The AA Promises: Going Beyond The 9th Step

The AA Promises: Going Beyond The 9th Step

Beyond The 9th Step: A Deep Dive into Experiencing the AA Promises

When embarking on the path of recovery in a 12 step program using the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), you’ll encounter ‘the AA promises’—a set of outcomes tied to the diligent application of the Twelve Steps. But what are these promises, and can they truly unfold in your life?

In this article, we unpack the real impact of engaging with the 12 step program, detailing how the promises can manifest as a profound personal experience and offer hope and inspiration as you navigate the road of sobriety built on a solid spiritual foundation.

Key Takeaways

  • The AA Promises offer hope to a recovering alcoholic, not a guaranteed jackpot—active engagement with the Twelve Steps is non-negotiable if you’re actively seeking long-term sobriety and positive mental health.
  • Each step in AA comes with bonus features—special Promises—that transform your life faster than you can say ‘serenity now’. Remember, the 9th step isn’t the finale; there’s more to the Big Book’s promises than are regularly read in AA meetings.
  • The AA Promises aren’t just a one-hit wonder for early recovery—they’re like a classic vinyl record, gaining deeper meaning the more you play them throughout your journey to stop drinking and stay sober in God’s hands.

Exploring the Foundations of the AA Promises

The AA Promises

The AA promises give hope to those suffering alcohol addiction and symbolize the potential for positive change, optimism, and new opportunities that arise from working the Twelve Steps and connecting with a Power Greater than yourself. These assurances provide vital support in challenging moments, help shift viewpoints, and authorize self-compassion and affection – key components in the healing process.

These cherished assurances are like rare gems nestled within Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book treasure trove, waiting for those on their recovery path to uncover as their whole attitude begins to change and they experience a new Power flow through their life.

The Role of the Big Book in Unveiling the Promises

Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book serves as:

  • An essential tool for deciphering the Twelve Steps and grasping the AA promises
  • A transformative text that has reshaped innumerable lives based on certain spiritual beliefs
  • A compass to steer through recovery from addiction with the AA principles

This book Alcoholics Anonymous released the first edition of in 1939 eloquently reveals the commitments linked with each step, offering a transparent route to rehabilitation and a more fulfilling, joyful life free from drugs and alcohol. The main promise of the 12 steps of AA is you will have a spiritual experience through working them, one way or another, guaranteed.

Beyond Meetings: The Work Required to Realize the Promises

Actively engaging with a sponsor to work through the steps is where the real transformative power of the Alcoholics Anonymous program becomes apparent. Beyond just attending meetings, it’s this deep commitment to personal change that lies at its core. A recovering alcoholic can quickly understand themselves and their substance use disorder by doing this one-on-one work, the searching moral inventory, and will suddenly realize that God has become a part of their everyday life; even if they didn’t have faith prior to the steps.

In order to weave the AA Promises into one’s everyday existence, regular attendance at AA meetings and continual communication with a sponsor are essential – especially in the early days of recovery. It’s important to recognize that active involvement in practicing the steps is necessary for actualizing the full benefits promised by Alcoholics Anonymous and find what the true meaning of serenity and perfect peace is.

The AA Promises of Each Step Worked

9th Step Promises of AA

Every one of the Twelve Steps of AA embodies a distinct and hopeful promise, serving as a luminary to navigate through the daunting shadows cast by addiction. Commencing with Step 1. Two’s invitation to trust in a higher power, extending all the way to Step Twelve’s emphasis on altruism, each commitment acts as an essential marker on this transformative journey towards recovery and self-improvement.

Although the promises associated with Step Nine are often more recognized and frequently referenced, gaining awareness of all Big Book pledges is imperative when undertaking these steps.

The Step 2 Promises

The Big Book delivers a message of optimism to the atheist or agnostic wrestling with their beliefs, suggesting that just being open to the possibility of a higher power can yield astonishing outcomes.

“We found that as soon as we lay aside prejudice and expressed even a willingness to believe in a power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.” Page 46.

AA is inclusive in its approach. It doesn’t dictate one fixed idea of God. Instead, your personal understanding, no matter how imperfect, is enough to forge a relationship with this higher power. Initiating belief, or even becoming willing to believe, sets you on the path forward.

Holding onto this whole attitude ensures that not knowing everything is a new freedom for the alcoholic or those with substance use disorders. A willingness to believe, followed by a rigorous course of action, is enough to effect a conscious contact with God and a new attitude towards life on our fellows.

The 3rd Step Promises

Adopting the third step entails a profound transformation in one’s perspective, especially for individuals who have long relied solely on their personal resolve to combat addiction. The Big Book assures that truly committing to this step can lead to extraordinary outcomes. Surrendering oneself to a higher power shifts your focus away from selfish things and toward how you might add value to life.

