August 31, 2005

We Treasure the Serenity Prayer

We treasure our "Serenity Prayer" because it brings a new light to us that can dissipate our oldtime and nearly fatal habit of fooling ourselves. In the radiance of this prayer we see that defeat, rightly accepted, need be no disaster. We now know that we do not have to run away, nor ought we again try to overcome adversity by still another bulldozing power drive that can push up obstacles before us faster than they can be taken down.

c. 1967 AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 20

August 30, 2005

Stopping the Cycle of Pain

"Pain is a primary emotion. It has several emotional by-products which may come from it such as anger, jealousy, depression, hatred, and confusion. The types of emotional by-products we feel depends on whether we turn our pain inward or outward.

Pain turned inward breeds depression and self-blame. We take pain into ourselves making it a part of ourselves. We start believing we are pain incarnate and bring pain to all we touch. We become despondent. It is not so much because we do not see meaning in life; it is more because we simply want the pain stopped yet seem unable to stop it.

When we make pain a part of ourselves and sink into depression, we start living in limits. We look at the world and our environment in terms of what we cannot do, not what we can do. We clutch our pain and limits to ourselves not seeming to realize that by insisting on holding on to our pain and limits, we keep them truly ours. We cannot be free of our pain unless we allow it to leave us.

By clinging to our pain we depower ourselves. We begin to believe we have no other choice but to feel pain. We argue for our limitations thereby adopting them and limiting ourselves...

Pain turned outward breeds emotions such as hate, anger, and jealousy. Anger is simply the cry we make when we push pain away from ourselves. When we turn our pain outward, we look for someone or something to attach blame to. When we do this we may be depowering other people.

Often when we affix blame to another person or become angry with a person, we become caught up with the idea of obtaining justice. Often justice is not enough for us, we want revenge. We not only want to be equal in power to the party we are angry at, we want to be above them so we can make them pay, make them suffer, or make sure they never hurt anyone else like they hurt us. We use techniques that we feel will be successful in depowering others.

When we use depowering techniques, we can expect depowering techniques to be used with us. Depowerment is meant to bring pain. When people feel pain, they will react out of pain and make attempts to depower others to gain their power back.

Becoming involved in depowerment can become a vicious cycle. We are continually in pain because of the revenge effort of those we have tried to depower. Because of the continuing pain, we become more and more intent on easing the pain. Like an animal caught in a trap, we make efforts to move and get away from the pain or make stabs at the attacker believing this will ease or stop the pain. We may end up injuring ourselves worse than if we had just done nothing.

We continue to depower bringing depowerment back to ourselves, never seeing that the very way we deal with our pain is what continues to bring it to us. By concentrating on depowering techniques when we are in pain, we fail to make use of other techniques which would heal the pain. Again, we become so caught up with the pain that we won't let it go so we can heal. The only way that pain will heal is by letting it go; giving up that part of us that wants to continue to feel pain...

Pain is used as an excuse or justification for behavior. If we use pain as our justification for causing pain, then the only character pain builds is negative character. Hurt and hatred do not bring kindness or love.

Somehow we believe that hurting and being hurt are a part of life. We play games with each other and hurt each other because we feel we must to survive in this world. We abandon our ethics, never giving them a chance to see if they work. We limit ourselves by accepting depowerment as the way life must be.

When you start to depower and give pain to others, use your ethics, remember what it was like to feel pain. When people act out of pain and try to depower you, do not assume they are evil. They are acting out of pain. They are acting out of frustrated needs and wants.

Remember, the way to stop their pain so that they won't have to hurt anymore (and so you don't have to get hurt) is by finding the key to meet their needs and set them free from their pain. You may not be able to do it, but it is worth the try. Freedom from pain will never be accomplished by depowerment. To break the power of pain, we must empower."

This article was excerpted from: "Power and Empowerment: The Power Principle" by Lynn Atkinson, Ph.D., published by New Falcon Publications, Tempe, Arizona, USA.

Forgiving Others Leads to Self-Forgiveness


Learn to forgive others if you want to forgive yourself.


Today, I AM forgiving others as I learn to forgive myself.


I close my eyes and recognize myself in others. I realize that the faults I see in others are a mirror of my own limitations. As I put myself in another's shoes, I feel the fear and sadness this other person experiences as he/she views his/her own mistakes. I allow my compassion to surround this person with love and forgiveness. I recognize the Divine spirit, that lives within this person, is worthy of my love. My forgiveness, love, and compassion return to me, magnified and strengthened, to heal my own insecurities and limitations. In my mind's eye I see myself easily forgiving myself and others as I recognize the Divine within us all. I combine these thoughts with a feeling of joy and I let the images go.

