Wednesday, 26 September 2018

DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery

ONE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY

For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority— a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 132 

When I am chosen to carry some small responsibility for my fellows, I ask that God grant me the patience, open- mindedness, and willingness to listen to those I would lead. I must remind myself that I am the trusted servant of others, not their “governor,” “teacher,” or “instructor.” God guides my words and my actions, and my responsibility is to heed His suggestions. Trust is my watchword, I trust others who lead. In the Fellowship of A.A., I entrust God with the ultimate authority of “running the show.”

Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc.
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Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery

Seeing Ourselves In Others

“It will not make us better people to judge the faults of another.” 

Basic Text, p.37

How easy it is to point out the faults of others! There’s a reason for this: The defects we identify most easily in others are often the defects we are most familiar with in our own characters. We may notice our best friend’s tendency to spend too much money, but if we examine our own spending habits we’ll probably find the same compulsiveness. We may decide our sponsor is much too involved in service, but find that we haven’t spent a single weekend with our families in the past three months because of one service commitment or another.

What we dislike in our fellows are often those things we dislike most in ourselves. We can turn this observation to our spiritual advantage. When we are stricken with the impulse to judge someone else, we can redirect the impulse in such a way as to recognize our own defects more clearly. What we see will guide our actions toward recovery and help us become emotionally healthy and happy individuals.

Just for today: I will look beyond the character defects of others and recognize my own.
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery


A.A. Thought For The Day


Continuing the consideration of the term “spiritual experience”: “The acquiring of an immediate and overwhelming God-consciousness, resulting in a dramatic transformation, though frequent, is by no means the rule. Most of our spiritual experiences are of the educational variety, and they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of newcomers are aware of the difference long before they are themselves. They finally realize that they have undergone a profound alteration in their reaction to life and that such a change could hardly have been brought about by themselves alone.” Is my outlook on life changing for the better?

Meditation For The Day

Look at the world as your Father’s house. Think of all people you meet as guests in you Father’s house, to be treated with love and consideration. Look at yourself as a servant in your father’s house, as a servant of all. Think of no work as beneath you. Be ever ready to do all you can for others who need your help. There is gladness in God’s service. There is much satisfaction in serving the highest that you know. Express your love for God in service to all who are living with you in your Father’s house.

Prayer For The Day


I pray that I may serve others out of gratitude to God. I pray that my work may be a small repayment for His grace so freely given me.
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As Bill Sees It


Those Other People, p.268

“Just like you, I have often thought myself the victim of what other people say and do. Yet every time I confessed the sins of such people, especially those whose sins did not correspond exactly with my own, I found that I only increased the total damage. My own resentment, my self-pity would often render me well-nigh useless to anybody.

“So, nowadays, if anyone talks of me so as to hurt, I first ask myself if there is any truth at all in what they say. If there is none, I try to remember that I too have had my periods of speaking bitterly of others; that hurtful gossip is but a symptom of our remaining emotional illness; and consequently that I must never be angry at the unreasonableness of sick people.

“Under very trying conditions I have had, again and again, to forgive others–also myself. Have you recently tried this?”

Letter, 1946

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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrecovery

The Limited and Unlimited
Spiritual growth.


In our human experience, we face one imitation after another. We are always up against limited time energy, limited knowledge.

Yet everything we’re learning tells us that all of these are without limit in the universal. In terms of energy, for example, we know that we would be rich beyond belief if we could really tap the sun’s energy that rushes to the earth.

What we call human progress may really refer to the gaining of knowledge that enables us to shake off limitations. We actually did that by becoming sober in our 12 Step program. Now we’re learning to extend our limits in many other ways; and though we are human and limited, we surely have not begun to each any limits as far as God is concerned. Limited though we seem to be, we’re part of a Universe that is without limits.

I’ll focus today on the possibility of extending my limits, knowing that this is what God has planned for me.
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Keep It Simple



The distance doesn’t matter; only the first step is difficult.


—Mme. Marquise du Deffand

During our addiction, we were on a path leading to death—death of our spirit, mind, and body.

On that path, we tired not to think about where it would lead. We didn’t want to get there. We just followed the path toward death, with one drink, pill, snort or toke at a time.

Now we’ve chosen a new path for our lives. Making that choice was hard. We knew only the old path. We were afraid to change. But we did it. That was the hardest part.

We are excited to follow our new path. We know it leads to good things. We can follow the map—the Twelve Steps—and enjoy the trip. It will last as long as we live, and the map will guide us.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, thanks for helping me choose the path of life.
Action for the Day: Today, I’ll study the map for my life by reading the Twelve Steps
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation

PAIN

“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”
 

– Booker T. Washington
I know who was holding me down in my life. I was. I know who was bringing pain and sadness in my life. I was. I know who was making me the victim of addiction. I was. I would beat myself up and then complain about the bruises!

I did this because I could not “see”. I had not accepted or understood the implications of my alcoholism. Today I am beginning to take care of myself because I have accepted my disease. I do not choose today to be the enemy in my life — I have surrendered to live. I do not want to hurt anymore. I do not want to hide in guilt and fear anymore. I do not choose to be my victim today.

God, I thank You for the freedom to determine my life and my victories.

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation




PAIN


“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him."

– Booker T. Washington

I know who was holding me down in my life. I was. I know who was bringing pain and sadness in my life. I was. I know who was making me the victim of addiction. I was. I would beat myself up and then complain about the bruises!

I did this because I could not “see”. I had not accepted or understood the implications of my alcoholism. Today I am beginning to take care of myself because I have accepted my disease. I do not choose today to be the enemy in my life — I have surrendered to live. I do not want to hurt anymore. I do not want to hide in guilt and fear anymore. I do not choose to be my victim today.

