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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 – May 2

Just For Today
May 2
“Just Maybe….”

“There is one thing more than anything else that will defeat us in our recovery; this is an attitude of indifference or intolerance toward spiritual principles.”
Basic Text, p. 18

When we first came to NA, many of us had great difficulty accepting the spiritual principles underlying this program—and for good reason. No matter how we’d tried to control our addiction, we’d found ourselves powerless. We grew angry and frustrated with anyone who suggested there was hope for us, because we knew better. Spiritual ideas may have had some bearing on other peoples’ lives, but not on ours.

Despite our indifference or intolerance toward spiritual principles, we were drawn to Narcotics Anonymous. There, we met other addicts. They’d been where we’d been, powerless and hopeless, yet they’d found a way not only to stop using but to live and enjoy life clean. They spoke of the spiritual principles that had pointed the way for them to this new life of recovery. For them, these principles were not just theories but a part of their practical experience. Yes, we had good reason to be skeptical, but these spiritual principles spoken of by other NA members really seemed to work.

Once we admitted this, we didn’t necessarily accept every single spiritual idea we heard. But we did start to think that, if these principles had worked for others, just maybe they’d work for us, too. For a beginning, that willingness was enough.

Just for today: Just maybe the spiritual principles I hear spoken of in NA might work for me. I am willing, at least, to open my mind to the possibility.

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Daily Reflections
May 2
LIGHTING THE DARK PAST

Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have – the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p 124

No longer is my past an autobiography; it is a reference book to be taken down, opened and shared. Today as I report for duty, the most wonderful picture comes through. For, though this day be dark – as some days must be – the stars will shine even brighter later. My witness that they do shine will be called for in the very near future. All my past will this day be a part of me, because it is the key, not the lock.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 2
A.A. Thought For The Day

In A.A. we often hear the slogan “Easy Does It.” Alcoholics always do everything to excess. They drink too much. They worry too much. They have too many resentments. They hurt themselves physically and mentally by too much of everything.  So when they come into A.A., they have to learn to take it easy. None of us knows how much longer we have to live. Its probable that we wouldn’t have lived very long if we had continued to drink the way we used to. By stopping drinking, we have increased our chances of living for a while longer.  Have I learned to take it easy?

Meditation For The Day

You must be before you can do. To accomplish much, be much.  In all cases, the doing must be the expression of the being.  It is foolish to think that we can accomplish much in personal relationships without first preparing ourselves by being honest, pure, unselfish, and loving. We must choose the good and keep choosing it, before we are ready to be used by God to accomplish anything worthwhile. We will not be given the opportunities until we are ready for them. Quiet times of communion with the Higher Power are good preparation for creative action.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may constantly prepare myself for better things to come. I pray that I may only have opportunities when I am ready for them.

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As Bill Sees It
May 2
Imagination Can Be Constructive, p. 157

We recall, a little ruefully, how much store we used to set by imagination as it tried to create reality out of bottles. Yes, we reveled in that sort of thinking, didn’t we? And, though sober nowadays, don’t we often try to do much the same thing?

Perhaps our trouble was not that we used our imagination. Perhaps the real trouble was our almost total inability to point imagination toward the right objectives. There’s nothing the matter with truly constructive imagination; all sound achievement rests upon it. After all, no man can build a house until he first visions a plan for it.

12 & 12, p. 100

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Walk in Dry Places
May 2
Look out for the power trips
Understanding hidden motives

We can often use a lofty reason to disguise a hidden motive behind our actions. We might be seeking power over people’s lives, for example, while claiming that “we’re only out to help them.” We may argue for a point of view only to establish a position of power. Such power trips are destructive, and others usually see them for what they really are.

If we’ve really accepted the principles of the Twelve Steps, we have no need for power trips. The logic of Step Eleven, for example, is that we’ll always have the power needed to carry out what’s in line with God’s will for us. We do not have to jostle and manipulate others to establish our importance or our authority.

