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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.

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Daily Recovery Readings – March 20

Just For Today
March 20
Higher Power

“Most of us have no trouble admitting that addiction had become a destructive force in our lives. Our best efforts resulted in ever greater destruction and despair. At some point, we realized that we needed the help of some Power greater than our addiction.”
Basic Text p. 24

Most of us know without a doubt that our lives have been filled with destruction. Learning that we have a disease called addiction helps us understand the source or cause of this destruction. We can recognize addiction as a power that has worked devastation in our lives. When we take the First Step, we admit that the destructive force of addiction is bigger than we are. We are powerless over it.

At this point, our only hope is to find some Power greater than the force of our addiction—a Power bent on preserving life, not ending it. We don’t have to understand it or even name it; we only have to believe that there could be such a Higher Power. The belief that a benevolent Power greater than our addiction just might exist gives us enough hope to stay clean, a day at a time.

Just for today: I believe in the possibility of some Power that’s bigger than my addiction.

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Daily Reflections
March 20
LOVE AND TOLERANCE

Love and tolerance of others in our code.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84

I have found that I have to forgive others in all situations to maintain any real spiritual progress.  The vital importance of forgiving may not be obvious to me at first sight, but my studies tell me that every great spiritual teacher has insisted strongly upon it. I must forgive injuries, not just in words, or as a matter of form, but in my heart. I do this not for the other persons’ sake, but for my own sake. Resentment, anger, or a desire to see someone punished, are things that rot my soul. Such things fasten my troubles to me with chains. They tie me to other problems that have nothing to do with my original problem.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
March 20
A.A. Thought For The Day

When we were drinking, we used to worry about the future.  Worry is terrible mental punishment. What’s going to become of me? Where will I end up? In the gutter or the sanitarium? We can see ourselves slipping, getting worse and worse, and we wonder what the finish will be.  Sometimes we get so discouraged in thinking about the future that we toy with the idea of suicide. In A.A. have I stopped worrying about the future?

Meditation For The Day

Functioning on a material plane alone takes me away from God. I must also try to function on a spiritual plane.  Functioning on a spiritual plane as well as on a material plane will make life what it should be. All material activities are valueless in themselves alone. But all activities, seemingly trivial or of seemingly great moment, are all alike if directed by God’s guidance. I must try to obey God as I would expect a faithful, willing servant to carry out directions.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that the flow of God’s spirit may come to me through many channels. I pray that I may function on a spiritual plane as well as on a material plane.

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As Bill Sees It
March 20
Whose Responsibility?, p. 79

“An A.A. group, as such, cannot take on all the personal problems of its members, let alone those of nonalcoholics in the world around us.  The A.A. group is not, for example, a mediator of domestic relations, nor does it furnish personal financial aid to anyone.

“Though a member may sometimes be helped in such matters by his friends in A.A., the primary responsibility for the solutions of all his problems of living and growing rests squarely upon the individual himself. Should an A.A. group attempt this sort of help, its effectiveness and energies would be hopelessly dissipated.

“This is why sobriety–freedom from alcohol–through the teaching and practice of A.A.’s Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of the group. If we don’t stick to this cardinal principle, we shall almost certainly collapse. And if we collapse we cannot help anyone.”

Letter, 1966

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Walk in Dry Places
March 20
Think, Think, Think
Prudence.

It’s hard to believe, but some AA members insist that newcomers shouldn’t think. “Whoever said you should think?” some members are told. The newcomer is apparently supposed to suspend all thinking for several months until reaching a certain level of recovery.

This is nonsense, and it also contradicts AA teaching. If we don’t want people to use their heads, why do we have printed cards on meeting room walls that say, “Think, Think, Think”? We are always capable of thinking, even in moments of deep despair. Indeed, we could not keep from thinking.

A constructive approach to thinking is to form complete sentences from the slogan on the wall: THINK what might happen if I take one drink. THINK of the wonderful new life that awaits me in sobriety. THINK about ways of improving myself and following a more satisfactory lifestyle.

It’s also important to remember that good thinking will drive out bad thinking…. But good thinking has to be cultivated.

I’ll keep my thinking centered today on the good things that can be done in life. I’ll focus my attention only on matters that are under my control, and I know that better thinking will bring better conditions.

