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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 29

Just For Today
December 29
Through Others’ Eyes

“When someone points out a shortcoming, our first reaction may be defensive….[But] if we truly want to be free, we will take a good look at input from fellow addicts.”
Basic Text pg. 35

At some point in our recovery, we come to the awkward realization that the way we see ourselves is not necessarily the way others do. We are probably neither as bad, as good, as beautiful, or as ugly as we think we are – but we are too close to ourselves to really tell for sure. That’s where our friends in the program come in, caring enough to share with us what they see when they look in our direction. They tell us the good things about ourselves we might not know – and they tell us the hard things, too, that we might not be able to see.

We may react defensively to such “help” and, in some cases, justly so. However, even malicious remarks about our supposed shortcomings can shed light on aspects of our recovery that we cannot see ourselves. Wherever a useful insight comes from, for whatever reason it is offered, we cannot afford to discount it.

We don’t need to wait for others to spontaneously offer their insight. When we spend time with our sponsor or other NA members we trust, we can make the first move and ask them to tell us what they see about particular areas of our lives to which we are blind. We want a broader vision of our life than just our own; we can have that vision by seeing ourselves through the eyes of others.

Just for today: I seek to see myself as I truly am. I will listen to what others say about me, and see myself through their eyes.

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Daily Reflections
December 29
THE JOY OF LIVING

. . . . therefore the joy of good living is the theme of A.A.’s Twelfth Step.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 125

A.A. is a joyful program! Even so, I occasionally balk at taking the necessary steps to move ahead, and find myself resisting the very actions that could bring about the joy I want. I would not resist if those actions did not touch some vulnerable area of my life, an area that needs hope and fulfillment. Repeated exposure to joyfulness has a way of softening the hard, outer edges of my ego. Therein lies the power of joyfulness to help all members of A.A.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 29
A.A. Thought For The Day

Participating in the privileges of the movement, I shall share in the responsibilities, taking it upon myself to carry my fair share of the load, not grudgingly but joyfully. I am deeply grateful for the privileges I enjoy because of my membership in this great movement.  They put an obligation upon me which I will not shirk.  I will gladly carry my fair share of the burdens.  Because of the joy of doing them, they will no longer be burdens, but opportunities. Will I accept every opportunity gladly?

Meditation For The Day

Work and prayer are the two forces which are gradually making a better world. We must work for the betterment of ourselves and our fellow men. Faith without works is dead.  But all work with people should be based on prayer. If we say a little prayer before we speak or try to help, it will make us more effective. Prayer is the force behind the work. Prayer is based on faith that God is working with us and through us. We can believe that nothing is impossible in human relationships, if we depend on the help of God.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that my life may be balanced between prayer and work. I pray that I may not work without prayer or pray without work.

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As Bill Sees It
December 29
Unlimited Choice, p. 201

Any number of alcoholics are bedeviled by the dire conviction that if they ever go near A.A. they will be pressured to conform to some particular brand of faith or theology.

They just don’t realize that faith is never an imperative for A.A. membership. That sobriety can be achieved with an easily acceptable minimum of it, and that our concepts of a Higher Power and God–as we understand Him–afford everyone a nearly unlimited choice of spiritual belief and action.

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In talking to a prospect, stress the spiritual feature freely. If the man be agnostic or atheist, make it emphatic that he does not have to agree with your conception of God. He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him.

The main thing is that he is willing to believe in a Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual principles.

1. Grapevine, April 1961
2. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 93

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Walk In Dry Places
December 29
Mending the past
No Regrets of the Past

“The past is best mended by living so fully today that its errors have no place in our lives.” These words by an AA member suggest an approach for healing from the past.

All of us would benefit to use today’s knowledge to deal with situations we mishandled in the past. But we must remember that whatever mistakes we made, we had available only the knowledge and resources we possessed the, and we may have done about as well as we possibly could at this time.

We should also remember that active alcoholism is a crippling and ugly disease with many terrible consequences. It’s not surprising that bad things happened to others and us when we were drinking. We can only be grateful that we are now recovering and that matters are better, not worse, than they once were.

I’ll live fully today, allowing no thoughts of regret from my past to intrude.

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Keep It Simple
December 29

Many people are living in an emotional jail without recognizing it.
–Virginia Satir.

Our disease was our jail. We felt so bad that we were sure we must have done something awful. But we didn’t cause our disease. We have done nothing to deserve our disease. We aren’t responsible for the fact that we have a disease. But we ARE responsible for our recovery. We have been granted probation. The terms of our probation are simple: don’t drink or use other drugs, and work the Steps. If we follow these simple rules, we’ll be free. And it will be clear to us that only a Power greater than ourselves could give us this freedom.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to stay free. For this next twenty-four – hour period, take from me any urge to drink or use other drugs. With Your help, I’ll be free.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll think about my disease. I am not morally weak. I have a dangerous illness. What can keep me free from my disease?

