daily reflection: avoiding controversy

All history affords us the spectacle of striving nations and groups finally torn asunder because they were designed for, or tempted into, controversy. Others fell apart because of sheer self-righteousness while trying to enforce upon the rest of mankind some millennium of their own specification.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 176

As an A.A. member and sponsor, I know I can cause real damage if I yield to temptation and give opinions and advice on another’s medical, marital, or religious problems. I am not a doctor, counselor, or lawyer. I cannot tell anyone how he or she should live; however, I can share how I came through similar situations without drinking, and how A.A.’s Steps and Traditions help me in dealing with my life.

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daily reflection: our survival

Since recovery from alcoholism is life itself to us, it is imperative that we preserve in full strength our means of survival.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 177

The honesty expressed by the members of A.A. in meetings has the power to open my mind. Nothing can block the flow of energy that honesty carries with it. The only obstacle to this flow of energy is inebriation, but even then, no one will find a closed door if he or she has left and chooses to return. Once he or she has received the gift of sobriety, each A.A. member is challenged on a daily basis to accept a program of honesty.My Higher Power created me for a purpose in life. I ask Him to accept my honest efforts to continue on my journey in the spiritual way of life. I call on Him for strength to know and seek His will.

daily reflection: an unbroken tradition

We conceive the survival and spread of Alcoholics Anonymous to be something of far greater importance than the weight we could collectively throw back of any other cause.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 177

How much it means to me that an unbroken tradition of more than half a century is a thread that connects me to Bill W. and Dr. Bob. How much more grounded I feel to be in a Fellowship whose aims are constant and unflagging. I am grateful that the energies of A.A. have never been scattered, but focused instead on our members and on individual sobriety.

My beliefs are what make me human; I am free to hold any opinion, but A.A.’s purpose —so clearly stated fifty years ago — is for me to keep sober. That purpose has promoted round-the-clock meeting schedules, and the thousands of intergroup and central service offices, with their thousands of volunteers. Like the sun focused through a magnifying glass, A.A.’s single vision has lit a fire of faith in sobriety in millions of hearts, including mine.

daily reflection: global sharing

The only thing that matters is that he is an alcoholic who has found a key to sobriety. These legacies of suffering and of recovery are easily passed among alcoholics, one to the other. This is our gift from God, and its bestowal upon others like us is the one aim that today animates A.A.’s all around the globe.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 151

The strength of Alcoholics Anonymous lies in the desire of each member and of each group around the world to share with other alcoholics their suffering and the steps taken to gain, and maintain, recovery. By keeping a conscious contact with my Higher Power, I make sure that I always nurture my desire to help other alcoholics, thus insuring the continuity of the wonderful fraternity of Alcoholics Anonymous.

daily reflection: one ultimate authority

For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 132

When I am chosen to carry some small responsibility for my fellows, I ask that God grant me the patience, open-mindedness, and willingness to listen to those I would lead. I must remind myself that I am the trusted servant of others, not their “governor,” “teacher,” or “instructor.” God guides my words and my actions, and my responsibility is to heed His suggestions. Trust is my watchword, I trust others who lead. In the Fellowship of A.A., I entrust God with the ultimate authority of “running the show.”

daily reflection: a.a.’s heartbeat

Without unity, the heart of A.A. would cease to beat; . . .

— AS BILL SEES IT, p. 125

Without unity I would be unable to recover in A.A. on a daily basis. By practicing unity within my group, with other A.A. members and at all levels of this great Fellowship, I receive a pronounced feeling of knowing that I am a part of a miracle that was divinely inspired. The ability of Bill W. and Dr. Bob, working together and passing it on to other members, tells me that to give it away is to keep it. Unity is oneness and yet the whole Fellowship is for all of us.

daily reflection: by faith and by works

On anvils of experience, the structure of our Society was hammered out. . . . Thus has it been with A.A. By faith and by works we have been able to build upon the lessons of an incredible experience. They live today in the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, which — God willing — shall sustain us in unity for so long as He may need us.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 131

God has allowed me the right to be wrong in order for our Fellowship to exist as it does today. If I place God’s will first in my life, it is very likely that A.A. as I know it today will remain as it is.

