Length of sobriety required to begin Step 12
Another member and I have a different answer when it comes to 12-Step work. I was told that you only need 6 months of continuous sobriety in order to begin 12-step work, however, she was told it is 2 years of continuous sobriety. Who is correct? Where can I find this in print?
Many people new to A.A. assume that A.A., like any large organization, must have a set of rules for how things are done. Though it is hard to believe the only set of rules A.A. has is The Traditions.
Sometimes you may hear of an arbitrary length of sobriety being required to take a certain service position, but doing the 12th Step (helping others) does not require anyone to take a service "position." A certain job in your area may require some term of sobriety (which is decided at the local level and will vary by location) but an individual can start Step 12 at any time.
The Steps were intended as a plan of action to get sober, not something to do only after
getting sober. We don't know of any reason why doing all 12 Steps should take longer today then it did when A.A. began. Chapter Six describes the process as a program of action. At each step the Big Book emphasizes the importance of not delaying the next step. The description of Step 11 concludes on page 88 this way:
But this is not all. There is action and more action. "Faith without works is dead." The next chapter is entirely devoted to Step Twelve.
Dr. Bob and Bill W. put newcomers to work on 12th Step work as soon as they had worked the steps; that usually took a few days, sometimes a week or two, seldom ever a month.
Ebby T. made his 12-Step call on Bill W. with about two months of sobriety (See the bottom of page 8 in The Big Book).
Bill had nearly six months in recovery when he met with Dr. Bob; he'd talked to many others before then (See the last half of Bill's Story, Ch.?1).
Aside from the time it might
take to take a personal inventory or make amends there is nothing in The Steps or The Big Book which recommends taking it slowly or advises against doing it quickly. The emphasis is on "a course of vigorous action" (page 63).