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Daily Meditations

Through out the day we work on step 11 " Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out" ..... So let's  pray, meditate, and be grateful!

Daily Inspirations:

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 Sunday- Respond instead of react.

Monday- Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Tuesday- Change is inevitable.

Wednesday- Ten years from now, things won't seem as bad as they do today.

Thursday- After a storm, look for the rainbow.

Friday- Equation for success- spend 10% on the problem and 90% on the solution.

Saturday- It's ok to ask for help

I Can't, But We Can

"From the isolation of our addiction, we find a fellowship of people with a common bond... Our faith, strength, and hope come from people sharing their recovery..."

Basic Text, pg.94-95

Admit no weakness, conceal all shortcomings, deny every failure, go it alone-that was the creed many of us followed. We denied that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable, despite all evidence to the contrary. Many of us took our First Step only when we had evidence that addicts could recover in Narcotics Anonymous.

In NA, we find others who've been in the same predicament, with the same needs, who've found tools that work for them. These addicts are willing to share those tools with us and gibe us the emotional support we need as we learn to use them. Recovering addicts know how important the help of others can be because they've been given that help themselves. When we become a part of Narcotics Anonymous, we join a society of addicts like ourselves, a group of people who know that we help one another recover.

Just for today: I will join in the bond of recovery. I will find the experience, strength, and hope I need in the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous.

Stinbin Thinkin

You can't afford the luxury of a negative thought. -John-Roger

When I was a child, my mother told me never to flush the toi­let when I was sitting on it because "you might catch a cold in your tush." Trusting my mother's advice, I was careful not to flush imprudently, and I successfully avoided the dreaded tush cold. One day when I was 30 years old, I began to flush while sitting on the toilet, and I could hear my mother's voice warning me against it. But this time I decided to question her well-meaning advice. Would I truly catch a cold in my tush? Then it dawned on me: I didn't even know what a "cold in the tush" was! Could her fears be unjustified? So I flushed and did not catch the ominous tush cold, which helped me let go of a long-held program that had run me for years without ever thinking about it.
As little children, we regarded our parents as gods. They were bigger than we were, they gave us valuable advice that helped us navigate our world, and they purveyed rewards that made us happy, and meted out punishments that hurt us. Our tiny minds did not have the ability to dis­cern illusions from truth, so we accepted all of what our parents told us, even if some of it was untrue.
Our psyche is like an iceberg, a tiny portion of which is apparent, and most of which lies below the surface of our awareness. The belief systems we adopted as children can control our entire lives unless we call them to consciousness. If you have the courage to question what you have always accepted, you may discover that you have been living out many false be­liefs. From your heart and your own experience, what do you really know to be true? Meditate on this question, dare to live the answers you discover, and you will find unprecedented healing and freedom.

Help me to discard all illusions and live the truth of my own soul.
I release all past beliefs and march forward in the light of my own wisdom.

Looking For The Assets

"In accordance with the principles of recovery we try not to judge, stereotype, or moralize with each other"

Basic Text p. 11

How many times in our recovery have we misunderstood the behavior of another, immediately formed a judgment, applied a label, and neatly tucked the individual into a pigeonhole? Perhaps they had developed a different understanding of a Power greater than themselves than we had, so we concluded their beliefs were unspiritual. Or maybe we saw a couple having an argument; we assumed their relationship was sick, only to find out later that their marriage had prospered for many years.

Thoughtlessly tossing our fellows into categories saves us the effort of finding out anything about them. Every time we judge the behavior of another, we cease to see them as potential friends and fellow travelers on the road to recovery. If we happened to ask those we are judging if they appreciate being stereotyped, we would receive a resounding "no" in response. Would we feel slighted if this were done to us? Yes, indeed. Our best qualities are what we want others to notice. In the same way, our fellow recovering addicts want to be well thought of. Our program of recovery asks us to look positively at life. The more we concentrate on the positive qualities in others, the more we'll notice them in ourselves.

Just for today: I will set aside my negative judgments of others, and concentrate instead on appreciating the favorable qualities in all.

Our Own True Will

"God's will for us consists of the very things we most value. God's will... becomes our own true will for ourselves."

Basic Text p. 46

It's human nature to want something for nothing. We may be ecstatic when a store cashier gives us back change for a twenty though we only paid with a ten. We tend to think that, if no one knows, one small deception won't make any difference. But someone does know, we do. And it does make a difference.

What worked for us when we used, frequently doesn't work long in recovery. As we progress spiritually by working the Twelve Steps, we begin to develop new values and standards. We begin to feel uncomfortable when we take advantage of situations that, when we used, would have left us gloating about what we had gotten away with.

In the past, we may have victimized others. However, as we draw closer to our Higher Power, our values change. God's will becomes more important than getting away with something.

