deep autumn—
my neighbor,
how does he live, I wonder?


Matsuo Bashō, d. November 28, 1694, Osaka, Japan



Completing Step 12 is no small matter: 


·      Having had

Now in our possession

·      a spiritual awakening

Unexpected change for the better

·      as the result of these steps,

The work we put in

·      we tried

Positive inertia

·      to carry this message

The task at hand

·      to alcoholics

You and I

·      and to practice

To do or perform often

·      these principles 

A code of conduct

·      in all our affairs.

Interaction with people, places, and things


I suppose we could call Step Twelve our A.A. mission statement, something that guides our way of living.


On page 63 of the Big Book, it reads, “…we become less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we become interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.” 


We become less and less and more and more. It doesn’t say we stop doing X and begin doing Y. We’re alcoholics. It’s a lifelong process that we practice, knowing that we will never do this perfectly. We become less and less selfish and more and more selfless. 


Step 12 is just the beginning for us.  The longer we stay sober, the ways we contribute to life expand to include contributing the greater good to people, places, and things. And this brings us joy, comfort, and peace.


It’s deep autumn.  Crops have been harvested, foodstuff preserved, firewood chopped, and roofs repaired.  People are spending more time at home - - not getting out as much because of rains and colder weather or even snowstorms now.


My neighbor. “We haven’t seen each other for a while,” Mr. Bashō is thinking about his neighbor. Wondering out loud, “How does he live?”


This short little ten-word poem exemplifies our Twelve Step practice. Mr. Bashō cares about his neighbor. Caring for the alcoholic who still suffers is what fuels A.A.


And now about my jumping off place…


…as I said in my early December entry, this will be my last 12 & Zen posting.


I’m feeling some of the aging effects, having just turned 80. New territory for me that I’m thoroughly ready to embrace. I’m slowing down, words don’t always come to me as quickly, and take yesterday as an example, I spent several minutes looking in the refrigerator for the package of corn tortillas (that I had already taken out and placed on the counter). Here’s to a new chapter. I’m at that place where my yesterdays far outnumber my tomorrows, which makes “one day at a time” more essential than ever. And I’ve never been happier.


Gratitude is

the secret sauce

that goes with


Fading, aging, falling apart; but it's still a fence.

So, My Friends, thank you for following along for all these years. Knowing you are out there participating has made this all worthwhile. I still go to four meetings a week, in this month came my 37th year of sobriety, I’ll be doing a 7-day Zen retreat next month - - my Zen/A.A. practice sustains me as I jump off the 100-foot pole into my 81st year.


Please remember, as long as this blog remains online, there’s more than a decade of koans and commentaries to work with, play with, and meditate with… and for new people, look around and give this a try…then see how this affects your 12 Step practice. One cannot wear out or use up koans or the Twelve Steps.


A deep bow in gratitude to you all.


Bill K.

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