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 29

Kindness and intelligence don’t always deliver us from the pitfalls and traps. There is no way to take the danger out of human relationships.
–Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

Relationships with other people are necessary to escape loneliness; however, relationships do not guarantee freedom from pain. Nurturing a meaningful relationship with another human being takes patience, even when we don’t have any. It takes tolerance, even if we don’t feel it. It takes selflessness, at those very moments our own ego is crying for attention.

Yet, we need relationships with others; they inspire us. We learn who we are and who we can become through relationships. They precipitate our accomplishments. Our creativity is encouraged by them, and so is our emotional and spiritual development.

We can look around us, attentively. We can feel blessed, even when it’s a negative situation. Every situation is capable of inspiring a positive step forward. Every situation is meant for our good.

There’s risk in human relationships, and it’s often accompanied by pain. But I am guaranteed growth, and I will find the happiness I seek. I will reach out to someone today.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 29
ACCEPTANCE WAS THE ANSWER

– The physician wasn’t hooked, he thought–he just prescribed drugs medically indicated for his many ailments. Acceptance was his key to liberation.

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

p. 417

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 29

Tradition Eight – “Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.”

This is the exciting welter of events which has finally cast up A.A.’s Tradition of nonprofessionalism. Our Twelfth Step is never to be paid for, but those who labor in service for us are worthy of their hire.

p. 171

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Xtra Thoughts
December 29

Keep your sobriety first to make it last.
–unknown

Having the world’s best idea will do you no good unless you act on it. People who want milk shouldn’t sit on a stool in the middle of a field in hopes that a cow will back up to them.
–Curtis Grant

When you make a mistake, make amends immediately. It’s easier to eat crow while it’s still warm.
–Sherrie R.

“When nobody around you measures up, it’s time to check your yardstick.”
–Bill Lemly

Without God’s inner source of enlightenment and refreshment, I would soon stagnate
and feel despair.
–Shelley

The heart of AA is the act of one person giving to another.

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 29
MADNESS

“The madman who knows that he is mad is close to sanity.”
— Juan Ruiz de Alarcon

An alcoholic who continues to drink is committing suicide. An addict who continues to use is committing suicide. An overeater who continues to eat compulsively and destructively is committing suicide. Madness.

It is like a man standing in the town square stabbing himself with a knife and asking the passer-by, “Why am I bleeding?”

Today I accept my past destructive behavior and try to change it on a daily basis.  Spirituality is loving yourself enough to “see” the writing on the wall and do something about it. Change is sanity for the madman!

God, You seem to have given me a dose of insanity. Let me use it to Your glory.

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Bible Scriptures
December 29

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
Revelation 3:20

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.
Philippians 2:3

“Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
Romans 14:4

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

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Daily Inspiration
December 29

Today picture yourself as the happiest person that you know and watch how contagious this enthusiasm for life is. Lord, may I bring out the best in those with whom I share today so they can in turn bring out more of my best.

Choose God instead of choosing to worry. Lord, in Your justice, rescue and deliver me.

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A Day At A Time
December 29

Reflection For The Day

The success of The Program, i’ve been taught, lies in large measure in the readiness and willingness of its members to go to any lengths to help others tyrannized by their addictions. If my readiness and willingness cools, then I stand in danger of losing all that I’ve gained. I must never become unwilling to give away what I have, for only by so doing will I be privileged to keep it. Do I take to heart the saying, “Out of self into God into others…”?

Today I Pray

May I never be too busy to answer a fellow addict’s call for help. May I never become so wound up in my pursuits that I forget that my own continuing recovery depends on that helping — a half-hour or so on the telephone, a call in person, a lunch date, whatever the situation calls for. May I know what my priorities must be.

Today I Will Remember

Helping helps me.

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One More Day
December 29

The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.
– Jack London

We are on a remarkable journey that holds wonderful possibilities. Sometimes people who have undergone a crisis think they have arrived at the end of the journey. The excitement of living decreases each day.

Surrounding ourselves with loving, caring people gives us the greatest chance of coming out of the depression caused by our problems. Also, treating ourselves gently can improve our outlook. When we show loving care for others and ourselves, we will once again be moving back into the mainstream of life. We will be filled once again with the excitement and joy of the journey that lies ahead.

I owe myself the excitement of each day to come. Today, I will savor my life.

