Written By: Fiona Stockard
What are the 10th Step Promises?
Much like the ninth step promises, the tenth step promises are a section of the Big Book where recovering alcoholics are promised peace and recovery from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.
Sounds too goo to be true, right? Wrong! The tenth step promises are available for everyone who works for them. They’re guaranteed to you, to me, and to the broken woman who just walked through the door.
Of course, there’s a pretty big caveat here. We have to do the work! These promises don’t just magically happen in our lives. We have to sweat. We have to earn it. We have to earn recovery!
Bill Wilson Wrote –
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. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given 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 how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.
–(Big Book pp. 84-85)
Again, like the ninth step promises, I didn’t know what those words meant until I experienced them. It’s easy to read, “…the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.” To experience that freedom firsthand, though? I can’t describe it. It’s simply freedom.
My Experience with the 10th Step Promises
I’m a tried and true alcoholic and addict. Before picking up a drink, I would use things like attention, controlling my weight, boys, and good grades to feel different. Then I got high. After that, all bets were off.
See, I have the three-part disease of alcoholism and addiction. My body processes alcohol and drugs differently than “a normie’s” body. Once I start, I can’t stop. Of course, stopping wouldn’t be a problem if I never started in the first place.
I always begin to drink again. I always begin to drink until I reached “a position of neutrality – safe and protected.” See, I had a mental obsession with drinking and drugging. Once I started to think about alcohol, I wouldn’t stop until the thought of drinking pushed out all else. I wouldn’t stop until a drink was in my hand.
That’s the heart of alcoholism – the bizarre mental obsession. Did you notice, though, that I wrote in past tense in the above paragraph? That’s because I’ve recovered. I’ve been granted safety from a God of my own understanding. I’ve been set free.
That’s my experience with the tenth step promises. They set me free. When I was newly sober, they offered me hope. My sponsor showed them to me almost immediately. I thank God she did. They showed me that recovery isn’t only possible, it’s promised if I do the work.
See, I have to complete the steps in order for these promises to manifest in my life. Even then, they don’t always occur during the tenth, eleventh, or twelfth step. It takes some women much longer to have them come true in their lives. For some lucky women, the obsession is lifted before they reach the tenth step. Like most of sobriety, these promises are an entirely subjective experience.
The bottom line, though, is if I do the work, if I search within myself and find God, the obsession to drink and drug will be removed. That’s all I can ask for and all I continue to ask for on a daily basis.