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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+ Al-Anon Online Meeting Finder

Daily Recovery Readings – May 13

Just For Today
May 13
Onward On The Journey

“The progression of recovery is a continuous uphill journey”
Basic Text, p. 79

The longer we stay clean, the steeper and narrower our path seems to become. But God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. No matter how difficult the road becomes, no matter how narrow, how winding the turns, there is hope. That hope lies in our spiritual progression.

If we keep showing up at meetings and staying clean, life gets… well, different. The continual search for answers to life’s ups and downs can lead us to question all aspects of our lives. Life isn’t always pleasant. This is when we must turn to our Higher Power with even more faith. Sometimes all we can do is hold on tight, believing that things will get better.

In time, our faith will produce understanding. We will begin to see the “bigger picture” of our lives. As our relationship with our Higher Power unfolds and deepens, acceptance becomes almost second nature. No matter what happens as we walk through recovery, we rely on our faith in a loving Higher Power and continue onward.

Just for today: I accept that I don’t have all the answers to life’s questions. Nonetheless, I will have faith in the God of my understanding and continue on the journey of recovery.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 13
A.A. Thought For The Day

In A.A. we find fellowship and release and strength. And having found these things, the real reasons for our drinking are taken away. Then drinking has no more justification in our minds. We no longer need to fight against drink. Drink just naturally leaves us. At first, we are sorry that we can’t drink, but we get so that we are glad that we don’t have to drink. Am I glad that I don’t have to drink?

Meditation For The Day

Try never to judge. The human mind is so delicate and so complete that only its Maker can know it wholly. Each mind is so different, actuated by such different motives, controlled by such different circumstance, influenced by such different sufferings, you cannot know all the influences that have gone to make up a personality. Therefore, it is impossible for you to judge wholly that personality. But God knows that person wholly and He can change it. Leave to God the unraveling of the puzzles of personality. And leave it to God to teach you the proper understanding.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not judge other people. I pray that I may be certain that God can set right what is wrong in every personality.

Daily Reflections
May 13

If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking.
Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 72

I certainly didn’t leap at the opportunity to face who I was, especially when the pains of my drinking days hung over me like a dark cloud.  But I soon heard at the meetings about the fellow member who just didn’t want to take Step Five and kept coming back to meetings, trembling from the horrors of reliving his past. The easier, softer way is to take these Steps to freedom from our fatal disease, and to put our faith in the Fellowship and our Higher Power.

As Bill Sees It
May 13
Community Problem, p. 180

The answer to the problem of alcoholism seems to be in education–education in schoolrooms, in medical colleges, among clergymen and employers, in families, and in the public at large. From cradle to grave, the drunk and the potential alcoholic will have to be completely surrounded by a true and deep understanding and by a continuous barrage of information.

This means factual education, properly presented. Heretofore, much of this education has attacked the immortality of drinking rather than the illness of alcoholism.

Now who is going to do all this education? Obviously, it is both a community job and a job for specialists. Individually, we A.A.’s can help, but A.A. as such cannot, and should not, get directly into this field. Therefore, we must rely on other agencies, on outside friends and their willingness to supply great amounts of money and effort.

Grapevine, March 1958

Each Day a New Beginning
May 13

Your sense of what will bring happiness is so crude and blundering. Try something else as a compass. Maybe the moralists are right and happiness doesn’t come from seeking pleasure and ease.
—Joanna Field

We think we know what will make us happy. Seldom do we readily accept that painful moments are often the price tags for peaceful, happy times. Nor do we appreciate that happiness lives within each of us; never is it intrinsic to the events we experience. Because we look for happiness “out there” and expect it gift-wrapped in a particular way, we miss the joy of being fully alive each passing moment. How distorted our sense of happiness was before finding our way to this program! How futile our search!

The way still isn’t easy every Step we take, but we will find happiness in those fleeting moments when we can get outside of ourselves long enough to be fully attentive to the people in our lives. We’ll find it because it’s been there all the time. It flows between us when we open our hearts to give and to receive compassion. Being truly there for another person is the key, which unlocks the gate holding happiness back.

I will let someone in today and feel the rush of happiness.

Keep It Simple
May 13

Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.
—Harry Emerson Fosdick

Hate is like an illness. It steals our hope, our love, our relationships. Hate puts distance between people. Hate can give us a false sense of power. Do I use hate to make myself feel important?

Our program tells us to let go of hate. Hate and sobriety don’t mix. Hate doesn’t let us connect with our Higher Power.

Ours is a program of love and respect. We’re taught that if someone treats us wrong, we still should be respectful in our response. Why? Because we’re changed by our actions. If we act with hate, we become hateful. If we act in a respectful way, we become respectable.

