If struggling with alcohol addiction, or you have overcome alcohol addiction in the past, then you understand the power of self-talk and reflection. Often, in the throes of addiction, negative self-talk can cause you to make choices that you later regret. However, on the other side of addiction, positive self-talk and reflection can give you the power to carry on and maintain your sobriety.
Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization devoted to helping people with a problematic relationship with alcohol break through the cycle of addiction and move forward with their lives. If you need some inspiration, read on to learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and how 11 great Alcoholics Anonymous daily reflections can help you persevere through any challenge.
What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?
Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as “AA,” was formed in 1935 to help support anyone who desires to stop drinking. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are relatively decentralized, and because they are peer-led, the make-up of each AA program may look different. However, a General Service Office (GSO) of Alcoholics Anonymous, located in New York City, collects the history of AA and serves as a helpful home base for AA groups looking for advice.
One of the most vital aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous is its 12 step program, which guides people through a journey of self-awareness, humility, recognition, and surrender so that they can move forward in a life of conscientious sobriety. The specific language of the 12 steps is crucial, as it is a universal feature of AA programs throughout the world. The 12 steps harness the power of words to help recovering alcoholics improve their inner conversations with themselves and with a higher being. They are derived from the primary text of AA, known as the Big Book. A complementary text, known as Daily Reflections: A Book of Reflections by AA Members for AA Members or Daily Reflections, is composed of a short piece of text for each day of the year, drawn from various AA publications.
What Are Daily Reflections in AA?
Daily reflections are digestible bits of information that can help keep you on the path of sobriety. Rather than sitting down to review the Big Book each morning as you set about your day (which is both impractical and intimidating), a daily reflection can give you a bit of motivation, or it can help you frame a challenge that you may be having in a new light. The idea of a daily reflection practice is to nourish a mindset of positive growth and change.
11 Great Alcoholics Anonymous Daily Reflections
Words can be a powerful way to remind you of your goals and reorient you when presented with challenges. Encountering a new reflection every day can help ensure that your mind is always focused on your recovery.
Follow these 11 great Alcoholics Anonymous daily reflections, borrowed from the official website, to help give you the mental focus and boost you’re seeking:
- First, the Foundation
Is sobriety all that we can expect of a spiritual awakening? No, sobriety is only a bare beginning.
Practicing the AA program is like building a house. First I had to pour a big, thick concrete slab on which to erect the house; that, to me, was the equivalent of stopping drinking. But it’s pretty uncomfortable living on a concrete slab, unprotected and exposed to the heat, cold, wind, and rain. So I built a room on the slab by practicing the program. The first room was rickety because I wasn’t used to the work. But as time passed, as I practiced the program, I learned to build better rooms. The more I practiced, and the more I built, the more comfortable, and happy, was the home I now have to live in.
- Filling the Void
We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?” As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way.
I was always fascinated with the study of scientific principles. I was emotionally and physically distant from people while I pursued Absolute Knowledge. God and spirituality were meaningless academic exercises. I was a modern man of science, knowledge was my Higher Power. Given the right set of equations, life was merely another problem to solve. Yet my inner self was dying from my outer man’s solution to life’s problems and the solution was alcohol. Despite my intelligence, alcohol became my Higher Power. It was through the unconditional love which emanated from AA people and meetings that I was able to discard alcohol as my Higher Power. The great void was filled. I was no longer lonely and apart from life. I had found a true power greater than myself, I had found God’s love. There is only one equation that matters to me now: God is in AA
Do not be discouraged.
Few experiences are of less value to me than fast sobriety. Too many times discouragement has been the bonus for unrealistic expectations, not to mention self-pity or fatigue from my wanting to change the world by the weekend. Discouragement is a warning signal that I may have wandered across the God line. The secret of fulfilling my potential is in acknowledging my limitations and believing that time is a gift, not a threat.
Hope is the key that unlocks the door of discouragement. The program promises me that if I do not pick up the first drink today, I will always have hope. Having come to believe that I keep what I share, every time I encourage, I receive courage. It is with others that, with the grace of God and the Fellowship of AA, I trudge the road of happy destiny. May I always remember that the power within me is far greater than any fear before me. May I always have patience, for I am on the right road.
- Today, It’s My Choice
. . . we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.
With the realization and acceptance that I had played a part in the way, my life had turned out came a dramatic change in my outlook. It was at this point that the AA program began to work for me. In the past, I had always blamed others, either God or other people, for my circumstances. I never felt that I had a choice in altering my life. My decisions had been based on fear, pride, or ego. As a result, those decisions led me down a path of self-destruction. Today I try to allow my God to guide me on the road to sanity. I am responsible for my action—or inaction—whatever the consequences may be.
- A Thankful Heart
I 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.
