Aug 31

The Promises

There is a huge payoff in recovery, a promise of gifts that we receive when we commit wholeheartedly to this new way of living.  The Promises are beautiful and encouraging as we begin to work the Steps.  They provide hope and a glimpse of what life holds for us when we persevere.  As we move forward they become more and more evident, sometimes startling, as they reveal themselves in our everyday lives.

The Promises are found on page 83-84, of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous.  There are many other promises in the Big Book but these are what you most often hear read at the beginning of meetings.  There are adaptations and other versions in different fellowships but here they are, as they were originally written, meant to remind us that there are great rewards for working the Steps and not just promised to some but to all who continue to work them.


“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.”

The Promises always come true if we take all the recommended action. To some they may seem far too extravagant, even impossible at first.  To others they may seem too broad or vague to imagine how they will play out in practical circumstances.  But the truth is they will show up without fail if we have applied the principles for recovery in every corner of our lives.  As we continue to devote ourselves to the ongoing process of healing the Promises will appear in meaningful and specific ways. 

The details are as varied as the situations we encounter but the Promises work for all of us.  In my own life I am most often surprised by the serenity that can be found in times of crisis. We are not promised that we will never again face trouble in our lives but we are guaranteed a source of relief and a new response.  I have found this to be increasingly obvious in situations that really did used to baffle me.  In moments of fear and worry, in emergencies and in times of grief I remind myself to let go and then the miracle happens.  God does what I could never do for myself – He gives me peace in the midst of chaos.

As the Steps become a part of our lives our burdens are lifted through the Promises… Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, they always materialize if we work for them.

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