Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Ellen C. Family Recovery Speaker #essentialsofrecovery



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AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery



FLEE DESOLATION

The moment you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, you should reject it instantly. Do not stop to say “goodbye” to the error but immediately switch your attention to the Presence of God. Indeed, we may say that when error presents itself to consciousness, the first five seconds are golden.

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Then let him which is in Judea flee into the mountains;

Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house;

Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes (Matthew 24:15-18).

Jesus teaches this lesson in his own graphic way. The holy place is your consciousness, and the abomination of desolation is any negative thought, because a negative thought means a belief in the absence of God at the point concerned.

It is impossible to forget this illustration once we have taken it in.

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery


WHAT? NO PRESIDENT?

When told that our Society has no president having authority to govern it, no treasurer who can compel the payment of any dues, . . . our friends gasp and exclaim, “This simply can’t be. . . .”

~ TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 132 

When I finally made my way to A.A., I could not believe that there was no treasurer to “compel the payment of dues.” I could not imagine an organization that didn’t require monetary contributions in return for a service. It was my first and, thus far, only experience with getting “something for nothing.” Because I did not feel used or conned by those in A.A., I was able to approach the program free from bias and with an open mind. They wanted nothing from me. What could I lose? I thank God for the wisdom of the early founders who knew so well the alcoholic’s disdain for being manipulated.

Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc

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JUST FOR TODAY #essentialsofrecovery



The Greatest Gift


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

~ Basic Text, p. 93 ~


When we begin coming to meetings, we hear other addicts talking about the gifts they have received as a result of this program, things we never thought of as “gifts” before. One such “gift” is the renewed ability to feel the emotions we had deadened for so long with drugs. It’s not difficult to think of love, joy, and happiness as gifts, even if it’s been a long time since we’ve felt them. But what about “bad” feelings like anger, sadness, fear, and loneliness? Such emotions can’t be seen as gifts, we tell ourselves. After all, how can we be thankful for things we want to run from?


We can become grateful for these emotions in our lives if we place them in their proper perspective. We need to remember that we’ve come to believe in a loving Higher Power, and we’ve asked that Power to care for us – and our Higher Power doesn’t make mistakes. The feelings we’re given, “good” or “bad;” are given to us for a reason. With this in mind, we come to realize that there are no “bad” feelings, only lessons to be learned. Our faith and our Higher Power’s care give us the courage we need to face whatever feelings may come up on a daily basis.

As we heard early in recovery, “Your Higher Power won’t give you more than you can handle in just one day.” And the ability to feel our emotions is one of the greatest gifts of recovery.

Just for today: I will try to welcome my feelings, firm in the belief that I have the courage to face whatever emotions may come up in my life.


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



A.A. Thought for the Day

We should be free from alcohol for good. It’s out of our hands and in the hands of God, so we don’t need to worry about it or even think about it anymore. But if we haven’t done this honestly and fully, the chances are that it will become our problem again. Since we don’t trust God to take care of the problem for us, we reach out and take the problem back to ourselves. Then it’s our problem again and we’re in the same old mess we were in before. We’re helpless again and we drink. Do I trust God to take care of the problem for me?

Meditation for the Day

No work is of value without preparation. Every spiritual work must have behind it much spiritual preparation. Cut short times of prayer and times of spiritual preparation and many hours of work may be profitless. From the point of view of God, one poor tool working all the time, but doing bad work because of lack of preparation, is of small value compared with the sharp, keen, perfect instrument working for only a short time, but that turns out perfect work because of long hours of spiritual preparation.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may spend more time alone with God. I pray that I may get more strength and joy from such times, so that they will add much to my work.

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



~ Page 59 ~

Conviction and Compromise

One qualification for a useful life is give-and-take, the ability to compromise cheerfully. Compromise comes hard to us “all or nothing” drunks. Nevertheless, we must never lose sight of the fact that progress is nearly always characterized by a series of improving compromises.

Of course, we cannot always compromise. There are circumstances in which it is necessary to stick flat-footed to one’s convictions until the issue is resolved. Deciding when to compromise and when not to compromise always calls for the most careful discrimination.

~ TWELVE CONCEPTS, PP. 42-43 ~

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


SEEKING EXCITEMENT

Seeking Serenity

“I haven’t found anything to replace the excitement I felt while drinking,” a member complained. “Sure, I’m grateful to be sober. But sometimes it’s so darned boring!”

Let’s talk about that need for excitement, or “high.” For many of us, it was an important part of our drinking. At times, our drinking was exciting—it came with celebrations, graduations, marriage receptions, engagements, and just about anything else out of the ordinary. Along with it, we wanted other excitement: exciting love affairs, exciting experiences, exciting stories.

For us, however, excitement always ended with a crash, often a terrible one. Waking up after an exciting binge was a horrible moment. It stretched out to become more horrible. It never seemed to have a happy ending.

We can take this addiction to excitement in hand by recognizing it as a component of our alcoholism. We’ll still be able to be excited at times, but it must be a type of excitement that brings neither crash nor hangover.

I will not let boredom push me into actions that I know will be destructive in the long run. I do not want thrills at the expense of my self-respect and sense of well-being.

© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation 
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery


Leave yourself alone.

~ Jenny Janacek ~

We often pick on ourselves. We put our-selves down. But doing this isn’t part of our recovery. In fact, it goes against our program. Our program is based on loving care. We have turned our lives over to a caring, loving Higher Power who will give us the answers.

