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In Loving Memory of Vic

Find A Meeting

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 3

Just For Today
February 3
We Need Each Other

“Anyone may join us, regardless of age, race, sexual identity creed, religion, or lack of religion.”
Basic Text p. 9

Addiction closed our minds to anything new or different. We didn’t need anyone or anything, we thought. There was nothing of value to be found in anyone from a different neighborhood, a different racial or ethnic background, or a different social or economic class. We may have thought that if it was different, it was bad.

In recovery, we can’t afford such attitudes. We came to NA because our very best thinking had gotten us nowhere. We must open our minds to experience that works, no matter where it comes from, if we hope to grow in our recovery.

Regardless of our personal backgrounds, we all have two things in common with one another in NA that we share with no one else: our disease, and our recovery. We depend on one another for our shared experience—and the broader that experience, the better. We need every bit of experience, every different angle on our program we can find to meet the many challenges of living clean.

Recovery often isn’t easy. The strength we need to recover, we draw from our fellow NA members. Today, we are grateful for the diversity of our group’s membership, for in that diversity we find our strength.

Just for today: I know that the more diverse my groups experience is, the better able my group will be to offer me support in the different circumstances I find myself facing. Today, I welcome addicts from all backgrounds to my home group.

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Daily Reflections
February 3
FILLING THE VOID

We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?” As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 47

I was always fascinated with the study of scientific principles. I was emotionally and physically distant from people while I pursued Absolute Knowledge. God and spirituality were meaningless academic exercises. I was a modern man of science, knowledge was my Higher Power. Given the right set of equations, life was merely another problem to solve. Yet my inner self was dying from my outer man’s solution to life’s problems and the solution was alcohol. In spite of my intelligence, alcohol became my Higher Power. It was through the unconditional love which emanated from A.A. people and meetings that I was able to discard alcohol as my Higher Power. The great void was filled. I was no longer lonely and apart from life. I had found a true power greater than myself, I had found God’s love. There is only one equation which really matters to me now: God is in A.A.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 3
A.A. Thought For The Day

By drinking, we escaped from boredom for a while. We almost forgot our troubles. But when we sobered up, our troubles were twice as bad. Drinking had only made them worse. In A.A., we really escape boredom. Nobody’s bored at an A.A. meeting. We stick around after it’s over and we hate to leave. Drinking gave us a temporary feeling of importance. When we’re drinking, we kid ourselves into thinking we are somebody. We tell tall stories to build ourselves up. In A.A., we don’t want that kind of self-importance. We have real self-respect and honesty and humility. Have I found something much better and more satisfactory than drinking?

Meditation For The Day

I believe that my faith and God’s power can accomplish anything in human relationships. There is no limit to what these two things can do in this field. Only believe, and anything can happen. Saint Paul said; “I can do all things through Him who strengtheneth me.” All walls that divide you from other human beings can fall by your faith and God’s power. These are the two essentials. Everyone can be moved by these.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may try to strengthen my faith day by day. I pray that I may rely more and more on God’s power.

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As Bill Sees It
February 3
“Not Allied With Any Sect . . .”, p. 34

“While A.A. has restored thousands of poor Christians to their churches, and has made believers out of atheists and agnostics, it has also made good A.A.’s out of those belonging to the Buddhist, Islamic, and Jewish faiths. For example, we question very much whether our Buddhist members in Japan would ever have joined this Society had A.A. officially stamped itself a strictly Christian movement.

“You can easily convince yourself of this by imagining that A.A. started among the Buddhists and that they then told you you couldn’t join them unless you became a Buddhist, too. If you were a Christian alcoholic under these circumstances, you might well turn your face to the wall and die.”

Letter, 1954

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Walk In Dry Places
February 3
No Coincidences
Guidance

The early history of AA still sparkles with fortunate coincidences that moved the fellowship forward. It was miraculous, for example, that Bill W’s telephone call in 1935 was to a woman who “just happened” to know Dr. Bob, a suffering alcoholic.

When we are in tune with AA’s spiritual program, we know with absolute certainty that there really are no coincidences. Our Higher Power is in charge and all things really are working together for good, even though this is not always apparent at first.

