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God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and Wisdom to know the difference.
Thy will, not mine, be done.

February 4

Daily Reflections

WHEN FAITH IS MISSING

Sometimes A.A. comes harder to those who have lost or
rejected faith than to those who never had any faith
at all, for they think they have faith and found it
wanting. They have tried the way of faith and the way
of no faith.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 28

I was so sure God had failed me that I became ultimately
defiant, though I knew better, and plunged into a final
drinking binge. My faith turned bitter and that was no
coincidence. Those who once had great faith hit bottom
harder. It took time to rekindle my faith, though I
came to A.A. I was grateful intellectually to have
survived such a great fall, but my heart felt callous.
Still, I stuck with the A.A. program; the alternatives
were too bleak! I kept coming back and gradually my
faith was resurrected.

***********************************************************

Twenty-Four Hours A Day


A.A. Thought For The Day

Treating others to drinks gave us a kind of satisfaction.
We liked to say, "Have a drink on me." But we were not
really doing the other people a favor. We were only
helping them to get drunk, especially if they happened to
be an alcoholic. In A.A., we really try to help other
alcoholics. We build them up instead of tearing them
down. Drinking created a sort of fellowship. But it
really was a false fellowship, because it was based
on selfishness. We used our drinking companions for
our own pleasure. In A.A., we have real fellowship,
based on unselfishness and a desire to help each other.
And we make real friends, not fair weather friends. With
sobriety, have I got everything that drinking's got, without
the headaches?

Meditation For The Day

I know that God cannot teach anyone who is trusting in a
crutch. I will throw away the crutch of alcohol and walk
in God's power and spirit. God's power will so
invigorate me that I shall indeed walk on to victory.
There is never any limit to God's power. I will go step
by step, one day at a time. God's will shall be revealed
to me as I go forward.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may have more and more dependence on God.
I pray that I may throw away my alcohol crutch and let
God's power take its place.

***********************************************************

As Bill Sees It

Suffering Transmuted, p. 35

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

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

For Dr. Bob, the insatiable craving for alcohol was evidently a physical
phenomenon which bedeviled several of his first years in A.A., a time
when only days and nights of carrying the message to other alcoholics
could cause him to forget about drinking. Although his craving was
hard to withstand, it doubtless did account for some part of the intense
incentive that went into forming Akron's Group Number One.

Bob's spiritual release did not come easily; it was to be painfully slow. It
always entailed the hardest kind of work and the sharpest vigilance.

1. Letter, 1959
2. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 69


***********************************************************

Walk In Dry Places
 
The Rewards of Honesty
Honesty
Sometimes we think that honesty is simply too painful and demanding---- all sacrifice with no gain.  If we are completely honest with ourselves, however, the results can only be positive.
What are the advantages of being entirely honest about our motives and feelings?  One benefit is that we never will have to face the disillusionment and humiliation that come from self-deception. Surely we had enough of that while drinking.
Honesty also speaks for itself. People know intuitively when a person is completely honest, and they are drawn to that person because of it. An honest AA member-one who has truly faced personal faults---- also becomes an example to others.
The honest person has self-respect and a clear conscious. In real honesty, there is no inner struggle to keep up appearances or to pretend we are anybody except ourselves.
Honesty makes us comfortable rather than pained, relaxed rather than anxious, and decisive rather than confused.  These are rich rewards for people who once lived in the false world of alcoholism.
I'll try to be honest in all things today.  In any case, I will at least be honest with my self about my true motives and feelings.

***********************************************************

Keep It Simple

We do not remember days, we remember moments.----Cesare Pavese
It's the moment that's important. Each moment holds choice. Our spirits grow through working our program moment to moment. Moments lead to days, days to years, and years to a life of honest recovery.
It will be the moments of choice that we remember. The moment we call a friend instead of being alone.
The moment we decide to go for a walk instead of arguing with our partner. The moment we decide to go to an extra meeting instead of drinking or using other drugs. The moments lead us to our Higher Power.
These moments teach us that we're human, that we  need others. At these moments, we know others care about us--our joys, and our struggles.
Prayer for the Day:  Higher Power, help me remember that my recovery is made up of many moments of choice.
Today’s Action:  I'll look back over the last twenty-four hours. What moments come to mind? Why were they important to me.