When we really come to terms with our own tendencies to take power trips, we’ll be able to deal with others who come on strong with their power trips. We’ll soon perceive that such threats usually fade when we refuse to resist them or be upset by them.

I’ll undoubtedly meet people today who are maneuvering for power in different situations. I will neither criticize nor oppose them. My responsibility today is to avoid any of my own tendencies to take such power trips.

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Keep It Simple
May 2

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.
—Eleanor Roosevelt

Most of us want to be happy. We just don’t know how. We aren’t sure what happiness is. We’ve learned the hard way that some things we wanted didn’t make us happy. We’re learning that happiness comes when we live the way our Higher Power wants us to live. That’s when we’re honest. When we do our best work. When we are a true friend. We make happiness; we don’t find it. Sometimes we don’t even know we’re happy. We’re too busy with our work, our recovery program, our friends and family. We need to slow down and know that when we do what we need to, happiness comes.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me know that I’m most happy when I listen to You and do Your will. You know better than I do what makes me happy.

Action for the Day: What parts of my program am I most happy about? Today I’ll think of these and enjoy myself.

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Each Day a New Beginning
May 2

One must be leery of words because they turn into cages.
—Viola Spolin

We defeat ourselves with labels. We hem ourselves in; we shorten our vision; we cut off opportunities in the making. We influence how others think of us, too. Someone wise said that we teach others how to treat us. Are we teaching people to expect nothing great from us because we are always afraid? Do we shatter their vision of our potential by never thinking we can handle what may come?

We become the persons we have programmed ourselves to be. We can revamp the program, anytime. And right now is a good time to begin. We are surrounded by persons who have done just that.

It’s time for praise. We are all that we need to be, and more. We will be helped to do all we are asked to do. We have an inner beauty that only needs encouragement to shine forth. If we smile from within today, we will free ourselves from our negative cages. A new life awaits us.

To catch myself each time I insult myself will be a challenge, but one worth taking on. And it’s one I can win!

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Alcoholics Anonymous
May 2
A LATE START

– “It’s been ten years since I retired, seven years since I joined A.A. Now I can truly say that I am a grateful alcoholic.”

Finally on one cold winter day, I called Alcoholics Anonymous, and that evening two ladies took me to a meeting. We had a twenty-five minute ride in the car, and I remember how good it was to talk about my fear and shakes, how kind they were without encouraging my self-pity. I remember being given a cup of coffee I could hardly handle and hearing impossible promises that would materialize if i would only make the impossible commitment. I did want to stop. The ladies suggested that I go to a women’s meeting the next night, and I did. I had a drink first, of course, and when it came time to identify myself, I stated that my brain told me I was an alcoholic but the rest of me didn’t believe it. The next night it snowed, and I stayed home and drank. That was the end of my first try at A.A.

p. 538

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 2

Step Nine – “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Above all, we should try to be absolutely sure that we are not delaying because we are afraid. For the readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well-being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine.

p. 87

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Xtra Thoughts
May 2

“Pay no attention to what the critics say; no statue has ever been put up to a critic.”
–Jean Sibelius

Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.
–Epictetus

One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is listen to each other’s stories.
–Rebecca Falls

“Sometimes you have to make music with what you got.”
–Izhak Perlman

“Don’t just do something, sit there! Sit there long enough each morning to decide what is really important during the day ahead.”
–Richard Eyre

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 2
FACTS

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
–Aldous Huxley

Reality is not dependent upon our acceptance. Addiction does not have to be accepted to be real. Alcoholism was killing people long before it had a name!

I need to remember this in the recovery program for my life. A big part of my life was spent denying that I had a problem. My manipulative art was exercised in discovering more acceptable excuses for my drunkenness, rather than looking at the problem. I danced toward death with God and denial on my lips. Belief in the God of Truth did not stop my dishonesty.

The process of self-love and acceptance began in my cry for help.  Surrender brought me sanity. God was working His purpose out in my life because I was getting out of my way; I was facing the facts.  Spirituality is making the words fit the feelings, and the feelings make the action.

