April 25, 2006

Embracing Reality

"Recovery is a reality for us today" Basic Text, p. 97

Pain and misery were realities in our using lives. We were unwilling either to accept our living situation or to change what was unacceptable in our lives. We attempted to escape life's pain by taking drugs, but using only compounded our troubles. Our altered sense of reality became a nightmare.

Through living the program of Narcotics Anonymous, we learn that our dreams can replace our nightmares. We grow and change. We acquire the freedom of choice. We are able to give and receive love. We can share honestly about ourselves, no longer magnifying or minimizing the truth.

We accept the challenges real life offers us, facing them in a mature, responsible way.

Although recovery does not give us immunity from the realities of life, in the NA Fellowship we can find the support, genuine care, and concern we need to face those realities. We need never hide from reality by using drugs again, for our unity with other recovering addicts gives us strength. Today the support, the care, and the empathy of recovery give us a clean, clear window through which to view, experience, and appreciate reality as it is.

Just for today:
A gift of my recovery is living and enjoying life as it truly is. Today, I will embrace reality.

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

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Prayer for Strength in Spirit

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

Begin Again

"When people facing difficult life challenges ask me for advice, I have two simple words for them. Begin Again

To begin again means that you won't give up.
To begin again means you're trying.
You can either start over and live your life
Or spend the rest of your life slowly dying.

It is never the falling that makes us fail.
It is never the pain or the crying.
You can never fail in life, my friend,
Unless you give up trying.

--Bob Perks"

Read more in this note from Bob Perks on Beliefnet.com:

New Selves Unfolding

Gradually, I began to see another part of me emerging-a grateful me, expecting nothing, but sure that another power was beginning to guide me, counsel me, and direct my ways. And I was not afraid.

Then, as the power began to unfold new selves within me, a greater understanding of my fellowman began. With a new awakening each day -- new strengths, new truths, new acceptance of AA people and people not in AA -- a new world opened up.

The adversities, loneliness, sickness, losses, and disappointments mean nothing now. I'm happy because I came to believe -- not only in God, but in the goodness of everyone.

c. 1973 AAWS, Came To Believe. . ., p. 45
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April 24, 2006

Letting Love Lead Me

Sit in a comfortable, safe place. Allow your attention to drift inward. Ask yourself, "If I let love lead me in this situation, where would I go and what would I do next?"

In the midst of a challenging situation, it takes great strength to even ask yourself the simple question, "How can I let love lead me now?"

If at first the answers don't come easily, don't be discouraged. Just getting to the point where you can ask the question shows that your intention is good and that you're moving in the right direction. With practice, before long you'll come to see this as one of your most powerful tools for listening to your deeper wisdom.

John-Roger with Paul Kaye
From: Momentum, Letting Love Lead - Simple Practices for Spiritual Living

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Twelve Steps of Life

"Through abstinence and through working the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous, our lives have become useful" Basic Text, p. 8

Before coming to Narcotics Anonymous, our lives were centered around using. For the most part, we had very little energy left over for jobs, relationships, or other activities. We served only our addiction.

The Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous provide a simple way to turn our lives around. We start by staying clean, a day at a time. When our energy is no longer channeled into our addiction, we find that we have the energy to pursue other interests. As we grow in recovery, we become able to sustain healthy relationships. We become trustworthy employees. Hobbies and recreation seem more inviting. Through participation in Narcotics Anonymous, we help others.

Narcotics Anonymous does not promise us that we will find good jobs, loving relationships, or a fulfilling life. But when we work the Twelve Steps to the best of our ability, we find that we can become the type of people who are capable of finding employment, sustaining loving relationships, and helping others. We stop serving our disease, and begin serving God and others. The Twelve Steps are the key to transforming our lives.

Just for today:
I will have the wisdom to use the Twelve Steps in my life, and the courage to grow in my recovery. I will practice my program to become a responsible, productive member of society.

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

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April 23, 2006

Handling Anger Assertively

By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

The emotion we call "anger" is a natural response to frustration, pain, loss or neediness. It may also occur out of "old habit" or imitation of an angry parent. Anger is what we label the biochemical/physiological response we experience when our wants and needs are not met, when we are blocked from pursuing our goals, when we are hurting either physically or emotionally, or when we have
experienced a loss of some kind. Anger is a natural emotion and a powerful energizer.

