December 31, 2005

True Ambition

True ambition is not what we thought is was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.

During my drinking years, my one and only concern was to have my fellow man think highly of me. My ambition in everything I did was to have the power to be at the top. My inner self kept telling me something else but I couldn't accept it. I didn't even allow myself to realize that I wore a mask continually. Finally, when the mask came off and I cried out to the only God I could conceive, the Fellowship of A.A., my group and the Twelve Steps were there. I learned how to change resentments into acceptance, fear into hope and anger into love. I have learned also, through loving without undo expectations, through sharing my concerns and caring for my fellow man, that each day can be joyous and fruitful. I begin and end my day with thanks to God, who has so generously shed His grace on me.

Copyright 1990 AAWS, INC.

December 30, 2005

The Healing Gift of Humor

Father Leo's Daily Meditation

"Humor is an affirmation of dignity, a declaration of man's superiority to all that befalls him." -- Romain Gary

Today I laugh at myself. Today I need to laugh at myself in order to stay sane. Today I choose not to take myself too seriously.

When I tell jokes about the alcoholic, I am not belittling the person. I am making fun of the disease that nearly killed me. For me to live with the disease, I need to be able to laugh at the disease in this way I stop it from having power in my life.

Also I catch something of the symptoms of the disease in the jokes: the grandiosity, arrogance, manipulation, insanity, ego, selfishness and exaggeration. The joke allows me to face reality with a smile.

O God, thank You for the healing gift of humor.

Suit Up and Show Up

In A.A. we aim not only for sobriety - we try again to become citizens of the world that we rejected, and of the world that once rejected us. This is the ultimate demonstration toward which Twelfth Step work is the first but not the final step.

The old line says, "Suit up and show up." That action is so important that I like to think of it as my motto. I can choose each day to suit up and show up, or not. Showing up at meetings starts me toward feeling a part of that meeting, I can talk with newcomers, and I can share my experience; that's what credibility, honesty, and courtesy really are. Suiting up and showing up are the concrete actions I take in my ongoing return to normal living.

The Permanent Assets We Seek

We were depressed and complained we felt bad, when in fact we were mainly asking for sympathy and attention. This odd trait of mind and emotion, this perverse wish to hide a bad motive underneath a good one, permeates human affairs from top to bottom.

This subtle and elusive kind of self-righteousness can underlie the smallest act or thought. Learning daily to spot, admit, and correct these flaws is the essence of character building and good living.

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. 94-5

Thought to Consider . . .

The best things in life aren't things.

December 27, 2005

Getting Through the Holiday Season

For some, the sights, signs, and smells of the holidays bring joy and a warm feeling. But, while others are joyously diving into the season, some of us are dipping into conflict, guilt, and a sense of loss.

We read articles on how to enjoy the holidays, we read about the Christmas blues, but many of us still can't figure out how to get through the holiday season. We may not know what a joyous holiday would look and feel like.

Many of us are torn between what we want to do on the holiday, and what we feel we have to do. We may feel guilty because we don't want to be with our families. We may feel a sense of loss because we don't have the kind of family to be with that we want. Many of us, year after year, walk into the same dining room on the same holiday, expecting this year to be different. Then we leave, year after year, feeling let down, disappointed, and confused by it all.

Many of us have old, painful memories triggered by the holidays. Many of us feel a great deal of relief when the holiday is ended.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is learning that we are not alone. There are probably as many of us in conflict during the holidays than there are those who feel at peace. We're learning, through trial and error, how to take care of ourselves a little better each holiday season.

Our first recovery task during the holidays is to accept ourselves, our situation, and our feelings about our situation. We accept our guilt, anger, and sense of loss. It's all okay. There is no right or perfect way to handle the holidays. Our strength can be found in doing the best we can, one year at a time.

This holiday season, I will give myself permission to take care of myself.

You are reading from the book The Language of Letting Go.
©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

Share Your Warm Fuzzies

Father Leo's Daily Meditation


"And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us." -- John (1:14)

There is a beautiful fairy tale about a land where everybody had an abundance of "warm fuzzies" that they exchanged with each other and shared with each other. Everything in this land was wonderful because all the people were generously giving and receiving "warm fuzzies".

Then a rumor began that there was to be a shortage of "warm fuzzies," and people began to hoard and selfishly protect their supply of "warm fuzzies." At this point, "cold pricklies" were introduced into the land. Sadness, pain, tension and persecution developed in the land, and the growth of the "cold pricklies" kept people separated, fearful and alone.

