Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Random Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous

HE LIVED ONLY TO DRINK

“I had been preached to, analyzed, cursed, and counseled, but no one had ever said, ‘I identify with what’s going on with you. It happened to me and this is what I did about it.'” On looking back at my life, I can’t see anything that would have warned me or my family of the devastation that alcoholism had in store for us. To our collective memory there was no drinking on either side of the family. We were from a long Southern Missionary Baptist tradition. My father was a minister, and I attended his church every Sunday with the rest of the family and, like them, was very active in religious work. My parents were also educators; my father was principal of the school I attended, and my mother taught there. They were both champions of community outreach and well respected. There was caring and togetherness among us. My maternal grandmother, herself a deeply religious woman who lived with us, helped raise me and was a living example of unconditional love. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous - p. 446

Set Aside Prayer


“God, please set aside everything I think I know about myself, the twelve steps, this book, the meetings, my disease, and you, God, so I may have an open mind and a new experience with all these things, please let me see the truth.”

Although the set aside prayer that we use is not found as we say it in the Big Book of “Alcoholics Anonymous” here are some references to it:

Pg. 42-Paragraph 3

“It meant I would have to throw several lifelong conceptions out of the window.”

Pg. 46-Paragraph 2

“We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that power, which is God.”

Pg. 47-Paragraph 1

“Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you.”

Pg. 48-Paragraph 1

“Besides a seeming inability to accept much on faith, we often found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice.” “It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness. Sometimes this was a tedious process: we hope no one else will be prejudiced for as long as some of us were.”

Pg. 49-Paragraph 3

“We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion.”

Pg. 58-Paragraph 3

“Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.”

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Daily Dose OF Emmet Fox

THE LORD’S PRAYER

The Lord’s Prayer is the most important of all the Christian documents. Everyone who is seeking to follow along the Way that Jesus led, should pray the Lord’s prayer intelligently every day.

The Great Prayer is a compact formula for the development of the soul. It is designed with the utmost care for the specific purpose; so that those who use it regularly, with understanding, will experience a real change of soul. It is the change of soul that matters. The mere acquisition of fresh knowledge received intellectually makes no change in the soul.

The first thing that we notice is that the Prayer naturally falls into seven clauses. This is very characteristic of the Oriental tradition. Seven symbolizes individual completeness, the perfection of the soul, just as the number twelve in the same convention stands for corporate completeness. The seven clauses are put together with the utmost care, in perfect order and sequence, and they contain everything that is necessary for the nourishment of the soul. The more one analyzes the Lord’s Prayer, the more wonderful its construction is seen to be.

After that manner therefore pray ye . . . (Matthew 6:9)

© 1931 by Emmet Fox
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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery


OUR COMMON WELFARE COMES FIRST



The unity of Alcoholics Anonymous is the most cherished quality our Society has. . . . We stay whole, or A.A. dies.

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 129

Our Traditions are key elements in the ego deflation process necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous. The First Tradition reminds me not to take credit, or authority, for my recovery. Placing our common welfare first reminds me not to become a healer in this program; I am still one of the patients. Self-effacing elders built the ward.

Without it, I doubt I would be alive. Without the group, few alcoholics would recover. The active role in renewed surrender of will enables me to step aside from the need to dominate, the desire for recognition, both of which played so great a part in my active alcoholism. Deferring my personal desires for the greater good of group growth contributes toward A.A. unity that is central to all recovery. It helps me to remember that the whole is greater than the sum of all its parts.
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Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery

Trust

“Just for today I will have faith in someone in NA who believes in me and wants to help me in my recovery.”

—Basic Text p. 90

Learning to trust is a risky proposition. Our past experience as using addicts has taught us that our companions could not be trusted. Most of all, we couldn’t trust ourselves.

Now that we’re in recovery, trust is essential. We need something to hang onto, believe in, and give us hope in our recovery. For some of us, the first thing we can trust is the words of other members sharing in meetings; we feel the truth in their words.

Finding someone we can trust makes it easier to ask for help. And as we grow to trust in their recovery, we learn to trust our own.

Just for today: I will decide to trust someone. I will act on that trust.
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery

A.A. Thought For The Day

Drinking cuts you off from God. No matter how you were brought up, no matter what your religion is, no matter if you say you believe in God, nevertheless you build up a wall between you and God by your drinking. You know you’re not living the way God wants you to. As a result, you have that terrible remorse. When you come into A.A., you begin to get right with other people and with God. A sober life is a happy life, because by giving up drinking we’ve got rid of our loneliness and remorse. Do I have real fellowship with other people and with God?

Meditation For The Day
I believe that all sacrifice and all suffering is of value to me. When I am in pain, I am being tested. Can I trust God, no matter how I feel? Can I say Thy will be done, no matter how much I am defeated? If I can, my faith is real and practical. It works in bad times as well as in good times. The Divine Will is working in a way that is beyond my finite mind to understand, but I can still trust in it.

Prayer For The Day
I pray that I may take my suffering in my stride. I pray that I may accept pain and defeat as part of God’s plan for my spiritual growth.
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrecovery

In God’s Economy, p. 31

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

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

We did not always come closer to wisdom by reason of our virtues; our better understanding is often rooted in the pains of our former follies. Because this has been the essence of our individual experience, it is also the essence of our experience as a fellowship.

1. Letter, 1942

2. Grapevine, November 1961
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrecovery

Open-mindedness Means Growth
Facing Change


While open-mindedness is supposedly virtuous, many of us have difficulty with it. In our drinking, we continued to suffer because we were unwilling to believe that anything could relieve us of our condition. We also feared that change would diminish us.

Our great liberation came in opening up our minds to new ideas. This same process might be needed to sober living. We may have an investment in old attitudes and ideas that are keeping us from constructive growth. Without giving up our attitudes immediately, we can at least give new ideas hones consideration and study.

