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In Loving Memory of Vic

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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.

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Daily Recovery Readings – February 10

Just For Today
February 10
Fun!

“In recovery our ideas of fun change”
Basic Text, p. 102

In retrospect, many of us realize that when we used, our ideas of fun were rather bizarre. Some of us would get dressed up and head for the local club. We would dance, drink and do other drugs until the sun rose. On more than one occasion, gun battles broke out. What we then called fun, we now call insanity.

Today, our notion of fun has changed. Fun to us today is a walk along the ocean, watching the dolphins frolic as the sun sets behind them. Fun is going to an NA picnic, or attending the comedy show at an NA convention. Fun is getting dressed up to go to the banquet and not worrying about any gun battles breaking out over who did what to whom.

Through the grace of a Higher Power and the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous, our ideas of fun have changed radically. Today when we are up to see the sun rise, it’s usually because we went to bed early the night before, not because we left a club at six in the morning, eyes bleary from a night of drug use. And if that’s all we have received from Narcotics Anonymous, that would be enough.

Just for today: I will have fun in my recovery!

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Daily Reflections
February 10
I DON’T RUN THE SHOW

When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p.53

Today my choice is God. He is everything. For this I am truly grateful. When I think I am running the show I am blocking God from my life. I pray I can remember this when I allow myself to get caught up into self.  The most important thing is that today I am willing to grow along spiritual lines, and that God is everything. When I was trying to quit drinking on my own, it never worked; with God and A.A., it is working. This seems to be a simple thought for a complicated alcoholic.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 10
A.A. Thought For The Day

Since I realize that I had become an alcoholic and could never have any more fun with liquor and since I knew that from then on liquor would always get me into trouble, common sense told me that the only thing left for me was a life of sobriety. But I learned another thing in A.A., the most important thing anyone can ever learn, that I could call on a Higher Power to help me keep away from liquor, that I could work with that Divine Principle in the universe and that God would help me to live a sober, useful, happy life. So now I no longer care about the fact that I can never have any more fun with drinking. Have I learned that I am much happier without it?

Meditation For The Day

Like a tree, I must be pruned of a lot of dead branches, before I will be ready to bear good fruit.  Think of changed people as trees which have been stripped of their old branches, pruned, cut and bare, but through the dark, seemingly dead branches flows silently, secretly, the new sap, until with the sun of spring, comes new life. There are new leaves, buds, blossoms and fruit, many times better because of the pruning. Remember, I am in the hands of a Master Gardener, who makes no mistakes in His pruning.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may cut away the dead branches of my life. I pray that I may not mind the pruning, since it helps me to bear good fruit later.

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As Bill Sees It
February 10
Membership Rules?, p. 41

Around 1943 or 1944, the Central Office asked the groups to list their membership rules and send them in. After they arrived we set them all down. A little reflection upon these many rules brought us to an astonishing conclusion.

If all of these edicts had been in force everywhere at once it would have been practically impossible for any alcoholic to have ever joined A.A.  About nine-tenths of our oldest and best members could have never gotten by!

<< << << >> >> >>

At last experience taught us that to take away any alcoholic’s full chance for sobriety in A.A. was sometimes to pronounce his death sentence, and often to condemn him to endless misery. Who dared to be judge, jury, and executioner of his own sick brother?

1. Grapevine, August 1946
2. 12 & 12, p. 141

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Walk In Dry Places
February 10
What is rightfully mine
Personal Gains

One of the hard lessons of life is that we can’t always “win” in the worldly game for prestige, power, and property. It is especially galling to see rewards going to others that don’t seem to have earned them. Much of the world’s conflict, in fact, grows out of disputes over what rightfully belongs to whom.

In sobriety, we need a higher perspective than what we’re likely to find in the brawling world around us. Rather than demanding rights to anything, we should know that everything is part of a spiritual world. The real meaning of the last line of The Lord’s Prayer is that all power, prestige, and property belong to our Higher Power. Whatever we have or will acquire is only temporary, at best, and can easily be lost through wrong thinking and bad actions.

Emmet Fox, whose writings guided the early A members, taught that we possess things only through “rights of consciousness.” In perfectly legitimate ways, we will always possess whatever is necessary for our real work in this life. If one door closes, another will always open. We do not have to envy anything that others possess, nor should we attempt to wrestle it from them. God will always lead us to whatever we need for our highest good.

I will not fret this day about any lost property or opportunities. My needs will be met in a satisfactory manner as I continue to seek the highest and best in every situation.

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Keep It Simple
February 10

Life didn’t promise to be wonderful.
—Teddy Pendergrass

Life doesn’t promise us anything, except a chance. We have a chance to live any way we like. No matter how we choose to live, we’ll have pain and we’ll have joy. And we can learn from both.

