Monday, 24 April 2017

AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery


STRIVING FOR PERFECTION

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

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

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery



LEARNING TO LOVE OURSELVES

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

~ AS BILL SEES IT, p. 252 ~

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

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

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



Twelve Steps of Life

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

~ Basic Text, p. 8 ~

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

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

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

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

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

A.A. Thought for the Day

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

Meditation for the Day

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

Prayer for the Day

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

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


~ Page 114 ~

No Personal Power

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

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

~ LETTER, 1940 ~

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




The hardest thing to learn
in life is which bridge to
cross and which bridge to
burn.

~ David Russell ~

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

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

Prayer for the Day

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

Action for the Day

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

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation


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Fr. Leo's Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery


HUMANKIND

“Humankind is what it believes.’’

~ Anton Chekhov ~

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

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

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

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

© 2008 Leo Booth 
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery



Reflection for the Day

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

Today I Pray

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

Today I Will Remember

To pass it on.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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EASY DOES IT

EASY DOES IT 

FAMILY

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

~ Aristotle ~

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

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

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

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



LONELINESS

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

~ Anthony Robbins ~

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

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

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

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

One Day at a Time . . .

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

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


“Each person’s prayers can help everyone.”

~ Thomas Yellowtail, CROW ~

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

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



Be spontaneous but not impetuous.

~ Kay Lovatt ~

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

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

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

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

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery


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

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

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

Published by Hazelden 
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Daily TAO - Faith #essentialsofrecovery

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

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

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

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


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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

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

-Santideva, "Bodhicaryavatara"
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Sunday, 23 April 2017

Valerie J. - A.A. Recovery Speaker



AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery



COMING OF AGE

As you grow in spiritual power and understanding you will find that many outer regulations will become unnecessary; but this will be because you have really risen above them. This point in your development, where your understanding of Truth enables you to dispense with certain outer props and regulations, is the spiritual coming of age.

However, this spiritual coming of age cannot be hurried or forced, but must appear when the consciousness is ready, exactly as the flowering of a bulb can only be the result of natural growth. You have to demonstrate where you are. To seek to demonstrate beyond your understanding is not spiritual. Fix your attention upon spiritual things, and without consciously trying to make haste you will be amazed to discover the pace at which your soul has hastened.

To take a simple example: Suppose that in a street accident you find that a man has severed an artery and blood is spurting out. The normal course is that unless this bleeding is stopped the victim will die. Now, what is the spiritual attitude to take in such a case? Claim the ability of God to heal. If your faith is strong enough the severed artery will immediately be healed. But if your faith fails, you must take the usual steps to save the man’s life by immediately improvising a tourniquet, or whatever the proper procedure may be, still claiming divine aid.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised) . . . (Hebrews 10:23)

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery


A.A. IS NOT A CURE-ALL

It would be a product of false pride to claim that A. A. is a cure-all, even for alcoholism

~ AS BILL SEES IT, p. 285 ~

In my early years of sobriety I was full of pride, thinking that A. A. was the only source of treatment for a good and happy life. It certainly was the basic ingredient for my sobriety and even today, with over twelve years in the program, I am very involved in meetings, sponsorship and service. During the first four years of my recovery, I found it necessary to seek professional help, since my emotional health was extremely poor. There are those folks too, who have found sobriety and happiness in other organizations. A.A. taught me that I had a choice: to go to any lengths to enhance my sobriety. A.A. may not be a cure-all for everything, but it is the center of my sober living.

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



A God Of Our Own Understanding

“Many of us understand God to be simply whatever force keeps us clean.”

~ Basic Text, p. 25 ~

Some of us enter recovery with a working understanding of a Higher Power. For a lot of us, however, “God” is a troublesome word. We may doubt the existence of any sort of Power greater than ourselves. Or we may remember uncomfortable experiences with religion and shy away from “the God stuff.”

Starting over in recovery means we can start over in our spiritual life, too. If we’re not comfortable with what we learned when we were growing up, we can try a different approach to our spirituality. We don’t have to understand everything all at once or find the answers to all our questions right away. Sometimes it’s enough just to know that other NA members believe and that their belief helps keep them clean.

Just for today: All I have to know right now about my Higher Power is that it is the Power that helps keep me clean.

