I started a Web Site in 1999 when I came back into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Tripod decided to block me a few years ago , so I stopped writing, posting. SO I decided to take the posts I had there and put them here. Plus new ones I found on the net and shares of my own. Take what you need and pass on the rest! Blessings ds♥

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.





We pray for "courage to change the things we can.'' Change requires giving up familiar old ways to try something new. Even though the old ways brought us pain, they were known. Changing them for new ones feels risky; it could lead to pleasure . . . or to even more pain.

But if we don't try, we'll never know whether we can handle a new job, go back to school, work out a new relationship, or breathe new life into an old one. To try something new, we have to be willing to take risks and be vulnerable. We have to accept the responsibility and the consequences if our venture does not proceed as we had hoped it would.

Perhaps our addiction was a way of avoiding risk. Rather than take the chance of failing at something we wanted to do or being rejected by someone to whom we offered our friendship, we focused on our addiction. Are we ready, now, to take risks for something we really want?

Today, I can take a small risk in the interest of enriching my life.

Surrender


On the face of it,
surrendering certainly does not seem like winning.
But it is in AA
Only after we have come to the end of our rope,
hit a stone wall in some aspect of our lives
beyond which we can go no further;
only when we hit "bottom" in despair and surrender,
can we accomplish sobriety which we could
never accomplish before.
We must, and we do, surrender in order to win.
c. 1955 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, 2nd Edition, pp. 341-2


Thought to Consider . . .

Life didn't end when I got sober -- it started.


AACRONYMS
S W A T = Surrender, Willingness, Acceptance, Trust

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Identify not compare


 


Nothing is so bad that relapse won't make it worse.
--Anonymous

The stories we hear in meetings often shock us. It seems hard to believe that some members could have harmed themselves in such ways. We hear about arrests, bankruptcies, loss of family and home, lost jobs, violence, jail, physical injury – the list goes on. Most of us said to ourselves, "I never was that bad. Maybe I don't really belong here."

Our sponsors and fellow members quickly straightened us out. We were comparing our histories with other members. We were told to identify with the stories, not compare. Some of us had been lucky that worse things hadn't happened to us while we were using. We were reminded those things hadn't happened to us "yet." If we relapsed, the "yets" were waiting.

Today I'll remember to identify, not compare. I don't want to relapse and go through THE YETS.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Self-centeredness


“The spiritual part of our disease is our total self-centeredness.”
Basic Text, p. 20

What is self-centeredness?  It is our belief that the world revolves around us.  Our wishes, our demands are the only ones worth consideration.  Our self-centered minds believe they are capable of getting everything they want if only they would be left to their own devices.  Self-centeredness assumes total self-sufficiency.
We say that self-centeredness is the spiritual part of our disease because the self-centered mind cannot conceive of anything greater or more important than itself.  But there is a spiritual solution to our spiritual malady: the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous.  The steps lead us away from self-centeredness and toward God-centeredness.

We strip away our delusion of self-sufficiency by admitting our own powerlessness and seeking the aid of a Power greater than ourselves.  We acknowledge the bankruptcy of our self-righteousness by admitting we’ve been wrong, making amends, and seeking knowledge of what’s right from the God our understanding.  And we deflate our overwhelming sense of self-importance by seeking to serve others, not only ourselves.
The self-centeredness afflicting our spirit can be treated with a spiritual solution: the Twelve Steps.
Just for today:  My guidance and my strength comes from a Higher Power, not from my own self.  I will practice the Twelve Steps to become more God-centered and less self-centered.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Serenity check




“Lack of daily maintenance can show up in many ways.”


Ever had a perfect stranger remark about how great the weather was, only to reply “It stinks”?  When this happens, we are probably suffering from a lack of daily maintenance in our program.

In recovery, life can get pretty hectic.  Maybe those added responsibilities at work have got you hopping.  Maybe you haven’t been to a meeting for awhile.  Perhaps you’ve been too busy to meditate, or haven’t been eating regularly or sleeping well.  Whatever the reason, your serenity is slipping.

