Friday, 21 February 2020

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Bill’s Story, pg. 8

No words can tell of the loneliness and despair I found in that bitter morass of self-pity. Quicksand stretched around me in all directions. I had met my match. I had been overwhelmed. Alcohol was my master.” ~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Bill’s Story, pg. 8

AROUND THE YEAR WITH EMMET FOX #essentialsofrecovery


QUARANTINE YOUR TROUBLES

When you are praying or “treating” about a particular thing, you should handle it, mentally, very carefully indeed. The ideal way is not to think about it at all except when you are actually praying about it. Moreover, to talk to the other people about it is exceedingly likely to invite failure.

When a new problem presents itself to you, decline to consider it except in the light of Truth. I call this “putting a subject in quarantine.” Even an old long-standing problem can be “put in quarantine” today, if you mean business and will resolutely break the habit of constantly thinking over that problem.

Whenever you think about any subject, you are treating it with your thought- either for good or evil.

The lip of truth shall be established for ever . . . (Proverbs 12:19)
© 1931 by Emmet Fox
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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrecovery


I’M PART OF THE WHOLE

At once, I became a part—if only a tiny part—of a cosmos. . . .

~ AS BILL SEES IT, p. 225 ~

When I first came to A.A., I decided that “they” were very nice people—perhaps a little naive, a little too friendly, but basically decent, earnest people (with whom I had nothing in common). I saw “them” at meetings—after all, that was where “they” existed. I shook hands with “them” and, when I went out the door, I forgot about “them.”

Then one day my Higher Power, whom I did not then believe in, arranged to create a community project outside of A.A., but one which happened to involve many A.A. members. We worked together, I got to know “them” as people. I came to admire “them,” even to like “them” and, in spite of myself, to enjoy “them.” “Their” practice of the program in their daily lives—not just in talk at meetings— attracted me and I wanted what they had. Suddenly the “they” became “we.” I have not had a drink since.

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


Self-Pity or Recovery – It’s Our Choice

“Self-pity is one of the most destructive of defects; it will drain us of all positive energy.”

~ Basic Text, p. 77 ~

In active addiction, many of us used self-pity as a survival mechanism. We didn’t believe there was an alternative to living in our disease&151or perhaps we didn’t want to believe. As long as we could feel sorry for ourselves and blame someone else for our troubles, we didn’t have to accept the consequences of our actions; believing ourselves powerless to change, we didn’t have to accept the need for change. Using this “survival mechanism” kept us from entering recovery and led us closer, day by day, to self-destruction. Self-pity is a tool of our disease; we need to stop using it and learn instead to use the new tools we find in the NA program.

We have come to believe that effective help is available for us; when we seek that help, finding it in the NA program, self-pity is displaced by gratitude. Many tools are at our disposal: the Twelve Steps, the support of our sponsor, the fellowship of other recovering addicts, and the care of our Higher Power. The availability of all these tools is more than enough reason to be grateful. We no longer live in isolation, without hope; we have certain help at hand for anything we may face. The surest way to become grateful is to take advantage of the help available to us in the NA program and to experience the improvement the program will bring in our lives.

Just for today: I will be grateful for the hope NA has given me. I will cultivate my recovery and stop cultivating self-pity.

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



A.A. Thought for the Day

I go to the A.A. meetings because it helps me in my business of keeping sober. And I try to help other alcoholics when I can, because that’s part of my business of keeping sober. I also have a partner in this business and that’s God. I pray to Him every day to help me to keep sober. As long as I keep in mind that liquor can never be my friend again, but is now my deadly enemy, and as long as I remember that my main business is keeping sober and that it’s the most important thing in my life, I believe I’ll be prepared for that crucial moment when the idea of having a drink pops into my mind. When that idea comes, will I be able to resist it and not take that drink?

Meditation for the Day

I will be more afraid of spirit-unrest, of soul- disturbance, of any ruffling of the mind, than of earthquake or fire. When I feel the calm of my spirit has been broken by emotional upset, then I must steal away alone with God, until my heart sings and all is strong and calm again. Uncalm times are the only times when evil can find an entrance. I will beware of unguarded spots of unrest. I will try to keep calm, no matter what turmoil surrounds me.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that no emotional upsets will hinder God’s power in my life. I pray that I may keep a calm spirit and a steady heart.

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


~ Page 52 ~

To Guard Against a Slip

Suppose we fall short of the chosen ideal and stumble? Does this mean we are going to get drunk? Some people tell us so. But this is only a half-truth.