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Bible Scriptures
May 2

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Ephesians 5:1-2

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Romans 12:17-21

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Daily Inspiration
May 2

Do not allow yourself to be disappointed by any thing or any person, but rather have faith that in all things God is leading you to your ultimate good.

Not one day passes without receiving wonderful blessings from our loving and generous God. Lord, may I forget the irritations that distract me from Your happiness.

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A Day At A Time 
May 2

Reflection For The Day

When I was drinking, I was certain that my intelligence, backed by will poewr, could properly control my inner life and guarantee me success in the world around me.  This brave and grandiose philosophy, by which I played God, sounded good in the saying, but it still had to meet the acid test:  How well did it actually work?  One good look in the mirror was answer enough.  Have I begun to ask God each day for strength?

Today I Pray

May I stop counting on my old standbys, my “superior intelligence” and my “willpower,” to control my life.  I used to think, with those two fabulous attributes, that I was all-powerful.  May I not forget, as my self-image is restored, that onl through surrender to a Higher Power will I be given the power that can make me whole.

Today I Will Remember

Check for “head-tripping.”

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One More Day
May 2

Wisdom denotes the pursuing of the best ends by the best means.
— Francis Hutchinson

Remember when we were youngsters and used to say, “When I grow up, I’m going to . . . “? Somehow that magic moment never arrives. We grow a little each day, but change comes slowly.

We realize we have matured when we recognize our days as a series of options. Diminished health may change those options somewhat, but we still have choices to make.

We do not have a choice over the state of our health, but we can “grow into” acceptance and into more positive attitudes. We can achieve the best for ourselves.

Although some of my choices will be different from those I have originally planned, I can choose the best that life has to offer me now.

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One Day At A Time
May 2
HELPING OTHERS

If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain If I can ease one life the aching or cool one pain or help one fainting Robin unto his nest again I shall not live in vain
–Emily Dickinson

Somewhere along the way I found myself to be a caretaker. Injustices, pain, discrimination, bullying; all these things affected me deeply. I carried it too far. It reached a point where I truly believe I began taking better care of others than I did myself. Was this ego? Codependency? Altruism? Or was this a guiltless way I found to deflect my own problems, pain, injustices and needs?

When I was doing my first 4th Step inventory, I learned something very important. As my sponsor read over one “bad thing” I had done after another she cautioned me to take a broader look at myself. Finally, she made me do my entire inventory over and for every 5th character defect or offense to someone, I was required to write something good about myself. She explained that an inventory is never meant to be focused on just the bad … but the good also. After all, when a store takes inventory on its products, it counts bent cans of beans as well as the perfect cans of beans and crushed boxes of cereal as well as the perfect ones.

This helped me to see that my life’s purpose was not just to help others but also to nurture me when my heart was breaking, to make my own life good and to have a nest for myself that was safe and serene. After working the Steps, I know that I’m not living my life in vain and I still want to help others as much as I possibly can, but not to the detriment of myself … and certainly not to keep me from looking at my own life and my own problems realistically.

One day at a time…
May I help others who are less fortunate than I find their way. And let me also make my own nest as comfortable as it can be.

~ Mari

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 2

“Think only about what is holy. Empty your mind.”

–Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA

If we let our minds wander, we will come up with a lot of junk; maybe bad thoughts about a brother or sister, maybe angry thoughts, maybe self-pity thoughts. Our minds are not the boss. We can instruct our mind to think about whatever we want to think about. We cannot stop thinking, but we can choose what to think about. The Elders say we move towards what we think about. That’s why they say, “Think about what is holy, think about the Grandfathers, think about culture, think about values, think about ceremonies, and think about good.”

Great Spirit, today, empty my mind and let me experience what it would be like to think about what is holy.