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


A.A. Thought for the Day


Men and women keep coming into AA., licked by alcohol, often given up by doctors as hopeless cases, they themselves admitting they’re helpless to stop drinking. When I see these men and women get sober and stay sober over a period of months and years, I know that A.A. works. The change I see in people who come into A.A. not only convinces me that A.A. works, but it also convinces me that there must be a Power greater than ourselves which helps us to make that change. Am I convinced that a Higher Power can help me to change?

Meditation for the Day


Cooperation with God is the great necessity for our lives. All else follows naturally. Cooperation with God is the result of our consciousness of His presence. Guidance is bound to come to us as we live more and more with God, as our consciousness becomes more and more attuned to the great Consciousness of the universe. We must have many quiet times when we not so much ask to be shown and led by God, as to feel and realize His presence. New spiritual growth comes naturally from cooperation with God.

Prayer for the Day


I pray that God may supply me with strength and show me the direction in which He wants me to grow. I pray that these things may come naturally from my cooperation with Him.

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


~ Page 113 ~

To Be Fair-Minded

Too often, I think, we have deprecated and even derided projects of our friends in the field of alcoholism just because we do not always see eye to eye with them.

We should very seriously ask ourselves how many alcoholics have gone on drinking simply because we have failed to cooperate in good spirit with these many agencies—whether they be good, bad, or indifferent. No alcoholic should go mad or die merely because he did not come straight to A.A. at the beginning.

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

Our first objective will be the development of self-restraint. This carries a top-priority rating. When we speak or act hastily or rashly, the ability to be fair-minded and tolerant evaporates on the spot.

~ 1. GRAPEVINE, JULY 1965 ~
~ 2. TWELVE AND TWELVE, P. 91 ~

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


WHEN AM I MANIPULATIVE?

Personal relations.

Without understanding our motives, we can easily lapse into behavior aimed at manipulating others. Sulking is a means of letting others know we are displeased and forcing them to attempt to win our approval. Flattery is a false expression of approval that we don’t really feel?. Giving others good strokes for our own purpose. Withholding deserved praise is a means of putting others down, something we’re likely to do because of our jealousy.

Manipulative behavior is almost always selfish behavior. IT is usually a false means of trying to get our own way. It is certainly an immature way of dealing with people and situations.

The best way to avoid being manipulative is to be ourselves at all times. We have neither the right nor the responsibility to control or regulate other people. Our best approach, in trying to influence others’ actions, is simply to state our own case with sincerity and honest. Others must be free to act, free to choose, and free to make their own decisions without manipulative interference on our part.

I will be myself at all times today. I will not assume false roles simply for the purpose of bending others to my own will. Manipulative behavior is controlling behavior, which I must avoid.

The door to the human heart can only be opened from the Inside.


© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation 
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery



When people talk, listen completely. Most people
never listen.

~ Ernest Hemingway ~

It’s hard to listen in a complete way. Often we listen, but we’re still thinking about our-selves. We wonder, “How do their words relate to me? Do I have anything to add?” Often, fear is behind these questions. We fear saying the wrong thing. We fear looking stupid.

Good listeners know how to let go. They let go of their fears. Tb listen completely, we step outside ourselves, and we’re totally there for someone else. Sometimes we listen for only a few moments. Sometimes we don’t even agree with the people we’re listening to. But we let them know that they count. What a gift we give when we listen in a complete way!

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, teach me to listen in a complete way. Teach me to step outside myself and be there for others.

Action for the Day

Today I’ll listen to what the person says.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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Fr. Leo's Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery

DIVINITY

“To say we are made up of certain chemical elements is a satisfactory description only for those who intend to use us as fertilizer.”

~ Herbert J. Muller ~

Humans are more than chemicals. Human beings carry the image of God, the imprint of Divinity, and the power of the Creative Spirit.

As an addict, I doubted myself, thereby adding to my powerlessness and unmanageability. Internally I said, “I can’t,” even before I tried. My low self-esteem was evident long before I took a drink. I tried to match my “outsides” to what I imagined your “insides” to be like.

When I accepted my alcoholism, I was able to discover God in my life. Today I create through God and in God. Spirituality comes with the awareness of my God- given Divinity.

