Wednesday, 30 November 2016

AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery


SLOW TO JUDGE

Many years ago a professor wrote a book in which he said that he could always tell if a person were a potential criminal by the shape of his ear! This naturally created something of a furor, and a London newspaper sent a reporter to interview old General Booth, of the Salvation Army, on the subject. The reporter said, “General, you probably have an unmatched experience of human nature in the raw. Do you believe there is such a thing as a criminal ear?”

William Booth laughed loudly through his Mosaic beard, and replied, “Why, of course there is a ‘criminal ear’—and we’ve all got one. If it were not for the grace of God, every one of us would be doing time or deserving to.”

William Booth understood human nature. You never can afford to condemn another, because in his shoes you would probably have done just as badly. Have you not noticed that sometimes after condemning someone else rather pharisaically, you have shortly afterward caught yourself in a moral failure?

Wisely did the Master say, “Judge not.”

But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at naught thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10). 

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery



PROTECTION FOR ALL

At the personal level, anonymity provides protection or all members from identification as alcoholics, a safeguard often of special importance to newcomers, it the level of press, radio, TV, and films, anonymity tresses the equality in the Fellowship of all members by putting the brake on those who might otherwise exploit their A.A. affiliation to achieve recognition, power, or personal gain.

~ “UNDERSTANDING ANONYMITY,” p. 5 

Attraction is the main force in the Fellowship of A.A. The miracle of continuous sobriety of alcoholics within A.A. confirms this fact every day. It would be harmful if the Fellowship promoted itself by publicizing, through the media of radio and TV, the sobriety of well-known public personalities who became members of A.A. If these personalities happened to have slips, outsiders would think our movement is not strong and they might question the veracity of the miracle of the century. Alcoholics Anonymous is not anonymous, but its members should be.

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

Sharing the Real Me

“Sharing with others keeps us from feeling isolated and alone.”

~ Basic Text pg. 81 ~

Intimacy is the sharing of our innermost thoughts and feelings with another human being. Many of us long for the warmth and companionship intimacy brings, but those things don’t come without effort. In our addiction, we learned to guard ourselves from others lest they threaten our using. In recovery, we learn how to trust others. Intimacy requires us to lower our defenses. To feel the closeness intimacy brings, we must allow others to get close to us – the real us.

If we are to share our innermost selves with others, we must first have an idea of what those innermost selves are truly like. We regularly examine our lives to find out who we really are, what we really want, and how we really feel. Then, based on our regular inventories of ourselves, we must be as completely and consistently honest with our friends as we can be.

Intimacy is a part of life, and therefore a part of living clean – and intimacy, like everything in recovery, has its price. The painstaking self-scrutiny intimacy calls for can be hard work. And the total honesty of intimacy often brings its own complications. But the freedom from isolation and loneliness that intimacy brings is well worth the effort.

Just for today: I seek the freedom from isolation and loneliness that intimacy brings. Today, I will get to know “the real me” by taking a personal inventory, and I will practice being completely honest with another person.

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

A.A. Thought for the Day

We have slips in A.A. It has been said these are not slips but premeditated drunks, because we have to think about taking a drink before we actually take one. The thought always comes before the act. It is suggested that people should always get in touch with an A.A. before taking that first drink. The failure to do so makes it probable that they had decided to take the drink anyway. And yet the thoughts that come before taking a drink are often largely subconscious. People usually don’t know consciously what made them do it. Therefore, the common practice is to call these things slips. Am I on guard against wrong thinking?

Meditation for the Day

“The eternal God is thy refuge.” He is a sanctuary, a refuge from the cares of life. You can get away from the misunderstanding of others by retiring into your own place of meditation. But from yourself, from your sense of failure, your weakness, your shortcomings, whither can you flee? Only to the eternal God, your refuge, until the immensity of His spirit envelops your spirit and it loses its smallness and weakness and comes into harmony again with His.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may lose my limitations in the immensity of God’s love. I pray that my spirit may be in harmony with His spirit.

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

~ Page 20 

Light from a Prayer

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

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

We treasure our “Serenity Prayer” because it brings a new light to us that can dissipate our oldtime and nearly fatal habit of fooling ourselves.

In the radiance of this prayer we see that defeat, rightly accepted, need be no disaster. We now know that we do not have to run away, nor ought we again try to overcome adversity by still another bulldozing power drive that can only push up obstacles before us faster than they can be taken down.

~ 1. GRAPEVINE, MARCH 1962 ~

© 1967 by Alcoholics Anonymous ® World Services, Inc 
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

~ 1 John 4:18 

Love is allowing another person to be part of you. When we love someone, we feel the person inside of us. Spiritual love is letting our Higher Power become part of us. We feel our Higher Power inside of us. This is what is meant by “conscious contact” in Step Eleven.

When we were drinking and drugging, we kept others on the outside. Inside we felt bad, and we didn’t want anyone to be close to us.

We are now asked to open ourselves up to love and its healing power. Part of the joy of love comes from letting another person know us. You may even wonder, “Will people stick around if they really know me?” Love will answer, “Yes.”

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, let me trust your love. Then I can give up my fear.

Action for the Day

Today I’ll invite my Higher Power into my heart. I will practice conscious contact.

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

FATE

“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul”

~ William E. Henley 

Things do not just happen; I make them so. For years, I thought getting well depended on my family getting well. I rooted my recovery in the recovery of others. I was the typical codependent.

Then somebody said, “Why don’t you start taking responsibility for your own life?” I thought about that remark for weeks. I am sure I had heard a similar sentiment a hundred times, but that night, that special night, I was ready to hear it. That was a spiritual moment.

