The Promises

Promises; One Mans Experience

Before coming to AA I had made numerous promises to my family and myself that I would stop drinking and do something with my life. I wouldn't drink for a week, a month, sometimes even a couple of months, but then incredibly I would believe I could go out for a few drinks but drink differently without getting into trouble. This never happened and in fact the harder I tried the worse it became. At the end of my drinking I had lost my self-respect, my family, my friends and almost my children and I needed help.

I came along to AA begrudgingly thinking my life was over and deeply afraid of the world I was in. I had never been to AA before and thought it would be full of miserable old misfits talking about how miserable their lives had been and the reasons they drunk. How wrong I was. Instead I found men and women who looked respectable, spoke confidently and were kind and gentle. I felt anxious and uncomfortable but the people there made me feel at ease and welcome. It was a Sunday evening and I sat down and listened to a person share about his drinking and what he did to recover. I was in physical discomfort but the stories people told were very familiar to mine and I felt hopeful about trying their method. I heard exactly what I needed to do and got a sponsor that night. I was given a list of things to do that first night and I couldn't wait to get home and do them. They seemed ridiculous and alien to my problem but I was desperate and willing to try anything. I started doing them and within a couple of days started to feel better, after a couple of weeks I was sleeping again and waking up looking forward to the day. Something had happened to me, I don't know what but there was something different about the way I felt and I was no longer thinking about a drink.

I kept going to meetings and listening to people's shares and people were talking about promises, there were lists of them in the Big Book, and as I started my journey through the Steps these things started happening to me.

After doing the suggestions for about 2-3 weeks the first promise that happened to me was knowing 'a new freedom and a new happiness.' I was no longer thinking about drinking or obsessing about it and I was waking up and looking forward to the day ahead with excitement.

The next one for me was, 'we will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.' This was massive for me because before I could never sleep properly as I'd constantly start thinking when I tried to sleep and for the first time in years my head was peaceful and things just seemed to calm down as I did.

These first two promises I noticed had happened but others sometimes had happened without me even recognising like 'fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.' I just didn't realise I was no longer afraid of people or my life, I just seemed to do things without worrying about it.
 
'Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.' This promise happened quickly for me as straight away I was asked to phone newcomers and try to help others and after taking Step 3 I was no longer trying to force things myself, it seemed as if I was being guided. I also had direction and was content with myself, life seemed to have a purpose again.

'If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.' After doing my Step 5 I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted, I had found what I was looking for and I knew this was going to work for me. From barely two months earlier being in such physical and mental pain and unable to see a way out, now my life has completely turned around. I didn't believe AA would work for me but it has and it's been the best decision I ever made and all because I went and listened to people with the same disease as I had and was promised if I got a sponsor and worked through the Steps the same way he had I could recover completely from alcoholism and I have and my life just keeps on getting better and better, and if I continue to do the same simple things I was taught it will continue to do so.

RtR Plymouth, July 2009