**Please note that all matter stated here is that of an independent writer and does not represent the River Source trying to re-define the promises, this is simply a look at how treatment uses the 12 promises and helps people achieve them. In support of that purpose, only a synopsis of each promise will be included every month. For a list of the 12 promises and the accurate/official definitions please contact AA world services or obtain a copy of the book “Alcoholics Anonymous”.**
February 2014- The 11th Promise
If you have been following this article series from its inception, you will recall we have covered treatment’s relationship with the 12 steps and the 12 principles. This year we will examine the 12 “promises” of recovery or what the recovering person and to an extended family, “wins” as a result of sobriety. These articles are independent of the previous year’s so no worries if you are just coming on board.
The eleventh “promise”(in quotations simply because that is not an official recovery term, rather a term of endearment used by the recovery community)discusses a recovering person gaining the intuition to handle situations that in the past would have had them for a complete loss. This is huge in recovery because recovery, if nothing else, is about the pursuit of independent and free living. Learning how to handle life on life’s terms and become productive members of society is the point of sobriety. In order to do so, one must learn how to handle the many everyday situations that need a decision or some action to be taken on a persons’ part. Learning to self-sustain is huge in life and in recovery and working a recovery program helps people connect to that.
Let’s take a closer look at a potential area of confusion here. Everyone can see the benefit of taking care of one’s self and learning to take ownership of their life. However, most of what we hear about addicts/alcoholics in recovery is that it is almost imperative that they not rely on their own thinking. So what gives? Is this “promise” hypocritical in its premise? No! What we learn is that while it is always a good idea to lean on a sponsor, family member, or trusted friend in recovery when big decisions are to be made, there are situations that call for us to make quick decisions or even situations where others couldn’t advise us even if they wanted to. What then? Well, that’s where this “promise” comes in handy. By learning to live a recovery filled life, people in recovery set themselves up to have the know-how in handling situations just by recanting how they have dealt with other situations in recovery. In other words, you don’t have to go through an exact experience in life or recovery, you simply need to remember or intuitively know in this case, that you can get through the situation or make the right choice.
How does treatment help with this “promise”? By giving newly sober people the tools they need to learn how to make decisions. Decision making is almost non-existent when someone is using or drinking problematically. Many people have been on the form of a self-destructive autopilot for years before they get clean. In treatment, the staff is able to talk through real-life situations or help instruct the client on how to think things through and get in the habit of making the right choice. Once this occurs, clients develop the confidence they need to know how to handle life on life’s terms. A powerful step in the right direction.
Be well and we will see you next month!