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 – May 16

Just For Today
May 16
Our Higher Power’s Will

“God’s will for us becomes our own true will for ourselves.”
Basic Text, p. 46

The Twelve Steps are a path to spiritual awakening. This awakening takes the form of a developing relationship with a loving Higher Power. Each succeeding step strengthens that relationship. As we continue to work the steps, the relationship grows, becoming ever more important in our lives.

In the course of working the steps, we make a personal decision to allow a loving Higher Power to direct us. That guidance is always available; we need only the patience to seek it. Often, that guidance manifests itself in the inner wisdom we call our conscience.

When we open our hearts wide enough to sense our Higher Power’s guidance, we feel a calm serenity. This peace is the beacon that guides us through our troubled feelings, providing clear direction when our minds are busy and confused. When we seek and follow God’s will in our lives, we find the contentment and joy that often elude us when we strike out on our own. Fear or doubt may plague us when we attempt to carry out our Higher Power’s will, but we’ve learned to trust the moment of clarity. Our greatest happiness lies in following the will of our loving God.

Just for today: I will seek to strengthen my relationship with my Higher Power. I know from experience that knowledge of my Higher Power’s will provides a sense of clarity, direction, and peace.

Daily Reflections

May 16

Often it was while working on this Step with our sponsors or spiritual adviser that we first felt truly able to forgive others, no matter how deeply we felt they had wronged us. Our moral inventory had persuaded us that all-round forgiveness was desirable, but it was only when we resolutely tackled Step Five that we inwardly knew we’d be able to receive forgiveness and give it, too.

What a great feeling forgiveness is! What a revelation about my emotional, psychological and spiritual nature.  All it takes is willingness to forgive; God will do the rest.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 16
A.A. Thought For The Day

In the story of the Good Samaritan, the wayfarer fell among robbers and was left lying in the gutter, half dead. And a priest and a Levite both passed by on the other side of the road. But the Good Samaritan was moved with compassion and came to him and bound up his wounds and brought him to an inn and took care of him. Do I treat another alcoholic like the priest and the Levite or like the Good Samaritan?

Meditation For The Day

Never weary in prayer. When one day you see how unexpectedly your prayer has been answered, then you will deeply regret that you have prayed so little. Prayer changes things for you.  Practice praying until your trust in God has become strong.  And then pray on, because it has become so much a habit that you need it daily. Keep praying until prayer seems to become communion with God. That is the note on which true times of prayer should end.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may form the habit of daily prayer. I pray that I may find the strength I need, as a result of this communion.

As Bill Sees It
May 16
Money–Before and After, p. 177

In our drinking time, we acted as if the money supply were inexhaustible, though between binges we’d sometimes go to the other extreme and become miserly. Without realizing it, we were just accumulating funds for the next spree. Money was the symbol of pleasure and self-importance. As our drinking became worse, money was only an urgent requirement which could supply us with the next drink and the temporary comfort of oblivion it brought.

Although financial recovery is on the way for many of us, we find we cannot place money first. For us, material well-being always follows spiritual progress; it never precedes.

1. 12 & 12, p. 120
2. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 127

Walk in Dry Places
May 16
Trees Don’t grow to the sky

Release from a compulsion can be a dramatic experience. It maqy also mean immediate relase from vexing problems caused by the compulsion. This time can bring such a sense of well-being that it’s sometimes called the HONEYMOON or CLOUD NINE period.

In any growth process, however, we must remember that a law of diminishing returns sets in. This is expressed in the saying that trees don’t grow to the sky. At some point, we will discover that our joyous feeling of pleasure has cooled down to an ordinary state of feeling well, that we are not becoming increasingly joyous by the day.

There’s nothing wrong with such a mental plateau. If we’re practicing the Twelve Step program, we’re still moving forward, onward, and upward. Diminishing returns must still be counted as returns.

I’ll accept today’s progress with gratitude and humility. I won’t expect more than a reasonable feeling of well-being and contentment, but that is considerable.

Keep It Simple
May 16

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.
—Sydney J. Harris

Relaxing is one of the little joys of life. We can learn to take time from our busy day to chat with a friend, take a hot bath, or spend a few moments sitting alone under a tree. The busier we are, the more we need to take time to relax.

When we rest, we stop fussing about the outside world. We find out how we’re doing inside. While relaxing, we can best listen to our Higher Power. Our minds calm down. We put busy thoughts aside. Sometimes, we can almost hear our Higher Power say, “Stay quiet and listen! I have something to tell you!”

Each Day a New Beginning
May 16

It is only the women whose eyes have been washed clear with tears who get the broad vision that makes them little sisters to all the world.
—Dorothy Dix

The storms of our lives benefit us like the storms that hit our towns and homes and wash clean the air we breathe. Our storms bring to the surface the issues that plague us. Perhaps we still fear a job with responsibilities. Perhaps we still struggle with the significant other persons in our lives. Possessiveness is a particular storm that often haunts our progress. Storms force us to acknowledge these liabilities that continue to stand in our way, and acknowledgment is the step necessary to letting go.

