(What they mean to me and how they came true.)
If we are painstaking about this phase (making amends) of our development we will be amazed (new awareness) before we are halfway through. This amazement, this awareness, this awakening (spiritual change) started around the seventh step. This is when I became aware of… opening the curtains, my heart quit jumping in my throat, the silence wasn’t deafening and no more knotted, gnarly stomachs.
What development? The development of changing myself from the character with defects that I had become, into the best possible version of myself. By the 9th step, the authors’ promise that if I have thoroughly completed the first nine steps a whole bunch of cool things will come to be.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. The greatest freedom for me came, not just from a life changing weight loss, but from unlocking the cell door of this prison that was my mind. My mind told me lies, held me captive, fed me substances and even talked me into hurting others. By opening my mind and working the steps, I took back my life. The one that the step 9 promises, promised me.
Freedom wasn’t free. For freedom, I had to do the work, I had to work the steps. Happiness on the other hand, happiness must be free because once I put in the work to change, happiness just miraculously appeared.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. I had, from severe memory impairment, shut the door on my past but my body carried the regret and the sorrow still tugged at my mind. Completion of the steps led me to realize that the past was a place for learning not for living.
We will comprehend the word serenity (no dictionary can explain serenity, the only way to understand serenity is to live it) and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone (I thought this meant how much weight I lost), we will see how our experience can benefit others. Serenity and peace, like happiness, came with the freedom. The freedom from the bondage of self. In other words, while you are a prisoner of your mind (fear, guilt, anger, regret…), you are not free.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. Just stepping away from active addiction, I no longer felt worthless from repeating the same compulsive insane behaviors over and over. Behaviors that I blamed on others until I completed my fourth step.
We will lose interest in selfish things (substance and/or behavioral compulsions) and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. No longer had I a need to be noticed in the crowd, funnier than the masses, or louder than the others. I was given the phenomenal opportunity to do lots of service and the more I said yes to service, the less I practiced self-will. When I couldn’t show up for me I could show up for service.
Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change. I had moved into a small low level apartment where I felt like I didn’t want to wake up one more day. I hated life, I hated people, and I hated me. At 400 pounds I had no reason to go on. Following the completion of the 12 steps and with a loss of 185 pounds my attitude started to change. I could move again, and I wanted the world to know it. I had life again and I wanted to embrace every moment I was awake. I had a reason to live again.
Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. When I first heard this promise, I wondered what weight and compulsive eating has to do with economic security. But I also knew that I struggled with many compulsive behaviors including debiting and spending. I began to use the steps in other areas of my life and economically my life did change. I no longer feared the future. I began to lean on the big guy and despite my poor money and credit state, I moved into a downtown Highrise, something I had not thought possible until finding recovery.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. People used to baffle me. People with behaviors and emotions could upset me or ruin my day as easily as possible. I found communication and relationships to be difficult and not worth it. After doing the steps especially step four and nine, I began to take the focus off myself and placed it on others. I finally realized that I could not change or control anyone, not even me. Situations which used to baffle me now teach me.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. I can’t, God can, I think I’ll let him. I have this belief that God won’t walk us to it if God can’t walk us through it.
Are these extravagant promises? Not a chance, these are the most realistic promises since all over the world people are changing their lives. We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. People are changing their lives and these promises are kept for many who have come before us. They will always materialize if we work for them. It works if you work it!