March 31, 2005

Experience the Freedom of Letting Go

"There is tremendous freedom in letting go. It is liberation to free ourselves of things that clutter our lives; too many possessions, useless emotions, unhealthy habits, old beliefs, even people that drain our energy. All of these things and more can weigh us down. Every once in awhile it's good to 'clean out our closets' literally and figuratively.

Like pruning dead branches or like a snake shedding an old skin, we need to let go of the what no longer serves or what no longer fits, so that there is room for something new, alive, and what is needed at this time in our lives. Yet, we are a possessive society. We often hold on to things, feelings, and relationships out of habit or, many times, out of fear of being without. For so much of learning to let go is about learning to trust. We have to be able to trust that, indeed, new branches will grow, that there is a new skin under the old one. And yet, to the degree that we are willing to let go, we are able to receive. When we stop holding on and clinging to anything, we realize we have everything. "

From DailyOM - Letting Go.

The Curing Power of Love

Love cures. It cures those who give it and it cures those who receive it.
--Dr. Karl Menninger

Love is no mystery, but its results are magical in many ways. It's generally accepted that many illnesses are psychosomatic. Because we often feel anxiously alone, lonely, fearful, and unloved, we express our need through our bodies. How sad so many of us are so hindered. But we can each be willing participants in a solution. The action called for is simple. All it requires is the decision to act with favor toward one another.

A look through loving eyes on a struggling person offers him or her the strength to try and try again and thus succeed. Lovingly moving the barriers to another's achieving spirit will benefit all who share this journey.

Love multiplies the great and simple acts of goodness in the world. Each of us, with no more effort than a genuinely warm glance, can change the course of history today, tomorrow, always.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Today's meditation comes from the book Worthy of Love by Karen Casey C 1985

March 30, 2005

The Hot Air Balloonist

"This is how I feel sometimes"

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He descended a bit more and shouted to a man on the ground, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man on the ground below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be a sponsor," said the balloonist.

"I am," replied the man, "how did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is, I believe, technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've probably delayed my trip."

The man below responded, "You must be a sponsee."

"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect other people to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault!"

March 29, 2005

The Wilmington AA Preamble

This "Preamble" was widely accepted in Maryland and Delaware before World Service sanctioned the shorter A.A. Preamble that is more universally accepted today.


We of Alcoholics Anonymous are a group of persons for whom alcohol has become a major problem. We have banded together in a sincere effort to help ourselves and other problem drinkers recover health and maintain sobriety.

Definitions of alcoholics are many and varied. For brevity we think of an alcoholic as one whose life has become unmanageable to any degree due to the use of alcohol.

We believe that the alcoholic is suffering from a disease for which no cure has yet been found. We profess no curative powers but have formulated a plan to arrest alcoholism.

From the vast experience of our many members we have learned that successful membership demands total abstinence. Attempts at controlled drinking by the alcoholic inevitably fail.

Membership requirements demand only a sincere desire on the part of the applicant to maintain total abstinence.

There are no dues of fees in A.A.; no salaried officers. Money necessary for operating expenses is secured by voluntary contributions.

Alcoholics Anonymous does not perform miracles, believing that such powers rests only in God.

We adhere to no particular creed or religion. We do believe, however, that an appeal for help to one's own interpretation of a higher power, or God, is indispensable to a satisfactory adjustment to life's problems.

Alcoholics Anonymous is not a prohibition or temperance movement in any sense of the word. We have no criticism of the controlled drinker. We are concerned only with the alcoholic.

We attempt to follow a program of recovery which has for its chief objectives: sobriety for ourselves; help for other alcoholics who desire it; amends for past wrongs; humility; honesty; tolerance; and spiritual growth.

We welcome and appreciate the cooperation of the medical profession and the help of the clergy.

March 27, 2005

Learn to Wait Successfully

The people who are most successful at living and loving are those who can learn to wait successfully. Not many people enjoy waiting or learning patience. Yet, waiting can be a powerful tool that will help us accomplish much good.

We cannot always have what we want when we want it. For different reasons, what we want to do, have, be, or accomplish is not available to us now. But there are things we could not do or have today, no matter what, that we can have in the future. Today, we would make ourselves crazy trying to accomplish what will come naturally and with ease later.

We can trust that all is on schedule. Waiting time is not wasted time. Something is being worked out - in us, in someone else, in the Universe.

We don't have to put our life on hold while we wait. We can direct our attention elsewhere; we can practice acceptance and gratitude in the interim; we can trust that we do have a life to live while we are waiting - then we go about living it.

Deal with your frustration and impatience, but learn how to wait. The old saying, "You can't always get what you want" isn't entirely true. Often, in life, we can get what we want - especially the desires of our heart - if we can learn to wait.

Today, I am willing to learn the art of patience. If I am feeling powerless because I am waiting for something to happen and I am not in control of timing, I will focus on the power available to me by learning to wait.

-Melody Beatte, The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations for Codependents©1990

Serenity Helps Us Cope

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 only push up obstacles before us faster than they can be taken down.

c. 1967 AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 20
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Thought to Ponder . . .

Serenity is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.

Get The Power

A.A. Thought for the Day

You get the power to overcome drinking through the fellowship of other alcoholics who have found the way out. You get power by honestly sharing your past experience by a personal witness. You get power by coming to believe in a Higher Power, the Divine Principle in the universe which can help you. You get power by working with other alcoholics. In these four ways, thousands of alcoholics have found all the power they needed to overcome drinking. Am I ready and willing to accept this power and work for it?

Meditation for the Day

The power of God's spirit is the greatest power in the universe. Our conquest of each other, the great kings and conquerors, the conquest of wealth, the leaders of the money society, all amount to very little in the end. But one who conquers oneself is greater than one who conquers a city. Material things have no permanence. But God's spirit is eternal. Everything really worthwhile in the world is the result of the power of God's spirit.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may open myself to the power of God's spirit. I pray that my relationships with others may be improved by this spirit.

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

March 26, 2005

Remember the Past, but Don't Dwell There

"It is not where we were that counts, but where we are going."
Basic Text p. 22

When we first find recovery, some of us feel shame or despair at calling ourselves "addicts" In the early days, we may be filled with both fear and hope as we struggle to find new meaning in our lives. The past may seem inescapable and overpowering. It may be hard to think of ourselves in any way other than the way we always have.

