May 31, 2005

The World of the Spirit

AA Thought for the Day
May 31, 2005

A Lifetime Task

We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime.

Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.

c. 2001 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 84
With permission, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Thought to Ponder . . .

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

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .

H O P E = Honesty, Open-mindedness, Patience, Effort.

May 29, 2005

The Threefold Answer

AA Thought for the Day

May 29, 2005

The Answer

The God I thought had judged me and damned me had done nothing of the sort. He had been listening, and in His own good time His answer came. His answer was threefold: the opportunity for a life of sobriety; Twelve Steps to practice, in order to attain and maintain that life of sobriety; fellowship within the program, ever ready to sustain and help me each twenty-four-hour day.

c. 1973 AAWS, Came To Believe. . ., p. 11
With permission, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Thought to Ponder . . .

Joy is in knowing there is an answer.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .

A A = Answer Available.

May 26, 2005

Unconditional Group Love

Just For Today
May 26 The Power in the group

"Our understanding of a Higher Power is up to us.... We can call it the group, the program, or we can call it God." Basic Text, p. 24

Many of us have a hard time with the idea of a Higher Power until we fully accept the depth of our own powerlessness over addiction. Once we do, most of us are at least willing to consider seeking the help of some Power greater than our disease. The first practical exposure many of us have to that kind of Power is in the NA group. Perhaps that's where we should start in developing our own understanding of God.

One evidence of the Power in the group is the unconditional love show when NA members help one another without expectation of reward. The group's collective experience in recovery is itself a Power greater than our own, for the group has practical knowledge of what works and what doesn't And the fact that addicts keep coming to NA meetings, day after day, is a demonstration of the presence of a Higher Power, some attractive, caring force at work that helps addicts stay clean and grow.

All these things are evidence of a Power that can be found in NA groups. When we look around with an open mind, each of us will be able to identify other signs of that Power. It doesn't matter if we call it God, a Higher Power, or anything else—just as long as we find a way to incorporate that Power into our daily lives.

Just for today: I will open my eyes and my mind to signs of a Power that exists in my NA group. I will call upon that Power to help me stay clean. pg. 152

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

May 25, 2005

Anxiety Keeps Us from the Good Life

"What worries you, masters you."
--Haddon W. Robinson

Anxiety separates us from experiencing a great life. So caught up are we in our worry, we may even cut ourselves off from giving and receiving love.

God invites us into a fuller life in which we recognize that there is no anxiety that our Creator cannot handle, if we only remember to ask for help.

Mary Manin Morrissey

May 23, 2005

Forgive Yourself as well as Others


Start by Forgiving

The moment we ponder a twisted or broken relationship with another person, our emotions go on the defensive. To escape looking at the wrongs we have done another, we resentfully focus on the wrong he has done us. Triumphantly we seize upon his slightest misbehavior as the perfect excuse for minimizing or forgetting our own.

Right here we need to fetch ourselves up sharply. Let's remember that alcoholics are not the only ones bedeviled by sick emotions. In many instances we are really dealing with fellow sufferers, people whose woes we have increased.

If we are about to ask forgiveness for ourselves, why shouldn't we start out by forgiving them, one and all?

Copyright®1967 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Under very trying conditions I have had, again and again, to forgive others -- also myself.


Forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others are just two currents in the same river, both hindered or shut off completely by the dam of resentment. Once that dam is lifted, both currents can flow. The Steps of A.A. allow me to see how resentment has built up and subsequently blocked off this flow in my life. The Steps provide a way by which my resentments may -- by the grace of God as I understand Him -- be lifted. It is as a result of this solution that I can find the necessary grace which enables me to forgive myself and others.



Often it was while working on this Step with our sponsors or spiritual advisers that we first felt truly able to forgive others, no matter how deeply we felt they had wronged us. Our moral inventory had persuaded us that all-round forgiveness was desirable, but it was only when we resolutely tackled Step Five that we inwardly knew we'd be able to receive forgiveness and give it, too.


What a great feeling forgiveness is! What a revelation about my emotional, psychological and spiritual nature. All it takes is willingness to forgive; God will do the rest.


Patient Progress toward Peacefulness

Patience is a particular requirement. Without it, you can destroy in an hour what it might take you weeks to repair.
--Charlie W. Shedd

Enjoying the moment, in its fullest, makes possible a peaceful and patient pace. Progress is guaranteed if our minds are centered in the present, on the only event deserving of our attention. We can be certain that error and frustration will haunt us if our attentions are divided.

Patience will see us through a troubled time, but how much easier it is to savor patience when it's accompanied by faith. We can know and fully trust that all is well - that our lives are on course - that individual experiences are exactly what we need at this moment. However, faith makes the knowing easier and the softness of the patient heart eases us through the times of challenge and uncertainty.

