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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 – March 4

Just For Today
March 4
The Process

“This program has become a part of me…. I understand more clearly the things that are happening in my life today I no longer fight the process.”
Basic Text, p. 78

In active addiction, things happened seemingly without rhyme or reason. We just “did things”; often without knowing why or what the results would be. Life had little value or meaning.

The Twelve Step process gives meaning to our lives; in working the steps, we come to accept both the dark and the bright sides of ourselves. We strip away the denial that kept us from comprehending addiction’s affect on us. We honestly examine ourselves, picking out the patterns in our thoughts, our feelings, and our behavior We gain humility and perspective by fully disclosing ourselves to another human being. In seeking to have our shortcomings removed, we develop a working appreciation of our own powerlessness and the strength provided by a Power greater than we are. With our enhanced understanding of ourselves, we gain greater insight into and acceptance of others.

The Twelve Steps are the key to a process we call “life”: In working the steps, they become a part of us—and we become a part of the life around us. Our world is no longer meaningless; we understand more about what happens in our lives today. We no longer fight the process. Today, in working the steps, we live it.

Just for today: Life is a process; the Twelve Steps are the key. Today, I will use the steps to participate in that process, understanding and enjoying myself and my recovery.

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Daily Reflections
March 4
WEEDING THE GARDEN

The essence of all growth is a willingness to make a change for the better and then an unremitting willingness to shoulder whatever responsibility this entails.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 115

By the time I had reached Step Three I had been freed of my dependence on alcohol, but bitter experience has shown me that continuous sobriety requires continuous effort. Every now and then I pause to take a good look at my progress. More and more of my garden is weeded each time I look, but each time I also find new weeds sprouting where I thought I had made my final pass with the blade. As I head back to get the newly sprouted weed (it’s easier when they are young), I take a moment to admire how lush the growing vegetables and flowers are, and my labors are rewarded. My sobriety grows and bears fruit.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
March 4
A.A. Thought For The Day

Having surrendered our lives to God and put our drink problem in His Hands doesn’t mean that we’ll never be tempted to drink. So we must build up strength for the time when temptation will come. In this quiet time, we read and pray and get our minds in the right mood for the day. Starting the day right is a great help in keeping sober. As the days go by and we get used to the sober life, it gets easier and easier. We begin to develop a deep gratitude to God for saving us from that old life.  And we begin to enjoy peace and serenity and real quiet happiness. Am I trying to live the way God wants me to live?

Meditation For The Day

The elimination of selfishness is the key to happiness and can only be accomplished with God’s help. We start out with a spark of the Divine Spirit but a large amount of selfishness. As we grow and come in contact with other people, we can take one of two paths. We can become more and more selfish and practically extinguish the Divine Spark within us or we can become more unselfish and develop our spirituality until it becomes the most important thing in our lives.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may grow more and more unselfish, honest, pure and loving. I pray that I may take the right path every day.

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As Bill Sees It
March 4
Free Of Dependence, p. 63

I asked myself, “Why can’t the Twelve Steps work to release me from this unbearable depression?” By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis Prayer: “It is better to comfort than to be comforted.”

Suddenly I realized what the answer might be. My basic flaw had always been dependence on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security, and confidence. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionists dreams and specifications, I fought for them. And when defeat came, so did my depression.

Reinforced by what grace I could find in prayer, I had to exert every ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon people and upon circumstances. Then only could I be free to love as Francis had loved.

Grapevine, January 1958

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Walk in Dry Places
March 4
Don’t feed the Habit
Enhancing Sobriety

We quickly learn that it’s wrong to do anything that “feeds” a drinking habit. A recovering person would be foolish, for example, to spend time in a drinking environment simply to “be with friends.”

It’s constructive to take that same approach toward other problems we’d like to get out of our lives. If gossip has been my problem, I should not feed it by listening to gossip or even by reading gossipy articles and books. IF I have accumulated debts through overspending, I should cut off window shopping and other practices that may bring on more unnecessary debt. And if I want to rid my life of self-pity, I should not spend a single moment brooding over the bad breaks I have had in the past.

