April 26, 2007

Born of the Spirit

It's been proved that we alcoholics can't get sober by our willpower. We've failed again and again. Therefore I believe there must be a Higher Power which helps me. I think of that power as the grace of God. And I pray to God every morning for the strength to stay sober today. I know that power is there because it never fails to help me. Do I believe that AA. works through the grace of God?

Meditation for the Day

Once I am "born of the spirit," that is my life's breath. Within me is the life of life, so that I can never perish. The life that down the ages has kept God's children through peril, adversity, and sorrow. I must try never to doubt or worry, but follow where the life of the spirit leads. How often, when little I know it, God goes before me to prepare the way, to soften a heart, or to overrule a resentment. As the life of the spirit grows, natural wants become less important.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that my life may become centered in God more than in sell I pray that my will may be directed toward doing His will.

from Twenty Four Hours A Day ©Hazelden Foundation

Fourth Step Quotes

STEP FOUR: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

"Step Four is our vigorous and painstaking effort to discover what these liabilities in each of us have been, and are. We want to find exactly how, when, and where our natural desires have warped us. We wish to look squarely at the unhappiness this has caused others and ourselves. By discovering what our emotional deformities are, we can move toward their correction."

© 1952, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pages 42-43

“Some will object to many of the questions posed, because they think their own character defects have not been so glaring. To these it can be suggested that a conscientious examination is likely to reveal the very defects the objectionable questions are concerned with. Because our surface record hasn’t looked too bad, we have frequently been abashed to find that this is so simply because we have buried these self-same defects deep down in us under thick layers of self-justification. Whatever the defects, they have finally ambushed us into alcoholism and misery.”

12 & 12, pgs 53-54

Following the Third Step, the Big Book states: “Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.”

April 24, 2007

Seek Divine Guidance

People believe in A.A. when they see it work. An actual demonstration is what convinces them. What they read in books, what they hear people say doesn't always convince them. But when they see a real honest-to-goodness change take place in a person, a change from a drunkard to a sober, useful citizen, that's something they can believe because they can see it. There's really only one thing that proves to me that A.A. works. Have I seen the change in people who come into A.A.?

Meditation for the Day
Divine control and unquestioning obedience to God are the only conditions necessary for a spiritual life. Divine control means absolute faith and trust in God, a belief that God is the Divine Principle in the universe and that He is the intelligence and the Love that controls the universe. Unquestioning obedience to God means living each day the way you believe God wants you to live, constantly seeking the guidance of God in every situation and being willing to do the right thing at all times.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may always be under Divine Control and always practice unquestioning obedience to God. I pray that I may be always ready to serve Him.

feom Twenty Four Hours a Day ©Hazelden Foundation

New Soil...New Roots

Moments of perception can build into a lifetime of spiritual serenity, as I have excellent reason to know. Roots of reality, supplanting the neurotic underbrush, will hold fast despite the high winds of the forces which would destroy us, or which we would use to destroy ourselves.


I came to A.A. green -- a seedling quivering with exposed taproots. It was for survival but it was a beginning. I stretched, developed, twisted, but with the help of others, my spirit eventually burst up from the roots. I was free. I acted, withered, went inside, prayed, acted again, understood anew, as one moment of perception struck. Up from my roots, spirit-arms lengthened into strong, green shoots: high-springing servants stepping skyward.

Here on earth God unconditionally continues the legacy of higher love. My A.A. life put me "on a different footing . . . [my] roots grasped a new soil" (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 12).

from Daily Reflections ©1990 AAWS, INC.

A New Life Awaits

As the leaves fall gracefully from the trees when it is their time and season, so, too, must we learn to let go of all that we have held onto out of fear, in order to discover the new life that awaits us.

--Julie Redstone

April 20, 2007

Friday Funny

An older, white haired man walked into a jewelry store one Friday evening with a beautiful young gal at his side. He told the jeweler he was looking for a special ring for his girlfriend.