***********************************************************

Each Day a New Beginning

Genius is the talent for seeing things straight. It is seeing things in a straight line without any bend or break or aberration of sight, seeing them as they are, without any warping of vision.  --Maude Adams
We are learning, each day of our abstinence, to see more clearly what lies before us. Less and less are we hampered by our own selfish needs, distorting that which we face. We all have within us the talent for seeing things as they really are. But it is a process that takes practice, a process of turning within to the untapped talent which is one of the gifts of a spiritual life.
We are spiritual entities, one and all. And the genius to see as God sees is ours for the asking. This program is paving our way. Each day it becomes easier to live an honest life. Each day we trust more the people we encounter. And each day we take greater risks being our true selves.
The need to distort that which we see ahead lessens, as we begin reaping the benefits of the honest, caring, spirit-filled life. Our unhealthy egos stood in our way in the past. And they can get in the way even now, if we forget to look ahead with the eyes of our inner genius.
My path today is straight, clean, and love-filled, if I choose to follow my genius.


***********************************************************

Alcoholics Anonymous - Fourth Edition

Chapter 8 - TO WIVES

We seldom had friends at our homes, never knowing how or when the men of the house would appear. We could make few social engagements. We came to live almost alone. When we were invited out, our husbands sneaked so many drinks that they spoiled the occasion. If, on the other hand, they took nothing, their self-pity made them killjoys.

p. 105


***********************************************************

Alcoholics Anonymous - Fourth Edition Stories

GUTTER BRAVADO - Alone and unemployable, he was given two options by the court, get help or go to jail, and his journey toward teachability began.

What had begun as an adventure was turning into a nightmare.  My moments of escape from this uncomfortable reality came when I persuaded someone to share their wine or vodka.  With a drink in me, my confidence returned, my direction seemed clear-cut, and I reveled in lofty plans and dreams for the future.  Drinking to escape became as important as eating to survive.  All of the gutter bravado and determination crumbled when, in the end, I ran up against the law.  The authorities sent me packing back to the Midwest with nothing more than the clothes on my back.

pp. 502-503

***********************************************************

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Tradition Three - "The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking."

To establish this principle of membership took years of harrowing experience. In our early time, nothing seemed so fragile, so easily breakable as an A.A. group. Hardly an alcoholic we approached paid any attention; most of those who did join us were like flickering candles in a windstorm. Time after time, their uncertain flames blew out and couldn't be relighted. Our unspoken, constant thought was "Which of us may be the next?"

p. 139


***********************************************************

If we had no Winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; If we did not sometimes taste the adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. 
--Anne Bradstreet

"Change is what happens when the pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go!"  --Anonymous

Some flowers grow best in the sun; others do well in the shade. God plants us where we grow best.  --Unknown

To go fast, row slowly.  --Norman Vincent Peale

"Storms make trees take deeper roots."  --Claude McDonald

God's love and grace are bigger than all our worries.  --Denise DeKemper

***********************************************************

Father Leo's Daily Meditation

INTELLIGENCE

"The brighter you are, the more
you have to learn."
-- Don Herold

The one thing I know in sobriety is how much I do not know! I thought
I knew every thing about God because I was a priest, only to discover
that I had made Him a prisoner of the Church. Once I was willing to
free Him from my prison, I discovered a freedom and awareness that
daily fascinates and astounds me.

Today I see that the glory of God shines within my pain, within my
loneliness, within my confusion, and the acceptance of my disease is the
key to recovery. Today the suffering enables me to discover a realistic
spirituality --- and it is okay to be confused!

With each new day, Lord, let me learn something --- even if it is that I
have not learned anything that day!

***********************************************************

"Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."  2 Peter 3:13

You were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.  Ephesians 5:8

"I will instruct you and teach you."  Psalm 32:8


***********************************************************

Daily Inspiration

One of life's greatest rewards is not what we get, but what we become. Lord, teach me as I am able to learn and give me the courage to be all that I can.

When we have to justify our actions, it may be that our actions are not just. Lord, Your will is goodness. May I always have the strength and courage to choose Your way so that I can simplify my life and enjoy the peace of Your presenc
e.

***********************************************************

NA Just For Today

Feeling Good Isn't The Point

"For us, recovery is more than just pleasure."
Basic Text p. 42

In our active addiction, most of us knew exactly how we were going to feel from one day to the next. All we had to do was read the label on the bottle or know what was in the bag. We planned our feelings, and our goal for each day was to feel good.

