Sunday, 31 July 2016

AA Speaker - Johnny H. from Long Beach, CA #essentialsofrecovery



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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrec


A PRAYER FOR ALL SEASONS

God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. Courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 125

The power of this prayer is overwhelming in that its simple beauty parallels the A.A. Fellowship. There are times when I get stuck while reciting it, but if I examine the section which is troubling me, I find the answer to my problem. The first time this happened I was scared, but now I use it as a valuable tool. By accepting life as it is, I gain serenity.  By taking action, I gain courage and I thank God for the ability to distinguish between those situations I can work on, and those I must turn over. All that I have now is a gift from God: my life, my usefulness, my contentment, and this program. The serenity enables me to continue walking forward.  Alcoholics Anonymous is the easier, softer way. 
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Just For Today #essentialsofrec


Freedom From Active Addiction

“Narcotics Anonymous offers only one promise and that is freedom from active addiction, the solution that eluded us for so long.”

Basic Text, p.102

NA offers no promises other than freedom from active addiction. It is true that some of our members meet with financial success in recovery. They buy nice houses, drive new cars, wear fine clothes, and form beautiful families. These outward signs of prosperity are not the lot of all of our members, however. A great many of us never achieve financial success. This does not necessarily reflect on the quality of our recovery.

When we are tempted to compare ourselves to these other, seemingly more affluent members, it is good to remember why we came to the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous. We came because our lives had fallen down around us. We were emotionally, physically, and spiritually defeated. Our Basic Text reminds us that “in desperation we sought help from each other in Narcotics Anonymous” We came because we were beaten. For addicts, even one day clean is a miracle. When we remember why we came to Narcotics Anonymous and in what condition we arrived, we realize that material wealth pales in comparison to the spiritual riches we have gained in recovery.

Just for today: I have been given a spiritual gift greater than material wealth: my recovery. I will thank the God of my understanding for my freedom from active addiction.


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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrec

A.A. Thought For The Day

This leaves only one day – today. Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. it is only when you and I add the burden of those two awful eternity’s, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time.  Am I living one day at a time?

Meditation For The Day

Give God the gift of a thankful heart. Try to see causes of thankfulness in your everyday life. When life seems hard and troubles crowd, then look for some reasons for thankfulness. There is nearly always something you can be thankful for. The offering of thanksgiving is indeed a sweet incense going up to God throughout a busy day. Seek diligently for something to be glad and thankful about.  You will acquire in time the habit of being constantly grateful to God for all His blessings. Each new day some new cause for joy and gratitude will spring to your mind and you will thank God sincerely.

Prayer For The Day

I pray for a truly thankful heart. I pray that I may be constantly reminded of causes for sincere gratitude. 
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrec


Faith and Action, p. 212

Your prospect’s religious education and training may be far superior to yours. In that case, he is going to wonder how you can add anything to what he already knows.

But he will be curious to learn why his convictions have not worked and yours seem to work so well. He may be an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient. To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self-sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action.

Admit that he probably knows more about religion than you do, but remind him that, however deep his faith and knowledge, these qualities could not have served him very well, or he would not be asking your help.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Dr. Bob did not need me for his spiritual instruction. He had already had more of that than I. What he did need, when we first met, was the deflation at depth and the understanding that only one drunk can give to another. What I needed was the humility of self-forgetfulness and the kinship with another human being of my own kind.

1. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 93
2. A.A. Today, p. 10 
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrec


Group Intelligence
Getting Ideas

“All of us know more than any one of us” is the saying that applies to 12 Step groups. No matter how much experience any single individual has, it’s surpassed by the collective knowledge of the group.

That’s a good reason in itself for drawing upon these groups. And there are others as well. We need the pool of intelligence that the groups build up over time. We need the group’s strength when our own is waning.

We also learn help that comes in surprising ways. The person in the group who seems just knowledgeable may express an idea that is just what we need at the time.

The group can meet many of our needs if we give it a chance. Regular attendance at meetings will keep us in touch with the group’s ideas.

I’ll stay in touch today with ideas that come from members of my group. Joined together, we have lots of knowledge. 
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrec


Group Intelligence
Getting Ideas

“All of us know more than any one of us” is the saying that applies to 12 Step groups. No matter how much experience any single individual has, it’s surpassed by the collective knowledge of the group.

That’s a good reason in itself for drawing upon these groups. And there are others as well. We need the pool of intelligence that the groups build up over time. We need the group’s strength when our own is waning.

We also learn help that comes in surprising ways. The person in the group who seems just knowledgeable may express an idea that is just what we need at the time.

The group can meet many of our needs if we give it a chance. Regular attendance at meetings will keep us in touch with the group’s ideas.

I’ll stay in touch today with ideas that come from members of my group. Joined together, we have lots of knowledge. 
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrec


TEMPTATION

“What makes resisting temptation difficult for many people is that they don’t want to discourage it completely.”

–Franklin P. Jones

Usually I am tempted because I want to be. I allow myself to get too close to the object of my desire or I invite the problem into my life knowing that I will not resist it. Then I use my “imperfection” as an excuse! In this way I manipulate my spiritual program and become dishonest.

When I first got sober, I did not allow alcohol in my house; I did not go to bars; I did not spend time with heavy drinkers; I avoided airplanes or places that I would associate with alcohol. This disciplined approach to sobriety worked. If you don’t invite the enemy in, you won’t get beaten up. I need to continue to remember these simple rules and not get complacent in my sobriety.

Let me keep temptation out of my life by avoiding it. 
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrec


Reflection For The Day

One of the most serious consequences of the me-me-me syndrome is that we lose touch with practically everyone around us — not to mention reality itself.  The essence of self-pity is total self-absorption, and it feeds on itself.  Rather than ignore such an emotional state — or deny that we’re in it — we need to pull out of our self-absorption, stand back, and take a good honest look at ourselves.  Once we recognize self-pity for what it is, we can begin to do something about it.  Am I living in the problem rather than the answer?

