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In Loving Memory of Vic

Find A Meeting

Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

+ Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meeting Finder
+ Overeaters Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Al-Anon Online Meeting Finder

Daily Recovery Readings – February 1

Just For Today
February 1
Hardships

” We felt different… Only after surrender are we able to overcome the alienation of addiction.”
Basic Text p. 22

” But you don’t understand!” we spluttered, trying to cover up. “I’m different! I’ve really got it rough!” We used these lines over and over in our active addiction, either trying to escape the consequences of our actions or avoid following the rules that applied to everyone else. We may have cried them at our first meeting. Perhaps we’ve even caught ourselves whining them recently.

So many of us feel different or unique. As addicts, we can use almost anything to alienate ourselves. But there’s no excuse for missing out on recovery, nothing that can make us ineligible for the program—not a life-threatening illness, not poverty, not anything. There are thousands of addicts who have found recovery despite the real hardships they’ve faced. Through working the program, their spiritual awareness has grown, in spite of—or perhaps in response to—those hardships.

Our individual circumstances and differences are irrelevant when it comes to recovery. By letting go of our uniqueness and surrendering to this simple way of life, we’re bound to find that we feel a part of something. And feeling a part of something gives us the strength to walk through life, hardships and all.

Just for today: I will let go of my uniqueness and embrace the principles of recovery I have in common with so many others. My hardships do not exclude me from recovery; rather, they draw me into it.

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Daily Reflections
February 1
GOAL: SANITY

“…Step Two gently and very gradually began to infiltrate my life. I can’t say upon what occasion or on what day I came to believe in a power greater than myself, but I certainly have that belief now.”
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 27

“Came to believe!” I gave lip service to my belief when I felt like it or when I thought it would look good. I didn’t really trust God. I didn’t believe He cared for me. I kept trying to change things I couldn’t change.  Gradually, in disgust, I began to turn it all over, saying: “You’re so omnipotent, you take care of it.” He did. I began to receive answers to my deepest problems, sometimes at the most unusual times: driving to work, eating lunch, or when I was sound asleep. I realized that I hadn’t thought of those solutions–a Power greater than myself had given them to me. I came to believe.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 1
A.A. Thought For The Day

When we think about having a drink, we’re thinking of the kick we get out of drinking, the pleasure, the escape from boredom, the feeling of self-importance and the companionship of other drinkers. What we don’t think of is the letdown, the hangover, the remorse, the waste of money, and the facing of another day. In other words, when we think about that first drink, we’re thinking of all the assets of drinking and none of the liabilities.  What has drinking really got that we haven’t got in A.A.? Do I believe that the liabilities of drinking outweigh the assets?

Meditation For The Day

I will start a new life each day. I will put the old mistakes away and start anew each day. God always offers me a fresh start. I will not be burdened or anxious. If God’s forgiveness were only for the righteous and those who had not sinned, where would be its need? I believe that God forgives us all our sins, if we are honestly trying to live today the way He wants us to live. God forgives us much and we should be very grateful.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that my life may not be spoiled by worry and fear and selfishness. I pray that I may have a glad, thankful and humble heart.

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As Bill Sees It
February 1
Moral Responsibility, p. 32

“Some strongly object to the A.A. position that alcoholism is an illness. This concept, they feel, removes moral responsibility from alcoholics. As any A.A. knows, this is far from true. We do not use the concept of sickness to absolve our members from responsibility.  On the contrary, we use the fact of fatal illness to clamp the heaviest kind of moral obligation onto the sufferer, the obligation to use A.A.’s Twelve Steps to get well.

“In the early days of his drinking, the alcoholic is often guilty of irresponsibility. But once the time of compulsive drinking has arrived, he can’t very well be held fully accountable for his conduct. He then has an obsession that condemns him to drink. and a bodily sensitivity to alcohol that guarantees his final madness and death.

“But when he is made aware of this condition, he is under pressure to accept A.A.’s program of moral regeneration.”