Patience slows me down long enough to notice another, and to be grateful for the gifts of the moment. Patience promises me the power to move forward with purpose. Today's fruits will be in proportion to my patience.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Today's meditation comes from the book
The Promise of a New Day: A Book of Daily Meditations
by Karen Casey & Martha Vanceburg C 1983, 1991
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Reliance Not Defiance

"'As psychiatrists have often observed defiance is the outstanding characteristic of
many an alcoholic. When we encountered AA, the fallacy of our defiance was revealed.

At no time had we asked what God's will was for us; instead we had been telling Him what it ought to be. No man, we saw, could believe in God and defy Him, too. Belief meant reliance, not defiance.

In AA we saw the fruits of this belief: men and women spared from alcohol's final catastrophe.'"

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 31

Freed from Prisons

As Bill Sees It
Freed Prisoners, p. 234
Letter to a prison group:

"Every A.A. has been, in a sense, a prisoner. Each of us has walled himself out of society; each has known social stigma. The lot of you folks has been even more difficult: In your case, society has also built a wall around you. But there isn't any really essential difference, a fact that practically all A.A.'s now know.

"Therefore, when you members come into the world of A.A. on the outside, you can be sure that no one will care a fig that you have done time. What you are trying to be--not what you were--is all that counts to us."

"Mental and emotional difficulties are sometimes very hard to take while we are trying to maintain sobriety. Yet we do see, in the long run, that transcendence over such problems is the real test of the A.A. way of living. Adversity gives us more opportunity to grow than does comfort or success."

1. Letter, 1949
2. Letter, 1964

Acceptance is the Answer

"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake.

Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes."

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 449,417 4th Edition

Problems are Gifts

Today's thought is:

In life, the difficult periods are the best periods to gain experience and shore up determination. As a result, my mental status is much improved because of them.
--The Dalai Lama

Life is a process of meeting and solving problems. Solving problems is a way that we test and develop our spiritual muscle. Think of outstanding people such as Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, and Helen Keller. Lincoln faced the problem of a divided country; Gandhi, an oppressed India; Keller, her personal handicaps. In rising to meet their vision, courage, fortitude, and compassion, they became great not in spite of, but because of their problems.

Problems often come to us in the form of crisis. The Chinese glyph for the word crisis contains two symbols -- one means danger and the other opportunity. When an obstacle is before you, use it to create a beneficial result. As with Lincoln, Gandhi, and Keller, let your problems bring out your greatness.

Rather than pray for a life that is problem-free, ask for one that is solution-full. Instead of requesting that God remove the mountain before you, seek the strength to climb it. Remember that the best students always get the toughest problems. Love the problems you have, and their priceless gifts will be yours.

You are reading from the book:
Listening to Your Inner Voice by Douglas Bloch
Copyright 1991, by Douglas Bloch

May 22, 2005

A Sense of Clarity, Direction and Peace

Our Higher Power's will

"God's will for us becomes our own true will for ourselves."
Basic Text, p. 46

The Twelve Steps are a path to spiritual awakening. This awakening takes the form of a developing relationship with a loving Higher Power. Each succeeding step strengthens that relationship. As we continue to work the steps, the relationship grows, becoming ever more important in our lives.

In the course of working the steps, we make a personal decision to allow a loving Higher Power to direct us. That guidance is always available; we need only the patience to seek it. Often, that guidance manifests itself in the inner wisdom we call our conscience.

When we open our hearts wide enough to sense our Higher Power's guidance, we feel a calm serenity. This peace is the beacon that guides us through our troubled feelings, providing clear direction when our minds are busy and confused. When we seek and follow God's will in our lives, we find the contentment and joy that often elude us when we strike out on our own. Fear or doubt may plague us when we attempt to carry out our Higher Power's will, but we've learned to trust the moment of clarity. Our greatest happiness lies in following the will of our loving God.

Just for today: I will seek to strengthen my relationship with my Higher Power. I know from experience that knowledge of my Higher Power's will provides a sense of clarity, direction, and peace. pg. 142

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

May 19, 2005

One Day at a Time Recovery


I had the shakes, I cried all the time, I couldn't sleep, I craved sweets, but I would eat them and get sick. Fortunately, God didn't give up on me even when I was ready to give up on myself.

I went to a meeting every day for ninety days, got a sponsor, and didn't drink one day at a time. Slowly, God began to fill that hole in my heart with His goodness and mercy.

AA Grapevine, June 2005, p. 22

Thought to Ponder . . .

Don't give up before the miracle happens.

