Your cart is currently empty!
161: AA’s Empty Promises (Sort Of)
We are talking about the promises from AA’s big book and program. Originally a reading in the 9th step section of the Big Book, the promises have been made into a reading in AA, and separated out into 12 promises. We go through each promise to see if we believe that it’s a promise we feel like the 12 steps could live up to fulfilling. Are these even possible ways of being in the world? And if they are, can the 12 steps promise that they can get us there? Join us as we talk through our thoughts on the promises, and then share your thoughts with us.
Books referenced in this episode:
Click the links above to access these titles on Audible and sign up for a free 30-day trial. When you use our link to sign up, we earn a small commission!
How to find us and join the conversation:
Other materials used:
recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or Fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature
welcome back it’s recovery sort of I am Jason a guy that makes no promises and I’m Billy I’m a person in long-term recovery and we’re talking about the AAA promises today uh something that I was not aware of early in recovery and then got introduced to later and then we like when I first heard them I just I’m like oh this is a nice little paragraph it’s kind of cool right like it had a piece in there that I was like oh I kind of like that one right I wish our program said that one you know because I didn’t want to give credit to like AAA at that point in my life for coming up with anything good even though they came up with the whole program but yeah I was like I don’t know what these are and then over time I heard them a few more times and people talked about them and learned that like at some point while they are in the book I guess as you were describing to me just before we started talking here they’ve also become like almost like a 12-step reading to some extent yeah that they pulled out yeah there’s 12 promises and you know I had talked about the promises with people in N A before who were aware of them and knew what they were and you know I think the feeling I always got was that like they sound really nice and they’ve got some cool ideals in them and we wish that Narcotics Anonymous had some cool version of the promises which if you look deep enough it sort of kind of does like if you read the 11th step we just found out in the basic text like each paragraph starts not exactly with a promise it doesn’t say promise anywhere but with an idea of like a thing you’ll be able to do that you weren’t able to do before yeah and that’s what it feels like they’ve just taken the effort to look through this one section of reading out of the big book and pull out some of the results of living and practicing the program and even when you look at their writing it doesn’t say we promise these things are going to happen it tells you like these are the results of living this spiritual program and we have a lot of those throughout our literature just they’re not as well organized right you know they’re like scattered out and throughout paragraphs so it’ll be a lot harder to pick out all the things we say will happen as a result of working the steps yeah yeah and like you mentioned you know we we say we have one promise right like the promise of freedom from active addiction but it’s actually a little more than that it’s a it’s a sentence that’s a promise or or you know what we say Narcotics Anonymous is capable of doing and it says that an addict any addict can stop using lose the desire to use and find a new way to live which is three different separately distinct things but you know that’s kind of the promise of error of Narcotics Anonymous let’s not say our but the AAA promises are are interesting I think what I wanted to explore one if you’ve never heard of them they’re kind of cool kind of neat um it might give you an idea of like what you can expect from working a program but I really kind of wanted to go through them because I’ve always come at them from the sense of like they feel very poetically nice but I don’t actually know that I’ve come at them like is this real like did I really get this or did I feel like the program could provide this whether I got it or not and I just I have no idea so let’s jump into that unless you got more background you want to give on them or no I mean other than like say it comes out of I guess in the Alcoholics Anonymous page 83 and 84 which I believe is chapter six which is in their ninth step is where this comes out of so I’m not exactly sure how it relates to the ninth step specifically yeah but that’s where they come from maybe it’s like the Hey by the time you’ve gotten this far like these are some things you might see and maybe they looked at you know 10 11 and 12 as much more of the maintenance steps the way we we call them today and so that wasn’t really a part of the the change you were going to experience in your program that was more like the upkeep yeah I mean that kind of makes sense damn so this is actually like a nine step program and then you just got to do 10 11 and 12 here and there uh so okay the AAA promises number one and this is how the reading starts if we are painstaking about this phase of our development which considering this is in the ninth step I’m assuming it means after steps one through nine if we’re painstaking about this phase of our development we will be amazed before we are halfway through so at step four and a half we we should have been amazed like I don’t know just literary wise I don’t actually know what that means like does that means we should have been amazed at step four and a half or at some point in time during the process of doing nine the first night I guess is that considered one of the promises I think so okay it’s number one listed on Mine mine’s mine’s broken down oh yeah mine just has the reading so it’s not yeah mine’s mine’s solicitors yeah mine just has the reading and it’s not broken out into individual ones so that’s that’s number one but okay so if you read that that could mean I was amazed by step four and a half that could mean I was amazed at some random Point through work talking steps one through nine that could mean hey it’s still a 12-step process so maybe somewhere around six you should have been feeling this even though we’re telling you at nine like I I don’t even know what halfway through means well what if we weren’t painstaking enough well and if we’re supposed to keep doing them over and over again is it halfway through until I die like yeah right and how do you know if you’ve been painstaking enough in this phase of your development uh so that’s fascinating um in in reading the actual book if you skim through the paragraphs before and after uh this promises only really seem to apply to step nine they’re like the step nine promises so I guess when you’re halfway through making your amends you should be amazed yeah yeah and I don’t know my immense process it took me a long time to get there and it didn’t feel great in the middle of it you weren’t amazed halfway through no I gotta be honest