When our values change, our lives change, too. Guided by an inner knowledge given us by our Higher Power, we want to live out our newfound values. We have internalized our Higher Power's will for us ”in fact, God's will has become our own true will for ourselves.

Just for today: By improving my conscious contact with God, my values have changed. Today, I will practice God's will, my own true will.

"Insides Outsides"

"Our real value is in being ourselves."

Basic Text p. 101

As we work the steps, we're bound to discover some basic truths about ourselves. The process of uncovering our secrets, exposing them, and searching our characters reveals our true nature. As we become acquainted with ourselves, we'll need to make a decision to be just who we are.

We may want to take a look at what we present to our fellow addicts and the world and see if it matches up with what we've discovered inside. Do we pretend that nothing bothers us when, in truth, we're very sensitive? Do we cover our insecurities with obnoxious jokes, or do we share our fears with someone? Do we dress like a teenager when we're approaching forty and are basically conservative?

We may want to take another look at those things which we thought "weren't us:" Maybe we've avoided NA activities because we "don't like crowds!" Or maybe we have a secret dream of changing careers but have put off taking action because our dream "wasn't really right" for us. As we attain a new understanding of ourselves, we'll want to adjust our behavior accordingly. We want to be genuine examples of who we are.

Just for today: I will check my outsides to make sure they match my insides. I will try to act on the growth I have experienced in recovery.

Love And Addiction

"Some of us first saw the effects of addiction on the people closest to us. We were very dependent on them to carry us through life. We felt angry, disappointed, and hurt when they found other interests, friends, and loved ones."

Basic Text p. 7

Addiction affected every area of our lives. Just as we sought the drug that would make everything alright, so we sought people to fix us. We made impossible demands, driving away those who had anything of worth to offer us. Often, the only people left were those who were themselves too needy to be capable of denying our unrealistic expectations. It's no wonder that we were unable to establish and maintain healthy intimate relationships in our addiction.

Today, in recovery, we've stopped expecting drugs to fix us. If we still expect people to fix us, perhaps it's time to extend our recovery program to our relationships. We begin by admitting we have a problem—that we don't know the first thing about how to have healthy intimate relationships. We seek out members who've had similar problems and have found relief. We talk with them and listen to what they share about this aspect of their recovery. We apply the program to all our affairs, seeking the same kind of freedom in our relationships that we find throughout our recovery.

Just for today: Loving relationships are within my reach. Today, I will examine the effects of addiction on my relationships so that I can begin seeking recovery.

Attraction

"Our public image consists of what we have to offer: a successful, proven way of maintaining a drug-free lifestyle."

Basic Text p. 72

Yes, we are attracting new members. More and more addicts are finding Narcotics Anonymous. But how do we treat our newest members when they arrive, worn out from their struggles with addiction? Do we reach out to newcomers who are standing by themselves at our meetings, confused and uncertain? Are we willing to give them rides to meetings? Do we still work one-on-one with the addict who suffers? Do we give out our phone numbers? Are we eager to go on a Twelfth Step call, even if it means getting up from our comfortable beds in the middle of the night? Will we work with someone who has a different sexual orientation or is from another culture? Are we generous with the gift of our time?

No doubt we were met with love and acceptance by our fellow addicts. What attracted many of us to Narcotics Anonymous was the feeling that we had finally found a place where we belonged. Are we offering that same sense of belonging to our newer members? We cannot promote Narcotics Anonymous. But when we put principles into action in our lives, we attract newer members to the NA way, just as we were attracted to recovery.

Just for today: I will work with a newcomer. I will remember that I was once a newcomer myself. I will seek to attract others with the same sense of belonging I've found in NA.

For You Alone

"The idea of a spiritual awakening takes many different forms in the different personalities that we find in the fellowship."

Basic Text p. 48

Though we all work the same steps, each of us experiences the spiritual awakening resulting from them in our own way. The shape that spiritual awakening takes in our lives will vary, depending on who we are.

For some of us, the spiritual awakening promised in the Twelfth Step will result in a renewed interest in religion or mysticism. Others will awaken to an understanding of the lives of those around them, experiencing empathy perhaps for the first time. Still others will realize that the steps have awakened them to their own moral or ethical principles. Most of us experience our spiritual awakening as a combination of these things, each combination as unique as the individual who's been awakened.

If there are so many different varieties of spiritual awakenings, how do we know if we've truly had one? The Twelfth Step provides us with two signs: We've found principles capable of guiding us well, the kind of principles we want to practice in all our affairs. And we've begun to care enough about other addicts to freely share with them the experience we've had. No matter what the details of our awakenings are like, we all are given the guidance and the love we need to live fulfilling, spiritually oriented lives.

Just for today: Regardless of its particular shape, my spiritual awakening has helped me fill my place in the world with love and life. For that, I am grateful.

