**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 fourth “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 and the process of them coming to know peace. Actually, you could say that we are dealing with two different promises as the knowing of serenity and understanding peace are both mentioned in a way that can be separate or simultaneous but since they are so similar we are going to focus on the word peace. Peace is a big deal for most people and those in recovery are no exception. The promise of serenity which is really just a more peaceful sounding way to say peace, if that makes sense, is a goal that every person entering recovery (and their family members for that matter) wish to obtain. The inner turmoil of addicts is well known all though sometimes forgotten by people who are at the whim of the addict or alcoholics cynical, reactionary lifestyle. In other words, it is easy to forget that the addict or alcoholic is the one in the most turmoil internally, even if they can’t even see it. When one’s life is chaos on the outside, you can rest assured that it is chaos to the nth degree on the inside.
By experiencing recovery and coming to grips with things like our past we can begin to make the necessary changes to bring about serenity and peace. Amends for harms rendered, restitution for wrongs committed and acceptance of things outside of ourselves help to bring about peace amongst people in recovery that can only be rivaled by that of folks who have walked a fine line spiritually and emotionally for a long, long time. As a recovering person’s self-worth grows, they experience more peace and come to understand that the “fight the world” attitude they once had no longer holds purpose. As recovery literature says, “we have ceased fighting everyone and everything”. This is the premise behind internal peace. We learn in recovery that we can only “control” our words and actions and if those words and actions are peaceful and helpful, we will experience those things in our emotional state.
How does treatment help with this “promise”? Well, one of the key components of peace, as mentioned above, is the concept of surrender. Surrender in recovery is when we achieve acceptance of our issue and stop having to be the answer to all of our and everyone’s issues. This is a near impossible place to get alone. We must have help to see our shortcomings. Treatment is able to provide that help and that perspective from an honest standpoint. Often times, we need this level of help learning to stop fighting and getting into a way of peace. Once we hit this place internally, we are well on our way to a new experience. Have a great spring and see you next month!