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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.

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

Daily Recovery Readings – February 2

Just For Today
February 2
Goodwill

“Goodwill is best exemplified in service; proper service is doing the right thing for the right reason.”
—Basic Text p. ix

The spiritual core of our disease is self-centeredness. In dealing with others, the only motive our addiction taught us was selfishness — we wanted what we wanted when we wanted it. Obsession with self was rooted in the very ground of our lives. In recovery, how do we root self-obsession out?

We reverse the effects of our disease by applying a few very simple spiritual principles. To counteract the self-centeredness of our addiction, we learn to apply the principle of goodwill. Rather than seeking to serve only ourselves, we begin serving others. Rather than thinking only about what we can get out of a situation, we learn to think first of the welfare of others. When faced with a moral choice, we learn to stop, recall spiritual principles, and act appropriately.

As we begin “doing the right thing for the right reason;” we can detect a change in ourselves. Where once we were ruled by self-will, now we are guided by our goodwill for others. The chronic self-centeredness of addiction is losing its hold on us. We are learning to “practice these principles in all our affairs”; we are living in our recovery, not in our disease.

Just for today: Wherever I am, whatever I do, I will seek to serve others, not just myself. When faced with a dilemma, I will try to do the right thing for the right reason.

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Daily Reflections
February 2
RESCUED BY SURRENDERING

Characteristic of the so-called typical alcoholic is a narcissistic egocentric core, dominated by feelings of omnipotence, intent on maintaining at all costs its inner integrity…. Inwardly the alcoholic brooks no control from man or God. He, the alcoholic, is and must be the master of his destiny. He will fight to the end to preserve that position.
A.A. COMES OF AGE, p.311

The great mystery is: “Why do some of us die alcoholic deaths, fighting to preserve the ‘independence’ of our ego, while others seem to sober up effortlessly in A.A.?” Help from a Higher Power, the gift of sobriety, came to me when an otherwise unexplained desire to stop drinking coincided with my willingness to accept the suggestions of the men and women of A.A. I had to surrender, for only by reaching out to God and my fellows could I be rescued.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 2
A.A. Thought For The Day

We got a kick out of the first few drinks, before we got stupefied by alcohol. For a while, the world seemed to look brighter. But how about the letdown, the terrible depression that comes the morning after? In A.A., we get a real kick, not a false feeling of exhilaration, but a real feeling of satisfaction with ourselves and self-respect. And a feeling of friendliness toward the world. We got a sort of pleasure from drinking. For a while we thought we were happy. But it’s only an illusion. The hangover the next day is the opposite of pleasure. In A.A., am I getting real pleasure and serenity and peace?

Meditation For The Day

I will practice love, because lack of love will block the way. I will try to see good in all people, those I like and also those who fret me and go against the grain. They are all children of God. I will try to give love, otherwise how can I dwell in God’s spirit, whence nothing unloving can come? I will try to get along with all people, because the more love I give away, the more I will have.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may do all I can to love others, in spite of their many faults. I pray that as I love, so will I be loved.

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As Bill Sees It
February 2
Foundation For Life, p. 33

We discover that we receive guidance for our lives to just about the extent that we stop making demands upon God to give it to us on order and on our terms.

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

In praying, we ask simply that throughout the day God place in us the best understanding of His will that we can have for that day, and that we be given the grace by which we may carry it out.

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

There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life.

12 & 12
1. p. 104
2. p. 102
3. p. 98

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Walk In Dry Places
February 2
Why do you need those meetings?
Staying active.

Friends and relatives are often grateful when they witness an alcoholic’s dramatic recovery after years of horror and pain. However, they sometimes fail to understand the importance of meetings after the alcoholic has been sober for months or years. “Do you have to go to another meeting this week?” a spouse might say, “You’re sober now. Why do you need THOSE people?”

Some AA members probably do use the meetings simply as a social outlet and attend more than they need. But no other person can really determine what you or I need to maintain sobriety. Moreover, even in sobriety, we are always dealing with alcohol, which can come back into our lives with stunning force if we ever become careless or foolish. It is much better to go to more meetings than we need than to attend too few or none at all.