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One Day At A Time
December 29
~GRATITUDE FOR ADVERSITY ~

He was my greatest teacher. He taught me patience.
–The Dalai Lama on Mao Tse Tung

Whenever I feel downtrodden or disappointed by the hand that life has dealt me, I often think of this quote. It moves me beyond speech. Here was a man who had lost his homeland to communist China, yet he still had a good thing to say about the man who started it all. It forces me to come to a realization that what has happened to me is peanuts!

Too often I am caught up with feeling sorry for myself because of my disease, while ignoring the fact that I am so fortunate to have found recovery. Sometimes I feel so poor, yet I live in a large home with a wonderful spouse and delightful pets. I have a car, and enough food to eat every day. I have the luxury of obtaining my degree. Most of all, though I often complain about how unfair it all is, I am even fortunate to have an eating disorder. Because it is through admitting I have a problem that I am beginning to taste recovery, and it is sweeter than any binge item. And it has taught me that it is through our adversities that we learn compassion and patience.

I have to realize that life just isn’t fair. If it were, how boring it would be! Nothing worthwhile is easy to obtain, and that includes recovery. What would it be worth if there was no effort going into it? Sometimes bad things happen, and they are unfortunate. But that’s the end of it. I cannot make things be the way I want them to be. I cannot change life. I must accept life on life’s terms, and learn the art of patience, so well demonstrated by the above quote. How fortunate that I have the opportunity to learn these precious skills in the safety and security of my own home, with my wonderful friends, spouse, and my program family!

One Day at a Time . . .
I will avoid dwelling on the misery that accompanies hardship. I will develop the willingness to be grateful for the opportunity for me to learn compassion and patience.

Claire

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 29

“What you see with your eyes shut is what counts.”
–Lame Deer, LAKOTA

Another whole world opens up when we close our eyes and calm our mind. Be still and know; be still and hear; be still and see; be still and feel. Inside every person is a still, small voice. Sometime it is necessary to close our eyes to shut down our perception in order to see. Try this occasionally; when you are talking to your child or spouse, close your eyes and listen to them. Listen to the tone of their voice; listen to their excitement; listen to their pain-listen.

Great Spirit, today, let me hear only what really counts.

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Journey To The Heart
December 29
Experience the Thrill of the Climb

Don’t stop now. You’re almost there.

You’ve worked so hard to climb this mountain. In the beginning, you were excited. Exhilarated at the prospect of the mountain you were about to climb.

Now you are almost to the top. You’ve struggled, gotten weary, and kept going. Now, your goal is in sight.

Keep going. Guidance is still there to help you. The life force, the one that keeps you going, keeps you moving forward, is still there too, burning brightly within you, charging all that you do with its energy. It is more difficult for you to feel it, but that is only because you’re tired.

See the mountain climber as he climbs the mountain. There are dangers and precipices and challenges along the way. But the higher he climbs, the steeper it gets. The more tired he is, the more energy he has to put into the climb. Don’t tell yourself that the way you feel is an indication you should stop. The way you feel now is the way anyone would feel who was so deeply committed to life. It’s the way anyone would feel who had committed to climbing that mountain.

Don’t stop now. Relax as much as you can. Knowing that the rhythm of life is still there, moving you forward. Don’t look back. Focus intently on each step. Soon you will reach the top. Soon you will reach your goal. Soon you will experience the victory. Keep your eyes focused on the path, look straight ahead. Embrace the thrill of the climb.

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The Language of Letting Go
December 29
Moving On

Learn the art of acceptance. It’s a lot of grief.
–Codependent No More

Sometimes, as part of taking care of ourselves, it becomes time to end certain relationships. Sometimes, it comes time to change the parameters of a particular relationship.

This is true in love, in friendships, with family, and on the job.

Endings and changes in relationships are not easy. But often, they are necessary.

Sometimes, we linger in relationships that are dead, out of fear of being alone or to postpone the inevitable grieving process that accompanies endings. Sometimes, we need to linger for a while, to prepare ourselves, to get strong and ready enough to handle the change.

If that is what we are doing, we can be gentle with ourselves. It is better to wait until that moment when it feels solid, clear, and consistent to act.

We will know. We will know. We can trust ourselves.

Knowing that a relationship is changing or is about to end is a difficult place to be in, especially when it is not yet time to act but we know the time is drawing near. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, as the lesson draws to a close. We may become impatient to put closure on it, but not yet feel empowered to do that. That’s okay. The time is not yet right. Something important is still happening. When the time is right, we can trust that it will happen. We will receive the power and the ability to do what we need to do.

