Monday, 20 February 2017

AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery


God intended us to have dominion over our lives, to be the captains of our souls.

Of course, in the ship of life, you cannot make port unless all sails are set. You must pursue the spiritual life wholeheartedly. You cannot expect to reach port if you are faithful in prayer and meditations for a time, and then for a time you forget God.
You are the captain of your soul when you can say with Jesus,

I and my Father are one (John 10:30).

. . . the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works (John 14:10).

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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JUST FOR TODAY #essentialsofrecovery

Powerlessness, Personal Responsibility

“Through our inability to accept personal responsibilities, we were actually creating our own problems.”

~ Basic Text, p. 13 ~

When we refuse to take responsibility for our lives, we give away all of our personal power. We need to remember that we are powerless over our addiction, not our personal behavior.

Many of us have misused the concept of powerlessness to avoid making decisions or to hold onto things we had outgrown. We have claimed powerlessness over our own actions. We have blamed others for our circumstances rather than taking positive action to change those circumstances. If we continue to avoid responsibility by claiming that we are “powerless;” we set ourselves up for the same despair and misery we experienced in our active addiction. The potential for spending our recovery years feeling like victims is very real.

Instead of living our lives by default, we can learn how to make responsible choices and take risks. We may make mistakes, but we can learn from these mistakes. A heightened awareness of ourselves and an increased willingness to accept personal responsibility gives us the freedom to change, to make choices, and to grow.

Just for today: My feelings, actions, and choices are mine. I will accept responsibility for them.

© 1991 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services Inc 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery


At this juncture, his A.A. sponsor usually laughs.


Before my recovery from alcoholism began, laughter was one of the most painful sounds I knew. I never laughed and I felt that anyone else’s laughter was directed at me! My self-pity and anger denied me the simplest of pleasures or lightness of heart. By the end of my drinking not even alcohol could provoke a drunken giggle in me.

When my A.A. sponsor began to laugh and point out my self-pity and ego-feeding deceptions, I was annoyed and hurt, but it taught me to lighten up and focus on my recovery. I soon learned to laugh at myself and eventually I taught those I sponsor to laugh also. Every day I ask God to help me stop taking myself too seriously.

Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc 
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AS BILL SEES IT #essentialsofrecovery

~ Page 51 ~

The Coming of Faith

In my own case, the foundation stone of freedom from fear is that of faith: a faith that, despite all worldly appearances to the contrary, causes me to believe that I live in a universe that makes sense.

To me, this means a belief in a Creator who is all power, justice, and love; a God who intends for me a purpose, a meaning, and a destiny to grow, however little and haltingly, toward His own likeness and image. Before the coming of faith I had lived as an alien in a cosmos that too often seemed both hostile and cruel. In it there could be no inner security for me.

<< << << >> >> >>

“When I was driven to my knees by alcohol, I was made ready to ask for the gift of faith. And all was changed. Never again, my pains and problems notwithstanding, would I experience my former desolation. I saw the universe to be lighted by God’s love; I was alone no more.”

~ 2. LETTER, 1966 ~

© 1967 by Alcoholics Anonymous ® World Services, Inc 
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WALK IN DRY PLACES #essentialsofrecovery


Releasing the Past

“We will not regret the past nor fear the future,” goes one of the promises in Twelve Step programs. Neither the past nor the future should control what we’re thinking and doing today. After all, if our Higher Power is everything, no person or action can be outside of this supreme control.

Today, I will rise above anything that was said or done in the past. I will also hold the idea that the future is bright with promise, and that this promise will be fulfilled. Nobody’s opinion or criticism can be unsettling to me if my beliefs and self- worth are anchored in my Higher Power.

It’s true that there might have been lots of wreckage in the past—even more recently when we have been living sober. It doesn’t matter. In amazing ways, our Higher Power sometimes turns negative conditions into future benefits. This was actually what happened when our compulsive condition led directly to a new way of life.

I will accept life today and will look for un-expected blessings. No person or group can keep me from good as I accept God’s direction in my life.

“In all your ways acknowledge [God, who] shall direct your paths.” I’ll remember this frequently as I go about the day.

© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation 
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery

Let Go and Let God.

~ Twelve Step slogan ~

Some days we might ask ourselves, Is it worth it? We feel alone. No one seems to care. Life seems hard. Recovery seems hard.

This is when we need to slow down and take a look at what’s going on. We’re feeling this way because we’re off our recovery path. We may be back into wanting people to see things our way, or do things our way. We want control.

Remember, all problems are not our problems. All work is not our work. We can’t have everything the way we want it. But we can do our part and let go of the rest. Then we can feel better.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, help me remember my only work today is to do Your will for me. It is not my job to be You.

Action for the Day

I’ll talk with my sponsor or a program friend today. I’ll talk about how to deal with things that seem to pull me down.

Copyright © 1988 by Hazelden Foundation 
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FR. LEO'S DAILY MEDITATION #essentialsofrecovery


“Going to Church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car.”

~ Laurence J. Peter ~

I believe Christianity is about bringing humankind together, rather than creating division and resentment. It must be much bigger than what we do or say in any building. Christ’s truth seeks to discover God in the splendor of this varied world.

My addiction made me a small person with a small god. Constantly focusing on differences in the world stopped me from seeing the glaring similarities. The world of black and white, rather than shades of creative color, is sick and dangerous. Christ reveals for me the bridge by which reconciliation and harmony are achieved. The message is not so much dogma as a revealed journey into Truth.

In the created stranger, help me discover the friend.

© 2008 Leo Booth 
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection for the Day

We are often told in the Program that “more will be revealed.” As we are restored to health and become increasingly able to live comfortably in the real world without using chemicals, we begin to see many things in a new light. Many of us have come to realize, for example, that our arch-enemy, anger, comes disguised in many shapes and colors: intolerance, contempt, snobbishness, rigidity, tension, sarcasm, distrust, anxiety, envy, hatred, cynicism, discontent, self-pity, malice, suspicion, jealousy. Do I let my feelings get the best of me?

Today I Pray

May I recognize that my anger, like a dancer at a masquerade, wears many forms and many faces. May I strip off its several masks and know it for what it is.

Today I Will Remember

Anger wears a thousand masks.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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EASY DOES IT #essentialsofrecovery


The feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

~ Big Book ~

When we were deep within the bewilderment and agony of our addiction, we often moaned, “What’s the use? Nobody cares.” We considered ourselves “lost people.” We thought we were incapable of ever doing anything worthwhile for anyone, including ourselves. Shame and guilt made us wallow in self-pity, but we never blamed ourselves. It was always those people, places, and things out there that made us victims.

We complained, “They did it to me. I’m not to blame. If it hadn’t been for bad luck…. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

In recovery, we often refer to self-pity as the PLOMs (“poor little old me”). We learn to recognize and avoid the PLOMs by working our Program and by focusing on positive things.

When I surrendered to my addiction, I was always sure I had been betrayed by others. I was sorry for myself. Now the promise has come true. I am useful and free of self-pity.

©1990 by Anonymous, Published by Hazelden 
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ONE DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery


There were deep secrets hidden in my heart,
never said for fear others would scoff or sneer.
At last I can reveal my sufferings, for the strength I once felt in silence has lost all its power.

~ Deidra Sarault 

I’ve heard it said in program that we are only a sick as the secrets we keep. If that is the case, then I was very sick when desperation forced me through the doors of this wonderful fellowship.

Not one of my friends or family knew what I was doing around food, as most of it was done in secret, and I was always careful to remove all the evidence. I couldn’t believe that anyone would love me if they knew what I was doing around food, and felt that I was either really bad or totally crazy, or both. But for the first time ever, I was able to come clean about what I was doing around food, and I wasn’t judged or frowned upon. The love and acceptance I have received here has been totally overwhelming, but in addition I found out that others had done the same or similar things to what I had done, and so for the first time ever, I felt that I wasn’t alone. Not only have I been able to talk freely about my food and what I had been doing, as well as what it was doing to me, but in the fourth and fifth step, I was finally able to share with another person my darkest deepest secrets, that for years I’d thought had made me this terrible person. It was in fact in sharing all the things that I’d thought of as so bad, that I came to realise that it was only my magnifying mind that had made them appear so, and that in fact they really weren’t bad at all. I would never have found that out, had I not been in this program, and I’m so grateful for the relief that sharing all these things has given me.

