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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 24

Just For Today
February 24
A New Influence

“Personality change was what we really needed. Change from self-destructive patterns of life became necessary.”
—Basic Text, p. 15

In early life, most of us were capable of joy and wonder, of giving and receiving unconditional love. When we started using, we introduced an influence into our lives that slowly drove us away from those things. The further we were pushed down the path of addiction, the further we withdrew from joy, wonder, and love.

That journey was not taken overnight. But however long it took, we arrived at the doors of NA with more than just a drug problem. The influence of addiction had warped our whole pattern of living beyond recognition.

The Twelve Steps work miracles, its true, but not many of them are worked overnight. Our disease slowly influenced our spiritual development for the worse. Recovery introduces a new influence to our lives, a source of fellowship and spiritual strength slowly impelling us into new, healthy patterns of living.

This change, of course, doesn’t “just happen.” But if we cooperate with the new influence NA has brought to our lives, over time we will experience the personality change we call recovery. The Twelve Steps provide us with a program for the kind of cooperation required to restore joy, wonder, and love to our lives.

Just for today: I will cooperate with the new influence of fellowship and spiritual strength NA has introduced to my life, I will work the next step in my program.

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Daily Reflection
February 24
A THANKFUL HEART

“I try to hold fast to the truth that a full and thankful heart cannot entertain great conceits. When brimming with gratitude, one’s heartbeat must surely result in outgoing love, the finest emotion that we can ever know.”
—AS BILL SEES IT, p. 37

My sponsor told me that I should be a grateful alcoholic and always have “an attitude of gratitude”—that gratitude was the basic ingredient of humility, that humility was the basic ingredient of anonymity, and that “anonymity was the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” As a result of his guidance, I start every morning on my knees, thanking God for three things:  I’m alive, I’m sober, and I’m a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Then I try to live an “attitude of gratitude” and thoroughly enjoy another twenty-four hours of the A.A. way of life. A.A. is not something I joined; it’s something I live.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 24
A.A. Thought For The Day

When we came to our first A.A. meeting, we looked up at the wall at the end of the room and saw the sign: “But for the Grace of God.” We knew right then and there that we would have to call on the grace of God in order to get sober and get over our soul-sickness. We heard speakers tell how they had come to depend on a Power greater than themselves. That made sense to us and we made up our minds to try it. Am I depending on the grace of God to help keep me sober?

Meditation For The Day

Share your love, your joy, your happiness, your time, your food. Give freely with a glad, free heart and hand. Do all you can for others and back will come countless stores of blessings.  Sharing draws others to you. Take all who come as sent by God and give them a royal welcome. You may never see the results of your sharing. Today they may not need you, but tomorrow may bring results from the sharing you did today.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may make each visitor desire to return. I pray that I may never make anyone feel repulsed or unwanted.

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As Bill Sees It
February 24
The Answer in the Mirror, p. 225

While drinking, we were certain that our intelligence, backed by willpower, could rightly control our inner lives and guarantee us success in the world around us. This brave philosophy, wherein each man played God, sounded good in the speaking, but it still had to meet the acid test: How well did it actually work? One good look in the mirror was answer enough.

My spiritual awakening was electrically sudden and absolutely convincing. At once I became a part—if only a tiny part—of a cosmos that was ruled by justice and love in the person of God. No matter what had been the consequences of my own willfulness and ignorance, or those of my fellow travelers on earth, this was still the truth. Such was the new and positive assurance, and this has never left me.

1. 12 & 12, p. 37
2. Grapevine, January 1962

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Walk In Dry Places
February 24
Selfishness
Self-improvement

We’re told again and again that we have to be selfish about our own recovery, but this seems to be in conflict with the fact that selfishness is the root of our problem. How can selfishness be both good and bad?

The selfishness we need for recovery is a devotion to self-improvement, rather than the selfish indulgence that made us sick. One is a giving of ourselves, the other is frantic taking that leads to destruction. The person who seeks self-improvement is competing only against his or her former self. The sick brand of selfishness, on the other hand, is usually involved in unhealthy competition with others.

There is no easy way to test whether our selfishness is the right kind. If our conduct leads to long-term happiness and higher self-esteem, it is probably right. If it harms us or others, something is wrong. We can correct this by getting back to the basics of the program and pursing self-improvement rather than self-indulgence.

Just for today, I will take part in that which will obviously benefit everyone.

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Keep It Simple
February 24

“Failure is impossible.”
—Susan B. Anthony

Failure is an attitude. Having an attitude of failure can’t help us. It can only hurt us. If we’re not careful, it can grow into a way of life. So, when we feel like failures, we better look at our attitudes.

