If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. AA Promises
I have long believed that the AA Promises are where the action is at for me in recovery. I first thought about this in a serious way some 10 or 12 years ago when I was asked to give a lead at a particular AA meeting. I suppose I had listened to one too many 45 minute leads where it was 40 minutes of what it was like, 3 minutes of what happened, and 2 minutes of what it is like today. So in my self-righteousness, I decided I was going to do something different. I was going to focus on recovery. I had always been rather partial to the AA promises. The copy I have carried around in my wallet for these past 25 plus years is in pretty bad shape – now it’s more of memento than something to actually read as half of the print is gone.
The AA Promises have the same impact on me as making a gratitude list, only it’s more in my face. With a gratitude list, I can be pretty short and cynical if the mood strikes me. “Yeah I am sober, have a real family, not blacking out, have a job . . . ” But the AA Promises actually require me to think a bit about specific concepts in my recovery – eleven of them, that have tendrils that lead off into so many directions.
I sometimes think that I am not terribly “painstaking” about my recovery, but apparently enough because I am truly “amazed” today. Back when I first got sober, if I had just been promised that I would no longer be suicidal, I would not have to wake up and wonder where I had been last night, have that obsession for alcohol and the intense self-hatred at least turned down a few notches, that would have been good enough. The AA Promises remind me there has been so much more . . .