January 29, 2006

Recovery on the Installment Plan

"An alcoholic spends his life committing suicide on the installment plan.--Laurence Peter

None of us woke up one morning and found we had suddenly turned into an addict. We got to be one by practice. And we practiced often. We ignored our families--we left work early--and went drinking and drugging. Daily, we chose chemicals over anything else. Likewise, getting sober is no accident. We work the program. At meetings, we're reminded to help others. We all get sober on the installment plan. A day at a time. We got sick one day at a time; we recover one day at a time.

Prayer for the Day: Today, with my Higher Power's help, I'll be happier, more honest, more sober. Sobriety is like a good savings account. Higher Power, help me to put in more than I take out.

Action for the Day: I'll go over my Step One to remind myself it's no accident I'm an addict."

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Finding Balance in Our Neediness

"We can find the balance between needing people too much and not letting ourselves need anyone at all.

Many of us have unmet dependency needs lingering from the past. While we want others to fulfill our desire to be loved unconditionally, we may have chosen people who cannot, or will not, be there for us. Some of us are so needy from not being loved that we drive people away by needing them too much.

Some of us go to the other extreme. We may have become used to people not being there for us, so we push them away. We fight off our feelings of neediness by becoming overly independent, not allowing ourselves to need anyone. Some of us won't let people be there for us.

Either way, we are living out unfinished business. We deserve better. When we change, our circumstances will change.

If we are too needy, we [change]...by accepting the needy part of us. We let ourselves heal from the pain of past needs going unmet. We stop telling ourselves we're unlovable because we haven't been loved the way we wanted and needed.

If we have shut off the part of us that needs people, we become willing to open up, be vulnerable, and let ourselves be loved. We let ourselves have needs.

We will get the love we need and desire when we begin to believe we're lovable, and when we allow that to happen.

Today, I will strive for the balance between being too needy and not allowing myself to need people. I will let myself receive the love that is there for me."

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

The First Drink Triggers the Obsession

It is the first drink which triggers, immediately or some time later, the compulsion to drink more and more until we are in drinking trouble again. Many of us have come to believe that our alcoholism is an addiction to the drug alcohol; like addicts of any sort who want to maintain recovery, we have to keep away from the first dose of the drug we have become addicted to.

c. 1998 AAWS, Living Sober, p. 5

Thought to Ponder . . .

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

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Got a Problem? Great

"View all problems as challenges.
Look upon negativities that arise as opportunities to learn and to grow.
Don't run from them, condemn yourself, or bury your burden in saintly silence.
You have a problem? Great.
More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in, and investigate.

Source: Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English"

From this conscious living journal post

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January 27, 2006

Beware the Burden of a Busy Mind

"There is a huge tendency, in many of us, to have way too much going on inside our minds, at the same time. It's too crowded in there...Our thinking is relentless. Hundreds of thoughts and decisions about various things are all vying for our attention. There is conflict among our thoughts...

There are all the plans about our future. What are we going to do with our life? What's going to happen later today, next week, next month, and next year? How will we get all of our work done...There's also memory -- all the things that have happened to us in the past...Then there's good old-fashioned worry. What could happen to us -- what could go wrong? How can we prepare for the worst? Throw in a few resentments, goals, and fantasies, and pretty soon it's just too much...It's one thought after another, after another -- all day long. Like a mental game of Ping-Pong, your thoughts are flying back and forth. You are anything but centered.

There are numerous benefits to having less on your mind at any given moment. The first has to do with the way you'll feel. As the sheer volume of data, information, planning, worries, figuring out, and wondering is reduced, even slightly, you will feel as though you've just stepped out of a dark cave and into the sunlight. You'll feel a sense of spaciousness, lightness, and freedom...

You'll also become less tense and reactive. Because your mind will be quieter, you won't feel the impulse to "jump" at everything that goes wrong or is unexpected, or overanalyze every thought regarding the slightest hitch in your plans or expectations. You'll be able to pick and choose which thoughts to give significance to, which ones to honor with your attention, and which ones to attach less significance to, or to simply drop or dismiss...