Wisdom To Know
by Hazelden Meditations

"When you teach your son, you teach your son's son

As we look at our own life history and begin to understand how we reached this point, we have to examine what was passed on to us by our parents and then realize that they were doing the best they could with what they had been given. We talk about the chain of transmission through generations who had problems with addictions and codependency. Many of us know that we want to break that chain so that our children don't inherit the negative patterns.

How do we break the chain of generation after generation of addiction and abuse? We become the best father we know how to be. We develop genuine relationships with our children, letting them truly know us; we tell them about our lives and listen to them talk about their lives. It isn't all about discipline; it's about having a bond and being honest in telling our children that we love and care for them. Certainly setting limits and being consistent are important tenets, but the most important thing a father can give his child is letting his child know him.

Today I will be engaged with my child in a genuine and open relationship"

Identification

"Someone finally knew the crazy thoughts that I had and the crazy things I'd done."

Basic Text p. 175

Addicts often feel terminally unique. We're sure that no one used drugs like we did or had to do the things that we did to get them. Feeling that no one really understands us can keep us from recovery for many years.

But once we come to the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous, we begin to lose that feeling of being "the worst" or "the craziest." We listen as members share their experiences. We discover that others have walked the same twisted path that we've walked and still have been able to find recovery. We begin to believe that recovery is available to us, too.

As we progress in our own recovery, sometimes our thinking is still insane. However, we find that when we share the hard time we may be having, others identify, sharing how they have dealt with such difficulties. No matter how troubled our thinking seems, we find hope when others relate to us, passing along the solutions they've found. We begin to believe that we can survive whatever we're going through to continue on in our recovery.

The gift of Narcotics Anonymous is that we learn we are not alone. We can get dean and stay clean by sharing our experience, our strength, and even our crazy thinking with other members. When we do, we open ourselves to the solutions others have found to the challenges we face.

Just for today: I am grateful that I can identify with others. Today, I will listen as they share their experience, and I'll share mine with them.

Growing Honestly

"On a practical level, changes occur because what's appropriate to one phase of recovery may not be for another."

Basic Text p. 101

When we first came to Narcotics Anonymous, many of us had no legitimate occupation. Not all of us suddenly decide we're going to become honest and productive model citizens the moment we arrive in NA. But we soon find, in recovery, that we are not so comfortable doing many of the things we once did without a second thought when we were using.

As we grow in our recovery, we begin to be honest in matters that probably hadn't bothered us when we used. We start returning extra change a cashier may have given us by mistake, or admitting when we hit a parked car. We find that if we can begin to be honest in these small ways the bigger tests of our honesty become much easier to handle.

Many of us came here with very little capacity to be honest. But we find that as we work the Twelve Steps, our lives begin to change. We are no longer comfortable when we benefit at the expense of others. And we can feel good about our newfound honesty.

Just for today: I will examine the level of honesty in my life and see if I'm comfortable with it.

 Winners

"I started to imitate some of the things the winners were doing. I got caught up in NA. I felt good...."

Basic Text pg. 223

We often hear it said in meetings that we should "stick with the winners." Who are the winners in Narcotics Anonymous? Winners are easily identified. They work an active program of recovery, living in the solution and staying out of the problem. Winners are always ready to reach their hands out to the newcomer. They have sponsors and work with those sponsors. Winners stay clean, just for today.

Winners are recovering addicts who keep a positive frame of mind. They may be going through troubled times, but they still attend meetings and share openly about it. Winners know in their hearts that, with the help of a Higher Power, nothing will come along that is too much to handle.

Winners strive for unity in their service efforts. Winners practice putting "principles before personalities." Winners remember the principle of anonymity, doing the principled action no matter who is involved. Winners keep a sense of humor. Winners have the ability to laugh at themselves. And when winners laugh, they laugh with you, not at you.

Who are the winners in Narcotics Anonymous? Any one of us can be considered a winner. All of us exhibit some of the traits of the winner; sometimes we come very close to the ideal, sometimes we don't. If we are clean today and working our program to the best of our ability, we are winners!

Just for today: I will strive to fulfill my ideals. I will be a winner.

Opening to Understanding

Willingness To Feel

There are times when we may find ourselves struggling or even fighting with our thoughts and emotions. We may feel that something must be done in a certain way or not at all, or there may be some other situation that feels absolutely black and white. But life is not this way-it's the way we are looking at our experiences that is causing the turmoil within us. When we become aware that the struggle we are having is with ourselves, we can turn our attention to the source in order to solve the problem, but we must be being willing to look where we need to and feel emotions that may make us uncomfortable at first. Then we can choose to really open ourselves to understanding all the options we can imagine. We are likely to discover that we are resisting something based on a limited understanding, and we must then open ourselves to willingness.