We are told Easy Does It. We back off. As recovering addicts, we learn not to judge. Instead, we learn to be kind to ourselves. Our job is not to figure out the world, but to add more love to it. Let’s start with ourselves.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, stop me from judging. Help me know what You want me to do. Help me work Steps Two and Three.

Action for the Day

Today, I’ll leave myself alone. I will remember that picking on myself is another form of control.

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



PERFECTION

“God, the Good, is the basic power you express.”

~ Robert Bitzer ~

It is so easy for me to focus on the failings of others and miss my own. My attraction to gossip allows me to criticize other people while keeping the attention away from me. Sometimes I feel good by exposing the weaknesses of others.

This attitude needs to be changed if I am to fully enjoy the fruits of sobriety. I do not need to be drinking to behave like a drunk; gossip and character assassination are reminiscent of my past addictive behavior. I do not need the side of me that seeks to destroy the character of others. With my spiritual program, I am seeking to change.

May I grow in forgiveness and acceptance of others. 

© 2008 Leo Booth 
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery



Reflection for the Day

We’re taught in the Program and the Twelve Steps that the chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear—mainly fear that we would lose something we already possessed or that we would fail to get something we demanded. Living on the basis of unsatisfied demands, we obviously were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration. Therefore, we are taught, no peace will be ours unless we find a means of producing these demands. Have I become entirely ready to have God remove all my defects of character?

Today I Pray

May I make no unrealistic demands on life, which, because of their grandiosity, cannot be met. May I place no excessive demands on others which, when they are not fulfilled, leave me disappointed and let down.

Today I Will Remember

The setup for a let-down.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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EASY DOES IT #essentialsofrecovery

SPONSORSHIP

Sponsors: Have one, use one, be one.

~ Anonymous ~

Before we were in the Program very long, it was suggested we find a sponsor. We found an individual who had the kind of recovery we wanted. The purpose of finding a sponsor was to have someone who would guide us through the 12 Steps and help us apply the Steps to problems we encountered.

Sponsorship is one of the important ways of carrying the message. Sponsors share their experience of working the Program freely. They do not nag or manage our lives. At times, sponsors may appear to be very strict, but they’re only trying to pass on their knowledge. They have a deep concern about our recovery.

The first thing my sponsor said to me was, “Get a check-up from the neck up.” I followed the advice. I am grateful for all the help my sponsor has given me.

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

RECOVERY

The people who get on in the world are the people
who get up and look for the circumstances they want.

~ George Bernard Shaw ~

There was a time, not so long ago, that my life was much different than it is right now. My weight was skyrocketing because my eating compulsion was out of control. I couldn’t walk very far without huffing and puffing. My lower back hurt because my stomach pulled my spine out of alignment. My feet and ankles were swollen, my knees hurt, just standing was painful. I was hot all the time because my fat acted as insulation, keeping my body temperature high. My wife was hounding me about losing the weight, my doctor was taking her side, and even the kids at my son’s daycare were asking me why I was so big.

I didn’t start the recovery process (and it IS a process!) until I got to the point where I was so uncomfortable with myself that I had to do something. It wasn’t just that I was physically uncomfortable. I had to get past the comfort zone I had mentally and emotionally set up for myself; I had to get uncomfortable. I had to jump into the unknown, which was the most frightening thing I’d ever done.

Sitting around, moaning about my circumstances and suffering the physical consequences of my weight, didn’t get me anywhere. It was only when I became ready to see my life change, mentally, emotionally AND physically, that I began the footwork of this Program. That was the key to the beginning of my recovery, the getting up and actually doing something about it. When I took that first Step, the miracle began.

One Day at a Time . . .

I will take the necessary steps to maintain my
recovery from compulsive eating.

~ JAR  
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ELDER'S MEDITATION OF THE DAY #essentialsofrecovery



Sacred sites and areas are protection for all people the four colors for mana and these sites are in all areas of the earth in the four directions.

~ Traditional Circle of Elders, NORTHERN CHEYENNE ~

The Elders say that values come from the Mother Earth. Different places and areas around the Earth have different values. The Water people live in harmony and know the values that correspond to that particular part of the Earth. The Desert people know the values of the desert and respect and live in harmony with that part of the Earth. The Woodland people know the values of their part of the Earth and live in harmony. If you live in harmony with the Earth, you will live a life that is full of values. We should have great respect for the Mother Earth.

Grandfather, today, let me learn values from Mother Earth.
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ELDER'S MEDITATION OF THE DAY #essentialsofrecovery



“Ultimately, nature will do the teaching.”

~ Tom Porter, MOHAWK ~

There are things man has control over, and there are things man does not have control over. No matter how smart we get, whether it be in technology or science, there are things we will never control. The Great Spirit carefully protected and hid the control over certain things in the Unseen World. There are forces in the Unseen World that make sure humans don’t mess things up. The bottom line is, no matter what we do, nature will have the last say. Nature is the teacher, we are the students. May we honor and respect our teacher.

Great Spirit, today, help me to live in harmony with people, principles, and life. 
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery


Faith and love solve many things.

~ Phyllis Elliott ~

Most of the situations we encounter need not become sticky; problems develop, however, when we insist that outcomes meet our specifications. It’s far too easy for us to forget to let God be in charge of every situation and outcome. Luckily, we have friends and sponsors who offer frequent reminders.