Copyright © 2002 Institute For Creative Living

August 29, 2005

Thinking of Drinking

Warning Bells

We have learned not to panic when the thought of a drink comes into the mind. After all, it is a natural thought for anyone to have in modern times, and especially understandable for those of us who have had extensive practice in the art. But the thought of a drink is not necessarily the same thing as the desire for one, and neither need plunge us into gloom and fear. Both can be viewed simply as warning bells to remind us of the perils of alcoholism. The perils are forever, even when we feel so fine that we wonder whether it's really all right to feel as good as we do, now.

c. 1998 AAWS, Living Sober, pp. 43-4
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

August 28, 2005

Check Spiritual Condition Daily

A.A. Thought for the Day

"We must continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We should grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter; it should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We must not rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve, contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition." Am I checking my spiritual condition daily?

Meditation for the Day

Happiness cannot be sought directly; it is a byproduct of love and service. Service is a law of our being. With love in your heart, there is always some service to other people. A life of power and joy and satisfaction is built on love and service. Persons who hate or are selfish are going against the law of their own being. They are cutting themselves off from God and other people. Little acts of love and encouragement, of service and help, erase the rough places of life and help to make the path smooth. If we do these things, we cannot help having our share of happiness.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may give my share of love and service. I pray that I may not grow weary in my attempts to do the right thing.

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

August 27, 2005

Choose Recovery, not Self-Destruction

Just for Today
August 27
Choosing life

"Change from self-destructive patterns of life became necessary." Basic Text, p. 15

Active addiction is a smoldering death-wish. Each of us courted death every time we used. Our lifestyles, too, put us at risk. The life of an addict is sold cheaply with every day and every dose.

In recovery, the first pattern we change is the pattern of using. Staying clean is the start of our journey into life. But our self-destructive behavior usually went far deeper than just our using. Even in recovery, we may still treat ourselves as if we are worthless. When we treat ourselves badly, we feel bad. And when we feel bad, we seek relief-maybe even in our old solution, drugs.

Choosing recovery means choosing life. We decide each day that we want to live and be free. Each time we avoid self-destructive behavior, we choose recovery.

Just for today: I will choose life by choosing recovery. I will take care of myself.

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

August 26, 2005


by Marie T. Russell

Intimacy is something we all yearn for, yet are somehow deeply afraid of. Someone once said that intimacy is spelled into-me-see. Thinking it of it that way sheds light on why it frightens us.

Letting someone see into us when we are afraid of letting them see our hidden "faults and foibles" can be frightening. How can we be intimate with someone when we are trying to "look good", trying to appear "perfect", trying to appear to be the person of their dreams? How can we be intimate when we have something to hide?

Intimacy implies 100% honesty, and that is probably why it is absent from a lot of relationships. Of course, people say they are intimate, but they are usually referring to sexual relations. We have come to equate having sex with being intimate. Now of course, intercourse is intimate in many ways... but intimacy is more than intimate bodies... it needs also to include intimacy of mind and spirit. Even the word intimacy refers to the blending of the inner. It is defined as "innermost", "private". It refers to letting others see into the innermost part of our selves.

Yet even in intimate sexual situations, people close the light, close their eyes, and refuse to open up and really be intimate. I remember feeling embarrassed thinking of what my face must look like in the throes of orgasm - thinking I would look stupid or ugly. How can one be intimate if one is hiding and afraid to let the other really see them? How can we become "one" with someone when we are only letting them see the part of ourselves we approve of? How can we attain "union" with two incompletes?

We are afraid of not being loved if we let someone see who we "really" are... or at least who we think we really are. We suck in our stomach when walking around naked where our lover can see us, we "put on our best face", we hide the parts of us that we feel are unacceptable. The reason many relationships end up in divorce is probably because after a while, we discover that we are not living with the person we thought we married (and vice versa). Two "personas" met, "fell in love", and were married. But because neither truly loved and accepted themselves completely, neither divulged the truth of who they were to the other...neither was truly intimate. So one day, we wake up married to a stranger.

We start "being ourselves" and the other does too, and all of a sudden we are both surprised by who we are living with... Where were these two other people during courtship? Hiding, that's where they were. Hiding so they would be loved. Pretending to be "better than", holding back from expressing themselves 100%, "being nice", etc. Then once the marriage takes place, all needs for pretense disappear... after all the "fish has been hooked". This is a very sad commentary on relationships and our society in general.

Is there hope? Of course! There is always hope. I like to say that while we are still breathing, there is still hope. We can always change. We can always make choices that take us in different directions. We can choose to be "real", and to let the others "into-me-see". After all, if they're not willing to accept you 100%, then do you really want to be around them" until death do us part"? Now, "accepting" does not mean thinking everything they do is perfect (or vice versa). There will be things that you disagree with, or even things that you out rightly think are in need of "healing". But even with that, you are still loving and accepting of the whole person. The whole package, with its warts and foibles, is what interests you.

Yet the first step into intimacy is to love and accept oneself. If you are not able to accept yourself 100% and love yourself unconditionally, then you won't be able to let anyone in your life that will do so either. You will attract people who will criticize you for the same things you criticize yourself for... You will never let them really see into you, for fear that you will be giving them "more ammunition" to criticize you. You will always hide those things that you feel are "not good enough".