When our "thought capacity" is on overload, however, the results can be, and often are, disastrous. Little things start to bother us. There is too much to keep track of, and we become frustrated and confused. On the surface, such small stuff might not seem that important, but cumulatively over time, it makes an enormous difference, especially when the stakes are high. Imagine the clarity and wisdom that are needed when we are dealing with really big stuff. A friend, for example, is hurting and needs help. If you have "a thousand things on your mind," how helpful are you going to be?...

The key to calming down and quieting a busy mind is to trust that, if you do, everything will be okay. If you empty your mind, you won't be turning it off. It will still be working. In fact, it will be smarter and work better and more efficiently. A wise, intelligent, and orderly thought process will take over, and the appropriate thoughts will emerge when needed...

This doesn't mean we don't pay careful attention to our schedules, keep a day planner, or think things through. It has nothing to do with losing our "edge." In fact, any edge we have is greatly enhanced. All we're really doing is learning to let go of and release many of the thoughts that are weighing us down; the extra ones that we don't need at any given moment. It's like letting go of a tight fist or taking off a heavy backpack.

The way to begin is to pay calm attention to the level and volume of activity going on in your mind at any given moment. Simply pay attention. Don't judge what you observe, or be hard on yourself. As you spend time observing your own thinking, you will find yourself becoming more "present." You'll feel the peace that comes from training your attention to be where you want to be at any given time.

I titled this strategy "Beware the Burden of a Busy Mind" because being aware of the burden is half the battle. Beyond that, all that's necessary is to gently drop the thoughts that aren't needed at any given time. That's it: just notice them, and let them go. Know that your thoughts will still be there, and that they will reemerge if and when they are needed.

A moment-to-moment busy mind is a huge burden. If you can limit this burden even slightly, you'll be amazed at this new source of creativity, as fresh ideas and insights become more common. As you trust in a quieter, less distracted mind, you'll also be amazed at how much calmer you can feel and how much more perspective you can develop. Then, when big stuff happens, you'll be ready. You'll be able to see exactly what is happening with heightened perspective, without the burden of dozens of smaller issues dominating your attention..."

Excerpted from What About the Big Stuff?, ©2002, by Richard Carlson, Ph.D., the best-selling author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.

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January 26, 2006

The Great Persuader

"Besides a seeming inability to accept much on faith, we often found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice. Many of us have been so touchy that even casual reference to spiritual things make us bristle with antagonism. This sort of thinking had to be abandoned. Though some of us resisted, we found no great difficulty in casting aside such feelings. Faced with alcoholic destruction, we soon became as open minded on spiritual matters as we had tried to be on other questions. In this respect alcohol was a great persuader. It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness."

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, We Agnostics, pg. 47~

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January 25, 2006

The "We" of the Program

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
--Step One of Al-Alon

There are many different versions of the First Step for recovering codependents. Some of us admit powerlessness over alcohol or another's alcoholism. Some of us admit powerlessness over people; some over the impact of growing up in an alcoholic family.

One of the most significant words in the First Step is the word we. We come together because of a common problem, and, in the coming together, we find a common solution.

Through the fellowship of Twelve Step programs, many of us discover that although we may have felt alone in our pain, others have experienced a similar suffering. And now many are joining hands in a similar recovery.

We. A significant part of recovery. A shared experience. A shared strength, stronger for the sharing. A shared hopes - for better lives and relationships.

Today, I will be grateful for the many people across the world who call themselves "recovering." Help me know that each time one of us takes a step forward, we pull the entire group forward.

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

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January 24, 2006

Gratitude is...

Tuesday, Jan. 24

Gratitude is the intention to count-your-blessings every day, every minute, while avoiding, whenever possible, the belief that you need or deserve different circumstances.

Timothy Miller
How To Want What You Have

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January 23, 2006

The Golden Rule

"All over the world, there exists a simple precept that, when followed, has the power to end conflict and banish strife. It is the Golden Rule, a key concept in many philosophies and spiritualities that admonishes us to "do unto others as we would have them do unto us." Its meaning is clear: treat others only in ways that you would want to be treated. However, the golden rule is not always easy to follow. It can be a challenge to honor others as we wish to be honored. Yet, when we do so, we bestow a gift of loving kindness on our fellow human beings. And, in honoring others, we honor ourselves.

