March 29, 2006

Staying Grounded

1. Live simply and live deliberately. By choosing not to get caught up in the details of this fast-paced world, you are doing your part to slow down the . You will also discover that you have more time to enjoy being alive.

2. Stay in touch with yourself. Soul searching, meditation, and journaling are just a few of the many activities you can take part in to stay aware and learn as much as you can about your emotions, reactions, likes, dislikes, dreams, and fears. Having a solid sense of self gives you a firm foundation for living in this world.

3. Support or teach others as often as you can. This can help you form connections with people while also giving you an opportunity to make the world a better place.

4. Consciously choose what you will allow into your being. The media bombards us with visions of hate, war, and pain. Be judicious about what you read, watch, and listen to.

5. Acknowledge the beauty that resides around you. Whether you live in a sprawling metropolis or a stereotypical suburb, there are natural and man-made wonders just waiting to be discovered by you.

6. Nurture your ties to your tribe. If you don't have one, create a community that you can belong to. Modern life can be isolating. When you have a tribe, you have a circle that you are a part of. Its members - loved ones, friends, or neighbors - can be a source of support, caring, guidance, and companionship.

7. See the larger picture. Remember that the way that you choose to live is not the only way to live. Widen your perspective by exploring other modes of being through research, travel, and discussion.

8. Embrace the challenges that life presents to you, and challenge yourself often. After a time, even the most exciting jobs or lifestyles can seem routine. Never stop assimilating new knowledge about whatever you are doing, and your life will never seem dull.

9. Move your body. In this busy world, it can be easy to live a sedentary life. Movement reacquaints us with our bodies and connects us to the earth in a visceral way. It also restores our vitality.

10. Make time for stillness, silence, and solitude. The world can be noisy, and we are subject to all kinds of noises nearly every waking hour. We are also often "on the go" and unable to relax. Being alone in a peaceful place and making time for quiet can help you stay in touch with yourself.

From the DailyOm

Tips for Reducing Stress

"The National Mental Health Association offers the following tips for reducing or controlling stress:

Be realistic. Don't take on everything; learn to say no. Set realistic goals for yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try eliminating an activity that is not absolutely necessary. Ask yourself, "What really needs to be done? Is the deadline realistic?" No one is perfect, so do not expect perfection from yourself or others. And ask for help if you need it.

Meditate. It only takes about 10–20 minutes to get a benefit from meditating. These few moments of quiet reflection may bring relief from stress as well as increase your tolerance to it. And it is simple to do: sit quietly, listen to peaceful music, relax, and try and think of pleasant things or think of nothing.

Visualize. Take a moment to picture how you can manage a stressful situation more calmly and successfully. This can work with just about anything, whether it is an important presentation at work or moving to a new place or taking an exam. A visual rehearsal can boost self-confidence and help you have a more positive attitude toward a difficult task.

Take one thing at a time. When you start to feel overwhelmed, try taking one task at a time. Make a list of things you need to do. Put the most urgent task at the top. Once you have accomplished it, cross it off and move on to the next one. The positive feeling of crossing things off can help keep you motivated.

Exercise. Regular exercise is a great way to reduce stress, and it benefits the body as well as the mind. Just 20–30 minutes of physical activity a day can do the trick.

Get involved in hobbies. Take a break from the stressors of life and do something you really enjoy. Try gardening, painting, or reading. Schedule time to indulge your interests.

Practice a healthful lifestyle. Eating healthfully will make a difference. Avoiding things like smoking, excessive alcohol, and caffeine will help as well. Make sure you get adequate rest and exercise, and that you balance work and play.

Share your feelings. Talking about things can help you feel better. A conversation with someone can help you relax. And listening to someone else can take the focus off of yourself—something we all need to do every now and then. Stay in touch with your family and friends; don't try to cope alone.

Give in occasionally. You don't always have to be right. Be flexible. Be willing to compromise. If you do, others may meet you halfway. If you know you are right, stand your ground. But be calm and rational. And listen and make allowances for other's opinions.

Go easy with criticism. When you expect too much from yourself or others, you may end up feeling frustrated, let down, and disappointed. Remember that each person is unique and everyone, including yourself, has shortcomings. But each person also has many beautiful qualities to share with the world."

From Beliefnet: Health and Healing.