When this happens, it is crucial that we take action.  We can’t afford to let one “bad day,” complete with a bad attitude, slip into two days, four days, or a week.  Our recovery depends on our daily maintenance program.  No matter what is happening in our lives, we can’t afford to neglect the principles that have saved our lives.
There are many ways to recover our serenity.  We can go to a meeting, phone our sponsor, meet another recovering addict for lunch, or try to carry the message to a newcomer.  We can pray.  We can take a moment to ask ourselves what simple things we haven’t been doing.  When our attitudes head downhill, we can avert a crash with simple solutions.


Just for today:  I will examine the maintenance of my daily program of recovery.



Time past is gone forever


 




Time past is gone forever, and we can never go back to it. Even our disease progresses forward. We cannot expect to control it by a return to measures which may have worked for a time in the past. Those methods eventually failed, and trying them again will only bring us to the same point of failure.

The only way to avoid repetitious failure is to move forward creatively as our Higher Power leads us. Each day is a new creation, and each day brings new lessons and opportunities. We build on what is past, but we do not need to repeat it.

Moving forward involves risking what is unknown. The old, familiar rut, depressing as it is, is a known quantity. Moving out of it requires that we have courage and that we trust in One who knows and cares. To move on, we must act. Insights do not produce growth until they are accompanied by specific actions.

May I risk new actions as You lead me forward.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The school of recovery




“This is a program for learning.”





Learning in recovery is hard work.  The things we most need to know are often the hardest to learn.  We study recovery to prepare ourselves for the experiences life will give us.  As we listen to others share in meetings, we take mental notes we can refer to later.  To be prepared, we study our notes and literature between “lessons.”  Just as students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge during tests, so do we have the opportunity to apply our recovery during times of crisis.


As always, we have a choice in how we will approach life’s challenges.  We can dread and avoid them as threats to our serenity, or we can gratefully accept them as opportunities for growth.  By confirming the principles we’ve learned in recovery, life’s challenges give us increased strength.  Without such challenges, however, we could forget what we’ve learned and begin to stagnate.  These are the opportunities that prod us to new spiritual awakenings.


We will find that there is often a period of rest after each crisis, giving us time to get accustomed to our new skills. Once we’ve reflected on our experience, we are called on to share our knowledge with someone who is studying what we’ve just learned.  In the school of recovery, all of us are teachers as well as students.



  I will be a student of recovery.  I will welcome challenges, confident in what I’ve learned and eager to share it with others.

Letting go is a decision

.




The obsession to pressure other people to see things our way keeps us agitated. In contrast, the wisdom to understand that every person's view has validity, at least for that person, is a gift we receive from working the Twelve Steps. Our daily assignment, then, is to be patient and listen so that we may learn this lesson from women and men who have walked this path already, women and men who have come to understand that letting go of others and their addictions promises relief from the obsession that troubles each of us.

Look around. All of us have tried to force solutions that didn't fit. And we drove ourselves crazy trying to control the behavior of others, certain that "doing it our way" was not only reasonable, but right. Our past sometimes may appear to be a series of failures. But our present experience can be peaceful, hopeful, and successful. It's our decision to let go. A small decision that we can make many times today, every day.

"Let go" are tiny words with huge rewards. If I want to, I can give up my attempts to control someone today. Peace will be my reward.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

F E A R



The achievement of freedom from fear
is a lifetime undertaking,
one that can never be wholly completed.
When under heavy attack, acute illness,
or in other conditions of serious insecurity,
we shall all react to this emotion --
well or badly, as the case may be.
Only the self-deceived will claim perfect freedom from fear.


Bill W., Grapevine, January 1962
c. 1967 AAWS, As Bill Sees It,  p. 263



Thought to Consider . . .
Courage is the willingness to accept fear and act anyway.



AACRONYM
F E A R =  Face Everything And Recover





Fear




“We grow to feel comfortable with our Higher Power as a source of strength.  As we learn to trust this Power, we begin to overcome our fear of life.”
Basic Text, p. 25

Powerless as we are, living on self-will is a frightening, unmanageable experience.  In recovery, we have turned our will and our lives safely over to the care of the God of our understanding.  When we lapse in our program, when we lose conscious contact with our Higher Power, we begin to take control of our own lives again, refusing the care of the God of our understanding.  If we do not make a daily decision to surrender our lives to the care of our Higher Power, we may become overwhelmed with our fear of life.

Through working the Twelve Steps, we’ve found that faith in a Power greater than ourselves helps relieve our fear.  As we draw closer to a loving God, we become more conscious of our Higher Power.  And the more conscious we are of God’s care for us, the less our fears.

