Monday, 31 October 2016

Fr. Bill W. AA speaker #essentialsofrecovery




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AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery


THE CONSECRATED LIFE

Of what does the consecrated life consist?

Your life is a consecrated one when you are ready at all times to do the will of God—when you are willing and anxious that God may be fully expressed through you, through your thoughts, words, and deeds, during every hour of the day.

You are nor concerned with the question of results. Results belong to God.

Here am I; send me (Isaiah 6:8).

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery


AVOIDING CONTROVERSY

All history affords us the spectacle of striving nations and groups finally torn asunder because they were designed for, or tempted into, controversy. Others fell apart because of sheer self-righteousness while trying to enforce upon the rest of mankind some millennium of their own specification.

~ TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 176 

As an A.A. member and sponsor, I know I can cause real damage if I yield to temptation and give opinions and advice on another’s medical, marital, or religious problems. I am not a doctor, counselor, or lawyer. I cannot tell anyone how he or she should live; however, I can share how I came through similar situations without drinking, and how A.A.’s Steps and Traditions help me in dealing with my life.

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



Our Relationship with a Higher Power

“Ongoing recovery is dependent on our relationship with a loving God who cares for us and will do for us what we find impossible to do for ourselves.”

~ Basic Text, p.96 ~

Working the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous gives us a fresh start in life and some guidance for living in the world. But the steps are more than a fresh start. When we do our best to work the steps, we develop a relationship with our personal Higher Power.

In the Third Step, we decide to allow a loving God to influence our lives. Much of the courage, trust, and willingness we need to continue through the succeeding steps comes from this decision. In the Seventh Step, we go even further by asking this Higher Power to change our lives. The Eleventh Step is a way for us to improve the relationship.

Recovery is a process of growth and change in which our lives are renewed. The Twelve Steps are the roadmap, the specific directions we take in order to continue in recovery. But the support we need to proceed with each step comes from our faith in a Higher Power, the belief that all will be well. Faith gives us courage to act. Each step we work is supported by our relationship with a loving God.

Just for today: I will remember that the source of my courage and willingness is my relationship with my Higher Power.

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

A.A. Thought for the Day

I have more peace and contentment. Life has fallen into place. The pieces of the jigsaw puzzle have found their correct position. Life is whole, all of one piece. I am not cast hither and yon on every wind of circumstance or fancy. I am no longer a dry leaf cast up and away by the breeze. I have found my place of rest, my place where I belong. I am content. I do not vainly wish for things I cannot have. I have “the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Have I found contentment in A.A.?

Meditation for the Day

In all of us there is an inner consciousness that tells of God, an inner voice that speaks to our hearts. It is a voice that speaks to us intimately, personally, in a time of quiet meditation. It is like a lamp unto our feet and a light unto your path. We can reach out into the darkness and figuratively touch the hand of God. As the Big Book puts it: “Deep down in every man, woman and child is the fundamental idea of God. We can find the Great Reality deep down within us. And when we find it, it changes our whole attitude toward life.”

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may follow the leading of the inner voice. I pray that I may not turn a deaf ear to the urging of my conscience.

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


~ Page 304 ~

Single Purpose

There are those who predict that A.A. may well become a new spearhead for a spiritual awakening throughout the world. When our friends say these things, they are both generous and sincere. But we of A.A. must reflect that such a tribute and such a prophecy could well prove to be a heady drink for most of us—that is, if we really came to believe this to be the real purpose of A.A., and if we commenced to behave accordingly.

Our Society, therefore, will prudently cleave to its single purpose: the carrying of the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. 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 ~

Copyright © 1967 by Alcoholics Anonymous ® World Services, Inc.

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WALK IN DRY PLACES #essentialsofrecovery


BE STILL—FOR A WHILE, ANYHOW

God’s will for us

The bible reminds us: “Be still, and know that I am God.” What does this say to the recovering alcoholic who is struggling against a tidal wave of problems?

It must be a reminder that our true place and right work is part of a great purpose, though we may still not know who we fit into the larger plan. We can know, however, that God’s plan will include peaceful actions, just and moral solutions, and results that are wholly beneficial to all concerned.

One does not have to be a theologian to decide that staying sober is part of God’s will for us. That’s why we can expect the support of Higher Power at all times, even when we feel fearful and abused.

Aside from staying sober, each of us will have individual work and responsibilities in life. We should be careful not to measure anyone’s success—including our own—against worldly standards. If God is in charge, wherever we are and whatever we happen to be doing can a part of the divine will.

In keeping sober today, I’ll know that I’m carrying out God’s will. I’ll also be open to unexpected opportunities to carry out God’s directions.

© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation 
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery


A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it is committing another mistake.

~ Confucius 

Step Ten tell us that when we are wrong, we must “promptly” admit it. We aren’t used to admitting our mistakes. We defend ourselves and blame others. This is call denial.

Denial is bad for two reasons. First, it keeps from learning from our mistakes, so we keep making them. Second, we don’t listen to others, so we close ourselves and become lonely.

What a relief it is to admit our wrongs! We don’t have to keep trying to do things the hard way. We can learn new way to think and act that will work better for us. We can let other people be our teachers.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, help me out of denial, so I can see the changes I need to make.

Action for the Day

Today, If I disagree with someone, I’ll promptly admit when I’m wrong. If I’m right, I’ll be gentle. I don’t have to prove anything.

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


SAINTS AND SINNERS

“Every saint has past and every sinner a future.”

~ Oscar Wilde

I do not allow painful memories of my past to affect what I do today. Guilt is a killer if I allow it to have power. I have made amends. I have apologized to those I hurt. Today I begin the rest of my life.