March 28, 2006

Facing Our Feelings

"We may fear that being in touch with our feelings will trigger an overwhelming chain reaction of pain and panic." Basic Text p. 29

While we were using, many of us were unable or unwilling to feel many emotions. If we were happy, we used to make us happier. If we were angry or depressed, we used to mask those feelings. In continuing this pattern throughout our active addiction, we became so emotionally confused that we weren't sure what normal emotions were anymore.

After being in recovery for some time, we find that the emotions we had suppressed suddenly begin to surface. We may find that we do not know how to identify our feelings. What we may be feeling as rage may only be frustration. What we perceive as suicidal depression may simply be sadness. These are the times when we need to seek the assistance of our sponsor or other members of NA. Going to a meeting and talking about what is happening in our lives can help us to face our feelings instead of running from them in fear.

Just for today:
I will not run from the uncomfortable emotions I may experience. I will use the support of my friends in recovery to help me face my emotions.

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

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March 27, 2006

A New World Came Into View

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. Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend. Would I have it? Of course I would!

c. 2001 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 12
AA Thought for the Day

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March 24, 2006

All Doors are Open to Us

"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.

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March 23, 2006

the Power of the Positive

Our thoughts are not simply ethereal pieces of information that enter our minds and then disappear. The words and ideas that we think can shape our lives and drive us toward success and happiness or failure and distress. How you think and feel can have a profound effect on your ability to recognize opportunity, how well you perform, and the outcome of the goals that you've set for yourself.

When you maintain an optimistic outlook and make an effort to harbor only positive thoughts, you begin to create the circumstances conducive to you achieving what you desire. You feel in control and few of life's challenges seem truly overwhelming because it is in your nature to expect a positive conclusion. An optimistic mind is also an honest one. Staying positive does not mean that you ignore difficulties or disregard limitations. Instead, it means spending time focusing only on the thoughts that are conducive to your well-being and progress.

Positive thinking dramatically increases your chances of success in any endeavor. When you're sure that you are worthy and that achievement is within your grasp, you start to relax and look for solutions rather than dwelling on problems. You are more likely to imagine positive situations or outcomes and disregard the thoughts related to giving up, failure, or roadblocks. What the mind expects, it finds.

If you anticipate joy, good health, happiness, and accomplishment, then you will experience each one. Thinking positively may sound like a simple shift in attention - and it is - but it is a mind-set that must be developed. Whenever a negative thought enters your mind, try immediately replacing it with a constructive or optimistic one. With persistence, you can condition your mind to judge fleeting, self-defeating thoughts as inconsequential and dismiss them.

It is within your power to become as happy, content, or successful as you make up your mind to be. Staying positive may not have an immediate effect on your situation, but it will likely have a profound and instantaneous effect on your mood and the quality of your experiences. In order for positive thinking to change your life, it must become your predominant mind-set. Once you are committed to embracing positive thinking, you'll start believing that everything that you want is within your grasp.

From the

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March 20, 2006

Will Power and Choice

"We A.A.'s know the futility of trying to break the drinking obsession by will power alone. However, we do know that it takes great willingness to adopt A.A.'s Twelve Steps as a way of life that can restore us to sanity.

"No matter how grievous the alcohol obsession, we happily find that other vital choices can still be made. For example, we can choose to admit that we are personally powerless over alcohol; that dependence upon a 'higher Power' is a necessity, even if this be simply dependence upon an A.A. group. Then we can choose to try for a life of honesty and humility, of selfless services to out fellows and to "God as we understand Him."

"As we continue to make these choices and so move toward these high aspirations, our sanity returns and the compulsion to drink vanishes."

Bill W. Letter, 1966

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March 19, 2006

Two-Way Tolerance

"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."

Bill W. Letter, 1950
Copyright®1967 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

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On Awakening

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

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Into Action, pg. 86~
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There Comes a Time

The Awakening

A time comes in your life when you finally get it...

When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH!

Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are . . . and that's OK. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process a sense of newfound confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the crap you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look and how much you should weigh, what you should wear and where you should shop and what you should drive, how and where you should live and what you should do for a living, who you should marry and what you should expect of a marriage, or what you owe your parents.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with and in the process you learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as "consumer" looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life. You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.

Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that just as people grow and change so it is with love . . . and you learn that you don't have the right to demand love on your terms . . . just to make you happy. And, you learn that alone does not mean lonely . . .

You look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you "stack up".

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK . . . and that it's your right to want things and to ask for the things that you want . . .And that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less. And, you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you to glorify you with his touch . . . and in the process you internalize the meaning of self-respect.

