12 Steps from Alcoholic to Artist: A Mystical Journey

Andy Crooks writing as Andy C
2 min readFeb 15, 2024

Our 12 Steps are mystical and practical.

He was an aging advertising executive. He was also an alcoholic and showed up at our meeting after being discharged from detox.

He was talented. His talent and intelligence had saved his job for many years. But he was near retirement, and his drinking escapades had exhausted the patience of his firm; he was put on notice, he was no longer wanted.

He was in trouble financially. After a drinking career, which included a couple of marriages and a refusal to file tax returns, he was bankrupt. He faced poverty in retirement.

He began working the Steps. He experienced a spiritual awakening; it was a mystical experience.

He was changing before he was halfway through. His grumpy, grouchy demeanour changed to an avuncular, grandfatherly manner. He was promoted and asked to stay past the agency’s usual retirement date. He had been a published cartoonist, but he picked up brushes and oils and began serious painting. He worked hard and became a commercial success.

He successfully dealt with the tax man. Selling more and more of his art and still working for the advertising agency, he purchased a small home in a mountain village and planned his retirement as an artist.

Years later, he passed away sober and happy. He had led his village to establish a Community Center and an annual Storytelling Festival that energized the population. With fees as a consultant and good art sales, he was no longer a fearful bankrupt; he had a financial nest egg and left an inheritance for his two children. Instead of a lonely alcoholic death, he died with close friends.

Why do I share this story?

Our Program promises a spiritual awakening. Our goal is mystical, but the consequences are practical. My friend came to AA afraid and desperate. He applied the Twelve Steps in all his affairs; as a result, he grew spiritually.

Without intending it, financial, professional, and business success was a concomitant outcome of his spiritual journey.

Mystical and practical merged in his story.



Andy Crooks writing as Andy C

For Andy C, not drinking was the first spiritual awakening. He’s been blessed with subsequent spiritual awakenings as the results of the 12 steps.