Treatment and the 12 Promises:
**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”.**
August 2013- The 8th 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 extent 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 eighth “promise” (in quotations simply because that is not an official recovery term, rather an term of endearment used by the recovery community) discusses a recovering person allowing self seeking to leave them. This may seem like a repeat of the seventh promise in which we discussed a recovering person losing interest in themselves and develop more interest, sometimes out of necessity, to help others. However, if you review the actual wording (please look online or at the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous for exact wording) you will see that actually we are dealing with entirely different concepts. The act of reaching out or of helping others is noble and necessary for recovery, there is no debating that. What the eighth promise directly centers on is the motive and mindset of a rapidly becoming selfless person. As we all know there are millions of examples out there of people whose actions may have been worth but who hid a self-seeking motive beneath their kindness or generosity. Ultimately, the actions are what matters and a selfless act is a selfless act, but the biggest benefit to all is when the giver does so with no thought of return and from a place of complete others-centeredness if you will. This is the focus or “promise” here.
There is an old adage that basically states true change only occurs in the hearts and minds of people(paraphrasing, I have a hard enough time remembering my daily schedule, let alone old adages). This is the thinking that powers this “promise”. The spiritual portion of recovery allows the addict or alcoholic to truly develop an internal change. This is especially important because addicts and alcoholics, more so than others, strangely are very concerned with how they appear to others. They tend to want to be liked and thought highly of. I know it may by hard to believe when you think of your loved one and how they went weeks without a bath, but trust me, it’s there. What recovery allows us to do is to change from the inside out and provides us with a way to really look at our motives and thinking process to determine our progress. Self-seeking leaving us happens when we engage in the 12 steps and learn to focus less on ourselves and more and more on the well being of others. If the typical addict or alcoholic believes the world revolves around them(and trust me, they do)this change is paramount in their process.
How does treatment help with this “promise”? By providing a structure and example of what selflessness looks like in action. 12 step based treatment promotes caring for and giving to others in a way that is greater that what just appears on a physical plane. In treatment, a newly recovering person learns the value of others centered thinking and how truly what other people think of us compares little to what we think of ourselves and we love ourselves more the more we do to help others and especially the more we choose to think of others.
Stay cool and we will see you next month!