If we let this Higher Power guide and direct our lives, we will be thrilled and delighted by a number of wonder coincidences. We may happen to pick up the magazine or book that gives us information and meet a person whose advice changes our lives. Or we follow a hunch and make an unusual decision that leads to a number of opportunities we never dreamed of.

We cannot force these fortunate “coincidences” to happen or direct their course, except by following the program every day. But we never need fret about the future if we have placed our lives in God’s hands. There are no coincidences…. Only the hand of God ceaselessly at work.

I will work this day as if everything depended on me, but at the same time I will know that everything really depends on God.

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Keep It Simple
February 3

Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.
—Erma Bombeck

We often hear, “Stick with the winners.” Not everyone in Twelve Step meetings is there for recovery.. But many members follow a Twelve Step way of living. We need to find those people. This is really true when it comes to finding a sponsor. Look for a sponsor who gets good things from his or her program. Why pick a sponsor who isn’t happy in the program? Recovery is hard work. You deserve the best. Find the best sponsor you can. Remember, ours is a selfish program. we’re fighting for our lives.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me find the best in my program. Help me find a good sponsor, so we can get as much from each other and this program as we can.

Today’s Action: Today I’ll think about what it means to have a good sponsor.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 3

When we begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves.
–Katherine Mansfield

Perfectionism and its control over our lives stands seriously in the way of our growth and well-being, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. Life’s lessons come through failures probably more than successes. Through our failures we learn humility. We learn to look to others for help and guidance. We learn how to let others fail, too. We fail because we are human.

When we no longer fear failure, we are free to attempt greater feats. We dare to learn more, and life is fuller for it–not just our own lives, but the lives that we touch.

Laughter over our mistakes eases the risk of trying again. Laughter keeps us young, and the lighthearted find more pleasure in each day.

I will fail at something I try today. I can laugh about it, though. My laughter will open the way to another try.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 3
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

I began to change. I began to pray. I became actively involved in working the steps. I had previously dismissed them as the tools of mental inferiors; now I embraced them as the rungs on the ladder to salvation. I began working with a sponsor and became active in my home group. I did not understand how making coffee or cleaning up after meetings could have anything to do with staying sober, but older members told me that service would keep me sober, so I tried it. It worked.

p. 429

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 3

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

Then came our first few excursions into major publicity, which were breathtaking. Cleveland’s Plain Dealer articles about us ran that town’s membership from a few into hundreds overnight. The news stories of Mr. Rockefeller’s dinner for Alcoholics Anonymous helped double our total membership in a year’s time. Jack Alexander’s famous Saturday Evening Post piece made A.A. a national institution. Such tributes as these brought opportunities for still more recognition. Other newspapers and magazines wanted A.A. stories. Film companies wanted to photograph us. Radio, and finally television, besieged us with requests for appearances. What should we do?

pp. 186-187

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Xtra Thoughts
February 3

Decide to be happy, knowing it’s an attitude, a habit gained from daily practice, and not a result or payoff.
–Denis Waitley

I depend on God, as God has a plan for my life.
–Shelley

If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
–Lao Tzu

Only if we follow can God lead the way.
–Sandra Roberts Still

To live with the least amount of frustration, you must remind yourself that everything always works out for the best.
–unknown

Make the most of every situation, especially those you dread.

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 3
STATISTICS

“There are three kinds of lies, lies, damned lies and statistics.”
— Benjamin Disraeli

I used to be able to hide behind anything — even statistics. Figures, and the quoting of figures, can expand the ego and keep you sick.  They can confuse the issues by making everything complicated.

In the field of alcoholism statistics are important for comparison and research but they can never be a substitute for a “rigorous honesty” that is based upon personal experience. I do not think that statistics alone stopped a person from drinking, but the sharing of a personal suffering and victory can produce an identification that leads to change.

As a recovering alcoholic I need to know the statistics concerning my disease but I also need to know that today’s recovery is based upon yesterday’s honest sharing.

Let me always see the faces behind the numbers.

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Bible Scriptures
February 3

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.
Ecclesiastes 5:15

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:12-13

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
Psalms 91:4

I sought the Lord and He answered me.
Psalm 34:4

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you–you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first  or the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Matthew 6:25-34

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Daily Inspiration
February 3

As God’s children we have inherited all of His promises. Faith in You, Lord, refreshes my soul as nothing else can.

