\u201cThe Twelve\u00a0Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous,\u201d\u00a0created by A.A. founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, has had a major spiritual influence on the lives of millions of people. Everyone can\u00a0use the concepts in these steps as guidelines to living their own lives. The references to alcohol and alcoholics in steps one and 12 can be substituted for any kind of problem, issue, condition or addiction in one\u2019s life. I was recently supporting a dear friend suffering with multiple sclerosis and we discussed the need to surrender to his problem. We suspected that it would help him, both emotionally and physically, to deal with his pain. The interaction made me think about the different\u00a0stages of surrender when working through \u201cThe\u00a0Twelve Steps\u201d\u00a0outlined below. I see steps one and two as surrenders to whatever the problem or challenge is: 1.\u00a0 We admitted we were powerless over [ \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0] - that our lives had become unmanageable. 2.\u00a0 Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. It is important to identify your challenge. In the case of my friend, it\u2019s\u00a0the devastating destruction of multiple sclerosis. If you can\u2019t identify a specific problem, insert \u201chappiness\u201d\u2014 I\u2019ve seen that done before. The first word in the first step is \u201cwe,\u201d which is the magic of Twelve Step programs and meetings. Sometimes, just being around those who are in the same situation as we are and who understand our pains, can be a healing experience.\u00a0I think there is no challenge or problem that others cannot relate to and can offer support\u00a0if asked to give guidance. Admitting that you have a problem and seeking help are the most important steps in the process. Step two\u00a0is\u00a0the surrender, an acknowledgement that your way of dealing with an issue may not be working. Trying a new way with proper help and support is the sane path. I see steps three, four, and five as surrendering to a higher power and becoming able to share\u00a0your vulnerability. 3.\u00a0 Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him. 4.\u00a0 Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5.\u00a0 Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. The wonderful part of Alcoholics Anonymous is the openness that I am allowed to develop in my own relationship with God or a higher power. The words in italics at the end of Step 3 comforted\u00a0me. These steps put the emphasis on looking outside of ourselves for comfort and direction. It is also a large part in the healing process. Steps six and seven ask you to surrender yourself, as a human being, to acknowledge\u00a0your wonderful imperfections, and to ask God to help you improve. 6.\u00a0 Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7.\u00a0 Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. The personal surrendering of our true self, our faults, and our weaknesses is a significant\u00a0step in building true character, personal values, and strengths. Steps eight, nine and ten\u00a0are designed to set things\u00a0right with others in your world. 8.\u00a0 Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 9.\u00a0 Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10.\u00a0 Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. These steps force us to acknowledge that we are accountable to those whom we interact. We\u00a0are ultimately responsible for our actions. These\u00a0steps\u00a0are especially critical to support those whom we love the most. The more comfortable we are with ourselves and those around us, the easier it is to live a more healthy and positive lifestyle, and look others directly in the eyes. These first 10 steps help us feel neither superior nor inferior to those around us, but rather equal to all. Steps eleven and twelve enable us to become strong spiritual beings, and also to help those in need by sharing what we have learned with our higher power. 11.\u00a0 Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 12.\u00a0 Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to [\u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0], and to practice these principles in all our affairs. Step 12 is like step one in that the word \u201calcoholics\u201d can be substituted for any problem or challenge one has in their own life. These final two steps help guide us on our spiritual path. One of the greatest spiritual gifts we can offer is to help others, and to think less of ourselves. This process is a major stepping stone in surrendering to whatever problem you may be facing, and how to overcome it. After 70 plus years of miraculous recovery in this and many other programs that have sprung from the original 12 steps in AA, it is truly amazing to witness the healing and comforting that happens if we surrender and work these steps.