While memories of the past can serve as reminders of what's waiting for us if we use again, they can also keep us stuck in a nightmare of shame and fear. Though it may be difficult to let go of those memories, each day in recovery can bring us that much farther away from our active addiction. Each day, we can find more to look forward to and less to punish ourselves for.

In recovery, all doors are open to us. We have many choices. Our new life is rich and full of promise. While we cannot forget the past, we don't have to live in it. We can move on.

Just for today:

I will pack my bags and move out of my past into a present filled with hope.

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

Avoid the Desire for Universal Approval

"For Mordechai ... was approved by most of his brethren. He sought the good of his people and spoke in peace to all their descendants.”
— Esther 10:3

The great Mordechai, who saved the Jewish people from total annihilation, won the approval of only most of his brethren. Most, but not all.

Some people need to be liked by everyone. If one person out of several hundred does not approve of them, they are devastated. They are likely to become "people pleasers," going out of their way to obtain universal approval.

This attitude comes from low self-esteem. People who feel secure about themselves believe that they are generally likable and do not feel threatened if one or more people does not like them. They realize that some personalities are simply incompatible with certain other personalities. The "chemistry" between two people may be of such a nature that one person simply does not like the other, but that need not be a reflection on the latter's worth.

People who are insecure and feel unlikable expect to be rejected. They therefore interpret innocent comments or gestures as confirmations of their unlikability. Since they fear such "rejections," they do things in order to be liked, in other words, they try to "buy" affection.

Mordechai sought everyone's welfare and spoke peace fully to all, but he was not perturbed that he did not achieve universal approval. If some did not approve of him, that was their problem, not his.

... try to avoid using universal approval as the measure of my self-worth and avoid buying friendship and affection.

From the book Growing Each Day by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski M.D., a psychiatrist, ordained rabbi and the founder of Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, a leading center for addiction treatment.

From Selfishness to Selflessness


When on the roller coaster of emotional turmoil,I remember that growth is often painful. My evolution in the AA program has taught me that I must experience the inner change, however painful, that guides me from selfishness to selflessness.

If I am to have serenity, I must STEP my way past emotional turmoil and its subsequent hangover, and be grateful for continuing spiritual progress.

c. 1990 AAWS, Daily Reflections, p. 285
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Thought to Ponder . . .

Serenity isn't freedom from the storm; it is peace within the storm.

March 23, 2005

Trying to Pray is Praying

"As the doubter tries the process of prayer,he should begin to add up the results.If he persists, he will surely find more serenity,more tolerance, less fear, and less anger.He will acquire a quiet courage,the kind that isn't tension-ridden.He can look at 'failure' and 'success'for what these really are.Problems and calamity will begin to mean his instruction,instead of his destruction.Wonderful and unaccountable things will start to happen."

Bill W., Box 1980: The AA Grapevine, June 1958 As Bill Sees It, p. 321

Thought to Consider . . .

Trying to pray is praying.

Place Spiritual Growth Ahead

We have learned that the satisfaction of instincts cannot be the sole end and aim of our lives. If we place instincts first, we have got the cart before the horse; we shall be pulled back into disillusionment.

But when we are willing to place spiritual growth first -- then and only then do we have a real chance.

c. 1953 AAWS, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 114
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Thought to Ponder . . .

Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional, growing spiritually is up to you.

Forgiveness Restores Energy and Peace

Father Leo's Daily Meditation


"God will forgive me; that's his business."
-- Heinrich Heine

It took me a long time to accept that God had forgiven the deeds done in my addiction. It took me a long time to comprehend that God is forgiveness, "forgiving love". Forgiveness unites us with God because it is His nature to forgive.

When I am living the spiritual life, I can unite myself with Him by my acts of forgiveness. And when I forgive others, I am doing a kindness, an act of forgiveness, to myself. Hate used to drain me of energy and it still can if I get caught up in resentments. Forgiveness restores energy and peace.

When I forgive, I am at one with God.

In the forgiveness of others I discover me.

March 22, 2005

The Tools to Live My Life, this Precious Life

Abundant Hope

Hopelessness has been replaced by abundant hope and sincere faith. The people of Alcoholics Anonymous have provided a haven where, if I remain quiet enough and keep my mind quiet enough, my Higher Power leads me to amazing realizations. I find joy in my daily life, in being of service, in simply being. . .

The things that I have learned from my own experience, from the Big Book, and from my friends in AA -- patience, acceptance, honesty, humility, and true faith in a Power greater than myself -- are the tools I use today to live my life, this precious life.

c. 2001 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 475, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Thought to Ponder . . .

Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.

March 21, 2005

Speak to God in Prayer as a Friend

“And G-d spoke to Moses face to face, just as a person would speak to a friend.”
— Exodus 33:11

Moses was the only prophet to whom G-d spoke directly, just as a person would converse with a friend. However, this uniqueness went only one way; every single human being has the ability to speak to G-d directly, "as a person would speak to a friend." Indeed, we should do so.

In this way, we can fully express our innermost feelings. True, we address G-d as the King of the Universe, which He is. We also plead with Him as a child does with a parent, which He is. But we certainly would never tell a king everything about ourselves, and we all have things which we would never want our parents to know. With a friend, however, we have fewer restrictions and less resistance. We can reveal everything to a friend, even things that we would be too embarrassed or otherwise reluctant to tell anyone else.

The Torah refers to G-d as "a friend" (e.g. Proverbs 27:10), because it wishes us to have this relationship with G-d, as well as that of subject to sovereign and child to father.

One might ask, "Since G-d knows our thoughts, why should we reveal them to Him verbally in prayer?" The answer is that by doing so, we reinforce our relationship to Him as a friend.

When you complete your formal prayers, add some of your own composition, and speak to G-d as a friend.

... try to enhance the quality of my prayer by revealing to G-d everything that is on my mind, just as I would with a trusted friend.

From Growing Each Day
By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski

Spirituality is the Antidote for Apathy

Father Leo's Daily Meditation


"Science may have found a cure
for most evils; but it has found no
remedy for the worst of them all ---
the apathy of human beings."
-- Helen Keller

I read today of a woman who ate herself to death. Friends and family when interviewed said, "She simply didn't seem to care." She had stuffed her feelings for so long that she had forgotten what they were; she had lost her spirituality. Apathy kills people.

