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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 8

Just For Today
February 8
What Is A Sponsor?

“ … an NA sponsor is a member of Narcotics Anonymous, living our program of recovery, who is willing to build a special, supportive, one-on-one relationship with us.”
IP No. 11, “Sponsorship, Revised”

What is a sponsor? You know: That nice person with whom you had coffee after your first meeting. That generous soul who keeps sharing recovery experience free of charge. The one who keeps amazing you with stunning insight regarding your character defects. The one who keeps reminding you to finish your Fourth Step, who listens to your Fifth Step, and who doesn’t tell anyone how weird you are.

It’s pretty easy to start taking all this stuff for granted once we’re used to someone being there for us. We may run wild for a while and tell ourselves, “I’ll call my sponsor later, but right now I have to clean the house, go shopping, chase that attractive.” And so we end up in trouble, wondering where we went wrong.

Our sponsor can’t read minds. It’s up to us to reach out and ask for help.  Whether we need help with our steps, a reality check to help us straighten out our screwy thinking, or just a friend, it’s our job to make the request.  Sponsors are warm, wise, wonderful people, and their experience with recovery is ours — all we have to do is ask.

Just for today: I’m grateful for the time, the love, and the experience my sponsor has shared with me. Today, I will call my sponsor.

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Daily Reflections
February 8
CONVINCING “MR. HYDE”

Even then, as we hew away, peace and joy will still elude us. That’s the place so many of us A.A. oldsters have come to. And it’s a hell of a spot, literally. How shall our unconscious–from which so many of our fears, compulsions and phony aspirations still stream–be brought into line with what we actually believe, know and want! How to convince our dumb, raging and hidden “Mr. Hyde” becomes our main task.
THE BEST OF BILL, pp. 42-43

Regular attendance at meetings, service and helping others is the recipe that many have tried and found to be successful. Whenever I stray from these basic principles, my old habits resurface and my old self also comes back with all its fears and defects. The ultimate goal of each A.A. member is permanent sobriety, achieved One Day at a Time.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 8
A.A. Thought For The Day

When the morning sun comes up on a nice bright day and we jump out of bed, we’re thankful to God that we feel well and happy instead of sick and disgusted. Serenity and happiness have become much more important to us than the excitement of drinking, which lifts us up for a short while, but lets us way down in the end. Of course, all of us alcoholics had a lot of fun with drinking. We might as well admit it. We can look back on a lot of good times, before we became alcoholics. But the time comes for all of us alcoholics when drinking ceases to be fun and becomes trouble. Have I learned that drinking can never again be anything but trouble for me?

Meditation For The Day

I must rely on God. I must trust Him to the limit. I must depend on the Divine Power in all human relationships. I will wait and trust and hope, until God shows me the way. I will wait for guidance on each important decision. I will meet the test of waiting until a thing seems right before I do it. Every work for God must meet this test of time. The guidance will come, if I wait for it.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may meet the test of waiting for God’s guidance. I pray that I will not go off on my own.

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As Bill Sees It
February 8
Pipeline to God, p. 38

“I am a firm believer in both guidance and prayer. But I am fully aware, and humble enough, I hope, to see there may be nothing infallible about my guidance.

“The minute I figure I have got a perfectly clear pipeline to God, I have become egotistical enough to get into real trouble. Nobody can cause more needless grief than a power-driver who thinks he has got it straight from God.”

Letter, 1950

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Walk In Dry Places
February 8
Right attitudes Toward Anonymity.
Traditions.

At both the practical and spiritual levels, anonymity is a great blessing for the AA fellowship. There is much wisdom behind Traditions Eleven and Twelve.

Yet it is possible to use anonymity as a cloak for pride and fear. This might be the case with alcoholics who insist on concealing their AA membership from fellow workers, neighbors, and friends. They defend this zealous protection of their anonymity by pointing to the traditions. However, this could reveal a lack of understanding and perhaps a lack of commitment to the program.

Why is it useful to let others know we belong to AA? Our best opportunities to help others may come from people who watched us in sobriety and were inspired by our example.

However, we must maintain anonymity at the public media level, and nobody has the right to violate another person’s anonymity. Nor is it wise to be critical of the AA member who prefers anonymity at every level. We have no right to pass judgment on such decisions. Above all, we never have a right to break another’s anonymity.

I’ll try to set a good example for others who may be seeking sobriety. I can find guidance about anonymity.