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Journey to the Heart
May 2
See the Divine All Around You

The woman was old, perhaps ninety. She had the frailness we sometimes see in the elderly, but her life force was strong, vital. She sat in the cafe eating breakfast with a younger woman. “You’ve been through a lot,” the younger woman said. “It must be hard since your husband died. How are you doing?”

The older woman chewed a bite of toast, then responded. “I’m okay,” she said. “Everything that’s happened has brought me to a closer walk with the Lord.”

“What do you mean by that?” the younger woman barked.

“This is what I mean,” the older woman said. “I see God in everything. In people. In things. In the world. In myself. It’s just a closer walk.”

I smiled to myself, quit eavesdropping, and finished my breakfast. Every religious faith has its own language. Each has its own frame of reference. But most roads lead to the same destination: taking our place in the Divine rhythm, recognizing Divinity in all that is– in others, in ourselves, and in all the creations of the universe.

Open to your connection to the world around you. Know that we really are one. The connection is God. The connection is the Divine as each of us understands it. The connection is love.

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Today’s Gift
May 2

A bird came down the walk: He did not know I saw; He bit an angle-worm in halves And ate the fellow, raw.
—Emily Dickinson

We must look very different to the birds than we do to each other. Likewise, birds seem different to us than they do to each other. Neither the way we see birds or the way they see us is the “right” way. They are simply different ways of seeing.

If we could turn birds into people so they would see things the way we do, eat the way we do, and think the way we do, we would lose the idea of flying. The knowledge that flight is possible is a gift birds have given us.

We do well to remember this when we get upset at others for not doing things the way we would. Varieties of styles, appetites, and ideas are gifts that enrich the world and bring more possibilities into our lives.

When others disagree with me today, will I accept their gift?

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The Language of Letting Go
May 2
Our Higher Power

For the next twenty-four hours …

In recovery, we live life one day at a time, an idea requiring an enormous amount of faith. We refuse to look back – unless healing from the past is part of today’s work. We look ahead only to make plans. We focus on this day’s activity, living it to the best of our ability. If we do that long enough, we’ll have enough connected days of healing living to make something valuable of our life.

…I pray for knowledge of Your will for me only…

We surrender to God’s will. We stop trying to control, and we settle for a life that is manageable. We trust our Higher Power’s will for us – that it’s good, generous, and with direction.

We’re learning, through trial and error, to separate our will from God’s will. We’re learning that God’s will is not offensive. We’ve learned that sometimes there’s a difference between what others want us to do and God’s will. We’re also learning that God did not intend for us to be codependent, to be martyrs, to control or care take. We’re learning to trust ourselves.

. . . and the power to carry that through.

Some of recovery is accepting powerlessness. An important part of recovery is claiming the power to take care of ourselves.

Sometimes, we need to do things that are frightening or painful. Sometimes, we need to step out, step back, or step forward. We need to call on the help of a Power greater than ourselves to do that.

We will never be called upon to do anything that we won’t be empowered to do.

Today, I can call upon an energizing Power Source to help me. That Power is God. I will ask for what I need.

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More Language Of Letting Go
May 2
Say when it’s enough

“Say when,” my friend says as she refills my glass, meaning she wants me to tell her when I have enough juice.

Saying when is a simple idea that we can use in our daily lives, as well. Sometimes there is no visible end to the troubles that beset us, and all we can do is seek shelter from the storm. But often, it’s up to us to decide when we have had enough. An irritant might be just a minor inconvenience for a while, but the longer it lingers, the more irritating it becomes. Say when. Say that you have had enough, and refuse to let the irritant into your life anymore.

A draining person can latch on to a sympathetic ear. Know when that person is starting to take more than you are willing to give. Say when. The same can also be true of good things. Some of my friends like to make five, seven, and even ten or more skydives in a single day. I don’t. I love the sport, but I also know when it becomes too much of a good thing for me. I say when.