Talk, 1960

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Walk In Dry Places
February 1
Garbage in, Garbage Out
Releasing the Past

One thing we don’t need in our lives is garbage from the past. Yet many of us say that old thoughts and bitter memories often sneak devilishly back to spoil what should have been a pleasant day. Why do we let garbage from the past befoul our lives a second time?

Computer programmers use a certain expression when their systems turn up errors: “GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT.” If you feed erroneous, useless information into a computer, that’s what you get back.

We seem to have built-in computers that work the same way. If we waste time and energy talking about past injustices or old mistakes, we are unwittingly calling them back into our lives. We are bringing back garbage that should have been discarded permanently to make room for better things.

There is no benefit in bringing back old garbage. We can’t change the past. We can’t change our mistakes by brooding about them, and we can’t obtain justice by remembering how badly we were treated or by plotting revenge. When we bring back garbage, we allow it to occupy space that should be devoted to constructive and positive things.

If we don’t want garbage in our lives, let’s not put it there by bringing up matters that should have been released, forgiven, and forgotten.

I will keep my mind on the present, knowing that a positive attitude will help me make the best of the opportunities that come to me.

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Keep It Simple
February 1

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
—Step Two

The Second Step directs us to believe there is hope for us. It may take time to believe this. Many of us had given up hope. But look around. Hope fills our meeting rooms. We are surrounded by miracles. This Power greater than ourselves has healed many. Listen as others tell their stories. They speak of how powerful this Power is. At times, we will not believe. This is normal But in recovery ,”coming to believe” means opening ourselves up to healing power found in the program.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, allow me to believe Help me to stay open to recovery.

Action for the Day: I will list three examples of my past insanity. I will share these examples with my group, sponsor, a program friend, or with my Higher Power. I will remember that I’m a miracle.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 1

You were there when I needed you. You stood above all of the others with your strength and you guided me. To each of you I offer my being, my love and all that I am.
–Deidra Sarault

Each of us is guided while we act as guides to one another, throughout the day, throughout our lives. We are interdependent. Everywhere we look, someone is learning from us and we from her. We often know not what we give, when we give it. And we seldom realize the value of what we’re receiving at the time we accept it.

Resistance to what another person is offering us may be our natural response. But the passage of time highlights the value of the experience. We can look for the comforters in our lives. They are there offering us strength and hope enough to see us through any difficulty.

We need both the rough times and the soft shoulders of a friend. They contribute equally to the designs our lives are weaving. The rough times press us to pray, to reach out to others for solace. And our pain gives others the chance to heal our wounds. We are all healers offering strength. And we all need healing.

One of the greatest gifts of my recovery is giving and receiving strength.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 1
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

– This young alcoholic stepped out a second-story window and into A.A.

I decided I had had enough. I went to my Tuesday night meeting, fully intent on sharing honestly. I arrived at the meeting and no one else was there. This meeting, which routinely numbered twenty people, was empty. I waited for a few minutes and was preparing to leave, when a man I barely knew walked through the door. He suggested that he and I have a meeting. I was sure it was bad idea. He asked me how I was doing. That was all I needed. The pain, fear, misery, anger, loss, resentment, and despair came pouring out. For the next forty-five minutes I talked at this man, who continued to nod his head, smile, and say, “Yeah, I remember feeling that way.” For the first time I made completely honest contact with another human being. I showed someone who I really was, without fear of rejection. I took an action that was designed to make me feel, rather than just look, better. I was met with acceptance and love.

p. 428

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 1

Tradition Twelve – “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”

As a rule, the average newcomer wanted his family to know immediately what he was trying to do. He also wanted to tell others who had tried to help him–his doctor, his minister, and close friends. As he gained confidence, he felt it right to explain his new way of life to his employer and business associates. When opportunities to be helpful came along, he found he could talk easily about A.A. to almost anyone. These quiet disclosures helped him to lose his fear of the alcoholic stigma, and spread the news of A.A.’s existence in his community. Many a new man and woman came to A.A. because of such conversations. Though not in the strict letter of anonymity, such communications were well within its spirit.

pp. 185-186

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Xtra Thoughts
February 1

“He who cannot rest, cannot work; He who cannot let go, cannot hold on; He who cannot find footing, cannot go forward.”
–Harry Emerson Fosdick

If you find you’ve reached a dead end, it might be because you’re sitting on it.