Having faith takes painstaking effort for most of us. Yet we will feel so much better every time we back away from a situation and let God take over; we realize that God has a better solution than the one we were proposing.

Learning to love not only others but also ourselves takes practice similar to the effort we put into developing faith. Love softens the harsh edges of conflict, and when we act from a vision of love, we see every event in our lives more positively. Choosing love as a way of life eliminates most of the conflict that undermines our well-being. Having faith that God is in charge takes care of the rest.

Having faith and feeling love are my assignments today. God can help me do both. Each person I encounter will give me an opportunity to rely on God’s help.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery



Many of us would have been ready to do something about our drinking problem years before we did, except for the obstinate determination not to allow the wife, mother or boss to tell us what to do.

Published by Hazelden 
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DAILY TAO / 59 - Source #essentialsofrecovery

Wellspring of energy
Rises in the body’s core
Tap it and be sustained.
Channel it, and it will speak.

The source of all power is within yourself. Although external circumstances may occasionally hamper you, true movement comes solely from within yourself. The source is latent in everyone, but anyone can learn to tap it. When this happens, power rises like a shimmering well through the center of your body.

Physically, it will sustain and nourish you. But it can do many other things as well. It can give you gifts ranging from unusual knowledge to simple tranquility. It all depends on how you choose to direct your energies.

We cannot say that a person will become enlightened solely by virtue of having tapped this source of power; energy is neutral. It requires experience, wisdom, and education to direct it. You may gain power from your meditations, but it is possible for two people with the same valid attainment to use it in two different ways, even to the extremes of good and evil. Finding the source of spiritual power is a great joy; deciding how to direct it is the greatest of responsibilities. 
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery



In the still night by the vacant window,

Wrapped in monk’s robe I sit in meditation.

Navel and nostrils lines up straight;

Ears paired to the slope of the shoulders.

Window whitens – the moon comes up;

Rain’s stopped, but drops go on dripping.

Wonderful – the moon of this moment,

Distant, vast.

- Ryokan (1758–1831)
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Monday, 27 February 2017

Daily TAO – Disengagement #essentialsofrecovery


Wearily I open my prayer book,
Sepia photograph of sage on amber page,
Flaming raven Sanskrit, strange syllables,
Intone, chant, repeat.
Number vows with beads:
Every resolution is inspiration petrified.


There are some days when one is disengaged from Tao, not interested in devotion, and everything just becomes an empty form. Gone are spiritual bliss, deep insight, and integration with the rhythm of the universe. Instead, there is duty, form, and stiff discipline. One can try to remember the reasons for one’s quest, think of the achievements of the past, reaffirm one’s goals, and still not be inspired to do one’s practice. What do you do?

Every once in a while, it is permissible to skip things for a day. If you are angry, under great stress, or ill, then it is best simply to rest. But if one has made vows, if it is only a matter of laziness or indifference, then you must exert your discipline and practice even if it means that you are just going through the motions. In at least half the cases, something significant will happen. The rest of the time, going through your forms is in itself a good practice. It builds a tremendous momentum that will manifest itself in later times.
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RANDOM BIG BOOK ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

Cessation of drinking is but the first step away from a highly strained, abnormal condition. ~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, The Family Afterward, pg. 122

How to Cope with a Child's Alcoholism #essentialsofrecovery

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Around the Year With Emmet Fox #essentialsofrecovery

.be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind... (Romans 12:2).

This is Paul's admonition.

Many people understand this in principle, but they fail to demonstrate because they do not carry it out logically in practice. During prayer, they carefully build up the new mental structure, but as soon as their time of prayer is over, in stead of faithfully preserving that structure intact they promptly knock it down again by negative thinking. Obviously, a bricklayer could work hard in this fashion year after year without ever accomplishing anything.


If you are failing to demonstrate, it is probably due to the same cause - building followed by wrecking. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery


A UNIQUE STABILITY

Where does A.A. get its direction? . . . These practical
folk then read Tradition Two, and learn that the sole
authority in A.A. is a loving God as He may express
Himself in the group conscience. . . The elder statesman
is the one who sees the wisdom of the group’s decision,
who holds no resentment over his reduced status, whose
judgment, fortified by considerable experience, is
sound, and who is willing to sit quietly on the sidelines
patiently awaiting developments.

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 132, 135

Into the fabric of recovery from alcoholism are woven
the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions. As my
recovery progressed, I realized that the new mantle was
tailor made for me. The elders of the group gently
offered suggestions when change seemed impossible.
Everyone’s shared experiences became the substance for
treasured friendships. I know that the Fellowship is
ready and equipped to aid each suffering alcoholic at
all crossroads in life. In a world beset by many
problems, I find this assurance a unique stability.
I cherish the gift of sobriety. I offer my gratitude
for the strength I receive in a Fellowship that truly
exists for the good of all members. 
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Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery


“Pure Motives”

“We examine our actions, reactions, and motives. We often find that we’ve been doing better than we’ve been feeling.”

Basic Text, p. 42

Imagine a daily meditation book with this kind of message: “When you wake up in the morning, before you rise from your bed, take a moment for reflection. Lie back, gather your thoughts, and consider your plans for the day. One by one, review the motives behind those plans. If your motives are not entirely pure, roll over and go back to sleep.” Nonsense, isn’t it?

No matter how long we’ve been clean, almost all of us have mixed motives behind almost everything we do. However, that’s no reason to put our lives on hold. We don’t have to wait for our motives to become perfectly pure before we can start living our recovery.

