March 27, 2007

I Found My Tribe

I found my tribe, the social architecture that fulfills my every need for comaraderie and conviviality. I learned how to live.

--Alcoholics Anonymouse page 336 Crossing the River of Denial copyright AAWS

"Part of being human is the search for an individual identity. Bound to this strong need to establish a unique persona, however, is an equally intense desire for acceptance. It is when we find our individual tribes that both are satisfied. Our tribe members are those people who accept us as we are without reservation and gladly accompany us on our journeys of evolution. Among them, we feel free to be our imperfect selves, to engage unabashedly in the activities we enjoy, and to express our vulnerabilities by relying on our tribe for support. We feel comfortable investing our time and energy in the members of our tribe, and are equally comfortable allowing them to invest their resources in our development.

"The individuals who eventually become members of your unique tribe are out there in the wide world waiting for you. You are destined to find them, one by one, as you move through life. Sometimes your own efforts will put you in contact with your future tribe members. At other times, circumstances beyond your control will play a role in helping you connect with your tribe. If you look about you and discover that you are already allied with a wonderful and supportive tribe, remember that there are likely many members of your tribe you have not yet met. On the other hand, if you feel you are still living outside of your tribe, broadening your horizons can help you find your tribe members.

"However your life develops after you come together with your tribe, you can be assured that its members will stand at your side. On the surface, your tribe may seem to be nothing more than a loose-knit group of friends and acquaintances to whom you ally yourself. Yet when you look deeper, you will discover that your tribe grounds you and provides you with a sense of community that ultimately fulfills many of your most basic human needs."

From DailyOM - Nurturing Mind Body & Spirit

Open to the Spirit

A.A. Thought for the Day

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

Meditation for the Day

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

Prayer for the Day

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

From Twenty Four Hours A Day ©Hazelden Foundation

March 26, 2007

A Quiet Joy

There is a calmness to a life lived in Gratitude, a quiet joy.
--Ralph H. Blum

It is never too late to become what you might have been.
--George Eliot

Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.
--Philip Gulley

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.
--Martin Luther King

Open to a Higher Power

"I knew...I needed to be open-minded toward what people suggested for recovery. However, when it came to spirituality, I fought it nearly every step of the way. Although raised in an ethnic and religious Jewish household, I was agnostic and very resistant to anyone and anything that I perceived to be imposing religious beliefs. To my surprise, Alcoholics Anonymous suggested something different.

"The idea that religion and spirituality were not one and the same was a new notion. My sponsor asked that I merely remain open-minded to the possibility that there was a Power greater than myself, one of my own understanding. He assured me that no person was going to impose a belief system on me, that it was a personal matter.

Reluctantly, I opened my mind to the fact that maybe, just maybe, there was something to this spiritual lifestyle. Slowly but surely, I realized that there was a Power greater than myself, and I soon found myself with a full-time God in my life and following a spiritual path that didn't conflict with my personal religious convictions."

From "The Missing Link"© 2001 AAWS, Inc., Fourth Edition; Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 287

March 25, 2007

Guide to a New Way of Life

The Twelve Steps, originated by Alcoholics Anonymous, is the spritual foundation for personal recovery from the effects of alcoholism, not only for the alcoholic, but also for their friends and family in Al-Anon Family Groups.

Many members of 12-step recovery programs have found that these steps were not merely a way to stop drinking, but they became a guide toward a new way of life.

Over a six-month period, visitors to the Alcoholism site (of participated in a study of the Twelve Steps by sharing their experience, strength, and hope on the bulletin board. Their stories provide great insight into how they have applied the priniciples in their lives.

Click above for active links to the following topics:

Step 1: Honesty
After many years of denial, recovery can begin when with one simple admission of being powerless over alcohol -- for alcoholics and their friends and family.

Step 2: Faith
It seems to be a spiritual truth, that before a higher power can begin to operate, you must first believe that it can.

Step 3: Surrender
A lifetime of self-will run riot can come to a screeching halt, and change forever, by making a simple decision to turn it all over to a higher power.

Step 4: Soul Searching
There is a saying in the 12-step programs that recovery is a process, not an event. The same can be said for this step -- more will surely be revealed.

Step 5: Integrity
Probably the most difficult of all the steps to face, Step 5 is also the one that provides the greatest opportunity for growth.

Step 6: Acceptance
The key to Step 6 is acceptance -- accepting character defects exactly as they are and becoming entirely willing to let them go.

