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Thoughts on Recovery – No. 58 – The 9th Step Promises

I did a meeting a few Sundays ago looking at the 9th step promises. They are so powerful I thought I would share some thoughts on their significance to me. In Topeka they are read at most of the meetings. They are usually read off a card and members chant enthusiastically. I am concerned that these several paragraphs have become trivialized.
The “ninth step promises” are on page 83-84. They occur when you have been thorough in working steps 4-9 and are now making amends. The amends process does not have a definite end. They may take a lifetime. That is why they say we will be amazed before we are half way through step 9. The requirement for the promises to occur is for you to have been painstaking about this phase of your development. What do they mean? Painstaking means careful or diligent effort. Done with great care and thoroughness. It is a continuation of the thought expressed on page 75 after completing step 5. Carefully reading the first 5 proposals they ask if we have omitted anything. Are all the stones firmly placed ? Have we tried to make mortar without sand? We are building an arch through which we will walk a free man at last. In reaching this phase of development having done steps 1-8 and working step 9 the arch has been completed. The promises will come true. Have they happened to you? How do we keep them?
They say they will always materialize if we work for them. Before I look at each promise in detail I would like to put them in perspective. I see the goal in working the steps is to build an arch to freedom. When I pass through the arch to the other side I am no longer in bondage to self. I have access to God’s power and direction. He is doing for me what I cannot do for myself. This is done with working steps 1-9 the best I can. Being thorough and honest from the very start.
How do I build this arch? Willingness is the foundation. I became willing by admitting I was powerless over alcohol and powerless to manage my life. The cornerstone is belief in a power greater than myself that can restore me to sanity. I do that by answering the question on page 47. They tell me that if I can answer that question emphatically yes that upon this cornerstone I can build a wonderfully effective spiritual structure, the arch to freedom.
I make a decision in step 3 to stop playing God . I work for him. He will be my director. This decision is the keystone to the new and triumphal arch through which I will pass to freedom – page 62. With steps 4-5 I am putting more stones firmly in place. Then the actions of 6-8 and working step 9 completes the arch. I then walk through it a free man at last. They call the other side of the arch the world of the spirit. After the promises are described on page 84 they say this thought brings us to step 10. They then say we have the entered the world of the spirit.
The world of the spirit is where I live in conscious contact with God. I stay there through the actions of steps 10-12. Therefore the promises are something that happens to me when I enter the world of the spirit. However they will only be experienced if I stay in that world. So I see the 9th step promises as really the promises that I receive from God when I have conscious contact with Him. When I have walked through the arch. No conscious contact, no world of the spirit, no promises. Warning. The arch I build must be the result of following the specific directions in the big book. The arch I build must be the same arch they built. My arch won’t bring me to freedom. My arch will bring me back to my world in bondage to self.
In the next thought I will look at the specific promises. Would love to hear from you mhurwitz50@gmail.com. I will look in the next thought at the promises themselves.

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