The guilt and shame I felt for years grew out of my alcoholic behavior. As such, I need to remember I am not responsible for being alcoholic. It is not my fault. However, with the knowledge and acceptance of the disease comes a determination to live responsibly.

I have a sense of responsibility in my recovery. Spirituality means being a responsible person. The awareness and acceptance of my past can help create a loving future.

Infinite Spirit, show me how to forgive myself and live in Your Love.

© 2008 Leo Booth 
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery



Reflection for the Day

If I’m to continue growing in the Program, I must literally “get wise to myself.” I must remember that for most of my life I’ve been terribly self-deceived. The sin of pride has been at the root of most of my self-deception, usually masquerading under the guise of some virtue. I must work continually to uncover pride in all its subtle forms, lest it stop me in my tracks and push me backward once again to the brink of disaster. When it comes to pride, do I believe, in Emerson’s words, that “it is impossible for a man to be cheated by anyone but himself…”?

Today I Pray

May I know that button-popping pride is inappropriate for me as a recovering addict. It hides my faults from me. It turns people off and gets in the way of my helping others. It halts my progress because it makes me think I’ve done enough self-searching and I’m cured. I pray to my Higher Power that I may be realistic enough to accept my success in the Program without giving in to pride.

Today I Will Remember

Pride halts progress.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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EASY DOES IT #essentialsofrecovery

RESPECT

FAITH is a lighted doorway, but TRUST is the dark hallway that says, “Do I dare walk this way, not knowing where it will lead?”

~ Anonymous ~

When we have faith in others we are giving them a great gift. We are giving them respect. By the time we found our way into recovery, most of us had lost respect for ourselves and others. We had lost faith in our own judgment. We couldn’t tell a truth from a lie.

When we began to regain our faith in ourselves, we weren’t sure if it was right to do so or not. When we shared with others as honestly as we could, we found that they trusted us to tell the truth. And we had this unfamiliar sensation that they respected our honesty and us.

We found that sharing honestly created trust in the integrity of others. And they responded the same way to us. Mutual trust then blossomed through faith.

When I share honestly with others in the Program, I am building faith, respect and trust between us.

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


SERVICE

“Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.”

~ Shirley Chisholm 

Midway through my first fourth step someone asked me to sponsor her. I was thrilled and eager to share my experience, strength and hope. As my work with my sponsee progressed, something began to happen in my own program. All that I had learned and was sharing with my sponsee reminded me of where I came from and how far I had progressed. I found that my recovery was strengthened through this process of giving away my experiences in program. This service allowed me to keep what I had received.

It is vital for me that I serve the program of OA in all different manners: as a sponsor; as a leader of a step meeting; as treasurer of a local meeting; and by reaching out to newcomers, people in relapse, and others in the OA fellowship. The more I give, the more I receive.

One day at a time…

I will give service to the OA fellowship so that I may remain in recovery.

~ Cindi L 
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ELDER'S MEDITATION OF THE DAY #essentialsofrecovery



“One is not born a Tewa but rather one is made a Tewa… once made, one has to work hard continuously throughout one’s life to remain a Tewa.”

~ Alfonso Ortiz, SAN JUAN PUEBLO 

Being Indian is being spiritual. It is not the color of our skin. Being Indian is how we think. We need to learn our culture, our language, our dances, our traditions and customs. It is one thing to know these things, but another to live them. We need to spend time with the Elders and get their guidance. We need to go to the mountains, woods and desert to pray. Being spiritual is the way for us to think right. Walking the Red Road and thinking right is the greatest gift we can give to our children.

Grandfather, help me to Walk the Talk 
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery



Sometimes it seems I’ve spent my life trying to live up to others’ expectations of me, and failing. I never thought much about pleasing myself. That would have been “selfish.”

~ JoAnn Reed 

We can feel burdened, inadequate, and over-whelmed by expectations, even when they are our own. More often, however, the problem originates from outside ourselves. Before we got into the program, we may have been easily caught in the trap of other people’s expectations because we didn’t know who we really were. Now that we are in recovery, the Fourth Step offers us an opportunity to understand ourselves better, which in turn helps us to set our own goals. No longer must someone else’s goals guilt us into action.

Getting to know real freedom from the expectations of others is a two-step process. First we need to see clearly which expectations are ours and which belong to someone else. Then we need to turn to our Higher Power for help in fulfilling oui own expectations, and only our own.

Before taking any action today I will pause to make certain I am fulfilling my expectations, not someone else’s. God will help me with this task.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery

The Founders of AA acted wisely when they fixed it so there would be no Big Shots in our fellowship. We are not the best people in the world when it comes to bearing heavy responsibilities. It has proven to be poison to many a good man.

After all, it is not necessary for your fame to spread around the world—there are more drunks on your own street than you can help.

Published by Hazelden 
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Daily Tao / 304 – Divination #essentialsofrecovery

How can divination
Exceed imagination?



You may be contemplating a very bold move in your life. It might be taking a chance on love. It might be deciding to move across the world to begin a new career. It might be combining things that have never been put together before to make a new invention. What you’re contemplating is so surprising to you that you wonder whether or not to do it.

Traditionally, people turned to divination. But how can any system of divination really help you? Whether it is turtle shells, yarrow stalks, crystal balls, psychics, or spirit possession, are the forces “out there” really going to provide any true reassurance? Depending on divination means giving up control over your own life. It’s also avoiding responsibility — you are able to say it wasn’t your fault if things don’t work out.