Step 7: Humility
The spiritual focus of Step 7 is humility, asking a higher power to do something that cannot be done by self-will or mere determination.

Step 8: Willingness
Making a list of those harmed before coming into recovery may sound simple. Becoming willing to actually make those amends is the difficult part.

Step 9: Forgiveness
Making amends may seem like a bitter pill to swallow, but for those serious about recovery it can be great medicine for the spirit and soul.

Step 10: Maintenance
Nobody likes to admit to being wrong. But it is absolutely necessary to maintain spiritual progress in recovery.

Step 11: Making Contact
The purpose of Step 11 is to discover the plan God as you understand Him has for your life.

Step 12: Service
For those in recovery programs, practicing Step 12 is simply "how it works."

Compassion Replaces Judgment

All we see of someone at any moment is a snapshot of their life, there in riches or poverty, in joy or despair. Snapshots don't show the million decisions that led to that moment.

--Richard Bach

Today's Meditation:

I try to remember this whenever I'm faced with someone who's rude or obnoxious. The snapshot I see may or may not be indicative of the true person who's standing before me, and there's a good chance that I see this person as rude because of things that have happened in his or her life over which the person has had no control.

Many people are taught rude behavior by their parents or other relatives, simply through the power of example. We wouldn't fault a person for loving his or her parents, and if they love them, there's a good chance that they'll emulate them after seeing their examples. And if dad is an insecure person who relies on insulting others to make himself feel better, why wouldn't a son or daughter pick that up? And who's to say that it's not possible that no one has ever sat down with this person to explain just what they're doing to make other people react negatively?

It's easier for us to feel compassion if we keep in mind that other people have gone through trials, too. It's easier to feel compassion if we remember that this person's teachers might have been simply awful teachers, and this person has thus learned some simply awful lessons and thus makes some awful decisions.

We can live in deeper peace when we stop judging others and when we stop reacting negatively to the things that others do. We can live in deeper peace when we practice compassion rather than judgment--and we can help others to see more effective ways of acting if we're compassionate with them and not judgmental. Judgment forces defensiveness, while compassion is a force that truly can change the world.

From daily meditations.

March 24, 2007

Love heals and protects me.

Today's Positive Affirmation
I allow love into my life and I AM safe and secure.

Today's Positive Visualization
I close my eyes and see myself wrapped in a soft blanket of God's loving energy. I feel my mind and body relax as I allow this loving energy to comfort, heal, and protect me. I see myself going through my day with confidence. I imagine myself acting and responding from a place of inner peace. I feel safe and secure in my world. In my mind's eye, I see myself and others experiencing the healing power of God's love. As I quietly exhale, I combine these images with joy and let them go, knowing that they will create the good things I am visualizing and thinking.

© 2002 Institute For Creative Living

Teach Me to Cry

"We must relearn how to cry. A strong man cries; it is the weak man who holds back his tears."
--Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA

So many men have been taught it is unmanly to cry, to show emotions or to feel. When people cry, the Elders say there are two types of tears – one type will taste salty; the other type will taste sweet. One is caused by pain, and the other is caused by the release from the pain, or joy tears. A strong man knows himself and knows his relationship with the Great Spirit. The release of tears is a spiritual act. Our bodies are designed to cry. We should honor our bodies and use them as the Creator intended.

Great Spirit, Grandfather, today, teach me to cry.

An Elder's Meditation of the Day from

Letting Go Of The Past

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you going to do? Are you going to keep looking backwards, full of anger, resentment and unfulfilled desire. Or are you going to be here now. Because everything is available for you in the here and now. Love, compassion, silence, bliss and Oneness.

--Leonard Jacobson

March 21, 2007

Disrupt the Cycle of Anger with Forgiveness

"Anger and resentment drain your energy, and keep you imprisoned by your past. By choosing to let go of your hurt and anger, you give yourself the freedom to fully experience joy in life. Anger builds inside us, so by letting go, you improve your ability to control your anger. We've all seen the person who blows up at the smallest incident. It is the accumulation of built up anger that is unreleased that causes this explosion. So many diseases, like heart disease and cancer, can be triggered by unresolved resentment. By choosing to forgive, you can dramatically improve your emotional and physical health.

Without forgiveness, you cannot move forward in your own personal and relational growth.