God, I thank You for the freedom to determine my life and my victories.
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A Day At A Time



Reflection For The Day

Is freedom from addiction all that we’re to expect from a spiritual awakening? Not at all. Freedom from addiction is only the bare beginning; it’s only the first gift of our first awakening. Obviously, if more gifts are to come our way, our awakening has to continue. As it does continue we find that slowly but surely we can scrap the old life — the one that didn’t work — for a new life that can and does work under any and all conditions. Am I willing to continue my awakening thorough the practice of the Twelve Steps?

Today I Pray


May I remember how it was when my only goal in life was to be free of my addiction. All the words and phrases I used were stoppers – “giving it up,” “quitting,” cutting myself off.” Once I was free, I began to realize that my freedom had more to do with “beginning” than “stopping.” May I now continue to think in terms of starters — “expanding,” “awakening,” “growing,” “learning,” “becoming.”

Today I Will Remember

My stopping was a starting point.
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One Day At A Time



LETTING GO

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

–Joseph Campbell

It’s hard to give up old habits. Although my former solutions to dealing with stress, anger, and emotional and physical pain had never worked and only made the problems worse, they were familiar. I had high hopes the results would be different each time. I wasn’t too surprised when it didn’t happen because this was familiar ground.

Then I heard about this program, half-heartedly joined and began working the Twelve Steps. It was scary! Things began happening to me that I’d never dreamed possible. I was given abstinence! I had not planned for that to happen. How could I, when I had no idea what abstinence would really be like?

At first I felt very anxious, sure the abstinence would be snatched from me just as I was beginning to feel comfortable with it. While I enjoyed abstinence and not having to focus on my eating disorder’s requirements, I often felt like I was in foreign territory without a map. I couldn’t plan my life like I had before because my life was busy evolving in ways I couldn’t imagine.

But the longer I worked the program, the happier my life became. To my utter shock I’ve recently discovered that I, a control freak and ultimate planner of everything, have begun to enjoy the unpredictability that my Higher Power has so graciously put in my life.

Before the program I never appreciated spontaneity; I couldn’t. Now, a day without plans is an opportunity.

One day at a time …

I will pray to let go of my will and instead to be open to my Higher Power’s will for me.

~ Rhonda
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrecovery

No one likes to be criticized, but criticism can be something like the desert wind that, in whipping the tender stalks, forces them to strike their roots down deeper for security.”

–Polingaysi Qoyawayma, HOPI

You move toward and become that which you think about. Creating a vision is what guides our lives. If we get off track with our vision, then we experience conflict. Conflict is nature’s way of telling us we are not in harmony. Criticism can be a way for one human being to help another. Often our Elders will give us criticism. This feedback is intended to be helpful. Criticism from our Elders helps us grow strong.

Great Spirit, today, if I need it, please provide me positive criticism. 
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Today’s Gift



There is no hope of joy except in human relations.
 

—Antoine de Saint Exupery


It is hard to imagine being really joyful and excited without our family and friends. We can imagine a birthday party with no one but us attending. Even if we got many gifts, we would feel empty if there were no one around with whom to share our excitement.

Our joy comes from each other. Even the hard times furnish us with wonderful memories for later in life. We share the good and the bad, and the rewards of both. When our lives together seem too difficult, when it’s too hard to share, too crowded to think, when there are too many disagreements, we can find comfort by looking at one another once again and seeing all the ways we are truly alike, and what we share every moment that we sometimes take for granted–our food, our thoughts, the very air we breathe.

What are the things we share right now?

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The Eye Opener #essentialsofrecovery


Our AA philosophy is an idealistic philosophy. It has to be in order to be a happy philosophy. Some may declare that it is too much so, that we ignore more materialistic facts. Let us take from our philosophy all the good and the joy it promises. Let us give our gold no acid test.

If our philosophy is unreal and foolish in the eyes of the more materialistic world, then what of it? It enables us to be happier than those that have good sense.

Copyright Hazelden Foundation

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Daily Tao / 269 – MODESTY #essentialsofrecovery



Have you ever had a knot in your shoelace?
You have to bend down to untie it.


Difficulties in life confront us all; people respond in their own ways to adversity. Some succumb, some grow boisterous. Some marshall their determination, some respond with trickery. All too often, hardship will mow a person down.

When confronted with difficulty, those who follow Tao respond with modesty : they conform to the situation. They bow before it, and they concentrate upon it until they find a solution. They do not apply undue force; neither do they acquiesce meekly to fate. They examine the situation and carefully undo it. In the same way you bend down to untie a knot in your shoelace, they bend down to find guidance.

Even modesty can become an error if we become meek and insecure. Some people become so humble that they become self-defeating. They are talented but their personalities are so split that they cannot achieve their potential. Therefore, there must be limits even on modesty. It works. Like anything else, it must be applied in the right manner.
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Daily Zen

Internal peace is an essential first step to achieving peace in the world. How do you cultivate it? It's very simple. In the first place by realizing clearly that all mankind is one, that human beings in every country are members of one and the same family.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

~ Big Book - Alcoholics Anonymous - 4th Edition - We Agnostics pg. 48

"Everybody nowadays, believes in scores of assumptions for which there is good evidence, but no perfect visual proof. And does not science demonstrate that visual proof is the weakest proof? It is being constantly revealed, as mankind studies the material world, that outward appearances are not inward reality at all."

 ~ Big Book - Alcoholics Anonymous - 4th Edition - We Agnostics pg. 48

Daily Dose Of Emmet Fox #essentialsofrecovery

Realizing God as Truth will save you hours of work in research in any field. You will be led to the right book or the right place or the right person without loss of time, or the necessary information will come to you in some other way.
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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Some of us have taken very hard knocks to learn this truth: Job or no job — wife or no wife — we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God. 

