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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.

January 2

Daily Reflections

FIRST, THE FOUNDATION

Is sobriety all that we can expect of a spiritual awakening?  No,
sobriety is only a bare beginning.
As Bill Sees It, p. 8

Practicing the A.A. program is like building a house.  First I had to
pour a big, thick concrete slab on which to erect the house; that, to
me, was the equivalent of stopping drinking.  But it's pretty
uncomfortable living on a concrete slab, unprotected and exposed to
the heat, cold, wind and rain.  So I built a room on the slab by starting
to practice the program.  The first room was rickety because I wasn't
used to the work.  But as time passed, as I practiced the program, I
learned to build better rooms.  The more I practiced, and the more I
built, the more comfortable, and happy, was the home I now have to
live in.

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

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

What makes A.A. work? The first thing is to have a revulsion against
myself and my way of living. Then I must admit I was helpless, that
alcohol had me licked and I couldn't do anything about it. The next
thing is to honestly want to quit the old life. Then I must surrender
my life to a Higher Power, put my drinking problem in His hands and
leave it there. After these things are done, I should attend meetings
regularly for fellowship and sharing. I should also try to help other
alcoholics. Am I doing these things?

Meditation For The Day

You are so made that you can only carry the weight of twenty-four
hours, no more. If you weigh yourself down with the years behind and
the days ahead, your back breaks. God has promised to help with the
burdens of the day only. If you are foolish enough to gather again
that burden of the past and carry it, then indeed you cannot expect
God to help you bear it. So forget that which lies behind you and
breathe in the blessing of each new day.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may realize that, for good or bad, past days have ended.
I pray that I may face each new day, the coming twenty-four hours,
with hope and courage.

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

As Bill Sees It

In God's Hands, p. 2

When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when
we put ourselves in God's hands were better than anything we could
have planned.

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

My depression deepened unbearably, and finally it seemed to me as
though I were at the very bottom of the pit. For the moment, the last
vestige of my proud obstinacy was crushed. All at once I found myself
crying out, "If there is a God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do
anything, anything!"

Suddenly the room lit up with a great white light. It seemed to me, in the
mind's eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of
spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me that I was a free man.
Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed, but now for a time I was in
another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through
me there was a wonderful feeling of Presence, and I thought to myself,
"So this is the God of the preachers!"

1. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 100
2. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 63


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

Walk In Dry Places
 
The Delusion of "Just one more"
Other Excesses
A binge is a chain reaction that starts with one drink.  After a grim period of enforced abstinence, that first drink may have brought us intense emotional release and a peak feeling of euphoria. For the rest of the binge, there was a continuing delusion that the next drink would help us recapture that peak experience.
Delusion leads us to other excesses.  Some alcoholics also binge on smoking, food, sex, and power and recognition.  In this frantic seeking, our basic delusion is that substances and things can satisfy what is really a spiritual need.  Instead of realizing that there is a law of diminishing returns in the enjoyment of such things, we cling to the delusion that "just one more" will bring the relief and satisfaction we want.
Delusions brought disillusionment, and only the truth set us free from alcohol.  Other excesses might not hurt us to the extent alcohol did, but the excesses of our drinking years carry lessons that are equally applicable to other human problems.
I will carry out the day's activities knowing that I already have enough of everything I need for this day alone.

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

Keep It Simple

 ..our lives had become unmanageable. Second half of Step One.
The First Step tells us a lot about our addiction. We were out of control. Our addiction was in control. Addiction managed everything. It managed our relationships. It managed how we behaved with our families. As Step One says, "...our lives had become unmanageable." But we pretended we managed our lives. What a lie! Addiction ran our lives--not us. We weren't honest with ourselves. Our program heals us through self-honesty. We feel better just speaking the truth. We are becoming good people with spiritual values. Our spiritual journey has begun.
Prayer:  Higher Power, I give YOU my life to manage. When I'm faced with a choice, I'll ask myself, "What would my Higher Power choose for me?"
Action: Today, I'll be honest with a friend about how unmanageable my life had become.

