daily reflection: 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 well-balanced 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, and spirituality, the latter forming the symbol’s base. Taken together, all three aspects of my personality translate into a sober and happy life.

daily reflection: exactly alike

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.

daily reflection: love without strings

Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.

— 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.

daily reflection: without reservation

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.

daily reflection: our children

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.

daily reflection: 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?

daily reflection: vigilance

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.

daily reflection: “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 (Third Edition)

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.

daily reflection: 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: I become healed. My problems vanish as I reach out to this trembling soul.

daily reflection: 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.

daily reflection: 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.

daily reflection: acceptance

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.

daily reflection: 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.

daily reflection: 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.

daily reflection: 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. 561

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.