Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Voice of Sucess

The voice of success and profit
May stir the vault of heaven,
But not this place.
In the rounds of the day,
You wear threadbare clothing
And eat simple fare.
When the mountain snow deepens,
Your thoughts
Are far from those of men.
Immortals pass your door
And knock.

- Kuan-hsiu (832-912)

Word Of Mouth, p. 120

“In my view, there isn’t the slightest objection to groups who wish to remain strictly anonymous, or to people who think they would not like their membership in A.A. known at all. That is their business, and this is a very natural reaction.

“However, most people find that anonymity to this degree is not necessary, or even desirable. Once one is fairly sober, and sure of this, there seems no reason for failing to talk about A.A. membership in the right places. This has a tendency to bring in other people. Word of mouth is one of our most important communications.

“So we should criticize neither the people who wish to remain silent, nor even the people who wish to talk too much about belonging to A.A., provided they do not do so at the public level and thus compromise our whole Society.”

Letter, 1962

A.A. Thought For The Day

The A.A. program is one of faith because we find that we must have faith in a Power greater than ourselves if we are going to get sober. We’re helpless before alcohol, but when we turn our drink problem over to God and have faith that He can give us all the strength we need, then we have the drink problem licked. Faith in that Divine Principle in the universe which we call God is the essential part of the A.A. program. Is faith still strong in me?

Meditation For The Day

Each one of us is a child of God, and as such, we are full of the promise of spiritual growth. A young person is like the springtime of the year. The full time of the fruit is not yet, but there is promise of the blossom. There is a spark of the Divine in every one of us. Each has some of God’s spirit that can be developed by spiritual exercise. Know that your life is full of glad promise. Such blessings can be yours, such joys, such wonders, as long as you develop in the sunshine of God’s love.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may develop the divine spark within me. I pray that by so doing I may fulfill the promise of a more abundant life.
I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.
~ Arthur Rubinstein

Matthew M. - AA Speaker - "Peace and Happiness in Recovery, no matter what"

Stop the Gossip

Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you. --- Spanish proverb

Gossip can kill the trust in a Twelve Step program. We all need to feel safe when we share our personal lives with others. We need to know our private business won't spread around.
We can do two things to help keep the trust in our groups, and in the rest of our lives too. First, don't gossip. Second, don't listen to gossip about others.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me mind my own business today. Help me honor the trust of my friends by not gossiping.

Action for the Day: Today, I'll think of two ways to stop someone from telling me gossip. Then, I'll put those ways to use.


"laughter is a necessity in life that does not cost much, and the Old Ones say that one of the greatest healing powers in our life is the ability to laugh." 

--Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

Laughter is a good stress eliminator. Laughter causes healing powers to be distributed through our bodies. Laughter helps heal relationships that are having problems. Laughter can change other people. Laughter can heal the sick. Laughter is spiritual. One of the greatest gifts among Indian people has been our ability to laugh. Humor is natural to Indian people. Sometimes the only thing left to do is laugh.

Great Spirit, allow me to laugh when times get tough.

Sex Relations

A word about sex relations. Alcohol is so sexually stimulating to
some men that they have over-indulged. Couples are occasionally
dismayed to find that when drinking is stopped the man tends to be
impotent. Unless the reason is understood, there may be an emotional
upset. Some of us had this experience, only to enjoy, in a few
months, a finer intimacy than ever. There should be no hesitancy in
consulting a doctor or psychologist if the condition persists. We do
not know of many cases where this difficulty lasted long."

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, The Family Afterward, pg. 134~


Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact. --- William James

Step Two speaks of believing. For many years, we had given up believing in ourselves, in a Higher Power, and in others. We believed in getting high. Now our program tells us to believe in love. We are lovable, and we can love others without hurting them. Of course, believing is an important part of recovery.
To believe means to put aside our doubts. To believe means to have hope. Believing makes the road a little smoother. So, believing lets the healing happen a little faster. All of this is how we get ready to let in the care of our Higher Power.

Prayer for the Day: I pray for the courage to believe. I'll not let doubt into my heart. I can recover. I can give myself totally to this simple program.

Action for the Day: I'll list four times doubt got in my way. And I'll think of what I can do to not let that happen again.

God does for us

“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. 99

How often have we heard it said in meetings that “God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves”? At times we may get stuck in our recovery, unable, afraid, or unwilling to make the decisions we know we must make to move forward. Perhaps we are unable to end a relationship that just isn’t working. Maybe our job has become a source of too much conflict. Or perhaps we feel we need to find a new sponsor but are afraid to begin the search. Through the grace of our Higher Power, unexpected change may occur in precisely the area we felt unable to alter.