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

Each Day a New Beginning

I believe that true identify is found . . . in creative activity springing from within. It is found, paradoxically, when one loses oneself. Woman can best re-find herself by losing herself in some kind of creative activity of her own.  --Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Creative activity might mean bird watching, tennis, quilting, cooking, painting, writing. Creative activity immerses us fully in the here and now, and at the same time it frees us. We become one with the activity and are nourished by it. We grow as the activity grows. We learn who we are in the very process of not thinking about who we are.
Spirituality and creativity are akin. There is an exhilaration rooted deep within us that is a lifeline to God. Creative activity releases the exhilaration, and the energy goes through us and out to others. We find ourselves and our higher power through the loss of our self-conscious selves while creating--a picture, a sentence, a special meal.
Creativity is a given. It is another dimension of the spiritual presence guiding us all. I'll get out of its way today.


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

Alcoholics Anonymous - Fourth Edition

Chapter 7 - WORKING WITH OTHERS

Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy. One of our Fellowship failed entirely with his first half dozen prospects. He often says that if he had continued to work on them, he might have deprived many others, who have since recovered, of their chance.

p. 96


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

Alcoholics Anonymous - Fourth Edition Stories

ON THE MOVE - Working the A.A. program showed this alcoholic how to get from geographics to gratitude.

One evening I did the unimaginable--at least for me.  After picking up my sponsor of the month to go to a meeting, I informed him that I was ready to work the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  In most respects my life began again that night.  That man took me through the steps in a loving, gentle way that for the remainder of my life I will be grateful for.  He taught me to look inward at my soul, to welcome a Higher Power in my life, and to reach out to others.  He taught me how to look into a mirror and to like, and even respect, the man who looked back at me.

p. 491

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

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Step Twelve - "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."

Where the possession of money and material things was concerned, our outlook underwent the same revolutionary change. With a few exceptions, all of us had been spendthrifts. We threw money about in every direction with the purpose of pleasing ourselves and impressing other people. In our drinking time, we acted as if the money supply was inexhaustible, though between binges we'd sometimes go to the other extreme and become almost miserly. Without realizing it we were just accumulating funds for the next spree. Money was the symbol of pleasure and self-importance. When our drinking had become much worse, money was only an urgent requirement which could supply us with the next drink and the temporary comfort of oblivion it brought.

p. 120


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

"Making prompt amends is the fresh air of each new day."  --Sandra Little

"We have to do the best we can. This is our sacred human responsibility."  --Albert Einstein

"Never settle for anything less than your best."  --Brian Tracy

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry
about the future, not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and
earnestly.  --Siddhartha Gautama

Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up.  --unknown

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

Father Leo's Daily Meditation

MARTYRS
 
                                                    "A thing is not necessarily true
                                                      because a man dies for it."
                                                            -- Oscar Wilde

I came to the conclusion in my battle with alcoholism that my involvement with God's
will for me was crucial; my choice is the result of God's bestowed gift of freedom. And
freedom is awfully real! The price of freedom is Auschwitz; the price of freedom is
the world's starving millions; the price of freedom is the dead drunk in a derelict
building. Men do insane and destructive things, usually because they think they know
best. Men die to protect their ego. The sin of Adam, wanting to be like God, haunts us
all.

Today I am learning to detach spiritually in order to discover a pure and selfless love.
I stand back and consider before I act; often after a time of reflection I see the event
differently --- and it is okay to change my mind.

Lord, I understand choice to be the key to my humanity.

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

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a
way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."  Isaiah 43:19

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."  Psalm 119:105

"By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give
light to those who sit in darkness."  Luke 1:78-79


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

Daily Inspiration

Peace is one of our greatest needs because it provides for the strength we
need in times of turmoil. Lord, I turn to You because You are my source of
peace.

Laughter is a great way to reduce stress and prevent taking ourselves too
seriously. Lord, bless me with a healthy sense of humor
.

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

NA Just For Today
Take a deep breath and talk to God
"Sometimes when we pray, a remarkable thing happens: We find the means, ways, and energies to perform tasks far
beyond our capacities."  Basic Text p. 44

Coping successfully with life's minor annoyances and frustrations is sometimes the most difficult skill we have to learn
in recovery. We are faced with small inconveniences daily. From untangling the knots in our children's shoelaces to
standing in line at the market, our days are filled with minor difficulties that we must somehow deal with.
If we're not careful, we may find ourselves dealing with these difficulties by bullying our way through each problem or
grinding our teeth while giving ourselves a stern lecture about how we should handle them. These are extreme
examples of poor coping skills, but even if we're not this bad there's probably room for improvement.
Each time life presents us with another little setback to our daily plans, we can simply take a deep breath and talk to
the God of our understanding. Knowing we can draw patience, tolerance, or whatever we need from that Power, we
find ourselves coping better and smiling more often.
Just for today: I will take a deep breath and talk to my God whenever I feel frustrated.

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

You are reading from the book Today's Gift.
Happiness is like manna; it is to be gathered and enjoyed every day. --Tryon Edwards
Life is like a winding path surrounded by flowers, butterflies, and delicious fruit, but many of us spend much of life
looking for happiness around the next corner. We do not bend to enjoy the happiness which is ours for the taking just
at our feet.
In our desire to reach the "pot of gold," the complete and lasting happiness we all want to fill our lives, we ignore
anything which doesn't seem worthy of such a large ambition, or which can't give us the whole thing all at once.
Happiness is all around us, but it often comes in small grains. When we gather it grain by grain, we soon have a
basketful.


You are reading from the book Touchstones.
When you can't stand criticism you learn to be a perfectionist. --Anonymous
It's human to make mistakes and to feel incomplete. Perhaps if we were all smooth plastic printouts we could expect
perfection of ourselves. Each man is actually a process. We are not things, but events -- happenings--and the events
are still unfolding. These are our creative spiritual adventures.
We have somehow learned that openness to criticism is dangerous. Perhaps we thought someone would not like us if
we were wrong, or that we would get hurt or belittled. When we live with a relationship to our Higher Power, we can
stand up for ourselves. A man has a right to make some mistakes! We grow more if we allow ourselves the leeway of
simply being in process.
I will not ask to have the power of perfection. I will only ask that I not be alone in the process of living my life.


You are reading from the book Each Day a New Beginning.
I believe that true identify is found . . . in creative activity springing from within. It is found, paradoxically, when one loses
oneself. Woman can best re-find herself by losing herself in some kind of creative activity of her own. --Anne Morrow
Lindbergh
Creative activity might mean bird watching, tennis, quilting, cooking, painting, writing. Creative activity immerses us
fully in the here and now, and at the same time it frees us. We become one with the activity and are nourished by it.
We grow as the activity grows. We learn who we are in the very process of not thinking about who we are.
Spirituality and creativity are akin. There is an exhilaration rooted deep within us that is a lifeline to God. Creative
activity releases the exhilaration, and the energy goes through us and out to others. We find ourselves and our higher
power through the loss of our self-conscious selves while creating--a picture, a sentence, a special meal.
Creativity is a given. It is another dimension of the spiritual presence guiding us all. I'll get out of its way today.


You are reading from the book The Language Of Letting Go.
Healthy Limits
Boundaries are vital to recovery. Having and setting healthy limits' is connected to all phases of recovery: growing in
self esteem, dealing with feelings, and learning to really love and value ourselves.
Boundaries emerge from deep within. They are connected to letting go of guilt and shame, and to changing our beliefs
about what we deserve. As our thinking about this becomes dearer, so will our boundaries.
Boundaries are also connected to a Higher Timing than our own. We'll set a limit when we're ready, and not a moment
before. So will others.
There's something magical about reaching that point of becoming ready to set a limit. We know we mean what we
say; others take us seriously too. Things change, not because we're controlling others, but because we've changed.
Today, I will trust that I will learn, grow, and set the limits I need in my life at my own pace. This timing need only be
right for me.

I am beginning to trust myself. I am beginning to discover that I am okay. --Ruth Fishel

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

Journey To The Heart
Map Your Own Journey
Go on your own journey. Don’t let others hold you back; don’t hold them back. Don’t judge their journey, and don’t let
them judge yours.
All persons are free to have the experiences their souls lead them to. Many of us started our journey by having the
experiences others thought we should. Some of us tried to dictate the lessons and adventures of others,too. This
caused pain and confusion for all. Learning those lessons, the lessons of setting each other free, became an
important part of our journey. But now we’re on to a new part.
Pack your bags. Get out your map. Don’t worry about where you’ll go and what you’ll see. Go where your heart leads.
Your soul knows the way. It will speak quietly through the voice of your heart, your wisdom, your intuition. Listen to the
voice, the quiet voice within, that assures you you’re safe. You will meet and learn from everyone you need to along the
way. Don’t limit your own experiences. Don’t limit the experiences of those you love, or those you meet along the way.
Start today to follow your heart. Map out your own journey. Have the adventure of a lifetime.

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

More Language Of Letting Go
Doing my part
The surest way to become Tense, Awkward, and Confused is to develop a mind that tries too hard– one that thinks too
much.  –Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

The universe will help us, but we need to do our part as well. Here’s an acronym, My part, to help you remember what
it means to do that.

Manifest
Your
Power
Accept
Relax
Trust

Too often, we tell ourselves the only way to get from point A to point B– or Z is to tense up, obsess a little (or a lot), and
live in fear and anxiety until what we want takes place.
That isn’t the path to success. It’s the path to fear and anxiety.
Accept. Relax. Breathe. Let go. Trust yourself, God, and the universe to manifest the best possible destiny when the
time is right for you.
God, help me make the journey from fear and control to letting go and stepping into my true power.

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

A Day At A Time

Reflection For The Day
Before I came to The Program, I hadn’t the faintest idea of what it was to “Live In The Now.” I often became obsessed
with the things that happened yesterday, last week, or even five years ago. Worse yet, many of my waking hours were
spent cleaning away the “wreckage of the future.” “To me,” Walt Whitman once wrote, “every hour of the day and night
is an unspeakably perfect miracle.” Can I truly believe that in my heart?

Today I Pray
Let me carry only the weight of 24 hours at one time, without the extra bulk of yesterday’s regrets or tomorrow’s
anxieties. Let me breathe the blessings of each new day for itself, by itself, and keep my human burdens contained in
daily perspective. May I learn the balance of soul that comes through keeping close to God.

Today I Will Remember
Don’t borrow from tomorrow.

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

One More Day

Our share of night to bear,
Our share of morning …
– Emily Dickinson

We pray for one more day. One more week. Just until the next marker of time or the next major event occurs. “Just let
me live until spring,” we pray, “until my newest grandchild is born … until my next birthday.” We pray and may not even
recognize these silent, secret pleas as being prayers. It’s human nature to ask for a little more time. Most of us feel as
though we have not completed our role on earth.
Time, however, is gradually becoming more of a friend than an enemy. We have today, which is all that anyone —
healthy or chronically ill — really ever has. No one has an iron-clad promise of weeks, months, or years. Our
acceptance of life’s unpredictability frees us of our preoccupation with more time and allows us to use this time —
today.

Life is now — today — and I value it by living fully.

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

One Day At A Time

LETTING GO

“He who cannot rest, cannot work;
He who cannot let go, cannot hold on;
He who cannot find footing, cannot go forward.”

Harry Emerson Fosdick
Prior to walking through the doors of this program, my goal in life was to set up barricades against possible attacks. My
mind was cluttered with battle strategies and defense tactics. I tried to predict every conceivable plot to topple me from
my self-appointed throne. I sought to control situations in order to dominate the outcomes. To that end, I would bend
over backwards to do for others what I didn’t want them to do for themselves. I maneuvered myself into positions of
power so that I wasn’t presented with any surprises. Every situation was weighed for the probability of failure. I never
took chances.
This process took time and vast amounts of energy. My mind was in a constant cacophony. Consequently, there was
no room for growth, no space for acquiring new skills and no time to develop old ones. Every day was a constant
juggling act between an ever-decreasing energy supply and an escalating demand to feel secure. The more I sought to
control, the less I controlled.
Working through Step One brought my whole crusade to an end. I learned to let go of what I had laughingly called
control. I learned to relinquish the helm and acknowledge that I wasn’t such a good driver. Almost instantly I became
aware of a path beneath my feet. I was, for the first time in the longest time, moving forward. The scenery was
changing and the outlook was brighter.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will accept what I cannot do alone, and let go and let God.

~ Sue G

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

AA 'Big Book' - Quote

In addition to these casual get-togethers, it became customary to set apart one night a week for a meeting to be
attended by anyone or everyone interested in a spiritual way of life. Aside from fellowship and sociability, the prime
object was to provide a time and place where new people might bring their problems. - Pg. 160 - A Vision For You

Hour To Hour - Book - Quote

The most basic thing you can do right now is to understand the basics. Don't drink, pop pills, shoot dope, snort coke,
smoke crack AND listen to the people you came to for help.
My divine Source aids me in putting everything in perspective this hour--the basics are: don't use and listen!

