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Twelve Step Journaling
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Create private and shared online twelve-step diaries
Create private and shared online twelve-step diaries

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Daily reflections – February 28
WHAT? NO PRESIDENT?

When told that our Society has no president having authority to govern it, no treasurer who can compel the payment of any dues, . . . our friends gasp and exclaim, "This simply can't be. . . ."
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 132

When I finally made my way to A.A., I could not believe that there was no treasurer to "compel the payment of dues." I could not imagine an organization that didn't require monetary contributions in return for a service. It was my first and, thus far, only experience with getting "something for nothing." Because I did not feel used or conned by those in A.A., I was able to approach the program free from bias and with an open mind. They wanted nothing from me. What could I lose? I thank God for the wisdom of the early founders who knew so well the alcoholic's disdain for being manipulated.
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Just for Today - February 28
The Greatest Gift
"Our newly found faith serves as a firm foundation for courage in the future."
Basic Text, p. 93
When we begin coming to meetings, we hear other addicts talking about the gifts they have received as a result of this program, things we never thought of as "gifts" before. One such "gift" is the renewed ability to feel the emotions we had deadened for so long with drugs. It's not difficult to think of love, joy, and happiness as gifts, even if it's been a long time since we've felt them. But what about "bad" feelings like anger, sadness, fear, and loneliness? Such emotions can't be seen as gifts, we tell ourselves. After all, how can we be thankful for things we want to run from?
We can become grateful for these emotions in our lives if we place them in their proper perspective. We need to remember that we've come to believe in a loving Higher Power, and we've asked that Power to care for us - and our Higher Power doesn't make mistakes. The feelings we're given, "good" or "bad;" are given to us for a reason. With this in mind, we come to realize that there are no "bad" feelings, only lessons to be learned. Our faith and our Higher Power's care give us the courage we need to face whatever feelings may come up on a daily basis.
As we heard early in recovery, "Your Higher Power won't give you more than you can handle in just one day." And the ability to feel our emotions is one of the greatest gifts of recovery.
Just for today: I will try to welcome my feelings, firm in the belief that I have the courage to face whatever emotions may come up in my life.
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Just for Today - February 27
"Pure Motives"
"We examine our actions, reactions, and motives. We often find that we've been doing better than we've been feeling."
Basic Text, p. 42
Imagine a daily meditation book with this kind of message: "When you wake up in the morning, before you rise from your bed, take a moment for reflection. Lie back, gather your thoughts, and consider your plans for the day. One by one, review the motives behind those plans. If your motives are not entirely pure, roll over and go back to sleep." Nonsense, isn't it?
No matter how long we've been clean, almost all of us have mixed motives behind almost everything we do. However, that's no reason to put our lives on hold. We don't have to wait for our motives to become perfectly pure before we can start living our recovery.
As the program works its way into our lives, we begin acting less frequently on our more questionable motives. We regularly examine ourselves, and we talk with our sponsor about what we find. We pray for knowledge of our Higher Power's will for us, and we seek the power to act on the knowledge we're given. The result? We don't get perfect, but we do get better.
We've begun working a spiritual program. We won't ever become spiritual giants. But if we look at ourselves realistically, we'll probably realize that we've been doing better than we've been feeling.
Just for today: I will examine myself realistically. I will seek the power to act on my best motives, and not to act on my worst.
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Daily reflections – February 26
NO ORDINARY SUCCESS STORY

A.A. is no success story in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a story of suffering transmuted, under grace, into
spiritual progress.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 35