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.”
–Charles Buxton

I asked my sponsor, “What do you do when you finish working the Steps?” Without batting an eye, he replied, “You lie really still, because you’re dead!”
–unknown

“Maintaining sobriety is like feeding a parking meter. It’s all about change.”
–unknown

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”
–Hans Selye

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 1
RELIGION

“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”
— Jonathan Swift

Religion is a powerful influence in the world, but so often the “power” is negative. It has been used to judge, divide, separate and control people; rob them of their freedom and creativity; chain them to creeds and teachings that are not comprehensible. Unfortunately, religion has become dull and lifeless for many people and God’s love is missed.

But the power of creative spirituality is alive in God’s world. It unites and frees the people so that they can be discovered in their individuality. Difference is accepted, choice is respected and healing is perceived in our ability to love.

Let me ever bring the gift of God’s spirituality to those who have misplaced it.

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Bible Scriptures
February 1

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.”
Hebrews 4:16

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.
Luke 6:36-37

Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
James 1:22

Cast all your anxieties on God because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

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Daily Inspiration
February 1

We have every reason to be at peace because God will either protect us from suffering or give us immense strength to see us through it. Lord, I set aside my anxieties because You care for me every day in every way.

If you exercise your mind, your spirit will never get old. Lord, give me the ability to rise above my worldly burdens and ability to always make things a little better.

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Journey To The Heart
February 1
Transcend Your Limitations

You’re free now, free to take the journey of a lifetime. Free to experience life, in its newness, its freshness, its magic– in a way you never have before.

The only limitations on you are the ones you’ve placed on yourself. Your prison has been of your own making. Don’t blame or chastise yourself. Life has created certain challenges for you. The purpose has been to set you free, to provide you with lessons, experiences, circumstances that would trigger growth and healing. Life has been provoking, promoting, urging you to grow, stretch, learn, heal. Life has been trying to break you out of your prison.

Set yourself free. Let yourself go on a journey of love. Take notes. Be present. Experience. Learn. Love and laugh, and cry when you need to. Rest when you’re tired. Take a flashlight to help you see in the dark. But most of all, take yourself and go.

Go on your journey of joy.

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A Day At A Time
February 1

Reflection For The Day

The longer I’m in The Program, the more clearly I see why it’s important for me to understand why I do what I do, and say what I say.  In the process, I’m coming to realize what kind of person I really am.  I see now, for example, that it’s far easier to be honest with other people that with myself.  I’m learning, also, that we’re all hampered by our need to justify our actions and words.  Have I taken an inventory of myself as suggested in the Twelve Steps?  Have I admitted my faults to myself, to god, and to another human being?

Today I Pray

May I not be stalled in my recovery process by the enormity of The Program’s fourth Step, taking a moral inventory of myself, or by admitting these shortcomings to myself, to God and to another human being.  May I know that honesty to myself about myself is all-important.

Today I Will Remember

I cannot mend if I bend the truth.

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One More Day
February 1

Snow endures but for a season, and joy comes with the morning.
— Marcus Aurelius

We are a nation which sometimes sells out for short-term goals and short-term gratification. We may overuse credit cards. At times we live on impulse and buy on impulse. Gone is the long-term planning our parents tired to teach us as children. Gone is learning to wait.

Now we have no choice. Life’s circumstances, especially illness, force us to wait whether or not we want to. True, we live with pain and annoyance, but once again, quite accidentally, we begin to know the joy that comes from the waiting and from savoring any small victory.

Patience is a virtue I am once again cultivating. Life’s circumstances have taught me the importance of finding the joy in each day.