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Keep It Simple
March 20

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years of trying to get other people interested in you.
–Dale Carnegie

We wanted friends, but our addiction wanted all our attention. We had no time to be close to others.

Well, stand aside, addiction! The program has taught us that others are important. Our purpose is to help others. People have become what’s important to us.

Now we listen to others. We help them do what they want to do, not what we want them to do. We help people instead of use them. Friendship is now a way of life. And another promise of the program becomes a part of us.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to know that I’m here to help others, not just myself. Through others, I find myself.

Today’s’ Action: Today I’ll help someone the way he or she wants to be helped.

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Each Day a New Beginning
March 20

There’s a period of life where we swallow a knowledge of ourselves and it becomes either good or sour inside.
–Pearl Bailey

For too many of us, feelings of shame, even self-hatred, are paramount. No one of us has a fully untarnished past. Every man, every woman, even every child experiences regret over some action. We are not perfect. Perfection is not expected in the Divine plan. But we are expected to take our experiences and grow from them, to move beyond the shame of them, to celebrate what they have taught us.

Each day offers us a fresh start at assimilating all that we have been. What has gone before enriches who we are now, and through the many experiences we’ve survived, we have been prepared to help others, to smooth the way for another woman, perhaps, who is searching for a new direction.

We can let go of our shame and know instead that it sweetens the nuggets of the wisdom we can offer to others. We are alike. We are not without faults. Our trials help another to smoother sailing.

I will relish the joy at hand. I can share my wisdom. All painful pasts brighten someone’s future, when openly shared.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
March 20
SAFE HAVEN

– This A.A. found that the process of discovering who he really was began with knowing who he didn’t want to be.

I didn’t grow up in a home that used alcohol, but when I took my first drink at the age of thirteen, I knew I would drink again. Being raised in a home founded on high moral standards didn’t seem to instill any fear of consequences once I took a drink of booze. Sometimes as I rode my bicycle around the neighborhood, I would spy a grown-up in his yard drinking beer. Returning later, when i knew he was not at home, I would break into his home to steal the golden beverage from the refrigerator.

p. 452

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
March 20

Step Two – “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Few indeed are the practicing alcoholics who have any idea how irrational they are, or seeing their irrationality, can bear to face it. Some will be willing to term themselves “problem drinkers,” but cannot endure the suggestion that they are in fact mentally ill. They are abetted in this blindness by a world which does not understand the difference between sane drinking and alcoholism. “Sanity” is defined as “soundness of mind.” Yet no alcoholic, soberly analyzing his destructive behavior, whether the destruction fell on the dining-room furniture or his own moral fiber, can claim “soundness of mind” for himself.

pp. 32-33

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Xtra Thoughts
March 20

“There is only one small letter between the words CAN and CAN’T…and that one letter will TOTALLY change your destiny.”
-–Doug Firebaugh

Happiness is intrinsic, it’s an internal thing. When you build it into yourself, no external circumstances can take it away. That kind of happiness is a twenty-four-hour thing.
–Leo F. Buscaglia

God, if I can’t see the joy in life, help me look again.
–Melody Beattie

Now and then I like to lift my eyes up from the details of daily life and remember the bigger picture, and take a breath of God, and feel and remember that ultimately, it’s all okay.
–Dan Millman

God wants us to give from the heart when we see a need.
–Nancy Shelton

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
March 20
APATHY

“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.”
— Helen Keller

I read today of a woman who ate herself to death. Friends and family when interviewed said, “She simply didn’t seem to care.” She had stuffed her feelings for so long that she had forgotten what they were; she had lost her spirituality. Apathy kills people.

So long as people do nothing, the disease of addiction gets worse and more victims are claimed. Apathy feeds ignorance because it stops activity; apathy stops life.

The antidote for apathy is spirituality. The spiritual person is alive with positive attitudes and creative hope — he is infectious. People are challenged to discover a meaning to life in their own lives. Hope produces recovery; recovery produces a message that must be shared; in the message is the miracle of life.

I pray that in the face of apathy I can discover hope.

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Bible scriptures

“He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.”
Psalms 62:2

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7

When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets.
Matthew 6:2

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Daily Inspiration
March 20

To run the life’s race successfully we must run toward life, not away from it. Lord, bless me with the courage to meet my challenges as they happen and never allow fear to set up roadblocks.

