December 31, 2004

Daily Acceptance

As Bill Sees It

Daily Acceptance, p. 44

"Too much of my life has been spent in dwelling upon the faults of
others. This is a most subtle and perverse form of self-satisfaction,
which permits us to remain comfortably unaware of our own defects.
Too often we are heard to say, 'If it weren't for him (or her), how
happy I'd be!"
<< << << >> >> >>
Our very first problem is to accept our present circumstances as they
are, ourselves as we are, and the people about us as they are. This is
to adopt a realistic humility without which no genuine advance can
even begin. Again and again, we shall need to return to that
unflattering point of departure. This is an exercise in acceptance that
we can profitably practice every day of our lives.

Provided we strenuously avoid turning these realistic surveys of the
facts of life into unrealistic alibis for apathy or defeatism, they can be
the sure foundation upon which increased emotional heath and
therefore spiritual progress can be built.

1. Letter, 1966
2. Grapevine, March 1962

December 30, 2004

This too shall pass

"We are no longer fighting fear anger guilt, self-pity, or depression."
Basic Text p.26

As addicts, many of us experience depression from time to time. When we feel depressed, we may be tempted to isolate ourselves. However, if we do this, our depression may turn to despair. We can't afford to let depression lead us back to using.

Instead, we try to go about the routine of our lives. We make meeting attendance and contact with our sponsor top priorities. Sharing with others about our feelings may let us know we aren't the only ones who have been depressed in recovery. Working with a newcomer can work wonders for our own state of mind. And, most importantly, prayer and meditation can help us tap the power we need to survive depression

We practice acceptance and remember that feelings like depression will unquestionably pass in time. Rather than struggle with our feelings, we accept them and ask for the strength to walk through them.

Just for today: I accept that my feelings of depression won't last forever. I will talk openly about my feelings with my sponsor or another person who understands.

Just For Today Daily Meditation is the property of Narcotics Anonymous ©
1991 by World Service Office Inc.

Celebrate Our Talents

"There was a time when we didn't believe we had any talents. We couldn't imagine we had any purpose or any gift to give to the world. But it's true: We all have talents, many of them. If we each haven't yet discovered ours, we soon will. With time and the Steps and friends, we will be encouraged to recognize them, to celebrate them, to cultivate them, to dare to give the away.

Utilizing our talents fully, which is part of life's bigger plan, may lead us to new jobs, new friends, to places presently unknown. The prospect of new horizons may excite us. It may also elicit dread. We can trust that, just as we are given no problems too big to handle, we are given no talents too great to develop. The strength to move ahead will always be available if we have faith. And the progress offers us faith.

I will look for my talents today. I will also look for talents in my friends. I can celebrate them, and soon the way to use them will become clear."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Today's meditation comes from the book
Each Day a New Beginning
Daily Meditations for Women

by Karen Casey C 1982, 1991

Sobriety is a Joyous Journey

Sobriety is a journey of joyful discovery. Each day brings new experience, awareness, greater hope, deeper faith, broader tolerance. I must maintain these attributes or I will have nothing to pass on. Great events for this recovering alcoholic are the normal everyday joys found in being able to live another day in God's grace.

c. 1990 AAWS, Daily Reflections, p. 126
With permission, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Thought to Ponder . . .
Sobriety is a journey, not a destination.

December 29, 2004

Courtesy, kindness, justice, and love

"We can try to stop making unreasonable demands upon those we love. We can show kindness where we had shown none. With those we dislike we can begin to practice justice and courtesy, perhaps going out of our way to understand and help them. Whenever we fail any of these people, we can promptly admit it -- to ourselves always, and to them also, when the admission would be helpful.

Courtesy, kindness, justice, and love are the keynotes by which we may come into harmony with practically anybody."
c. 1952AAWS, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 93

Thought to Consider . . .
Let us always love the best in others -- and never fear their worst.

Change Leads to Growth

"Change is the characteristic of all growth. From drinking to sobriety, from dishonesty to honesty, from conflict to serenity, from hate to love, from childish dependence to adult responsibility - all this and infinitely more represent change for the better.

Such changes are accomplished by a belief in and a practice of sound principles. Here we must needs discard bad or ineffective principles in favor of good ones that work. Even good principles can sometimes be displaced by the discovery of still better ones."

LETTER, 1966
Copyright®1967 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Honest, Genuine and Willing

An honest regret for harms done, a genuine gratitude for blessings received, and a willingness to try for better things tomorrow will be the permanent assets we shall seek.

c. 1952AAWS, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pp. 95

December 27, 2004

Meditation on Breathing


I am breathing in
and I am breathing out.
There is no past or future.
There is only now.
I feel my breath filling my entire body
as it goes in.
I feel my entire body relaxing
as it goes out.
I am full
I am empty
There is only this moment.
Thoughts leave me
As I fully focus on my breath.
Fear and anxiety leave me
As I fully focus on my breath.
I feel peace flowing through my entire body
Inside and out.
In and out
As my breath comes in and goes out.
I am at peace
And this is my gift
As I send it out into the world.

© 2002 Ruth Fishel

Lying Locks Us in Prisons of Our Own Making

Father Leo's Daily Meditation

"Sin has many tools, but a lie is
the handle that fits them all."
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes

To lie is to rob life of meaning. In my addiction I was a liar, not just by what I said but by what I did, what I left unsaid and by my manipulation with half-truths. All lies shut out truth making us prisoners of fantasy and illusion. The world becomes what we want it to be rather than what it is and reality is lost. The liar is forced into the prison of loneliness, despair and isolation because nobody can know him, nobody can understand him. His language and communication are ego-centered. The liar is not living in the real world. He is living in his own world, with his own rules and definitions. The lies are the killing wounds, and they are self-inflicted.

Today I prefer the pain of truth to the passing satisfaction of the lie and the habit of telling the truth is growing in me!

God of Truth, may You ever be reflected in the life I seek to live.

December 26, 2004

May You Always Feel Loved

May you find serenity and tranquility in a world
you may not always understand.

May the pain you have known
and conflict you have experienced
give you the strength to walk through life
facing each new situation
with courage and optimism.

Always know that there are those
whose love and understanding
will always be there,
even when you feel most alone.

May you discover enough goodness in others
to believe in a world of peace.

May a kind word, a reassuring touch,
a warm smile be yours every day of your life,
and may you give these gifts as well as receive them.

Remember the sunshine when the storm seems unending.
teach love to those who know hate,
and let that love embrace you as you go into the world.

May the teaching of those you admire become part of you,
So that you may call upon them.

Remember, those whose lives you have touched
And who have touched yours are always a part of you,
even if the encounters were less than you would have wished.
It is the content of the encounter that is more important than its form.

May you not become too concerned with material matters,
but instead place immeasurable value on the goodness in your heart.

Find time in each day to see the beauty and love in the world around you.

Realize that each person has limitless abilities,
but each of us is different in our own way.

What you may feel you lack in one regard
may be more than compensated for in another.

What you feel you lack in the present
may become one of your strengths in the future.

May you see your future
as one filled with promise and possibility.

Learn to view everything as a worthwhile experience.

May you find enough inner strength to determine your own worth by yourself,
And not be dependent on another's judgment of your accomplishments.

May you always feel loved.

--- Copyright 1987 Sandra Sturtz Hauss

Resolving Fear

FEAR, somehow touched about every aspect of our lives. It was an evil and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence was shot through with it. It set in motion trains of circumstances which brought us misfortune we felt we didn't deserve. But did we not often set the ball rolling ourselves ?
<<< <<< >>> >>>
The problem of resolving fear has two aspects. We will have to try for all the freedom from fear that is possible for us to attain. Then we shall need to find both the courage and the grace to deal constructively with whatever fears remain.

#1 Alcoholics Anonymous pages 67-68
#2 Grapevine, January 1962.
Copyright AA World Services Inc.

Quotes for today

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." Unknown

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"They can conquer who believe they can." Virgil (70 BC - 19 BC)

"Remember when life's path is steep to keep your mind even." Horace (65 BC - 8 BC)

Don't Quit Five Minutes Before the Miracle Happens

Then the miracle happened -- to me! It isn't always so sudden with everyone, but I ran into a personal crisis which filled me with a raging and righteous anger. As I fumed helplessly and planned to get good and drunk and show them, my eye caught a sentence in the book lying open on my bed; "We cannot live with anger."

The walls crumpled -- and the light streamed in. I wasn't trapped. I wasn't helpless. I was free, and I didn't have to drink to "show them." This wasn't "religion" -- this was freedom! Freedom from anger and fear, freedom to know happiness and love.

c. 2001 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 206
With permission, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

Christmas Prayer

Loving Father,
Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

- Robert Louis Stevenson

December 24, 2004

Peace and Joy

Peace and Joy

Most of us have seen death close up. We have known the kind of suffering that wrenches the bones. But we also have known the sort of hope that makes the heart sing. . .

