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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 26

Just For Today
February 26
Remorse

“The Eighth Step offers a big change from a life dominated by guilt and remorse.”
Basic Text, p. 38

Remorse was one of the feelings that kept us using. We had stumbled our way through active addiction, leaving a trail of heartbreak and devastation too painful to consider. Our remorse was often intensified by our perception that we couldn’t do anything about the damage we had caused; there was no way to make it right.

We remove some of the power of remorse when we face it squarely. We begin the Eighth Step by actually making a list of all the people we have harmed. We own our part in our painful past.

But the Eighth Step does not ask us to make right all of our mistakes, merely to become willing to make amends to all those people. As we become willing to clean up the damage we’ve caused, we acknowledge our readiness to change. We affirm the healing process of recovery.

Remorse is no longer an instrument we use to torture ourselves. Remorse has become a tool we can use to achieve self-forgiveness.

Just for today: I will use any feelings of remorse I may have as a stepping-stone to healing through the Twelve Steps.

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Daily Reflections
February 26
NO ORDINARY SUCCESS STORY

A.A. is no success story in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a story of suffering transmuted, under grace, into spiritual progress.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 35

Upon entering A.A. I listened to others talk about the reality of their drinking: loneliness, terror and pain.  As I listened further, I soon heard a description of a very different kind–the reality of sobriety. It is a reality of freedom and happiness, of purpose and direction, and of serenity and peace with God, ourselves and others. By attending meetings, I am reintroduced to that reality, over and over. I see it in the eyes and hear it in the voices of those around me. By working the program I find the direction and strength with which to make it mine. The joy of A.A. is that this new reality is available to me.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 26
A.A. Thought For The Day

When we came into A.A., we came to believe in a Power greater than ourselves. We came to believe in that Divine Principle in the universe which we call God, and to whom we could turn for help. Each morning we have a quiet time. We ask God for the power to stay sober for the next twenty-four hours. And each night we thank Him for helping us to keep sober for that day. Do I believe that each man or woman I see in A.A. is a demonstration of the power of God to change a human being from a drunkard to a sober person?

Meditation For The Day

I should pray for more faith as a thirsty man prays for water in a desert. Do I know what it means to feel sure that God will never fail me? Am I sure of this as I am sure that I still breathe? I should pray daily and most diligently that my faith may increase. There is nothing lacking in my life because really all I need is mine, only I lack the faith to know it. I am a king’s son who sits in rags and yet all around me are stores of all I could desire.

Prayer For The Day

I pray for the realization that God has everything I need.  I pray that I may know that His power is always available.

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As Bill Sees It
February 26
One Fellowship–Many Faiths, p.223

As a society we must never become so vain as to suppose that we are authors and inventors of a new religion. We will humbly reflect that every one of A.A.’s principles has been borrowed from ancient sources.

A minister in Thailand wrote, “We took A.A.’s Twelve Steps to the largest Buddhist monastery in this province, and the head priest said, “Why, these Steps are fine! For us as Buddhists, it might be slightly more acceptable if you had inserted the word ‘good’ in your Steps instead of ‘God.’ Nevertheless, you say that it is God as you understand Him, and that must certainly include the good.  Yes, A.A.’s Twelve Steps will surely be accepted by the Buddhists around here.'”

St. Louis oldtimers recall how Father Edward Dowling helped start their group; it turned out to be largely Protestant, but this fazed him not a bit.

A.A. Comes Of Age
1. p. 231
2. p. 81
3. p. 37

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Walk In Dry Places
February 26
The Fix that Never was
Recovery

In all of the despair and defeat that went along with drinking, most of us held to the ideal of a “fantastic fix”—– a drinking experience so fulfilling and complete that it would solve our problems and leave us searching no more.

Compulsive disorders, like alcoholism seem to include this delusion. The gambler looks for the big score, the overeater seeks the total enjoyment of food, and the sex junkie searches for the perfect partner. But the search never ends, because our compulsions always drive us to seek stronger wine and greater excitement.

The only fix that will ever work has to be rooted in sobriety and right living. When we think and live properly, free from addiction, we find a fix that really works. We find continuous satisfaction instead of soaring excitement, sound relationships with other people instead of ego-gratifying encounters, and purpose instead of drifting.