Today I Pray

I pray that my preoccupation with self, which is wound up tight as a Maypole, may unwind itself and let its streamers fly again for others to catch and hold.  May the think, familiar wail of me-me-me become a chorus of us-us-us, as we in the fellowship pick apart our self-fullness and look at it together.

Today I Will Remember

Change me-me-me to us-us-us. 
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One Day At A Time #essentialsofrec


NEGATIVE THINKING

“Condemn the fault and not the actor of it.”

William Shakespeare

How many times do we beat ourselves because we have failed to attain the goals we have set? We are human and we suffer from a disease that renders us helpless and out of control. Is it any wonder that we fail in trying to conquer such an unforgiving beast?

It is not ourselves we should be angry with, but the disease and how it affects our actions and reactions. Our inability – or unwillingness — to realize that we cannot achieve recovery alone is our only true failure. We need help. Without it we are weak and defenseless. This disease would have us believe we are failures ~ but in reality, all we have done is open the doors to our enemy. These doors can be closed again. Our disease not only manifests itself in the form of uncontrollable eating, but also in our negative thoughts and actions towards ourselves and towards the people around us.

It takes no more time to think positively than it does to think negatively. Our only job is to remember that we have a disease. We can choose to forget it, we can choose to beat ourselves up when we leave the door ajar, or we can choose to forgive ourselves and begin again.

One day at a time…

I will work on forgiving myself.  I am worth forgiving.  You are too.

~Sue 
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrec

Look behind you. See your sons and your daughters. They are your future. Look farther and see your sons’ and your daughters’ children and their children’s children even unto the Seventh Generation. That’s the way we were taught. Think about it: you yourself are a Seventh Generation.”

– Leon Shenandoah, ONONDAGA

The Creator designed us with a free will. That means we function from choices and consequences. It is important that we practice thinking about consequences before we make decisions about choices. Every choice I make is like setting up dominos one after the other that produce consequences. Not just for me but also for my children and for the children that are unborn. My choices and decision today will have consequences for seven generations. For example, if I work on my own spiritual development and I walk the Red Road, the odds are that my children will. They will marry and their children will follow the Red Road and so will my grandchildren even up to the seventh generation. This will happen because of the choices and decisions that I make today.

Great Spirit, grant that the choices and decisions that I make today will honor Your laws and values. May I live in peace today that will ripple into the seventh generation. 
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Today’s Gift #essentialsofrec

Sometimes it’s worse to win a fight than to lose.

—Billie Holiday

We all see things differently. It is part of the wonderful variety of the world that we all have different points of view. We’ve all seen baseball players arguing with an umpire over a close call, but, in order to play the game, they must accept the umpire’s judgment.

When we stubbornly refuse to let friends or family members speak their ideas simply because we disagree with them, we risk the loss of a friend or the understanding of a family member. It is when we allow others to disagree that we take a step forward–a step that opens our ears and our hearts to all sorts of people and ideas.

How well can I accept other’s opinions today? 
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Step by Step #essentialsofrec

“The old (drinking) pattern reasserted itself, but it was no longer once every six months. The intervals grew shorter. The binges were longer. They were harder to get off. …
“That type of drinking is not pleasant. It is no longer enjoyable. You no longer get the kicks. It is desperation drinking. I was drinking to keep away the shakes …I was drinking to try to hold on to a job, to try and hold on to my home, to try to hold on to my wife, to try to hold on to my sanity.” 


– Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Part III (“They Lost Nearly All”), Ch 8 (“Desperation Drinking”), p 514.

Today, I muster the honesty to accept the possibility that I have a problem if drinking is my answer to any desperation I feel, be it for a situation I desperately want not to face, or the talk with my spouse, partner or employer, the constantly ringing telephone that I will not answer because someone might be calling about my drinking or some problem it has caused. If drinking is my solution to any problem in my life, let me hear the voices of experience that my solution has become a crisis bigger than the problem I’m avoiding by drinking. And if I have not drank for any significant number of 24 Hours, chances are I now cannot remember the problem I drank to avoid. But, in so doing, I and I alone created one of the most critical crises that was far worse than any problem I faced sober. Today, alcohol will not be my solution to any problem that I may encounter; my answer is in the Twelve Steps. And our common journey continues. 


Step by step. – Chris M. 
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The Eye Opener #essentialsofrec

In our drinking days, we were ready to take a poke at anyone who suggested we couldn’t handle our “likker.” It was a very sore spot with us, as we all kidded ourselves into believing that our over-indulgence was a well-guarded secret when, actually, we knew it was not.

Upon our entrance in AA, we soon made a public confession of our alcoholism and, to our surprise, we lost some of the sense of stigma and we could learn to laugh at our affliction and at ourselves. Our sense of guilt was lessened by our acknowledgment of its existence.

Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao / 212 – Form #essentialsofrec

At first, form is needed.
Then doubt and inhibition must be dispelled.
Eventually, form is celebrated with joy,
And expression becomes formless.



In all fields of endeavor, including spirituality, one must start out with certain structures, procedures, and forms. Even though one admires the seemingly effortless virtuosity of the masters, it will take some time before one can reach that level.

Take dance, for example. The novice student must drill constantly on the basics, isolating each step and movement with meticulous attention. Although the emphasis on structure may add to the beginner’s inhibition, it must be done. Eventually, the dancer will learn to let go. The steps will have become a natural part of movement. Then dance can be celebrated joyously. Our now mature dancer may even dance in a way that seems so spontaneous, so magical, that it will seem formless — or more precisely, the form will emerge with fluidity, grace, originality, and beauty.

The same is true of spirituality. At first, all the restrictions and practices seem quite constricting. Eventually, you reach a stage where meditation flows quite spontaneously. Every day is new, fresh, and full of wonderful insights. The beauty of the world then shows itself as it is, doubts fade away, and the banality of ordinary life is replaced by the awe and grandeur of the soul. This is true formlessness.
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrec


If you want to know the past, to know what has caused you, look at yourself in the present, for that is the past’s effect. If you want to know your future, then look at yourself in the present, for that is the cause of the future.