Imaginative action is very important in life. Without it, we are less than human. For imagination to come into being, we need decisiveness and control. Unless we have these two factors, we cannot manifest the concentration to bring something new into being. We should not surrender our right to decide the course of our lives to vague propitiations of the unknown. We should explore every new possibility that appeals to us and, with wise action, build the force of our characters.
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery


If you think that you have
Cut off illusory mind,
Instead of simply clarifying 
How illusory mind melts,
Illusory mind will come up again,
As though you had cut
The stem of a blade of grass
And left the root alive.

- Menzen Zuiho (1682 –1769) 
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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Old Timer's Prayer #essentialsofrecovery


God, keep me from thinking I must share in every meeting, no matter the topic. Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details and give me wings to get to the point. Remind me to guard confidences and to keep still when I feel it is necessary to speak up for someone's own good. 

Release me from the need to straighten out everybody else's thinking and program. God, I ask for the grace to listen to newcomers. Please help me to remember the patience with which others listened to me when I was new. 
Please seal my lips to giving advice, and help me to remember to share only my experience, strength, and hope.

Remind me that my purpose is to fit myself to be of maximum service to You and to the people around me. Help me to remain teachable. Teach me (again) the lesson that, occasionally, it is possible that I may be wrong; and remind me, please, of the freedom that I gain when I am able to promptly admit I am wrong and make amends where necessary. 

Help me to remember the difference between making amends and just saying, I am sorry. Help me to be a worker among workers, a friend among friends. Please keep me from being a bleeding deacon, and help me to walk the path towards being an elder statesman/stateswoman. Keep me ever mindful that I cannot manage my own life through my own unaided will. I know that I am not a saint; please show me the way to seek You so that I may continue to grow along spiritual lines.

Remind me, please, of Rule 62 to not take myself so damn seriously. (It is so easy to take myself way too seriously.) Keep me free of gossip, character assassination, and judgment. Remind me that because I am not perfect, although I have humbly asked, my character defects and shortcomings still arise unexpectedly, to cause damage to others and to myself. 

Help me to walk with faith and acceptance, to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people, and give me the grace to tell them so. Help me to see that You love each of Your children, and that You do not need my opinion of them or suggestions on what they might deserve.

Amen 
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RANDOM BIG BOOK ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS #essentialsofrecovery




Outline the program of action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to him plays a vital part in your own recovery. Actually, he may be helping you more than you are helping him. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, Working With Others, page 94

RANDOM BIG BOOK ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS #essentialsofrecovery


We know what you are thinking. You are saying to yourself: ‘ I’m jittery and alone. I can’t do that.’ But you can. You forget that you have just now tapped a source of power much greater than yourself. To duplicate, with such backing, what we have accomplished is only a matter of willingness, patience and labor. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, A Vision For You, page 163

AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery

TAIL WAGS DOG

Man controls his own life. The Bible says that God has given him “dominion over all things,” and this is true when he understands the Truth; and the Truth is that your outer conditions—your environment—are not cause; they are effect. You are not happy because you are well. You are well because you are happy. You do not have faith because things are going well. They are going well because you have faith. You are not depressed because trouble has come to you, but trouble has come because your realization of the Truth had first fallen off.

The secret of life then is to control your mental states. To accept sickness, trouble, and failure as unavoidable, and perhaps inevitable, is folly, because it is this very acceptance by you that keeps these evils in existence. Man is not limited by his environment. He creates his environment by his beliefs and feelings. To suppose otherwise is like thinking that the tail can wag the dog.

If you have been thinking that outer conditions are stronger than you are, say to yourself: “Tail wags dog” and immediately reverse the belief.


. . . who didn’t hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? (Galatians 5:7).

© 1931 by Emmet Fox
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery

LIVE AND LET LIVE

Never since it began has Alcoholics Anonymous been divided by a major controversial issue. Nor has our Fellowship ever publicly taken sides on any question in an embattled world. This, however, has been no earned virtue. It could almost be said that we were born with it. . . . “So long as we don’t argue these matters privately, it’s a cinch we never shall publicly.”

~ TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 176 

Do I remember that I have a right to my opinion but that others don’t have to share it? That’s the spirit of “Live and Let Live.” The Serenity Prayer reminds me, with God’s help, to “Accept the things I cannot change.” Am I still trying to change others? When it comes to “Courage to change the things I can,” do I remember that my opinions are mine, and yours are yours? Am I still afraid to be me? When it comes to “Wisdom to know the difference,” do I remember that my opinions come from my experience? If I have a know-it-all attitude, aren’t I being deliberately controversial?

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

Courage

“Our newly found faith serves as a firm foundation for courage in the future.”

~ Basic Text, p.93 ~

Narcotics Anonymous is no place for the faint of heart! Facing life on life’s terms without the use of drugs isn’t always easy. Recovery requires more than hard work; it requires a liberal dose of courage.

What is courage, anyway? A quick look at a dictionary will tell us. We have courage when we face and deal with anything that we think of as difficult, dangerous, or painful, rather than withdrawing from it. Courage means being brave; having a purpose; having spirit. So what is courage, really? Courage is an attitude, one of perseverance.

That’s what an addict in recovery really needs – perseverance. We make that commitment to stick with our program, to avoid using, no matter what happens. A courageous addict is one who doesn’t use, one day at a time, no matter what. And what gives us courage? A relationship with a Higher Power gives us the strength and the courage to stay clean. We know that, so long as we are in our God’s care, we will have the power we need to face life on its own terms.

Just for today: I have a Higher Power who cares for me, no matter what. Knowing that, I will strive to have an attitude of courage today.