As the program works its way into our lives, we begin acting less frequently on our more questionable motives. We regularly examine ourselves, and we talk with our sponsor about what we find. We pray for knowledge of our Higher Power’s will for us, and we seek the power to act on the knowledge we’re given. The result? We don’t get perfect, but we do get better.

We’ve begun working a spiritual program. We won’t ever become spiritual giants. But if we look at ourselves realistically, we’ll probably realize that we’ve been doing better than we’ve been feeling.

Just for today: I will examine myself realistically. I will seek the power to act on my best motives, and not to act on my worst. 
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery

A.A. Thought For The Day

When we first came into A.A., the first thing we did was
to admit that we couldn’t do anything about our drinking.
We admitted that alcohol had us licked and that we were
helpless against it. We never could decide whether or not
to take a drink. We always took the drink. And since we
couldn’t do anything about it ourselves, we put our whole
drink problem into the hands of God. We turned the whole
thing over to that Power greater than ourselves. And we
have nothing more to do about it, except to trust God to
take care of the problem for us. Have I done this honestly
and fully?

Meditation For The Day

This is the time for my spirit to touch the spirit of God.
I know that the feeling of the spirit-touch is more
important than all the sensations of material things. I
must seek a silence of spirit-touching with God. Just a
moment’s contact and all the fever of life leaves me. Then
I am well, whole, calm and able to arise and minister to
others. God’s touch is a potent healer. I must feel that
touch and sense God’s presence.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that the fever of resentment, worry and fear may
melt into nothingness. I pray that health, joy, peace and
serenity may take its place. 
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrecovery


Righteous Indignation, p. 58

“The positive value of righteous indignation is theoretical–especially
for alcoholics. It leaves every one of us open to the rationalization
that we may be as angry as we like provided we can claim to be
righteous about it.”

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

When we harbored grudges and planned revenge for defeats, we
were really beating ourselves with the club of anger we had intended
to use on others. We learned that if we were seriously disturbed, our
very first need was to quiet that disturbance, regardless of who or
what we thought caused it.

1. Letter, 1954
2. 12 & 12, p. 47 
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrecovery



Selling myself
 Personal Relations



Thoughtful people tell us that every person has to “sell” himself or herself in daily work. As alcoholics, we can find that threatening. Uncertainty and the fear of rejection or failure put us under stress.

We can avoid this stress and tension by putting all responsibility for results in God’s hands. While it is true that we want to succeed and to be accepted, we can never be sure that our idea of success is the right one. There are times when our strong determination to succeed at all costs makes us overbearing and demanding in our approach. We may be so anxious to appear competent and knowledgeable that we overreach our selves and make stupid blunders.

God can show us how to handle each day’s affairs in an orderly, reasonable way. It is not necessary to win every argument or to make every sale. We can sell ourselves mor effectively when we go through the day calmly and take a genuine interest in the ideas and concerns of others.

I will look upon my customers and fellow workers as friends and allies. I don’t have to bludgeon every person into accepting my point of view. If I am sincerely trying to follow God’s will in all my affairs, others will sense my sincerity and will be glad to consider what I have to say.
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrecovery


Without work all life goes rotten.Albert Camus

Work is more than earning money. Work means using our time and skills to make life better for those around us. Our work can be our hobbies. Growing food or growing flowers can be our work.

Raising children or caring for older people who need help can be our work. Building homes or helping people live in them can be our work. Thanks to our program of recovery, we can do our best work again. What a change from the drugged-up and hung over days when we didn’t do anything well. We are sober, and we have something to offer.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me see that work makes me part of the human family. Help me do Your will in my work today.

Action for the Day: Good work teaches us good habits. How do the things I’ve learned in my work help me in my recovery program? I’ll list five ways.
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery



FACTS

“To treat your facts with imagination is one thing, but to
imagine your facts is another.”John Burroughs

When I was drinking, I was always confusing fantasy with reality. Lies
got mingled with the facts and the facts became exaggerated. It was
almost impossible for me to distinguish between reality and fantasy,
imagination and fact. My life was a complicated lie.

Today I have a program of “rigorous” honesty; I must be rigorous and
stop the game before it starts. I need to practice the principles of
recovery in every area of my life. The spiritual road involves a
comprehensive journey and nothing need be left out.

God, who created the mountains, help me to take responsibility for the
grit between my toes. 

@ Leo Booth 2008
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery



Reflection For The Day

If I live just one day at a time, I won’t so quickly entertain fears of what might happen tomorrow. As long as I’m concentrating on today’s activities, there won’t be room in my mind for worrying. I’ll try to fill every minute of this day with something. Then, when the day is ended, I’ll be able to look back on it with satisfaction, serenity and gratitude. Do I sometimes cherish bad feeling so that I can feel sorry for myself?

Today I Pray

That I will get out of the self-pity act and live for today. May I notice the good things from dawn to nightfall, learn to talk about them and thank God for them. May I catch myself if I seem to be relishing my moans and complaints more often than appreciating the goodness of my life.

Today I Will Remember

Today is good. 
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One Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery


FIGHTING ~

And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone …

The Big Book, page 84

When one goes through life at full speed ahead as I have done, it’s hard to really step back and look at one’s life. Everything is happening too fast and each day seems to blend into the next and, before you know it, the next segment of life seems to take over.