Recovery is a whole series of storms, storms that help to sprout new growth; storms that flush clean our own clogged drains. The peace that comes after a storm is worth singing about.

Each storm can be likened to a rung on the ladder to wholeness, the ladder to full membership in the healthy human race. The storms make climbing tough, but we get strength with each step. The next storm will be more easily weathered.

If today is a stormy day, let me remember it will freshen the air I breathe.

Alcoholics Anonymous
May 16

– The physician wasn’t hooked, he thought–he just prescribed drugs medically indicated for his many ailments. Acceptance was his key to liberation.

If there ever was anyone who came to A.A. by mistake, it was I. I just didn’t belong here. Never in my wildest moments had it occurred to me that I might like to be an alcoholic. Never once had my mother even hinted at the idea that, when I grew up, I might like to be president of A.A. Not only did I not think that being an alcoholic was a good idea, I didn’t even feel that I had all that much of a drinking problem! Of course, I had problems, all sorts of problems. “If you had my problems, you’d drink too” was my feeling.

p. 407

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 16

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.”

We also fall into another similar temptation. We form ideas as to what we think God’s will is for other people. We say to ourselves, “This one ought to be cured of his fatal malady,” or “That one ought to be relieved of his emotional pain,” and we pray for these specific things. Such prayers, of course, are fundamentally good acts, but often they are based upon a supposition that we know God’s will for the person for whom we pray. This means that side by side with an earnest prayer there can be a certain amount of presumption and conceit in us. It is A.A.’s experience that particularly in these cases we ought to pray that God’s will, whatever it is, be done for others as well as for ourselves.

p. 104

Xtra Thoughts
May 16

Blowing out another’s candle will not make yours shine brighter.

God, give me the courage to follow my heart.  Teach me how to experience more joy in my life.
–Melody Beattie

“God never said it would be easy, only worth it.”

The most effective way to achieve right relations with any living thing is to look for the best in it, and then help that best into the fullest expression.
–Allen J. Boone

Secret of Life
Take time to Think. It is the source of Power.
Take time to Play. It is the secret of perpetual Youth.
Take time to be Friendly. It is the road to Happiness.
Take time to Work. It is the price of Success.
Take time to Pray. It is the greatest Power on Earth.
Take time to Love and be Loved. It is the way of God.
–Author Unknown

Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 16

“Liberty means responsibility.
That is why most men dread it.”
–George Bernard Shaw

The fellowship of recovering addicts and their families rejoice in the freedom of life; the exchange of slavery to a drug or person for liberty; a life of choice, rather than meaningless compulsion.

But with the gift of liberty comes the weight of responsibility. Today I am responsible for my life. No longer can I say I do not know; no longer can I blame others for my disease; no longer can I manipulate in the “playground of denial”.

The spiritual program requires a maturity of lifestyle that involves responsibility – but the joys are immense.

O Master of liberty and responsibility, let me not forget to laugh.

Bible Scriptures
May 16

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

“I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress;  My God, in Him I will trust.
Psalm 91:2

I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.
Psalm 34:4-7

Daily Inspiration
May 16

When your mind takes you to places you don’t want to go, you have the power to bring yourself back. Lord, strengthen my ability to focus on that which I am experiencing now so that I will truly live and lose none of the time You have given to me.

Loneliness happens when you build walls instead of bridges. Lord, bless me with a welcoming spirit for those that might need me today.

A Day At A Time 
May 16

Reflection For The Day

Many of us in The Program share the memory that we originally drank or used other chemicals to “belong,” to “fit in,” or to “be a part of the crowd.”  Others of us fueled our addictions to “get in” — to feel, at least for a short time, that we fitted in with the rest of the human race.  Sometimes, the chemicals had desired effect, temporarily assuaging our feelings of apartness.  But when the chemicals’ effects wore off, we were left feeling more alone, more left out, more “different” than ever.  Do I still sometimes feel that “my case is different?”

Today I Pray

God, may I get over my feeling of being “different” or in some way unique, of not belonging.  It was this feeling that led me to my chemical use in the first place.  It also kept me from seeing the seriousness of my addiction, since I thought “I am different.  I cna handle it.”  May I now be aware that I do belong, to a vast fellowship of people like me.  With every shared experience, my “uniqueness” is disappearing.

Today I Will Remember

I am not unique.

One More Day
    May 16

Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this.
— Henry Ford

During these most devastating periods f our lives, it is hard to recognzie that we will, in the long run, benefit from the experience. As we live through painful or trying times when we are barely surviving, we certainly are not aware of growing or of learning something.