And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, in life you get what you believe you deserve . . . and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it's OK to risk asking for help.

You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time . . . FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes-bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It's just life happening.

And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state - the ego. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever to settle for less than your heart's desire. You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

written by Virginia Marie Swift ©

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March 17, 2006

Fourth Step Helps Us Find Who We Really Are

"The purpose of a searching and fearless moral inventory is to sortthrough the confusion and the contradiction of our lives so that we can find out who we really are." Basic Text p. 27

Using addicts are a confused and confusing bunch of people. It's hard to tell from one minute to the next what they're going to do or who they're going to be. Usually, the addict is just as surprised as anyone else.

When we used, our behavior was dictated by the needs of our addiction. Many of us still identify our personalities closely with the behavior we practiced while using, leading us to feel shame and despair. Today, we don't have to be the people we once were, shaped by our addiction; recovery has allowed us to change.

We can use the Fourth Step inventory to see past the needs of the old using life and find out who we want to be today. Writing about our behavior and noticing how we feel about that behavior helps us understand who we want to be. Our inventory helps us see beyond the demands of active addiction, beyond our desire to be loved and accepted. We find out who we are at the root. We begin to understand what's appropriate for us, and what we want our lives to be like. This is the beginning of becoming who we really are.

Just for today: If I want to find out who I am, I'll look at who I've been and who I want to be. pg. 78

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

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March 16, 2006

Power of Positive Energy

Its so easy to look around and notice whats wrong. It takes practice to see whats right.

Many of us have lived around negativity for years. Weve become skilled at labeling whats wrong with other people, our life, our work, our day, our relationships, our conduct, our recovery, and ourselves.

We want to be realistic, and our goal is to identify and accept reality. However, this is often not our intent when we practice negativity. The purpose of negativity is usually annihilation. Negative thinking empowers the problem. It takes us out of harmony. Negative energy sabotages and destroys. It has a powerful life of its own.

So does positive energy. Each day, we can ask whats right, whats good - about other people, our life, our work, our day, our relationships, ourselves, our conduct, our recovery. Positive energy heals, conducts love, and transforms. Choose positive

From "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

Today, God help me let go of negativity. Transform my beliefs and thinking, at the core, from negative to positive. Put me in harmony with the good.

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March 15, 2006

Dealing with the Past

AA Thought for the Day (courtesy
March 15, 2006

As I try to grow in this AA program, I must occasionally "remember when" -- but not in order to brood about the past, AA taught me how to deal with it, how to put it in its proper place and perspective. I believe that I must learn, that I must let God teach me, that the only way to get rid of my past is to get a future out of it.
God will waste nothing. . . . c. 1973 AAWS, Came to Believe p. 101 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Thought to Ponder . . .

Right actions for the future are the best apologies for wrong ones in the past.

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March 14, 2006

Trust in Ourselves

Trusting Ourselves

Trust can be one of the most confusing concepts in recovery. Who do we trust? For what? The most important trust issue we face is learning to trust ourselves. The most detrimental thing thats happened to us is that we came to believe we couldnt trust ourselves.

There will be some who tell us we cannot trust ourselves; we are off base and out of whack. There are those who would benefit by our mistrusting ourselves. Fear and doubt are our enemies. Panic is our enemy. Confusion is our opposition.

Self-trust is a healing gift we can give ourselves. How do we acquire it? We learn it. What do we do about our mistakes, about those times we thought we could trust ourselves but were wrong? We accept them, and trust ourselves anyway.

We know what is best for us. We know what is right for us. If we are wrong, if we need to change our mind, we will be guided into that - but only by trusting where we are today.

We can look to others for support and reinforcement, but trust in ourselves is essential.

Do not trust fear. Do not trust panic. We can trust ourselves, stand in our own truth, and stand in our own light. We have it now. Already. We have all the light we need for today. And tomorrows light shall be given to us then.

Trust ourselves, and we will know whom to trust. Trust ourselves, and we will know what to do. When we feel we absolutely cannot trust ourselves, trust that God will guide us into truth.

God, help me let go of fear, doubt, and confusion - the enemies of self-trust. Help me go forward in peace and confidence. Help me grow in trust for you, and myself one day at a time, one experience at a time.

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

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March 13, 2006

Listening Invites Strangers to Become Friends

To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.

Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.

--Henri Nouwen

March 09, 2006

Balance Self Pity with Gratitude

When we catch self-pity starting, we also can take action against it with instant bookkeeping. For every entry of misery on the debit side, we can find a blessing we can mark on the credit side.