We sometimes allow ourselves to become stuck in the problem instead of moving forward toward the solution. At these times, we often find that our Higher Power does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Perhaps our partner decides to end our relationship. We may get fired or laid off. Or our sponsor tells us that he or she can no longer work with us, forcing us to look for a new one.

Sometimes what occurs in our lives can be frightening, as change often seems. But we also hear that “God never closes a door without opening another one.” As we move forward with faith, the strength of our Higher Power is never far from us. Our recovery is strengthened by these changes.

Just for today: I trust that the God of my understanding will do for me what I cannot do for myself.
Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.
~ William James

Adam T. - AA Speaker - Hilarious Recovery Share!

God Does For Us

“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

How often have we heard it said in meetings that “God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves?” At times we may get stuck in our recovery, unable, afraid, or unwilling to make the decisions we know we must make to move forward. Perhaps we are unable to end a relationship that just isn’t working. Maybe our job has become a source of too much conflict. Or perhaps we feel we need to find a new sponsor but are afraid to begin the search. Through the grace of our Higher Power, unexpected change may occur in precisely the area we felt unable to alter.

We sometimes allow ourselves to become stuck in the problem instead of moving forward toward the solution. At these times, we often find that our Higher Power does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Perhaps our partner decides to end our relationship. We may get fired or laid off. Or our sponsor tells us that he or she can no longer work with us, forcing us to look for a new one.

Sometimes what occurs in our lives can be frightening, as change often seems. But we also hear that “God never closes a door without opening another one.” As we move forward with faith, the strength of our Higher Power is never far from us. Our recovery is strengthened by these changes.

Just for today: I trust that the God of my understanding will do for me what I cannot do for myself.


These legacies of suffering and of recovery are easily
passed among alcoholics, one to the other. This is our gift
from God, and its bestowal upon others like us is the one
aim that today animates A.A.'s all around the globe. 


The great paradox of A.A. is that I know I cannot keep the
precious gift of sobriety unless I give it away.
My primary purpose is to stay sober. In A.A. I have no
other goal, and the importance of this is a matter of life or
death for me. If I veer from this purpose I lose. But A.A. is
not only for me; it is for the alcoholic who still suffers. The
legions of recovering alcoholics stay sober by sharing with
fellow alcoholics. The way to my recovery is to show others
in A.A. that when I share with them, we both grow in the
grace of the Higher Power, and both of us are on the
road to a happy destiny.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.
~ Marcus Aurelius


It is crucial for you to understand what meditation is. It is not some special posture, and it's not just a set of mental exercises. Meditation is the cultivation of mindfulness and the application of that mindfulness once cultivated. You do not have to sit to meditate. You can meditate while washing the dishes. You can meditate in the shower, or roller skating, or typing letters. Meditation is awareness, and it must be applied to each and every activity of one's life. This isn't easy.

-Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English"

Ken D. - AA Speaker - "Hope, Hilarity, and Recovery"

The essence of life

"In the Indian way, we are connected to that flower if we understand its spirit, the essence of its life." 

--Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

Everything on our Earth is alive. Every rock, every plant, every animal, every tree, every bird, every thought is alive. This is true because everything is made by the Great Spirit and the Great Spirit is alive. We need to slow our lives down each day and realize, consciously, that this is true. First we need to realize it, second, we need to acknowledge it, third, we need to appreciate it and, finally, we need to go on.

Great Spirit, let me see life through Your eyes. Today let me be alive.

Ready to Remember

Grapevine February 1958

I REMEMBER DRIVING along the Old Montauk Highway at eighty miles an hour, at night, and coming out of a blackout just as I missed a man walking along the curve of the road. Until I remembered that, I forgot that I had ever driven while even slightly intoxicated.

I remember myself as a fun drinker--loud, funny, and sociable--and always being around people. . .until I remembered the unsociable, un-fun, empty mornings, the lonely summer weekends in a hot and beachless city bar. And the next morning the things I remembered were black and blue and foggy and crystal clear and awful.

I remembered only a "few" bad nights in the last "few" bad years of my drinking. . .until I remembered the whole insidious progression of years of bad drinking in which a total picture of acute alcoholism was recalled to my mind.

As a drunk some days of my life in a twenty-four clock were mangled except for one hour. Out of some weeks the fragments of a day may be hazily recollected. Months of drinking days melted one into the other, with such monotony. . .hangover--drunkenness--drunkenness--hangover--to-the-bar--sleep--sleep--to-the-bar. . . . So much monotony that one year can hardly be distinguished from the year before except that the monotony of the drunkenness seems intensified, the hangover longer, the sleep less, the need for the bar greater--a daily-weekly-monthly-yearly rendezvous with some further monotony. Certainly a thing to forget. . .and forget it is what I did.