like sometimes I just wish I wouldn’t learn stuff like I like better when they were like these kind of poetic pretty versions of things we might get from recovery like they just sounded nice then but now maybe looking at them and realizing they’re literally only written about step nine and the step nine process of making our men’s and how that’ll make us feel kind of cheapens them for me and I don’t like them anymore so it’s just the chapter is into action well and if you if you read the paragraph or two before it and after it or skim it like it it’s really just talking about the process of making them end yeah and that’s what I in my research they call them the ninth step promises yeah these These are so okay uh if we’re looking at that these are only promises about the ninth step I guess and I did not know that see we learned something new every episode yeah but I think they’re applied in general they’re applied to the whole process at least the way that they’re I think understood well I think somebody read them and thought these are beautiful and put them on a sheet of paper and then they started being expounded to be about the whole process but really like they were written about step nine so that’s that’s interesting hmm yeah I don’t like them anymore anyway uh so yeah I don’t I don’t remember feeling I don’t know I might have been a little amazed I would imagine going into nine after having just written eight with all these people I was like nervous about making apologies to and I still had a lot of insecurity about whether people could like me like I could picture me being pretty pumped that a couple of them went well I don’t know like say I’m kind of thinking of the whole thing now like you said like has it just applied a step nine there at the moment well okay so picture it this way even if they were written about step nine that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be about the whole process I mean because if this happened in the step 9 process that took place during the process and I’m sure some other steps like at least theoretically we always say and I believe my belief is that the steps are written in order for a reason we gotta build our foundation off all those other steps before we can even get to this step so it is about the whole process yeah you know there’s a series of things I I don’t know that we would have the same results if we just went and started making amends to people with 30 days clean well and that’s where I guess I would argue these are probably sort of [ ] or you know just nice gentle beautiful ways of saying a thing because like okay if you took some nice poetic words and described the act of stepping into the batter’s box at a baseball game right with all the fans and in a big moment like there would probably be a cool way you could describe that that somebody else could read and be like oh my God this is like the description of all of the process of playing baseball or this is the description of like making Pop-Tarts in my backyard or what the [ ] ever you know what I mean like if you write it in a generalized enough way it doesn’t have to be about one thing like it’s kind of like people who write music right you listen to a song Everybody interprets it it’s a little different feeling right and I feel like so it could be about the whole thing but yeah it’s written about nine yeah and that’s the way I I mean me personally just about all the promises in general it’s like they’re vague enough that I mean some of them have some specific things in there they do talk about specifically uh Financial stability or whatever words they use yeah it’s like really we’re gonna get that out yeah that’s a fun one it’s a fun one to argue yeah it’s all right number number two we are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness so given my new understanding of the context of these in Step nine yes there would be a new freedom in being able to go to family reunions that I couldn’t go to because I felt awkward because I had stole that [ ] for my uncle and you know what I mean this was my past and yeah feeling like I’m I’m okay with that not carrying around the guilt and shame right right so I would totally agree with that on a broader scale I think it still holds true there’s a new freedom to not feeling bound to having to use a substance to be okay at all given times yeah and there is something you know fulfilling spiritually about being like independent like standing on my own two feet and taking responsibility for my actions and being accountable for the you know person that I am like all those things uh taking positive action in my life by addressing Character defects you know there’s like all those things build on a sense of happiness and well-being right I think if I had to argue a technicality it would be the happiness part because I don’t know like I could see where the conditions set by making a man friends could make someone happier but I don’t think those conditions cause someone to be happier so I feel like that’s not something we could promise yeah and it’s it’s probably not always going to be happiness in the moment you know some of those events are difficult and some don’t go perfectly and the moments can be painful but I think the result of the process well I guess what I’m thinking is sometimes uh what I’ve found historically or at least what I feel like we’re finding in the therapy World historically is that we’ve looked at the absence of one thing as providing something else right like the absence of danger means safety that’s not actually true the absence of danger means there’s no danger right it does not necessarily mean you feel safe there right um and and this feels like one of those like just because we’re removing some places that have caused unhappiness does not necessarily mean happiness is going to be there it’s just removing things that get in the way of it which is good I’m not knocking it or saying it’s a bad practice but like I don’t think we can say oh yeah if you just remove all these obstacles to happiness happiness will just arrive because I feel like we understand now that’s not always the case like some people are not going to feel happiness off of substances right away at least yeah so that was kind of hard uh the next one we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it I mean I’m imagining in the context of Step nine that’s because we’re getting light off the hook to some extent I I don’t think it’s getting loud with the hook but we’re owning our responsibility and we’re taking a stand for our part to try to make things right yeah and uh seeing that our our story are whatever got us to where we are doesn’t have to be a sense of embarrassment and guilt you know that we can use that as like a positive like hey this is where I was and these are the things that I was doing and look now at my life now you know we had Bruce on talking about his book recently and just thinking through what he said like this idea of there was a thing he had put in the book that he wished he wouldn’t have at this point later on but he said he didn’t regret it because that doesn’t do anything