11/7/08 BB Into Action pp 83-84 (9th step promises)

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS

11/7/08 BB Into Action pp 83-84 (9th step promises)

Postby Karl R » Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:53 am

Good Morning,

"HP, grant me the amount of good sense, tactfulness, consideration, and humility you deem suitable just for today."

Yesterday's reading spoke of spiritual principles and amends as living practices, not just theories. Through them we come to be free men, standing on our own feet.

Today's reading (in red below) talks about the results of this process of amends. These promises were read at the beginning of every F2F meeting I attended for the first 2 1/2 months of my sobriety. On joining a new group in a new town and attending the first meeting there I suddenly realized that there was a big hole in their opening as far as my brain was concerned. They don't read these promises at the start of their meeting. That made me actually take note and really read these promises. The next time I attended one of my original groups where these promises were read, I was passed the sheet to do the reading. I prefaced the reading with "the ninth step promises from the Big Book" Everyone looked at me like I was brain damaged. I don't know if most of them didn't know they were from the big book or if they had never paid attention to them in the reading. Anyway--the moral is--not to get complacent about these readings. Try to do something different to make people actually listen to How it Works or The promises Or The Traditions.

On the promises. As with most of the promises, they come with conditions. The conditions for these promises include "painstaking about this phase of our development" Recently I've come to understand the word painstaking as not just meaning rushed or hurried or urgent: this word also has a meaning of well thought out, working at steadfastly but patiently, etc. Patience is one of those things that I keep asking my HP to give me his proper measure of. The bit about "sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly" is beginning to make some sense to me.

Anyone care to share of their ES and H concerning this reading, promises fulfilled, conditions on the promises, or any other alcohol related subject today?

have a great Friday everyone and thanks for being here today,

Karl


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.
Last edited by Karl R on Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Oliver » Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:59 am

This is my absolute favourite section from the Big Book. I love the emphasis - if we work for them, they will materialise. The rewards of this programme are absolutely fantastic, we are granted a daily reprieve from a terminal illness by taking a few simple (but sometimes difficult) steps.
Oliver
"In exchange for bottle and hangover, I have been given the keys to the kingdom."
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Postby avaneesh912 » Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:16 am

The "phase" the book is talking about is the phase we start making amends using the discipline of steps 10 and 11. The first few months I never really understood that. The meetings i went to never mentioned that it is the promises of the 9th step. All i would hear is "Keep coming back" or "90 in 90" or "meeting makers make it"........"1 day at a time"....

At the midst of this financial crisis i have no anxiety and this definitely because of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Postby ann2 » Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:07 am

I used to hear these promises read in meetings and I wholeheartedly endorsed them -- for everybody else. I knew that my case was different -- I didn't deserve all these high-falutin' benefits, I was just lucky not to drink that day. And I felt lucky and I was extremely grateful, and everything "bad" that happened I knew it was okay because I didn't have to drink.

Then you guys told me to pick up pen and paper and take an honest inventory. I thought it was a silly idea but I wanted to be one of you, so I figured I'd go through the meaningless initiation rite.

A few months of self-searching, tears and discovery which led to the steps that followed . . . and suddenly I noticed that I was beginning to comprehend the word "serenity". It was amazing, because after all I'd been repeating the serenity prayer along with everyone else for the past 17 years. But suddenly that word opened up for me and I knew peace.

The other promises as well have come true. This program works, even for a totally lost case like me.

Ann
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When to start on 8 and 9

Postby Karl R » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:59 pm

Good evening everyone,

I happened to be sitting in a meeting the other day listening to numerous shares about drug and alcohol court, financial difficulties, someone's difficulty to find the motivation to plant shrubs, and other problems the people in that meeting were having.

I have to admit here that I was not being a good listener. Instead, I became distracted by the copy of these promises that I found I still had in my hands after we had opened the meeting by reading them.

The words "we will", "we are going to", "we will not", "will" are definitives. No wiggle room. The only qualification given in this passage other then that of "quickly or slowly" is that we are "painstaking about this phase of our development".

Painstaking=the action of taking pains or...diligent care and effort.

The phase of our development that these promise speaks of is moving painstakingly into steps 8 and 9 using the tools of steps of 10 and 11.

Without this painstaking effort and transition I would not have known a new freedom and a new happiness. I would still be regreting the past instead of making it one of my most valuable assets. I would not now have the serenity and peace that I have found. The feelings of uselessness and self pity(yes--even depression) that I once experienced would not have gone away, I would still be dwelling in self and have no interest in the exciting world around me, I would still be living in fear of all types and brands. Most importantly, I would not now have the certainty that my higher power can do miraculous things that I, of myself, can't accomplish in this little trudge down the happy highway.