What health we have, what illnesses we don't have, what friends we have loved, the sunny weather, a good meal a-coming, limbs intact, kindnesses shown and received, a sober 24 hours, a good hour's work, a good book to read, and many other items can be totaled up to outbalance the debit entries that cause self-pity.

c. 1998 AAWS, Living Sober, p. 58 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

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Surrender Leads to Empowerment

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we nderstood Him.
--Step Three of Al Anon

Surrendering to a Power greater than ourselves is how we become empowered. We become empowered in a new, better, more effective way than we believed possible.

Doors open. Windows open. Possibilities occur. Our energy becomes channeled, at last, in areas and ways that work for us. We become in tune with the Plan for our life and our place in the Universe.

And there is a Plan and Place for us. We shall see that. We shall know that. The Universe will open up and make a special place for us, with all that we need provided.

It will be good. Understand that it is good, now. Learning to own our power will come, if we are open to it. We do not need to stop at powerlessness and helplessness. That is a temporary place where we re evaluate where we have been trying to have power when we have none.

Once we surrender, it is time to become empowered. Let the power come, naturally. It is there. It is ours.

Today, I will be open to understanding what it means to own my power. I will accept powerlessness where I have no power; I will also accept the power that is mine to receive.

You are reading from the book The Language of Letting Go.
Melody Beattie©

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On the Journey Toward Being Vulnerable

written by RITA O'CONNOR

"I can't." That statement was the first step on my journey to being vulnerable. The next statement took three days to emerge from my trembling lips: "" I was living as an assistant in a L'Arche home, and things were not going well.

My upbringing had taught me that I was alone. That I would have to solve my own problems. That my needs were excessive and would not, could not be met. This left me feeling very alone. To my heart's relief, when I asked for help in my L'Arche home, I was helped. As I began to express my needs, they were responded to.

As I journeyed toward being vulnerable, I noticed that my journeying invited others to do the same. When I took the risk to confess a fear, dislike, or displeasure, my companion did likewise. My heart opened. Softened. The increasing mutual vulnerability led to my feeling and being more connected to my friends.

I realized that a fear of judgment had kept me silent. Now I check things out. Sure it is hard to hear "Yes, I am angry with you." Often, though, the other person responds with reassurance. At some point on the journey, I realized that I was known. Known and accepted. Known and loved. That who I was, was good.

It is a fearsome process to speak the truth from the heart. Yet the fact is, I am vulnerable. I have made the decision that I'd rather live being vulnerable than be alone.

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March 08, 2006

Changing People, Places & Things

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 became almost second nature to most of us, as drinking used to be.

Not drinking has become natural and easy, not a long, dreary struggle.

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

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The Joy of True Fellowship

A.A. Thought for the Day

We must go to A.A. meetings regularly. We must learn to think differently. We must change from alcoholic thinking to sober thinking. We must reeducate our minds. We must try to help other alcoholics. We must cooperate with God by spending at least as much time and energy on the A.A. program as we did on drinking. We must follow the A.A. program to the best of our ability. Have I turned my alcoholic problem over to God and am I cooperating with Him?

Meditation for the Day

The joy of true fellowship shall be mine in full measure. I will revel in the joy of real fellowship. There will come back a wonderful joy, if I share in fellowship now. Fellowship among spiritually minded people is the embodiment of God's purpose for this world. To realize this will bring me a new life-joy. If I share in humanity's joy and travail, a great blessing will be mine. I can truly live a life not of earth, but a heaven life here and now.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may be helped and healed by true spiritual fellowship. I pray that I may sense His presence in spiritual fellowship with His children.

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

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March 07, 2006

Pain Leads to Grace and Freedom


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

Bill W., Box 1980: The AA Grapevine, March 1962As Bill Sees It, p. 266

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March 06, 2006

Goals are Dreams We are Willing to Work For

Our desires act as fuel, propelling us toward new horizons. Without something to strive for, we stagnate and become stuck in ruts of our own making because we are unsure of what to do next. Goals are the dreams that we are willing to work for. When we set goals, we take responsibility for our lives and choose to wholeheartedly devote ourselves to our aspirations. Even if we only take the smallest steps toward achieving our ambitions, it is vital that we actively pursue our goals rather than just daydreaming about them. Having goals makes us feel good because it adds a sense of purpose and direction to our lives.