Today I believe such spiritual moments produce a spiritual process I must keep alive. I am the deciding factor in what happens to me and what I achieve. God created me to be involved in my recovery.

May I always steer my life in the direction of truth and love.

© 2008 Leo Booth 
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery



Reflection for the Day

If you’re a negative thinker and are not yet ready to do an about-face, here are some guidelines that can keep you miserable for just as long as you wish to remain so. First, don’t go to meetings of the Program, especially discussion groups. If you somehow find yourself at a meeting, keep your mouth shut, your hands in your pockets, and your mind closed. Don’t try to solve any of your problems, never laugh at yourself, and don’t trust the other people in the Program. Above all, under no conditions should you try to live in the Now. Am I aware that negative thinking means taking myself deadly serious at all times, leaving no time for laughter—and for living?

Today I Pray

If I am feeling negative, may I check myself in the mirror that is the group for any symptoms of a closed mind: tight lips, forced smile, set jaw, straight-ahead glance—and no glimmer of humor. God, grant me the ability to laugh at myself—often—for I need that laughter to cope with the everyday commotion of living.

Today I Will Remember

To laugh at myself.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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EASY DOES IT #essentialsofrecovery

MEDITATION

If thou may not continually gather thyself together, do it some time at least once a day.

~ Thomas A’ Kempis 

For all of us who take meditation seriously, the real purpose is to improve our conscious contact with our Higher Power. But when we meditate, we are also giving ourselves time to digest the rich rewards we find in the Program. We begin our day with a quiet time of prayer, meditation, and reflection. We take the time at night to review our day, to see the things we might improve, to remember the things we aid well and enjoy them.

Meditation is a quiet time in a noisy world. It is a chance to talk with our Higher Power and to listen for answers to our questions. It’s an opportunity in the evening to let stress and tension flow away, and to regain serenity. Meditation is a time of healing.

Today, I will also remember that meditation heals me from the scars of a busy, noisy world, and lets me return to serenity, just as it helps me with my conscious contact with my Higher Power. 

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

BOUNDARIES

People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.

~ Joseph Fort Newton 

When I was growing up I remember always being lonely and I never had many friends. In order to protect myself from the pain of rejection, or perhaps because I didn’t have self-esteem or believe in myself, I gave the impression that I didn’t need people. I was probably thought of as a snob. I thought that people didn’t like me because I was shy and introverted, but I had built up around myself an impenetrable protective wall which didn’t invite anyone in. It was small wonder that I spent many lonely nights buried in a book or food or any other solitary pursuit for that matter.

In my adult years I became a people-pleaser in the hopes that people would like me more. That even spilled over to include my children as well, which meant that I wasn’t able to say no to them or anyone else unless they stopped loving me. I would say yes when I really meant no, and consequently I was always filled with resentment and felt even lonelier than ever. I didn’t know how to set boundaries and was terrified that if I said no, people wouldn’t love me anymore.

I now know that when I set boundaries, it is an affirmation of my worth, and in most cases I am respected and liked by those people who are really my true friends. My children, too, have benefitted from my having set boundaries with them, and they have more respect for me than before. I am beginning to realize that it is just fine to do what is right for me, and that it doesn’t have to jeopardize any of my relationships.

One day at a time . . .

I am learning that it is right for me to define my boundaries with those that I love, knowing that I set these boundaries in love and friendship, rather than hostility, and that I am still a lovable person.

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



“Someone must speak for them. I do not see a delegation for the four footed. I see no seat for eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior, but we are after all a mere part of the Creation.”

~ Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA 

Whenever we make decisions, we need to look around and see who would be affected by them. If we change the course of a river , who, what will be affected? If we put poison on the gardens, who, what will be affected? If we cut the trees and too many are cut, who, what will be affected? We need to become aware of the consequences of our actions. We need to pay attention to our thoughts. We are accountable to our children to leave the Earth in good shape.

My Creator, help me make right decisions. 
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery


You’re right where you’re supposed to be.

~ Anonymous 

Few circumstances in our lives evolve perfectly. Health problems develop, jobs don’t work out, or, even worse, significant others leave us. For a time we can’t cope. We become angry, distraught, or full of self-pity. When a sponsor or friend says “You’re just where you need to be,” we want to scream. With time, however, we usually calm down and accept this message.

A divine plan is unfolding in our lives. We don’t know ahead of time the route we will take or the destination we will arrive at. Our wisdom is simply the certainty that we are “in the right place at the right time.” Our Higher Power is in charge, and whatever our experiences, they are preparing us for the rest of our journey.

I am where I need to be today. And God is planning my trip.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery



Many who are active in AA work come to feel that they just can’t carry on any longer. There is so much to do; so little time can be spared to do it; so few to do the work. There is a limit to their edurance. After all, a guy has just so much health, strength, and patience.

When the burdens get too heavy and too numerous, take it up with the Big Boss, tell Him you like to do His work, but that it is more than you can handle — ask Him for more help — you’ll get it. 

Published by Hazelden 
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Daily Tao / 359 – Sanity #essentialsofrecovery

You are demons.
You are darkness.
Your soul is at stake. Your soul is light.
Dissipation is the threat.
Don’t surrender the key. Just dissolve.

The problems of humanity are not metaphysical. They are personal. Damnation is in you. So too is salvation. You are the prince of darkness. You are also the prince of light. Neither can be cast out of yourself. The valiant coping with that dichotomy is the poignancy of this existence.