The tragedy of this tale is that the rumor was not true! As long as people generously share their "warm fuzzies", they will never disappear. The "warm fuzzies" only disappear when they are not shared. The more we give, the more we receive.

Abundance rests in giving, never hoarding!

Master, may I always be generous with all that You have given me.

We Surrender to Win

Such is the paradox of AA regeneration: strength arising out of complete defeat and weakness, the loss of one's old life as a condition for finding a new one. But we of AA do not have to understand that paradox; we have only to be grateful for it.
Bill W.

c. 1957, 1985AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, p. 46

December 26, 2005

Native American Code of Ethics

1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen, if you only speak.

2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.

3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.

4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.

5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours.

6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth - whether it be people or plant.

7. Honor other people's thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.

8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.

9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven.

10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism.

11. Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. They are part of your worldly family.

12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life's lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.

13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.

14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of one's will within this universe.

15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self - all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.

16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how youwill react. Be responsible for your own actions.

17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others - especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden.

18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.

19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others.

20. Share your good fortune with others. Participate in charity.

Author unknown

December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas Greeting from Bill W

Greetings On Our 10th Christmas - 1944. Yes, it's in the air! The spirit of Christmas once more warms this poor distraught world. Over the whole globe millions are looking forward to that one day when strife can be forgotten, when it will be remembered that all human beings -- even the least -- are loved by God, when men will hope for the coming of the Prince of Peace as they never hoped before.

But there is another world which is not poor. Neither is it distraught. It is the world of Alcoholics Anonymous, where thousands dwell happily and secure. Secure because each of us, in his own way, knows a greater power who is love, who is just, and who can be trusted.

Nor can men and women of AA ever forget that only through suffering did they find enough humility to enter the portals of that New World. How privileged we are to understand so well the divine paradox that strength rises from weakness, that humiliation goes before resurrection; that pain is not only the price but the very touchstone of spiritual rebirth.

Knowing it's full worth and purpose, we can no longer fear adversity, we have found prosperity where there was poverty, peace and joy have sprung out of the very midst of chaos. Great indeed, our blessings!

And so, -- Merry Christmas to you all -- from the Trustees, from Bobbie and from Lois and me.

- Bill Wilson, 1944

Your Own Conception of God

My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?"

That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last.

It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning.

- Bill W.
c. 2001 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 12

December 24, 2005

Holiday Season Recovery Tips

Check out this series of posts From Buddy T, Guide to Alcoholism / Substance Abuse, for good advice regarding maintaining your abstinence during the holiday season:

It's Okay to Celebrate!

Tips to Avoid Holiday Drinking

How To Resist Drinking at a Party

Maintaining Abstinence During the Holidays

Holidays and Recovery

The Greatest of These

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13

Recovery Through Giving

Recovery Through Giving

For a new prospect, outline the program of action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your past, and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to him plays a vital part in your own recovery. Actually, he may be helping you more than you are helping him. Make it plain that he is under no obligation to you.


In the first six months of my own sobriety, I worked hard with many alcoholics. Not a one responded. Yet this work kept me sober. It wasn't a question of those alcoholics giving me anything. My stability came out of trying to give, not out of demanding that I receive.

As Bill Sees It

December 23, 2005

Our Old Ideas Were Killing Us

Just For Today
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 22, 2005

Strive for Balance

Strive for balanced expectations of others. Strive for healthy tolerance.

In the past, we may have tolerated too much or too little. We may have expected too much or too little.

We may swing from tolerating abuse, mistreatment, and deception to refusing to tolerate normal, human, imperfect behaviors from people. Although it's preferable not to remain in either extreme too long, that is how people change - real people who struggle imperfectly toward better lives, improved relationships, and more effective relationship behaviors.

But if we are open to ourselves and to the recovery process, we will, at some time, begin another transition: it becomes time to move away from extremes, toward balance.

We can trust ourselves and the recovery process to bring us to a balanced place of tolerance, giving, understanding, and expectations - of others and ourselves.

We can each find our own path to balance as we begin and continue recovery.

Today, I will practice acceptance with others and myself for the way we change. If I have had to swing to the other extreme of a behavior, I will accept that as appropriate, for a time. But I will make my goal one of balanced tolerance and expectations of others and myself.