Bad habits have a life of their own. They are somewhat like rodents that have found their way into the house and have become star borders. One way to control rodents is to eliminate their food supply. That same principle applies to bad habits we want to eliminate from our own lives.

I’ll make a strong effort to cut off any line of thinking that feeds my bad habits, whatever they are. This might include avoiding practices that others see as harmless and trivial. However, nothing is harmless or trivial if it has become destructive in my life.

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Keep It Simple
March 4

Better bend than break.
–Scottish proverb

Our program is based on bending. We call it “surrender.” We surrender our self-will to the care of God. We do what we believe our Higher Power want us to do. We learn this as an act of love.

Many of us believed surrender was a sign of weakness. We tried to control everything. But we change as we’re in the program longer and longer. We learn to bend. We start to see that what is important is learning. We learn to do what’s best for us and others. To learn, we need an open mind. To bend, we must stay open. Love and care become the center of our lives.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, teach me that strength comes from knowing how and when to bend.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll check myself. How open am I? Do I bend when I need to?

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Each Day a New Beginning
March 4

It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
–Ursula K. LeGuin

Goals give direction to our lives. We need to know who we are and where we want to go. But the trip itself, the steps we travel, offer us daily satisfaction moment by moment–fulfillment, if we’d but realize it. Too often we keep our sights on the goal’s completion, rather than the process–the day-to-day living that makes the completion possible.

How often do we think, “When I finish college, I’ll feel stronger.” Or, “After the divorce is final, I can get back to work.” Or even, “When I land that promotion, my troubles are over.” Life will begin “when”–or so it seems in our minds. And when this attitude controls our thinking, we pass up our opportunity to live, altogether.

Looking back on goals already completed in our lives, what so quickly follows the end of a job well done is a let-down. And how sad that the hours, the days, the weeks, maybe even the months we toiled are gone, with little sense of all they could have meant.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
March 4
MY BOTTLE, MY RESENTMENTS, AND ME

– From childhood trauma to skid row drunk, this hobo finally found a Higher Power, bringing sobriety and a long-lost family.

Later we had a big family reunion back in my hometown. It was a happy day for all of us to be together for the first time since we were split up. My father had passed away, but all his children were there with their families–a large and joyous crowd. Finally, after all those years of wondering about my family, my Higher Power had acted through my friend to undo the tangled circumstances and allow me to make amends to the people who had been hurt by my bitterness.
I believe that I am living proof of the A.A. saying “Don’t give up until the miracle happens.”

p. 445

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
March 4

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

“Well,” says the newcomer, “I know you’re telling me the truth. It’s no doubt a fact that A.A. is full of people who once believed as I do. But just how, in these circumstances, does a fellow `take it easy’? That’s what I want to know.”
“That,” agrees the sponsor, “is a very good question indeed. I think I can tell you exactly how to relax. You won’t have to work at it very hard, either. Listen, if you will, to these three statements. First, Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand that you believe anything. All of its Twelve Steps are but suggestions. Second, to get sober and to stay sober, you don’t have to swallow all of Step Two right now. Looking back, I find that I took it piecemeal myself. Third, all you really need is a truly open mind. Just resign from the debating society and quit bothering yourself with such deep questions as whether it was the hen or the egg that came first. Again I say, all you need is the open mind.”

p. 26

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Xtra Thoughts
March 4

God, help me find and create true joy and peace in my world.
–Melody Beattie

I have been given a quiet place in bright sunshine.
–Unknown

It doesn’t matter what we have done in the past.
–Melody Beattie

Learning and maturation in the life of the spirit cannot be hurried, and as in physical and intellectual development, a great deal depends on our readiness.
–Mary McDermott Shideler

God’s will never takes me where his grace will not sustain me.
–Ruth Humlecker

Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door to everlasting love.
–Unknown

Antidote for stress:
Take a deep breath and think of something that pleases you.
–Unknown

An argument had with a spouse is a loving moment lost forever.
–Unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
March 4
HELL

“The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those, who in time of great moral crises, maintain their neutrality.”
— Dante Alighieri

Each human being makes a personal hell here on earth. Often we do it not by what we perpetrate but in what we allow to happen. So much of the loneliness and isolation that many addicts and their families experience is caused by them remaining hidden and silent. The pretense that everything is okay is not only untrue but deadly.  Silence and compliance kills more addicts than a thousand needles!