So long as people do nothing, the disease of addiction gets worse and more victims are claimed. Apathy feeds ignorance because it stops activity; apathy stops life.

The antidote for apathy is spirituality. The spiritual person is alive with positive attitudes and creative hope --- he is infectious. People are challenged to discover a meaning to life in their own lives. Hope produces recovery; recovery produces a message that must be shared; in the message is the miracle of life.

I pray that in the face of apathy I can discover hope.

Harboring Resentments is an Ineffective Coping Method

Today's thought is:

Let go of resentments

Resentments are sneaky, tricky little things. They can convince us they're justified. They can dry up our hearts. They can sabotage our happiness. They can sabotage love.

Most of us have been at the receiving end of an injustice at some time in our lives. Most of us know someone who's complained of an injustice we've done to him or her. Life can be a breeding ground for resentments, if we let it.

"Yes, but this time I really was wronged," we complain.

Maybe you were. But harboring a resentment isn't the solution. If it was, our resentment list would resemble the Los Angeles telephone directory. Deal with your feelings. Learn whatever lesson is at hand. Then let the feelings go.

Resentments are a coping behavior, a tool of someone settling for survival in life. They're a form or revenge. The problem is, no matter who we're resenting, the anger is ultimately directed against ourselves.

Take a moment. Search your heart. Have you tricked yourself into harboring a resentment? If you have, take another moment and let that resentment go.

God, grant me the serenity that acceptance brings.

You are reading from the book:
More Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie
Copyright 2000 by Melody Beattie

March 20, 2005

Each Day in Recovery is a Symbol of Victory

Alcoholics Anonymous has offered me something I never thought I was capable of -- victory. For each day is a symbol of my victory over fear, pride, anger, and selfishness.

AA has granted me love, forgiveness, accountability, truth and serenity -- all the things I was either running away from or in desperate search of every time I took that first drink.

c. AA Grapevine. Inc., June 1993, p. 23

Thought to Ponder . . .

The Program was a dazzling gem being dangled before my eyes.

Recovery Offers a Power Greater than Addiction

Just For Today -- March 20 -- Higher Power

"Most of us have no trouble admitting that addiction had become a destructive force in our lives. Our best efforts resulted in ever greater destruction and despair. At some point, we realized that we needed the help of some Power greater than our addiction."
Basic Text p. 24

Most of us know without a doubt that our lives have been filled with destruction. Learning that we have a disease called addiction helps us understand the source or cause of this destruction. We can recognize addiction as a power that has worked devastation in our lives. When we take the First Step, we admit that the destructive force of addiction is bigger than we are. We are powerless over it.

At this point, our only hope is to find some Power greater than the force of our addiction — a Power bent on preserving life, not ending it. We don't have to understand it or even name it; we only have to believe that there could be such a Higher Power. The belief that a benevolent Power greater than our addiction just might exist gives us enough hope to stay clean, a day at a time.

Just for today:
I believe in the possibility of some Power that's bigger than my addiction.

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

Stay on the Positive Path

"As our serenity grows, the clamor and confusion inside our heads dies down. Instead of being pulled in many different directions and uncertain of which way to turn, we gradually discern the positive voice that leads us forward. Rather than trying to analyze all possible alternatives intellectually, we gain the confidence to choose the positive way without agonizing indecision.

To worry and speculate about the roads not taken is counterproductive and wasteful of our energies. We pray that we may know the will of our Higher Power for us, and then we act according to the best of our knowledge. The more we practice listening to the still, small voice within, the more positive direction we will receive.

The mental calmness which we experience as we abstain from compulsive overeating clears away our former confusion. We may make mistakes, but as long as we can admit them and stay in contact with our Higher Power, we will continue to follow the positive leads.

Keep me on Your positive path."

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

March 19, 2005

Take it One Day at a Time

A.A. Thought for the Day

When we alcoholics first come into A.A. and we face the fact that we must spend the rest of our life without liquor, it often seems like an impossibility to us. So A.A. tells us to forget about the future and take it one day at a time. All we really have is now. We have no past time and no future time. As the saying goes: "Yesterday is gone, forget it; tomorrow never comes, don't worry; today is here, get busy." All we have is the present. The past is gone forever and the future never comes. When tomorrow gets Here, it will be today. Am I living one day at a time?

Meditation for the Day

Persistence is necessary if you are to advance in spiritual things. By persistent prayer, persistent, firm, and simple trust, you achieve the treasures of the spirit. By persistent practice, you can eventually obtain joy, peace, assurance, security, health, happiness, and serenity. Nothing is too great, in the spiritual realm, for you to obtain, if you persistently prepare yourself for it.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may persistently carry out my spiritual exercises every day. I pray that I may strive for peace and serenity.

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

March 15, 2005

Letting Go of Resentments in Intimate Relationships

"We keep our resentments inside as a method of:

~ proving to ourselves that we are "right" and the other is clearly wrong;

~ reinforcing a belief that the other really isn't worth loving (he or she doesn't deserve it);

~ maintaining control (or the illusion of control) of the relationship or the situation;

~ being angry to avoid intimacy, or other deeper feelings of hurt, sadness, despair, sex or fear;

~ being heard or listened to;

~ taking revenge or punishing ("getting back at" a partner);

~ keeping the position that the problem is all the other’s fault;

~ maintaining the "status quo" out of fear that change would be destructive.

Basically, we learn to hold on to our resentments as a way of protecting our own ego. The personal emotional price of such protection is high. Nobel Prize laureate, Hans Selye, described the most stressful emotion as "the desire for vengeance."

You have at least four choices if you are keeping in anger or resentment:

1) Hold on to it indefinitely and be pretty miserable;
2) Forgive and become more free, peaceful and clearer;
3) Let go of your own fear and create the opportunity for you and your partner to develop a new level of respect, understanding, and intimacy; or
4) Decide to forgive and choose to keep as a top priority, the maintenance of the partnership.

If you decide to forgive, remember to acknowledge all of your feelings toward your partner...not just the hurt or resentment. Take responsibility for sharing what you want, what you fear, what you need, what you would like it to be between the two of you. Keeping the lines of communication open is one of two critical factors in becoming forgiving.

Keeping your heart open is the other. Resentment collecting closes off some part of you and keeps it hidden from yourself or others. Forgiveness allows you to become fully open to the possibility of love, enjoyment, fulfillment and connection with others. An open heart keeps you alive."