©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

In Recovery We Come Back to Life

Just For Today
A new way to live

"When at the end of the road we find that we can no longer function as a human being, either with or without drugs, we all face the same dilemma.... Either go on as best we can to the bitter ends-jails, institutions, or death-or find a new way to live." Basic Text p.84

What was the worst aspect of active addiction? For many of us, it wasn't the chance that we might die some day of our disease. The worst part was the living death we experienced every day, the never-ending meaninglessness of life. We felt like walking ghosts, not living, loving parts of the world around us.

In recovery, we've come to believe that we're here for a reason: to love ourselves and to love others. In working the Twelve Steps, we have learned to accept ourselves. With that self-acceptance has come self-respect. We have seen that everything we do has an effect on others; we are a part of the lives of those around us, and they of ours. We've begun to trust other people and to acknowledge our responsibility to them.

In recovery, we've come back to life. We maintain our new lives by contributing to the welfare of others and seeking each day to do that better-that's where the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Steps come in. The days of living like a ghost are past, but only so long as we actively seek to be healthy, loving, contributing parts of our own lives and the lives of others around us.

Just for today:
I have found a new way to live. Today, I will seek to serve others with love and to love myself.

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

Through a Glass Darkly

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?

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

December 21, 2005

Ego Deflation

AA Thought for the Day

December 21, 2005


Is there no hope for the very intelligent alcoholic, who cannot see that it's his ego, not his IQ, that is the issue in his drinking?

Yes, there is indeed hope. By a paradox he will later rejoice in, but cannot recognize today, his progressive illness will save him. If it doesn't kill him first, alcoholism will beat him to his knees. Pain will be his educator, his mentor.
He will topple from the throne from which he has looked down with condescension
upon "those alcoholics."

He will echo the words at the end of chapter two of the Big Book: "Yes, I am one of them; I must have this thing."

c. 1998 The AA Grapevine, Inc., The Best of the Grapevine (Vol. 3), pp. 308-9

The Awakened Heart
Wednesday, Dec. 21

The awakened heart says, "I must give, I must not demand." Thus it enters a gate that leads to a constant happiness.

Hazrat Inayat Khan
The Bowl of Saki

Lessons of Discovery

Depending on what stage we are in our lives, we can sometimes feel like we ought to know more about who we are or how to live. We may even berate ourselves for making the same mistakes, or for just not "getting it," whatever "it" may be. We wonder how our lives would be now, if only we had "known better." During moments like these, it is important to remember that none of us are born with instruction manuals and that learning lessons is a lifelong journey.

Inherent to our being born is that we are here to observe, learn, and grow. Accompanying this is a built-in guarantee that there will be mistakes and misadventures along the way. And while it is only natural that we may sometimes become overwhelmed, especially when the lessons keep coming, it is important to remember that learning to understand yourself and your world is an ongoing and active process where the journey is more important than the destination. Every lesson is intended so you can become more of who you are. And as you grow through this self-discovery, you begin to create your own instruction manual. The "how's" and "why's" are yours to discover, and part of the beauty of being alive is that these rules are always changing.

If you feel that you would like to explore what your personal instruction manual may already say, then try writing down in order some of the significant events that have happened to you. It's also important to take note of what you learned from each one. When you are done, you may be surprised to discover how much you are always growing, and that every lesson learned always informs the next. That being said, there is never any need to be hard on yourself or think that you should have it all figured out. We always know as much as we're meant to know at that moment, and growing into our fullness is a process that unfolds in divine timing. You and your life are beautiful works in progress. Discover yourself and embrace your life's lessons, and your instruction manual will create itself.

From the DailyOM - Nurturing Mind Body & Spirit

December 15, 2005

Let Go of the Chains that Bind You

A Sufi teaching story tells of the man who visited a great mystic to find out how to let go of his chains of attachment and his prejudices.

Instead of answering him directly, the mystic jumped to his feet and bolted to a nearby pillar, flung his arms around it, grasping the marble surface as he screamed,
"Save me from this pillar! Save me from this pillar!"

The man who had asked the question could not believe what he saw. He thought the mystic was mad. The shouting soon brought a crowd of people. "Why are you doing that?" the man asked. "I came to you to ask a spiritual question because I thought you were wise, but obviously you are crazy. You are holding the pillar, the pillar is not holding you. You can simply let go."

The mystic let go of the pillar and said to the man, "If you can understand that, you have your answers. Your chains of attachment are not holding you, you are holding them. You can simply let go."

Author Unknown

December 14, 2005

A Tale of True Humility

By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski

The profound humility of great Torah (Bible) scholars is manifested in their utter self-effacement. Although they are well aware of their exalted status and their capacity as authorities, they never allow this to go to their heads, and they do not see any reason why they should be singled out for undue honors.