An attitude of failure often comes from making mistakes. But we can learn to see our mistakes as lessons. This turns mistakes into gains, not failures. Sometimes, we try to do things that just can’t be done.

When we act like we know everything, we’re going to fail. if we try to act like God, we’re going to fail.

We can’t control others. We can’t know everything. We’re not God. We’re human. If we act human, we’ve already won.

Prayer for the Day: Higher power, help me to learn from my attitudes. Whatever the outcome, help me learn.

Action for the Day: Facing our past “failures” is the first step to learning from them. I’ll talk to my sponsor about a past “failure” and the good that came from it.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 24

“The beauty of the world has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.”
—Virginia Woolf

Anguish is undoubtedly more familiar to us than is the beauty of laughter. We feel anguish over our failings; we feel anguish over our losses; we feel anguish over the attempts to succeed that beckon to us.

Anguish comes of fear. And we so hope to avoid it. However, it seasons us as women; it enriches us even while it momentarily diminishes us. It is a major contributor to the sum and substance of our lives. The anguish we experience prepares us to help others experience their own particular anguish.

Our laughter, too, must be savored and shared. And laughter builds more laughter. Laughter lends a perspective on our anguish. Life is made richer, fuller, by the ebb and flow, the laughter and the anguish in concert.

If only we could remember, when the anguish is present, that it is making our Spirits whole. That it, along with laughter, is a healer of the soul. That it lifts our load at the same time that it burdens us. That it prepares us to better receive life’s other gifts.

I can help someone else face anguish. It brings us together. It softens me. And it makes way for the laughter soon to come.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 24
EMPTY ON THE INSIDE

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

And I was a bad mom. I was a terrible mom. No, I didn’t beat them, and of course I told them I loved them. But the message my kids got from me was “Yes, I love you; now go away.” They had to be practically invisible in their own home. I had absolutely nothing to give them emotionally. All they wanted was my love and attention, and robbed me of the ability to give it. I was empty on the inside.

pp. 515-516

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 24

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

Our next problem will be to discover the person in whom we are to confide. Here we ought to take much care, remembering that prudence is a virtue which carries a high rating. Perhaps we shall need to share with this person facts about ourselves which no others ought to know. We shall want to speak with someone who is experienced, who not only has stayed dry but has been able to surmount other serious difficulties. Difficulties, perhaps, like our own. This person may turn out to be one’s sponsor, but not necessarily so. If you have developed a high confidence in him, and his temperament and problems are close to your own, then such a choice will be good. Besides, your sponsor already has the advantage of knowing something about your case.

pp. 60-61

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 24
SELF

“Wherever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.”
—William James

Part of my spiritual journey involves the discovery of “self”. For years I pretended to be what I was not; for years I pretended to be what I imagined myself to be; for years I pretended to be what you wanted me to be—always my real “self” eluded me.

Today I am beginning to know myself. I know my needs. I understand my strengths. I accept my weaknesses and I live with my confusions.  From the time I decided to put down the glass of alcohol, it progressively got better—but there is still a great deal I do not understand. Man’s inhumanity to man, the daily violence and suffering, my own personal greed, cowardice and arrogance—where does it come from? I don’t know and today that is okay. However, I still search; my suspicion is that the answer lies within my own insecurities.

In Your time, Master, may I grow in my understanding of self.

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Bible Scriptures
February 24

“Truly, I say to you, whoever says to the mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.”
—Mark 11:23-24

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
—I Corinthians 10:13

“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are … Beloved, we are God’s children now.”
—1 John 3:1-2

“He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.”
—Proverbs 17:27

“Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.”
—Proverbs 14:22

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Xtra Thoughts
February 24

“Turn a perceived risk into an asset.”
—Aaron Patzer

“Every feature has some maintenance cost, and having fewer features lets us focus on the ones we care about and make sure they work very well.”
—David Karp

“It’s not we need new ideas, but we need to stop having old ideas.”
—Edwin Land

“Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you.”
—Tony Hsieh

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”
—Thomas Edison

“Markets come and go. Good businesses don’t.”
—Fred Wilson

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Daily Inspiration
February 24

Talent is the ability to do easily that which others find difficult. Lord, help me to recognize and value the abilities that I have been given and use them gratefully.

Simple trust in God is all that is required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Lord, I love You. I trust in You. I am Your child.