Because of our recovery program, we can have life’s biggest wonder—love. We share it in a smile, a touch, a phone call, or a note. We share it with our friends, our partners, our family. Life didn’t promise to be wonderful, but it sure is full of little wonders! And we only have to open up and see them, feel them, and let them happen.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me see the wonders of life today, in nature, in people’s faces, in my own heart.

Action for the Day: I can help make a wonderful things happen for others, with a smile, a greeting, a helping hand. What “little” things will I do for somebody today?

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 10

God knows no distance.
–Charleszetta Waddles

As close as our breath is the strength we need to carry us through any troubled time. But our memory often fails us. We try, alone, to solve our problems, to determine the proper course of action. And we stumble. In time we will turn, automatically, to that power available. And whatever our need, it will be met.

Relying on God, however we understand God’s presence, is foreign to many of us. We were encouraged from early childhood to be self-reliant. Even when we desperately needed another’s help, we feared asking for it. When confidence wavered, as it so often did, we hid the fear–sometimes with alcohol, sometimes with pills. Sometimes we simply hid at home. Our fears never fully abated.

Finding out, as we all have found, that we have never needed to fear anything, that God was never distant, takes time to sink in. Slowly and with practice it will become natural to turn within, to be God-reliant rather than self-reliant.

Whatever our needs today, God is the answer.

There is nothing to fear. At last, I have come to know God. All roads will be made smooth.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 10
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

I once knew a woman who was crying before a meeting. She was approached by a five-year-old girl who told her, “You don’t have to cry here. This is a good place. They took my daddy and they made him better.” That is exactly what A.A. did for me; it took me and it made me better. For that I am eternally grateful.

p. 431

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 10
Foreword

Many people, nonalcoholics, report that as a result of the practice of A.A.’s Twelve Steps, they have been able to meet other difficulties of life. They think that the Twelve Steps can mean more than sobriety for problem drinkers. They see in them a way to happy and effective living for many, alcoholic or not.

pp. 15-16

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Xtra Thoughts
February 10

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”
–Henry James

“You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”
–Dale Carnegie

“You will regret many things in life but you will never regret being too kind or too fair.”
-–Brian Tracy

In the process of growing to spiritual maturity, we all go through many adolescent stages.
–Miki L. Bowen

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
– Henry Ford

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 10
INSIGHT

“Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight.”
— Thomas Carlyle

I believe that recovery can only begin when we “see” or start to get a glimpse of who we are and what we are dealing with . . . insight; an insight into self.

However, the moment we begin to see must be followed by a determined effort to discover more; digging through the denial, pain and manipulation to the disease. Then after discovering the disease in our lives, we must be prepared to risk talking about it — on a daily basis.

Recovery requires a daily desire to see, discover and talk about our addiction — with this insight comes recovery.

You are the light of the world; shine through my honesty.

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Bible Scriptures
February 10

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”
Psalms 150:6

“Remember to welcome strangers, because some who have done this have welcomed angels without knowing it.”
Hebrews 13:2

“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Galatians 5:14

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
–Proverbs 27:6

“[Thanksgiving and Prayer] We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.”
2 Thessalonians 1:3

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Daily Inspiration
February 10

Each morning gives us one more chance to pray, one more chance to help another and one more chance to make this a better world. Lord, thank you for working in and through everything.

Not one day passes without receiving wonderful blessings from our loving and generous God. Lord, may I forget the irritations that distract me from Your happiness.

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A Day At A Time
February 10

Reflection For The Day

Until now, we may have equated the idea of beginning again with a previous record of failure.  This isn’t necessarily so.  Like students who finish grade school and begin again in high school, or workers who find new ways to use their abilities, our beginnings must not be tinged with a sense of failure.  In a sense, every day is a time of beginning again.  We need never look back with regret.  Life is not necessarily like a blackboard that must be erased because we didn’t solve problems correctly, but rather a blackboard that must be cleaned to make way for the new.  Am I grateful for all that has prepared me for this moment of beginning?

Today I Pray

May I understand that past failures need not hamper my new courage or give a murky cast to my new beginnings.   May I know, from the examples of others in The Program, that former failings, once faced and rectified, can be a more solid foundation for a new life than easy-come successes.

Today I Will Remember

Failings can be footings for recovery.

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One More Day
February 10

The best thinking has been done in solitude.  The worst has been done in turmoil.
–  Thomas Edison

When the rush of a busy world becomes overwhelming, we can restore ourselves to peace and tranquility.  When we feel battered by the stress of the day, it’s time to take a few moments for relaxation.  We need to steady ourselves; in fact, we owe it to ourselves.

Solitude, meditation, serenity — these can be ourse if we settle in for a few moments of private time.  Alne.  Taking this time is not self-indulgent; it’s self-care and simple to do.  We can tune the radio to some beautiful, soft music and sit back with a cup of herbal tea.  Taking slow breaths, we can allow our bodies to relax with the warmth of the tea, the beauty of the music and the solitude of the moment.

I relish the gift of privacy and relaxation each day.

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One Day At A Time
February 10
~ ATTITUDE ~

The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude.
–Viktor Frankl

I have always found someone like Viktor Frankl to be an inspiration. His attitude to life totally amazes me, especially after suffering and losing all his family in the Nazi concentration camps. How could anyone come away from an experience like that and still find meaning in life, much less meaning in suffering? I certainly could never find any meaning in all the years of suffering through compulsive eating which caused me so much pain. Life didn’t seem meaningful at the time, and I wondered if it ever could. But one of the things I have learned in the program is that I can allow myself to wallow in self pity, which I did many times, or I can take the lessons from my life’s experiences and use them as opportunities for growth. That has not been an easy one for me in my journey, and there have been many times when life just seemed to be too hard. I wondered whether I had the same strength and positive attitude that Viktor Frankl did. Intellectually I know that attitude is a choice I make. There have been time s when I’ve been depressed and full of self pity and I allowed myself to sink into that abyss of despair. But now, knowing that I have a choice, that I can pick myself up and “act as if,” I can have a positive attitude. When I make the positive choice, miraculous things happen, and life somehow seems a lot easier.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will make a choice to think positive thoughts, and try to emulate people like Viktor Frankl and others who have battled enormous difficulties and yet kept a positive attitude. When I do that, I know my life will become infinitely better.

~ Sharon ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – February 10

“The ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the dust and blood of our ancestors.”
–Plenty Coups, CROW

Mother Earth is the source of life and the place all life returns to. She gives us life. She feeds us through our journey and she waits for us to return to her. The Indian way is to recognize the earth as the place of our ancestors. That is why certain places on earth are considered sacred areas and sacred land; this is the place of our ancestors. We all need to reflect upon the earth, the place where our ancestors lived. We need to have love and respect for the earth.

My Creator, let me honor the place of our ancestors, Mother Earth.

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Journey To The Heart
February 10
Free Yourself from Manipulation

Learn to recognize passive-aggressive hits. Learn to recognize when other people have hidden agendas, when they’re trying to control or manipulate you. When we’re being controlled, we may feel guilty, obligated, indebted. In our muddled state, we agree to another’s wishes but we’re not sure why. Then we wander around feeling uncertain, unbalanced, confused.

The lesson still isn’t about them. The lesson is about how we respond. If their behavior, their energy, is affecting us that strongly, it’s because something in us needs to be healed. A part of us isn’t clear, is still mucked up by something old and outworn, such as guilt or fear. Once we heal ourselves, we will know how to deal with their energy, how to handle their passive-aggressive behavior and their attempts to control us. Then we can thank them for helping trigger our healing process, for helping us grow.

Everything that happens along the way is part of the journey. Everything can be incorporated into our healing process. All roads lead to growth.

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Today’s Gift
February 10

A bird does not sing because he has an answer. He sings because he has a song.
—Joan Walsh Anglund

Each of us has a song to sing, just as birds do. Part of knowing who we are is appreciating our own songs. Are our songs gentle like the robins, or are we brilliant leaders like the bluejay? Are we easy to be around like the sparrow, or do we radiate joy and laughter like the loon?

Each of these birds has something special to offer. So do we, with our own unique personalities and talents. What a waste it would be if the loon never dashed across the lake because he wanted to be a robin instead. It is important to learn who we are and to believe we are special in our own way. We give joy to the world around us when we sing our own songs.

Have I listened to my own song lately?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 10
Letting Go of Sadness

A block to joy and love can be unresolved sadness from the past.

In the past, we told ourselves many things to deny the pain: It doesn’t hurt that much…. Maybe if I just wait, things will change…. It’s no big deal. I can get through this…. Maybe if I try to change the other person, I won’t have to change myself.

We denied that it hurt because we didn’t want to feel the pain.

Unfinished business doesn’t go away. It keeps repeating itself, until it gets our attention, until we feel it, deal with it, and heal. That’s one lesson we are learning in recovery from codependency and adult children issues.

Many of us didn’t have the tools, support, or safety we needed to acknowledge and accept pain in our past. It’s okay. We’re safe now. Slowly, carefully, we can begin to open ourselves up to our feelings. We can begin the process of feeling what we have denied so long – not to blame, not to shame, but to heal ourselves in preparation for a better life.

It’s okay to cry when we need to cry and feel the sadness many of us have stored within for so long. We can feel and release these feelings.

Grief is a cleansing process. It’s an acceptance process. It moves us from our past, into today, and into a better future – a future free of sabotaging behaviors, a future that holds more options than our past.