So to open yourself up to an intimate relationship, start with the one you're with. You! Start being willing to acknowledge lovingly those things that you've been trying to hide from yourself and from others. Start being real! Be honest with yourself first, and then extend that to the people close to you. You might want to explain to them first that you need their help on this. That you're feeling insecure about letting them see all your "weaknesses" and that you will need their unconditional love and support in this process.

You can ask that "nothing you say will be used against you". Our great fear is that once we open up and show our "true" selves, that people will turn it against us, that they will then look down at us (as we do on ourselves), that they will abandon us, that they will reject us (as we reject ourselves).

It takes courage to let intimacy into our lives. It takes a strength of purpose... our purpose being to create relationships that are truly loving, supportive, and comfortable. Yes comfortable. A relationship where we can really be ourselves without fear. Somewhat like with a friend that we've had "forever"... with these old friends we can let all aspects of our personality act out, and know that we will still be loved. We need to develop that intimacy with everyone in our lives (at least those people close to us), so that we can be comfortable living in our bodies... not always looking around the corner to see who is watching and make sure that we are "putting out our best side".

Of course, I am not implying that intimacy is a license for being a complete jerk. Of course not! But then, none of us are "complete" jerks. Yes, we may have a part of us that can be a jerk at times, another part that is frightened, another part that is arrogant, but we also have the major part of us that wants to be loved for who we are... a major part of us simply wants to love and be loved. But, one can only love a reality, not an illusion. We must become real, with our foibles and hesitations, with our imperfections, with our hopes and dreams, and let the other people in our lives express that aspect of themselves as well.

Until we can feel safe being ourselves, then intimacy is not possible. While we are still trying to only let the "other" see the "good side" of us, then we will have a flat relationship, not a three-dimensional one. We are not cardboard characters -- we are not the flat image we see in movies, or read about in fairy tales. We are real, we are multi-faceted, and we are experiencing life in its many aspects, with its many personality traits and patterns and ups and downs. We need to be willing to be ourselves, to be real, and to let others get close enough to "into-me-see" -- and then we'll have relationships that are intimate, that are grand! We'll have relationships where we can finally feel at ease, and be able to receive support and love in our path towards greater and greater Love of self, and Love for all.

August 23, 2005

Tortured by 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. . .

That's one reason we loved alcohol too well. But even Bacchus betrayed us; we were finally struck down and left in terrified isolation."

c. 1967 AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 90

Our Own Conception of God is Sufficient

"Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another's conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. 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."

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, We Agnostics, pg. 46~

Indulge in Not-Worrying

None of us has to understand God or worry about things beyond our control. We can indulge ourselves in the luxury of not-worrying. Any of us can handle just one day; all each of us has to try at is our own job, our own family life. We don't have to try fixing up the whole world or understanding what no theologian of any faith has ever understood. We simply stop messing in God's business.

c. 1973 AAWS, Came To Believe . . ., p. 116

August 21, 2005

Unlearning Old Values

"The newcomer to A.A. is asked, not so much to learn new values, as to unlearn those he comes in with; not so much to adopt new goals, as to abandon old ones. To my mind, one of the most significant sentences in the entire book ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS is this:

'Some of us tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.'"

c. 1970, A Member's Eye View of Alcoholics Anonymous
(A.A. Pamphlet P-41), page 13

A Daily Reprieve

"It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities."

©1976AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 85

Have Some Fun

Have some fun. Loose up a bit. Enjoy life! We do not have to be so somber and serious. We do not have to be so reflective, so critical, so bound up within ourselves, have placed around us.

This is life, not a funeral service. Have some fun with it. Enter into it. Participate. Experiment. Take a risk. Be spontaneous. Don't always be so concerned about doing it right, doing the appropriate thing.

Do not always be so concerned about what others will think or say. What they think and say are their issues not ours. Do not be afraid of making a mistake. Do not be so fearful and proper. Do not inhibit yourself so much.

God did not intend us to be so inhibited, so restricted, so controlled. These repressive parameters are what other people have imposed on us, what we have allowed to be done to us.

We were created fully human. We were given emotions, desires, hopes, dreams, feelings. There is an alive, excited, fun-loving child in us somewhere! Let it have some fun -- not just for two hours on Saturday evening. Bring it with us, let it help us enjoy this gift of being alive, being fully human, and being who we are!

So many rules. So much shame we've lived with. It simply isn't necessary. We have been brainwashed. It is time now to free ourselves, let ourselves go, and enter fully into a full life.

Don't worry. We will learn our lessons when necessary. We have learned discipline. We will not go awry. What will happen is that we will begin enjoying life. We will begin enjoying and experiencing our whole self. We can trust ourselves. We have boundaries now. We have program for a foundation. We can afford to experiment and experience. We are in touch with ourselves and our Higher Power. We are being guided, but a frozen, inanimate object cannot be guided, It cannot even be moved.

Have some fun. Loosen up a bit. Break a few rules. We won't be punished by God. We do not have to allow people to punish us. And we can stop punishing ourselves. As long as we're here and alive, let's begin to live.

Today, I will let myself have some fun with life. I will loosen up a bit, knowing I won't crack and break. God, help me let go of my need to be so inhibited, proper, and repressed. Help me inject a big dose of life into myself by letting myself be fully alive and human.

Melody Beattie ©

August 20, 2005

Staying Sober for Yourself

"Over and over, we have found we cannot stay sober long just for the sake of wife, husband, children, lover, parents, other relative, or friend, nor for the sake of a job, nor to please a boss (or doctor or judge or creditor) -- not for ANYONE other than ourselves."

c. 1998, Living Sober - page 64

Anger Has its Place

Anger as a Tool for Growth in Relationships
by Susie and Otto Collins

Everyone gets angry. Some people show it openly and others don't. If you are one of those people who claim you don't get angry -- you're either not in touch with your emotions or you are lying.

In relationship, anger can be either healthy or unhealthy. Anger is just an emotion. How you process it is what determines whether it becomes a tool for growth or a source of pain and destruction.

In this society anger is perceived as a negative emotion. If you are a person who expresses anger, society would tell you that you are someone who can't control your emotions and can't control your behavior. Most of us suppress anger and deny it exists until it rears its ugly head.

In our relationship, we've found that it's always best to deal with any anger that comes up right away.

In the past, Otto would always let resentments build and build until they got out of control. Then he would just explode and end up saying things he would end up regretting later. In his past relationships it wasn't safe for him to express his true feelings.

Susie was taught that you should always be nice and there was no place for anger. Her parents were never openly angry with one another. Angry feelings to her meant something was wrong with her. Because she repressed her feelings, she found them overwhelming and was not able to express what she was experiencing.

All emotional feelings are signals that there is something in your life that needs to be dealt with, and anger is one of those emotions. When anger comes up, it is a signal that something in your life is out of balance and incongruent with how you believe your world should be.

When anger comes up in our relationship, we choose to get to the root of the problem and find out what's really going on. What we have found helpful is to open up a dialog and just allow the person who is angry to express how and why.

When you are angry, you need to take responsibility for it and not project it onto someone else. Use "I" statements and be specific, such as "I am really upset about you leaving your socks on the floor" instead of "You are such a slob!"

The partner's job is to listen in a detached, non-judgmental way. If this sounds like a lot of work, you're right. This process takes trust and practice but the reward is a relationship which is free of resentments.

Reacting quickly and honestly to angry emotions bypasses the tendency of periodic explosions and tends to "clear the air" much like a spring rain. When you defuse anger, you'll be able to bring back the connection and love that you've lost in that moment.

Susan has learned not to run away from angry feelings, but that it is safe to express them when they appear. Otto has found that when he expresses anger, he is able to move past the anger and discover what he is really upset about.

The lesson we have learned is that a foundation of safety and trust in the relationship must be present to express or listen to anger from love instead of fear. When you express or listen to anger from love instead of fear, the relationship can experience growth... And the relationship usually deepens.

About The Authors:
Susie and Otto Collins are spiritual and Life partners who teach others how to create outstanding relationships of all kinds. Susie and Otto regularly write and present workshops on Spiritual Partnership: The new model for relationships that really work. Their message comes straight from the heart, their own experiences and from an intense study of other teachers and writers on relationships. Visit their web site at and sign up for a FREE newsletter filled with tools, tips and ideas on creating outstanding relationships and ideas to help you on your spiritual path. They can be contacted by e-mail at for more info about their work.

August 19, 2005

Happiness a By-Product of Doing Good

Someone once wrote: "Happiness is always a by-product. You don't make yourself happy by chasing happiness. You make yourself happy by being a good person."

The happiest people I know are people who don't even think about being happy. They just think about being good neighbors, good people. And then happiness sort of sneaks in the back window while they're busy doing good.

Rabbi Harold Kushner, in Handbook for the Heart

Fear, the Imposter

"The practice of AA's Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in our personal lives also brought incredible releases from fear of every description, despite the wide prevalence of formidable personal problems. When fear did persist, we knew it for what it was, and under God's grace we became able to handle it.

We began to see each adversity as a God-given opportunity to develop the kind of courage which is born of humility, rather than bravado. Thus we were enabled to accept ourselves, our circumstances, and our fellows."

Bill W., January 1962
©1988AAGrapevine, The Language of the Heart, p. 268

Thought to Consider . . .

Courage is the willingness to accept fear and act anyway.

August 18, 2005

Prayer in Daily Living

In the rush of life, there is always something that has to be done, something to distract us from what is really important. Part of the answer is to prioritize the many things that come to our attention. Often prayer is the first thing we neglect - perhaps because we feel it demands space or time or privacy. Yet why should this be so? If our relationship to God is alive, we will always feel that the channels to him are open, so to speak, and we will lift our thoughts to him regularly, no matter the outward circumstances.

Still, Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh points out that it is a good practice to put aside time just for prayer:
You have to make that time, in order to hear God speaking to you, and you need time to respond back to him. There is no way that a relationship can be built in silence, in the sense of noncommunication. Amid the clatter of life, we have to find the silence of recollection, the centeredness in our lives to allow us to hear God. Then the gifts of the Spirit are revealed: peace, joy, love, and faith.

Taken from Prayer in Daily Life by Johann Christoph Arnold

The First Moments of Your Morning

The duties and cares of the day crowd about us when we awake each day - if they have not already dispelled our night's rest. How can everything be accommodated in one day? When will I do this, when that? How will it all be accomplished? Thus agitated, we are tempted to run and rush. And so we must take the reins in hand and remind ourselves, "Let go of your plans. The first hour of your morning belongs to God. Tackle the day's work that he charges you with, and he will give you the power to accomplish it."

--Edith Stein

August 16, 2005

Spiritual Growth Through Prayer and Action

"This is our road to spiritual growth. We change every day....This growth is not the result of wishing but of action and prayer:" Basic Text, p. 35-36

Our spiritual condition is never static; if it's not growing, it's decaying. If we stand still, our spiritual progress will lose its upward momentum. Gradually, our growth will slow, then halt, then reverse itself. Our tolerance will wear thin; our willingness to serve others will wane; our minds will narrow and close. Before long, we'll be right back where we started: in conflict with everyone and everything around us, unable to bear even ourselves.

Our only option is to actively participate in our program of spiritual growth. We pray, seeking knowledge greater than our own from a Power greater than ourselves. We open our minds and keep them open, becoming teachable and taking advantage of what others have to share with us. We demonstrate our willingness to try new ideas and new ways of doing things, experiencing life in a whole new way. Our spiritual progress picks up speed and momentum, driven by the Higher Power we are coming to understand better each day.

Up or down-it's one or the other, with very little in between, where spiritual growth is concerned. Recovery is not fueled by wishing and dreaming, we've discovered, but by prayer and action

Just for today: The only constant in my spiritual condition is change. I cannot rely on yesterday's program. Today, I seek new spiritual growth through prayer and action. pg. 238

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

August 15, 2005

Over Time, not Overnight

"We found that we do not recover physically, mentally, or spiritually overnight." Basic Text, p.27

Have you ever approached a recovery celebration with the feeling that you should be further along in your recovery than you are? Maybe you have listened to newcomers sharing in meetings, members with much less clean time, and thought, "But I'm just barely beginning to understand what they're talking about!"

It's odd that we should come into recovery thinking that we will feel wonderful right away or no longer have any difficulty handling life's twists and turns. We expect our physical problems to correct themselves, our thinking to become rational, and a fully developed spiritual life to manifest itself overnight. We forget that we spent years abusing our bodies, numbing our minds, and suppressing our awareness of a Higher Power. We cannot undo the damage in a day. We can, however, apply the next step, go to the next meeting, help the next newcomer. We heal and recover bit by bit-not overnight, but over time.

Just for today: My body will heal a little, my mind will become a little clearer, and my relationship with my Higher Power will strengthen. pg. 237

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

Today's Positive Thoughts

Love heals all.

Love is healing every aspect of my life.
I AM whole and healthy.

I close my eyes and imagine myself whole and healthy. In my mind's eye I see myself surrounded by a blanket of love. I feel this love penetrating every aspect of my being. I imagine this love healing all hurts past and present. I see myself going through my day as a healthy, peaceful, and productive person. I combine these thoughts with a feeling of joy and I let the images go.

Copyright © 2002 Institute For Creative Living
All rights reserved.

August 14, 2005

When Using, We Get Worse, Never Better

Twenty-Four Hours A Day by Hazelden/ August 14th

A.A. Thought for the Day

"None of us like to think that we are bodily and mentally different from others. Our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove that we could drink like other people. This delusion that we are like other people has to be smashed. It has been definitely proved that no real alcoholic has ever recovered control. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better. There is no such thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic." Am I convinced that I can never drink again normally?

Meditation for the Day

We should have life and have it more abundantly---spiritual, mental, physical, abundant life---joyous, powerful life. This we can have if we follow the right way. Not all people will accept from God the gift of an abundant life, a gift held out free to all. Not all people care to stretch out a hand and take it. God's gift, the richest He has to offer, is the precious gift of abundant life. People often turn away from it, reject it, and will have none of it. Do not let this be true of you.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may hasten to accept the gift of abundant spiritual life. I pray that I my live the good life to the best of my ability.

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

Two Authorities

From "The Three Legacies of AA:"

"Other societies have to have law and force and sanction and punishment, administered by authorized people. Happily for us, we found that we need no human authority whatever. We have two authorities which are far more effective. One is benign, the other malign. There is God, our Father, who very simply says, 'I am waiting for you to do my will.' The other authority is named John Barleycorn [alcohol], and he says, 'You had better do God's will or I will kill you.'"

c. 1957, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, page 105
Wings Devotional© Daily Meditation Translation is property of Wings Of Eagles Recovery© Just for Today -- A Daily Devotional

August 13, 2005

Accepting Change

Accepting Change

The winds of change blow through our life, sometimes gently, sometimes like a tropical storm. Yes, we have resting places--time to adjust to another level of living, time to get our balance, time to enjoy the rewards. We have time to catch our breath.

But change is inevitable, and desirable.

Sometimes, when the winds of change begin to rustle, we're not certain the change is for the better. We may call it stress or a temporary condition, certain we'll be restored to normal. Sometimes, we resist. We tuck our head down and buck the wind,
hoping that things will quickly calm down, get back to the way things were. Is it possible we're being prepared for a new "normal"?

Change will sweep through our life, as needed, to take us where we're going. We can trust that our Higher Power has a plan in mind, even when we don't know where the changes are leading.

We can trust that the change taking place is good. The winds will take us where we need to go.

Today, help me, God, to let go of my resistance to change. Help me to be open to the process. Help me believe that the place I'll be dropped off will be better than the place where I was picked up. Help me surrender, trust, and accept, even if I don't understand.

Today's meditation comes from the book
The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie copyright 1990

August 11, 2005

We Use the Tools

Millions who are not alcoholics are living today in illusory worlds, nurturing the basic anxieties and insecurities of human existence rather than face themselves with courage and humility. To these people, AA can offer as a cure no magic potion, no chemical formula, no powerful drug. But it can demonstrate to them how to use the tools of humility, honesty, devotion, and love, which indeed are the heart
of the Twelve Steps of our recovery.

c. 1985 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, p. 279
AA Thought for the Day
August 11, 2005

Listen With Your Heart

"Being a good listener means being an active listener by being fully present when someone is talking to you. Making eye contact when someone is speaking helps to connect us to one another. It also keeps us focused on what is being saying, rather than what we are thinking. We need to not only hear words, but also to read body language and understand feelings. It goes without saying that we shouldn't interrupt someone when they are talking, or to judge and criticize, but often we fall into such habits without being conscious of them. By being fully present when someone is speaking we are better able to simply listen and give advice only if we are asked.

We don't have to agree with everything or anything that is being said, but listening with an open mind is respectful to the speaker and it allows us to understand the other person and ourselves better. By letting go of assumptions and hearing what is being said, as well as the tone of voice the speaker is using, we can better understand our differences and perhaps find some similarities.

Reflect back to the speaker that you understand and empathize with their feelings of happiness, anxiety, and/or sadness. Ask questions if you don't understand, but respect boundaries if the speaker seems uncomfortable. Sometimes, being a good listener means listening to the silence in between words. Being a good listener is easy - simply listen with your ears, as well as your heart."

From the

God Grant Me the Laughter

Today's humorous thoughts are:

Man said: If I lie I have to face a lie detector.
Woman said: You mean a Polygraph test?
Man answered: No, my sponsor!

Drunk classic for sober people:

There was an alcoholic woman in my home town who, in the course of her drinking, married four times: a millionaire, a magician, a minister, and finally an undertaker. That's one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go!

Sober fact:

If we went back to drinking or using, we'd be starting where we left off -- at the bottom.

You are reading from the book:
God Grant Me The Laughter by Ed F.
Copyright 1989 by Ed F.

August 10, 2005

Deciding to Trust Again

Many of us have trust issues. Some of us tried long and hard to trust untrustworthy people. Over and again, we believed lies and promises never to be kept. Some of us tried to trust people for the impossible; for instance, trusting a practicing alcoholic not to drink again.

Some of us trusted our Higher Power inappropriately. We trusted God to make other people do what we wanted, then felt betrayed when that didn't work out.

Some of us were taught that life couldn't be trusted, that we had to control and manipulate our way through. Most of us were taught, inappropriately, that we couldn't trust ourselves.

In recovery, we're healing from our trust issues. We're learning to trust again. The first lesson in trust is this; We can learn to trust ourselves. We can be trusted. If others have taught us we cannot trust ourselves, they were lying. Addictions and dysfunctional systems make people lie.

We can learn to appropriately trust our Higher Power -- not to make people do what we want them to, but to help us take care of ourselves, and to bring about the best possible circumstances, at the best possible times, in our life.

We can trust the process -- of life and recovery. We do not have to control, obsess, or become hypervigilant. We may not always understand where we are going, or what's being worked out in us, but we can trust that something good is happening.

When we learn to do this, we are ready to learn to trust other people. When we trust our Higher Power and when we trust ourselves, we will know who to trust and what to trust that person for.

Perhaps we always did. We just didn't listen closely enough to ourselves or trust what we heard.

Today, I will affirm that I can learn to trust appropriately. I can trust myself, my Higher Power, and recovery. I can learn to appropriately trust others too.

Melody Beattie ©

August 09, 2005

The Power of Love

Just for Today
August 9

"We begin to see that God's love has been present all the time just waiting for us to accept it." Basic Text, p. 46

God's love is a transforming power that drives our recovery. With that love, we find freedom from the hopeless, desperate cycle of using, self-hatred, and more using. With that love we gain a sense of reason and purpose in our once purposeless lives. With that love, we are given the inner direction and strength we need to begin a new way of life: the N.A. way. With that love, we begin to see things differently, as if with new eyes.

As we examine our lives through the eyes of love, we make what may be a startling discovery: the loving God we've so recently come to understand has always been with us and has always loved us. We recall the times when we asked for the aid of a Higher Power and were given it. We even recall times when we didn't ask for such help, yet were given it anyway. We realize that a loving Higher Power has cared for us all along preserving our lives till the day when we could accept that love for ourselves.

The Power of love has been with us all along. Today, we are grateful to have survived long enough to become consciously aware of that loves presence in our world and our lives. It's vitality floods our very being, diving our recovery and showing us how to live.

Just for today: I accept the love of a Higher Power in my life. I am conscious of that Power's guidance and strength within me. Today, I claim it for my own.

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

August 08, 2005

The Journey Inward

The longest journey is the journey inward, for he who has chosen his destiny has started upon his quest for the source of his being....
Dag Hammarsjkold

We have often looked to other people, places and things for our answers and for our happiness...We thought others could free us from pain, fear or guilt...This has never brought any happiness and in the long run we have not changed....

It is time to begin to trust that small voice within, coming from the person we really are...It is time to look within and begin to uncover all that has been blocking us from our truth, from our Higher Power...It is time to discover ourselves....

August 07, 2005

An Improved Perception of Humility

As Bill Sees It
Perception of Humility, p. 156

An improved perception of humility starts a revolutionary change in our outlook. Our eyes begin to open to the immense values which have come straight out of painful ego-puncturing. Until now, our lives have been largely devoted to running from pain and problems. Escape via the bottle was always our solution.

Then, in A.A., we looked and listened. Everywhere we saw failure and misery transformed by humility into priceless assets.
<< << << >> >> >>
To those who have made progress in A.A., humility amounts to a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.

12 & 12
1. pp. 74-75
2. p. 58

August 05, 2005

The Healing Power of Serenity

Why Serenity

Serenity, which is the immunity to all addictions, is characterized by feelings of tranquility, gratitude, contentment, affection for others, and a deep inner
peace. When people are serene, they don't need to fulfill desires to feel complete. Addiction is the attempt to find completion in a substance or situation. In fact, completion can only be found within.

The feeling of serenity is innate (inborn). When we 'lose' serenity, the desire to regain it is innate as well. For some, that desire is heightened by adversity or physical and/or emotional problems. For others, the search represents curiosity about the deeper meaning of life.

Throughout the brief history of addiction treatment, various leaders have stated that the antidote for addiction is serenity, a spiritual awakening, a changed level of consciousness.

Serenity is our birthright. It is as natural to us as breathing or digesting food. When we are in a state of physical health, those functions are balanced. In a healthy mental state, all our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors act in unison too. We experience harmonious interaction with our environment.

One obvious result of serenity is mature, harmonious human relationships. When we feel serene, we are more open, honest, respectful, and loving. There is no need for defensiveness or blame. We can see and appreciate the positive characteristics of others. When others are feeling insecure and behaving negatively, we can respond with compassion and patience. We feel no need to control them so that we can feel good. Above all, we see the best in others, not the worst.

Serenity fosters learning, insecurity or fear hinders it. A state of serenity increases our ability to listen, learn, and create. The tranquil mind is an open channel of perception and insight - spurred by curiosity, unobstructed by past beliefs, attitudes, limitations and prejudices.

When we are serene, we are excited and motivated to contribute. Work is more of a joy. We are more productive with less effort, more free of stress and able to see positive solutions to problems.

Our minds and bodies are inseparable. Modern medicine shows a relationship between state of mind and the body's immune system, growth and development, physical attractiveness and organ function. When we are in a positive mental state, we get sick less often and heal more quickly.

When we are serene, we can more easily realize the full potential of our talents and relationships. Fully living in the present - not the past or the future - we are no longer plagued by guilt, resentment and fears.

Serenity lets us access our wisdom. We see life objectively and gain more freedom of choice.

Clearly, serenity has many benefits. But if our sole purpose for pursuing it is to gain these benefits, then we have put the cart before the horse.

Serenity comes first, above all other things.

Our quest must take a turn away from the illusion that external events create our happiness. The source is deep within, and that is where our focus must be.