The momentum is in favor of darkness. Glory is in favor of light. If you do nothing, you slip toward darkness. If you give the least bit of effort toward the light, you will be helped. Struggle for the light. For the price is dissipation — of the soul, of the mind, of the body, of your very humanity.

The key to all of this is your sanity. You have to struggle to maintain it. It mediates between the light and the dark.

If you want an end to the duality, you must dissolve your sanity into the universal whole. Don’t do this until you are ready, for you cannot come back. There is a tremendous difference between the dissipation of making no effort, and the dissolution that one can accomplish as one’s crowning spiritual act.




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Daily Tao / 334 – Dipper #essentialsofrecovery

Bamboo dipper, granite basin.
Crust of ice over inky reservoir.
Moon shimmers in the dipper
Until fullness drains away.


Some people are like dippers. No matter what they try to gather up, it ends up flowing out again. For such people it is exceedingly difficult to accumulate anything in life.

If you are like the dipper, that is all the more reason to concentrate the resources that you have. Poverty of any kind need not be a deterrent if you know how to utilize the wealth you possess. You must embrace your fate, work with it, and take advantage of it.

Ultimately, we cannot truly grasp anything permanently in life. We are born naked, we die naked, and in point of fact we live naked. What we take to us — our clothes, our wealth, our relationships — are all external to us. They are easily taken away from us by bruising fate.

We try to internalize our experiences and our understanding. Even that can be taken away by stress, senility, poor memory, disorganized thinking, drugs, or shock. Truly, we are all dippers. The little that life offers us dribbles away.

Perhaps even the poorest of situations is rich, because all the futility of life leads us to embrace Tao. After all, it is bigger than all infinities and more subtle than the slightest wisp. To feel it requires great strength. To sense it requires a dragonfly’s delicacy. When you tire of trying to hold on to life, you will find the means to enter Tao.
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

He waits as at dusk, bamboo walking stick in hand, 
At the headwaters of Tiger Creek, 
Leading us on as we listen to mountain echoes, 
Following the water’s way. 

Patches of wildflowers bloom. 
A solitary bird calls from the valley floor. 
We sit evening zazen in the empty forest: 
Quiet pine winds bring the scent of autumn.

- Wang Wei (710-761) 
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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Random Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous #essentialsofrecovery

We have seen the truth demonstrated again and again: ‘Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.’ Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever. If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol. – Pg. 33 – More About Alcholism

AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery

PASSIVE BEFORE GOD

To be sensitive is good, because sensitive people are aware of a thousand interesting or beautiful things where the obtruse person gets nothing. To do any creative work you have to be sensitive; because the creative worker is a “receiving set” for divine Mind.

A world-famous tenor, who was literally fretting himself to death over unimportant matters, broke down in my office, and said that God was cruel to make him so sensitive. I replied, “If you had the hide of a rhinoceros you might be a happier man, but you would not be at the Metropolitan.”

In an electric circuit any given point is said to be positive to any point below it, and negative to any point above it. Current passes always from the positive to the negative, and never the other way. Now, if you are positive in this sense to everything but the action of God, no negative things can come back at you. On the other hand, you are receptive (or “negative” in the purely electrical sense of this ambiguous word) to all good—the direct inspiration of God, the prayers of other people, and all the beautiful and interesting vibrations in the universe.

Here is an affirmation that, intelligently used, will save you much unnecessary bombardment by negative thoughts: I am positive to everything but the action of God.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). 

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery


“ACTIVE GUARDIANS”

To us, however, it represents far more than a sound public relations policy. It is more than a denial of self-seeking. This Tradition is a constant and practical reminder that personal ambition has no place in A.A. In it, each member becomes an active guardian of our Fellowship.

~ TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 183 ~

The basic concept of humility is expressed in the Eleventh Tradition: it allows me to participate completely in the program in such a simple, yet profound, manner; it fulfills my need to be an integral part of a significant whole. Humility brings me closer to the actual spirit of togetherness and oneness, without which I could not stay sober. In remembering that every member is an example of sobriety, each one living the Eleventh Tradition, I am able to experience freedom because each one of us is anonymous.

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



Our Higher Power’s Care

“We believe that our Higher Power will take care of us.”

~ Basic Text pg. 55 ~

Our program is based on the idea that the application of simple principles can produce profound effects in our lives. One such principle is that, if we ask, our Higher Power will care for us. Because this principle is so basic, we may tend to ignore it. Unless we learn to consciously apply this spiritual truth, we may miss out on something as essential to our recovery as breathing is to life itself.

What happens when we find ourselves stressed or panicked? If we have consistently sought to improve our relationship with our Higher Power, we’ll have no problem. Rather than acting rashly, we will stop for a moment and briefly remind ourselves of particular instances in the past when our Higher Power has shown its care for us. This will assure us that our Higher Power is still in charge of our lives. Then, we will seek guidance and power for the situation at hand and proceed calmly, confident that our lives are in God’s hands.

“Our program is a set of principles,” our White Booklet tells us. The more consistently we seek to improve our conscious appreciation of these principles, the more readily we will be able to apply them.

Just for today: I will seek to improve my conscious contact with the Higher Power that cares for me. When the need arises, I know I will be able to trust in that care.

© 1991 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services Inc 
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AS BILL SEES IT #essentialsofrecovery

~ Page 10 ~

Out of the Dark

Self-searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action, and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our natures. With it comes the development of that kind of humility that makes it possible for us to receive God’s help. Yet it is only a step. We will want to go further.