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 98

Before coming to A.A., I always had excuses for taking a drink: “She said . . . , ” “He said . . . ,” “I got fired yesterday,” “I got a great job today.” No area of my life could be good if I drank again. In sobriety my life gets better each day. I must always remember not to drink, to trust God, and to stay active in A.A. Am I putting anything before my sobriety, God, and A.A. today?
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Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery


The Fourth Step – Fearing Our Feelings

“We may fear that being in touch with our feelings will trigger an overwhelming chain reaction of pain and panic.” Basic Text, p.29

A common complaint about the Fourth Step is that it makes us painfully conscious of our defects of character. We may be tempted to falter in our program of recovery. Through surrender and acceptance, we can find the resources we need to keep working the steps.

It’s not the awareness of our defects that causes the most agony-it’s the defects themselves. When we were using, all we felt was the drugs; we could ignore the suffering our defects were causing us. Now that the drugs are gone, we feel that pain. Refusing to acknowledge the source of our anguish doesn’t make it go away; denial protects the pain and makes it stronger. The Twelve Steps help us deal with the misery caused by our defects by dealing directly with the defects themselves.

If we hurt from the pain of our defects, we can remind ourselves of the nightmare of addiction, a nightmare from which we’ve now awakened. We can recall the hope for release the Second Step gave us. We can again turn our will and our lives over, through the Third Step, to the care of the God of our understanding. Our Higher Power cares for us by giving us the help we need to work the rest of the Twelve Steps. We don’t have to fear our feelings. Just for today, we can continue in our recovery.
Just for today: I won’t be afraid of my feelings. With the help of my Higher Power, I’ll continue in my recovery.
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery

A.A. Thought For The Day

Let us consider the term “spiritual experience” as given in Appendix II of the Big Book: “A spiritual experience is something that brings about a personality change. By surrendering our lives to God as we understand Him, we are changed. The nature of this change is evident in recovered alcoholics. This personality change is not necessarily in the nature of a sudden and spectacular upheaval. We do no need to acquire an immediate and overwhelming God-consciousness followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook. In most cases, the change is gradual.” Do I see a gradual and continuing change in myself?

Meditation For The Day

“Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” For rest from the care of life, you can turn to God each day in prayer and communion. Real relaxation and serenity comes from a deep sense of the fundamental goodness of the universe. God’s everlasting arms are underneath all and will support you. Commune with God, not so much for petitions to be granted as for the rest that comes from relying on His will and His purposes for your life. Be sure of God’s strength available to you, be conscious of His support, and wait quietly until that true rest from God fills your being.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be conscious of God’s support today. I pray that I may rest safe and sure therein.
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrecovery

Behind Our Excuses, p.267

As excuse-makers and rationalizers, we drunks are champions. It is the business of the psychiatrist to find the deeper causes for our conduct. Though uninstructed in psychiatry, we can, after a little time in A.A., see that our motives have not been what we thought they were, and that we have been motivated by forces previously unknown to us. Therefore we ought to look, with the deepest respect, interest, and profit, upon the example set us by psychiatry.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

“Spiritual growth through the practice of A.A.’s Twelve Steps, plus the aid of a good sponsor, can usually reveal most of the deeper reasons for our character defects, at least to a degree that meets our practical needs. Nevertheless, we should be grateful that our friends in psychiatry have so strongly emphasized the necessity to search for false and often unconscious motivations.”

1. A.A. Comes Of Age, p.236

2. Letter, 1966 
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrecovery

Martyrs set bad examples

—David Russell

Sometimes we call people “martyrs.” We sometimes think of them as victims. They suffer, but sometimes not for a cause. They play “poor me.” They want people to notice how much they suffer. They are afraid to really live. These are the people who set bad examples.

True martyrs died for causes they believed in. We remember them because they were so full of energy and spirit. Recovery helps us live better. Let’s go for it!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, thanks for giving me energy and for healing my spirit. Help me live fully by putting my life in Your care.

Action for the Day: What kind of example do I set? Does my life reflect joy for life and recovery?
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery

PRAYER


“Prayer is not asking. It is a language of the soul.”

– Mohandas Gandhi

At school I was told that prayer is “talking to God”. Then I discovered that prayer is more than this — prayer is a relationship with God. It is a two-way system — I talk to God but I must also listen to Him. Like any relationship that is going to work and grow, it needs time. I must spend time developing my relationship with God. I must create an awareness of his presence in my life because I believe He is always there for me.

But more than this, prayer is a yearning for truth within the center of my being. In prayer I get in touch with that part of me that will be forever restless until it finds rest, eternal rest, in Him.

O God, prayer is my journey into You.
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection For The Day

At the suggestion of a long-timer in The Program, I began taking “recovery inventories” periodically. The results showed me — clearly and unmistakeably — that the promises of The Program have been true for me.  I am not the sick person I was in years past; I am no longer bankrupt in all areas; I have a new life and a path to follow, and I’m at peace with myself most of the time. And that’s far way from the time in my life when I dreaded facing each new day. Perhaps we should all write recovery inventories from time to time, showing how The Program is working for each of us. Just for today, will I try to sow faith where there is fear?

Today I Pray

God, let me compare my new life with the old one — just to see how things have changed for me. May I make progress reports for myself now and then — and for those who are newer to The Program. May these reports be — heartrendingly — about “what I am doing” rather than — smug — about “what I have done.”

Today I Will Remember

Has The Program kept its promise? Have I kept mine?
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrecovery


“Even the trees have spirits – everything has a spirit.”

–Mary Hayes, CLAYOQUOT

The trees are great teachers. The trees are great listeners. That is why we should meditate in their presence. The Great spirit is in every rock, every animal, every human being and in every tree. The Great Spirit has been in some trees for hundreds of years. Therefore, the trees have witnessed and heard much. The trees are the Elders of the Elders. Their spirits are strong and very healing.

Great Spirit, teach me respect for all spiritual things.
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Today’s Gift #essentialsofrecovery

A thousand eyes, but none with correct vision.