-Majjhima Nikaya

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Saturday, 30 July 2016

Which Came First, the Drink or the Disease? #essentialsofrecovery



SOMETIMES, in speaking to an AA group, I depart from the standard opening, and start with:

"My name is E-- , and I have alcoholism. Putting it this way helps me remember something I must never forget: I have a progressive, incurable, and unless arrested, fatal illness, and I will have it to the day I die. Alcoholism is a sickness which happens to some people through no fault of their own. It happened to me."
And always, I wonder how many of the AA members sitting there, nodding agreement, actually believe it with real conviction.

I was new to AA the first time I heard a speaker say, "I became an alcoholic as the result of drinking too much too long." Even in the chaotic condition of my mind in those early weeks, that struck me as illogical. Was he saying that everyone who drank a considerable amount over an extended period was bound to develop alcoholism? We need only look around us to disprove that.

I could look at my own kin, typical of thousands of American families. Of the twenty-seven assorted parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and cousins who made up our clan, I don't know of any who didn't partake of and enjoy alcoholic beverages. On the theory that drinking causes alcoholism, we should have produced twenty-seven alcoholics, but we didn't. We produced three: me and two of my cousins.

I was to hear variations of the drinking-causes-alcoholism theme repeatedly as time went on. The most recent was at an AA conference, almost twenty-four years after my first one. "I drank myself right into alcoholism!" the speaker declared.

In my opinion, that man was getting cause and effect mixed up. He didn't get alcoholism because he drank too much. He drank too much because he had alcoholism.

To attribute our alcoholism to drinking, rather than our drinking to alcoholism, as I see it, is to hold on to one of our old ideas we need to let go of absolutely. It is, in effect, to deny that our compulsive drinking is the result of an illness for which we are in no way to blame.

How patiently and resolutely we try to set straight the mixed-up thinking of the newcomers who say, "I drank because my husband (or wife) nagged me all the time," or "I drank because I had so much stress at work," or "I drank because I was worried sick over my debts."

"No," we tell them. "Those are the excuses you make to justify your excessive drinking, but they were not the reason for it. The reason you drank alcoholically is that you have alcoholism. The world is full of people who have problems just as serious as yours, but their drinking doesn't go out of control. They aren't any better or stronger than we are, but they are different from us. They don't have alcoholism, and we do."

Shouldn't we go on to convince our new members that their drinking didn't cause their alcoholism, any more than their problems did? For if they say, "I developed alcoholism because I drank," they are also saying, "If I had not drunk, I wouldn't have become an alcoholic. So it comes back to being all my fault, after all." Most of us reach AA bowed down under a heavy load of guilt. We don't need any more.
Clinging to the notion that alcoholism is caused by excessive drinking or, worse, that alcoholism is excessive drinking, presents two grave dangers.

First, the general public is slow to give up the belief that alcoholism is an immoral condition, that heavy drinking is a "bad" thing to do, and those who do it must be "bad" people. Still-drinking alcoholics who haven't reached us yet are a part of that general public, and very likely just as misinformed. They find themselves in an impossible situation.

They hear from all sides that they "ought" to stop drinking, and that their failure to do so is the result of their own weakness, depravity, and lack of willpower. And they believe it. Yet they know they literally cannot control their drinking by their own efforts (only God and the alcoholics know how hard they've tried!), and they know that in no other area of their lives are they either weak or depraved. The only way they can see out of the dilemma is to deny that they are alcoholics--and all too many of them do to the day they die, of alcoholism.

We can reach more of these suffering alcoholics if we persuade them to believe the truth--that they have developed an illness the exact cause of which is still unknown--and if we can also convince their spouses, doctors, bartenders, ministers, and all the others in a position to point them in our direction. We can do this more effectively if we believe it ourselves.

The second danger of confusing the symptom, compulsive drinking, with the illness, alcoholism, is that it can hamper new arrivals in their efforts to get a grip on the AA program of recovery. Many times, in AA talks, we hear this:

"I came to AA and stopped drinking. I was on top of the world. I knew I would never drink again. As long as I was sober, there didn't seem to be any reason for taking the Steps, or going to a lot of meetings. So I started to skip meetings. In three months, I was drinking again. And it took two sick, miserable, drunken years before I got back. You were right--it is a progressive illness."

Whenever I hear something like that, I wonder whether it might have been avoided if the speaker's early mentors in AA had talked less about alcohol and more about alcoholism--if they had dinned it into the newcomer that stopping drinking does not constitute recovery but is only the absolutely essential beginning of a recovery process that changes each of us into the kind of person we can live with contentedly, sober. Given the belief that drinking causes alcoholism, it is easy to con ourselves into thinking that stopping drinking is all we need.

It would be impossible to overestimate the importance of getting the drinking stopped. That must come before any real recovery can take place. A still-drinking alcoholic, I firmly believe, can make no progress in taking the Twelve Steps of AA, or in spiritual growth.

But becoming dry is the starting point, not the stopping point. Just as drinking didn't cause our alcoholism, stopping drinking doesn't deal with it. I came into AA as a confused, self-centered, egotistical, defensive person who drank excessively. I then became a confused, self-centered, egotistical, defensive person who didn't drink. I was still sick, but from alcoholism, not from alcohol.

The real difference was that now I could start to recover. I could set out on the difficult, exciting, often discouraging, but always rewarding experience in living that we call the AA program.

E. E.
Tulsa, Oklahoma -Grapevine May 1983

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Sharon C. Alcoholics Anonymous Speaker #essentialsofrecovery


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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrec

GIVING BACK

. . . . he has struck something better than gold. . . . He may not see at once that he has barely scratched a limitless lode which will pay dividends only if he mines it for the rest of his life and insists on giving away the entire product.

 ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 129

My part of the Seventh Tradition means so much more than just giving money to pay for the coffee. It means being accepted for myself by belonging to a group. For the first time I can be responsible, because I have a choice. I can learn the principals of working out problems in my daily life by getting involved in the “business” of A.A. By being self-supporting, I can give back to A.A. what A.A. gave to me! Giving back to A.A. not only ensures my own sobriety, but allows me to buy insurance that A.A. will be here for my grandchildren. 
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Just For Today #essentialsofrec

 Regular Inventory

“Continuing to take a personal inventory means that we form a habit of looking at ourselves, our actions, attitudes, and relationships on a regular basis.” 