and I’m like but what’s the difference you know what I mean like if you if you still wish you would have done something different isn’t that regret like I feel like it is um and maybe there’s a little different Nuance to it right maybe regret carries like a deeper emotional toll than just wishing you would have done something different I could see that so I’m not saying he’s wrong I’m just like trying to think through like do is there anything I could have done that even after making amends I would still regret for the rest of my life no matter what and and yeah there’s definitely things I feel like I would still regret like if I had seriously harmed someone to the point of taking their life or something in my active use I would probably still hold a lot of regrets about that whether I’ve made peace with it or not I don’t I don’t know that those are isolated properties yeah yeah I’m not sure even in the I guess I can only share my like my experience with my past that has been the case I mean I I’ve felt like you know I don’t regret my past anymore like I used to uh are there probably one or two things I wished I wouldn’t have done I would say yeah but as a total like story I guess I don’t regret it I don’t know hmm yeah I don’t I don’t know either I definitely think there’s some things I would still regret I nothing that I did I don’t think like of course there’s a piece of me that says man it would have been nicer to have these other experiences that weren’t like that but but yeah that that’s what led me here and I’m okay with that for the most part but I guess I’m just picturing for people who might have it different than me like I didn’t do a whole lot of terrible things to individual people besides my parents I mean I put them through the ringer but generally it was more stores that were catching the Flack of my my destruction right we will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace I just don’t know man like you know comprehending the word serenity seems easy enough if you just go get the dictionary definition that doesn’t mean you have Serenity just because you comprehend it well and I can say my experience in the process of at least the steps I can’t specifically say for the ninth step but I have moments of Serenity I don’t know that I walk around in a state of constant Serenity that’s right that’s asking a lot but I do I do experience times of Serenity and peace I’m always wondering if the word hurting isn’t on purpose right like if you’re talking about somebody who’s coming from a place of not even being able to comprehend the word serenity like can’t even from their life experience as a somebody who’s used substances uncontrollably like just can’t even fathom what how Serenity would look in their life maybe like I was that I mean yeah yeah well and that’s what I’m saying maybe even just the understanding of coming to a place where you’re like oh I could see where people could find Serenity like maybe that’s what they’re trying to say my first moment of that understanding were being able to like lay down at night and go to bed and not have a million racing thoughts going in my head about how I needed to fix and what I needed to do and how I was gonna deal with this and what problem you know needed to dress next like just being able to lay down at night and be like I am [ ] okay my life is okay I’ll deal with tomorrow tomorrow like like that was the very first idea of Serenity that I knew pretty thank you do you feel like after the ninth step you knew peace I think that’s a little lofty for a promise personally do I know peace um I I would say yes I can’t I mean yeah it’s hard to remember specifically being back at the ninth step but especially the first time yeah it’s like really really tricky um but I definitely think I know peace now I I mean if I gotta if I had to guess Chances Are by the time I’m finishing up step nine there’s probably some moments of Peace in my life I I you know looking back at it now I got some judgments about what my life looked like but at that time I’m sure there had to be some peace like I wasn’t running around like a maniac at all times that’s for sure well untruthfully for me the the real peace and serenity that I have like on a daily basis now I attribute to the 11th step like my practice of meditation more so am I dependents on I guess a higher power like my peace and serenity now comes way more from that so I can’t say that I had it after I was done that nine step but I definitely had it after 11 you know the flavor of peace I have now if peace are a spectrum yes it’s on a spectrum somewhere uh yeah I got a lot more of it for meditation for sure too that’s what I do at night now when I lay down and my thoughts aren’t calm I’m like oh let me just turn that timer on and start breathing because that’s what’s gonna put me to bed yeah yeah I don’t know comprehend Serenity and no peace all right so number five no matter how far down the scale we have gone we will see how our experience can benefit others I feel like this is tied into number three about not regretting the past or wishing to close the door on it like yeah they kind of go hand in hand when I see that my struggle can now be useful for someone else now I don’t regret it as much right yeah I would tie that in with that the same way do you feel I see this is where it gets tricky though when they throw some [ ] in there like no matter how far down the scale we have gone basically like no matter how shitty the stuff you’ve done is there’s Redemption for you or you know you’ll feel how those experiences can benefit others do you think that’s true for everybody like look yeah is it true for me sure I’m a guy who stole from my parents right did that suck was that awful absolutely but when I look at the comparison of things I could have done like murdered people or beat up old ladies or [ ] raped people like there’s a whole lot more that I’m not so sure would have been okay with later yeah but I guess that’s part of you know the immense process is doing whatever you gotta do to bring peace for that in your life you know what you’re doing doing what you need to do to make that right and figuring out what that is yeah so I would say if you’re doing a perfect nightstep which nobody does yeah I don’t know mine was pretty close you know when you address these things and you really make amends I mean to me that’s the difference between just saying I’m sorry for [ ] and and feeling bad about doing something and actually making an amends to try to make right a wrong way of harm so like the idea being that the amends should be something that like if the amends itself did not make me feel okay with the situation it wasn’t the right Amendment right like at the end of it continue or I do something right right whether the other person does or not correct okay so I think you make a fascinating and really strong point there and I don’t disagree with it but I guess my my hold up is any time any of us because this is what I spent my life doing anytime any of us says that I know for sure even people who had it worse than me are capable of what I’ve found I don’t like that like I don’t know what the [ ] people are capable of I was capable of this maybe someone else’s I ain’t promising nobody that so you’re taking that from which I guess I’m not sorry for sure no matter how far down the scale we have gone oh that’s saying like hey you know yeah I it was really bad for me and I found this this thing and no matter how much worse than me you were okay