By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. who has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and Licensed Psychologist.

March 14, 2005

Wecome the Small Signs that Show First

Before the rain stops we hear a bird. Even under the heavy snow we see snowdrops and some new growth.
--Shunryu Suzuki

The signals that new growth is underway are often very small at first.

It's sometimes discouraging when we are trying to remake our lives and all we can see for our efforts is minor growth. That is how the natural world works, and we are part of this world. When the little sprouts of growth first develop under the snow in spring we don't even see them unless we search. Yet, they signal the beginnings of a total transformation. Time will bring vast changes, but only little signs are showing first.

Today, we may search for signs of progress in our lives. The little things we see may signal bigger transformations yet to come. To be true to them in the long run we must accept them - even welcome them - as they are today.

I will notice the subtle movements toward health and renewal in my life. Welcoming them will encourage them.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Today's meditation comes from the book
Touchstones: A Book of Daily Meditations for Men
by Anonymous C 1986

A Lifetime of Self-Centeredness Cannot Be Reversed All At Once

From The Taproot, p. 305

The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first
admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole
Society has sprung and flowered.

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

Every newcomer is told, and soon realizes for himself, that his humble
admission of powerlessness over alcohol is his first step toward
liberation from its paralyzing grip.

So it is that we first see humility as a necessity. But this is the barest
beginning. To get completely away from our aversion to the idea of
being humble, to gain a vision of humility as the avenue to true
freedom of the human spirit, to be willing to work for humility as
something to be desired for itself, takes most of us a long, long time.
A whole lifetime geared to self-centeredness cannot be set in reverse
all at once.

12 & 12
1. pp. 21-22
2. pp. 72-73

Encouraging Words Work Wonders

Today's thought is:

I feel best about having helped others believe in themselves.
--Bud Sherman

Encouragement is one of the greatest gifts we can give one another. Chances are we can all remember someone who encouraged us many years ago. Perhaps a teacher or an employer took a special interest in us, and we have never forgotten that person. It's likely we are remembered in much the same way by someone else, too. It's nice to savor these memories, isn't it?

There is nothing stopping us from continuing to make memories for others. We will experience people and situations today that will benefit if we pass on encouragement and praise. We will benefit as well. It feels good to acknowledge another's contributions to the world. It strengthens our own willingness to contribute.

No conversation is without purpose. Even those exchanges that seem meaningless offer us opportunities for bettering someone else's opinion of themselves. What greater offerings have we to make than to be loving and helpful to someone traveling this path with us? If we haven't given much attention to this part of our assignment before, let's begin now. The homework will make all of us feel much better.

A few words of encouragement to another is all that's asked of me today. I can handle that.

You are reading from the book:
Keepers of the Wisdom by Karen Casey
Copyright 1996 by Karen Casey.

March 13, 2005

Make Me Strong In Spirit Prayer

Make me strong in spirit,
Courageous in action,
Gentle of heart,

Let me act in wisdom,
Conquer my fear and doubt,
Discover my own hidden gifts,

Meet others with compassion,
Be a source of healing energies,
And face each day with hope and joy.

- Abby Willowroot

The Bonds of Sobriety

Many times in my alcoholic state, I drank to establish a bond between myself and others, but I succeeded only in establishing the bond of alcoholic loneliness.

Through the AA way of life, I have received the gift of bonding -- with those who were there before me, with those who are there now, and with those yet to come.

For this gracious gift from God, I am forever grateful.

c. 1990 AAWS, Daily Reflections, p. 246
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Two-Way Tolerance

As Bill Sees It

"Your point of view was once mine. Fortunately, A.A. is constructed so that we need not debate the existence of God; but for best results, most of us must depend upon a Higher Power. You say the group is your Higher Power, and no right-minded A.A. would challenge your privilege to believe precisely that way. We should all be glad that good recoveries can be made even on this limited basis.

"But turnabout is fair play. If you would expect tolerance for your point of view, I am sure you would be willing to reciprocate. I try to remember that, down through the centuries, lots of brighter people than 1 have been found on both sides of this debate about belief. For myself, of late years, I am finding it much easier to believe that God made man, than that man made God."

LETTER, 1950
Copyright®1967 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

March 11, 2005

What To Do When the Urge to Drink Hits

This is reported to have been taken from an old AA pamphlet that was scanned and placed on a web page.


THE UNHAPPIEST PERSON in the world is the chronic Alcoholic who has an insistent yearning to enjoy life as he once knew it, but cannot picture life without alcohol. He has a HEART-BREAKING OBSESSION that by some miracle of control he will be able to do so.

SOBRIETY, THE MAGNICFICENT OBSESSION, is the most important thing in your life without exception. You may believe your job, or your home life, or one of the many other things come first. But consider, if you do not get sober and stay sober, chances are you won't have a job, a family, sanity, or even life. If you are convinced that everything in life depends on your sobriety, you have just so much more chance of getting sober and staying sober. If you put other things first you are only hurting your chances.

(1) Cultivate continued acceptance of the fact that your choice is between unhappy, drunken drinking and doing without just one small drink.

(2) Cultivate enthusiastic gratitude you have had the good fortune of finding out what was wrong with you before it was too late.

(3) Expect as being natural and inevitable, that for a period of time, (and it may be a long one) you will recurringly experience:

(a) The conscious, nagging craving for a drink.

(b) The sudden, all but compelling impulse just to take a drink.

(c) The craving, not for a drink as such, but for the soothing glow and warmth a drink or two once gave you.

(4) Remember that the times when you don't want a drink are the times in which to build up the strength not to take one when you do want it.

(5) Develop and rehearse a daily plan of thinking and acting by which you will live that day without taking a drink, regardless of what may upset you or how hard the old urge for a drink may hit you.

(6) Don't for a split second allow yourself to think: "Isn't it a pity or a mean injustice that I can't take a drink like so-called normal people."

(7) Don't allow yourself to either think or talk about any real or imagined pleasure you once did get from drinking.

(8) Don't permit yourself to think a drink or two would make some bad situation better, or at least easier to live with. Substitute the thought: "One drink will make it worse, - one drink will mean a drunk."

(9) Put your situation in perspective. Think, as you see here or there a blind or other sorely handicapped person, how joyful such a person would be if his problem could be solved by just not taking one little drink today. Think gratefully of how lucky you are to have so simple and small a problem.