The jeweler looked through his stock and brought out a $5,000 ring. The old man said, "No, I'd like to see something more special."

At that statement, the jeweler went to his special stock and brought another ring over. "Here's a stunning ring at only $40,000," the jeweler said.

The young lady's eyes sparkled and her whole body trembled with excitement. The old man seeing this said, "We'll take it."

The jeweler asked how payment would be made and the old man stated, "By check. I know you need to make sure my check is good, so I'll write it now and you can call the bank Monday to verify the funds and I'll pick the ring up Monday afternoon."

Monday morning, the jeweler phoned the old man. "There's no money in that account."

"I know," said the old man, "but let me tell you about my weekend!"

Don't mess with Old People.

Coming Clean

The deception of others is nearly always rooted in the deception of ourselves... "When we are honest with another person, it confirms that we have been honest with ourselves and with God


When I was drinking, I deceived myself about reality, rewriting it to what I wanted it to be. Deceiving others is a character defect -- even if it is just stretching the truth a bit or cleaning up my motives so others would think well of me. My Higher Power can remove this character defect, but first I have to help myself become willing to receive that help by not practicing deception. I need to remember each day that deceiving myself about myself is setting myself up for failure or disappointment in life and in Alcoholics Anonymous. A close, honest relationship with a Higher Power is the only solid foundation I've found for honesty with self and with others.

from Daily Reflections ©1990 AAWS, INC.

Removing the Ground Glass

The [fourth step] moral inventory is a cool examination of the damages that occurred to us in life and a sincere effort to look at them in a true perspective. This has the effect of taking the ground glass out of us, the emotional substance that still cuts and inhibits.
c. 1967 AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 140

Thought to Ponder . . .
Pain is what I walk through. Misery is what I sit in.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
H O P E = Having Optimistic Perspective Every day.

AA Thought for the Day (courtesy AAOnline.net)

April 15, 2007

Love is the Answer

A.A. Thought for the Day

In A.A. we have insurance. Our faith in God is a kind of insurance against the terrible things that might happen to us if we ever drink again. By putting our drink problem in the hands of God, we've taken out a sort of insurance policy, which insures us against the ravages of drink, as our homes are insured against destruction by fire. Am I paying my A.A. insurance premiums regularly?

Meditation for the Day

I must try to love all humanity. Love comes from thinking of every man or woman as your brother or sister, because they are children of God. This way of thinking makes me care enough about them to really want to help them. I must put this kind of love into action by serving others. Love means no severe judging, no resentments, no malicious gossip, and no destructive criticism. It means patience, understanding, compassion, and helpfulness.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may realize that God loves me, since He is the Father of us all. I pray that I in turn may have love for all of His children.

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

Communicate Clearly

Part of owning our power is learning to communicate clearly, directly, and assertively. We don't have to beat around the bush in our conversations to control the reactions of others. Guilt-producing comments only produce guilt. We don't have to fix or take care of people with our words; we can't expect others to take care of us with words either. We can settle for being heard and accepted. And we can respectfully listen to what others have to say.

Hinting at what we need doesn't work. Others can't read our mind, and they're likely to resent our indirectness. The best way to take responsibility for what we want is to ask for it directly. And, we can insist on directness from others. If we need to say no to a particular request, we can. If someone is trying to control us through a conversation,we can refuse to participate.

Acknowledging feelings such as disappointment or anger directly, instead of making others guess at our feelings or having our feelings come out in other ways, is part of responsible communication. If we don't know what we want to say, we can say that too.

We can ask for information and use words to forge a closer connection, but we don't have to take people around the block with our conversations. We don't have to listen to, or participate in, nonsense. We can say what we want and stop when we're done.

Today, I will communicate clearly and directly in my conversations with others. I will strive to avoid manipulative, indirect, or guilt producing statements. I can be tactful and gentle whenever possible. And I can be assertive if necessary.