In recovery, we're liable to feel anything from one day to the next, even from one minute to the next. We may feel energetic and happy in the morning, then strangely let down and sad in the afternoon. Because we no longer plan our feelings for the day each morning, we could end up having feelings that are somewhat inconvenient, like feeling tired in the morning and wide-awake at bedtime.

Of course, there's always the possibility we could feel good, but that isn't the point. Today, our main concern is not feeling good but learning to understand and deal with our feelings, no matter what they are. We do this by working the steps and sharing our feelings with others.

Just for today: I will accept my feelings, whatever they may be, just as they are. I will practice the program and learn to live with my feelings.

***********************************************************

You are reading from the book Today's Gift.
The shy man usually finds that he has been shy without cause, and that, in practice, no one takes the slightest notice of him. --Robert Lynd
We sometimes feel self-conscious in front of others. It may be that we've just gotten braces or a new haircut and we're afraid everyone will stare at us. We stop smiling and talk with our heads bowed. Many people have worn braces and many more will. We need not be ashamed just because we feel different. By beginning to smile again we will see how many people really didn't notice our braces, or our haircuts, or anything but what they see inside us.
All we need to do is lift our heads and smile. We will be amazed to find how little even our best friends notice about the externals, the things that don't really matter. Who we are is far more noticeable and far more important than what we look like. A smile at shy times helps us accept ourselves as others do.
What makes me shy?


You are reading from the book Touchstones.
Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it - what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellowmen. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone. --Carlos Castaneda
Were we offended by someone today? Do we harbor resentment for remarks, oversights, or unpleasant mannerisms? Do we feel tense or uneasy about how someone else has treated us? We can probably make a good case to justify our reactions. Perhaps we are in the right and they are in the wrong.
Yet, even if we are justified, it doesn't matter. We may be puffing ourselves up and wasting energy. When we are oversensitive, we take a self-righteous position, which leads us far from our path of spiritual awakening. Our strength is diminished.
How much better it is to let go of the lightness, let go of our grandiosity, and accept the imperfections in others. We need to accept our own imperfections too. When we do, we are better men, and our strength and energy can be focused on richer goals.
I will accept others' imperfections; I do not need to be right.


You are reading from the book The Language Of Letting Go.
Enjoying Recovery
What a journey!
This process of growth and change takes us along an ever-changing road. Sometimes the way is hard and craggy. Sometimes we climb mountains. Sometimes we slide down the other side on a toboggan.
Sometimes we rest.
Sometimes we grope through the darkness. Sometimes we're blinded by sunlight.
At times many may walk with us on the road; sometimes we feel nearly alone.
Ever changing, always interesting, always leading someplace better, someplace good.
What a journey!
Today, God, help me relax and enjoy the scenery. Help me know I'm right where I need to be on my journey.


Today I look within to see what is keeping me stuck. I know I cannot change unless I know what there is to change. I feel energized and empowered to move forward. --Ruth Fishel

****************************************

Journey To The Heart

See How Powerful You Are

People who believe they’re victims get to be right. Each experience they have convinces them of that. They don’t open themselves to the lessons, the growth, and the beauty of each situation they encounter. All they can see is their victimization.

Many of us have done the hard work to shift our belief system about being a victim. As we did that, we noticed that the scenery in our lives changed. When we believe something different, we get to see something different.

People who believe they have powers get to be right,too. Although we know there is much in life we can’t control, we also know we have the power to think, to feel, to choose, and to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives. We’re discovering our creative powers, and our powers to love, including our power to love ourselves. We’ve embraced our powers to grow, to change, to move forward. We know we have the power to claim our lives and take responsibility for ourselves in any situation life brings. Although life may deal us certain hard blows, we’ve learned to see beyond that. We see life’s beauty, gifts, and lessons, and its mysterious and sometimes magical nature.

On the road to freedom we may have made a stopover. We believed we were victims and we got to be right. Now, our journey has led us someplace else. We know we have powers, we know we have choices. And we no longer need to be right. Just free.

See how powerful you are!

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More Language Of Letting Go

Don’t let fear throw you off balance

Lay a two-by-four on the ground and walk its length without falling off. Easy, isn’t it? Now place a couple of bricks under the two-by-four, raising it off the ground by a few inches. Walk it again. A little harder this time? Now imagine that same two-by-four suspended at the height of your house with no safety net under it. Would you care to try again?