Many, many people have problems expressing their anger. You may have been given lots of messages as a child that you were supposed to be nice, kind, and sweet all the time. Or perhaps any anger expression
was not tolerated and punished in some way. Messages like, "Don't you talk back to me!" accompanied by a swat, is not only telling the child his or her angry feelings are "bad", it is punitive of the child's attempt to express the anger. It is also very confusing, because the child is being shown how the parent handles anger and at the same time told not to handle his or her anger in the same manner. So the child often learns to bottle up his or her anger in an effort to be a "good child" and avoid punishment.

Bottling up your anger, allowing it to build until you explode, or becoming your own angry critic of yourself and others, are not the most beneficial methods for handling anger. Learning how to be self-supportive and assertive with your anger are the most healthful
ways to deal with your naturally-occurring emotion.

It is unnatural for everyone to remain smooth, calm, and unaffected by the frustrations, hurts and losses experienced in life. But expressing anger in a rage or "dumping" your anger on yourself or others is highly destructive to your psychological well-being.
Instead of venting your angry feelings in thermonuclear outbursts, or blocking them, thereby creating enormous internal stress, you can learn to turn your anger into a motivational tool which will give you the charge of energy you can use to take control of your own life, pursue your wants and goals more vigorously, and clarify where you stand in relation to others in your life. Using your anger for
powerful assertiveness is the natural purpose for having it in the first place. Here are six suggestions for handling your anger assertively.

1. Allow yourself to acknowledge your feelings of anger. Take a deep breath and listen to yourself for a minute. Become aware of the bodily sensations your anger creates. Ask yourself, "Do I feel angry enough to let others know what I am feeling?" or "How can I use my angry energy to address the problem to which I responded with anger?" Then decide either to let the problem go...along with your anger, or use the energy to address the precipitating issue.

2. Pick an appropriate discussion time. If possible, arrange with another a suitable time to raise the issue to which you responded with anger. A sudden outburst of anger may just put others on the defensive and may be even more frustrating for you.

3. Avoid blaming, judging, and accusing others. Your blaming offensive will only breed a defensive counter attack. It also makes you feel more helpless, because blaming becomes an obstacle to problem-solving. After you cool down, the problem remains with perhaps the addition of guilt or anxiety over your own outburst.

4. Always express your anger using "I" statements about how you are feeling. Say "I am feeling really frustrated and angry right now" rather than "You and your stupidity make me feel sick (tired, angry, ticked off, or any other adjective describing your anger)."

5. Say what it is you are wanting or needing which would address the problem or your anger. Make your needs clear and very specific. Don't ask the other person to change his or her feelings. They have a
right to their feelings just as much as you have to yours. Ask directly and specifically for something that will help you feel satisfied or less angry.

6. Listen to the other's response. Allow the person you're talking to enough time to hear and respond to what you've said. Look at them when they talk. Don't interrupt or rehearse your reply while they are talking. Slow down, and take in what they are saying. Then choose how you want to respond to them. Before you respond, acknowledge that you heard what they said, even though you may not agree with what they

The practice of using your anger to assert yourself can result in a much more fulfilled way of functioning. It can even bring others closer to you through caring and respect. Learn to use your anger for self-support and you regain control of your feelings and your life.

About the Author:
Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and Licensed Psychologist. He is available for coaching in any area presented in "Practical Psychology." Contact him: (970) 568-0173 or E-mail: DrLloyd@CreatingLeaders.com or LJTDAT@aol.com or visit his website at www.lifecoachtraining.com

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Taking Care of Ourselves

We often refer to recovery from codependency and adult child issues as self-care. Self-care is not, as some may think, a spin off of the me generation. It isn't self-indulgence. It isn't selfishness - in the negative
interpretation of that word.

We're learning to take care of ourselves, instead of obsessively focusing on another person. We're learning self-responsibility, instead of feeling excessively responsible for others. Self-care also means tending to our true responsibilities to others; we do this better when were not feeling overly responsible.

Self-care sometimes means, me first, but usually, me too. It means we are responsible for ourselves and can choose to no longer be victims.

Self-care means learning to love the person we're responsible for taking care of - ourselves. We do not do this to hibernate in a cocoon of isolation and self indulgence; we do it so we can better love others, and learn to let them love us.

Self-care isn't selfish; it's self-esteem.

Today, God, help me love myself. Help me let go of feeling excessively responsible for those around me. Show me what I need to do to take care of myself and be appropriately responsible to others.