(10) Cultivate and woo enjoyment of sobriety.

(a) How good it is to be free of shame, mortification and self-condemnation.

(b) How good it is to be free of fear of the consequences of a drunk just ended, or a coming drunk you have never been able to prevent.

(c) How good it is to be free of what people have been thinking and whispering about you, and of their mingled pity and contempt.

(d) How good it is to be free of fear of yourself.

(11) Catalog and re-catalog the positive enjoyments of sobriety, such as:

(a) The simple ability to eat and sleep normally, and wake up glad you are alive, glad you were sober yesterday, and glad you have the privilege of staying sober today.

(b) The ability to face whatever life may dish out, with peace of mind, self-respect and a full possession of all your faculties.

(12) Cultivate a helpful association of ideas:

(a) Associate a drink as being the single cause of all the misery, shame, and mortification you have ever known.

(b) Associate a drink as being the only thing that can destroy your new-found happiness, and take from you your self-respect and peace of mind.

(13) Cultivate gratitude:

(a) Gratitude that so much can be yours for so small a price.

(b) Gratitude that you can trade just one drink for all the happiness sobriety gives you.

(c) Gratitude that A. A. exists, and you have found out about it in time.

(d) Gratitude that you are only a victim of a disease called Alcoholism, that you aren't a degenerate, immoral weakling, or the self-elected victim of a vice or a person of doubtful sanity.

(e) Gratitude that since others have done it, you can in time being bring it to pass that you will not want or miss the drink that you are doing without.

(14) Seek out ways to help other alcoholics, - and remember the first way to help others is to stay sober yourself.

(15) And don't forget that when the heart is heavy and resistance is low and the mind is troubled and confused, there is much comfort in a true and understanding friend standing by. You have that friend in A. A.

The Proper Time May Be Now

King Solomon dedicates seven famous verses of Ecclesiastes to his principle that everything has its specific time. His point comes across clearly: I can put off doing a good deed for someone until tomorrow, but will that deed, done exactly as I would have done it today, carry the same impact?

The wisdom that I learn at this moment belongs to this moment. The good deed that I do at this moment belongs to this moment. Of course I can do them later, but they will belong to the later moments. What I can do that belongs to this moment is only that which I do now.

... try to value each moment. I must realize that my mission is not only to get something done, but to get things done in their proper time, and the proper time may be now.

Rabbi 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. An Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he is a prolific author, with some 30 books to his credit, including, "Growing Each Day", from which this was excerpted.

March 10, 2005

Freedom of Choice

Sobriety has taught me that "Just for today" I have Freedom of choice.

Freedom to choose to:

Drink......OR......Not Drink
Stay Sick......OR......Get Well
Live in the Past......OR......Live in the Today
Stay Irresponsible......OR......Learn to Accept Responsibility
React......OR......Think and Act
Go It Alone......OR......Seek Help
Be Dishonest......OR......Truthful
Feel Self Pity......OR......Live Gratitude
Have Fear......OR......Have Faith
Swear......OR......Have Prayer
Suffer Humiliation......OR......Seek Humility
Try and Change Others......OR......Change Myself
Analyze Everything......OR......Utilize the Steps
Feel Guilt......OR......Seek Forgiveness
Dwell on the Negative......OR......Live the Positive
Be Impatient......OR......Learn Patience
Be Judgmental......OR......Be Tolerant of Others
Be Sad......OR......Be Happy
Be Disrespectful of Others......OR......Treat All With Courtesy, Dignity and Respect
Be Lonely......OR......Be a Friend
Procrastinate......OR......Do It Now
Be a Slave to the Bottle......OR......Be Free to Be Me
Die a Slow Death......OR......Live a Full Life
Be Selfish......OR......Caring
Hoard......OR......Share of Myself
Be Shattered......OR......Whole
Believe in No-One......OR.......Believe in a Higher Power

Inspirational Quotations

Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.

-Vernon Law

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.

-Henri L. Bergson

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything.

-Thomas Merton from Thoughts in Solitude

The time is always right to do what is right.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Choose 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. I saw that growth could start from that point."

Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Bill's Story, pg. 12

March 09, 2005

Abandon Yourself to the New Dimension

What I had to do was stand on the edge of the unknown,have faith in the Steps and my teachers in the meetings,and let go -- step with both feet into this terrifying new realm of surrender, and trust that a power greater than myself, which I was only coming to understand, would carry me.

If I held back, trying to keep one foot in the old realm, I'd fall out of the program. I had to abandon myself absolutely to the principles of the new dimension.

c. The AA Grapevine, Inc., March 2005, p. 11

Thought to Ponder . . .

We surrender to win.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .

K I S S = Keep It Simple, Surrender

AA Thought for the Day

March 08, 2005

Quotes for Today

"I used to say, 'I sure hope things will change.' Then I learned that
the only way things are going to change for me is when I change."
--Jim Rohn

Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better
--Henry Ward Beecher

Expecting the world to be fair to you because you are a good person
is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.

Today I will do something I should have done yesterday.
--Nelle Bruner Weddington

It's so important to treat others like you would expect to be treated.
It's a universal law that the hurt and pain you have caused on others
will come back and affect you, but the love and joy you have inspired
in others, will also inspire you.

Every Job is Important

If you are unhappy in your job, take a moment to stop and think about how what you do connects to other people. See the oneness. Does your smile and radiant energy help others through their day? If your job is to file all day long, be the best filing person there ever was, take pride in your work. For without you filing, how would anybody find what they need to do their jobs?

There is an importance in every job that cannot be measured in numbers or in prestige, but can only be found within the heart of the man or woman doing that job. The happiest people, those who believe they have the best jobs, are those who respect the job they do no matter what it is. When we understand that, it becomes obvious every job is worthy of praise.

From this DailyOM post

Learning To Love Ourselves

"What we want most is to feel good about ourselves."
Basic Text, p. 97

"We'll love you until you can learn to love yourself!" These words, heard so often in our meetings, promise a day we look forward to eagerly - the day when we'll know how to love ourselves.

Self-esteem, we all want this elusive quality as soon as we hear about it. Some of us seem to stumble upon it accidentally, while others embark on a course of action complete with affirmations made to our reflections in the mirror. But fix-it-yourself techniques and trendy psychological cures can only take us so far.