— Isacher Hurwitz

William Shakespeare referred to envy as the “green sickness.” There are only losers in the game of envy. When we envy someone else, we have judged ourselves and found something lacking.

Lack of self-love is the soil in which envy grows. Envious people are never satisfied. Self-pity is never sitting far from envy. We feel sorry for ourselves for what we don’t have. Self-pity is like a swamp, the longer we stand in the muck, the more we stink.

Concentrating on what we do have is the perfect antidote for envy. Every one of us has our own special gifts and talents. We find these by looking at ourselves instead of looking at others. By becoming grateful for what we have, we can rejoice in ourselves.

Today let me be grateful for what I have.

From the book:



                              Our Best Days by Nancy Hull-Mast. © 1990 by Hazelden Foundation
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The Eye Opener #essentialsofrecovery

Everyone is potentially as good as God made him, and the reason that he does not show it is because he has buried the fact beneath a mountain of selfishness.

It has ever been man’s misdirected efforts to benefit himself and himself alone that have resulted in his greatest disservice to himself.

The closer man gets to himself, the further away he is from God and the world. The further he is away from God and the world, the further away he is from God’s blessings and the world’s happiness.


Copyright Hazelden Foundation
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Daily Tao / 269 - NATURE



My back is stooped from scholarship,
My eyes are dimmed by history's words.
Surrounded though I may be by learning,
I still cannot compare with nature's perfection.


Learning is a passion shared by many of us. There is a great allure to education and a fascination with the accomplishments of civilization. We go to libraries and museums. We go to exhibits showing the diggings from royal tombs. We are enchanted with new inventions. And yet, if we look out our windows and see a tree in its perfection, or gaze into a tide pool, or watch a cat as it strolls its territory, or see the flash of a blue jay, we can see another order of beauty and intelligence in this life.

The works of humanity cannot compare to the works of nature. The works of civilization lack the balance and refinement of nature. Too many times, our accomplishments are tainted by impure motives : profit, hardship, desire for fame, simple greed. We achieve, but we cannot foresee the results because we are unable to place our actions into a greater context.

Nature is a conglomeration of contending forces, of tooth and claw, venom and perfume, mud and excrement, eggs and bones, lightning and lava. It seems chaotic. It seems terrible. And yet, for all its unfathomable workings, it far surpasses the business of our society.

Think about what you do. How much of it can compare to the perfection of nature?
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Daily Zen #essentialsofrecovery

He who treads the Path in earnest Sees not the mistakes of the world; If we find fault with others We ourselves are also in the wrong.

- The Sutra of Hui Neng
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Monday, 24 September 2018

AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery


SHARING THE KEY

In order to “Golden Key” a troublesome person or difficult situation, think, “Now I’m going to Golden Key John, or Mary, or that threatened danger”; then lift John or Mary or the danger into the presence of God and think only of God.

There after the person is certain to be in some better, wiser, and more spiritual person. A pending lawsuit or other difficulty will probably fade out without coming to a crisis, justice being done to all parties concerned.

. . . O Lord God, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant (2 Samuel 7:28).

© 1931 by Emmet Fox 
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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery

VIGILANCE

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

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 33

Today I am an alcoholic. Tomorrow will be no different. My alcoholism lives within me now and forever. I must never forget what I am. Alcohol will surely kill me if I fail to recognize and acknowledge my disease on a daily basis. I am not playing a game in which a loss is a temporary setback. I am dealing with my disease, for which there is no cure, only daily acceptance and vigilance. 
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Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery

A Growing Concept Of God

“The only suggested guidelines are that this Power be loving, caring, and greater than ourselves. We don’t have to be religious to accept this idea. The point is that we open our minds to believe.” 

Basic Text, p.24

In a lifelong process of coming to believe, our understanding of God will change. The understanding we have when new in recovery will not be the same when we have a few months clean, nor will that understanding be the same when we have a few years clean.

Our initial understanding of a Power greater than ourselves will most likely be limited. That Power will keep us clean but, we may think, nothing more. We may hesitate to pray because we have placed conditions on what we will ask our Higher Power to do for us. “Oh, this stuff is so awful, even God couldn’t do anything,” we might say, or “God’s got a lot of people to take care of. There’s no time for me!”

But, as we grow in recovery, so will our understanding. We’ll begin to see that the only limits to God’s love and grace are those we impose by refusing to step out of the way. The loving God we come to believe in is infinite, and the power and love we find in our belief is shared by nearly every recovering addict around the world.

Just for today: The God I am coming to understand has a limitless capacity for love and care. I will trust that my God is bigger than any problem I may have.
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery


A.A. Thought For The Day


Let us continue with Step Twelve. We must practice these principles in all our affairs. This part of the twelfth step must not be overlooked. It is the carrying on of the whole program. We do not just practice these principles in regard to our drinking problem. We practice them in ALL our affairs. We do not give one compartment of our lives to God and keep the other compartments to ourselves. We give our whole lives to God and we try to do His will in every respect. “Herein lies our growth, herein lies all the promise of the future, and ever-widening horizon.” Do I carry the A.A. principles with me wherever I go?

Meditation For The Day

“Lord, to whom shall we go but to Thee? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” The words of eternal life are the words from God controlling your true being, controlling the real spiritual you. They are the words from God which are heard by you in your heart and mind when these are wide open to His spirit. These are the words of eternal life which express the true way you are to live. They say to you in the stillness of your heart and mind and soul: “Do this and live.”

Prayer For The Day


I pray that I may follow the dictates of my conscience. I pray that I may follow the inner urging of my soul.
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrecovery

Give Thanks, p.266

Though I still find it difficult to accept today’s pain and anxiety with any great degree of serenity–as those more advanced in the spiritual life seem able to do–I can give thanks for present pain nevertheless.