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

the Problem with People Pleasing

Demands made upon other people for too much attention, protection, and lovecan 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.


"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.

April 14, 2007

Imagine Life Without Fear, Anger and Resentment

"Do we really want to be rid of our resentments, our anger, our fear?" --Basic Text p. 33

Why do we call them "shortcomings" ? Perhaps they should be called "long-goings: ' because that's often what it takes for them to fade from our lives. Some of us feel that our shortcomings are the very characteristics that saved our lives when we used. If this is true, then it is little wonder that we sometimes cling to them like old, dear friends.

If we are having trouble with resentment, anger, or fear, we may want to envision what our lives could be like without these troubling defects.

Asking ourselves why we react in a certain manner can sometimes root out the fear at the core of our conduct. "Why am I afraid to step beyond these aspects of my personality? " we ask ourselves. 'Am I afraid of who I will be without these attributes?"

Once we have uncovered our fear, we are able to move beyond it. We try to imagine what our lives could be like without some of our more glaring shortcomings. This gives us a feeling for what lies past our fear, providing the motivation we need to push through it. Our Higher Power offers us a new vision for our lives, free of our defects. That vision is the essence of our own best, brightest dreams for ourselves. We need not fear that vision.

Just for today: I will imagine what my life would be like without my character defects. I will ask for the willingness to have God remove my shortcomings.

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

April 11, 2007

the Power of an Open Mind

"A new idea cannot be grafted onto a closed mind. Open-mindedness leads us to the very insights that have eluded us during our lives." ---Basic Text p. 93

We arrived in NA at the lowest point in our lives. We'd just about run out of ideas. What we needed most when we got here were new ideas, new ways of living, shared from the experience of people who'd seen those ideas work. Yet our closed minds prevented us from taking in the very ideas we needed to live.

Denial keeps us from appreciating just how badly we really need new ideas and new direction. By admitting our powerlessness and recognizing how truly unmanageable our lives have become, we allow ourselves to see how much we need what NA has to offer.

Self-dependence and self-will can keep us from admitting even the possibility of the existence of a Power greater than ourselves. However, when we admit the sorry state self-will has gotten us into, we open our eyes and our minds to new possibilities. When others tell us of a Power that has brought sanity to their lives, we begin to believe that such a Power may do the same for us.

A tree stripped of its branches will die unless new branches can be grafted onto its trunk. In the same way, addiction stripped us' of whatever direction we had. To grow or even to survive, we must open our minds and allow new ideas to be grafted onto our lives.

Just for today: I will ask my Higher Power to open my mind to the new ideas of recovery.

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

Guided Online Meditations

This post from K-L Masina provides links to nine online guided meditations, including a Sacred Space meditation that is "about appreciating and creating your life. It’s very positive, and grounded, and the music has a light tinkly aspect to it. It’s an up-lifting, positive meditation great for people who don’t want to hear about angels or auras or spirit world too much."

April 08, 2007

Unraveling Tangled Threads

We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn't control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn't make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn't seem to be of real help to other people. . . .


These words remind me that I have more problems than alcohol, that alcohol is only a symptom of a more pervasive disease. When I stopped drinking I began a lifetime process of recovery from unruly emotions, painful relationships, and unmanageable situations. This process is too much for most of us without help from a Higher Power and our friends in the Fellowship. When I began working the Steps of the A.A. program, many of these tangled threads unraveled but, little by little, the most broken places of my life straightened out. One day at a time, almost imperceptibly, I healed. Like a thermostat being turned down, my fears diminished. I began to experience moments of contentment. My emotions became less volatile. I am now once again a part of the human family.

Daily Reflections. ©1990 AAWS, INC.

When Old Feelings Return

I still have bad days. But thats okay. I used to have bad years.

Sometimes, the old feelings creep back in. We may feel fearful, ashamed, and hopeless. We may feel not good enough, unlovable, victimized, helpless, and resentful about it all. This is codependency, a condition some describe as soul sickness.