May I never cease to recognize You in my life. 

© 2008 Leo Booth 
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery



Reflection for the Day

No matter what it is that seems to be our need or problem, we can find something to rejoice in, something for which to give thanks. It is not God who needs to be thanked, but we who need to be thankful. Thankfulness opens new doors to good in our life. Thankfulness creates a new heart and a new spirit in us. Do I keep myself aware of the many blessings that come to me each day and remember to be thankful for them?

Today I Pray

May God fill me with a spirit of thankfulness. When I express my thanks, however fumbling, to God or to another human being, I am not only being gracious to God or that other person for helping me, but I am also giving myself the greatest reward of all—a thankful heart. May I not forget either the transitive “to thank,” directed at someone else, or the intransitive “giving thanks,” which fills my own great need.

Today I Will Remember

Thank and give thanks.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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EASY DOES IT #essentialsofrecovery



SERENITY

Cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.

~ Joseph Addison ~

Our Program allows us to stand back from day-to-day confusion and let serenity come into our lives. Our Program doesn’t take away all the struggle and problems from life, but it does let us learn a different outlook and attitude.

We don’t have to get caught up in every storm that blows our way. We don’t have to live the pain of every person who crosses our path. We don’t have to right every wrong.

Our recovery is a gift to us from a Power greater than we are. We become more and more aware of the meaning of the words in the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”

Let me learn to see the world as it actually is, not as I want it to be. I trust that my Higher Power didn’t make a mistake in designing this world or the plans for my life.

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


BIRTHRIGHT

I’ve continued to recognize the power individuals have
to change virtually anything and everything in their lives in an instant.
I’ve learned that the resources we need to turn our dreams into reality are within us, merely waiting for the day when we decide to wake up and claim our birthright.

~ Anthony Robbins ~

I have divine origins because I am part of my Higher Power. Whether I see my Higher Power as a male, female or neither; no matter if I experience my Higher Power as a Heavenly Parent, a Divine Friend, or a Great Spirit; whether I find my Higher Power in a temple, in the mountains, or in my child’s eyes … I am connected to something greater than myself, my problems, and my fears. The who, what, where, when, and how of my Higher Power are not important. I don’t have to completely understand HP because my HP understands me.

I have been endowed with all the things I need to be successful in recovery and in life. All I have to do is step up and claim them. I have intellect, I have emotion, and I have a spirit. All of those things have a direct line to my Higher Power. What I can’t yet access is given to me as a gift when I claim my divine birthright by simply saying, “I can’t. You can. I think I’ll let You.” What greater power is there than to give our power to our Higher Power? Knowing when I can’t do it alone is a gift!

One Day at a Time . . .

I will remember I come from royalty. I will remember my divine birthright and step up to claim it. Today I will not sell my divine birthright for a mess of pottage.

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



“The real meaning of life is your family, the love that you have, the respect, the traditional ways, carrying on with them.”

~ Ethel Wilson, COWICHAN ~

The family is the seed of the future. The family is the key to the transfer of cultural information. We should really take a look at how we are looking at our families. Are we treating each family member with respect? Are we passing on the traditional ways? Are we teaching the old songs? Are we participating in the ceremonies? Are we showing the family members how to pray? Are we encouraging each family member to be spiritual? Think about these things today.

My Creator, today, let me show respect to each family member. 
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery



To show great love for God and our neighbor, we need not do great things.

~ Mother Teresa ~

We don’t have to invent a cure for cancer or lift the burdens of a friend to prove our worth to other people. Being considerate of someone’s feelings is quite enough, and it is something any of us can do. It takes only a moment’s thought and the willingness to treat others as we’d like them to treat us. I he real blessing is that we feel much better each lime our heart guides our actions.

Loving others is perhaps the simplest of all actions we can take in this life. It requires no planning, no money, no muscle power, no problem solving. It’s a simple decision we can make daily or hourly. Every person we encounter, every situation we face, is an opportunity for us to hone the skill. And every loving act or thought makes the world a better place.

It’s human nature to treat others as we are treated If each of us becomes willing to offer the hand of love to someone else today, we will indeed have done a great thing!

