Friday, September 30, 2011
THE CIRCLE AND THE TRIANGLE
The circle stands for the whole world of A.A., and the
triangle stands for A.A.'s Three Legacies of Recovery,
Unity, and Service. Within our wonderful new world, we
have found freedom from our fatal obsession.
A.A. COMES OF AGE, p. 139
Early in my A.A. life, I became employed in its services
and I found the explanation of our society's logo to be very
appropriate. First, a circle of love and service with a wellbalanced
triangle inside, the base of which represents our
Recovery through the Twelve Steps. Then the other two
sides, representing Unity and Service, respectively. The
three sides of the triangle are equal. As I grew in A.A. I
soon identified myself with this symbol. I am the circle,
and the sides of the triangle represent three aspects of my
personality: physical, emotional sanity, spirituality, the
latter forming the symbol's base. Taken together, all three
aspects of my personality translate into a sober and happy
MY CHECKLIST, NOT YOURS
Gossip barbed with our anger, a polite form of murder by
character assassination, has its satisfactions for us, too.
Here we are not trying to help those we criticize; we are
trying to proclaim our own righteousness.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 67
Sometimes I don't realize that I gossiped about someone
until the end of the day, when I take an inventory of the
day's activities, and then, my gossiping appears like a
blemish in my beautiful day. How could I have said
something like that? Gossip shows its ugly head during a
coffee break or lunch with business associates, or I may
gossip during the evening, when I'm tired from the day's
activities, and feel justified in bolstering my ego at the
expense of someone else.
Character defects like gossip sneak into my life when I
am not making a constant effort to work the Twelve Steps of
recovery. I need to remind myself that my uniqueness is the
blessing of my being, and that applies equally to everyone
who crosses my path in life's journey. Today the only
inventory I need to take is my own. I'll leave judgment of
others to the Final Judge—Divine Providence.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is
the bright spot of our lives.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 89
A man came to the meeting drunk, interrupted the speakers,
stood up and took his shirt off, staggered loudly back and
forth for coffee, demanded to talk, and eventually called
the group's secretary an unquotable name and walked out. I
was glad he was there—once again I saw what I had been
like. But I also saw what I still am, and what I still could
be. I don't have to be drunk to want to be the exception and
the center of attention. I have often felt abused and
responded abusively when I was simply being treated as a
garden variety human being. The more the man tried to
insist he was different, the more I realized that he and I
were exactly alike.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
LOVE WITHOUT STRINGS
Practical experience shows that nothing will so much
insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 89
Sponsorship held two surprises for me. First, that my
sponsees cared about me. What I had thought was gratitude
was more like love. They wanted me to be happy, to grow
and remain sober. Knowing how they felt kept me from
drinking more than once. Second, I discovered that I was
able to love someone else responsibly, with respectful and
genuine concern for that person's growth. Before that time,
I had thought that my ability to care sincerely about
another's well-being had atrophied from lack of use. To
learn that I can love, without greed or anxiety, has been
one of the deepest gifts the program has given me.
Gratitude for that gift has kept me sober many times.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
When brimming with gratitude, one's heartbeat must surely
result in outgoing love, . . .
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 37
While practicing service to others, if my successes give rise
to grandiosity, I must reflect on what brought me to this
point. What has been given joyfully, with love, must be
passed on without reservation and without expectation. For
as I grow, I find that no matter how much I give with love,
I receive much more in spirit.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
The alcoholic may find it hard to re-establish friendly
relations with his children. . . . In time they will see that he
is a new man and in their own way they will let him know
it. . . . From that point on, progress will be rapid.
