12 step promises

On pages 83-84 of A.A.'s Big Book, we are given a set of 12 Step Promises. Since most addicts and alcoholics have made and broken many promises, a lot of us are wary, if not downright skeptical. After all, if we can't keep our own promises, how can we believe in those made in a book written almost a century ago?

But, as every AA member knows, that's just stinkin' thinkin.' If you make meetings, get a sponsor and work the program, those 12 Step Promises will be yours. No ifs, ands or buts about it. All you've got to do is commit.

12 Step Promises

  • Promise 1
    We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
  • Promise 2
    We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
  • Promise 3
    We will comprehend the word serenity.
  • Promise 4
    We will know peace.
  • Promise 5
    No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
  • Promise 6
    That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
  • Promise 7
    We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
  • Promise 8
    Self-seeking will slip away.
  • Promise 9
    Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
  • Promise 10
    Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
  • Promise 11
    We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
  • Promise 12
    We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Case in Point

Colby is a recent grad of Recovery Boot Camp. No, that's not his real name (anonymity in all our affairs right?). But he is a real graduate of RBC's addiction recovery program. He's also currently in residence at our adjacent Healing Properties. And, like all the men on campus, he works a strong 12 Step program.

Colby was recently asked to share his story at a local AA meeting. You know, what it was like, what happened and what it looks like now. Colby's 'what it was like' was much like every other addict and alcoholic. Maybe there were differences in geography or education or career trajectory, but there was a through-line that connected him to everyone with a substance use disorder. That is, drinking and drugging gave him courage and confidence. And it did so from an early age. Until he eventually needed a drink or a drug just to get through the day.

Colby's 'what happened' was also very much like every other addict and alcoholic. He pushed and he pushed until addiction pushed back. When that happened, Colby lost everything. His job. His car. And his home. More importantly, he lost his connection to friends and family. Having hit the proverbial rock bottom, Colby was alone.

But not for long. When Colby entered RBC he found a group of like-minded men who all suffered from the same affliction. That gave him camaraderie. Then Colby found they were in this battle against addiction together. That provided unity. Finally he discovered there was a way out. That gave him hope.

So Colby did what was suggested. He made meetings, got a sponsor and worked the Steps. He got a job, opened a bank account and paid off his debts. Colby even got his license back, though it had twice been suspended and once been revoked. And he got a car. His own car. With his own money. And he drove that car to a holiday get-together with his family, who again welcomed Colby back into their lives.

Moral of the Story

Colby ended his share by explaining about how grateful and serene he was feeling. Then, after he'd finished, one of the old-timers raised his hand and said "Thanks for your story. And thanks for reminding everyone that if you work a strong program those 12 Step Promises will be kept."

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