**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”.**
March 2014- The 12th 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 twelfth “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 realizing that whatever higher power they believe in is doing things for that person that they could not do on their own. This is a promise that absolutely needs some “splaining” as the beloved Ricky Ricardo would say. It is easy to see both the power of this promise and the ability for it to confuse both the recovering person and their loving family member or members. It is important to remember that twelve-step programs are based on spirituality surrounded by a belief that every person chooses their own higher power. This is important to mention here because the wording of these promises may cause people to look at it from a religious perspective. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, of course, but I only highlight it to point out that it is not necessary. All that is to achieve this wonderful promise is a belief in any higher power. And having worked at least 9 of the steps, naturally.
Let’s take a closer look at a potential area of confusion here. When this promise discusses a higher power doing something for someone that they cannot do for themselves, a misconception can be that what is being said is that literally a person’s actions or words will be changed manually by some outside power. The reality is that once an individual has worked certain steps of recovery and aligned their life with that of a sober recovery program and plan, their thinking changes. They begin to realize that they desire to do the next right thing and to create positivity in their lives and in the lives of other people. So in reality, this promise really addresses a change in thinking and in how people respond to the actions of others. This new realization and way of thinking can change how people think about themselves and the world around them. It can give them a sense of pride, power(in a positive way), and self-worth. A sober person armed with these things is literally capable of achieving anything they desire or wish to achieve. A higher power indeed!
How does treatment help with this “promise”? By helping to guide newly sober people in the process of working the 12 step recovery program and by serving as active examples of how living a sober life not only can be but is a way of life worth living and focusing on. When the treatment team reveals example after example of situations that only seemed like they were unsolvable, people begin to believe that they can change and can experience freedom and recovery. The way the promises are set up to work, they are much better seen than taught. The examples of people living in the solution far out way anything that can be taught.
Be well and we will see you next month for the epilogue and to wrap up the 12 Promises series!