If Tuesday is like Thursday and next Tuesday promises more of the same and a year ago Sunday was just like last Thursday except for the indignity of a punch in the nose, or some great crying jag that lasts for two swollen-eyed days and changes that day by a hair, what is there to remember anyway?

I was incapable of viewing my past except as a maudlin creature of fantasy in which things always looked better if not beautiful yesterday. Pass out--blackout--or just refusal to remember a blistering piece of truth--all helped to erase the pain. If the memory of a bad night persisted, I trimmed all the rough edges by neatly obliterating a detail here, a fact there, until only a half painful picture remained. . .and it was "their" fault anyway.

How many of us even think we have a story to tell when we first come to AA--how lucky we are that memory is what it is and nothing more. The human memory is a tricky mechanism. It deserts us at the tip of remembrance, it will recall the dimmest facts, long forgotten, for survival. It betrays us at times and is limited at best, where some details are concerned; yet it will keep, graphically and dramatically etched, one day which seems to have lost any real importance, so far as conscious memory goes.

Even without liquor, memories have the humane faculty for obliterating that which is intolerable. To forget an important date or meeting is temporary amnesia, self-induced to be sure, forgotten for reasons unknown even to us perhaps that they come under the heading of protection of life, limb or ego. Those who have made a study of the mind are not sure where the seat of memory lies. At the end of a long life our memories are stored with information totaling more details than the nine million volumes in the Library of Congress. To remember is an important part of intelligence. How we manage to tell in fifteen or twenty minutes an impression of our ten or twenty or thirty years drinking past--to piece together the jig-saw of our drinking days--is a miracle of the memory.

Only in AA has the freedom been given us to reach far back into our memory and pull out the truth. . .separate the fantasy from the real. . .evaluate ourselves now sober. As we hear other alcoholics tell the truth of their drinking days our memory begins to uncoil and unscramble. It's a slow, creaking process which picks up tempo as the truth becomes easier to bear. Thank God we don't have total recall at our first meeting or twenty-four-hours later--we couldn't take it. It would flood us back into the bottle.

We remember as we are ready to remember. When the shame is removed and the terror diminished our memory relaxes and allows us new ease hitherto unknown in our puzzled and frightened minds. We start to recover. I have heard it said that gratitude is the memory of the heart. We for some reason have been given back the gift of life. In order to match this gift of life with the gift of love--love that is born of gratitude--it seems that we, once recovered, have some wonderful things to remember. . .things not so much measured by where we were at two o'clock last Christmas as by the magnificent comparisons of yesterday's life with today's. This gift is given us by memory.

L. A.
New York

To thine own self be true.

To thine own self be true. --- AA medallions

Sometimes we hear that we have a "selfish program." Being "selfish" means that we ask for help when we need it. We only go to places that are safe for us, no matter what others are doing. Being selfish comes to mean safety for us.
Being selfish doesn't mean we act like brats. We must act in ways that show respect and love---for ourselves and for others. being selfish means we do what is good for us. What is good for us? First, we have to save our lives by stopping our drinking and drugging. Next, we start working the Steps. We come to know a loving Higher Power. This is how we come to know our true self.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me be true to myself and my values. Help me be "selfish" about spending time to talk with You each day.

Action for the Day: I'll list ten ways I need to be "selfish" in recovery. If I get stuck, I'll be "selfish" and ask for help.

Trust God Clean House

"Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get
well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in
God and clean house."

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Working With Others, pg. 98~

“What if...”

“Living just for today relieves the burden of the past and the fear of the future. We learned to take whatever actions are necessary and to leave the results in the hands of our Higher Power.”

Basic Text, p. 94

In our active addiction, fear of the future and what might happen was a reality for many of us. What if we got arrested? lost our job? our spouse died? we went bankrupt? and on, and on, and on. It was not unusual for us to spend hours, even whole days thinking about what might happen. We played out entire conversations and scenarios before they ever occurred, then charted our course on the basis of “what if...” By doing this, we set ourselves up for disappointment after disappointment.

From listening in meetings, we learn that living in the present, not the world of “what if,” is the only way to short-circuit our self-fulfilling prophecies of doom and gloom. We can only deal with what is real today, not our fearful fantasies of the future.

Coming to believe that our Higher Power has only the best in store for us is one way we can combat that fear. We hear in meetings that our Higher Power won’t give us more than we can handle in one day. And we know from experience that, if we ask, the God we’ve come to understand will surely care for us. We stay clean through adverse situations by practicing our faith in the care of a Power greater than ourselves. Each time we do, we become less fearful of “what if” and more comfortable with what is.