When we are willing to look at all the possibilities, we also become willing to accept that there is room for more than we can imagine. We can release ourselves from the grip we had on our emotions and stop limiting ourselves. We may have been unwilling to experience feeling loss, confusion, fear, or even joy for some reason or another, but when we realize that our understanding was limited we allow space for the universe to move in our lives.

Opening ourselves to willingness may feel like we are surrendering or abandoning all that we believed. But at the same time it is an act of power and courage because it is a conscious choice we make about how to apply our personal will. Being willing is to be in a state of willing something into creation. It is at once allowing ourselves to be while also choosing to direct our energy in a focused way. It is being and doing from a place of openness, where we can work with the universe rather than resist it. It is an open hand rather than one that is clenched into a fist. When we make a step toward willingness, we open ourselves to truth, possibility, and the movement of the wise universe in and through our lives.

A Day at a Time
by Hazelden Meditation

Reflection for the Day

We must never be blinded by the futile philosophy that we are just the hapless victims of our inheritance, of our life experience, and of our surroundings--that these are the sole forces that make our decisions for us.  This is not the road to freedom.  We have to believe that we can really choose.  As addictive persons, we lost our ability to choose whether we would pursue our addictions.  Yet we finally did make choices that brought about our recovery. Do I believe that in "becoming willing,"  I have made the best of all choices?

Today I Pray

May I shed the idea that I am the world's victim, an unfortunate creature caught in a web of circumstance, inferring that others ought to "make it up to me" because I have been given a bad deal on this earth.  We are always given choices.  May God help me to choose wisely.

Today I will Remember

God is not a puppeteer.

The Value Of The Past

"This firsthand experience in all phases of illness and recovery is of unparalleled therapeutic value. We are here to share it freely with any addict who wants to recover."

Basic Text p. 10

Most of us came into the program with some serious regrets. We had never finished high school, or we had missed going to college. We had destroyed friendships and marriages. We had lost jobs. And we knew that we couldn't change any of it. We may have thought that we'd always be regretful and simply have to find a way to live with our regrets.

On the contrary, we find that our past represents an untapped gold mine the first time we are called on to share it with a struggling newcomer. As we listen to someone share their Fifth Step with us, we can give a special form of comfort that no one else could provide - our own experience. We've done the same things. We've had the same feelings of shame and remorse. We've suffered in the ways only an addict can suffer. We can relate - and so can they.

Our past is valuable - in fact, priceless - because we can use all of it to help the addict who still suffers. Our Higher Power can work through us when we share our past. That possibility is why we are here, and its fulfillment is the most important goal we have to accomplish.

Just for today: I no longer regret my past because, with it, I can share with other addicts, perhaps averting the pain or even death of another.


How Much Do You Want It?

Thy strength shall be according to the measure of thy desire. -Arab proverb

A young man came to a guru and asked him what he would need to do to become enlightened. The master took the stu­dent to a lake and pushed his head under water for a long time. Finally, the man became desperate for air and forced his way to the surface, shouting, "Are you trying to kill me?" The guru calmly replied, "When you want God as much as you wanted air, you will find enlightenment."
While this world seems to be a place of haphazard results, each of us is getting exactly what we are asking for at any given moment. If we truly want freedom, we shall find it, and if we're not ready, so shall we remain bound.
If you seem stuck in any situation that is less than fulfilling, ask your­self if you are receiving any perceived benefits from staying where you are. While no one would reasonably choose illness, the subconscious perceives many hidden benefits: it gets us out of work, we get sympathy, we do not have to face the issues in our life that trouble us, we may be receiving some kind of monetary reward for our disability, and on and on. While no one would consciously admit to choosing illness, on some level we do.
Many people complain about their dysfunctional relationships, yet staying in them often seems to outweigh the benefits of leaving. One thing is for sure: The moment leaving becomes more attractive, staying will not have its way. We are free to choose, and we always are.

Place within my breast the burning desire for You alone; You are all I want, and You are all I shall have.
I am determined to have my dreams come true.


Acting Out

"We learn to experience feelings and realize they can do us no harm unless we act on them."

IP No. 16, "For the Newcomer"

Many of us came to Narcotics Anonymous with something less than an overwhelming desire to stop using. Sure, the drugs were causing us problems, and we wanted to be rid of the problems, but we didn't want to stop getting high. Eventually, though, we saw that we couldn't have one without the other Even though we really wanted to get loaded, we didn't use; we weren't willing to pay the price anymore. The longer we stayed clean and worked the program, the more freedom we experienced. Sooner or later, the compulsion to use was lifted from us completely, and we stayed clean because we wanted to live clean.

The same principles apply to other negative impulses that may plague us. We may feel like doing something destructive, just because we want to. We've done it before, and sometimes we think we've gotten away with it, but sometimes we haven't. If we're not willing to pay the price for acting on such feelings, we don't have to act on them.

