A growing sense of wholeness and contentment motivates me to keep at it, and to reach out to others who are struggling.
Original wording (AA & others):
Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried
to carry this message to other (alcoholics, codependents, people who
feel stuck...); and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
A journey of transformation
Joseph Campbell analyzed myths throughout a multitude of cultures in human history. He found striking similarities among them. He pointed out that the "hero journey" of myth is symbolic of the process of personal growth.
The Twelve Steps are a great tool for your own "hero journey", the process of becoming who you really are.
The journey starts with the realization of your lack of power: You have a very real problem; and your ways of dealing with it aren’t working. As you’re no longer in denial about this lack of power, you embark on a quest. By the twelfth step, you are more keenly aware of how what you do affects your experience of life.
In other words, you have become more aware of how and where you have control. You’re shifting your focus to what you can control to actually make things happen instead of banging your head against a wall.
You see the world with different eyes, you experience the world in a different way. It is as if you had been transported into a different world.
In the original wording of the step, the sense that a powerful transformation has been happening is conveyed by the phrase "spiritual awakening".
It is as if you had been asleep until such a time as you have this awakening. When you're asleep, you may not notice what's happening around you. But you certainly notice the alarm clock that's waking you up.
The world outside hasn't change. What has changed is the way you experience it. From feeling powerless and victimized, you now feel more at peace with the world. This is a different perspective, a much broader one.
There are still many things you'll feel powerless about. But you have less of a tendency to take the things you are powerless about as a personal insult. You tend to get less mired into what frustrates you. And you direct more of your energy in directions where you have some power to get what you want. You feel better about yourself.
Staying on course
Implicit in the idea of feeling better about yourself is the notion that this will motivate you to stay on course.
Let’s say you start a program of physical exercise "to get fit". You won't stay fit unless you keep exercising. And chances are you'll keep exercising if you actually enjoy the exercising itself, as opposed to feeling it's something you have to do only as a means to an end.
This process is not about acquiring anything, other than habits. It's about practicing these habits, one day at a time.
You reach out to others out of altruism... but there is a benefit to yourself as well. Sharing your experience is not about dealing with others from a one-up position ("I know all the answers, and I have to educate others who are less fortunate than I am"). It makes you feel more connected when you to associate with other people who experience similar problems.