Monday, 24 April 2017

AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery


What of the man who is conscious of considerable moral imperfection, perhaps of the habit of grave sin, and is at the same time sincerely desirous of spiritual growth? Is he to relinquish the quest for spiritual knowledge until he has first reformed his conduct? By no means. As a matter of fact any attempt to improve himself morally without spiritual aid is foredoomed to failure. The thing to do is to pray regularly and to throw the responsibility for success upon God. The man must carry on, no matter how many times he may fail. Let him keep affirming that God is helping him, and that his own real nature is spiritual and perfect. In this way moral regeneration and spiritual unfoldment will go hand in hand. The Christian life does not require that we possess perfection of character, or else, which of us would be able to live it? What it does require is honest, genuine striving for that perfection.

. . . he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee (Job 36:4).

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery


Alcoholism was a lonely business, even though we were surrounded by people who loved us . . . We were trying to find emotional security either by dominating or by being dependent upon others . . . We still vainly tried to be secure by some unhealthy sort of domination or dependence.

~ AS BILL SEES IT, p. 252 ~

When I did my personal inventory I found that I had unhealthy relationships with most people in my life—my friends and family, for example. I always felt isolated and lonely. I drank to dull emotional pain.

It was through staying sober, having a good sponsor and working the Twelve Steps that I was able to build up my low self-esteem. First the Twelve Steps taught me to become my own best friend, and then, when I was able to love myself, I could reach out and love others.

Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc 
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JUST FOR TODAY #essentialsofrecovery

Twelve Steps of Life

“Through abstinence and through working the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous, our lives have become useful.”

~ Basic Text, p. 8 ~

Before coming to Narcotics Anonymous, our lives were centered around using. For the most part, we had very little energy left over for jobs, relationships, or other activities. We served only our addiction.

The Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous provide a simple way to turn our lives around. We start by staying clean, a day at a time. When our energy is no longer channeled into our addiction, we find that we have the energy to pursue other interests. As we grow in recovery, we become able to sustain healthy relationships. We become trustworthy employees. Hobbies and recreation seem more inviting. Through participation in Narcotics Anonymous, we help others.

Narcotics Anonymous does not promise us that we will find good jobs, loving relationships, or a fulfilling life. But when we work the Twelve Steps to the best of our ability, we find that we can become the type of people who are capable of finding employment, sustaining loving relationships, and helping others. We stop serving our disease, and begin serving God and others. The Twelve Steps are the key to transforming our lives.

Just for today: I will have the wisdom to use the Twelve Steps in my life, and the courage to grow in my recovery I will practice my program to become a responsible, productive member of society.

© 1991 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services Inc. 
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TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY #essentialsofrecovery

A.A. Thought for the Day

It’s been proved that we alcoholics can’t get sober by our willpower. We’ve failed again and again. Therefore I believe there must be a Higher Power which helps me. I think of that power as the grace of God. And I pray to God every morning for the strength to stay sober today. I know that power is there because it never foils to help me. Do I believe that A. A. works through the grace of God?

Meditation for the Day

Once I am “born of the spirit,” that is my life’s breath. Within me is the life of life, so that I can never perish. The life that down the ages has kept God’s children through peril, adversity, and sorrow. I must try never to doubt or worry, but follow where the life of the spirit leads. How often, when little I know it, God goes before me to prepare the way, to soften a heart, or to overrule a resentment. As the life of the spirit grows, natural wants become less important.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that my life may become centered in God more than in self. I pray that my will may be directed toward doing His will.

© 1954, 1975, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation 
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AS BILL SEES IT #essentialsofrecovery

~ Page 114 ~

No Personal Power

“At first, the remedy for my personal difficulties seemed so obvious that I could not imagine any alcoholic turning the proposition down were it properly presented to him. Believing so firmly that Christ can do anything, I had the unconscious conceit to suppose that He would do everything through me−right then and in the manner I chose. After six long months, I had to admit that not a soul had surely laid hold of the Master−not excepting myself.

