What Are the Alcoholics Anonymous Daily Reflections?
Long-term recovery from alcohol addiction may include attendance at 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).1 As you familiarize yourself with the AA program and AA literature, you may be introduced to the AA Daily Reflections as a way to connect with resources and the experiences of others privately on a regular basis.
In this article:
What Are the AA Daily Reflections?
In Alcoholics Anonymous, you may read many pieces of AA literature. The best known is the book Alcoholics Anonymous: How Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered From Alcoholism, commonly referred to as “the Big Book.” Written in the 1930s, the Big Book is the primary text of AA and contains the original version of the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions.2
Since the 1930s, many of the tools and inspiration found in the Big Book have been translated into other pieces of literature. Some of these resources are more approachable alternatives to reading the Big Book in its entirety, while others are intended to be complementary texts that can be read alone or alongside the Big Book. The book Daily Reflections: A Book of Reflections by A.A. Members for A.A. Members or Daily Reflections is a complementary text that focuses on specific principles from the Big Book.2
The Alcoholics Anonymous daily reflections in Daily Reflections are not focused on the 12 Steps, though you can work the 12 Steps and use the daily reflections at the same time.3 You also have the option to attend AA meetings that focus on the approach you currently find most helpful in your recovery. Step meetings may cover each of the steps in chronological order or may allow attendees to talk about their current step work. Other AA meetings may focus on a discussion topic, a chapter of the Big Book, or another aspect of the program, or a speaker may share their experience of how the program aided in their recovery.3
The Daily Reflections expands on recovery concepts such as: 4
- Communal strength
- Applying AA concepts to daily life
Daily Reflections is structured to provide a short passage for each calendar day that you can add to your daily routine. 4 If you already take time for journaling, prayer, meditation, or step work on a daily basis, the AA daily reflections can complement those daily habits. You may be introduced to this tool during inpatient rehab where you have a consistent, recovery-focused daily schedule.
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The daily passage pulls a topic from the Big Book and condenses it into one simple and understandable reading. In addition to the daily passage, Daily Reflections has quotes from the Big Book and a reflection about that quote which is written by a member of the AA community.4 Daily Reflections has a more casual, relatable tone than the Big Book, which can make it more approachable for regular use.
Where Can You Find the AA Daily Reflections?
There are several ways to purchase the Daily Reflections book. You can purchase it from the official Alcoholics Anonymous website’s online bookstore or most major online or brick-and-mortar bookstores.
Because AA meetings are peer-led, not every meeting facilitator brings AA literature that is available for purchase to every meeting. However, you may have the option to buy Daily Reflections or other AA literature at a meeting. The facilitator is more likely to have copies if the meeting is covering the text or one of the reflections. In this case, the facilitator may have a copy you can borrow for the duration of the meeting. Ask the facilitator about resources you are interested in purchasing.
You can also access and read the current daily reflection on the Alcoholics Anonymous website for free. The website allows you to find the Alcoholics Anonymous daily reflections for any calendar day by selecting the date in a calendar.
How Are the AA Daily Reflections Used?
Daily Reflections can help both those beginning recovery and those who have been in recovery for a long time. Daily Reflections can be useful whether you are struggling or not. The reflections are intended to speak to the parts of recovery that are universal, allowing them to apply to virtually everyone in recovery from alcohol addiction.4
Daily Reflections is a helpful tool for recovery, as its design allows you to engage in a healthy daily habit that fosters a positive growth mindset. Additionally, since Daily Reflections takes concepts from the Big Book and breaks them down into smaller parts, it may help you internalize and retain more of the information you are learning from other AA literature and in meetings. This can promote long-term sobriety recovery.4
By reading Daily Reflections, you are continually immersing yourself in recovery, where your thoughts and actions throughout the day can remain focused on sobriety and overcoming the triggers and cravings that you may face.4
Are the AA Daily Reflections Effective Recovery Tools?
The use of texts like Daily Reflections in alcohol addiction recovery is supported by several findings in psychology research.
Redirecting Mental Energy
Reading daily recovery-focused passages can contribute to your recovery journey. Research indicates a correlation between personal growth and wellbeing with spending more mental time and energy centered on the affirming and positive elements in your life and circumstances.5
Spiritual and Inspirational Practices
For many individuals, Alcoholics Anonymous has a spiritual aspect due to the encouragement to call on a higher power. This is not necessarily a religious practice, but is spiritually meaningful for many members of the community. Daily Reflections can become part of personal practices, such as periods set aside for self-reflection, prayer, and meditation. Studies show that people who actively engage in spiritual practices show improved psychosocial experiences and a decreased risk of alcohol misuse.6
The daily reflections offer positive insight and inspirational passages that can help those in recovery, including those with other mental health diagnoses, as they align with the benefits of positive psychology.7
Positive psychology is a newer and complementary branch of psychology that works to heal a person by promoting and focusing on internal happiness.7
The research behind positive psychology shows that negative words alert your brain to danger, which then triggers feelings of pain or discomfort in an attempt to motivate a solution to the negativity.7
Positive words help shift your brain toward positive motivation. The more positive words you view, such as the daily reflections, the more positive thoughts and feelings you facilitate. With time, this changes the way you see yourself and others, as you condition your mind to seek out and observe the positive more than the negative.8
The positive psychology behind the daily reflections can prove helpful to multiple mental health conditions, with the most success shown for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorders.9
Are the AA Daily Reflections Useful in Addiction Treatment?