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

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April 22, 2006

The Upward Way

Since I've been putting sobriety into my life, I've been taking out a lot of good things. I can describe it best as a kind of quiet satisfaction. I feel good. I feel right with the world, on the right side of the fence. As long as I put sobriety into my life, almost everything I take out is good. The satisfaction you get out of living a sober life is made up of a lot of little things. You have the ambition to do things you didn't feel like doing when you were drinking. Am I getting satisfaction out of living a sober life?

Meditation for the Day

It is a glorious way---the upward way. There are wonderful discoveries in the realm of the spirit. There are tender intimacies in the quiet times of communion with God. There is an amazing, almost incomprehensible understanding of the other person. On the upward way, you can have all the strength you need from that Higher Power. You cannot make too many demands on Him for strength. He gives you all the power you need, as long as you are moving along the upward way.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may see the beautiful horizons ahead on the upward way. I pray that I may keep going forward to the more abundant life.

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

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Ask God to Direct Our Thinking

... we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.


When said sincerely, this prayer teaches me to be truly unselfish and humble, for even in doing good deeds I often used to seek approval and glory for myself. By examining my motives in all that I do, I can be of service to God and others, helping them do what they want to do. When I put God in charge of my thinking, much needless worry is eliminated and I believe He guides me throughout the day. When I eliminate thoughts of self-pity, dishonesty and self-centeredness as soon as they enter my mind, I find peace with God, my neighbor and myself.


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Twenty Four Wrenches

This is a one size fits all program,
The 12 Steps and The 12 Traditions
are like 24 wrenches that will fit
any size nut that walks into our meetings.
Mark Kostew

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April 21, 2006

Like Eagles Over the Storm

Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm.

While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.

When the storms of life come upon us - and all of us will experience them - we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God. The storms do not have to overcome us. We can allow God's power to lift us above them.

God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment in our lives. We can soar above the storm. Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them.

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April 20, 2006

Too Great a Price

One AA member puts it this way:

"I know now that stopping in for a drink will never again be -- for me -- simply killing a few minutes and leaving a buck on the bar.

In exchange for that drink, what I would plunk down now is my bank account, my family, our home, our car, my job, my sanity, and probably my life. It's too big a price, too big a risk."

He remembers his last drunk, not his first drink.

c. 1998 AAWS, Living Sober, p. 52
AA Thought for the Day courtesy AAOnline.net)

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Inside Job


Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

Carl Jung

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April 13, 2006

People Pleasing Imperils Us

"Approval-seeking behavior carried us further into our addiction..." Basic Text p. 14

When others approve of what we do or say, we feel good; when they disapprove, we feel bad. Their opinions of us, and how those opinions make us feel, can have positive value. By making us feel good about steering a straight course, they encourage us to continue doing so. "People-pleasing" is something else entirely.

We "people-please" when we do things, right or wrong, solely to gain another person's approval. Low self-esteem can make us think we need someone else's approval to feel okay about ourselves. We do whatever we think it will take to make them tell us we're okay.

We feel good for awhile. Then we start hurting. In trying to please another person, we've diminished ourselves and our values. We realize that the approval of others will not fill the emptiness inside us.

The inner satisfaction we seek can be found in doing the right things for the right reasons. We break the people-pleasing cycle when we stop acting merely to gain others' approval and start acting on our Higher Power's will for us. When we do, we may be pleasantly surprised to find that the people who really count in our lives will approve all the more of our behavior. Most importantly, though, we will approve of ourselves.

Just for today:
Higher Power, help me live in accordance with spiritual principles. Only then can I approve of myself.

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

Demands made upon other people for too much attention, protection, and love Can only invite domination or revulsion...TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 44

When I uncovered my need for approval in the Fourth Step, I didn't think it should rank as a character defect. I wanted to think of it more as an asset (that is, the desire to please people). It was quickly pointed out to me that this "need" can be very crippling. Today I still enjoy getting the approval of others, but I am not willing to pay the price I used to pay to get it. I will not bend myself into a pretzel to get others to like me. If I get your approval, that's fine; but if I don't, I will survive without it. I am responsible for speaking what I perceive to be the truth, not what I think others may want to hear.

Similarly, my false pride always kept me overly concerned about my reputation. Since being enlightened in the A.A. program, my aim is to improve my character.


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Practice Makes Perfect Peace

In our noisy world, we often find ourselves longing for peace and searching to find it somewhere else. While it's true that there are places we can visit where we can experience peace, such as sacred sites or buildings, we do not need to wait until we get to one of these places to feel at peace. Instead, we can learn to locate the seed of peace inside ourselves and cultivate it so that it grows into a reliable source of serenity that we can always access, no matter where we are.

