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

Daily Recovery Readings – July 9

Just For Today
July 9
We Do Recover!

“….the time has come when that tired old lie, ‘Once an addict, always an addict,’ will no longer be tolerated by either society or the addict himself. We do recover.”
Basic Text, p.86

From time to time, we hear speakers share that they don’t really understand spiritual principles yet. They tell us that if we knew what went on in their minds, we’d be amazed at how insane they still are. They tell us that the longer they’re clean, the less they know about anything. In the next breath, these same speakers tell us about the profound changes recovery has made in their lives. They have moved from complete despair to unfailing hope, from uncontrollable drug use to total abstinence, from chronic unmanageability to responsibility through working the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous. Which story is true? Do we or don’t we recover?

We may think we demonstrate humility or gratitude by underplaying the change that recovery has brought to our lives. True, we do injustice to the program when we take credit for this miracle ourselves. But we do an equal injustice-to ourselves and to those we share with-when we don’t acknowledge this miracle’s magnitude.

We do recover. If we have trouble seeing the miracle of recovery, we’d better look again. Recovery is alive and at work in Narcotics Anonymous-in our old-timers, in the newcomers flooding our meetings, and most of all in ourselves. All we have to do is open our eyes.

Just for today: I will acknowledge the miracle of my recovery and be grateful that I’ve found it.

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Daily Reflections
July 9
I AM AN INSTRUMENT

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
12 & 12, p.70

The subject of humility is a difficult one. Humility is not thinking less of myself than I ought to; it is acknowledging that I do certain things well, it is accepting a compliment graciously. God can only do for me what He can do through me. Humility is the result of knowing that God is the doer, not me. In the light of awareness, how can I take pride in my accomplishments? I am an instrument and any work I seem to be doing is being done by God through me. I ask God on a daily basis to remove my shortcomings, in order that I may more freely go about my A.A. business of “love and service.”

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
July 9
A.A. Thought For The Day

Disillusionment and spiritual confusion mark our age. Many of us have cast aside old ideas without acquiring new ones. Many men and women are creeping through life on their hands and knees, merely because they refuse to rely on any power but themselves.  Many of them feel that they are being brave and independent, but actually they are only courting disaster. Anxiety and the inferiority complex have become the greatest of all modern plagues. In A.A. we have the answer to these ills. Have I ceased to rely on myself only?

Meditation For The Day

Disillusionment and doubt spoil life. The doubting ones are the disillusioned ones. When you are in doubt, you are on the fence.  You are not going anywhere. Doubt poisons all action. “Well. I don’t know”–so you don’t know anything. You should meet life with a “Yes,” an affirmative attitude. There is good in the world and we can follow that good. There is power available to help us to do the right thing; therefore we will accept that power. There are miracles of change in people’s lives; therefore we will accept those miracles as evidence of God’s power.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I will not be paralyzed by doubt. I pray that I may go along on the venture of faith.

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As Bill Sees It
July 9
The A.A. Way in the Home*, p. 190

Though an alcoholic does not respond, there is no reason why you should neglect his family. You should continue to be friendly to them, explaining A.A.’s concept of alcoholism and its treatment. If they accept this and also apply our principles to their problems, there is a much better chance that the head of the family will recover. And even though he continues to drink, the family will find life more bearable.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Unless a new member’s family readily expresses a desire to live upon spiritual principles, we think he ought not to urge them. They will change in time. His behavior will usually convince them far more than his words.

Alcoholics Anonymous
1. p. 97
2. p. 83

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Walk In Dry Places
July 9
What is the real cause?
Motivations.

Bringing her alcoholic husband home from a treatment center, a woman was dismayed when an argument ensued and he left the car in a rage. She blamed herself and their argument when he finally arrived home, DRUNK.

Seasoned veterans of alcoholic games will quickly understand that the argument had no part in “causing” the alcoholic to drink. Instead, the argument was something he started as a means of getting away from his wife. He still wanted and needed to drink.

