Posted by: innerpilgrimage | March 12, 2014

Just for Today, One Day at a Time: My Daily Reader Collection and Other Daily Musings

      I have a collection of daily readers, books set up to inspire me one day at a time and give me pause to think. They’re all a little different, each one. Some are 12-Step conference-approved literature. Some address issues I have in recovery (finding personal balance, practicing forgiveness, living one day at a time). Some have subjects to consider for the day. Some have quotes. Some have affirmations. Some have a blurb about how to deal with life. Some have personal stories meant to give experience, strength, and hope. Some use God as part of the solution.
Some don’t, like the newest daily reader I collected (and the first daily reader I’ve bought on e-book for Nook): Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life by Joe C.

      I really like the newest one in my collection, which is 12-Step recovery-focused for agnostics and freethinkers and atheists. From what I’ve gotten out of it so far, I would recommend it as a non-theist/atheist/agnostic/freethinker recovery reader. Goodness knows, I’ve spent enough time jumping reader to reader when the daily recommendation is to turn to God as a solution for my recovery that day. Turning to God isn’t an option for me, though I appreciate it’s an inspiring option for others. I draw a blank when I get to daily reader quotes which I know encourage and strengthen others to let go and let God (to borrow a program aphorism). I can let go, but I can’t let go to God. For me, there’s nothing there to pick up; praying, for me, is like making a phone call to a number no longer in service. So, I reach out to another book to find a God-free answer for that day. Fortunately, I have a stack of daily readers to turn toward for the day’s inspiration. Unfortunately, I have a stack of daily readers to turn toward for the day’s inspiration. Having many sources to turn toward for my free thought for the day is a simple solution; having one source to turn toward for my free thought for the day would be far easier to manage.
      I just thought of a couple of lines from an En Vogue song: “Free your mind, and the rest will follow.” Hm.
      I have another book, Positive Quotes for Every Day by Patricia Lorenz, which appears to be agnostic. Positive Quotes, however, doesn’t deal with addiction and recovery. It does deal with a life well-lived, and Patricia Lorenz offers the wisdom of a woman who’s seen enough life to speak from that vantage. A life well-lived is what I want today in recovery, so reading the inspiration of a life well-lived out of recovery also gives me guidance to, well, living a well-lived life. I have a tee shirt, given to me as a gift earlier this year, with a quote on it: It’s important to have ADVENTURE. Who wants to tell their grandkids, “This one time, at the mall . . .” I appreciate it because it speaks to me of a embracing a fully-lived life in recovery, of building life experience in order to generate personal strength and shareable hope. I guess, for me, the ESH principle of recovery is to have enough real life experience to use program strength to offer hope that a life of adventure waits for any who choose the courage to change from within.

Just for Today

      So, changing from within and the daily readers makes me think of what’s on the OA card entitled, Just for Today. Ooh, super-dooper! I just found a website which points out the origin of the text outside of AA, which apparently was published in The Boston Globe in 1921 and may have been inspired from other sources. So, I’ll use Dr. Frank Crane’s version as published in the newspaper in 1921:

“Here are ten resolutions to make when you awake in the morning. They are Just for One Day. Think of them not as a life task but as a day’s work. These things will give you pleasure. Yet they require will power. You don’t need resolutions to do what is easy.

1. Just for Today, I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life-problem at once. I can do some things for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt I had to keep them up for a lifetime.
2. Just for Today, I will be Happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that ‘most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.’ Happiness is from Within; it is not a matter of Externals.
3. Just for Today, I will Adjust myself to what Is, and not try to Adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come, and fit myself to them.
4. Just for Today, I will take care of my Body. I will exercise it, care for it, and nourish it, and not abuse it nor neglect it; so that it will be a perfect machine for my will.
5. Just for Today, I will try to strengthen my mind, I will study. I will learn something useful, I will not be a mental loafer all day. I will read something that requires effort, though and concentration.
6. Just for Today, I will exercise my Soul. In three ways, to wit:
      (a) I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out. If anybody knows of it, it will not count.
      (b) I will do at least two things I don’t want to do, as William James suggests just for exercise.
      (c) I will not show any one that my feelings are hurt. They may be hurt, but Today I will not show it.
7. Just for Today, I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible, talk low, act courteously, be liberal with flattery, criticize not one bit nor find fault with anything, and not try to regulate nor improve anybody.
8. Just for Today, I will have a Programme. I will write down just what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I’ll have it. It will save me from the two pests Hurry and Indecision.
9. Just for Today, I will have a quiet half hour, all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, some time, I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective to my life.
10. Just for Today, I will be Unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to be Happy, to enjoy what is Beautiful, to love and to believe that those I love love me.”

      Hunh. That’s gotten a bit of a language change over time, even between when it was first published and when it was adopted by program. A lot of random capitalizations for emphasis. And . . . just for today number eight states, “I will have a programme”? Like a show programme? Or did he mean daily agenda? And I definitely can see how the 12-Step program would pick this up. I mean, having program and a programme . . . homonyms make for a pretty nice transfer from the obviously pre-AA publication (1921) to the adoption of it by AA in . . . oh, who knows what year? (I’m sure someone does even as I’m sure someone else will mis-credit Bill W. for writing “Just for Today”).
      That said, they’re ten good suggestions for getting mindful in the mornings. Well, if one can get through the language that Dr. Crane used when he wrote his 1921 Boston Globe article. Can I modernize . . . ?