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A Day At A Time
February 24

Reflection For The Day

I can banish fear by realizing the truth.  Am I afraid to be alone?  This fear can be banished by the realization that I am never alone, that god is always with me wherever I am and whatever I do.  Am I afraid that I won’t have enough money to meet my needs?  this fear can be banished by the realization that god is my inexhaustible, unfailing resource, now and always.  Today I have the power to change fear into faith.  Can I say with confidence, “I will trust, and will not be afraid … ?”

Today I Pray

That I may fear no evil, for God is with me.  that I may learn to turn to my Higher Power when I am afraid.  I pray diligently that my faith in god and trust in what He has in store for me is strong enough to banish the fears that undermine my courage.

Today I Will Remember

Turn fear into Faith.

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One More Day
February 24

“The future is like heaven—everyone exalts it but no one wants to go there now.”
–James Baldwin

There are people called futurist who specialize in studying trends and attitudes and who then form theories as to what the future will hold. Having a reasoned opinion about future needs is important for business, education, and industry. It’s probably not so important for us. We work harder to understand today and to discover what this day can hold for us.

We aren’t scientist or researchers; we are more like explorers who face uncharted territory. Each morning we’re unaware of all teh events and surprises that lie ahead, but we are the only ones who can choose the direction this day will take. We don’t want to and we don’t need to worry about the future because right now we have this gift of time to use for ourselves and for those who are close to us.

I will glory in this day and fill it with living.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day
February 24

“But each of us must find out for himself or herself what their gift is, so that they can use it in their life.”
—Jimmy Jackson, OJIBWAY

The old people say, everyone has a song to sing. This song is the reason we are on this earth. When we are doing what we came on this earth to do, we know true happiness. How will we know our song? Pray. Ask the Great Mystery, “What is it you want me to do during my stay on earth?” Ask. He will tell you. He will even help you develop yourself to accomplish His mission.

Great Spirit, help me find my song and let me sing it.

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One Day At A Time
February 24
~ ANIMAL TEACHERS ~

“For perhaps if the truth were known, we’re all a little blind, a little deaf, a little handicapped, a little lonely, a little less than perfect.  And if we can learn to appreciate and utilize the dog’s full potential, we will, together, make it in this life on earth.”
—Charlotte Schwartz

So many times it feels that what we are being asked is too great. We can barely care for ourselves so how can we possibly reach out our hand to another? How many times have we cried out for someone else to please “handle it” because we just weren’t able?

There are so many lessons that come by working with animals. They know nothing of dishonesty. They can’t lie. They force us to be honest with ourselves. They depend on us completely, even when we feel we have nothing to give. And our reward? Unconditional love. There is something extra special about a rescued animal. It is as though they know that their life was in darkest peril and they have been saved. The gratitude shows in their eyes, their kisses of devotion, their entire being. Any kindness shown is rewarded. I think this is no different than a member of OA, especially the new members. Any kindness, and the gratitude flows. These newbies know they too have been saved. So perhaps the next time you feel you have nothing to offer, and that what you have been asked is too great, take a moment to reflect on the moment you were ‘saved’. How did you feel the first time someone reached out to you?

One day at a time …
I can use the memory of my first encounters with OA to find the strength to reach out one more time. I know the rewards will be infinite.

~ Mary W. ~

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Journey to the Heart
February 24
There Is Power in Stillness

Our miracles and life’s magic don’t appear when we’re restless and frantic. The miracles and magic happen when we’re still, quiet, calm, and trusting.

Each of us has favorite items and places that help to calm and quiet us. What stills our mind? A walk in the park, a special place in the city, a quiet room? An old chenille robe? A rock, a cross, a picture, a lit candle?

Use these places and things to find that place of stillness in yourself. Find the power in stillness. It’s a power that comes gently, like the morning sunrise or the evening stars.

Take time each day to seek out stillness, to find that sacred spot. Let your mind and soul be at ease. Don’t grasp and grab for the magic and miracles. When you reside in that place of stillness, the joy, miracles, and magic you’re seeking will find you.

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Daily TAO
February 24
DIVISION

Problems cannot be
Resolved at once.
Slowly untie knots
Divide to conquer.

In order to solve problems, it is helpful to first understand whether they are puzzle, obstacle, or entanglement. A puzzle need only be analyzed carefully. It is like unraveling a ball of yarn and requires patience more than anything else. An obstacle must be overcome. We must use force and perseverance to either destroy or move away from what is blocking us. An entanglement mires us in a maze of limitations. This most dangerous of situations requires that we use all our resources to extricate ourselves as quickly as possible.