True open-mindedness does not mean empty-mindedness. We still can have strong convictions, consistent values, and definite opinions. But in the spirit of open-mindedness, we should continuously reexamine our views and adopt new ideas for improvement and growth.

Open-mindedness helped bring us to sobriety. It can also open the doors to other blessings that will bring enrichment and happiness.

I will be open-minded and curious today. New ideas can bring wonderful benefits to me if I am willing to consider them.
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrecovery


“Do not cut down the tree that gives you shade.”

—Arabian proverb

We need to remember what got us well. The Twelve Steps heal us. The meetings we attend heal us.

Reading and listening to program tapes heals us. Talking with our sponsors heals us. The time we spend with program friends heals us. Sometimes we’re pressed for time. As a result, we have to make choices about how to use our time. We may think we know enough about the program. We may feel like cutting down on meetings. These are danger signs. We only know how to stay sober One Day at a Time: by working the Steps. Let’s not forget them as we grow in this program. It may seem like we’ve been recovering a long time, but we’re all beginners.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I’ve found You in the program. Help me find ways to stay a “beginner” in the program.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll take time to read the Twelve Steps. I’ll meditate on how much these Steps have given me.
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery

WAR


“We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world — or to make it the last.”

— John F. Kennedy
War is tragic because it always destroys; it kills creation itself. People, buildings, relationships, trust, hope, culture, history, youth — they all disappear behind a puff of smoke. The immensity of war is such that it cannot be fully comprehended. Only isolated aspects can be understood: a child is maimed, a treaty is broken, a race is blamed, bullets are heard and a history that existed within a human life is ended in silence.

Addiction is a kind of war — a silent war that exists within an individual and family. People, trust, buildings, hope, culture, history and youth disappear behind a glass or a pill. Creation is attacked from the inside; God is forgotten in an act of destructive selfishness.

Teach me to make peace in my life. 
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection For The Day

One of the most constructive things I can do is to learn to listen to myself and get in touch with my true feelings. For years, I tuned myself out, going along, instead, with what others felt and said. Even today, it sometimes seem that they have it all together, while I’m still stumbling about. Thankfully, I’m beginning to understand that people-leasing takes many forms. Slowly but steadily, I’ve also begun to realize that it’s possible for me to change my old patterns. Will I encourage myself to tune in to the real me? Will I listen carefully to my own inner voice with the expectation that I’ll hear some wonderful things?

Today I Pray

I pray that I may respect myself enough to listen to my real feelings, those emotions which for so long I refused to hear or name or own, which festered in me like a poison. May I know that I need to stop often, look at my feelings, listen to the inner me.

Today I Will Remember

I will own my feelings.
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One Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery

~ TOMORROW ~


Do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.

–The Bible, book of Matthew

I’ve spent too much of my life worrying about the future. This was especially true with every diet I was ever on. I was always concerned about how much weight I was going to be able to lose in a certain amount of time. I always thought about tomorrow and what tomorrow would bring instead of staying in the present.

Today, my Higher Power is teaching me to keep my eyes on Him instead of on the calendar. I am more successful and more at peace when I remain in the present and follow my Higher Power’s will.

One day at a time . . .
I will keep my thoughts in the present, for my Higher Power will take care of tomorrow.

Gina 
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrecovery

“In sharing, in loving all and everything, one people naturally found a due portion of the thing they sought, while in fearing, the other found need of conquest.”

–Chief Luther Standing Bear, SIOUX

There are two systems of thought that are available for us to choose from. One is the love-thought system and the other is the fear- thought system. If we choose love, we will see the laws, principles and values of the Creator. If we choose fear, the results will be so paralyzing that it will cause us to take over and not rely on the Great Spirit. The fear-thought system will automatically cause attack, conflict, need to control over others. The love-thought system seeks peace of mind, unity and causes us to be love seekers.

Great Spirit, today let me see only love.
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Today’s Gift #essentialsofrecovery


Thou shalt not should thyself.

—-Anonymous

When someone tells us we should do something, do we want to do it, or do we feel mad that someone else is telling us what we want to do? Sometimes we forget that these messages are not our own, but are the desires of others. It’s important to listen to what we tell ourselves, to be aware of which messages we’re giving ourselves and which come from others. We can make a list of all our shoulds and identify where they came from: parent, boss, friend, self. Then we can decide which shoulds are want to’s, and throw out the rest. Doing what we want to is very different from doing what we should, and we can usually do a better job of it.

Have I freed myself of shoulds today? 
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Today’s Gift #essentialsofrecovery



Perfection is expressing God’s will enthusiastically.

Sponsors tell us that this is a simple program we are prone to complicate. Reflecting on our lives, we probably would agree. Because we doubt that God will tell us how to handle the circumstances facing us, we aggressively move ahead, making decisions that are often not in sync with God’s will and certainly not in our long-term best interests. We complicate our lives unnecessarily.

Before we came into the Twelve Step program, most of us wanted to be perfect. We worked hard and oftentimes were overachievers because we needed the praises of others. Sadly, because we too often relied solely on ourselves, we missed the mark. Now we are learning to let God direct us. Each time we fulfill God’s will, we’ll experience the perfection and the praises we’d sought for so long. This is a much simpler way to live.

Today I will use the Third Step every time I have a question about my life.



From the book:



A Life of My Own by Karen Casey. © 1993 by Hazelden Foundation
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Daily TAO / 031 - ORIENTATION #essentialsofrecovery



Planets orbit the sun.
Forms orbit the mind.

Most of us embody disparate aspects in our personalities; these are our forms, the way we take shape. If we aren’t careful, we can become confused by such complexity. We should not deny any part of ourselves. We should arrange them. All elements are valid — they must simply be placed in the right context.