Marvelous results often follow such a reunion.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 134
While on the road to recovery I received a gift that could
not be purchased. It was a card from my son in college,
saying, "Dad, you can't imagine how glad I am that
everything is okay. Happy Birthday, I love you." My son
had told me that he loved me before. It had been during the
previous Christmas holidays, when he had said to me,
while crying, "Dad, I love you! Can't you see what you're
doing to yourself?" I couldn't. Choked with emotion, I had
cried, but this time, when I received my son's card, my tears
were tears of joy, not desperation.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Some of us have taken very hard knocks to learn this truth:
Job or no job—wife or no wife—we simply do not stop
drinking so long as we place dependence upon other
people ahead of dependence on God.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 98
Before coming to A.A., I always had excuses for taking a
drink: "She said . . . ," "He said "I got fired yesterday," "I
got a great job today." No area of my life could be good if I
drank again. In sobriety my life gets better each day. I must
always remember not to drink, to trust God, and to stay
active in A.A. Am I putting anything before my sobriety,
God, and A.A. today?
Friday, September 23, 2011
We have seen the truth demonstrated again and again:
"Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic" Commencing to
drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as
bad as ever. If we are planning to stop drinking, there must
be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that
someday we will be immune to alcohol
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 33
Today I am an alcoholic. Tomorrow will be no different.
My alcoholism lives within me now and forever. I must
never forget what I am. Alcohol will surely kill me if I fail
to recognize and acknowledge my disease on a daily basis.
I am not playing a game in which a loss is a temporary
setback. I am dealing with my disease, for which there is
no cure, only daily acceptance and vigilance.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
"I WAS AN EXCEPTION"
He [Bill W.] said to me, gently and simply, "Do you think
that you are one of us?"
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 413
During my drinking life I was convinced I was an
exception. I thought I was beyond petty requirements and
had the right to be excused. I never realized that the dark
counterbalance of my attitude was the constant feeling that
I did not "belong." At first, in A.A., I identified with others
only as an alcoholic. What a wonderful awakening for me
it has been to realize that, if human beings were doing the
best they could, then so was I! All of the pains, confusions
and joys they feel are not exceptional, but part of my life,
just as much as anybody's.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
A "LIMITLESS LODE"
Like a gaunt prospector, belt drawn in over the last ounce
of food, our pick struck gold. Joy at our release from a
lifetime of frustration knew no bounds. Father feels he has
struck something better than gold. For a time he may try to
hug the new treasure to himself. He may not see at once
that he has barely scratched a limitless lode which will pay
dividends only if he mines it for the rest of his life and
insists on giving away the entire product.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 128-29
When I talk with a newcomer to A.A., my past looks me
straight in the face. I see the pain in those hopeful eyes, I
extend my hand, and then the miracle happens: / become
healed. My problems vanish as I reach out to this trembling
Let us cultivate love and compassion, both of which give life true meaning. This is the religion I preach. It is simple. Its temple is the heart. Its teaching is love and compassion. Its moral values are loving and respecting others, whoever they may be. Whether one is a lay person or a monastic, we have no other option if we wish to survive in this world.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
THE LAST PROMISE
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we
could not do for ourselves.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84
The last Promise in the Big Book came true for me on the
very first day of sobriety. God kept me sober that day, and
on every other day I allowed Him to operate in my life. He
gives me the strength, courage and guidance to meet my
responsibilities in life so that I am then able to reach out
and help others stay sober and grow. He manifests within
me, making me a channel of His word, thought and deed.
He works with my inner self, while I produce in the outer
world, for He will not do for me what I can do for myself. I
must be willing to do His work, so that He can function
through me successfully.
