Thursday, May 31, 2012
READINESS TO SERVE OTHERS
. . . our Society has concluded that it has but one high
mission—to carry the A.A. message to those who don't
know there's a way out
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 151
The "Light" to freedom shines bright on my fellow
alcoholics as each one of us challenges the other to grow.
The "Steps" to self-improvement have small beginnings,
but each Step builds the "ladder" out of the pit of despair to
new hope. Honesty becomes my "tool" to unfurl the
"chains" which bound me. A sponsor, who is a caring
listener, can help me to truly hear the message guiding me
I ask God for the courage to live in such a way that the
Fellowship may be a testimony to His favor. This mission
frees me to share my gifts of wellness through a spirit of
readiness to serve others.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
OUR PRIMARY PURPOSE
The more A.A. sticks to its primary purpose, the greater
will be its helpful influence everywhere.
A.A. COMES OF AGE, p. 109
It is with gratitude that I reflect on the early days of our
Fellowship and those wise and loving "foresteppers" who
proclaimed that we should not be diverted from our primary
purpose, that of carrying the message to the alcoholic who
I desire to impart respect to those who labor in the field
of alcoholism, being ever mindful that A.A. endorses no
causes other than its own. I must remember that A.A. has
no monopoly on miracle-making and I remain humbly
grateful to a loving God who made A.A. possible.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 139
I first heard the short form of the Third Tradition in the
Preamble. When I came to A.A. I could not accept myself,
my alcoholism, or a Higher Power. If there had been any
physical, mental, moral, or religious requirements for
membership, I would be dead today. Bill W. said in his
tape on the Traditions that the Third Tradition is a charter
for individual freedom. The most impressive thing to me
was the feeling of acceptance from members who were
practicing the Third Tradition by tolerating and accepting
me. I feel acceptance is love and love is God's will for us.
Monday, May 28, 2012
At one time or another most A.A. groups go on rulemaking
benders. . . . After a time fear and intolerance subside, [and
we realize] We do not wish to deny anyone his chance to
recover from alcoholism. We wish to be just as inclusive as
we can, never exclusive.
"A.A. TRADITION: HOW IT DEVELOPED," pp. 10, 11, 12
A.A. offered me complete freedom and accepted me into
the Fellowship for myself. Membership did not depend
upon conformity, financial success or education and I am
so grateful for that. I often ask myself if I extend the same
equality to others or if I deny them the freedom to be
different. Today I try to replace my fear and intolerance
with faith, patience, love and acceptance. I can bring these
strengths to my A.A. group, my home and my office. I
make an effort to bring my positive attitude everywhere
that I go.
I have neither the right, nor the responsibility, to judge
others. Depending on my attitude I can view newcomers to
A.A., family members and friends as menaces or as
teachers. When I think of some of my past judgments, it is
clear how my self-righteousness caused me spiritual harm.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
NO MAUDLIN GUILT
Day by day, we try to move a little toward God's perfection.
So we need not be consumed by maudlin guilt. . . .
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 15
When I first discovered that there is not a single "don't" in
the Twelve Steps of A.A., I was disturbed because this
discovery swung open a giant portal. Only then was I able
to realize what A.A. is for me:
A.A. is not a program of "don'ts, but of "do's." A.A. is not
martial law; it is freedom. A.A. is not tears over defects,
but sweat over fixing them. A.A. is not penitence; it is
salvation. A.A. is not "Woe to me" for my sins, past
and present. A.A. is "Praise God" for the progress I am
Saturday, May 26, 2012
TURNING NEGATIVE TO POSITIVE
Our spiritual and emotional growth in A.A. does not depend
so deeply upon success as it does upon our failures and
setbacks. If you will bear this in mind, I think that your slip
will have the effect of kicking you upstairs, instead of down.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 184
In keeping with the pain and adversity which our founders
encountered and overcame in establishing A.A., Bill W.