It may be hard, maybe even as hard as it was to stay clean in the beginning. But others have felt the same way and have found the freedom not to act on their negative impulses. By sharing about it and seeking the help of other recovering people and a Power greater than ourselves, we can find the direction, the support, and the strength we need to abstain from any destructive compulsion.

Just for today: It's okay to feel my feelings. With the help of my sponsor, my NA friends, and my Higher Power, I am free not to act out my negative feelings.

Days of Healing - Days of Joy
by Earnie Larsen & Carol Larsen Hegarty

None preaches better than the ant. And she says nothing. - Benjamin Franklin

Many of us just love to preach. Even though we hated being preached at and may well have made solemn vows never to preach when we got older, we became preachy people in spite of ourselves. Now that we are older, we may find a pulpit everywhere we go.

But the best preaching has always been by example. The most powerful messages spring from who we are, not what we say. The most effective tool we have to make others "see the light" is to see the light more clearly ourselves.

Far better than to complain about never being thought about is to show others how wonderful such consideration is by giving them the gift of kindness. Better than preaching about a negative attitude is to light up our world with our own positive frame of mind. Better than to shout against intolerance is to display a live-and-let-live attitude ourselves.

Today, I will make sure my loudest sermons are the quality of my own life.

My Invisible Partner

You and God are a majority. -Anonymous

After Mr. Taylor experienced several business failures, in ex­asperation he turned to God and declared, "Okay, I give up trying to do it all by myself. I invite You to be my partner in all future endeavors. If You want something to be, I trust You to manifest it; if it is not Your will, I will not struggle."
Mr. Taylor's next venture was a small department store. True to his promise, this time he proceeded with ease and peace, knowing that with God as his partner, he would not have to fight for his good. As a result, the store flourished, and Mr. Taylor went on to create a hugely successful
chain-Lord and Taylor.
Trying to do it all yourself leads to frustration, exhaustion, and failure. While it is important to be responsible and self-reliant, it is equally im­portant to be open to receive support. Everything in nature gives to other living beings; we cannot do it all alone. All good things are overseen and supported by a higher power. Do all you can do without anxiety or strug­gle, and trust Spirit to do the rest.

I invite You to be my partner. I allow You to do for me what I cannot do for myself. Let go of fear and struggle, and step onto the path of joy.
I am empowered by Spirit. Together we must succeed.

The Big Picture

"All spiritual awakenings have some things in common. Common elements include an end to loneliness and a sense of direction in our lives."

Basic Text p. 48

Some kinds of spiritual experiences take place when we confront something larger than we are. We suspect that forces beyond our understanding are operating. We see a fleeting glimpse of the big picture and find humility in that moment.

Our journey through the Twelve Steps will bring about a spiritual experience of the same nature, only more profound and lasting. We undergo a continual process of ego-deflation, while at the same time we become more conscious of the larger perspective. Our view of the world expands to the point where we no longer possess an exaggerated sense of our own importance.

Through our new awareness, we no longer feel isolated from the rest of the human race. We may not understand why the world is the way it is or why people sometimes treat one another so savagely. But we do understand suffering and, in recovery, we can do our best to alleviate it. When our individual contribution is combined with others, we become an essential part of a grand design. We are connected at last.

Just for today: I am but one person in the entire scheme of things. I humbly accept my place in the big picture.

The Active Ingredient

Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels and have not love, I am a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. -Corinthians 13:1

Have you ever read the list of ingredients on a tube of tooth­paste or patent medicine? There is usually a long roll of chem­icals, colorings, and additives, followed by bold letters: ..Active Ingredient"-the one that really gets the job done and makes the item worth buying. Everything else is a filler or enhancer. Without the ac­tive ingredient, the stuff would be useless.
Love is the active ingredient of life, the chemical that makes everything else worthwhile. You can have all the other amenities, but if love is absent, you are lost. You can feel victimized or abandoned, but if you add love, suddenly life has meaning again.
I met a woman who owned a booming ski resort. "I have done very well financially for many years," she told me. "But lately 1have felt bored and irritable; my life and job seem to have no meaning. 1meditated on my situation, and the answer that came was 'more caring.' I realized that my work had become distasteful because 1had gotten caught up in the me­chanics rather than the essence, which is taking care of people. So 1reded­icated myself to making my clients happy, regardless of the financial outcome. 1even found ways 1could reduce rates. Now my work is a de­light, and 1am even more successful. "
Have you retained the active ingredient, or has it slipped away? If so, ask yourself how your work, relationships, or spiritual path could be en­hanced by bringing more heart to them. Rearrange your priorities to give care first, and all else will follow.

Show me how to truly care, that I may bring Your peace to my daily activities.
Love is my function. I am a servant of the heart.