When I began my Twelve Step recovery program, I found myself slowing down … examining my life … observing those around me … and reflecting on my past. I began to know who I was and I didn’t like one of the things I discovered: I was a fighter. I didn’t accept people, places or things unless and until they met my expectations of what they should be. I tried to control situations that I should have walked away from. I clung to people I should have distanced myself from. I tried to manipulate things that were toxic to me, and make them un-toxic … and, in the process, did myself great harm.

When I first read those words from the AABB, “We have ceased fighting anything or anyone,” I felt it didn’t apply to me … because at that point, I hadn’t categorized myself as a fighter. It took living and working the Steps to realize that. And it took living and working the Steps to take the action necessary to stop being a fighter.

Life is calmer now. Relationships are smoother. I sometimes miss the excitement of going through like as though I were on a roller coaster … but I won’t go back there. Serenity means too much to me. Fighting is something I have put away forever.


One Day at a Time . . .

I will direct my thinking and doing to those things in my life which will contribute to a meaningful and pleasant journey.

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

“Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors, the dreams of our old men, given them in the solemn hours of night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.”

~ Chief Seattle, DWAMISH ~

Our Spiritual ways have carefully been given to chosen people. Slowly, through our past generations, through past conflicts, our Elders prayed for guidance, which the Creator provided. Then it was passed down to the next generation through culture, ceremony and oral traditions. our Indian religion has been tested and is about how we should behave and treat other people, animals and the earth. This knowledge is written in the heart of every person. We can find this knowledge by looking inside ourselves.

My Creator, today, when conflict occurs, I will look inside myself for the answers. 
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DAILY TAO / 58 – Opportunity #essentialsofrecovery

A green bird darting in the night.

Will you be able to see it?

Will you be able to catch it?

Cling to Tao like a shadow.

Move without a shadow.


Times of oppression and adversity cannot last forever. How is the transition made to new and better situations? In the midst of great difficulty, a tiny opportunity will open, if only by chance. You must be sharp enough to discern it, quick enough to catch it, and determined enough to do something with it. If you let it pass, you will be filled with regrets.

Stick to Tao like a shadow. Wherever it goes, you go. As soon as it throws something your way, catch it by sheer reflex. It is like the bird : If you try to catch it, you will miss. If you are always with it, moving at its speed, as much a part of it as its own shadow, then it is easy to seize it.

When you act, however, you in turn must have no shadow. In other words, what you do must leave no messiness, no leftover consequences, nothing that will haunt you later. That is one of the ways in which you avoid creating more bad situations for yourself : Your every movement is trace-less.
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

Trust has nothing to do with moral courage. It occurs when we have nowhere else to turn, when we reach the end of our need to control.

-Rodney Smith, "Lessons from the Dying" 
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Sunday, 26 February 2017

A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery

My children have a Higher Power, and it’s not me.

~ Carolyn White ~

We all have certain people in our lives, whether they are adults or children, who we think would fare better if they followed our will. Discovering that everyone has a Higher Power, one of the first lessons of recovery, relieves us of a heavy burden. It means we aren’t to blame for what anyone else chooses to do. Of course, we can’t take credit for their successes either.

What would make us want to assume responsibility for how others live? Surely we all have enough to do in our own lives. Perhaps our insecurity drives us to try to control others. We fear their actions won’t include consideration of us unless we interfere. Fortunately, our interference is seldom successful. If it were, our lives would be far more complicated. Crises would be far more prevalent.

I will focus on my life and my Higher Power today. Others’ actions are not my responsibility.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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JUST FOR TODAY #essentialsofrecovery

Letting Go Of The Past

“It is not where we were that counts, but where we are going.”

~ Basic Text, pg.22 ~

When we first find recovery, some of us feel shame or despair at calling ourselves “addicts.” In the early days, we may be filled with both fear and hope as we struggle to find new meaning in our lives. The past may seem inescapable and overpowering. It may be hard to think of ourselves in any way other than the way we always have.

While memories of the past can serve as reminders of what’s waiting for us if we use again, the can also keep us stuck in a nightmare of shame and fear. Though it may be difficult to let go of those memories, each day in recovery can bring us that much farther away from our active addiction. Each day, we can find more to look forward to and less to punish ourselves for.

In recovery, all doors are open to us. We have many choices. Our new life is rich and full of promise. While we cannot forget the past, we don’t have to live in it. We can move on.

Just for today: I will pack my bags and move out of my past into a present filled with hope.

© 1991 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services Inc 
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ONE DAY AT A TIME - Joe Walsh


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ANGIE D. Recovery Speaker - Sunshine of the Spirit #essentialsofrecovery



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AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery


PRIMING THE PUMP

An understanding faith is the life of prayer. It is a great mistake, however, to struggle to produce a lively faith within yourself. That can only end in failure. The thing to do is to act as though you had faith. Act out what you wish to demonstrate, and you will be expressing true faith. This is the right use of the will, scientifically understood.

Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou cast into the sea, it shall be done (Matthew 21:21).

This statement of Jesus is perhaps the most tremendous spiritual pronouncement ever made, Jesus knew the law of faith, and proved it many times. We shall move mountains when we are willing to believe we can, and then not only will mountains be moved, but the whole planet will be redeemed and re-formed according to the Pattern in the Mount.

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery



NO ORDINARY SUCCESS STORY

A.A. is no success story in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a story of suffering transmuted, under grace, into spiritual progress.

