From the Big Book


Promise Two

Dear Friends in Recovery ~ ~

Dawn continues her series on the promises from the AA Big Book with Promise 2.
The soothing words of the second Promise are:

"We will not regret the past
nor wish to shut the door on it."

There were so many things that had piled up over the years that I wish had not happened. So many things that I wanted to totally block out from my memory. What a revelation it was to read the AABB and discover that this was diseased thinking ~ ~ that the Promises gave me "permission" and even encouraged me not to regret my past ... and to never close the door on it.

And so it is today. My past has help to create the me who is. The person I have become. And while I have made many, many mistakes in my life ... I do not regret my past. And I will not close its door.

Thank you, Dawn, for the gift of this series ~ ~ ~ here is your wonderful Part Two of the Promises.


Dear Friends,

In the last part of this series on the Promises, I talked about how they begin to come true after doing Step 7. Although its true that they begin to come true then, they blossom forth after the completion of step 9. What comes before that is just a sample of what will happen after step 9; "Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." Like Steps 4 - 7, this sounds much harder than it really is. It must be done carefully, however, with help from a sponsor and a lot of introspection.

In doing steps 8 & 9, I uncovered a lot of guilt about things I had done in the past. Things I had forgotten about, but which were causes of a vague sense of guilt. I had been feeling this guilt so long that it was like a natural part of me. I felt like there was something basically wrong with me that made me feel so much guilt. I actually felt guilty about existing in this world, since I wasn't really aware of what the cause of this vague sense of guilt was. These feelings of guilt and worthlessness affected all areas of my life, especially those concerning people.

But, as soon as I began to make my amends in Step 9, I felt the release of the guilt. I felt SO much more comfortable. I could be more open with my fellows, both in and out of OA. I had nothing to hide any more.

The second promise is: "We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." Like a lot of us, I had many feelings of guilt and anger about things that had happened in my past. This anger was eating away at the inside of me. The person I was the most angry with was my mother.

I had to forgive her for the many times she showered me with verbal abuse. That was the most difficult amends of all. Why had she felt the necessity of treating me this way? What was my part in it? Where had this pattern of abuse come from? I had to learn a lot about my mother's past in order to forgive her. I learned that she had many of the same feelings of inadequacy that I was carrying around. She had learned it from her parents, who had learned it from their parents. Part of my amends has been to put an end to this chain of abuse. I think that having gone through this abuse, although it hurt me a lot, also helped me to be sensitive to verbal abuse in general.

That was the biggest amends I had to make. I didn't make it directly, by discussing it in detail. I just told her several times, that she had been the best parent she was able to be.

Other amends were much easier - things like clearing up debts, changing my behavior towards others, returning things I had borrowed, apologizing for things I had done, etc. Doing these things set me free from the guilt that had been keeping me chained and had affected all of my interactions with other people for most of my life. It had mostly affected my relationship with myself.

Miraculously, the second promise began to come true - I could think about my past in more positive terms. I could use the past to make my present life more positive towards both myself and others. I could use it as a tool to make my present relationships more satisfying. I know now, that the way others treated me or didn't treat me had more to do with them than with me. They had their own burdens to carry.


Thank you, Dawn, for the gift of this series.
We are looking forward to Promise Three.

@ -}-}-}---
Love in recovery ~

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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 insight in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook will change.
Fear of people and 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.