Basic Text, p.41

Taking a regular inventory is a key element in our new pattern of living. In our addiction, we examined ourselves as little as possible. We weren’t happy with how we were living our lives, but we didn’t feel that we could change the way we lived. Self- examination, we felt, would have been a painful exercise in futility.

Today, all that is changing. Where we were powerless over our addiction, we’ve found a Power greater than ourselves that has helped us stop using. Where we once felt lost in life’s maze, we’ve found guidance in the experience of our fellow recovering addicts and our ever-improving contact with our Higher Power. We need not feel trapped by our old, destructive patterns. We can live differently if we choose.

By establishing a regular pattern of taking our own inventory, we give ourselves the opportunity to change anything in our lives that doesn’t work. If we’ve started doing something that causes problems, we can start changing our behavior before it gets completely out of hand. And if we’re doing something that prevents problems from occurring, we can take note of that, too, and encourage ourselves to keep doing what works.

Just for today: I will make a commitment to include a regular inventory in my new pattern of living.
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrec

A.A. Thought For The Day

The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow, with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise, and perhaps its poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.  Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn. Do I still worry too much about tomorrow?

Meditation For The Day

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is not seeing, but believing. Down through the ages, there have always been those who obeyed the heavenly vision, not seeing but believing in God. And their faith was rewarded. So shall it be to you. Good things will happen to you. You cannot see God, but you can see the results of faith in human lives, changing them from defeat to victory. God’s grace is available to all who have faith-not seeing, but believing. With faith, life can be victorious and happy.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may have faith enough to believe without seeing. I pray that I may be content with the results of my faith.
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrec


Reaching for Humility, p. 211

We saw we needn’t always be bludgeoned and beaten into humility. It could come quite as much from our voluntary reaching for it as it could from unremitting suffering.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

“We first reach for a little humility, knowing that we shall perish of alcoholism if we do not. After a time, though we may still rebel somewhat, we commence to practice humility because this is the right thing to do. Then comes the day when, finally freed in large degree from rebellion, we practice humility because we deeply want it as a way of life.”

1. 12 & 12, p. 75
2. Letter, 1966 
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrec

Founders with clay feet
Sound thinking

With any organization or society, the time comes when people find fault with the founders. The faults of these pioneering leaders are examined and perhaps even used to discredit them.

Founders are only human beings, and they are likely to exhibit the human shortcomings all of us have. If these founders turn out to have clay feet, perhaps the fault is ours for idolizing them in the first place.

The real role of a founder is to lay the foundation for further building. Unless the society grows, improving over what the founder had in mind, it is not likely to survive. Its real work should be to surpass the fonder so as to be of greater service to others.

I’ll be careful not to put anyone on a pedestal and then complain about his or her clay feet.
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrec

Beauty may be said to be God’s trademark in creation.
—Henry Ward Beecher

Our addiction was like a veil over our heads. We saw the world as an ugly place.

We saw people as trouble. We thought our drinks and drugs were beautiful. But even they became ugly over time. Life became ugly because we had put distance between our Higher Power and ourselves.

Now we are blessed because the veil is lifted, and we are part of the healing process. We help others step into the beauty of recovery.

Our spirits are again free to seek a relationship with God and others. Through these relationships, we get our hope back. This hope help us focus on the beauty of the world. Hope is the rain that helps our souls grow.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, the world is both beautiful and ugly. For to long I only saw the ugly. Help me focus on the beauty.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll keep an eye out for the beauty recovery holds for me. Throughout the day, I’ll pray for this. 
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrec

 WORDS

“Hear the meaning within the word.”

–William Shakespeare

When I hear or see the word “sobriety”, I am made to think of relationships: my relationship with God, man and, more importantly, myself. Sobriety means humor, hope and joy. It means a silence at the center of my being that “wonders” at it all. Sobriety means a sexuality that is both noble and free — that risks rejection and criticism.  Sobriety argues against prejudice and bigotry. It builds a bridge to “the different” and reflects on the creative variety of man. It allows me a God as I understand Him but also respects tradition and the ancient philosophies of the world.

Sobriety evokes a feeling that is beyond words. It echoes the spiritual life.

Let me learn to pray beyond words. Let my relationship with You grow in silence.
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrec

Reflection For The Day

When we first come to The Program, the most common variety of self-pity begins:  “Poor me!  Why can’t I (fill in your own addiction) like everybody else?  why me?”  Such bemoaning, if allowed to persist, is a surefire invitation for a long walk off a pier — right back to the mess we were in before we came to The Program.  When we stick around The Program for a while, we discover that it’s not just “me” at all;  we become involved with people, from all walks of life, who are in exactly the same boat.  Am I losing interest in my comfortably familiar “pity Pot?”

Today I Pray

When self-pity has me droopy and inert, may I look up, look around and perk up.  Self-pity, God  wills, vanishes in the light of other people’s shared troubles.  may I always wish for friends honest enough to confront me if they see me digging my way back down into my old pity pit.

Today I Will Remember

Turn self-involvement into involvement. 
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrec

“You want to know who’s a real medicine man? He’s the one who doesn’t say ‘I’m a medicine man.’ He doesn’t ask you to come to him. You’ve got to go and ask him. And you’ll find he’s always there among his own people.”

– Louis Farmer, ONONDAGA

The Medicine Man is a role model of what it is like to live in harmony and balance with the Creator. It takes a long time, a lot of sacrifice and discipline to become a Medicine Man. A Medicine Man is humble and never crass about anything. He knows he lives to do the will of the Great Spirit. He knows he is to help the people. He lives very low key – the more low key he lives, the more people seek him out – and such is life. The more one serves the people and is quiet about it, the more he is sought out. The quieter he is, the more powerful is his medicine.

Great Spirit, allow me this day to be humble. Allow me this day not to seek attention, but to live quietly and keep my focus and attention on serving You.
-
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Today’s Gift #essentialsofrec

The hopeful man sees success where others see failure, sunshine where others see shadows and storm.