Monday, September 19, 2011
H.P. AS GUIDE
See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great
events will come to pass for you and countless others. This
is the Great Fact for us.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 164
Having a right relationship with God seemed to be an
impossible order. My chaotic past had left me filled with
guilt and remorse and I wondered how this "God business"
could work. A.A. told me that I must turn my will and my
life over to the care of God, as I understand Him. With
nowhere else to turn, I went down on my knees and cried,
"God, I can't do this. Please help me!" It was when I admitted
my powerlessness that a glimmer of light began to
touch my soul, and then a willingness emerged to let God
control my life. With Him as my guide, great events began
to happen, and I found the beginning of sobriety.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
We admitted we couldn't lick alcohol with our own
remaining resources, and so we accepted the further fact
that dependence upon a Higher Power (if only our A.A
group) could do this hitherto impossible job. The moment
we were able to accept these facts fully, our release from
the alcohol compulsion had begun.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 109
Freedom came to me only with my acceptance that I could
turn my will and my life over to the care of my Higher
Power, whom I call God. Serenity seeped into the chaos of
my life when I accepted that what I was going through was
life, and that God would help me through my difficulties—
and much more, as well. Since then He has helped me
through all of my difficulties! When I accept situations as
they are, not as I wish them to be, then I can begin to grow
and have serenity and peace of mind.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
LOVED BACK TO RECOVERY
Our whole treasured philosophy of self-sufficiency had to
be cast aside. This had not been done with old-fashioned
willpower; it was instead a matter of developing the
willingness to accept these new facts of living. We neither
ran nor fought. But accept we did And then we were free.
BEST OF THE GRAPEVINE, Vol. I, p. 198
I can be free of my old enslaving self. After a while I
recognize, and believe in, the good within myself. I see that
I have been loved back to recovery by my Higher Power,
who envelops me. My Higher Power becomes that source
of love and strength that is performing a continuing miracle
in me. I am sober . . . and I am grateful.
Friday, September 16, 2011
FREEDOM FROM FEAR
When, with God's help, we calmly accepted our lot, then we
found we could live at peace with ourselves and show
others who still suffered the same fears that they could get
over them, too. We found that freedom from fear was more
important than freedom from want.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 122
Material values ruled my life for many years during my
active alcoholism. I believed that all of my possessions
would make me happy, yet I still felt bankrupt after I
obtained them. When I first came into A.A., I found out
about a new way of living. As a result of learning to trust
others, I began to believe in a power greater than myself.
Having faith freed me from the bondage of self. As material
gains were replaced by the gifts of the spirit, my life
became manageable. I then chose to share my experiences
with other alcoholics.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
WE STAND—OR FALL—TOGETHER
. . . no society of men and women ever had a more urgent
need for continuous effectiveness and permanent unity. We
alcoholics see that we must work together and hang
together, else most of us will finally die alone.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 562
Just as the Twelve Steps of A.A. are written in a specific
sequence for a reason, so it is with the Twelve Traditions.
The First Step and the First Tradition attempt to instill in
me enough humility to allow me a chance at survival.
Together they are the basic foundation upon which the
Steps and Traditions that follow are built. It is a process of
ego deflation which allows me to grow as an individual
through the Steps, and as a contributing member of a group
through the Traditions. Full acceptance of the First
Tradition allows me to set aside personal ambitions, fears
and anger when they are in conflict with the common good,
thus permitting me to work with others for our mutual
survival. Without Tradition One I stand little chance of
maintaining the unity required to work with others
effectively, and I also stand to lose the remaining
Traditions, the Fellowship, and my life.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
A NEW LIFE
Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is
a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. . . . Life will mean
something at last
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 152
Life is better without alcohol. A.A. and the presence of a
Higher Power keeps me sober, but the grace of God does
even better; it brings service into my life. Contact with the
A.A. program teaches me a new and greater understanding
of what Alcoholics Anonymous is and what it does, but
most importantly, it helps to show me who I am: an alcoholic
who needs the constant experience of the Alcoholics
Anonymous program so that I may live a life given to me
by my Higher Power.
Everyone has secrets, right? Some of us have little secrets, items that would cause only minor embarrassment if found out. Some of us have big secrets, whole areas of our lives cloaked in thick, murky darkness. Big secrets may represent a more obvious, immediate danger to our recovery. But the little secrets do their own kind of damage, the more insidious perhaps because we think they're "harmless!" Big or little, our secrets represent spiritual territory we are unwilling to surrender to the principles of recovery. The longer we reserve pieces of our lives to be ruled by self-will and the more vigorously we defend our "right" to hold onto them, the more damage we do. Gradually, the unsurrendered territories of our lives tend to expand, taking more and more ground. Whether the secrets in our lives are big or little, sooner or later they bring us to the same place. We must choose-either we surrender everything to our program, or we will lose our recovery.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
PEACE OF MIND
Do we lay the matter before our sponsor or spiritual
adviser, earnestly asking God's help and guidance—
meanwhile resolving to do the right thing when it becomes
clear, cost what it may?
