Category Archives: Spirit on the A’s

Give It Away

Give It Away

We must give freely and gratefully that which has been freely and gratefully given to us. Page 30.

Basic Text, p. 49. In Recovery, we receive many gifts. Perhaps one of the greatest of these gifts is the spiritual awakening that begins when we stop using, growing stronger each day we apply the steps in our lives. The new spark of life within is a direct result of our new relationship with a Higher Power, a relationship initiated and developed by living the Twelve Steps. Slowly, as we pursue our program, the radiance of recovery dispels the darkness of our disease.

One of the ways we express our gratitude for the gifts of recovery is to help others find what we’ve found. We can do this in any number of ways: by sharing in meetings, making Twelfth Step calls, accepting a commitment to sponsorship, or volunteering for support duty. The spiritual life given to us in recovery asks for expression, for “we can only keep what we have by giving it away.”

Just for Today: The gift of recovery grows when I share it. I will find someone with whom to share it. – (c) 2016 NA World Services

Give It Away
Give It Away

If we make it to this point, we have a spiritual awakening. Though the nature of our awakening is as individual and personal as our spiritual path, the similarities in our experiences are striking. Almost without exception, our members speak of feeling free, of feeling more light-hearted more of the time, of caring more about others, and of the ever-increasing ability to step outside ourselves and participate fully in life. The way this looks to others is astonishing. People who knew us when we were in our active addiction, often appearing withdrawn and angry, tell us that we are different people. Indeed, many of us feel as if we began a second life.

Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

 

Give It Away
George Strait

First Step

First Step – an Action Step

Do we understand that we have no real control over drugs? Page 29.

Basic Text, p. 18. At first, many of us may have thought the First Step required no action-we just surrender and go on to Step Two. But Step One does require action!

The action we take in the First Step will be evident in the way we live, even from our first day clean. If we truly believe that we are powerless over our addiction, we will not choose to be around drugs. To continue to live with or associate with practicing addicts may indicate a reservation in our program. An absolute belief that the First Step applies to us will insure that we clear our homes of all drugs and paraphernalia.

As time goes on, we will not only continue with the basics but add new actions to our First Step repertoire. We will learn to feel our feelings rather than trying to control them. We will stop trying to be our own and only guides on our recovery journey; self-sponsorship will cease. We will begin looking to a Power greater than ourselves more and more for spiritual satisfaction rather than trying to fill that void with something else.

Surrender is only the beginning. Once we surrender, we need to learn how to live in the peace we have found.

Just for Today: I will take all the action necessary to practice the First Step. I truly believe it applies to me. – (c) 2016 NA World Services.

Awesome First Step
Awesome First Step

A First of anything is a beginning, and so it is with the Steps: The First Step is the beginning of the recovery process. The healing starts here; we can not go any further until we work this step.

Step One. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.

 

First Step

Chain Reaction album
John Farnham

If you wanna feed all the children
Then start by feeding one
And if you wanna find a mountain
To build your dreams upon
You need love (the heart to care)
Give me strength (the nerve to dare)

Everyday Addict

Every-day Addict

“We can never fully recover, no matter how long we stay clean.” Page 28.

Basic Text, p. 84. After getting a little time in the program, some of us begin to think we have been cured. We learned everything NA has to teach us; we grew bored with the meetings; and our sponsor keeps droning the same old refrain: “The steps – the steps – the steps!” We decide it is time to get on with our lives, cut way back on meetings, and try to make up for the years we have lost to active addiction. We do this, however, at the peril of our recovery.

Those of us who have relapsed after such an episode often try to go to as many meetings as we can, some of us go to a meeting every day for several years. It may take that long for us to understand that we will always be addicts. We may feel well some days and sick on other days, but we are addicts every day. At any time, we are subject to delusion, denial, rationalization, justification, insanity; all the hallmarks of the typical addict’s way of thinking. If we want to continue living and enjoying life without the use of drugs, we must practice an active program of recovery each day.

Just for Today: I am an addict every day, but today I have the choice to be a recovering addict. I will make that choice by practicing my program.  – (c) 2016, NA World Services.

 

Sly Stone
Sly Stone

Everyday People
Sly and the Family Stone

Isolation to Connection

From Isolation to Connection
“Our Disease Isolated us… hostile, resentful, self-centered, and self-seeking, we cut ourselves off from the outside world.” Pg. 24.