I don’t know maybe even people who had it not as bad as me or didn’t go as far down the scale to use this [ ] Antiquated language I don’t even know what that means maybe they can experience or maybe they don’t see how their experiences will benefit others at the end like I guess I just don’t ever want to feel like I’m telling somebody else because this works for me I’m telling you it’ll definitely work for you too and that’s what that feels like that’s a promise that’s true you know that’s kind of the problem I have with uh the way I was in 12-step really it’s just like I did it this way this is what I saw my friends do and this is just how you [ ] do it [Music] this episode has been brought to you in part by Voices of Hope Inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the Dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at
www.voicesofhopeemaryland.org and consider donating to our calls
thank you yeah and I guess I could see but more loose understanding of this being that no matter what you’ve done there is some Redemptive quality in your life or in your story you know which is going back to like kind of where I came into this with like I like these as poetic Concepts that yeah do a good job of describing some of the things we might get from the program some of the ways we might feel different than we used to I think they’re beautiful for that but as actual strong Concepts I think they’re just a bunch of [ ] wishy-washy like this sounds nice so just maybe leaving them in the book in a paragraph to flow through is or having the paragraph written or whatever like it’s cool but yeah yeah pick them out and highlight them as right you’re not going to check these all them promises I’m not going home today like yeah I do ex I do see how all my experiences could benefit others I’m gonna check that one off that’s not happening uh number six that feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear does everybody that comes into a 12-step program well I guess in this case does everybody that goes into AAA since this is only part of theirs do they all feel useless and self-piteous when they go like isn’t that an assumption that we’re all got that going on I I kind of think we do but yeah I’m just saying I agree uh to get you there but the only reason you’re walking into a room full of strangers and a non-fucking week night in a church basement asking them to be your friend I was a terrible person will you guys like me I mean I again I can have related to me I think that was true I you know I had that experience I felt I don’t know that I felt useless but I definitely felt a lot of self-pity I always felt like a person that had a lot of potential and just wasn’t living up to my potential oh my God now I just want to do a podcast about that at The Acorn and the potential it has and all the [ ] environmental ways that it doesn’t live up to that it’s a great example it came out of that Gap that I’m like in love with right now because it just makes so much sense and helps me understand how my environment actually is impacting my genetic potential and has in the course of my life and all anything that [ ] reduces shame man I’m all in it right [ ] it let’s go to it the the acorn okay the acorns got the potential to be a big strong oak tree what if it falls on a parking lot it ain’t going to be a big strong oak tree right what if a squirrel decides that’s his winter food it ain’t going to be an oak tree what if it grows in an area that’s got nutrient deficient uh soil it’s not going to be as big as its potential it might barely grow at all what if it grows up around too many weeds or too many other trees or in too close proximity it might not grow up to be as full and big as it could have been right what if somebody walks along when it’s a young tree and like kicks it over it might be damaged and go or sideways like all these ways this Acorn can be impacted from reaching this potential genetically that it originally had and I think we Overlook all of that in children and humans and I mean it just makes so much sense it’s not what your DNA said you were going to be it’s what your environment allowed to have happen I don’t know I think it’s beautiful lesson chain always yeah yeah I don’t know I mean did I feel useless and self-piteous absofucking lutely did they disappear absofucking lutely not they lessened they definitely lessened through the step process but they didn’t disappear yeah I don’t know that they disappeared there is something again beautiful about like this idea that of of writing a wrong you know what I mean of of being a person that takes ownership and hopefully in this process it’s a reduction of someone’s pain if they have it or an honoring of someone’s pain and suffering and so if nothing else you’re able to do that for a person to say hey I recognize your feelings matter you’re a valuable person in my life I hurt you or did you wrong and I want to honor that so I believe there’s some Spirit of goodness that comes from that but whether it reduces it to nothing yeah I can’t say that it would disappear my argument of what you just said or at least not my argument because I I don’t disagree with you what you said my take on what you said about what’s actually happening there is in the process of us going to make this amends we are making connection and our body feels better after making that connection because every disconnection we have with the world right the places we’ve done the harm where the disconnection happens we feel that in our soul or in our mind body so to speak and so we go and we make this connection with this person that feels good and it makes our body feel better and it allows us to you know live in a different way and feel differently towards ourself but that connection is happening because we’re validating that person we’re going back at a place where we didn’t validate them they felt very invalidated for the hurt we did because we were supposed to love them and now we’re seeing it and we’re saying hey I see you I see that pain you went through that I caused and I’m really sorry that’s what creates the ability to connect is the validation then we were just talking about that that’s why I was like oh my God that’s validation is everything we just validate everybody but yeah so I I mean right there if nothing else I would have to take a hard stance that they are definitely not going to [ ] disappear like that’s not gonna happen overnight because you made an amends and these are false all right sorry they’re still pretty uh number seven we will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows [ ] I don’t see that yeah that’s pretty tough again this is one of those things where I think it does happen to a degree but we don’t lose it no it doesn’t go