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Old 11-09-2022, 06:37 AM
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November 09, 2022
The best-laid plans
Page 327

"It is our actions that are important. We leave the results to our Higher Power."

Basic Text, p. 91

There's an old saying we sometimes hear in our meetings: "If you want to make God laugh, make plans." When we hear this we usually laugh, too, but there's a nervous edge to our laughter. We wonder if all of our carefully laid plans are doomed to fail. If we're planning a big event-a wedding, a return to school, or perhaps a career change-we begin to wonder if our plans are the same as our Higher Power's plans. We are capable of working ourselves into such a frenzy of worry over this question that we refuse to make any plans at all.

But the simple fact is that we really don't know whether our Higher Power's plans for our lives are carved in stone or not. Most of us have opinions about fate and destiny but, whether we believe in such theories or not, we still have a responsibility to live our lives and make plans for the future. If we refuse to accept responsibility for our lives, we're still making plans-plans for a shallow, boring existence.

What we make in recovery are plans, not results. We'll never know whether the marriage, the education, or the new job is going to work out until we try it. We simply exercise our best judgment, check with our sponsor, pray, use all the information at hand, and make the most reasonable plans we can. For the rest, we trust in the loving care of the God of our understanding, knowing that we've acted responsibly.

Just for Today: I will make plans, but I will not plan the result & I will trust in my Higher Power's loving care.

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Old 11-10-2022, 06:30 AM
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November 10, 2022
Fear or faith?
Page 328

"No matter how far we ran, we always carried fear with us."

Basic Text, p. 14

For many of us, fear was a constant factor in our lives before we came to Narcotics Anonymous. We used because we were afraid to feel emotional or physical pain. Our fear of people and situations gave us a convenient excuse to use drugs. A few of us were so afraid of everything that we were unable even to leave our homes without using first.

As we stay clean, we replace our fear with a belief in the fellowship, the steps, and a Higher Power. As this belief grows, our faith in the miracle of recovery begins to color all aspects of our lives. We start to see ourselves differently. We realize we are spiritual beings, and we strive to live by spiritual principles.

The application of spiritual principles helps eliminate fear from our lives. By refraining from treating other people in harmful or unlawful ways, we find we needn't fear how we will be treated in return. As we practice love, compassion, understanding, and patience in our relationships with others, we are treated in turn with respect and consideration. We realize these positive changes result from allowing our Higher Power to work through us. We come to believe-not to think, but to believe-that our Higher Power wants only the best for us. No matter what the circumstances, we find we can walk in faith instead of fear.

Just for Today: I no longer need to run in fear, but can walk in faith that my Higher Power has only the best in store for me.

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Old 11-11-2022, 07:19 AM
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November 11, 2022
From surrender to acceptance
Page 329

"We surrender quietly and let the God of our understanding take care of us."

Basic Text, p. 26

Surrender and acceptance are like infatuation and love. Infatuation begins when we encounter someone special. Infatuation requires nothing but the acknowledgment of the object of our infatuation. For infatuation to become love, however, requires a great deal of effort. That initial connection must be slowly, patiently nurtured into a lasting, durable bond.

It's the same with surrender and acceptance. We surrender when we acknowledge our powerlessness. Slowly, we come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can give us the care we need. Surrender turns to acceptance when we let this Power into our lives. We examine ourselves and let our God see us as we are. Having allowed the God of our understanding access to the depths of ourselves, we accept more of God's care. We ask this Power to relieve us of our shortcomings and help us amend the wrongs we've done. Then, we embark on a new way of life, improving our conscious contact and accepting our Higher Power's continuing care, guidance, and strength.

Surrender, like infatuation, can be the beginning of a lifelong relationship. To turn surrender into acceptance, however, we must let the God of our understanding take care of us each day.

Just for Today: My recovery is more than infatuation. I have surrendered. Today, I will nurture my conscious contact with my Higher Power and accept that Power's continuing care for me.

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Old 11-12-2022, 10:47 AM
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November 12, 2022
Our own story
Page 330

"When we honestly tell our own story, someone else may identify with us."

Basic Text, p. 98

Many of us have heard truly captivating speakers at Narcotics Anonymous conventions. We remember the audience alternating between tears of identification and joyous hilarity. "Someday," we may think, "I'm going to be a main speaker at a convention, too."

Well, for many of us, that day has yet to arrive. Once in awhile we may be asked to speak at a meeting near where we live. We might speak at a small convention workshop. But after all this time, we're still not "hot" convention speakers-and that's okay. We've learned that we, too, have a special message to share, even if it's only at a local meeting with fifteen or twenty addicts in attendance.