Those who follow Tao understand that a diverse personality is problematic only if some aspects dominate to the exclusion of the others. This is unbalanced. If there is constant alteration between all aspects, then equilibrium is possible. Like the planets, feelings, instincts, and emotions must be kept in a constantly rotating order. Then all things have their place and the problems of excess are avoided.

Just as the sun is at the center of our solar system, so too must the mind of wisdom be the center of our diverse personalities. If our minds are strong, then the various parts of our lives will be held firmly to their proper courses, and there will be no chance of deviation.
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The Eye Opener #essentialsofrecovery


Nothing great was ever achieved without overcoming great obstacles, and no hero of history deserves more acclaim than those who were triumphant over self. But do not let us swell up too much with pride. If we are honest, we know that with our character-weakened souls, with our “fogbound” brains, we could accomplish nothing of ourselves. It was only when we, in our desperate surrender, threw our lives and our wills into His keeping that He, in His mercy, removed the obstacle. Unknown, even to ourselves, there must have slept in us that Faith of a mustard seed, that can remove mountains.

Copyright Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao / 031 - ORIENTATION #essentialsofrecovery


Planets orbit the sun.

Forms orbit the mind.


Most of us embody disparate aspects in our personalities; these are our forms, the way we take shape. If we aren't careful, we can become confused by such complexity. We should not deny any part of ourselves. We should arrange them. All elements are valid -- they must simply be placed in the right context.

Those who follow Tao understand that a diverse personality is problematic only if some aspects dominate to the exclusion of the others. This is unbalanced. If there is constant alteration between all aspects, then equilibrium is possible. Like the planets, feelings, instincts, and emotions must be kept in a constantly rotating order. Then all things have their place and the problems of excess are avoided.

Just as the sun is at the center of our solar system, so too must the mind of wisdom be the center of our diverse personalities. If our minds are strong, then the various parts of our lives will be held firmly to their proper courses, and there will be no chance of deviation.
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Daily Zen #essentialsofrecovery

“Who would then deny that when I am sipping tea in my tearoom I am swallowing the whole universe with it and that this very moment of my lifting the bowl to my lips is eternity itself transcending time and space?” 

― D.T. SuzukiZen and Japanese Culture  
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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Random Big Book - 'Alcoholics Anonymous'

"We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men." ~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, We Agnostics, Page 46

Daily Dose Emmet Fox #essentialsofrecovery

THE IMPRISONED SPLENDOUR

“Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate’er you may believe.
There is an inmost center in us all,
Where truth abides in fullness; all around,
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,
This perfect, clear perception, which is Truth.”

A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
Binds it, and makes all error: and to know
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without.

~ Robert Browning “Paracelsus.” Part 1 ~


. . . yea shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32)

© 1931 by Emmet Fox
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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery



FREEDOM FROM … FREEDOM TO


We are going to know a new freedom. . . .

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS , p. 83


Freedom for me is both freedom from and freedom to. The first freedom I enjoy is freedom from the slavery of alcohol. What a relief! Then I begin to experience freedom from fear – fear of people, of economic insecurity, of commitment, of failure, of rejection. Then I begin to enjoy freedom to – freedom to choose sobriety for today, freedom to be myself, freedom to express my opinion, to experience peace of mind, to love and be loved, and freedom to grow spiritually. But how can I achieve these freedoms? The Big Book clearly says that before I am halfway through making amends, I will begin to know a “new” freedom; not the old freedom of doing what I pleased, without regard to others, but the new freedom that allows fulfilment of the promises in my life. What a joy to be free!
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Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery


Giving It Away

“We must give freely and gratefully that which has been freely and gratefully given to us.”

Basic Text p. 47

In recovery, we receive many gifts. Perhaps one of the greatest of these gifts is the spiritual awakening that begins when we stop using, growing stronger each day we apply the steps in our lives. The new spark of life within is a direct result of our new relationship with a Higher Power, a relationship initiated and developed by living the Twelve Steps. Slowly, as we pursue our program, the radiance of recovery dispels the darkness of our disease.

One of the ways we express our gratitude for the gifts of recovery is to help others find what we’ve found. We can do this in any number of ways: by sharing in meetings, making Twelfth Step calls, accepting a commitment to sponsorship, or volunteering for H&I or phoneline duty. The spiritual life given to us in recovery asks for expression, for ” we can only keep what we have by giving it away.”

Just for today: The gift of recovery grows when I share it. I will find someone with whom to share it. 
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery


A.A. Thought For The Day

A drinking life isn’t a happy life. Drinking cuts you off from other people and from God. One of the worst things about drinking is the loneliness. And one of the best things about A.A. is the fellowship. Drinking cuts you off from other people, at least from the people who really matter to you, your wife and children, your family and real friends. No matter how much you love them, you build up a wall between you and them by your drinking. You’re cut off from any real companionship with them. As a result, you’re terribly lonely. Have I got rid of my loneliness?

Meditation For The Day

I will sometimes go into a quiet place of retreat with God. In that place, I will find restoration and healing and power. I will plan quiet times now and then, times when I will commune with God and arise rested and refreshed to carry on the work which God has given me to do. I know that God will never give me a load greater than I can bear. It is in serenity and peace that all true success lies.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may strengthen my inner life, so that I may find serenity. I pray that my soul may be restored in quietness and peace.
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrecovery


Getting Off a “Dry Bender”, p. 30

“Sometimes, we become depressed. I ought to know; I have been a champion dry-bender case myself. While the surface causes were a part of the picture–trigger-events that precipitated depression–the underlying causes, I am satisfied, ran much deeper.

“Intellectually, I could accept my situation. Emotionally, I could not.

“To these problems, there are certainly no pat answers. But part of the answer surely lies in the constant effort to practice all of A.A.’s Twelve Steps.”

Letter, 1954 
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Walk In Dry Places!