There are some definite, practical steps we can take to show love for ourselves, whether we "feel" that love or not. We can take care of our personal responsibilities. We can do nice things for ourselves, as we would for a lover or a friend. We can start paying attention to our own needs. We can even pay attention to the qualities that we cherish in our friends - qualities like intelligence and humor - and look for those same qualities in ourselves. We're sure to find that we really are lovable people, and once we do that, we're well on our way.

Just for today: I will do something today that helps me recognize and feel love for myself.

pg. 70 postamble

March 07, 2005

Meaning of "Conference Approved"

There are well-meaning people today who sometimes mistakenly think that the issue was whether or not a particular book or pamphlet was "conference approved." We remember that when Brooklyn Bob was asked about this, he simply snorted and laughed and said, "We read anything we could get our hands on that might get us sober!"

When one says that a particular publication is "conference approved," all one really means is that a group of delegates meeting in New York decided to spend New York headquarters money on publishing it. New York never ever had enough funds to print everything that could be useful to alcoholics trying to get sober and stay sober.

From Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age

Try to Achieve True Freedom

In working with alcoholics and addicts, I have come to realize that the most absolute slavery does not come from enslavement by another person, but from enslavement by one's own drives. No slavemaster has ever dominated anyone the way alcohol, heroin, and cocaine dominate the addict, who must lie, steal, and even kill to obey the demands of the addiction.

Nomination is not unique to addiction. We may not realize that passion of any kind may totally control us and ruthlessly terrorize us. We may rationalize and justify behavior that we would otherwise have considered as totally alien to us, but when our passion demands it, we are helpless to resist.

Many people think they are free, yet they are really pawns in the hands of their drives. Like the addict, they are not at all in control, and do not have the fundamental feature of humanity: freedom.

Our only defense is to become masters over our desires rather than their slaves. We must direct our minds to rule over the passions of our hearts.

... try to achieve true freedom, which means doing what I know is the best thing to do, instead of what I feel like doing

Rabbi 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. An Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he is a prolific author, with some 30 books to his credit, including, "Growing Each Day", from which this was excerpted.

March 06, 2005

Growth In Self-Understanding

Father Leo's Daily Meditation


"Wherever two people meet,
there are really six people
present. There is each man as he
sees himself, each man as the
other person sees him, and each
man as he really is."
-- William James

Part of my spiritual journey involves the discovery of "self". For years I pretended to be what I was not; for years I pretended to be what I imagined myself to be; for years I pretended to be what you wanted me to be --- always my real "self" eluded me.

Today I am beginning to know myself. I know my needs. I understand my strengths. I accept my weaknesses and I live with my confusions. From the time I decided to put down the glass of alcohol, it progressively got better --- but there is still a great deal I do not understand. Man's inhumanity to man, the daily violence and suffering, my own personal greed, cowardice and arrogance --- where does it come from? I don't know and today that is okay. However, I still search; my suspicion is that the answer lies within my own insecurities.

In Your time, Master, may I grow in my understanding of self.

We Can Discard Old, Self-Defeating Patterns

To stop behaving in a certain way is to risk the unfamiliar.
--Jan Lloyd

Old patterns grip us so tightly! Even when the behavior pinches us painfully, we are loathe to give it up. Its familiarity makes it tolerable, knowable, somewhat manageable, and far less scary than trying something new. However, we are truly the luckiest people alive because now we have a training ground where it is safe to try new behaviors. We can discard old, self-defeating patterns in the safe environment of these Twelve Steps.

We are on this recovery path because each of us wants a new life. We have grown sick and tired of the old ways that no longer work. And we have come to believe that change is possible if we look for it in the right place. This is the right place! At any meeting we can see others who are trying on new behaviors and meeting with success. We are role models for one another, and every time one of us tries a new response to an old situation, we are all heartened and stretched a bit. We know that what another can do, we can do too.

I am in the right place today to let go of the old and try the new. My support is all around me. I will not fear.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Today's meditation comes from the book
A Woman's Spirit: More Meditations for Women
by Karen Casey C 1994

The Idea of Faith

"Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you.


The idea of faith is a very large chunk to swallow when fear, doubt and anger abound in and around me. Sometimes just the idea of doing something different, something I am not accustomed to doing, can eventually become an act of faith if I do it regularly, and do it without debating whether it's the right thing to do. When a bad day comes along and everything is going wrong, a meeting or a talk with another drunk often distracts me just enough to persuade me that everything is not quite as impossible, as overwhelming as I had thought. In the same way, going to a meeting or talking to a fellow alcoholic are acts of faith; I believe I'm arresting my disease. These are ways I slowly move toward faith in a Higher Power."


March 04, 2005

Healing the Past with a Fire Meditation

"Each of us has unresolved issues revolving around our relationships that linger in our souls. People don't always say or do what's right and it can seem impossible to heal that breach, particularly when that person is unresponsive or has passed away. The following fire meditation is a way to release pain and to heal a past or present relationship, or to deal with unresolved interpersonal issues. Through this type of meditation, it becomes possible to seek out reconciliation and forgiveness, as well as to rid yourself of the spiritual baggage that can come when you harbor emotional pain.

During this meditation, it can be helpful to have a partner who reads the instructions to you in a soothing voice. Or, if you prefer to meditate alone, you may want to record yourself reading the instructions and play it back when you are ready to start. Begin by finding a quiet, relaxing space. In choosing, keep in mind that you will want to have your back be as straight as possible, either by laying down on a flat surface or sitting up straight in a chair. Breathe deeply and relax your body and mind.

When you have reached a state of deep relaxation, envision the place where you feel most safe. It needn't be a real location; it can be an isolated private island, a tropical beach, or a mountain sanctuary. It can even be your own bedroom. Take the time to really see and experience your safe place. Smell the air, listen for sounds, and feel the ground under you. When you are relaxed in your surroundings, envision a road. Look down it and watch for the arrival of the person or animal you wish to make peace with. Let them come at their own pace and, when they are in full view, ask if they are willing to heal with you. If their answer is yes, look at first at yourself. How old are you? What are you wearing? How old is your companion and what do they look like?

The next step is to envision a fire. It can be in any form you wish: a camp fire, a ceremonial fire, or a bonfire. As you begin to heal, throw your baggage into the fire and ask for forgiveness or the closure you are seeking. If you wish, you can step into the fire; it will not harm you. Release everything that you no longer desire for yourself or your companion into the fire. In doing so, you may feel your body temperature rise, or you may shake a little. This is normal. Take as much time as you need with your companion. When you are finished, release them, and they will turn and walk back the way they came. Stay in your safe place for as long as you desire. When you feel comfortable, open your eyes and note the great weight that has been lifted from you."