“This brought me to the good healthy realization that there were plenty of situations left in the world over which had no personal power−that if I was so ready to admit that to be the case with alcohol, so I must make the same admission with respect to much else. I would have to be still and know that He, not I, was God.”

~ LETTER, 1940 ~

© 1967 by Alcoholics Anonymous ® World Services, Inc 
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The hardest thing to learn
in life is which bridge to
cross and which bridge to

~ David Russell ~

Making big decisions is like crossing bridges. Sometimes, these decisions change our lives. We find that turning back will be very hard. This is why we have to be very careful when we decide to burn bridges.

When we decide to make changes, we act carefully. We don’t want to make decisions out of anger or envy. Instead, we can think about what we want and how our program can help us make wise decisions.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, help me cross those bridges that are on my path.

Action for the Day

What do I really want in life? What decisions do I need to make to get there?

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation

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Fr. Leo's Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery


“Humankind is what it believes.’’

~ Anton Chekhov ~

My miracle is that I now believe in me. I accept my addiction and do not resist or deny it. I believe I am an alcoholic, an overeater, a codependent, or an adult child of an alcoholic. My belief sets me free.

For too long, I played the game of control, blaming, and bargaining—and I lost. I now surrender to the reality of who I am. I accept my disease and make choices based on my awareness. And it is getting better.

My belief about addiction gives me insight into God and freedom. God loves me enough to give me choice, and with it comes responsibility. I am responsible for how I live with my addictions. Today I accept that responsibility.

What I believe reflects the God I believe in. I believe in You.

© 2008 Leo Booth 
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection for the Day

We come to know in the Program that there is no deeper satisfaction and no greater joy than in a Twelfth Step well done. To watch the eyes of men and women open with wonder as they move from darkness to light, to see their lives quickly fill with new purpose and meaning, and above all to watch them awaken to the presence of a loving God in their lives—these things are the substance of what we receive as we carry the message of the Program. Am I learning through Twelfth Step experiences that gratitude should go forward, rather than backward?

Today I Pray

May my Twelfth Step be as wholehearted and as convincing and as constructive as others’ Twelfth-Stepping has been to me. May I realize that the might of the Program and its effectiveness for all of us come through “passing it on.” When I guide someone else to sobriety, my own sobriety is underlined and reinforced. I humbly ask God’s guidance before each Twelfth Step.

Today I Will Remember

To pass it on.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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The family is the association established by nature for the supply of man’s everyday wants.

~ Aristotle ~

The bond between us and our families becomes tighter in recovery. It’s not because they understand or appreciate us more. It’s because we understand and appreciate them more. We come to grips with our personal history in our Fourth and Fifth Steps. We are given a clearer point of view on all our relationships. We take more responsibility for what happens to our families, because we learn that we are more than just guiltless victims.

Our Eighth and Ninth Steps let us admit our part in family relationships and mend fences that have been torn down. Our family bonds become tighter because we know we’re forgiven. We ask to share that forgiveness with our loved ones.

All of us in our families are loved by our Higher Power. I don’t regret the fact that I can’t change the past. I rejoice that the future is open.

©1990 by Anonymous. All rights reserved. Published by Hazelden. 
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ONE DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery


Feeling our loneliness magnifies it.
Understanding our loneliness can open doors into our self-awareness,
which we long for and need.

~ Anthony Robbins ~

Before I found my Twelve Step program, I felt so lonely. I was stuck in total isolation and the feeling of loneliness felt one hundred times worse. The isolation and loneliness caused me to continually eat … and so I’d isolate more. What a vicious cycle!

When I found my recovery program, I still wanted to isolate. When going to meetings, I wanted the seat with nobody around it. I didn’t want to open my mouth to share or talk, even after the meeting. I kept coming back even though I felt alone, because I heard familiar things that really interested me. I eventually saw that most of the people in the room felt the same loneliness I did. I began to understand why I felt so lonely.

When I understood that my compulsive eating was causing me to isolate and be more lonely, a big burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt some hope! Then I found that there were many other doors in the past that I should open and become more aware of. These past happenings were what started and fueled this disease of compulsive eating. I wanted to know but I was also afraid to find out.