No Justified Resentments
Personal Inventory



One of the greatest hurdles in sobriety is the so-called justified resentment. We feel that we have a right to be angry at somebody who has hurt or offended us. This feeling might be correct if our anger could remedy the matter and bring it to a just conclusion, but this hardly ever happens. If we are angry, we usually want revenge more than we want justice. Uncontrolled anger will make us behave as unjustly as those who harmed us did. This means more trouble.



Whether revenge is sought or not, anger also poisons our own lives. Emmet Fox compared it to the insane practice of drinking prussic acid. People cannot take a drink of acid and then assign it to the person they detest. They will bear its effect in their own bodies. In the same way, our anger produces its own acids, which destroy our peace of mind and make us ineffective.


We can deal with “justified resentment” by reminding ourselves that there’s no justification for the pain and sickness a festering resentment will cause in our lives. There is no justified resentment.


Today I may have to swim against the tide by not getting upset over matters that enrage others. I will not let myself be drawn into the angry currents around me.
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrecovery


Go and wake up your luck

—Perian proverb


We’ve been given recovery. For this, we’re lucky. And we’re grateful. Now it’s up to us.

We must accept our choices. When we’re afraid, do we choose to be alone? Or do we choose to go to extra meeting? When we’re not honest, do we keep it secret? Or do we admit it and try to be more honest? No matter what we choose, we’re responsible for that choice. Through choices, we either make our program strong or weak. We can choose to be lucky. Or we can choose not to be.

The choice is ours. Our addiction robbed us of choice. It taught us to blame others. Now we see ourselves as responsible.

Prayer for the Day:
Higher Power, help me to choose wisely. Help me remember I’m responsible for my choices.

Action for the Day: Today I’ll work at being responsible for my choices. I’ll see myself as one of the lucky ones.
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery


POTENTIAL

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”

— Johann W. von Goethe

My program of recovery from alcoholism helps me have a relationship with myself and helps me relate to and understand others. The more I understand my strengths and weaknesses, the more I am able to understand others.

Any understanding of spirituality involves other people. If spirituality helps me become what God intends for me, then this is also true for others. Today I choose to treat myself and other people as children of God, remembering that we were created to reach for the skies!

Lord, our potential forever rests in You.
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery


Reflection For The Day

Have I gained freedom simply because one day I was weak and the next day I became suddenly strong? Have I changed from the helpless and hopeless person I once seemed to be simply by resolving, “from now on, things will be different…”? Is the fact that I am more comfortable today than ever before the result of my own willpower? Can I take credit for pulling myself up by my own bootstraps? I know better, for I sought refuge in a Power greater than myself — a Power which is still beyond my ability to visualize.   Do I consider the change in my life a miracle far beyond the workings of any human power?

Today I Pray

As the days of sobriety lengthen, and the moment of decision becomes farther behind me, may I never lose sight of the Power that changed my life. May I remember that my sobriety is an ongoing miracle, not just a once-in-a-lifetime transformation.

Today I Will Remember

Life is an ongoing miracle. 
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One Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery



~ NEW BEGINNINGS ~


…To dry my eyes and laugh at a fall, and baffled, get up and start again…


–Robert Browning ( 1812– 1889) British poet and playwright




When things didn’t go my way, I would stamp my feet, lose my temper, and walk away. I was the world’s greatest quitter!


The Twelve Step program of recovery teaches me that when I trip over something, I can pick myself up, dust myself off, and start over at any time. I can turn whatever I stumble over into an opportunity for growing and learning.


One Day at a Time …


When confronted by roadblocks to my recovery, I can humble myself and ask my Higher Power, “What do YOU want for me to learn from this?” I can turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones and move on in my recovery journey.

~ Linda K. ~
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrecovery


“Bright days and dark days were both expressions of the Great Mystery, and the Indian reveled in being close to the Great Holiness.”

–Chief Luther Standing Bear, SIOUX

The Great Spirit created a world of harmony, a world of justice, a world that is interconnected, a balanced world that has positive and negative, this way and that way, up and down, man and woman, boy and girl, honest and dishonest, responsible and irresponsible, day and night. In other words, He created a polarity system. Both sides are to be respected. Both sides or anything are sacred. We need to do good and we need to learn from our mistakes. We need to honor what takes place in the daytime and we need to honor what takes place in the nighttime. WE learn that we need to learn and we see what we are supposed to see by staying close to the Great Spirit. We need to be talking to Him all the time, saying “Grandfather, what is it you want me to learn?”

Great Spirit, let me learn today that all things are sacred. Help me stay close to You, my Creator. 
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Today's Gift



Expectations

Higher Power, help me stop expecting so much from myself.

I set unrealistic standards, and when they are not met, unhappiness follows.

Help me be true to myself and only expect what I am capable of doing. As I grow in recovery and do my assignments every day, I am able to do more.

Your will provides realistic goals. Your will provides what I need to succeed.

From the book:




The 12 Step Prayer Book Volume 2 by Bill P. and Lisa D. © 2007 by Hazelden Foundation
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The Eye Opener #essentialsofrecovery




After several years on the Program, we still have to guard against rationalizing. When it comes to selling ourselves a bill of goods, we are tops. Our drinking was most always occasioned by a “good reason,” or so we thought; the real reason – the fact that we were alcoholics and therefore compulsive drinkers – never occurred to us. A good reason can always be found for our actions, but the real reason is frequently obscure. Lord, teach us to know the difference.

Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao / 030 - LOVEMAKING #essentialsofrecovery


Nocturnal downpour

Wakes the lovers,

Floods the valley.



Making love is natural. Why be ashamed of it?

That seems simple, but it is actually a great challenge in these complex times. Too many other layers of meaning have been imposed upon sex. Religions straitjacket it, ascetics deny it, romantics glorify it, intellectuals theorize about it, obsessives pervert it. These actions have nothing to do with lovemaking. They come from fanaticism and compulsive behavior. Can we actually master the challenge of having lovemaking be open and healthy?