What is not forgiveness? Forgiveness does not mean you allow people to treat you badly. It does not mean you ignore the wrongdoings. It means you accept that the person has made a mistake, and you are choosing to grant them mercy. When you forgive someone, you won't necessarily forget the hurt. I will always remember the pain I felt when my mom disowned me, but I do not dwell on it, and I do not let it interfere with the quality of our relationship today. I have allowed myself to heal and move on. Forgiveness does not mean you are condoning or excusing the person's behavior. And it doesn't mean you have to trust that person again. Some acts, like physical and sexual abuse, require that you limit your trust or at least test the trust with the person who hurt you. Remember, forgiveness is more for you than the other person...

Each of us makes mistakes in life. At one time or another (probably more than one time), we will hurt another person. Maybe it will be an accident, or perhaps it will be a purposeful reaction to someone hurting you. When this does happen, do you want to be forgiven? Do you want another chance to make amends? Most people don't mean to hurt us - they are dealing with their own pain and unresolved resentment. It's unfortunate that we take it out on our loved ones, but until we break the cycle, it will continue to happen.

Are you ready to break the cycle and do your part to forgive?"

From Forgiveness - Breaking the Cycle of Resentment - by Lori RadunCopyright © 2006 Lori Radun, CEC

March 20, 2007

Surface, Accept, Surrender, Release

Let fears slip away. Release any negative, limiting, or self-defeating beliefs buried in your subconscious too. These beliefs may be about life, love, or yourself. Beliefs create reality.

Let go. From as deep within as your fears, resentments, and negative beliefs are stored, let them all go. Let the belief or feeling surface. Accept it; surrender to it. Feel the discomfort or unrest. Then let it go. Let new beliefs replace the old. Let peace and joy and love replace fear.

Give yourself and your body permission to let go of fears, resentments, and negative beliefs. Release that which is no longer useful. Trust that you are being healed and prepared for receiving what is good.

Today, God, help me become willing to let go of old beliefs and feelings that may be hurting me. Gently take them from me and replace them with new beliefs and feelings. I do deserve the best life and love has to offer. Help me believe that.

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

March 15, 2007

Recovery Affirmations

"Affirmations have been used by people for thousands of years to help make desired changes. Affirmations are statements of fact that you want to be true. Repeating them daily and thinking of a positive emotional experience at the same time conditions your brain to help make the affirmation a reality. Read the book Liberating Greatness to understand the process more fully.

These affirmations are drawn from material in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, and are designed to be especially helpful to recovering addicts. Read through them and pick three or four that resonate with you. Then begin practicing them, repeating them twice a day for at least four weeks..."

I am a sober alcoholic
I am a sober addict
I know a new freedom.
I know a new happiness.
I do not regret the past.
I comprehend serenity.
I know peace.
I am useful.
I am connected to all that is good.
I project a positive attitude on life.
I am confident.
I place my life in the care of God.
I am free of fear.
I know how to handle things that used to baffle me.
I work the steps every day.
I am energized by my quiet time with my Higher Power.
I am patient.
I eagerly give myself to the 12 Step program.
I am rigorously honest with myself.
I am fearless in my examination of my past conduct.
I abandon myself to God's care and protection.
I am growing along spiritual lines.
I project an attitude of happiness.
I am bathed in the sunlight of the Spirit.
I am free of anger.
I am powerless over people.
I am powerless over my children.
I am tolerant of my spiritually sick friends.
I quickly ask God to save me from my anger.
I avoid retaliation.
I avoid argument.
I rely on a Higher Power.
I trust the God of my understanding to guide me through today.
I humbly rely upon God.
I am outgrowing fear.
I am on the Broad Highway walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.
I am ready to let God remove from me all things which I admit are objectionable.
I am ready to go to any lengths for victory over alcohol and other drugs.
The spirit of God flows in me.
Because God gives me strength and direction, I do the next right thing.
My experience benefits others.
With God’s help I can manage my life.
Drinking/using is death for me.
God’s power in my life enables me to match calamity with serenity.
My Higher Power demonstrates through me what He can do.
I continue to take personal inventory.
I am growing in understanding and effectiveness.
I recoil from alcohol/drugs like a hot flame.
I am aligned with God’s will for me.
I know a new meaning in my life.
I depend upon God and I am sober (clean).
I trust God.
I am entirely ready to have God remove my shortcomings.
I am a winner.
I am a miracle in progress.
I let go and let God.
I am free; I am humble.
I enjoy attending meetings.
I am a child of God.
I am God-centered.
I am willing, because this is the key to recovery.
I can make me happy.
I project an attitude of gratitude.
I am blessed with freedom of choice.
I am still and know God.
I am of service to God and my fellow man.
I am a valuable human being.
I rely on my telephone to be free from the feelings of loneliness.
I help others by asking for help.
I forgive myself.
I like myself.
I am not God; I am human.
I am getting to be who I want to be.
I am a product of God’s amazing grace.
I am humble because I seek and do God’s will.
I learn from my weaknesses.
I am grateful to be alive and recovering.
I am powerless over alcohol/drugs.
I have an open mind.
I practice the AA/NA program enthusiastically.
I believe in a power greater than myself.
I am dependent on God and this gives me true independence of spirit.
I am happy.

