The Big Book Promises (all of them, so far)

Friends of Bill W. – The Big Book Promises (all of them, so far)

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Many of us have heard of the Ninth Step Promises from page 83-84 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. There are, however, additional promises in the Big Book.

The following is a list ofapproximately 150 promises that I compiled from the first edition of the Big Book. Some of the promises are directly associated with completion of a step. Some of the promises are inferred from the experiences of the first 100 men and women who recovered from alcoholism.

In either case, I have found it helpful to remember there are promises throughout the Big Book, if we just look for them.

As I compiled these myself, I am more than open to feedback or suggestions. ENJOY!

The promises associated with completing all twelve steps:

  1. The Story of How One Hundred Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism. (Title Page)
  2. WE, OF Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and woman who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED is the main purpose of this book. For them, we hope these pages will prove so convincing that no further authentication will be necessary. We think this account of our experiences will help everyone to better understand the alcoholic. Many do not comprehend that the alcoholic is a very sick person. And besides, we are sure that our way of living has its advantages for all. (Forward to the First Edition)
  3. On the other hand – and strange as this may seem to those who do not understand- once a psychic change has occurred, the very same person who seemed doomed, who had so many problems he despaired of ever solving them, suddenly finds himself easily able to control his desire for alcohol, the only effort necessary being that required to follow a few simple rules. (Doctors Opinion (fifth page))
  4. Nearly all have recovered. They have solved the drink problem. (17)
  5. But, there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful. (16)
  6. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solutionWe have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism. (17)
  7. There is a solution. (25)
  8. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it. (25)
  9. We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed. (25)
  10. The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe. (25)
  11. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. (25)
  12. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves. (25)
  13. We, in our turn, sought the same escape with all the desperation of drowning men. What seemed at first a flimsy reed, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God. A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, “a design for living” that really works. (28)
  14. Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered. (29)
  15. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs. (60)

The promises associated with Bill W.s Story:

  1. I was soon to be catapulted into what I like to call the fourth dimension of existence. I was to know happiness, peace and usefulness, in a way of life that is incredibly more wonderful as time passes. (8)
  2. God had done for him what he could not do for himself. (11)
  3. Then he had, in effect, been raised from the dead, suddenly taken from the scrap heap to a level of life better than the best he had ever known. (11)
  4. Thus I was convinced that God is concerned with us humans when we want him enough. At long last, I saw, I felt, I believed. Scales of pride and prejudice fell from my eyes. A new world came into view. (12)
  5. My friend promised when those things were done, I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator, that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems. (13)
  6. These were revolutionary and drastic proposals but the moment I fully accepted them, the effect was electricThere was a sense of victory, followed by such a peace and serenity as I had never known. (14)
  7. It is a design for living that works in rough going. (15)
  8. We commenced to make many fast friends and a fellowship has grown up among us of which it is wonderful thing to feel a part. The joy of living we really have, even under pressure and difficulty. I have seen hundreds of families set their feet in the path that really goes somewhere; have seen the most impossible domestic situations righted, feuds and bitterness of all sorts wiped out. I have seen men come out of asylums and resume a vital place in the lives of heir families and communities. Business and professional men have regained their standingThere is scarcely any form of trouble and misery which has not been overcome among us. (15)
  9. There is, however, a vast amount of fun about it all. (15)
  10. Most of us feel we need look no further for UtopiaWe have it with us right here and now. Each day my friends simple talk in our kitchen multiplies itself in a widening circle of peace on earth and good will to men. (16)

The promises associated with step one:

  1. Nearly all have recovered. They have solved the drink problem. (17)
  2. But, there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful. (16)
  3. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism. (17)
  4. There is a solution. (25)
  5. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it. (25)
  6. We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed. (25)
  7. The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe. (25)
  8. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. (25)
  9. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves. (25)
  10. We, in our turn, sought the same escape with all the desperation of drowning men. What seemed at first a flimsy reed, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God. A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, “a design for living” that really works. (28)
  11. Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered. (29)
  12. Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you. (152)You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey. Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” (152)
  13. It may seem incredible that these men are to become happy, respected, and useful once more. How can they rise out of such misery, bad repute and hopelessness? The practical answer is that since these things have happened among us, they can happen with you. Should you wish them above all else, and be willing to make use of our experience, we are sure they will come. The age of miracles is still with us. Our own recovery proves that! (153)
  14. Still you may say: “But I will not have the benefit of contact with you who wrote this book.” We cannot be sure. God w ill determine that, so you must remember that your real reliance is always upon Him. He will show you how to create the fellowship you crave. (164)
  15. Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us . Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. (164)
  16. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. (164)

