The Promises

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The Promises

Postby tasp » Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:22 pm

One of my meetings always ends with a reading of the promises.

Sad to say, but I do not find them terribly relevant to me, and they do not describe why I attend AA.

For me, life prior to the program was a horror show, and sadly, just sobering up did not stop the horror.

Virtually every thing I feared (and drank over) did in fact happen after I got in the program. For me, the program was the means via which I could experience these things with out being pulled into death.

While this clearly is not what Bill W. had in mind, it has nevertheless, worked for me.

As you might imagine, other folks in the program have trouble relating to me . . . .
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Postby Paul N » Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:21 am

After working the first 9 steps, I experienced a new freedom and a new happiness. I guess I can't see how anyone couldn't see a change after doing so.

While I'd be lying if I said I never have bouts with self pitty or what have you, I'm certainley in better shape than I was before I took the steps. My old thinking was if I can't have it all or do it all, it's broke or wrong. I don't think that way anymore. I'm okay with progress and not perfection.

Hearing the promises read early in sobriety and before I began taking some action, seemed to be something I'd never experience. But I stuck close to those who had been through the steps and were applying it ... I wanted what they had. Will I ever experience to a T as it's described? I don't know ... but I'll think I'll stick around and see what happens.
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Re: The Promises

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:32 am

tasp wrote:One of my meetings always ends with a reading of the promises.

Sad to say, but I do not find them terribly relevant to me, and they do not describe why I attend AA.


What meetings almost universally fail to mention is that they're the 9th Step promises. "If we are painstaking about this phase of our development...". The phase it refers to is specifically Step 9. By quoting the passage but not referencing where it's derived in the recovery process, the passage is being read out of context.

It could be reworded to be something like "If we are painstaking about Step 9 we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We will come to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will comprehend the word serenity and know peace. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." etc. This would change the emphasis, and steer the wording away from any concept that simply attending meetings "painstakingly" is achieving anything beyond polishing chair seats with our backsides.

Genuine recovery takes place outside of AA meetings.

If we do not take Steps 1 thru 8, or we are not painstaking about Step 9, maybe we won't be amazed. Maybe we won't come to know a new freedom or a new happiness. Maybe we won't comprehend the word serenity. Maybe we won't know peace. Maybe we will continue to regret the past and wish to shut the door on it. Maybe we'll die with untreated alcoholism never having experienced the recovery that so many people talk about despite polishing chair-seats 7 days a week.

Personally, I don't want that sort of ending. Even though the Steps sometimes feel like some sort of boot camp, I still don't want that sort of ending. I'd rather work the Steps.
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Postby fishguy417 » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:02 am

Give the steps another run through. Maybe you missed something.
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Postby ann2 » Wed Jan 24, 2007 4:15 am

The promises only became relevant to me after I had taken steps 4-8 and started on step 9.

But I didn't sit around in meetings disagreeing with all the good stuff I heard happening to other people, or promised in the literature. That's kind of a good thing, too, since once I had taken the steps that followed step 3 I didn't have anything invested in proving that this good stuff couldn't happen to me too.

And the stuff that has happened is awfully awfully good. Pretty much in the way the promises puts it.

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Postby Yvon P. » Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:26 pm

If you want to get well, then follow directions! Take the prescription! In this case, if we want to recover from "alcoholism", we must follow the directions in the Book! We must take the prescription penned for us in the first 164 pages!

I'm not entirely certain that I can feel sorry for alkies who claim that they have not experienced the "Promises" yet do not wish to follow directions. As has been said earlier, the promises are found between steps 9 and 10. On page 29 of the Big Book in "There is a Solution", we find a sentence that goes like this; "Futher on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered". The formula is in the Book!

If are not willing to show up for work, then certainly, we can not complain when our co-workers get their paycheques and we're broke!

AA the Fellowship and AA the Program are 2 seperate entities. We seem to think that once we're in the Fellowship, we're also in the Program. This is not at all the case. I followed the saying: "don't drink and go to meetings" for the first 2 years and this almost killed me. Nothing about me changed. My attitudes towards life, people did not change. AA the Fellowship kept me from drinking for those 2 years. When life became unbearable, I became willing to go to any lengths to get it - then I was ready to take certain Steps. Hello, AA the Program! That was 20 years ago and I've spent those last 20 years carrying the AA Program to the AA Fellowship. The alcoholic who still suffers is not, by necessity, the alcoholic who is still drinking. There is no such thing as "my" program. "her" program or "his" program. There is 1 Program and it's found in the first 164 pages of the BIG BOOK!

Sorry if I've offended anyone's delicate AA sensitivities but to me, alcoholism is a life or death problem which requires a life or death solution. Remember; "Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program!
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Postby tasp » Sun Jan 28, 2007 7:25 pm

The issues I drank over are very real, and are very awful and continue to this day. I credit the program with strengthening me to withstand the catastrophe, not to avoid it. While I don't think anyone else considers the ability to do that to be one of the promises, it has been as such for me.

Would it be a misuse of the program for a person with a terminal cancer diagnosis and a resulting alcohol problem, to use the program to face fate with some dignity, rather than as a drunkard?