Perfect

Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect. -from Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach

I used to think I was a perfectionist," Larry confessed. "I was con­stantly finding flaws and errors that other people overlooked. If there were many aspects of a job that were well done and one that wasn't, I would point out that one. But now I realize I was an imperfec­tionist. If I was a perfectionist, I would have found perfection everywhere I looked; instead, I saw only imperfection. "
Whatever we focus on, we will find more of. The world we live in is the one we choose by virtue of the vision we use. Are you a perfectionist or an imperfectionist?
Jack and his wife Elaine were waiting in a lineup of cars on the Cross Bronx Expressway, sandwiched in an alternate merge at a construction zone. "This is hell!" Jack complained inwardly. "We're creeping along at a snail's pace."
Then Elaine pointed out, "Isn't this wonderful!"
"What's so wonderful about this?" asked Jack.
"It's really inspiring to see how people are cooperating here. One car goes ahead from this lane, and then one from the other lane. It shows me that people know how to work together when there is a challenge." We can discover good in any situation if we choose it.

Help me find You in the events of daily life.
I am committed to beauty, and I find it everywhere I look.

Today I will do one thing
by Hazelden Meditation

I need to monitor my symptoms

I get less and less interested in work and what I eat.  I feel run down, almost ill, and can't seem to get going.  Sometimes I can't think straight, sometimes I can't stop thinking, and sometimes all my thoughts are gloomy.

For me, the clue to giving in to depression is gloomy thoughts.  Oddd as it is, I want to keep thinking them.  They're comforting somehow (because they're familiar?) and yet very painful.  But in dual recovery, I can see that this symptom, among the others, is a warning sign and that I need to give it prompt attention.

When my thoughts are too dark or when dark thoughts persist, I will stay in touch with a trusted friend or my counselor.

In Their Best Light

Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light. -Jennie Jerome Churchill

It was probably a grace that Brenda passed away, I thought. My elderly neighbor was a severely addicted alcoholic, and, from what I saw, her life had little meaning. The few times I attempted to converse with Brenda I looked into her eyes, and it appeared that no one was home. She had to be in a better place now, I imagined. Then I talked to Marvin, a man whom Brenda and her husband had taken in as a care­taker. Marvin felt a great sense of loss in Brenda's death.
"She was so good to me," Marvin tearfully confided. "Like a mother. I will miss her a lot." Through Marvin's words, I gained a profound real­ization: I saw only one limited aspect of Brenda's life. Even while I judged her life as empty, she had riches. She loved someone, and someone loved her. Her life, broken as it appeared to me, was a blessing to at least one other person. In spite of the ravages I beheld, God lived through her.
The Bible tells us not to judge-not because we should not judge, but because we cannot judge. When we hold a judgment about someone, we are focusing on one moment from one angle. At another moment or from another angle, we would see an entirely different person or story.
While visiting a children's zoo, I watched a man become very abusive at the snack bar, ranting and raving at the clerk over a minor mishap. I thought, This guy is one ornery hombre. A few minutes later, I saw a man feeding a fawn through a fence. As he tenderly stroked the deer's nose and gave it love, he reminded me of St. Francis. When he turned his head, I saw that it was the same man who created the scene at the snack bar.
When we release judgment, we find God in every person. Moreover, we free ourselves to be lovable and forgivable. Judgment is illusion, and love is real.

I pray to see Your children as You do, through the eyes of love and appreciation.
I focus on the good and let all else go.

"Acting As If"

"Today, we seek solutions, not problems. We try what we have learned on an experimental basis."

Basic Text p. 55

The first time we heard that we should "act as if" many of us exclaimed, "But that's not honest! I thought we were always supposed to be honest about our feelings in Narcotics Anonymous."

Perhaps we can reflect on when we first came into the program. We may not have believed in God, but we prayed anyway. Or maybe we weren't sure the program would work for us, but we kept coming to meetings regardless of what we thought. The same applies as we progress in recovery. We may be terrified of crowds, but if we act confidently and extend our hand, we'll not only feel better about ourselves, we'll find that we are no longer so frightened of large gatherings.

Each action we take in this vein brings us closer to becoming the people we were meant to be. Each positive change we make builds our self-esteem. Through acting differently, we will realize that we are beginning to think differently. We are living ourselves into right thinking by "acting as if."

Just for today: I will take the opportunity to act as if I can accept a situation I used to run from.

A Life of My Own
by Karen Casey

Listening is a wonderful gift we can choose to open each day.

Intently listening to each person who crosses our path is a most difficult assignment. But only by listening do we gather our daily lessons and significant messages from our Higher Power. When it's hard to listen because we don't like what someone is saying, we have to consider why. Evaluating our own perceptions and letting go of others' opinions are important lessons.