It depends on us and on our motives. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. These are facts out of our experience.

~ ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, P. 70 ~

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



UNEXPECTED DISAPPOINTMENT

Acceptance

As life unfolds, we sometimes get unexpected disappointments that seem un-deserved—the car breaks down, a business deal goes sour, or a close friend betrays us. As alcoholics, most of us don’t handle such things too well. “Why me, Lord?” we often respond.

Our best approach is simply to view life as a mixture of bitter and sweet, knowing that we’ve been given real mastery over conditions. We cannot always be sure that a disappointment really is as bad as it seems to be, and sometimes it can become a step toward our good. As one alcoholic phrased it, “Some of the worst things that have happened turned out to be the best.”

It’s good to face the day with optimism, with confidence, and even with some excitement about the opportunities ahead. If we’re maintaining sober thinking, everything that happens today will be transformed into gains for tomorrow—all our tomorrows. We’re on a spiritual journey that goes far beyond anything we’re doing here and now.

I won’t expect to be disappointed today, but I’ll know that nothing can really upset or disturb me without my permission.
© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrecovery


To thine own self be true.

~ AA medallions ~

Sometimes we hear that we have a “selfish program.” Being “selfish” means that we ask for help when we need it. We only go to places that are safe for us, no matter what others Eire doing. Being selfish comes to mean safety for us.

Being selfish doesn’t mean we act like brats. We must act in ways that show respect and love—for ourselves and for others. Being selfish means we do what is good for us.

What is good for us? First, we have to save our lives by stopping our drinking and drugging. Next, we start working the Steps. We come to know a loving Higher Power. This is how we come to know our true self.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, help me be true to myself and my values. Help me be “selfish” about spending time to talk with You each day.

Action for the Day

I’ll list ten ways I need to be “selfish” in recov-ery. If I get stuck, I’ll be “selfish” and ask for help.

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


ART

“Only work which is the product of inner compulsion can Have spiritual meaning.”

~ Walter Gropius ~

I have developed, in my recovery, an awareness of the beauty of this world and an appreciation of what people can produce. Sobriety has made art accessible. Today I see beauty in paintings, sculpture, music, literature, and the art of nature.

Spirituality is always creative; it is at the center of all that is good, noble, and inspiring. Although I may not be an artist, I appreciate and have a feeling of belonging to the beauty of this world. In a sense, it all happens and takes shape through me. The rediscovery of spirituality has brought the world and the universe into my life.

Give me the desire to re-create Your splendor through my experiences. 

© 2008 Leo Booth 
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrecovery


Reflection for the Day

Do I waste my time and energy wrestling with situations that aren’t actually worth a second thought? Like Don Quixote, the bemused hero of Spanish literature, do I imagine windmills as menacing giants, battling them until I am ready to drop from exhaustion? Today, I’ll not allow my imagination to build small troubles into big ones. I’ll try to see each situation clearly, giving it only the value and attention it deserves. Have I come to believe, as the second of the Twelve Steps suggests, that a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity?

Today I Pray

God, keep my perspective sane. Help me to avoid aggrandizing petty problems, tying too much significance to casual conversations, making a Vesuvius out of an anthill. Keep my fears from swelling out of scale, like shadows on a wall. Restore my values, which became distorted during the days of my chemical involvement

Today I Will Remember

Sanity is perspective.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 
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EASY DOES IT #essentialsofrecovery



THE SIXTH PROMISE

We shall lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

~ Big Book ~

We came into the Program as experts in dishonesty, deceit, envy, and self-pity. Selfishness was an emotion that fitted us well. We were shameless in the ways we found useful in taking advantage of other people. The victims of our selfishness most often were those who loved us and tried to help us.

Our self-importance was based on unreality and was the effect of addicted behaviour. We engaged in far out thinking that reached the heights of fantasy. Our selfishness and self-centeredness developed within all of us a sick ego that turned into a powerhouse of grandiosity. The arrogance of an ego-driven addict was a drawback to willingness. In such a state of being, only miracles could help us.

In my addiction, my selfishness made me a “me first” person. In recovery, I am interested in the well-being of others. This has caused my self-interest to disappear.

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



PROGRESS

” … I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy.”