Based on affirmations crafted from the Big Book by Dale D. and taken from a longer list found at this Liberating Greatness site.

Keep It Simple

Archie doesn't know how to worry without getting upset.
--- Edith Bunker

Most us are like Edith's television husband, Archie. When we worry, we get upset. Problems seem too big for us. We get afraid. We feel powerless. What does the program tell us to do when we feel powerless and our life is upset? We look at the problem honestly. Than we ask our Higher Power to help us with the problem. We take it One Day at a Time. We believe our Higher Power will take care of us and help. We'll have problems. That's life! But we can get through them with care and support. We don't have to get crazy. We don't have to make things worst. We can be kind to ourselves and live through problems just fine---with our Higher Powers help.

Prayer for the Day:
Higher Power, help me do what I can today about my problems. Help me stop worrying.

Action for the Day:
If I have problems today, I'll do what I can---and leave the outcome to my Higher Power.

From Daily Recovery Readings

March 14, 2007

Embracing and Releasing Bitterness

It is natural to feel resentment or anger when life does not unfold as expected. We consciously or unconsciously anticipated one experience, and we grieve for the loss of it when the universe puts something else in our path. Most of the time, we work through these feelings and they pass. Occasionally, our anger and resentment do not fade and are instead transformed into bitterness. Bitter feelings allow us to become perfect victims in that we no longer feel obliged to work toward healing and choose instead to identify with our pain. Yet as unwholesome as bitterness can be, it is also a natural element of our emotional palette. When we acknowledge that it is okay to feel bitter, we reconnect with our hurt in a constructive way and can begin the process of working through it.

The nature of bitterness is rooted in the fact that the pain we feel provides us with a rationale. We may feel that we deserve to embrace our bitterness to its full extent. And to be bitter is, in essence, to cut ourselves off from all that is positive, hardening our hearts and vowing never to let go of our hurt. But just as bitter feelings can be self-defeating, so too can the release of bitterness be life-affirming in a way that few other emotional experiences are. When we decide that we no longer want to be bitter, we are reborn into a world filled with delight and fulfillment unlike any we knew while in the clutches of bitterness. The veil it cast over our lives is lifted, letting light and warmth touch our souls.

Divesting yourself of bitter feelings can be as simple as truly forgiving and moving on. Even when your bitterness has no concrete object, you can forgive situations too. Healing pain can be challenging but may be easier if you remind yourself that you are the only entity truly affected by your emotional state. In time, you will discover that letting go of your bitterness frees you to initiate the healing process and allows you to once again celebrate the possibility of the more wonderful life you deserve.

From DailyOM - Nurturing Mind Body & Spirit

March 13, 2007

the World of Spiritual Growth

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


The word "entered" ... and the phrase "entered into the world of the Spirit" are very significant. They imply action, a beginning, getting into, a prerequisite to maintaining my spiritual growth, the "Spirit" being the immaterial part of me. Barriers to my spiritual growth are self-centeredness and a materialistic focus on worldly things. Spirituality means devotion to spiritual instead of worldly things, it means obedience to God's will for me. I understand spiritual things to be: unconditional love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control and humility. Any time I allow selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear to be a part of me, I block out spiritual things. As I maintain my sobriety, growing spiritually becomes a lifelong process. My goal is spiritual growth, accepting that I'll never have spiritual perfection.

Daily Reflections ©1990 AAWS, Inc.

Gently breathe in God's spirit, that spirit which, if not barred out by selfishness, will enable you to do good works. This means rather that God will be enabled to do good works through you. You can become a channel for God's spirit to flow through you and into the lives of others. The works that you can do will only be limited by your spiritual development. Let your spirit be in harmony with God's spirit and there is no limit to what you can do in the realm of human relationships.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may become a channel for God's spirit. I pray that God's spirit may flow through me into the lives of others.