—O. S. Marden

When wise men say, “Hope springs eternal,” they are reminding us that no matter how great are the obstacles, the hope of winning out in the long run still exists. Hope is our friend when all else has failed. When we have strength of character and an energetic mind, hope always flourishes.

We discover that, at the very brink of despair, we will find courage to keep trying as long as there is hope for success. After all, what have we got to lose? Without hope, we have no chance, anyway. Our chance for glory comes when we keep trying even though all seems lost. Our hearts remain strong and brave when hope reminds us that challenges last until a game is over.

What light of hope can I keep burning within me today? 
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Step by Step #essentialsofrec

Today, I must realize that the character defects I identified in my Fourth Step probably existed before my drinking days and that alcohol simply developed them to their destructive zenith. My Sixth and Seventh Steps of first admitting to God and then asking that He remove my defects assume paramount honesty in my recovery program for I am likely to be challenged to release defects that have had a lifetime to take root – more so than those that those that were born of my drinking days. And if my defects are lifelong, simply stopping to drink will not give me the recovery and quality of sobriety for which I strive. Today, I am an alcoholic and abstaining from drinking is not enough. I consider myself a part of the AA program; today, as I talk the talk, I will walk the walk. And our common journey continues. 

Step by step. – Chris M. 
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The Eye Opener #essentialsofrec


No pleasures of our drinking days even compensated for those horrible nights of wakeful tossing. The interminable pacing the floor; those night sweats; the endless hours when we couldn’t sleep and at the same time dreaded falling asleep. The hours that seemed to stretch into eternity as we lay in bed with remorse as a bedfellow. Then the Hell of the goof-balls that made our nights better and our days worse.

The physical pain we might have endured for many more years, but the anguish of the heart and soul was unendurable.

Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao / 211 – Absolute #essentialsofrec

They say, “You are god.”
But everyone is.
They say, “All is god.”
Then why are there differences?
They say, “All is an illusion.”
But does that include god?



Those who follow Tao declare that there is no evidence that a god created our world. They have not found any empirical proof, and they cannot accept the idea philosophically. They reason that god must be absolute and this means oneness, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Naturally, anything separate and distinct would not satisfy this criteria. If there was a god and a world that god created, then there would be two things — and god could not then be considered absolute. If there were an absolute god, there could not be anything separate from god.

Everything is god. We are also god. However, we fail to realize this. Why? Because we look for god outside of ourselves. We make the mistake of taking ourselves as the viewer and then seek god as the object of our examinations. Unfortunately, everything we perceive is tainted by our subjectivity, and anything that we define as god “out there” cannot be god because it is not absolute. All you’ve found is something that exists in relation to your perceptions.

You are god. The only way to confirm this is to remove the barrier of subjectivity that prevents you from realizing your essential oneness with all things.
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrec

Central to the Buddha's teaching is the doctrine of anatman: "not-self"." This does not deny that the notion of an "I" works in the everyday world. In fact we need a solid stable ego to function in society. However, "I" is not real in an ultimate sense. It is a "name": a fictional construct that bears no correspondence to what is really the case. Because of this disjunction all kinds of problems ensue. Once our minds have constructed the notion of "I," it becomes our central reference point. We attach to it and identify with it totally. We attempt to advance what appears to be its interests, to defend it against real or apparent threats and menaces. And we look for ego-affirmation at every turn: confirmation that we exist and are valued. The Gordian Knot of preoccupations arising from all this absorbs us exclusively, at times to the point of obsession. This is , however, a narrow and constricted way of being. Though we cannot see it when caught in the convolutions of ego, there is something in us that is larger and deeper: a wholly other way of being.

On the Doctrine of Non- Self," with John Snelling -- from Elements of Buddhism, John Snelling (Elements Books, Inc., 1990)
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Friday, 29 July 2016

Random Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous #essentialsofrecovery


Chapter 10    To Employers (pg 144 & top 145)

We suggest you draw the book to the attention of the doctor who is to attend your patient during treatment. If the book is read the moment the patient is able, while acutely depressed, realization of his condition may come to him. 

We hope the doctor will tell the patient the truth about his condition, whatever that happens to be. When the man is presented with this volume it is best that no one tell him he must abide by its suggestions. The man must decide for himself. 

You are betting, or course, that your changed attitude plus the contents of this book will turn the trick. In some case it will, and in others it may not. But we think that if you persevere, the percentage of successes will gratify you. As our work spreads and our numbers increase, we hope your employees may be put in personal contact with some of us. Meanwhile, we are sure a great deal can be accomplished by the use of the book alone. 

On your employee’s return, talk with him. Ask him if he thinks he has the answer. If he feels free to discuss his problems with you, if he knows you understand and will not be upset by anything he wishes to say, he will probably be off to a fast start.  
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Steve L. Alcoholics Anonymous Speaker #essentialsofrecovery



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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrec


ANONYMOUS GIFTS OF KINDNESS

As active alcoholics we were always looking for a handout in one way or another.

“THE TWELVE TRADITIONS ILLUSTRATED,” p. 14

The challenge of the Seventh Tradition is a personal challenge, reminding me to share and give of myself. Before sobriety the only thing I ever supported was my habit of drinking. Now my efforts are a smile, a kind word, and kindness.  I saw that I had to start carrying my own weight and to allow my new friends to walk with me because, through the practice of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, I’ve never had it so good. 
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Just For Today #essentialsofrec


Expectations

“As we realize our need to be forgiven, we tend to be more forgiving.”

Basic Text, p.38

Our behavior toward other people in our life is a mirror of our behavior toward ourselves. When we demand perfection of ourselves, we come to demand it from others around us, too. As we strive to repair and heal our lives in recovery, we may also expect others to work just as hard and to recover at the same pace as we do. And just as we are often unforgiving of our own mistakes, we may shut out friends and family members when they don’t meet our expectations.

Working the steps helps us understand our own limitations and our humanity. We come to see our failures as human mistakes. We realize that we will never be perfect, that we will, at times, disappoint ourselves and others. We hope for forgiveness.

