Sunday, 25 September 2016

Today’s Gift #essentialsofrecovery

Things don’t turn up in this world until somebody turns them up.
—James A. Garfield

We could learn from the bears in the woods how to turn up opportunities. To nourish themselves, they turn over logs and stumps to get insects. When they smell honey, they will climb a tree after it, and when they see berries they will move branches aside to get at them.

Like the bears, we need to turn up things for ourselves. Perhaps we can enter a drawing or writing contest. Maybe we can try out for a team sport or the orchestra. By doing this, we take risks, which foster our growth and build confidence, and we turn our lives into fulfilling adventures.

Why wait for opportunity to knock when we can knock at opportunity’s door. Whatever our interests, finding ways to enjoy them can make the most out of the opportunities around us.

What opportunities are available to me today?
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Twelve & Twelve (Audio - Step 12) #essentialsofrecovery

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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery


Some of us have taken very hard knocks to learn this truth: Job or no job — wife or no wife — we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God. 


Before coming to A.A., I always had excuses for taking a drink: “She said . . . , ” “He said . . . ,” “I got fired yesterday,” “I got a great job today.” No area of my life could be good if I drank again. In sobriety my life gets better each day. I must always remember not to drink, to trust God, and to stay active in A.A. Am I putting anything before my sobriety, God, and A.A. today? 
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Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery

The Fourth Step – Fearing Our Feelings

“We may fear that being in touch with our feelings will trigger an overwhelming chain reaction of pain and panic.”

 Basic Text, p.29

A common complaint about the Fourth Step is that it makes us painfully conscious of our defects of character. We may be tempted to falter in our program of recovery. Through surrender and acceptance, we can find the resources we need to keep working the steps.

It’s not the awareness of our defects that causes the most agony-it’s the defects themselves. When we were using, all we felt was the drugs; we could ignore the suffering our defects were causing us. Now that the drugs are gone, we feel that pain. Refusing to acknowledge the source of our anguish doesn’t make it go away; denial protects the pain and makes it stronger. The Twelve Steps help us deal with the misery caused by our defects by dealing directly with the defects themselves.

If we hurt from the pain of our defects, we can remind ourselves of the nightmare of addiction, a nightmare from which we’ve now awakened. We can recall the hope for release the Second Step gave us. We can again turn our will and our lives over, through the Third Step, to the care of the God of our understanding. Our Higher Power cares for us by giving us the help we need to work the rest of the Twelve Steps. We don’t have to fear our feelings. Just for today, we can continue in our recovery.

Just for today: I won’t be afraid of my feelings. With the help of my Higher Power, I’ll continue in my recovery. 
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery

A.A. Thought For The Day

Let us consider the term “spiritual experience” as given in Appendix II of the Big Book: “A spiritual experience is something that brings about a personality change. By surrendering our lives to God as we understand Him, we are changed. The nature of this change is evident in recovered alcoholics. This personality change is not necessarily in the nature of a sudden and spectacular upheaval. We do no need to acquire an immediate and overwhelming God-consciousness followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook. In most cases, the change is gradual.” Do I see a gradual and continuing change in myself?

Meditation For The Day

“Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” For rest from the care of life, you can turn to God each day in prayer and communion. Real relaxation and serenity comes from a deep sense of the fundamental goodness of the universe. God’s everlasting arms are underneath all and will support you. Commune with God, not so much for petitions to be granted as for the rest that comes from relying on His will and His purposes for your life. Be sure of God’s strength available to you, be conscious of His support, and wait quietly until that true rest from God fills your being.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be conscious of God’s support today. I pray that I may rest safe and sure therein. 
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrecovery

Behind Our Excuses, p.267

As excuse-makers and rationalizers, we drunks are champions. It is the business of the psychiatrist to find the deeper causes for our conduct. Though uninstructed in psychiatry, we can, after a little time in A.A., see that our motives have not been what we thought they were, and that we have been motivated by forces previously unknown to us. Therefore we ought to look, with the deepest respect, interest, and profit, upon the example set us by psychiatry.


“Spiritual growth through the practice of A.A.’s Twelve Steps, plus the aid of a good sponsor, can usually reveal most of the deeper reasons for our character defects, at least to a degree that meets our practical needs. Nevertheless, we should be grateful that our friends in psychiatry have so strongly emphasized the necessity to search for false and often unconscious motivations.”