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
March 20

Reflection For The Day

The longer I’m in The Program, the more important becomes the slogan “First Things First”  I used to believe that my family came first, that my home life came first,  that my job came first.  But I know today, in the depths of my heart, that If I can’t stay sober I’ll have nothing.  “First Things First.” to me, means that everything in my life depends on my sobriety.  Am I grateful fo be sober today?

Today I Pray

May my first priority, the topmost item on my list of concerns, be my sobriety — maintaining it, learning to live comfortably with it, sharing the tools by which I maintain it.  When other things crowd into my life and I am caught up in the busyness of living, may I still preserve that first -of-all goal — remaining free of chemicals.

Today I Will Remember

First Things First.

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One More Day
March 20

Understanding human needs is half the job of meeting them.
–  Adiai Stevenson

We may have needed constant reminding to do our chores when we were children.  We expected to be told what to do.  Today we are adults and are chronically ill, and we find ourselves giving reminders to the people around us.  Now, however, the suggestions have to be extremely delicate and carefully given.

We can gently guide the behavior of spouse, friends, parents, and children regarding our medical problems.  Our comments can be honest and direct:  “It would help me if your would let me try to do things for myself before offering me your help.”  Or  “Please sweep the floor.”  Or   “Would you put the towels into the dryer?”  Those around us are not able to read our minds.  We can lear to say “I need”  or “I want.”  Our needs will be met if we ask directly.

Learn to ask for help is hard, but I can learn.

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One Day At A Time
March 20
Maintenance

“Another flaw in the human character is that everbody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”
–Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

With the help of our Higher Power, sponsors, and fellow Program members we have, completed the 12 Steps, studied the Big Book, hit regular meetings, worked the loops, given service, etc ….and finally were able to achieve abstinence and reach our recovery goals! Reaching our goals is one thing, but now we must maintain what we’ve struggled so hard to achieve. As COE’s, we never truly lose our addiction for food. Relape is only a heartbeat away. Therefore, we must diligently strive to continue working the Program tools to guard this precious gift that we have earned.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will diligently maintain the recovery goals I have worked so long and hard to achieve.

~ Rob R.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day March 20

“You have wandered away from your teachings. You must concentrate on your spiritual teachings…Don’t be sidetracked.”
–Henry Quick Bear, LAKOTA

Why are the Elders always telling us to know The culture and listen to the teachings? When we go off track, why do the Elders say, return to the teachings? The teachings tell us how to live in harmony with the Laws and principles of the Great Spirit. Living means life  a good life, a happy life. Many of us have grown up without the teachings and the culture, that is why we don’t know how to live. To improve on relationships, to treat our children with honor, and to respect our Elders, we need to live by the old teachings again.

Great Spirit, today, show me how to live.

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Journey to the Heart
March 20
Learn to Heal Yourself

Sometimes we trick ourselves. If we feel unhappy, troubled, or scared, we race toward what we think will make us feel better. In desperation, in fear, we grasp for something, anything to stop our pain. Finding that job. Making more money. Getting married. Having a relationship. If I get that one thing I need, then I’ll be happy. Then my pain will stop.

Sometimes it’s true that finding the solution to a problem improves the quality of our lives. Having enough money enables us to fix the furnace when it breaks. Having people in our lives we love and who love us can be an important part of our happiness. Having work to do that we enjoy and that we feel is worthwhile helps us feel good about ourselves.

But when we’re in pain– no matter what’s causing it– the way to heal that pain doesn’t come from outside of ourselves. External circumstances don’t make internal emotions disappear. Even if we get what we think we want, the painful emotion we haven’t had the strength or courage to face will still be there.

The way to heal pain, the only way, is to feel and release it. Your pain is your pain. Your fear, desperation, and resentments are yours, too. All these emotions belong to you. Feel them, learn from them, and let them go.

Walk courageously each step of the path on the journey to the heart. Emjoy when the universe sends you its gifts– a lover, some money, a good job. But know the ultimate key to happiness lies not in external things, but within you. Feel all your feelings. Learn to heal yourself.