sent us a clear message: a relapse can provide a positive
experience toward abstinence and a lifetime of recovery. A
relapse brings truth to what we hear repeatedly in
meetings—"Don't take that first drink!" It reinforces the
belief in the progressive nature of the disease, and it drives
home the need for, and beauty of, humility in our spiritual
program. Simple truths come in complicated ways to me
when I become ego driven.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Gratitude should go forward, rather than backward.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 29
I am very grateful that my Higher Power has given me a
second chance to live a worthwhile life. Through
Alcoholics Anonymous, I have been restored to sanity. The
promises are being fulfilled in my life. I am grateful to be
free from the slavery of alcohol. I am grateful for peace of
mind and the opportunity to grow, but my gratitude should
go forward rather than backward. I cannot stay sober on
yesterday's meetings or past Twelfth-Step calls; I need to
put my gratitude into action today. Our co-founder said our
gratitude can best be shown by carrying the message to
others. Without action, my gratitude is just a pleasant
emotion. I need to put it into action by working Step
Twelve, by carrying the message and practicing the
principles in all my affairs. I am grateful for the chance to
carry the message today!
Thursday, May 24, 2012
"HAPPY, JOYOUS AND FREE"
We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free.
We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is vale of
tears, though it once was just that for many f us. But it is
clear that we made our own misery, rod didn't do it. Avoid
then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble
comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to
demonstrate His omnipotence.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 133
For years I believed in a punishing God and blamed him
for my misery. I have learned that I must lay down the
"weapons" of self in order to pick up the "tools" of the
A.A. program. I do not struggle with he program because
it is a gift and I have never struggled when receiving a gift.
If I sometimes keep struggling, it is because I'm still
hanging onto my old ideas and " . . . the results are
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out
mentally and physically.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 64
It is very difficult for me to come to terms with my
spiritual illness because of my great pride, disguised by my
material successes and my intellectual power. Intelligence
is not incompatible with humility, provided I place
humility first. To seek prestige and wealth is the ultimate
goal for many in the modern world. To be fashionable and
to seem better than I really am is a spiritual illness.
To recognize and to admit my weaknesses is the
beginning of good spiritual health. It is a sign of spiritual
health to he able to ask God every day to enlighten me, to
recognize His will, and to have the strength to execute it.
My spiritual health is excellent when I realize that the
better I get, the more I discover how much help I need from
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
WE . . . (The first word of the First Step)
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 21
When I was drinking all I could ever think about was "I, I,
I," or "Me, Me, Me." Such painful obsession of self, such
soul sickness, such spiritual selfishness bound me to the
bottle for more than half my life.
The journey to find God and to do His will one day at a
time began with the first word of the First Step . . . "We."
There was power in numbers, there was strength in
numbers, there was safety in numbers, and for an alcoholic
like me, there was life in numbers. If I had tried to recover
alone I probably would have died. With God and another
alcoholic I have a divine purpose in my life . . . I have
become a channel for God's healing love.
Monday, May 21, 2012
A LIST OF BLESSINGS
One exercise that I practice is to try for a full inventory of
my blessings. . . .
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 37
What did I have to be grateful for? I shut myself up and
started listing the blessings for which I was in no way
responsible, beginning with having been born of sound
mind and body. I went through seventy-four years of living
right up to the present moment. The list ran to two pages,
and took two hours to compile; I included health, family,
money, A.A. —the whole gamut.
Every day in my prayers, I ask God to help me
remember my list, and to be grateful for it throughout the
day. When I remember my gratitude list, it's very hard to
conclude that God is picking on me.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
ONE DAY AT A TIME
Above all, take it one day at a time.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 11
Why do I kid myself that I must stay away from a drink for
only one day, when I know perfectly well I must never
drink again as long as I live? I am not kidding myself
because one day at a time is probably the only way I can
reach the long-range objective of staying sober.
If I determine that I shall never drink again as long as I
live, I set myself up. How can I be sure I won't drink when
I have no idea what the future may hold?