Sex should not be used as leverage, manipulation, selfishness, or abuse. It should not be a ground for our personal compulsions and delusions.

Sexuality is an honest reflection of our innermost personalities, and we should ensure that its expression is healthy. Making love is something mysterious, sacred, and often the most profound interaction between people. Whether what is created is a relationship or pregnancy, the legacy of both partners will be inherent in their creation. What we put into love determines what we get out of it.
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Daily Zen



Everywhere, truly, those of integrity stand apart.

They, the good, don't chatter in hopes of favor or gains.

When touched now by pleasure, now pain,the wise give no sign

of high or low.
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Monday, 29 January 2018

Random Big Book - 'Alcoholics Anonymous'

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead...." we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives." (This is one of the Step 11 prayers.) If we are indecisive: "Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. (another prayer.) We relax and take it easy." We aren't obsessing on this, we think of something else knowing that the answers will come. Although we come to rely upon intuition we always check with others on those thoughts before putting them into action. Alcoholics Anonymous- Page 86, paragraph 2

Jim P. - Big Book Recovery Workshop 15



Daily Dose OF Emmet Fox #essentialsofrecovery

THE LAW OF GROWTH

What you think upon grows. This is an Eastern maxim, and it sums up nearly the greatest and most fundamental of all laws of mind.

What you think upon grows. Whatever you allow to occupy your mind you magnify in your life. Whether the subject be good or bad, the law works and the condition grows. Any subject that you keep out of your mind tends to diminish in your life, because what you do not use atrophies.

The more you think about your grievances or the injustices that you have suffered, the more such trials you will continue to receive; the more you think of good fortune you have had, the more good fortune will come to you.

This is the basic fundamental, all inclusive law of mind, and actually all psychological and metaphysical teaching is little more than commentary upon this.

What you think upon grows.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever thins are of good report; if they be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).

© 1931 by Emmet Fox
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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery

THE JOY OF SHARING

Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you. to have a host of friends – this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS , p. 89

To know that each newcomer with whom I share has the opportunity to experience the relief that I have found in this Fellowship fills me with joy and gratitude. I feel that all the things described in A.A. will come to pass for them, as they have for me, if they seize the opportunity and embrace the program fully. 
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Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery



The First Step – An Action Step

” Do we understand that we have no real control over drugs?”

Basic Text p. 18

At first, many of us may have thought the First Step required no action-we just surrender and go on to Step Two. But Step One does require action!

The action we take in the First Step will be evident in the way we live, even from our first day clean. If we truly believe that we are powerless over our addiction, we will not choose to be around drugs. To continue to live with or associate with practicing addicts may indicate a reservation in our program. An absolute belief that the First Step applies to us will insure that we clear our homes of all drugs and paraphernalia.

As time goes on, we’ll not only continue with the basics but add new actions to our First Step repertoire. We’ll learn to feel our feelings rather than trying to control them. We’ll stop trying to be our own and only guides on our recovery journey; self-sponsorship will cease. We’ll begin looking to a Power greater than ourselves more and more for spiritual satisfaction rather than trying to fill that void with something else.

Surrender is only the beginning. Once we surrender, we need to learn how to live in the peace we have found.

Just for today: I will take all the action necessary to practice the First Step. I truly believe it applies to me. 
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery



A.A. Thought For The Day

What a load wasting money puts on your shoulders! They say that members of A.A. have paid the highest initiation fee of any club members in the world, because we’ve wasted so much money on liquor. We’ll never be able to figure out how much it was. We not only waste our own money, but also the money we should have spent on our families. When you come into A.A., that terrible load of wasted money falls off your shoulders. We alcoholics were getting round-shouldered from carrying all those loads that drinking put on our shoulders. But when we come into A.A., we get a wonderful feeling of release and freedom. Can I throw back my shoulders and look the whole world in the face again?

Meditation For The Day

I believe that the future is in the hands of God. He knows better than I what the future holds for me. I am not at the mercy of fate or buffeted about by life. I am being led in a very definite way, as I try to rebuild my life. I am the builder, but God is the architect. It is mine to build as best I can, under His guidance.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may depend on God, since He has planned my life. I pray that I may live my life as I believe God wants me to live it.
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrecovery


Alone No More, p.252


Alcoholism was a lonely business, even though we were surrounded by people who loved us. But when our self-will had driven everybody away and our isolation became complete, we commenced to play the big shot in cheap barrooms. Failing even in this, we had to fare forth alone on the street to depend upon the charity of passers-by.

We were trying to find emotional security either by dominating or by being dependent upon others. Even when our fortunes had not totally ebbed, we nevertheless found ourselves alone in the world. We still vainly tried to be secure by some unhealthy sort of domination or dependence.

For those of us who were like that, A.A. has a very special meaning. In this Fellowship we begin to learn right relations with people who understand us; we don’t have to be alone any more.

12 & 12, pp. 116-117
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrecovery


Willingness is the Key
Strong Desire.

Although willpower alone does not work in overcoming alcoholism, there is a place for the will, or willingness, in the search for a happy sobriety. Things can happen if we are willing to let them happen. More important, progress often depends on our willingness to give up what stands in our way. It also requires our willingness to take that actions necessary for success.

This same willingness, so vital to finding sobriety, is also applicable in other areas of our lives. The pioneers of AA suggested that getting sober required being willing to go to any lengths. This is the key to other achievements and to the overcoming of problems besides alcohol.

We often have to put up with unpleasant conditions simply because we do not want to change them badly enough. For example, we may dislike the unpleasant coughing and risks of smoking, but lack the willingness to quit. We may brood over lost opportunities, but be unwilling to take advantage of the opportunities we have now.

The key to constructive change in our lives is willingness… and that applies to other matters as well as to alcohol.