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


A.A. Thought for the Day

I have real friends, where I had none before. My drinking companions could hardly be called my real friends, though when drunk we seemed to have the closest kind of friendship. My idea of friendship has changed. Friends are no longer people whom I can use for my own pleasure or profit. Friends are now people who understand me and I them, whom I can help and who can help me to live a better life. I have learned not to hold back and wait for friends to come to me, but to go half way and to be met half way, openly and freely. Does friendship have new meaning for me?

Meditation for the Day

There is a time for everything. We should learn to wait patiently until the right time comes. Easy does it. We waste our energies in trying to get things before we are ready to have them, before we have earned the right to receive them. A great lesson we have to learn is how to wait with patience. We can believe that all our life is a preparation for something better to come when we have earned the right to it. We can believe that God has a plan for our lives and that this plan will work out in the fullness of time.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may learn the lesson of waiting patiently. I pray that I may not expect things until I have earned the right to have them.

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

~ Page 303 ~

Loving Advisers

Had I not been blessed with wise and loving advisers, I might have cracked up long ago. A doctor once saved me from death by alcoholism because he obliged me to face up to the deadlines of that malady. Another doctor, a psychiatrist, later on helped me save my sanity because he led me to ferret out some of my deep-lying defects. From a clergyman I acquired the truthful principles by which we A.A.’s now try to live.

But these precious friends did far more than supply me with their professional skills. I learned that I could go to them with any problem whatever. Their wisdom and their integrity were mine for the asking.

Many of my dearest A.A. friends have stood with me in exactly this same relation. Oftentimes they could help where others could not, simply because they were A.A.’s.

~ GRAPEVINE, AUGUST 1961 ~

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

WHO IS A WINNER?

Staying Sober

Newcomers in AA are urged to “stick with the winners.” But who is a winner?

A winner in AA is one who finds sobriety and represents principles that help others find and maintain sobriety. Any person who can help others is a winner.

The losers are people who don’t make enough of a commitment to find and maintain sobriety. It may not be their fault. On the other hand, some losers eventually become winners.

It is not our purpose to apply ratings to various individuals, whether they’re winner or losers. We must know, however, that we cannot benefit from the suggestions of people who do not stay sober. We are looking for the path of recovery, not the road to ruin. The winners are people who can help us in our recovery.

I’ll spend as much time as possible with people who want to stay sober. I have no intention of joining anyone on the road to ruin.

© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation 
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery

 The universe is full of magical things waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

~ Eden Phillpots ~

How nice to have the fog lifted! Sobriety lets our wits grow sharper. We can go after our dreams and ideas. We can listen to music and sing. We are part of the magic of the universe. At times we may not feel very magical, but we are. Our spirits hold much magic. Sobriety is magic. We work at making the world a better place. In doing so, we get magical powers. Power that heals and comfort others. Powers to understand things that before we could not. Powers that let us see the world as we’ve never seen it. Enjoy the magic and use your powers wisely!

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, let Your magic enter and fill my heart.

Action for the Day

I’ll list four magical powers I have from being sober.

Copyright © 1988 by Hazelden Foundation
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery


Reflection for the Day

When I’m motivated by pride—by bondage of self—I become partly or even wholly blind to my liabilities and shortcomings. At that point, the last thing I need is comfort. Instead, I need an understanding friend in the Program—one who knows where I’m at—a friend who’ll unhesitatingly chop a hole through the wall my ego has built so that the light of reason can once again shine through. Do I take time to review my progress, to spot-check myself on a daily basis, and to promptly try to remedy my wrongs?

Today I Pray

God I pray that the group—or just one friend—will be honest enough to see my slippery manifestations of pride and brave enough to tell me about them. My self-esteem was starved for so long, that with my first successes in the Program, it may swell to the gross proportions of self-satisfaction. May a view from outside myself give me a true picture of how I am handling the triumph of my sobriety—with humility or with pride.

Today I Will Remember

Self-esteem or self-satisfaction?

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation
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EASY DOES IT #essentialsofrecovery

SELF-CONFIDENCE

Alas, the fearful disbelief is disbelief in yourself.

~ Thomas Carlyle 

Self-confidence is an important lesson we learn in our recovery. Most of us start our Program with little confidence in ourselves. As we work the Steps, we begin to be confident that we can be whatever we choose to be, if we want success enough and if we keep on growing.

When we have no faith in ourselves, we have little chance of staying abstinent. Even the miracles of recovery cannot accomplish a better way of living if we don’t believe they can. The more we share with fellow members, the greater will be our self-confidence that success is possible.

In order to have and maintain self-confidence, and feel good mentally and physically, we need to keep our heads screwed on straight with clear and rational thinking.

I can be whoever I make myself believe I can.

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



Truth

“The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.”

~ Herbert Agar ~

I spent thirty-five years of my adult life running from the truth. It wasn’t until I came to OA and began to work through the Twelve Steps that I had enough emotional support to turn and face the truth. What is my truth? I am a food addict.

Once I was able to face and accept that truth, surrender to my Higher Power was immediate. At long last I was free of cravings, free of bingeing, and free of obsessive food thoughts. That freedom allowed me to work toward the goal of becoming the person I had always wanted to be.

The way I see it, I can be an addict in recovery or I can be an addict in hell. I choose recovery.

One day at a time…

I will seek the truth in my life by working the program of recovery.

~ Cindi L  
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FR. LEO'S DAILY MEDITATION #essentialsofrecovery

FOOD

“Seeing is deceiving. It is eating that is believing.”

~ James Thurber 

For years, my belief system revolved around eating. I believed if I could eat, I always would be okay. Food was pleasure and escape for me. I lived to eat. Feelings—good or bad—were surrounded and stuffed down with food. I ate to avoid problems. Seeing was deceiving because I refused to accept the reality of my eating. I covered myself with clothes, avoided the beach, and rarely looked at my body. I saw only what I wanted to see—and I was dying.