It is as uncomplicated a tenet as one could wish for. When we live by it, harming another person becomes nearly impossible. The Golden Rule is rooted in pure empathy and does not compel us to perform any specific act. Rather, it gently guides us to never let our actions toward others be out of harmony with our own desires. The Golden Rule asks us to be aware of the effect our words and actions may have on another person and to imagine ourselves in their place. It calls on us to ask ourselves how we would feel if what we were about to do were directed toward us. And yet this rule invites us to do more than not harm others. It suggests that we look for opportunities to behave toward others in the same ways that we would want others to act toward us. Showing compassion, being considerate of others, caring for the less fortunate, and giving generously are what can result when you follow the Golden Rule.

Adhering to the Golden Rule whenever possible can have a positive effect on the world around you because kindness begets kindness. In doing so, you generate a flow of positive energy that enfolds everyone you encounter in peace, goodwill, and harmony."

From the DailyOM.

A Daily Reminder

"Sometime every day relax and get yourself quiet and listen to the chatter in your head. Try to clear your mind so you can ask a question about a problem that you may be working on. Listen for the quiet inner voice that gives you advice. Some call it their intuition. Some know it comes from God. Regardless of what you call it, it will be what is right for you at that time.

Develop this habit of listening and you will realize that God is with you all the time. You are always safe. All you have to do is listen.

My daily reminder is a sign I have on the side of my refrigerator. It says: Good Morning, This is God! I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help. So, have a great day."

From this Be Successful Now post.

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January 22, 2006

The Voice in the Garden of Solitude

Solitude is the garden for our hearts, which yearn for love. It is the place where our aloneness can bear fruit. It is the home for our restless bodies and anxious minds. Solitude, whether it is connected with a physical space or not, is essential for our spiritual lives. It is not an easy place to be, since we are so insecure and fearful that we are easily distracted by whatever promises immediate satisfaction. Solitude is not immediately satisfying, because in solitude we meet our demons, our addictions, our feelings of lust and anger, and our immense need for recognition and approval. But if we do not run away, we will meet there also the One who says, "Do not be afraid. I am with you, and I will guide you through the valley of darkness."

--Henri Nouwen

Daily Meditation from the Henri Nouwen Society.

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January 21, 2006

The Key of Gratitude

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
---Melody Beattie

Sometimes in life, things happen too fast. We barely solve one problem when two new problems surface. We're feeling great in the morning, but we're submerged in misery by nightfall.

Every day we face interruptions, delays, changes, and challenges. We face personality conflicts and disappointments. Often when we're feeling overwhelmed, we can't see the lessons in these experiences.

One simple concept can get us through the most stressful of times. It's called gratitude. We learn to say, thank you, for these problems and feelings. Thank you for the way things are. I don't like this experience, but thank you anyway.

Force gratitude until it becomes habitual. Gratitude helps us stop trying to control outcomes. It is the key that unlocks positive energy in our life. It is the alchemy that turns problems into blessings, and the unexpected into gifts.

Today, I will be grateful. I will start the process of turning today's pain into tomorrow's joy.

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

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January 20, 2006

Life Has New Meaning

A.A. Thought for the Day

In A.A. we're all through with lying, hangovers, remorse, and wasting money. When we were drinking, we were only half alive. Now that we're trying to live decent, honest, unselfish lives, we're really alive. Life has a new meaning for us, so that we can really enjoy it. We feel that we're some use in the world. We're on the right side of the fence, instead of on the wrong side. We can look the world in the face instead of hiding in alleys. We come into A.A. to get sober and if we stay long enough, we learn a new way of living. Am I convinced that no matter how much fun I got out of drinking, that life never was as good as the life I can build in A.A.?

Meditation for the Day

I want to be at one with the Divine Spirit of the universe. I will set my deepest affections on things spiritual, not on things material. As we think, so we are. So I will think of and desire that which will help, not hinder, my spiritual growth. I will try to be at one with God. No human aspiration can reach higher than this.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may think love, and love will surround me. I pray that I may think health, and health will come to me.

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

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The Conqueror Spiritual Experience

"If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer."