We experience peace when we are in a state of mental calm and serenity. It might surprise you to notice how infrequently you allow yourself to be free from anxiety. Realizing this is the first step to inner peace. If you wait until all the details of your life are taken care of to allow yourself to experience peace, you will never feel peaceful because there is always something that your mind can grab onto to create anxiety. It is important to consciously set aside your worries and make time to cultivate inner peace.

Ideally, you could schedule time each day to meditate on peace and experience what it feels like to be calm and serene. It takes practice to learn how to let go of your worries, so give yourself some time. Inhale deeply, and feel your worries dissolve with every exhale. Remind yourself that soon enough you will be able to take care of everything you need to, but right now you are taking a break. As the clutter of your thoughts and concerns clear away, you will start to feel more serene. Allow yourself to move deeper into this state with each inhale. Realize that you have the power to free yourself from anxiety simply by deciding to do so. The more you practice feeling peaceful, the easier it will be for you to feel at peace.

From DailyOM - Personal Peace.

Resentment Creates a Heavy Heart

From "The Woman's Book of Resilience: 12 Qualities to Cultivate" by Beth Miller:

It is understandable and instinctive to experience the strong negative feelings associated with being harmed, insulted, and injured. We want to blame the person or people who hurt us; we want to see them suffer. We want them to hurt every bit as much as we have been hurt.

We instinctively look for ways to make ourselves feel better, stronger, back to center. We don't want to view ourselves as the hurt, the weak, and the one under. It feels further humiliating to be unable to right the situation, protect ourselves, or stop the aggression or injustices. Even when we have been victimized, we dislike being the victim.

Resentment creates a heavy heart and fuzzy thinking for the one carrying it. It can result in obsessing and ruminating on what has been done to us or what we have done to someone else. Or, in so many cases, putting childhood events and stored-up hatred and resentment out of mind, only to have them appear as unrelated depression and irritability.

It is not unusual for resentment to keep us awake at night, invade other healthier thoughts, interfere in other relationships, and create distractions at work. This is costly and counterproductive, to you, not the person who harmed you. As the adage says, resentment is taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. We who hold the memory, consciously or not, the thoughts and the feelings of the transgression, are the ones who are suffering, and we are the only ones who have the power to transcend the heaviness.

Through forgiving and cultivating genuine compassion, we take our power back; we open the door to freedom. We discover the freedom to be inventive in relating to others, to handling traumatic experiences in a strong and firm manner and standing up for ourselves without damaging anyone else. Being resilient, weathering the next storm or navigating the present upheaval requires an open heart and a clear mind that results from forgiving and having compassion.

To be resilient requires a lightness of step and the flexibility to move and not stay stuck or mired in yesterday. It is through accepting the reality of what has been done, accepting the reality of having been hurt, betrayed, wronged; working through the layers and layers of difficult emotions and thoughts accompanying the injury, and finding ways to improve our life and state of mind that gives us the best opportunity for true freedom from insult and trauma. It is through admitting, feeling, and letting go of the negative emotions associated with the egregious act that we transcend victimization.

Many people are under the illusion that forgiveness lets the misdoer off the hook; it does not. Genuine forgiveness is not about condoning awful behavior. Forgiveness and compassion do not green light what has been done.

There's no question that perpetrators who are in a position to hurt again need to be stopped. Ironically, the clearer we are, the less saddled with the negativity of previous transgressions, the more creative and effective we can be in stopping further violations. The fewer resentment blocks you have, the more access you have to saying no; cursing the behavior appropriately and in a resilient fashion protects you or anyone else who needs it.

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April 10, 2006

More Notes from Rehab: Disease Concept

I am clean and sober two years now - Thanks to the grace of God, rehab leading me to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, working the steps, honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, concentrating on the twenty-four hours ahead of me, prayer, meditation, service, attending lots of meetings, sharing, giving, reading recovery literature, working on this blog and using all of the other twelve step and spiritual growth tools that I have found helpful.

This is one of a series of posts where I am sharing my notes from rehab in the hope that you may be aided by them. Take what you need and leave the rest.

DISEASE: definition – a tangible, identifiable, abnormality – a disorder of the mind or body that if left untreated will cause damage or death.

Alcoholism/Addiction is a disease - progressive, chronic, incurable, fatal, if not treated. The only effective treatment is complete abstinence.

Many are born vulnerable. Pleasure centers in the brain are controlled by chemicals. This is where alcohol and drugs work. The brain is altered by usage.