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Keep It Simple
February 8

You must find the ideas that have some promise in them…it’s not enough to just have ideas.
–George E. Woodberry

Each day we’re flooded with ideas. Everyone seems to have found the truth, and now they want to share it. We may feel loaded down with all these ideas. Who and what do we believe? We’ve fallen on a set of ideas that hold great promise: The Twelve Steps. The ideas of the program have much promise because they’re simple. They ask nothing that isn’t good for us. They have been proven to work. Now we’re people with more than ideas that work. We’re people with good ideas that work. When we find ourselves wondering how to live, all we need to do is look to the Steps.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to put my energy into working the Steps.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list what is right about the Steps for me. What promises do the Steps hold for me?

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 8

Reaction isn’t action–that is, it isn’t truly creative.
–Elizabeth Janeway

We must learn how to act rather than react. Unfortunately, we’ve had lots of training at reacting. And we’re all such good imitators. We are a society of reactors. We let the good or the bad behavior of another person determine our own behavior as a matter of course. But the opportunities are unlimited for us to responsibly choose our behavior, independent of all others in our life.

Change is ours, if we want it. A scowl from a spouse need not make us feel rejected. Criticism at work doesn’t have to ruin our day. An inconsiderate bus driver might still be politely thanked. And when we decide for ourselves just how we want to act and follow through, self-esteem soars.

If we are put-down, it may momentarily create self-doubt; but when we quickly reassure ourselves that all is well and respond with respect, we grow. A sense of well-being rushes through our bodies.

Being in command of our own feelings and our own actions, prevents that free-floating anxiety from grasping us. We are who we choose to be. And new adventures await us.

The opportunities to react will be many today. But each time I can pause, determine the action I’d feel better about, and take it. My emotional health gets a booster shot each time I make a responsible choice.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 8
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

My life has been one of great joy. I am now thirty-three years old, and God willing, in one month I will celebrate my fourteenth sober A.A. anniversary. I am surrounded by loving friends on whom I depend and who depend on me. I have reconciled with my parents, from whom I had been estranged. My life is filled with laughter again, something that alcohol had taken away.

pp. 430-431

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 8
Foreword

A.A.’s Twelve Traditions apply to the life of the Fellowship itself. They outline the means by which A.A. maintains its unity and relates itself to the world about it, the way it lives and grows.

p. 15

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Xtra Thoughts
February 8

The past remembered is a good guide for the future.
–Chinese Proverb

“One that would have the fruit must climb the tree.”
–Thomas Fuller

Inspire someone to happiness today by sharing your own blessings and good fortune with them.

Blues Ain’t Nothing But A Good Soul Feeling Bad.

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
–Helen Keller

Even when we make a mess of our lives, God loves us and helps us.
–Joanne Hillman

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 8
HOPE

“The hopeful man sees success where others see failure, sunshine where others see shadows and storm.”
— O. S. Marden

Spirituality involves our attitudes and perceptions as well as our prayers. Spirituality requires a realistic awareness of what we need and what we have been given. Spirituality sees beyond the problems into the solution.

Hope is a feeling that is based on a spiritual perception of life that shuns apathy and negativity. Everything can be used for good if it is perceived realistically; destructive experiences, painful moments and failed relationships can all be used to create a new tomorrow.

The hope that stems from our ability to change requires a realistic understanding of what has happened. No aspect of life should be wasted because it can point to a glorious tomorrow.

Teach me to discover the secret of success in the problems of life.

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Bible Scriptures
February 8

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

The Lord says, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”
Isaiah 66:13

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Daily Inspiration
February 8

Through the power of God within me, I am stronger than any of my circumstances. Lord, I seek, I knock and I ask and You are always there and ready to give me the miracles that I need.

It is important to remember that different can be better. Lord, as I resist change and cling to the familiar, help me to remember that Your plan is perfect and will truly make me happy.

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A Day At A Time
February 8

Reflection For The Day

When we first stopped drinking, using, over-eating, or gambling, it was an enormous relief to find that the people we met in The Program seemed quite different than those apparently hostile masses know as “They.”  We were met not with criticism and suspicion, but with understanding and concern.  However, we still encounter people who get on our nerves, both within The Program and outside it.  Obviously, we must begin to accept the fact that there are people who’ll sometimes say things with which we disagree, or do things we don’t like.  Am I beginning to see that learning to live with differences is essential to my comfort and, in turn, to my continuing recovery?