I’ll try to be honest today about what I really want. I will remind myself that if I want something badly enough, willingness is they key to action and to success 
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrecovery



An alcoholic spends his life committing suicide on the installment plan.

–Laurence Peter


None of us woke up one morning and found we had suddenly turned into an addict. We got to be one by practice. And we practiced often. We ignored our families–we left work early–and went drinking and drugging. Daily, we chose chemicals over anything else. Likewise, getting sober is no accident. We work the program. At meetings, we’re reminded to help others. We all get sober on the installment plan. A day at a time. We got sick one day at a time; we recover one day at a time.

Prayer for the Day:
Today, with my Higher Power’s help, I’ll be happier, more honest, more sober. Sobriety is like a good savings account. Higher Power, help me to put in more than I take out.


Action for the Day: I’ll go over my Step One to remind myself it’s no accident I’m an addict.
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery


SUCCESS



“Success is a journey not a destination.”


— Ben Sweetland





So long as I am sober I know that I am successful. But I also know that my sobriety is more than keeping away from the first drink. My sobriety requires that I be a creative and successful human being in all areas of my life — in my relationships, at work, with my family, my business ventures and in my acts of charity. The road to success is exactly that –it is a “road” that I am traveling along, and I will be on it until the day I die. I suppose the danger is in thinking that I have arrived. Then I get complacent and apathetic, I slow down and the energy for recovery is diminished.


Today I know that I am successful so long as I keep moving along with my spiritual program.

Let me always be confident as I walk in my journey of life.
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection For The Day

I used to imagine my life as a grotesque abstract painting; a montage of crises framed by end-upon-end catastrophes. My days all were grey and my thoughts greyer still. I was haunted by dread and nameless fears. I was filled with self-loathing. I had no idea who I was, what I was, or why I was. I miss none of those feelings. Today, step by step, I am discovering myself and learning that I can be free to be me. Am I grateful for my new life? Have I taken the time to thank God today for the fact that I am clean and sober — and alive?

Today I Pray


May calm come to me after the turmoil and nightmares of the past. As my fears and self-hatred dissipate, may the things of the spirit replace them. For in the spiritual world, as in the material world, there is no empty space. May I be filled with the spirit of my Higher Power.


Today I Will Remember

Morning scatters nightmares.
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One Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery



~ GRATITUDE ~



Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.

Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.

Thankfulness may consist merely of words.

Gratitude is shown in acts.


–David O. McKay


All the good I have ever been given in life, both before recovery and in recovery, has come from God. Even the ability to learn lessons from the bad has been one of His many gifts to me. I make gratitude lists and offer prayers of thanksgiving, but that is only the beginning. I only express true gratitude by sharing with others. I share it as experience, strength and hope at meetings. I share it by reaching out my hand to the compulsive overeater behind me and sponsoring them or befriending them. I share it by living a life that shows evidence of the realization of all that God has given me. I can only truly express my gratitude through action.


One day at a time…


I will show my true gratitude by giving away to others what God has so freely given to me.


~ Vicki B. ~
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrecovery


“We grieve more because we have been disconnected from our earth, our first Mother, our spiritual Mother.”

–Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

Where does all life come from? The Earth. Where does everything return to? The Earth. Where do values come them? The Earth. Many people are lost because they don’t know the importance of connection to the Earth. They connect to money, to relationships, to success, to goals. When we are disconnected from the Earth, we have feelings of being sad or lost. When we are connected to the Earth, we feel warm and secure.

Great Spirit, help me to stay connected to the Mother Earth.
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Today's Gift #essentialsofrecovery



Although the act of nurturing another’s spiritual growth has the effect of nurturing one’s own, a major characteristic of genuine love is that the distinction between oneself and the other is always maintained and preserved.

— M. Scott Peck. M.D.


Those we love must be free to love us in return, or leave us. The honest evidence of our love is our commitment to encouraging another’s full development. We are interdependent personalities who need one another’s presence in order to fulfill our destiny. And yet, we are also separate individuals. We must come to terms with our struggles alone.

One gift of life available to each of us is security, the sense that accompanies the recognition of our spiritual center. Helping someone else discover their spiritual gifts strengthens our own. Nothing is too difficult when we act in unison as separate entities, relying on the spiritual core that strengthens us to meet any situation.

My own spiritual center will be strengthened if I help someone.

From the book:




The Promise of a New Day by Karen Casey & Martha Vanceburg. © 1983, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation
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The Eye Opener #essentialsofrecovery


On that awful day when the world had toppled about us, when all hope had departed and only wild desperation remained, then was the night darkest and nearest was the dawn. At this darkest hour, we “hit our bottom.” There was no way to go but UP.

As dawn follows darkness in Nature’s scheme, so darkness follows again in its turn. All things, save God, are transitory and what one day can bring, another day can take away. Let us not feel too secure in our sobriety, for darkness will come in the regular course of events, and we must be sure we have provided ourselves with the Light which will enable us to keep our footing on the slippery paths ahead.

Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao / 029 - SCARS #essentialsofrecovery



Markings in dry clay disappear

Only when the clay is soft again.

Scars upon the self disappear

Only when one becomes soft within.



Throughout our life, but especially during our youth, many scars are inflicted upon us. Some of them are the results of violence, abuse, rape, or warfare. Others arise from bad education. A few come from humiliation and failure. Others are caused by our own misadventures. Unless we recover from these injuries, the scars mar us forever.

Classical scriptures urge us to withdraw from our own lusts and sins. But scars that have happened through no fault of our own may also bar us from spiritual success. Unfortunately, it is often easier to give up a bad habit than to recover from the incisions of others' violence. The only way is through self-cultivation. Doctors and priests can only do so much. The true course of healing is up to us alone. To do this, we must acquire many methods, travel widely, struggle to overcome our personal phobias, and perhaps most importantly of all, try to acquire as few new problems as possible. Unless we do, each one of them will bar us from true communion with Tao.
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Daily Zen



What is most essential to Buddhism is based on clarifying the mind. If you want your mind to be clear, it is important to put opinions to rest. If opinions are not stopped, then wrong and right are confused; if the mind is not clear, reality and illusion are mixed up. If you stop opinions and clear the mind, then reality and illusion are both empty, wrong and right do not stand.