I can make a worthwhile contribution today. I can be kind to a stranger.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery



It would be possible for a nation, or even the world, to exist without many of the natural resources we have, but no nation could exist without men. The strength of the nation is the strength of its men.

The men who comprise the population of the nation are individuals and the sum total of the virtues of the individuals is the character of the nation.

Our value to society is not our newfound sobriety but our new character as developed by our new and better way of living.

Published by Hazelden 
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Daily TAO – Acceptance #essentialsofrecovery

Drought burns basins to dust; 
Light rain is a dew of mockery.
Receive without complaint, 
Work with fate.

When the countryside is gripped in drought, it is useless to complain. Even when light rains fail to moisten the parched landscape, we should accept what happens. This is the way of Tao, and one who follows Tao accepts what comes.

We may have ambitions to move in one direction, but Tao will decide otherwise. We may have plans for the future, but Tao will bend time differently. There are those who will cry out in anger and frustration, but the follower of Tao remains silent and goes about the business of preparation.

Acceptance does not mean fatalism. It does not mean capitulation to some slaughtering predestination. Those who follow Tao do not believe in being helpless. They believe in acting within the framework of circumstance. For example, in a drought, they will prepare by storing what water is available. That is sensible action. They will not plant a garden of flowers that requires a great deal of water. That is ignorance and egotism.

Acceptance is a dynamic act. It should not signal inertness, stagnation, or inactivity. One should simply ascertain what the situation requires and then implement what one thinks is best. As long as one’s deeds are in accord with the time and one leaves no sloppy traces, then the action is correct.
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

A person of wisdom should be truthful, without arrogance, without deceit, not slanderous and not hateful. The wise person should go beyond the evil of greed and miserliness.

Do not get excited by what is old, do not be contented with what is new. Do not grieve for what is lost or be controlled by desire.

-Sutta-nipata, translated by H. Saddhatissa 
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Saturday, 22 April 2017

DAVE C. A.A. - Recovery Speaker



AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery



AS A MAN THINKETH

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

For verily I say unto you, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18)

A “jot” or yod was the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, like the Greek “iota.” A “tittle” (really “little horn”) is one of those tiny spurs or projections that distinguish certain Hebrew letters.

The scribes and the Pharisees were for the most part worthy men leading strictly moral lives according to appearances. Their faults were the weaknesses of the religious formalist everywhere—spiritual pride and self-righteousness. Of these faults they were unconscious—that is the deadly malice of these diseases of the soul—but they did strive to fulfill the law as they understood it. Jesus knew this, and he gave them credit for it. Here he warns his followers that unless their practical conduct is better than that of these people, they need not suppose that they are engaged on the spiritual path.

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery


NEW SOIL . . . NEW ROOTS

Moments of perception can build into a lifetime of spiritual serenity, as I have excellent reason to know, loots of reality, supplanting the neurotic underbrush, will hold fast despite the high winds of the forces which would destroy us, or which we would use to destroy ourselves.

~ AS BILL SEES IT, p. 173 ~

I came to A.A. green—a seedling quivering with exposed taproots. It was for survival but it was a beginning. I stretched, developed, twisted, but with the help of others, my spirit eventually burst up from the roots. I was free. I acted, withered, went inside, prayed, acted again, understood anew, as one moment of perception struck. Up from my roots, spirit-arms lengthened into strong, green shoots: high-springing servants stepping skyward.

Here on earth God unconditionally continues the legacy of higher love. My A.A. life put me “on a different footing . . . [my] roots grasped a new soil”

~ (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 12) ~

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

Traveling The Open Road

“This is our road to spiritual growth.”

~ Basic Text, p. 35 ~

When we arrived at our first NA meeting, it looked like the end of the road to many of us. We weren’t going to be able to use anymore. We were spiritually bankrupt. Most of us were totally isolated and didn’t think we had much to live for. Little did we realize that, as we began our program of recovery, we were stepping onto a road of unlimited possibilities.

At first, just not using was tough enough. Yet, as we watched other addicts working the steps and applying those principles in their lives, we began to see that recovery was more than just not using. The lives of our NA friends had changed. They had a relationship with the God of their understanding. They were responsible members of the fellowship and of society. They had a reason to live. We began to believe these things were possible for us, too.