1. A.A. Comes Of Age, p.236
2. Letter, 1966 
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrecovery

Martyrs set bad examples

—David Russell

Sometimes we call people “martyrs.” We sometimes think of them as victims. They suffer, but sometimes not for a cause. They play “poor me.” They want people to notice how much they suffer. They are afraid to really live. These are the people who set bad examples.

True martyrs died for causes they believed in. We remember them because they were so full of energy and spirit. Recovery helps us live better. Let’s go for it!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, thanks for giving me energy and for healing my spirit. Help me live fully by putting my life in Your care.

Action for the Day: What kind of example do I set? Does my life reflect joy for life and recovery?
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery


“Prayer is not asking. It is a language of the soul.”

– Mohandas Gandhi

At school I was told that prayer is “talking to God”. Then I discovered that prayer is more than this — prayer is a relationship with God. It is a two-way system — I talk to God but I must also listen to Him. Like any relationship that is going to work and grow, it needs time. I must spend time developing my relationship with God. I must create an awareness of his presence in my life because I believe He is always there for me.

But more than this, prayer is a yearning for truth within the center of my being. In prayer I get in touch with that part of me that will be forever restless until it finds rest, eternal rest, in Him.

O God, prayer is my journey into You. 
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection For The Day

At the suggestion of a long-timer in The Program, I began taking “recovery inventories” periodically.  The results showed me — clearly and unmistakeably — that the promises of The Program have been true for me.  I am not the sick person I was in years past;  I am no longer bankrupt in all areas;  I have a new life and a path to follow, and I’m at peace with myself most of the time.  And that’s far way from the time in my life when I dreaded facing each new day.  Perhaps we should all write recovery inventories from time to time, showing how The Program is working for each of us.  Just for today, will I try to sow faith where there is fear?

Today I Pray

God, let me compare my new life with the old one — just to see how things have changed for me.  May I make progress reports for myself now and then — and for those who are newer to The Program.  May these reports be — heartrendingly — about “what I am doing” rather than — smug — about “what I have done.”

Today I Will Remember

Has The Program kept its promise?  Have I kept mine? 
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One Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery


“Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’ve never been a brave person and was always very fearful. I would watch movies where the hero would rescue the heroine, someone would climb Mount Everest or perform some feat of daring, and I would be totally in awe. I was afraid of the dark, of rejection, of failure and of most other things that I was convinced took courage. There’s no way would I go parasailing or deep sea diving as that seemed to require the courage that I lacked.

I didn’t understand then that people who do those kinds of things are not totally without fear, but they have a way of overcoming their fear and still doing it anyway.

When I came into the program and learned that I would have to do an inventory and then, worse still, make amends to the people I had harmed, I was paralyzed by fear. Eventually I realized that, even though I feared doing these things, all I had to do was ask my Higher Power for strength and guidance and then do the things I’d most feared. Perhaps these weren’t the feats of daring that I had seen heroes perform, but for me they were great victories and in being able to do them, I knew that I was developing courage.

One Day at a Time . . .

I will continue to walk through my fear with my Higher Power at my side, knowing that I am developing the courage that I thought I lacked.

Sharon S. 
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrecovery

“Even the trees have spirits – everything has a spirit.”

–Mary Hayes, CLAYOQUOT

The trees are great teachers. The trees are great listeners. That is why we should meditate in their presence. The Great spirit is in every rock, every animal, every human being and in every tree. The Great Spirit has been in some trees for hundreds of years. Therefore, the trees have witnessed and heard much. The trees are the Elders of the Elders. Their spirits are strong and very healing.

Great Spirit, teach me respect for all spiritual things. 
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Daily Tao / 268 – Nature #essentialsofrecovery

My back is stooped from scholarship,
My eyes are dimmed by history’s words.
Surrounded though I may be by learning,
I still cannot compare with nature’s perfection.

Learning is a passion shared by many of us. There is a great allure to education and a fascination with the accomplishments of civilization. We go to libraries and museums. We go to exhibits showing the diggings from royal tombs. We are enchanted with new inventions. And yet, if we look out our windows and see a tree in its perfection, or gaze into a tide pool, or watch a cat as it strolls its territory, or see the flash of a blue jay, we can see another order of beauty and intelligence in this life.

The works of humanity cannot compare to the works of nature. The works of civilization lack the balance and refinement of nature. Too many times, our accomplishments are tainted by impure motives : profit, hardship, desire for fame, simple greed. We achieve, but we cannot foresee the results because we are unable to place our actions into a greater context.