- Hsueh-yen
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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Jim P. - Big Book Recovery Workshop 14



Daily Dose OF Emmet Fox #essentialsofrecovery

THE DUAL LAW OF THOUGHT

Every thought is made up of two factors, knowledge and feeling. A thought consist of a piece of knowledge with a charge of feeling, and it is the feeling alone that gives power to the thought. No matter how important or magnificent the knowledge content may be, if there is no feeling attached to it nothing will happen. On the other hand, no matter how unimportant or insignificant the knowledge content may be, if there is a large charge of feeling something will happen.

It makes no difference whether the knowledge content is correct or not as long as you believe it to be correct. Remember that it is what we really believe that matters. A report about something may be quite untrue, but if you believe it, it has the same effect on you as if it were true; and that effect again will depend on the quantity of feeling attached to it.

When we understand this law we see the importance of accepting the truth with joy in every phase of our experience.

Thou wilt show me the path of light: in thy presence is fullness of joy . . . (Psalm 16:11)

© 1931 by Emmet Fox
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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery

THE TREASURE OF THE PAST

Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now. Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have — the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 124

What a gift it is for me to realize that all those seemingly useless years were not wasted. The most degrading and humiliating experiences turn out to be the most powerful tools in helping others to recover. In knowing the depths of shame and despair, I can reach out with a loving and compassionate hand, and know that the grace of God is available to me.
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Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery


An Every-Day Addict


” We can never fully recover, no matter how long we stay clean.”

Basic Text p. 80

After getting a little time in the program, some of us begin to think we have been cured. We’ve learned everything NA has to teach us; we’ve grown bored with the meetings; and our sponsor keeps droning the same old refrain: ” The steps-the steps-the steps!” We decide it is time to get on with our lives, cut way back on meetings, and try to make up for the years we have lost to active addiction. We do this, however, at the peril of our recovery.

Those of us who have relapsed after such an episode often try to go to as many meetings as we can-some of us go to a meeting every day for several years. It may take that long for us to understand that we will always be addicts. We may feel well some days and sick on other days, but we are addicts every day. At any time, we are subject to delusion, denial, rationalization, justification, insanity-all the hallmarks of the typical addict’s way of thinking. If we want to continue living and enjoying life without the use of drugs, we must practice an active program of recovery each day.

Just for today:
 I am an addict every day, but today I have the choice to be a recovering addict. I will make that choice by practicing my program.


pg. 28 
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery

A.A. Thought For The Day

What a load hangovers put on your shoulders! What terrible physical punishment we’ve all been through. The pounding headaches and jumpy nerves, the shakes and the jitters, the hot and cold sweats! When you come into A.A. and stop drinking, that terrible load of hangovers falls off your shoulders. What a load remorse puts on your shoulders! That terrible mental punishment we’ve all been through. Ashamed of the things you’ve said and done. Afraid to face people because of what they might think of you. Afraid of the consequences of what you did when you were drunk. What an awful beating the mind takes! When you come into A.A., that terrible load of remorse falls off your shoulders. Have I gotten rid of these loads of hangovers and remorse?

Meditation For The Day

When you seek to follow the way of the spirit, it frequently means a complete reversal of the way of the world that you had previously followed. But it is a reversal that leads to happiness and peace. Do the aims and ambitions that a person usually strives for bring peace? Do the world’s awards bring heart rest and happiness? Or do they turn to ashes in the mouth?

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not be weary, disillusioned, or disappointed. I pray that I may not put my trust in the ways of the world, but in the way of the spirit.
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrecovery

Troublemakers Can Be Teachers, p. 28

Few of us are any longer afraid of what any newcomer can do to our A.A. reputation or effectiveness. Those who slip, those who panhandle. those who scandalize, those with mental twists, those who rebel at the program, those who trade on the A.A. reputation–all such persons seldom harm an A.A. group for long.

Some of these have become our most respected and best loved. Some have remained to try our patience, sober nevertheless. Others have drifted away. We have begun to regard the troublesome ones not as menaces, but rather as our teachers. They oblige us to cultivate patience, tolerance, and humility. We finally see that they are only people sicker than the rest of us, that we who condemn them are Pharisees whose false righteousness does our group the deeper spiritual damage.

Grapevine, August 1946 
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrecovery


Easy does it
Avoiding tension


As people of excess, alcoholics tend to swing between periods of great activity and times of complete lassitude. There is a tendency to waste time at one point, and then overcompensate for it by working feverishly and frantically to catch up. Both ways are out of balance.

We need to approach life in a relaxed manner, letting the natural rhythm of events take over and do some of the work for us. Too much effort defeats itself. The overanxious person strives too hard and makes things worse, like the salesman who talks too long and kills the sale.

In the AA way of life, we expect and accept responsibilities. But we are not slavishly committed to success at any price. We make a full commitment to any project we undertake, and we do our best at all times. Then we let things unfold rather than trying to force them.

It is also common to hear people say, “EASY DOES IT, BUT DO IT!” This is a reminder that t he slogan is not a prescription for laziness and indifference. It is also a reminder to avoid high-pressure tactics and excessive pushing.

I’ll let things work out today. I’ll do whatever has to be done.
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery

WISDOM

“Education today, more than ever before, must see clearly the dual objectives: education for living and education for making a living.”

— James Mason Wood

The spiritual life is a productive life. Not only does it make for a prosperous life in every sense of the word but it makes for a creative lifestyle. Nothing is wasted on the spiritual man; he learns from his mistakes and doubts.