away completely at least it hasn’t for me yeah well I’ve gotten better I don’t actually believe in the word selfish yeah to say something as selfish would mean that there would have to be an act that was unselfish and I don’t think there’s a person in humanity right now that could convince me that that exists I don’t think people do unselfish things if I say oh my God Billy’s uh really upset with me I should probably go like get him a card or a piece of chocolate and drop it off at his house put his mailbox for him that’s because of how I feel about you being upset with me it’s not because you’re upset with me it’s always a selfish selfish action everything is always about how I feel when I go to help somebody else it’s because of how I feel helping someone else I just I can’t it baffles me when people say that there’s unselfish ways of being I’m like how you’re always looking out for the way you feel about what you’re doing yeah and I don’t want to get too tied up into that but yeah I do but not today yeah not today maybe that’s our next podcast that’d be a good topic selfishness is that a spiritual principle on selflessness selflessness let’s [ __ ] do it next month
that sounds great um okay so we’ll pass on that for now uh number eight self-seeking will slip away I don’t know how that’s any different than number seven what’s the difference between selfish and self-seeking yeah I think they’re the same I mean I don’t see much difference either so not in this context like if you presented them to me and said selfish is when you think that way and self-seeking is when you act that way I’d buy into that but they sound the same with the way they’re written yeah self-seeking will slip away did your self-seeking slip away after step nine Billy that’s still not gone and I’ve done two step nine I lean into self-seeking yeah I’m like we just all need to do what’s best for us it’s perfect yeah and I’m I guess I would agree to some context that self-seeking isn’t always bad you know it’s not always wrong it’s am I doing it in a way that causes harm to other people might cause me to take a little bit of pause but you know right right right like if I’m trampling over people to get the the gift I wanted Black Friday maybe that’s not the right kind of self-seeking but just saying hey I’d like to go see the museum in DC and driving down and walking through it is probably pretty nice but it’s like if I say oh I could go home and you know do some things around the house that might help the wife or kids or I’m gonna lay down and watch football all day and do nothing probably gonna lay down and watch football later you know right and and I guess not to get too far off but in the argument of the world they would say oh well that’s just you looking out for yourself and in my understanding of the world I would say maybe that’s exactly what your body needs to be a good parent tonight or tomorrow or be a good employee like that rest is needed for you to be your optimal self at some other point like we need that recharge and so I don’t think it’s me doing the practices I need to do to keep up on my my own spiritual condition right me journaling me meditating me doing all these things somebody could say man those are really selfish you take a lot of time away from your family to do those well yeah I do and you know what my family [ ] benefits and if I stop doing these there’s a problem right so to me it’s like all those actions are just as selfless as any other action yes I’m doing them for me but that way I can be and show up in the world as the person I’m trying to to treat other people the way they should be right I don’t know convoluted I know you’re like God damn it Jason stick to the point uh number nine our whole attitude and Outlook upon life will change that’s a [ ] big promise yeah uh your whole outlook I mean maybe most of it I I mean for me mine did because I will say I like came into the program fully like Doom and Gloom and life sucks and everything’s about suffering and poor me and you know so I’m sorry I’m picturing Kim listen into this and being like he was that way with nine years I was pretty miserable yeah still pretty felt like the world was out to get me it was hard to shake yeah it was a really hard feeling to shake and it wasn’t a feeling it’s something that my father gave me man I like if you met my father and then you talked to me you’d be like duh I know where that comes from the whole Apple doesn’t fall apart from the tree like yeah I felt like the world was not gonna work out positively for me and I did not shake that just because I worked the steps well maybe you weren’t painstaking enough I wasn’t [ ] there it is there it is that’s that’s what every I’m gonna get five emails from people in AAA to be like the promises are fine you just weren’t painstaking [ ] I’m like all right maybe not shallow [ ] yeah maybe I wasn’t painstaking enough 10. fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us what I do like about the way they worded this is that they don’t say economic insecurity will leave us they say fear of it well right which so you might still be broke yeah yeah you might be broke but you won’t be in that con and I think that to me that’s more of what this one actually says is that we’re going to move away from fear and towards love that’s what I’m reading into that but but as a as it’s written fear of people and of economic insecurity it’s interesting that that’s about step nine I guess because when you have to make Financial amends if you’re like scared of oh if I pay back this credit card I won’t have enough yeah I was trying to think of like why that applied to nine but I guess that that makes sense yeah and I guess the avoidance of people like that if you were trying to avoid people or stay away from certain people you had caused harm or you know institutions you were staying away from like if you went major amends you could have you know less fear about those things I’m going to preface this by saying maybe I’m overthinking this which is a big statement coming from one of us but I guess I’m thinking through that idea of like if I thought I had good intentions in myself and yet saw what I actually did action wise in the world to damage people like when I’m looking at this in eight and nine and then I’m I’m gonna think well Jesus if that’s where I’m coming from being what I consider a good intentioned person and and you know the world has given me this belief that there’s just these readily available good and evil people out here somewhere uh I’m gonna be scared of people because if I’m capable of that being a good person I don’t want to interact with anybody because what the [ ] are they going to do to me whether they’re good bad or indifferent maybe that’s a stretch maybe I’m overthinking it but like that’s the feeling and then as I make the amends and realize oh these repairs can be made maybe I’m more open to oh well maybe other people will care and you know not [ ] on me the way I did people yeah and I guess I didn’t particularly hear that as fear of all people or fear of people in general I was thinking of it more as individuals that