Each of us has only our own story to tell; that's it. We can't tell anyone else's story. Every time we get up to speak, many of us find all the clever lines and funny stories seem to disappear from our minds. But we do have something to offer. We carry the message of hope-we can and do recover from our addiction. And that's enough.

Just for Today: I will remember that my honest story is what I share the best. Today, that's enough.

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Old 11-13-2022, 06:29 AM
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November 13, 2022
Not perfect
Page 331

"We are not going to be perfect. If we were perfect, we would not be human."

Basic Text, p. 31

All of us had expectations about life in recovery. Some of us thought recovery would suddenly make us employable or able to do anything in the world we wanted to do. Or maybe we imagined perfect ease in our interactions with others. When we stop and think, we realize that we expected recovery would make us perfect. We didn't expect to continue making many mistakes. But we do. That's not the addict side of us showing through; that's being human.

In Narcotics Anonymous we strive for recovery, not perfection. The only promise we are given is freedom from active addiction. Perfection is not an attainable state for human beings; it's not a realistic goal. What we often seek in perfection is freedom from the discomfort of making mistakes. In return for that freedom from discomfort, we trade our curiosity, our flexibility, and the room to grow.

We can consider the trade: Do we want to live the rest of our lives in our well-defined little world, safe but perhaps stifled? Or do we wish to venture out into the unknown, take a risk, and reach for everything life has to offer?

Just for Today: I want all that life has to offer me and all that recovery can provide. Today, I will take a risk, try something new, and grow.

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Old 11-14-2022, 07:11 AM
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November 14, 2022
Not just surviving
Page 332

"When we were using, our lives became an exercise in survival. Now we are doing much more living than surviving."

Basic Text, p. 52

"I'd be better off dead!" A familiar refrain to a practicing addict, and with good reason. All we had to look forward to was more of the same miserable existence. Our hold on life was weak at best. Our emotional decay, our spiritual demise, and the crushing awareness that nothing would ever change were constants. We had little hope and no concept of the life we were missing out on.

The resurrection of our emotions, our spirits, and our physical health takes time. The more experience we gain in living, rather than merely existing, the more we understand how precious and delightful life can be. Traveling, playing with a small child, making love, expanding our intellectual horizons, and forming relationships are among the endless activities that say, "I'm alive." We discover so much to cherish and feel grateful to have a second chance.

If we had died in active addiction, we would have been bitterly deprived of so many of life's joys. Each day we thank a Power greater than ourselves for another day clean and another day of life.

Just for Today: I am grateful to be alive. I will do something today to celebrate.

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Old 11-15-2022, 05:30 AM
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November 15, 2022
Letting go
Page 333

"Take my will and my life. Guide me in my recovery. Show me how to live."

Basic Text, p. 26

How do we begin the process of letting our Higher Power guide our lives? When we seek advice about situations that trouble us, we often find that our Higher Power works through others. When we accept that we don't have all the answers, we open ourselves to new and different options. A willingness to let go of our preconceived ideas and opinions opens the channel for spiritual guidance to light our way.

At times, we must be driven to the point of distraction before we are ready to turn difficult situations over to our Higher Power. Anxiously plotting, struggling, planning, worrying-none of these suffice. We can be sure that if we turn our problems over to our Higher Power, through listening to others share their experience or in the quiet of meditation, the answers will come.

There is no point in living a frantic existence. Charging through life like the house is on fire exhausts us and gets us nowhere. In the long run, no amount of manipulation on our part will change a situation. When we let go and allow ourselves access to a Higher Power, we will discover the best way to proceed. Rest assured, answers derived from a sound spiritual basis will be far superior to any answers we could concoct on our own.

Just for Today: I will let go and let my Higher Power guide my life.

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Old 11-16-2022, 06:06 AM
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November 16, 2022
Alone no more
Page 334

"We gradually and carefully pull ourselves out of the isolation and loneliness of addiction and into the mainstream of life."

Basic Text, p. 37

Many of us spent much of our using time alone, avoiding other people-especially people who were not using-at all costs. After years of isolation, trying to find a place for ourselves in a bustling, sometimes boisterous fellowship is not always easy. We may still feel isolated, focusing on our differences rather than our similarities. The overwhelming feelings that often arise in early recovery-feelings of fear, anger, and mistrust-can also keep us isolated. We may feel like aliens but we must remember, the alienation is ours, not NA's.