For too long I was stunted in my spiritual growth by negative and destructive thinking. I became dependent upon a sick self and attracted equally sick people. I used my education and knowledge to keep people out and remained isolated. I needed to change. I wanted to change. But how? As with everything else in life I needed to imitate those who were successful. I needed to be shown how to live a different way. I needed to discover the power of my spirituality. I found successful people. They helped me. Today I am able to help myself.

I pray for the knowledge to imitate those who are successful in life.
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection For The Day

Now that I am in The Program, I am no longer enslaved by alcohol and other drugs. Free, free at last from the other drugs. Free, free at last from the morning-after tremors, the dry heaves, the three-day beard, the misplaced eyelashes. Free, free at last from working out the alibis and hopng they won’t unravel; free from blackouts; free from watching the clock so that I can somehow get that desperately-needed “first one.” Do I treasure my freedom from chemical enslavement?

Today I Pray

Praise God that I am free of chemicals. This is my first freedom, from which other freedoms will develop — freedom to appraise my behavior sanely and constructively, freedom to grow as a person, freedom to maintain relationships with others on a sound basis. I will never cease to thank my Higher Power for leading me away from my enslavement.

Today I Will Remember

Praise God for my freedom.
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One Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery

~ SUCCESS ~

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

–Winston Churchill


My life before program consisted of one failure after the next. I could never master success with my eating, much less with my life in general.

Once I came into these rooms and started working the Twelve Steps, with a God of my understanding and the knowledge that God is in control of all in my life, I began to realize that life is NOT a series of failures, only slow successes.

One Day at a Time . . .
I am a success if I keep on trying regardless of the outcome, because it is truly God’s will for me.

~ Linda K. ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrecovery


“We call it the `sacred’ red road because it is the road that will lead us to living the good life, an honest and healthy life.”

–Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

The Red Road is the path we walk on when we want a direct relationship with the Great Spirit. This requires sacrifice. This requires us to have our beliefs tested. To walk this path is really an honor. The returns for doing so are exciting, not only for ourselves but for the effect that will be felt for three generations. This means your children will see the benefits as well as your grandchildren. Do I want to walk this sacred road?

Great Spirit, guide myself and my family on the Red Road.
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Today’s Gift #essentialsofrecovery



Conscious Contact. Coming into what is clearly a spiritual program, we may have been fearful that our own unworthiness would hold us back. We may have believed that a spiritual life and a “conscious contact” with God are reserved for a few people with saintly qualities.

What we must know is that the spiritual life is every person’s right. It includes the human qualities that have brought our greatest progress. “The spirit of the thing” is an ordinary phrase, but it expresses the presence of a Higher Power in our lives.

What’s most useful to know is that we can contact our Higher Power at any time, in any place. This can be extremely important when we are in very bad situations. We always have a Higher Power to pull us through and to set things right in our lives. That’s our birthright as human beings.

I’ll turn to my Higher Power frequently throughout the day, if only for a few moments each time. This will keep me on the right path.

From the book:




Walk in Dry Places by Mel B. © 1996 by Hazelden Foundation
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The Eye Opener #essentialsofrecovery



Man was created in the image of God. We are told that the heart of man is the Temple of the Holy Ghost. A realization of this fact makes the desecration of the body as sacrilegious as the desecration of any church.

We alcoholics have a lot of mess to clean up in our Temples in order to make them a fit place for communion with the God in us.

If we really want God to work in and through us in the rehabilitation of other alcoholics, we must provide Him at least a clean workshop.

Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao / 028 - ACCOUNTABILITY #essentialsofrecovery


A father without a father

Has difficulty balancing.

A master without a master

Is dangerous.



We look up to our parents, our teachers, and our leaders with trust and expectation. Their responsibility is to guide us, educate us, and even make judgments on our behalf when circumstances are uncertain. Ultimately, they are to bring us to the point where we can make our own decisions, based on the wisdom that they have helped us develop.

But the potential for abuse and mistakes is very great. What person can be right all the time? A simple lapse at the wrong time can cause confusion, psychological scars, and even great disaster. Harsh words during a child's impressionable moments can engender years of problems. That is why we need a parent for the parent, a master for the master, and leaders for the leaders. This prevents errors of power. In the past, even kings had wise advisers. Every person who would be a leader should have such assistance.

Eventually, someone has to be at the top. And who will that person turn to? Let us invoke not deities but pragmatism. It is experience that is the ultimate teacher. That is why wise people travel constantly and test themselves against the flux of circumstance. It is only in this way that they can truly confirm their thoughts and compensate for their shortcomings.
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Daily Zen #essentialsofrecovery



Remain silent, and you sink into a realm of shadows; speak, and you fall into a deep pit.

Try, and you’re as far away as sky from earth; give up, and you’ll never attain.

Enormous waves go on and on, foaming breakers flood the skies who’s got the bright pearl that calms the oceans?

-I-ch’ing
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Saturday, 27 January 2018

Jim P. - Big Book Recovery Workshop 13



Daily Dose Of Emmet Fox #essentialsofrecovery

THE LAW OF FORGIVENESS

It is an unbreakable mental law that you have to forgive others if you want to demonstrate over your difficulties and to make any real spiritual progress.

The vital importance of forgiveness may not be obvious at first sight, but you may be sure that it is not by chance that every great spiritual teacher from Jesus Christ downward has insisted so strongly upon it.

You must forgive injuries, not just in words, or as a matter of form, but in your heart—and that is the long and short of it. You do this, not for the other person’s sake, but for your own sake, Resentment, condemnation, anger, desire to see someone punished and things that rot your soul. Such things fasten you r troubles to you with rivets. They fetter you to many other problems that actually have nothing whatever to do with the original grievances themselves.

Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that yea are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9)

© 1931 by Emmet Fox
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