In dealing with our compulsive illnesses, we must separate our excuses from what’s really going on. Arguments do not cause alcoholics to drink, but they can be used as convenient devices for getting our way.

I must take responsibility for my own behavior. If I have chosen sobriety, no person and no event can cause me to drink.

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Each Day a New Beginning
July 9

Of course, fortune has its part in human affairs, but conduct is really much more important.
—Jeanne Detourbey

It’s not infrequent that we are faced with a dilemma; what is the best action to take in a certain situation? We can be guided, rightly, in every situation if we but turn inward and let our conscience direct our behavior. We have often heard it said at meetings that when we long for a message from God we will hear it, either through our conscience or in the words of our friends. Thus we can never really be in doubt; our conduct can always be above reproach if we but listen.

Right behavior leads to fortunate opportunities for those who look for them. Behavior that we’re proud of seems to attract blessings in our lives. One’s good fortune is really God-given and in proportion to one’s willingness to act well toward others in all situations.

Simply, what goes around comes around. Our behavior comes back to us many fold. In our encounters with others today, we’ll have numerous occasions to decide about the best behavior for the particular circumstance. We must not forget that our behavior elicits the responses we receive.

I will invite blessings today. I will also shower blessings on my friends.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
July 9
The Vicious Cycle

How it finally broke a Southerner’s obstinacy and destined this salesman to start A.A. at Philadelphia.

After the book appeared, we all became very busy in our efforts to save all and sundry, but I was still actually on the fringes of A.A. While I went along with all that was done and attended the meetings, I never took an active job of leadership until February 1940. Then I got a very good position in philadelphia and quickly found i would need a few fellow alcoholics around me if I was to stay sober. Thus I found myself in the middle of a brand new group. When I started to tell the boys how we did it in New York and all about the spiritual part of the program, I found they would not believe me unless I was practicing what I preached. Then I found that as I gave in to this spiritual or personality change I was getting a little more serenity. In telling newcomers how to change their lives and attitudes, all of a sudden I found I was doing a little changing myself. I had been too self-sufficient to write a moral inventory, but I discovered in pointing out to the new man his wrong attitudes and actions that I was really taking my own inventory, and that if I expected him to change I would have to work on myself too. This change has been a long, slow process for me, but through these latter years the dividends have been tremendous.

pp. 229-230

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
July 9

Step Eleven – “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

When, by such simple devices, we have placed ourselves in a mood in which we can focus undisturbed on constructive imagination, we might proceed like this:
Once more we read our prayer, and again try to see what its inner essence is. We’ll think now about the man who first uttered the prayer. First of all, he wanted to become a “channel.” Then he asked for the grace to bring love, forgiveness, harmony, truth, faith, hope, light, and joy to every human being he could.

pp. 100-101

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Xtra Thoughts
July 9

During the time of the darkest night, act as if the morning has already come.
–The Talmud

The spiritual journey involves going beyond hope and fear, stepping into unknown territory, continually moving forward. The most important aspect of being on the spiritual path may be just to keep moving.
–Pema Chodron

God is my life, I express health, God is my supply, I express abundance, God is trust, I express faith.
–SweetyZee

No one gives me worry, nothing causes me fear, I release them, and trust Gods outcomes.
–SweetyZee

I am steadfast in my loyalty to God and truth.
–SweetyZee

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
July 9
PESSIMISM

“There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.”
–Mark Twain

I meet so many young people who have “aged” because of their drug addiction. They have lost that “spark” of youth that is both creative and hopeful. They reveal in their eyes a “powerlessness” that keeps them prisoners of lethargy. They don’t want to do anything. They mumble rather than speak. They walk with no purpose: young zombies! Addiction breeds pessimism.

Recovery is realizing that life need not be like this. True joy and happiness comes with the experience of self, rather than the confused experiences of chemicals. Reality is facing the pain and problems in order to rediscover the dynamic spirituality of a drug-free life. The “yes” to life begins with the “no” to drugs.  Happiness and confidence are discovered in the “yes” to life.

