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AA, Two-Steppers, and Leadership

Posted on December 3rd, 2013

AA has Twelve Steps to recovery for their program. The twelfth step is an act of gratitude when recovered alcoholics help other alcoholics stay sober. The gift received is passed along as the final step. In AA they speak of people who are “two-steppers” — people who take Step One (accepting they are powerless in their addiction) and then jump directly to Step Twelve (helping others) without the in-between steps where the hard work lies. They try to pass along something they themselves have not yet received. The desert fathers (3rd-5th century) talked about this temptation also. It is one of the great temptation I face, and I think we all face as leaders, talking about things of God that we have not lived. “Another brother spoke…about matters of which he had no experience. Theodore said to him, “You’ve not yet found a ship to sail in, not put your luggage aboard, not put out to sea, and you’re already acting as if you were in the city which you mean to reach. If you make some attempt to do the things you are discussing, then you can talk about them with understanding.”

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