Billions of brain cells – some associated with production of pleasure chemicals – endorphins and dopamine. Cocaine acts on dopamine receptors. The brain becomes chemically less able to produce pleasure chemicals, comes to rely on drugs.

When stimulated by drugs, brain tries to maintain homeostasis. With abuse, brain’s “normal” levels become substandard.

Alcohol has a shotgun effect, Cocaine is more like a silver bullet.

Users can also develop paranoia and become aggressive.
Effects on brain last months, years, may be permanent

Alcohol attacks cell systems outside the brain. Dissolves into the membranes of cells. Damage is done throughout the body. Alcohol affects liver, bone marrow, blood, lungs, pancreas, degrades power and rhythm of heart.

Four types of drugs

Stimulants – cocaine, methamphetamine
Sedatives/Depressants – alcohol, benzos, barbiturates, marijuana
Hallucinogens – lsd, peyote, marijuana
Narcotics – opiates, heroin

Anhedonia – the inability to experience pleasure from ordinarily pleasurable activities — the inability to feel joy -- if feelings are colors, yours are gray. Drugs provided the colors. Anhedonia can happen after withdrawal.

There is evidence for a genetic component to alcoholism/addiction. Not a complete explanation.

Even if parents never drank, they can pass alcoholic genes. One in three families is affected by addiction. Two different types of genetic transfer -

Type 1 passes from mother or father to son or daughter - Alcoholic behavior usually manifested after age 25

Type 2 passes from father to son – starts earlier and is more severe

Some can drink for decades before problems surface

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April 09, 2006

Indentify - We Are Not Alone

"Someone finally knew the crazy thoughts that I had and the crazy things I'd done." Basic Text p. 175

Addicts often feel terminally unique. We're sure that no one used drugs like we did or had to do the things that we did to get them. Feeling that no one really understands us can keep us from recovery for many years.

But once we come to the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous, we begin to lose that feeling of being "the worst" or "the craziest:' We listen as members share their experiences. We discover that others have walked the same twisted path that we've walked and still have been able to find recovery. We begin to believe that recovery is available to us, too.

As we progress in our own recovery, sometimes our thinking is still insane. However, we find that when we share the hard time we may be having, others identify, sharing how they have dealt with such difficulties. No matter how troubled our thinking seems, we find hope when others relate to us, passing along the solutions they've found. We begin to believe that we can survive whatever we're going through to continue on in our recovery.

The gift of Narcotics Anonymous is that we learn we are not alone. We can get clean and stay clean by sharing our experience, our strength, and even our crazy thinking with other members. When we do, we open ourselves to the solutions others have found to the challenges we face.

Just for today:
I am grateful that I can identify with others. Today, I will listen as they share their experience, and I'll share mine with them.

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

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The Necessary Ingredient is Willingness

The willingness to give up my pride and self-will to a Power greater than myself has proved to be the only ingredient absolutely necessary to solve all of my problems today. Even the smallest amount of willingness, if sincere, is sufficient to allow God to enter and take control over any problem, pain, or obsession. My level of comfort is in direct relation to the degree of willingness I possess at any given moment to give up my self-will, and allow God's will to be manifested in my life. With the key of willingness, my worries and fears are powerfully
transformed into serenity.

...let us not suppose even for an instant that we are not under constraint... Our former tyrant, King Alcohol, always stands ready again to clutch us to him. Therefore, freedom from alcohol is the great "must" that has to be achieved, else we go mad or die.


When drinking, I lived in spiritual, emotional, and sometimes, physical confinement. I had constructed my prison with bars of self-will and self-indulgence, from which I could not escape. Occasional dry spells that seemed to promise freedom would turn out to be little more than hopes of a reprieve. True escape required a willingness to follow whatever right actions were needed to turn the lock. With that willingness and action, both the lock and the bars themselves opened for me. Continued willingness and action keep me free -- in a kind of extended daily probation -- that need never end.


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From Blaming to Forgiving

"Our most painful suffering often comes from those who love us and those we love. The relationships between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters, teachers and students, pastors and parishioners - these are where our deepest wounds occur. Even late in life, yes, even after those who wounded us have long since died, we might still need help to sort out what happened in these relationships.

The great temptation is to keep blaming those who were closest to us for our present, condition saying: 'You made me who I am now, and I hate who I am.' The great challenge is to acknowledge our hurts and claim our true selves as being more than the result of what other people do to us. Only when we can claim our God-made selves as the true source of our being will we be free to forgive those who have wounded us."

