One of the most treasured of all of the passages in the “Big Book”, or the main text of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) literature, is a passage that is referred to as “The Promises”:
“If we are painstaking about this stage 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 or want 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 economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us…”
This is a breathtaking inventory of benefits, one that the more skeptical observer might dismiss as being not only unrealistic but sentimental.
You may find it difficult to believe that you might actually attain a life this good, and even more difficult to believe the testimony of many recovering chemical dependents is that they have in fact experienced these rewards. If so, then perhaps you might at least file them away somewhere: look at the list again when you are a year or two into recovery. You may be surprised.
Why are The Promises so Relevant to Recovery?
What is particularly interesting about this passage is that although it was written in the 1930s, it encompasses almost every issue that modern psychologists recognize as being crucial to successful long-term recovery from chemical dependence:
- The need for a painstaking attention to the work of recovery. It is not something about which you can be casual, sloppy, or indifferent.
- The necessity for eliminating unhealthy guilt while recognizing and accepting the damage done by the dependence.
- The healing power of accepting life without railing and screaming about its painfulness or unfairness.
- The community of all people, the commonality of their experience, and the rewards of communicating and relating.
- The detrimental effect on growth of self-pity, selfishness, self-seeking, self-hatred, and fear.
- The distorting of natural instincts and responses that is caused by chemicals and the importance of restoring these to health.
The list could be considered as a rough road map to what long-term recovery is all about and how one travels along that road. The promises are a display of the gifts of recovery, gifts that continue to play out in your day-to-day sober lifestyle.
If you or a loved one wants to learn more about our substance abuse programs, please reach out to us today. Our admissions team is available 24/7 at (877)-RECOVERY to answer your questions.