I see the application of the program in this fashion as expanding the realm of the program, rather than as a misuse or under use of it.
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Postby Yvon P. » Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:10 pm

Tasp,
I'm not certain that I follow what it is you are saying. In any event, I am concerned with THE MESSAGE and that we carry this single message as it is outlined in the Big Book. We can not expect to experience the Promises if we are not willing to follow Directions. My concern in AA is for alcoholics only! It is a matter of life or death! How others use the Program is entirely up to them and it can be of help to people with many diferent problems but for the alcoholic there should be deadly earnestnest. Those who do not recover are people who can not or will not completely give themselves to this simple program. There are many "other" Fellowships where you may find your answer.

Kind Regards,

Yvon
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Postby tasp » Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:22 am

Here
Last edited by tasp on Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby someoneinaa » Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:48 am

Being able to intuitively handle a situation that used to baffle us; might come in handy for the longsuffering caregiver trying to assuage his children's pain.

But yes, no-one ever got sober on a "promise". We were all too jaded for that.

I'm glad I never read them, or even knew they existed, while I got sober. One day they were read at a meeting, and I realized I had them all! Up untill then, those changing attributes in me as a RESULT of these steps in my life were mere Side Benefits. Not the reason I came here or Keep Coming Back at all, but the advantage of having an open present, now that I can live without a drink, Today. :-)

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Postby Yvon P. » Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:56 am

Tasp, with all due respect. If the man is an alcoholic, and he follows directions, he will experience the Promises. If this man, faced with a tragedy of such magnitude, is able to deal with it without taking a drink (which goes against the grain of our disease), I would say that that qualifies as one of the promises! Further, despite his obvious grief, is he not able, in the midst of such adversity, not able to comprehend the word serenity and know peace? Is he not able to use his experience to benefit others? Can his feelings of uselessness and self-pity not disappear? Can he not lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in his fellows? Can his whole attitude and outlook upon life change? Is he not able to lose his fear of people and economic insecurity? Can he not intuitively know how to handle situations which use to baffle him? Can he not suddenly realize that God is doing for him what he could not do for himself? Is he not able to cease fighting anything or anyone? If he has followed clear-cut directions in the Big Book, will sanity not have returned?

Tasp, the Book says that these will alway materialize if we work for them! Your example, although tragic, is an example of the need for Fellowship to help us get through what even non-alcoholics must face. The AA Fellowship is very important in this regard. After all, If God wanted us to face these obstacles alone, He would have sent us down here one at a time. But the AA Fellowship is not what brings about that personality change sufficient to bring about recovery.

The AA Program is what enables us to experience that personality change which will revolutionize our lives. And in turn, help us to help others, which is the only help we can give ourselves. Are these extravagant Promises? We think not!
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Postby Blue Moon » Mon Jan 29, 2007 2:51 pm

tasp wrote:He is now able to be there for his kids, but they all still die.
.
.
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He realizes and appreciates the importance of sobriety, but he is unavoidably beset by the truth that he sobered up to experience this horror.


Flip the coin, see it from the other side. Consider the man who knows he is alcoholic, is offered lasting recovery from alcoholism, but refuses it on the basis he might have "feelings" to suffer some discomfort whilst being there for his kids.

Instead of allowing his kids to pass with dignity knowing that the man loved them and was "there" when they needed him, by not taking the recovery actions he puts his own feelings over everything else - even the needs of his own child.

In the depths of unrecovered alcoholism, how much more selfish or self-centred can a man get?

Such an alcoholic is a chronic case, and probably much closer to death than he realises. He is playing a dangerous gamble with his own life.

His kids may yet outlive him.

If still alive when his kids are gone, he will be beset all the more by the knowledge that he refused sobriety even to "be there" for his kids when they needed him most, having instead caved in to no more than projection of fear about how he might feel when they weren't there making him feel better.
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Re: The Promises

Postby Jim 725 » Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:44 pm

Would it be a misuse of the program for a person with a terminal cancer diagnosis and a resulting alcohol problem, to use the program to face fate with some dignity, rather than as a drunkard?


Someone who develops an alcohol problem as a result of a personal catastrophe such as cancer, death of a loved on, etc., does not need AA to stop drinking, since he is not an alcoholic. You might try reading the Big Book to see the difference.
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Postby ann2 » Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:22 pm

I totally agree with Blue Moon here. The selfishness of a father who won't treat his own illness because his children might need him baffles me.

But it happens all the time, doesn't it? Children don't need to be dying of a horrible disease ... heck we all are, after all, the disease is called mortality. We don't know if our 4 children will be in the school when the roof caves in, or if they will go to war, or if they will be struck with a brain-crippling illness, or if they will go psychotic and kill others.

Life is risk and I've certainly known people in sobriety who have gone through losses like you describe and are sober today.

There are no guarantees and yet -- we still experience the promises. If we work for them.

I still don't know where you are on the steps, and until you are willing to take them I find this discussion meaningless.

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Postby Holly96 » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:56 pm

well said Ann!!
don't leave before the miracle...you will be amazed.

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