On a day-at-a-time basis, I am confident I can stay away
from a drink for one day. So I set out with confidence. At
the end of the day, I have the reward of achievement.
Achievement feels good and that makes me want more!
Saturday, May 19, 2012
GIVING WITHOUT STRINGS
And he well knows that his own life has been made richer,
as an extra dividend of giving to another without any
demand for a return.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 69
The concept of giving without strings was hard to
understand when I first came into the program. I was
suspicious when others wanted to help me. I thought,
"What do they want in return?" But I soon learned the joy
of helping another alcoholic and I understood why they
were there for me in the beginning. My attitudes changed
and I wanted to help others. Sometimes I became anxious,
as I wanted them to know the joys of sobriety, that life can
be beautiful. When my life is full of a loving God of my
understanding and I give that love to my fellow alcoholic, I
feel a special richness that is hard to explain.
Friday, May 18, 2012
FREEDOM TO BE ME
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development,
we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are
going to know a new freedom and a new happiness
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 83
My first true freedom is the freedom not to have to take a
drink today. If I truly want it, I will work the Twelve Steps
and the happiness of this freedom will come to me through
the Steps—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Other
freedoms will follow, and inventorying them is a new
happiness. I had a new freedom today, the freedom to be
me. I have the freedom to be the best me I have ever been.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
. . . AND FORGIVE
Under very trying conditions I have had, again and again,
to forgive others—also myself
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 268
Forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others are just two
currents in the same river, both hindered or shut off
completely by the dam of resentment. Once that dam is
lifted, both currents can flow. The Steps of A.A. allow me
to see how resentment has built up and subsequently
blocked off this flow in my life. The Steps provide a way
by which my resentments may—by the grace of God as I
understand Him— be lifted. It is as a result of this solution
that I can find the necessary grace which enables me to forgive
myself and others.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
WE FORGIVE . . .
Often it was while working on this Step with our sponsors
or spiritual advisers that we first felt truly able to forgive
others, no matter how deeply we felt hey had wronged us.
Our moral inventory had persuaded us that all-round
forgiveness was desirable, but it was only when we
resolutely tackled Step Five hat we inwardly knew we'd be
able to receive forgiveness and give it, too.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 58
What a great feeling forgiveness is! What a revelation
about my emotional, psychological and spiritual nature.
All it takes is willingness to forgive; 5od will do the rest
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
KNOW GOD; KNOW PEACE
It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads
only to futility and unhappiness. . . . But with the alcoholic,
whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual
experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 66
Monday, May 14, 2012
IT'S OKAY TO BE ME
Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves
certain facts about their lives. . . . they have turned to
easier methods. . . . But they had not learned enough
humility. . . .
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 72-73
Humility sounds so much like humiliation, but it really is
the ability to look at myself—and honestly accept what I
find. I no longer need to be the "smartest" or "dumbest" or
any other "est." Finally, it is okay to be me. It is easier for
me to accept myself if I share my whole life. If I cannot
share in meetings, then I had better have a sponsor —
someone with whom I can share those "certain facts" that
could lead me back to a drunk, to death. I need to take all
the Steps. I need the Fifth Step to learn true humility.
Easier methods do not work.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
THE EASIER, SOFTER WAY
If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 72
I certainly didn't leap at the opportunity to face who I was,
especially when the pains of my drinking days hung over
me like a dark cloud. But I soon heard at the meetings
about the fellow member who just didn't want to take Step
Five and kept coming back to meetings, trembling from the
horrors of reliving his past. The easier, softer way is to take
these Steps to freedom from our fatal disease, and to put
our faith in the Fellowship and our Higher Power.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
THE PAST IS OVER
A.A. experience has taught us we cannot live alone with
our pressing problems and the character defects which
cause or aggravate them. If. . . Step Four . . . has revealed
in stark relief those experiences we'd rather not remember .
. . then the need to quit living by ourselves with those
tormenting ghosts of yesterday gets more urgent than ever.