Henri Nouwen

April 08, 2006

The Radiant Spirit

God irradiates your life with the warmth of His spirit. You must open up like a flower to this divine irradiation. Loosen your hold on earth, its cares, and its worries. Unclasp your hold on material things, relax your grip, and the tide of peace and serenity will flow in. Relinquish every material thing and receive it back again from God. Do not hold on to earth's treasures so firmly that your hands are too occupied to clasp God's hands as He holds them out to you in love.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may be open to receive God's blessing. I pray that I may be willing to relinquish my hold on material things and receive them back from God.

From Twenty Four Hours a Day copyright Hazelden Foundation.

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April 07, 2006

What We Give Energy To, We Empower

Positive mental energy, positive thinking, does not mean we think unrealistically or revert to denial. If we don't like something, we respect our own opinion. If we spot a problem, we're honest about it. If something isn't working out, we accept reality. But we don't dwell on the negative parts of our experience. Whatever we give energy to, we empower.

Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting go

Notice the acts of kindness other people do rather than their wrongdoing. This is how the loving presence views you. We are all good, decent, loving souls who occasionally get lost.

Wayne Dyer

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Three Things

In A.A. alcoholics find a way to solve their personality problems. They do this by recovering three things. First, they recover their personal integrity. They pull themselves together. They get honest with themselves and with other people. They face themselves and their problems honestly, instead of running away. They take a personal inventory of themselves to see where they really stand. Then they face the facts instead of making excuses for themselves.

Meditation for the Day

When trouble comes, do not say: "Why should this happen to me?" Leave yourself out of the picture. Think of other people and their troubles and you will forget about your own. Gradually get away from yourself and you will know the consolation of unselfish service to others. After a while, it will not matter so much what happens to you. It is not so important any more, except as your experience can be used to help others who are in the same kind of trouble.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may become more unselfish. I pray that I may not be thrown off the track by letting the old selfishness creep back into my life.

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

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April 06, 2006

New Meaning of Fellowship

I came in lonely, angry, suspicious, resentful, bathed in self-pity, and trusting no one, least of all myself.

You understood, took me in, and taught me how to give and receive love. You nursed me through the Steps, picked me up, and brushed me off. When, at last I was able to walk, and was filled with tears of gratitude, you told me to "pass it on."

Fellowship? You gave new meaning to the word, and still do.

Adapted from an AA Grapevine article, April 2006, p. 37

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April 05, 2006

Detach With Love

Detachment is a key to recovery from codependency. It strengthens our healthy relationships - the ones that we want to grow and flourish. It benefits our difficult relationships - the ones that are teaching us to cope. It helps us!

Detachment is not something we do once. Its a daily behavior in recovery. We learn it when were beginning our recovery from codependency and adult children issues. And we continue to practice it along the way as we grow and change, and as our relationships grow and change.

We learn to let go of people we love, people we like, and those we don't particularly care for. We separate ourselves, and our process, from others and their process.

We relinquish our tight hold and our need to control in our relationships. We take responsibility for ourselves; we allow others to do the same. We detach with the understanding that life is unfolding exactly as it needs to, for others and ourselves. The way life unfolds is good, even when it hurts. And ultimately, we can benefit from even the most difficult situations. We do this with the understanding that a Power greater than ourselves is in charge, and all is well.

Today, I will apply the concept of detachment, to the best of my ability, in my relationships. If I cant let go completely, Ill try to hang on loose.

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

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April 03, 2006

Notes from Rehab: Developmental Model of Recovery

I am going to begin sharing some of my notes from my experience in rehab. I was lucky that I had enough sense to take notes, because I surely was not thinking straight when I decided I needed help and entered the program of recovery. These notes are not complete in any sense. They are things I wrote down and want to share. The first note is on the developmental model of recovery:

First your perception of yourself changes from that of a social drinker to one suffering from the disease of alcoholism [and/or]

Your perception of yourself changes from that of a casual drug user to one suffering from the disease of addiction.

Then you decide to seek help.

You withdraw from use with the help of others.

You realign your values to those consistent with sobriety and a program of recovery.

You learn and use new coping mechanisms, such as meditation and prayer, to deal with life’s stressors.

You avoid old people, places, things that may act as triggers to craving or use.

You re-balance and re-organize your life based on the principles of sobriety.

You attempt to resolve formerly unresolved issues.

You use the tools of recovery to maintain sobriety.

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