©Hazelden Foundation

March 12, 2007

Turning It Over

Every man and woman who has joined A.A. and intends to stick has, without realizing it, made a beginning on Step Three. Isn't it true that in all matters touching upon alcohol, each of them has decided to turn his or her life over to the care, protection, and guidance of Alcoholics Anonymous?... Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe harbor for the foundering vessel he has become. Now if this is not turning one's will and life over to a newfound Providence, then what is it?


Submission to God was the first step to my recovery. I believe our Fellowship seeks a spirituality open to a new kinship with God. As I exert myself to follow the path of the Steps, I sense a freedom that gives me the ability to think for myself. My addiction confined me without any release and hindered my ability to be released from my self-confinement, but A.A. assures me of a way to go forward. Mutual sharing, concern and caring for others is our natural gift to each other and mine is strengthened as my attitude toward God changes. I learn to submit to God's will in my life, to have self-respect, and to keep both of these attitudes by giving away what I receive.


Clarity From Chaos

Letting Go of Confusion

Sometimes, the way is not clear.

Our minds get clouded, confused. We aren't certain what our next step should be, what it will look like, what direction we are headed.

This is the time to stop, ask for guidance, and rest. That is the time to let go of fear. Wait. Feel the confusion and chaos, and then let it go. The path will show itself. The next step shall be revealed. We don't have to know now. We will know in time. Trust that. Let go and trust.

Today, I will wait if the way is not clear. I will trust that out of the chaos will come clarity.

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

March 10, 2007

Spiritual Affirmations

I am grounded and centered.

I feel the presence of a power greater than myself.

I am a divine expression of a loving God.

I let go of fear.

I let go of pain.

I live in love.

I live life in the present.

I trust the flow of life.

I am the healing light of Spirit in action.

I ask for and listen to my inner guidance.

I carry serenity and calm with me.

I accept circumstances and people as they are.

I am the freedom of the wind

I am the sun rising on a crisp fall morning.

I am the small shared smile of a stranger.

I am the laughter of a child.

I am the light of peace.

I am the breath of Spirit.

I am the strength of a thousand horses.

I am the courage of a new day.

I am the love of a child.

I am joy.

I am always present.

I am whole.

I am grateful!

Inspirational affirmations are powerful tools for changing the emotional compass from down to up. For more spiritual affirmations see Journey with Spirit and wisdom within and Pearls Of Wisdom and Spiritual Affirmations

Seek, Find, Ask, Receive

In the process of this change I can recognize two immensely significant steps for me. The first step I took when I admitted to myself for the first time that all my previous thinking might be wrong. The second step came when I first consciously wished to believe.

As a result of this experience I am convinced that to seek is to find, to ask is to be given. The day never passes that I do not silently cry out in thankfulness, not merely for my release from alcohol, but even more for a change that has given life new meaning, dignity, and beauty.

Experience, Strength and Hope, p. 107 c. 2003 AAWS,

Keeping Things in Perspective

"In the past, we made simple situations into problems; we made mountains out of molehills." Basic Text, p. 87

Making mountains out of molehills seems to be our specialty. Have you heard it said that to an addict, a flat tire is a traumatic event? Or how about those of us who forget all pretense of principle when confronted with a bad driver? And what about that can opener that won't work‹you know, the one you just threw out the second story window? We can relate when we hear others share, "God, grant me patience right now!"

No, it's not the major setbacks that drive us to distraction. The big things - divorce, death, serious illness, the loss of a job -will throw us, but we survive them. We've learned from experience that we must reach out to our Higher Power and others to make it through life's major crises. It's the small things, the constant day-to-day challenges of living life without the use of drugs, that seem to affect most addicts most strongly in recovery.

When the little things get to us, the Serenity Prayer can help us regain our perspective. We can all remember that "turning over" these small matters to the care of our Higher Power results in peace of mind and a refreshed perspective on life.

Just for today:
I will work on patience. I will try to keep from blowing things out of proportion, and walk with my Higher Power through my day.

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

Stay Sober on Love

"The things I thought I needed for so many years no longer seem important, now that I have become aware of the spiritual resources God has given me. With these, I don't need alcohol to function. What a joy to stay sober on love on love instead of fear!" –

Came to Believe, 30th printing 2004, pg. 35 ©1973 AAWS, Inc.

March 08, 2007

Our Feet Firmly Planted

"Those of us who have spent much time in the world of spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness of it. This dream world has been replaced by a great sense of purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives. We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work must be done. These are the realities for us. We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness."
~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, The Family Afterward, pg. 130~

So Much Depends on My Attitude

I truly believe that, no matter how bad or traumatic an event appeared at the time, absolutely everything happens for a reason - to teach us lessons in the 'scholarly journey' of life... and that this only means that something much bigger and better, something way more beautiful is waiting for you - somewhere, somehow!