We will want the good that is in us all, even in the worst of us, to flower and to grow. But first of all we shall want sunlight; nothing much can grow in the dark. Meditation is our step out into the sun.

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

“A clear light seems to fall upon us all — when we open our eyes. Since our blindness is caused by our own defects, we must first deeply realize what they are. Constructive meditation is the first requirement for each new step in our spiritual growth.”

~ 1. TWELVE AND TWELVE, P. 98 ~
~ 2. LETTER, 1946 ~

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

NONE ARE OBLIGATED TO US

Service

Service is considered an essential part of AA. As Dr. Bob said, AA is really love and service.

If this service is delivered in the right spirit— the true AA spirit—no sense of obligation is created. If others feel they are incurring an obligation, they will resent us in time. Moreover, our carrying of the message will be flawed.

The proper way to look at service is to see it as something we perform for our own benefit. While we hope that it will benefit others, that does not have to happen in order for us to benefit. Our good comes from the giving of service, not the measurement of its results for others. No one is obligated to us; nor does anyone have the right to complain if our services did not help. We serve entirely for our own benefit.

For my own good, I’ll give service today. I want it to be effective for others, but I realize my real purpose is to help myself.

© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation 
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery


One is happy as the result of one’s own efforts.

~ George Sand ~

Happiness is not an accident. It comes from following the spiritual voice found in each of us. This isn’t always easy. Sometimes, the voice tells us to do things we’re afraid of. For Example, if we’re lonely and the voice tells us to call someone on our phone list, we may make excuses to not do it. Again, the voice may say, “Just make the call. It will be okay.” If we follow the voice, we will find happiness.

The spiritual voice inside us speaks of care and love. It will never tell us to hurt others or ourselves. It’s our Higher Power’s voice . It’s what Step Eleven calls “conscious contact.” If we follow this guiding voice, it will lead us to happiness.

Prayer for the Day:

I pray that I’ll come to know my Higher Power by listening to the spiritual voice in me.

Action for the Day:

Today, I’ll meditate and listen to my higher power gentle voice within.

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


TRUST

“We Become civilized, not in proportion to our willingness to believe, but in our readiness to doubt.”

~ H. L. Mencken 

A civilized nation is a spiritual nation. A civilized person is one who seeks truth and is willing to change. I want to be such a person living in such an environment.

Sobriety is adventurous because it is bigger than simply not drinking. Recovery seeks to address all areas of my life and all situations. An example is trust. When I was drinking, I trusted no one because I felt everybody was like me—that is, out for themselves and therefore not trustworthy.

Today I know the real enemy in my life is me. I am the one who brings pain into my life. But now I am beginning to love myself by my decision not to drink. Today I am willing to trust.

Spirit of truth, help me freely trust others and myself.

© 2008 Leo Booth
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery



Reflection for the Day

Contrary to what some people think, our slogan, Let Go and Let God, isn’t an expression of apathy, an attitude of defeatism, or an unwillingness to accept responsibility. Those who turn their backs on their problems are not “letting go and letting God,” but, instead, are abandoning their commitment to act on God’s inspiration and guidance. They neither ask for nor expect help; they want God to do it all. In seeking God’s guidance, do I realize that the ultimate responsibility is mine?

Today I Pray

May I not allow myself to be lazy just because I think God is going to do everything anyway. (Such apathy reminds me of my old powerless self, the one that moaned that the world was going up in smoke, civilization was going down the drain, and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.) Neither may I use “letting God” do it as an excuse for shrugging off my problems without even trying. May God be my inspiration; may I be an instrument of God.

Today I Will Remember

God guides those who help themselves.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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EASY DOES IT #essentialsofrecovery

BRIDGES

People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.

~ Joseph Newton ~

We discovered — and hardly believed it at first— that we were not alone. We were really not that different from everybody else in the Program. We began to sense that we did belong somewhere and our loneliness began to leave us. Our addiction encouraged us to build walls around ourselves, to keep out reality and to keep in the awful person we thought we were. When we began recovery, we started to tear down those walls, brick by brick. On the foundation that was left, we have started to build a new life.

That new life is connected to the real world, to other people, and to the Program by the bridges we’ve built with our positive actions. We’ve learned that with honesty and sharing, we no longer need walls to protect us.

I am learning to tear down the walls I have built and have begun to build bridges.

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


TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What’s a sun-dial in the shade?”

~ Benjamin Franklin ~

In the cups of my illness I was a chameleon and people-pleaser. I was afraid to stand on my own opinions and be myself. My fear of rejection kept me always looking for ways to fit in. I was running from life because I was afraid that I would be found to be a fraud and a compulsive eater. I played dumb in school and with my friends. I was afraid to be smart. I was afraid to have differing opinions. Shame kept me hiding inside of myself and inside of my suit of fat. I was afraid to be me.

Since coming to the program I am learning more each day that it is okay for me to be me. It is more than okay; it is essential. I can spread my wings and let myself out of my self-imposed cage ~ and I can go for a flight gliding on the breeze with ease. My first steps were wobbly, but this program promises me that the sunlight is there and it is okay to come out of the shade and be whom I really am. I have something to offer the world. We all do. It is up to us to find it in our deepest heart’s desire.

One day at a time…


I can take one small step to match my insides to my outsides.

~ Lanaya 
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ELDER'S MEDITATION OF THE DAY #essentialsofrecovery


“Life, the circle, a measurement with no beginning and no end.”