Basic Text. p. 4. Addiction is an isolating disease, closing us off from society, family, and self. We hid. We lied. We scorned the lives we saw others living, surely beyond our grasp. Worst of all, we told ourselves there was nothing wrong with us, even though we knew we were desperately ill. Our connection with the world, and with reality itself, was severed. Our lives lost meaning, and we withdrew further and further from reality.

Isolation
Isolation

The NA program is designed especially for people like us. It helps reconnect us to the life we were meant to live, drawing us out of our isolation. We stop lying to ourselves about our condition; we admit our powerlessness and the unmanageability of our lives. We develop faith that our lives can improve, that recovery is possible, and that happiness is not permanently beyond our grasp. We get honest; we stop hiding; we “show up and tell the truth,” no matter what. And as we do, we establish the ties that connect our individual lives to the larger life around us.

We addicts need not live lives of isolation. The Twelve Steps can restore our connection to life and living, if we work them.

Reconnect
Reconnect

Just for Today: I am a part of the life around me. I will practice my program to strengthen my connection to my world.
(c) 2016. NA World Services

Isolation
John Lennon

Faith Without Works is Dead

Faith without Works is Dead.

There is action and more action. “Faith without works is dead.” … To be helpful is our only aim. AA. p. 88-9.

I understand that service is a vital part of recovery but I often wonder, “What can I do?” Simply start with what I have today! I look around to see where there is a need. Are the ashtrays full? Do I have hands and feet to empty them? Suddenly I am involved! The best speaker may make the worst coffee; the member who’s best with newcomers may be unable to read; the one willing to clean up may make a mess of the bank account – yet every one of these people and jobs is essential to an active group. The miracle of service is this: when I use what I have, I find there is more available to me than I realized before. – Daily Reflections. © 1990 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services.

Faith Without Works is Dead
Faith Without Works is Dead

Faith Without Works Is Dead. James 2:14-26.

So there is more going on here than helping out. Eventually we come upon our Step 12.

Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

This step prepares you to embrace all 12 steps as you continue your journey into a life of acceptance and understanding. It also encourages you to help others and to empower them as they discover the benefits of AA. – Recovery.org

Step 12 Prayer:
Dear God, Having had a spiritual experience, I must now remember that “faith without works is dead.” And Practical Experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. So, God, please help me to carry this message to other alcoholics! Provide me with the guidance and wisdom to talk with another alcoholic because I can help when no one else can. Help me secure his confidence and remember he is ill. – A.A. Big Book Page 89:1.

Faith Without Works is like a Submarine with a Screen Door

School of Recovery

School of Recovery

“This is a program for learning.” Page 22.

Basic Text, p. 16. Learning in recovery is hard work. The things we most need to know are often the hardest to learn. We study recovery to prepare ourselves for the experiences life will give us. As we listen to others share in meetings, we take mental notes we can refer to later. To be prepared, we study our notes and literature between “lessons.” Just as students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge during tests, so do we have the opportunity to apply our recovery during times of crisis.

As always, we have a choice in how we will approach life’s challenges. We can dread and avoid them as threats to our serenity or we can gratefully accept them as opportunities for growth. By confirming the principles we’ve learned in recovery, life’s challenges give us increased strength. Without such challenges, however, we could forget what we’ve learned and begin to stagnate. These are the opportunities that prod us to new spiritual awakenings.

We will find that there is often a period of rest after each crisis, giving us time to get accustomed to our new skills. Once we’ve reflected on our experience, we are called on to share our knowledge with someone who is studying what we’ve just learned. In the school of recovery, all of us are teachers as well as students.

Just for Today: I will be a student of recovery. I will welcome challenges, confident in what I have learned and eager to share it with others. – (c) 2016 NA World Services

Tim Minchin
Tim Minchin

School song
Matilda Musical
Spirit Young Performers

Lets Keep It Simple

Lets Keep It Simple
A few hours later I took my leave of Dr. Bob. The wonderful, old, broad smile was on his face as he said almost jokingly, “Remember, Bill, let’s not louse this thing up. Let’s keep it simple!” I turned away, unable to say a word. That was the last time I ever saw him. – ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS COMES OF AGE, p. 214.

KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid
KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid

After years of sobriety I occasionally ask myself: “Can it be this simple?” Then, at meetings, I see former cynics and skeptics who have walked the A.A. path out of hell by packaging their lives, without alcohol, into twenty-four hour segments, during which they practice a few principles to the best of their individual abilities. And then I know again that, while it is not always easy, if I keep it simple, it works. – Daily Reflections. © 1990. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services.