Let me see beyond the gloom to the promised sunrise of tomorrow.

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Bible Scriptures
July 9

“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:13

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
James 5:16

“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:38

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9

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Daily Inspiration
July 9

We often don’t realize how heavy the weight of worry is and how much energy it requires until we are able to let go of it. Lord, I place my trust in You to clear my thinking, help me resolve my concerns and bring me to a place of peace.

Keep yourself young in spirit always by thinking new thoughts and getting rid of old habits. Lord, may my spirit never become frail and my abilities never become barren.

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A Day At A Time
July 9

Reflection For The Day

When we make only superficial changes in ourselves, and give only lip service to The Program, our progress is slow and the likelihood of relapse great.  Our regeneration must take the form of a true spiritual rebirth.  It must go very deep, within each character flaw replaced by a new and positive quality.  Am I being completely honest with myself in uncovering the faults which hamper my spiritual growth?  Am I beginning to replace them with positive qualities?

Today I Pray

May God’s protective hand lead me out of the darkness of my deepest fear — that I could return to being what I do now want to be.  Please, God, give me courage to make an honest appraisal of myself.  Please help me cultivate my positive qualities and begin to be free of my fears.

Today I Will Remember

I must be reborn in the Spirit.

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One More Day
July 9

Should I, after tea and cakes and ices, Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
–  Thomas Stearns Eliot

Some people call it “dancing around the issue.”  After all, if there is a problem to face, we may become embarrassed when it’s time to talk about it.  We try so hard to balance the emotional framework of our lives that we hardly want to be the one to bring up what seems to be a taboo topic.  What we think, we don’t always state;  what we intend, we don’t state clearly;  and what we need, we rarely ask for.  Our half-truths and mixed messages don’t result in honest communication.

Drug use?  Manipulative behavior?  Eating disorder?  Financial problems?  The only way to begin to face a problem is to admit that there is one, to talk about it, and to decide together what steps can be taken to help.

Today, I will face a problem honestly.

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One Day At A Time
July 9
CONTROL

“I offer you this prayer for all the difficult relationships in our lives:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change,
The courage to change the person I can,
And the wisdom to know that person is me.”
Rev. Mary Manin Morrissey

My disease tells me that my life would be so much better if people would only do what I tell them to do. If they would listen to me, I could solve all their problems, fix their lives, and everybody would be happy. Why can’t they see that our relationships would be better if they’d just do what I say, and not what I do? Don’t they realize that I know more than they do about how to run their lives?

Well, luckily for the people in my life, this disease lies. I DON’T know what’s best for them. Because I have a disease of compulsion, I don’t even know what’s best for me. If I had known what was best for me, my life would not have been in shambles like it was before I found the Twelve Steps of recovery.

I had to come to the realization that my life had become unmanageable. Only then could I find a Higher Power to restore sanity to the crazy drama that had become my life ~ and to grant me the serenity which accompanies sanity. Now I realize the only person I can control is myself. I can’t make other people change into what I want them to be, nor can I make them do what I think is best for them. Since I’ve begun letting my Higher Power restore me to sanity, I no longer want to be a control freak. I can’t even fathom trying to run another person’s life. I have enough on my hands just living my own life; I don’t have the strength, knowledge or wisdom to live someone else’s. I will always be grateful to my Higher Power for helping me to realize that.

One day at a time…
I will live my own life and allow others to live theirs.

~ Jeff

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – July 9

“We have to educate ourselves to know who we are. That’s what I mean when I say, ‘Teach the children.’”
–Eddie Benton-Banai, OJIBWAY

It is only by knowing ourselves that we can get in touch with our power. It is said, “Tell me what you know about yourself and I’ll tell you what you know about God. Tell me what you know about God and I’ll tell you what you know about yourself.” As we increase knowledge of ourselves, as we choose to grow spiritually, as we clean up our act, then we can teach the children.

My Creator, You have said “Know thyself.” Today let me see the wisdom of this Truth. Give me Your insight of myself. I am always walking the talk and most people can see it. Today, help and guide me on the Red Road.