If you are a problem drinker, you already know enough about pain and loneliness. We'd like you to find some of the peace and joy we have found in meeting the reality of life's ups and downs with a clear head and a steady heart.

c. 1998 AAWS, Living Sober, p. 86

Gift Giving Season All Year Round

You don't have to wait for Christmas to give gifts of love and joy. Give that love to others and yourself. Give it often. Give it freely. Give it all year round. --Melody Beattie

Prayer for Peace on Earth

"Prayer for Peace on Earth

Send Thy peace O Lord, which is
perfect and everlasting,
that our souls may radiate peace.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that we
may think, act and speak harmoniously.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that we
may be contented and thankful for
Thy bountiful gifts.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that amidst
our worldly strife, we may enjoy Thy bliss.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that we
may endure all, tolerate all, in the thought of
Thy grace and mercy.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that our lives
may become a Divine vision and in Thy light,
all darkness may vanish.

Send Thy peace O Lord, our Father and Mother,
that we Thy children on Earth may all
unite in one family.

- Hazrat Inayat Khan"

From -- Prayer of the Day.

The Possibility of a Creative Intelligence

December 24, 2004
Big Book Page 46

"As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps."

Peace On Earth

Today's Quote

If you yourself are at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world.

-Thomas Merton

December 23, 2004

How to Resist Drinking at Social Functions

"Not drinking when everyone else is can be very difficult, but it can be done with careful planning and determination...

Here's How:

1. If you are unsure if non-alcoholic beverages will be available, bring your own.
2. Stay away from the bar area.
3. If offered a drink, just say, 'No, thank you.' You do not have to explain.
4. If there is food available, be sure to eat, so that you are not hungry.
5. If you feel that you are becoming tempted to drink, leave early.
6. Stay busy. Talk to others, dance, etc. Don't give yourself time to think about the fact that you are not drinking.
7. Don't drink, no matter what!


1. If others at the event are drinking, chances are they will never know that you only have cola in your glass.
2. If you are new to sobriety and are concerned about attending an event where alcohol will be served, arrive late and leave early. Take a sober friend, or at least their phone number.
3. You are probably not the only one at the party who is clean and sober. Find the winners and hang out with them.
4. Don't even think about trying the NA beer and yes, the Egg Nog is spiked.
5. If someone has told you that you are "codependent" don't end up going home with the one who wears the lampshade or dances on the table. Allow them the dignity of learning from their own mistakes, don't "rescue" them from hitting bottom, and run as fast as you can in the opposite direction."


We were a mess inside

A.A. Thought for the Day

As we look back over our drinking careers, we must realize that our lives were a mess because we were a mess inside. The trouble was in us, not in life itself. Life itself was good enough, but we were looking at it the wrong way. We were looking at life through the bottom of a whiskey glass, and it was distorted.

We could not see all the beauty and goodness and purpose in the world because our vision was blurred. We were in a house with one-way glass in the windows. People could see us but we could not look out and see them and see what life meant to them and should mean to us. We were blind then, but now we can see.

Can I now look at life as it really is?

"Twenty-Four Hours A Day" is a © Copyrighted book of
Hazelden Foundation.

Be Open to New Ideas

"We reevaluate our old ideas so we can become acquainted with the new ideas that lead to a new way of life." Basic Text p.91
Learning to live a new way of life can be difficult. Sometimes, when the going gets especially hard, we're tempted to follow the path of least resistance and live by our old ideas again. We forget that our old ideas were killing us. To live a new way of life, we need to open our minds to new ideas.

Working the steps, attending meetings, sharing with others, trusting a sponsor - these suggestions may meet our resistance, even our rebellion. The NA program requires effort, but each step in the program brings us closer to becoming the kinds of people we truly want to be. We want to change, to grow, to become something more than we are today. To do that, we open our minds, try on the new ideas we've found in NA, and learn to live a new way of life.

Just for today: I will open my mind to new ideas and learn to live my life in a new way.

Just For Today Daily Meditation is the property of Narcotics Anonymous ©
1991 by World Service Office Inc.

December 21, 2004

Digging in the Dung

"Imagine you have just had a wonderful afternoon at the beach with a friend. When you return home, you find a huge truckload of dung has been dumped right in front of your door. There are three things to know about this truckload of dung:

1. You did not order it. It's not your fault.
2. You're stuck with it. No one saw who dumped it, so you cannot call anyone to take it away.
3. It is filthy and offensive, and its stench fills your whole house. It is almost impossible to endure.

In this metaphor, the truckload of dung in front of the house stands for the traumatic experiences that are dumped on us in life. As with the truckload of dung, there are three things to know about tragedy in our life:

1. We did not order it. We say 'Why me?'
2. We're stuck with it. No one, not even our best friends, can take it away (though they may try).
3. It is so awful, such a destroyer of our happiness, and its pain fills our whole life. It is almost impossible to endure.

There are two ways of responding to being stuck with a truckload of dung. The first way is to carry the dung around with us. We put some in our pockets, some in our bags, and some up our shirts. We even put some down our pants. We find when we carry dung around, we lose a lot of friends! Even best friends don't seem to be around so often.

'Carrying around the dung' is a metaphor for sinking into depression, negativity, or anger. It is a natural and understandable response to adversity. But we lose a lot of friends, because it is also natural and understandable that our friends don't like being around us when we're so depressed. Moreover, the pile of dung gets no less, but the smell gets worse as it ripens.

Fortunately, there's a second way. When we are dumped with a truckload of dung, we heave a sigh, and then get down to work. Out come the wheelbarrow, the fork, and the spade. We fork the dung into the barrow, wheel it around the back of the house, and dig it into the garden. This is tiring and difficult work, but we know there's no other option. Sometimes, all we can manage is half a barrow a day. We're doing something about the problem, rather than complaining our way into depression. Day after day we dig in the dung. Day after day, the pile gets smaller. Sometimes it takes several years, but the morning does come when we see that the dung in front of our house is all gone.

Furthermore, a miracle has happened in another part of our house. The flowers in our garden are bursting out in a richness of colour all over the place. Their fragrance wafts down the street so that the neighbours, and even passers-by, smile in delight. Then the fruit tree in the corner is nearly falling over, it's so heavy with fruit. And the fruit is so sweet; you can't buy anything like it. There's so much of it that we are able to share it with our neighbours. Even passers-by get a delicious taste of the miracle fruit.

'Digging in the dung' is a metaphor for welcoming the tragedies as fertilizer for life. It is work that we have to do alone: no one can help us here. But by digging it into the garden of our heart, day by day, the pile of pain gets less. It may take us several years, but the morning does come when we see no more pain in our life and, in our heart, a miracle has happened. Flowers of kindness are bursting out all over the place, and the fragrance of love wafts way down our street, to our neighbours, to our relations, and even to passers-by. Then our wisdom tree in the corner is bending down to us, loaded with sweet insights into the nature of life. We share those delicious fruits freely, even with the passers-by, without ever planning to.

When we have known tragic pain, learnt its lesson, and grown our garden, then we can put our arms around another in deep tragedy and say, softly, 'I know.' They realize we do understand. Compassion begins. We show them the wheelbarrow, the fork, and the spade, and boundless encouragement. If we haven't grown our own garden yet, this can't be done.

I have known many monks who are skilled in meditation, who are peaceful, composed and serene in adversity. But only a few have become great teachers. I often wondered why.

It seems to me now that those monks who had a relatively easy time of it, who had little dung to dig in, were the ones who didn't become teachers. It was the monks who had the enormous difficulties, dug them in quietly, and came through with a rich garden that became great teachers. They all had wisdom, serenity and compassion; but those with more dung had more to share with the world. My teacher, Ajahn Chah, who for me was the pinnacle of all teachers, must have had a whole trucking company line up with their dung at his door, in his early life.

Perhaps the moral of this story is that if you want to be of service to the world, if you wish to follow the path of compassion, then the next time a tragedy occurs in your life, you may say, 'Whoopee! More fertilizer for my garden!'

This article was excerpted from Opening The Door Of Your Heart, ©2004, by Ajahn Brahm. (Forthcoming North American edition, "Who Ordered this Truckload of Dung?: Inspiring Wisdom for Welcoming Life's Difficulties" published by Wisdom Publications, )


Try to Be an Example of the Joy of Living

"What we tell ourselves is primarily what we'll be saying to others on a daily basis.