In Narcotics Anonymous, we are offered a very special opportunity for friendship. We are brought together with people who understand us like no one else can. We are encouraged to share with these people our feelings, our problems, our triumphs, and our failures. Slowly, the recognition and identification we find in NA bridge the lonely gap of alienation in our hearts. As we've heard it said-the program works, if we let it.

Just for Today: The friendship of other members of the fellowship is a life-sustaining gift. I will reach out for the friendship that's offered in NA, and accept it.

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Old 11-17-2022, 05:24 AM
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November 17, 2022
Walking through the pain
Page 335

"We never have to use again, no matter how we feel. All feelings will eventually pass."

Basic Text, p. 82

It hurts like never before. You get out of bed after a sleepless night, talk to God, and still don't feel any better. "It will pass," a little voice tells you. "When?" you wonder, as you pace and mutter and get on with your day.

You sob in your car and turn the radio all the way up so you can't hear your own thoughts. But you go straight to work, and don't even think about using drugs.

Your insides feel as though they've been torched. Just when the pain becomes unbearable, you go numb and silent. You go to a meeting and wish you were as happy as other members seem to be. But you don't relapse.

You cry some more and call your sponsor. You drive to a friend's house and don't even notice the beautiful scenery because your inner landscape is so bleak. You may not feel any better after visiting your friend-but at least you didn't visit the connection instead.

You listen to a Fifth Step. You share at a meeting. You look at the calendar and realize you've gotten through another day clean.

Then one day you wake up, look outside, and realize it's a beautiful day. The sun is shining. The sky is blue. You take a deep breath, smile again, and know that it really does pass.

Just for Today: No matter how I feel today, I'll go on with my recovery.

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Old 11-18-2022, 07:14 AM
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Self-discovery
Page 336

"The Tenth Step can help us correct our living problems and prevent their recurrence."

Basic Text, p. 42

Our identities, how we think and feel, have been shaped by our experiences. Some of our experiences have made us better people; others have caused us shame or embarrassment; all of them have influenced who we are today. We can take advantage of the knowledge gained in examining our mistakes, using this wisdom to guide the decisions we'll make today.

Acceptance of ourselves means accepting all aspects of ourselves-our assets, our defects, our successes, and our failures. Shame and guilt left unaddressed can paralyze us, preventing us from moving forward in our lives. Some of the most meaningful amends we can make for the mistakes of our past are made simply by acting differently today. We strive for improvement and measure our success by comparing who we used to be with who we are now.

Being human, we will continue making mistakes; however, we need not make the same ones over and over again. By looking over our past and realizing that we have changed and grown, we'll find hope for the future. The best is yet to come.

Just for Today: I will do the best I can with what I have today. Each day I'll learn something new that will help me tomorrow.

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Old 11-19-2022, 07:32 AM
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November 19, 2022
The language of empathy
Page 337

"...the addict would find from the start as much identification as each needed to convince himself that he could stay clean, by the example of others who had recovered for many years. "

Basic Text, p. 88

Many of us attended our first meeting and, not being entirely sure that NA was for us, found much to criticize. Either we felt as though no one had suffered like we had or that we hadn't suffered enough. But as we listened we started to hear something new, a wordless language with its roots in recognition, belief, and faith: the language of empathy. Desiring to belong, we kept listening.

We find all the identification we need as we learn to understand and speak the language of empathy. To understand this special language, we listen with our hearts. The language of empathy uses few words; it feels more than it speaks. It doesn't preach or lecture-it listens. It can reach out and touch the spirit of another addict without a single spoken word.

Fluency in the language of empathy comes to us through practice. The more we use it with other addicts and our Higher Power, the more we understand this language. It keeps us coming back.

Just for Today: I will listen with my heart. With each passing day, I will become more fluent in the language of empathy.

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Old 11-20-2022, 07:14 AM
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November 20, 2022
Finding fulfillment
Page 338

"We weren't oriented toward fulfillment; we focused on the emptiness and worthlessness of it all."

Basic Text, p. 89

There were probably hundreds of times in our active addiction when we wished we could become someone else. We may have wished we could trade places with someone who owned a nice car or had a larger home, a better job, a more attractive mate-anything but what we had. So severe was our despair that we could hardly imagine anyone being in worse shape than ourselves.

In recovery, we may find we are experiencing a different sort of envy. We may continue to compare our insides with others' outsides and feel as though we still don't have enough of anything. We may think everyone, from the newest member to the oldest old-timer, sounds better at meetings than we do. We may think that everyone else must be working a better program because they have a better car, a larger home, more money, and so on.