We all play key roles in each other's lives. It's not coincidental that we share this path at this time. The people we meet, work with, live with--all are necessary to our Divine journey. From this program we are gathering the tools that will ease the steps of our journey. Listening is a significant tool. Let's be glad for every opportunity to strengthen our listening skills.

My mind may wander when I talk with a friend today, but with God's help, I'll remember that I need to hear what is said.

Priority: Meetings

"I initially felt that it would be impossible to attend more than one or two meetings a week. It just wouldn't fit in with my busy schedule. I later learned that my priorities were [180] degrees reversed. It was the everything else that would have to fit into my meeting schedule."

Basic Text p. 204

Some of us attended meetings infrequently when we first came to Narcotics Anonymous, then wondered why we couldn't stay clean. What we soon learned was that if we wanted to stay clean, we had to make meeting attendance our priority.

So we began again. Following our sponsor's suggestion, we made a commitment to attend ninety meetings in ninety days. We identified ourselves as newcomers for our first thirty days so that others could get to know us. At our sponsor's direction, we stopped talking long enough to learn to listen. We soon began to look forward to meetings. And we began to stay clean.

Today, we attend meetings for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we go to meetings to share our experience, strength, and hope with newer members. Sometimes we go to see our friends. And sometimes we go just because we need a hug. Occasionally we leave a meeting and realize that we haven't really heard a word that's been said, but we still feel better. The atmosphere of love and joy that fills our meetings has kept us clean another day. No matter how hectic our schedule, we make meeting attendance our priority.

Just for today: In my heart, I know that meetings benefit me in all kinds of ways. Today, I want what's good for me. I will attend a meeting.

Don't Think

A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free. -Zorba the Greek

Are you really going to jump from there?" I asked Frank as he stood poised on a rock at the top of the waterfall. "Sure, it's fun-you're going to join me, aren't you?" I looked over the edge of the precipice. "I don't know." "You'll love it!" Frank exclaimed, and took a flying swan dive into the pool below.
I stood atop the ridge looking down, adrenaline shooting through my system. "Can I do this?" I asked myself. An inner voice replied, "Don't think about it-just do it." I gazed for a few more seconds and felt as if a big hand was nudging me from behind. So without further delay, I leaped-and loved it.
Somewhere inside me I knew that if I jumped, I would enjoy it, and I also knew that if I thought about it, I would not do it. Sometimes we have to override our reasoning mind and just go with the energy at hand. As I climbed back up to the top of the ridge, I wondered how many times I have used my mind to talk me out of doing things that would make me happy.
I am not suggesting that you do anything foolish or do something that would be injurious to you. The place of knowingness inside you is always giving you good advice. When your head is in a quandary and your heart says yes, follow your heart. Use your mind to empower you, not limit you. The heart without the head is chaotic, and the head without the heart is a tyrant. Break free of the tyranny of over thinking, and become as a lit­tle child. That is how you get back into heaven.

Raise the volume of my inner voice of truth, that I may walk the way appointed by wisdom.
I have a passionate delight for doing what is right.

Too Busy

"We must use what we learn or we will lose it, no matter how long we have been clean."

Basic Text, p. 82

After putting some clean time together, some of us have a tendency to forget what our most important priority is. Once a week or less we say, "I've gotta get to a meeting tonight. It's been.. " We've been caught up in other things, important for sure, but no more so than our continued participation in Narcotics Anonymous.

It happens gradually. We get jobs. We reunite with our families. We're raising children, the dog is sick, or we're going to school at night. The house needs to be cleaned. The lawn needs to be mowed. We have to work late. We're tired. There's a good show at the theater tonight. And all of a sudden, we notice that we haven't called our sponsor, been to a meeting, spoken to a newcomer, or even talked to God in quite a while.

What do we do at this point? Well, we either renew our commitment to our recovery, or we continue being too busy to recover until something happens and our lives become unmanageable. Quite a choice! Our best bet is to put more of our energy into maintaining the foundation of recovery on which our lives are built. That foundation makes everything else possible, and it will surely crumble if we get too busy with everything else.

Just for today: I can't afford to be too busy to recover. I will do something today that sustains my recovery.

Harmonizing with the Universe


The Benefits of Singing

Singing is an act of vibration. It takes music from the realm of the unformed-- whether that is in your mind or from that magical space of inspiration--and moves it from within to without. From the first breath singing moves the energy in a circular way inside your body. As the breath fills your lungs, it brushes against the second and third chakras-the centers of creation and honoring self and others. Instead of merely exhaling, pushing the air past the fourth and fifth chakras where heart charka and the center of will and intention reside, singing engages both the heart and mind. Sound vibrations from vocal chords resonate in the sinus cavities, filling the head with motion and sound while the brain lights up with the processing of the mathematics of music. This marriage of activities brings the third eye into play and opens the door for inspiration from the crown chakra before sending the sound out into the world.