Author unknown

August 04, 2005

Ground Glass Removal Tool

The moral inventory is a cool examination of the damages that occurred to us during life and a sincere effort to look at them in a true perspective. This has the effect of taking the ground glass out of us, the emotional substance that still cuts and inhibits.

- Bill W., Letter, 1957
c. 1967 AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 140

My Bill of Rights

Today's thought is:

My Bill of Rights

I have the right to be treated with respect.
I have the right to say no and not feel guilty.
I have the right to experience and express my feelings.
I have the right to take time for myself.
I have the right to ask for what I want.
I have the right to ask for information.
I have the right to make mistakes.
I have the right to do less than I am humanly capable of.
I have the right to feel good about myself.
I have the right to act only in ways that promote my dignity and self-respect as long as others are not violated in the process.

You are reading from the book:
Twelve Step Prayer Book - Second Edition
Copyright 2004, Hazelden Foundation.

August 03, 2005

Affirmations for Today

At each and every moment I Am free to give up the old ways of surviving and coping and to live my life expressing the magnificence within me.

I am no longer a child struggling to survive and avoid being hurt.

I am no longer a teenager fearful of being criticized and humiliated.

I am a divine creation of God blessed with the Inherent Nature to express God's Presence within me.

My purpose in life is to express God.

God's purpose in life is to live life fully, joyously, creatively and lovingly.


No Turning Back

From "The alcoholic can recover"

"No reliable evidence exists that anyone who ever drank alcoholically has been able
to return, for long, to normal social drinking. There is no such thing as being
'a little bit alcoholic.' Because the illness progresses in stages, some alcoholics
show more extreme symptoms than others. Once problem drinkers cross over the line into alcoholism, however, they cannot turn back."

c. 1976, Is There an Alcoholic in Your Life?
(A.A. Pamphlet P-30) - page 8

August 02, 2005

The Importance of Being Honest

Just for Today
August 2 Practicing honesty

"When we feel trapped or pressured, it takes great spiritual and emotional strength to be honest." Basic Text, p. 81

Many of us try to wiggle out of a difficult spot by being dishonest, only to have to humble ourselves later and tell the truth. Some of us twist our stories as a matter of course, even when we could just as easily tell the plain truth. Every time we try to avoid being honest, it backfires on us. Honesty may be uncomfortable, but the trouble we have to endure when we are dishonest is usually far worse than the discomfort of telling the truth.

Honesty is one of the fundamental principles of recovery. We apply this principle right from the beginning of our recovery when we finally admit our powerlessness and unmanageability. We continue to apply the principle of honesty each time we are faced with the option of either living in fantasy or living life on its own terms. Learning to be honest isn't always easy, especially after the covering up and deception so many of us practiced in our addiction. Our voices may shake as we test our newfound honesty. But before long, the sound of the truth coming from our own mouths settles any doubts: honesty feels good! It's easier living the truth than living a lie.

Just for today:
I will honestly embrace life, with all its pressures and demands. I will practice honesty, even when it is awkward to do so. Honesty will help, not hurt, my efforts to live clean and recover.

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

God Comes Through Other People

JUST FOR TODAY! -- Discovery

From "Healing Heart and Mind:"

"Since it is true that God comes to me through people, I can see that by keeping people at a distance I also keep God at a distance. God is nearer to me than I think and I can experience Him by loving people and allowing people to love me. But I can neither love nor be loved if I allow my secrets to get in the way."

c. 1980, Daily Reflections, page 130
Wings Devotional© Daily Meditation Translation is property of Wings Of Eagles Recovery©Just for Today -- A Daily Devotional

August 01, 2005

Proof of the Pudding

From 'As Dr. Bob said...'

"As finally expressed and offered, they [the Twelve Steps] are simple in language, plain in meaning. They are also workable by any person having a sincere desire to obtain and keep sobriety. The results are the proof.

Their simplicity and workability are such that no special interpretations, and certainly no reservations, have ever been necessary. And it has become increasingly clear that the degree of harmonious living which we achieve is in direct ratio to our earnest attempt to follow them literally under divine guidance to the best of our ability."

c. 1980, Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, page 227

Learn to Relax

We need to learn how to relax, how to unwind.

Find something that's relaxing, healing, soothing, and available to you. Sit in the sun. Sit in the tub. Take a trip to a nearby hot spring or mineral bath in your state. Perch atop a mountain or a hill, taking the view from above.

Let yourself sit and soak it in for as long as you can. Let yourself be still for as long as you can. Move around a bit if you need to. Then go back and try again.

Don't just do it once. Try it often. Allow yourself to relax. Give yourself opportunities to unwind. Soon you'll learn how.

Pay attention to what you think and feel when you try to relax. Watch, as a neutral observer, without judgment or reproach. What thoughts come to mind? How do you feel? What do you feel?

Go as deeply into your thoughts and feelings as you are able. Sit quietly for as long as you can. When your body is done, it will tell you.

Melody Beattie ©Hazelden Foundation