As we continue our recovery journey, we can get sidetracked by complacency, intolerance, or dishonesty. When we do, we need to recognize the signs quickly and get back on our path — the open road to freedom and growth.

Just for today: I am continuing to develop my spiritual, social, and general living skills by applying the principles of my program. I can travel as far as I wish on the open road of recovery.

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


A.A. Thought for the Day

People believe in A. A. when they see it work. An actual demonstration is what convinces them. What they read in books, what they hear people say doesn’t always convince them. But when they see a real honest-to-goodness change take place in a person, a change from a drunkard to a sober, useful citizen, that’s something they can believe because they can see it. There’s really only one thing that proves to me that A.A. works. Have I seen the change in people who come into A.A.?

Meditation for the Day

Divine control and unquestioning obedience to God are the only conditions necessary for a spiritual life. Divine control means absolute faith and trust in God, a belief that God is the Divine Principle in the universe and that He is the Intelligence and the Love that controls the universe. Unquestioning obedience to God means living each day the way you believe God wants you to live, constantly seeking the guidance of God in every situation and being willing to do the right thing at all times.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may always be under Divine Control and always practice unquestioning obedience to God. I pray that I may be always ready to serve Him.

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



~ Page 112 ~

Complete Security?

Upon entering A.A., the spectacle of years of waste threw us into panic. Financial importance was no longer our principal aim; we now clamored for material security.

Even when we re-established in our business, terrible fears often continued to haunt us. This made us misers and penny-pinchers all over again. Complete financial security we must have—or else.

We forgot that most alcoholics in A.A. have an earning power considerably above average; we forgot the immense good will of our brother A.A.’s who were only too eager to help us to better jobs when we deserved them; we forgot the actual or potential financial insecurity of every human being in the world. And, worst of all, we forgot God. In money matters we had faith only in ourselves, and not too much of that.

~ TWELVE AND TWELVE, PP. 120-121 ~

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


FAKING IT, AND THEN MAKING IT.

Finding the Spirit of the Thing



We’re sometimes advised to “fake it until you make it.” But how can

anything false really lead us to recovery? Aren’t we told that this is

an honest program?


We’re not being dishonest by pushing ourselves to become actively

involved in AA. The self-help movements have told us for years that we

have to form an image of what we want to be in order to reach our goals.

We are forming an image that corresponds to the sober people we want to

be. We are actually rehearsing sober living and working to accept a

picture of sobriety in our heart of hearts.



There’s also much to be said for “faking it” enough to attend meetings

and try to benefit from association with people – even those we

don’t like. This puts us in line for the change we really need.



A lot of members say that they “white-knuckled it” during the first

months or years of sobriety. If this worked to bring recovery, it had to

be the right approach.


Even if there is rebellion within, today I’ll talk and act like the

sober person I want to be.




© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery



One meets his destiny often
on the road one takes to
avoid it.

~ French proverb ~

None of us, perhaps, ever thought we’d end up in recovery. But we were working at joining recovery years before we got here! Maybe recovery was our fate from the day we first took a drink or a pill. Others around us could see the writing on the wall, but we couldn’t. We were too busy trying to avoid pain.

Alcoholism and other drug abuse have to do with us trying to find spiritual wholeness— the kind of spiritual wholeness we’re finding now . . . in recovery. So, let’s welcome recovery into our lives. We have found our spiritual home.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, I got lost because I acted like I knew the way to a good life. You lead the way. Thank-you for putting me on the right track.

Action for the Day

Today, I’ll think about why it’s my fate to be in recovery. I will list ways that I try to avoid my fate.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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Fr. Leo's Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery

MUSIC

“Sorrow, sadness, yearning, hope, and love belong to all of us, in all times and in all places. Music is the only means whereby we feel these emotions in their universality.”

~ H.A. Overstreet ~

Music is a language for the world. It unites people, cultures, and religions. Music points people beyond themselves, while at the same time breathing God’s glory through them. Music makes us wonder, enables us to dream, and allows us to rest in the miracle of creativity.

Drugs stopped me from appreciating the music. They corrupted sounds and made them destructive. Drugs left me with a feeling of utter emptiness.

In recovery, I can hear again. My spiritual program incorporates music—different types of music and the inexhaustible joys of melody. I feel in it, through it, with it—another miracle.