That has been my experience. So...for anyone fearing the painstaking dilegent care and effort which embodies the 8th and 9th step---take the plunge. Become willing to offer all of yourself to your higher power in the 7th step and start on the action of the 8th and 9th steps. The rewards will be great.

These promises come with a condition-the condition of being painstaking. The rewards are spelled out.

thanks everyone for letting me share,
Karl
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Re: 11/7/08 BB Into Action pp 83-84 (9th step promises)

Postby leejosepho » Sat May 19, 2012 5:46 am

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development ...

Steps Four through Nine ...

... we will be amazed before we are half way through.

Being "amazed before we are half way through" is the first "promise" in these pages of our book, and most people miss seeing that! Hence, they later split another promise into two in order to get a total of twelve. But for the sake of perspective here:

Whenever I took a few drinks of alcohol, I would be amazed before I was halfway through ...

... and now we have something else, spiritual fellowship, as a "sufficient substitute (and vastly more)" (page 152) for the alcohol that had also been killing us.

Whenever I took a few drinks of alcohol, I knew a new freedom and a new happiness ... did not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it ... could comprehend the word serenity and know peace ... could see how my experience could benefit others ...

That was all just an illusion, of course, but that is what alcohol had been doing for me ...

... and now today after having taken the Steps, all of these promises are true in a way that is permanent and not an illusion. Feelings of uselessness and self-pity still do come along once in a while, of course, at least for myself, but putting my focus on trying to be helpful to others can lead to soon getting out of that.

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.

That began with "the key to the future" in Step Four, and now today it is reality.

Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

People and economic insecurity are still part of life as I know it, but now I no longer have to fear them ... and that is simply because I am now relying upon a new form of management that truly works!

We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

As we learn to respond in life -- "responsible" equals "able to respond" -- we no longer fall prey to mere reaction and situation management.

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves ...

... and that the effect of that is actually transformational where the effect of alcohol had never really been lasting and dependable.

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.

We first saw that in Bill's story ...

"For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that." (pages 14-15)

... and now here we are on the other side of that!
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: 11/7/08 BB Into Action pp 83-84 (9th step promises)

Postby PaigeB » Sat May 19, 2012 12:11 pm

Well, put Joe! I particularly liked you relating how alcohol fulfilled the promises we sought, but it was an illusion!

I like Karl's definition of painstaking and his breakdown of the definitive statements.

Karl R said: I've come to understand the word painstaking as not just meaning rushed or hurried or urgent: this word also has a meaning of well thought out, working at steadfastly but patiently...
and
The words "we will", "we are going to", "we will not", "will" are definitives. No wiggle room. The only qualification given in this passage other then that of "quickly or slowly" is that we are "painstaking about this phase of our development".


I think the big little word regarding the Promise is "IF". When I read the Promises at a meeting I say IF and pause for a moment before continuing to read. IF ..... we are pains taking.

When I was in college, I enlarged and made a copy of a cartoon showing a little boy dragging his book bag being greeted with open door by this mother. The caption said:

"I learned something today, and it hurt."

I remember my parents telling people I was having growing pains. I thought they meant my shoes were too tight. Life, it seems, has always been painful for me. As far back as my memory goes, I ached for something. When I found alcohol I found a solution of sorts, but I continued to ache for something; always trying to bend life to meet this something and drinking because it wouldn't. I even tried religion and a "personal god" to no avail. This was the vicious circle I lived in.

I didn't know that I longed for "conviviality, companionship and colorful imagination." (pg 151). I didn't know that I even wanted these Promises. I thought that alcohol gave me all of that and quite nicely. And then one day, unbeknownst to me, alcohol quit working. I began a series of many vain attempts to make it work again. I drank during all my waking hours the last 2 years and the vicious cycle kept going and going until that moment of clarity when I KNEW that it would be like this forever... I would die a drunk, alone.

I threw myself at AA the way I threw my self at alcohol. People at meetings talked of a joy that I didn't care to have. I didn't care if I got the Promises. I just didn't want to die a drunk. I went to meetings, got a sponsor who went through the Big Book with me & we painstakingly did the Steps. Sometimes I feel like that little boy in the cartoon, trudging home exhausted and in pain. Sometimes, I feel a fleeting touch with joy. But I can run down the list of the 12 Promises and honestly say that I have experienced most of them at some point and to some degree. I do comprehend the word serenity and I do know peace.

...... IF ..... is at the beginning and at the end of the paragraph and defines the Promises:

IF we are pains-taking about this phase of our development...
They will always materialize IF WE WORK for them.


"Keep comin' back! It works IF you work it!"
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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