The Promises of A.A: More Than Just the 9th Step Promises

“God’s promises are all on condition of humble obedience.” Ellen G. White

Most meetings end with “The Promises.” It would be easy to believe that those are the promises of the program. They are not. They are the promises of the 9th step only. I remember hearing them redundantly and feeling cheated. I missed a certain detail. “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development.” What phase? The amends phase. Halfway through the 8th step list being amended, I can expect to start experiencing the things I read. Instead, I thought they meant halfway through the meeting and often felt like taking my dollar back.

It turns out there are promises on more steps than not. Let’s take a walk through the literature, and I’ll touch on a few, there are more than can fit in a single blog:

Step Two Promises

“We found that as soon as we lay aside prejudice and expressed even a willingness to believe in a power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.” Page 46.

“Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him.” Page 46.

“As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.” Page 47.

“With this attitude, you cannot fail. The consciousness of your belief is sure to come to you.” Page 55.

Step Three Promises

“When we sincerely took such a position, all sort of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing, we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt the new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn.” Page 63.

Step Four Promises

“Just to the extent that we do what we think He would have of us and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity.” Page 68.

“We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies, for we look on them as sick people.” Page 70.

Step Five Promises

“Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.” Page 75.

Step Nine Promises

“1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
3. We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.
4. We will comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace.
5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
8. Self-seeking will slip away.
9. Our whole attitude and outlook on life with change.
10. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.
11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us.
12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”
Pages 83-84.

Step Ten Promise

“And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically.” Page 84.

“We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given to us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.” Page 85.

Step 11 Promises

“What used to be the hunch, or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.” Page 87.

Step 12 Promises

“Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail.” Page 89.

“To watch people, recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.” Page 89.

“When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.” Page 100.

“Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand. Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed.” Page 102.

“Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand. Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed.” Page 102.

There are way more promises in the book. For a full view check out the friends of bill page. If you have any questions about the promises and each step, talk to your sponsor or bring it up in your homegroup. Just as everyone has personal experience with the steps, the same goes for the promises. It’s always an interesting discussion to have and the more experience you have with them, the deeper your understanding.

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