PERSONS who attain sobriety through the A.A. principles, do so only after a thoughtful application of the 12 Suggested Steps to recovery. They happily find themselves on a level plateau of sanity after ascending these steps, one after another, and they maintain their sobriety by a continuing application of these same steps.
Those unfortunates who lose their sobriety are said to be having a “slip”. I believe this is a misnomer, for it suggests only a momentary adversity that unexpectedly pounces on its unwary victim. A more apt term would be a “glissade,” for a slip is the result of a gradual process, beginning long before its logical termination, and progressing through a series of wrong steps, to a drink, and for us, a drunk.
A slip cannot be said to occur only when it culminates in a drink, for many of us, in our failure to apply the 12 Steps to our living, frequently have slips, which are none the less slips merely because we do not slip as far as a drink.
As one must ascend the 12 Steps gradually, I feel the “slip” is the result of unconsciously descending these Steps. And as descending steps is always accompanied with less effort than ascending them, the steps soon assume the behavior of an escalator.
As the “bottom” is reached it invariably results in taking that “one drink,” which leads, for us, only to all the remorse, terror and unhappiness that follows a binge.
These, then, are in my opinion the “12 Steps to a slip,” and are the direct result of failure to consciously apply to our lives the 12 Suggested Steps to recovery:
- We neglect 12th Step work.
- We omit contact with the Higher Power.
- We forget personal inventory.
- We assume grudges against others.
- We miss A.A. meetings, and avoid A.A. friends.
- We gradually lose humility.
- We fall into self pity.
- We worry about unalterables.
- Our thinkin’ really starts stinkin’.
- We become “cocky” and overconfident.
- We neglect to ask help from the Higher Power, and take “just one.”
- We become a “social drinker.” (Temporarily.)
R. H. Dunkirk, Indiana
Jan. 1949, Grapevine