“When we sincerely took such a position, all sort of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing, we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt the new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn.” Page 63.

When such a position is held as to give your life over to the care of God as you understand Him, you begin to sense a new happiness, lose interest in those selfish things, find freedom from self seeking and self pity, and begin to face life successfully.

This surrender brings tranquility of thought, and there comes an epiphanic moment when you understand that success in confronting life is within your grasp, which diminishes any trepidation about what lies ahead. It feels like undergoing a rebirth.

The 4th Step Promises

Commitment, self-discipline, and truthfulness are vital in Step Four. This stage is about introspection and confronting one’s history. The rewards for pursuing this step justify the commitment required.

“Just to the extent that we do what we think He would have of us and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity.” Page 68

“We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies, for we look on them as sick people.” Page 70

Taking this fearless moral inventory of ourselves has a profound impact on our whole attitude and outlook on life and we will find that it happened automatically while working with pen to paper.

The 5th Step Promises

Embarking on the fifth step is an act of bravery, as we confess our most intimate secrets to ourselves, God, and someone else.

“Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.” Page 75

Our troubles with alcohol vanish into thin air and we find ourselves traveling down a wide avenue in harmonious stride with the Spirit of the Universe. My own practical experience found the desire to drink and drug left me after this step and has not returned.

The 9th Step Promises

In AA gatherings, the ninth step promises are frequently read from the Big Book. There are 12 promises attached to the 9th step found on pages 83 & 84 that go as follows:

“1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
3. We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.
4. We will comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace.
5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
8. Self-seeking will slip away.
9. Our whole attitude and outlook on life with change.
10. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.
11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us.
12. We will suddenly realize that 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 10th Step Promises

The extravagant promises from the previous step are nothing in comparison to what is promised in step 10, which is why we set out on this work in the first place.

Page 84 reads, “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.”

And page 85 reads, “We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given to 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 our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.”

If you have not truly experienced this new freedom that was never available to people like you and me before this book came out and these steps were put together, I urge you from the bottom of my heart to work these to completion.

The 11th Step Promises

This reliance on inspired thought steadily evolves into a vital component of our existence. Eventually, it transforms into something essential that we lean on consistently.

“What used to be the hunch, or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.” Page 87

The 12th Step Promises

Working with other alcoholics and addicts is vital to the process to insure immunity from drugs and alcohol. And guess what! The Big Book has something to say about this step as well:

“Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail.” Page 89

“To watch people, recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.” Page 89

“When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.” Page 100

“Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand. Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed.” Page 102

Aren’t all these promises from the Big Book amazing and worth doing the work for?

The Spiritual Essence of the 12-Step Journey

The Spiritual Nature of the Promises of AA

The journey through the Twelve Steps of AA is characterized as a spiritual one, aimed at fostering personal transformation. Its flexibility allows for those with different beliefs to take part and experience change without the constraint of specific religious practices. The program emphasizes sustained spiritual development as a cornerstone for long-lasting recovery from addiction.

In alignment with particular spiritual principles such as hope, faith, and humility, each step within the twelve-step framework plays a crucial role in realizing the growth and transformative potential offered by the program.

The Comprehensive Scope of the AA Promises

The Spiritual Walk of AA

The Promises of AA represent a detailed guide for personal betterment, development, and the journey to recovery, transcending mere verbal commitments. Initial, these steps establish a fresh perspective on existence. Subsequently, they center around metamorphosis and modification.

Culminating in the ultimate phases that underscore devotion to fellow beings and diminishing egocentrism, the AA Promises exhibit their all-encompassing nature.

The Early Steps: Foundation for a New Outlook

In the initial stages of AA, participants lay the groundwork for a transformative life perspective. Acknowledging an inability to control alcohol use is crucial in these first steps as it paves the way towards recovery from addiction.

Guidance through the AA program leads individuals on a path toward liberation and joy by overcoming their addictions with the aid of a higher power.

Midway Through: The Heart of Transformation

The transformative core of the Twelve Steps unfolds as individuals reach the midpoint, where they embrace accountability through recognizing their errors and seeking to rectify them.

As participants progress along the path outlined by AA’s steps, notable behavioral modifications emerge. There is a marked decline in selfish acts and behaviors, paired with a burgeoning concern for the well-being of others.

The Final Steps: Carrying the Message Forward

The concluding stages of the AA program underscore the importance of serving fellow members in the AA community, highlighting this as an essential element for spiritual development. As individuals progress through these steps, they witness the gradual fulfillment of the Twelve Promises—a journey unique to each person that unveils a bright prospect ahead.

This process also enables participants to draw lessons from their past without harboring any remorse.