To have courage, think courageous, act courageous, and pray to God for courage. Lord, You are full of love for all who come to You.

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A Day At A Time
February 3

Reflection For The Day

The Program enables us to discover two roadblocks that keep us from seeing the value and comfort of the spiritual approach:  self-justification and self-righteousness.  The first grimly assures me that I’m always right.  The second mistakenly comforts me with the delusion that I’m better than other people — “holier than thou.”  Just for Today, will I pause abruptly while rationalizing and ask myself, “Why am I doing this?  Is this self-justification really honest?”

Today I Pray

May I overcome the need to be “always right” and know the cleansing feeling of release that comes with admitting, openly, a mistake.  May I be wary of setting myself up as an example of self-control and fortitude, and give credit where it is due — to a Higher Power.

Today I Will Remember

To err is human, but I need to admit it.

 

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One More Day
February 3

Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem….    –  Eric Hoffer

Wouldn’t it be nice if our self-esteem could be as firmly rooted as our personalities seem to have been by the time we started school?  Unfortunately that’s not often the case.  Self-esteem is very delicate and remains subject to the whims of all external circumstances including how people act toward us and how we react, in turn, to them.

An illness that changes how we look or how we think of ourselves can be continually demanding.  Fighting the battle to maintain a good self-image requires adjustments of our time and goals.  Making these adjustments turns our disappointments into chances for success.

I must continue to work on being a whole person and try to develop all my facets — spiritual, emotional, and physical.

 

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One Day At A Time
February 3
~ Being Joyful ~

As I stumble through this life, help me to create more laughter than tears.
Never let me become so indifferent that I will fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child.
Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people, make them forget,
at least momentarily, the unpleasantness in their lives.
And in my final moment, may I hear You whisper:
“When you made My people smile, you made Me smile.”
–A Clown’s Prayer (Author Unknown)

I have made so many people angry with me, so many people cry, so many people worry and despair of me. So many people have been resentful of me. My disease dictated how I lived my life, if you could call it living.

Then I came to this program and I found a new way to live, and I found joy such as I have never found before, anywhere. The program taught me not to take life so seriously. The Big Book of AA tells me on page 132, “But we are not a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn’t want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life.” I need to remember that. I need to work my steps, stay in conscious contact with my Higher Power, but boy oh boy, do I ever need to remember that I need to learn that I am not a bad person getting good, just a sick person getting well. Even sick people have fun. I’m a sick person recovering on a daily basis from a terminal disease that was killing me, but recovery snatched me from the brink of death. Now I can’t help but see the beauty of this crazy, wonderful world we live in.

One day at a time …
I am warmed and my heart sings at the thought that today I have made someone smile. Please, dear God, let me continue to do so.

~ Marlene ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – February 3

“It’s very hard to do things in the right manner, but as long as we do things right, we are in turn with the Great Spirit.”
–Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE

When we are right with the Great Spirit, we are right with all things. It is impossible to be out of harmony with anything or anybody when we are in harmony with the Great One. So, if during the day a problem crops up and someone makes us mad, the best thing we can do is talk to the Creator first, ask for His help, then continue our conversation with the other person. In this way, our emotional nature will keep aligned with our thoughts, and we will always stay right with the Great Spirit.

Great Spirit, I ask You to guide me on the Red Road today.

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Journey To The Heart
February 3
Break Through Your Resistance

We sometimes resist new lessons. And what we resist the most is likely to be what we most need to learn.

Our lessons usually come with inner conflict. The action we should be taking, the idea we should be learning is sometimes hidden behind a wall of resistance. There’s a border, a barrier we need to cross to get into the heart of the lesson. Most times, that barrier is within us. Lessons require us to let go of old feelings, old beliefs. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be lessons. We’d already know them. Sometimes, the very thing we feel guiltiest about doing, the place we’re most resistant to visiting, the person we’re most convinced we shouldn’t contact, or the behavior we’re tormenting ourselves most about is exactly what we need to be doing.

And more often than not, the lesson we’re learning is not what we think it is. We need to embrace the surprise element of life– embrace the mystery of life as it unfolds, as the lessons appear, as we grow and change.