There is another side as well. The meetings need us. By attending meetings, we are carrying the AA message and providing a haven for desperate newcomers who need our help.

However, we should be tolerant and understanding when others are critical of our zealous attendance of meetings. It is not necessary that they understand our need. It is only necessary that we understand!

I will remember today that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. I don’t want to change anything—-including meeting attendance—-, which is necessary for my continued sobriety.

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Keep It Simple
February 2

We must believe the things we teach our children.
——-Woodrow Wilson

It may be easy to say the words and phrases we’ve heard without really meaning them. Someone says something at a meeting that sounds good. Our counselor has a favorite saying. We may say these words, but are we taking the time to ask the question. Do I believe what I’m saying?

Step Two speaks of, “Came to believe…” By really believing in the Twelve Steps, we let them become part of us. The more we believe in the Steps the more we turn our lives over to them. Hopefully, over time, the Twelve Steps will guide us more and more. We’ll speak to our family with respect we’ve found in the Twelve Steps. Our spirit must truly believe. Then we can work the Steps.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, believing is something that lasts a lifetime. Give me the power to believe even when doubt creeps in.

Action for the Day: My beliefs are changing. Today, in my inventory, I’ll ask: Do I believe what I said today?

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 2

What most of us want is to be heard, to communicate.
–Dory Previn

Our personhood is denied; the self we are presenting to the word is negated each time we speak, yet go unheard. “The greatest gift we can give one another is rapt attention.” If we want attention, we must also give it. That means letting go of all extraneous thoughts when we’re in conversation with someone. We cannot expect to get from others what we are unable or unwilling to give.

Being heard and hearing another person is more than just listening. It’s letting ourselves be touched, in an intimate way, by the other’s words. We don’t want judgment, or shame, or to be discounted when we share who we are with another. We want to know that we have been intimately heard. And when we have a chance to hear another, we listen intently for the words meant for us, words that will stretch our womanhood and bring us closer to our inner selves as well.

The beauty of hearing each other is that it helps us to hear ourselves. We know better who we are when we listen to one another. Every conversation offers us a chance to be real, to help another person be real.

Rapt attention is my greatest gift. If I want to receive it, I must give it.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 2
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

When I had finished talking, he told me something simple: “You don’t have to drink over it.” What an idea! I had thought that situations made me drink. If I was angry, I drank. If I was happy, I drank. Bored or excited, elated or depressed, I drank. Here was a man telling me that, independent of my life situation, I did not have to drink. If I stuck with A.A., I could stay sober under any and all conditions. He gave me hope, and in many ways, he symbolized the door through which I finally walked into Alcoholics Anonymous.

pp. 428-429

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 2

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

But it became apparent that the word-of-mouth method was too limited. Our work, as such, needed to be publicized. The A.A. groups would have to reach quickly as many despairing alcoholics as they could. Consequently, many groups began to hold meetings which were open to interested friends and the public, so that the average citizen could see for himself just what A.A. was all about. The response to these meetings was warmly sympathetic. Soon, groups began to receive requests for A.A. speakers to appear before civic organizations, church groups, and medical societies. Provided anonymity was maintained on these platforms, and reporters present were cautioned against the use of names or pictures, the result was fine.

p. 186

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Xtra Thoughts
February 2

While it isn’t always easy, if I keep it simple, it works.

I hold firm to faith, so that nothing will weaken my commitment to live in God’s light.
–Shelley

Regardless of what has happened or whether we understand, we can open ourselves to God’s protection and grace.
–John Morton

It is in the silence of the heart that God speaks.
–Mother Teresa

He who knows the precepts by heart, but fails to practice them, Is like unto one who lights a lamp and then shuts his eyes.
–Nagarjuna

Listen or thy tongue will keep thee deaf.
–American Indian Proverb

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

The heart is wiser than the intellect.
–Josiah Holland (1819-1881)

Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.
–Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 2
WORK

“We work to become, not to acquire.”
— Elbert Hubbard

I believe it is easier to get well than it is to stay sick — but we must be prepared to work for our sobriety. We need to confront the disease and discover the “person ” that God created. The road to recovery is rewarding because we cast aside those aspects of our character that have been destroying us and discover our strengths, virtues and God-given spirituality.