We absolutely must pay attention to our own stories and how we repeat them to ourselves moment to moment as we live our lives. In other words, if some of the information or programming that we've taken on doesn't work in ways that bring joy into our lives, we're obligated to change it.

Each of us should be a walking, breathing example of the joy of living - and the only way I know how to do that is to walk through the fear and self-doubt that we've adopted over the years as a pattern of survival. And as we do so, we change 'survival' to 'living'...

We must be impeccable with our word: When we feel fear, we must acknowledge it; and when we feel self-doubt, we must also acknowledge it. What we say to ourselves is the most important conversation we'll have all day.

One thing about acknowledging fear and self-doubt is that when we do, we often realize how ridiculous these emotions are."


Prayer for Those in Despair

Send your life-giving Spirit
upon those who despair of living,
O generous and loving God.
If it is your will,
let them find rest from their labors
that they may have peace.
If there is a call they have not heard,
open their eyes and ears to know it
that they may find the joy of abundant life.
Grant them your blessing this day
and every day.

- Vienna Cobb Anderson

Acceptance Leads to Change

"Freedom to change seems to come after acceptance of ourselves." Basic Text p.56
Fear and denial are the opposites of acceptance. None of us are perfect, even in our own eyes; all of us have certain traits that, given the chance, we would like to change. We sometimes become overwhelmed when contemplating how far short we fall of our ideals, so overwhelmed that we fear there's no chance of becoming the people we'd like to be. That's when our defense mechanism of denial kicks in, taking us to the opposite extreme: nothing about ourselves needs changing, we tell ourselves, so why worry? Neither extreme gives us the freedom to change.

Whether we are longtime NA members or new to recovery, the freedom to change is acquired by working the Twelve Steps. When we admit our powerlessness and the unmanageability of our lives, we counteract the lie that says we don't have to change. In coming to believe that a Power greater than we are can help us, we lose our fear that we are damaged beyond repair; we come to believe we can change.

We turn ourselves over to the care of the God of our understanding and tap the strength we need to make a thorough, honest examination of ourselves. We admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being what we've found. We accept the good and the bad in ourselves; with this acceptance, we become free to change.

Just for today: I want to change. By working the steps, I will counter fear and denial and find the acceptance needed to change.

Just For Today Daily Meditation is the property of Narcotics Anonymous ©
1991 by World Service Office Inc.

Return of Laughter, A Sign of Recovery

Today's thought is:

The most wasted day is that in which we have not laughed.--Chamfort

When we are adrift in our addiction, we take ourselves very seriously and often lose contact with reality. We become lost in fantasy and obsession. Life becomes joyless because we can't see beyond our addiction, and we find no real satisfaction there. We lose touch with the joy and humor of life, and we find that everything around us and inside us is grim and dark.

One of the many positive signs of our return to health and sanity is our recovery of the gift of laughter. Each day as we gain more energy and zest of life, we move in to the world and find many things that are humorous, in ourselves and in other people. We laugh and find we are no longer alone.

Laughter is the mark of a healthy, happy human being. Laughter shows that we are truly a part of the human community. It is a sign that we are alive and on the way to recovery.

I am glad that I can laugh again and feel in touch with myself and others.

You are reading from the book: Answers in the Heart by Anonymous Copyright 1989 by P. Williamson and S. Kiser.

December 20, 2004

Working the Steps Leads to Freedom from Self-Obsession

"In living the steps, we begin to let go of our self-obsession."
Basic Text p.94

Many of us came to the program convinced that our feelings, our wants, and our needs were of the utmost importance to everyone. We had practiced a lifetime of self-seeking, self-centered behavior and believed it was the only way to live.

That self-centeredness doesn't cease just because we stop using drugs. Perhaps we attend our first NA function and are positive that everyone in the room is watching us, judging us, and condemning us. We may demand that our sponsor be on call to listen to us whenever we want-and they, in turn, may gently suggest that the world does not revolve around us. The more we insist on being the center of the universe, the less satisfied we will be with our friends, our sponsor, and everything else.

Freedom from self-obsession can be found through concentrating more on the needs of others and less on our own. When others have problems, we can offer help. When newcomers need rides to meetings, we can pick them up. When friends are lonely, we can spend time with them. When we find ourselves feeling unloved or ignored, we can offer the love and attention we need to someone else. In giving, we receive much more in return-and that's a promise we can trust.

Just for today: I will share the world with others, knowing they are just as important as I am. I will nourish my spirit by giving of myself.

Just For Today Daily Meditation is the property of Narcotics Anonymous
© 1991 by World Service Office Inc.

Lighten Your Load

As we enter into a new day, let's consider what we are carrying that does not belong. Have we really freed ourselves from the burdens and cares of yesterday? Or are we carrying them like dead weight into today? Have we let go of pointless anger? Have we tried to forgive and forget? Or are we still cluttered with fear and frustration and resentment?

Yesterday has forever passed, and tomorrow will forever elude us. Today is the only day we have.

Today, I will try to start fresh, free of the burdens of yesterday.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Today's meditation comes from the book
Help for Helpers C 1989

December 18, 2004

Love and Compassion is God's Will for Us

Life is speaking to us and encourages us to have compassion and love in every kind of experience, because that's God's will for us. God is compassion and love, no matter what.

So, as we open up to the experience of God's love, we extend compassion to others, including those who challenge us. When we see others in this light, we then can see it in ourselves. We are forgiven as we forgive. As we bring the light of understanding and compassion to someone else, we move into the light of understanding and compassion ourselves.

Mary Manin Morrissey

Be a Gardener of Change

"The good news is that you can change. Change is based on choice. Once you realise what your habits are, you have more chance of changing them. It may not be easy. It may be painful, sometimes. But it is also fun and rewarding because you are changing your life. You are opening yourself to see the possibilities of your potential. What you are capable of.

History shows us that there are four key ingredients to successfully change habits: Reflection, Realisation, Resolve and Sustained Effort.

In other words all you have to do is imagine you are the gardener of your life:

Reflect on the state of your garden. Realise what are weeds and what are flowers. Remove the weeds. Replace the weeds with flowers and make a sustained effort to keep the garden clear of weeds you don’t want.

So. What is the largest weed in your garden? Which habit causes you most pain? What is keeping this weed in place? What stops you from pulling it out?

Look at all the obstacles and think of the best method for eradicating the weed. Remember some weeds do not come out at first pull. They leave a little root behind. Some are better killed off with weed killer rather than a tortuous pull. Look for the best method for your weed...

So what flower would you like to put in place of your weed?

For all gardeners the next phase is the most easy and yet the most difficult. Make a sustained effort to keep the weed out of your garden. This is the key. It is so easy to say I’ve done it and walk away. Sustained effort can also be called zeal and enthusiasm.

Be passionate about clearing your weed. Tell others what you are doing. Avoid incidents that would automatically set the weed off. Keep looking at your new flower. Have zeal and enthusiasm for your new flower. Keep focussed on the flower. Make a sustained effort to keep the new flower watered and the area around it free from weeds. Nourish it. Fertilise it. Talk to it. Gradually the new flower will blossom and the old weed disappear. Remember: Nothing ever stays the same.

Good Luck"

From Think Deeply

December 17, 2004

I Was the Real Enemy in My Life

Father Leo's Daily Meditation


"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood."
-- Marie Curie

God is on my side. Today I really believe and understand this truth, and it helps me cope with my fears. Now I am beginning to understand that I was the only real enemy in my life. With this new understanding of God I have the power of choice back in my life.

I do not have to stay in a sick process. I do not need sick and negative people in my life. I do not have to place myself in destructive relationships or in fearful situations. God is alive in my life and I am discovering the spiritual power of choice.

God, give me the courage to confront my fear and be willing to make changes in my life.

The Three D's of Change

"Change is the end result of all true learning.
Change involves three things:
First, a dissatisfaction with self- a felt void or need;
second, a decision to change-to fill the void or need;
and third, a conscious dedication to the process of growth and change
- the willful act of making the change; Doing Something."

Dr. Leo Buscaglia

December 16, 2004

Letting Go of Self-Pity Leads to Openness and Willingness

"Some days we grasp at self-pity like a blanket on a cold night, and we are momentarily comforted. However, extended periods of self-pity will undermine our primary purpose, which is to be at peace with ourselves and others so that we may know freedom from our addictions. Thus our self-pity prevents us from carrying a message of hope to fellow sufferers, that they too can find release from their suffering through the Twelve Steps.

Staying clean and sober are gifts available to all of us when we cultivate gratitude. We can be grateful for this program that has brought manageability and serenity to our life, and that leaves us little room for self-pity, anger or impatience. Our mind will be willing to open and receive God's guidance and support when we let go of our self pity."

