Photo from Getty Images
Originally Posted On: https://jameshaggertyrecovery.com/blog/daily-reflections-aa/
When I first sought treatment for my alcohol dependency, it felt overwhelming.Admitting that I had a problem was the first step, but sometimes it seemed unimaginable and overwhelming to even consider the other steps to follow. Luckily, Alcoholics Anonymous was an amazing group that gave me the tools to help me break my bad habits and start over. Reset.
While the journey is never easy, AA helps its members to develop healthy coping techniques by providing different meetings and activities to help keep them focused on their journey to better health. What really helped me was adding daily reflections to part of my daily routine. Self- reflection is important—it’s a great way to monitor if you are sticking true to the path you’ve decided to walk down.
By integrating daily reflections into my life, I found that I could keep my goals better in mind and approach each new day with a specific mindset. And I believe that daily reflections can help guide you each day in your sobriety journey, which is key for preventing a relapse and just living a more scripted fuller life.
What Are Daily Reflections?
Daily reflections can come in all shapes and sizes. In general, a daily reflection involves looking at your life and taking note of certain things. What are your intentions for the day? What are your goals? What do you hope to achieve? These may be goals that you write in a journal or repeat to yourself as you get ready to start the day.
Daily reflections can also be more guided. You can record them in self-improvement journals that prompt you to consider something specific for the day or in blank notebooks for which you decide the format of gratitude and intentions. When it comes to AA, daily reflections are meant to provide comfort and guidance during your sobriety journey. They are geared specifically to help those on the path to recovery and can provide comfort that gives members strength to uphold their commitment to change the trajectory of their life.
What are the Alcoholics Anonymous Daily Reflections?
Alcoholics Anonymous Daily Reflections provides a focused topic each day. The book will also provide a quote from, “Alcoholics Anonymous; The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism.” This text is also referred to as The Big Book. Daily Reflections also includes a reflection about the quote written by an actual AA member. This guided reflection book is helpful because it breaks down different parts of the Big Book for daily contemplation. While originally written in 1930, it has been altered many times to keep up with the changing difficulties and understandings of the sober journey. It allows you to not necessarily feel like you must focus on a specific step, but instead an important concept from the overall steps.
Who Wrote the Daily Reflections?
The great thing about the Daily Reflections book is that it was written by AA members. This is what makes this text so useful for those who are going through the journey to sobriety. It is a complicated journey—one that needs to be taken not only day by day but, at times, hour by hour. Members of AA understand this struggle, and they understand that, oftentimes, it feels like a lonely journey.
This collection helps individuals to remember that they are not alone. Even if you can’t attend a meeting, it helps to solidify the strength in your decision to change your life. It reminds the reader that they are not alone, and in fact, are surrounded by a community who shares their experiences, both good and bad. These reflections are personal. They were not written by a professional writer; they are written by real people who are looking at the quotes from their specific point of view.
Why This Specific Text?
When it comes to daily reflections, there are numerous different journals, guides, and books that offer you help through whatever journey you may be on. The journey to sobriety can be different for each individual.
If you have decided to quit alcohol, you’ve most likely reached out to some form of professional treatment which would have most likely given you some information of 12-step theories, which is the basis of AA. This form of treatment provides three key focal points, which include acceptance, surrender, and active involvement in the program. To ensure that this form of treatment is properly followed, only AA conference-approved literature can be found within the Daily Reflections book.
What is AA Approved Literature?
AA approved literature simply means any literature that reflects the group consciousness and goals when it comes to the treatment path and gaining sobriety. Your journey to sobriety can be difficult enough without feeling as though you are being told contradictory things or feeling lost and uncertain of where to put your faith and trust. AA takes the help they provide with the utmost care, wanting to ensure that all their members can be confident and clear minded throughout their journey.
This approved literature includes the Big Book, as well as Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, and a blend of other literature that coincides with the beliefs of the overall AA membership. This allows the Daily Reflection text to mirror the goals and mindset of the program. It provides fantastic ways to help you focus on the smaller aspects of AA. It is a great go-to when you can’t attend a meeting, or any time between meetings to keep you focused.
There are tons of materials out there on recovery, each providing similar, yet potentially different ways of moving through your journey. If you have decided to follow the treatment plan laid out by AA, then the Daily Reflections book is a perfect tool to ensure that each day you are reflecting on the experiences and concepts of your treatment plan. Consistency is key to many different elements of your life, and your journey into sobriety is no different. Daily Reflections can help you to maintain that consistency and avoid relapse.
What Is an Example of a Reflection?
Reflections come in all shapes and sizes and are truly defined by the member doing the reflecting. While each journey may have similar characteristics, it is still very much a unique journey. The beauty of the Daily Reflections text is that it is just everyday people who are also on their journey, sharing with you the aspects of AA that helped them to reflect and grow. The structure of each reflection is relatively the same.