Do what you need to do to break through your resistance. Often that means simply seeing your resistance for what it is. Remember that the point of greatest resistance is often the place of greatest learning.

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Today’s Gift
February 3

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole . . . nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it . . .. It was a hobbithole, and that means comfort.
—J. R. R. Tolkien

Home is a place of comfort. When we go away and have to adjust to a different bed and someone else’s cooking, we quickly discover how comfortable our own home is. Comfort in a home is more than just a familiar bed and favorite food; it is something we can give to each other. We can make home a place where we can relax and be ourselves without fear of rejection.

Each of us needs a special little place where we can come and seek refuge from the world, our own little “fort.” Children are often busy making “forts,” but all of us in the family need to work at making the place where we live together a fort where we can all gather for rest.What can I add to our comfort today?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 3
Rejecting Shame

Shame can be a powerful force in our life. It is the trademark of dysfunctional families.

Authentic, legitimate guilt is the feeling or thought that what we did is not okay. It indicates that our behavior needs to be corrected or altered, or an amend needs to be made.

Shame is an overwhelming negative sense that who we are isn’t okay. Shame is a no-win situation. We can change our behaviors, but we can’t change who we are. Shame can propel us deeper into self-defeating and sometimes self-destructive behaviors.

What are the things that can cause us to feel shame? We may feel ashamed when we have a problem or someone we love has a problem. We may feel ashamed for making mistakes or for succeeding. We may feel ashamed about certain feelings or thoughts. We may feel ashamed when we have fun, feel good, or are vulnerable enough to show ourselves to others. Some of us feel ashamed just for being.

Shame is a spell others put on us to control us, to keep us playing our part in dysfunctional systems. It is a spell many of us have learned to put on ourselves.

Learning to reject shame can change the quality of our life. It’s okay to be who we are. We are good enough. Our feelings are okay. Our past is okay. It’s okay to have problems, make mistakes, and struggle to find our path. It’s okay to be human and cherish our humanness.

Accepting ourselves is the first step toward recovery. Letting go of shame about who we are is the next important step.

Today, I will watch for signs that I have fallen into shame’s trap. If I get hooked into shame, I will get myself out by accepting myself and affirming that it’s okay to be who I am.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 3
Deal with panic and anxiety

I can still remember the day. It was shortly after my divorce. I was a single parent with no money, and two young children. It came upon me suddenly, out of the blue. I couldn’t breathe. My chest hurt. My heart hurt. I couldn’t stop it. I panicked. The more I panicked, the worst it got.

I called 911. The ambulance came. They gave me some oxygen, then politely told me not to worry; it was just a panic attack. I had experienced another one of those attacks, a long time ago. Right after I first married the children’s father, I had shut myself down from anxiety. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t speak from the fear I felt.

Many people experience panic and anxiety attacks. Maybe it’s happened to you. Maybe you’ve had only one or two incidents of it; maybe panic and anxiety make regular appearances in your life. Most people I’ve met have experienced fear.

These are a few little clues I’ve learned that have helped me to deal with my own attacks.

  • Breathe. Whenever you panic, our breath comes in shallow, awkward spurts. Be deliberately breathing slowly and calmly, we can slow our panc down. We feed it by breathing fast. We put our bodies on hyperalert. If we breath as though we’re relaxed, our bodies will start slowing down.
  • Don’t respond to your panic with more fear. Sometimes we double what we’re going through by having an emotional reaction to our initial reaction. We’re afraid, because we’re feeling fear. Let yourself go through the original feeling without reacting to yourself.
  • Instead of focusing on your fear, let yourself be aware that you’re feeling it, but deliberately do something that calms you down. You won’t want to do this. Your panic will want you to do something else, something that feeds panic and makes it grow. Do something calming and quiet, even though that activity doesn’t feel right to you. It could be reading a meditation, listening to some quiet music, taking a shower, or saying a prayer. We all have things that help calm us down. Find something that works for you.

If panic and anxiety are a continual problem, seek professional help. But if they are only isolated incidents in your life, you may be able to help yourself.
One tool that has never let me down when it comes to anxiety and fear is working Step One of the Twelve Step program. I admit that I’m powerless over my panic and fear, and my life has become unamangeable. Then I ask God what I need to do next.

