First off, if you don’t do the steps of course you go back out. Heck, if you don’t get a sponsor, and won’t do 90 in 90, and won’t do the steps, you were never in! How can you go back out? How can you relapse if you never attain?
When I was taken through the steps I was told that AA required constant and unending spiritual growth until I died. I was told that the character building never ends, and that I was responsible when a suffering alcoholic put out his hand for help. But much more than what I was told, it was what I was shown. My sponsor and his circle of friends were all in their late 60s, and they were 12 stepping machines. You could ask them any day what they were building in their character, and they could and did come right back with the answer of what they were working on.
My sponsor once drove through a hurricane to do a 12th step. Believe me, he wasn’t crazy, just willing. The person he went to told me that he arrived moments before the suicide. On the night he died my sponsor went out on a 12th step at 9pm, and died at 2pm. I might add that he died in his sleep, sober, serene, and loved by very many.
My sponsor was always taking people through the steps. When ever he made an assignment of any kind for a sponsee he went and did it again himself. He said he had seen too many old timers falling into telling people to do things they had long since stopped doing. This approach to serving and character building kept him constantly recycling the steps, and it caused him to apply AA principles in all his affairs.
To the best of my knowledge, all the people he sponsored are still sober. It is my intention to keep doing the actions he took, that kept him sober, and that gave him such a clean and serene end.
From a response posted yesterday on a year-old thread over at Friends of Bill called “relapse is ‘stinkin’-thinkin'”.
The original post is some bonus crazy:
We are speaking of those who are capable of being honest with themselves. Relapse is caused by a lack of spiritual development and we believe in a spiritual solution that recovery is completely and directly dependent on the integrity of the individuals spiritual program. It is not based on support groups from finite man, ((b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism..) but upon the individuals spiritual fitness- how well one “trust God, and cleans house”.