It is a day-to-day journey, so each day will provide you with a new quote or excerpt to reflect on for that day. This excerpt ties back to important concepts that the greater 12 step program weaves throughout, allowing you to focus on the smaller things’ day by day. Following the quote or excerpt will be a reflection provided by a member of AA, who just like you, decided to commit to a life of sobriety and found help and support within the pages of AA literature.
For example, an entry from the Daily Reflections itself:
- The Date: September 3rd
- The Focus: Building A New Life
- The Quote: “We feel a man is unthinking when he says sobriety is enough.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 82
- The Reflection: When I reflect on Step Nine, I see that physical sobriety must be enough for me. I need to remember the hopelessness I felt before I found sobriety, and how I was willing to go to any lengths for it. Physical Sobriety is not enough for those around me, however, since I must see that God’s gift is used to build a new life for my family and loved ones. Just as importantly, I must be available to help others who want the A.A. way of life. I ask God to help me share the gifts of sobriety so that its benefits may be shown to those I know and love.
Building a new life isn’t easy, and it’s going to be different for everyone on their specific journey. For this individual, it was understanding that physical sobriety could be enough for them at the point on their own journey. This reflection takes a large concept, contextualizes it, and then leaves room for you to question how you would respond. What would your reflection be? Do you feel the same as this individual? Different? What aspects of their reflection can you implement into your day, the 3rd of September, to keep you motivated and focused?
Other Quotes From the Daily Reflection Book:
“It is very difficult for me to come to terms with my spiritual illness because of my great pride, disguised by my material successes and my intellectual power. Intelligence is not incompatible with humility, provided I place humility first. To seek prestige and wealth is the ultimate goal for many in the modern world. To be fashionable and to seem better than I really am is a spiritual illness. To recognize and to admit my weaknesses is the beginning of good spiritual health. It is a sign of spiritual health to be able to ask God every day to enlighten me, to recognize His will, and to have the strength to execute it. My spiritual health is excellent when I realize that the better I get, the more I discover how much help I need from others.”
“Every day I stand at turning points. My thoughts and actions can propel me toward growth or turn me down the road to old habits and to booze. Sometimes turning points are beginnings, as when I decide to start praising, instead of condemning someone. Or when I begin to ask for help instead of going it alone. At other times turning points are endings, such as when I see clearly the need to stop festering resentments or crippling self-seeking. Many shortcomings tempt me daily; therefore, I also have daily opportunities to become aware of them. In one form or another, many of my character defects appear daily: self-condemnation, anger, running away, being prideful, wanting to get even, or acting out of grandiosity. Attempting half measures to eliminate these defects merely paralyzes my efforts to change. It is only when I ask God for help, with complete abandon, that I become willing—and able—to change.”
“IMPATIENT? TRY LEVITATING, We reacted more strongly to frustrations than normal people. AS BILL SEES IT, p. 111 Impatience with other people is one of my principal failings. Following a slow car in a no-passing lane, or waiting in a restaurant for the check, drives me to distraction. Before I give God a chance to slow me down, I explode, and that’s what I call being quicker than God. That repeated experience gave me an idea. I thought if I could look down on these events from God’s point of view, I might better control my feelings and behavior. I tried it and when I encountered the next slow driver, I levitated and looked down on the other car and upon myself. I saw an elderly couple driving along, happily chatting about their grandchildren. They were followed by me—bug-eyed and red of face—who had no time schedule to meet anyway. I looked so silly that I dropped back into reality and slowed down. Seeing things from God’s angle of vision can be very relaxing.”
These quotes come directly from the Daily Reflections book, which also means it is coming for people who are going through the same journey as you. Real experiences can make a world of difference. It is one thing for someone to tell you how the journey will be, and another to see for yourself the highs and lows of others going through their journeys as well.
Succeeding in Your Ongoing Recovery Journey
Photo from Getty Images
You’ve already taken that difficult first step. You’ve made an active decision to move forward in your life and strive for something better. The road won’t be easy. There will always be good days, and there will always be tough ones. Daily Reflections provides you with a way to keep your mind focused towards your goals each day. While the entire program may seem overwhelming at first, breaking it into daily concepts and reflections will only make the journey easier.
Performing daily reflections can allow you to reflect on a specific aspect of your journey, as well as allow you to see and remember that you are part of a larger community of people who also made that difficult first step. It is crucial to remember that you are not alone in this. No matter where you are on your journey, Daily Reflections can help motivate and inspire you to continue moving forward.
One day at a time, I was able to get through the early days of recovery and into a successful life of sobriety. You can too.