I’m trying to avoid or stay away from like I still have like crowd anxiety and you know going to like the airport and there’s a million people around like oh people are going to try to rob me and like all that shit’s still there right that doesn’t went away oh man shouldn’t see now I’m gonna have you read and that is just fear of people for every [ ] people I might I might apply more now what’s 11. we will in oh this is my favorite one I’m not gonna lie we will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us this is what made me fall in love with the promises honestly this line I just love it I love I felt like there was no better description of what the process that took place in my life going through the steps this is one I completely agree with I feel like and not for every situation but quite frequently I would come up to a situation where I was like I have done this wrong every [ ] time I’ve ever done it and somehow I would just know the right way to proceed from my heart and I was like holy [ ] that is wild so I love it okay what do you think yeah I don’t know I I’m still baffled most of the time I guess that’s not true I I do think I’ve learned enough skills and information and to trust like say my my heart or my instincts more to to deal with situations I I think this might even hold more true for me now than ever before in my life I feel more able to show up and even if I don’t know exactly the the thing that’s needed generally I can come from a place of not kind of like the doctor’s thing Do no harm like I don’t feel like I’m adding to the harm I might not be able to fix whatever’s going on for somebody but generally I can show up in a way that’s like not harming them or not putting extra on whatever they’re already making sure right and that it does not feel like it was ever something that somebody sat down with me and said hey when these kind of situations you do these it just it kind of became apparent at some point was like oh you just do this and people seem to like that yeah it’s like great so I don’t know I really do like that one I’m trying to think of where I could see how it would hold true in a more General sense for maybe somebody that doesn’t read it and like bire it in until that happened yeah well it’s the intuitive part that gets me like I I guess I don’t feel like a lot of times it’s still intuitive it is more of an awareness you know what I mean like oh I can do something different this time like okay it’s more that than it is just like spontaneously doing the right thing and we talk about that I can’t remember exactly which pamphlet I think it’s the triangle of self-obsession but it talks about you know being in life and then spontaneously acting in a position of Love or whatever and it’s like I don’t know if I’m ever quite there although sometimes I can be like oh wait a minute wait a minute what I want to do is probably not best let’s try this other thing and see what happens I guess I would equate this more to that it’s like I’ve I’ve learned some things now to to practice in situations where I’m like all right here’s a situation where I got a lot of fear and I want to react in a way that you know might be hurtful towards others maybe I can try a little acceptance and just try to be compassionate or some humility and say hey I don’t know what the right thing to do is oh I do that right here you know but I don’t know that it just like I hear intuitive and think like oh it just happens like situation comes up I just act and it just happens naturally okay okay so I’m picturing that situation you just walk me through and I’m putting myself in it and I’m thinking okay something happens the thing if hurts me and offends me and and my fear response kicks up as long as I’m able to notice that that’s where I need the awareness I guess before the intuitive part happens if I can catch that right now for me the process is okay the first thing is what’s going on for me well I’m I’m scared right this situation has created a fear of hurt or of going through a feeling I don’t want to experience so the first thing I do is I I turn towards like my inner child right and I’m going to send a message about that fear oh my God it is so hard to feel this much fear like it is really hard for you I’m so sorry and then probably I’m gonna if I know more about why that situation causes fear like the historical portion of it from my childhood or something I might send messages around that to my inner child but mostly the first part of how difficult it is and then the last piece of I’m gonna be here with you which I know sounds crazy when you’re talking to yourself right but the idea is to take on the role of this better parent that we wish we would have had and and it’s saying like hey I get that you’re scared but I’m gonna be here with you and that you don’t have to be alone anymore generally once I’ve addressed the fear portion of it through a method of like that or sitting with my breath or whatever it is that I need to do generally the intuitive part happens next it’s like okay what’s the like the loving piece can come out once I’ve addressed the fear and then it’s like well you know you want to show up and go pick them up or go do whatever it is they said they need it so I guess the intuitive part comes after I I work around the fear portion of it yeah and I would say that I mean that sounds to me like being an intellectual guy is like that’s learning to live your principles you know what I mean you’re learning to practice your principles once you can get out of the fear State out of that gotta get that nervous system to calm down first right then you can live by your principles right and I think that’s the hold up that most of our society gets to like I think a lot of us recognize oh I don’t want to be this guy that yells at my wife or that says these nasty things or I don’t want to be this woman that says these nasty things to my husband or my kids but when the moment comes and that triggered nervous system happens we don’t have the ability to do anything different from there I and it’s like once we can understand that then we have a template for something else but until until then you’re going to be the the person that just keeps saying why can’t I do something different in this situation right and keep running into it yeah and for me that’s I guess meditation’s been a big part of that you know meditation being able to like take a pause take a take a breath take a second before I just react to whatever the feeling is well and if you think about that right in meditation what you’re doing is a form of breathing that is like some even if it’s just letting your body do its regular form of breathing that’s good that’s right that’s what your body needs and in a survival response that’s not what your body’s going to be doing so even just taking five minutes to breathe in any fashion is going to change your physiology it’s going to calm your body I mean it’s yeah meditation will be one of those things that works and that’s great like I I guess I said that because I don’t want you to think like oh I only get that from meditate like no that’s perfect that’s a great coping skill in those moments calm it down right [Music]