We have to talk to somebody about them.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 55
Whatever is done is over. It cannot be changed. But my
attitude about it can be changed through talking with those
who have gone before and with sponsors. I can wish the
past never was, but if I change my actions in regard to what
I have done, my attitude will change. I won't have to wish
the past away. I can change my feelings and attitudes, but
only through my actions and the help of my fellow
Friday, May 11, 2012
" It is vital that young people, the guardians of our future, develop a strong awareness of the futility of violence and war. They can learn from the examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., that non-violence is the best way to ensure peace in the long term. Because the twentieth century was a century of violence, let us make the twenty-first a century of dialogue. "
A NEW SENSE OF BELONGING
Until we had talked with complete candor of our conflicts,
and had listened to someone else do the same thing, we still
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 57
After four years in A.A. I was able to discover the freedom
from the burden of buried emotions that had caused me so
much pain. With the help of A.A., and extra counseling, the
pain was released and I felt a complete sense of belonging
and peace. I also felt a joy and a love of God that I had
never experienced before. I am in awe of the power of Step
Thursday, May 10, 2012
FREE AT LAST
Another great dividend we may expect from confiding our
defects to another human being is humility —a word often
misunderstood. . . . it amounts to a clear recognition of
what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt
to become what we could be.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 58
I knew deep inside that if I were ever to be joyous, happy
and free, I had to share my past life with some other
individual. The joy and relief I experienced after doing so
were beyond description. Almost immediately after taking
the Fifth Step, I felt free from the bondage of self and the
bondage of alcohol. That freedom remains after 36 years, a
day at a time. I found that God could do for me what I
couldn't do for myself.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
WALKING THROUGH FEAR
If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God
to help us be willing.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 76
When I had taken my Fifth Step, I became aware that all my
defects of character stemmed from my need to feel secure
and loved. To use my will alone to work on them would have
been trying obsessively to solve the problem. In the Sixth
Step I intensified the action I had taken in the first three
Steps—meditating on the Step by saying it over and over,
going to meetings, following my sponsor's suggestions,
reading and searching within myself. During the first three
years of sobriety I had a fear of entering an elevator alone.
One day I decided I must walk through this fear. I asked for
God's help, entered the elevator, and there in the corner was
a lady crying. She said that since her husband had died she
was deathly afraid of elevators. I forgot my fear and
comforted her. This spiritual experience helped me to see
how willingness was the key to working the rest of the
Twelve Steps to recovery. God helps those who help
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
A RESTING PLACE
All of A.A. 's Twelve Steps ask us to go contrary to our
natural desires . . . they all deflate our egos. When it comes
to ego deflation, few Steps are harder to take than Five. But
scarcely any Step is more necessary to longtime sobriety
and peace of mind than this one.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 55
After writing down my character defects, I was unwilling to
talk about them, and decided it was time to stop carrying
this burden alone. I needed to confess those defects to
someone else. I had read—and been told—I could not stay
sober unless I did. Step Five provided me with a feeling of
belonging, with humility and serenity when I practiced it in
my daily living. It was important to admit my defects of
character in the order presented in Step Five: "to God, to
ourselves and to another human being." Admitting to God
first paved the way for admission to myself and to another
person. As the taking of the Step is described, a feeling of
being at one with God and my fellow man brought me to a
resting place where I could prepare myself for the remaining
Steps toward a full and meaningful sobriety.
Monday, May 7, 2012
RESPECT FOR OTHERS
Such parts of our story we tell to someone who will
understand, yet be unaffected. The rule is we must be hard
on ourself, but always considerate of others.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 74
Respect for others is the lesson that I take out of this
passage. I must go to any lengths to free myself if I wish to
find that peace of mind that I have sought for so long.
However, none of this must be done at another's expense.
Selfishness has no place in the A.A. way of life.