Upon entering A.A. I listened to others talk about the reality of their drinking: loneliness, terror and pain. As I listened further, I soon heard a description of a very different kind—the reality of sobriety. It is a reality of freedom and happiness, of purpose and direction, and of serenity and peace with God, ourselves and others. By attending meetings I am reintroduced to that reality, over and over. I see it in the eyes and hear it in the voices of those around me. By working the program I find the direction and strength with which to make it mine. The joy of A.A. is that this new reality is available to me.
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Just for Today - February 26
Remorse
"The Eighth Step offers a big change from a life dominated by guilt and remorse."
Basic Text, p. 38
Remorse was one of the feelings that kept us using. We had stumbled our way through active addiction, leaving a trail of heartbreak and devastation too painful to consider. Our remorse was often intensified by our perception that we couldn't do anything about the damage we had caused; there was no way to make it right.
We remove some of the power of remorse when we face it squarely. We begin the Eighth Step by actually making a list of all the people we have harmed. We own our part in our painful past.
But the Eighth Step does not ask us to make right all of our mistakes, merely to become willing to make amends to all those people. As we become willing to clean up the damage we've caused, we acknowledge our readiness to change. We affirm the healing process of recovery.
Remorse is no longer an instrument we use to torture ourselves. Remorse has become a tool we can use to achieve self-forgiveness.
Just for today: I will use any feelings of remorse I may have as a stepping-stone to healing through the Twelve Steps.
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Daily reflections – February 25
THE CHALLENGE OF FAILURE

In God's economy, nothing is wasted. Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 31

How thankful I am today, to know that all my past failures were necessary for me to be where I am now. Through much pain came experience and, in suffering, I became obedient. When I sought God, as I understand Him, He shared His treasured gifts. Through experience and obedience, growth started, followed by gratitude. Yes, then came peace of mind—living in and sharing sobriety.
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Just for Today - February 25
Sick As Our Secrets
"It would be tragic to write [out an inventory only to] shove it in a drawer These defects grow in the dark and die in the light of exposure."
Basic Text, p. 31
How many times have we heard it said that we are only as sick as our secrets? While many members choose not to use meetings to share the intimate details of their lives, it is important that we each discover what works best for us. What about those behaviors we have carried into our recovery that, if discovered, would cause us shame? How much are we comfortable disclosing, and to whom? If we are uncomfortable sharing some details of our lives in meetings, to whom do we turn?
We have found the answer to these questions in sponsorship. Although a relationship with a sponsor takes time to build, it is important that we come to trust our sponsor enough to be completely honest. Our defects only have power as long as they stay hidden. If we want to be free of those defects, we must uncover them. Secrets are only secrets until we share them with another human being.
Just for today: I will uncover my secrets. I will practice being honest with my sponsor
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Daily reflections – February 24
A THANKFUL HEART

/ try to hold fast to the truth that a full and thankful heart cannot entertain great conceits. When brimming with gratitude, one's heartbeat must surely result in outgoing love, the finest emotion that we can ever know.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 37

My sponsor told me that I should be a grateful alcoholic and always have "an attitude of gratitude"—that gratitude was the basic ingredient of humility, that humility was the basic ingredient of anonymity and that "anonymity was the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities." As a result of this guidance, I start every morning on my knees, thanking God for three things: I'm alive, I'm sober, and I'm a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Then I try to live an "attitude of gratitude" and thoroughly enjoy another twenty-four hours of the A.A. way of life. A.A. is not something I joined; it's something I live.
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Just for Today - February 24
A New Influence
"Personality change was what we really needed. Change from self-destructive patterns of life became necessary."
Basic Text, p. 15
In early life, most of us were capable of joy and wonder, of giving and receiving unconditional love. When we started using, we introduced an influence into our lives that slowly drove us away from those things. The further we were pushed down the path of addiction, the further we withdrew from joy, wonder, and love.
That journey was not taken overnight. But however long it took, we arrived at the doors of NA with more than just a drug problem. The influence of addiction had warped our whole pattern of living beyond recognition.
The Twelve Steps work miracles, its true, but not many of them are worked overnight. Our disease slowly influenced our spiritual development for the worse. Recovery introduces a new influence to our lives, a source of fellowship and spiritual strength slowly impelling us into new, healthy patterns of living.
This change, of course, doesn't "just happen." But if we cooperate with the new influence NA has brought to our lives, over time we will experience the personality change we call recovery. The Twelve Steps provide us with a program for the kind of cooperation required to restore joy, wonder, and love to our lives.
Just for today: I will cooperate with the new influence of fellowship and spiritual strength NA has introduced to my life, I will work the next step in my program.
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