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 AA way of life. AA is not something I joined; it’s something I live.
- The Root of Our Troubles
Selfishness — self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.
How amazing the revelation that the world, and everyone in it, can get along just fine with or without me. What a relief to know that people, places, and things will be perfectly okay without my control and direction. And how wordlessly wonderful to come to believe that a power greater than me exists separate and apart from myself. I believe that the feeling of separation I experience between me and God will one day vanish. In the meantime, faith must serve as the pathway to the center of my life.
- Mysterious Paradoxes
Such is the paradox of AA regeneration: strength arising out of complete defeat and weakness, the loss of one’s old life as a condition for finding a new one.
What glorious mysteries paradoxes are! They do not compute, yet when recognized and accepted, they reaffirm something in the universe beyond human logic. When I face a fear, I am given courage; when I support a brother or sister, my capacity to love myself is increased; when I accept pain as part of the growing experience of life, I realize greater happiness; when I look at my dark side, I am brought into a new light; when I accept my vulnerabilities and surrender to a Higher Power, I am graced with unforeseen strength. I stumbled through the doors of AA in disgrace, expecting nothing from life, and I have been given hope and dignity. Miraculously, the only way to keep the gifts of the program is to pass them on.
- I’m Part of the Whole
At once, I became a part—if only a tiny part—of a cosmos…
When I first came to AA, I decided that “they” were very nice people — perhaps a little naive, a little too friendly, but decent, earnest people (with whom I had nothing in common). I saw “them” at meetings—after all, that was where “they” existed. I shook hands with “them” and, when I went out the door, I forgot about “them.”
Then one day my Higher Power, whom I did not then believe in, arranged to create a community project outside of AA, but one which involved many AA members. We worked together, I got to know “them” as people. I came to admire “them,” even to like “them” and, despite myself, to enjoy “them.” “Their” practice of the program in their daily lives—not just in talk at meetings—attracted me, and I wanted what they had. Suddenly the “they” became “we.” I have not had a drink since.
- No Regrets
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
Once I became sober, I began to see how wasteful my life had been, and I experienced overwhelming guilt and feelings of regret. The program’s Fourth and Fifth Steps assisted me enormously in healing those troubling regrets. I learned that my self-centeredness and dishonesty stemmed largely from my drinking and that I drank because I was an alcoholic. Now I see how even my most distasteful past experiences can turn to gold because, as a sober alcoholic, I can share them to help my fellow alcoholics, particularly newcomers. Sober for several years in AA, I no longer regret the past; I am simply grateful to be conscious of God’s love and of the help I can give to others in the Fellowship.
- The Heart of True Sobriety
We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. Willingness, honesty, and open-mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable.
Am I honest enough to accept myself as I am and let this be the “me” that I let others see? Do I have the willingness to go to any length, to do whatever is necessary to stay sober? Do I have the open-mindedness to hear what I have to hear, to think what I have to think, and to feel what I have to feel?
If my answer to these questions is “Yes,” I know enough about the spirituality of the program to stay sober. As I continue to work the Twelve Steps, I move on to the heart of true sobriety: serenity with myself, with others, and with God as I understand Him.
- The 100% Step
Only Step One, where we made the 100 percent admission we were powerless over alcohol, can be practiced with absolute perfection.
Long before I obtained sobriety in AA, I knew without a doubt that alcohol was killing me, yet even with this knowledge, I was unable to stop drinking. So, when faced with Step One, I found it easy to admit that I lacked the power to not drink. But was my life unmanageable? Never! Five months after coming into AA, I was drinking again and wondered why.
Later on, back in AA and smarting from my wounds, I learned that Step One is the only Step that can be taken 100%. And that the only way to take it 100% is to take 100% of the Step. That was many twenty-four hours ago, and I haven’t had to take Step One again.
Distilling the Daily Reflections
Just as the twelve steps of AA are rooted in spirituality, so are many of the above daily reflections. The reflections encourage members to pray and meditate daily, as prayer and meditation can improve conscious contact with God and aid in one’s spiritual growth. If the idea of striving to “improve my conscious contact with God” is intimidating, it’s also helpful to know that AA refers to a higher power as a begin greater than oneself— the concept of God does not necessarily need to refer to a certain spiritual or religious doctrine. Instead, AA members, and people who incorporate daily reflections into their lives, can simply think of the higher power on their own terms, with the recognition that they need to rely on more than just themselves when it comes to maintaining their sobriety.
How to Find More Daily Reflections and an AA group
The above 11 daily reflections represent just a small sample of the reflections available that can be a useful channel for your mental energy. Make sure to check out AA’s official website to find more daily reflections, as well as much more information about the AA way of life.
For help finding a local AA group in your area, use this support group locator tool to connect with the resources you need today.