I believe that when they read pg 83/84 to newcomers at a meeting -- and tell them "these are the promises" they are doing a severe injustice to the newcomers.
Sobriety MUST come first. Without sobriety -- there is no hope of there being ANYTHING else that's positive. Without sobriety -- there will be nothing.
I used to get so frustrated as a newcomer because I wanted to know "how can I stay sober? Will someone PLEASE tell me HOW to stay sober? Will someone PLEASE tell me HOW to not take that first drink?"
I kept coming back -- and I didn't hear how to do it. I heard quirky things like "Go to a lot of meetings and don't drink between the meetings."
Someone else would say something like "Get God!" And, I'd want to puke all over them. I had already tried God and religion -- to the MAX. There had even been times when people would bring sick people to me to pray for them and I prayed for people -- and they were actually healed. But, God and religion could not seem to keep me sober.
I got to the jumping off place. I was determined to not drink until it killed me to not drink. Drinking would kill me and not drinking would kill me. That's where I got to. Not drinking was NOT making my life or anything else any better -- and it got so bad SOBER -- that I had decided to drive my car into the side of a train -- to end the pain of being SOBER -- so that it could be said of me "at least he died sober." This was AFTER weeks of literally ripping hand fulls of hair out of my head and beating myself with a tire iron -- to try and distract my thinking and feeling of BEING SOBER.
On the final day that I was headed down to the train tracks which were a short drive from my house -- I called every AA number that I had been given. No one answered. It was all voice mail answering machines when there was an answer. Finally -- my last call -- to a lady AA, that I disliked so much -- that I would rather have died than to call HER!
Looking back on it -- I probably called her, thinking that the results would be the same -- she wouldn't answer -- and then I could go drive myself into the side of the train and feel at peace saying "I did what I was told to do and I called ALL the numbers -- so here I am going to end this misery of being sober!"
Wouldn't you know it? The b**ch answered her phone!
She said "wait right there -- don't go anywhere -- I'll be right over!"
She took me for coffee, had a girl friend AA show up, called her boyfriend, and he agreed to talk w/ me after work -- and we'd go to a meeting together.
I still didn't feel any better -- I was trying to be numb so that I could do the one last thing -- and then go find my train.
We stopped in a place, they referred to as "a serenity shop". It was a store that sold chips, medallions, books, tapes, t-shirts and things like that.
My eyes locked onto a set of tapes... in a display case, that had two guys names on it, and said something about recovery and workshop and some type of program being in the Big Book. The set of tapes was about $25. Something deep inside me persuaded me with "buy this set of tapes first and listen to them -- and then, go find the train." Those tapes were my LAST hope.
I listened to each of the tapes and read my Big Book as I went along with the speakers on the tapes. I stopped to do the things they had laid out to do, that we read from the book.
I wasn't about to get my HOPES up -- just to be let down again!
The first things the guys on the tapes started saying was: I understand. Sobriety was killing me. It was more painful to be sober than it was painful to die drunk. And, that sobriety had been MISERY and SUFFERING!
And, then, they said "THAT'S WHY THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN! IT WAS WRITTEN FOR 'OUR TYPES' of alcoholism and alcoholics and THEY GAVE US A PROGRAM OF ACTIONS THAT WE COULD TAKE -- TO CHANGE IT!"
Wow? REALLY? You mean -- out of ALL these hundreds of AA meetings that I've been to... that there is REALLY an OFFICIAL PROGRAM OF RECOVERY and it works for people like me -- and it's in this same book that everyone keeps talking about -- and I keep reading?
The only thing that had kept me sober up to that point was: one alcoholic talking to another. And, that does work! It worked for me.
But, how about getting better? How about NOT suffering while sober? You mean to tell me -- there is a WAY to do this?
Yes. And, that's what THIS BOOK is all about!