Part 3: The DA Promises

Moving on with more DA promises.

5. We will realize that we are enough; we will value ourselves and our contributions.

How quickly and severely I judge myself for every misstep. I always looked at the glass as half empty. Today, I am working toward seeing it half full, though this is a hard habit to break.

This is why I am so grateful we do a daily 10th Step inventory and read it to our sponsors in DA H.O.W. once we reach that point.

The positives in my daily inventory are:

* How was I kind and loving?
* What did I do well?

My sponsor asks me to always find something I’ve done well, even on days that is difficult! It is imperative for my recovery to learn to appreciate the good in myself as well as work on removing the defects. My inventory helps me to learn balance. As an addict, I am quite extreme. Either I love or hate. Recovery teaches me a middle way … even with those who harm me.

I learn that I need to let go of my resentments, take responsibility when I am also at fault, and most importantly, find compassion in my heart for those who wrong me. Not always easy, but always in my best interest to do so. A heart filled with hate is not healthy.

But getting back to the essence of this promise, Recovery through working the steps helps us to value ourselves innately and not in comparison with others. It’s a great relief.

6. Isolation will give way to fellowship; faith will replace fear.

DA H.O.W., by virtue of the “requirement” to make a daily outreach call to another DA member and a sponsor call to turn over numbers and writing (as well as attending one DA H.O.W. meeting a week), ensures that I don’t isolate. Left to my own devices, I would never interact with others.

DA has no such requirement and relies on the individual to take the initiative to drive that fellowship. Unfortunately, I am an addict who prefers to be alone and would (and did) sink back into my addiction if not essentially forced into fellowship.

Yes, I grumble about doing this, but fellowship has saved my sorry butt many, many times in this program.

As for faith replacing fear … well, if I didn’t actively participate in fellowship, how would I see this program in action on a personal level? Even at meetings, yes, there are the miracles that we hear about, but on the phone, there is a different quality when you can interact one-on-one with another addict.

Remember, Bill W. got and stayed sober by helping other addicts. Read about Bill W. pacing in the lobby of the hotel after a dismal financial setback, at a fork in the road of his recovery.

7. We will recognize that there is enough; our resources will be generous and we will share them with others and with DA.

Sometimes, I focus on what I am unable to do because of my illness. For instance, I can only sponsor one or two people. I can only sit on a couple of people’s PRG’s. Many of us burn out overdoing service and an important part of our recovery is learning how to set boundaries.

Because PRG’s can be too difficult for me to do, other than the few I sit on regularly, I help people with their spending plans, especially helping them learn the YNAB software if they choose to use it. This is service I love to do and these are resources I possess and can give generously … remembering that generously doesn’t mean to my detriment.

As for recognizing our resources are enough, that has come true for me. I know, today, I am blessed not to have excess money in my spending plan because excess feeds my addiction. For today, I want for nothing. Yes, my craving mind tries to fool me, but the facts are that I have all that I need.

To those who are still struggling, I have seen this promise come true for people in all kinds of dire financial situations. That is where faith and fellowship intersect.

Make lots of phone calls. Develop a wide network. Though it is sometimes challenging, continue to do what you can to get a sponsor.

Don’t just complain about your circumstance, though it is important to talk about your issues. But also, ask those in recovery to talk to you about where they came from, what their lives are like today, and how they got there. Both listening and revealing your truth, when you are suffering, are crucial to success in DA.

And, once again, it is because we keep our recovery by giving it away, by giving generously of ourselves as we can that we help others. Remembering that we must respect our own boundaries, even in 12th Step work, is another way we help others learn good self-care, which is essential to our recovery. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we are much more likely to relapse in our addiction.

8. We will cease to compare ourselves to others; jealousy and envy will fade.

We learn in recovery that jealousy and envy are character defects that only cause us harm, and we learn in recovery how to be released of defects of character. In addition, it becomes clear as we work the steps that comparison is just another way to cause ourselves harm. As the other promises show us, we look at our own lives relating to what we learn is our Higher Power’s will for us, not what anyone else’s path may bring.

This came to light for me recently. A relative of mine has a lot of material wealth and has just retired. He lives in tremendous comfort and he and his wife do what they want when they want.

Yet, he is suffering grave mental and emotional torture with desires for vengeance and storms of resentment for decades-old incidents … with no place to turn for relief. Self-knowledge, which he has in abundance, avails him nothing.

How blessed I am that I have my program and other spiritual gifts that bring me wealth beyond measure. My wealth can bring me peace, and even joy, under all circumstances. His wealth brings him no relief from his pain. His wealth does nothing to help him with his increasing realization that he is powerless over his own thoughts and circumstances as the hands of time move on.

It is only by working this program that we learn to get right-minded about jealousy and envy, and to see how silly it is to compare ourselves to others. We each have our gifts and we each have our trials. No one, absolutely no one, gets away with a purely gilded life.

And in the end, we are all absolutely equal.

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