~ Phillip Deere, MUSKOGEE-CREEK ~

The circle teaches us how the Creator made things and how to live. It teaches us how we should look at creation. Life travels in a circle. In the East is the baby, to the South is the youth, in the West is the adult and in the North is the Elder. Then we return to the Earth Mother to start the cycle again. We observe what is `around us’ from the center of the circle. This develops our point of view. We must be careful not to become self-centered.

Great Spirit, let me observe life from the circle’s point of view. 
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery


As I grow older I feel so much freer to be me.
This is a real blessing that I never anticipated.

~ Marie Gubbels 

Many of us didn’t know who we were when we first got into recovery. We may have mimicked other people’s actions and beliefs with no forethought, only with the desire to fit in. One of our worst fears was that we didn’t belong. Trying to look like, act like, and think like other women— these actions made us feel safe, inconspicuous. That we were trapped by our fear never dawned on us.

Doing an inventory, as suggested by the program, helps us know who we honestly are. We can see our personal traits; we can evaluate what we want to do about qualities that cause us grief. And we can feel gratitude about others. But, most important, we can see who we actually are, not who we tried to be for years. The program makes this possible. And the reward will be a peacefulness more gratifying than any we have ever known.

No longer do we need to try someone else’s behavior on for size. What fits us, fits only us. And that is good.

Being myself today means not watching others for clues about what to think or say. I will listen to my inner voice and with her help be true to me.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery


We find in life exactly what we are looking for. In your drinking days you courted trouble constantly and you probably found more than your share of it.

Today we are looking for a better way of life and this, too, we find at every turn.

We get what we want if we put forth sufficient effort to look for it, if we have the ability to recognize it when we see it, and the tenacity to hold on to it when once we grasp it.

Published by Hazelden 
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Daily Tao / 333 – Donkey #essentialsofrecovery

Dismount your donkey at the summit.


Some places in this world are very hard to climb, and people use animals. Each person can only ride one, and each animal might have a different name. The riders go up the trail in different orders, and they discuss their varying opinions about their experiences. They may even have conflicting opinions : One traveler may think the trip thrilling, another may find it terrifying, and a third may find it banal.

At the summit all the travelers stand in the same place. Each of them has the same chance to view the same vistas. The donkeys are put to rest and graze; they are not needed anymore.

We all travel the path of Tao. The donkeys are the various doctrines that each of us embraces. What does it matter which doctrine we embrace as long as it leads us to the summit? Your donkey might be a Zen donkey, mine might be a Tao donkey. There are Christian, Islamic, Jewish, and even Agnostic donkeys. All lead to the same place. Why poke fun at others over the name of their donkey? Aren’t you riding one yourself?

We should put aside both the donkeys and our interim experiences once we arrive at the summit. Whether we climbed in suffering or joy is immaterial; we are there. All religions have different names for the ways of getting to the holy summit. Once we reach the summit, we no longer need names, and we can experience all things directly.
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

Do not go after the past,
Nor lose yourself in the future.
For the past no longer exists,
And the future is not yet here.
By looking deeply at things just as they are,
In this moment, here and now,
The seeker lives calmly and freely.
You should be attentive today,
For waiting until tomorrow is too late.
Death can come and take us by surprise--
How can we gainsay it?
The one who knows
How to live attentively
Night and day
Is the one who knows
The best way to be independent.

-Bhaddekaratta Sutra

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Monday, 28 November 2016

Gene D. Talks About Chapter 5 #essentialsofrecovery




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AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery



FOOL’S GOLD

In mining country one comes across a valueless substance that is so like gold ore that inexperienced people cannot always tell the difference. This is called Fool’s Gold, and many a young prospector has wasted much time and hard work before discovering that he has been deceived by the spurious article. Old timers used to say to the tenderfoot: “When you think you have found gold you probably have not; but when you do find it, you will know it for certain.”

So it is with the prospectors on the mountain range that we call life. There are many kinds of fools’ gold to be found, but when you meet the genuine article you will have no doubt in your mind. The true gold will give you a sense of peace and poise, a sense of freedom and power because you will no longer be in bondage to passing material things. It will set you free from much of the tyranny of time and space beliefs. The true gold is that sense of the Presence of God with us, to obtain which is the object of this life.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights . . . (James 1:17). 

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery

ATTRACTION, NOT PROMOTION

Through many painful experiences, we think we have arrived at what that policy ought to be. It is the opposite in many ways of usual promotional practice. We found that we had to rely upon the principle of attraction rather than of promotion.

~ TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 180-81 

While I was drinking I reacted with anger, self-pity and defiance against anyone who wanted to change me. All I wanted then was to be accepted by another human simply as I was and, curiously, that is what I found in A.A. I became the custodian of this concept of attraction, which is the principle of our Fellowship’s public relations. It is by attraction that I can best reach the alcoholic who still suffers.

I thank God for having given me the attraction of a well-planned and established program of Steps and Traditions. Through humility and the support of my fellow sober members, I have been able to practice the A.A. way of life through attraction, not promotion.

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



Being Ourselves

“To be truly humble is to accept and honestly try to be ourselves.”

~ Basic Text pg. 35 ~

Humility is a puzzling concept. We know a lot about humiliation, but humility is a new idea. It sounds suspiciously like groveling, bowing, and scraping. But that’s not what humility is at all. True humility is, simply, acceptance of who we are.

By the time we reach a step that uses the word “humbly;” we have already started to put this principle into practice. The Fourth Step gives us an opportunity to examine who we really are, and the Fifth Step helps us accept that knowledge.