Yet, in the more quiet times of our lives, when we’re not in pain or just hanging on by a thread, we can see that , yes, I did learn this or, indeed, that event did force me to grow. Chronic illness is no different from other crises, and we are able to inventory ourselves and see healthier attitudes and stronger character as results of what we’ve experienced.

    I will take time today to list the ways in which some “bad” experiences have helped me become a better or more mature person.

One Day At A Time
May 16

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Oscar Wilde

Before I made the Twelve Steps part of my life, I considered myself to have been in the gutter. My weight had doubled, I was in a major depression, and I was going through the motions of life. Those looking at me from afar saw only a perfect marriage, a perfect career, a perfect home, and perfect children. Although I was blessed, the disease I suffered from day in and day out made it quite obvious to anyone who truly knew me that I was not “looking at the stars.” It took my first sponsor to start the healing process for me.

As I began to work Steps One, Two and Three, I felt “different.” Nothing had changed . . . everything had changed. It’s hard to describe because outwardly I looked the same … but my entire being opened up. Weight began to come off because I was able to focus on a plan of eating. I found my feelings returned … the ability to love and accept love came back. My spirituality blossomed once again. I truly felt alive.

One day at a time…
I want to remember each time I find myself in the gutter and giving up hope … to look at the stars … and remember that my program works if I will just work it.

~ Mari

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 16

“It’s time. If you are to walk the path of heart, then it is time…”
–Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE

If not now, when? If not me, who? To walk the path of the heart is a great honor. Every human has the choice to walk this path, but very few will decide to make it. Why? Well, because you can’t act and behave like everyone else behaves. You must be the person who will learn to look within. You must be the person who will be fully accountable for yourself. You must be the person who prays and meditates. You must be the person who will sacrifice. You must decide to be a Peaceful Warrior. What will you decide today?

Oh, Great Mystery, lead me on the path of the heart.

Journey to the Heart
May 16
What You Believe Is What You Will See

We can all things into play by what we believe, what we say, what we envision, what we speak. This is one of the powers we’re learning about.

Much of this dance of life, this universal rhythm, is out of our control. But while we don’t choreograph it, we can work within the part that is ours, with the power that is ours. We do this by what we believe. If we believe that we have to fight the entire world, that we’re separate and apart, and that for the most part those we meet will be our enemies, out to hurt us, than that will most probably be true.

Our beliefs about what we deserve and who God is will change as we journey through our adventures. But there is also much we can do now to participate in changing our beliefs and creating a more desirable world for ourselves.

What are your beliefs? Listen to yourself. Listen to what you think, what you say, how you react. Listen to yourself talk about other people, about what life is really like, and about what always happens to you. Listen to what you say about what you can and cannot do. What you hear yourself say is what you believe. And that is probably what you are used to perceiving as happening.

Try believing something different. Try asking the universe and God to help you change and correct your beliefs. Take an active part in creating your world. Say your new beliefs. Say them aloud. Write them down.

Believe that you deserve love. Believe that universal love is there for you. And you will begin to see exactly what you believe.

Today’s Gift
May 16

More majestic than a cardinal, as shining as a pyx.
—Gustave Flaubert

What in the world is a pyx? If we don’t have an expert nearby, we’ll have to look in a book. There we’ll find it defined, explained, fixed. Now what in the world is love? It doesn’t live in a tree or a book, so where in the world do we look? Can we find love in the house, maybe swept under the rug? Can we know the feel of it in our hands, see it written on the lines of faces we know? Does it make a sound – maybe laugh and cry? Does it know how to speak, form words carefully, write letters? Is it only written on the heart?

We find love inside us, and our love seeks itself out in others. We find it in the familiar footfall of a brother or sister, the sound of a parent’s voice in the next room, and yet, too often we don’t express it directly. When we do, our love thrives in all we do together.

What does love have to do with the ordinary facts of life?

The Language of Letting Go
May 16
Self Love

“I woke up this morning and I had a hard time for a while,” said one recovering man. “Then I realized it was because I wasn’t liking myself very much.” Recovering people often say: I just don’t like myself. When will I start liking myself?

The answer is: start now. We can learn to be gentle, loving, and nurturing with ourselves. Of all the recovery behaviors we’re striving to attain, loving ourselves may be the most difficult, and the most important. If we are habitually harsh and critical toward ourselves, learning to be gentle with ourselves may require dedicated effort.

But what a valuable venture!

By not liking ourselves, we may be perpetuating the discounting, neglect, or abuse we received in childhood from the important people in our life. We didn’t like what happened then, but find ourselves copying those who mistreated us by treating ourselves poorly.

We can stop the pattern. We can begin giving ourselves the loving, respectful treatment we deserve.