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Journey To The Heart
July 9
Learn to Focus Your Energy

“I’ve come to this lodge for one reason,” the woman at Breitenbush Retreat in Willamette Forest said. “I brought my fiddle, and I’m not leaving until I can play a bluegrass tune. If I want to get out of here, I’d better learn to play.

There is a time to be open, almost unfocused, as we take in what the world, the universe, is showing us. There is a time to get out of our heads and quietly take the journey our hearts lead us into– following with the openness and wonder of a child.

But there also comes a time to aim our attention and focus our energy on what we want to accomplish. Instead of floundering with scattered thoughts and possibilities, we choose one, then act on it. We stay in step with the natural rhythm, but we’re pulling our scattered attention together and focusing it as part of that rhythm.

To do that, we may have to work through or push away inner distractions. Moving through our inner obstacles enables us to accomplish our goal– whether that’s a task, a particular piece of work, or learning to play the fiddle.

Is there something you want to do? Is your heart urging you to learn something, accomplish something, go somewhere, do something? Make it a goal. Focus your energy. Learn to stay focused until you reach that goal.

Put yourself in the cabin and don’t let yourself out until it’s done.

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Today’s Gift
July 9

A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.
—Dorothy Canfield Fisher

A strong, healthy tree is one which is free to grow straight and tall. A weak tree often must lean against another for support. It is not that different with people. We are not healthy and strong when we must always lean on another to support us.

This doesn’t mean it isn’t healthy to accept help. But the best help we can get or give is that which enables us to do things without it. Sometimes we think we lose a relationship when others don’t need our help, or when we don’t need theirs all the time. The reverse is true. Only when we are each strong enough to stand on our own can we really share the kind of help, which allows both, helped and helper to be independent.

Have I been giving the right kind of help?

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The Language of Letting Go
July 9
Overspending and Underspending

I used to beat my husband to death with my credit card. It made me feel like I had some control, some way to get even with him.
—Anonymous

I spent ten years buying everything for myself at garage sales. I didn’t even buy myself a new pair of shoes. The entire time I was depriving myself, my husband was gambling, speculating on risky business deals, and doing whatever he wanted with money. I learned that when I made a decision that I deserved to have the things I wanted, and made a decision to buy something I wanted, there was enough money to do it. It wasn’t about being frugal; it was about depriving myself, and being a martyr.
—Anonymous

Compulsive buying or overspending may give us a temporary feeling of power or satisfaction, but like other out of control behaviors, it has predictable negative consequences.

Under spending can leave us feeling victimized too.

There is a difference between responsible spending and martyred deprivation. There is a difference between treating ourselves well financially and overspending. We can learn to discern that difference. We can develop responsible spending habits that reflect high self-esteem and love for ourselves.

Today, I will strive for balance in my spending habits. If I am overspending, I will stop and deal with what’s going on inside me. If I am under spending or depriving myself, I will ask myself if that’s necessary and what I want.

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More Language Of Letting Go
July 9
Stop being a sponge

You don’t have to be an emotional sponge, picking up every feeling around you. Learn to distinguish whether what you’re feeling belongs to you or to somebody else.

Linda has a grown son. Whenever her son is going through a difficult time, Linda takes her son’s emotions on, as if those feelings belonged to her. She’ll talk to her son on the phone for a while. He’ll express himself intensely and powerfully about how he really feels about everything in his life. After all, Linda’s his mom. It’s safe to tell her how he really feels, even if he can’t tell anyone else. Linda may feel fine when she begins talking to her son. But by the end of the conversation, Linda doesn’t feel that good anymore. She may feel angry, upset, or worried– or whatever her son was feeling before he talked to her.

Sometimes we soak up other people’s feelings because we forget to protect ourselves. Often, we do this because of the depth of feeling we have for this person. The remedy for this is the same as it is when we’re dealing with our own emotional stuff. We recognize what we’re feeling. We give that feeling its due. Then we let it go. We squeeze out the sponge.

