Ninth Step Promises

Ninth Step Promises click

 

The program does work.  Fear of people and what they think of us will leave us.   If we work the steps and do plenty of step twelve service work.  If we bring meetings into jails and institutions, chair meetings, and work on our core issues and underlying causes.  Furthermore if we build a relationship with our Higher Power and  do a thorough fourth step we will get not only a psychic change but also a spiritual experience that will help us to rely on God rather than mankind for what we need emotionally and spiritually.

“Fear  of people will leave us” is a quote from The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  It is written under the “Step Nine”  heading in the “Into Action” chapter and considered one of the “Ninth Step Promises”.

This link is to the Twelve & Twelve Step Nine:

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_step9.pdf   twelve and twelve step nine

In the Big Book step nine is on page 76  and starts in the middle of the page.  The ninth step promises are on page 83 starting at the bottom of the page.

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt6.pdfNinth Step Promises

 

*********************************************************

THE NINTH STEP PROMISES

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway 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 on 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 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.

*****************************************************

 

 

I believe that when Bill W. wrote “Fear of people will leave us” in The Big Book under the Ninth Step, what he actually meant was, “fear of what people think of us will leave us.”   

Alcoholics and addicts when in their addiction and early recovery tend to be nervous around other people.  Alcoholics have anxiety attacks, they have the desire to isolate and steer clear of other people often. 

All these symptoms show a fear of being around other people.  But not because they are afraid of being robbed or attacked.  These fearful behaviors stem from our own insecurities and self-loathing.  We addicts often simply feel like other people are better than us.  We are afraid of being judged by others.  We fear getting close to people because they may hurt us emotionally.   We don’t want to set ourselves up for another emotional loss so we reject human interaction and relationships all together.  

We often feel (subconsciously) that if people get to know us they won’t like us much because… bottom line…after years of going against what our own conscience says to us we don’t like ourselves much so how could anyone else like us…we think.   Many times in meetings and around A.A. people will say “I don’t care what people think of me” usually we, say this as a defensive measure to make ourselves look better to  others, as if it is weak and socially shameful to care what others think of us.   

However, caring what people think of us is an emotionally balanced social human trait. So many recovering addicts and people in general say they don’t care what others think of them, yet their actions prove otherwise.   Contrary to what most people in recovery so defensively state, I believe people DO care about what others think and say about them.  Of course that healthy caring can be taken to an extreme and turn into fear of what people think of us.  That’s where lying, dishonesty, faking this and pretending that come into play.  Vanity and false pride are character flaws driven by fear of what people will think of us.

 

It seems like addicts don’t know it’s OK, NOT WEAK to care and it’s normal socially to want to be liked and admired.  Seems some have an inability in their minds to distinguish between fear and healthy concern. Caring is not a bad thing and its human nature to want to dress nice and look good to our fellows.

 

People generally love to be the best at things, be the smartest, the fastest, and be a winner so they can feel good about themselves and look good to others.  Certainly if we were repeatedly taught as children that we are bad and wrong and received little if any parental validation of our feelings and ideas we will carry a low self-identity with us until it is reamed out by either therapy or spirituality.  Until that self-image is changed we will be hyper-sensitive to any perceived criticisms.  And unfortunately once a self-image is burned to our psyche it can’t be removed easily.  Just knowing that our self-image is inaccurate won’t change it.

 

Personally it does concern me when people dislike me or accuse me but I must put it in perspective.  Firstly, I ask myself if the accusation is true.  Then I delve into trying to understand the motivation behind the accusation.  When I understand the accusers reasoning it helps me accept their views.  If their opinion sticks in my craw too long and a resentment grows in me I will pray blessings upon them until I forget about it…works great!

 

Yes I care what people think!  I am not ashamed to admit it.  My admission of care does not make me a weak person, actually it shows I am self-assured enough to not fear appearing weak by that admission. 

  In other words, if someone is overstating the fact that they don’t care what others think of them you can pretty much bet that they’re healthy social caring has morphed into a fearful self-consciousness of what other people think of them.