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, We Agnostics, pg. 44~

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January 19, 2006

Guided by Honesty, Unselfishness & Faith

Twenty-Four Hours A Da
January 19th

A.A. Thought for the Day

On the foundation of sobriety, we can build a life of honesty, unselfishness, faith in God, and love of our fellow human beings. We'll never fully reach these goals, but the adventure of building that kind of a life is so much better than the merry-go-round of our old drinking life that there's no comparison. We come into A.A. to get sober, but if we stay long enough we learn a new way of living. We become honest with ourselves and with other people. We learn to think more about others and less about ourselves. And we learn to rely on the constant help of a Higher Power. Am I living the way of honesty, unselfishness, and faith?

Meditation for the Day

I believe that God had already seen my heart's needs before I cried to Him, before I was conscious of those needs myself. I believe that God was already preparing the answer. God does not have to be petitioned with sighs and tears and much speaking before he reluctantly looses the desired help. He has already anticipated my every want and need. I will try to see this, as His plans unfold in my life.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may understand my real wants and needs. I pray that my understanding of those needs and wants may help to bring the answer to them.

©Hazelden Foundation.

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January 17, 2006

Acting "As If"

The behavior we call "acting as if' can be a powerful recovery tool. Acting as if is a way to practice the positive. It's a positive form of pretending. It's a tool we use to get ourselves unstuck. It's a tool we make a conscious decision to use.

Acting as if can be helpful when a feeling begins to control us. We make a conscious decision to act as if we feel fine and are going to be fine.

When a problem plagues us, acting as if can help us get unstuck. We act as if the problem will be or already is solved, so we can go on with our life.

Often, acting as if we are detached will set the stage for detachment to come in and take over.

There are many areas where acting as if - combined with our other recovery principles - will set the stage for the reality we desire. We can act as if we love ourselves, until we actually do begin to care for ourselves. We can act as if we have a right to say no, until we believe we do.

We don't pretend we have enough money to cover a check. We don't pretend an alcoholic is not drinking. We use acting as if as part of our recovery, to set the stage for our new behaviors. We force ourselves through positive recovery behaviors, disregarding our doubts and fears, until our feelings have time to catch up with reality.

Acting as if is a positive way to overcome fears, doubts, and low self esteem. We do not have to lie; we do not have to be dishonest with ourselves. We open up to the positive possibilities of the future, instead of limiting the future by today's feelings and circumstances.

Acting as if helps us get past shaky ground and into solid territory.

God, show me the areas where acting as if could help set the stage for the reality I desire. Guide me as I use this powerful recovery tool to help create a better life and healthier relationships.

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

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Insanity of Others Difficult to Watch

Just For Today
January 17

"As we realize our need to be forgiven, we tend to be more forgiving. At least we know that we are no longer intentionally making life miserable for people." Basic Text, p. 38

In our addiction we often treated others badly, sometimes deliberately finding ways to make their lives miserable. in our recovery, we may still have a tendency to pass judgment on others' actions because we think we know how that person should behave. But as we progress in our recovery we often find that, to accept ourselves, we must accept those around us. It may be difficult to watch as someone's insanity manifests itself. But if we detach ourselves from the problem, we can start living in the solution. And if we feel affected by another's actions, we can extend the principle of forgiveness.

Just for today:
I will strive to forgive rather than be forgiven. I will try to act in such a way that I feel worthy of self-love.

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

January 14, 2006

Experiencing & Releasing Anger

Anger is one of the many profound effects life has on us. It's one of our emotions. And we're going to feel it when it comes our way -- or else repress it.
--Codependent No More

If I were working a good program, I wouldn't get angry.... If I were a good Christian, I wouldn't feel angry.... If I were really using my affirmations about how happy I am, I wouldn't be angry.... Those are old messages that seduce us into not feeling again. Anger is part of life. We need not dwell in it or seek it out, but we can't afford to ignore it.

In recovery, we learn we can shamelessly feel all our feelings, including anger, and still take responsibility for what we do when we feel angry. We don't have to let anger control us, but it surely will if we prevent ourselves from feeling it.

Being grateful, being positive, being healthy, does not mean we never feel angry. Being grateful, positive, and healthy means we feel angry when we need to.

Today, I will let myself be angry, if I need to. I can feel and release my emotions, including anger, constructively. I will be grateful for my anger and the things it is trying to show me. I can feel and accept all my emotions without shame, and I can take responsibility for my actions.