The higher the stakes, the harder it is to maintain our balance. That’s what fear does in our lives.

When we’re faced with simple situations in life, it’s easy to do the right thing. But as the stakes get higher and higher, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on the task. We imagine “what is” and what might happen if we fail.

Look at the two-by-fours that you have to cross every day in your life. Are you allowing fear of a worst-case scenario to upset your balance? Put the situation back on the ground. Rarely will failure result in permanent damage. Remove the fear that your mind has created around the possibility of failure and just walk along the plank.

God, help me do the tasks that I have to without the balance-upsetting confusion brought by fear. Help me do what is right simply and easily each day.

****************************************

A Day At A Time

Reflection For The Day

Rare is the recovering alcoholic who will now dispute the fact that denial is a primary symptom of the illness. The Program teaches us that alcoholism is the only illness which actually tells the afflicted person that he or she really isn’t sick at all. Not surprisingly, then, our lives as practicing alcoholics were characterized by endless rationalization, countless alibis and in short, a steadfast unwillingness to accept the fact that we were, without question, bodily and mentally different from our fellows. Have I conceded to my innermost self that I am truly powerless over alcohol?

Today I Pray

May The Program’s First Step be not half-hearted for me, but a total admission of powerlessness over my addiction. May I rid myself of that first symptom — denial — which refuses to recognize any other symptom of my disease.

Today I Will Remember

Deny denial.

****************************************

One More Day

A simple grateful thought raised to heaven is the most perfect prayer.
– Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Can we picture ourselves as small children, bouncing back out of bed to add just one more, “and also bless my teddy bear, and my . . . “? Most of us prayed because that’s what we were taught to do. We didn’t understand many of the reasons, but it felt good and made us feel safe too.

We form new habits as grown-ups. Perhaps prayer isn’t part of our day anymore. We may start to pray only when we need to ask for something. It is within our reach to develop the habit of prayer once again. There may be comfort in the habit of giving thanks every day … for what good health we do enjoy … for the beauty of nature … for our family and friends.

I will use prayer as one of the ways I can express myself and live a fulfilling life.

*****************************************

One Day At A Time

~ Laughter ~

Laughter can be more satisfying than honor;
more precious than money;
more heart-cleansing than prayer.
Harriet Rochlin

For as long as I can remember I've always been a serious person. I can't remember ever doing something just for fun or to have a laugh. There always had to be a purpose for what I did in my life, or else it was of no value. As for being able to laugh at myself, that wasn't even in my frame of reference. I was so super-sensitive that I'd get upset if someone made fun of me, as it would always make me feel "less than" or stupid.

So when I came into the doors of my first Twelve Step meeting, I was amazed that, even though all the people I met had problems around food, they were still able to look at their mistakes and realize that that didn't make them a bad person. But even more heartwarming was the fact that I heard laughter in those rooms. Before, I'd always thought that when someone laughed at what I said, they were laughing at me, and that would reinforce my feelings of inadequacy.

The lessons I'm learning here are not easy ones and there are still times when my old behaviors of being overly sensitive creep in, but I know that recovery is a process, and as I grow in the program, it will get better.

One day at a time ...
As I practice the program and work the steps, I am becoming more able to laugh at myself and not always look at the dark side of life. What a gift it has been to start enjoying life!
~ Sharon ~

*****************************************

AA 'Big Book' - Quote

AFTER ALL, OUR PROBLEMS WERE OF OUR OWN MAKING. BOTTLES WERE ONLY A SYMBOL. BESIDES, WE HAVE STOPPED FIGHTING ANYBODY OR ANYTHING. WE HAVE TO! - Pg. 103 - Working With Others

Hour To Hour - Book - Quote

Your whole life has turned upside down and it's time for a good cry. Have a good cry, wash out your heart. If you keep it inside it'll tear you apart.' - Dr. Hook

I follow my own inner path for serenity. When it's time to cry, my spirit lets me know and I allow tears.

It's the Little Things

It's the little things that count, that add up to make a life, that weave themselves into the fabric of my day and make it feel whole. My morning routines, the activities of my day the people I encounter and share my time with. Little things like a pleasant walk, exercise, my daily errands and even eating my favorite foods all come together to make my day. As I move through my day today, I will take time to notice and be grateful for whatever gives me pleasure. I will say a quiet thank you for all that life is handing me.