Sometimes, it just takes the act of recognizing that we’ve taken on another person’s emotions to clear those emotions out. If we strive for awareness, we’ll begin to recognize when the feelings we’re feeling aren’t our own.

Children are often open and unprotected. If we’re going through a lot of feelings around them, they may absorb our emotions,too. It’s important to share our feelings with others and let people talk about their feelings to us. But we need to pay attention. If we’ve picked up someone else’s emotions, we need to let those feelings go.

God, help me know that part of being close to people and loving them means I sometimes take on their feelings. Show me how to protect myself so I can keep my heart open to the people I love without taking on their feelings.

Activity: As children, we may have absorbed emotions from our parents. These emotions can linger with us long into adulthood, shaping our beliefs and our general attitude toward life. These emotions can be tricky. We think they’re our own, but they’re not. They belong to someone else. Ask your Higher Power to show you whether you’ve absorbed any emotions from your parents or other people in your life. Then stay open to the responses you get to this prayer. If any emotions or memories begin popping into your consciousness, go to your journal and write about them. Just document the scene or memory that comes to mind. Then release the emotions. Set them free and let them go. Carrying around someone else’s feelings doesn’t help the other person and it doesn’t help us. You deserve to be free and clear.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
July 9

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
—Herbert Spencer

We sometimes wish we could protect friends or loved ones from the consequences of their actions. We’d like to pick up the pieces after they’ve made a mess of their lives. Or we fail to look at the dark side of someone’s motives because we want only the best. Perhaps it is our controlling willfulness that tries to make things into what we want, rather than accepts things as they really are.

In our masculine recovery, a deeper love allows us to have a respectful distance from others. When we truly care about someone, we don’t snatch him or her out of his or her learning experience. When we allow our loved ones and friends to confront the natural consequences of their own actions, they learn and grow just as we do. We can be with a friend, but we are no one’s Higher Power.

Today, I will be respectful of others by letting them walk their path while I walk mine.

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Daily TAO
July 9
Nonyielding

When in the arena,
Yield not to an aggressor.
When outside the arena,
Affirm compassion.

This world and this society are competitive. Tao uses the metaphor of the warrior to meet the competition. Warriors never yield to their opponents. They may sidestep, but they do not give way.

Whether you are a lawyer, police officer, fire fighter, doctor, businessperson, athlete, or any one of numerous other professions, you compete against either other people or natural forces. But there is a right way and a wrong way to compete. Avoid anger and greed. Use concentration and awareness.

Coincidentally, concentration and awareness are also necessary for spirituality. The follower of Tao incorporates the way of the warrior into training. The warrior and the sage both seek to transcend emotion and petty thinking, to perfect themselves, and to live lives of the deepest truth.

But when outside the arena, do not forget to be kind. Leave behind competitive aggression. One must still be aware, concentrate, and react, but the expression will be different. Compassion must not falter. The combination of the way of the warrior and the way of Tao is the ultimate symbol of versatility. Such a person may command the extremes of the universe.

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Food for Thought
July 9
Tension or Hunger?

How often have we eaten because of tension, rather than hunger? Accepting our need for three measured meals a day with nothing in between establishes a sensible pattern, which satisfies our need for nourishment. When we are tense, we can find ways of relaxing which do not harm our body by making it fat.

Learning to relax the stomach muscles helps get rid of tension hunger. Often when we have eaten too fast because of tension, our stomach continues to send hunger signals after the meal. There has not been enough time for the digestive process to register satisfaction. We can consciously relax the muscles so that the feeling of emptiness will go away.

The best cure for tension is a growing faith in our Higher Power. If we are willing to trust Him in the little things of each day, as well as the big events of our life, we will be able to relax and cultivate serenity.

Dissolve my tension and feed my hunger, I pray.

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DailyZen
July 9     

Human conversation depends on language. After talking for a certain period of time, either we are tired or the subject of the conversation becomes exhausted. But when we look at a flower and can converse with this flower, communication can be endlessly long and extremely subtle. Especially when talking with wildflowers, we rediscover how significant a seemingly insignificant flower may be.