Alcoholics Anonymous is a peer-led organization that does not offer formal addiction treatment. However, AA literature and meetings are often complementary to conventional addiction treatment.
Daily Reflections may be a useful supplemental resource in the following situations. Treating addiction may oftentimes require additional care and treatment of other underlying mental health conditions, making the daily reflections helpful for those in recovery, as positive psychology can improve addiction and other mental health conditions.
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Co-Occurring Alcohol Addiction and Depression
Many people with a substance use disorder, including alcohol use disorder, also have depressive symptoms or a dual diagnosis of major depression. Depression can be a contributing factor to the onset and continuation of substance misuse.10
Working through the negative thoughts associated with depression can help those seeking sobriety, as overcoming symptoms of depression can also help with efforts to overcome addiction.
Implementing daily habits that encourage patterns of positive thinking can reduce the intensity of depressive symptoms and improve your ability to focus on recovery goals.
Co-Occurring Alcohol Addiction and PTSD
Addiction often correlates with traumatic experiences. Past trauma can contribute to the development of substance use disorders, including alcohol use disorder. Additionally, the clinical characteristics of alcohol use disorder can potentially lead to exposure to new traumatic experiences.
Any individual who has experienced trauma can develop post-traumatic stress symptoms, whether or not they receive a formal dual diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This post-traumatic stress can hinder your road to recovery, as high levels of stress are associated with increased alcohol use. However, studies show that post-traumatic stress symptoms can be limited and sometimes overcome by reframing a person’s experience of their addiction and traumatic events, leading to an experience called post-traumatic growth.11
Post-traumatic growth is not something that happens spontaneously in recovery, but rather is something desired and worked for by the person seeking it.8 Post-traumatic growth begins with intentionally working to reframe your experience of addiction and remain focused on the reality while beginning to see hope in recovery and the positive aspects of your current circumstances.12
Daily Reflections offers an opportunity for you to begin reframing your experience of addiction while immersing yourself in the necessary positive framework for sobriety and achievement of post-traumatic growth. With Daily Reflections, you are gently reminded of the seriousness of alcoholism while praised for your strength in working toward sobriety and overcoming the adversity faced in recovery.4 This combination of addiction reality and sobriety goals allows for a starting point to do the necessary reframing of your thoughts and actions and eventually achieve post-traumatic growth and recovery.
Symptom Management and Emotional Regulation
Many individuals experience mental health symptoms and strong, complex emotions while in recovery. Daily Reflections and its positive messages offer one tool for managing:
As is common in psychology, working through your underlying mental health conditions requires a lot of mental work. People often struggle with negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.5 Thoughts influence emotions, and emotions influence behavior. By working through negative thoughts and emotions, therefore, you can overcome potentially negative behaviors.5
In addiction treatment, your treatment team may recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on identifying thought patterns that lead to specific behaviors and learning how to make changes to both thoughts and actions, or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which focuses on how being mindful of thoughts allows for better emotional and behavioral regulation. Daily Reflections may be one tool you use to examine your own thoughts and intentionally alter them.
Daily Reflections may allow you to, even if just temporarily, put aside negative thoughts and focus on the positive. That moment of positive thinking will, in turn, influence positive emotions and ideally influence positive behavior throughout that day to aid in a recovery-focused lifestyle.5
To learn more about addiction treatment options, call 800-839-1686Who Answers? to speak to an addiction recovery specialist.
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (1999). Treatment of Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) No. 32. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US).
- Library of Congress. (2021). Books that Shaped America 1900-1950.
- Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (2014). The A.A. Group, Where it all Begins.
- Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (2014). Daily Reflections: A Book of Reflections by A.A. Members for A.A. Members.
- Fredrickson, B. L. (2000). Cultivating positive emotions to optimize health and well-being. Prevention & Treatment, 3(1),
- Heredia, L. P., & Sanchez, A. I. (2016). Vulnerability to alcohol consumption, spiritual transcendence, and psychosocial well-being: test of a theory. Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem, 24, e2702.
- Cherry, K. (2021). What Is Positive Psychology?
- Newberg, A. & Waldman, M. R. (2012). Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversational Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy. Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
- Schrank, B., Brownell, T., Tylee, A., & Slade, M. (2014). Positive psychology: An approach to supporting recovery in mental illness. East Asian Archives of Psychiatry, 24(3), 95-103.
- Kranzler, H. R., & Liebowitz, N. R. (1988). Anxiety and depression in substance abuse: Clinical implications. Medical Clinics of North America, 72(4), 867-885.
- Haroosh, E., & Freedman, S. (2017) Posttraumatic growth and recovery from addiction. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 8(1).
- Tedeschi, R. G. (2014). Handbook of Posttraumatic Growth: Research and Practice. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.