The 12 Steps don’t “weed out” the non-believers or big book thumping die-hards. I was drawn to the rooms because I could see others like me and thought the ways I thought. I was skeptical at first.
Homeless members were getting sober. The super-wealthy was getting sober. And average folks were as well. And they were all working the same program but in their ways.
Everyone Gets Access to the Same Program for Free
There isn’t some mysterious “advanced” program for the well-off. The same program is open to all. That’s what I took for granted for so long until I saw people from vastly different backgrounds thrive when they applied the steps in their lives.
We don’t hoard the knowledge but give it away. That’s what separates the rooms from so many other institutions that look only to profit or gain power over others. There are some guiding principles to steer 12 steps groups away from those selfish ends which have worked well for many decades (though you’ll see the personalities conflict with these during business meetings).
A Long-term Guiding Principle
Inclusiveness has been a guiding force in the rooms well before it became the latest humanitarian goal. The founders and early members welcomed women during a time in history when civic groups consisted only of men. Now nearly all religions and ethnicity are represented.
Nobody wants to be left out of a resource that’s proven to work for so long and for so many others. Not everyone can afford 30-day treatment centers, and those should not be a prerequisite for recovery. That’s why 12 step programs in the communities are essential — they cast the widest net and welcome citizens of little means.
That’s not to say you won’t find people in the groups who are out for themselves or cause trouble in the principles that guide groups. However, as with all human institutions, do not be discouraged. Don’t miss the forest for the ugliness of some of the trees. You will find the group that fits you if you give your search the time.