The similarities, kindness and love I found in the rooms made it easier to look at my past. Understanding that I was not the total reason for my loneliness, I began making amends. I needed to forgive others who had harmed me and those I had harmed. I felt lighter and more self aware, and confidence began to emerge.

One Day at a Time . . .

I will remember that it’s okay and good to feel my feelings but they don’t have to rule my life. I don’t have to let loneliness magnify, causing me to eat uncontrollably to solve the problem. I’ve learned to turn things over to my Higher Power and to let them go. Looking back is the key to my self-awareness and my recovery.

~ Jeanette ~ 
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ELDER'S MEDITATION OF THE DAY #essentialsofrecovery

“Each person’s prayers can help everyone.”

~ Thomas Yellowtail, CROW ~

Prayer is our entrance into the Unseen World. It is by prayer we can call upon the powers and laws of the Great Spirit. The Spirit World has powers and laws that are different from the Physical World. The spiritual laws allow healing to take place; they allow forgiveness to occur; they cause miracles to happen; they cause hate to disappear; they heal broken relationships; they guide every moment of our lives; they allow us to love even when it’s hard. Prayer allows us access to the Spirit World.

Creator, teach me to pray. 
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery

Be spontaneous but not impetuous.

~ Kay Lovatt ~

Responding to the rhythm of the moment often blesses us with unexpected opportunities. Living in the present moment, rather than in yesterday or tomorrow, gives us our only chance for real growth and for knowing God.

Acting too quickly, however, without thinking of potential consequences, can cause extra problems for us. Taking advantage of an opportunity before it disappears doesn’t mean acting thoughtlessly. Every circumstance we experience deserves a thoughtful reaction. When we rush to respond, we fail to hear our inner voice, which reflects our Higher Power’s guidance.

We waste time when we focus on the past or future. Why do we complicate our lives so much? Thoughtfully experiencing each present minute gives us the gifts and the growth we deserve.

I will return my attention to right now every time it slips into yesterday or tomorrow.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery

The reasoning of the practicing alcoholic is in such foul shape that he is apt that he is apt to take any attitude on the drinking question and usually does.

It is unreasonable to expect them to view their own or anyone else’s sobriety in a rational way. Naturally plain common sense is not possible in the midst of an alcoholic fog, but why – oh, why do so many practicing alcoholics, including slipees, invariably persist in looking for the most insecure member of AA in their quest for a drinking partner?

If you are homesick for the gutter, go on back to it, but don’t take anyone with you.

Published by Hazelden 
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Daily TAO - Faith #essentialsofrecovery

In spite of knowing,
Yet still believing.
Though no god above,
Yet god within.

There is no god in the sense of a cosmic father or mother who will provide all things to their children. Nor is there some heavenly bureaucracy to petition. These models are not descriptions of a divine order, but are projections from archetypal templates. If we believe in the divine as cosmic family, we relegate ourselves to perpetual adolescence. If we regard the divine as supreme government; we are forever victims of unfathomable officialdom.

Yet it does not work for us to totally abandon faith. It does not follow that we can forego all belief in higher beings. We need faith, not because there are beings who will punish us or reward us, but because gods are wonderful ways of describing things that happen to us.  They embody the highest aspects of human aspiration. Gods on the altars are essential metaphors for the human spiritual experience.

Faith shouldn’t be shaken because bad things happen to us or because our loved ones are killed. Good and bad fortune are not in the hands of gods, so it is useless to blame them. Neither does faith need to be confirmed by some objective occurrence. Faith is self-affirming.  If we maintain faith, then we have its reward. If we become better people, then our faith has results. It is we who create faith, and it is through our efforts that faith is validated.

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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

 In the same way that someone in the midst of a rough crowd guards a wound with great care, so in the midst of bad company should one always guard the wound that is the mind.

-Santideva, "Bodhicaryavatara"
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Sunday, 23 April 2017

Valerie J. - A.A. Recovery Speaker