Now I face reality. This is the meaning of spirituality. I show love for myself by loving food in a healthy way, making choices around what I eat, and eating slowly. Today I talk about my problems, rather than eating over them.

God, help me accept my daily bread with gratitude and abstinence.

© 2008 Leo Booth
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ELDER'S MEDITATION OF THE DAY #essentialsofrecovery

“My children, you have forgotten the customs and traditions of your forefathers. …You have bought guns, knives, kettles, and blankets from the white man until you can no longer do without them; and what is worse you have drunk the poison firewater, which turns you into fools. Fling all these things away; live as your forefathers did before you.”

~ Pontiac, ODOWA ~

We need to think as our forefathers did. They knew the culture and the customs. The culture taught them how to live in harmony with each other. We need to think like this again. We must because God-reliant. We don’t need the firewater. This liquid is very destructive to our native people. It kills our spirit. Our Indian people are happiest when we are spiritual. When we depend on anyone or anything else, we get off track. We need to talk to the Elders and find out what the old ways were. We need to ask them to teach us the culture, the tradition and the customs. This will help us become whole again.

My Maker, guide my path as you did my ancestors. 
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery


It is time to enter into knots of fear and watch them uncurl into waves of love.

~ G. Carol ~

The fear that hinders most of us is due to our obsession to control the behavior of others. This fear, coupled with our compulsion to manage outcomes that are clearly beyond our control, keeps us stuck in situations that we need to grow beyond.

We’re extremely fortunate to be part of this fellowship because we are surrounded by friends who understand our kind of fear and are willing to help us through scary times. We will have the opportunity to repay the favor many times over. We are all learning to handle fear and, thus, are discovering together that the risks we take in the company of one another prepare us for bigger challenges on our own. The empowerment that is guaranteed us will sustain our efforts as we take each new risk.

With the help of friends, I can feel my fears and keep them in perspective. I will be able to feel more love when I let the fears go.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery


Each and every one of us have what we have only by the Grace of God. Even if we acquired all our possessions through our own industry and intelligence, still you must admit that you gave yourself none of these attributes that made your acquisition possible.

These were not necessarily inherited traits, for geniuses have had morons for children. You have what you have because God so willed it, so use them as God would will it.

Published by Hazelden 
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Daily Tao / 302 – Aging #essentialsofrecovery

Mist and snow blot out the world.
Bony trees are thinly fleshed with ice.
A couple laughs below a stone monument,
But behind a bristled hedge,
A cloaked woman sings a dirge.
Old age is lonely.
Dreams of those I’ve buried haunt me.
Was I ever ready to shoulder this mantle?
It smothered a carefree youth.
Now neither parent, lover, nor friends have I,
And great fame is as distant as spring’s leaves.


Dear youth, do you ever think of getting old? If you did, then you might value your time even more. Dear oldster, do you ever think of your past? Of course you do. You wonder if you did the right things.

How ironic this life is! What a tremendous bind we are born into! When young, we do not understand the dreariness of old age. When we are old, we are not permitted to go back in time. When vitality flows freely, we haven’t enough wisdom. When we have gained wisdom, fate has made us too weak to take action.

Oh, I know. The purpose of following Tao is to be well adjusted. The secret of Tao is to know how to pass into old age gracefully. Yes, I know. But may I not still reflect on the poignancy of it all?

To be fully human is to know resignation.
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

Listen to the sound of water. Listen to the water running through chasms and rocks. It is the minor streams that make a loud noise; the great waters flow silently.

The hollow resounds and the full is still. Foolishness is like a half-filled pot; the wise man is a lake full of water.

-Sutta Nipata 
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Saturday, 29 October 2016

RANDON BIG BOOK ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS #essentialsofrecovery




12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, How It Works, page 60

AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery


PRAYING WITH A FEATHER

Years ago many devoted preachers and Sunday School teachers were fond of telling people to “pray hard.” Well-meaning as this advice was, it was mistaken. I often tell people to pray “soft,” which, of course, means gently.

I do this because I know that the more quietly and gently we pray, the better results we get. In prayer, as in many other activities, effort defeats itself. More than once I have said to my congregation, “Pray with a feather—not with a pickax.”

Always pray gently, and especially if you have a good deal of fear, or if your difficulty seems to be a very important one.

For thou , Lord , art good , and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee (Psalm 86:5).

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery


OUR SURVIVAL

Since recovery from alcoholism is life itself to us, it is imperative that we preserve in full strength our means of survival.

~ TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 177 ~

The honesty expressed by the members of A.A. in meetings has the power to open my mind. Nothing can block the flow of energy that honesty carries with it. The only obstacle to this flow of energy is inebriation, but even then, no one will find a closed door if he or she has left and chooses to return. Once he or she has received the gift of sobriety, each A.A. member is challenged on a daily basis to accept a program of honesty.

My Higher Power created me for a purpose in life. I ask him to accept my honest efforts to continue on my journey in the spiritual way of life. I call on Him for strength to know and seek His will.

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

Living in the Now

“Living just for today relieves the burden of the past and the fear of the future.”

~ Basic Text, pp. 90-91 

Thoughts of how bad it was – or could be – can consume our hopes for recovery. Fantasies of how wonderful it was – or could be – can divert us from taking action in the real world. That’s why, in Narcotics Anonymous, we talk about living and recovering “just for today.”

In NA, we know that we can change. We’ve come to believe that our Higher Power can restore the soundness of our minds and hearts. The wreckage of our past can be dealt with through the steps. By maintaining our recovery, just for today, we can avoid creating problems in the future.