This is What Forgiveness Is

One forgives to the degree that one loves.
--La Rochefaucould

We all get hurt by other people sometimes. When this happens, we have choices. We can get angry and stay that way. We can act like it didn't hurt and try to forget it. We can act like a sad sack and hold a grudge. Or we can forgive.

We first have to think about how someone hurt us. It often helps to talk to the person, to tell the person that he or she hurt us. We then tell the person what we'd like from him or her to help set our relationship straight. Then we let go.

This is what forgiveness is: (1) loving ourselves enough to stand up for ourselves, (2) loving others enough to point out their behavior, and (3) letting go.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, help me lovingly forgive those who have hurt me.

Action for the Day

I will list five persons who have hurt me. Have I forgiven them? I will talk to my sponsor about it today.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Today's meditation comes from the book
Keep It Simple
Daily Meditations for 12-Step Beginnings & Renewal
By Anonymous C 1989

May 18, 2005

Finding Healing Places

Healing Places

There is a place in each of us that wants to heal, that can heal, that will heal. It's a peaceful place, one of nourishment, replenishment, peace, safety, comfort and joy. It's a place of love and acceptance. It's a place of forgiveness, honesty, openness, nurturing, and kindness. You can find it quickly if that's what you're seeking. You will recognize it instantly because of how it feels. It will bring you back to center. It will bring you back to calm. It will bring you back to joy.

Find a place of healing. Then go there often. They are yours for the asking, yours for the seeking. Healing places are an important part of the journey."

by Melody Beattie ©

Making Amends Can Be Simple

Just for Today
May 18
Friends And Amends—Keeping It Simple

"We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

Step Nine

In every relationship, we don't always handle things the way we would have hoped. But friendships don't have to end when we make mistakes; instead, we can make amends. If we are sincerely willing to accept the responsibilities involved in friendship and make the amends we owe, those friendships can become stronger and richer than ever.

Making amends is simple. We approach the person we have harmed and say, "I was wrong." Sometimes we avoid getting to the point, evading an admission of our own part in the affair. But that frustrates the intent of the Ninth Step. To make effective amends, we have to keep it simple: we admit our part, and leave it at that.

There will be times when our friends won't accept our amends. Perhaps they need time to process what has happened. If that is the case, we must give them that time. After all, we were the ones in the wrong, not them. We have done our part; the rest is out of our hands.

Just for today: I want to be a responsible friend. I will strive to keep it simple when making amends.

pg. 144 postamble();

Good Advice

Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet. Make all your friends feel there is something special in them.

Look at the sunny side of everything. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give everyone a smile.

Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others. Be too big for worry and too noble for anger.

--Christian D. Larsen

May 17, 2005

It's Never "All Or Nothing"- We Have Choices

In time of crisis, or even in time of discomfort, know that you always have choices. You may not realize that you have options; you may not see the whole picture.

Take time to see the situation in a different light. Nothing is ever all or nothing. There’s no situation that’s merely black-and-white. We’re in a Creation that’s infinitely variable. There’s always another way.

Take your time, get creative, relax and analyze your possibilities. Share your feelings and needs with another person: a friend, counselor, or spiritual guide. Then pray for God to show you the way.

Give it all to God, and be open to see and experience new realities.

From What Are You TrulyNorris Chumley, author of The Joy of Weight Loss --

May 16, 2005

Guidelines for Forgiveness

"The poets and mystics among us have long known and declared that the act of forgiveness releases great healing power.

Author and minister Charles Fillmore recommended forgiveness as the most effective way of restoring inner harmony and balance: "There is a mental treatment guaranteed to cure every ill that flesh is heir to: Sit for half an hour every night and forgive everyone against whom you have any ill will or antipathy," he wrote.

While forgiveness has always been an important concept in religion and ethics, only recently have psychologists begun to discover its powers as a psychotherapeutic tool. In three separate studies, people who had not resolved the wrongs done to them - college students, elderly women, and incest survivors - all improved when therapists helped them learn to forgive. Although an increasing number of counselors recommend that we forgive those who have hurt us, many people find forgiveness difficult to offer. Here are 10 guidelines to help extend forgiveness and ease resentment.

1. Educate yourself about forgiveness. "Forgive," according to Webster's New World Dictionary, means: "to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; pardon; to overlook an offense; to cancel a debt." Thus, the goal of forgiveness is to let go of a hurt and move ahead with life. Visit a library and research books or magazine articles on forgiveness so that you understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy forgiveness. For example, Robert Enright, Ph.D., an education psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, stresses that true forgiveness is not:

-Forgetting. If the hurt wounded you enough to require forgiveness, you may always have a memory of it.
-Excusing or condoning. The wrong should not be denied, minimized, or justified.
-Reconciling. You can forgive the offender and still choose not to reestablish the relationship.
-Weakness. You do not become a doormat or oblivious to cruelty.

