The Power of Sharing the Promises
Bob had enjoyed a fairly successful recovery using the toolset given to him during addiction treatment. But complacency was beginning to rear its ugly head, and one day he was considering skipping his Wednesday night meeting again. He had already missed the previous three weeks.
“I was definitely getting lazy,” Bob remembers. “While looking for an excuse to skip, something kept pulling me toward the meeting, though. I was driving and thinking about a hundred other things I could be doing instead.”
But Bob went to the meeting and took his seat. He wasn’t really in the mood to share that night, and in any case, nothing seemed to come to mind worth sharing about that week’s topic of discussion.
The topic was AA’s Twelve Promises. As many of the attendees shared a story, their insights, or words of advice, Bob still felt there nothing he wanted to contribute. Then he noticed one of the newer members of the group.
“His name was Corey. He was a young guy in his mid-twenties. He was quiet and kept to himself. He seemed friendly but shy, and he didn’t participate much,” Bob recalls. “On that particular evening, I noticed some bad scrapes on his forearm and, as usual, Corey hadn’t said much of anything.”
Suddenly, there was a lull in the meeting. No one spoke for a few minutes. Bob felt a nudge, although nobody was behind him. He began to speak:
“Hi, I’m Bob. I’m an alcoholic. As I have shared several times before, I enjoy reading the Promises at the start of meetings because the first one is as true to me as things will ever get: ‘If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.’ I am truly amazed at how far my life has come in such a short time. My previously non-existent relationship with my daughter is now wonderfully amazing. My life with my girlfriend is more than I ever expected. I seem to become more successful each week in my career. Putting in the work almost ensures the promises will be fulfilled. In my case, some have come true more quickly than others, and for that I am grateful. Thanks for letting me share.”
After a moment or two, somebody else was now ready to share.
“Hi, my name is Corey. I’m an alcoholic and addict.” After the group greeted him back, Corey continued. “I almost didn’t say anything, and I didn’t want to share this week, but hearing Bob speak meant something to me. This is the third time I’ve heard him say that he was amazed before he was halfway through, and I really want to feel that, too. As you may know, I relapsed last week, first with a “special tea,” then drugs, followed by alcohol. After eight double shots, I blacked out, fell out of the bar and down the steps. I really haven’t done any of the work Bob talked about to see any of the promises come true,” Corey confessed.
“It’s like standing on the hot sand at the beach and watching all the people in the water. My feet are burning, and I’ll walk up to the water and put my toes in, but I won’t completely give in to the whole idea of this program. All I need to do is dive in all at once and start doing the work. All of you are in the water and are willing to help me. I just need to commit to joining you. I really want to be able to read the Promises like Bob and feel the amazement.”
Corey’s contribution that night demonstrates the power of the fellowship and how sharing at meetings not only supports the person sharing but can also inspire other people to work harder on their recovery.
It certainly inspired Bob. “If I had let my disease and complacency control me and not gone to that meeting, Corey would not have heard me invoke the First Promise again, and he may still be out there.”