God, as I move through this day, let me be open to my feelings Today, help me know that I don’t have to either force or repress the healing available to me in recovery. Help me trust that if I am open and available, the healing will happen naturally, in a manageable way.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 10
Say woohoo even if you don’t like where you are

“Once you get into the desert there’s no going back,” said the camel driver.” And when you can’t get back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”
–Paulo Coello, The Alchemist

Sometimes we get into situations and we can easily get out. We date someone, it’s not right for us, and we stop seeing that person. We experiment with drinking or drugs, decide that this isn’t for us, and we stop experimenting. We accept a job, it’s not what we want or hoped it would be, so we leave and find another.We may even marry someone who’s not right for us, and we get out. No children. No excessive property or financial entanglements. It’s a mistake. We’re sorry. There may be a few emotions involved, but correction is relatively painless and easy.

There are other times when it’s not easy. We don’t just date the person. We get married, have one or more children, and then realize we’ve made a mistake. We begin using alcohol or drugs, and wake up one day to find that our life is out of control. What we need to do is stop drinking, and it’s the very thing we can’t do, at least not without help. Or we accept the job or sign a contract, one with serious legal entanglements and consequences.

These are the situations that bring us to our knees. It is in these situations that we work out our destiny. If we’ve hit a point of no return with some situation in our lives, the only way out is through.

Surrender to the experience. You may not have bargained for this, may not have consciously desired it. Learn to say woohoo anyway. You’re meeting your destiny head-on. A spiritual adventure has just begun.

God, help me be gentle with others and myself as we each work out our destinies, karma, and fate. Give me the courage, help, insight, resilience, and grace to learn all the lessons I came here to face.

Activity: Write your memoirs. This is an extensive activity. If you take the time to do it, you will learn much about yourself. Break down your life into stories. Don’t worry about writing a literary masterpiece. Just break your life down into sections and write about what you learned. Write about what you went through– how you thought it would be, what it actually turned into, how you struggled against this, and how you finally saw the light and learned the lesson at hand. We all have ways of keeping a timeline of our lives, for instance, graduation, marriage, divorce, getting that big job, our sobriety date. This is a journal you may want to keep and add to for the rest of your life. It is your book of life. An interesting twist on this activity is to give your memoirs to your children, or ask your parents to do this activity as a gift. Reading your parents’ memoirs can be an enlightening and healing event.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 10

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.
—Shunryu Suzuki

As we travel the path of recovery, we are sometimes overwhelmed by a feeling of how much we lack. It rises within us as a feeling of inadequacy, emptiness, or loneliness. We are in pain because we feel like such beginners. Now we need to discard our competitive thinking, our drive to be on top, and accept another, wiser, way of seeing. The big difference is in being on the path of recovery rather than lost on some diversion, as we have been in the past. It is not important how far along we are or who is ahead of whom. The important thing is that we are on the path and experiencing the process.

In recovery, wisdom comes with staying a beginner. Then we remain open to further learning. In some sense this program and our mutual powerlessness are the great levelers. Once on the path, we are all equals.

Today, I will appreciate my vulnerability. It keeps me spiritually alive and growing.

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Daily TAO
February 10
RESOLUTION

Footsteps in the sand
Quickly washed away:
The seashore mind.

Going to the beach means walking in fresh air, listening to the sound of waves, feeling the grit of sand beneath our feet. The narrow ribbon between land and ocean is a perfect place to understand the mind of wisdom. Just as there is a dynamic balance between sand and water, so too is there a dynamic equilibrium between the quiescent and active sides of our minds. Just as the sand is constantly being washed, so too should we keep our minds free of lingering impressions.

We often let thoughts, regrets, doubts from past activities carry over into the present. This leads us to conflict. Instead of allowing this to happen, we should act without leaving consequences. This requires great thoroughness. Such completeness is challenging, but to succeed is to live perfectly. By resolving the problems of each day to our utmost satisfaction, we attain the sublime purity of a beach constantly washed by waves.

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Daily Zen
February 10

If you endeavor to embrace the Way through much learning, the Way will not be understood. If you observe the Way with simplicity of heart, great indeed is this Way.
– Sutra of Forty Two Chapters

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Food for Thought
February 10
Write Before You Eat

When you are tempted to grab an extra bite, stop and make contact with another OA member. If you cannot bring yourself to make the call, or if you make it and still want to eat, then try writing.

Before you take the bite, write down exactly how you are feeling, what you think the extra food will do for you, what the likely result will be, and how you will feel an hour later. It is a good idea to keep a pad of paper handy in the kitchen; you can grab a pencil instead of food.

Often the process of writing down exactly how you are feeling will reveal the hidden emotions which are masquerading as hunger and a desire to eat. You may discover that you are angry, or fearful, or lonely. Write the feelings and write the consequences of eating because of them.

Grant me insight, Lord, and self-understanding.

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