Today I choose not to be neutral in my life. I speak about my alcoholism so that I can on a daily basis make war on the disease that nearly killed me. I speak out about the disease of addiction so that society cannot say that it did not know what was happening. I speak up for treatment and recovery because I know it can work in the vast majority of cases. I am not neutral when it comes to addiction because I am fighting for my life.

God, give me the courage to speak up in the crowd; let me live the message I was privileged to receive.

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Bible Scriptures
March 4

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

God is not unjust, he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped people and continue to help them.
Hebrews 6:10

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6:9-10

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Daily Inspiration
March 4

Life isn’t always fair, but don’t let that stop you from making the world a better place every chance you get. Lord, help me to serve You where I am right now.

The first and most powerful commandment is love. Through love we unite ourselves together with God and with each other and bring ourselves closer to our desired goal. Lord, I love You with all my heart and soul and mind.

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A Day At A Time
March 4

Reflection For The Day

We may not know any specifics about the activities of today; we may not know whether we’ll be alone or with others. We may feel the day contains too much time — or not enough. We may be facing tasks we’re eager to complete, or tasks we’ve been resisting. Though the details of each person’s day differ, each person’s day does hold one similarity: We each have the opportunity to choose to thing positive thoughts. The choice depends less on our outside activities than on our inner commitment. Can I accept that I alone have the power to control my attitude?

Today I Pray

May I keep the fire of inner commitment alive through this whole, glorious day, whether my activities are a succession of workaday tasks or free-form and creative. May I choose to make this a good day for me, and for those around me.

Today I Will Remember

Keep the commitment.

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One More Day
March 4

Whatever limits us, we call fate.
–  Ralph Waldo Emerson

We like to plan ahead, but w cannot plan for the ravages of chronic illness.  No one expects to travel down the winding road of an unhidden, unwanted trip.  Unused to the whims of a chronic illness, we may at first try to chart, plan, and control its course.  We may dwell too much on the medical conditions.

We cannot change the course of illness, but we can influence its twists and turns by keeping a positive frame of mind.  Rather than being obsessed with how our medical conditions are affecting us, we can focus on the many things we can still do.  Can we enjoy a sunset?  Watch a child smile?  Can we listen to music or pursue a handcraft?  Our angry, dour thoughts can be replaced so easily with pleasant dreams, fond memories, and hope for the future.

I am feeling comfortable once again as I finally realize that I can still make choices in how I want to live my life.

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One Day At A Time
March 4
MARCH

“March is the month of expectation, The things we do not know, The ‘Persons of Prognostication’ are coming now.
–Emily Dickinson

I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m embroiled at the moment in working the Steps I love so much … or whether the beginnings of Springtime are beginning to happen … but there is a feeling that I have that “something” is beginning. The long winters of life have taken their toll on me and when I experience this awesome feeling of hope I am grateful.

If there were doubts of the promises coming true, March overshadows them. If the Spring and Summer times of program loomed large in the distance, they are no longer. Just the smell of a new Spring morning is enough to know that hope for spiritual, emotional and physical wellness abounds.

One day at a time …

I must forget the winters of my life and hold on to the promises of March … and of my Twelve Step program.

~ Mari

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day March 4

“My father told me that Hopi earth does contain my roots and I am, indeed, from that land. Because my roots are there, I will find them.”
–Wendy Rose, HOPI/MIWOK

Everything that comes from the earth will return to the earth. We should be able to realize the connectedness to the earth. We should be able to feel toward Her just like She is our real Mother. We can easily feel this connectedness if we can answer these three questions: why am I?, who am I?, and where am I going? If we cannot answer these questions, then perhaps we need to talk to the Elders. Go to the Elders and ask, “Grandfather, why am I?; Grandmother, who am I?; Oh Great One, where am I supposed to go?” The Elders will help us with these three questions.

Grandfather, help me to stay centered today.

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Journey to the Heart
March 4
One Step at a Time

One step at a time. That’s all you can take, That’s all you have to take,

Yes, you have visions you’ve created of where you want to go. But you don’t get there in one leap. You get there one step at a time. That’s how you receive your guidance. That’s how you respond to the guidance you’ve received.