As we learn to gently accept ourselves, we can start to view others with the same accepting and tolerant heart. These people, too, are only human, trying to do their best and sometimes falling short.

Just for today: I will treat others with the tolerance and forgiveness I seek for myself. 
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsorec


A.A. Thought For The Day

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days that should be kept from fear and apprehension. One of these days is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday.  We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone beyond recall. Do I still worry about what happened yesterday?

Meditation For The Day

“God will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able, but with the temptation He will also find a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” If you have enough faith and trust in God, He will give you all the strength you need to face every temptation and to overcome it. Nothing will prove too hard for you to bear. You can face any situation. “Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” You can overcome any temptation with God’s help. So fear nothing.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may face every situation without fear. I pray that nothing will prove too hard for me to bear. 
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrec


Out of Bondage, p.210

At Step Three, many of us said to our Maker, as we understand Him: “God, I offer myself to Thee–to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that my transcendence over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy power, Thy love, and Thy way of life. May I do Thy will always!”

We thought well before taking this Step, making sure we were ready. Then we could commence to abandon ourselves utterly to Him.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 63 
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrec


Flattery or Praise?
Human relations

Flattery and praise are social lubricants that serve human purposes. But flattery is merely manipulative, while genuine praise is beneficial to everybody.

Many of us with troubled back grounds also have trouble giving and accepting praise.Sometimes we mistake flattery for praise and use it either to manipulate otehs or allow ourselves to bemanipulated. Perhaps we’re either too proud or too self-conscious to deal with real praise.

Another mistake is in believing that praise should be given out only sparingly, only after outstanding achievement. Not so, we need to give and receive praise continuously in order to reach higher levels of achievement. Knowing it’s importance, we’ll alsolearn howto avoid flattery.

I’ll offer both verbal and silent praise today in my dealing with others. We’ll all benefit from it. 
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrec


They have rights who dare defend them.

—Roger Baldwin

In recovery, we regain our right to have choices, our right to have honest relationships. Do we claim these rights, or do we let them go by?

Sometimes, standing up for our rights will mean going against the crowd. It will mean turning down that drink when everyone else has one. It will mean telling your honest opinion when it’s different from the others think. Being sober will mean, at times being different. Lots of times, we find being different hard. We want to fit in. This is normal.

But we don’t stand alone. We have friends who will stand with us during hard times. We have a Higher Power who will guide and comfort us. We are people with rights. Let’s work hard so nothing takes away our rights.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, please help me keep and defend my dignity and human rights.

Action for the Day: I’ll take time out to list the rights I’ve gotten back due to my recovery. 
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrec


GOD-PLAYING

“I determine who is a Jew.”

–Herman Goring

Playing God. How well I remember this attitude in my drinking days when, because I had said it, it must be so! Arrogance and pride kept me lonely and isolated.

Today my spiritual program teaches me to “play” God in a different way. It requires that I seek to discover the values I associate with God and live them out in my own life.  Because I believe that God is loving and accepting, I seek to reveal these qualities in my daily associations.  It makes no sense to worship a God of truth if I continue the life of “the liar”. Belief must determine change.

As a recovering alcoholic I seek to “play” God in the joy, acceptance and love I show to myself and other people. However, I know (oh how I know!) that I am not God!

Let my statements always be open to the “pure light” of change. 
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrec


Reflection For The Day

The feeling of self-pity, which we’ve all suffered at one time or another, is one of the ugliest emotions we can experience.  We don’t even relish the thought of admitting to others that we’re awash in self-pity.  We hate being told that it shows; we quickly argue that we’re feeling another emotion instead;  we go so far as to “cleverly” hide from ourselves the fact that we’re going through a siege of “poor-meism.”  By the same token, in a split-second we can easily find feeling sorry for ourselves.  Do I sometimes enjoy rubbing salt into my own wounds?

Today I Pray

May I recognize the emotions I am feeling for what they are.  If I am unable to point them out to myself, may  I count on others who know what it’s like to be a feelings-stuffer.  May I stay in touch with my feelings by staying in touch with my Higher Power and with the others in my  group.

Today I Will Remember

Stay in touch. 
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One Day At A Time #essentialsofrec

EXAMPLES

“Preach always … use words if necessary.”

St. Francis of Assisi


I’ve heard it said many times that the Twelve Step way of life is a way of attraction, not promotion. I can project an image of serenity and recovery by the way I conduct my life. By using the Twelve Steps to work on my inventory, by promptly making amends when needed, by striving daily to use the tools of recovery, I am assuring compulsive eaters who are living in chaos and confusion that there is a better way. When they ask my “secret,” I can then share the words of recovery.

One Day at a Time . . .


I will preach recovery

by the examples of serenity and peace.

~ Hopeful
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrec



“When we want to talk to Him we burn tobacco and it takes our prayers all the way up to the Sky World.”
– Louis Farmer, ONONDAGA

Our herbs and our medicines are all here for the purpose of serving. Offering tobacco as a gift to the Creator is proper use of our medicine. In this way, we are able to communicate from the physical world to the spiritual world. Sometimes we have a hard time coming up with the right words when we pray, especially if we are really mixed up. The tobacco and the sage will take the intent to the spirit world. The meaning behind the words are more important the the words. The Creator always knows our intent. The tobacco helps us get to the Sky World.

Today, my Creator, I offer You this tobacco. I want to thank You for being in my life. I want to tell You how much I appreciate the honor of being here to serve You. Tell me this morning what I can do for You. You are the reason I live. 
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Step by Step #essentialsofrec

“I never knew which came first, the thinking or the drinking. If I could only stop thinking, I wouldn’t drink. If I could only stop drinking, maybe I wouldn’t think. But they were all mixed up together, and I was all mixed up inside. And yet I had to have that drink. You know the deteriorating effects, the disintegrating effects of chronic wine-drinking. I cared nothing about my personal appearance. I didn’t care what I looked like. I didn’t care what I did. To me, taking a bath was just being in a place with a bottle where I could drink in privacy. I had to have it with me at night, in case I woke up and needed that drink.” 

– Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Part II (“They Stopped in Time”), Ch 4 (“The Housewife Who Drank at Home”), p 337.