Prayer for the Day: Hate is the drug of those who are afraid. Higher Power, help me to be free from hate today.

Action for the Day: It’s self-centered to hate. Today, I’ll read pages 60-62 of Alcoholics Anonymous(Third Edition) about being self-centered.

Walk in Dry Places
May 13
Who’s to blame?
Personal responsibility.

Unless we’re unusual, we’ve probably accepted the widespread practice of blaming certain individuals and groups when trouble occurs. Most likely, we’ll also have people whom we blame for our own difficulties: unloving parents, careless teachers, unfair bosses, and others on an endless list.

However accurate it may be, such blame-placing does nothing constructive. It really serves only to reinforce our bitterness and resentment, thus assuring that more of the same “injustices” will come to us.

The real truth is that we have no complete explanation for the world’s individual and social wrongs. While certain individuals are admittedly guilty of wrongdoing, it often turns out that they’ve also been victims of cruelty or neglect. Our goal, as people committed to a spiritual way of life, is to reise above all blame placing while striving for improvement in our own treatment of others.

Though I may read and hear much to the contrary, I’ll resist the notion that certain people or groups must be held accountable for the world’s problems. I’ll focus my attention, this day, on improvement in my own life.

Alcoholics Anonymous
May 13

– The more he listened at meetings, the more he came to know about his own drinking history.

The last big hurdle was closing the meeting with the Lord’s Prayer. As a Jew, I was uncomfortable with it and decided to talk to my sponsor about it. So I said, “The Lord’s Prayer bothers me.” Oh,” he said, “what’s the problem?” “Well, I’m Jewish and it’s not a Jewish prayer.” “Well, then,” he said “say it in Jewish.” I said, “It would still be the Lord’s Prayer.” “Right,” he said. “Then say something else that you like. Your Higher Power, whatever you call it, is helping you, and you need to say thank you.”

p. 406

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 13

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.”

In the morning we think of the hours to come. Perhaps we think of our day’s work and the chances it may afford us to be useful and helpful, or of some special problem that it may bring. Possibly today will see a continuation of a serious and as yet unresolved problem left over from yesterday. Our immediate temptation will be to ask for specific solutions to specific problems, and for the ability to help other people as we have already thought they should be helped. In that case, we are asking God to do it our way. Therefore, we ought to consider each request carefully to see what its real merit is. Even so, when making specific requests, it will be well to add to each one of them this qualification: “…if it be Thy will.” We ask simply that throughout the day God place in us the best understanding of His will that we can have for that day, and that we be given the grace by which we may carry it out.

p. 102

Xtra Thoughts
May 13

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”
–Jewish Proverb

“When it comes to love, Mom’s the word.”

“Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble.”

Laughter, like a drenching rain, settles the dust, cleans and brightens the world around us, and changes our whole perspective.
–Jan Pishok

A big part of my “conversion” has been full acceptance of myself, warts and all.
–Mary Zink

Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 13

“Argument is the worst sort of conversation.”
–Jonathan Swift

Why did I argue so much? Why do I argue so much? Usually it is because I feel threatened, angry, discounted or I am wrong and I do not want to admit it.

Today I need to remember that discussion is the better path to follow.  I need to hear and understand what the other person is saying and from where they are coming. For too long I have argued, fought and produced enemies – today I wish to embrace the spiritual path of serenity and reconciliation. Also, I do not want to hurt anymore.

Arguments hurt me. Arguments hurt others. I should, push and scream but inside afterwards, I hurt. My program today allow my ego to be balanced and restrained. I try to think before I speak. I consider before I react.  However, when I do get into arguments and say hurtful and painful things that I do not mean, I am brave enough to say I am sorry.

May the God of peace, love and acceptance be seen in my

Daily Inspiration
May 13

Our goodness is one of God’s many gifts to us. Lord, may I humbly appreciate my good qualities and give thanks to You through my actions.

The value of each gift God gives us is doubled when we share it with someone else. Lord, may I freely give without expectation of something in return even though I know Your constant generosity.

A Day At A Time
May 13

Reflection For The Day

When a person opens his eyes each morning and rises through sweaty nausea to face frightening reality with bones rattling and nerves screaming;  when a person  stumbles through the day in a pit of despair, wishing to die, but refusing to die;  when a person gets up the next day and does it all over again — well, that takes guts.  That takes a kind of real, basic survival courage, a courage that can be put to good use if that person even finds his or her way to The Program.  That person has learned courage the hard way, and when that person comes to The Program, he or she will find new and beautiful ways to use it.  Have I the courage to keep trying, one day at a time.