Thank You for the gift of music that enables me to grow in understanding. 

© 2008 Leo Booth 
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery



Reflection for the Day

As I attend meetings of the Program, may eyes open wider and wider. Other people’s problems make mine look small, yet they are facing them with courage and confidence. Others are trapped in situations as bad as mine, but they bear their troubles with more fortitude. By going to meetings, I find many reasons to be grateful. My load has begun to lighten. Do I expect easy solutions to my problems? Or do I ask only to be guided to a better way?

Today I Pray

Make the Program my way of life. Its goals are my goals. Its members are my truest friends. May I pass along the skills for coping I have learned there. May my turnabout and the resulting transformation in my life inspire others, as others have inspired me.

Today I Will Remember

May I be grateful.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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EASY DOES IT #essentialsofrecovery



AVOIDING GOSSIP

Tale-bearers are as bad as the tale-makers.

~ Richard Sheridan ~

What we talk about, not whom we talk about, is one way we place principle above personalities and practice our 12th Tradition. At meetings and over coffee, it’s tempting to pass along things we hear about other people who share our recovery.

Before we gossip or find fault with others, wise members teach us to ask ourselves three questions: “Is it true?” “Is it kind?” and “is telling it important to help someone’s recovery?” If we can say “yes” to each question, we mustn’t repeat it. If a single word from us hurts someone else, our guilt could throw us back into addiction. Our gossip could cause someone else to lose faith in the Program, and throw them back into addiction.

I will not gossip. Let me talk about principles, not personalities.

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


COMPULSIONS

“Compulsive urges to overeat, gorge or purge are inadequate coping mechanisms.
Compulsion is loss of control and continuation of the behavior despite the consequences.”

~ Gloria Arenson ~

Compulsive overeating is not a moral dilemma. It is not about “right” or “wrong.” It is not a black-and-white situation. I learned at a pre-verbal stage that compulsive overeating is a coping mechanism. When I cried to be held, I was fed. When I cried because I was wet, I was fed. When I cried because I was in pain, I was fed. When life was good, I was fed. Is it any wonder I came to reach for food when life was happening around me?

This program teaches me better ways to cope with life. Instead of reacting to life, I have learned through the Steps how to take action. I did not choose this disease, but I do choose recovery. Through the help of my Higher Power, the program, and other program members I can recover. I can live in the solution one day at a time and one meal at a time.

One Day at a Time . . .

I will have a program. I choose recovery, health, love and life.

~ Sarah H. ~ 
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ELDER'S MEDITATION OF THE DAY #essentialsofrecovery



“Each creature has a medicine, so there are many medicines. Because they are so close to the Creator, they are to communicate that medicine. Then they bring help and health.”

~ Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA ~

The Elders say everything has a purpose and everything has a will. We should never interfere with purpose or the will of everything. Every plant, creature, animal, insect, human being has a purpose to be here on the Earth. Each has a special medicine to contribute for the good of all things. Each person also has good medicine, a special talent, a special gift. These medicines are to help others or to help make us healthy. What is your special medicine?

Creator, today, help me discover and use my medicine to serve a greater good. 
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery



In celebrating the good in me that was always there, I will continue to flourish.

~ Jill Clark ~

Dreading a Fourth Step is not unusual. We expect to confront nothing but numerous defects. However, we will also discover our assets. Our sponsors suggest that we need to acknowledge the good in ourselves to enhance it. Doing a Fourth Step inventory as part of our recovery will keep our assets fresh in mind.

If we put our mind to it, it’s not difficult to choose one asset each day and focus on it during our encounters with other people. Practice is how we get good at anything. It’s certainly no different when we focus on human behavior.

Maybe it seems phony to work at enhancing the good in ourselves. But let’s accept the wisdom of our sponsors. Their lives have improved. If practice has worked for them, it can work for us too.

Improving a small part of me at a time isn’t too much work. Cultivating my assets in this way promises that today will be good.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery


When we take the first drink we invite the dead certainty of physical illness, untold sorrows, shame and degradation. That first drink has built more hospitals, jails, poorhouses and insane asylums than any other cause. All the drinks that follow are simply compounding the felony.