Let your faith be strong. Your faith will keep you going through those moments in between steps. When your faith is strong, you don’t look in fear at the journey ahead, wondering if you will get all the guidance you need, or if you will get to where you’re going. You know you will, so take the simple steps, one at a time, that lie ahead. You take them in joy, because you know you’re being guided. You have faith that the simple steps you are led to do will take you to your destination.

One step at a time. That’s how you will get where you are going. You are being led, each step of the way.

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Today’s Gift
March 4

I celebrate myself, and sing myself, and what I assume, you shall assume.
—Walt Whitman

Some of us may think Walt Whitman must have been terribly conceited to have written words like that. But he wasn’t. He knew himself well, and accepted himself, even his darker side. He could laugh at himself and celebrate his humanness.

And because he loved and accepted himself just as he was, others could do the same. That’s difficult to understand sometimes, but it’s true: no one else is going to love and accept us until we come to love and accept ourselves.

We teach others how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves, so perhaps it makes sense to apply a variation of the Golden Rule: “Do unto ourselves as we would have others do unto us.”

Can I allow my kindness to myself overflow to another person today?

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The Language of Letting Go
March 4
Higher Power as a Source

I’ve learned I can take care of myself, and what I can’t do, God will do for me.
–Al-Anon member

God, a Higher Power as we understand Him, is our source of guidance and positive change. This doesn’t mean we’re not responsible for ourselves. We are. But we aren’t in this alone.

Recovery is not a do-it-yourself project. We don’t have to become overly concerned about changing ourselves. We can do our part, relax, and trust that the changes we’ll experience will be right for us.

Recovery means we don’t have to look to other people as our source to meet our needs. They can help us, but they are not the source.

As we learn to trust the recovery process, we start to understand that a relationship with our Higher Power is no substitute for relationships with people. We don’t need to hide behind religious beliefs or use our relationship with a Higher Power as an excuse to stop taking responsibility for ourselves and taking care of ourselves in relationships. But we can tap into and trust a Power greater than ourselves for the energy, wisdom, and guidance to do that.

Today, I will look to my Higher Power as a source for all my needs, including the changes I want to make in my recovery.

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More Language Of Letting Go
March 4
Allow for differences

He’s rational. He wants examples of the problem and wants to focus on and find a solution.

She wants to talk about how she feels.

He wants to sit in front of the television and click the remote control.

She wants to cuddle on the couch and look into his eyes.

He deals with his stress by playing basketball with his friends, tinkering with the car or going for a hike.

She wants to go to a movie, preferably one that makes her cry.

I spent much of my life thinking that men and women– and generally all people– should just be the same. It took me a long time to realize that while we have much in common with other people, we’re each unique.

It took me even longer to realize that the practical application of this meant I had to learn to allow for differences between the people I loved and myself.

Just because we have something in common with someone, and might even think we’re in love, doesn’t mean that each person is going to respond and be the same.

So often in our relationships, we try to get the other person to behave the way we want. This forcing of our will on them will ultimately become a great strain. It can also block love. When we’re trying to change someone else, we overlook his or her gifts. We don’t value the parts of the person that are different from us, because we’re too busy trying to change the person into someone else.

Allow for differences, but don’t just allow. Appreciate the differences. Value what each person has to offer and the gifts each person can bring.

Learn to say whatever, with a spark of amusement and curiosity, when someone isn’t the same as you. Try getting a kick out of the unique way each person approaches life.

God, help me understand the rich gifts that letting go of control will bring to my life.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
March 4

Heaven ne’er helps the men who will not act.
—Sophocles

Growing into masculine wholeness is a journey into greater responsibility for our lives. We have choices to make every day. Taking responsibility means choosing between the options we have and then accepting the consequences. Sometimes both choices are undesirable, but we have to choose anyway. Do I expect to be perfect in my choices? Do I demand that someone else take responsibility for me? Do I defiantly refuse to accept the options I have?