~ AS BILL SEES IT, p. 35 ~

Upon entering A.A. I listened to others talk about the reality of their drinking: loneliness, terror and pain. As I listened further, I soon heard a description of a very different kind—the reality of sobriety. It is a reality of freedom and happiness, of purpose and direction, and of serenity and peace with God, ourselves and others. By attending meetings I am reintroduced to that reality, over and over. I see it in the eyes and hear it in the voices of those around me. By working the program I find the direction and strength with which to make it mine. The joy of A.A. is that this new reality is available to me.

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



Remorse

“The Eighth Step offers a big change from a life dominated by guilt and remorse.”

~ Basic Text, p. 38 ~

Remorse was one of the feelings that kept us using. We had stumbled our way through active addiction, leaving a trail of heartbreak and devastation too painful to consider. Our remorse was often intensified by our perception that we couldn’t do anything about the damage we had caused; there was no way to make it right.

We remove some of the power of remorse when we face it squarely. We begin the Eighth Step by actually making a list of all the people we have harmed. We own our part in our painful past.

But the Eighth Step does not ask us to make right all of our mistakes, merely to become willing to make amends to all those people. As we become willing to clean up the damage we’ve caused, we acknowledge our readiness to change. We affirm the healing process of recovery.

Remorse is no longer an instrument we use to torture ourselves. Remorse has become a tool we can use to achieve self-forgiveness.

Just for today: I will use any feelings of remorse I may have as a stepping-stone to healing through the Twelve Steps.

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



A.A. Thought for the Day

When we came into A.A., we came to believe in a Power greater than ourselves. We came to believe in that Divine Principle in the universe which we call God, and to whom we can turn for help. Each morning we have a quiet time. We ask God for the power to stay sober for the next twenty-four hours. And each night we thank Him for helping us to keep sober that day. Do I believe that each man or woman I see in A.A. is a demonstration of the power of God to change a human being from a drunkard to a sober person?

Meditation for the Day

I should pray for faith as a thirsty person prays for water in a desert. Do I know what it means to feel sure that God will never fail me? Am I sure of this as I am sure that I still breathe? I should pray daily and most diligently that my faith may increase. There is nothing lacking in my life because, really, all I need is mine, only I lack the faith to know it. I am like a rich person’s child who sits in rags when all around me are stores of all I could desire.

Prayer for the Day

I pray for the realization that God has everything I need. I pray that I may know that His power is always available.

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


~ Page 57 ~

Better than Gold

As newcomers, many of us have indulged in spiritual intoxication. Like a gaunt prospector, belt drawn in over the last ounce of food, we saw our pick strike gold. Joy at our release from a lifetime of frustration knew no bounds.

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

~ ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, PP. 128-129 ~

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



THE FIX THAT NEVER WAS

Recovery

In all of the despair and defeat that went along with drinking, most of us held to the ideal of a “fantastic fix”—a drinking experience so fulfilling and complete that it would solve our problems and leave us searching no more.

Compulsive disorders, like alcoholism, seem to include this delusion. The gambler looks for the big score, the overeater seeks the total enjoyment of food, and the sex junkie searches for the perfect partner. But the search never ends, because our compulsions always drive us to seek stronger wine and greater excitement.

The only fix that will ever work has to be rooted in sobriety and right living. When we think and live properly, free from alcohol, we find a fix that really works. We find continuous satisfaction instead of soaring excitement, sound relationships with other people instead of ego-gratifying encounters, and purpose instead of drifting.

The peak experience we had been seeking is a fix that never can be. We can be truly “fixed” only by staying sober.

I will live calmly and gratefully today, forgetting the drive for excitement that was destroying me. My Higher Power knows who I am and what I should be doing.

© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation 
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery


Forewarned, forearmed; being prepared is half the victory.

~ Miguel de Cervantes 

There will be hard times in our program. There will be hard times in our life. That’s the way life is. It helps if we accept this. Then we can prepare for tough times.

We can prepare by getting a good set of habits and sticking to them. We can make it a habit to give time to our program each day.

Sticking to good habits is like having a savings account: when hard times come, we can take the “investment” we’ve made and overcome our problems.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, help me accept that there will be hard times. Help me prepare for them. With Your help, I’ll stay close to You, my friends, and the program.

Action for the Day

I’ll put something into my program “savings account” today. I’ll make that extra call. I’ll read a little longer or go to an extra meeting.

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

UNIQUENESS

“Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy, based upon excellence of performance.”

~ James Bryant Conant ~

In the past, I was so busy admiring the gifts of others that I missed my own; I was so caught up in the lives of others that I missed my own existence. One of the symptoms of my alcoholism was low self-esteem. Of course, I acted in a role of confidence. I pretended everything was okay. I wore the mask of success, but deep within I was always waiting for the world to find out I was a fake, that something was missing in my life.

In recovery, I have discovered God’s gift of spirituality. I know through my life that a uniqueness exists in the world. I have the capacity to make the day better, not only for myself but also for others.

Thank You for the specialness of my life. 

© 2008 Leo Booth 
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery



Reflection for the Day

“What if…” How often we hear these words from newcomers to the Program. How often, in fact, we tend to say them ourselves. “What if I lose my job?” “What if my car breaks down?” “What if I get sick and can’t work?” “What if my child gets hooked on drugs?” What if—anything our desperate imaginings can project. Only two small words, yet how heavy-laden they are with dread, fear, and anxiety. The answer to “What if…” is, plainly and simply, “Don’t panic.” We can only live with our problems as they arise, living one day at a time. Am I keeping my thoughts positive?