Don’t let your fears run your life. Make it a goal to get through them. Ask them what they’re trying to tell you. You may be on a path that’s new, and your body is just reacting to that. There may be a hidden emotion underneath all this fear, something you’d rather not see. Or maybe you and your life are just changing so fast that everything in your world is brand new. Be gentle and loving with yourself and others.

God, help me welcome all the new experiences in my life. Give me the courage to calmly walk my path today, knowing I’m right where I need to be.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 3

Compassion is … a spirituality and a way of living and walking through life. It is the way we treat all there is in life – ourselves, our bodies, our imaginations and dreams, our neighbors, our enemies… Compassion is a spirituality as if creation mattered. It is treating all creation as holy and as divine… which is what it is.
—Matthew Fox

In our search for growth, serenity, and contentment, we can start at a very practical level. Simply treat ourselves, inside and out, and everything around us in a respectful and caring way. Many men have not learned how to do that. Some of us have learned to accept abuse and pain, or to be tough and abusive.

We can learn about being in a healthy relationship, about befriending ourselves and others and all of creation. With practice, we will learn more and more about having compassion. As we do, our self-centeredness and our self-pity will fall away.

Today, I will be compassionate toward each of the details of creation, and practice acceptance both within and outside myself.

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Daily TAO
February 3
ENGAGEMENT

Prey passes the tiger who
Sometimes merely looks,
Sometimes pounces without hesitation,
But never fails to act.

Life is a constant series of opportunities. If we don’t reach out for things, if we don’t take advantage of what comes our way, then we cannot be in harmony with the essential nature of life.

The tiger is the same way. He conforms to every situation that comes. If he spots prey and is not ready to hunt, he will let it go. But he has not failed to act. He has knowingly let the prey escape, and this is much different from someone who loses a situation through slow reflexes or inability. When the tiger wants his prey, he pounces upon it without any thought or hesitation. There are no morals, no guilt, no psychological problems, no ideologies to interfere with the purity of his action. This undiminished grace in action is called nonaction.

This is engagement. Whatever comes to you, you must engage it somehow. You receive it, you may alter the circumstance and let it go, you may interject something of your own into it, or you may knowingly let it pass. Whatever you do, there is no need to be apathetic toward life. Instead, full participation in all things is the surest way to happiness, vitality, success, and a deep knowledge of Tao.

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Daily Zen
February 3

Purifying our self-direction,
Our emotions, and behavior in all endeavors,
One grows in understanding of the Way.
But individual abilities vary
And the exalted Way has many different aspects.
To students of Tao, this sincere forewarning:
Only with a clear, honest spirit
Can we begin meaningful learning.
With an unsullied heart
We may even move the immortals.
Debasing the Way,
Not even heaven forgives us.

– Loy Ching-yuen 1879-1960’s)

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Food for Thought
February 3
Food Is Not the Only Problem

The longer we are in OA, the more we realize that it is not only food which is our problem, but life. Our eating problem is also a living problem. As we maintain abstinence from compulsive overeating, our way of living changes.

Many of us have lived too much for ourselves and by ourselves. It is our egocentricity which has been our undoing. We have accepted no authority higher than our own whim and impulse, and we have been angry and depressed when people and events did not follow our preferences. Eating was an area in which we exerted our omnipotence, and appetite was our god.

When we are willing to acknowledge our dependency upon a Power greater than ourselves and when we become committed to abstinence from compulsive overeating, our living is put in order. When we eat right, we live right.

Order my living so that I may eat to serve You.

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In God’s Care
February 3

If we go down into ourselves we find that we possess exactly what we desire.
~~Simone Weil

We were driven by insatiable desires, unable to get enough of anything–material possessions, physical sensations, social acceptance. Whatever massaged our ego, stimulated and sated our appetites, created illusions of grandeur, tickled our senses, carried us to dreamland, took our mind off our troubles and made us forget–that was what we wanted. Yet the fulfillment of these desires left us spiritually bankrupt.

Our recovery begins with the discovery that we already have what we need, that love is what really matters. And we get love by giving love. When we invest our time in doing loving things, going deep into ourselves to learn God’s will for us, we get even more than we hoped for.

Today I want to know my Higher Power’s will for me and trust that I have the love I can never give too much of.

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