This books author is Sefra Kobrin Pitzele

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One Day At A Time
February 1
~ Strategy ~

“Better shun the bait than struggle in the snare. ”
–John Dryden

Perhaps the most important strategy for beating temptation is to avoid it altogether. Temptation pits me head-on with my disease and all of its cunning and baffling ways. It’s so much easier to stay out of its claws and devices than to try to free myself once caught in its web.

What ways do I bring temptation right into my house or provide access to temptation when I go out? Do I keep forbidden foods in my house? Have I ever asked other family members to go without those things because they are dangerous to me or my recovery? Do I go places or engage in activities that increase my desire to eat compulsively? Have I considered that, for now, I just can’t go certain places because of the risk to my recovery? Have I considered that I might have to give up socializing with certain groups of people because they lead me into temptation? Does watching TV trigger compulsive eating? Does putting myself in the company of a certain individuals lead to self- defeating behavior of any kind? Do I continually expose myself to stressful situations or people that tempt me to eat compulsively? Do I continue doing the things that tempt me to eat to ease the feelings or emotions that come up over it?

Perhaps I am in an unwholesome relationship, or I overspend, or have another addiction or compulsion. What am I willing to do to recover? What am I willing to change to keep myself out of harm’s way?

It is easy to pray for God to keep me from temptation, but I must do my part also.

One day at a time …
I must remember to avoid the people, places and things that tempt me to eat compulsively and provide a way for the disease to touch me again.

~ Diane ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – February 1

“You can’t just sit down and talk about the truth. It doesn’t work that way. You have to live it and be part of it and you might get to know it.”
–Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE

We all read books that have much information in them. Often we pick up on little sayings that we remember. Inside of us is the little owl, the owl of knowing. It talks to us- guiding us and nurturing us. Often when we get information, it’s hard to live by, but it’s easy to talk about. It’s living the Red Road that counts-Walk the Talk. If we really want freedom in our lives, if we really want to be happy, if we really want to have peace of mind, it’s the truth we must seek.

My Creator, help me in my search for the truth today.

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Journey To The Heart
February 1
Transcend Your Limitations

You’re free now, free to take the journey of a lifetime. Free to experience life, in its newness, its freshness, its magic– in a way you never have before.

The only limitations on you are the ones you’ve placed on yourself. Your prison has been of your own making. Don’t blame or chastise yourself. Life has created certain challenges for you. The purpose has been to set you free, to provide you with lessons, experiences, circumstances that would trigger growth and healing. Life has been provoking, promoting, urging you to grow, stretch, learn, heal. Life has been trying to break you out of your prison.

Set yourself free. Let yourself go on a journey of love. Take notes. Be present. Experience. Learn. Love and laugh, and cry when you need to. Rest when you’re tired. Take a flashlight to help you see in the dark. But most of all, take yourself and go.

Go on your journey of joy.

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Today’s Gift
February 1

It’s not enough to talk to plants, you also have to listen.
—David Bergman

Plants grow best when we pay attention to them. That means watering, touching them, putting them in places where they will receive good light. They need people around them to notice if they are drooping at the edges or looking particularly happy in the sunlight. The more attention a plant receives, the better it will grow.

We need to be noticed in the same way. If we notice a family member or friend is drooping, perhaps we can pay some special attention to him or her. All of us need someone to care about how we are and to truly listen to us. We can share and double someone’s happiness by noticing and talking about it also. We help the people around us to grow by listening to their droopy edges as well as their bright days. People need this as much as plants need light and water.

How can I help someone grow today?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 1

Who of us is mature enough for offspring before the offspring themselves arrive? The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.
—Peter De Vries

Many of us, in entering recovery, are confronted with guilt about our roles as fathers. We can see so clearly with hindsight that we could have been better parents. Others of us recall the unfairness of our own parents and find it hard to forgive them.