Today, I don’t care which came first, the delusional and irrational thinking or the drinking, because it doesn’t matter. Whether some deluded thinking misled me to alcohol for a clearer perspective or if excess drinking fueled a thinking problem is moot because, now, the two are intertwined. Thus, my thinking now cannot be that I can resume responsible drinking if I get my thinking in a logical sync. Nor can I believe that I could drink responsibly. Neither is possible. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Does it matter? The chicken’s polluted; whatever comes out of him is also polluted. Today, I don’t care where my drinking thinking or thinking drinking came from. I need both corrected, and I’m where I need to be to get both. And our common journey continues. 

Step by step. – Chris M. 
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The Eye Opener #essentialsofrec


Humility has been the hardest of all the virtues to acquire for many of us. Few of us know what it actually is. Many have it and think they don’t; many don’t have it and think they do. Many admit they don’t understand the word and forget it, leaving to the world to judge whether they have it or not.

The best way to acquire Humility is to constantly remind yourself how much lower than a snake’s belly you would be but for the Grace of God. You made a horrible mess of running your life and failed completely, but that Grace could and did make you what you are today.

Hazelden Foundation

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Daily Tao / 210 – Variation #essentialsofrec


Never jump out of the same hole twice.



We all yearn for success. Not just the success of money, prestige, or power — the simple success of having things work. If you have a hobby like gardening, you love to see your flowers respond to your care. If you are in school, you want to master your courses. If you are a scientists, you look for results from your experiments. All of us want to be successful.

But once you hit on something that does work, it takes great courage to keep going beyond your limits. This is especially obvious in creative fields such as art, music, and writing. It is hard to reach an appreciative audience; once you find something that works, it is hard to let go of it. You keep doing the same thing, like musicians who make a career of performing the same tune. But no matter what your field of endeavor, you mustn’t do that. Don’t jump out of the same hole twice. You may not be as materially successful, but you will be more successful on a larger level.

Spirituality is creativity. Only with creativity can you have the power to follow Tao. Only with creativity can you remould your personality into a spiritual vehicle. Only with a great breadth of variation can you follow the constantly changing Tao. Therefore, when following Tao, don’t cling to methods and dogma. Be spontaneous.
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

A gold Buddha can't get through a furnace, a wood Buddha can't get through a fire, and a clay Buddha can't get through water. The real Buddha sits within: enlightenment, nirvana, suchness, and Buddha-nature are all clothes sticking to the body.

-Chao-chou

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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Dr. Bob's Last Message on The Anniversary

Presented at The First International Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous
July 28 - 30, 1950 at Cleveland, Ohio

In Memoriam Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith August 8, 1879 - November 16, 1950 Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous

"My good friends in AA and of AA. I feel I would be very remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to welcome you here to Cleveland not only to this meeting but those that have already transpired. I hope very much that the presence of so many people and the words that you have heard will prove an inspiration to you - not only to you, but may you be able to impart that inspiration to the boys and girls back home who were not fortunate enough to be able to come. In other words, we hope that your visit here has been both enjoyable and profitable."

"I get a big thrill out of looking over a vast sea of faces like this with a feeling that possibly some small thing that I did a number of years ago, played an infinitely small part in making this meeting possible. I also get quite a thrill when I think that we all had the same problem. We all did the same things. We all get the same results in proportion to our zeal and enthusiasm and stick-to-itiveness. If you will pardon the injection of a personal note at this time, let me say that I have been in bed five of the last seven months and my strength hasn't returned as I would like, so my remarks of necessity will be very brief.

"But there are two or three things that flashed into my mind on which it would be fitting to lay a little emphasis; one is the simplicity of our Program. Let's not louse it all up with Freudian complexes and things that are interesting to the scientific mind, but have very little to do with our actual AA work. Our 12 Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words love and service. We understand what love is and we understand what service is. So let's bear those two things in mind.

"Let us also remember to guard that erring member - the tongue, and if we must use it, let's use it with kindness and consideration and tolerance."

"And one more thing; none of us would be here today if somebody hadn't taken time to explain things to us, to give us a little pat on the back, to take us to a meeting or two, to have done numerous little kind and thoughtful acts in our behalf. So let us never get the degree of smug complacency so that we're not willing to extend or attempt to, that help which has been so beneficial to us, to our less fortunate brothers. Thank you very much."

Frank M. Alcoholics Anonymous Speaker #essentialsofrecovery



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Daily Reflections #essentialsorec

 THOSE WHO STILL SUFFER

Let us resist the proud assumption that since God has enabled us to do well in one area we are destined to be a channel of saving grace for everybody. 

A.A. COMES OF AGE, p. 232

A.A. groups exist to help alcoholics achieve sobriety. Large or small, firmly established or brand-new, speaker, discussion or study group has but one reason for being: to carry the message to the still-suffering alcoholic. The group exists so that the alcoholic can find a new way of life, a life abundant in happiness, joy, and freedom. To recover, most alcoholics need the support of a group of other alcoholics who share their experience, strength and hope. Thus my sobriety, and our program’s survival, depend on my determination to put first things first. 
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Just For Today #essentialsofrec

Secrets And Intimacy

“We feared that if we ever revealed ourselves as we were, we would surely be rejected.” 

Basic Text, p.31

Having relationships without barriers, ones in which we can be entirely open with our feelings, is something many of us desire. At the same time, the possibility of such intimacy causes us more fear than almost any other situation in life.

If we examine what frightens us, we’ll usually find that we are attempting to hide an aspect of our personalities that we are ashamed of, an aspect we sometimes haven’t even admitted to ourselves. We don’t want others to know of our insecurities, our pain, or our neediness, so we simply refuse to expose them. We may imagine that if no one knows about our imperfections, those imperfections will cease to exist.

This is the point where our relationships stop. Anyone who enters our lives will not get past the point at which our secrets begin. To maintain intimacy in a relationship, it is essential that we acknowledge our defects and accept them. When we do, the fortress of denial, erected to keep these things hidden, will come crashing down, enabling us to build up our relationships with others.