When we feel afraid, we ask ourselves, “Is this fear an indication of a lack of faith in my life?  Have I taken control again, only to find my life still unmanageable?”  If we answer yes to these questions, we can overcome our fear by turning our will and our lives back over to care of the God of our understanding.


Just for today:  I will rely on the care of my Higher Power to relieve my fear of life.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Spiritual awakenings


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

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

Often, our spiritual awakening is something that grows stronger over time.  We can strive for more spiritual awareness simply by living our lives.  We can persist in efforts to improve our conscious contact through prayer and meditation on a daily basis.  We can listen within for the guidance we need.  We can question other addicts about their experiences with spirituality.  We can take time to appreciate the world around us.

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

Resentments



When I feed on resentments and anger, I am giving someone else rent-free space in my head.
--Kathy Kendall

Becoming consumed by our emotions is all too familiar. It was a favorite pastime before we got clean and sober, and it still may "own" us. Much to our dismay, sponsors remind us that we're getting a payoff or we wouldn't continue the practice. They also tell us it's never too late to give it up.

We can begin immediately. Let's breathe in the positive. It takes the same effort as dwelling on resentments, and the outcome is so much healthier. Let's bring our blessings to mind first. Breathe in the images of friends and the smiles we share. Breathe in the image of our Higher Power and those comforting arms. Breathe in the bright light of healing that is the program's gift. Breathe in the peace that comes with knowing all is finally well.

Giving our minds over to loving images heals us. The hurts of the past can reach us no more if we breathe in the good.

I will breathe in my Higher Power today. I will dwell on the safety and serenity of my journey.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A New Life



Is sobriety all that we are to expect of a spiritual awakening? No, sobriety is only a bare beginning; it is only the first gift of the first awakening. If more gifts are to be received, our awakening has to go on. As it does go on, we find that bit by bit we can discard the old life - the one that did not work - for a new life that can and does work under any conditions whatever.

Regardless of worldly success or failure, regardless of pain or joy, regardless of sickness or health or even of death itself, a new life of endless possibilities can be lived if we are willing to continue our awakening, through the practice of A.A.'s Twelve Steps.

from the book; As Bill See's It


Faith




God does not require that we be successful, only that we be faithful.

--Mother Teresa


It is probable we have never equated success with faith. Being successful meant accomplishing worthy goals and receiving the expected praise. We may have even considered that relying on faith to help us was a cop out. Fortunately, so much about how we interpret life has changed since joining this journey through recovery.

In Step Three we learn that God wants us to have faith. We are coming to see, in fact, that acting as if we have faith begins to feel like faith. Coming to believe that God's only expectation is that we turn within for guidance makes every circumstance far less threatening.

Practicing faith promises that we will begin to feel successful in all our experiences because we are walking through them peacefully, trusting fully that God is at hand. Believing in God, being truly faithful, can be the greatest success of our lives.

I can be faith-filled today if I turn my life and my will over to the care of God. I will remind myself of this every time I get in the "driver's seat."

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

When temptation comes...


A.A. Thought for the Day

When temptation comes, as it does sometimes to all of us, I will say to myself.- "No, my whole life depends on not taking that drink and nothing in the world can make me do it." Besides, I have promised that Higher Power that I wouldn't do it. I know that God doesn't want me to drink and I won't break my promise to, God. I've given up my right to drink and it's not my decision any longer. Have I made the choice once and for all, so that there's no going back on it?

Meditation for the Day

In silence comes God's meaning to the heart. I cannot judge when it enters the heart. I can only judge by results. Go6s word is spoken to the secret places of my heart and, in some hour of temptation, I find that word and realize its value for the first time. when I need it, I find it there. "Thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may see God's meaning in my life. I pray that I may gladly accept what God has to teach me.

Sponsors


 


Every sponsor is necessarily a leader.
The stakes are huge.
A human life, and usually the happiness of a whole family,
hangs in the balance.
What the sponsor does and says,
how well he estimates the reactions of his prospects,
how well he times and makes his presentation,
how well he handles criticisms,
and how well he leads his prospect on
by personal spiritual example ...
well, these attributes of leadership
can make all the difference,
often the difference between life and death.
Thank God that Alcoholics Anonymous is blessed
with so much leadership in each and all of its great affairs!
Bill W., April 1959
c. 1988 AA Grapevine, The Language of the Heart,  p. 292
 
 
 
Thought to C
onsider . . .
A
recovering alcoholic without a sponsor
is much like a ship without a rudder.