[Music] number 12 we will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves oh is this where you think it’s [ ] I mean that depends on your version of God um you know I’ve developed an understanding of a higher power in my life that I could say that that’s probably true I could probably break down most people’s understanding of their God and point out to him how it’s not true Jesus that’s [ ] arrogant to say but you know no I you know my understanding of how my higher power Works in my life now is that’s that’s pretty true I don’t wouldn’t again say that I necessarily had that as a result of the ninth step that didn’t come till much much later um for sure I’m you know pretty pretty sure on that one but I definitely am at a point now where I realize there’s a there’s a power working in my life that’s greater than me that you know if I can just kind of sit back and roll with it you know things are are better than me trying to do it on my own right I mean I don’t for people who don’t believe in God it’s kind of hard to give them this one as a promise yeah but yeah I think if we’re loose in our interpretation of the god word with a capital G in this case I I think that it could be amended maybe like we will suddenly realize that we’re not alone in the world and there’s a lot of help from our community if we look for it right or something like that you know what I mean like there’s something a little more realistic we could probably be promising here right but this isn’t my program so far so I mean what’s your take on them after I don’t know that either of us have gone through them so thoroughly before to like really examine if they’re real or not well so there is a little bit of a paragraph after that that I want to read just because I think it’s kind of an out for most of this well before we get into my take on it it says 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 so that’s like a disclaimer saying like yeah if I work towards these goals you know I can get them you know that’s true for a lot of things like you know if I want to be 300 pounds and I work towards that I can probably get there I would say yes and then still somewhat not like like some of these are promising things that are just okay so I’ll say this I don’t know for people who have been raised in an environment where they grow up and they end up feeling useless and self-piteous about themselves right like I don’t know that we ever have that completely disappear right is the word completely in the promises no but it says disappear to me that means not here at all right I don’t know that that ever happens for us honestly so that’s going to be a hard point but I didn’t get everything they’re talking about especially not to the amount that I’ve been able to get it from the steps and so it’s like it I’m I’m rationalizing like in my head I’m trying to argue one are these even possible but then two are these possible with just step work and I’m like I don’t know they seem a little lofty yeah and here they’re talking about it as a result of the ninth step you know so right yeah there’s some heavy lifting for one step well yeah I mean it seems yes they seem extravagant to me I mean maybe I’m in the wrong Fellowship like maybe maybe I need to go to AAA and if I had to work them that way I’d get different results I don’t know I can’t say but that’s a fair point I I didn’t have that experience in my recovery there’s still some of those I know that I struggle with probably not on a daily basis like say I definitely a lot of them have gotten way better and you know a lot of my feelings of my uselessness and worthlessness and all that you know I’ve gotten better but I still have days and times where I feel those things I still have days and times where I feel selfish or self-serving or whatever you want to call it you know I don’t usually act on them most of the time right has my life gotten way better and I’ve become financially stable or financial insecurities have left uh my financial situation has changed more than my Financial Security situation yeah and my financial situation and my Financial Security situation have both changed way differently than my fear of economic insecurity yeah I don’t have a fear of economic insecurity at the moment but that’s because I’m my financial security has changed have you ever had a weird relationship with money always what is the weird relationship describe it um so I’m a terrible money manager that’s a critical statement yeah I have not I’d be more specific found it compelling to be more interested in my financial situation right so well I’m trying to restate what you said with some different words yeah and I would say I have not been able to successfully manage my money in a way that causes me to feel secure yes but uh and and maybe I’m wrong about this I could be just assuming some things from the way you’ve described it to me you have never felt an interest in doing anything to necessarily not change the behavior but not really to change your relationship with your financial stuff like I don’t know that like I think your solution for I spend money too quickly on things that I probably didn’t need was to give Jen the money yeah like it wasn’t actually like oh I feel really interested in like getting more familiar with my financial picture and when I can spend money oh no I don’t want to care about money that’s right so to me there’s something around that right and I’m trying to I’m like taking a lot of guesses here I’m sorry are you upset I’m I came from a situation where we we had one income and it was never enough and we were always in debt and always behind and just trying to get by and I heard the adult conversations around the money we didn’t have to do all these different things that we talked about possibly doing and I have a hoarding stockpiling problem with money and here’s what the way it manifests so I will get an allowance it’s like 250 a month and I can do that whenever I want with that right I don’t do anything and I will take all the 20s out of that 250 at the end of the month when I get my next allowance and I’ll just put them in a little you know place where I stash my money and I just keep doing that it does not make me happier to have that money it just makes me less fearful and it doesn’t make me happier to spend the money so I’ve got this weird dynamic where it’s like I have this allowance and I really honestly half the time don’t know what the [ ] to do with it because I’m like I’d feel weird spending money but I also know that just stockpiling it is literally doing nothing for my enjoyment of life and I know that I would probably enjoy life more if I freely spent it more and it’s like this weird dynamic and I’m so I picture it coming from all these messages of like we don’t have enough we we’re not going to be able to keep up and so now like oh I gotta I got a store I got a stockpile and I’m picturing for you I was like well he came from a situation where his family owned a business they were probably a little Weller off and I’m wondering if your body’s reaction