2. Spend a few minutes each day cleaning out your thinking...

3. Practice on small hurts...

4. Challenge the "shoulds" in your thinking. Forgiveness is much easier when you give up the irrational belief which fuels your frustration, anger, and hostility - the expectation that other people will always act in the way you want. Beware of the "shoulds" in your thinking and speaking:

-He shouldn't have done this to me.
-She shouldn't act that way.
-My daughter should have known better.
-My son should be more attentive to me.
-I've worked hard and I should have been rewarded.

Whenever you find the word "should" in your mind and talk, challenge yourself. Tell yourself it is unrealistic to expect that people will always act decently and respectfully toward you. Remind yourself that everyone is fallible and capable of making a mistake.

5. Understand that resentment has a high price tag... Whenever a hostile or hateful thought enters your mind, try to be fully aware of the harm that resentment can do to you, even making you ill. Let that knowledge further motivate you to forgive and let go.

6. Remember: Lack of forgiveness is giving others power over you. Withholding forgiveness and nursing resentment simply allow another person to have control over your well-being. It is always a mistake to let such negative emotions influence your living. Forgive, and you will be able to direct your life in positive thoughts and actions...

7. Recognize the ripple effect of harboring a grudge...

8. Bury the grudge - literally. Write a letter to the person who hurt you but don't mail it. Express fully, clearly, honestly how you feel and why that person's act hurt you and made you angry. Conclude with the bold declaration that you have forgiven him or her. Then, bury the letter in a potted plant or somewhere in your yard. This is a powerful symbolic exercise which many people have found to be extremely therapeutic.

9. Try instant forgiveness...

10. Recall repeatedly this one vital fact: forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. A former inmate of a Nazi concentration camp was visiting a friend who shared the ordeal with him.

"Have you forgiven the Nazis?" he asked his friend.


"Well, I haven't. I'm still consumed with hatred for them," the other man declared.

"In that case," said his friend gently, "they still have you in prison."

That story points out this reality: ultimately, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Bitterness and anger imprison you emotionally. Forgiveness sets you free.

From Victor Parachin, 10 Guidelines for Forgiveness.

May the Force Be With Us

A.A. Thought for the Day

Fellowship is a big part of staying sober. The doctors call it group therapy. We never go to an A.A. meeting without taking something out of it. Sometimes we don't feel like going to a meeting and we think of excuses for not going. But we usually end up by going anyway and we always get some lift out of every meeting. Meetings are part of keeping sober. And we get more out of a meeting if we try to contribute something to it. Am I contributing my share at meetings?

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

May 15, 2005

Humility Means Thinking of Yourself Less


The subject of humility is a difficult one. Humility is not thinking less of myself than I ought to; it is acknowledging that I do certain things well, it is accepting a compliment graciously.

God can only do for me what He can do through me. Humility is the result of knowing that God is the doer, not me.

c. 1990 AAWS, Daily Reflections, p. 199 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Thought to Ponder . . .

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.

Spiritual Practices Lead to Love

"It doesn't matter what spiritual practice you do as long as it takes you into your heart and helps you connect with the Source of Love. If it does that, then stay with it throughout all the twists and turns of your life. Hold to your practice. It is your lifeline. When storms come up unexpectedly, it keeps you afloat. Ever so gradually, it brings you home."

Paul Ferrini

From Page 164 of the Big Book

Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.

May God bless you and keep you -- until then.

What is Sponsorship?

"In A.A., sponsor and sponsored meet as equals, just as Bill and Dr. Bob did. Essentially, the process of sponsorship is this: An alcoholic who has made some progress in the recovery program shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic, who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through A.A."

c. 1983, Questions & Answers on Sponsorship
(A.A. Pamphlet P-15), page 7

A Spiritual Program of Recovery


"Alcoholism is a grievous and often fatal malady of the mind and body. We have found that these awful conditions invariably bring on the third phase of our malady. This is the sickness of the spirit; a sickness for which there must necessarily be a spiritual remedy.

We AA's recognize this in the first five words of Step Twelve. Those words are:
'Having had a spiritual awakening...' Here we name the remedy for our threefold sickness of body, mind, and soul."

Bill W., The Language of the Heart, p. 297

Thought to Consider . .

"When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically."

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 64

May 14, 2005

Remember To Live Your Life Today

Today is a beautiful day to be alive, to be the person you are. A beautiful day, simply, to be. Don't waste energy trying to possess or control. Don't let yourself be burdened by things that have happened in the past.

Don't worry about being "right," or about impressing anyone. Focus instead on creating things that have never before existed. On adding value to the lives of others. On finding ways to express the unique person that you are.