Many of us felt this way when we began recovery. Sometimes, we slip back into these feelings after weve begun recovery. Sometimes theres a reason. An event may trigger these reactions, such as ending a relationship, stress, problems on the job, at home, or in friendships. Times of change can trigger these reactions. So can physical illness.

Sometimes, these feelings return for no reason.

A return to the old feelings doesnt mean were back to square one in our recovery. They do not mean weve failed at recovery. They do not mean were in for a long, painful session of feeling badly. They just are there.

The solution is the same: practicing the basics. Some of the basics are loving and trusting our self, detachment, dealing with feelings, giving and receiving support in the recovery community, using our affirmations, and having fun.

Another basic is working the Steps. Often, working the Steps is how we become enabled and empowered to practice the other basics, such as detachment and self-love.

If the old feelings come back, know for certain there is a way out that will work.

Today, if I find myself in the dark pit of codependency, I will work a Step to help myself climb out.

Today's Thought

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

Get Rid of Unrealistic Expectations

A great many people are disappointed because of unrealistic expectations.

Walking up to a department store's fabric counter, an attractive young woman said, "I want to buy this material for a new dress. How much does it cost?" "Only one kiss per yard," replied the smirking male clerk.

Not to be taken back by the harassment, the woman said, "That's fine! I'll take ten yards."

With expectation and anticipation written all over his face, the clerk hurriedly measured out and wrapped the cloth, then held it out teasingly, leaning forward to receive his "payment."

The woman snapped up the package and pointed to a little old man standing beside her. "Grandpa will pay the bill," she smiled.

He was no doubt disappointed. But in the course of living, many people are disappointed when others do not live up (or down, in this case!) to their expectations. In order to be happy, some expectations must be dropped. These unrealistic and unhealthy expectations are three of the main culprits.

1. Do not EXPECT appreciation. When others say, "Thank you," or in any way show their gratitude, be happy. It is a gift!

2. Do not EXPECT others to make you happy. They simply cannot do that. Make yourself happy and share your joy with others.

3. Do not expect NOT to be let down. At times, people will simply not come through for you in the way you need. Forgive them and move on.

Get rid of these three expectations and you will be getting rid of daily disappointment!

--Steve Goodier

the Language of Self Care

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.

--Lucille Ball

The key to cherishing yourself is recognizing that you are valuable, lovable and definitely worth being cherished. Once you are ready to make this decision for yourself, you will discover an inner confidence that was trapped just behind your fears.

--Michelle Morris-Spieker

"I dont precisely know what you need to do to take care of yourself. But I know you can figure it out.
--Beyond Codependency

Rest when youre tired.

Take a drink of cold water when youre thirsty.

Call a friend when youre lonely.

Ask God to help when you feel overwhelmed.

Many of us have learned how to deprive and neglect ourselves. Many of us have learned to push ourselves hard, when the problem is that were already pushed too hard.

Many of us are afraid the work wont get done if we rest when were tired. The work will get done; it will be done better than work that emerges from tiredness of soul and spirit. Nurtured, nourished people, who love themselves and care for themselves, are the delight of the Universe.

They are well timed, efficient, and Divinely led.

Today, I will practice loving self-care."

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

Emotions Are Like Vegetables

Understanding Anger

The first step to dealing with it is to understand anger. Anger is not ‘negative’. It is simply an energy; an emotion. It serves as a protection system. When you get angry, it is a sign that something or someone is infringing on you or your rights.

It is not to be confused with blind rage; blind rage is when you start being abusive; when you start being violent towards inanimate objects, or worse, other people. That is not healthy.

I heard a great analogy once; emotions are like vegetables. When they are fresh, they are fine. When you hold it in for a long time, that’s when they become toxic. They explode to the surface and manifest themselves in unhealthy ways. It could also lead to cancer, stress, and several other nasty conditions.