Just for Today’s Serenity, 2014

(1) I can’t predict what tomorrow will bring, so I will consciously choose to be concerned only with today.
(2) I can’t find happiness outside of me, so I will consciously choose to be happy today.
(3) I can’t find peace or serenity if I’m resentful or in conflict, so I will consciously choose to accept life as it comes today.
(4) I can’t be at my physical best if I don’t take care of my body, so I will consciously choose to eat right and exercise some and bathe today.
(5) I can’t be at my mental best if I don’t take care of my mind, so I will consciously choose to learn something challenging today.
(6) I can’t be at my spiritual/ethical best if I don’t take care of my spirit, so I will consciously choose to (a) be kind anonymously today, (b) do two kind things I don’t want to do today, and (c) curb my impulsive reactions when someone hurts my feelings today.
(7) I can’t keep or build relationships if I act like a jerk, so I will consciously choose to treat everyone like I want them to treat me today–respecting their intelligence, their emotions, their body, and their property.
(8) I can’t relax or make decisions if I’m bouncing from one emergency to another, so I will consciously choose to schedule my day today.
(9) I can’t be mindful if I don’t take time out to center myself, so I will consciously choose take a half-hour to contemplate and meditate today.
(10) I can’t appreciate life if I’m afraid to live it, so I will consciously choose to appreciate happiness, beauty, and love today.

      Heh. Not too bad for a modernization of “Just for Today” as I think it relates to The Serenity Wish/Prayer. It’s good practice for getting to the spirit of the steps, which I will be doing this weekend using that book I reviewed a few days ago, The Little Book: A Collection of Alternative 12 Steps by Roger C.

Daily Practices and Recovery Tools

      I don’t practice anything daily. I have ideas of what to do. It’s not hard, since suggestions abound on how to shift mental gears in the morning and at night. Steps Ten and Eleven have a lot of suggestions attached to them on how to work them “properly”. Oh, I love that word. Properly. It implies that someone knows better than me and has the program “knowledge” to work program for me. Uniformity over unity. Personality over principles.
      Well, I have a bag of tricks, like Felix the Cat, which I can reach into whenever I’m in a recovery fix. I have OA’s nine tools: A Plan of Eating, Sponsorship, Meetings, Telephone, Writing, Literature, Anonymity, Service, and An Action Plan. I have conference-approved literature. I have non-conference literature. I have myriad daily readers available to me–print, ebook, and online (AA and NA have several “daily readers” available online. Even Hazelden has one). I have resources for meditation–from a yoga mat with the poses printed on it to mandala coloring books to the great outdoors and photos of the great outdoors (sometimes with cute critters meditating on the great outdoors with me). I have resources for contemplation, like my God Box, a.k.a. My Higher Oatmeal Box, a.k.a. My Acceptance Box. I have inspirational quotes and poems, secular program sayings (and secular “prayers”), and I have those daily readers to give me ESH and affirmations.
      Getting program-minded may not be easy, but it is definitely simple. So . . . I guess I should get off my whiny fanny and get out of my own way. I certainly enjoy every excuse possible. Oh, and I found a website which has “The AA Danger Signs” (for what I suppose could be considered The Twelve Steps of Relapse). I’ll put them right here as a reminder that if I don’t choose to stay food sober, then no one’s going to do it for me:

The Danger Signs (brackets are mine, the original danger signs for alcoholics are HERE, and a search for “AA danger signs” will get a whole lot of “AA is a cult!” search returns. It’s from a UK site, so it’s UK-English.)

1. Start missing meetings for any reason, real or imaginary.
2. Become critical of the methods used by other members who may not agree with you in everything.
3.Nurse the idea that someday, somehow, you can [use] again and become a controlled [addict]!
4. Let the other fellow do the 12th Step work in your group. You are too busy!
5. Become conscious of your [program] seniority and view every new member with a skeptical and jaundiced eye.
6. Become so pleased with your own views of the programme that you consider yourself an elder [statesperson].
7. Start a small clique within your own group, composed only of a few members who see eye to eye with you.
8. Tell the new member in confidence that you yourself do not take the 12 Steps seriously.
9. Let your mind dwell more and more on how much you are helping others rather than on how much [program] is helping you.
10. If an unfortunate member has a slip, drop him at once.
11. Cultivate the habit of borrowing money from other members, and then stay away from meetings to avoid embarrassment.
12. Look upon the 24 hour plan as a vital thing for new members, but not for yourself. You have outgrown the need of that long ago.

      Yeesh. Yeeeeeeeah, I see where I’ve had trouble in program over my dual concern that I’ll be a rabid atheist or others will be rabid proselytizers. Pfft. Personality before principles, though I have found myself baffled over the mixed messages in our foundation book. What is more important . . . recovery or a firm belief that God is the only way to realize recovery? Ugh, this reminds me of a years-old resentment, where a moment of enlightenment got dismissed by an acquaintance because that acquaintance had been told that the only way to access spirit was to accept Jesus. Like I had no access to my spirit/soul without that particular brand of salvation.
      Meh. I’ll take a page from Jim B.’s book and just stop arguing. Even as I know God isn’t as much as some people know God is . . . who am I to say, right?
      That said, it doesn’t mean I will start going to church and won’t stop working Step Zero as it was presented to me by the gift of Program Atheism. Of course, it didn’t stop Jim B., either, from being a program Atheist/Agnostic/Freethinker.

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