I find the willingness to do this by contemplating the lessons learned from past suffering–lessons which have led to the blessings I now enjoy. I can remember how the agonies of alcoholism, the pain of rebellion and thwarted pride, have often led me to God’s grace, and so to a new freedom.

Grapevine, March 1962
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrecovery

Willingness to listen
Willingness


Why is it that we’ll accept information from some people but not from others? Many people tried to advise us while we were drinking; why would we listen only to recovering alcoholics?

We can’t answer that question, except to say that most human beings are willing to listen only to certain people at certain times. That’s why business organizations have to select sales people carefully; customers will respond to some people, but not to others.

As we grow in sobriety, however, we develop the willingness to listen to people we would have once avoided. We can find wonderful ideas in all sorts of places and from all types of people. As we become more open-minded and willing, we can listen more and learn more.

My prejudices and fears of the past kept me from listening to people who would have helped me. I’ll be more open-minded and willing today.
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrecovery


To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves.

— Will Durant

Sometimes we say bad things about others. When we do this, it makes us look bad too.

Our friends worry what we might say about them behind their backs. They’re afraid to trust us. We become known as gossips.

The things we say about other people tell a lot about us. We are kind or unkind. We gossip or we don’t. This doesn’t mean we have to say everyone is wonderful all the time. As we work our program to see ourselves better, we begin to see other people more clearly too. We see their strong points and their weak points. But we can know these things without gossiping about them.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me see others clearly, and in their best light. Let me bring out the good in others.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list the people I’m closest to at work, school, and home. I’ll think of how I talk about them to others. Am I kind?
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery

  GOD


“God is not a cosmic bellboy.”

– Harry Emerson Fosdick

My understanding of God is within the context of freedom. God is involved in His world but He allows it an autonomy. We are not puppets on a string. When things begin to go wrong, God does not interfere and make changes (usually) without our cooperation. God reveals the extent of His love by allowing us a creative responsibility in our lives.

For years I did not understand this. I thought that if I prayed enough, He would answer all my prayers and come to my rescue. When He didn’t, I grew confused, angry and resentful. What was I doing wrong? Where was God in my life? He didn’t love me. Why wasn’t God my cosmic co-dependent?
Today I love his detachment. Today I grow in my freedom. Today I cooperate with His miracle.
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection For The Day

Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.” Goethe.

I ask myself sometimes, as we all do; “Who am I?” “Where am I?” “Where am I going?” “What’s it all about?” The learning and growing process is usually slow. But eventually our seeking always brings a finding. What seem like great mysteries often turn out to be enshrined in complete simplicity. Have I accepted the fact that my willingness to grow is the essence of my spiritual development?

Today I Pray

God give me patience and the perseverance to keep on hoeing the long row, even when the end of it is out of sight. The principles of The Program are my almanac for growing, even more than the harvesting. The harvest will come, abundant enough to share, if I can stick to my garden tending.

Today I Will Remember

Getting there, not being there.
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One Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery

The Future


When I look into the future, it’s so bright it burns my eyes.

–Oprah Winfrey

I receive the gift of abstinence one day at a time. I am relieved from the obsession to eat one day at a time. With the help of my Higher Power, I can live life on life’s terms… one day at a time.

As my recovery builds and builds, I start to imagine all the possibilities for my life. Things I never had the confidence or emotional stability to pursue are options for me. Now that I am free from the despair and self-destruction of overeating, there is space to actualize new adventures. But before I become overwhelmed or grandiose in my thinking, the Program gently reminds me that it is STILL just one day a time.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will work my program so that I have a future.

~ Christine S. ~
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrecovery

“Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise men turn to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.”

–Tecumseh, SHAWNEE

It’s not an accident that firewater is also called spirits. Firewater affects our judgments. The Great Spirit created a set of laws and principles by which we are to live our lives. When we have problems we should pray and ask for the wisdom of these laws. If instead we turn to liquor, our judgement will be affected. It is the decision and choice made under the influence of booze that causes us to be fools. We need to learn to lean on prayer and not on the spirits of alcohol.

Great Spirit, teach me to pray. Let not one drop of liquor touch my lips today.
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Today’s Gift #essentialsofrecovery

About the time I wish I were dead, something falls in my path about which I make a difference. Then I figure God was saving me for that.

— Janice Clark
Not everybody has the easy faith that Janice has, but perhaps we could all cultivate it. They say it’s never too late to make a friend of God who’s been waiting in the wings all along. But some may question this point, particularly if they have lived long without attending to their spiritual side. Indeed, it’s not a requirement. However, those who have sought the counsel of a Higher Spirit have found comfort in the knowledge that they are never alone.

One of the plusses of believing in God is knowing that we don’t have to handle any situation that occurs without guidance. We never have to have all the answers. We never have to have any of them, in fact. All we have to do is seek them from the only Source that really has them.

If we haven’t allowed our lives to be this easy up to now, let’s give this process a chance. There’s no reason to keep struggling with the circumstances that happen to us.

I will acknowledge the rightness of whatever comes my way today.

From the book:


                                                 Keepers of the Wisdom by Karen Casey
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The Eye Opener #essentialsofrecovery

We are all serving a term here on earth, and it is a tough rap for we are not only serving a life term but we are condemned to death in the end. We can get some special privileges for good behavior, however, but even with this it would be a hopeless situation except for the hope held forth in the inspired Book of God.

Through this Book, we can look forward beyond this prison of Life and visualize the freedom that is beyond.

Copyright Hazelden Foundation
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Daily Tao / 267 – Style #essentialsofrecovery

An old man sits on a granite step.
He plucks a treasured guitar.
The strings throb with feeling;
He needs no audience to open his heart.
A boy enthusiastically wants to learn his style.
“Style?” asks the man slowly. “My style is made of
The long road of life, of heartbreak
And joy, and people loved, and loneliness.
Of war and its atrocities.
Of a baby born.
Of burying parents and friends.
My scale is the seven stars of the dipper.
The hollow of my guitar is the space between heaven and earth.
How can I show you my style?
You have your own young life.”