Today I Pray

May I recognize that people’s differences make our world go around and tolerate people who “rub me the wrong way.”  May I understand that I must give them room, that some of my hostile attitudes toward others may be leftovers from the unhealthy days when I tended to view others as mobilized against me.

Today I will Remember

Learn to live with Differences.

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One More Day
February 8

Tragedy is an initiation not of human beings but of action, life, happiness, and unhappiness.
–  Aristotle

Our response to tragedy can be rage, sorrow, or even horror.  Those responses, as real as they are, are not as accurate as our optimism, for it is optimism … the belief that life will go smoothly … that gives the label “tragedy” to an event.  We are surprised, we are shocked when our optimism is leveled by the unexpected.

A tragedy is an event, a time, a moment, and nothing more.  People’s lives are constantly see-sawing between emotions and events.  No one is always happy, placid, or tragic.  In experiencing life to the fullest, we expose ourselves to all the facets.  And that simple act makes us all uniquely human.

I accept my life and the ups and downs of my human experience.

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One Day At A Time
February 8
DISCIPLINE AND FREEDOM

” Freedom to a dancer means discipline.  That is what technique is for … liberation.”
–Martha Graham

I was thinking this morning that keeping in fit spiritual condition was like being a dancer. A dancer knows that without the discipline of frequent training and rehearsal, he or she will not be able to dance freely when called upon to do so. The dancer who is not in shape will look wrong, feel wrong and become injured trying to do something wild and free. The training may be dull, boring and repetitive at times, but when the performance is on, the dancer soars in the freedom of movement.

I try to look at my daily program tasks the way a dancer looks at training. I may not like every minute, but I have the continual blessing of freedom as I go about my day and the hope of great moments of breakthrough into new freedoms as I progress.

One day at a time …
I will take each step of my recovery program with my great vision of freedom.

~ Q.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – February 8

“No individual or group can block another individual’s path or change it against what fits his nature and his purpose. It might be done for a time, but in the end it won’t work out.”
–Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE

Every person is born for a purpose. We may know our purpose very early in our lives, or it may take us some time. Very often we need to experience many things before our purpose is clear to us. Sometimes we pick our goals to please others. Sometimes others pick our goals to make themselves happy. Often this makes us unhappy. We need to pray to the Creator and ask Him what our purpose is. When we live outside our purpose, our path is full of obstacles. When we live inside our purpose, our path is smooth. When we are aligned to our purpose, we are happy and content.

Great Spirit, whisper to me, in terms I can understand, what You would have me do and I will do it.

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Journey To The Heart
February 8
Listen to Your Inner Voice

Our inner voice, that quiet guide within, will lead us along our path, will help us create our destiny, will keep us in harmony.

So much stress comes from not listening, not trusting our inner voice. So much confusion comes from trying to act before we have heard, before we are guided. So much pain comes when we deny what that voice is saying, when we try to run from it or make it go away. We wonder how we can trust ourselves. The better question is, How can we not trust ourselves?

Our rage, anger, and most bitter resentments occur when we trust others rather than ourselves. Yes, sometimes promptings come from outside ourselves. The universe is alive, magical, responsive, and will guide us on our way. But the answer must always resonate, must always ultimately come from that place within our heart, our soul, our inner voice. Sometimes, we need to listen to others until we become impassioned enough to hear and trust ourselves.

It takes practice, the quiet practice of listening, until we learn how to hear ourselves, then interpret what we hear. It is neither wasted time nor incidental to our lives to learn to hear ourselves, to learn to tune into our hearts and souls. That’s part of the reason we’re here– part of our destiny, our mission, our purpose.

Our best work, our finest moments, our joy happen when we’re centered, listening to and trusting ourselves, allowing our hearts and souls to guide us. They happen when we allow ourselves to fully, completely, and in love, be who we are.

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Today’s Gift
February 8

When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.
—Winston Churchill

A rolled-up ball of yarn does not take up much space – it sits, ready to be used when needed. It gets unrolled a little bit at a time – just as much as is needed and no more. But a ball of yarn that gets unraveled can be strewn across an entire room. It becomes a jumbled mass, entangled and confusing.

When we live our lives a day at a time, we are like that rolled-up ball of yarn. Our thoughts, feelings, and skills are ready to be used as they are needed. But when we worry, our spirit becomes a jumbled mass of yarn. We get ahead of and behind ourselves – our thoughts are scattered and often our feelings are confused. Worry adds clutter and confusion to life.