Once the vibration begins, it is sustained with each note, moving throughout your body and the space around you. This can help you to harmonize your frequency with the world and with the divine. The use of the voice can bring about catharsis, a cleansing from the expression of emotion, which is why we feel better after singing certain types of songs. All of this occurs even if we are not conscious of what we are singing, but when we really connect with an intention, the power of the voice and music together are powerful tools in creation.

Even if you are not a singer by nature or talent, you are not left out. If you have a voice, it is your birthright to celebrate life with song. It doesn't matter if you don't feel you have a nice voice. Chanting or humming, singing solo or with others, your voice is yours to enjoy. Whether you sing along to the radio or use vocalization as part of your meditation time, singing and harmonizing are healing activities that bring your body's vibrations into alignment with the universe.

Footwork

"So many times, addicts have sought the rewards of hard work without the labor."

Basic Text, p. 33

When we first came to NA, some of us wanted everything, and right away. We wanted the serenity, the cars, the happy relationships, the friends, the closeness with our sponsor—all the things other people had gotten after months and years of working the steps and living life on life's terms.

We learned the hard way that serenity comes only from working the steps. A new car comes from showing up on the job every day and trying to "practice these principles in all our affairs" including our employment. Healthy relationships come as a result of lots of hard work and a new willingness to communicate. Friendship with our sponsor comes as a result of reaching out during the good times as well as the bad.

In Narcotics Anonymous, we have found the path to a better way of life. To reach our destination, however, we must do the footwork.

Just for today: I want a better life. I will make an inventory of what I want, find out how to get it, talk with my sponsor about it, and do the necessary footwork.

Fear

"We have found that we had no choice except to completely change our old ways of thinking or go back to using."

Basic Text, p. 21

Many of us find that our old ways of thinking were dominated by fear. We were afraid that we wouldn't be able to get our drugs or that there wouldn't be enough. We feared discovery, arrest, and incarceration. Further down the list were fears of financial problems, homelessness, overdose, and illness. And our fear controlled our actions.

The early days of recovery weren't a great deal different for many of us; then, too, fear dominated our thinking. "What if staying clean hurts too much?" we asked ourselves. "What if I can't make it? What if the people in NA don't like me? What if NA doesn't work?" The fear behind these thoughts can still control our behavior, keeping us from taking the risks necessary to stay clean and grow. It may seem easier to resign ourselves to certain failure, giving up before we start, than to risk everything on a slim hope. But that kind of thinking leads only to relapse.

To stay clean, we must find the willingness to change our old ways of thinking. What has worked for other addicts can work for us—but we must be willing to try it. We must trade in our old cynical doubts for new affirmations of hope. When we do, we'll find it's worth the risk.

Just for today: I pray for the willingness to change my old ways of thinking, and for the ability to overcome my fears.

God - Centeredness

"Gradually as we become more God-centered than self-centered, our despair turns to hope."

Basic Text p. 92

What a glorious thing to have hope! Before coming to Narcotics Anonymous, many of us lived lives of utter hopelessness. We believed we were destined to die from our disease.

Many members speak of being on a "pink cloud" their first months in the program. We've stopped using, made some friends, and life looks promising. Things are going great. Then reality sets in. Life is still life—we still lose jobs, our partners still leave us, friends still die, we still get sick. Abstinence is no guarantee that life will always go our way.

When the reality of life on its own terms sets in, we turn to our Higher Power and remember that life happens the way life happens. But no matter what occurs in our recovery we need not despair, for there is always hope. That hope lies in our relationship with our Higher Power.

This relationship, as expressed by the thought in our text, develops over time: "Gradually we become more God-centered." As we rely more and more on the strength of our Higher Power, life's struggles don't have to drag us into the sea of despair. As we focus more on God, we focus less on ourselves.

Just for today: I will rely on my Higher Power. I will accept that, regardless of what happens, my Higher Power will provide me with the resources to live with it.


A Better View of the Sky


Now that my house has burned down, I have a better view of the sky. -Zen saying
I was startled to receive this letter from a successful Los Angeles artist: "During the recent fires, my house was leveled, along with my entire collection of paintings. " To my surprise, the next line read, "Now I am free! I am packing to go to the island of Kauai, where I will fulfill my lifelong dream of leading wilderness adventures."
When an apparent disaster strikes and our life as we knew it is undone, it may be a blessing in disguise. The event could be clearing out an old pattern to make way for a new and more fulfilling life. See the situation not as a curse, but as an opportunity. The Chinese language character for crisis is a combination of two other symbols: danger and opportunity.
A Hawaiian gardener told me that gardeners in colder climates have an advantage over those in the tropics. The winter frost kills all micro

 

 


 
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