This program seems like a paradox- the First Step asks us to accept our powerlessness, then we are expected to go on and stop being passive in our lives. The Serenity Prayer speaks to us about this dilemma. We ask for the serenity to accept what we cannot change and the courage to change what we can. Fully admitting our powerlessness sheds a burden and frees us to go on from there, actively doing what we can.

If something is awaiting my action today, may I have the courage to move forward with it. Even small movement is progress.

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DailyTAO
March 4
ARTICULATION

Rain dripping from eaves
Sounds nature’s poetry.
We speak and write to
Explain to ourselves.

Knowledge of Tao lodges in the same part of the mind as poetry. That is why the ancients expressed themselves in verse : There is the same quick perception.

When we are in touch with Tao, it is not our academic learning that is speaking, but the spirit of Tao itself. The old texts are very specific about this. That is why there is such a vast difference between the words of scholars and the words of a practitioner, just as the words of academics differ from the words of poets.

At the elementary stages of study, we need to articulate our experiences and let Tao flow through us. Followers of Tao frequently use writing, art, and even poetry as tools for self-discovery. By articulating their experiences, it helps them to understand the stages they are going through. Once they can do this, it satisfies and neutralizes their rational minds. The process clears away intellectualism and leaves the true Tao, which is not subject to words or images.

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DailyZen
March 4

Clouds release the hillsides
And wake the scene of spring
Where is the plum tree
That wafts that subtle scent
I grab my staff intending
To search secluded valleys
Then find a single branch
Against the eastern wall.

– Han-shan Te-ch’ing (1546-1623)

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Food for Thought
March 4
Doing What Feels Good

Doing anything as long as it feels good is a trap. We like to eat for the sheer sensual pleasure of the experience, and we would like to continue long after our need for nourishment has been met. Once our appetites are out of control, we cannot stop, not even when the pleasure has turned to pain.

Unbridled, uncontrolled sensuality will destroy us. Rational knowledge of when to stop is not enough. We may know with our minds that we should not be eating, but still be unable to stop the action of our bodies. If we are unable to control our sensuality with our minds, then how is it to be done?

OA members testify that there is One who has all power, including the power to enlighten our darkness and prevent our self destruction. Through daily contact with this Higher Power, we develop spiritual strength which will control and direct our physical drives so that they do not control and destroy us.

Take my sensuality, Lord, and control it.

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In God’s Care
March 4

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.
~~Peter Ustinov

Many of our actions–gestures, the way we walk, our patterns of speech–become habitual. Because of painful experiences in our past, we may, for example, still perceive and react to all strangers as threats.

Over the years, many of us have excused much of our harmful behavior as bad habits (“I can’t help it that I interrupt all the time.”), implying that we don’t have a choice and can’t change. We are fortunate that in our Twelve Step program, we have the opportunity to learn otherwise.

It may seem impossible to change our perceptions about some of the things that threaten us. This is especially true when our fear is rooted in real emotional or physical assults in our past. But with God’s help, we can learn forgiveness.

Each day is filled with small opportunities for us to choose forgiveness. The forgiving heart reaps great rewards.

I am guaranteed God’s love and forgiveness. I will ask God’s help in letting go of the past and choosing forgiving actions today.

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Faith’s Check Book
March 4
Honor God

Them that honor me I will honor. (1 Samuel 2:30)

Do I make the honor of God the great object of my life and the rule of my conduct? If so, He will honor me. I may for a while receive no honor from man, but God will Himself put honor upon me in the most effectual manner. In the end it will be found the surest way to honor to be willing to be put to shame for conscience’ sake.

Eli had not honored the Lord by ruling his household well, and his sons had not honored the Lord by behavior worthy of their sacred office, and therefore the Lord did not honor them but took the high priesthood out of their family and made young Samuel to be ruler in the land instead of any of their tine. If I would have my family ennobled, I must honor the Lord in all things. God may allow the wicked to win worldly honors; but the dignity which He Himself gives, even glory, honor, and immortality, He reserves for those who by holy obedience take care to honor Him.

What can I do this day to honor the Lord? I will promote His glory by my spoken testimony and by my practical obedience, I will also honor Him with my substance and by offering to Him some special service. Let me sit down and think how I can honor Him, since He will honor me.

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