**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”.**
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 seventh “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 other-centeredness or letting go of self-serving a motive. As it has been well discussed both in these articles and others like them and mainly by recovery literature, selfishness and self-centeredness lay at the root of the drug and drink problem. Addicts and alcoholics simply cannot see past themselves or get out of their own way long enough to allow life and happiness to happen for them if they are drinking and/or using drugs. There seems to be no way for an addict/alcoholic to recover without first honestly looking at their self-serving motives and how they played these out in all areas of their lives. A recovering member of a 12 step fellowship best summed this mindset up with this tongue in check perspective of the self-centered alcoholic or addict: “Me, me, me, I’m sick of talking about me, let’s talk about something else, what do you think of me?” All humor aside, this mindset is very much the way of thinking so many who have this disease live in on a regular basis.
As a person is exposed to the 12 steps and as they take actions to change, a sense of others and a new found way of thinking begins to develop and be fostered in the exposed person. Situations where they previously would have only thought of themselves are now seen from the eyes of how it will affect others. Sobriety may depend on it since one of the root principles of recovery is “doing the next right thing for the best of all concerned. In order to practice this particular principle, or way of thinking, one must begin to not only think of all concerned but give thought to what would be the best action for that individual to take in relation to how it would affect other people. The greatest principle in recovery may be the principle of one addict or alcoholic help another to enjoy sobriety and the joys that a sober way of living offer. The promise as it is written poetically describes this selfishness as “slipping away” which shows it is a process and not something to be had instantly. In other words, if somebody is willing to continue to work towards a selfless perspective, they shall surely gain on and in doing so open up a way of thinking and living that is without parallel.
How does treatment help with this “promise”? Have you ever tried to convince delusional thinking, narcissistic person that they are selfish or self-centered? Not exactly a walk in the park. I use the heavy terms above because most people come into recovery are in some ways delusional and narcissistic in how they carry themselves and how they think in selfish terms. It takes a carefully crafted process to help someone understand that they are where they are and that it is okay to digest truth about ourselves and become willing to change those truths. In treatment, an individual gets to examine their thinking and learn daily how to change those patterns to one of success!
Stay cool and we will see you next month!