The peak experience we had been seeking is a fix that never can be. We can be truly “fixed” only by staying sober.

I will live calmly and gratefully today, forgetting the drive for excitement that was destroying me. My Higher Power knows who I am and what I should be doing.

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Keep It Simple
February 26

Forewarned. forearmed: being prepared is half the victory.
—Miguel de Cervantes

Ther will be hard times in our program. There will be hard times in our lives. That’s the way the life is. It helps if we accept this. Then we can prepare for tough times. We can prepare by getting a good set of habits and sticking to them. We can make it a habit to give time to our program each day. Sticking to good habits is like having a savings account: when hard times come, we can take the “investment” we’ve made and overcome our problems.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me accept that there will be hard times. Help me prepare for them. With Your help, I’ll stay close to You, my friends, and the program.

Action for the Day: I’ll put something into my program “savings account” today. I’ll make that extra call. I’ll read a little longer or go to an extra meeting.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 26

Happiness is a byproduct of an effort to make someone else happy.
—Gretta Brooker Palmer

We have striven for happiness, generally in self-centered ways. We expected others to favor us with their attention, for example. Or we waited for invitations or gifts. We have probably tried to buy happiness with the purchase of a new dress or shoes. Fleeting moments of happiness were gained, that’s all. And soon we were discontent once again. And the search was begun anew.

But things have changed for some of us. We are learning, maybe slowly, how to find a more permanent happiness. And we know the happiness that comes from “getting” is elusive. Giving to others, giving attention, sharing hope, sharing our own stories, listening to theirs, is the key to finding the happiness for which we’ve searched so long. We must get outside of ourselves and focus on another’s joy or sorrow. Only then do we get a clear perspective on who we are and the necessary role we play in the lives of others who need our attention and who have a message we also need to hear.

The creative power stirring in me needs recognition. Looking deeply into another person, listening intently to the stirring will elicit joy. I will feel in touch with my own creative power, a lasting thrill, not a fleeting moment of happiness.

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Alcoholic’s Anonymous
February 26
EMPTY ON THE INSIDE

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

Near the end, I was living in an attic apartment; the money was long gone. It was November, cold and gray. When I woke up at 5:30, it was gray outside. Was it 5:30 a.m. or 5:30 p.m.? I couldn’t tell. I looked out the window, watching people. Were they going to work? Or coming home? I went back to sleep. When I woke again, it would either be light or dark. Opening my eyes, after what seemed like hours, it was only 5:45. And gray. I was twenty-eight years old.

pp. 516

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 26

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

The real tests of the situation are your own willingness to confide and your full confidence in the one with whom you share your first accurate self-survey. Even when you’ve found the person, it frequently takes great resolution to approach him or her. No one ought to say the A.A. program requires no willpower; here is one place you may require all you’ve got. Happily, though, the chances are that you will be in for a very pleasant surprise. When your mission is carefully explained, and it is seen by the recipient of your confidence how helpful he can really be, the conversation will start easily and will soon become eager. Before long, your listener may well tell a story or two about himself which will place you even more at ease. Provided you hold back nothing, your sense of relief will mount from minute to minute. The dammed-up emotions of years break out of their confinement, and miraculously vanish as soon as they are exposed. As the pain subsides, a peaceful tranquility takes its place. And when humility and serenity are so combined, something else of great moment is apt to occur. Many an A.A., once agnostic or atheistic, tells us that it was during this stage of Step Five that he first actually felt the presence of God. And even those who had faith already often become conscious of God as they never were before.

pp. 61-62

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Xtra Thoughts
February 26

Don’t find fault, find a remedy. Anybody can complain.
– Henry Ford

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.
– Steve Jobs

When you are small, you have to be very focused and rely on your brain, not your strength.
– Jack Ma

When you’re a one man show you have to focus on the most important thing to get done today.
– Noah Everett

Running a startup is like being punched in the face repeatedly, but working for a large company is like being waterboarded.
– Paul Graham

No more romanticizing about how cool it is to be an entrepreneur. It’s a struggle to save your company’s lilfe – and your own skin – every day of the week.
– Spencer Fry

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 26
UNIQUENESS

“Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based upon excellence of performance.”
— James Bryant Conant

Everybody has a gift and a special feature that is unique to themselves. Unfortunately so many people are so busy admiring the gifts of others that they miss their own; they are so caught up in the lives of others that they miss the “specialness” of their own existence. One of the symptoms of my alcoholism was low self-esteem. Of course I acted a role of confidence. I pretended that everything was okay. I wore the mask of success — but deep within myself, I was always waiting for the world to find out that I was a fake, that something was missing in my life.

