March 31, 2009

Travel with God's Eyes

"Travelling - seeing new sights, hearing new music, and meeting new people - is exciting and exhilarating. But when we have no home to return to where someone will ask us, "How was your trip?" we might be less eager to go. Travelling is joyful when we travel with the eyes and ears of those who love us, who want to see our slides and hear our stories.

"This is what life is about. It is being sent on a trip by a loving God, who is waiting at home for our return and is eager to watch the slides we took and hear about the friends we made. When we travel with the eyes and ears of the God who sent us, we will see wonderful sights, hear wonderful sounds, meet wonderful people ... and be happy to return home."

---Henri Nouwen

To Watch Loneliness Vanish

"Almost without exception, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness. Even before our drinking got bad and people began to cut us off, nearly all of us suffered the feeling that we didn't quite belong. ? Either we were shy, and dared not draw near others, or we were noisy good fellows constantly craving attention and companionship, but rarely getting it. There was always that mysterious barrier we could neither surmount nor understand.

"That's one reason we loved alcohol too well. But even Bacchus betrayed us; we were finally struck down and left in terrified isolation."

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"Life takes on new meaning in A.A. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends--this is an experience not to be missed."


February 26, 2009

No Ordinary Success Story

A.A. is no success story in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a story of suffering transmuted, under grace, into spiritual progress.

Upon entering A.A. I listened to others talk about the reality of their drinking: loneliness, terror and pain. As I listened further, I soon heard a description of a very different kind--the reality of sobriety. It is a reality of freedom and happiness, of purpose and direction, and of serenity and peace with God, ourselves and others.

By attending meetings, I am reintroduced to that reality, over and over. I see it
in the eyes and hear it in the voices of those around me. By working the program I find the direction and strength with which to make it mine. The joy of A.A. is that this new reality is available to me.

from Daily Reflections copyright AAWS, Inc.

Focus on a Higher Power

"'The Great Spirit is the one that's looking after us.'
--Jimmy Jackson, Ojibway

"The only place our minds can find peace is when our focus is on the Creator. Daily we need to ask the Creator to direct our thinking. When we look at our brothers and sisters, we need to see the Creator in them. When we look at the trees, plants and the animals, we need to realize the Creator is within us. Our attention needs to be on the Creator. When we work, we do it for the Creator. When we are troubled, we need to pray to the Creator. When we are happy and joyful, we need to realize we are feeling the presence of the Creator. Thinking God thoughts will produce peace.

"Oh Great Mystery, let me focus on You today."

From daily message.

January 30, 2009

Drinking Cuts, Recovery Heals

"A drinking life isn't a happy life. Drinking cuts you off from other people and from God. One of the worst things about drinking is the loneliness. And one of the best things about A.A. is the fellowship. Drinking cuts you off from other people, at least from the people who really matter to you, your wife and children, your family and real friends. No matter how much you love them, you build up a wall between you and them by your drinking. You're cut off from any real companionship with them. As a result, you're terribly lonely. Have I got rid of my loneliness?

"Meditation For The Day

"I will sometimes go into a quiet place of retreat with God. In that place, I will find restoration and healing and power. I will plan quiet times now and then, times when I will commune with God and arise rested and refreshed to carry on the work which God has given me to do. I know that God will never give me a load greater than I can bear. It is in serenity and peace that all true success lies.

"Prayer For The Day

"I pray that I may strengthen my inner life, so that I may find serenity. I pray that my soul may be restored in quietness and peace."

24 Hours a Day meditation is copyright AAWS, Inc.

January 28, 2009

We Pause ... And Ask

As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful and ask for the right thought or action.

Today I humbly ask my Higher Power for the grace to find the space between my impulse and my action; to let flow a cooling breeze when I would respond with heat; to interrupt fierceness with gentle peace; to accept the moment which allows judgment to become discernment; to defer to silence when my tongue would rush to attack or defend.

I promise to watch for every opportunity to turn toward my Higher Power for guidance. I know where this power is: it resides within me, as clear as a mountain brook, hidden in the hills -- it is the unsuspected Inner Resource.I thank my Higher Power for this world of light and truth I see when I allow it to direct my vision. I trust it today and hope it trusts me to make all effort to find the right thought or action today.


The 12 Steps We Arrived With

1. We admitted we were powerless over nothing - that we could manage our lives perfectly and those of anyone who would allow us.

2. We came to believe that there was no power greater than ourselves and the rest of the world was insane.

3. We made a decision to have our loved ones turn their wills and their lives over to our care even though they couldn't understand us at all.

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of everyone we knew.

5. We admitted to the whole world the exact nature of everyone else's wrongs.

6. We were entirely ready to make others give us the respect we deserved.

7. We demanded others do our will because we were always enlightened.

8. We made a list of all persons who had harmed us and became willing to go to any lengths to get even with them all.

9. We got direct revenge on such people wherever possible, except when to do so would cost us our lives or at the very least a jail sentence.

10. Continued to take inventory of others and when they were wrong promptly and repeatedly told them about it.

11. Sought through complaining and medication to improve our relations with others, as we would not understand them at all, asking only that they do things our way.

12. Having had a complete physical, emotional and spiritual breakdown as a result of these steps, we tried to blame others and to get sympathy and pity in all our affairs.

January 14, 2009

Step Worksheets

First Step Worksheets, lead you through the First Step.
Adobe PDF format

Rich Text format

Fourth Step Worksheets, lead you through the Fourth Step.
Adobe PDF format

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Accepting 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 12, 2009

The Spiritual Work of Gratitude

To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives-the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections-that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.

Let's not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.

--Henri Nouwen

January 08, 2009

At a Turning Point

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked for God's 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.

from Daily Reflection copyright AAWS Inc.