AACRONYMS

S P O N S O R  = 
Sober Person Offering Newcomer Support Of Recovery

Controlling




 There is no life without pain just as there is no art without submitting to chaos.
--Rita Mae Brown

It is very hard for most of us to see how controlling we are. We may feel uptight or careful, but we haven't seen it as controlling ourselves or controlling how people respond to us. We may be worried about a loved one's behavior or safety, but not realize our hovering over that person is a controlling activity. We may be keenly aware of other people's controlling behavior with us, but unaware we have equaled their control by monitoring them and trying to change their behavior.


What a moment of spiritual adventure it is to risk living through the pain! When we do not seek an escape or a quick fix but have patience with the process, new possibilities often do develop. We can only let go of our control - or turn it over to our Higher Power. And we will do it and forget, taking control back within minutes or within an hour. Then we let go again.


Today, I will submit to the insecurity of a changing universe and have faith that I can live through the process and grow.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

“How does it work?”



“I used to think that I had all the answers,  but today I am glad that I don’t.”
 
What are the two favorite words of most addicts?  “I know!”  Unfortunately, many of us arrive in NA/AA/SH thinking we have all the answers.  We have a lot of knowledge about what’s wrong with us.  But in and of itself, knowledge never helped us stay clean for any length of time.

Members who have achieved long-term recovery will be the first to admit that the longer they are here, the more they have to learn.  But they do know one thing:  By following this simple Twelve-Step program, they have been able to stay clean.  They no longer ask “why”; they ask “how.”  The value of endless speculation pales in comparison to the experience of addicts who’ve found a way to stay clean and live clean.

This doesn’t mean we don’t ask “why” when it’s appropriate.  We don’t come to NA and stop thinking!  But in the beginning, it’s often a very good idea to reword our questions.  Instead of asking “why,” we ask “how.” How do I work this step?  How often should I attend meetings?  How do I stay clean?

Just for today:  I don’t have all the answers, but I know where to find the ones that matter.  Today, I will ask another addict, “How does it work?”

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Coping



God willing, we members of AA may never again
have to deal with drinking,
but we have to deal with sobriety every day.
How do we do it?
By learning -- through practicing the Twelve Steps
and through sharing at meetings -- how to cope with
the problems that we looked to booze to solve,
back in our drinking days. . .
We learn how to level out the emotional swings
that got us into trouble
both when we were up and when we were down
.
c. 1976AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 160
c. 2001AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 558-9

Thought to Consider . . .
The peaks and valleys of my life
have become gentle rolling hills.




AACRONYMS

C A R D S 

Call your sponsor,
Ask for help from your Higher Power,

Read the Big Book,
Do the Twelve Steps,Stay active in your group.

The love of the fellowship


“Today, secure in the love of the fellowship, we can finally look another human being in the eye and be grateful for who we are.”
Basic Text, p. 92
––––=––––
When we were using, few of us could tolerate looking someone in the eye—we were ashamed of who we were. Our minds were not occupied with anything decent or healthy, and we knew it.  Our time, money, and energy weren’t spent building loving relationships, sharing with others, or seeking to better our communities.  We were trapped in a spiral of obsession and compulsion that went only in one direction: downward.
In recovery, our journey down that spiral path has been cut short.  But what is it that has turned us around, drawing us back upward into the open spaces of the wide, free world?  The love of the fellowship has done this.
In the company of other addicts, we knew we would not be rejected.  By the example of other addicts, we were shown how to begin taking a positive part in the life around us.  When we were unsure which way to turn, when we stumbled, when we had to correct a wrong we’d done, we knew our fellow members were there to encourage us.
Slowly, we’ve gotten the feel of our freedom.  No longer are we locked up in our disease; we are free to build and grow and share along with everyone else.  And when we need support to take our next step, it is there.  The security we’ve found in the love of the fellowship has made our new lives possible.
––––=––––
Just for today:  I can look anyone in the eye without shame.  I am grateful for the loving support that has made this possible.