When you endeavor to achieve clear and quantifiable goals, your choices and actions take on new significance. Consciously creating your goals can help ensure that the success you seek is attainable and serves you. Your plan must be conceivable, tangible, and measurable. If you cannot visualize your goal in great detail or believe that you can realize them, you may find it difficult to commit to your goals and take the necessary steps to achieve them. Make sure that your goals have the potential to be emotionally satisfying. You may even want to write them down.

Putting your goals into words can keep your intention fresh in your mind and remind you of your purpose. As you make progress toward realizing your goals, give yourself a reward each time you take a step forward so that you have the incentive to keep going. If you find yourself stuck in a rut, examine ways in which you can revise your strategy so that your plan can work.

In creating goals, you create your future by outlining your destiny. When you choose your goals using your head and heart, you take the first step in manifesting what you want. You grant your own wishes every time you achieve another goal.

From the DailyOM.

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March 02, 2006

God's Grace is Never Ending Giving

"How do you define God's Grace? Can you even describe it adequately so that I can understand your understanding of it? It is not a very easy thing to do. And you have to wonder why that is. When I think of God's Grace, what comes to my mind is the scripture quote that starts off like this...'God so loved the world that He gave...."

God so loved theworld that He gave... that He gave... that He gave me my life. That He gave me the breath that fills my lungs. That He gave me my rising up this morning. That He gave me all the events of this day. That He gave me the love and support of friends and family. That He gave me everything I am and everything I have and everyone in my life. That He gave and gave and gave unendingly to me and still does. And why? Because He expects me to return the favor? Because He wants me in His debt? Because it's His ace in the hole? No, He gave just because ~ just because He loves me, and for no other reason. God's Grace looks like this to me ~ the unending givingness of my Lord who loves me just because I am.

You know, I am reminded of the movie, As Good As It Gets. In the most memorable scene for me, Jack Nicholson tells Helen Hunt, "You make me want to be a better man." I can never forget that line. The romantic in me, of course, just hooks into the beauty of a man saying that a woman, just by virtue of who she is, makes him want to be a better man. And I like to use it as a metaphor for God's Grace here. God, just by virtue of His presence in my life, makes me want to be a better person. That is what effect God's Grace has on me. And so it is!"

(Copyright 2001)
Virginia Santoro

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Do Not Be Discouraged

Few experiences are of less value to me than fast sobriety. Too many times discouragement has been the bonus for unrealistic expectations, not to mention self-pity or fatigue from my wanting to change the world by the weekend. Discouragement is a warning signal that I may have wandered across the God line. The secret of fulfilling my potential is in acknowledging my limitations and believing that time is a gift, not a threat.

Hope is the key that unlocks the door of discouragement. The program promises me that if I do not pick up the first drink today, I will always have hope. Having come to believe that I keep what I share, every time I encourage, I receive courage. It is with others that, with the grace of God and the Fellowship of A.A., I trudge the road of happy destiny. May I always remember that the power within me is far greater than any fear before me. May I always have patience, for I am on the right road.


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March 01, 2006

The Gift of Solitude

We all need time alone. Even those of us who are social butterflies need some time to ourselves. Solitude is necessary for meditation and quiet reflection. We also may choose to isolate ourselves when we are busy and need to meet a deadline. We may cherish time alone when we want to give ourselves over to art or music, lose ourselves in a good book, or delve into a personal project. Having time to ourselves allows us to focus completely on our yoga practice or get into the zone while running or strength training. Sometimes we need to be alone to simply do nothing but enjoy the sound of silence. Our alone time revitalizes and replenishes us, grounding us in our own company.

Yet, too much isolation, especially when our intention is to hide, withdraw, or not deal with the realities of our lives is not physically, mentally, or spiritually healthy. It is during moments like these when being in isolation takes us away from our lives, rather than enhancing it. If anything, too much isolation can create a buffer whereby we don't have to deal with our problems. Sometimes, pushing ourselves to deal with our issues and be in our lives, rather than isolate, is one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves.

From the DailyOM - Nurturing Mind Body & Spirit

Also, just as it is important for us to have our "alone" time, we need to remember that as human beings, we are by nature social creatures that thrive on human contact. Our lives cannot occur in a vacuum, and we cannot fully live in this world without interacting with others. Consider using isolation as time spent for rest, reinvigoration, and personal growth. Isolation can then not only empower you, but it can allow you to return to your work and your relationships restored and ready for life.

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