~ Marie Curie 

I have always been the queen of quick fix, so if I wanted something to happen, it had to happen today if not yesterday. So coming into the program was very hard for me, in that for the first time I have had to realise that recovery is not an overnight thing. For a perfectionist like me, that has been a very hard lesson to learn, in that I don’t have to have perfect recovery. My journey in this program has been an up and down one, with many slips along the way, and everytime I have slipped, I have had to remember that I may think I’m a failure, but I’m only a failure if I fail to pick myself up. In the past if I made a mistake, I was a total and utter failure, but I know now that all I have to do each time is to pick myself up, dust myself off and start over.

The other thing I’ve learned in the program is that I also always need to remember where I came from, and when I look back, I can see the progress I have made. My self-esteem is growing, and even though I still seem to slip back into the old character defects from time to time, they are nowhere near as bad as in the past. I am able to forgive people whom I thought I would never be able to forgive, and I make amends whenever the need arises, and as a result my relationships with people have improved dramatically.

One Day at a Time . . .

May I remember that in this program, it is always progress and not perfection that counts.

~ Sharon  
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ELDER'S MEDITATION OF THE DAY #essentialsofrecovery


“Everything or living being that exists in this world, be it trees, flowers, birds, grasses, rocks, soil of the earth, or human beings, has its unique manner of existence — its essence, its spirit that makes it what it is. That is what is meant by connectedness.”

~ Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA ~

Scientists are finally realizing what the Elders have taught for thousands of years—everything is connected. Because everything is interconnected, whatever you do to any one thing, you do to everything. If you poison any part of the earth, the poison eventually affects everything else. If you poison the plants, the birds will eat the plants, which poisons the birds. The birds are eaten by humans which poisons the humans. The humans will have babies who could be deformed because the plants were poisoned. We must learn to live in harmony with the earth. We must learn to think good things. Every good thought is felt by everything, which causes everything to be happy.

Creator, let my thoughts only be good thoughts. 
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrecovery


Practiced consistently, new habits become who I am.

~ Lin Andrukat ~

We sometimes have trouble defining ourselves. Anyone who spends much time in our presence, however, can define us pretty accurately. Our habits tell our “story” quite readily.

Many of our behaviors embarrass us, yet we repeat them. But changing them takes more than wishing they’d disappear. It takes a decision not to repeat them and the thoughtfulness to find a replacement for them. We return to old behaviors more out of laziness than intent.

Those of us in a Twelve Step program have the tools to make this shift in our behavior easier. Doing a Fourth Step to look at the past, and frequent Tenth Steps to stay on top of today, gives us the insight to define who we are and who we’d rather be. Changing who we are isn’t that difficult if we have the desire.

Any current behavior used to be “new.” It became a habit only with continuous use. I can decide to begin a new behavior today.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation 
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrecovery

The effectiveness of AA is largely built upon understanding and human sympathy. These characteristics were not acquired from a book but learned the hard way as we, too, travelled the long dark alley of despair in search of a helping hand and an understanding heart.


Creeds and ideologies are for preachers and students to debate and reason, but our doctrine of love and understanding has nothing to do with reason; frequently it is contrary to reason, as it comes from the heart and not the head.

Published by Hazelden 
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DAILY TAO / 52 - NONCONFORMITY #essentialsofrecovery

The world is dazzling,
I alone am dull.
Others strive for achievement,
I follow a lonely path.


Followers of Tao are nonconformists. The conventional label our behavior erratic, antisocial, irresponsible, inexplicable, outrageous, and sometimes scandalous. We hear other voices, respond to inner urgings. We have no interest in the social norm; we only care about following Tao. It does not matter if no one can understand us, for we are nurtured by something most people do not sense. Awakening to this inner urge, and distinguishing spiritual impulses from the merely instinctual, is one of the crucial goals of self-cultivation.

We all have many voices, personalities, ambitions, and tendencies within ourselves. The ability to distinguish between them, and the ability to silence all the voices save for Tao’s, is imperative if one is to reach this state of being. Once one is in touch with the true Tao, there are no doubts, and the murmuring of others cannot have any effect. One is as comforted as a child at its mother’s breast.

The more one walks in Tao, the more one is interested in self-perfection. All that matters is constant cultivation to be with Tao. This is a lonely path. There are others who follow Tao, but it is not always possible to meet them. That is why is takes someone both sensitive enough to hear the call and strong enough to walk the solitary path.
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Daily Zen

Restraint with the eye is good,
good is restraint with the ear.
Restraint with the nose is good,
good is restraint with the tongue.
Restraint with the body is good,
good is restraint with speech.
Restraint with the heart is good,
good is restraint everywhere.
A monk everywhere restrained
is released from all suffering & stress.

-Dhammapada, 25, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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