[color=darkred]The other day at a meeting a guy said that the Promises started coming true for him the minute he put down a drink.
Well, I can see that things start getting [b]better[/b] immediately… you quit dying and begin the process of living again, usually your finances are better immediately because you're not spending money on your addiction….gradually you start to look better physically… there are positive changes… outside changes.
But these are not the REAL promises…
“We will know a new FREEDOM and a new HAPPINESS”…
We gain the ability to look other people square in the eye and know that we are no better, or worse than they are…that folks is folks and I am one of them. (Step 5). In 6 we get ready to change the things that caused the trouble in the first place. 7 we ask God to change us because we can pretty much see it's impossible to do alone. 8 we put in black and white the people we have hurt through the actions/reactions/behavior we are now praying for help changing…
BUT The CHANGE itself comes in 9. That is the promise. Someone told me they think the 9th step is where we learn humility…. I agree. We humble ourselves, we have to to make an amend.
But the most important realization I came to when I did that is that OTHER PEOPLE FEEL TOO. They quit becoming …shadows…. entities that were there for my use and self satisfaction… Other people become REAL when you have to go toe to toe, eye to eye with them and see in their eyes the pain you put there… and see it lift away when you AMEND.
I was blessed to make an amend yesterday to a lady I used to work for. I tried to reach her, she was on my list..but she never returned my calls or emails.
I ran into her at the beach. I confessed after we had visited for awhile that I had stolen something from her when I worked for her. I immediately saw the hurt and disappointment in her eyes, this woman who trusted me..
I asked her if I could atone by doing some work for her. Curiosity, caution and then understanding and relief came to her eyes as I looked into them. Then, where the hurt had been..Forgiveness! The miracle was that I was able to look into her eyes throughout the process – straight on -(thank you step 5) I saw the corners around them crinkle and the laughter start… then I saw/felt the love.
Oh my GOD! There was a person in there! A feeling, REAL person – just like me. As I watched the transformation in her eyes, I thought, ”
THIS is why amends are best face to face!” I felt HER pain, then her joy, her relief.
“Self seeking will slip away..”We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows…”
I will put my very best into this work I do for her…
This experience has made me think about joy and laughter. I was trying to remember when, if ever, I had seen the person laugh who was sharing how promises came true when they put down the drink… how they didn't need to go on….now they have STUFF! I couldn't remember one time. Not once. Happy? If that's the closest to happiness you've ever been, then it could seem to be as good as it gets…
But..”Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us” ….This doesn't mean we will get STUFF, of course we will get stuff! That's inevitable when we're not wasting money on addiction..and some relationships will come back together..BECAUSE we have stuff… Our self esteem isn't attached to our stuff any more after we complete the steps.
THAT's the real freedom…What we get NOW is the stuff that DREAMS are made of! The knowledge that no matter how much or how little we have, we are alright – secure, serene. We don't need to prove our worth anymore.
I chaired a speaker meeting last night and a friend of mine was the speaker..when I asked him to speak he said it would be good to get out of himself, through service…
In the minutes before the meeting we were kidding around… teasing, PLAYING.. like little kids… there was laughter, genuine, guileless, laughter!
A lot of his sharing was about the steps and the 9th specifically… he said that he was an adreneline junky. Lived looking for that “rush” and that the biggest rush he ever had was facing the fear and doing 9th step amends. He still remembers those moments as moments of joy. He is free. I see him laugh often.
“We will know a new freedom and a new happiness”. We can't even comprehend what that will be like until we get there, because we have never experienced that l[b]evel[/b] of joy..and peace.
We sell ourselves short when we stop too soon. We settle. We think we are happy. Happy with the new stuff we have accumulated. Happy with the new body we get to walk around in…happy that we don't have to be a slave to the drugs or booze any more. We are happy as pigs in sh*&…MUD!
But those are not the promises…the promises are so much more!
I want to see people happy! Truly happy. Today I care about other people…abot their joy. Because they are finally REAL to me.
And because they ARE me…they affect me…
I gravitate to people who know joy…. I work with people who don't – YET.
“We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us”….
Doors close, doors open….when I think there is nothing I can do at all….. “We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”
I want to make people laugh today – to bring joy. Guileless, genuine laughter that comes from FREEDOM.. want everyone to experience the REAL promises – so I work step 12.
I am happy when others are happy…but today I am NOT a pig and today, I am not in the “mud”[/color]