How to Stay Sober and Healthy During the Holidays

"Staying sober and healthy during the holiday season is not always easy. These articlesoffer tips on dealing with many aspects of the surviving the holidays safely. "

Happiness is the By-Product of Right Living

A.A. Thought for the Day

The way of A.A. is the way of faith. We don't get the full benefit of the program until we surrender our lives to some Power greater than ourselves and trust that Power to give us the strength we need. There is no better way for us. We can get sober without it. We can stay sober for some time without it. But if we are going to truly live, we must take the way of faith in God. That is the path for us. We must follow it. Have I taken the way of faith?

Meditation for the Day

Life is not a search for happiness. Happiness is a by-product of living the right kind of a life, of doing the right thing. Do not search for happiness, search for right living and happiness will be your reward. Life is sometimes a march of duty during dull, dark days. But happiness will come again, as God's smile of recognition of your faithfulness. True happiness is always the by-product of a life well lived.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may not seek happiness but seek to do right. I pray that I may not seek pleasure so much as the things that bring true happiness.

©Hazelden Foundation PO Box 176 Center City, MN 55012©

December 14, 2004

Don't Allow Family Members to Push Your Buttons

Today's thought is:

I was thirty five years old the first time I spoke up to my mother and refused to buy into her games and manipulation. I was terribly frightened and almost couldn't believe I was doing this. I found I didn't have to be mean. I didn't have to start an argument. But I could say what I wanted and needed to say to take care of myself. I learned I could love and honor myself, and still care about my mother -- the way I wanted to -- the way she wanted me to.--Anonymous

Who knows better how to push our buttons than family members? Who, besides family members, do we give such power? No matter how long we or our family members have been recovering, relationships with family members can be provocative. One telephone conversation can put us in an emotional and psychological tailspin that lasts for hours or days.

Sometimes, it gets worse when we begin recovery because we become even more aware of our reactions and our discomfort. That's uncomfortable, but good. It is by beginning this process of awareness and acceptance that we change, grow, and heal.

The process of detaching in love from family members can take years. So can the process of learning how to react in a more effective way. We cannot control what they do or try to do, but we can gain some sense of control over how we choose to react.

Stop trying to make them act or treat us any differently. Unhook from their system by refusing to try to change or influence them. Their patterns, particularly their patterns with us, are their issues. How we react, or allow these patterns to influence us, is our issue. How we take care of ourselves is our issue.

We can love our family and still refuse to buy into their issues. We can love our family but refuse their efforts to manipulate, control, or produce guilt in us. We can take care of ourselves with family members without feeling guilty. We can learn to be assertive with family members without being aggressive. We can set the boundaries we need and want to set with family members without being disloyal to the family. We can learn to love our family without forfeiting love and respect for ourselves.

Today, help me start practicing self care with family members. Help me know that I do not have to allow their issues to control my life, my day, or my feelings. Help me know it's okay to have all my feelings about family members, without guilt or shame.

You are reading from the book:
The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie
Copyright 1990 by Hazelden Foundation.

December 13, 2004

Misery is Optional

"No one is forcing us to give up our misery." Basic Text p. 29

It's funny to remember how reluctant we once were to surrender to recovery. We seemed to think we had wonderful, fulfilling lives as using addicts and that giving up our drugs would be worse than serving a life sentence at hard labor. In reality, the opposite was true: Our lives were miserable, but we were afraid to trade that familiar misery for the uncertainties of recovery.

It's possible to be miserable in recovery, too, though it's not necessary. No one will force us to work the steps, go to meetings, or work with a sponsor. There is no NA militia that will force us to do the things that will free us from pain. But we do have a choice. We've already chosen to give up the misery of active addiction for the sanity of recovery. Now, if we're ready to exchange today's misery for even greater peace, we have a means to do just that-if we really want to.

Just for today:
I don't have to be miserable unless I really want to be.
Today, I will trade in my misery for the benefits of recovery.

Just For Today Daily Meditation is the property of Narcotics Anonymous
© 1991 by World Service Office Inc.

Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us


I must forgive injuries, not just in words, or as a matter of form, but in my heart. I do this not for the other persons' sake, but for my own sake. Resentment, anger, or a desire to see someone punished, are things that rot my soul. Such things fasten my troubles to me with chains.

c. 1990 AAWS, Daily Reflections, p. 88

Start Rowing and the Boat Will Appear

“In order that G-d will bless you in all the work of your hands.”
— Deuteronomy 24:19

Sometimes we dream up a worthwhile project, but we hesitate to undertake it because it seems beyond our capacities. Obviously, people must be realistic and should not embark on something that is totally outlandish because it would require means or knowledge which they lack. However, we still shy away from many things that are achievable.

There is a folk saying: "The appetite comes with the eating." A person may not be hungry, yet when he or she sits at the table, and the food is served, the initial course actually stimulates the appetite. When we make a beginning and exert some effort, a Divine blessing may come. A composer may have but one melody in mind, but as he or she begins to write, one idea seems to inspire another, and an entire symphony comes to life.

I once heard a recovered alcoholic with many years of sobriety give instructions to a newcomer who was unable to comprehend how anyone could abstain from drinking for so many years when it was so difficult for him to abstain even for one day. "You just begin," he said. "It's like standing on the shore and wanting to get across when there is no boat. Someone says to you, 'Start rowing,' and you say, 'How can I start rowing when there is no boat?' 'Never mind,' the man responds, 'Just start rowing, and the boat will appear.' "

We must make the effort, and G-d will help us bring it to fruition.

... not hesitate in making a beginning of things that I know that I should do, even if they may seem formidable.

Abraham J. Twerski, M.D. is a psychiatrist and ordained rabbi. He is the founder of the Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, a leading center for addiction treatment. He is a prolific author, with some 30 books to his credit, including, Growing Each Day, from which this was excerpted

December 10, 2004

The Fruits of Giving

The fruit of silence is prayer
The fruit of prayer is faith
The fruit of faith is love
The fruit of love is service
The fruit of service is peace
--Mother Theresa

Happiness comes from spiritual wealth, not material wealth... Happiness comes from giving, not getting. If we try hard to bring happiness to others, we cannot stop it from coming to us also. To get joy, we must give it, and to keep joy, we must scatter it.
--John Templeton

December 09, 2004

Willingness to Change is a Blessing

From "At the Turning Point:"

"In one form or another, many of my character defects appear daily: self-condemnation, anger, running away, being prideful, wanting to get even, or acting out of grandiosity. "Attempting half measures to eliminate these defects merely paralyzes my efforts to change. It is only when I ask God for help, with complete abandon, that I become willing -- and able -- to change."

c. 1990, Daily Reflections, page 15 Wings Devotional© Daily Meditation Translation is property of Wings Of Eagles Recovery©


Willing - - that is all that is asked of us for success. Willing to admit we are addicts, willing to acknowledge our ineptness to change, willing to acknowledge God and His strength to make our recovery possible and willing to turn if all over to God to make that change. We also must become willing to work the steps in complete honesty and obedience,even to the point of sacrifice. Always going back to the point of being willing to ask God for help, with a teachable and moldable spirit to change.

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways,and sinners will turn back to you.” -- Psalm 51:11-13

Read carefully and meditate:
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!

Wings Devotional© Daily Meditation Translation is property of Wings Of Eagles Recovery©

Let God and Let Go

"Our life crises tell us that we need to break free of beliefs that no longer serve our personal development. These points at which we must choose to change or to stagnate are our greatest challenges. Every new crossroads means we enter into a new cycle of change- whether it be adopting a new health regimen or a new spiritual practice. And change inevitably means letting go of familiar people and places and moving on to another stage of life.

Caroline Myss, PH.D., Anatomy of the Spirit

God is Within and Among Us

Today's thought is:

When people are loving, brave, truthful, charitable, God is present.
--Harold Kushner

For many of us, our spiritual awakening began when we first heard our Higher Power might be our group. We learned that God may exist in the connections between people in our group just as well as within each individual. As we members exchange care and help with each other, as each struggles to achieve complete honesty and wrestles bravely with old temptations, God is truly in our midst. Closeness flourishes because we felt so alone but then found friends who suffered in similar ways. It is an expression of a spirit beyond our rational control.

When we ask another member to listen to us, we contribute to the strength of this spirit. When we give someone a ride to a meeting or spread the word about this program to other suffering men and women, we make a contribution and receive its benefits. Even now, if we need a renewal of confidence in God's presence in our lives, we can telephone another member and just talk. We will quickly sense the spirit.

Today, I am grateful to feel God's presence in my life and within the people around me.

You are reading from the book:
Touchstones by Anonymous
Copyright 1986, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation.

