Big Book Musings: “Faith without works…”


In Bill’s Story of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous there are many of the essential precepts to remaining sober.

Once Bill has his epiphany in his kitchen, he says “My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs.”

And this is where he explains one of the greatest principles–in my humble opinion–of all the 12 Steps of AA, the 12th Step:

It was imperative to work with others as he had worked with me.  Faith without works was dead, he said.  And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! 

For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not service the certain trials and low spots ahead

faith on justruminating men's blogI love that phrase “Faith without works was dead.”  It’s all well and good that you find your Higher Power.  Now what are you going to do with it?

Simply having this newfound faith is not enough.  Bill suggests that the cornerstone to living a spiritual life is to be in the service of others.

Step 12 of Alcoholics Anonymous states

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 our affairs.

It’s one of the most difficult principles that I have yet to embrace.  Because of my personal history, and the fact that I am extremely introverted, I am having difficulty with this concept.faith2

I do realize, however, that this step is essential for me to step outside myself.  It is essential for me to “get out of my head” and be of service to others in one capacity or another.


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