Feel good by simply deciding to, rather than by abusing yourself or others. Look at everything that happens as an opportunity for growth.

Accept and be thankful for the abundance that is yours. Dust off your dreams and find a way to follow them. Life is precious and beautiful. Every breath you take is an opportunity to live life to the fullest.

--Ralph S. Marston, Jr.

May 11, 2005

Honesty is a Key to Recovery

Father Leo's Daily Meditation

"Where is there dignity unless there is honesty?"
--Marcus Cicero

The cornerstone of my life today is honesty. It is the quality I most desire in my life because I believe that with honesty comes a knowledge of God, self and relationships. It is the key to my recovery from addiction. It is the key to the meaning of spirituality. Honesty affords me hope for tomorrow.

As an alcoholic I was a dishonest man. I was not just dishonest because I told lies and manipulated the truth, I was dishonest because I refused to risk the journey into self. My dishonesty was not about what I said but what I did not say! Not so much about what I did but what I did not do. My dishonesty stopped me from discovering my God-given dignity.

Today I risk the journey into self and I am discovering more about God "as I understand Him". My level of honesty helps me to be happy and relaxed with who I am today.

"Be still and know that I am God." In the silence of self-honesty may I know myself.

Developing Sober Habits

Our drinking was connected with many habits-- big and little. Some of them were thinking habits,or things we felt inside ourselves. Others were doing habits -- things we did, actions we took.

In getting used to not drinking, we have found that we needed new habits to take the place of those old ones. After we spent a few months practicing these new, sober habits or ways of acting and thinking, they become almost second nature to most of us, as drinking used to be.

c. 1998 AAWS, Living Sober, p. 1 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

From an Old-Time Akron AA Meeting Introduction

"We are gathered here because we are faced with the fact that we are powerless over alcohol and unable to do anything about it without the help of a Power greater than ourselves.

We feel that each person's religious views, if any, are his own affair. The simple purpose of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is to show what may be done to enlist the aid of a Power greater than ourselves regardless of what our individual conception of that Power may be.

In order to form a habit of depending upon and referring all we do to that Power, we must at first apply ourselves with some diligence. By often repeating these acts, they become habitual and the help rendered becomes natural to us.

We have all come to know that as alcoholics we are suffering from a serious illness for which medicine has no cure. Our condition may be the result of an allergy which makes us different from other people. It has never been by any treatment with which we are familiar, permanently cured. The only relief we have to offer is absolute abstinence, the second meaning of A. A.

There are no dues or fees. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Each member squares his debt by helping others to recover.

We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree and on which we can join in harmonious action. Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our program. Those who do not recover are people who will not or simply cannot give themselves to this simple program.

Now you may like this program or you may not, but the fact remains, it works. It is our only chance to recover.

There is a vast amount of fun in the A.A. fellowship. Some people might be shocked at our seeming worldliness and levity but just underneath there lies a deadly earnestness and a full realization that we must put first things first and with each of us the first thing is our alcoholic problem. To drink is to die. Faith must work twenty-four hours a day in and through us or we perish.

In order to set our tone for this meeting I ask that we bow our heads in a few moments of silent prayer and meditation.

I wish to remind you that whatever is said at this meeting expresses our own individual opinion as of today and as of up to this moment. We do not speak for A.A. as a whole and you are free to agree or disagree as you see fit, in fact. it is suggested that you pay no attention to anything which might not he reconcilied with what is in the A. A. Big Book.

If vou dont have a Big Book. it's time you bought you one. Read it. study it, live with it, loan it, scatter it, and then learn from it what it means to be an A.A."

May 10, 2005

Letting Go of Shortcomings

Just For Today
May 10 Becoming entirely ready

"We... get a good look at what these defects are doing to our lives. We begin to long for freedom from these defects." Basic Text, p. 33

Becoming entirely ready to have our defects of character removed can be a long process, often taking place over the course of a lifetime. Our state of readiness grows in direct proportion to our awareness of these defects and the destruction they cause.

We may have trouble seeing the devastation our defects are inflicting on our lives and the lives of those around us. If this is the case, we would do well to ask our Higher Power to reveal those flaws which stand in the way of our progress.

As we let go of our shortcomings and find their influence waning, we'll notice that a loving God replaces those defects with quality attributes. Where we were fearful, we find courage. Where we were selfish, we find generosity. Our delusions about ourselves will disappear to be replaced by self-honesty and self-acceptance.

Yes, becoming entirely ready means we will change. Each new level of readiness brings new gifts. Our basic nature changes, and we soon find our readiness is no longer sparked only by pain but by a desire to grow spiritually.