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

January 13, 2006

Spiritual Awakening

"Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps..." Step Twelve

"How will I know when I have had a spiritual awakening?" For many of us, a spiritual awakening comes gradually. Perhaps our first spiritual awareness is as simple as a new appreciation for life. Maybe one day we'll suddenly discover the sound of birds singing early in the morning. The simple beauty of a flower may remind us that there is a Power greater than ourselves at work around us.

Often, our spiritual awakening is something that grows stronger over time. We can strive for more spiritual awareness simply by living our lives.

We can persist in efforts to improve our conscious contact through prayer and meditation on a daily basis. We can listen within for the guidance we need. We can question other addicts about their experiences with spirituality. We can take time to appreciate the world around us.

Just for today:
I will reflect on the spiritual awakenings I have experienced. I will strive to be God-conscious. I will take time out in the day to appreciate my Higher Power's handiwork.

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

January 12, 2006

Turning Points

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 59

Every day I stand at turning points. My thoughts and actions can propel me toward growth or turn me down the road to old habits and to booze. Sometimes turning points are beginnings, as when I decide to start praising, instead of condemning someone. Or when I begin to ask for help instead of going it alone.

At other times turning points are endings, such as when I see clearly the need to stop festering resentments or crippling self-seeking. Many shortcomings tempt me daily; therefore, I also have daily opportunities to become aware of them. In one form or another, many of my character defects appear daily: self-condemnation, anger, running away, being prideful, wanting to get even, or acting out of grandiosity.

Attempting half measures to eliminate these defects merely paralyzes my efforts to change. It is only when I ask God for help, with complete abandon, that I become willing -- and able -- to change.

Daily Reflection

January 11, 2006

Self-Deprecation not Humility

"One of the greatest dangers in the spiritual life is self-rejection. When we say, "If people really knew me, they wouldn't love me," we choose the road toward darkness. Often we are made to believe that self-deprecation is a virtue, called humility. But humility is in reality the opposite of self-deprecation. It is the grateful recognition that we are precious in God's eyes and that all we are is pure gift. To grow beyond self-rejection we must have the courage to listen to the voice calling us God's beloved sons and daughters, and the determination always to live our lives according to this truth."

Daily Meditation from Henri Nouwen Society

January 10, 2006

Moving Beyond

Sometimes we have to "step over" our anger, our jealousy, or our feelings of rejection and move on. The temptation is to get stuck in our negative emotions, poking around in them as if we belong there. Then we become the "offended one," "the forgotten one," or the "discarded one." Yes, we can get attached to these negative identities and even take morbid pleasure in them. It might be good to have a look at these dark feelings and explore where they come from, but there comes a moment to step over them, leave them behind and travel on.

Daily Meditation from Henri Nouwen Society

January 07, 2006

Erasing Old Tapes

The human brain works like a tape recorder. With great fidelity, this built-in recorder stores up old memories that are recalled at surprising times. There are two kinds of these "old tapes" that are dangerous to the recovering alcoholic.

One dangerous old tape is a bitter memory of an unkind word or cruel action that hurt us deeply. This kind of memory comes back to destroy our peace of mind or to intensify feelings of low self-esteem.

Equally dangerous is another old tape: the recollections of a drinking experience that may have seem enjoyable. When we run an old tape of this kind, we are revealing that we still wish we could drink.

Our recovery shows us how to erase these old tapes. Forgiving the people who hurt us can erase bitter memories and resentments. We can eliminate the desire to relive pleasure in drinking experiences by looking honestly at the total effect of alcohol on our lives. We cannot relive the past, but we can use the lessons of the past to make our lives what they can be today.

Today, I will not be troubled by anything from the past. I cannot change what happened five minutes ago, but I can refuse to entertain thoughts that will harm me.

Life Encourages Us to Grow

At times, it can feel as if the world is testing us and that life is asking more of us than we think we can give. We may feel uncomfortable, frightened, and unsure of what to do. However, life isn't so much going against us as it is encouraging us to grow.

During these periods, we can grow stronger by putting one foot in front of the other, as we work through our challenges. We may be asked to let go of old safety measures, shift old patterns of behavior, or step into the abyss of the unknown. When we do rise to the occasion, we end up better off for having made that journey. Not only do we end up learning and growing, but we inevitably become more compassionate to the challenges of others and wiser in the ways of the world. Our faith in the universe also grows because, ultimately, we can't help but realize how much we are supported and taken care of at all times. When we are in the midst of a growing period, it is not easy to see our reward, but it is there, waiting for us to grow big enough to reach it.

