9th-Step Promises and the 9th-Step Funk


Table of Contents

For those who have spent even just a little time in the rooms of recovery, we are aware of the 12-Steps. Hopefully, we’ve gotten ourselves busy and started working on the 12-Steps with our sponsor. That’s all we need to find freedom and recovery — a copy of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, a sponsor, and honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. That’s truly all it takes to change our lives!

It’s also likely that if we have begun the 12-Step process, we have heard rumors or people’s opinions about what the journey will be like. We may have heard that the 4th-Step is difficult or that the 1st-Step must be perfect. We hear lots of things. It’s always helpful to keep in mind that if it isn’t written in the Big Book, then we need to take it with a grain of salt.

When it comes to the 9th-Step, we may need a whole pinch of salt. Everyone has a different and personal experience with the 9th-Step process and reacts to it in their own way. We can’t know for sure what working one of the 12-Steps will be like for us until we do it. All we can know for sure is that if we are honest, open-minded, and willing, then the 12-Steps can produce freedom and recovery from alcoholism and addiction.

Everything we can understand about the 9th-Step before we take it is written in the Big Book. The 9th-Step comes with its own set of beautiful promises, but perhaps we’ve also heard about the 9th-Step funk that is not written about in the Big Book. Though many of us in recovery have experienced it, not all of us have, and not all of us will. So let’s separate some fact from fiction here.

What Is the 9th-Step Funk?

The 9th-Step funk (sometimes known as the 9th-Step lull) is not a mandatory part of recovery. In fact, it is highly avoidable. It became something that people in recovery warn each other about because plenty of people go through it, but we don’t need to. This lull happens after we get off the “pink cloud” honeymoon phase of early sobriety.

Typically, we have worked all previous 8-Steps, and we’re feeling great. Life is changing. We are changing, and things are mostly going well. We’re sober and recovering and feeling wonderful! Our sponsor helps us complete our 8th-Step, but we’re feeling so good that we get a little nervous to begin making amends and working the 9th-Step. We’re hesitant or afraid to face the people we’ve harmed. After all, we’re feeling good, and we don’t want to jeopardize that. So we put off our 9th-Step for a little bit. No big deal, right?

Maybe, but maybe not. This is usually when the funk starts to settle in. We’ve paused our 12-Step work, but we still have lots of unfinished business. We may feel great when we put things on pause, but stopping the process even briefly tends to slow us down enough that negative energy catches up with us. We have things to do that we’re tentative about, making stopping and sitting in this spot a risky business. The forward momentum of working the 12-Steps kept us feeling good, and stopping suddenly tends to have consequences. Luckily, we can pull out of this funk or avoid it altogether relatively easily.

How To Fight the Funk

We cease fighting everything and everyone in recovery, but we can avoid the negative feelings of the 9th-Step funk by taking action. Better yet, we can go even further and make sure that we never let up. It’s easier to keep going than to get started again. This is true for most things in life, but especially for recovery. The 12-Steps go in order, so we shouldn’t be surprised when the 9th-Step approaches. We can see it coming. When we’re in this position, we should take care not to stop or slow down as the 9th-Step approaches.

If we do not let our momentum lag, we can likely avoid any slumps. It’s hard to face things that we’re afraid of, but we don’t do anything alone in recovery. We have our recovery community and our sponsor there to guide us through each of the 12-Steps. The best prevention is to take full advantage of this support system and keep ourselves moving along in our 12-Step recovery process. Both the Big Book and the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions offer many warnings about not keeping up our momentum or delaying the 12-Step process out of fear or trepidation. Read these books for more useful information and tips.

Believe in the 9th-Step Promises

The 9th-Step promises are beautiful. They promise us wonderful things, both as a result of working the 12-Steps and specifically as a result of diligent 9th-Step work. In the chapter of the Big Book titled “Into Action,” we can read these incredible promises for ourselves. Suffice it to say that we are promised that we will be amazed before we are even halfway through the process. We are promised things like freedom, happiness, and the removal of regret. We will know peace; our pains and experience will benefit other people. As we serve them and make amends, we will find usefulness. We will lose our selfishness and fear. And this is just the beginning! What are we even waiting for?

There is so much hearsay and so many rumors about the 12-Steps, both individually and as a program. Even in the rooms of recovery, we hear things that may or may not be true. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is the real authority on the 12-Steps and the program of recovery. We should consult this book and our sponsor when we are in doubt about anything. While we may hear a lot about the 12-Steps, the only way to know for sure is to experience the 12-Step program firsthand. We must take the 12-Steps for ourselves and find out exactly how things are in our own experience. If you are an alcoholic or addict who is struggling to achieve or maintain recovery, Jaywalker Lodge can provide the help and support you need to get started on the path of lasting recovery. To learn more, call us now at (970) 533-8087.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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