December 08, 2004

We Can Not Afford Self-Pity


Self-pity is one of the most unhappy and consuming defects that we know. It is a bar to all spiritual progress and can cut off all effective communication with our fellows because of its inordinate demands for attention and sympathy. It is a maudlin form of martyrdom, which we can ill afford.
- Bill W., Letter, 1966
c. 1967 AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 238

Thought to Ponder . . .
A victim is a spectator in his life.

Choose to Enjoy Life

Father Leo's Daily Meditation


"All animals, except man, know
that the ultimate of life is to
enjoy it."
-- Samuel Butler

Today I choose to enjoy my life. Regardless of the problem and difficulties that this day will bring, I have an inner joy that comes with my recovery from addiction. With a clear head and body free from drugs and chemicals I can face today and look forward to tomorrow. My life is to be enjoyed not endured. My worst days today are better than my best days as an addict. Spiritually I am free because I have begun to discover me. God can now be perceived in His world because I have sobriety.

Lord of all play, I dance before You in my world and I can stop to smell the roses.

The Best Portion of a Good Life

From Beliefnet:

Today's Quote

"The best portion of a good man’s life: his little, nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love."

-William Wordsworth

December 07, 2004

With My Feet in the Dirt, I Look to the Stars

Father Leo's Daily Meditation


"Man is a complex being: he
makes deserts bloom and lakes
-- Gil Stern

I am a mixture of good and bad. When I was drinking I could be cruel, sarcastic and violent and at other times loving, sensitive and thoughtful. Today in my recovery I know I can be honest, humble and creative, but I also carry within me a dark and destructive side that often hurts, lies and seeks negative power. What a mixture I was and what a mixture I still am!

From all my many conversations with a variety of people I have discovered that this is what it is to be human. Today I am able to accept this and develop my spiritual life. I am not perfect, but I try to improve my attitude and behavior. I am not God, but I can aspire to be the best that I can be.

Today I own the sickness in my life, but I also accept the responsibility for recovery.

With my feet in the dirt, I look to the stars.

Making Small Daily Differences Adds Up

"We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily difference we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee."

Marion Wright Edelman

Word for the Day from

Try to Make Each Day Count

“Abraham and Sarah were old, they came into days.”
— Genesis 18:11

"Coming into days" means making each day count.

Sometimes we feel "down" at the end of a day without really knowing why. Some people try to obliterate that feeling by drinking; others glue themselves to the television screen so that the inane dialogues can drown out their thoughts; and yet others find different escape routes. A few make a simple reckoning that could be constructive. Was the day spent doing something important? If so, there is no reason to be dejected. If the day was utilized in a positive way, we should feel good about it.

On the other hand, if the day was spent doing unimportant things, and we are annoyed with ourselves for exchanging a day of life for nothing of value, then we should think about what we must do to keep tomorrow from being a repetition of today. What changes must we make so that tomorrow should be a day of substance?

The latter question should lead to specific answers that themselves lead to planning a more meaningful tomorrow. Having planned a constructive day, we can feel a measure of accomplishment. Even if anything should happen tomorrow to thwart our well-laid plans, we can then plan again how to avoid such pitfalls on the following day. Each day can thus turn out to be a profitable day either in its own right, or a lesson in which changes we must make to make the next day better.

Coping leads to progress. Escaping not only leaves problems unresolved, but it also adds to the previous problems by bringing about a negative attitude.

... try to make each day positively productive and analyze each unproductive day to enable me to make the next day better.

Abraham J. Twerski, M.D. is a psychiatrist and ordained rabbi. He is the founder of the Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, a leading center for addiction treatment. He is a prolific author, with some 30 books to his credit, including, Growing Each Day, from which this was excerpted

Accept Ourselves As We Are

"Too much of my life has been spent in dwelling upon the faults of others. This is a most subtle and perverse form of self-satisfaction, which permits us to remain comfortably unaware of our own defects. Too often we are heard to say, 'If it weren't for him (or her), how happy I'd be!'"
Our very first problem is to accept our present circumstances as they are, ourselves as we are, and the people about us as they are. This is to adopt a realistic humility without which no genuine advance can even begin. Again and again, we shall need to return to that unflattering point of departure. This is an exercise in acceptance that we can profitably practice every day of our lives.

Provided we strenuously avoid turning these realistic surveys of the facts of life into unrealistic alibis for apathy or defeatism, they can be the sure foundation upon which increased emotional health and therefore spiritual progress can be built.

1. LETTER, 1966 - 2. GRAPEVINE, MARCH 1962
Copyright®1967 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc

Express Your Feelings to Avoid Resentments

Today's thought is:

Never does the human soul
appear so strong as when it
forgoes revenge, and dares forgive
an injury.
--E.H. Chapin

When something or someone makes us angry and we deny it or ignore it, the anger can become resentment. Resentments hurt us because they make us suffer. They make us angry, negative, and short-tempered.

The key to preventing resentments is to start expressing our feelings either verbally or in writing. We do this not to change the other person, but to unload from ourselves the poison of resentment. We can let go of it. We can be grateful that as we empty ourselves of negative things, the space will be filled with positive.

Today let me express my feelings in a way that feels safe and then turn them over to my Higher Power.

You are reading from the book: Our Best Days by Nancy Hull-Mast
Copyright 1990 by Hazelden Foundation.

December 06, 2004

The Idea of God Exists in All


Deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself.

We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us.

c. 2001 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 55

Thought to Ponder . . .

People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about.

December 05, 2004

A New State of Consciousness

He has been granted a gift which amounts to a new state of consciousness and being.

Many of us in A.A. puzzle over what is a spiritual awakening. I tended to look for a miracle, something dramatic and earth shattering. But what usually happens is that a sense of well-being, a feeling of peace, transforms us into a new level of awareness. That's what happened to me. My insanity and inner turmoil disappeared and I entered into a new dimension of hope, love and peace. I think the degree to which I continue to experience this new dimension is in direct proportion to the sincerity, depth and devotion with which I practice the Twelve Steps of A.A.


Openmindedness Leads to Spirituality

A New Notion

"The idea that religion and spirituality were not one and the same was a new notion.
My sponsor asked that I merely remain open-minded to the possibility that there was a Power greater than myself, one of my own understanding. He assured me that no person was going to impose a belief system on me, that it was a personal matter. Reluctantly, I opened my mind to the fact that maybe, just maybe, there was something to this spiritual lifestyle.

Slowly, but surely, I realized there was indeed a Power greater than myself, and I soon found myself with a full-time God in my life and following a spiritual path that didn't conflict with my personal religious convictions."

c. 2001AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 287

December 03, 2004

Salutation to the Dawn

"Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth;
The glory of action;
The splendor of achievement;
For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision;
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

- Attributed to Kalidasa"

From -- Prayer of the Day

The Simple Sense of Geese

From AA Grapevine - Our Meeting in Print Online:

"Flight Pattern

Next fall when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying along in a V formation, you might like to consider what science has discovered about why geese fly this way.

It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a V formation, the whole flock adds at least seventy-one percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the uplift of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it immediately feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.

If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed the same way we are going.

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back in the formation and another goose flies point.

It pays to take turns doing hard jobs.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

We too say something when we "honk from behind."

Finally (now I want you to get this), when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshots and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with the ailing goose until it is either able to fly or until it dies; then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with the group.

If we have the simple sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that."

Prayer to Do What's Right

O Almighty and Everlasting God, Creator of Heaven, Earth, and the Universe, help me to be, to think, to act what is right, because it is right. Make me truthful, honest, and honorable in all things; make me intellectually honest for the sake of right and honor and without thought of reward to me. Give me the ability to be charitable, forgiving, and patient with my fellow men. Help me to understand their motives and their shortcomings, even as thou understandest mine! Amen.

- Robert E. Lee

From -- Prayer of the Day

Avoid Unhealthy Dependence

As Bill Sees It

Dependence--Unhealthy or Healthy, p. 72

"Nothing can be more demoralizing than a clinging and abject
dependence upon another human being. This often amounts to the
demand for a degree of protection and love that no one could possibly
satisfy. So our hoped-for protectors finally flee, and once more we
are left alone--either to grow up or to disintegrate."

<< << << >> >> >>

We discovered the best possible source of emotional stability to be
God Himself. We found that dependence upon His perfect justice,
forgiveness, and love was healthy, and that it would work where
nothing else would.

If we really depended upon God, we couldn't very well play God to
our fellows, nor would we feel the urge to rely wholly on human
protection and care.

1. Letter, 1966
2. 12 & 12, p. 116

December 02, 2004

Without Truth, There is No Growth


In one way only is truth an absolute: Without it, there can be no growth.