No matter what the problem, however, it is important not to take the thing on whole. Break it down into smaller, more easily handled components. Most problematic situations are combinations of puzzles, obstacles, and entanglements. By fracturing them into these more basic elements, they can be managed easily. Even the greatest of difficulties can be resolved when they are slowly reduced. Then the knots of life are untied as easily as if we had a magic charm.

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Touchstones
February 24

“It doesn’t happen all at once … You become. It takes a long time.”
—Margery Williams

Our spiritual awakening is partly a process of becoming real. We’re moving from the external controls of image and others’ opinions to the internal controls of honesty, listening to our inner voice, and having true relationships. We are shedding the games that maintained our old style of life—”macho” or “hero” or “poor me.”

In place of the old phony surface, we are developing a real relationship with ourselves. We are becoming more aware – of emotions, of need for rest, of violations of our values. Sometimes change comes in a flash of insight or a moment of sudden, piercing awareness, but more often it comes a little bit at a time. As we work the Steps, as we are true to our inner voice, as we keep returning to conscious contact with our Higher Power, as we get closer to our friends, we become more real to ourselves.

As I grow, I see that I was always real. I was just looking at the outside.

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Food for Thought
February 24
Values

What do I value most? What is number one in my life? What is at the center?

When I was overeating, I was the center. I was the biggest thing in my universe, and all else revolved around me – a frightening state of affairs, since egotism does not bring peace of mind or security. Self was most important to me, and that egotism was my downfall. When I fell off my high horse and hit bottom, I had nowhere to go except to something outside of myself.

As we compulsive overeaters take Step Two and come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity, then we begin to shift the center of our consciousness from ourselves to God. This is our only hope. As long as our weak selves are at the center, we cannot make real progress, either in controlling our addiction or in living useful lives.

When we hit bottom, we are humbled. When we are humbled, we are able to perceive and acknowledge that God is primary and that abstinence is our most important task. Values are sorted out and order brings inner peace and security.

You, Lord, are the center of my life.

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The Language of Letting Go
February 24
Recognizing Feelings

Experiencing feelings can be a challenge if we’ve had no previous experience or permission to do that. Learning to identify what we’re feeling is a challenge we can meet, but we will not become experts overnight. Nor do we have to deal with our feelings perfectly.

Here are some ideas that might be helpful as you learn to recognize and deal with feelings:

Take out a sheet of paper. On the top of it write, “If it was okay to feel whatever I’m feeling, and I wouldn’t be judged as bad or wrong, what would I be feeling?” Then write whatever comes to mind. You can also use the favorite standby of many people in discovering their feelings: writing or journaling. You can keep a diary, write letters you don’t intend to send, or just scribble thoughts onto a note pad.

Watch and listen to yourself as an objective third person might. Listen to your tone of voice and the words you use. What do you hear? Sadness, fear, anger, happiness?

What is your body telling you? Is it tense and rigid with anger? Running with fear? Heavy with sadness and grief? Dancing with joy?

Talking to people in recovery helps too. Going to meetings helps. Once we feel safe, many of us find that we open up naturally and with ease to our feelings.

We are on a continual treasure hunt in recovery. One of the treasures we’re seeking is the emotional part of ourselves. We don’t have to do it perfectly. We need only be honest, open, and willing to try. Our emotions are there, waiting to share themselves with us.

Today, I will watch myself and listen to myself as I go through my day. I will not judge myself for what I’m feeling; I will accept myself.

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Today’s Gift
February 24

“Thoughts—just mere thoughts—are as powerful as electric batteries—as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison.”
—Frances Hodgson Burnett

The truck was in mud to its axles. Three lumberjacks sat in stony silence in the cab. There they were, stuck in the woods on their way to the cutting site. The first man slammed the steering wheel, cursed, and stormed out of the truck. The second thought the early morning woods inviting and said he’d just crawl under a pine to nap until someone came along to pull them out. The third man, left alone, grabbed an axe and a saw and set about cutting wood to slide under the wheels. Within an hour he managed to pull the truck out of its muddy bath and they got on their way.

We can choose how we respond to an obstacle. As with the three men, our response may be to curse and give up, to sit back and wait for someone else to help us, or to set to work fearlessly to try to overcome it ourselves. The event itself isn’t important; how we think about it is.

Is there an obstacle in my way today?

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Daily Zen
February 24

The dharma of one mind has two doors.
What are those two?
The first is the door of the tathagata
And the second is the door of
Phenomenal change.
Together these two doors are
The summation of all dharmas.
—Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana

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