Theme: Recovery, Unity, and Service.
A.A.’s authorized daily devotional..a quick quip each day usually accompanied by a REFLECTED upon excerpt from another piece of conference-approved A.A. literature. The layout is elementary and so is the reading and comprehension level – it holds to the “keep it simple” standard of the fellowship.
Why is this crucial? Well, a complaint often vocalized about the Big Book of A.A. is that is difficult to understand. Fortunately this devotional will support you each day to not only ensure you’re moving in the right direction but to help you break down the concepts within the pages of the Big Book, the goal is life change not mere knowledge – to know of recovery, rather than just about it.
What’s the upshot? The book seeks to aid the Big Book in providing a skill set rather than mere philosophical content – a daily companion to a new way of living as it were. It also bears the marks of the fellowship – no professional writers, doctors, psychologists – just one Alcoholic helping another. Whether you read the book day by day, as the layout suggests, or just read through it, it will prove to be a highly valuable resource in understanding, comprehending, and applying the 12-Step program as laid out in the basic textbook of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Just For Today
Theme: Recovery Meditational Topics
Very similar to it’s A.A. Counterpart, this devotional wishes to breach the boundaries of mere alcoholism and step into the anything-mind-altering-substance-goes quadrants. Of course, this devotional has almost nothing to do with drugs, only inasmuch as it’s major theme is cultivating and establishing a mode of living without them viz. spirituality.
People tend to think Just For Today was published many years after A.A.’s daily reflections, however, their publications were only two years apart. It’s a very diverse devotional, interspersing daily principles between a wide range of topics like a shotgun blast- however, if you fail to reflect on it, no purpose will it serve. It’s like using a lawnmower on concrete – bring that baby to the grass; give it a chance! This is a bookshelf requirement for those in recovery; like I said, give it a chance!
The following is from the cover page, I believe it can thoroughly assist you in deciding whether this devotional is for you.
The purpose of Just For Today is to offer a wide variety of meditational topics to recovering addicts. These topics will range from the nuts and bolts of recovery to the vast array of intangible spiritual concepts existent. This book is meant for those at any time and all stages of recovery, regardless of clean time. We hope it will convey, encourage, and even inspire the joy inherent in recovery. By deliberately including a wide assortment of points of view, concepts, and issues, we hope it will encompass the diversity of our fellowship and offer each individual what he or she needs at any given time.
(N.A., Just For Today, Forward).
24 Hours a Day
Theme: “For yesterday is but a dream, And tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived, Makes every yesterday, A dream of happiness, And every tomorrow A vision of hope. Look well, therefore, To this day. (Sanskrit Proverb).”
What began as one man publishing his own work from his basement, flowered into a work that not only single-handedly began the massive recovery publishing mammoth, Hazelden; but also has held millions of recovering addicts in good stead for the last 60+ years. Behold! The Little Black Book.
Richmond Walker believed in one concept so strongly, that it appeared as if no other concept could compete with it. The bare bones of it are if you don’t drink today you never will ever again. “Yup,” you might think, “your new age mumbo-jumbo makes no sense.” However, if you follow the logic it does make sense philosophically.
I’ll let Walker speak for himself; the following is the entry for July 31,
“Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the battles of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us, therefore, do our best to live but one day at a time.”
Walker began his journey, as did A.A. cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob, in the Oxford Group. Therefore many famous Oxford Group concepts are covered in this little devotional.
- The Four Absolutes
- The Four Standards
- The Five C’s
Furthermore, the 12-Steps – being the primary methodology argued for – is the foundation of the book. On this list, 24 Hours a Day is the most celebrated, sold, and comprehensive. Read vigilantly – you do not want to miss a thing!
One Day At a Time in Al-Anon
Theme: “Living One Day at a Time, and the ways in which we may find in each day a measure of comfort, serenity, and a sense of achievement.”
This is my personal favorite on the list. People frequently associate Ala-non with a program “for loved ones of addicts.” However, it’s focal point is interdependency and optimal communal living. Whereas A.A. targets teaching how to live with oneself, Ala-non aims to instruct how to live with others. And frankly, one cannot be done without the other – they are interconnected; actually, in my mind they are synonymous.
This excerpt from the book is a wonderful summation of its entirety,
“If we have Al-anon, there is no need to stand in our own light and try to solve our problems in darkness. The ways and means that Al-anon offers have lighted the way for so many thousands of despairing people that no one can question their power. “When I am faced with a problem that seems impossible to solve when I feel trapped in a situation and can see no way out, let me ask myself whether I am standing in my own light. I must find the vantage point where I can most clearly see my difficulty as it is; then answers will come.” (One Day At a Time in Al-Anon, pg.297)
Below are a few topics addressed, woven thematically through the fabric of content.
- Understanding Anger
- Courage to Change
- Changing Attitudes
- Handling Crisis
I like to think A.A. breaks the bondage of addiction – in a word it frees you. Al-Anon teaches one how to LIVE free.
As Bill Sees It
Theme: Spiritual Principles
Formerly titled The A.A. Way of Life, this gem was originally published in 1967 – making it the second oldest on this list. Evidently, as the current name suggests, it’s the A.A. way of life As Bill Sees It – Bill W being the co-founder of A.A., coauthor of the Big Book, sole author of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, as well as numerous Grapevine (A.A. magazine) articles and personal correspondence.
The book is a collection of selected excerpts from his writings; each capturing and explaining further a daily topic i.e. humility, gratitude, pride, lust, etc. An absolute must for those who celebrate Bills work; you’ll find writings in here that are no longer available elsewhere. Well worth adding this piece to your morning or evening devotions.
The forward states,
“This volume includes several hundred excerpts from our literature, touching nearly every aspect of A.A.’s way of life. It is felt that this material may become an aid to individual meditation and as a stimulant to group discussion, and may well lead to a still wider reading of all our literature”
Timmy G (2018)
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