From DailyOM - Nurturing Mind Body & Spirit

A Program of Action

"One of the most important things A.A. has given me, in addition to freedom from booze, is the ability to take 'right action.' It says the promises will ALWAYS materialize if I WORK for them. Fantasizing about them, debating them, preaching about them and faking them just won't work. I'll remain a miserable, rationalizing dry drunk. By taking action and working the Twelve Steps in all my affairs, I'll have a life beyond my wildest dreams."

c. 1990, Daily Reflections, page 54

At the Turning Point

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.


Every day I stand at turning points. My thoughts and actions can propel me toward growth or turn me down the road to old habits and to booze. Sometimes turning points are beginnings, as when I decide to start praising, instead of condemning someone. Or when I begin to ask for help instead of going it alone. At other times turning points are endings, such as when I see clearly the need to stop festering resentments or crippling self-seeking. Many shortcomings tempt me daily; therefore, I also have daily opportunities to become aware of them. In one form or another, many of my character defects appear daily: self-condemnation, anger, running away, being prideful, wanting to get even, or acting out of grandiosity.

Attempting half measures to eliminate these defects merely paralyzes my efforts to change. It is only when I ask God for help, with complete abandon, that I become willing -- and able -- to change.


January 06, 2006

Nurture Your True Inner Voice

What do we need to do to take care of ourselves?

Listen to that voice inside. What makes you angry? What have you had enough of? What don't you trust? What doesn't feel right? What can't you stand? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you want? Need? What don't you want and need? What do you like? What would feel good?

In recovery, we learn that self care leads us on the path to God's will and plan for our life. Self-care never leads away from our highest good; it leads toward it.

Learn to nurture that voice inside. We can trust ourselves. We can take care of ourselves. We are wiser than we think. Our guide is within, ever present. Listen to, trust, and nurture that guide.

Today, I will affirm that I am a gift to the Universe and myself. I will remember that nurturing self care delivers that gift in its highest form.

©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

We Choose to Become Willing

We must never be blinded by the futile philosophy that we are just the hapless victims of our inheritance, of our life experience, and of our surroundings - that these are the sole forces that make our decisions for us. This is not the road to freedom. We have to believe that we can really choose.


"As active alcoholics, we lost our ability to choose whether we would drink. We were the victims of a compulsion which seemed to decree that we must go on with our own destruction.

"Yet we finally did make choices that brought about our recovery. We came to believe that alone we were powerless over alcohol. This was surely a choice, and a most difficult one. We came to believe that a Higher Power could restore us to sanity when we became willing to practice A.A.'s Twelve Steps.
"In short, we chose to "become willing," and no better choice did we ever make."

1. GRAPEVINE, NOVEMBER 1960 - 2. LETTER, 1966 from "As Bill Sees It"

January 05, 2006

Open to a Higher Power of Unconditional Love

As a young adult, I considered myself an agnostic -- I didn't know if God existed or not, at least that is what I told myself. In 1975 I become a part of 12 Step Recovery and at each meeting I heard the words "God" and "Higher Power." I grimaced, I had an attitude -- I internally ridiculed and mocked whoever spoke such words thinking how queer it was.

As I endeavored to work The Program, however, I discovered that my proclaimed agnosticism was really a cover up for fear. I did, in fact, believe in God, but I didn't want to, because my Higher Power was a punishing God. The song tells us that Santa Claus "knows when you've been good or bad so be good for goodness sakes."

Well, that also described my Higher Power. I had spent years and years convincing others how good I was, but I knew and therefore God knew about all the "little bads" (telling my brother to stick his lip on the ice cube tray and when it pulled off some skin feigning ignorance and compassion--"Oh, you poor thing, I didn't know that would happen." Or the little deceits such as paying someone a compliment and then making fun of that person in my head. Or pretending to always be happy, good, and loving -- when I felt just the opposite). I saw myself as a phony and God knew about the deception.

