daily reflection: serving my brother

The member talks to the newcomer not in a spirit of power but in a spirit of humility and weakness.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS COMES OF AGE, p. 279

As the days pass in A.A., I ask God to guide my thoughts and the words that I speak. In this labor of continuous participation in the Fellowship, I have numerous opportunities to speak. So I frequently ask God to help me watch over my thoughts and my words, that they may be the true and proper reflections of our program; to focus my aspirations once again to seek His guidance; to help me be truly kind and loving, helpful and healing, yet always filled with humility, and free from any trace of arrogance.

Today I may very well have to deal with disagreeable attitudes or utterances-the typical stock-in-trade attitude of the still-suffering alcoholic. If this should happen, I will take a moment to center myself in God, so that I will be able to respond from a perspective of composure, strength, and sensibility.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

the question that begs for an answer

YariGarciaYA at Living Free of Alcohol brings up a pretty tough question many of us have likely asked ourselves in the mirror at some point:

Is drunk you the REAL you?

I’ve said and done some pretty horrible stuff while drunk.
I think we all have at some point.
After a particularly bad episode, the people around us may wonder:
Is what she/he said and did the REAL them?  Is this how they truly feel?

Don’t give up. Strong reading for a great source of encouragement.

an honest glimpse of self-hatred

From feelingmywaybackintolife comes this refreshingly candid post on the root of her own addiction, twice removed from alcohol:

I do not want to accept I hate myself. I prefer to deny it so I can experience it less. But the shadow walking next to me has become too strong. Even now my heart is pounding like crazy and tears are streaming. Thinking of you reading this. Feeling like you would all be saying: “I knew she was not worth it. Being all stuck up and know it all, ha! Now, look at how miserable she really is.”

. . . 

A woman who loves herself would possibly show compassion. I also think she would help the little kid to learn boundaries and self-preservation. My mother did not allow me boundaries when it came to self-preservation. Literally not. That time where she said she would protect me from the friends of my brother and then forced me to undress in front of them. And later, when I asked her for help when they attacked me again, with the special words we had worked out between the two of us, she brushed me off, telling me not to bother her. How do I live with that? I feel very destructive currently. No wonder I think people ridicule me when I ask for help. That has been the real experience. And it has all settled as patterns in my behaviour. And, like my mom, I learned to take the only way left out: becoming ill, becoming soft, weak, depressed, overworked and alcoholic. Patterns.

At once agonizing and revealing, this read is a thoughtful study of the honest pain in the healing journey. Read the whole thing. Please.

daily reflection: “we pause . . . and ask”

As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 87

Today I humbly ask my Higher Power for the grace to find the space between my impulse and my action; to let flow a cooling breeze when I would respond with heat; to interrupt fierceness with gentle peace; to accept the moment which allows judgment to become discernment; to defer to silence when my tongue would rush to attack or defend.I promise to watch for every opportunity to turn toward my Higher Power for guidance. I know where this power is: it resides within me, as clear as a mountain brook, hidden in the hills—it is the unsuspected Inner Resource.I thank my Higher Power for this world of light and truth I see when I allow it to direct my vision. I trust it today and hope it trusts me to make all effort to find the right thought or action today.

a grateful landmark from across the pond

A wonderful post from FitFatFood, who — oh so gently — turned four years sober this week:

That’s how far things have come. Gone are the days of the minute by minute crawl towards bedtime, when I wanted to feel the sweet relief of the pillow, a sense of release and pride that I’d dragged myself through another day. Now sobriety is a gift I treasure, a part of life that feels as natural and precious as breathing, requiring a similarly unconscious effort.

By all means, read the brief but splendid and encouraging note.

notable quote: albert einstein

Einstein wrote this in 1922 just as he learned of his Nobel Prize in physics. Either the bellhop refused a tip, or Einstein didn’t have money so he wrote that advice instead. On a second sheet, he wrote another message: “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” Einstein told the bellhop to save the notes — they just might be valuable in the future.

In October 2017, the first fetched about $1.6 million at auction. The second brought a mere $240,000.

Most of us have plenty (by a lot of standards). Not having enough, by itself, isn’t why we choose to be unhappy.

It’s simply having enough and not knowing it.

daily reflection: round-the-clock faith

Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 16

The essence of my spirituality and my sobriety rests on a round-the-clock faith in a Higher Power. I need to remember and rely on the God of my understanding as I pursue all of my daily activities. How comforting to me is the concept that God works in and through people. As I pause in my day, do I recall specific concrete examples of God’s presence? Am I amazed and uplifted by the number of times this power is evident? I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my God’s presence in my life of recovery. Without this omnipotent force in my every activity, I would again fall into the depths of my disease—and death.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

daily reflection: would a drink help?

By going back in our own drinking histories, we could show that years before we realized it we were out of control, that our drinking even then was no mere habit, that it was indeed the beginning of a fatal progression.

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 23

When I was still drinking, I couldn’t respond to any of life’s situations the way other, more healthy, people could. The smallest incident triggered a state of mind that believed I had to have a drink to numb my feelings. But the numbing did not improve the situation, so I sought further escape in the bottle. Today I must be aware of my alcoholism. I cannot afford to believe that I have gained control of my drinking — or again I will think I have gained control of my life. Such a feeling of control is fatal to my recovery.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

daily reflection: happiness comes quietly

“The trouble with us alcoholics was this: We demanded that the world give us happiness and peace of mind in just the particular order we wanted to get it — by the alcohol route. And we weren’t successful. But when we take time to find out some of the spiritual laws, and familiarize ourselves with them, and put them into practice, then we do get happiness and peace of mind. . . . There seem to be some rules that we have to follow, but happiness and peace of mind are always here, open and free to anyone.”

DR. BOB AND THE GOOD OLDTIMERS, p. 308

The simplicity of the A.A. program teaches me that happiness isn’t something I can “demand.” It comes upon me quietly, while I serve others. In offering my hand to the newcomer or to someone who has relapsed, I find that my own sobriety has been recharged with indescribable gratitude and happiness.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

eric clapton: always worth revisiting

This excellent 1999 interview with Ed Bradley from 60 minutes has held up through the years. In the interview, an unabashedly candid Clapton — clean and sober 12 years by then — pointed his finger at a surprising culprit that paved the way for his brutal addictions: “When I was five, six years old, I was cramming sugar down my throat as fast as I could get it down,” he said. “I became addicted to sugar because it changed the way I felt.”

Watch the whole thing.