Written By: Fiona Stockard
What are the 9th Step Promises?
The ninth step promises are a section of the Big Book where recovering alcoholics are promised certain things. I like the sound of that! Remember though, these promises only apply to alcoholics working the steps. Specifically, they only apply to those who’ve reached the ninth step.
So, what does the Big Book promise us? Red bottom heels and a hot guy? A Rolex and a smaller waist? Nope! It promises us emotional and spiritual health. It promises us that we’ll finally be okay.
Bill Wilson wrote –
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 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.
(The Big Book, pp. 83-84).
Like many alcoholics, I’d heard the promises read at meetings. I’d seen them hanging on the wall of clubhouses. Hell, I even went to a meeting called “The Page Eighty-Three Promises Meeting.” I thought I knew the ninth step promises.
It turns out, like many blessings in sobriety, I knew these promises on paper, but had no idea what they looked like in real life.
My Experience with the 9th Step Promises
I got sober and I began to learn what these promises were really about.
See, things like “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it” and “We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows” sound good. When they happen in your life though? The feeling is nothing short of amazing.
After completing my steps, I was stunned. I was, for the first time in my life, free. I was okay in my own skin. More importantly, I was able to show other women how to be free. I was able to be selfless, rather than selfish.
So, friends and dear readers, I’ll leave you with my personal take on the ninth step promises.
Fiona’s 9th Step Promises
If we complete the steps, we’re going to be amazing. Sometimes it’ll be halfway through, sometimes it’ll be afterwards, but it’ll always happen.
We’re going to know the freedom of sobriety and the happiness of recovery.
We won’t regret the past. In fact, we’ll embrace the past and use it to help other women recover.
We will live in serenity and we will practice peace, helpfulness, and love to others.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we’ll rise. We’ll rise because women lift us. We’ll then lift other women. Together, we’ll rise and never fall.
Uselessness will become useless. Self-pity will become useless. Service will become everything.
We will lose interest in our old lives and gain interest in God and other women.
Self-seeking will become uncomfortable. Selfishness will become uncomfortable.
Our attitude and outlook upon life will change and become whatever God wants it to be.
Fear of people, of economic insecurity, of being single, of gaining weight, of being rejected, of being embarrassed, of being anything other than exactly who and what we are – will leave us.
We will learn how to handle situations with grace and dignity.
We will suddenly realize God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves and that God has been with us, carrying and helping us, all along.
Are these extravagant promises? Hell no!
They’re being fulfilled among us – look around and see the beautiful healing power of sobriety.
They happen for everyone, always, if we do the work.