– Eido Tai Shimano (b. 1932)

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Faith’s Check Book
July 9
Faithful and Useful

Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. (Psalm 101:6)

If David spoke thus, we may be sure that the Son of David will be of the same mind. Jesus looks out for faithful men, and He fixes His eyes upon them, to observe them, to bring them forward, to encourage them, and to reward them. Let no true-hearted man think that he is overlooked; the King Himself has His eye upon him.

There are two results of this royal notice. First we read, “That they may dwell with me.” Jesus brings the faithful into His house, He sets them in His palace, He makes them His companions, He delights in their society. We must be true to our Lord, and He will then manifest Himself to us. When our faithfulness costs us most, it will be best rewarded; the more furiously men reject, the more joyfully will our Lord receive us.

Next, he says of the sincere man, “He shall serve me.” Jesus will use for His own glory those who scorn the tricks of policy and are faithful to Himself, His Word, and His cross. These shall be in His royal retinue, the honored servants of His Majesty. Communion and usefulness are the wages of faithfulness. Lord make me faithful that I may dwell with Thee and serve Thee.

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This Morning’s Meditation
July 9

“Forget not all His benefits.”
—Psalm 103:2.

IT is a delightful and profitable occupation to mark the hand of God in the lives of ancient saints, and to observe His goodness in delivering them, His mercy in pardoning them, and His faithfulness in keeping His covenant with them. But would it not be even more interesting and profitable for us to remark the hand of God in our own lives? Ought we not to look upon our own history as being at least as full of God, as full of His goodness and of His truth, as much a proof of His faithfulness and veracity, as the lives of any of the saints who have gone before? We do our Lord an injustice when we suppose that He wrought all His mighty acts, and showed Himself strong for those in the early time, but doth not perform wonders or lay bare His arm for the saints who are now upon the earth. Let us review our own lives. Surely in these we may discover some happy incidents, refreshing to ourselves and glorifying to our God. Have you had no deliverances? Have you passed through no rivers, supported by the divine presence? Have you walked through no fires unharmed? Have you had no manifestations? Have you had no choice favours? The God who gave Solomon the desire of his heart, hath He never listened to you and answered your requests? That God of lavish bounty of whom David sang, “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things,” hath He never satiated you with fatness? Have you never been made to lie down in green pastures? Have you never been led by the still waters? Surely the goodness of God has been the same to us as to the saints of old. Let us, then, weave His mercies into a song. Let us take the pure gold of thankfulness, and the jewels of praise and make them into another crown for the head of Jesus. Let our souls give forth music as sweet and as exhilarating as came from David’s harp, while we praise the Lord whose mercy endureth for ever.

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This Evening’s Meditation
July 9

“And God divided the light from the darkness.”
—Genesis 1:4.

A believer has two principles at work within him. In his natural estate he was subject to one principle only, which was darkness; now light has entered, and the two principles disagree. Mark the apostle Paul’s words in the seventh chapter of Romans: “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members.” How is this state of things occasioned? “The Lord divided the light from the darkness.” Darkness, by itself, is quiet and undisturbed, but when the Lord sends in light, there is a conflict, for the one is in opposition to the other: a conflict which will never cease till the believer is altogether light in the Lord. If there be a division within the individual Christian, there is certain to be a division without. So soon as the Lord gives to any man light, he proceeds to separate himself from the darkness around; he secedes from a merely worldly religion of outward ceremonial, for nothing short of the gospel of Christ will now satisfy him, and he withdraws himself from worldly society and frivolous amusements, and seeks the company of the saints, for “We know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” The light gathers to itself, and the darkness to itself. What God has divided, let us never try to unite, but as Christ went without the camp, bearing His reproach, so let us come out from the ungodly, and be a peculiar people. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners; and, as He was, so we are to be nonconformists to the world, dissenting from all sin, and distinguished from the rest of mankind by our likeness to our Master.

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