What Do The AA Promises Really Mean?
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-step program designed to help alcoholics recover from alcoholism. In the Big Book, there are a set of AA promises that are given under step 9. Those in recovery may have heard the promises read out in a meeting, but what do the AA promises really mean? Let’s break them down so they are easier to digest.
9th Step AA Promises
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
-Big Book pg. 83 & 84 Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Ed.
Breaking Down The AA Promises
Here is a breakdown of the AA promises as written in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, Step 9.
1. Hope instead of desperation. We will see how the program is working in our lives where we were once baffled.
2. Faith instead of despair. Alcohol is not our master – we neither fear it nor crave it.
3. No regrets, only experiences. We will finally see how our experiences will help others heal and grow.
4. We will feel serenity and peace because of this.
5. It is because of these experiences that others will be able to recover, too. We see then that what we have gone through has meaning and can help others. It is an important part of our story so that we along with other alcoholics can recover.
6. As a result, this enables us to feel whole and useful to our fellows, our higher power, and our lives.
7. We will become less self-centered and concerned with our problems, which will enable us to let go and be happier.
8. We will see the world from a whole new perspective full of joy, peace, and hope.
9. The material world will no longer control us and our fears over money will leave us.
10. We see how we are able to respond to life and situations in a healthier and more rational way.
11. All of a sudden it becomes clear that our higher power and the power of the steps is helping us stay sober and live life happy, joyous, and free.
12. All of these promises will become true at some point in an alcoholics journey while working the steps.
AA Promises & Your Recovery
The AA Promises are meant to be a promise for recovery. The promises usually begin to come true after an alcoholic has worked through the steps thoroughly and begins to apply them in their life. When it says that they will be “fulfilled among us-sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly” it means that the AA Promises will happen, but the time frame in which they present themselves are different for everyone. These promises will always materialize if the alcoholic works for them. This means that if you are working the twelve steps to the best of your ability and are as honest as you can be while working them, you will receive a spiritual awakening or experience, which then leads to a total personality change.
What is your experience with the AA Promises? Please share your comments below, we would love to hear your thoughts.
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Updated January 24, 2017Tags: 12-steps, AA Promises, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous Promises, twelve steps, twelve traditions