10th Step Promises
As this 10th month comes to a close, I want to look at the 10th step promises as laid out in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 84-85: (please allow for my own highlighting of this passage)
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone-even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as if from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality – safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.
.We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities.
I love these promises. When I first came into the rooms of AA, I heard the 9th step promises read at the opening of most meetings (still do), and they’re great, they’re amazing and they’re something that I strive for … but unfortunately, for me, when I was newly sober, they were also like reading a foreign language (one that I only had a basic working knowledge of).
I mean, sure, I would love to know what serenity and peace were like, but you were talking to someone who would rather stay in bed and cry, than get up and face the day. “Losing interest in selfish things, self-seeking will slip away,” what the hell is self-seeking, because surely it’s not me. Wasn’t I the one always buying drinks/dope for everyone; didn’t I let complete strangers come party and pass out at my house (some of them for days at a time)? I mean, how nice and *giving* can one person get, am I right?
“Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us…” Well … ain’t that nice? First, I’m about the most social person on the planet with a little booze in me and as for money? I don’t have any, I can’t see me ever getting any, so short of winning the lottery I don’t see any way that I won’t worry about money.
(Please keep in mind that everything written above followed my train of thought very early in sobriety…but isn’t that the most important time?).
I liked the 9th step promises then, in that same way I like fairytales … how cool and exciting … if it were true. But the 10th Step promises, those I could totally get behind. God, how amazing to not fight cravings, to have the problem removed?! Please, sign me up for that. Then you read a little farther and it says, “so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition …” Bummer. I knew there was a catch.
See, the God I grew up with was not a God I thought I could spend time with every morning and besides, after all the stunts I pulled, He probably didn’t want to spend any time with me either. He was a jealous, vengeful God. I grew up believing, if you think it, you may as well have done it … and if I’m honest here, I did WAY more than think it.
When I spoke these thoughts aloud to another woman in the program, she posed this question to me: “Mika, if God made you human, why would He be mad at you for being human?” and something in that struck me and rang true. Of course He created me as a human and, therefore, fallible. Am I so self-righteous that I honestly think He intended that I be perfect? No, of course He didn’t. If He created me, knowing I would sin, then He expects it, and if He expects it, there’s really nothing I can do to irreparably damage our relationship. That, my friends, is where I found freedom. The freedom to begin a relationship with a Higher Power that I never knew existed; a way to forgive myself for all my mistakes and past indiscretions.
And now, because I could believe in and begin to live out the promises of the 10th step, I’ve been blessed to experience a life beyond anything I ever could have imagined. The promises are true, in my life and in the lives of all of those you work the steps. I love this program, I love my life, and most importantly, I love my God in a new and fulfilling way.