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

Daily Recovery Readings – February 23

Just For Today
February 23
Messages And Messengers

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

The Twelfth Tradition reminds us of the importance of putting “principles before personalities.” In recovery meetings, this might be paraphrased, “don’t shoot the messenger!” We often get the message confused with the messenger, and negate what someone shares at a meeting because we have personality conflicts with the person speaking.

If we are having problems with what certain people have to share at meetings, we might want to seek the guidance of our sponsor. Our sponsor can help us concentrate on what’s being said rather than who’s saying it. Our sponsor can also help us address the resentments that may be keeping us from acknowledging the value of some particular person’s recovery experience. It is surprising how much more we can get out of meetings when we allow ourselves to do as our Twelfth Tradition suggests, focusing on recovery principles rather than personalities.

Just for today: I will practice the principle of anonymity in today’s NA meeting. I will focus on the message of recovery, not the personality of the messenger.

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Daily Reflections
February 23
MYSTERIOUS PARADOXES

Such is the paradox of A.A. regeneration: strength arising out of complete defeat and weakness, the loss of one’s old life as a condition for finding a new one.
A.A. COMES OF AGE, p. 46

What glorious mysteries paradoxes are! They do not compute, yet when recognized and accepted, they reaffirm something in the universe beyond human logic. When I face a fear, I am given courage; when I support a brother or sister, my capacity to love myself is increased; when I accept a pain as part of the growing experience of life, I realize a greater happiness; when I look at my dark side, I am brought into new light; when I accept my vulnerabilities and surrender to a Higher Power, I am graced with unforeseen strength.  I stumbled through the doors of A.A. in disgrace, expecting nothing from life, and I have been given hope and dignity. Miraculously, the only way to keep the gifts of the program is to pass them on.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 23
A.A. Thought For The Day

Besides our jobs, our families, our friends and our sobriety, we have something else which many of us found through A.A. That’s faith in a Power greater than ourselves, to which we can turn for help: faith in that Divine Principle in the universe which we call God and which is on our side as long as we do the right thing.  There have been many days in the past when, if we had taken an inventory, we’d have found ourselves very much in the red, without sobriety and therefore without jobs, families, friends or faith in God. We now have these things because we’re sober. Do I make one resolution every day of my life–to stay sober?

Meditation For The Day

Love the busy life. It is a joy-filled life. Take your fill of joy in the Spring. Live outdoors whenever possible. Sun and air are nature’s great healing forces.  That inward joy changes poisoned blood into pure, healthy, life-giving flow. But never forget that the real healing of the spirit comes from within, from the close, loving contact of your spirit with God’s spirit.  Keep in close communion with God’s spirit day by day.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may learn to live the abundant life. I pray that I may enjoy a close contact with God this day and be glad in it.

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As Bill Sees It
February 23
To Deepen Our Insight, p. 54

It is necessary that we extricate from an examination of our personal relations every bit of information about ourselves and our fundamental difficulties that we can. Since defective relations with other human beings have nearly always been the immediate cause of our woes, including our alcoholism, no field of investigation could yield more satisfying and valuable rewards than this one.

Calm, thoughtful reflection upon personal relations can deepen our insight. We can go far beyond those things which were superficially wrong with us, to see those flaws which were basic, flaws which sometimes were responsible for the whole pattern of our lives.  Thoroughness, we have found, will pay–and pay handsomely.

12 & 12, p. 80

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Walk In Dry Places
February 23
We always have choices
Decision Making

Self-pity is often rooted in the strong feeling that people or conditions have victimized us.  “I never had a chance” and “You deceived me!” are common complaints that reveal self-pity.

It is astonishing and humbling to learn that we always have choices, even when other people or bad conditions are grinding us down.  One of the great discoveries of the Twelve Step movement is that alcoholics could begin to recover no matter how helpless they had become, no matter how far they had slid into defeat and despair. Once a decision was made to seek sobriety as a primary goal, other choices and decisions became possible.

We choose our attitudes and responses.  We have neither the power nor the right to control others, but we can choose to soften our attitudes toward them, and we can forgive and release people we don’t like.

We can always choose how we want to think and feel. It may take effort to break the habit of feeling victimized and sorry for ourselves, but our higher power will show us the way if we decide that is what we really want.

Nobody can ruffle my feathers today or make me feel oppressed and victimized.  I can always make choices that will enhance my sobriety and place me on a better footing for the days ahead.

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Keep It Simple
February 23

Hitch your wagon to a star.—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Millions of people are sober and have peace of mind through the Twelve Steps. Like the stars, the Steps are always there. At times, clouds block our view of the stars, but we know they are still there. Let’s view the Twelve Steps the same way.

It is said that the stars are the gate to heaven, that we pass through their beauty to get ready to enter heaven. The Twelve Steps are the gate to spirituality here on earth. We travel through their beauty on our way to a spiritual awakening. Hitch your wagon to the Steps, and get ready for the ride of a lifetime.

Prayer for the Day: I pray to remember that the Steps keep me sober. I pray that I will follow where the Steps take me.

Action For the Day: I’ll look at the stars tonight. I’ll think of them as symbols of my life touched by the Twelve Steps.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 23

I want to dance always, to be good and not evil, and, when it is all over, not to have the feeling that I might have done better.
—Ruth St. Denis

Our wants in life may be simple, or they may be complex. They may yet be confused in our minds, but the clarity will come if we’re patient. God has a way of giving us an “inner tug” when a certain direction beckons. Our responsibility is to follow that tug and trust it, fully. Too often we look back on our lives with regret. What is done, is done. We learned lessons from those mistakes. Every day is a new beginning. And we can close every day with no regrets when we have followed our consciences, that “inner tug” that beckons.

The opportunities will come today. Opportunities to be good or evil. Opportunities for making choices over which we will feel good or full of regret at the day’s close. Many of our choices will bring us closer to the satisfaction, the contentment with life that we all search for as women, as human beings. We need not fear coming to life’s close, wishing we had done more or better. Living each day in good conscience, waiting for the tug and following it, will ensure a life well lived.

My ego can block out the tug, if I let it. Or I can trust.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 23
EMPTY ON THE INSIDE

–She grew up around A.A. and had all the answers–except when it came to her own life.

So, divorced, I moved back home. Within a year I was under arrest for child endangerment. I had left my sleeping children home alone and gone to drink. They were removed from my custody and placed with my mother. Then started my rounds of the treatment centers. I could talk a good game. After all, I had grown up with A.A. I was the one the counselors asked to talk to other women who were reluctant to leave their kids long enough to go into treatment. I could give the whole speech: “We can’t be good mothers if we’re not sober.” The problem was, inside, I was relieved that my kids had to live with my mom. It was too hard ot be a parent. But I couldn’t tell people that–they might think I was a bad mom.

p. 515

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 23

Step Five – “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

The second difficulty is this: what comes to us alone may be garbled by our own rationalization and wishful thinking. The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comment and counsel on our situation, and there can be no doubt in our minds what that advice is. Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times have we heard well-intentioned people claim the guidance of God when it was all too plain that they were sorely mistaken. Lacking both practice and humility, they had deluded themselves and were able to justify the most arrant nonsense on the ground that this was what God had told them. It is worth noting that people of very high spiritual development almost always insist on checking with friends or spiritual advisers the guidance they feel they have received from God. Surely, then, a novice ought not lay himself open to the chance of making foolish, perhaps tragic, blunders in this fashion. While the comment or advice of others may be by no means infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still so inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves.

p. 60

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 23
THOUGHT

“I was a free-thinker before I knew how to think.”
— George Bernard Shaw

All of us are influenced by somebody. Not to be influenced is to remain an ignorant person. Most of us hinder our thinking, particularly around spiritual things, because of pride. We don’t like change. We find it hard to accept attitudes and opinions that differ from our own. Pride keeps us deaf and often stupid. However, the daily program of a lived spirituality encourages a variety of opinions and attitudes. We can learn from different customs, lifestyles and religions. We can be helped in our understanding of life by the stranger.

I know that I do not have all the answers. Perhaps you carry my answers. Today I am prepared to listen to you.

God, the sustainer of all religions and philosophies, help us to discover You in our differences.

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Bible Scriptures
February 23

Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!
Isaiah 5:11

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

“But he said, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God.'”
Luke 18:27

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:2

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Daily Inspiration
February 23

There is no better time than right now to do what we have been putting off. Lord, grant me motivation and focus that I may live so as to have no regrets about what I should have done.

If you feel the need to get even, try getting even with those that have helped you. Lord, free me from any thoughts of revenge because this only shuts the door to my own happiness.

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A Day At A Time
February 23

Reflection For The Day

The Twelve Steps teach us that as faith grows, so does security.  The terrifying fear of nothingness begins to subside.  As we work The Program, we find that the basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening.  We lose the fear of making decisions, for we realize that if our choice proves wrong, we can learn from the experience.  and should our decision be the right one, we can thank God for giving us the courage and the grace that caused us so to act.  Am I grateful for the courage and grace I receive from my Higher Power?

Today I Pray

I ask that I be given the power to act knowing that I have at least a half-chance to make the right decision and that I can learn from a wrong one.  for so long, decision-making seemed beyond my capabilities.  Now, I can find joy in being able to make choices.  Thank you, God, for courage.

Today I Will Remember

Freedom is choosing.

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One More Day
February 23

Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupations?
– Kahil Gibran

We may, at times, represent ourselves in an untrue fashion. This may happen when we are trying to impress someone who doesn’t know us well. We may unconsciously try to imitate another person. Yet in doing so we are not being faithful to the gift of our own uniqueness.

Our need to “prove ourselves” diminished only when self-esteem and self-awareness blossom. As we become more secure, we begin to honestly express ourselves and our faith. We no longer need heroes to worship; we can instead honor the gift of life.

I find comfort in the honest expression of my beliefs and feelings.

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One Day At A Time
February 23
HUMILITY

To the humble man, and to the humble man alone,  the sun is really a sun;  to the humble man,  and to the humble man alone,  the sea is really a sea.
–G.K. Chesterton

Before I started recovery, lack of clarity was all around me and within me. There was too much fear. I was unable to acknowledge: This is who I am, and this is what’s going on, no more, and no less. I was afraid to name my husband’s abusive behaviour. I was afraid to name my complicity in it. I was afraid to name who I was and what I wanted and needed, and I was afraid to name the behaviour of those around me who wanted me to fit into their mould. My husband was scared silly that one day the world would find out that we weren’t the perfect family.

So I was not humble. I kept nurturing the fog that covered what was really going on. And boy, was I good at it. I kind of had an inkling that something wasn’t right, so, semi-consciously, I made sure that my denial was watertight. I knew that if we pretended that we were a 100% perfect family, there might be suspicions. So I made sure I’d slip in a little problem here and there.

At one point, luckily, I allowed the bubble to burst. I started naming things, loud and clear. I named them to the police, I named them to my friends and family, I named them in my poetry. I started playing with another 12-step program.

But it took me another twelve years to name that I was an overeater. In those years I gained another 70 pounds (with some yoyo dieting thrown in, of course). Humbly admitting that, yes, really, I was an overeater, was the best thing I’ve done since ridding my family of my abusive spouse. I humbly admitted that I had been abusing myself with my eating behaviours. Now I can see clearly. (I can also see more clearly how wounded my ex spouse is, making it easier for me to work on forgiving him).
One day at a time …

I accept the gift of humility. I am not afraid anymore to look reality in the eye – and what I see is as right as the sun and the sea.

~ I.M.

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Journey to the Heart
February 23
Let Power Come Gently

Let your powers emerge gradually, gently.

Go gently on your path and look around. See what you have learned to define as power. See with the eyes of your heart.

You used to think you were powerful when you resisted your emotions, when you held back and didn’t express yourself. You thought power came from being who you thought you should be, instead of who you are. Now you have learned that only when you are who you really are, can true power emerge.

The powers you’ve discovered are many. Your power to be decent, loving, and kind. Your power to heal, to be gentle, to comfort others. Your power to see and know the truth, and at times to see more than you can see with your eyes. Your power to take your place in the dance of universal love, and let the universe dance for you.

These powers have been gifts. You’ve seen them. You understand them. You know they’re real. The choice to embrace and use them is yours.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day
February 23

“We’ve got to learn what’s going on today in the world, and we’ve got to get an education so we can survive.”
–Jimmy Jackson, OJIBWA

Indian people have the ability to adapt. In these modern times, we Native people must walk two roads. We must get educated so our people don’t lose. We need lawyers, doctors, nurses, foresters, scientists, educators, carpenters, welders. These skills are needed to help the people. While we are learning we need to remember to keep our culture, learn our dances, sing our songs, learn to speak our own language and maintain our culture for future generations.

Great Spirit, let my education never lack the meaning and value of Indian spirituality.

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Today’s Gift
February 23

I want to dance always, to be good and not evil, and, when it is all over, not to have the feeling that I might have done better.
—Ruth St. Denis

Our wants in life may be simple, or they may be complex. They may yet be confused in our minds, but the clarity will come if we’re patient. God has a way of giving us an “inner tug” when a certain direction beckons. Our responsibility is to follow that tug and trust it, fully. Too often we look back on our lives with regret. What is done, is done. We learned lessons from those mistakes. Every day is a new beginning. And we can close every day with no regrets when we have followed our consciences, that “inner tug” that beckons.

The opportunities will come today. Opportunities to be good or evil. Opportunities for making choices over which we will feel good or full of regret at the day’s close. Many of our choices will bring us closer to the satisfaction, the contentment with life that we all search for as women, as human beings. We need not fear coming to life’s close, wishing we had done more or better. Living each day in good conscience, waiting for the tug and following it, will ensure a life well lived.

My ego can block out the tug, if I let it. Or I can trust.