Ending relationships or changing the boundaries of a particular relationship is not easy. It requires courage and faith. It requires a willingness on our part to take care of ourselves and, sometimes, to stand-alone for a while.

Let go of fear. Understand that change is an important part of recovery. Love yourself enough to do what you need to do to take care of yourself, and find enough confidence to believe that you will love again.

We are never starting over. In recovery, we are moving forward in a perfectly planned progression of lessons. We will find ourselves with certain people – in love, family, friendships, and work – when we need to be with them. When the lesson has been mastered, we will move on. We will find ourselves in a new place, learning new lessons, with new people.

No, the lessons are not all painful. We will arrive at that place where we can learn, not from pain, but from joy and love.

Our needs will get met.

Today, I will accept where I am in my relationships, even if that place is awkward and uncomfortable. If I am in the midst of endings, I will face and accept my grief. God, help me trust that the path I am on has been perfectly and lovingly planned for me. Help me believe that my relationships are teaching me important lessons. Help me accept and be grateful for middles, endings, and new beginnings.

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 29
Let the adventure consume you

The spirit of adventure settles over us slowly sometimes. In the beginning, when those old winds of change blow, we turn our backs, fight, and resist. We just want things to stay the same. Gradually we let go of the need to control. We allow things to change and us to change with them.

We accept the change.

Then we round the corner and find a wonderful lesson there, and then another, and another. Soon we find ourselves looking forward to taking the next step, anxious to see what lies in front of us today. Where will my path lead? Who will I meet? What will I learn? What wonderful lesson is taking place right now?

And the adventure begins to consume us.

The steps that you have been taking have been slowly leading you down a path with more wonder and goodness at every turn of the road. You learned to tolerate change. Now learn to embrace it.

Adventure isn’t something you do. The adventure is your life. Recognize how sweet it is. Let those winds of change blow.

God, help me cultivate a spirit of adventure in my life.

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Today’s Gift
December 29

The price of dishonesty is self-destruction.
—Rita Mae Brown

There once was a woman who told her husband what she thought he wanted to hear. She told him she was happy when she wasn’t. She told him she liked his friends when she didn’t. She tried to figure out what he wanted so she could do it for him. She felt hurt when he didn’t do the same for her. She felt he should also try to read her mind and do what she wanted without her having to express it. She was scared to tell him how she really felt.

However, her pain and resentment grew so much she couldn’t stand it any longer, so she told him her true feelings. He was so used to hearing her lies that he called her a liar when she told the truth. Now she knew how much she had hurt herself by trying to please him at the cost of her own honesty and needs.

Honesty is necessary for a good relationship with anyone. When we lie to ourselves, we cannot tell the truth to others. By being honest, we open our doors to others, we trust them with our true feelings, and they love us for who we really are.

Who can I tell how I really feel today?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 29

Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

After we get a new understanding about ourselves we think, “Now I will never have to make the same mistake again!” But our lessons are usually not that easily learned. We have to get them into our muscles and bones as well as our heads. Some of us have to learn how to be kind; others, how to be good listeners or how to stand up for ourselves in many different ways. Every new situation calls on a little different way of knowing, and perhaps we have to fall a few times in the learning.

The most important asset in our lives is the faith to get up again and continue. We must accept our imperfections. Each time we fall and with each mistake we make, we’re vulnerable to doubting and losing faith. By rising again, we make progress in our learning and continue to become better men.

Today, I will have faith, even in the midst of my mistakes.

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Daily TAO
December 29
NIGHT

In night’s vast ocean,
Sun, moon, and earth align,
Pulling the earth out of roundness
And making tides rage.
Such is the power of night.

Night. You are mother of all. You existed before all. You are the background, the fabric, the whole underpinning of the universe.

In you is abstruse mystery, darker than the deepest water, blacker than the sleep of sleeps. You are an inconceivable fertility, a wild and uncontrollable realm from which strangeness and power and creativity and mutation and life spring. The miracle of birth comes from you. And the horror of death. That is why you both comfort and frighten us.

Stars and planets are scattered through you like luminescent pearls.  You string them on your current effortlessly, and the pull of syzygy is so tremendous that the birth shape of the earth is pulled out of roundness, the seas exceed their brims, and the heads and hearts of all the creatures on this planet are made to pound and wonder in dazzled confusion.

When stars and novas burst, energy untold is unleashed — explosions of such magnitude that human intellect and instruments could never hope to measure even if made superior by a hundredfold — and yet these flames burn out, sputter, become mere dim coals in the supreme expanse that is night.

Night. You are mother without a mother. You are mystery and power and ruler of all time.

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