God can weave a beautiful tapestry from even the most tangled thread of a shattered life.. It's just a matter of "hanging in by the fingernails" with the hidden strength of character that we all have deep within us...and which is only severely tested in trials and tribulations. Like the 'pearl of great' price, which is produced by the great irritation of the oyster. This suffering breeds our great strength of character, which is within every one of us.

It's not what happens to us in's how we react to what has happened to us...and our success will largely depend on our ATTITUDE to life: by remaining optimistic and open to new opportunities in the face of hardship, when all seems lost. Continue to do your part to open new doors amidst your trials and tribulations. All we need is FAITH to keep going. So many miners gave up within inches of finding the gold in the seam of life.

I have an absolute faith in a Power way beyond ourselves, God, Life, Spirit of the Universe, Higher Authority, Infinite Intelligence, the Ultimate Source, the Creator (whatever you wish to call Him/It).

However, I also believe that God, first helps those who help themselves. He may steer the course of our lives, but we have to take action and start peddling.

He always gives us HOPE and LOVE when we may think we have nothing left...and God, Life Force, the Universe wants what is best for us and for us to be fulfilled and happy.

That, I believe, is why , I believe God always conspires to deliver when we want something with all our heart and soul. God can make our wildest dreams come true -ones that are far bigger and more magnificent than we could ever have dreamed ourselves.

Best Wishes from the First City to see the Sun in "Godzone"
(as New Zealand is affectionately known) By Craig Lock

March 06, 2007

Relaxed and Ready

A.A. Thought for the Day
Sometimes we try too hard to get this program. It is better to relax and accept it. It will be given to us, with no effort on our part, if we stop trying too hard to get it. Sobriety can be a free gift of God, which He gives us by His grace when He knows we are ready for it. But we have to be ready. Then we must relax, take it easy, and accept the gift with gratitude and humility. We must put ourselves in God's hands. We must say to God: "Here am I and here are all my troubles. I've made a mess of things and can't do anything about it. You take me and all my troubles and do anything you want with me." Do I believe that the grace of God can do for me what I could never do for myself?

Meditation for the Day
Fear is the curse of the world. Many are our fears. Fear is everywhere. I must fight fear as I would a plague. I must turn it out of my life. There is no room for fear in the heart in which God dwells. Fear cannot exist where true love is or where faith abides. So I must have no fear. Fear is evil, but "perfect love casteth out all fear." Fear destroys hope and hope is necessary for all of humanity.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may have no fear. I pray that I may cast all fear out of my life.

from Twenty Four Hours A Day ©Hazelden Foundation PO Box 176 Center City, MN 55012

Search Our Motives

Some of us clung to the claim that when drinking we never hurt anybody but ourselves. Our families didn't suffer, because we always paid the bills and seldom drank at home. Our business associates didn't suffer, because we were usually on the job. Our reputations didn't suffer, because we were certain few knew of our drinking. Those who did would sometimes assure us that, after all, a lively bender was only a good man's fault. What real harm, therefore, had we done? No more, surely, than we could easily mend with a few casual apologies.

This attitude, of course, is the end result of purposeful forgetting. It is an attitude which can be changed only by a deep and honest search of our motives and actions.

Copyright®1967 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

March 05, 2007

Kindle the Divine Spark

Having surrendered our lives to God and put our drink problem in His hands doesn't mean that we'll never be tempted to drink. So we must build up strength for the time when temptation will come. In this quiet time, we read and pray and get our minds in the right mood for the day. Starting the day right is a great help in keeping sober. As the days go by and we get used to the sober life, it gets easier and easier. We begin to develop a deep gratitude to God for saving us from that old life. And we begin to enjoy peace and serenity and quiet happiness. Am I trying to live the way God wants me to live?

Meditation for the Day

The elimination of selfishness is the key to happiness and can only be accomplished with God's help. We start out with a spark of the Divine Spirit but a large amount of selfishness. As we grow and come in contact with other people, we can take one of two paths. We can become more and more selfish and practically extinguish the Divine Spark within us, or we can become more unselfish and develop our spirituality until it becomes the most important thing in our lives.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may grow more and more unselfish, honest, pure, and loving. I pray that I may take the right path every day.

From "Twenty-Four Hours A Day" ©Hazelden Foundation.