From the DailyOM - Nurturing Mind Body & Spirit.

Acceptance Does Not Imply Helplessness

"One of the teachings that has been emphasized by many teachers is that of cceptance. Accepting what is. What exactly does that mean? Does it mean accepting the way things are? Well, yes it does, but it doesn't stop there.

Acceptance is in a sense acknowledging how things are -- without judgment, without negativity, without anger and blame. It is an impartial observation: I see how this is, I acknowledge that this is so. Yet, does it mean that nothing can change? No. It is said that the only constant is change -- in other words, everything is always is a state of change, either growing or disintegrating. There is no such thing as stability, everything is always moving, changing.

So when we accept things as they are, we are simply noticing them, acknowledging that they exist. For example, let's say that your house is dirty. In order to clean it, you first have to accept, acknowledge, admit, that it is dirty. From that observation, you then decide to clean it (or not). In order for things to change, one must first accept, or acknowledge them as they are.

The important part of acceptance is to accept or notice without judgment,criticism, blame, or anger. We seem to have a tendency to attach emotions to our observations, as in, My house is dirty, I'm such a slob or I just can't seem to keep this house clean. It's overwhelming. These statements are charged with judgment and criticism. Acceptance on the other hand simply says, The house is dirty. The next step then becomes simply another step in the observation process, asking what I can do about it -- and then doing it without having beaten myself up about it.

Yet, so many times, we get angry when we notice behaviors that we have, or that others have. Noticing in itself is impartial -- we simply notice, we are aware of something. But the next step is the one that gets us in trouble -- the part where we attach a judgment to the observation. We look at something and then get into criticizing it, blaming someone, heaping anger upon it. Then we get caught up in focusing on "the problem" and noticing all the things we don't like about it, everything that is "wrong with it".

Acceptance, or non-judgment, on the other hand also notices these things but without the added charge of anger, blame, self-righteousness, etc. Acceptance sees what is, and then goes on to ask if there is anything that can be done. If the answer is yes, then we can move forward..."

Read the rest of this article by Marie T Russell here.

Nourish the Spiritual

"Sometimes our appetites are insatiable; more accurately, we act as though they were insatiable. The Midrash states that a person may never be satisfied. 'If he has one hundred, he wants two hundred. If he gets two hundred, he wants four hundred' (Koheles Rabbah 1:34). How often have we seen people whose insatiable desire for material wealth resulted in their losing everything, much like the gambler whose constant urge to win results in total loss.

People's bodies are finite, and their actual needs are limited. The endless pursuit for more wealth than they can use is nothing more than an elusive belief that they can live forever (Psalms 49:10).

The one part of us that is indeed infinite is our neshamah (soul), which, being of Divine origin, can crave and achieve infinity and eternity, and such craving is characteristic of spiritual growth.

How strange that we tend to give the body much more than it can possibly handle, and the neshamah so much less than it needs!

... try to avoid striving for material excesses, and increase my efforts to provide my soul with spiritual nourishment."

From Growing Each Day by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski.

Work the First Step on Panic and Fear

If panic and anxiety are a continual problem, seek professional help.

But if they are only isolated incidents in your life, you may be able to help yourself. One tool that has never let me down when it comes to anxiety and fear is working Step One of the Twelve Step program. I admit I am powerless over my panic and fear, and my life has become unmanageable. Then I ask God what I need to do next.

Don't let your fears run your life. Make it a goal to get through them. Ask them what they're trying to tell you. You may be on a path that's new, and your body is just reacting to that. There may be a hidden emotion underneath all this fear, something you'd rather not see. Or maybe you and your life are just changing so fast that everything in your world is brand new. Be gentle and loving with yourself and others.

God, help me welcome all the new experiences in my life. Give me the courage to calmly walk my path today, knowing I'm right where I need to be.

Melody Beattie©

March 03, 2005

God Had the Power All Along

Faith is the thing that makes our recovery stick. All through our lives, most of us reject our faith for one reason or another. When we measure our lives, we find that our choices have led to our addiction. We didn’t do too well with life. Our score card is at zero – then we go to AA or a recovery support group and find out that there is a God that has the power, that had the power all along to restore us and guide us through our lives.

If we had only…

Do not fear this wonderful God -- He loves us, and He has designed our lives -- He wants us in fellowship with Him. You too can have it. Call on Him.

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

Working a Program of Recovery Does Not Ensure Constant Happiness

Today's thought is:

Sometimes I feel sad or depressed and think I'm doing something wrong. With all the work I'm doing to change my life, shouldn't I feel happy all the time?

No. Sadness is just as much a part of life as happiness. Just as all the seasons are part of nature, all my feelings are part of me. Would I awaken on a rainy day and refuse to let it rain? Would I claim that I'm going to do everything I can to stop the rain? No. When it rains, it rains.

I accept the fact that there are times when I feel sad. I will let it be a part of being human.

You are reading from the book:
Time to Break Free by Judith R. Smith
Copyright 1999 by Judith R. Smith.

March 02, 2005

Time Takes Time

"Personality change was what we really needed. Change from self-destructive patterns of life became necessary." Basic Text, p. 15

In early life, most of us were capable of joy and wonder, of giving and receiving unconditional love. When we started using, we introduced an influence into our lives that slowly drove us away from those things. The further we were pushed down the path of addiction, the further we withdrew from joy, wonder, and love.

That journey was not taken overnight. But however long it took, we arrived at the doors of NA with more than just a drug problem. The influence of addiction had warped our whole pattern of living beyond recognition.

The Twelve Steps work miracles, it's true, but not many of them are worked overnight. Our disease slowly influenced our spiritual development for the worse. Recovery introduces a new influence to our lives, a source of fellowship and spiritual strength slowly impelling us into new, healthy patterns of living.

This change, of course, doesn't "just happen:' But if we cooperate with the new influence NA has brought to our lives, over time we will experience the personality change we call recovery. The Twelve Steps provide us with a program for the kind of cooperation required to restore joy, wonder, and love to our lives.

Just for today:
I will cooperate with the new influence of fellowship and spiritual strength NA has introduced to my life, I will work the next step in my program.