Life in recovery is no fantasy. Daydreams of how great using was or how we can use successfully in the future, delusions of how great things could be, overblown expectations that set us up for disappointment and relapse – all are stripped of their power by the program. We seek God’s will, not our own. WE seek to serve others, not ourselves. Our self-centeredness and the importance of how great things could or should be for us disappears. In the light of recovery, we perceive the difference between fantasy and reality.

Just for today: I am grateful for the principles of recovery and the new reality they’ve given me.

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

A.A. Thought for the Day

My relationships with my children have greatly improved. Those children who saw me drunk and were ashamed, those children who turned away in fear and even loathing have seen me sober and like me, have turned to me in confidence and trust and have forgotten the past as best they could. They have given me a chance for companionship that I had completely missed. I am their father or their mother now. Not just “that person the Mom or Dad married and God knows why.” I am a part of my home now. Have I found something that I had lost?

Meditation for the Day

Our true measure of success in life is the measure of spiritual progress that we have revealed in our lives. Others should be able to see a demonstration of God’s will in our lives. The measure of His will that those around us have seen worked out in our daily living is the measure of our true success. We can do our best to be a demonstration each day of the power of God in human lives, and example of the working out of the grace of God in the hearts of men and women.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may so live that others will see in me something of the working out of the will of God. I pray that my life may be a demonstration of what the grace of God can do.

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

~ Page 302 ~

Comradeship in Peril

We A.A.’s are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the vessel from steerage to captain’s table.

Unlike the feelings of the ship’s passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways. The feeling of having sharing in a common peril—relapse into alcoholism—continues to be an important element in the powerful cement which binds us of A.A. together.

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

Our first woman alcoholic had been a patient of Dr. Harry Tiebout’s, and he had handed her a prepublication manuscript copy of the Big Book. The first reading made her rebellious, but the second convinced. Presently she came to a meeting held in our living room, and from there she returned to the sanitarium carrying this classic message to a fellow patient: “We aren’t alone anymore.”

~ 1. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, P. 17 ~
~ 2. A.A. COMES OF AGE, P. 18 ~

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


DIMINISHING RETURNS ARE STILL BENEFICIAL

Getting better

There’s a “Cloud nine” effect that some of us had when we first found sobriety. Some call it the honeymoon stage. It includes a feeling of great joy and relief over having found, at last, an answer to drinking.

This gradually fades away, as it should under normal conditions. We then feel as though we’re in stages of diminishing returns, where the benefits don’t seem as miraculous, and other improvements in our lives seem to come slowly.

The experience we have in getting sober is like that of people who recovery from a terrible physical illness. At first, they feel remarkably better for the first time. But then their recovery becomes taken for granted, and “feeling better” isn’t as remarkable as it was when they first recovered.

We should not expect it to be. Instead, we can focus on the contentment and well-being that living sober and steady improvement give us.

I may not have anything today like the excitement that accompanied early recovery. I’ll be satisfied with the normal blessings of good living.

© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation

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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery


Each morning puts a man on trial and each evening passes judgment.

~ Ray L. Smith ~

In many ways, the Tenth Step is very natural. We continue to take a personal inventory. And when we’re wrong, we promptly admit it.

At the end of each day we ask ourselves, “How did my day go?” As we think about our day, we bring order to our life. The Tenth Step teaches us about order. It also teaches us how to correct mistakes. We do this by admitting our wrongs. This way, we have no backlog of guilt. It’s good to start each day fresh, free from quilt. Admitting our wrongs is a loving thing to do. It’s another way the program teaches us to love ourselves.

Prayer for the Day

Today, I’ll face many choices. Higher Power, be with me as I choose. When the day is done, remind me to think about how I lived today. This will help me learn.

Action for the Day

Tonight, I’ll list three choices I made today. Would I make the same choices again?

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



RACISM

“I want to be the white person’s brother, not brother-in-law.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ~

Racism is about separation, ego, and isolation. So is addiction, and mine made me feel different. I covered my feelings with arrogance or false humility, pride and inferiority put me on the defensive. I often sought a scapegoat for my anger. I was vindictive and prejudicial in my attitude toward others. It is a strange quirk of circumstance when one minority seeks to victimize another—and alcoholics are a minority group!

Sobriety is about a change in attitude and behavior. My spiritual acceptance of self inevitably leads to acceptance of others. The false pride and arrogance of my past give way to the vulnerable strength of sobriety. Now I embrace my neighbor, regardless of color, class, or creed.

God, teach me to seek You in my fellow and sister humans.

© 2008 Leo Booth
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection for the Day

Virtually all of us suffered the defect of pride when we sought help through the Program, the Twelve Steps, and the fellowship of those who truly understood what we felt and where we had been. We learned about our shortcomings—and of pride in particular—and began to replace self-satisfaction with gratitude for the miracle of our recovery, gratitude for the privilege of working with others, and gratitude for God’s gift, which enabled us to turn catastrophe into good fortune. Have I begun to realize that “pride is to character as the attic to the house—the highest part, and generally the most empty…”?

Today I Pray

God, please tell me if I am banging my shins on my own pride. Luckily for me, the Program has its own built-in check for flaws like this—the clear-eyed vision of the group, which sees in me what I sometimes cannot see myself. May I know that any kind of success has always gone straight to my head, and be watching for it as I begin to reconstruct my confidence.

Today I Will Remember

“Success” can be a setback.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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EASY DOES IT #essentialsofrecovery

A SWELLED HEAD

The true snob never rests; there is always a higher goal to attain, and there are, by the same token, always more and more people to look down upon.