Today I Pray

May I grow spiritually, without being held back by anxieties. May projected fears not hobble my pursuits or keep me from making the most of today. May I turn out fear by faith. If I will only make a place for God within me, He will remove my fears.

Today I Will Remember

I can only borrow trouble at high interest rates.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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EASY DOES IT #essentialsofrecovery



THE ELEVENTH PROMISE

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

~Big Book ~

When we are new in recovery and survive a major problem or make progress, we try to explain it by saying we have been saved by coincidence. Then our new friends are quick to tell us that there are no coincidences in recovery, only miracles. God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

As we meditate on this Promise, we must practice patience, belief, and trust in our Higher Power. God always lets us know that miracles come in His time, not ours.

This promise tells us we must accept God’s help, not merely be resigned to it. We must let go of our problems personally and turn them over to God with faith.

When I drank or used, my higher power was the substance I was using. I seldom admitted it. The Eleventh Promise tells me I have found a Higher Power that can and will do great things for me in spite of myself.

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

MEMORIES

Some memories are realities …
and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.

~ Willa Cather 

When one is young, the world is large and the thought of exploring it is exciting. Each year that we live we add to our memory chest … and by middle age those memories are substantial. I have found as I have grown older that I remember more of the good things that have happened in my life than the bad. The good things seem to become sharper as time goes by … and the bad seem less so. It’s almost as though the memory has turned into a “feeling” rather than a specific event.

When I work on the fourth and the eighth Steps, my life flashes before me and, like one of those calendars from an old movie, time whizzes by and people who have been part of my life hurtle through space … each triggering a memory.

Memories aren’t made more poignant by time. One might think that a decade of recurring events might be remembered with more clarity than a year … but I have found in the case of my own memories that it is the quality and intensity of time that produces the kind of memories Willa Cather talks about. A year or two or three, given the right circumstances, can produce the feelings we love our memories to trigger, more than those experienced during a lifetime. And a lifetime of memories can be dwindled into just moments.

One Day at a Time . . .

I will cherish my memories ~ Because I may never experience the reality of some of them again.

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



“The Great Spirit is the one that’s looking after us.”

~ Jimmy Jackson, OJIBWAY ~

The only place our minds can find peace is when our focus is on the Creator. Daily we need to ask the Creator to direct our thinking. When we look at our brothers and sisters, we need to see the Creator in them. When we look at the trees, plants and the animals, we need to realize the Creator is within us. Our attention needs to be on the Creator. When we work, we do it for the Creator. When we are troubled, we need to pray to the Creator. When we are happy and joyful, we need to realize we are feeling the presence of the Creator. Thinking God thoughts will produce peace.

Oh Great Mystery, let me focus on You today. 
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery



Nothing is real until you are close to it.

~ Joyce Wadler 

Addiction kept us from being close to the people and the experiences in our lives. It’s not that we weren’t present, but our feelings, perceptions, and reactions lacked clarity and sincerity, because our vision was distorted by the chemical that consumed us.

Living free of mood-altering chemicals brings us much closer to the currents running through our lives. Without the cloud of alcohol or other drugs we see who our friends really are; we recognize what our experiences are trying to teach us.

What do we gain from being closer? Our awareness of the presence of a Higher Power is heightened. We come to believe that each encounter is by design. We don’t doubt that we have a particular investment in every experience. We trust that all is well. We know that God is in charge.

Living on the outskirts of life used to satisfy me; I didn’t know it could be different. Today I feel my involvement and cherish life.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery



Frequently we are asked “Why waste your money on that guy? He’s a phony if ever I saw one.” We have all heard this and often it was true but after all, the monetary loss each month was way below our old whisky bills. Every once in a while the long shot does come in and the pay-off is tremendous.

It is simply a case of betting on people instead of horses. These bets on people can’t lose, for if the phony abuses your generosity, the fault is his, not yours and he is debited and you are credited by the Great Bookkeeper who has charge of the Treasury where “neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal.”

Published by Hazelden 
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Daily TAO / 57 – Predilection #essentialsofrecovery


Those who follow Tao do so
From their own predilection.
There are no promises,
Yet the rewards are immeasurable.

Of all the spiritual traditions, following Tao is among the least popular. Its adherents are poor and veiled with humility. In comparison, many traditions offer heaven, forgiveness, comfort, ecstasy, belonging, power, and wealth. Tao offers only three things : sound health, a way through the bewilderment of life, and liberation from the fear of death.

That is why there are so few followers of Tao. There is no glamor, there is no congregation, there is no ranking. You are either in the state of Tao, or you are temporarily out of it. When you die, you die.

You have to be tough to follow Tao. If you can avoid being discouraged by poverty, isolation, and obscurity, you will find an unshakable devotion that will last your entire life, and rewards will come in slow and subtle ways. You may not be suddenly rich and influential, but you will discover, to your great delight, that there is a secret source of sustenance. Once you taste that, all your doubts will fade, and both poverty and loneliness will be easier to bear. 
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Saturday, 25 February 2017

RANDOM BIG BOOK ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS


Some day we hope that every alcoholic who journeys will find a Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous at his destination. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, A Vision For You, page 163

FR. Issac Mc L. - Recovery Speaker #essentialsofrecovery



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AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery


REGISTER JOY

The principle revelation of the Jesus Christ teaching is the omnipresence and availability of God, and the belief that God not only transcends His universe but is everywhere immanent in it—that He indwells in it.