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

Share The Love

Meditation for the Day

Share your love, your joy, your happiness, your time, your food, your money gladly with all. Give out all the love you can with a glad, free heart and hand. Do all you can for others and back will come countless stores of blessings. Sharing draws others to you. Take all who come as sent by God and give them a royal welcome. You may never see the results of your sharing. Today they may not need you, but tomorrow may bring results from the sharing you did today.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may make each visitor desire to return. I pray that I may never make anyone feel repulsed or unwanted.

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

Think, Then Act

"Man is supposed to think, and act. He wasn't made in God's image to be an automaton.

My own formula along this line runs as follows: First, think through every situation pro and con, praying meanwhile that I be not influenced by ego considerations. Affirm that I would like to do God's will.

Then, having turned the problem over in this fashion and getting no conclusive or compelling answer, I wait for further guidance, which may come into the mind directly or through other people or through circumstances.

If I feel I can't wait, and still get no definite indication, I repeat the first measure several times, try to pick out the best course, and then proceed to act. I know if I am wrong, the heavens won't fall. A lesson will be learned, in any case."

LETTER, 1950
Copyright®1967 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Answers Are in the Steps

AA Thought for the Day

If I want to be happy in my sobriety, I absolutely need to work the Steps. If alcohol is but a symptom of my disease, that means the problem is me and the choices that I make for myself. If change doesn't happen within me, I will continue to do the same things. The Twelve Steps are a means for this change to occur and are absolutely vital if I want to stay alive.

c. AA Grapevine, Inc., March 2000, p. 21

Thought to Ponder . . .

Take a walk with God.
He will meet you at the Steps.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .

S T E P S = Solutions To Every Problem in Sobriety.

March 01, 2005

Move Beyond Labels

"As humans, we possess the tendency to name and categorize things. This applies to everything from plants and animals to styles to ourselves and others. Everyone who walks the earth carries or has carried some label, such as white, old, artist, animal lover, parent, child, or liberal, that either they themselves or others used to define them. While labels can help us form useful first impressions, they can also act as a thick filter between the world and ourselves.

Expectations are derived from labels. When we begin to define others in terms of their profession, looks, wealth, or political background, it becomes harder to accept them unconditionally. And when we define ourselves with strict labels, we limit ourselves and our potential by effectively pigeonholing our identities. The challenge lies in finding a balance between that which defines us and our evolving natures.

We first learn who we are when we are children. Identity is forged by society, which labels us so-and-so's children, a boy or a girl, a reader or a jock, or shy or outgoing. This is natural, considering that characterizing others upon first meeting is an automatic process. But when we regard these initial impressions as unchangeable, we deny the fact that we are all blessed with roles that can change from one day to the next or exist simultaneously with other roles.

It is possible to be both a parent and an artist and a runner and a businesswoman. If you were to choose a single role, such as artist, it would limit the paths you could take. If you were, however, to say, "I am a creative person, though that creativity is sometimes blocked," it would open new avenues of exploration because you could express your creativity in many ways.

People are so much more than what they do or what they have done and all people are potentially capable of taking on a new identity or letting go of an old one because of emotional or environmental factors. You may choose to be "a strong-willed executive" in one moment in time and "a nurturing parent" in another. Yet you remain wholly you.

Though labels can be a good stepping off point, they are no substitute for understanding who we really are. If everyone was encouraged to look beyond labels, open-mindedness and tolerance would be the inevitable result."

From DailyOM - Over-Identifying With Labels.

Let Your Feelings Flow

We need to allow enough room for others and ourselves to have and work through our feelings.

We are people, not robots. An important part of us - who we are, how we grow, how we live - is connected to our emotional center. We have feelings, sometimes difficult ones, sometimes disruptive ones, sometimes explosive ones, that need to be worked through.

By facing and working through these feelings we and others grow. In relationships, whether it be a love relationship, a friendship, a family relationship, or a close relationship, people need room to have and work through their feelings.

Some call it "going through the process."

It is unreasonable to expect ourselves or others to not need time and room to work through feelings. We will be setting ourselves and our relationships up for failure if we do not allow this time and room in our life.

We need time to work through feelings. We need the space and permission to work through these feelings in the awkward, uncomfortable, sometimes messy way that people work through feelings.

This is life. This is growth. This is okay.

We can allow room for feelings. We can let people have time and permission to go through their feelings. We do not have to keep ourselves or others under such a tight rein. While we work through our feelings we do not have to expend unnecessary energy reacting to each feeling we or others have. We don't have to take all our feelings, and others' feelings, so seriously while we or others are in the process of working through them.

Let the feelings flow and trust where the flow is taking you.

I can set reasonable boundaries for behavior, and still leave room for a range of emotions.

Melody Beattie ©

The Courage to Choose

We lose the fear of making decisions, great and small, as we realize that should our choice prove wrong, we can, if we will, learn from the experience. Should our decision be the right one, we can thank God for giving us the courage and the grace that caused us so to act.

c. 1967 AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 253
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc

Thank God for the "specialness" of my life.

Father Leo's Daily Meditation


"Each honest calling, each walk of
life, has its own elite, its own
aristocracy based upon excellence
of performance."
-- James Bryant Conant

Everybody has a gift and a special feature that is unique to themselves. Unfortunately so many people are so busy admiring the gifts of others that they miss their own; they are so caught up in the lives of others that they miss the "specialness" of their own existence.

One of the symptoms of my alcoholism was low self-esteem. Of course I acted a role of confidence. I pretended that everything was okay. I wore the mask of success --- but deep within myself, I was always waiting for the world to find out that I was a fake, that something was missing in my life.

In recovery I have discovered God's powerful gift of spirituality and I know that through my life a uniqueness exists in the world. I have the capacity to make the day better --- not only for myself but also for others.

You are Welcome No Matter What

AA is really saying to every serious drinker, "You are an AA member if you say so. You can declare yourself in; nobody can keep you out. No matter who you are, no matter how low you've gone, no matter how grave your emotional complications -- even your crimes -- we still can't deny you AA.

We don't want to keep you out. We aren't a bit afraid you'll harm us, never mind how twisted or violent you may be. We just want to be sure that you get the same great chance for sobriety that we've had. So you're an AA member the minute you declare yourself."

- Bill W.
c. AA Grapevine, Inc., July 1952