The practice of humility involves accepting our true nature, honestly being ourselves. We don’t have to grovel or abase ourselves, nor must we try to appear smarter, wealthier, or happier than we really are. Humility simply means we drop all pretense and live as honestly as we can.

Just for today: I will allow knowledge of my true nature to guide my actions. Today, I will face the world as myself.

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


A.A. Thought for the Day

The A. A. way is the way of sobriety, and yet there are slips. Why do these slips occur? Why don’t we all accept A.A. and stay sober from then on? There are many reasons, but it has been proved without exception that once we have become alcoholics we can never drink successfully again. This has never been disproved by any case we know of. Many alcoholics have tried drinking after a period of sobriety from a few days to a few years and no one that we know of has been successful in becoming a normal drinker. Could I be the only exception to this rule?

Meditation for the Day

“We are gathered together in Thy name.” First, we are gathered together, bound by a common loyalty to God and to each other. Then, when this condition has been fulfilled, God is present with us. Then, when God is there and one with us, we voice a common prayer. Then it follows that our prayer will be answered according to God’s will. Then, when our prayer is answered, we are bound together in a lasting fellowship of the spirit.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may be loyal to God and to others. I pray that my life today may be lived close to His and to theirs.

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



~ Page 332 ~

I Am Responsible . . .

When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help,
I want the hand of A.A. always to be there.
And for that: I am responsible.

~ DECLARATION OF 30TH ANNIVERSARY INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION, 1965 ~

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

DEAR FRIENDS:

Since 1938, the greatest part of my A.A. life has been spent in helping to create, design, manage, and insure the solvency and effectiveness of A.A.’s world services — the office of which has enabled our Fellowship to function all over the globe, and as a unified whole.

It is no exaggeration to say that, under their trustees, these all important services have accounted for much of our present size and over-all effectiveness.

The A.A. General Service Office is by far the largest single carrier of the A.A. message. It has well related A.A. to the troubled world in which we live. It has fostered the spread of our Fellowship everywhere. A.A. World Services, Inc., stands ready to serve the special needs of any group or isolated individual, no matter the distance or language. Its many years of accumulated experience are available to us all.

The members of our trusteeship — the General Service Board of A.A. — will, in the future, be our primary leaders in all of our world affairs. This high responsibility has long since been delegated to them; they are the successors in world service to Dr. Bob and to me, and they are directly accountable to A.A. as a whole.

This is the legacy of world-service responsibility that we vanishing oldtimers are leaving to you, the A.A.’s of today and tomorrow. We know that you will guard, support, and cherish this world legacy as the greatest collective responsibility that A.A. has or ever can have.

Yours in trust, and in affection,

Bill

~ Bill W. died on January 24, 1971 ~

© 1967 by Alcoholics Anonymous ® World Services, Inc 
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TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY #essentialsofrecovery

A.A. Thought for the Day

The A. A. way is the way of sobriety. A. A. is known everywhere as a method that has been successful with alcoholics. Doctors, psychiatrists, and the clergy have had some success. Some men and women have gotten sober all by themselves. We believe that A.A. is the most successful and happiest way to sobriety. And yet A.A. is, of course, not wholly successful. Some are unable to achieve sobriety and some slip back into alcoholism after they have had some measure of sobriety. Am I deeply grateful to have found A. A.?

Meditation for the Day

Gratitude to God is the theme of Thanksgiving Day. The pilgrims gathered to give thanks to God for their harvest which was pitifully small. When we look around at all the things we have today, how can we help being grateful to God? Our families, our homes, our friends, our A.A. fellowship: all these things are free gifts of God to us. “But for the grace of God,” we would not have them.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may be very grateful today. I pray that I may not forget where I might be but for the grace of God.

© 1954, 1975, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation 
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WALK IN DRY PLACES #essentialsofrecovery



SPACES IN TOGETHERNESS

Friendship

One of the beautiful aspects of AA is the bonding that develops among members. We truly do achieve a closeness with some people that is unlike anything we ever had before.

The danger in such friendships is that we may become too close in some ways. Without realizing it, we may be making too many demands on others’ time. This can become suffocating to them and eventually detrimental to the friendship.

In such situations, we need to remember the words of Kahlil Gibran: “Let there be spaces in your togetherness.” However close we feel to others, we must allow them their space.

We should also remember to respect others* privacy as well as their anonymity. AA should give us close friendships, but not to the point of suffocation.

I’ll remember today not to overstep my boundaries in any friendship. There must be spaces in our togetherness.

© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation 
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery

The purpose of freedom is to create it for others.

~ Bernard Malamud 

Sobriety is freedom. With this freedom, we have a responsibility to help other addicts who still suffer. The program tells us this in Step Twelve. We do this by telling our stories and offering hope.

We must be ready to care, to give ourselves. This is what spirituality is about. When we help others, we prepare the road for those who enter the program after us.

Tradition Five of the Twelve Traditions says, “Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” It means we get better by helping others.

Prayer for the Day:

Higher Power, help me create more freedom. Bring me to where I’m needed. Help me carry the message well.

Action for the Day:

Today, I’ll think of ways I can help the addict who still suffers. Then I’ll chose one way I can be of help. I’ll talk with my sponsor about it, and I’ll follow through with my plan.

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


“CERTAINTY

“The certainties of one age are the problems of the next.”

~ R. H. Tawney ~

At times, I was a religious bigot. I did not know, but now I see how closed and narrow my thinking was. I craved certainty because I felt it would give me security and happiness—but it never did. I argued dogmas I did not believe; such is the plight of the unhappy hypocrite!