What is most helpful is to put the worry away–to roll up the ball of yarn and bring ourselves into the present moment. In this way, we stand ready for each new stitch–and we will never be given more than we are able to handle.

Do I have worries that are cluttering my life today?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 8
Letting Go of Guilt

Feeling good about ourselves is a choice. So is feeling guilty. When guilt is legitimate, it acts as a warning light, signaling that we’re off course. Then its purpose is finished.

Wallowing in guilt allows others to control us. It makes us feel not good enough. It prevents us from setting boundaries and taking other healthy action to care for ourselves.

We may have learned to habitually feel guilty as an instinctive reaction to life. Now we know that we don’t have to feel guilty. Even if we’ve done something that violates a value, extended guilt does not solve the problem; it prolongs the problem. So make an amend. Change a behavior. Then let guilt go.

Today, God, help me to become entirely ready to let go of guilt. Please take it from me, and replace it with self-love.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 8
Watch out for that woohoo

That’s not flying….It’s falling with style.
–Woody, Toy Story

There is a term in skydiving called relative work. That means you’re controlling your fall rate to match those of the other jumpers in the air– falling in formation with them.

“We are flying,” said a sky diver, flush with adrenaline after a jump, “relative to each other.”

“Sure you are,” I said. “But relative to the earth, you’re falling, and that’s all that counts.”

It’s easy to get caught up in the woohoo of the moment. But don’t forget about humility and reality,too. We can make the right moves, assert ourselves, realize our dreams– but our plans need to be brought down to earth.

Find a path with heart, and walk it. Do things. Enjoy your activities. But also be aware that while you may feel like you are flying, there is a big green planet rushing toward you at 120 miles per hour that begs to differ.

Say woohoo. Have confidence. Then remember that there’s always a power greater than you.

God, help me remember to be grounded and humble in all that I do.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 8

If the best man’s faults were written on his forehead, it would make him pull his hat over his eyes.
—Gaelic proverb

When we deal with our faults and imperfections, we are dealing with the basic issues of being a person. We can become bitter and cynical about the imperfections of others, or we can realize every person is incomplete but growing, just as we are. The way we look at the faults in others and the way we look at our own are closely tied together. In our spiritual journey, we must begin with the premise that no person ever achieves perfection.

Perfection apparently is not what this life is about at all, since perfection is nonexistent. We are lovable, and we can love in the process of living our lives. Since we are not perfect, we have to be accountable. We must have standards for our behavior and hold ourselves to those standards, admitting our mistakes and making repairs where we can.

I will try to acknowledge my mistakes and give up the idea of ever becoming perfect.

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Daily TAO
February 8
WORRY

Worry is an addiction
That interferes with compassion.

Worry is a problem that seems to be rampant. Perhaps it is due to the nature of our overly advanced civilization; perhaps it is a measure of our own spiritual degeneracy. Whatever the source, it is clear that worry is not useful. It is a cancer of the emotions — concern gone compulsive. It eats away at body and mind.

It does no good to say, “Don’t think about it.” You’ll only worry more. It is far better to keep walking your path, changing what you can. The rest must be dissolved in compassion. In this world of infants with immune deficiencies, racial injustice, economic imbalance, personal violence, and international conflict, it is impossible to address everyone’s concerns. Taking care of yourself and doing something good for those whom you meet is enough. That is compassion, and we must exercise it even in the face of the overwhelming odds.

Whenever you meet a problem, help if it is in your power to do so. After you have acted, withdraw and be unconcerned about it. Walk on without ever mentioning it to anybody. Then there is no worry, because there has been action.

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Daily Zen
February 8

To be free from the passions
And to be calm,
This is the most excellent Way.

– Sutra of Forty Two Chapters

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Food for Thought
February 8
Small Decisions

We live this program one day at a time, one meal at a time. Throughout each day, we make many small decisions one at a time. We may often be tempted to take a tiny extra bite, to estimate a portion on the generous side rather than measuring it exactly, or to include a problem food in our menu plan.

Each time we decide not to take the tiny extra bite, each time we weigh and measure exactly, each time we decide to avoid the problem food, we become stronger. The next wise decision becomes easier to make.

One wrong decision does not have to ruin an entire day. None of us is perfect. We can learn to accept the fact of a mistake and move on to the next decision, which needs to be made. We can let our Higher Power total up our score and be the judge of how well we work the program. Our job is to work it, and at every moment we are free to decide wisely.

I pray for wisdom to make the right decisions.

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