The two outstanding Torah luminaries, Rabbi Akiva Eiger and Rabbi Jacob of Lisa, were once passengers in a coach. When they approached their destination, many of the community citizens who anticipated their arrival came out to form an honor guard to accompany these great men into the city.

When Rabbi Jacob saw the crowd that had gathered to escort the wagon, he decided that this could only be a tribute to his fellow sage, and he therefore secretly descended from the coach to join the throngs who marched alongside it. Rabbi Akiva Eiger, who was sitting on the other side of the coach, similarly concluded that this whole tumult must be for Rabbi Jacob, and he quietly alighted from the other side to participate in the mitzvah.

The empty wagon thus entered the city with its two prominent passengers lost in the crowd. Neither had accepted the possibility that he might be the intended recipient of the honor. Who can compare to these giants?

December 13, 2005

Twelve Ways of Christmas

Twelve Tips on Keeping Your Holiday Season Sober/Clean and Joyous

1. Line up extra A.A./NA activities for the holiday season. Arrange to take newcomers to meetings, answer the phones at a clubhouse or central office,or help line, speak, help with dishes, or visit the detox ward at a hospital.

2. Be host to A.A./NA friends, especially newcomers. If you don¹t have a place where you can throw a formal party, take one person to a diner and spring for the coffee.

3. Keep you A.A./NA telephone list with you all the time. If a using/drinking urge or panic comes‹postpone everything else until you¹ve called an A.A./NA

4. Find out about the special holiday parties, meetings, or other celebrations given by groups in your area, and go. If you¹re timid, take someone newer than you are.

5. Skip any drinking/using occasion you are nervous about. Remember how clever you were at excuses when using/drinking? Now put the talent to good use. No office party is as important as saving your life.

6. If you have to go to a using/drinking party and can¹t take an A.A./NA with you, keep some candy handy.

7. Don¹t think you have to stay late. Plan in advance an "important date" you have to keep.

8. Worship in your own way.

9. Don¹t sit around brooding. Catch up on those books, museums, walks, and letters.

10. Don¹t start now getting worked up about all those holiday temptations. Remember "one day at a time." And "Just for Today"

11. Enjoy the true beauty of holiday love and joy. Maybe you cannot give material gifts, but this year, you can give love.

12. "Having had a Špiritual awakening... No need to spell out the Twelfth Step here, since you already know it.

Adapted From a Box 459 Holiday Issue
Noreen S

December 06, 2005

Surrender Hobbling Dependencies & Demands

If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependency and its consequent unhealthy demand. Let us, with God's help, continually surrender these hobbling liabilities.

c. 1967 AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 288

Mix Romance & Recovery Carefully

Just For Today
December 6 Romance and recovery

"Relationships can be a terribly painful area." Basic Text p. 78

Love is like an elixir for some of us. The excitement of a new lover, the intrigue of exploring intimacy, the sense of release we get from allowing ourselves to become vulnerable-these are all powerful emotions. But we can't forget that we have only a daily reprieve from our addiction. Holding onto this daily reprieve must be the top priority in any recovering addict's life.

We can become too involved in our relationship. We can neglect old friends and our sponsor in the process. Then, when things get difficult, we often feel that we can no longer reach out to those who helped us prior to our romantic involvement. This belief can lay the groundwork for a relapse. By consistently working our program and attending meetings, we ensure that we have a network of recovery, even when we're deep in a romance.

Our desire to be romantically involved is natural. But we mustn't forget that, without our program, even the healthiest relationship will not guard us against the strength of our addiction.

Just for today: In my desire for romance, I will not ignore my recovery.

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

Avoid Temptation One Day at a Time

A.A. Thought for the Day

People who have had a slip are ashamed of themselves-sometimes so ashamed that they fear to go back to A.A. They develop the old inferiority complex and tell themselves that they are no good, that they have let down their friends in A.A., that they are hopeless, and that they can never make it. This state of mind is perhaps worse than it was originally. They have probably been somewhat weakened by their slip. But their A.A. training cannot ever be entirely lost. They always know they can go back if they want to. They know there is still God's help for them if they will again ask for it. Do I believe that I can never entirely lose what I have learned in A.A.?