Truth is to inner space what sunshine is to a garden. In its absence, fear flourishes
and imagination runs riot, conjuring up pursuing monsters where there are only paper dragons. . .Only when we open our minds and hearts to the truth can we expose our paper dragons for what they are -- a child's forgotten toys.

c. 1985 The AA Grapevine, Inc., The Best of the Grapevine (Vol. 1), p. 137

Thought to Ponder . . .

I cannot mend if I bend the truth.

Sharing Fights Isolation

Just For Today
November 30 Sharing the real me

"Sharing with others keeps us from feeling isolated and alone."
Basic Text p. 81

Intimacy is the sharing of our innermost thoughts and feelings with another human being. Many of us long for the warmth and companionship intimacy brings, but those things don't come without effort. In our addiction, we learned to guard ourselves from others lest they threaten our using. In recovery, we learn how to trust others. Intimacy requires us to lower our defenses. To feel the closeness intimacy brings, we must allow others to get close to us-the real us.

If we are to share our innermost selves with others, we must first have an idea of what those innermost selves are truly like. We regularly examine our lives to find out who we really are, what we really want, and how we really feel. Then, based on our regular inventories of ourselves, we must be as completely and consistently honest with our friends as we can be.

Intimacy is a part of life, and therefore a part of living clean-and intimacy, like everything in recovery, has its price. The painstaking self-scrutiny intimacy calls for can be hard work. And the total honesty of intimacy often brings its own complications. But the freedom from isolation and loneliness that intimacy brings is well worth the effort.

Just for today:

I seek the freedom from isolation and loneliness that intimacy brings. Today, I will get to know "the real me" by taking a personal inventory, and I will practice being completely honest with another person.

Just For Today Daily Meditation is the property of Narcotics Anonymous ©1991 by World Service Office Inc.



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.

"Perhaps one of the greatest rewards of meditation and prayer is the sense of BELONGING that comes to us. We no longer live in a completely hostile world. We are no longer lost and frightened and purposeless. The moment we catch even a
glimpse of God's will, the moment we begin to see truth, justice, and love as the real and eternal things in life, we are no longer deeply disturbed by all the seeming evidence to the contrary that surrounds us in purely human affairs. We know that God lovingly watches over us. We know that when we turn to Him, all will be well with us, here and hereafter."

c. 1952, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 105

December 01, 2004

Holiday Parties Not Necessarily Off Limits

As Bill Sees It

R.S.V.P.--Yes or No?, p. 77

Usually, we do not avoid a place where there is drinking--if we have a
legitimate reason for being there. That includes bars, night clubs,
dances, receptions, weddings, even plain ordinary parties.

You will note that we made an important qualification. Therefore,
ask yourself, "Have I any good social, business, or personal reason
for going to this place? Or am I expecting to steal a little vicarious
pleasure from the atmosphere?" Then go or stay away, whichever
seems better. But be sure you are on solid spiritual ground before
you start and that your motive in going is thoroughly good. Do not
think of what you will get out of the occasion. Think of what you can
bring to it.

If you are shaky, you had better work with another alcoholic instead!

Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 101-102

"Joy increases as you give it" & other quotes

Joy increases as you give it, and diminishes as you try to keep it for yourself. In giving it, you will accumulate a deposit of joy greater than you ever believed possible.
--Norman Vincent Peale

A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.
--English Proverb

"History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats."
--B. C. Forbes

"Spend unbroken chunks of time with the most important people in your life."
--Brian Tracy

"Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it."
--William Durant

November 28, 2004

Spirituality is.....

Spirituality is the:

Inward sense of a power or spirit greater than you who has the whole world, your environment, and you in His hands. This greater power and spirit is God. God is what you believe Him to be. God is the power greater than you upon whom you can rely.

Admission...that it is possible to turn to God with your problems. It is God's spirit that can provide for you the strength and courage to face your problems...

Recognition that you do not have to burn yourself out struggling to solve all your problems on your own. It is the openness to ``let go'' of your sense of over-responsibility and ``let God'' have some influence over the problems.

Recognition that you have a ``relationship'' with God that needs to be continuously nurtured through giving God a share of your life in prayer, worship, and good deed...

Power to overcome a sense of guilt, over-responsibility, over-control, rescuing, and enabling concerning others' problems. By tuning into God's message to mankind, you know that the troubled persons in your life have ready assistance anytime they call for help. Our helper in the deepest of deep problems is God. Handing our troubled persons over to God's power, mercy, and direction once we have taken all reasonable steps to help them is an act of spirituality.

Frame of reference that keeps all problems, anxieties, fears, and needs in perspective. It recognizes that we are human beings; as such we are imperfect, prone to error, and not always strong enough to change. It recognizes that there is only one power strong enough to handle all problems, anxieties, fears, and needs; that is God. It also recognizes that God's will may be different from our will.

Mechanism through which people gain the strength, understanding, confidence, and reassurance to let go of grief, fear, over-responsibility, and guilt. Spirituality is the well that must be tapped whenever you need to handle the loss events in your life.

Texture of our lives that enables us to risk being vulnerable to pain and hurt so that we can heal, change, and grow. In living a God-centered life we are able to recognize the need to open ourselves to new ideas, new concepts, new ways of acting, and new people so that we may discern God's plan and direction in our lives.

From -- Spirituality

Prayers Are Always Answered

God always answers prayer.

When the idea is not right he says ``No.''

When the timing is not right he says ``No.''

When I am not ready he says ``Grow.''

And when all is in order he says ``Go.''

Prayer plus positive thinking leads to creative change.

From -- Spirituality

November 27, 2004

A Thankful Heart

"One exercise that I practice is to try for a full inventory of my blessings and then for a right acceptance of the many gifts that are mine -- both temporal and spiritual. . .

I try to hold fast to the truth that a full and thankful heart cannot entertain great conceits. When brimming with gratitude, one's heartbeat must surely result in outgoing love, the finest emotion that we can ever know."

- Bill W., March 1962
c. 1967 AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 37

Prayer of Thanksgiving

From -- Prayer of the Day:

"Prayer of Thanksgiving

We gather today, Lord of abundant life, as grateful children.

Delighted and humbled by our bounty, we celebrate gifts of food and shelter, of colors that dance at dawn and dusk.

We relish the scent of cooking foods, of burning leaves and summer's wet grass, of snowflake, of animal fur.

We marvel at the intricacy of spiders' webs and fish bones, newborn babies and lines etched on faces of grandparents come for a visit today.

All gifts from Your hand.

When our meal is completed, leftovers stashed, and naps taken, we will leave replete, energized, and eager to go generously into the world and share our good fortune.

- Rev. Lynn James"

Gratitude Unlocks the Fullness of Life

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow."

Melody Beattie

November 24, 2004

Three Choices Regarding Defects of Character

As Bill Sees It

The immediate object of our quest is sobriety-freedom from alcohol and from all its baleful consequences. Without this freedom, we have nothing at all. Paradoxically, though, we can achieve no liberation from the alcohol obsession until we become willing to deal with those character defects which have landed us in that helpless condition. In this freedom quest, we are always given three choices.

A rebellious refusal to work upon our glaring defects can be an almost certain ticket to destruction. Or, perhaps for a time, we can stay sober with a minimum of self-improvement and settle ourselves into a comfortable but often dangerous mediocrity. Or, finally, we can continuously try hard for those sterling qualities that can add up to fineness of spirit and action - true and lasting freedom under God.


Lesson from Falling Leaves


One Sunday in October, during my morning meditation, I glanced out the window at the ash tree in our front yard. At once I was overwhelmed by its magnificent, golden color! As I stared in awe at God's work of art, the leaves began to fall and, within minutes, the branches were bare. Sadness came over me as I thought of the winter months ahead, but just as I was reflecting on autumn's annual process, God's message came through. Like the trees, stripped of their leaves in the fall, sprout new blossoms in the spring, I had my compulsive, selfish ways removed by God in order for me to blossom into a sober, joyful member of A.A. Thank you, God, for the changing seasons and for my ever-changing life.


Twelve Simple Instructions:

From Sacred Portals:

1. Remember you are connected to all living beings.
2. Know who you are and live deeply from that truth.
3. Tend well the relationships and lessons given to you.
4. Move through life at your own pace.
5. Love with an open heart. No holding back.
6. Surrender your will to the Divine will.
7. Seek what is real.
8. Do what is just. Start now.
9. Stay in the moment. We reach our destinations one step at a time.
10. Never stop questioning. Never stop learning.
11. Diminish no one. Even the most unlikely among us is a teacher.
12. Life provides endless opportunities to awaken. Embrace them.