Just for today: I will increase my state of readiness by becoming more aware of my shortcomings. pg. 136

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

Your Self as Your Sanctuary

"It is natural to become attached to the people, places, and things in our lives that provide us with a sense of consistency and stability, but it is important to remember that no matter how reliable they are for a time, they are subject, as all things are, to the law of impermanence. As the world around us changes, one thing we can always count on is our relationship with ourselves.

This may seem obvious, but we often forget to turn to ourselves when we need support and love, looking instead to outside sources. We can feel disappointed when we don't get what we need from the people in our lives. While receiving love and support from outside ourselves is valuable, it is also vital to remember that we carry within us an unlimited source of love and support. We can always turn within and find what we need, taking our rightful seat in the sanctuary of our Selves.

Not everyone has easy access to this inner haven, but have no doubt that it is there. It is often necessary to spend time alone in order to find it. Make a conscious effort to take time to explore your inner space. Even if only for five minutes a day, close your eyes and breathe deeply, tuning into your inner being. Greet yourself as a trusted friend and relax into the experience of just being there. The more time you spend in this space, the more you will understand and trust yourself.

Affirmations can also help return you to the strength and support within. Remind yourself: No matter what happens, I will always love and support myself. No matter who rejects me, I will always be here for myself. I am the source of my own safety and abundance. As you say these powerful words, you will see their truth, and you will know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you are the most reliable friend and the safest haven you could ever want."

From the DailyOm

Try Not to Procrastinate

"Today I try to do all that I have set myself to do in a given day. I make a list of things that I need to do and a list of those things that I want to do - the things I "need" to do usually take priority.

This was not always the case. As a drinking alcoholic my life was littered with promises that were never kept, intentions that were never honored, appointments and meetings that did not happen. I pushed everything into tomorrow - and tomorrow never came.

My understanding of spirituality involves a responsibility for those things that I need to do. When I awake, I thank God for my sleep and I make a silent intention not to drink today; then I face my responsibilities. I separate my "needs" from my "wants" and I remember that I have a responsibility to other people: family, friends and colleagues. Today I am learning to live in my day.

Lord, may I do the things I should do and may I find time for those things I want to do."

From Reverend Leo Booth.

Roadblocks to Change are Barriers to Recovery

A disorder means out of order, not the way things should be. Are we convinced that addictive behavior is counter to the way we are intended to function? Or do we harbor, somewhere in the back of our minds, the idea that we'll never change our habits?

Fear of change, unwillingness to change, and lack of confidence in our ability to change are all roadblocks to recovery. Believing in our capabilities is the first step toward clearing those roadblocks and realizing our potential in recovery.

Somewhere along the line we developed an addiction, but we don't have to be under its power forever. We can think about what a Higher Power would want for us, and we can decide to move toward that positive goal.

The roadblocks of fear, unwillingness, and lack of confidence will give way as we immerse ourselves in the Twelve Step program. We need help, and we have help. We give help, and we receive it. Changing to constructive habits may be slow sometimes, but it's always possible.

If I'm faced with a roadblock today, I will call on my spiritual resources.

You are reading from the book:
Inner Harvest by Elisabeth L.
Copyright 1990 by Hazelden Foundation.

May 09, 2005

Rid Yourself of Useless Fear

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."
--Franklin Delano Roosevelt

This is a very true message. Fear can really set you back and keep you there. Fear can ruin your life, if you let it.

There is, of course, healthy fear (which I call caution). The kind that keeps you safe, like from fire, or falling, or your "sixth sense" of protection. This kind of fear is a wonderful tool.

But the kind of fear that’s just a bad, irrational habit from childhood, the one that prevents you from changing or doing your best, the fear that freezes you in your tracks – is worthless. It exists only for itself. It must do anything it can in order to preserve itself. It will surface at the worst of times.

I recommend just putting that kind of useless fear aside. Surrender it to God, and ask for it to be relieved.

Let it burn in the fire of your energetic, productive, growing self.

From The Joy of Weight Loss from Norris Chumley--

May 07, 2005

Dr. Twerski on Spirituality

We can enhance & deepen our lives thru developing our spirituality. What can we do to enhance our spirituality? In order to do so, we must understand just what spirituality is.

The human being is a composite creature, comprised of a body + "something else." The body is essentially an animal body. What is the "something else?"

The "something else" is the sum of all the features, in addition to intellect, that are unique to the human being, which animals in the wild lack. For example, human beings can learn from the history of past generations; animals can't.

People can reflect on the purpose & goal of life; animals can't. People can think about what they must do to become better people. I doubt that animals think consciously of self-improvement. Human beings can deny gratification of physical drives for moral & ethical reasons; animals can't.

Except for maternal instinct, animals in the wild probably don't sacrifice of their comfort & possessions to help a strange animal. People can be altruistic. The aggregate of all the unique features of a human being that distinguishes man from animals is what I call the "spirit."