This mixture of guilt and resentment is part of the package of recovery. If we remained the same and never learned anything new, we wouldn’t have to feel guilty about the past or face our need to let go of resentments. Our spiritual renewal requires that we forgive ourselves and accept the forgiveness of those around us. Even today our children are not helped by our guilt, but they will be helped – at any age – by our amended lives. And all generations are enriched when we are able to repair broken connections with our parents.

I can accept the increased consciousness that recovery brings without punishing myself for what I didn’t know.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 1
Say woohoo

I put on my skydiving gear and headed for the airplane. Here I was again, ready to go. My hands were already sweating; I could feel the quiver in my lip. Why did I keep doing this to myself?

Once I boarded the airplane, I started what had become a routine for me. I don’t have to do this, I told myself.I’m volunteering to skydive. It’s not mandatory. Not wanting to overly embarrass myself in front of the other, more experienced sky divers, I coped with my anxiety by fidgeting. I fidgeted with the altimeter on my hand. I fidgeted with the strap on my helmet.

I wanted to tell my jump master I couldn’t jump because I was having a heart attack, but I knew he wouldn’t believe me. It was just anxiety, fear building up to an unmanageable, uncontrollable level.

A friend was sitting across from me, watching. “How are you doing Mel?” he asked.

“Scared,” I said.

“Do you say woohoo?” he asked.

“What do you mean?” I said.

“When you get to the door and jump, say woohoo,” he said. “You can’t have a bad time if you do.”

I walked to the door of the plane, hoisted myself out, and waited for the nod from my jump master, signaling that he was ready for the count.

“Ready,” I said. “Set.” Then with all my might I yelled, “WOOHOO,” so loud the sky divers in the back of the plane heard me.

My jump master followed me out of the plane and then positioned himself in front of me. I looked at him and grinned. Then I grinned some more. So this is why I’m doing this, I thought. Because it’s so much fun.

It was the best jump I’d had yet.

We’re jumping into the unknown, when we have a baby or a new job.

Sometimes, however, we don’t choose our experience. I can recall sitting on the edge of the bed in the hospital room after Shane’s death, knowing that the journey I was about to embark upon would not be an exhilarating one. God, I don’t want to go through this, I thought. It’s not going to be over in three months or a year. This one I’ll live with the rest of my life. I can remember standing in the parking lot outside the courthouse after my divorce from the children’s father. I took one deep breath, feeling exhilarated and free. The next one was filled with terror and dread. My God, I was now a dirt-poor single parent with two children to raise.

Sometimes we jump out that door voluntarily. Sometimes we’re pushed.

Feel your fear, then let it go. Dread is just a prejudice against the future. After having examined all the probabilaties and possibilities, we decide ahead of time that we’re going to have the worse experience possible. So let go of dread,too.

Fidget if you must. Ask yourself what you’re doing here. Then walk to the door and give the count. See how much fun it can be when you jump into the unknown and feel the rush of being fully alive.

God, help me take a deep breath and holler woohoo.

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Touchstones
February 1

Who of us is mature enough for offspring before the offspring themselves arrive? The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.
—Peter De Vries

Many of us, in entering recovery, are confronted with guilt about our roles as fathers. We can see so clearly with hindsight that we could have been better parents. Others of us recall the unfairness of our own parents and find it hard to forgive them.

This mixture of guilt and resentment is part of the package of recovery. If we remained the same and never learned anything new, we wouldn’t have to feel guilty about the past or face our need to let go of resentments. Our spiritual renewal requires that we forgive ourselves and accept the forgiveness of those around us. Even today our children are not helped by our guilt, but they will be helped – at any age – by our amended lives. And all generations are enriched when we are able to repair broken connections with our parents.

I can accept the increased consciousness that recovery brings without punishing myself for what I didn’t know.

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Daily TAO
February 1
UBIQUITY

Tao is everywhere.
It cannot be kept from the sincere.

Tao originated in China and was an expression of that culture. It was intimately tied to a poetically agrarian view of the world, and it forged mysticism and pragmatism together. But now, most of us, even those in China, do not understand ancient words. Our farming is mechanized. Our poetry is written on computers. Does this make Tao invalid? No, it does not. Tao is still here, and if we are to follow Tao, we must rely not on old standards but on direct experience. Contemporary minds need contemporary concepts to interest them.

If following Tao is as great as the masters claim, then it ought to be applicable to any situation and any race. Neither time, nor place, nor culture should be a barrier to the sincere seeker. Tao surrounds us; we need only guidance and understanding in order to connect with it.

Tao is not something esoteric. It is right here. The masters allude to this all the time. For them, anything — from reading scriptures to attending the theater, from meditating to sweeping dung from the ground — is Tao. They understand the ubiquitous nature of Tao and act accordingly. If masters still know Tao in this world of jet planes and electronic communication, then we can also absorb the essential message of Tao. Those who succeed might never talk of it, and yet everything they do will be spontaneously in tandem with Tao.

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Daily Zen

February 1

Finally, I had the sort of relaxing Sunday morning I’ve been craving for months. I spent it doing laundry and ironing.

You think I’ve lost my marbles—right? Wrong. Actually, I was finding them.

I really feel these days that things aren’t the way they used to be. Our grandparents used to sit out on the back porch at night and chat with passing neighbours, but today we’re all rushing around multi-tasking. Those who lived before power saws, washing machines, dishwashers and electric irons had plenty to keep them busy, but their tasks also kept them focussed—they pondered while they worked. By default, that pondering might be no more than daydreaming or spacing out, but it can also be put to good use by bringing a mindful focus into the equation.

As I iron, I watch the flow of the iron over the shirt, slow down to adjust for every seam and avoid unnecessary creasing. I’m attentive to every detail, and aware of my attentiveness too. This sort of multi-layered attention is the essence of mindfulness. It sharpens your wits, improves concentration and keeps you in the present moment. It’s one of the most effortless forms of meditation, not just calming but also clarifying.

I learned years ago that the most mundane physical tasks are ideal ways to preoccupy the body and free up the mind in a healthy way. It’s a terrible waste to despise washing dishes, sweeping the floor and folding towels. It’s got to be done anyway. With mindfulness, putting your life in order puts your mind in order too. This is just practice; later on when I’m in a tough situation, that little bit of extra mental space makes all the difference between letting go of the stress and identifying with it.

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Food for Thought
February 1
Learning

In this program, we never stop learning. It takes time to absorb the OA way of life. Some of us start with great enthusiasm, expecting perfection all at once. When we do not achieve it, we are sometimes tempted to give up and go back to the old, self-destructive way of eating the wrong kinds of food in the wrong amounts.

One of the most important things we learn in OA is patience with ourselves. We seek progress, not perfection. We work for it one step at a time, one day at a time. Our Higher Power accepts us and loves us as we are right now, today. By turning our lives over to Him and humbly asking for guidance, we become receptive to His teaching.

As we grow – slowly -we learn from our mistakes even more than from our successes. We are willing to be again as little children, and we are willing to accept suggestions and help from those who have had more experience and time in the program. We do not have to continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. We can learn the new way of life if we will walk into it patiently and slowly.

Open my body, mind, and heart to Your teaching, Lord.

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In God’s Care
February 1

To avail yourself of His certain wisdom ask of Him whatever questions you have. But do not entreat Him, for that will never be necessary.
~~Hugh Prather

Most prayer is asking for something. Even in prayers of gratitude we are asking God to notice who we are and that it is we who are grateful. But God knows who we are of course, and what we need and want before we have even thought of it. Why pray then?

Because it keeps us in touch with our Maker. It reminds us who we are, children of God, under Divine protection. Sometimes we forget this in our busyness and our life becomes less than fulfilling.

Asking God for help when we are stumped or confused brings us clarity and assurance. Asking God to provide for us is unnecessary, but reassuring. Asking keeps us in touch with the source of our power. And that makes all the difference.

Today I’ll keep the lines of communication between me and God open.

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