daily reflection: what we know best

“Shoemaker, stick to thy last!” . . . better do one thing supremely well than many badly. That is the central theme of this Tradition [Five]. Around it our Society gathers in unity. The very life of our Fellowship requires the preservation of this principle.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 150

The survival of A.A. depends upon unity. What would happen if a group decided to become an employment agency, a treatment center or a social service agency? Too much specialization leads to no specialization, to frittering of efforts and, finally, to decline. I have the qualifications to share my sufferings and my way of recovery with the newcomer. Conformity to A.A.’s primary purpose ensures the safety of the wonderful gift of sobriety, so my responsibility is enormous. The life of millions of alcoholics is closely tied to my competence in “carrying the message to the still-suffering alcoholic.”

daily reflection: true tolerance

Finally, we begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and see what real love for our fellows actually means.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 92

The thought occurred to me that all people are emotionally ill to some extent. How could we not be? Who among us is spiritually perfect? Who among us is physically perfect? How could any of us be emotionally perfect? Therefore, what else are we to do but bear with one another and treat each other as we would be treated in similar circumstances? That is what love really is.

daily reflection: nothing grows in the dark

We will want the good that is in us all, even in the worst of us, to flower and to grow.

— AS BILL SEES IT, p. 10

With the self-discipline and insight gained from practicing Step Ten, I begin to know the gratifications of sobriety — not as mere abstinence from alcohol, but as recovery in every department of my life.

I renew hope, regenerate faith, and regain the dignity of self-respect. I discover the word “and” in the phrase “and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”

Reassured that I am no longer always wrong, I learn to accept myself as I am, with a new sense of the miracles of sobriety and serenity.

daily reflection: solace from confusion

Obviously, the dilemma of the wanderer from faith is that of profound confusion. He thinks himself lost to the comfort of any conviction at all. He cannot attain in even a small degree the assurance of the believer, the agnostic, or the atheist. He is the bewildered one.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 28

The concept of God was one that I struggled with during my early years of sobriety. The images that came to me, conjured from my past, were heavy with fear, rejection and condemnation. Then I heard my friend Ed’s image of a Higher Power: As a boy he had been allowed a litter of puppies, provided that he assume responsibility for their care. Each morning he would find the unavoidable “byproducts”of the puppies on the kitchen floor. Despite frustration, Ed said he couldn’t get angry because “that’s the nature of puppies.” Ed felt that God viewed our defects and shortcomings with a similar understanding and warmth. I’ve often found solace from my personal confusion in Ed’s calming concept of God.

daily reflection: a.a.’s “main taproot”

The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole Society has sprung and flowered.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 21-22

Defeated, and knowing it, I arrived at the doors of A.A., alone and afraid of the unknown. A power outside of myself had picked me up off my bed, guided me to the phone book, then to the bus stop, and through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous. Once inside A.A. I experienced a sense of being loved and accepted, something I had not felt since early childhood. May I never lose the sense of wonder I experienced on that first evening with A.A., the greatest event of my entire life.

daily reflection: an open mind

True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, . . .

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 33

My alcoholic thinking led me to believe that I could control my drinking, but I couldn’t. When I came to A.A., I realized that God was speaking to me through my group. My mind was open just enough to know that I needed His help. A real, honest acceptance of A.A. took more time, but with it came humility. I know how insane I was, and I am extremely grateful to have my sanity restored to me and to be a sober alcoholic. The new, sober me is a much better person than I ever could have been without A.A.

daily reflection: a daily tune-up

Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 85

How do I maintain my spiritual condition? For me it’s quite simple: on a daily basis I ask my Higher Power to grant me the gift of sobriety for that day! I have talked to many alcoholics who have gone back to drinking and I always ask them: “Did you pray for sobriety the day you took your first drink?” Not one of them said yes. As I practice Step Ten and try to keep my house in order on a daily basis, I have the knowledge that if I ask for a daily reprieve, it will be granted.

daily reflection: throughout each day.

This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84

During my early years in A.A. I saw Step Ten as a suggestion that I periodically look at my behavior and reactions. If there was something wrong, I should admit it; if an apology was necessary, I should give one. After a few years of sobriety I felt I should undertake a self-examination more frequently. Not until several more years of sobriety had elapsed did I realize the full meaning of Step Ten, and the word “continued.” “Continued” does not mean occasionally, or frequently. It means throughout each day.