If you really believe in the existence of God you should be happy and cheerful. God has all power, and God is good; so life must be good too.

Meet the world with a smile. You owe this to God, to your fellows, and above all else to yourself. If you go about with a face like an east wind what can you possibly expect to attract from this world? We all know people who carry a fixed, frozen mirthless, almost professional, smile. Such a smile is just a permanent wave in the face.

Smile, even if it takes a little effort, and even if it takes a little effort, and keep it up until it becomes spontaneous, as it will. In the graphic language of Hollywood, register joy, and hold it!

For ye shall go out with joy . . . (Isaiah 55:12)

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery



THE CHALLENGE OF FAILURE

In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is.

~ AS BILL SEES IT, p. 31 

How thankful I am today, to know that all my past failures were necessary for me to be where I am now. Through much pain came experience and, in suffering, I became obedient. When I sought God, as I understand Him, He shared His treasured gifts. Through experience and obedience, growth started, followed by gratitude. Yes, then came peace of mind—living in and sharing sobriety.

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


Sick As Our Secrets

“It would be tragic to write [out an inventory only to] shove it in a drawer These defects grow in the dark and die in the light of exposure.”

~ Basic Text, p. 31 

How many times have we heard it said that we are only as sick as our secrets? While many members choose not to use meetings to share the intimate details of their lives, it is important that we each discover what works best for us. What about those behaviors we have carried into our recovery that, if discovered, would cause us shame? How much are we comfortable disclosing, and to whom? If we are uncomfortable sharing some details of our lives in meetings, to whom do we turn?

We have found the answer to these questions in sponsorship. Although a relationship with a sponsor takes time to build, it is important that we come to trust our sponsor enough to be completely honest. Our defects only have power as long as they stay hidden. If we want to be free of those defects, we must uncover them. Secrets are only secrets until we share them with another human being.

Just for today: I will uncover my secrets. I will practice being honest with my sponsor

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

A.A. Thought for the Day

Some people find it hard to believe in a Power greater than themselves. But not to believe in such a Power forces us to atheism. It has been said that atheism is blind faith in the strange proposition that this universe originated in a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere. That’s practically impossible to believe. I think we all can agree that alcohol is a power greater than ourselves. It certainly was in my case. I was helpless before the power of alcohol. Do I remember the things that happened to me because of the power of alcohol?

Meditation for the Day

The spiritual and moral will eventually overcome the material and unmoral. That is the purpose and destiny of the human race. Gradually the spiritual is overcoming the material in our minds. Gradually the moral is overcoming the unmoral. Faith, fellowship, and service are cures for most of the ills of the world. There is nothing in the field of personal relationships that they cannot do.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may do my share in making a better world. I pray that I may be part of the cure for the ills of the world.

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

 Page 56 ~

Facing Criticism

Sometimes, we register surprise, shock, and anger when people find fault with A.A. We are apt to be disturbed to such an extent that we cannot benefit by constructive criticism.

This sort of resentment makes no friends and achieves no constructive purpose. Certainly, this is an area in which we can improve.

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

It is evident that the harmony, security, and future effectiveness of A.A. will depend largely upon our maintenance of a thoroughly nonaggressive and pacific attitude in all our public relations. This is an exacting assignment, because in our drinking days we were prone to anger, hostility, rebellion, and aggression. And, even though we are now sober, the old patterns of behaviour are to a degree still with us, always threatening to explode on any good excuse.

But we now know this, and therefore I feel confident that in the conduct of our public affairs we shall always find the grace to exert restraint.

~ 1. GRAPEVINE, JULY 1965 ~
~ 2. TWELVE CONCEPTS, P. 71 ~

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



MALICIOUS GOSSIP

Honest Motives

“Without really knowing what was happening, I said something bad today about a person I secretly resented. When it occurred to me that my remark could come back to hurt me, I had a moment of panic,” an AA member said. “With a little reflection, however, I realized that the more serious problem was the dishonesty that caused me to belittle somebody behind his back!”

We are growing up when we come to see that gossip feeds on our own insecurity and self- deception. When we are unwilling to part company with gossip, we devise subtle ways to keep it in our lives. We can gossip by steering the conversation to a topic that is likely to bring revealing comments. We also gossip by reveling in lurid accounts of others’ sins and failings. We should even ask ourselves if we are gossiping when we “discuss” another member who is not living up to our ideas of true Twelve Step standards. This is often prefaced by the remark, “I don’t want to take Joe’s inventory, but…”

We cannot live freely and happily if we practice gossip in any form. The practice may be hidden, but it leaves us with guilt, fear, and shame. We cannot gossip and be completely trustworthy and reliable.

© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation 
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery



Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

~ William James 

Step Two speaks of believing. For many years, we had given up believing in ourselves, in a Higher Power, and in others. We believed in getting high.

Now our program tells us to believe in love. We are lovable, and we can love others without hurting them.

Of course, believing is an important part of recovery. Tb believe means to put aside our doubts, to believe means to have hope. Believing makes the road a little smoother. So, believing lets the healing happen a little faster.

All of this is how we get ready to let in the care of our Higher Power.

Prayer for the Day

I pray for the courage to believe. I’ll not let doubt into my heart. I can recover. I can give myself totally to this simple program.

Action for the Day

I’ll list four times doubt got in my way. And I’ll think of what I can do to not let that happen again.

Copyright © 1988 by Hazelden Foundation 
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