Everyone has their own style in life. The old have perspective. The young have vigor. We can learn from each other, but we cannot have what the other generations possess. We are each shaped by our generations, and to transcend the limitations of our time is a rare occurrence indeed.
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Daily Zen #essentialsofrecovery

Adverse circumstances test our courage, our strength of mind, and the depth of our conviction in the Dharma. There is nothing exceptional about practicing Dharma in a good environment and atmosphere. The true test is if we can maintain our practice in adverse conditions.

-Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, "Advice From a Spiritual Friend" 
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Sunday, 23 September 2018

Rita B. - A.A. Speaker


Daily Dose Of Emmet Fox #essentialsofrecovery

ACCEPTING ABUNDANCE


Click the talking feather Audio and I'll pray with you

What is a talking feather? / Book Excerpt - What is Left Unsaid

Today, I accept God's gift of abundance.

Today everything that I AM and have, that is Good,

is increased.

I identify everything I do with success.

I think affirmatively.

And with all my prayers, I accept abundance.

Whatever I need, whenever I need it,

wherever I need it, for as long as I need it,

will always be at hand.

I no longer see negation

or delay

or stagnation

in my undertakings.

Rather, I claim that the action of the Living Spirit

prospers everything I do,

increases every Good I possess

and brings success to me and everyone I meet.

Everything I think about and do

is animated by the Divine Presence,

sustained by the Infinite Power,

and multiplied by the Divine Goodness.

In Jesus Christ's name I pray,

who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit

One God forever and ever.


Amen
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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery


“I WAS AN EXCEPTION”


He [Bill W.] said to me, gently and simply, “Do you think that you are one of us?” 


ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 413

During my drinking life I was convinced I was an exception. I thought I was beyond petty requirements and had the right to be excused. I never realized that the dark counterbalance of my attitude was the constant feeling that I did not “belong.” At first, in A.A., I identified with others only as an alcoholic. What a wonderful awakening for me it has been to realize that, if human beings were doing the best they could, then so was I! All of the pains, confusions and joys they feel are not exceptional, but part of my life, just as much as anybody’s.
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Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery

Dealing With Gossip

“In accordance with the principles of recovery, we try not to judge, stereotype, or moralize with each other.” 

Basic Text, p.11

Let’s face it: In Narcotics Anonymous, we live in a glass house of sorts. Our fellow members know more about our personal lives than anyone has ever known before. They know who we spend our time with, where we work, what step we’re on, how many children we have, and so forth. And what our fellow members don’t know, they will probably imagine.

We may be unhappy when others gossip about us. But if we withdraw from the fellowship and isolate ourselves to avoid gossip, we also rob ourselves of the love, friendship, and unparalleled experience with recovery that our fellow members have to offer. A better way to deal with gossip is to simply accept the way things are and the way we are, and live our lives according to principles. The more secure we become with our personal program, the decisions we make, and the guidance we receive from a loving God, the less the opinions of others will concern us.

Just for today: I am committed to being involved in the NA Fellowship. The opinions of others will not affect my commitment to recovery.
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery


A.A. Thought For The Day


Step Twelve is, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Note that the basis of our effectiveness in carrying the message to others is the reality of our own spiritual awakening. If we have not changed, we cannot be used to change others. To keep this program, we must pass it on to others. We cannot keep it for ourselves. We may lose it unless we give it away. It cannot flow into us and stop; it must continue to flow into us as it flows out to others.

Meditation For The Day

“Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you.” When you are faced with a problem beyond your strength, you must turn to God by an act of faith. It is that turning to God in each trying situation that you must cultivate. The turning may be one of glad thankfulness for God’s grace in you life. Or your appeal to God may be a prayerful claiming of His strength to face a situation and finding that you have it when the time comes. Not only the power to face trials, but also the comfort and joy of God’s nearness and companionship are yours for the asking.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may try to draw near to God each day in prayer. I pray that I may feel His nearness and His strength in my life.
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrecovery

Neither Dependence nor Self-Sufficiency, p.265

When we insisted, like infants, that people protect and take care of us or that the world owed us a living, then the result was unfortunate. The people we most loved often pushed us aside or perhaps deserted us entirely. Our disillusionment was hard to bear.

We failed to see that, though adult in years, we were still behaving childishly, trying to turn everybody–friends, wives, husbands, even the world itself–into protective parents. We refused to learn that over-dependence upon people is unsuccessful because all people are fallible, and even the best of them will sometimes let us down, especially when our demands for attention become unreasonable.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

We are now on a different basis: the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us do, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity.

1. 12 & 12, p.115

2. Alcoholics Anonymous, p.68 
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrecovery

When resentment Returns
Inventory


It’s surprising and even humiliating to find an old resentment flaring up, sometimes years after we thought it had been put to rest. When that happens, we wonder how thorough we really were in releasing the resentment in the first place.

The secret of handling this problem is to turn the old resentment over to our Higher Power without wasting time wondering why it came up again. We need to deal with it as if it were a brand-new problem; and in a sense, it is.

As for questioning our past sincerity, that too is a waste of time. We are always trying to do our best with the understanding we have for each day. Being too hard on us does not make it easier to practice our program. Resentments can and do return, but they don’t have to destroy us.

I’ll realize today that I’m always susceptible to any of my ongoing problems, including resentment. Fortunately, I have my program for dealing with them when they occur.
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrecovery

. . . he who finds himself loses his misery.

Matthew Arnold

We have lost a lot of misery. In it’s place inside us, a spirit grows. . .as love is added.