Instead of criticizing ourselves, we can tell ourselves we performed well enough.

We can wake up in the morning and tell ourselves we deserve a good day.

We can make a commitment to take good care of ourselves throughout the day.

We can recognize that were deserving of love. We can do loving things for ourselves.

We can love other people and let them love us.

People, who truly love themselves do not become destructively self-centered. They do not abuse others. They do not stop growing and changing. People who love themselves well, learn to love others well too. They continually grow into healthier people, learning that their love was appropriately placed.

Today, I will love myself. If I get caught in the old pattern of not liking myself, I will find a way to get out.

More language of letting go
May 16
Only you can assess what to do

It was about my fiftieth skydive. I was determined to master this spinning thing. When my turn came, I went to the door, pulled myself outside, then gave myself the count. Ready, set, go. I released my hold and let myself fall into the air.

At first, I fell stable, belly down. Then that dang spinning thing started. I tried to correct my body posture. That didn’t help. The last time this had happened, I had spent so much time trying to correct the problem, I had lost awareness of my altitude. I had gotten obsessed with the problem and lost track of time– not a good thing to do on the ground, and even worse to do while falling through the air.

I remembered my jump master’s words: What are you going to do, spend the rest of your life trying to gain control? Instead of making further attempts to solve the problem, I would stop it now. By pulling,, I yanked my rip cord. Instead of hearing that whooshing sound, the one the parachute makes when it opens correctly, I heard a heavy thud. I looked up. I had been spinning so fast when I opened that I had a knotted mess of line twists and a wad of material over my head.

I had experienced line twists before– a few twists that could be kicked out with a little effort. This was different. It looked like a Chinese braid over my head.

This just isn’t working, I thought. I pulled my cutaway handle, freeing the knotted mass of stuff over my head, then immediately pulled my reserve parachute. It opened sweetly and immediately. I looked at my altimeter. I was at nine-thousand feet. This was going to be a long ride down.

About five minutes later, I floated back to the ground. I threw my parachute over my shoulder and tromped back to the student room. When asked what happened, I explained my story. It was full of ” should’s.” I should have been able to stop spinning. I shouldn’t have opened so high. I apologized for what I had done and for the fact that my rented parachute, which I cut away so high, was going to be tough to find.

“This wasn’t an ideal situation,” said the manager of the school. “But it’s your life. Only you can decide what to do to save it. It’s up to you and you alone to decide what’s right to do.”

Some situations aren’t ideal. Maybe we shouldn’t be in them in the first place and maybe we should have known better. But the facts are what they are. Don’t let shame stop you from taking care of yourself. What are you going to do?

Talk to other people. Get opinions. Read books. But it’s your life– your relationship, your financial situation, your job, your home. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for you. You’re the one who will ultimately live with the results of any decision you make. Assess the situation, and decide what’s right for you.

Take responsibility for your decisions and for how best to live your life.

God, help me stop waiting for others to approve of what I do or don’t do. Guide me in my decision-making and help me trust the choices I make.

Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 16

The work will teach you how to do it.
—Estonian proverb

We learn this spiritual program as we learned to ride a bike or to swim. We could never get it from reading a book. We only learn it by doing it and by following the example of others. As we first entered the program, we may have thought, “Oh I understand this. In twelve meetings I’ll have it licked.”

Many men have had difficulty trusting, so we try to understand everything before we get involved in it. But as long as we try to figure it out first, we remain on the outside looking in. Doing the practical things in this program – taking inventories and making amends, praying for guidance from our Higher Power, carrying the message to others, selecting a sponsor, will teach us the essentials for spiritual recovery.

Today, I will take the risk of learning by living the spiritual life.

May 16

The accused stands helpless before the judge.
Pen is poised to determine right from wrong.
In one arbitrary stroke,
Life is suddenly decided.

Do judges have Tao? Dispassionate to the point of cruelty, making distinctions on the basis of arbitrary rules, can they be a part of a humanistic view of Tao? The answer depends on the context. If you are speaking of the Tao of nature-loving hermits, the answer is no : No one has the right to pass judgment on another. If you are speaking of society, however, those who follow Tao accept the necessity of set rules.

These laws are the Tao of the society. Once you are in the world of people and away from the world of nature, you are immersed in dualistic distinctions. Then concepts such as righteousness and mercy have meaning. Judgment is the process of comparing ideas in order to find agreement or disagreement with the Tao of society. The facts must be thoroughly examined. Judges must clearly and wisely apply distinctions. That which agrees is the truth.

In the same way, we are all compelled to examine the ongoing circumstances of our lives. That is part of the responsibility of being human. Embracing Tao will not exempt you from the need to render judgments and make decisions. We are both the ultimate judge and the accused. When your final day comes, you yourself must be the examiner. Did you do well? Or did you squander your precious existence? You must decide.

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