In recovery I have discovered God’s powerful gift of spirituality and I know that through my life a uniqueness exists in the world. I have the capacity to make the day better — not only for myself but also for others.

Thank You for the “specialness” of my life.

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Bible Scriptures
February 26

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Proverbs 12:18

We love because [God] first loved us.
1 John 4:19

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Psalms 55:22

“Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. ”
Matthew 22:37-39

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Daily Inspiration
February 26

Lift yourself above the seriousness of life by keeping a gentle sense of humor. Lord, You have made me one of a kind. Help me to enjoy who I am.

No one can live for himself alone for then he will have no purpose in life. To give of self is one of life’s greatest joys and blesses us with a full and rich life. Lord, help me to be selfless and loving to those around me.

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A Day At A Time
February 26

Reflection For The Day

“What if…”  How often we hear these words from newcomers to The Program.  How often, in fat,we tend to say them ourselves.  “What if I lose my job?”  “What if my car breaks down?”  What if I get sick and can’t work?”  “What if my child gets hooked on drugs?”  What if — anything our desperate imaginings can project.  Only two small words, yet how heavy-laden they are with dread, fear and anxiety.  The answer to “What if…” is, plainly and simply, “Don’t project.”  We can only live with our problems as they arise, living one day at a time.  Am I keeping my thoughts positive?

Today I Pray

May I grow spiritually, without being held back by anxieties.  May projected fears not hobble my pursuits or keep  me from making the most of today.  May I turn out fear by faith.  If I will only make a place for God within me, He will remove my fears.

Today I Will Remember

I can only borrow trouble at high interest rates.

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One More Day
February 26

I shall not pass this way again;
Then let me now relieve some pain,
Remove some barrier from the road,
Or brighten someone’s heavy load.
–  Eva Rose York

Sometimes we help other through –  neighborhood clean-up committees, recycling stations, and paint-a-tons.  Maybe we’ve volunteered through school or church or community organizations.

Illness has helped us better understand the relationship between those who help and those who need help.  Loving help is not prompted by pity or superiority, but by empathy and shared humanness.  Also, we’ve learned that no one is always the helper or always the one needing help.  We are both.  We are bonded to others through what we give — and what we receive.

I will show my love by helping and being willing to be helped.

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One Day At A Time
February 26
~ MEMORIES ~

Some memories are realities … and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.
–Willa Cather

When one is young, the world is large and the thought of exploring it is exciting. Each year that we live we add to our memory chest … and by middle age those memories are substantial. I have found as I have grown older that I remember more of the good things that have happened in my life than the bad. The good things seem to become sharper as time goes by … and the bad seem less so. It’s almost as though the memory has turned into a “feeling” rather than a specific event.

When I work on the fourth and the eighth Steps, my life flashes before me and, like one of those calendars from an old movie, time whizzes by and people who have been part of my life hurtle through space … each triggering a memory.

Memories aren’t made more poignant by time. One might think that a decade of recurring events might be remembered with more clarity than a year … but I have found in the case of my own memories that it is the quality and intensity of time that produces the kind of memories Willa Cather talks about. A year or two or three, given the right circumstances, can produce the feelings we love our memories to trigger, more than those experienced during a lifetime. And a lifetime of memories can be dwindled into just moments.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will cherish my memories ~ Because I may never experience the reality of some of them again.

~ Mari ~

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Journey to the Heart
February 26
Embrace the Lessons of Night

I reached Wyoming’s Yellowstone Park late, much later than I had planned. The park was sprawling. I wasn’t certain how to find the lodge. I couldn’t find anyone to ask for help or directions. Tired and exhausted, I couldn’t make sense of the map. I found myself driving around and around, becoming almost frantic.