The recovery process experienced through our Twelve Steps will take us from an attitude of envy and low self-esteem to a place of spiritual fulfillment and deep appreciation for what we do have. We find that we would never willingly trade places with another, for what we have discovered within ourselves is priceless.

Just for Today: There is much to be grateful for in my life. I will cherish the spiritual fulfillment I have found in recovery.

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Old 11-21-2022, 06:52 AM
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November 21, 2022
Letting our defects go
Page 339

"If [character defects] contributed to our health and happiness, we would not have come to such a state of desperation."

Basic Text, p. 35

Getting started on the Sixth and Seventh Steps isn't always easy. We may feel as though we have so much wrong with us that we are totally defective. We might feel like hiding under a rock. Under no circumstance would we want our fellow addicts to know about our inadequacies.

We will probably go through a time of examining everything we say and do in order to identify our character defects and make sure we suppress them. We may look back at one particular day, cringing at what we're certain is the most embarrassing thing we've ever said. We become determined to be rid of these horrible traits at all costs.

But nowhere in the Sixth or Seventh Steps does it say we can learn to control our defects of character. In fact, the more attention we focus on them, the more firmly entrenched they will become in our lives. It takes humility to recognize that we can't control our defects any more than we can control our addiction. We can't remove our own defects; we can only ask a loving God to remove them.

Letting go of something painful can be as difficult as letting go of something pleasant. But let's face it-holding on is a lot of work. When we really think about what we're holding onto, the effort just isn't worthwhile. It's time to let go of our character defects and ask God to remove them.

Just for Today: I'm ready to have my defects removed. I will let go and allow a loving Higher Power to care for me.

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Old 11-22-2022, 07:02 AM
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November 22, 2022
Foundation first
Page 340

"As we begin to function in society, our creative freedom helps us sort our priorities and do the basic things first."

Basic Text, p. 86

No sooner do we get clean than some of us begin putting other priorities ahead of our recovery. Careers, families, relationships-all these are part of the life we find once we've laid the foundation of our recovery. But we can't build a stable life for ourselves before we do the hard, basic work of laying our recovery foundation. Like a house built on sand, such a life will be shaky, at best.

Before we begin putting all our attention to rebuilding the detailed framework of our lives, we need to lay our foundation. We acknowledge, first, that we don't yet have a foundation, that our addiction has made our lives utterly unmanageable. Then, with the help of our sponsor and our home group, we find faith in a Power strong enough to help us prepare the ground of our new lives. We clear the wreckage from the site upon which we will build our future. Finally, we develop a deep, working familiarity with the principles we will practice in our continuing affairs: honest self-examination, reliance upon our Higher Power's guidance and strength, and service to others.

Once our foundation is prepared, then we can go full steam ahead to put our new lives together. But first we must ask ourselves if our foundation is secure, for without our foundation, nothing we build can stand for long.

Just for Today: I will take care to lay a secure foundation for my recovery. Upon such a foundation, I can build for a lifetime in recovery.

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Old 11-23-2022, 07:05 AM
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November 23, 2022
God's will
Page 341

"The relief of 'letting go and letting God' helps us develop a life that is worth living."

Basic Text, p. 26

In our addiction, we were afraid of what might happen if we didn't control everything around us. Many of us made up elaborate lies to protect our use of drugs. Some of us manipulated everyone around us in a frenzied attempt to get something from them so we could use more drugs. A few of us went to great lengths to keep two people from talking to each other and perhaps discovering our trail of lies. We took pains to maintain an illusion of control over our addiction and our lives. In the process, we kept ourselves from experiencing the serenity that comes with surrender to a Higher Power's will.

In our recovery, it is important to release our illusion of control and surrender to a Higher Power, whose will for us is better than anything we can con, manipulate, or devise for ourselves. If we realize that we are trying to control outcomes and are feeling afraid of the future, there is action we can take to reverse that trend. We go to our Second and Third Steps and look at what we have come to believe about a Higher Power. Do we truly believe that this Power can care for us and restore us to sanity? If so, we can live with all of life's ups and downs-its disappointments, its sorrows, its wonders, and its joys.

Just for Today: I will surrender and let a Higher Power's will happen in my life. I will accept the gift of serenity this surrender brings.

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Old 11-24-2022, 07:35 AM
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Gratefully recovering
Page 342

"We entertained the thought that staying clean was not paying off and the old thinking stirred up self-pity, resentment, and anger."

Basic Text, p. 102

There are days when some of us wallow in self-pity. It's easy to do. We may have expectations about how our lives should be in recovery, expectations that aren't always met. Maybe we've tried unsuccessfully to control someone, or we think our circumstances should be different. Perhaps we've compared ourselves with other recovering addicts and found ourselves lacking. The more we try to make our life conform to our expectations, the more uncomfortable we feel. Self-pity can arise from living in our expectations instead of in the world as it actually is.