When I take the Fifth Step it's wiser to choose a person
with whom I share common aims because if that person
does not understand me, my spiritual progress may be
delayed and I could be in danger of a relapse. So I ask for
divine guidance before choosing the man or woman whom
I take into my confidence.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
"HOLD BACK NOTHING"
The real tests of the situation are your own willingness to
confide and your full confidence in the one with whom you
share your first accurate self-survey. . . . Provided you hold
back nothing, your sense of relief will mount from minute to
minute. The dammed-up emotions of years break out of
their confinement, and miraculously vanish as soon as they
are exposed. As the pain subsides, a healing tranquility
takes its place.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 61-62
A tiny kernel of locked-in feelings began to unfold when I
first attended A.A. meetings and self-knowledge then
became a learning task for me. This new self-understanding
brought about a change in my responses to life's situations.
I realized I had the right to make choices in my life, and the
inner dictatorship of habits slowly lost its grip.
I believe that if I seek God I can find a better way to live
and I ask Him daily to assist me in living a sober life.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
THE FOREST AND THE TREES
. . . what comes to us alone may be garbled by our own
rationalization and wishful thinking. The benefit of talking
to another person is that we can get his direct comment and
counsel on our situation. . . .
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 60
I cannot count the times when I have been angry and
frustrated and said to myself, "I can't see the forest for the
trees!" I finally realized that what I needed when I was in
such pain was someone who could guide me in separating
the forest and the trees; who could suggest a better path to
follow; who could assist me in putting out fires; and help
me avoid the rocks and pitfalls.
I ask God, when I'm in the forest, to give me the courage
to call upon a member of A.A.
Friday, May 4, 2012
We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to
live long or happily in this world.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 73-74
Honesty, like all virtues, is to be shared. It began after I
shared ". . . [my] whole life's story with someone . . . "
in order to find my place in the Fellowship. Later I shared
my life in order to help the newcomer find his place with
us. This sharing helps me to learn honesty in all my
dealings and to know that God's plan for me comes true
through honest openness and willingness.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Somehow, being alone with God doesn't seem as embarrassing
as facing up to another person. Until we
actually sit down and talk aloud about what we have so
long hidden, our willingness to clean house is still largely
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 60
It wasn't unusual for me to talk to God, and myself, about
my character defects. But to sit down, face to face, and
openly discuss these intimacies with another person was
much more difficult. I recognized in the experience,
however, a similar relief to the one I had experienced when
I first admitted I was an alcoholic. I began to appreciate the
spiritual significance of the program and that this Step was
just an introduction to what was yet to come in the
remaining seven Steps.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
The practice of patience guards us against losing our presence of mind. It enables us to remain undisturbed, even when the situation is really difficult. It gives us a certain amount of inner peace, which allows us some self-control, so that we can choose to respond to situations in an appropriate and compassionate manner, rather than being driven by our disturbing emotions.
LIGHTING THE DARK PAST
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is
the greatest possession you have—the key to life and
happiness for others. With it you can avert death and
misery for them.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 124
No longer is my past an autobiography; it is a reference
book to be taken down, opened and shared. Today as I
report for duty, the most wonderful picture comes through.
For, though this day be dark— as some days must be—the
stars will shine even brighter later. My witness that they do
shine will be called for in the very near future. All my past
will this day be a part of me, because it is the key, not the
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
HEALING HEART AND MIND
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being
the exact nature of our wrongs.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 55
Since it is true that God comes to me through people, I can
see that by keeping people at a distance I also keep God at
a distance. God is nearer to me than I think and I can
experience Him by loving people and allowing people to
love me. But I can neither love nor be loved if I allow my
secrets to get in the way.
It's the side of myself that I refuse to look at that rules
me. I must be willing to look at the dark side in order to
heal my mind and heart because that is the road to freedom.
I must walk into darkness to find the light and walk into
fear to find peace.
By revealing my secrets—and thereby ridding myself of
guilt—I can actually change my thinking; by altering my
thinking, I can change myself. My thoughts create my
future. What I will be tomorrow is determined by what I