Suddenly, beyond the treetops, I spotted a bright light. Good, I thought, it must be the lodge. I drove a little further, then stopped the car and stared in awe. What I saw stilled my heart, and calmed my frantic pace.

Above Yellowstone Lake, nestled between two mountain peaks, glowed a huge, white, full moon, the largest I’d ever seen it. The pines stood guard, quiet and still. A light layer of snow and ice frosted the lake’s surface. I pulled to the side of the road and watched the moon set. It was the single most beautiful, breathtaking scene of the journey.

I would never have seen this scene in the daytime. I would never have seen this moon, had I not gotten lost. I would never have seen it, had it not been this particular time of night. So maybe I’m not lost, I thought. And maybe I’m not late. Maybe what I’m really doing is taking a beautiful evening drive.

When we’re lost, when the way gets dark, sometimes we see things we never would have seen in the daylight. Sometimes, the lessons we learn in the darkness are breathtakingly beautiful.

Enjoy the sunshine, but trust the darkness,too. It is more than to be endured. It is to be experienced, and later cherished.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day
February 26

“The Great Spirit is the one that’s looking after us.”
–Jimmy Jackson, OJIBWAY

The only place our minds can find peace is when our focus is on the Creator. Daily we need to ask the Creator to direct our thinking. When we look at our brothers and sisters, we need to see the Creator in them. When we look at the trees, plants and the animals, we need to realize the Creator is within us. Our attention needs to be on the Creator. When we work, we do it for the Creator. When we are troubled, we need to pray to the Creator. When we are happy and joyful, we need to realize we are feeling the presence of the Creator. Thinking God thoughts will produce peace.

Oh Great Mystery, let me focus on You today.

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Today’s Gift
February 26

From harmony, from heavenly harmony,This universal frame began . . .
—John Dryden

Our family is like a small orchestra. Each of us has an important part to play. To achieve harmony we tune in to how others are sounding. We recognize that every orchestra needs a conductor, a center for direction. We rely on our Higher Power for this support and guidance, and we realize that our family’s music exists in time. It changes, it passes, and we begin a new song. Our music comes and goes. It is not carved in marble. It is a free expression of family love.

No one of us has to play alone, because we are an ensemble. The time for soloing comes later. Today we rejoice that we can play together.

How can my music add to the family’s symphony today?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 26
Twelve Step Programs

I was furious when I found myself at my first Al-Anon meeting. It seemed so unfair that he had the problem and I had to go to a meeting. But by that time, I had nowhere left in the world to go with my pain. Now, I’m grateful for Al-Anon and my codependency recovery. Al-Anon keeps me on track; recovery has given me a life.
—Anonymous

There are many Twelve Step programs for codependents: Al-Anon, Adult Children of Alcoholics, CoDa, Families Anonymous, Nar-Anon, and more. We have many choices about which kind of group is right for us and which particular group in that category meets our needs. Twelve Step groups for codependents are free, anonymous, and available in most communities. If there is not one that is right for us, we can start one.

Twelve Step groups for codependents are not about how we can help the other person; they’re about how we can help ourselves grow and change. They can help us accept and deal with the ways codependency has affected us. They can help us get on track and stay there.

There is magic in Twelve Step programs. There is healing power in connecting with other recovering people. We access this healing power by working the Steps and by allowing them to work on us. The Twelve Steps are a formula for healing.

How long do we have to go to meetings? We go until we “get the program.” We go until the program “gets us.” Then we keep on going and growing.

Selecting a group and then attending regularly are important ways we can begin and continue to take care of ourselves. Actively participating in our recovery program by working the Steps is another.

I will be open to the healing power available to me from the Twelve Steps and a recovery program.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 26
Open the door to fun experiences

You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.
–Colette

It was nighttime. A light breeze ruffled through my hair as I sat on the bench looking out over the lights of Las Vegas. How did I get here agaiin? I thought. Then I remembered. It had been another of Chip’s wrong turns that had led us from southern California into the unknown.

The man wrapped a thick cloth around my ankles and then attached the cord to it. Another backup cord ran to the harness around my waist.

I was on a tower 150 feet above the ground getting ready to bungee jump. By my feet. At night. In vegas. Again.