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 86-87
My belief in a Higher Power is an essential part of my
work on Step Nine; forgiveness, timing, and right motives
are the other ingredients. My willingness to do the Step is a
growing experience that opens the door for new and honest
relationships with the people I have harmed. My
responsible action brings me closer to the spiritual
principles of the program—love and service. Peace of
mind, serenity, and a stronger faith are sure to follow.
Monday, September 12, 2011
REPAIRING THE DAMAGE
Good judgment, a careful sense of timing courage and
prudence—these are the qualities we shall need when we
take Step Nine.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 83
To make amends can be viewed two ways: first, that of
repairing damage, for if I have damaged my neighbor's
fence, I "make a mend," and that is a direct amend; the
second way is by modifying my behavior, for if my actions
have harmed someone, I make a daily effort to cause no
further harm. I "mend my ways," and that is an indirect
amend. Which is the best approach? The only right approach,
provided that I am causing no further harm in so
doing, is to do both. If harm is done, then I simply "mend
my ways." To take action in this manner assures me of
making honest amends.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I AM RESPONSIBLE
For the readiness to take the full consequences of our past
acts, and to take responsibility for the well-being of others
at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 87
In recovery, and through the help of Alcoholics
Anonymous, I learn that the very thing I fear is my
freedom. It comes from my tendency to recoil from taking
responsibility for anything: I deny, I ignore, I blame, I
avoid. Then one day, I look, I admit, I accept. The freedom,
the healing and the recovery I experience is in the looking,
admitting and accepting. I learn to say, "Yes, I am
responsible." When I can speak those words with honesty
and sincerity, then I am free.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Above all, we should try to be absolutely sure that we are
not delaying because we are afraid.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 87
To have courage, to be unafraid, are gifts of my recovery.
They empower me to ask for help and to go forth in making
my amends with a sense of dignity and humility. Making
amends may require a certain amount of honesty that I feel
I lack, yet with the help of God and the wisdom of others, I
can reach within and find the strength to act. My amends
may be accepted, or they may not, but after they are
completed I can walk with a sense of freedom and know
that, for today, I am responsible.
Friday, September 9, 2011
RECOVERY BY PROXY?
They [the Promises] will always materialize if we work for
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84
Sometimes I think: "Making these amends is going too far!
No one should have to humble himself like that!" However,
it is this very humbling of myself that brings me that much
closer to the sunlight of the spirit. A.A. is the only hope I
have if I am to continue healing and gain a life of
happiness, friendship and harmony.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
OPENING NEW DOORS
They [the Promises] are being fulfilled among us—
sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84
The Promises talked about in this passage are slowly
coming to life for me. What has given me hope is putting
Step Nine into action. The Step has allowed me to see and
set goals for myself in recovery.
Old habits and behaviors die hard. Working Step Nine
enables me to close the door on the drunk I was, and to
open new avenues for myself as a sober alcoholic. Making
direct amends is crucial for me. As I repair relationships
and behavior of the past, I am better able to live a sober
Although I have some years of sobriety, there are times
when the "old stuff" from the past needs to be taken care
of, and Step Nine always works, when I work it.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
"WE ASKED HIS PROTECTION"
We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 59
I could not manage my life alone. I had tried that road and
failed. My "ultimate sin" dragged me down to the lowest
level I have ever reached and, unable even to function, I
accepted the fact that I desperately needed help. I stopped
fighting and surrendered entirely to God.