Living in the Twelve Steps

"This program has become a part of me.... I understand more clearly the things that are happening in my life today I no longer fight the process." Basic Text, p. 78

In active addiction, things happened seemingly without rhyme or reason. We just "did things;' often without knowing why or what the results would be. Life had little value or meaning.

The Twelve Step process gives meaning to our lives; in working the steps, we come to accept both the dark and the bright sides of ourselves. We strip away the denial that kept us from comprehending addiction's affect on us. We honestly examine ourselves, picking out the patterns in our thoughts, our feelings, and our behavior We gain humility and perspective by fully disclosing ourselves to another human being. In seeking to have our shortcomings removed, we develop a working appreciation of our own powerlessness and the strength provided by a Power greater than we are. With our enhanced understanding of ourselves, we gain greater insight into and acceptance of others.

The Twelve Steps are the key to a process we call "life:' In working the steps, they become a part of us‹and we become a part of the life around us. Our world is no longer meaningless; we understand more about what happens in our lives today. We no longer fight the process. Today, in working the steps, we live it.

Just for today: : Life is a process; the Twelve Steps are the key. Today, I will use the steps to participate in that process, understanding and enjoying myself and my recovery.

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

March 04, 2007

Changing People Places and Things

We quickly learn that it's wrong to do anything that "feeds" a drinking habit. A recovering person would be foolish, for example, to spend time in a drinking environment simply to "be with friends."

It's constructive to take that same approach toward other problems we'd like to get out of our lives. If gossip has been my problem, I should not feed it by listening to gossip or even by reading gossipy articles and books. IF I have accumulated debts through overspending, I should cut off window shopping and other practices that may bring on more unnecessary debt. And if I want to rid my life of self-pity, I should not spend a single moment brooding over the bad breaks I have had in the past.

Bad habits have a life of their own. They are somewhat like rodents that have found their way into the house and have become star borders. One way to control rodents is to eliminate their food supply. That same principle applies to bad habits we want to eliminate from our own lives.

I'll make a strong effort to cut off any line of thinking that feeds my bad habits, whatever they are. This might include avoiding practices that others see as harmless and trivial. However, nothing is harmless or trivial if it has become destructive in my life.

From Walk in Dry Places by Mel B.

March 03, 2007

Hope is the Key

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.


the Inner Voice

"Long before nagging and pressures from others concerning my excessive use of alcohol made any impression on me, the nagging voice of conscience – my own inner voice of truth and right – apprised me of the irrevocable fact that I had lost control of alcohol, that I was powerless. I know now that the inner voice was God, as I understand Him, speaking. For, as I had been taught from earliest memory and as A.A. has emphasized, God – or good – emanates from within each of us." – Lakewood, Ohio, USA

© 1973 AAWS, Inc.; 30th Printing 2004, Came to Believe, pg. 83

March 02, 2007

Making 12th Step Calls

In Alcoholics Anonymous, Chapter Seven, "Working With Others," contains specific recommendations and suggestions on how to best carry the message to wet drunks, such as:

"You will be most successful with alcoholics if you do not exhibit any passion for crusade or reform. Never talk down to an alcoholic from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked for you. Offer him friendship and fellowship. Tell him that if he wants to get well you will do anything to help."

Today, it remains the basic script for AAs carrying the message to other alcoholics. To read Chapter Seven, "Working With Others," visit Big Book Online Fourth Edition.

AAs have found that when experience is shared, good results often follow. Wanting to increase Twelfth Step efforts and avoid missteps, the St. Paul, Minneapolis Intergroup offered "Tips On Making Twelfth Step Calls" in their May 2001 newsletter, Lifeline....

Below is the list in full. You may also wish to contact your local area or intergroup to find more information about how AAs in your area make Twelfth Step calls and work with wet drunks.


Tips on Making Twelfth Step Calls

When a Twelfth Step call is received, we begin with the assumption that another human being's life is at stake -- literally. This means that, without delay, this call is to be answered at once.

1. Arrange for another AA member to go with you.

2. Have a quiet time, read Chapter Seven in the Big Book.

3. Maintain anonymity.

4. Talk to the prospect alone, if possible. (That is, without his family and friends there.)

5. Congratulate him on wanting to do something about his drinking problem.

6. Give him some AA literature.

7.Note well what the Big Book says at the bottom of page 94: "On your first visit tell him about the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. If he shows interest, lend him your copy of this book."

