In Chapter 6, “Into Action,” we find what are commonly referred to as the 9th Step Promises just after it outlines the amends process after creating our amends list from Step 8. As many members of A.A. know, the amends process is part of the continuing action suggested to us as we go deeper in our relationship with a Power greater than ourselves, and as we focus our efforts on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.
I was talking with another alcoholic recently, and they asked me a question that I had never heard before. They asked, “Did you know that the 9th Step Promises are conditional?” My immediate response was, “What do you mean?” They went on to say that for each of the promises, they can only materialize in our lives IF we take action and do they work. I guess that intellectually, I had always known that, but to hear it put that way put an exclamation mark on that question for me. Our literature even supports that in Chapter 6 where it says, “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development….,” there are certain things that will happen like “we will be amazed before we are half way through” and “we are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.” If…, we will…
Excerpt from Chapter 6:
“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. 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.”
I never thought of the promises as being “conditional” but I guess they truly are. If we do THIS, we get THAT. If we take THIS action, we will get THAT result. What I love about this is that it is a great reminder that I need to always be in action. As my home group (http://getinthecar.org) always says, “When we got busy – we got better.” I was grateful that alcoholic asked me that question if for no other reason than to provide me a gentle reminder that this IS an action program and when I get to work, I can be rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence. What a blessing!