Today I Pray

May I put the “gut-to-survive” kind of courage left over from my drinking days into good use in The Program.  If I was able to “hang on” enough to live through the miseries of my addiction, may I translate that same will to survive into my recovery program.  May I use my courage in new, constructive ways.

Today I Will Remember

God preserve me to help carry out His purpose.

One More Day
May 13

Patience and fortitude conquer all things.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Remember how, ass children, we waited for special occasions like birthdays and holidays? The waiting seemed endless. Adults would admonish us, “Have patience. Everything comes to those who wait.”

We were always more than surprised when they seemed to pass more quickly by staying busy, just a our parents had said it would. As adults, we hear that in many instances the only way to conquer a problem is to wait it out. We can do nothing else, for no matter how important the awaited event or the news is, we can no more shorten the time than we could wish a speedy arrival of our birthdays when we were young. Now as then, our only options are to have patience and to stay busy.

Now that I am not as well as before I am learning the true value of patience.

One Day At A Time
May 13

“The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity with and above it.”
–Reinhold Niebuhr

When I started coming to Recovery Group meetings, I heard the word “serenity” used frequently. I waited for someone to turn the serenity light switch on for me. I thought if I kept coming, the guy in charge of lights would turn mine on, and then I would possess and understand serenity! But the people in the meetings kept telling me, “You need to work the steps.” I began to work them with a vengeance, the way a compulsive person — such as I am — tends to function.

With each passing day I have begun to feel more comfortable living in my own skin. My fears, worries about the future, and anxieties have all decreased. I have made a more personal connection with my Higher Power. I have begun to develop friendships with other people in Recovery Group. The loving friendships here have had a huge impact on how I feel about myself. They have caused me to experience more self-love and self-acceptance. I have come to the point where I now know that no matter what happens, things will eventually work out for the best for me.

One day at a time…
I will continue to attend meetings to experience serenity.

~ Karen A.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 13

“But the great spirit has provided you and me with an opportunity for study in nature’s university, the forests, the rivers, the mountains, and the animals which include us.”
—- Walking Buffalo, STONEY

What we really need to learn is how to live life. Nature is the greatest university when we want to learn about balance, harmony, the Natural Laws and how to live life. But we will never learn unless we spend time in the “living university.” Nature is full of examples, lessons, and exercises about life. Nature will help humans learn. Nature will help humans heal. Nature will help with Medicine, knowledge, and healing. The reason our Elders are so wise is because they have attended the right educational system – nature’s university.

Great Spirit, help me to become wise.

Journey to the Heart
May 13
Forgive Yourself

Doesn’t it feel good to forgive yourself? You don’t have to be afraid or reluctant to do that anymore. Forgiving yourself doesn’t mean you’re condemned. It means you’re setting yourself free.

We can gather so much guilt as we go through life. We may blame ourselves for the experiences we’ve had and how we’ve handled them. We may build up resentments against ourselves. We may even resist forgiving ourselves because we think that means saying we were bad and wrong. But not forgiving ourselves when we need to often leads us to return to situations that are unhealthy for us.

Forgiving yourself means you can leave places that feel bad, you can end relationships that no longer work, you can avoid situations that cause you continual pain and grief. Forgiving yourself means you can stop punishing yourself for what you’ve done and what you think you’ve done worng.

You don’t have to hold your mistakes against yourself any longer. You don’t have to deprive yourself of comfort, joy, love, and acceptance. It’s much easier to say, I made a mistake. This isn’t right for me. I don’t like this. This is wrong. Then forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself if you’ve done something wrong. Forgive yourself even if you haven’t done something wrong. Then see how good forgiveness feels. Forgive yourself and be free.

Today’s Gift
May 13

Talent–I don’t know what that is. It’s will. You dream a dream and then you build it.
—Philippe Petit

Even the most accomplished pianists begin at some point by playing simple scales and exercises. With daily practice, their hands learn to find the correct notes and become limber enough to play well. They learn each new piece of music very slowly at first, until, with study and practice, they can play almost without effort.

In the beginning, the pianist only dreams of being an accomplished musician. This dream helps the artist through many hours of practice and study.

Talent is really the combination of a dream and the time spent building it. We develop our ability by devoting time to the skills that interest us. Like the musician, we become talented through daily practice – the daily building of a dream. By developing our talents, we develop who we are.

Who am I becoming today?

The Language of Letting Go
May 13
Property Lines

A helpful tool in our recovery, especially in the behavior we call detachment, is learning to identify who owns what. Then we let each person own and possess his or her rightful property.

If another person has an addiction, a problem, a feeling, or a self-defeating behavior, that is their property, not ours. If someone is a martyr, immersed in negativity, controlling, or manipulative behavior, that is their issue, not ours.