If a person implements the elements of the spirit, he is being "spiritual." Spirituality, then, is being & becoming the finest human being one can be.

Rabbi Abraham Twerski, M.D. is a nationally acknowledged expert in the field of alcoholism and chemical dependency, and is currently the Medical Director of the Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh , as well as an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The author of several books, Dr. Twerski has written extensively and lectured world-wide about the problem of chemical dependency

A Spiritual Program

The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God's universe.

The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.

c. 2001 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 25

There is no "spiritual side" to the program of AA; the entire program is spiritual. . .

Some of the evidences of a spiritual awakening are: maturity; an end to habitual hatred; the ability to love and to be loved in return; the ability to believe, even without understanding, that Something lets the sun rise in the morning and set at night, makes the leaves come out in the spring and drop off in the fall, and gives the birds song. Why not let this Something be God?

c. 1973 AAWS, Came to Believe. . ., p. 48 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

The Great Illusion


"Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people.

The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death."

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 30

Thought to Consider . . .

When a person tries to control their drinking they have already lost control.

May 06, 2005

A Primer on Meditation

"Meditation techniques have been practiced for thousands of years. Originally the goal was to help individuals deepen their understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. And for many, meditation continues to be a spiritual and religious practice. Variations of meditative practice are found in all of the world's religions.

But for a growing number of people, meditation is about clearing your mind and focusing on the moment. So how do you meditate and where do you find the inspiration to quiet your mind? Follow these steps to explore different types of meditation.

May 05, 2005

One Day at a Time

I have the luxury of being able to cherish the memory of yesterday, to live today with serenity, to wait for tomorrow. I find great contentment in just knowing where I was and where I am.

c. 1986 The AA Grapevine, Inc., The Best of the Grapevine [vol. 2], p. 21

Thought to Ponder . . .

I am grateful for this minute. My eternity may be in it.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .

S I T = Stay In Today.

Acceptance and Action, Spirituality, Sharing

From "The Opening to the Spiritual World:"

"This is the crux of the program and the crux of living: acceptance and action ...

There is no materialism in AA -- just spirituality. If we take care of our inner needs, our other needs will be provided for.

"I have come to believe that the gift of sobriety is what gives value and dignity to my life. It is this that I have to share, and it grows as it is shared."

c. 1973, Came to Believe..., page 4

Prayer for Families Torn by Addiction

We pray, O God of hope,
for all families
whose lives are torn and disrupted
by drugs and alcohol.
Enable them to identify the illness.
Strengthen them to seek help.
Bless them with the power of your love,
which imparts transformation and wholeness
to those who trust in your name.
Grant that as they walk this tortured road,
they may journey together
and bind close in the bond of love.


- Vienna Cobb Anderson

The God of Stability and Order

"I look at the world and I discover an order, a pattern to life, a balance within the system. I do not believe in a God of chaos. I find a spiritual stability in creation. Night follows day; people, regardless of culture or creed, are remarkably similar in feelings and needs; death makes way for life. The God who created this world has given the seeds of hope within the living of life. I am the key to the understanding of the universe.

In this observation I find hope. If I continue to go with the flow of life, I will find peace and stability. It is only when I fight the system that I experience pain.

May the God of order and stability continue to bring balance into my life by the spiritual changes I continue to make."

From Reverend Leo Booth.

We Choose Not to Drink

From "There Was an Answer:"

"One of the first things we heard in A.A. was that we had a choice. We could choose not to drink. We could tell the people in A.A. knew about drinking. But they also knew about NOT drinking. We decided to listen to what they had to say."

c. 1987, Memo to an Inmate Who May Be
an Alcoholic (A.A. Pamphlet P-9), page 9

Forgiveness Related to Spirituality and Emotional Maturity

"The ability to forgive someone depends on a number of factors, including the forgiver’s spirituality...
Positive feelings such as empathy, sympathy, compassion and altruistic love can erode the negative, and these feelings can play powerful roles...
True forgiveness means more than just accepting an apology...'True forgiveness requires fundamental feelings of security. We have to feel safe and be safe in order to offer forgiveness'...
And getting safe is tough...”
Forgiving also involves accepting limitations, offering empathy and possessing emotional maturity...'More emotionally mature people are more willing to forgive because they are less needy and, therefore, more secure..'"

Read more in this article from Integrative Spirituality.

May 02, 2005

Without Faith, We are Dead Indeed

"Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic!

For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that."

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Bill's Story, pg. 14~

Random Quotes

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow".


Gratitude is an ascending reflection of a descending grace.

-Beverly Novak

Let us take things as we find them: let us not attempt to distort them into what they are not. We cannot make facts. All our wishing cannot change them. We must use them.