For years I worked for money or for security or for acclaim — today I am working on myself for myself. I work at discovering God in His world, and I am also finding God in my life. I realize that my creative work coincides with God’s will for the world.

Thank You for the gift of work that enables me to discover more of me.

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Bible Scriptures
February 2

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
James 4:10

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
1 John 2:1-6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:5-7

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Daily Inspiration
February 2

Enjoy God. Lord, I hand over all of my cares to You so that for this moment I am peacefully free.

God sends us His message, but we must be willing to receive it and then live it. Lord, when I yield to You, I become free and full of the richness of life.

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A Day At A Time
February 2

Reflection For The Day

Looking back, I realize just how much of my life has been spent in dwelling upon the faults of others.  It provided much self-satisfaction, to be sure, but I see now just how subtle and actually perverse the process became.  After all was said and done, the net effect of dwelling on the so-called faults of others was self-granted permission to remain comfortably unaware of my own defects.  Do I still point my finger at others and thus self-deceptively overlook my own shortcomings?

Today I Pray

May I see that my preoccupation with the faults of others is really a smokescreen to keep me from taking a hard look at my own, as well  as a way to bolster my own failing ego.  May I check out the “why’s” of my blaming.

Today I Will Remember

Blame-saying
Is game-playing

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One More Day
February 2

Every calamity is a spur and valuable hint.
–  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Events which felt like calamities when we were young have little importance as we get older.  Experiences we have labeled “disastrous” — not having a date for the prom or failing a math test — now are unimportant or possible even amusing.

Understanding that many events have only brief importance can help us view current problems more realistically.  Not having enough money at the end of the month, family disagreements, and even a flare-up or worsening of a chronic illness are all very important, and they require our attention or adjustment.  But we deal with these problems better because we’re learned that few, if any, problems are really “disastrous”  They’re inconvenient or even painful, but our lives can accommodate them.  We go on.

I won’t see calamities in today’s problems and inconveniences.

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One Day At A Time
February 2
~ Love ~

The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved.
–Victor Hugo

All of my life I felt unloved. Deep in my soul I was also convinced that I was unworthy of love. Nonetheless I craved love deeply.

In a desperate attempt to feel OK, I forsook the God of my childhood and declared that there was no God. I spiralled further and further into the depths of despair, unable to feel or give love. In my downward spiral, I turned to food to block feelings of unworthiness.

I entered Program dying of addiction as well as the deep sorrow of the loveless. I thought I was different from everyone else, that no one could possibly understand me. I had no peers, no real friends.

However, once in Program I found others just like me! I started to belong and to develop true friendships. In my desire to belong, I worked the Twelve Steps as others did and found a God of My Understanding. GOMU is a loving God. This God supports and guides me while as helping me learn to give and receive love. Love has brought me back to life.

One day at a time …
Hand-in-hand with my Higher Power, I love and am loved.

~ Michel ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – February 2

“Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood and so it is everything where power moves.”
–Black Elk (Hehaka sapa), OGLALA SIOUX

In these modern times it is difficult to understand why we should think circles and seasons. People and society are always moving, through distance, over yonder, going here and going there-hurry up, grow up, be successful, climb the ladder of success, etc. The Elders tell us to slow down, to be patient, pray and think circles. Circle thinking applies to relationships, business and every area of our lives. We need to teach our awareness to look for seasons and cycles.

My Creator, teach me the seasons of growth.

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Journey To The Heart
February 2
Cherish Today’s Lessons

“I’m brokenhearted about my divorce,” the man said. “I’ve spent four years searching for a new wife, trying to recreate my family, trying to jam the pieces of the picture back in place. All I’ve gotten from my desperate search is more pain and anguish. It’s hurt other people. It’s hurt me. I’m tired of trying to manipulate other people to meet my own needs, to postpone my own grief.

Some of us may be desperately trying to recreate the life we once had. But fear, pain, and the desperation won’t attract the answer we’re seeking. Desperation attracts desperation. Pain attracts pain. And so the downward spiral goes. Yes, loss hurts. Sometimes life hurts,too. But loss can’t be negotiated. Becoming obsessed with putting the pieces back in place is an understandable reaction, but it won’t work. Yesterday cannot be superimposed on today. We need to go one step further.

Feel the obsession, and let it go. Feel the desperation, then release that. Come back to the lessons of today. They’re different from the lessons of yesterday, but just as valuable.

We face many losses along the way. People we love disappear from our lives, we may lose a career, money, or something else we valued. We can lose our dreams,too. But looking for quick replacements as a way to avoid feeling pain about the loss won’t work. And we’ll miss the lessons. Before we can go on, we must feel our sadness about what we lost. Losses demand acceptance.

Eventually life will send you new people and new dreams. Cherish this time to grow and learn. Cherish what the universe is teaching you now.

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Today’s Gift
February 2

Fear is the absence of faith.
—Paul Tillich

We all experience fear. Sometimes we fear small things that only seem large at the time, like a test in school, or meeting a new boss, or going to the dentist. Sometimes we fear big things like serious illness or death, or that someone we love will come to harm. Fear is healthy, and we all feel it. It keeps us from doing foolish things sometimes, but too much fear can also keep us from doing what we need for our growth.

If we have faith in God and in ourselves, we can turn and face whatever frightens us, believing we can, with help, do what seems impossible. And we will, and the fear will vanish. The important first step in dealing with fear is to take action–either by tackling what we fear ourselves, or by asking for help. Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.

What am I most afraid of?

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Language of Letting Go
February 2
Trusting Our Higher Power

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
—Step Three of Al-Anon

So much talk about a Higher Power, God, as we understand God. So much joy as we come to understand Him. Spirituality and spiritual growth are the foundations of change. Recovery from codependency is not a do-it-yourself task.

Is God a relentless taskmaster? A hardhearted, shaming wizard with tricks up the sleeve? Is God deaf? Uncaring? Haphazard? Unforgiving?

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 2
Let go of unreasonable fears

We had planned on this day for a month. Now it had finally arrived. Mr friend and I were going kayaking in the ocean– it was going to be a first for us both.

We had the kayak and the life preservers. He showed up at the house, ready to go. The sun was shining, and the surf was pounding gently enough to be safe. He had gotten himself all ready for his event. He was wearing a hat, a Hawaiian shirt, and big floppy sandals on his feet.

We put on our life jackets. The man showed up at the door to train us in the proper way to kayak. First it was my turn. I was scared, but not too scared. I knew if we turned over, I’d just float.

I jumped in. The instructor pushed us out before the big wave came. He jumped in. We paddled like heck. When the big wave came, I yelled “ahh” and raised my oar high over my head, like the man said, to be safe. We went through three more of these waves. They looked big. I was scared each time. But soon we passed the surf, and we came to a quiet, clear place. We paddled around for a while. Then it was time to go back to shore and train my friend. I was excited. A little more training, and my friend and I would be ready to go out on the boat together.

I got out of the kayak. My instructor held the boat. My friend began to climb in, so they could push out. Just then a wave came. My friend got nervous and shaky. He screamed. The boat turned over. He fell out.

He lay there in the surf. The boat slipped over close to his head. He started screaming some more.

“It’s just a piece of plastic,” I said quietly. “All you have to do is move it away.”

“I’m drowning,” he said, gasping mouthfuls of water.

“No, your not,” I said. “You’re still on the shore. You’ve got water in your mouth from screaming. All you really need to do is sit up.”

My friend sat up. The instructor politely said the waves were getting a little high, and he didn’t think he’d be able to train my friend that day, and then he left. My friend and I quietly put the kayak away.

Sometimes, saying woohoo means working through our fears. Fear can be a good thing. It can signal danger and protect us. Sometimes our fears are bigger than life and bigger than they need be.

Many of us have panic and anxiety attacks. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. But sometimes we can calm ourselves down by reinforcing a little reality. Maybe we’re not really drowning after all. Maybe all we have to do to save our lives is just sit up.

Explain to yourself that your fears are unrealistic and you don’t need to be that afraid. Instead of screaming for help and upsetting yourself, learn to calm yourself down.

God, help me let go of my unreasonable fears, the ones that are preventing me from living my life.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 2

To be alive is power,Existing in itself,
Without a further function,
Omnipotence enough.
—Emily Dickinson

Being a person, a man, in this world is an amazing gift. A spiritual awakening promised by this program is open to us. But today, not all of us feel powerful and alive. We may feel weak, inadequate to our task, perplexed, or stymied. Is this a day in which we are filled with exuberance for the gift of life? Or is this a day when we’re feeling subdued by life’s burdens?

Perhaps we need to evaluate our perspective. Are we trying to control something or someone? Are we acting as if the world should be as we want rather than as it is? Have our individual wills exceeded their natural bounds and spoiled the simple joy of being “without a further function”?

May I find the pleasure and exuberance today that come with being alive. The simple power to be a person is “omnipotence enough.”

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Daily TAO
February 2
DEFENSE

Demons who enter your circle
Must be pushed out.

No matter what world you walk in — office, school, temple, prison, or the streets — there is an underworld populated with demons. These are people who are avaricious, aggressive, sadistic, and cynical. They not only take advantage of others without compunction, they delight in it. They find pleasure in seeing others suffer.

The why of it cannot be answered. There is only the fact, with no metaphysical meaning or other ramifications. It is not karma, it is not fate. If these people decide to attack you, it is circumstance. You must fight or be mowed down.

Compassion and humility may be among the most treasured of human virtues, but they are not useful in conflict. A beautiful gold statue of your most adored god is a treasure, but you would not use it as a weapon. Virtue is to be value in the proper context; only a sword will do in battle.

Whether an attack is physical — assault, rape, murder — or whether it is mental — business intrigues, emotional abuse — you must be prepared. It is best to prepare for conflict by learning as much self-defense as possible. You will not become a bully or a monster, but instead, you will learn that you an respond to any situation. If you are never attacked, that will be wonderful. Training will still help you work out your fears, inhibitions, and anxieties. In the case of conflict, no one, not even a veteran, is ever sure that they will come out alive from a confrontation. But they resolve to go in there and give themselves a fighting chance. This in itself is a triumph over evil.

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Daily Zen
February 2

Gain and renown are hindrances
To students of the Way;
They taint our purity of heart.
Uncentered, how can we comprehend Tao?

– Loy Ching-yuen ( 1879-1960’s)

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Food for Thought
February 2
Giving Thanks

I am a grateful compulsive overeater, abstaining just for today. I am thankful for my life, for the chance to grow and solve problems and love and enjoy what is beautiful. I give thanks for the insights, which have come out of struggle and despair.

I am thankful for OA. Without it, I would still be isolated in a hopeless attempt to control overeating my way, by myself. I give thanks for the serenity and joy which increase daily as I follow the OA program. I give thanks for the love and support, which come to me from fellow members.

Especially, I am thankful for abstinence. By choosing and accepting this gift, I enter a new world of freedom. No longer am I driven by compulsion. I give thanks for the work and play and love which abstinence makes possible.

Accept my thanks.

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In God’s Care
February 2

The first duty of love is to listen.
~~Paul Tillich

To be a better listener is a simple decision to make, but not so easy to cary out. How quickly our mind is distracted from a friend to an interesting looking stranger or to a tantalizing fragment of conversation from across the room. The person asking for our attention is not there by accident. As we attend to the moment, we learn our part in God’s plan–our next steps. When we listen closely to what someone is saying, we pay homage to God by the simple act of honoring another person’s worth.

Each day is vibrant with opportunity meant to bless our life. And every opportunity is known and available to us when we listen with our ears, our mind, and our heart. We grow in our understanding of God’s love every time we quiet our mind to all but the message in each moment.

I can be attentive and quiet while in the presence of God shining through the words of my friends today.

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