~ Russell Lynes ~

Recovery feels good! It feels good to get a good night’s sleep, eat right, have friends, and be more at peace. After a while on the Program our foggy minds cleared up. We could actually read and remember what we read. Our emotions calmed down. We felt proud of our progress.

At moments like these we must remember by whose Power we achieve such joy. It is not our own. If we let ourselves think we did it all on our own, pride swells our head and stops our growth. We can become cocky, thinking we’ve got it made, and drift back to slippery people and places.

A swelled head has no place in my Program. I must keep in mind that I didn’t get this far to rest and stop growing.

©1990 by Anonymous, Published by Hazelden


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ONE DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery



Trial and Error

“Anything worth doing at all is worth doing poorly.”

~ Joachim de Posada ~

Imagine my shock the first time I heard this statement, which happened to be in a Twelve Step (OA) meeting. I had been reared in an environment in which anything worth doing at all was worth doing well. In fact, in my world this concept was practiced as if it had religious authority. It was perfectionism given flesh and bones.

Perhaps the idea that “anything worth doing at all is worth doing well” worked for some folks. For me, it was paralyzing. There were many things that I needed to do that I simply could not do well. These included things like trimming the hedge, praying, and making good investment choices. So how did my sick, obsessive-compulsive self-respond? Predictably, of course: I just didn’t do those things I felt I couldn’t do well. I was rarely willing to take the chance of acting and being wrong, so I did not act at all. Soon I was living a very restricted life—a life hemmed in by the fear of messing up. I needed to be perfect or just not be at all.

Then I found the program. There I learned that I am human and that making mistakes is part of being human. I even learned that making mistakes is a good thing, because in doing so I have acted. This is a program of action. I learn by acting and by making mistakes. How liberating! How freeing. I can’t tell you how much my constricted, warped life began to open up. I acted and did things poorly, and people responded warmly and in a helpful manner. I took their advice and I joined the human race. I now consider this simple concept—act, even if it means doing a thing poorly—as one of the greatest gifts of the program. My life is really my life now. Perfectionism occasionally rears its ugly head, but when it does, I simply remember where I came from and then I go ahead and make a mistake and set myself free again.

One day at a time…

Today I will do what I need to do, and I will do it as well as I can. When I make a mistake I will not conclude that I am a mistake. I will accept that I am human and I will ask for help. Perfection has never been a goal of this program and it is not a goal for my life.

~ Pete M  
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ELDER'S MEDITATION OF THE DAY #essentialsofrecovery



“Mothers must protect the lives they have helped to bring into the world.”

~ Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders ~

Every child is subject to the seeds each adult plants in his/her mind. If we plant praise and “you can do it”, the child will grow up with certain predictable behavior patterns. If we plant ideas that there’s something wrong with you or you’re good for nothing, the child will grow up with predictable behavior patterns. We need to honor and respect the mothers who protect the children and plant positive seeds for their growth.

Great Spirit, bless each mother and give her courage and faith. 
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery


Clarifying my own values is an important ingredient in my using the Serenity Prayer. From that I have the “wisdom to know” the things I can and cannot change about a situation.

~ Rose Casey 

This program helps us discover our values. Doing a moral inventory and then weighing our assets and shortcomings gives us clarity regarding the person we are and the person we hope to become. Let’s not be concerned that we didn’t know ourselves before. The past is past; today is where our opportunities begin.

Today will offer us a host of experiences about which we must make decisions, form judgments, take actions. If we know our values, we will not be troubled by these experiences. And yet living according to our values takes practice. We were probably good at doing what others did to fit in. Taking the risk of not fitting in is a profound decision that can benefit us in untold ways.

My values will guide me as I decide what to do in every situation I face today. Without this program, I’d still be in constant quandaries.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery



We human beings are no more miraculous than the ape organically. We do not even have some powers possessed by brute creation—for example, we cannot change color at will as can some reptiles. We can’t change our physical make-up as the tadpole does when it becomes a frog, or a caterpillar when it changes into a butterfly.

Yet we are the miracle of all miracles, for we alone have a soul, which enables us to transcend this planet and commune with God himself.

Published by Hazelden 
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Daily Tao / 302 – Immortality #essentialsofrecovery

 Immortality does not beget wisdom.
Only mortality begets maturity.


There are people in this world who have had enough adventures for several lifetimes. They are the closest conception we can have of immortals. Yet some of these people are hopelessly immature. After all, whenever life became difficult for them, they changed to a new path and by luck the new one was always rich and fruitful. Life came so easily that they took more than one helping.

Unfortunately, maturity only comes from the threat of mortality. Success only comes from the threat of failure. Without pressure, we would not plan, utilize wisdom, or exercise care. We realize that we have only a very short time to make an achievement, to prove that our existence was worthwhile, and so we strive harder. An immortal can never conceive of such effort.

It would be good if our religious traditions provided us with a foolproof way through life. After all, we live somewhat haphazardly : Our lives are a tapestry woven of both mistakes and successes. Religion doesn’t always provide us with a meaningful pattern. We must make our decisions the best that we can, and as we mature, we can see our way better.

We are motivated by death. We are frightened by failure. We have to make our peace with this mysterious, sometimes hostile world. An immortal does not need to cope with any of this. But we mortals must, and we must strive to make a good showing for ourselves.
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

Skillful speech not only means that we pay attention to the words we speak and to their tone but also requires that our words reflect compassion and concern for others and that they help and heal, rather than wound and destroy.


-Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness"
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Friday, 28 October 2016

RANDOM BIG BOOK ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS #essentialsofrecovery



But our man is sure to be impressed with a sincere desire to set right the wrong. He is going to be more interested in a demonstration of good will than in our talk of spiritual discoveries. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, Into Action, page 77

AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery

SHACK OR PALACE?