-John Henry Cardinal Newman

One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.

-Henry Miller

May 01, 2005

DailyOM - Asking For Help

"We like to be helpful. We volunteer at schools, shelters, food banks. We give millions each year to charitable organizations. On a more intimate level we make chicken soup for sick friends, dog sit for our neighbors, even stop and help strangers with car trouble.

Yet many of us are reluctant to ask for help when we need it. Any number of reasons may keep us from reaching out and asking or even accepting assistance. Pride, embarrassment, not wanting to be an imposition, or fear of rejection can keep us from seeking help, even when we very well may be in need.

Needing help is not a weakness. It may be a challenge and a risk to ask for help, but that gives us one more opportunity to grow and learn. Reaching out to others teaches us many things about ourselves. Asking for help requires examining our own needs and accepting areas where there is room for improvement in our lives. We are called to put aside our egos and admit that we are not totally self-sufficient.

There is certainly no shame in needing assistance setting up a new computer or asking someone to hem a pair of pants for us. There are times when we may need even more help, someone to drive us to the doctor, lend us money for an emergency, or talk to us when we're down. When we ask for help, we come to understand that we all need each other. And, allowing others to help us offers an opportunity for our family, friends, even strangers to feel useful and appreciated. Like we want to be helpful, so do others.

Reaching out for assistance teaches us to trust. Whether we call upon people, animals, angels, and/or the universe, we can believe our needs will be answered. We are ever reminded that there is compassion and that we are loved and cared for. Think of ways that you could use a little help in your life and reach out and ask. Let someone be of service to you today. Give and world gives back. Allow that to happen.

From DailyOMp

Making Friends with Yourself

If you make friends with yourself you will never be alone.
--Maxwell Maltz

Sometimes, we frantically adopt other people's problems to avoid confronting our own. Hiding from ourselves and our problems solves nothing. Yet some of us are so frightened by the challenge life has thrown before us that we are reluctant to confront it head on.

Most important is being able to face ourselves, especially when we are alone. We can't always hide in the hustle and bustle of a crowd. But we can find a comfort level within ourselves, regardless of what we face. Then, when our spirituality is deepened and we understand our own struggles - and only then - can we assist, support, and share with others.

My awareness of myself has been enhanced by my new life circumstances. The deeper I dig, the more soul I find. The more soul I find, the more I can share myself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Today's meditation comes from the book Finding the Joy in Today by Sefra Kobrin Pitzele C 1988

Who Really Gets Better?

"We can also use the steps to improve our attitudes. Our best thinking got us into trouble. We recognize the need for change." Basic Text, p. 53

When new in recovery, most of us had at least one person we just couldn't stand. We thought that person was the rudest, most obnoxious person in the program. We knew there was something we could do, some principle of recovery we could practice to get over the way we felt about this person—but what? We asked our sponsor for guidance. We were probably assured, with an amused smile, that if we just kept coming back, we'd see the person get better That made sense to us. We believed that the steps of NA worked in the lives of everyone. If they could work for us, they could work for this horrible person, too.

Time passed, and at some point we noticed that the person didn't seem as rude or obnoxious as before. In fact, he or she had become downright tolerable, maybe even likeable. We got a pleasant jolt as we realized who had really gotten better. Because we had kept coming back, because we had kept working the steps, our perception of this person had changed. The person who'd plagued us had become "tolerable" because we'd developed some tolerance; he or she had become "likeable" because we'd developed the ability to love.

So who really gets better? We do! As we practice the program, we gain a whole new outlook on those around us by gaining a new outlook on ourselves.

Just for today:
As I get better, so will others. Today, I will practice tolerance and try to love those I meet.

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

Myths About Changes in Behavior

"Myth: Crisis is a powerful impetus for change

Reality: Ninety percent of patients who've had coronary bypasses don't sustain changes in the unhealthy lifestyles that worsen their severe heart disease and greatly threaten their lives.

Myth: Change is motivated by fear

Reality: It's too easy for people to go into denial of the bad things that might happen to them. Compelling, positive visions of the future are a much stronger inspiration for change.

Myth: The facts will set us free

Reality: Our thinking is guided by narratives, not facts. When a fact doesn't fit our conceptual "frames" -- the metaphors we use to make sense of the world -- we reject it. Also, change is inspired best by emotional appeals rather than factual statements.

Myth: Small, gradual changes are always easier to make and sustain

Reality: Radical, sweeping changes are often easier because they quickly yield benefits.

Myth: We can't change because our brains become "hardwired" early in life

Reality: Our brains have extraordinary "plasticity," meaning that we can continue learning complex new things throughout our lives -- assuming we remain truly active and engaged."

From Five Myths About Changing Behavior from FastCompany: