Just for today, I focus on Step 11 to answer honestly if I have “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve (my) conscious contact with God as (I) understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for (me) and the power to carry that out.” In my own Program, simply acknowledging a Higher Power and looking to Him to guide me through my recovery is not enough; I must also seek what He requires of me and the knowledge and power to do what He wants of me. But why is the 11th Step important to both the early and later stages of recovery? In seeking our Higher Power’s will or expectations of us, we are getting away from one of our addiction’s most dangerous and contributory spiritual afflictions - selfishness. I dare not risk what progress I have made or seek by continuing to hold on to those poisonous character and spiritual defects like selfishness, anger, hate and bitterness that will undermine either the quality of my recovery or my very recovery itself. Today, I seek through prayer and meditation the will of my Higher Power, not mine, to repay and maintain the gift of recovery the Program has given me. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2012
AA Thought for the Day “Call on new prospects while they are still jittery. They may be more receptive when depressed. See them alone if possible. Tell them enough about your drinking habits and experiences to encourage them to speak of themselves. If they wish to talk, let them do so. If they are not communicative, talk about the troubles liquor has caused you, being careful not to moralize or lecture. When they see you know all about the drinking game, commence to describe yourself as an alcoholic and tell them how you learned you were sick.”
Am I ready to talk about myself to new prospects?
Meditation for the Day Try not to give way to criticism, blame, scorn or judgment of others, when you are trying to help them. Effectiveness in helping others depends on controlling yourself. You may be swept away by a temporary natural urge to criticize or blame, unless you keep a tight rein on your emotions. You should have a firm foundation of spiritual living which makes you truly humble, if you are going to really help other people. Go easy on them and be hard on yourself. That is the way you can be used most to uplift a despairing spirit. And seek no personal recognition for what you are used by God to accomplish.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may try to avoid judgment and criticism. I pray that I may always try to build up others instead of tearing them down.
Reflection for the Day From time to time, I begin to think I know what God’s will is for other people. I say to myself, “This person ought to be cured of his terminal illness,” or, “That one ought to be freed from the torment she’s going through,” and I begin to pray for those specific things. My heart is in the right place when I pray in such fashion, but those prayers are based on the supposition that I know God’s will for the person for whom I pray. The Program teaches me, instead, that I ought to pray that God’s will - whatever it is - be done for others as well as for myself.
Will I remember that God is ready to befriend me, but only to the degree that I trust Him?
Today I Pray I praise God for the chance to help others. I thank God also for making me want to help others, for taking me out of my tower of self so that I can meet and share with and care about people. Teach me to pray that “Thy will be done” in the spirit of love, which God inspires in me.
Today I Will Remember I will put my trust in the will of God.
It is a constant source of amazement to some of the Old-Timers to answer a call for help from some alcoholic and to find that the person in trouble is a neighbor, relative, friend or fellow employee or a member of AA.
It sometimes happens that the new man preferred it that way as he would rather discuss the matter with a stranger than someone near him.
It is also true that some of us are not quick to grasp the opportunities to pass the Message along. If you see a man is beyond his depth and can’t swim, why should you wait for him to yell for help? He might be deaf and dumb.
The extraordinary, the amazing, the phenomenon are daily glorified in the movies, the news, and on television. Our senses become bombarded. We become addicted to drama. The only things that get our attention are the big, catastrophic, knee-jerking events.
Take a closer look at your life, your everyday world, and the people and activities in it. If it were all taken from you in one moment, what would you miss? What sights, what sounds, what smells? Would you miss the view from your kitchen window? If you were never to see that scene again, would you nostalgically reminisce about it, wishing you could see it one more time, remembering how beautiful it was, and how much that familiar sight comforted you in your daily life?
What about those toys strewn about or the baby crying because he's hungry or wet? What about the sounds of the city you live in as it comes to life each morning? Or how about how your child smells after her bath? Or when she comes in cold from playing in the snow?
What about the way your friend smiles, or that little thing he says all the time that's not funny but he thinks it is, so you laugh?
Look closely at the ordinary in your life. While you're being grateful, don't forget to express pure, sheer gratitude for how beautiful the ordinary really is. We can easily overlook the ordinary, take it for granted. The sun rises and sets, the seasons come and go, and we forget how beautiful and sensational the familiar really is.
God thank you for every detail of my ordinary, everyday world.
Just for today, I will take Step 10 for the first time or retake it because it is one of the Program’s most integral maintenance Steps: “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” The 10th is the logical extension of the Fourth in which we “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” We cannot and should not believe that our personal inventory and admission of our wrongs is a one-time exercise: not only can those wrongs be resurrected in recovery and even after we’ve asked our Higher Power to remove them, but “new” defects can and do evolve in recovery. But why should we look in the mirror even long after our last drink or use? To do so risks old character defects to slip in again, possibly undetected, and a fearless honesty will likely tell us that our active addiction was fueled by those defects. And a relapse, even a so-called “slip,” is too high a price to pay for neglecting our maintenance of the progress we achieve in the Fourth Step. Today, I have to muster the honesty required of a continued personal inventory - my recovery is too precious a gift to risk. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2012
AA Thought for the Day “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as extensive work with other alcoholics. Carry the message to other alcoholics. You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Life will take on a new meaning for you. To watch people recover, to see them help others in turn, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow about you, to have a host of friends, this is an experience you must not miss.”
Am I always ready and willing to help other alcoholics?
Meditation for the Day One secret of abundant living is the art of giving. The paradox of life is that the more you give, the more you have. If you lose your life in the service of others, you will save it. You can give abundantly and so live abundantly. You are rich in one respect - you have a spirit that is inexhaustible. Let no mean or selfish thought keep you from sharing this spirit. Of love, of help, of understanding and of sympathy, give and keep giving. Give your personal ease and comfort, your time, your money and most of all, yourself. And you will be living abundantdly.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may live to give. I pray that I may learn this secret of abundant living.
Reflection for the Day I’ll begin today with a prayer - prayer in my heart, prayer in my mind and words of prayer on my lips. Through prayer, I’ll stay tuned to God today, reaching forward to become that to which I aspire. Prayer will redirect my mind, helping me rise in consciousness to the point where I realize that there’s no separation between God and me. As I let the power of God flow through me, all limitations will fall away.
Do I know that nothing can overcome the power of God?
Today I Pray Today may I offer to my Higher Power a constant prayer, not just a “once-in-the-morning-does-it” kind. May I think of my Higher Power at coffee breaks, lunch, tea time, during a quiet evening - and at all times in between. May my consciousness expand and erase the lines of separation, so that the Power is a part of me and I am a part of the Power.
You can’t swim like a fish, run like a deer, fight like a tiger or fly like a bird. Every one of your five senses is excelled by some member of the animal kingdom. Man, physically, has many superiors and would long since have been extinct but for the fact that he alone possess reasoning power.
With this advantage he can build ships to outswim the fish, motor cars to outrun the deer, perfect weapons to outfight the tiger and airplanes to outstrip the fastest of birds. With this reason he can visualize the reason behind all Nature and thus avail himself of a Power greater than himself and all the forces with which he has to contend.
The circumstances of our lives seldom live up to our expectations or desires. However, in each circumstance we are offered an opportunity for growth or change, a chance for greater understanding of life's heights and pitfalls. Each time we choose to lament what isn't, we close the door on the invitation to a better existence.
We simply don't know just what's best for us. Our vision is limited. Less so today than yesterday, but limited still. The experiences we are offered will fail to satisfy our expectations because we expect so much less than God has planned for us in the days ahead.
We get what we need in the way of relationships, adventures, joys and sorrows, today and every day. Celebrating what we get and knowing there is good in it eases whatever trial we are undergoing. We are cared for, right now. We need not lament what we think we need. We do have what we need. We will always get what we need, when we need it.
I will breathe deeply and relax. At this moment my every need is being attended to.
Just for today, I must understand that serenity in recovery comes from within and not from people and things on the outside. I wasted too much time, emotion and energy in my drinking days searching and even clinging to outside things and people on who I vested my sobriety. But now I must accept that my sobriety is vested within myself. I no longer can expect and even demand that the world and other people change to accommodate my recovery but that I must change myself to fit into my world and the people in it. The Steps of AA give me the road map to arrive at such a lofty destination, in Step Four: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” Steps Five, Six and Seven, then, guide us through the admission to God, to ourselves and another human being the “exact nature” of the wrongs we find in Step Four and through asking God to remove our shortcomings. The Steps are dependent on action by me, not someone or something else. Today, I begin assuming responsibility for both my addiction and recovery relying solely on the Steps of AA. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2012
AA Thought for the Day “We cannot get along without prayer and meditation. On awakening, let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking. Our thought lives will be placed on a much higher plane when we start the day with prayer and meditation. We conclude this period of meditation with a prayer that we will be shown through the day what our next step is to be. The basis of all our prayers is: Thy will be done in me and through me today.”
Am I sincere in my desire to do God’s will today?
Meditation for the Day Breathe in the inspiriation of goodness and truth. It is the spirit of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love. It is readily available if we are willing to accept it wholeheartedly. God has given us two things - His spirit and the power of choice - to accept or not, as we will. We have the gift of free will. When we choose the path of selfishness and greed and pride, we are refusing to accept God’s spirit. When we choose the path of love and service, we accept God’s spirit and it flows into us and makes all things new.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may choose the right way. I pray that I may try to follow it to the end.
Reflection for the Day Prayer can have many rewards. One of the greatest rewards is the sense of belonging it brings to me. No longer do I live as a stranger in a strange land, alien in a completely hostile world. No longer am I lost, frightened and purposeless. I belong. We find, in The Program, that the moment we catch a glimpse of God’s will - the moment we begin to see truth, justice and love as the real and eternal things in life - we’re no longer so deeply upset by all the seeming evidence to the contrary surrounding us in purely human affairs.
Do I believe that God lovingly watches over me?
Today I Pray May I be grateful for the comfort and peace of belonging - to God the ultimately wise “parent” and to His family on earth. May I no longer need bumper stickers or boisterous gangs to give me my identity. Through prayer, I am God’s.
Today I Will Remember I find my identity through prayer.
The relationship of hours to a lifetime is comparable to the relationship of bricks to a house. Every brick that is laid must be a separate and distinct operation, yet so tied to the preceding and the following brick that their positions are level and plumb. Each one is an entirety in itself, but all the bricks are either supporting or are supported by each other.
Our hours, lived one by one, are in no sense different. The beauty, strength and durability of our lives will be determined by the individual hours viewed collectively.
There is always a "but" in this imperfect world.-- Helen Keller
Often there is not a day that goes by without some tragic or upsetting news story. An act of terrorism, a natural disaster, or a school shooting can dominate the air waves and make it seem as if all there is in the world are tragedy, loss, and immeasurable sorrow. At those times when the world seems to be crashing down around you, you may be tempted to look at your addiction from a different perspective.
You may consider, for instance, how minor your addiction is compared to everything else that is going on. So you might tell yourself, "Okay, I think I have a problem with alcohol, But maybe my problem isn't so bad after all." Or you may think, "But all I did was just knock over a trash can when I was drunk. It's not as if I killed someone."
Maintaining sobriety can be an extremely difficult task. But you make it more difficult whenever you spend more time trying to find excuses than doing what it is you need to do in your recovery. While it is true that sometimes there is too much tragedy and negative news, such things should not be taken as reasons for you to take a break from your recovery.
”I realize that all I’m guaranteed in life is today. The poorest person has no less and the wealthiest has no more - each of us has but one day. What we do with it is our own business; how we use it is up to us individually.” - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Lost Nearly All,” Ch 2 (“Promoted to Chronic”), p 473.
Just for today, let me fully understand and accept that all I have today is just that - today! Whether I have little to nothing, or all and more I can use materially, I am no less and no better than anyone because, in the end, all we take with us to our final chapters is ourselves. But, especially in recovery, I cannot foolishly look too far beyond the forest in my goal to achieve a landmark anniversary of sobriety or any other goal; one of the trees in the forest could cold-cock me. Grant me wisdom and prudence to see first what is in front of me instead of beyond and what must be done to get me intact to a long-term goal. Today, I do with what I have - today. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2012
AA Thought for the Day “We must continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We should grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter; it should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We must not rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve, contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.”
Am I checking my spiritual condition daily?
Meditation for the Day Happiness cannot be sought directly; it is a by-product of love and service. Service is a law of our being. With love in your heart, there is always some service to other people. A life of power and joy and satisfaction is built on love and service. Perons who hate or are selfish are going against the law of their own being. They are cutting themselves off from God and other people. Little acts of love and encouragement, of service and help, erase the rough places of life and help to make the path smooth. If we do these things, we cannot help having our share of happiness.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may give my share of love and service. I pray that I may not grow weary in my attempts to do the right thing.
“Prayer does not change God,” wrote Soren Kierkegaard, “but it changes him who prays.” Those of us in The Program who’ve learned to make regular use of prayer would no more do without it than we’d turn down sunshine, fresh air or food - and for the same reason. Just as the body can wither and fail for lack of nourishment, so can the soul. We all need the light of God’s reality, the nourishment of His strength, and the atmosphere of His grace.
Do I thank God for all that He has given me, for all that He has taken away from me, and for all He has left me?
Today I Pray Dear H.P.: I want to thank you for spreading calm over my confusion, for making the jangled chords of my human relationships harmonize again, for putting together the shattered pieces of my Humpty Dumpty self, for giving me a sobriety present, a whole great expanded world of marvels and opportunities. May I remain truly Yours, Yours truly.
Today I Will Remember Prayer, however simple, nourishes the soul.
The Eye Opener Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 The subconscious aim of practially all men is to get the most and the best out of every day of their lives. It is a simple creed and if honestly followed, day by day, act by act, it cannot help but lead to greater heights.
Like AA, it is so simple it is incredible. Why not try it? It’s what you honestly want anyway.
I grew up knowing I had to be a success for others. -- Sandy Warman
The pressure of performance is daunting and extremely stressful. Some, like Sandy, were controlled by it their whole lives. Perhaps that was your experience, too. Are you free of it now?
The desire to be successful never was a bad thing in and of itself. Teachers encouraged it right along with our parents. Employers reinforced the importance of being successful. But there is and always was a difference between enjoying a job done right and driving ourselves ragged to impress others. Sandy's experience reflects the latter.
Whatever reason we used for seeking success isn't all bad though. If it motivated us to stretch ourselves, it meant we discovered abilities we might not have known we were capable of. The contribution we made to the world around us was affected accordingly and that changed our lives forever. We can come to believe that however we lived our lives was simply as good as we were capable of. No matter what motivated us in the past, we can take charge of what motivates us now. Finally, that's all that really counts today.
Today I'll be aware of the motives behind my efforts. I don't have to impress anyone.
“I will never know all the people I hurt, all the friends I abused, the humiliation of my family, the worry of my business associates or how far-reaching it was. I continue to be surprised by the people I meet who say, ‘You haven’t had a drink for a long time, have you?’ The surprise to me is the fact that I didn’t know that they knew my drinking had gotten out of control. That is where we are really fooled. We think we can drink to excess without anyone knowing it. Everyone knows it. The only one we are fooling is ourselves. We rationalize and excuse our conduct beyond all reason.” - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Stopped in Time,” Ch 10 (“It Might Have Been Worse”), p 376.
Just for today, may the experiences about “hiding” that I have heard over and over in treatment centers and in meetings serve as a hint that I’m hiding nothing and fooling no one but myself about the extent of my drinking. If I am drinking today, let me give up the illusion that no one is paying attention and turn my energies that I expend on “hiding” to sobering up. And if I am not drinking, let me consider that I may have missed in my Fourth Step people to whom I owe amends because I may not know or remember who I have hurt. To them, my greatest amend may be continued abstinence. Today, if I am hiding, let me see that I am hiding only from myself and, if I can’t remember all the people who are owed amends, let me make them by continuing in sobriety. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2012
AA Thought for the Day “We must be willing to make amends to all the people we have harmed. We must do the best we can to repair the damage done in the past. When we make amends, when we say: ‘I’m sorry,’ the person is sure at least to be impressed by our sincere desire to set right the wrong. Sometimes people we are making amends to admit their own faults, so feuds of long standing melt away. Our most ruthless creditors will sometimes surprise us. In general, we must be willing to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences may be for us.”
Have I made a sincere effort to make amends to the people I have harmed?
Meditation for the Day The grace of God cures disharmony and disorder in human relationships. Directly you put your affairs, with their confusion and their difficulties, into God’s hands. He begins to effect a cure of all the disharmony and disorder. You can believe that He will cause you no more pain in the doing of it than a physician, who plans and knows that he can effect a cure, would cause his patient. You can have faith that God will do all that is necessary as painlessly as possible. But you must be willing to submit to His treatment, even if you cannot now see the meaning or purpose of it.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may willingly submit to whatever spiritual discipline is necessary. I pray that I may accept whatever it takes to live a better life.
Reflection for the Day Taking a long hard look at those defects I’m unwilling or reluctant to give up, I ought to rub out the rigid lines I’ve drawn. Perhaps, in some cases, I’ll then be able to say, “Well, this one I can’t give up yet …” The one thing I shouldn’t say: “This one I’ll never give up.” The minutes we say, “No, never,” our minds close against the grace of God. Such rebelliousness, as we have seen in the experiences of others, may turn out to be fatal. Instead, we should abandon limited objectives and begin to move toward God’s will for us.
Am I learning never to say “never …?”
Today I Pray May God remove any blocks of rebellion which make me balk at changing my undesirable qualities. Out of my delusion that I am “unique” and “special” and somehow safe from consequences, I confess to God that I have defied the natural laws of health and sanity, along with Divine laws of human kindness. May God drain away the defiance which is such a protected symptom of my addiction.
Today I Will Remember Defiance is an offpsing of delusion.