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Today’s Gift
March 20

I want, by understanding myself, to understand others.
—Katherine Mansfield

Growing up to be the best people we can be is a lifelong process. As teenagers, we may have thought that twenty-one would be a magic year for us because then we would become adults. We’d be grown up and able to handle any problems that came along, if any did.

But the older we get, the more we realize that growing up is a process that never ends. We are always becoming the people we are capable of being. We’re always learning new things about ourselves, and in that process, we’re always coming to new understandings about other people and how we can get along with them.

How wonderful that life always offers us room to grow! It makes new discoveries possible all through our lives, and ensures us that we will always have something to offer.

What discovery have I made just today?

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The Language of Letting Go
March 20
Releasing

Let fears slip away. Release any negative, limiting, or self-defeating beliefs buried in your subconscious too. These beliefs may be about life, love, or yourself. Beliefs create reality.

Let go. From as deep within as your fears, resentments, and negative beliefs are stored, let them all go. Let the belief or feeling surface. Accept it; surrender to it. Feel the discomfort or unrest. Then let it go. Let new beliefs replace the old. Let peace and joy and love replace fear.

Give yourself and your body permission to let go of fears, resentments, and negative beliefs. Release that which is no longer useful. Trust that you are being healed and prepared for receiving what is good.

Today, God, help me become willing to let go of old beliefs and feelings that may be hurting me. Gently take them from me and replace them with new beliefs and feelings. I do deserve the best life and love has to offer. Help me believe that.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
March 20

New life comes from shedding old skins and pressing through the darkness toward the light. Spring is the season of new beginnings and of growth.
—Karen Kaiser Clark

All of us in this program have had great turning points in our lives. In these new beginnings we have pressed onward or groped through the darkness, hoping to find the light, much like a new sprout arising from the cold soil in spring. Our recovery has pointed us toward the light. As spiritually alive men, we also have smaller beginnings all the time. Spring exists for us on the inside regardless of the time of year.

On this particular day, we can think about the changes we see growing in our lives. It may be unclear to some of us just what is changing or how. We may not be able to name the change or describe it until it’s in the past. Springtime brings a feeling of liberation, and our growth in this program frees us from muddled thinking, denial, addictions, and codependency.

I am thankful for new beginnings in the world and the eternal spring within my being.

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DailyTAO
March 20
SPRING

Sun and moon divide the sky,
Fragrance blooms on pear wood bones:
Earth awakens with a sigh.
Wanderer revels on the path alone.

It is the time of equinox, when day and night are briefly equal.  This day signals the beginning of spring, the increasing of light, and the return of life to the frozen earth.

Of course, this day only represents a moment in time. Spring has long been returning, and we know that summer will soon follow. The cycle of the seasons will continue in succession. There is no such thing as a true stopping in time, for all is a continuum. Nature makes its own concordances as a mere outgrowth to its movement; it is we who see structure and give names to pattern.

But who can begrudge temporary pleasures to a solitary traveler?  Let us go out and enjoy the day, revel in the coming of spring, rejoice in the warming of the earth. For though the ground may be covered with frost, movement and growth are taking place all around us. Beauty bared fills our eyes and makes us drunk. As we wander the endless mountains and streams, filling our lungs with the breath of the forests, let us take comfort in being part of nature. For life has enough misery and misfortune. Philosophy reminds us enough of the transience of life. Give us the charm of the ephemeral, and let it silence all who would object.

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DailyZen
March 20

Don’t be concerned with
who is wise and who is stupid.
Do not discriminate the
sharp from the dull.
To practice whole-heartedly
is the true endeavor of the way.
Practice-realization is not
defiled with specialness;
it is a matter for every day.

– Dogen (1227)

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Food For Thought
March 20
Peeling Off Layers

As we work our program, we peel off layers of old, worn out thoughts and habits. OA gives us a place to share old hurts and fears so that we are able to get rid of them. Our OA friends accept us and give us the benefit of their experience. With their help, we are able to leave the old layers behind and move ahead.

We never stop learning and growing. When we are ready to accept it, our Higher Power reveals just as much truth to us as we can assimilate. He directs our progress through the Steps of this program as we are prepared to take them.