Only then did I start growing! God forgave me. A
Higher Power had to have saved me, because the doctors
doubted that I would survive. I have forgiven myself now
and I enjoy a freedom I have never before experienced. I've
opened my heart and mind to Him. The more I learn, the
less I know—a humbling fact—but I sincerely want to
keep growing. I enjoy serenity, but only when I entrust my
life totally to God. As long as I am honest with myself and
ask for His help, I can maintain this rewarding existence.
Just for today, I strive to live His will for me— soberly.
I thank God that today I can choose not to drink. Today,
life is beautiful!
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
"OUR SIDE OF THE STREET"
We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing
that nothing worth while can be accomplished until we do
so, never trying to tell him what he should do. His faults
are not discussed. We stick to our own.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 77-78
I made amends to my dad soon after I quit drinking. My
words fell on deaf ears since I had blamed him for my
troubles. Several months later I made amends to my dad
again. This time I wrote a letter in which I did not blame
him nor mention his faults. It worked, and at last I
understood! My side of the street is all that I'm responsible
for and— thanks to God and A.A.—it's clean for today.
Monday, September 5, 2011
REMOVING THREATS TO SOBRIETY
. . . except when to do so would injure them or others.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 59
Step Nine restores in me a feeling of belonging, not only to
the human race but also to the everyday world. First, the
Step makes me leave the safety of A.A., so that I may deal
with non-A.A. people "out there," on their terms, not mine.
It is a frightening but necessary action if I am to get back
into life. Second, Step Nine allows me to remove threats to
my sobriety by healing past relationships. Step Nine points
the way to a more serene sobriety by letting me clear away
past wreckage, lest it bring me down.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, . . .
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 83
When I survey my drinking days, I recall many people
whom my life touched casually, but whose days I troubled
through my anger and sarcasm. These people are
untraceable, and direct amends to them are not possible.
The only amends I can make to those untraceable
individuals, the only "changes for the better" I can offer, are
indirect amends made to other people, whose paths briefly
cross mine. Courtesy and kindness, regularly practiced,
help me to live in emotional balance, at peace with myself.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead . . .
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 83
The reconstruction of my life is the prime goal in my
recovery as I avoid taking that first drink, one day at a
time. The task is most successfully accomplished by
working the Steps of our Fellowship. The spiritual life is
not a theory; it works, but I have to live it. Step Two
started me on my journey to develop a spiritual life; Step
Nine allows me to move into the final phase of the initial
Steps which taught me how to live a spiritual life. Without
the guidance and strength of a Higher Power, it would be
impossible to proceed through the various stages of
reconstruction. I realize that God works for me and through
me. Proof comes to me when I realize that God did for me
what I could not do for myself, by removing that gnawing
compulsion to drink. I must continue daily to seek God's
guidance. He grants me a daily reprieve and will provide
the power I need for reconstruction.
Friday, September 2, 2011
BUILDING A NEW LIFE
We feel a man is unthinking when he says sobriety is
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 82
When I reflect on Step Nine, I see that physical sobriety
must be enough for me. I need to remember the
hopelessness I felt before I found sobriety, and how I was
willing to go to any lengths for it. Physical sobriety is not
enough for those around me, however, since I must see that
God's gift is used to build a new life for my family and
loved ones. Just as importantly, I must be available to help
others who want the A.A. way of life.
I ask God to help me share the gift of sobriety so that its
benefits may be shown to those I know and love.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
FINDING "A REASON TO BELIEVE"
The willingness to grow is the essence of all spiritual
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 171
A line from a song goes, ". . . and I look to find a reason to
believe . . ." It reminds me that at one time I was not able to
find a reason to believe that my life was all right. Even
though my life had been saved by my coming to A.A.,
three months later I went out and drank again. Someone
told me: "You don't have to believe. Aren't you willing to
believe that there is a reason for your life, even though you
may not know yourself what that reason is, or that you may
not sometimes know the right way to behave?" When I saw
how willing I was to believe there was a reason for my life,
then I could start to work on the Steps. Now when I begin
with, "I am willing. . . ," I am using the key that leads to action,
honesty, and an openness to a Higher Power moving
through my life.