8. Each of you tell him "what you used to be like, what happened, and what you are like now."

9. If he wants to talk, let him.

10. At the top of page 95, it advises, "Give him a chance to think it over. . . . Sometimes a new man is anxious to proceed at once, and you may be tempted to let him do so. This is sometimes a mistake. If he has trouble later, he is likely to say you rushed him. . . . If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval (at least ask him to read the first 164 pages). After doing that (reading the book), he must decide for himself if he wants to go on .

11. When you are ready to leave, tell him you will call on him the following day if he wants, and he will have had time to read the first 164 pages, or had time to think about your conversation.

Note that the second paragraph on page 96 says, "Suppose you are now making your second visit to a man. He has read this volume, and he is prepared to go through with the Twelve Steps of the program of recovery." At this point you review the Twelve Steps with him, and arrange to bring him to your group meeting. If he does not want to go on, or feels that he can do it some other way, pick up your copy of the Big Book and invite him to call on you again if he changes his mind and decides that AA can be of help.

12.Finally, note how the Big Book, at the top of page 96 says, "We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot, or will not, work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that cannot recover by himself."

From the March 2007 online version of the AA Grapevine.

Letting Go of Anger

In recovery, we often discuss anger objectively. Yes, we reason, it's an emotion were all prone to experience. Yes, the goal in recovery is to be free of resentment and anger. Yes, its okay to feel angry, we agree. Well, maybe...

Anger is a powerful and sometimes frightening emotion. Its also a beneficial one if its not allowed to harden into resentment or used as a battering ram to punish or abuse people.

Anger is a warning signal. It points to problems. Sometimes, it signals problems we need to solve. Sometimes, it points to boundaries we need to set. Sometimes, its the final burst of energy before letting go, or acceptance, settles in.

And, sometimes, anger just is. It doesnt have to be justified. It usually cant be confined to a tidy package. And it need not cause us to stifle our energy or ourselves.

We don't have to feel guilty whenever we expense anger. We dont have to feel guilty.

Breathe deeply. We can shamelessly feel all our feelings, including anger, and still take responsibility for our behaviors.

I will feel and release any angry feelings I have today. I can do that appropriately and safely

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

the HOW of the Program

A New Dimension

Beaten into complete defeat by alcohol, confronted by the living proof of defeat, and surrounded by those who can speak to us from the heart, we have finally surrendered. And then, paradoxically, we have found ourselves in a new dimension, the real world of spirit and of faith. Enough willingness, enough open-mindedness -- and there it is!
c. 1988 The AA Grapevine, Inc., The Language of the Heart, p. 246

Thought to Ponder . . .
A new world came into view.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
H O W = Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness.

AA Thought for the Day(courtesy

March 01, 2007

Mysterious Paradoxes

Such is the paradox of A.A. regeneration: strength arising out of complete defeat and weakness, the loss of one's old life as a condition for finding a new one.

A.A. COMES OF AGE, p. 46

What glorious mysteries paradoxes are! They do not compute, yet when recognized and accepted, they reaffirm something in the universe beyond human logic. When I face a fear, I am given courage; when I support a brother or sister, my capacity to love myself is increased; when I accept pain as part of the growing experience of life, I realize a greater happiness; when I look at my dark side, I am brought into new light; when I accept my vulnerabilities and surrender to a Higher Power, I am graced with unforeseen strength. I stumbled through the doors of A.A. in disgrace, expecting nothing from life, and I have been given hope and dignity. Miraculously, the only way to keep the gifts of the program is to pass them on.

Daily Reflections

The Man on the Bed

"…I lay there on that hospital bed and went back over and reviewed my life. I thought of what liquor had done to me, the opportunities that I had discarded, the abilities that had been given me and how I had wasted them, and I finally came to the conclusion that if I didn't want to quit, I certainly ought to want to, and that I was willing to do anything in the world to stop drinking.

"I was willing to admit to myself that I had hit bottom, that I had gotten hold of something that I didn't know how to handle by myself. So after reviewing these things and realizing what liquor had cost me, I went to this Higher Power that, to me, was God, without any reservation, and admitted that I was completely powerless over alcohol and that I was willing to do anything in the world to get rid of the problem...

He had lain awake all night. Down in the pit of his depression, new hope had suddenly been born. The thought flashed through his mind, "If they can do it, I can do it!" Over and over he said this to himself. Finally, out of his hope, there burst conviction. Now he was sure... Then came a great joy. At length peace stole over him, and he slept."

2001 AAWS, Inc., Fourth Edition; Alcoholics Anonymous, pgs. 186-87 p. 189