If someone has acted and experienced a particular consequence, both the behavior and the consequence belong to that person.

If someone is in denial or cannot think clearly on a particular issue, that confusion belongs to him or her.

If someone has a limited or impaired ability to love or care, that is his or her property, not ours. If someone has no approval or nurturing to give away, that is that person’s property.

People’s lies, deceptions, tricks, manipulations, abusive behaviors, inappropriate behaviors, cheating behaviors, and tacky behaviors belong to them, too. Not us.

People’s hope and dreams are their property. Their guilt belongs to them too. Their happiness or misery is also theirs. So are their beliefs and messages.

If some people don’t like themselves, that is their choice. Other people’s choices are their property, not ours.

What people choose to say and do is their business.

What is our property? Our property includes our behaviors, problems, feelings, happiness, misery, choices, and messages; our ability to love, care, and nurture; our thoughts, our denial, our hopes and dreams for ourselves. Whether we allow ourselves to be controlled, manipulated, deceived, or mistreated is our business.

In recovery, we learn an appropriate sense of ownership. If something isn’t ours, we don’t take it. If we take it, we learn to give it back. Let other people have their property, and learn to own and take good care of what’s ours.

Today, I will work at developing a clear sense of what belongs to me, and what doesn’t. If it’s not mine, I won’t keep it. I will deal with my issues, my responsibilities, and myself. I will take my hands off what is not mine.

More language of letting go
May 13
Respect your own timelines

“Do you have your “A” license yet?”

I was getting sick pf that question. Everyone I knew in skydiving was pushing through the course, meeting all their requirements, and hurrying to get their license. I knew from the beginning that it wouldn’t do me any good to push. This was a sport I needed to get right, and getting it right meant that I needed to learn at my own pace.

“It’s the journey, not the destination,” I kept telling myself as I watched my fellow sky divers progress, leaving me behind. “Everything happens in its own time.”

Finally, I came up with my response. It was November. I proudly announced, whenever asked about getting my license, that I didn’t plan on having it until June. I said it over, and over, and over. People left me alone. And I actually began to progress rapidly, after giving myself that much time.

In February, a series of events escalated my learning curve. I did my solo jumps, learned to pack my own parachute, and passed my written test. I had now met all the requirements for my “A” license. All that had to be done was submit the information and I’d have my license in hand.

After sending my material off, I waited an appropriate amount of time, then began checking the mail. Week after week, the license didn’t arrive. I waited patiently and continued checking. Toward the end of May, I went into the offices at the skydiving school. I told them I was concerned because my license hadn’t arrived yet.

They checked the records. “There was some confusion with the paperwork,” they said. “But it’s all been straightened out. You’ll have your license soon.”

When did that license arrive? In June, it came in the mail exactly when I said it would.

Some timing in life is out of our hands. Some isn’t. Just as you have power to say what, there’s a lot of power in saying when.

God, help synchronize my timing with yours. Show me if I’m pushing myself unduly or holding myself back.

Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 13

As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might.
—Marion Anderson

Because of our resentments we sometimes get tense. We say we aren’t going to have contact with our parents until they do something we expect of them. Or we hold out on a friend because we want an apology for an injury or injustice.

Sadly, we become more tense, more limited in our own joy, by holding someone else to our expectations. Our lives can be much richer and more fulfilled when we let go of these expectations. We can let go of manipulating or drawing forth the responses we want. Our manipulations and pouting make life too boring and limited. No one else need stand in the way of our pleasure of being adult men.

Today, I will let go of my claims on others so I can be free to soar.

May 13

Barrel maker planes staves to exact angles.
His shavings glow in the afternoon sun.
He joins fragrant wood together,
Fitting shoulders like building an arch.
Until the bands, there is no barrel.

There is no barrel until the cooper builds it. Until then, there are pieces of straight-grained wood, shavings, a round bottom, and metal bands, but there is no barrel. All parts are there, but they need to be composed in order to take shape. It is the same with the facets of our personalities. Until they are held tightly together as a single unit, there is no completeness, and usefulness will not be forthcoming.

Spiritual practice can be the outside order that the personality needs. While such an order can be initially restricting, perhaps even feel artificial in its arbitrariness, it is absolutely necessary. It is a means to an end. Perhaps at the end we will not need such structure, but neither will we reach the end without the means. Before we leave the image of the barrel, there is one more thing to notice about it. A barrel encloses only one thing : void. That is the way it is with us, too. All the pieces of our personality, no matter how perfectly formed, only enclose what is inside us. All spiritual practice, while it may bind us into a cohesive whole, points to the emptiness of the center. This emptiness is not nihilism but the open possibility for Tao to enter. Only with such space will we have peace.

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