Meditation for the Day

Nobody entirely escapes temptation. You must expect it and be ready for it when it comes. None of us is entirely safe. You must try to keep your defenses up by daily thought and prayer. That is why we have these daily meditations. You must be able to recognize temptation when it comes. The first step toward conquering temptation always is to see it clearly as temptation and not to harbor it in your mind. Dissociate yourself from it, put it out of your mind as soon as it appears. Do not think of excuses for yielding to it. Turn at once to the Higher Power for help.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may be prepared for whatever temptation may come to me. I pray that I may see it clearly and avoid it with the help of God.

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

Each Day Provides Its Own Gifts

Today I received some unwanted news about a job opportunity that I was seeking, so it is amazing to me that the first piece of email that I looked at today for consideration for posting was this one. There truly are no coincidences.

"We are guaranteed experiences that are absolutely right for us today. We are progressing on schedule. Even when our personal hopes are unmet, we are given the necessary opportunities for achieving those goals that complement our unique destinies.

Today is full of special surprises, and we will be the recipient of the ones which are sent to help us grow--in all the ways necessary for our continued recovery. We might not consider every experience a gift at this time. But hindsight will offer the clarity lacking at the moment, just as it has done in many instances that have gone before.

We are only offered part of our personal drama each day. But we can trust our lives to have many scenes, many acts, points of climax, and a conclusion. Each of us tells a story with our lives, one different from all other stories and yet necessary to the telling of many other stories too. The days ahead will help us tell our story. Our interactions with others will influence our outcomes and theirs. We can trust the drama and give fully to our roles.

Every day is a gift exchange. I give, and I will receive."

You are reading from the book Each Day a New Beginning.
--Ruth P. Freedman
© 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation.

December 05, 2005

Rewards of Sobriety

"The rewards of sobriety are bountiful and as progressive as the disease they counteract. Certainly among these rewards for me are release from the prison of uniqueness, and the realization that participation in the AA way of life is a blessing and a privilege beyond estimate -- a blessing to live a life free from the
pain and degradation of drinking and filled with the joy of useful, sober living, and a privilege to grow in sobriety one day at a time and bring the message of hope as it was brought to me."

From the new Fourth Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous
AAGrapevine, December 2001, p. 47

Letting Go of Shame

Many of us were victimized, sometimes more than once. We may have been physically abused, sexually abused, or exploited by the addictions of another.

Understand that if another person has abused us, it is not cause for us to feel shame. The guilt for the act of abuse belongs to the perpetrator, not the victim.

Even if in recovery we fall prey to being victimized, that is not cause for shame.

The goal of recovery is learning self-care, learning to free ourselves from victimization, and not to blame ourselves for past experiences. The goal is to arm ourselves so we do not continue to be victimized due to the shame and unresolved feelings from the original victimization.

We each have our own work, our issues, and our recovery tasks. One of those tasks is to stop pointing our finger at the perpetrator, because it distracts us. Although we hold each person responsible and accountable for his or her behavior, we learn compassion for the perpetrator. We understand that many forces have come into play in that person's life. At the same time, we do not hold on to shame.

We learn to understand the role we played in our victimization, how we fell into that role and did not rescue ourselves. But that is information to arm us so that it need not happen again.

Let go of victim shame. We have issues and tasks, but our issue is not to feel guilty and wrong because we have been victimized.

Today, I will set myself free from any victim shame I may be harboring or hanging on to.

You are reading from the book The Language of Letting Go.
Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

December 04, 2005

God's Will, Not Ours

Just For Today
December 4 God's will, not ours

"We know that if we pray for God's will we will receive what is best for us, regardless of what we think." Basic Text p. 44

By the time we came to NA, our inner voices had become unreliable and self-destructive. Addiction had warped our desires, our interests, our sense of what was best for ourselves. That's why it's been so important in recovery to develop our belief in a Power greater than ourselves, something that could provide saner, more reliable guidance than our own. We've begun learning how to rely on this Power's care and to trust the inner direction it provides us.

As with all learning processes, it takes practice to "pray only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out." The selfish, ego-driven attitudes we developed in our addiction are not cast off overnight. Those attitudes may affect the way we pray. We may even find ourselves praying something like, "Relieve me of this character defect so I can look good:

The more straightforward we are about our own ideas and desires, the easier it will be to distinguish between our own will and our Higher Power's will. "Just for your information, God;' we might pray, "here's what I want in this situation. Nonetheless, I ask that your will, not mine, be done." Once we do this, we are prepared to recognize and accept our Higher Power's guidance.

Just for today: Higher Power, I've learned to trust your guidance, yet I still have my own ideas about how I want to live my life. Let me share those ideas with you, and then let me clearly understand your will for me. In the end, let your will, not mine, be done.

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