#104 – Episode 104 – How We Work The Steps


We have been asked many times ‘how do you work the 12 steps?’ In this episode, Chip and Veronica explain how they apply the 12 steps to their own lives.

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“What’s so great about this program is that you can do it in a very individual way. I think that’s what’s so beautiful about it.” Chip Somers

I’ve been sober for 20 years and Chip has been sober for 36 years and we both credit a lot of our success to the 12 steps, although we work the steps very differently.

That’s why one of the things I love about the 12 step program is the fact that you can come at it from completely different angles, and still find success.

One of the biggest lessons I learned about the program came about 3 years into my sobriety and it turned my opinion of the 12-steps on its head. While participating in a deep dive into the Big Book, I realized that, shockingly, a lot of what I had learned in meetings up to that point was actually misinformation.

“The 12 steps – you do them as they’re laid out and at the end of it, they are a spiritual experience. All that is, is a shift in perception. You just see everything differently.” – Veronica Valli

The most impactful piece was that I recognized that I had been suffering from a spiritual malady. After a bad breakup, I was in a dark place that I couldn’t seem to find my way out of and here I found my exact feelings described in the Big Book. I also found the solution – a spiritual experience.

The 12 steps are a mechanical process that facilitates a spiritual experience. It forces you to get out of your own way so you can break through your current situation.

“I have found the structure of the program and the people in the program to be absolutely critical to my recovery and I’m forever grateful for them.” – Chip Somers

The way I like to explain it is like an IKEA wardrobe. When you bring it home and see all the pieces you might feel like it doesn’t look like a wardrobe and you don’t know how to make sense of it. But it doesn’t matter what you think, feel, or believe. All those things are irrelevant to the outcome. If you follow the instructions exactly as they’re laid out, at the end of it, despite yourself, you will have a wardrobe. That’s unavoidable.

“Once I became free of being dominated by resentment and fear, I stepped into my power. So the 12 steps are a process of you connecting with your power.” – Veronica Valli

The reason I am 20 years sober and I have the life I have is because of the spiritual experience that was enabled from the mechanical process of taking those 12 steps.

Both Chip and I still go to meetings because we know we have a debt to pay. We have to practice the 12 steps and find people to sponsor and we have an obligation to make these places safe and to provide others with the same opportunities we had.

We share our individual experiences in more detail in the episode and we’d love to hear from you about how you work the steps or the questions you have for us about them.

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