There is no use in merely saying everything will be all right. Thinking rightly, of course, means putting God into all your affairs and expecting him to change them. For example, if you are living in a shack it is not any good pretending that it is a palace. Cheap optimism is never spiritual. Realize that you are living in a shack, but claim the Presence of God to guide you to something better.

Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path. . . (Psalm 27:71).

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery


AN UNBROKEN TRADITION

We conceive the survival and spread of Alcoholics Anonymous to be something of far greater importance than the weight we could collectively throw back of any other cause.

~ TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 177 

How much it means to me that an unbroken tradition of more than half a century is a thread that connects me to Bill W. and Dr. Bob. How much more grounded I feel to be in a Fellowship whose aims are constant and unflagging. I am grateful that the energies of A.A. have never been scattered, but focused instead on our members and on individual sobriety.

My beliefs are what make me human; I am free to hold any opinion, but A.A.’s purpose—so clearly stated fifty years ago—is for me to keep sober. That purpose has promoted round-the-clock meeting schedules, and the thousands of intergroup and central service offices, with their thousands of volunteers. Like the sun focused through a magnifying glass, A.A.’s single vision has lit a fire of faith in sobriety in millions of hearts, including mine.

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


Attitudes

“We can also use the steps to improve our attitudes.”

~ Basic Text, p.53 

Ever have a day when everything seems to be working against you? Do you go through periods when you are so busy taking people’s inventories you can barely stand yourself? What about when you find yourself snapping at your co-worker or loved one for no reason? When we find ourselves in this bleak frame of mind, we need to take action.

At any point in the day, we can set aside a few moments and take a “spot inventory.” We examine how we are reacting to outside situations and other people. When we do, we may find that we are suffering from a plain old “bad attitude.” A negative outlook can hurt our relationship with our Higher Power and the people in our lives. When we are honest with ourselves, we frequently find that the problem lies with us and our attitude.

We have no control over the challenges life gives us. What we can control is how we react to those challenges. At any point in time, we can change our attitude. The only thing that really changes in Narcotics Anonymous is us. The Twelve Steps give use the tools to move out of the problem and into the solution.

Just for today: Throughout the day, I will check my attitude. I will apply the steps to improve it.

© 1991 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services Inc.

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TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY #essentialsofrecovery

A.A. Thought for the Day

What other rewards have come to me as a result of my new way of living? Each one of us can answer this question in many ways. My relationship with my husband or my wife is on an entirely new plane. The total selfishness is gone and more cooperation has taken its place. My home is a home again. Understanding has taken the place of misunderstanding recriminations, bickering, and resentment. A new companionship has developed which bodes well for the future. “There are homes where fires burn and there is bread, lamps are lit and prayers are said. Though people falter through the dark and nations grope, with God Himself back of these little homes, we still can hope.” Have I come home?

Meditation for the Day

We can bow to God’s will in anticipation of the thing happening which will, in the long run, be the best for all concerned. It may not always seem the best thing at the present time, but we cannot see as far ahead as God can. We do not know how His plans are laid, we only need to believe that if we trust Him and accept whatever happens as His will in a spirit of faith, everything will work out for the best in the end.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may not ask to see the distant scene. I pray that one step may be enough for me.

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

~ Page 301

To Rebuild Security

In our behavior respecting financial and emotional security, fear, greed, possessiveness, and pride have too often done their worst. Surveying his business or employment record, almost any alcoholic can ask questions like these: In addition to my drinking problem, what character defects contributed to my financial instability? Did fear and inferiority about my fitness for my job destroy my confidence and fill me with conflict? Or did I overvalue myself and play the big shot?

Businesswomen in A.A. will find that these questions often apply to them, too, and the alcoholic housewife can also make the family financially insecure. Indeed, all alcoholics need to cross examine themselves ruthlessly to determine how their own personality defects have demolished their security.

~ TWELVE AND TWELVE, P. 51-52 ~

Copyright © 1967 by Alcoholics Anonymous ® World Services, Inc.

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WALK IN DRY PLACES #essentialsofrecovery



THE NEW PROBLEMS IN SOBRIETY

Fortitude

Sometimes sobriety turns up problems that were never apparent during one’s drinking days. Some people, for example, encounter marriage problems that lead to divorce. It almost appears that some things were better when we were drinking.

But there are good reasons why sobriety brings new problems. One is that we become aware of problems that were there all the time, although not acknowledged. It’s possible, too, that sobriety brings more responsibility, along with risks of failure. At the same time, we might be more sensitive to the real problems of living.

We should never use such problems as an excuse for drinking. It is true, as many people say, that drinking can only make matters worse. Nothing can be improved by a return to drinking.

I must remember today that sobriety means living on a new basis. This includes facing problems and dealing with them—not running from them as I did in the past.

© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation 
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery

I wish you the courage to be warm when the world would prefer you to be cool.

~ Robert A. Ward ~

Our program and the Steps have warmed us—warmed us from the inside out. Just as a bonfire warms those who stand around it, the Steps take away the chill we have felt for so long.

At Times, we’ll be tempted to move away from the Steps. At times, we’ll get tired of looking at our behavior and attitudes. We are by nature, controlling people. We’ll want to “prove our point” about something when our program tells us to let it go. We need to stay close to the Steps and the warmth they hold. Remember the chill of our disease.

Prayer for the Day

I need to member that the Steps and the fellowship of the program keep me sober, not me alone.

Action for the Day

Today, I’ll think about what the Steps have done for me. I will think of how they have kept me warm.

Copyright © 1988 by Hazelden Foundation 
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