I recently walked into a Twelve Step meeting and, as usual, I was greeted from across the room by a bunch of my friends. As I made my way across the room to join them and catch up on what's new with everyone, someone I didn't recognize caught my eye. He was maybe in his early 20s, sitting by himself, not looking too happy, and his head was buried in his iPhone. I got the feeling he was either new to recovery, or that this was his very first meeting. Because I wanted to go catch up with my friends, part of me thought about ignoring this newcomer. Certainly he wouldn't relate to an "old guy" like me. I thought one of guys in the group closer to his age would go over and say hello to him, find out if it's his first meeting and so on. But then I remembered the AA Responsibility statement, so I grabbed a chair in front of him, turned it around, and started up a conversation. I Am Responsible In an increasing number of meetings today, people recite the AA Responsibility statement, which states, "I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that: I am responsible." But it's one thing to say it; it's another thing to live it. This young man confirmed for me that it was his first meeting, and that he knew nothing about recovery. He told me that his girlfriend insisted that he try out the Twelve Steps, and he wasn't thrilled about it. I'd heard that song before. There's even a good chance I sang it myself at one time. He asked me something along the lines of, "How does this whole thing work?" I could tell he needed to hear more than, "It works just fine." I could also see that given the opportunity, he was ready to bolt for the door. Telling him to stick around to find out just how it can work wasn't going to cut it, either. One interaction can mean the difference between someone giving recovery a try or continuing their obsession with their substance of choice. So I took the time to tell him that the combination of the fellowship and the program, which is found in the twelve steps, is why "it works." I realized his need to talk about his situation far outweighed his capacity to listen to some old-timer telling him the inside story on all things Twelve Step, so I kept it simple when he asked me to help him understand the first three steps. Translating the First Three Steps Making the language of the first three steps as approachable and solution-oriented as possible makes them easier for people to unpack. Let's try it now, like I did with my group's young newcomer. Step One. Do you see a connection between your own drinking or using and the fact that your life is unmanageable? Look, unmanageable is a five-syllable word for "out of control." Can you relate to "out of control?" Yes? Then proceed. Step Two. The basic idea of Step Two is that we cannot "cure" our own addictions. Ham is cured—not addiction! But if you relate to "out of control," the good news is that help is available and you've come to the right place. People in Twelve Step recovery don't pretend to have a hammerlock on recovery. There may be other methods that work for other people. But what we have works for us, and if you stick with us, you might just find a solution that works for you, too. While we admit we cannot "cure" our addictions, we: Came—we started showing up at meetings. Came To—we realized that we were living life in an unconscious fashion, not realizing how much damage we were doing to ourselves and others. And then Came To Believe —we saw that something outside of ourselves can help us, whether that "something" happens to be a Higher Power (however we define it) or even the program itself. Step Three: The first edition of the Big Book has a story in which AA's co-founder Bill Wilson said to a newcomer, "Your life is certainly jumbled up. Would you consider inviting God to help you 'unjumble' it?" Basically, that's Step Three in a nutshell. By accepting the spiritual help offered by a Higher Power, we embrace a spiritual program for arresting alcoholism and addiction. By letting a Higher Power "unjumble" —to use Bill's term—what we've managed to jumble, there's a path ahead. That's what we do in Twelve Step programs. Through the steps, through the fellowship, people find deep within themselves the Power that will "unjumble" their lives. It's working for us, and it will work for the newcomer, new or old, and that's why it's our responsibility to "Pass it on."