that says Brain Brain make up a reason why we don’t want to care about money right I wonder if it’s some reaction to like maybe that’s how your parents showed you love was through financial means and yet you were resentful about that because you weren’t getting like the nurturing hugs that you talk about not existing in your house and so now there’s like this kind of like shitty view of money like Ah that’s that thing they tried to like bribe me with when I really wanted something else oh that could be I’ve never really thought much about it yeah I like that so I’d have to look that but yeah I guess before you say the main point of what I got was that you were a guy who likes to solve problems Billy you like to think through [ ] and come up with neat solutions for stuff and you like spreadsheets and [ ] like we’re turkey like that right like we love that [ ] so the fact that you have never felt like this automatic instant desire to want to fix the money thing for yourself or do some cool things around it tells me oh there’s something in his body that instantly like shuts off any interest in learning more about money stuff well my immediate response to that would be yes I like nice things and like having a lot of stuff and if I were to be financially responsible I would have to deny myself a lot of things that I want so it’s easier to either not have to care about it or not have to look at it because like I say to Jen all the time like I’m like I would probably eat out almost every day I would almost never cook at home because it [ ] sucks the whole process of cooking the whole process of cleaning it up all that [ ] sucks I’d rather just go to a restaurant have somebody make my food and then [ ] leave you know but it’s expensive and so it’s you know it’s becomes a financial burden I I so that to me is more where I think my and at a lot of times in my life I felt an inability to change that circumstance or an unwillingness to change that like well I don’t want to work anymore I don’t want to get a [ ] second job or whatever so that I can go eat out every day or yeah but and it’s interesting you say like inability or unwillingness but like I don’t know to me and this is one of those situations maybe this is what I’m trying to do more for more of us like find where there is a reason that makes sense right right because I believe there always is and maybe the thing with the money is that you grew up with nicer things and now you kind of feel like you want them and just aren’t in a financial place to afford them and it hurts and so you don’t want to look at it yeah well and there’s been I have so in my nerdy solving problems ways like I’ve spent tons of time researching and reading about you know how to get out of credit debt and how to do all these things I’m like ugh but that means I have to change a lot of what I’m doing now I don’t wanna do what I’m doing now which would suck if you also weren’t at the same time adjusting the feelings towards the money to begin with right like that’s where I think it gets interesting really is to to think okay so maybe because because you were able to avoid the pain of not getting the nurturing as a youth maybe the place you went to escape that was these places with money maybe it was in like a fancy toy your parents had bought or something other experience they had provided that cost money like a baseball camp or something like maybe your escapes or through these financial means and so when you’re feeling stressful in life and your body’s saying hey we know how to fix this we go buy nice [ ] that we like to play with right we buy toys and stuff and the financial situation not calling for you to be able to use that coping skill is like the resentful part of well I don’t want to [ ] change you know like I and I guess in my upbringing was in again without ever thinking too deeply about it I’ve just always thought like my inability to manage money had to do with being brought up in a household where money didn’t matter that much so it wasn’t really a thing that we discussed and we didn’t get like everything we wanted as kids or anything it just wasn’t ever an issue so now I just live my life like oh money should never be an issue even though sometimes it is you know what I mean like oh wait a minute it should be an issue like I just I haven’t really practiced that skill much it’s fascinating I I really wonder what the experience for everybody would be like if they took a week and they walked through the world and they just assumed by default that nothing they did was their fault like if we just went through a whole week and and it was never like oh I’m just too lazy or oh I’m just too unwilling or oh I’m just to this and that’s why all these things don’t happen if we stop making ourselves the excuse for why none of these things happen in our life what other kind of reasons could we come up with and I I just think that would be like a great starting point for us all like what if I actually don’t have control over this what other kind of [ ] could be making this happen because I think the more Curious we become the less shame we have and the more interested we get in trying to be different and that’s what it is I think the frustration of I’m trying to be different and I keep finding myself being the same person makes me not want to give a [ ] anymore it’s like I keep failing at it and if I just come at it like I don’t know man I don’t know what’s going on I’m just gonna act like I I can’t do anything different than what I’m doing and then try to understand myself from there I don’t know it just seems like a better place to start yeah for sure well done that in a roundabout way I just dig up why our society’s all [ __ ] up around money and how it’s a big weird construct of to keep us all enslaved It’s Just Energy yeah right It’s Just Energy yeah uh so I don’t know I guess you know go out there of course increase your compassion levels increase your kindness and gentleness levels to yourself and I don’t know let us know what do you think about these promises are these like legit factual things that are going to happen to us or is this just a a really beautiful way to write up you know what this process or the experience of the 12-step process can be like when it goes well let us know and uh intuitively go out there and handle those situations that used to bat for you have a good week foreign
did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recoverysortup.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up with us on Facebook Twitter Instagram Reddit YouTube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got an idea you want us to look into reach out to us thank you
- 60: The State of Addiction Treatment – What We Need To Do Differently (Sort Of)
- 31: We Are What We Put Into Us and The Shopping Cart Problem (Sort Of)
- 30: How to Reopen Meetings and What’s the Responsibility of the Experienced Member? (Sort Of)
- 34: Step Six – Were Entirely Ready to Have God Remove All These Defects of Character (Sort Of)
- 32: Recovery Dharma – Everything You Wanted To Know (Sort Of)
- 45: The Many Freedoms We Are Not Promised (Sort Of)