God, help me know and respect my limits.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 2

Do not reveal your thoughts to everyone, lest you drive away your good luck.
—Apocrypha, Ecclesiasticus 8:19

We’ve had problems in our lives with limits. We have done some things to excess and others we have endlessly postponed. Sometimes we haven’t had good judgment about what we ought to tell someone or whom we ought to tell. We may have kept secrets that made us lonely and sick. Other times we exposed too much in inappropriate situations and hurt someone else or ourselves. Developing these internal limits is a quiet change that comes with recovery. Gradually, we gain a stronger feeling of self-respect and become more intuitive about when to express something and when not to.

Secrets are links in our chains of bondage to isolation, addiction, and codependency. Yet, when we are compelled to tell everything, we lack the feeling of self-containment that comes from maturity. We need a sense of privacy, which is the freedom to choose what and when to confide in a friend. What does our intuition tell us today about our privacy and our openness?

Today, I will listen to my inner messages about what I need to discuss with others and when I need to withhold.

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DailyTAO
May 2
VALIDITY

A river new —
Ancient words unneeded.
See, touch, rushing beauty,
Drink crystal flow.

When we stand on the banks of a river, we must realize that it is constantly new. Although we might say that it was running long before we were born, its exact configuration — the particular currents, the way it flows around rocks, the shape of its banks, the paths of fish in its depths — is subtly unique at any given moment. To know the river, we only need to experience it directly : to touch it, to swim it, to contemplate it, to drink it. The same is true of Tao.

Tao is ever flowing. Although it was present since the beginning of time and though many have experienced it, it is here for us to explore today. Touch it. Swim it. Contemplate it. Drink it. If you have touched Tao, you should harbor no doubt about it, nor should you wonder that you need scripture to confirm it.

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Daily Zen
May 2

Observe the example of Buddha Shakyamuni of the Jeta Grove, who practiced sitting up straight for six years even though he was gifted with intrinsic wisdom. Still celebrated is Master Bodhidharma of the Shaolin Temple, who sat facing the wall for nine years although he had already received the mind seal. Ancient sages were like this; who nowadays does not need to practice as they did?

– Dogen 1227

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Food for Thought
May 2,2014
Commitment

Our commitment to OA is total. The program is not something we pick up and put down according to whim. Abstinence is not a diet that we go on and off as it pleases us. Perhaps a seeming inability to commit ourselves to anything permanently has been one of our problems in the past. If so, we are now all the more aware of the necessity for genuine, total commitment to this program.

Most of us tried just about everything else before we came to OA. We may even have tried OA previously and left, thinking that there must be an easier way. Now we are desperate because we know that there is no other way for us. Our recovery depends on our willingness to commit ourselves honestly to the OA program and to work it day by day to the very best of our ability.

When we are firmly committed to the Twelve Steps and the OA principles, we are able to apply them to all aspects of our daily lives with astonishing results.

Strengthen my commitment, Lord.

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In God’s Care
May 2

It’s not what we don’t know that hurts, it’s what we know that ain’t so.
~~Will Rogers

Much of our spiritual progress is an unlerning process. So many “truths” we thought we could bank on have turned out to be bankrupt. Too many time-honored sentiments that are accepted as noble truths are misleading, false, or exaggerated.

For instance, contrary to what many of us were taught, God’s love isn’t dependent on anything we do or don’t do. Our happiness isn’t found in another person, a possession, or the other places we might look – we need to look inside. We really only gain when we give. Struggle brings defeat; surrender brings victory.

    I can unlearn my errors by putting God’s truth to work.

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Day By Day
May 2
    Helping others

We have been given so much help in our addiction through countless other people who have searched for a solution. If others hadn’t searched and found, who would have been there to offer us a helping hand? The ones who come after us can help us best by letting us help them.

Newcomers are a constant reminder and source of joy to us. We’re on this path together, and we should never forget to be grateful for our fellow addicts.

Do I help others?

    Higher Power, help me always to be grateful to the ones who have helped me,
    and help me offer my hand to others.

    Today I will help my fellow addicts by…

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