Staying with Myself
Today, I see that taking care of myself begins inside of me. It is not just a function of what I do, but the attitude with
which I move through my day. Having my own life is about checking in with myself to see how I'm doing. It's wearing a
sweater if I'm cold and taking a break if I'm tired. It's making sure that I'm having enough fun in my life, paying attention
to what I enjoy doing, doing more of that and finding ways of reducing what doesn't feel good. Having a life that is well
suited to me is letting myself have my own unique likes and dislikes, and acting on them in constructive ways. It is not
organizing my life so that it is good enough for everyone else, forgetting that it needs to be good enough for me as well.
I occupy the center of my own life.

- Tian Dayton PhD

Pocket Sponsor - Book - Quote

If you think you are having a problem with God, just try to imagine the problem He/She is having with you!
There is no way to know God's Will unless I do it.

"Walk Softly and Carry a Big Book" - Book

Surrender means following the direction God's finger is pointing.

Time for Joy - Book - Quote

I am beginning to trust myself. I am beginning to discover that I am okay.

Alkiespeak - Book - Quote

Look back on the past
- but don't stare. - Anon.

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

AA Thought for the Day

January 2

Living Sober
Somewhat to our surprise, staying sober turns out not to be the grim,
wet-blanket experience we had expected!
While we were drinking, a life without alcohol seemed like no life at all.
But for most members of AA, living sober is really living -- a joyous experience.
We much prefer it to the troubles we had with drinking.
One more note: anyone can get sober.  We have all done it lots of times.
The trick is to stay and to live sober.  That is what this booklet is about.
- Living Sober, Foreword

Thought to Ponder . . .
Life didn't end when I got sober -- it started.

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

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

Faith
When I was driven to my knees by alcohol,
I was made ready to ask for the gift of faith.
And all was changed.
Never again, my pains and problems notwithstanding,
would I experience my former desolation.
I saw the universe to be lighted by God's love;
I was alone no more.
Bill W., Letter, 1966
c. 1967AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 51

Thought to Consider . . .
Sorrow looks back, worry looks around,
and faith looks up.

*~*~*AACRONYMS*~*~*
F A I T H = Finding Answers In The Heart.

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

Allergy
From "It Might Have Been Worse":
"The explanation that alcoholism was a disease of a two-fold nature, an allergy of the body and an obsession of the
mind, cleared up a number of puzzling questions for me. The allergy we could do nothing about. Somehow our bodies
had reached the point where we could no longer absorb alcohol in our systems. The why is not important; the fact is
that one drink will set up a reaction in our system that requires more, that one drink is too much and a hundred drinks
are not enough."
2001 AAWS, Inc., Fourth Edition; Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 355

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

 "Let it never be said that the spiritual way is a cowardly or escapist approach to life. On the contrary, it requires
maximum diligence and persistence to seek divine guidance when all the evidence of our eyes and ears tries to tell us
that life is largely physical, intellectual and emotional."
Jackson, Mississippi, November 1964
  "Let Go and Let God,"
AA Grapevine

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

"Everybody knows that those in bad health, and those who seldom play,
do not laugh much. So let each family play together or separately as
much as their circumstances warrant. We are sure God wants us to be
happy, joyous, and free."
~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, The Family Afterward, pg. 132~

"For a brief moment, I had needed and wanted God. There had been a
humble willingness to have Him with me -- and He came.
~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Bill's Story, Page 12~

I must quickly assure you that A.A.'s tread innumerable paths in their quest for faith.
-Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions p.27

Misc. AA Literature - Quote

When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God's hands were better
than anything we could have planned.
My depression deepened unbearably, and finally it seemed to me as though I were at the very bottom of the pit. For the
moment, the last vestige of my proud obstinacy was crushed. All at once I found myself crying out, 'If there is a God,
let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything, anything!' Suddenly the room lit up with a great white light. It seemed
to me, in the mind's eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst
upon me that I was a free man. Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed, but now for a time I was in another
world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me there was a wonderful feeling of Presence , and I
thought to myself, 'So this is the God of the preachers!'

Prayer for the Day:  For Today - O God:  Give me strength to live another day; Let me not turn coward before its
difficulties or prove recreant to its duties; Let me not lose faith in other people; Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in
spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness; Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them; Help me to keep
my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of
conscious integrity; Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things; Grant me this day some new
vision of thy truth; Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness; and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls; in
the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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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