There are some people that can drink intelligently, but these people avoid difficulties. We are not in that class and experience has proven it. Years of sobriety will not enable us to join that class, and again, experience has proven it. Why do you persist in trying, what are you trying to prove? That you are the exception to the rule? If you are the exception you automatically become a freak.

Published by Hazelden 
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Daily TAO - Non-anticipation #essentialsofrecovery

Put forth your effort
With no thought of gain.

One should not pray or meditate with any thought of gain. Hold no expectations. Then the rewards will come. If one strives for power and gifts, no true results will come, and one will become lost in lust.  Praying for results brings no results — the true spirit appears only when there are no expectations to hamper it.

Books and teachings talk of the results of meditation because they prepare the aspirant for the experiences that will occur. It is important not to look on these writings as advertisements. They are merely descriptions of what you will encounter.

Sit down with no thought of results and you will go naturally and spontaneously with Tao. It is admittedly a paradox. We are to know what to expect, and yet we should allow them to appear as they will. It seems irrational and inefficient. Yet if you would know Tao, there is no faster way to enter the midstream. 
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrecovery

Reality as it is becomes the right view of the meditator. Thinking of it as it is becomes the right thought. Awareness of it as it is becomes the right awareness. Concentration on it as it is becomes the right concentration. Actions of the body and speech are then aligned to reality as it is. In this way the meditator develops and is fulfilled.

-Majjhima Nikaya 
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Friday, 21 April 2017

Peggy M. _ A.A. Recovery Speaker


Random Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous #essentialsofrecovery


God alone can judge our sex situation. Counsel with persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge. We realize that some people are as fanatical about sex as others are loose. We avoid hysterical thinking or advice.

– Fourth Edition - Chapter 5 – HOW IT WORKS - pp. 69-70 
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AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery

EXCEEDING RIGHTEOUSNESS

Read Matthew 5:17-20

If anyone were so insane as to suppose that the knowledge of the Truth of Being could put him “above” the moral law, in the sense of authorizing him to break it, he would speedily discover that he had made a tragic mistake. The more spiritual knowledge that one possesses, the more severe is the punishment which one brings upon oneself by any infraction of the moral law. The Christian has to be very much more careful than other people. Indeed, all real spiritual understanding must necessarily be accompanied by definite moral improvement. A theoretical acceptance of the letter of Truth might go with moral carelessness (greatly to the peril of the delinquent), but it is impossible to make any real spiritual progress unless you are trying your very best to live the life. It is impossible to divorce true spiritual knowledge from right conduct.

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20)

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery


CULTIVATING FAITH

“I don’t think we can do anything very well in this world unless we practice it and I don’t believe we do A.A. too well unless we practice it. . . . We should practice . . . acquiring the spirit of service. We should attempt to acquire some faith, which isn’t easily done, especially for the person who has always been very materialistic, following the standards of society today. But I think faith can be acquired; it can be acquired slowly; it has to be cultivated. That was not easy for me, and I assume that it is difficult for everyone else. . . ”

~ DR. BOB AND THE GOOD OLDTIMERS, pp. 307-08 ~

Fear is often the force that prevents me from acquiring and cultivating the power of faith. Fear blocks my appreciation of beauty, tolerance, forgiveness, service, and serenity.

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



Fear

“We have found that we had no choice except to completely change our old ways of thinking or go back to using.”

~ Basic Text, p. 21 ~

Many of us find that our old ways of thinking were dominated by fear. We were afraid that we wouldn’t be able to get our drugs or that there wouldn’t be enough. We feared discovery, arrest, and incarceration. Further down the list were fears of financial problems, homelessness, overdose, and illness. And our fear controlled our actions.

The early days of recovery weren’t a great deal different for many of us; then, too, fear dominated our thinking. “What if staying clean hurts too much?” we asked ourselves. “What if I can’t make it? What if the people in NA don’t like me? What if NA doesn’t work?” The fear behind these thoughts can still control our behavior, keeping us from taking the risks necessary to stay clean and grow. It may seem easier to resign ourselves to certain failure, giving up before we start, than to risk everything on a slim hope. But that kind of thinking leads only to relapse.

To stay clean, we must find the willingness to change our old ways of thinking. What has worked for other addicts can work for us—but we must be willing to try it. We must trade in our old cynical doubts for new affirmations of hope. When we do, we’ll find it’s worth the risk.