Today I live only in the certainty of the moment. I know what worked for me yesterday will work for me today if I am open to love, truth, honesty, and change. Change is not necessarily difference if I see it as part of a process rather than as an isolated event. The one thing of which I can be certain is change. The God of truth is revealed in change; my acceptance of this fact is spirituality in action.

May I grow in the spiritual life by my desire to change and be tolerant. 

© 2008 Leo Booth 
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection for the Day

Our faith in God’s power—at work in us and in our lives—doesn’t relieve us of responsibility. Instead, our faith strengthens our efforts, makes us confident and assured, and enables us to act decisively and wisely. We’re no longer afraid to make decisions; we’re not afraid to take the steps that seem called for in the proper handling of given situations. Do I believe that God is at work beyond my human efforts, and that my faith and trust in Him will bring forth results far exceeding my expectations?

Today I Pray

May my trust in my Higher Power never falter. May my faith in that Power continue to shore up my optimism, my confidence, my belief in my own decision making. May I never shut my eyes to the wonder of God’s work or discount the wisdom of His solutions.

Today I Will Remember

Our hope in ages past, our help for years to come. 

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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EASY DOES IT #essentialsofrecovery


SAYING “NO”

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

~ William James ~

One of our common goals in recovery is balance, a feeling of being centered. If we lean too far in one direction, we lose our balance and fall over. We can’t please everyone. We can’t be everything to everybody. There is a balance the Program teaches us between selfishness and selflessness.

We need to be careful to organize our time and set priorities. We can’t sponsor everyone, be at every meeting, or volunteer for every service opportunity. Recovery is not a race to see who can do the most. Easy Does It. We need to learn and practice what are called “refusal skills.” We need to learn when to say no. We have the right to refuse requests, to slow down and take time out, to take care of ourselves.

I let myself get too stressed out when I’m not careful in scheduling my time.

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


~ GOODNESS 

Above all, let us never forget that an act of goodness is in itself an act of happiness.

~ Count Maurice Maeterlinck 

While in the disease, most of the goodness I tried to do was for ulterior motives. It was only in recovery that I learned to give unselfishly and without strings to help another. In doing so, I have found happiness beyond measure. I can create my own happiness in the service of my Higher Power and other compulsive overeaters. I can make the promise of a “new happiness and a new freedom” come true.

One Day at a Time . . .

I will do acts of goodness.

~ Judy N.  
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ELDER'S MEDITATION OF THE DAY #essentialsofrecovery


“People say that crisis changes people and turns ordinary people into wiser or more responsible ones.”

~ Wilma Mankiller, CHEROKEE 

There is a saying, conflict precedes clarity. The Medicine Wheel teachings say, in order for something to change it must first go through a struggle. When a crisis enters our lives, other powers are there to help us. We will learn some lessons. Will I honor and respect the next crisis?

Great Spirit, if a crisis occurs today, let me learn the lessons of wisdom.
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery




God’s will never takes me where his grace will not sustain me.

~ Ruth Humlecker 

Letting go of our own will in favor of fulfilling God’s is certainly in our best interests. However, it is not always easy to do. We often cling tenaciously to a dream gone sour or a relationship long since dead because of our fear of the unknown. Although a good lesson comes from our past lives—we clearly see that God’s plan would have been better for us than our own—perhaps the best lesson comes from our recovering lives today. We didn’t get here all by ourselves, and God didn’t help us find this program only to abandon us. We are in God’s care now and always.

Believing that we will survive every experience, no matter how inadequate or frightened we feel, will come as we develop trust. Acting as if we believe that God is in charge will carry us until the belief becomes solid faith. And it will. We have been promised that. God’s grace will see to it.

I will trust my life to God today. Again and again I will turn my life over and believe that all is well.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery

Knowledge is of great value and nothing of value is acquired without price. Wisdom is even more to be desired than knowledge, which can be but an accumulation of facts. Humility is greater than wisdom for there is no real wisdom without humility. The wise are humbled by the knowledge of the limitations of their knowledge.

No man is born with these characteristics, they are born of the vicissitudes of life. Sorrow, despair, and failure are their breeding grounds.

Published by Hazelden
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Daily Tao / 332 – Dovetail #essentialsofrecovery

“Measure twice, cut once,” said the old craftsman.
Only careful planning and patient skill make a dovetail.



Early cabinetmakers were faced with the problem of joining two pieces of wood together at a right angle so that they would bear the stress not only of use but of the weather as well. Especially in places where the summers are hot and humid and the winters are dry and cold, a plank of wood might change its dimensions by a quarter- to a half-inch. Quite enough to make joints fall apart and drawers stick!

The dovetail joint holds because the two interlocked pieces of wood expand and contract at the same rate. The direction of the pull is against the locking of the joint. The byproduct of all this fine craft is a joint so precisely fitted that it is a thing of beauty in and of itself.

Cutting a dovetail joint is a demanding skill. The lines must be laid out with great care, and the cutting must be carefully done using a thin saw. The waste must be slowly trimmed away with a sharp chisel until both sides mate tightly. The making of a dovetail joint requires planning, skill, and patience.

Nowadays, cheap synthetic materials do not breathe with the seasons. That might reduce inconvenience, but it has also reduced the chance for another relationship to Tao. For when the cabinetmakers sought to build furniture that was compatible with the wood, the seasons, and their own ingenuity, they were perfectly in tune with Tao.