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The Language of Letting Go
February 23
Strength

We don’t always have to be strong.  Sometimes, our strength is expressed in being vulnerable. Sometimes, we need to fall apart to regroup and stay on track.

We all have days when we cannot push any harder, cannot hold back self-doubt, cannot stop focusing on fear, cannot be strong.

There are days when we cannot focus on being responsible. Occasionally we don’t want to get out of our pajamas. Sometimes, we cry in front of people. We expose our tiredness, irritability, or anger.

Those days are okay. They are just okay.

Part of taking care of ourselves means we give ourselves permission to “fall apart” when we need to. We do not have to be perpetual towers of strength. We are strong. We have proven that. Our strength will continue if we allow ourselves the courage to feel scared, weak, and vulnerable when we need to experience those feelings.

Today, God, help me to know that it is okay to allow myself to be human. Help me not to feel guilty or punish myself when I need to “fall apart.”

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 23
Learn to fly

Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.
–Erica Jong

There is always someone else to take the fall if our plans don’t work out: “I would have been more successful, but the economy was slow this year.” “Well, that sounds nice, but my therapist says that I should avoid too much stress.” “I wanted to do that, but my husband didn’t like the idea.”

What a frightening prospect it is to take your life into your own hands, to decide whether or not you will accept full responsibility for all of your actions and choices.

What an amazing– and sometimes terrifying– freedom complete responsibility for your actions brings! Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes we stumble and fall. But oh, the feeling when you finally get it right, when you decide to take that step and it works! That’s when you discover that those fragile butterfly wings on your back are not there just for ornamentation. You can fly!

Take charge of your life. Take responsibility for your actions. Ultimately no one chooses what you will do but you, anyway. Enjoy the freedom. You’ve had it all along.

God, help me take complete responsibility for my own actions. Give me the guidance and power, to steer my own course according to the dictates of my heart and my conscience.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
February 23

A man who studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green.
—Francis Bacon

Where do we direct our energy? Are we spending time and thought on how we have been wronged? on the unfairness of life? Those who consume their resources in this way have few left for growth and development. Their wounds stay open for years, and they block the healing.

What will we need to set aside our resentments and hateful attitudes? Perhaps we have been passively waiting for the other guy to make amends. That only puts our enemies in charge of us. It would be better if we could say, “I am going to move on. The change that is needed for me to heal will come from within me. I will not put my happiness in another’s hands.” More than revenge, we want a life worth living – for ourselves and the ones we love. We can give our energies to that.

Lift from me the desire for revenge. Replace it with the fullness of a healed life.

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Daily TAO
February 23
ADVERSITY

A tree hemmed in by giants
Requires tenacity to survive.

Times of adversity inevitably confront us all. We are denied influence, people will not listen to what we have to say, and we are restricted by circumstance. In this situation, followers of Tao must rely on their determination. Without that, they cannot emerge successfully from the danger.

During times of adversity, vision and determination decide the outcome. Mere doggedness never served anyone well. Observe carefully, and try to act. If you find yourself tested by the situation, take comfort in the fact that adversity frequently forces one to consolidate one’s resources. You can often emerge from adversity stronger than before. Don’t be overcome by fear. Take calculated risks if you must, or face danger if you have to. If your mind is focused to the utmost, you will triumph.

Without the difficulty of being hemmed in, the tree in the forest would not be forced to marshal its power to grow toward the light. It must truly bring forth all its inner strength to spread its branches. If it becomes grand, it is in part because of its suffering. Thus the times of adversity can be crucial to the development of one’s inner personality.

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Daily Zen
February 23

Within the Way there are no obstacles at all, not even a pinpoint of obstruction. There are, however, obstacles in training. These are all self-created and due to the grasping nature of our practice. The coarse obstacles we create are doubt, fear, and taking the Way to exist objectively. The more subtle are the concepts of attainment and various levels. The Way avoids nothing at all, so we may be grateful even for obstacles. Apart from obstacles, there is no training.
– Anon

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Food for Thought
February 23
Dependency

In the past, we used excess food as a crutch, and we developed a false dependency on it. We turned to unnecessary food to calm us down, to cheer us up, and to avoid facing our problems. As a cure-all, food let us down. Rather than solving our problems, overeating multiplied them.

As human beings, there are many times when we are weak and dependent. If we say we can go it alone, we are whistling in the dark and deluding ourselves. We need to rely on a Power greater than ourselves, but food is not that Power. What we need to find is the Power strong enough to sustain our dependency.

Accepting the fact that we are dependent, that we cannot manage our lives by ourselves–this is the beginning of recovery. We need to be humble, open, and willing to be led by those who have replaced their false dependency on food with a healthy dependency on God.

Lord, may I not be too proud to be dependent on You.

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