Just for today: I pray for the willingness to change my old ways of thinking, and for the ability to overcome my fears.

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



A.A. Thought for the Day

After we’ve been in A. A. for a while, we find out that if we’re going to stay sober, we have to be humble people. The men and women in A.A. who have achieved sobriety are all humble people. When I stop to think that but for the grace of God I might be drunk right now, I can’t help feeling humble. Gratitude to God for His grace makes me humble. When I think of the kind of person I was not so long ago, when I think of the person I left behind me, I have nothing to be proud of. Am I grateful and humble?

Meditation for the Day

I must arise from the death of sin and selfishness and put on a new life of integrity. All the old sins and temptations must be laid in the grave and a new existence rise from the ashes. Yesterday is gone. All my sins are forgiven if I am honestly trying to do God’s will today. Today is here, the time of resurrection and renewal. I must start now, today, to build a new life of complete faith and trust in God and a determination to do His will in all things.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may share in making the world a better place to live in. I pray that I may do what I can to bring goodness a little nearer to the earth.

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

~ Page 111 ~

Surveying the Past

We should make an accurate and really exhaustive survey of our past life as it has affected other people. In many instances we shall find that, though the harm done to others has not been great, we have nevertheless done ourselves considerable injury.

Then, too, damaging emotional conflicts persist below the level of consciousness, very deep, sometimes quite forgotten. Therefore, we should try hard to recall and review those past events which originally induced these conflicts and which continue to give our emotions violent twists, thus discoloring our personalities and altering our lives for the worse.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“We reacted more strongly to frustration than normal people. By reliving these episodes and discussing them in strict confidence with somebody else, we can reduce their size and therefore their potency in the unconscious.”

~ 1. TWELVE AND TWELVE, PP. 79-80 ~
~ 2. LETTER, 1957 ~

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



One of the most important
parts of the A.A. program
is to give our drink problem
to God honestly and fully…

~ Twenty-Four Hours a Day, March 1 ~

We don’t handle our drinking or other drug problem. We don’t take care of this problem by ourselves. We turn our problem over to God as we understand Him. We need to be very clear about this. We can’t handle our drinking or other drug problem! Our Higher Power keeps us sober through the Steps and the fellowship of the program.

Our job is to hand over our problem to our Higher Power. We do this daily by acting like sober people.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, I know I can’t handle drinking and using other drugs. I turn my problem over to you. Please take from me the urge to drink or use.

Action for the Day

Today, I’ll remember why I can’t handle or take care of my problem with alcohol or other drugs. And I’ll remember why my Higher Power can.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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Fr. LEO'S DAILY MEDITATION #essentialsofrecovery


VALUES

“A person who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”

~ Charles Darwin ~

Life is not to be wasted. Time is not to be wasted. Friends, relationships, and opportunities are not to be wasted. Why? Because as a vulnerable human being, I do not have ultimate control. I do not know when my life will end, when I shall die, or when time and opportunity will be no more! Life is too precious to waste.

As an addict, I did not value life or time. I did not value friends or relationships. Nothing was valued except the alcohol! My life was meaningless. God was absent, and I felt nothing.

Today this is not the case. Through my pain, I have found the value of life and discovered a God of my understanding.

God, let me value what I have while I have it. 

© 2008 Leo Booth 
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery



Reflection for the Day

Can I be wholeheartedly grateful for today? It so, I’m opening doors to more and more abundant good. What if I can’t be thankful for the “rain” that has fallen in my life—for the so- called bad times? What then? I can begin by giving thanks for all the sunshine I can remember, and for every blessing that has come my way. Perhaps then I’ll be able to look back over the rainy periods of my life with new vision, seeing them as necessary; perhaps then, hidden blessings I’ve overlooked will come to my attention. Am I grateful for all of life—both the sunshine and the rain?

Today I Pray

May I be grateful for all that has happened to me, good and bad. Bad helps to define good. Sorrow intensifies joy. Humility brings spirituality. Disease turns health into a paradise. Loneliness makes love, both human and Divine, the greatest gift of all. I thank God for the contrasts which have made me know God better.

Today I Will Remember

I am grateful for the whole of life.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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