One Day at a Time . . .

I will learn to get honest and share with my sponsor and others in this program, all the things that are bothering me, whether it be food or other issues, so I can be relieved of the pain that all my secrets are causing me.

~ Sharon 
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ELDER'S MEDITATION OF THE DAY #essentialsofrecovery

“When a community does something together, that community is very happy, jovial, connected and unified.”

~ Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA ~

The Indian People have always been able to adapt. If the hunting changed, we found new hunting grounds. If the earth changed, we moved to a better place. If the river changed course, we followed the river. But with every change, we kept our Indianness and spirituality. Our culture and spirituality have always been our strength. Our culture and spirituality taught us to live in harmony. We must change with the times, but we must maintain our culture and spirituality, always living in harmony.

Great Spirit, You have taught us to survive. Let me always maintain my Indianness. 
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery

A woman who maintains fitness in her life has earned a Ph.D. in self-esteem.

~ Anne Marie Nelson ~

The word fitness covers a lot of ground. It’s related not only to how we take care of our bodies, but also to how we eat, think, behave, plan for the day ahead, and pray. Every avenue of our lives is either fit or it isn’t.

Our Twelve Step program can serve as our manual for fitness. For some of us, the decision to exercise and eat right is an easy one. Decisions about how we think and how we behave, however, may be more difficult and require more discipline. Fortunately, the Fourth and Tenth Steps keep us in touch with our individual characteristics. We can make conscious choices about which ones to exercise in every situation.

My fitness today is within my grasp. The Steps will anchor me.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery

So many times we hear people say, “Don’t preach to me about God. He has no time for the likes of me.” It is hard for us alcoholics to conceive of a God, whom we have gone out of our way to alienate, who has time for the likes of us—yet we know that he does have time for us and has demonstrated this fact in hundreds of cases, just as though He had nothing else in the world to do.

Published by Hazelden 
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Daily TAO / 51 – Beauty #essentialsofrecovery

Lavender roses.
Incarnate fragrance,
Priestly hue of dawn,
Spirit unfolding.

Even on the road to hell, flowers can make you smile. They are fragile, ephemeral, uncompromising. No one can alter their nature. True, you can easily destroy them, but you will not gain anything; you cannot force them to submit to your will.

Flowers arouse in us an instinct to protect them, to appreciate them, and to shelter them. This world is too ugly, too violent. There should be something delicate to care about. To do so is to be lifted above the brute and to go toward the refined. When we offer flowers on our altar, we are offering a high gift. Money is too vulgar, food too pedestrian. Only flowers are unsullied. By offering them, we offer purity.

The tenderness of flowers arouses mercy, compassion, and understanding. If that beauty is delicate, so much the better. Life itself is fleeting. We should take the time to appreciate beauty in the midst of temporality. 
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

I sit quietly,
Listening to the falling leaves.
A lonely hut, a life of renunciation.
The past has faded,
Things are no longer remembered.
My sleeve is wet with tears.

- Ryokan (1758-1831) 
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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery


In the beginning, it was four whole years before A.A. brought
permanent sobriety to even one alcoholic woman. Like the “high
bottoms, ” the women said they were different; . . . The
Skid-Rower said he was different . . . so did the artists and the
professional people, the rich, the poor, the religious, the agnostic, the
Indians and the Eskimos, the veterans, and the prisoners. . . .
nowadays all of these, and legions more, soberly talk about how very
much alike all of us alcoholics are when we admit that the chips are
finally down.


I cannot consider myself “different” in A.A.; if I do I isolate myself
from others and from contact with my Higher Power. If I feel
isolated in A.A., it is not something for which others are responsible.
It is something I’ve created by feeling I’m “different” in some way.
Today I practice being just another alcoholic in the worldwide Fellowship of
Alcoholics Anonymous. 
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