October 31, 2007

Developing a Relationship with a Higher Power

"Ongoing recovery is dependent on our relationship with a loving God who cares for us and will do for us what we find impossible to do for ourselves." Basic Text, p.96

Working the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous gives us a fresh start in life and some guidance for living in the world. But the steps are more than a fresh start. When we do our best to work the steps, we develop a relationship with our personal Higher Power.

In the Third Step, we decide to allow a loving God to influence our lives. Much of the courage, trust, and willingness we need to continue through the succeeding steps comes from this decision. In the Seventh Step, we go even further by asking this Higher Power to change our lives. The Eleventh Step is a way for us to improve the relationship.

Recovery is a process of growth and change in which our lives are renewed. The Twelve Steps are the roadmap, the specific directions we take in order to continue in recovery. But the support we need to proceed with each step comes from our faith in a Higher Power, the belief that all will be well. Faith gives us courage to act. Each step we work is supported by our relationship with a loving God.

Just for today: I will remember that the source of my courage and willingness is my relationship with my Higher Power.

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

October 15, 2007

Steps in the Sunlight

I was a slave to the behavior patterns of alcoholism. I was chained to negativity, with no hope of cutting loose. The Steps offered me an alternative. . .

Today I can choose to open the door to freedom and rejoice in the sunlight of the Steps, as they cleanse the spirit within me.

c. 1990 AAWS, Daily Reflections, p. 114

Thought to Ponder . . .
Just for today, I choose not to drink.

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

AA Thought for the Day(courtesy AAOnline.net)

Freedom Comes from Dependence on a Higher Power

"As recovering addicts, we find that we are still dependent, but our dependence has shifted from the things around us to a loving God and the inner strength we get in our relationship with Him."
Basic Text pp.67-68

For many addicts, rebelliousness is second nature. We didn't want to depend on anyone or anything, and especially not on God. The beauty of using, we thought, was that it gave us the power to be and feel anything we wanted, all by ourselves. But the price we paid for this illusory freedom was a dependence beyond our worst nightmares. Rather than freeing us, using enslaved us.

When we came to Narcotics Anonymous, we learned that dependence on God didn't have to mean what we may have thought it meant. Yes, if we wanted to be restored to sanity, we would need to tap "a Power greater than ourselves". However, we could choose our own concept of this Higher Power-we could even make one up. Dependence on a Higher Power would not limit us, we discovered; it would free us.

The Power we find in recovery is the power we lacked on our own. It is the love we were afraid to depend on others for. It is the sense of personal direction we never had, the guidance we couldn't humble ourselves to ask for or trust others to give. It is all these things, and it is our own. Today, we are grateful to have a Higher Power to depend on.

Just for today: I will depend on the love and inner strength I draw from the God of my own understanding.

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

October 14, 2007

Set Free to Live and Love

"If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependency and its consequent unhealthy demand.

Let us, with God's help, continually surrender these hobbling liabilities. Then we can be set free to live and love; we may then be able to twelfth-step ourselves, as well as others, into emotional sobriety."

Bill. W., AAGrapevine, January 1958 c.1967AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 288

My Own House in Order

"We emphasize setting our house in order because it brings us relief." Basic Text p. 93

Focusing on what others are doing can provide momentary relief from having to take a look at ourselves. But one of the secrets of success in Narcotics Anonymous is making sure our own house is in order. So what does "setting our house in order" mean, anyway?

It means we work the steps, allowing us to look at our role in our relationships with others. When we have a problem with someone, we can take our own inventory to find out what our part in the problem has been. With the help of our sponsor, we strive to set it right. Then, each day, we continue taking our inventory to avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future.

It's pretty simple. We treat others as we would like others to treat us. We promptly make amends when we owe them. And when we turn our lives over to the care of our Higher Power on a daily basis, we can start to avoid running on the self-will so characteristic of our active addiction. Guided by a Power that seeks the best for everyone, our relationships with others will surely improve.

Just for today: I will set my own house in order. Today, I will examine my part in the problems in my life. If I owe amends, I will make them.

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

Trust, Not Control

Controlling is a direct response to our fear, panic, and sense of helplessness. It is a direct response to feeling overwhelmed, and to distrust. We may not trust ourselves, our Higher Power, the Plan, the Universe, or the process of life. Instead of trusting, we revert to control.

We can approach this need to control by dealing with our fear. We deal with fear by trusting - ourselves, our Higher Power, the love and support of the Universe, the Plan, and this process we call life and recovery. We can trust that when things don't work out the way we want, God has something better planned.

We can trust ourselves to get where we need to go, say what we need to say, do what we need to do, know what we need to know, be who we need to be, and become all we can become, when we are intended to do that, when we are ready, and when the time is right. We can trust our Higher Power and the Universe to give us all the direction we need. We can trust ourselves to listen, and respond, accordingly.

We can trust that all we need on this journey shall come to us. We will not get all we need for the entire journey today. We shall receive today's supplies today, and tomorrow's supplies tomorrow.

We were never intended to carry supplies for the entire journey. The burden would be too heavy, and the way was intended to be light.

Trust in yourself. We do not have to plan, control, and schedule all things. The schedule and plan have been written. All we need to do is show up. The way will become clear and the supplies will be amply and clearly provided, one day at a time.

Trust, my friend, in today.

Today, I will trust that I will receive all I need to get me through today. I will trust that the same shall happen tomorrow.

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

October 03, 2007

Pain Can Be a Friend

As we work the first nine Steps, we prepare ourselves for the adventure of a new life. But when we approach Step Ten we commence to put our A.A. way of living to practical use, day by day, in fair weather or foul. Then comes the acid test: can we stay sober, keep in emotional balance, and live to good purpose under all conditions?

I know the Promises are being fulfilled in my life, but I want to maintain and develop them by the daily application of Step Ten. I have learned through this Step that if I am disturbed, there is something wrong with me. The other person may be wrong too, but I can only deal with my feelings. When I am hurt or upset, I have to continually look for the cause in me, and then I have to admit and correct my mistakes. It isn't easy, but as long as I know I am progressing spiritually, I know that I can mark my effort up as a job well done.

I have found that pain is a friend; it lets me know their is something wrong with my emotions, just as a physical pain lets me know there is something wrong with my body. When I take the appropriate action through the Twelve Steps, the pain gradually goes away.

From Daily Reflections ©Copyright 1990 AAWS, INC.

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes.
c. 2001 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p.417

Two Wolves

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life...

He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

One wolf is evil -- he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.

The other is good---he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too."

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied: "The one you feed".

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