Nature is a conglomeration of contending forces, of tooth and claw, venom and perfume, mud and excrement, eggs and bones, lightning and lava. It seems chaotic. It seems terrible. And yet, for all its unfathomable workings, it far surpasses the business of our society.

Think about what you do. How much of it can compare to the perfection of nature?
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

not on the rudeness of others,
not on what they've done
or left undone,
but on what you
have & haven't done 

-Dhammapada, 4, translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Saturday, 24 September 2016

Random Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous

"The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death."

Alcoholics Anonymous
Source: c. AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, More About Alcoholism, p. 30. 
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AA Grapevine October 1944 #essentialsofrecovery

A Date With Destiny? 

Somebody once said, "As much as you may grow, as many recoveries as there may be, I think the eventual by-products of A.A. will be greater than A.A. itself."
Everywhere now, we hear such remarks. They come from all kinds of people. Doctors think of applying our methods to other neurotics; clergymen wonder if our humble example may not vitalize their congregations; businessmen find we make good personnel managers--they glimpse a new industrial democracy; educators see power in our non-controversial way of presenting the truth; and our friends wistfully say, "We wish we were alcoholics--we need A.A. too."

Why these stirrings? They must all mean, I am sure, that we have suddenly become much more than recovered alcoholics, A.A. members only. Society has begun to hope that we are going to utilize, in every walk of life, that miraculous experience of our returning, almost overnight, from the fearsome land of Nowhere.

Yes, we are again citizens of the world. It is a distraught world, very tired, very uncertain. It has worshipped its own self-sufficiency--and that has failed. We A.A.s are a people who once did that very thing. That philosophy failed us, too. So perhaps, here and there, our example of recovery can help. As individuals, we have a responsibility, may be a double responsibility. It may be that we have a date with destiny.

An example: Not long ago Dr. E. M. Jellinek, of Yale University, came to us. He said, "Yale, as you know, is sponsoring a program of public education on alcoholism, entirely non-controversial in character. We need the cooperation of many A.A.s. To proceed on any educational project concerning alcoholism without the goodwill, experience and help of A.A. members would be unthinkable."
So, when the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism was formed, an A.A. member was made its executive director: Marty M., one of our oldest and finest. In this issue, she tells The Grapevine of her new work. As a member of A.A., she is just as much interested in us as before--A.A. is still her avocation. But as an officer of the Yale-sponsored National Committee, she is also interested in educating the general public on alcoholism. Her A.A. training has wonderfully fitted her for this post in a different field. Public education on alcoholism is to be her vocation.

Could an A.A. do such a job? At first, Marty herself wondered. She asked her A.A. friends, "Will I be regarded as a professional?" Her friends replied, "Had you come to us, Marty, proposing to be a therapist, to sell straight A.A. to alcoholics at so much a customer, we should certainly have branded that as professionalism. So would everybody else.

"But the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism is quite another matter. You will be taking your natural abilities and A.A. experience into a very different field. We don't see how that can affect your amateur status with us. Suppose you were to become a social worker, a personnel officer, the manager of a state farm for alcoholics, or even a minister of the Gospel? Who could possibly say those activities would make you a professional A.A.? No one, of course."
They went on, "Yet we do hope that A.A. as a whole will never deviate from its sole purpose of helping other alcoholics. As an organization, we should express no opinions save on the recovery of problem drinkers. That very sound national policy has kept us out of much useless trouble already, and will surely forestall untold complications in the future.

"Though A.A. as a whole," they continued, "should never have but one objective, we believe just as strongly that for the individual there should be no limitations whatever, except his own conscience. He should have the complete right to choose his own opinions and outside activities. If these are good, A.A.s everywhere will approve. Just so, Marty, do we think it will be in your case. While Yale is your actual sponsor, we feel sure that you are going to have the warm personal support of thousands of A.A.s wherever you go. We shall all be thinking how much better a break this new generation of potential alcoholic kids will have because of your work, how much it might have meant to us had our own mothers and fathers really understood alcoholism." Personally I feel that Marty's friends have advised her wisely; that they have clearly distinguished between the limited scope of "A.A. as a whole" and the broad horizon of the individual A.A. acting on his own responsibility; that they have probably drawn a correct line between what we would regard as professional and amateur.

Bill W
AA Co-Founder, Bill W., October 1944
"A Date With Destiny"
The Language of the Heart  
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Twelve & Twelve ( Audio - Steps 10 - 11) #essentialsofrecovery

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