If we are sincere in our efforts, the right help will come when we need it. It may come through another member, a piece of literature, a new insight, or even a difficult experience. Peeling off and discarding worn out layers of ourselves is hard work and is often painful. But when we look back and see how we have grown, the satisfaction more than outweighs the pain.

Guide me as I peel away and leave behind the useless thoughts and habits I have accumulated.

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Faith’s Check Book
March 20
Divine Provision

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
(Matthew 6:30)

Clothes are expensive, and poor believers may be led into anxiety as to where their next suit will come from. The soles are thin; how shall we get new shoes? See how our thoughtful Lord has provided against this care. Our heavenly Father clothes the grass of the field with a splendor such as Solomon could not equal: will He not clothe His own children? We are sure He will. There may be many a patch and a darn, but raiment we shall have.

A poor minister found his clothes nearly threadbare, and so far gone that they would hardly hold together; but as a servant of the Lord he expected his Master to find him his livery. It so happened that the writer on a visit to a friend had the loan of the good man’s pulpit, and it came into his mind to make a collection for him, and there was his suit. Many other cases we have seen in which those who had served the Lord have found Him considerate of their wardrobe. He who made man so that when he had sinned he needed garments, also in mercy supplied him with them; and those which the Lord gave to our first parents were far better than those they made for themselves.

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This Morning’s Meditation
    March 20

“My beloved.”—Song of Solomon 2:8.

THIS was a golden name which the ancient Church in her most joyous moments was wont to give to the Anointed of the Lord. When the time of the singing of birds was come, and the voice of the turtle was heard in her land, her love-note was sweeter than either, as she sang, “My beloved is mine and I am His: He feedeth among the lilies.” Ever in her song of songs doth she call Him by that delightful name, “My beloved!” Even in the long winter, when idolatry had withered the garden of the Lord, her prophets found space to lay aside the burden of the Lord for a little season, and to say, as Esaias did, “Now will I sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved touching His vineyard.” Though the saints had never seen His face, though as yet He was not made flesh, nor had dwelt among us, nor had man beheld His glory, yet He was the consolation of Israel, the hope and joy of all the chosen, the “beloved” of all those who were upright before the Most High. We, in the summer days of the Church, are also wont to speak of Christ as the best beloved of our soul, and to feel that He is very precious, the “chiefest among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely.” So true is it that the Church loves Jesus, and claims Him as her beloved, that the apostle dares to defy the whole universe to separate her from the love of Christ, and declares that neither persecutions, distress, affliction, peril, or the sword have been able to do it; nay, he joyously boasts, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”
O that we knew more of Thee, Thou ever precious one!
My sole possession is Thy love; In earth beneath, or heaven above, I have no other store; And though with fervent suit I pray, And importune Thee day by day, I ask Thee nothing more.

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This Evenings Meditation
March 20

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church.”-—Ephesians 5:25.

WHAT a golden example Christ gives to His disciples! Few masters could venture to say, “If you would practise my teaching, imitate my life;” but as the life of Jesus is the exact transcript of perfect virtue, He can point to Himself as the paragon of holiness, as well as the teacher of it. The Christian should take nothing short of Christ for his model. Under no circumstances ought we to be content unless we reflect the grace which was in Him. As a husband, the Christian is to look upon the portrait of Christ Jesus, and he is to paint according to that copy. The true Christian is to be such a husband as Christ was to His church. The love of a husband is special. The Lord Jesus cherishes for the church a peculiar affection, which is set upon her above the rest of mankind: “I pray for them, I pray not for the world.” The elect church is the favourite of heaven, the treasure of Christ, the crown of His head, the bracelet of His arm, the breastplate of His heart, the very centre and core of His love. A husband should love his wife with a constant love, for thus Jesus loves His church. He does not vary in His affection. He may change in His display of affection, but the affection itself is still the same. A husband should love his wife with an enduring love, for nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” A true husband loves his wife with a hearty love, fervent and intense. It is not mere lip-service. Ah! beloved, what more could Christ have done in proof of His love than He has done? Jesus has a delighted love towards His spouse: He prizes her affection, and delights in her with sweet complacence. Believer, you wonder at Jesus’ love; you admire it—are you imitating it? In your domestic relationships is the rule and measure of your love—”even as Christ loved the church”?

 

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