The promises associated with step two:

  1. Well, thats exactly what this book is about. Its main object is toenable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem. (45)
  2. 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. (46)
  3. Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. (46)
  4. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things,we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps. (46)
  5. We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. (46)
  6. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men. (46)
  7. Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many things which then seemed entirely out of reach. (47)
  8. As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built. (47)
  9. Here are thousands of men and women, worldly indeed. They flatly declare that since they have come to believe in a Power greater than themselves, to take a certain attitude toward the Power, and to do certain simple things, there has been a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking. (50)
  10. In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed into them. (50)
  11. The outlines and the promise of the New Land had brought lustre to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits. (53)
  12. We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. (55)
  13. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us. (55)
  14. If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then if you wish you can join us on the Broad Highway. (55)
  15. With this attitude you cannot fail. (55)
  16. The consciousness of your belief is sure to come to you. (55)
  17. Even so has God restored us all to our right minds. (57)
  18. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him. (57)
  19. When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us! (57)
  20. Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. (58)

The promises associated with step three:

  1. a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.c) That God could and would if he were sought. (60)
  2. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. (62)
  3. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom. (62)
  4. When we sincerely took such a position, all sort of remarkable things followed. (63)
  5. We had a new Employer. (63)
  6. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. (63)
  7. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. (63)
  8. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. (63)
  9. As we felt 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. (63)
  10. We were reborn. (63)
  11. This was only the beginning, though if honestly and humbly made, an effect, sometimes a very great one, was felt at once. (63)

The promises associated with step four:

  1. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we start to straighten out mentally and physically. (64)
  2. We cannot be helpful to all people but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one. (67)
  3. 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. (68)
  4. We ask him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what he would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear. (68)
  5. In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come, if we want it. (69)
  6. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. (70)
  7. We have begun to comprehend their futility and their fatality. (70)
  8. We have commenced to see their terrible destructiveness.(70)
  9. We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies, for we look on the them as sick people. (70)
  10. We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self-will has blocked you off from Him. (70)

The promises associated with step five:

  1. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. (75)
  2. We can look the world in the eye. (75)
  3. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. (75)
  4. Our fears fall from us. (75)
  5. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. (75)
  6. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. (75)
  7. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. (75)
  8. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe. (75)
  9. Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last. (75)

The promise associated with step eight:

  1. If that degree of humility could enable us to find the grace by which such a deadly obsession could be banished, then there must be hope of the same result respecting any other problem we could possibly have.(12&12 76)

The promises associated with step nine:

  1. If our manner is calm, frank, and open, we will be gratified with the result. (78)
  2. In nine cases out of ten the unexpected happens. Sometimes the man we are calling upon admits his own faults, so feuds of years’ standing melt away in an hour. (78)
  3. Rarely do we fail to make satisfactory progress. (78)
  4. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. (83)
  5. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. (83)
  6. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. (83)
  7. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. (83)
  8. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.(84)
  9. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. (84)
  10. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
  11. Self-seeking will slip away.(84)
  12. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. (84)
  13. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. (84)
  14. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. (84)
  15. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves(84)
  16. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among ussometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them. (84)

The promises associated with step ten:

  1. And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone even alcohol. (84)
  2. For by this time sanity will have returned. (84)
  3. We will seldom be interested in liquor.
  4. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. (84)
  5. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. (85)
  6. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. (85)
  7. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. (85)
  8. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutralitysafe and protected. (85)
  9. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. (85)
  10. 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. (85)
  11. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. (85)
  12. To some extent we have become God-conscious.(85)
  13. We have begun to develop this vital six sense. (85)

The promises associated with step eleven:

  1. Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. ….It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it. (86)
  2. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. (86)
  3. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. (86)
  4. In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers comeafter we have tried this for a while. (86)
  5. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. (87)
  6. 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. (87)
  7. We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. (88)
  8. We become much more efficient. (88)
  9. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves. (88)
  10. It worksit really does. (88)

The promises associated with step twelve:

  1. PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. (89)
  2. Life will take on new meaning. (89)
  3. 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 friendsthis 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. (89)
  4. Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist, remarkable things will happen. (100)
  5. 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. (100)
  6. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances! (100)
  7. Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. (100)
  8. 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. (102)
  9. The power of God goes deep! (102)
  10. We have stopped fighting anybody and anything. We have to! (103)

Promises associated with the “Lost Chapters.”