The Reality of the AA Promises in Daily Life

The AA Promises significantly impact everyday experiences. They:

  • Foster resilience, tranquility, and individual development
  • Support a life of integrity and ethical conduct
  • Aid in alleviating stress
  • Maintain concentrated efforts on recovery

These promises empower people to confront difficulties while pursuing fresh goals beyond the bounds of addiction. They offer methods for overcoming obstacles that previously appeared insurmountable without alcohol dependence. They promote attention to mental well-being through:

  • inner calmness
  • improved social connections
  • self-improvement
  • prioritizing one’s own care

Prioritizing new happiness over material gains allows individuals to break free from past regrets and attain a state of serenity and contentment.

Video Insight: Understanding the Full Spectrum of AA Promises

To gain a thorough insight into the transformative power of the AA Promises, our blog post incorporates a video that offers an extensive exploration beyond just Step 9. This visual aid emphasizes their significant role in sustained recovery and stands as an invaluable tool for individuals eager to delve into understanding the profound effects of the AA Promises.

Navigating Misconceptions About the AA Promises

We must clear up some prevalent misunderstandings surrounding the AA Promises. These promises aren’t assured outcomes, but potential benefits for individuals who diligently engage with the program and strive toward sobriety. Instead of being mere wishful thinking, they offer a blueprint for self-betterment and a roadmap to personal development.

The AA Promises evolve through stages that include establishing expectations, meeting obligations, and assessing results, reflecting the continuous effort involved in one’s path to recovery. It is important to recognize that not realizing every single promise does not indicate lack of progress within the program.

The Lifelong Relevance of the AA Promises

The promises of AA are not confined to the initial phase of recovery. Instead, they hold significance at every stage and adapt as people progress. As individuals advance in their recovery journey, these promises take on new meanings, mirroring significant shifts such as increased joy, peace, and liberation from previous destructive patterns.

Through the strength and tranquility cultivated via AA’s support network, those in recovery find themselves better equipped to confront daily obstacles with reduced tension. Realizing the AA Promises unfolds gradually—tailored to each person’s experience—and provides an optimistic outlook for what lies ahead.

Personal Stories of Transformation Through the AA Promises

The AA Promises come alive through the stories of individuals who have embraced them, demonstrating that these assurances are far more than mere text. They hold actual weight and substance. Through their journey in AA, members have:

  • Channeled past trials positively to benefit others
  • Overcome a sense of worthlessness and indulgence in self-pity
  • Discovered comfort and optimism amidst challenging times
  • Enhanced their recovery process while bettering interactions with peers
  • Noticed reduced feelings of anxiety and loneliness.

In one individual’s experience within AA, simply hearing the promises read aloud at a meeting served as an inspirational moment that strengthened both their resolve for remaining sober and their connection to the fellowship. Even for a member who describes themselves as agnostic, working diligently through the steps under guidance from a sponsor helped fulfill the twelfth promise.


To sum up, the AA Promises stand as a guiding light of optimism and a blueprint for recuperation. These promises offer an all-encompassing structure that facilitates self-betterment, individual development, and rehabilitation. Commencing with initial measures establishing groundwork for a rejuvenated perspective to advanced steps that stress altruism and diminish egocentrism, these promises are life-changing.

The AA Promises adapt alongside individuals through their personal evolution, offering persistent direction and backing. They bear witness to the efficacy of the AA program in steering transformative recovery journeys.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the AA Promises?

The AA Promises, which are affirmations encapsulated within the AA Big Book, reflect the beneficial consequences, a sense of hopefulness, and a range of possibilities that emerge as one engages with the Twelve Steps.

Prepare yourself for outcomes that brim with inspiration and optimism!

Are the AA Promises guaranteed?

While there are no absolute guarantees, the AA Promises serve as a guide to personal improvement for individuals dedicated to following the program and maintaining sobriety.

Immerse yourself fully and welcome the transformative voyage ahead!

How are the AA Promises relevant throughout the recovery journey?

As individuals progress on their path to recovery, the AA Promises continue to be pertinent. They evolve in tandem with personal development, mirroring increased depths of transformation which manifest as a discovery of joy, peace, and liberation from previously detrimental habits.

Maintain your belief and persevere!

What are the misconceptions about the AA Promises?

Be aware that the AA Promises represent potential outcomes, not certainties. They are intended to guide individuals along a path of self-improvement for those actively engaged in the program.

It’s important not just to hope for progress, but to diligently put effort into achieving it!

How are the AA Promises realized in daily life?

Incorporating the AA Promises into one’s daily routine can lead to noticeable improvements in resilience, serenity, and personal development while offering methods for tackling life’s hurdles.

Adopting these promises supports a person in confronting difficulties and striving towards new aspirations in life.

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