I have an Attitude of Gratitude

- Tian Dayton PhD

Pocket Sponsor - Book - Quote

We find that the difference between adventure and disaster usually boils down to attitude. It's like the glass half full or half empty. Is it a problem or an opportunity; an obstruction or a challenge for growth? The way you choose to see it makes all the difference.

I don't see thing as they are, I see things as I am.

"Walk Softly and Carry a Big Book" - Book

You have to ask yourself, What would an adult do in this situation?

Time for Joy - Book - Quote

Today I look within to see what is keeping me stuck. I know I cannot change unless I know what there is to change. I feel energized and empowered to move forward.

Alkiespeak - Book - Quote

You hear people say; 'I do Steps 1,2,and 3 everyday.' And that sounds so good the newcomer hears that and dies. Because all they've told you is they're getting ready to begin. It's like they make a decision to be pilots and them spend the rest of their lives in ground school. - Ted H.

*****************************************

AA Thought for the Day

February 4

Open-mindedness
Faced with alcoholic destruction,
we soon became as open minded on spiritual matters
as we had tried to be on other questions.
In this respect alcohol was a great persuader.
It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness.
- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 48

Thought to Ponder . . .
Keep an open mind.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
W H O = Willingness, Honesty, Open-mindedness.

~*~A.A. Thoughts For The Day~*~

Humility
Every newcomer in AA is told, and soon realizes for himself,
that his humble admission of powerlessness
over alcohol is his first step toward liberation
from its paralyzing grip.
So it is that we first see humility as a necessity.
But this is the barest beginning. . .
A whole lifetime geared to self-centeredness
cannot be set in reverse all at once.
Rebellion dogs our every step at first.
c. 1952 AAWS, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pp. 72-3

Thought to Consider . . .
Many people haven't even a nodding acquaintance
with humility as a way of life.

*~*~*AACRONYMS*~*~*
T R U S T = Teaching Recovery Using Steps and Traditions

*~*~*~*~*^Just For Today!^*~*~*~*~*

Relief
From "More about Alcoholism":
"'They grinned, which I didn't like too much, and then asked me if I thought myself alcoholic and if I were really licked this time.
"'Then they outlined the spiritual answer and program of action which a hundred of them had followed successfully.
Though I had been only a nominal churchman, their proposals were not, intellectually, hard to swallow. But the program
of action, though entirely sensible, was pretty drastic. It meant I would have to throw several lifelong conceptions out of
the window. That was not easy. But the moment I made up my mind to go through with the process, I had the curious
feeling that my alcoholic condition was relieved, as in fact it proved to be.'"
2001 AAWS, Inc., Fourth Edition; Alcoholics Anonymous, pg.42

*~*~*~*~*^ Grapevine Quote ^*~*~*~*~*

"While I've never been sober today before, I count on my Higher Power to keep me sober as he has done on all those
other days before."
Huntington, W.V., August 2006
From: "Never Sober Today Before"
Beginner's Book: Getting and Staying Sober in AA

~*~*~*~*^ Big Book & Twelve N' Twelve Quotes of the Day ^*~*~*~*~*

"When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could
not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that
either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is or He
isn't."
~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, We Agnostics, pg. 53~

We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel
the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience.
The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway,
walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe. ~Alcoholics Anonymous page 75

When we are honest with another person, it confirms that we have been honest with ourselves and with God.
-Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions p. 60

Misc. AA Literature - Quote

While A.A. has restored thousands of poor Christians to their churches, and has made believers out of atheists and
agnostics, it has also made good A.A.'s out of those belonging to the Buddhist, Islamic, and Jewish faiths. For example,
we question very much whether our Buddhist members in Japan would ever have joined this Society had A.A. officially
stamped itself a strictly Christian movement.
'You can easily convince yourself of this by imagining that A.A. started among the Buddhists and that they then told you
you couldn't join them unless you became a Buddhist, too. If you were a Christian alcoholic under these circumstances,
you might well turn your face to the wall and die.

Prayer for the Day: Lord in heaven, please listen to all those who are praying to You now. Those who are sad and
crying, those who have lost friends and family. Those who are alone and frightened. Help them to remember, that You
are there and You are listening. Amen.

Ask and you shall receive,
Seek and ye shall find,
Knock and it shall be opened unto you.
Matthew 7:7

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