The Promises

Words copyright © 1939 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services
Music Creative Commons License 2015 by Jim Bearden

Most of the 12-step meetings I have been to use the reading of the section of Chapter 6 (pp. 83-84) in Alcoholics Anonymous (“The Big Book”) known as “The Promises” as the last reading of the meeting, and it’s one of my favorite ones. After my experience with setting “The Twelve Steps” to music, I was trying for some time to see if I could come up with anything similar for “The Promises”, and after trying several musical styles (classic rock, talking blues, even hip-hop) that didn’t work well, the idea finally hit me of setting it to a standard 12-bar blues style. The Samuel Johnson quote that I applied to my setting of “The Twelve Steps” may be even more appropriate here, since there are a lot of “extra” words in places that I had trouble fitting into the melody. You can see if you think it “works” well enough to have been worth the effort.

Verse 1:
1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.
2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
3. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
4. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

Verse 2:
7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
8. Self-seeking will slip away.
9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises?
We think not.
They are being fulfilled among us –
Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
They will always materialize if we work for them.

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