  1. There is every evidence that women regain their health as readily as men if they try our suggestions. (104)
  2. We want to leave you with the feeling that no situation is too difficult and no unhappiness to great to be overcome. (104)
  3. Yet often such men had spectacular and powerful recoveries. (113)
  4. The power of God goes deep. (114)
  5. But sometimes you must start life anew. We know women who have done it. If such women adopt a spiritual way of life their road will be smoother. (114)
  6. When you have carefully explained to such people that he is a sick person, you will have created a new atmosphereBarriers which have sprung up between you and your friends will disappear with the growth of sympathetic understanding. You will no longer be self-conscious or feel that you must apologize as though your husband were a weak character. He may be anything but that. Your new courage, good nature and lack of self-consciousness will do wonders for you socially. (115)
  7. We have elsewhere remarked how much better life is when lived on a spiritual plane. If God can solve the age-old riddle of alcoholism, He can solve your problems too. (116)
  8. Now we try to put spiritual principles to work in our lives. When we do that, we find it solves our problems toothe ensuing lack of fear, worry and hurt feelings is a wonderful thing. (116)
  9. If you and your husband find a solution for the pressing problem of drink you are, of course, going to be very happy. (117)
  10. The faith and sincerity of you and your husband will be put to the test. These work-outs should be regarded as part of your education, for thus you will be learning to live. You will make mistakes, but if you are in earnest they will not drag you down. Instead you will capitalize them. A better way of life will emerge when they are overcome. (117)
  11. When resentful thoughts come, try to pause and count your blessings. After all, your family is reunited, alcohol is no longer a problem and you and your husband are working together toward an undreamed-of future. (119)
  12. Both of you will awaken to a new sense of responsibility for others. (119)
  13. You will lose the old life to find one much better. (120)
  14. Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now. Cling to the thought that in, Gods hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have – they key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. (124)
  15. Let them remember that his drinking wrought all kinds of damage that may take long to repair. If they sense these things, they will not take so seriously his periods of crankiness, depression, or apathy, which will disappear when there is tolerance, love, and spiritual understanding. (127)
  16. Giving, rather than getting, will become the guiding principle. (128)
  17. Joy at our release from a lifetime of frustration knew no bounds. (128)
  18. If the family cooperated, dad will soon see that he is suffering from a distortion of values. He will perceive that his spiritual growth is lopsided, that for an average man like himself, a spiritual life which does not include his family obligations may not be so perfect after all. If the family will appreciate that dads current behavior is but a phase of his development, all will be well. In the midst of an understanding and sympathetic family, these vagaries of dads spiritual infancy will quickly disappear. (129)
  19. Those of us who have spent much time in the world of spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness of it. This dream world has been replaced by a great sense of purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives. We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work must be done. These are the realities for us. We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness. (130)
  20. We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free.
  21. We are convinced that a spiritual mode of living is most powerful restorative. We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health. But we have seenremarkable transformations in our bodies. Hardly one of our crowd now shows any mark of dissipation. (133)
  22. In time they will see that he is a new man and in their own way they will let him know it. When this happens, they can be invited to join in morning meditation and then they can take part in the daily discussion without rancor or bias. From that point on,progress will be rapid. Marvelous results often follow such a reunion. (134)

Parenthesis () indicate the page number where the promise is found in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The promises on this page are from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and are reprinted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (“AAWS”). Permission to reprint does not mean that AAWS has reviewed or approved the contents of this website, or that A.A. necessarily agrees with the views expressed herein. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism only – use of the Steps, Traditions and Concepts in connection with programs and activities which are patterned after A.A., but which address other problems, or in any other non-A.A. context, does not imply otherwise.

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