July 25: The Promises

Greetings to my GROW Sisters:  I am Barbara, a grateful recovering alcoholic, with the help of AA and my Higher Power.  I am your pinch-hitter lead for today.  Welcome to newcomers–you will be so happy you found AA!  Glad you are back, those returning.  Special hoorays for AA anniversary celebrants.

It took me well into sobriety to trust I would get sober.  It took even longer for me to think that the Promises applied to me.  In fact, I just ignored them.  Should have attended meetings just on the Promises!  But knowing me, I’d have been too focused on wanting to know when they would come true instead of working my Program.

When I suggest that newcomers read the Promises I always put in a disclaimer “spoiler alert” because in some many ways they are like reading the last chapter of a book first: you want to know how everything turns out.

The Steps build to the Promises, but the Promises start coming true,  in their time and season.    They even overlap the Steps and each other.    Sometimes they seem to come out of nowhere.  They even grease the way to carry out the Steps.  They show up even in bad times.

Pretty much the Promises are the exact opposite of the way I lived when I was drinking.  Bill W. is a winner again!  He just knew it.  Not that I ever take issue with Bill W’s use of language, but it helped me to read the Promises with my sponsor.  As straightforward as they are, it was hard at first for me to apply them directly to my life and see what all I had to be grateful for.  They are an amazing cheat-sheet for doing gratitude lists!  And in the event I forget how my life was before sobriety, they are an incredible in-my-face reminder!

I can’t pick out my favorite because it is like kids: who is your favorite child?  Can’t do that.

Running down the highlights, it alerts me to the fact that before I am halfway through (half of what, of course, I ask my sponsor!) I will be amazed at a new happiness and peace. (new? never had any!)   Early sobriety for me was a constant flood of amazement.  I felt it all: enraged, sad, pain, confused, etc.   But glimmers of happiness and peace were starting to sneak into my life.  It was surely better than drinking!

I won’t regret the past: I either regretted or denied it so getting that off my mind was great.  Even today I re-read that when I am down on myself.  That is further covered by learning that a terrible past can help others.  That gives me something to do with it.  My woe-is-me era passes and I start to care about those around me.  Attitude adjustment?  Oh, for sure.  Sponsors seem to be on that topic all the time.  Me, an attitude?

As a worrier, less time spent on the what-if’s of money fears and how unsocial I was,  freed up a lot of time.  And I seemed to be getting some good common sense–after all.  Why?  Because God was handling things with me.  That amazed more than just me.

Sure, I thought they were ‘just saying this’ to keep me coming.  But these things were coming true.  Of course between quickly and slowly, I always chose quickly.

And in summary, it still is all about work, work, work.  I can do that.  I do do that every day.  That is why it works if I work it.    Check it out: Page 83 of the Big Book.  No room here for all those words.  Keep on keeping on–we all will!  hgz, b.  9/21/84