Just for today: I have opportunities to share my inner self. I will take advantage of those opportunities and draw closer to those I love.

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A.A. Thought For The Day

To continue the paraphrase of the psalm: “The judgments of the Twelve Steps are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than whiskey, yea, than much fine whiskey, sweeter also than wine. Moreover, by them are alcoholics warned and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand our alcoholism? Cleanse us from secret faults. Keep us from presumptuous resentments. Let them not have dominion over us. Then shall we be upright and free of the great transgression.” Am I resolved that liquor will never again have dominion over me?

Meditation For The Day

God can be your shield. Then no problems of the world can harm you.  Between you and all scorn and indignity from others is your trust in God, like a shining shield. Nothing can then have the power to spoil your inward peace. With this shield, you can attain this inward peace quickly, in your surroundings as well as in your heart. With this inward peace, you do not need to resent the person who troubles you. Instead, you can overcome the resentment in your own mind which may have been aroused by that person.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may strive for inward peace. I pray that I may not be seriously upset, no matter what happens around me. 
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsorec


Never the Same Again, p. 209

It was discovered that when one alcoholic had planted in the mind of another the true nature of his malady, that person could never be the same again. Following every spree, he would have to say to himself, “Maybe those A.A.’s were right.” After a few such experiences, often before the onset of extreme difficulties, he would return to us convinced.

********************************

In the first years, those of us who sobered up in A.A. had been grim and utterly hopeless cases. But then we began to have success with milder alcoholics and even some potential alcoholics. Younger folks appeared. Lots of people turned up who still had jobs, homes, health, and even good social standing.

Of course, it was necessary for these newcomers to hit bottom emotionally. But they did not have to hit every possible bottom in order to admit that they were licked.

1. 12 & 12, p. 23-24
2. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 199
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrec

The True Security
Security

We can feel insecure for many reasons, but the fundamental reason is that we do not have a firm anchorage in our Higher Power. This anchorage must be our true security, and it is really the only form that can survive any attack.

Regardless of who we are, we can know and feel that our Higher Power is guiding and directing us at all times. If we find ourselves being threatened by a person or situation, we can deal with it by knowing that our Higher Power is in charge of all outcomes. If we envy somebody, we must get back to an acknowledgment of God as the source of everything.

If we feel inadequate around people who seem to be immensely self-confident and secure, we should not try to imitate their manner and behavior. Rather, we should simply put our trust in our own Higher Power, and our feeling of true security will express itself in proper ways.

All the things we view today as being secure are probably only temporary. Our ture security can come only from God.
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Keep It Simple #essentialsorfec



The best leaders are those who know how to follow.


—Anonymous



Am I a leader or a follower? The fact is, I am responsible for where I end up. If I choose to be a follower, I’d better follow leaders who know where they are going. And I had better know where they’re going.

If I choose to be leader, I’d better know that I’m responsible for getting myself on the right path. I also must be honest with my followers, so they can make good choices. I’m not responsible for my followers choices, but I must give them the truth. Being a leader doesn’t always mean that I know where I’ll end up. But it can mean that I know I’m on the right path, following the lead from my Higher Power—one step at a time.


Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, give me the faith and courage to choose good leaders to follow. When it is Your will, help me be a good leader.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list my leaders. They might be a Higher Power, a sponsor, or a friend. I’ll think of why I choose to follow these leaders.
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrec

SIMILARITY


“Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this — that you are dreadfully like other people.”
–James Russell Lowell

For many years I saw the differences and not the similarities. I was always considering how I was unlike other alcoholics, rather than perceiving the striking similarities. I kept myself on the outside, not only in recovery from alcoholism but also in life.

Then I heard from another recovering alcoholic not only “my story” but also my feelings. I belonged. I was with people who knew my loneliness, isolation, confusion, guilt and despair. I had come home to live amongst my people.

Thank You for enabling me to see that I am a member of the human family and a recovering alcoholic.
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrec


Reflection For The Day

We learn the value of mediation in The Program.  As the beginning of the Eleventh Step suggest, we see through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as We understand Him.  One of the great values of meditation is that it clears the mind.  And as the mind becomes clearer, it becomes more capable and willing to acknowledge the truth.  less pain is required to force honesty recognition of defects and their results.  The real need of the whole person are revealed.  Are prayer and meditation a regular part of my daily living?

Today I Pray

May God’s truth be revealed to me through meditation and these small prayers, through contact with my group which keeps me mindful of my need to clear my mind with daily meditation.  For only an uncluttered mind can receive God;  only a mind cleansed of self-interest can acknowledge the truth.

Today I Will Remember

.Meditation is a mind-cleanser 
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FOOTWORK

“I’ve lost so much weight that I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.”

–Erma Bombeck

I have lost and gained the same weight so many times I’ve lost count. Lack of willpower was never an issue with me. I’ve whipped myself into shape many times. There was nothing I didn’t do in order to lose weight. I just couldn’t keep it off.

The tide finally turned for me when I quit relying on my own power, turned my focus away from my weight problem and toward “trusting in God and cleaning house,” as the Big Book states.

I did Step work under the guidance of my sponsor. I passed along to others the lessons I’d learned. I did service work. I kept practicing a conscious contact with the God of my understanding. I went to meetings and talked to others. I kept a journal. Then one day I looked up from the tasks at hand to discover I was abstinent. God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

One day at a time…

I will do the footwork and leave the results up to God.

~ Shirley G. 
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“A good heart and a good mind – those are what you need to be a chief.”

– Louis Farmer, ONONDAGA

The combination of heart and mind is very powerful. The Medicine Wheel teaches that two worlds exist – the seen and the unseen. The seen world is the physical and the unseen is the spiritual world. Both of the worlds are necessary to discover true reality. The seen world is easiest seen by the male side. The unseen is easiest seen by the female side. The heart is the unseen and the mind is the seen. Blessed is the leader or person who has developed the heart and the mind. Truly, the person is of tremendous value to the Creator and the people.

My Great Spirit, help me this day to develop both my female side and my male side. Let me know all the feelings of each, let me develop and grow my intuition and my mind. Let my development only serve You. 
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