Therefore, if I believed there was a God, then I was in trouble because He was keeping track and knew that I was deceitful, dishonest, and not the person I pretended to be. And since, "He knows when you've been good or bad." I was in for some big time punishment. My greatest moments of inner terror occurred after my second child was born. I had two healthy children (first a girl, then a boy, just what I wanted). I had a successful husband, a lovely home with two cars in the garage, etc., etc. My fear: payback time. And what better way to get back at me than through my children. So each day I awoke riddled with fear -- is today the day God will strike one of my children with an incurable disease? I lived this way for months and it was pure agony.

My turning point came at a 12 Step Retreat weekend when my son was about nine months old. I heard the main speaker talk about God saying "God loves me no matter what." That got my attention -- I had believed that I had to be good to get love, from my parents, from God, from everyone. Unconditional love, what a concept! My spiritual awakening was not a bolt of lightening. But it began that day as I chose to open to an unconditionally loving Higher Power.

It was a lot like the soaker hose I use in my garden. When I turn it on, you can hardly see the water that is dripping out, but in the morning the ground is saturated. Opening to an unconditionally loving Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, has allowed me to feel saturated with God's love. It has opened me to a love far beyond what I had ever received on this earth plane.

I no longer believe there is a punishing God -- my Higher Power loves me no matter what! I am profoundly grateful that I have had a spiritual awakening. Instead of the fear I once felt, I now only feel love.

Meryl Hershey Beck

Patience Asks Us to Live in the Moment

"Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let's be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand."

Daily Meditation from the Henri Nouwen Society.

January 04, 2006

Love of the Fellowship

"Today secure in the love of the fellowship, we can finally look another human being in the eye and be grateful for who we are." Basic Text p. 89

When we were using, few of us could tolerate looking someone in the eye-we were ashamed of who we were. Our minds were not occupied with anything decent or healthy, and we knew it. Our time, money, and energy weren't spent building loving relationships, sharing with others, or seeking to better our communities. We were trapped in a spiral of obsession and compulsion that went only in one direction: downward.

In recovery, our journey down that spiral path has been cut short. But what is it that has turned us around, drawing us back upward into the open spaces of the wide, free world? The love of the fellowship has done this.

In the company of other addicts, we knew we would not be rejected. By the example of other addicts, we were shown how to begin taking a positive part in the life around us. When we were unsure which way to turn, when we stumbled, when we had to correct a wrong wed done, we knew our fellow members were there to encourage us.

Slowly, we've gotten the feel of our freedom. No longer are we locked up in our disease; we are free to build and grow and share along with everyone else. And when we need support to take our next step, it is there. The security we've found in the love of the fellowship has made our new lives possible.

Just for today:
I can look anyone in the eye without shame. I am grateful for the loving support that has made this possible.

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

January 03, 2006

Tuesday, Jan. 3

When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.

Helen Keller

January 01, 2006

12 Simple Instructions

1. Remember you are connected to all living beings.
2. Know who you are and live deeply from that truth.
3. Tend well the relationships and lessons given to you.
4. Move through life at your own pace.
5. Love with an open heart. No holding back.
6. Surrender your will to the Divine will.
7. Seek what is real.
8. Do what is just. Start now.
9. Stay in the moment. We reach our destinations one step at a time.
10. Never stop questioning. Never stop learning.
11. Diminish no one. Even the most unlikely among us is a teacher.
12. Life provides endless opportunities to awaken. Embrace them.

---Meredith Jordan


Just For Today
January 1

"We keep what we have only with vigilance..." Basic Text, p. 57

How do we remain vigilant about our recovery? First, by realizing that we have a disease we will always have. No matter how long we've been clean, no matter how much better our lives have become, no matter what the extent of our spiritual healing, we are still addicts. Our disease waits patiently, ready to spring the trap if we give it the opportunity.

Vigilance is a daily accomplishment. We strive to be constantly alert and ready to deal with signs of trouble. Not that we should live in irrational fear that something horrible will possess us if we drop our guard for an instant; we just take normal precautions. Daily prayer, regular meeting attendance, and choosing not to compromise spiritual principles for the easier way are acts of vigilance. We take inventory as necessary, share with others whenever we are asked, and carefully nurture our recovery.

Above all, we stay aware.

We have a daily reprieve from our addiction as long as we remain vigilant. Each day, we carry the principles of recovery into all we do, and each night, we thank our Higher Power for another day clean.

Just for today:
I will be vigilant, doing everything necessary to guard my recovery.

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