Especially self-love. In our illness, we came to hate ourselves. It was really our illness we hated. We couldn’t find ourselves. All we saw was what others saw—our illness.

In recovery, we’ve found ourselves again. We’ve found we’re good people. We’ve also come to love the world around us. We see we have something to offer this world—ourselves.

Why? Because we have found ourselves.

Prayer for the Day: I’m so glad to be alive. At times life hurts, but, in living, I found You. Thank-you Higher Power. I pray that we may always be close.

Action for the Day: I will list ten great things I’ve discovered about myself in recovery.
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery

LOVE


“Take away love and our earth is a tomb.”

– Robert Browning

Spirituality is essentially love. It is the love that suffers and grows in the acceptance of my compulsive and obsessive behavior. It is the love that requires a knowledge of “self” in order to give understanding and respect to others. Spirituality is that loving vulnerability that creates healing in recovery. It provides meaning to life and relationships.

The world is a creative place, and we will only find happiness when we begin to create. God has created us to take and make — give and receive. With the suffering, loneliness, struggle and acceptance comes a love that is real and alive.

Teach me to live in life and not merely exist.
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One Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery


EMOTIONS



“A life lacking the emotional upheavals of depression and despair, fear and anxiety, grief and sadness, anger and the agony of forgiving, confusion and doubt, criticism and rejection, will not only be useless to ourselves, it will be useless to others.”

–Scott Peck

Because I have always thought of myself as such an ordinary person, as life moved along I was surprised to find so many emotional events happening in it. I have had severe periods of depression and despair; I have known fear, anxiety, anger and doubt. I have wrestled with grief and known the agony of rejection. I have been subjected to criticism and experienced firsthand the difficulty of forgiving those whom I once thought I would never be able to forgive.

What I have learned about life and recovery is that no one is ordinary, that everyone experiences emotions of all kinds, and what is important is that each of these upheavals are instructive and not wasted.

Whereas once I would block my feelings, I now allow myself to feel them. Instead of sweeping my emotions under a rug, I express them. Rather than blocking grief from my soul, I experience it … then heal from it. When I am rejected, I try to move on by exploring the reasons why.

One day at a time…
I will turn my negative emotions into positive ones by transforming them into useful learning experiences both for myself and for others.

~ Mari ~
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection For The Day

On studying the Twelve Steps, many of the first members of The Program exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” “Do not be discouraged,” we’re told at the meeting after meeting. “No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.” Can I believe, in the words of Browning, that my business is not to remake myself, but to make the absolute best of what God made…?

Today I Pray

Even if I am an old hand at The Program, may I not forget that the Twelve Steps do not represent an achievement that can be checked off my “things to do” list. Instead, they are a striving for an ideal, a guide to getting there. May I keep my mind open to deepening interpretations of these principles.

Today I Will Remember

Progress rather than perfection.
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrecovery


“When that spirit comes, we don’t ever ask questions. If I don’t understand, I just hold onto it. Then later down the road, maybe in a couple of years, I understand what that spirit meant.”

–Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

At certain spiritual events or happenings, it is possible for the spirits to come. Sometimes these spirits look like sparklers of light, sometimes you can feel them, sometimes they will look like live human beings. The spirits always come for a reason. When we deal with the spirit world, we need to be patient. The Great Spirit will tell us the meaning of these happenings when He is ready.

Great Spirit, let me be aware of Your presence.
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Today’s Gift #essentialsofrecovery

The Simple Things

Lord, I pray to stay uncomplicated and do well these simple tasks:

If I open it, I will close it.

If I turn it on, I will turn it off.

If I unlock it, I will lock it up.

If I break it, I will admit it.

If I borrow it, I will return it.

If I make a mess, I will clean it up.

If I value it, I will take care of it.

If it will brighten someone’s day, I will say it.

— Author unknown

From the book:


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

In Step Twelve, we learn that we should “try to carry this message to alcoholics” but only after we have “had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps.”

Notice, please, that it does not say that we have an “understanding,” but it says “spiritual awakening.” It takes no English scholar to know the meaning of every one of those two hundred words. A child of ten can grasp what the words actually say, but it is only when we have had this spiritual experience can we understand their full significance.

Only when we have this spiritual experience do we fully possess the Program, and unless we possess it, it is certain that we cannot give it away.

Copyright Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao / 266 – Appreciation #essentialsofrecovery

The sun rose and set today in twelve hours.
We plucked golden pears from arching branches.
Climbing a thousand steps to a rustic temple,
We made our offerings to the gods.
At nightfall, we sat in warm companionship.
A crescent moon joined our circle.
Dipping water from the silver-braided stream,
We set it bubbling in an earthenware pot.
It’s not easy to brew good tea,
But this teapot has a venerable history:
A scholar once pawned all his books for it.
Now it imparts the flavor of antiquity.



Autumn equinox is the time to reflect upon life. If we have enjoyed a bountiful harvest, we express our thanks. If the year has been difficult so far, then we are happy for what we do have and resolve to do better once the chance comes. The appreciation of life does not require wealth or plenty. It requires only gratitude for the beauty of the world.
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Daily Zen #essentialsofrecovery

Do you want to understand? The whole world is one of your eyes, the body produced by your parents is a cataract. All ordinary people ignore the indestructible, marvelously clear, unfailingly mirroring eye, and cling fast to the dust cataract produced by the relationship of their father and mother. Therefore they take illusions for realities, and grasp at reflections as the physical forms themselves.


-P'u-an
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Saturday, 22 September 2018

Scott G. - A.A. Speaker


Daily Dose OF Emmet Fox


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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery


“A LIMITLESS LODE”


Like a gaunt prospector, belt drawn in over the last ounce of food, our pick struck gold. Joy at our release from a lifetime of frustration knew no bounds. Father feels he has struck something better than gold. For a time he may try to hug the new treasure to himself. He may not see at once that he has barely scratched a limitless lode which will pay dividends only if he mine it for the rest of his life and insists on giving away the entire product.


 ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 128-29

When I talk with a newcomer to A.A., my past looks me straight in the face. I see the pain in those hopeful eyes, I extend my hand, and then the miracle happens: I become healed. My problems vanish as I reach out to his trembling soul.
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Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery

Keeping The Gift

“Life takes on a new meaning when we open ourselves to this gift.”

 Basic Text, p.102

Neglecting our recovery is like neglecting any other gift we’ve been given. Suppose someone gave you a new car. Would you let it sit in the driveway until the tires rotted? Would you just drive it, ignoring routine maintenance, until it expired on the road? Of course not! You would go to great lengths to maintain the condition of such a valuable gift.

Recovery is also a gift, and we have to care for it if we want to keep it. While our recovery doesn’t come with an extended warranty, there is a routine maintenance schedule. This maintenance includes regular meeting attendance and various forms of service. We’ll have to do some daily cleaning – our Tenth Step – and, once in a while, a major Fourth Step overhaul will be required. But if we maintain the gift of recovery, thanking the Giver each day, it will continue.

The gift of recovery is one that grows with the giving. Unless we give it away, we can’t keep it. But in sharing our recovery with others, we come to value it all the more.

Just for today: My recovery is a gift, and I want to keep it. I’ll do the required maintenance, and I’ll share my recovery with others.
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery

A.A. Thought For The Day

Step Eight is, “Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.” Step Nine is, “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Making restitution for the wrongs we have done is often very difficult. It hurts our pride. But the rewards are great. When we go to a person and say we are sorry, the reaction we get is almost invariably good. It takes courage to make the plunge, but the results more than justify it. A load is off your chest and often an enemy has been turned into a friend. Have I done my best to make all the restitution possible?

Meditation For The Day

There should be joy in living the spiritual life. A faith without joy is not entirely genuine. If you are not happier as a result of your faith, there is probably something wrong with it. Faith in God should bring you a deep feeling of happiness and security, no matter what happens on the surface of your life. Each new day is another opportunity to serve God and improve your relationships with other people. This should bring joy. Life should be abundant and outreaching. It should be glowing and outgoing, in ever widening circles.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that my horizons may grow ever wider. I pray that I may keep reaching out for more service and companionship.
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrecovery

The Step That Keeps Us growing, p.264

Sometimes, when friends tell us how well we are doing, we know better inside. We know we aren’t doing well enough. We still can’t handle life, as life is. There must be a serious flaw somewhere in our spiritual practice and development.

What, then, is it?

The chances are better than even that we shall locate our trouble in our misunderstanding or neglect of A.A.’s Step Eleven–prayer, meditation, and the guidance of God.

The other Steps can keep most of us sober and somehow functioning. But Step Eleven can keep us growing, if we try hard and work at it continually.


Grapevine, June 1958
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrecovery

Making tough decisions
Decision Making


An AA member in a supervisor’s position was faced with the need to terminate an unsatisfactory employee. Procrastinating about this unpleasant matter, she found herself wishing that the employee would suddenly find another job, thus making the termination ordeal unnecessary.

But further reflection showed that the procrastination was related to the same problems that had dogged her in her drinking years. She was a people=pleaser; she felt guilty about inflicting pain on others.

She was finally able to make the tough decision and call the employee in for termination. In the process, she discovered that a brief prayer time for preparation and a gentle manner removed some of the pain for her and the employee being terminated. She learned that the principles of the program could help her become more decisive without being brutal.

I’ll look over any tough decisions I;ve been putting off and determination why I’m behaving that way. Am I prolonging tough decisions just as I did when drinking?
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrecovery


One Day at a Time.
Program slogan


This slogan means we are to take with us only the joys and problems of the present day.

We don’t carry with us the mistakes of the days gone by. We have no room for them. We are to work at loving others today. Just today.

It’s crazy for us to think we can handle more than one day at a time. During our illness, we lived everywhere but in the here and now. We looked to the future or punished ourselves with our past. One Day at a Time teaches us to go easy. It teaches us to focus on what really means anything to us: the here and now.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me turn the slogans of my programs into a way of life. Help me to live life moment by moment, One Day at a Time.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll practice living in the present. When I find myself living in the past or in the future, I’ll bring myself back to today.
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery

HEAVEN


If you’re not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there.”
– Martin Luther

When I was a practicing alcoholic, I imagined heaven to be a dull formal place, rather like a never-ending cathedral. Beautiful, but serious. My pain and guilt were so great that I rarely laughed, and when I did it was usually inappropriate and violent: I laughed at others!

Today heaven is associated with recovery. It is a place of joy, acceptance and forgiveness. A place where people can be themselves and where variety abounds. Christians play with people from other religions — and the atheists make the music! The laughter of “peace” abounds. I am “at one” with my Father and all my brothers and sisters. I am home!

God of Love, when I hear the sound of laughter here on earth, I think what joy awaits me in heaven.
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection For The Day

For a considerable period of time after I reached The Program, I let things I couldn’t do keep me from doing the things I could. If I was bothered by what a speaker or other people said, I retreated, sulking, into my shell. Now, instead of being annoyed or defensive when someone strikes a raw nerve, I try to welcome it — because it allows me to work on my attitudes and perceptions of God, self, other people, and my life situation. We may no longer have active addiction, but we all certainly have an active thinking problem. Am I willing to grow — and grow up?

Today I Pray

May God give me courage to test my new wings — even a feather at a time. May I not wait to be entirely whole before I re-enter the world of everyday opportunity, for recovery is ongoing and growth comes through challenges. May I no longer make desperate stabs at perfection, but keep my aims in sight and develop as I live — a day at a time.

Today I Will Remember


Things I can’t do should not get in the way of things I can.
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