The majority of us that enter into a recovery fellowship (such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc) do so for one single purpose: to quit drinking and/or doing drugs. Much to our surprise, however, we almost universally find that when we stick around the program we get far more out of it than we originally hoped for.
These promises, summed up on page 87-88 of Alcoholics Anonymous, often are read before the start of every meeting to serve as a reminder of what we are working for. Here we break down them down.
9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
This promise is simply another way of saying “spiritual awakening”, which essentially is the goal of the twelve steps. This transformation in our outlook begins with acknowledging our powerlessness to our addiction. It continues with a major change in our perspective on our resentments, which is one of the key factors in our addictions.
This change on our outlook continues with the ninth step amends, which not only clears the wreckage of our past but also gives us a blueprint in how to handle similar situations in the future. Finally, we begin to help others instead of self-seeking, which becomes a major part of our lives. This change in our attitude and outlook upon life is ultimately responsible for our sobriety.
10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
This promise is two-fold. The fear of people slips away starting with the fourth and fifth step inventories. These steps reveal our character defects and our role in situations that in the past had led us to be resentful.
Thus, when we encounter these situations in the future with people, we are prepared to handle them. Next, the ninth step amends means we never again have to hide our head in public and be afraid of who we might run into. Our side of the street has been cleaned, and we have lost the fear of people.
The promise that economic insecurity will disappear does not mean that recovery will lead us to be wealthy. Recovery does, however, promise that we will no longer suffer an unmanageable financial situation caused by our addiction.
Many of us enter the rooms with significant debt as a direct result of our addiction. Most of us are also amazed at how quickly our financial situation begins to recover once we put the drink and/or drug down for good.
11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We become so ingrained in our addictions, that the thought of doing basic things without a substance simply baffle us. Sobriety offers a new way of life that gives us a blueprint for how to handle these situations.
Where the thought of going to a party or talking to a member of the other sex while sober may have seemed impossible, we suddenly have no problem with it. Situations that used to lead to bitter resentments within us suddenly are diffused without harm. And when drugs and/or alcohol are put in front of us, we recoil from them as if touching a hot flame.
12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Most of us tried everything to get sober on our own. We tried switching from liquor to beer, or dope to marijuana. Some of us tried moderation, only to eventually fail. Some of us tried maintenance medications like Suboxone or methadone.
No matter how sincerely we swore off drinking and drugging, we ultimately ended up failing. Typically the amount of different solutions we came up with to try and stop drinking and drugging, which failed, is an endless list.
The point is, no matter how hard we tried, we were unable to solve our drinking and drugging problem ourselves. Thus, we achieve sobriety through finding a power greater than ourselves through the steps. This higher power can be a God of our understanding, or simply the rooms of recovery.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.