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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

As human beings we have good qualities as well as bad ones. Now, anger, attachment, jealousy, hatred, are the bad side; these are the real enemy… The true troublemaker is inside.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Terry F. New York Talks About Service #essentialsofrecovery




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Random Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous #essentialsofrecovery

God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. ~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, A Vision For You, pg. 164

AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery


HAVE YOU A DINOSAUR’S EGG?

In a certain museum in New York there are a couple of dinosaur’s eggs on view. This exhibit appeals to the imagination. Visitors say, “Those eggs were laid millions of years ago, and here they are today untouched!” These people are apt to overlook the fact that for the dinosaur in question they represent complete failure. After all the trouble of laying those eggs nothing ever came of them.

It is surprising how many otherwise intelligent men and women waste the best days of their lives laying dinosaur’s eggs that never hatch out. Either through lack of energy, or lack of intelligent planning, or failure to make God a partner, or more often sheer muddle-headedness, they lay an excellent egg and then stroll away and forget it. Do not start a plan unless you really think it is worthwhile, and if you are convinced that it is worthwhile, do not rest until you have brought it to fruition.

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). 

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery

THE PERILS OF THE LIMELIGHT

In the beginning, the press could not understand our
refusal of all personal publicity. They were genuinely
baffled by our insistence upon anonymity. Then they got
the point. Here was something rare in the world — a
society which said it wished to publicize its principles
and its work, but not its individual members. The press
was delighted with this attitude. Ever since, these
friends have reported A.A. with an enthusiasm which the
most ardent members would find hard to match.

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 182


It is essential for my personal survival and that of the
Fellowship that I not use A.A. to put myself in the
limelight. Anonymity is a way for me to work on my humility.
Since pride is one of my most dangerous shortcomings, practicing
humility is one of the best ways to overcome it. The Fellowship of A.A.
gains worldwide recognition by its various methods of publicizing its
principles and its work, not by its individual members advertising
themselves. The attraction created by my changing attitudes and my
altruism contributes much more to the welfare of A.A. than self-promotion.
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JUST FOR TODAY #essentialsofrecovery



Seeking God’s Help

“At times during our recovery, the decision to ask for God’s help is our greatest source of strength and courage.”

~ Basic Text pg. 26 

When we take the Third Step, we decide to allow a loving Higher Power to guide us and care for us in our daily lives. We make the decision to allow this guidance and care into our lives. Some of us believe that, once we’ve made the Third Step decision, God leads us; from that point on, it’s just a matter of paying attention to where we are led.

The Third Step decision is an act of faith, and asking for God’s help is a way of renewing that act of faith. Putting faith to work in our daily lives gives us all the courage and strength we need, because we know we have the help of a loving Higher Power. We trust that our needs will be met. We can tap into that faith and trust just by asking.

Just for today: I will remind myself that I’m not alone by asking my Higher Power for help each step of the way.

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

A.A. Thought for the Day

The way of A.A. is the way of sobriety, fellowship, service, and faith. Let us take up each one of these things and see if our feet are truly on the way. The first and greatest to us is sobriety. The others are built on sobriety as a foundation. We could not have the others if we did not have sobriety. We all come to A.A. to get sober, and we stay to help others get sober. We are looking for sobriety first, last, and all the time. We cannot build any decent kind of a life unless we stay sober. Am I on the A.A. way?

Meditation for the Day


To truly desire to do God’s will, therein lies happiness for a human being. We start out wanting our own way. We want our wills to be satisfied. We take and we do not give. Gradually we find that we are not happy when we are selfish, so we begin to make allowances for other people’s wills. But this again does not give us full happiness, and we begin to see that the only way to be truly happy is to try to do God’s will. In these times of meditation, we seek to get guidance so that we can find God’s will for us.

Prayer for the Day


I pray that I may subordinate my will to the will of God. I pray that I may be guided today to find His will for me.

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


Page 331 

The Great Fact

We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order.

But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the great fact for us.

To the Newcomer:

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the fellowship of the spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the road of happy destiny.

May God bless you and keep you — until then.

~ ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, P. 164 ~

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


NOBODY OD’S ON AA

Balance Do people really need daily AA meetings, perhaps even two or three a day? Frequent meeting attendance is usually considered beneficial in AA, but non-members may frown on the practice, especially if a person is neglecting other responsibilities in the meantime.

One thing to remember is that nobody can really “OD” on AA. The worst that can happen from attending so many meetings would be eventual boredom from too much of the same thing. But no harm can come from too much of what is essentially a good practice.

If a person is attending lots of meetings, this schedule may eventually be cut back to allow time for other activities. It’s better, especially in early recovery, to attend too many meetings than too few. We also have to let each person decide how many meetings are required at any stage in his or her recovery.

I know that everyone needs a balanced life, but that cannot happen without secure recovery. Meetings are my best way of staying active in the fellowship.

© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation 
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery

Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by day, in all the thousand, small, uncaring ways.

~ Stephen V. Benet 

Our Twelve Step program promises us a new way of life. But most of us won’t just wake up one day with a new attitude. We only gain this new way of life if we get involved.

The Twelve Step are tools to build a new life. The more we use a tool, the easier it is to use. The same goes for the Twelve Steps, just as carpenters depend on their tools. If we only wait for the new way of life, it’ll never come. The quicker we get involved, the quicker we’ll get fixed.

Prayer for the Day:

Higher Power, help me get involved. Help me build a new way of life.

Action for the Day:

Today, I’ll look for ways to use the Twelve Steps. If I have a problem, I’ll first stop and think of how the Twelve Steps can help me solve it.

Copyright © 1988 by Hazelden Foundation
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