KISS
KISS

Forever
Kiss (1993).

 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness. “As we realize our need to be forgiven, we tend to be more forgiving. At least we know that we are no longer intentionally making life miserable for people.” Page 17.

Basic Text, pp. 39-40. In our addiction we often treated others badly, sometimes deliberately finding ways to make their lives miserable. In our recovery, we may still have a tendency to pass judgment on others’ actions because we think we know how that person should behave. But as we progress in our recovery we often find that, to accept ourselves, we must accept those around us.

Forgiveness
Forgiveness

It may be difficult to watch as someone’s insanity manifests itself. But if we detach ourselves from the problem, we can start living in the solution. And if we feel affected by another’s actions, we can extend the principle of forgiveness.

Just for Today: I will strive to forgive rather than be forgiven. I will try to act in such a way that I feel worthy of self-love.
(c) 2016 NA World Services
The most important gift we can ever receive is God’s gift of His Son, our Savior, and with Him forgiveness, restoration, and the promise of spiritual life that begins now and lasts forever. The most important gift we can ever give is to give Jesus our heart. – Marion Stroud. Daily Bread. 12/23/2016.

You overwhelm me with Your gifts, Lord. In return, I want to give You the very best present that I can. Please show me what You want most from me.

Forgiveness
Matt West

It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those who don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel
When they pain they caused is just too real
Takes everything you have to say the word
Forgiveness, forgiveness.

Happiness

Happiness Comes Quietly.

“The trouble with us alcoholics was this: We demand 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 are not successful. But when we take time to find out some of the spiritual rules, 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 is not 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. – Daily Reflections. © 1990. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services.

Seeking Happiness
Seeking Happiness

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Psalm 128:2.

Happiness is Fulfillment, this is an overflowing and differs from trying to fill a void. Pastor Michael.

Happiness
NEEDTOBREATHE

I got a homesick heart but a long ways left to go
I’ve been doing my part but I ain’t got much to show
So I’m asking you to show me some forgiveness
It’s all for you in my pursuit of happiness
Chasing that life, moving on cause I had to prove
There ain’t no life worth doing what I did to you
So I’m asking you to show me some forgiveness,
It’s all for you in my pursuit of happiness.

Powerless

Powerless
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable. – TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 21.

Empowerment
Empowerment

It is no coincidence that the very first Step mentions powerlessness: An admission of personal powerlessness over alcohol is a cornerstone of the foundation of recovery. I have learned that I do not have the power and control I once thought I had. I am powerless over what people think about me. I am powerless over having just missed the bus. I am powerless over how other people work (or do not work) the Steps. But I have also learned I am not powerless over some things. I am not powerless over my attitudes. I am not powerless over negativity. I am not powerless over assuming responsibility for my own recovery. I have the power to exert a positive influence on myself, my loved ones, and the world in which I live. – Daily Reflections. © 1990. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services.

Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 1 Recovery Prayer
Dear Lord,
I admit that I am powerless over my addiction.
I admit that my life is unmanageable when I try to control it.
Help me this day to understand
The true meaning of powerlessness.
Remove from me all denial of my addiction. Amen.

“I am so grateful the holidays are over and behind me.” Anon.
“Alcoholism is a Progressive Fatal Disease for which the Cure is to Stop Drinking.” Shirley.

Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. – Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971).

The Story of twin brothers and their boxing careers.
Powerless – Rudimental

You held it all and I was by your side, powerless. I watched you fall … It’s really a sad story … .

“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Rom. 7:18.

Finding Freedom from Guilt through the Blood of Christ.

Just as I Am
Travis Cottrell

I come broken to be mended
I come wounded to be healed
I come desperate to be rescued
I come empty to be filled
I come guilty to be pardoned
By the blood of Christ the Lamb
And I’m welcomed with open arms
Praise God, just as I am.

Admitting powerlessness is absolutely essential to breaking the addiction cycle, which is made up of five points:

– Pain
– Reaching out to an addictive agent, such as work, food, sex, alcohol, or dependent relationships to salve our pain
– Temporary anesthesia
– Negative consequences
– Shame and guilt, which result in more pain or low self-esteem.

Understanding the addiction cycle is important because it helps explain why the admission of powerlessness is the first step to recovery. Otherwise, we remain caught. If we rely on willpower alone, then the only thing we know to do is to escalate our addiction to get out of the pain. Step 1 calls us to do less – to yield, to surrender, to let go. – Serenity, A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery, p. 22-23.