November 22, 2004

Prayer for Guidance

Show Me the Course

Steer the ship of my life, good Lord, to your quiet harbour, where I can be safe from the storms of sin and conflict. Show me the course I should take. Renew in me the gift of discernment, so that I can always see the right direction in which I should go. And give me the strength and the courage to choose the right course, even when the sea is rough and the waves are high, knowing that through enduring hardship and danger in your name we shall find comfort and peace.

- Basil of Caesarea (c. 329-379)

From -- Prayer of the Day

Overcome Resistance to Spiritual Change

“All beginnings are difficult.”
— Rashi, Exodus 19:5

Learning something new may take effort, but once we make something a part of our routine, it becomes not only effortless, but automatic. For example, when we learned to walk, it required conscious effort, as we can see when we observe children taking their first steps.

Later on in life, walking takes no thought at all. The same holds true for many other behaviors.

Whenever we begin something new, we are, by definition, initiating some new type of behavior. The body naturally tends to return to the old, effortless pattern. If the new behavior holds promises of significant gain (such as a new job, new business, or new learning), which we anticipate will be profitable, this anticipation of reward overcomes the resistance to change, and we make the adjustment to the new.

When we see no tangible gain, such as in spiritual advancement, the ease of routine is likely to draw us back to well-established habits.

Let's face it. If we were offered a significant promotion at work which would necessitate arising half an hour earlier than usual, we would certainly set the alarm clock and get up promptly. If, however, we resolve to devote that half-hour to bettering ourselves, we would have trouble getting up.

We must value our spiritual goals so much that we will be willing to make the changes in our routine that are necessary to achieve them.

... try to overcome any resistance to spiritual growth that requires changing well-established routines.

From "Growing Each Day" by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D., founder of Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, a leading center for addiction treatment.

Seek Progress Rather than Perfection

Today's thought is:


Part of the ego reduction necessary to our recovery is the acceptance of the fact that we are not and never will be perfect. Perfectionism gets in the way of recovery because it imposes impossible, unrealistic goals which guarantee failure. If we do not think we have to be perfect, then we can accept our mistakes as learning experiences and be willing to try again.

Deepening acquaintance with our Higher Power is good insurance against perfectionism. We come to believe that God accepts and loves us as we are, and this gives us the courage and humility to accept ourselves.

We are not perfect, but we are growing. In spite of our weaknesses, we can serve others according to God's plan for our lives. Accepting our own limitations makes us more tolerant of the faults and weaknesses of those around us. Together, we progress.

I am thankful that I don't need to be perfect.

You are reading from the book:
Food for Thought by Elisabeth L.
Copyright 1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

November 19, 2004

Joy is the Presence of God


"Though I still find it difficult to accept today's pain and anxiety with any great degree of serenity -- as those more advanced in the spiritual life seem able to do -- I can give thanks for present pain nevertheless.

I find the willingness to do this by contemplating the lessons learned from past suffering -- lessons which have led to the blessings I now enjoy. I can remember how the agonies of alcoholism, the pain of rebellion and thwarted pride, have often led me to God's grace, and so to a new freedom."

Bill W., Grapevine, March 1962
c. 1967AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 266

Thought to Consider . . .

Joy isn't the absence of pain -- it's the presence of God.

Alone No More

It is said that alcoholics and other addicts treat loneliness with isolation. This "just for today" reminds us that recovery promises a better solution.

Alone No More

"We gradually and carefully pull ourselves out of the isolation and loneliness of addiction and into the mainstream of life."

Basic Text p. 35

Many of us spent much of our using time alone, avoiding other people - especially people who were not using - at all costs. After years of isolation, trying to find a place for ourselves in a bustling, sometimes boisterous fellowship is not always easy. We may still feel isolated, focusing on our differences rather than our similarities. The overwhelming feelings that often arise in early recovery-feelings of fear, anger, and mistrust-can also keep us isolated. We may feel like aliens but we must remember, the alienation is ours, not NA's.

In Narcotics Anonymous, we are offered a very special opportunity for friendship. We are brought together with people who understand us like no one else can. We are encouraged to share with these people our feelings, our problems, our triumphs, and our failures. Slowly, the recognition and identification we find in NA bridge the lonely gap of alienation in our hearts. As we've heard it said - the program works, if we let it.

Just for today:

The friendship of other members of the fellowship is a life-sustaining gift. I will reach out for the friendship that's offered in NA, and accept it.

pg. 334

Happiness is not a Destination


We're all after the same thing, and that's happiness. We want peace of mind. The trouble with us alcoholics was this: We demanded that the world give us happiness and peace of mind in just the particular way we wanted to get it -- by the alcohol route.

And we weren't successful. But when we take time to find out some of the spiritual laws, and familiarize ourselves with them, and put then into practice, then we do get happiness and peace of mind. . . .There seem to be some rules that we have to follow, but happiness and peace of mind are always here, open and free to anyone.

Dr. Bob S. (1879-1950), co-founder of AA,
c. 1980 AAWS, Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, p. 308

Thought to Ponder . . .

Happiness is not a station we arrive at; it's a way of traveling.

Prayer Leads to Clarity and Peace


"As the alcoholic goes along with his process of prayer,he begins to add up the results. If he persists, he will almost surely find more serenity, more tolerance, less fear, and less anger. He will acquire a quiet courage, the kind that doesn't strain him. He can look at so-called failure and success for what they really are.
Problems and calamity will begin to mean instruction, rather than destruction.
He will feel freer and saner. . .Wonderful and unaccountable things will start to happen. Twisted relations with family and on the outside will unaccountably improve."

Bill W., June 1958
c. 1988AAGrapevine, The Language of the Heart, p. 241

November 17, 2004

We Are Spiritual Beings

Today's quote from Beliefnet:

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Overcoming Loneliness


Almost without exception, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness. Even before our drinking got bad and people began to cut us off, nearly all of us suffered the feeling that we didn't quite belong.


The agonies and the void that I often felt inside occur less and less frequently in my life today. I have learned to cope with solitude. It is only when I am alone and calm that I am able to communicate with God, for He cannot reach me when I am in turmoil. It is good to maintain contact with God at all times, but it is absolutely essential that, when everything seems to go wrong, I maintain that contact through prayer and meditation.


Dreams and Fantasy are Very Different

“[Joseph] dreamt another dream ... the sun, moon, and the eleven stars were bowing before me.” — Genesis 37:9

Joseph dreamt of greatness, and he achieved it. Still, he paid a steep price for that greatness, suffering years of enslavement and imprisonment.

Some people are satisfied with their status quo and choose not to rock the boat. Others are dreamers, people of great ambition.

Dreams and fantasy are very different. Fantasy is mere wishful thinking, something we know is beyond reach, but a dream is something that may be in the remote future, yet is conceivably achievable.

Suppose Joseph had known that, in order to obtain the promise of the dream, he would have to endure years of suffering. Would he have foregone the greatness, or would he have accepted the pain? Since Joseph understood the dream to be a revelation of the Divine plan for him, he undoubtedly would have chosen to accept the suffering it entailed.

We may be frequently confronted with a decision whether to resign ourselves to the status quo or to try to advance ourselves at considerable cost. We should avail ourselves of expert counseling and pray for Divine guidance to know what the Divine plan for us is. If we feel secure in the knowledge that G-d wants us to advance to our optimum potential, we should not retreat because of the personal cost entailed.

Infants are fortunate; they do not have to choose whether to remain toothless or to accept the distress of teething. While we do have such choices, we also have the wisdom to make the right choice.

... pray for enlightenment as to what is G-d's will for me and for the fortitude and courage to achieve it.

You are reading from the book, Growing Each Day,by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D., a psychiatrist and ordained rabbi. He is the founder of the Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, a leading center for addiction treatment and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Touch Others to Find Faith and Reduce Anxiety

Fear of the unknown, often referred to as free-floating anxiety, catches up to us on occasion. But it needn't. The program offers us strength whenever we need it, and faith diminishes all fear. It is said that fear cannot exist where there is faith.

We have many days when we feel strong, in touch with our higher power, able to meet all situations. On those days, we are seldom conscious of how our faith is guiding us. But the hours of fear that we experience on other days make us aware of faith's absence. There is a simple solution: We can reach out to a friend. We can be attentive to our friend's needs, and the connection to God will be made.

Shifting our focus, from self-centered fears to another person's needs, offers us a perspective on our own life. It also offers us a chance to let God work through us. Our own faith is strengthened each time we offer our services to God and to a friend in need. What may frighten us seems less important the closer we are to the people in our lives.

When I touch someone else, God touches me in return.

You are reading from the book:
Each Day a New Beginning by Karen Casey
Copyright 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

November 15, 2004

Stand Up for Yourself

Today's thought is:

Standing Up for Ourselves

When other people speak to me in ways that feel disrespectful or mean, I will tell them how I feel about it. I will tell them that what they've said has hurt my feelings or makes me feel sad or angry. I have the right to ask that others express themselves in ways that aren't hurtful.

Today I will write down what my response might be if someone hurts my feelings or speaks to me in an uncomfortable tone of voice. When I learn appropriate ways to respond, I'm better able to stand up for myself and let others know how I'm feeling. I don't have to hold my feelings inside and allow verbal abuse to continue. I have the right to stand up for myself in all situations.

You are reading from the book:
Time to Fly Free by Judith R. Smith
Copyright 2001 by Judith R. Smith. All rights reserved.

When All Else Fails - Follow The Steps

Today's thought is:

I have to laugh at the times I've knocked myself out over a tough spot only to find out afterwards there was an easier way through.
--Robert Franklin Leslie

We receive messages throughout the day that tell us ways of doing things. The door to the store says, pull. The red light tells us not to drive through the intersection. The cereal box says, lift tab and open. Our car gas gauge tells us empty. With these messages, we are given the guidance on which to base our decisions.

We can choose not to pull the door. Then we'll spend a lot of time and energy pushing until we finally read the sign. All that effort expended, just because we couldn't stop to get some guidance!

The Twelve Steps offer guidance for an easier way through life. We don't have to knock ourselves out over these Steps; all we have to do is follow the direction they give us.

How can I use the Steps to make my life easier?

You are reading from the book:
Night Light by Amy E. Dean
Copyright 1986, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

November 14, 2004

A Lovely Day

"For me, a lovely day is any day I wake up."

Bernie S. Siegel
Prescriptions for Living

Word of the Day from A Network for Grateful Living

On Awakening

"On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives."

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Into Action, pg. 86~

It's Alcohol-ism Not Alcohol-wasm

"Iffy" Thinking

Alcoholism respects no ifs. It does not go away, not for a week, for a day, or even for an hour, leaving us nonalcoholic and able to drink again on some special occasion or for some extraordinary reason -- not even if it is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, or if a big sorrow hits us, or if it rains in Spain or the stars fall on Alabama. Alcoholism is for us unconditional, with no dispensations available at any price.

c. 1998 AAWS, Living Sober, p. 63

November 11, 2004

Today's Sobriety is a Precious Gift


"I realize that all I'm guaranteed in life is today. The poorest person has no less
and the wealthiest has no more -- each of us has but one day. What we do with it is our own business; how we use it is up to us individually.

I feel that I have been restored to health and sanity these past years not through my own efforts nor as a result of anything I may have done, but because I've come to believe -- to really believe -- that alone I can do nothing. That my own innate selfishness and stubbornness are the evils which, if left unguarded, can drive me to alcohol.

I have come to believe that my illness is spiritual as well as physical and mental,
and I know that for help in the spiritual sphere I have to turn to a Higher Power."

c. 1976AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 473

Surrender Becomes Acceptance

From "Just for Today"

"We surrender quietly and let the God of our understanding take care of us."

Basic Text p. 26

Surrender and acceptance are like infatuation and love. Infatuation begins when we encounter someone special. Infatuation requires nothing but the acknowledgement of the object of our infatuation. For infatuation to become love, however, requires a great deal of effort. That initial connection must be slowly, patiently nurtured into a lasting, durable bond.

It's the same with surrender and acceptance. We surrender when we acknowledge our powerlessness. Slowly, we come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can give us the care we need. Surrender turns to acceptance when we let this Power into our lives. We examine ourselves and let our God see us as we are. Having allowed the God of our understanding access to the depths of ourselves, we accept more of God's care. We ask this Power to relieve us of our shortcomings and help us amend the wrongs we've done. Then, we embark on a new way of life, improving our conscious contact and accepting our Higher Power's continuing care, guidance, and strength.

Surrender, like infatuation, can be the beginning of a lifelong relationship. To turn surrender into acceptance, however, we must let the God of our understanding take care of us each day.

Just for today: My recovery is more than infatuation. I have surrendered. Today, I will nurture my conscious contact with my Higher Power and accept that Power's continuing care for me.

pg. 329

"Living just for today relieves the burden of the past and the fear of the future." Basic Text, pp. 90-91

Narcotics Anonymous, The Basic Text, and Just for Today are owned and copyright by Narcotics Anonymous.

Prayer for Inner Peace and Calm

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.

- John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

Nurture and Care for Yourself

I pray for the willingness to remember that I am a child of God, a divine soul in human form, and that my most basic and urgent life-task is to accept, know, love and nurture myself. As I accept myself, I am accepting God's will. As I know and love myself, I am knowing and loving God. As I nurture myself I am acting on God's guidance.

I pray for the willingness to let go of my arrogant self-criticism, and to praise God by humbly accepting and caring for myself.


November 09, 2004

Prayer Gives Sense of Belonging

Prayer can have many rewards. One of the greatest rewards is the sense of belonging it brings to me. No longer do I live as a stranger in a strange land, alien in a completely hostile world. No longer am I lost, frightened and purposeless. I belong.

We find, in The Program, that the moment we catch a glimpse of God's will - the moment we begin to see truth, justice and love as the real and eternal things in life -we're no longer so deeply upset by all the seeming evidence to the contrary surrounding us in purely human affairs. Do I believe that God lovingly watches over me?

Today I Pray

May I be grateful for the comfort and peace of belonging - to God - the ultimately wise "parent" and to His family on earth. May I no longer need bumper stickers or boisterous gangs to give me my identity. Through prayer, I am God's.

Today I Will Remember I find my identity through prayer.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Today's meditation comes from the book
A Day at a Time
Daily Reflections for Recovering People
by Anonymous © 1989

Step Into The Sunlight -- Make Time for Meditation

But first of all we shall want sunlight; nothing much can grow in the dark. Meditation is our step out into the sun.


Sometimes I think I don't have time for prayer and meditation, forgetting that I always found the time to drink. It is possible to make time for anything I want to do if I want it badly enough. When I start the routine of prayer and meditation, it's a good idea to plan to devote a small amount of time to it. I read a page from our Fellowship's books in the morning, and say "Thank You, God," when I go to bed at night. As prayer becomes a habit, I will increase the time spent on it, without even noticing the foray it makes into my busy day. If I have trouble praying, I just repeat the Lord's Prayer because it really covers everything. Then I think of what I can be grateful for and say a word of thanks.

I don't need to shut myself in a closet to pray. It can be done even in a room full of people. I just remove myself mentally for an instant. As the practice of prayer continues, I will find I don't need words, for God can, and does, hear my thoughts through silence.


To Change Your Life, Change Your Mind

'It seems to me that the primary object of any human being is to grow, as God intended,that being the nature of all growing things. Our search must be for what reality we can find,which includes the best definition and feeling of love that we can acquire.

If the capability of loving is in the human being, then it must surely be in his Creator.Theology helps me in that many of its concepts cause me to believe that I live in a rational universe under a loving God, and that my own irrationality can be chipped away,little by little. This is, I suppose, the process of growth for which we are intended.'

Bill W., Letter, 1958
c. 1967AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 295

Thought to consider:

All you have to do to change your life is change your mind."

November 07, 2004

What is Spirituality?

"Everything is spiritual which tends towards understanding, towards kindness, towards that which is productive of beauty and which can lead man on to a fuller expression of his divine potentialities.

All is evil which drives man deeper into materialism, which omits the higher values of living, which endorses selfishness, which sets up barriers to the establishing of
right human relations, and which feeds the spirit of separateness, of fear, of revenge."

The Externalization of the Hierarchy, 187 - Alice Bailey /

God is God; and we are not

"Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

We need to be reminded that we are not God.

This seems pretty basic. You wouldn't think it would be hard to remember.

But we get so caught up in proving ourselves by performing, achieving and rescuing that we forget that we are humans with real limits. We fill our time so full of frenzied activity that there is no 'stillness'. And when there is no stillness, it is hard to remember who is God and who is not.

Fortunately, God does not forget who is God and who is not. God invites us to quiet ourselves, to slow ourselves down. God invites us to be still long enough to regain perspective. "Be still", God says, "and know that I am God."

In the stillness we can see again that there is a difference between our frenzy and God's kingdom. It is God's work to provide and protect and rescue.

It is not our work. We can do our part. But our part needs to be respectful of our human limits. Our part needs to actively acknowledge our dependence on God. God is God, and we are not.

Help me to slow down, Lord.
Help me to be quiet.
Help me to be still long enough to remember that you are God.
Help me to remember who is creature and who is Creator.
Let this truth free me, Lord, to accept my limits,


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