Is That All There Is?

by  Ed Harding

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as THE result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs. (emphasis ours)

We arrive at the doors of AA, NA or CA because we were driven there under the lash of alcoholism/addiction. Through desperation, coercion, fear, a moment of clarity or because of the completion of a rehab program, we are finally ready to listen to such clichés as: don’t drink; go to meetings; join a group; get a sponsor; pray if you can. These things are very important to our early recovery.

After a while, some people start to cry out “Is that all there is?” They then become complacent due to boredom from this routine and that is when they stop going to meetings as frequently. Some stop altogether. Some return to their addiction (relapse). This is why there are more one year medallions presented than there are multiple year celebrations.

I am here to tell you that no, that is not all there is!

Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can secure their confidence when others fail. Remember they are very ill. (Big Book, pg. 89)

Bill, Bob and the first 100 members of AA who helped write the Big Book did not sit around and wait until the local Intergroup office called them to ask them to 12-Step another sick alcoholic.

Bill sought out Bob because he wanted to stay sober himself. Before calling Henrietta Seiberling, he had been working with other alcoholics and although he did not manage to get any of them sobered up, his wife Lois pointed out to him that working with others was working — because he was staying sober. Working with others was the key to staying sober. Bill and Bob continued to seek out alcoholics to help and that is how it all started.

If you have been clean and sober for a period of time and it is all getting to be boring, then before you become complacent or get “restless, irritable and discontented,” I suggest you find the time to work with newcomers who come to your group, visit hospitals and treatment centres and offer to carry the message of recovery to the suffering alcoholic/addict. Even if they have not reached out for help, yet!

It’s your time to get into action. You can become a contact person for a guest leaving treatment at Renascent. We need your help as does each and every client returning to their community after completing the residential program. You can sign up today by contacting me at the Foundation office,

Ed Harding
Manager, Program & Strategic Initiatives and Alumni Care

About the Authors

Renascent Alumni
Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email