When the world doesn't measure up to our expectations, it's often our expectations that need adjusting, not the world. We can start by comparing our lives today with the way they used to be, developing gratitude for our recovery. We can extend this exercise in gratitude by counting the good things in our lives, becoming thankful that the world does not conform to our expectations but exceeds them. And if we continue working the Twelve Steps, further cultivating gratitude and acceptance, what we can expect in the future is more growth, more happiness, and more peace of mind.

We've been given much in recovery; staying clean has paid off. Acceptance of our lives, just for today, frees us from our self-pity.

Just for Today: I will accept my life, gratefully, just as it is.

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Old 11-25-2022, 07:11 AM
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Meditation
Page 343

"Quieting the mind through meditation brings an inner peace that brings us into contact with the God within us."

Basic Text, pp. 46-47

As our recovery progresses, we often reflect on what brought us to Narcotics Anonymous in the first place and are able to appreciate how much the quality of our lives has improved. We no longer have to fear our own thoughts. And the more we pray and meditate, the more we experience a calm sense of well-being. The peace and tranquility we experience during our quiet times confirms that our most important needs-our spiritual needs-are being met.

We are able to empathize with other addicts and strengthen our conscience in the process. We learn to avoid judging others and experience the freedom to be ourselves. In our spiritual reflection, we intuitively find "the God within us" and see that we are in harmony with a Power greater than ourselves.

Just for Today: I will reflect upon the gift of recovery and listen quietly for my Higher Power's guidance.

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Old 11-26-2022, 08:09 AM
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November 26, 2022
Responsibility
Page 344

"A lot happens in one day, both negative and positive. If we do not take the time to appreciate both, perhaps we will miss something that will help us grow."

IP No.8, Just For Today

Responsibility, responsibility-the responsibilities of life are everywhere. We're "supposed to" wear seat belts. We're "supposed to" clean our homes. We're "supposed to" do certain things for our spouse, our children, the people we sponsor. On top of all this, we're "supposed to" go to meetings and practice our program as best we can. It's no wonder that, sometimes, we want to run from all these tasks and escape to some far-off island where we're not "supposed to" do anything!

At times like these, when we've become overwhelmed with our responsibilities, we have forgotten that responsibility need not be burdensome. When we have a desire to run away from our responsibilities we need to slow down, remember why we have chosen them, and pay attention to the gifts they bring. Whether it's a job we normally find challenging and interesting, or a partner whose personality we are usually excited by, or a child whom we naturally like to play with and care for, there is joy to be found in all the responsibilities of our lives.

Just for Today: Each moment is special. I will pay attention, grateful for my responsibilities and the special joys they bring.

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November 27, 2022
Seeking God's help
Page 345

"At times during our recovery, the decision to ask for God's help is our greatest source of strength and courage."

Basic Text, p. 26

When we take the Third Step, we decide to allow a loving Higher Power to guide us and care for us in our daily lives. We make the decision to allow this guidance and care into our lives. Some of us believe that, once we've made the Third Step decision, God leads us; from that point on, it's just a matter of paying attention to where we are led.

The Third Step decision is an act of faith, and asking for God's help is a way of renewing that act of faith. Putting faith to work in our daily lives gives us all the courage and strength we need, because we know we have the help of a loving Higher Power. We trust that our needs will be met. We can tap into that faith and trust just by asking.

Just for Today: I will remind myself that I'm not alone by asking my Higher Power for help each step of the way.

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Old 11-28-2022, 07:59 AM
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November 28, 2022
Being ourselves
Page 346

"To be truly humble is to accept and honestly try to be ourselves."

Basic Text, p. 36

Humility is a puzzling concept. We know a lot about humiliation, but humility is a new idea. It sounds suspiciously like groveling, bowing, and scraping. But that's not what humility is at all. True humility is, simply, acceptance of who we are.

By the time we reach a step that uses the word "humbly" we have already started to put this principle into practice. The Fourth Step gives us an opportunity to examine who we really are, and the Fifth Step helps us accept that knowledge.

The practice of humility involves accepting our true nature, honestly being ourselves. We don't have to grovel or abase ourselves, nor must we try to appear smarter, wealthier, or happier than we really are. Humility simply means we drop all pretense and live as honestly as we can.

Just for Today: I will allow knowledge of my true nature to guide my actions. Today, I will face the world as myself.

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