Sometimes the first step is the hardest. Sometimes it’s the second step that gets you. The thing about a new experience is that you have no expectations, there is no frame of reference. But the second time. … I remembered the feeling of looking down off the platform to the ground below, the unnatural, terrifying step into nothingness, then my stomach jumping up into my chest, the long second when time seemed to freeze, the plunge toward the ground, and the tug of the cord slowing me. I remembered the rebound, the hanging there, waiting to be pulled back up. I remembered it all, and it grew in my mind. And besides, this time it was night, and I was going to be hanging by my feet.

I walked to the edge of the platform. I wasn’t holding on. But I was shaking.

“5-4-3-2-1- go!” came the count. I closed my eyes and let myself fall.

And I laughed and I screamed, and I laughed at myself for screaming. It was fun.

Later, as we headed farther down the road, farther away from home on another intuitive road trip, I was still smiling.

Growth is self-perpetuating. Each new experience opens the door for further experiences. Today, remember something that you may have done only once, something you liked; then do it again. Allow your mind to fill you with uncertainty as you remember all of the experiences of the first time. It doesn’t have to be work-related. Maybe you went to a play instead of watching TV. Camped in the woods. Or wrote a poem. Find something that was fun, and do it again. Then, bring that feeling back to your ordinary world. Bring the woohoo of the second time into the third, forth, and fifth times that you do a thing.

Keep the life in your life.

God, please remind me of some fun, interesting things that I like to do. Then help me get out of my chair and do them.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 26

I have never for one instant seen clearly within myself. How then would you have me judge the deeds of others?
—Maurice Maeterlinck

We have been given the job of getting to know ourselves and dealing with our own craziness. We aren’t so good at it that we have spare time and energy left to make judgments about those around us. We are tempted to become absorbed in their behavior and choices, and it does feel like a welcome distraction from anxieties about ourselves. So we must learn to detach from the family members and friends that we are tempted to fix, or monitor, or judge.

Although we are very close, we are on separate paths in life. We were not born together, and we will not die together. We will make our family or our friendships and the world a little bit better by staying centered on our own sanity.

I pray for a clear separation between what is on my path in this program and what is on someone else’s path. Then we can make good bridges between us.

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Daily TAO
February 26
PREDILECTION

Those who follow Tao do so
From their own predilection.
There are no promises,
Yet the rewards are immeasurable.

Of all the spiritual traditions, following Tao is among the least popular. Its adherents are poor and veiled with humility. In comparison, many traditions offer heaven, forgiveness, comfort, ecstasy, belonging, power, and wealth. Tao offers only three things : sound health, a way through the bewilderment of life, and liberation from the fear of death.

That is why there are so few followers of Tao. There is no glamor, there is no congregation, there is no ranking. You are either in the state of Tao, or you are temporarily out of it. When you die, you die.

You have to be tough to follow Tao. If you can avoid being discouraged by poverty, isolation, and obscurity, you will find an unshakable devotion that will last your entire life, and rewards will come in slow and subtle ways. You may not be suddenly rich and influential, but you will discover, to your great delight, that there is a secret source of sustenance. Once you taste that, all your doubts will fade, and both poverty and loneliness will be easier to bear.

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Daily Zen
February 26

If you want to understand that
All within the three realms
Is nothing but buddhamind,
Then contemplate that the Dharma realm
Is nothing but a product of mind.

– Avatamsaka Sutra

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Food for Thought
February 26
Eating Slowly

We compulsive overeaters are inclined to devour our meals in a great rush. Mealtime often finds us anxious and tense, and sometimes we are just plain greedy! While others at the table are interested in conversation and socializing, we may be narrowly focused on food and preoccupied with trying to satisfy a ravenous appetite.

We need to break out of our self-centeredness. Rather than being completely absorbed with satisfying our own appetite (which we can never do), we can learn to focus some of our attention on the concerns of those around us. When we eat more slowly, we have more time for others and we feel less deprived. Our enjoyment, of both the company and the food, is greatly increased.

Even when we eat a meal alone, we should remember that we do not receive all of our nourishment from physical food. When we eat more slowly, we become more relaxed and refreshed both physically and spiritually. When we are aware of our Higher Power and thankful for all of His blessings, the meal is more satisfying.

Help me to slow down and appreciate Your gifts.

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