Just for today: I will look forward to the future with faith in my Higher Power.


Some may think that we have carried the principle of group
autonomy to extremes. For example, in its original "long
form," Tradition Four declares: "Any two or three gathered
together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group,
provided that as a group they have no other affiliation. "
. . But this ultra-liberty is not so risky as it looks. 


As an active alcoholic, I abused every liberty that life
afforded. How could A.A. expect me to respect the "ultraliberty"
bestowed by Tradition Four? Learning respect has become
a lifetime job.
A.A. has made me fully accept the necessity of discipline
and that, if I do not assert it from within, then I will pay for
it. This applies to groups too. Tradition Four points me in a
spiritual direction, in spite of my alcoholic inclinations.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Keep It Simple

Before recovery, we saw only a blurry picture of ourselves, like we were looking through an out-of-focus camera lens. We couldn’t see the good in ourselves because we wouldn’t look close enough.

Step Four helps us look more closely. We see a picture of ourselves, with our good points and our faults. We don’t like everything we see. But we can’t change until we accept ourselves as we are.

Then we can start getting ready to change.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me see the good in me and love myself.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll make a list of four of my good points and four of my faults. Am I getting to have my Higher Power remove these defects of character?

Prelude to the Program, p. 118

Few people will sincerely try to practice the A.A. program unless they have “hit bottom,” for practicing A.A.’s Steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking. The average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn’t care for this prospect–unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself.


We know that the newcomer has to “hit bottom”; otherwise, not much can happen. Because we are drunks who understand him, we can use at depth the nutcracker of the-obsession-plus-the-allergy as a tool of such power that it can shatter his ego. Only thus can he be convinced that on his own unaided resources he has little or no chance.

1. 12 & 12, p. 24
2. A.A. Today, p. 8

A.A. Thought For The Day

We’re so glad to a be free from liquor that we do something about it. We get into action. We come to meetings regularly. We go out and try to help other alcoholics. We pass on the good news whenever we get a chance. In a spirit of thankfulness to God, we get into action. The A.A. program is simple. Submit yourself to God, find release from liquor, and get into action. Do these things and keep doing them and you’re all set for the rest of your life. Have I got into action?

Meditation For The Day

God’s eternal quest must be the tracking down of souls. You should join Him in His quest. Through briars, through waste places, through glades, up mountain heights, down into valleys. God leads you. But ever with His leadership goes your helping hand. Glorious to follow where the Leader goes. You are seeking lost sheep. You are bringing the good news into places where it has not been known before. You may not know which soul you will help, but you can leave all results to God. just go with Him in His eternal quest for souls.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may follow God in His eternal quest for souls. I pray that I may offer God my helping hand.

Turn things Around

The whole universe, the whole world, is you; do you think there is any other? This is why the Heroic Progress Scripture says, "People lose themselves, pursuing things; if they could turn things around, they would be the same as Buddha." 

- Hsueh-feng (822-908)
Our life is what our thoughts make it.
~ Marcus Aurelius

How much of your life do you spend looking forward to being somewhere else?

-Matthew Flickstein, "Journey to the Center"

Father Tom W. - Al-Anon Speaker - Sharing his story of Recovery

Grapevine -- November 1947 - And A Mother Wins back her Son

It is sometimes said that the age of miracles is past. I'm afraid I can't agree. Why? Because I've been sober for a year. I don't remember what I was doing a year ago, but I am sure of one thing. I was drunk. I detest the word and all that it implies. It isn't ladylike. Neither was I ladylike then.

Twelve months ago I was finishing up a binge that had been going on for years; a binge that grew steadily with the passing days, and months, and years; a binge that was robbing me of my health; a binge that had all but alienated my son and my husband; a binge that had completely divorced me from all friends. I didn't realize it then, but I was at the end of my rope. I was on "skid row" figuratively if not literally.

I had done all the usual things. I had been a social drinker. One drink would give me a lift; two, a bounce. Three brought a delightful fog in which the world was lovely, everyone was so nice, and "weren't we having fun?"

But this didn't last long. All my life I had suffered from an inferiority complex. The drinks-in those days bathtub gin-made me forget myself. They calmed me down, made me seem like other people, in fact made me "superior" to many of them. It wasn't long before the quantity had to be stepped up. And it wasn't long before I had to have a few drinks before dinner.

From then on the pattern is that of thousands of others. More drinks to calm down, frequent oblivion as the result of too many, a hangover in the morning. Then all day drinking, and all night drinking, then just drinking, not knowing or caring whether it was night or day. A compulsion to drink that I couldn't control, and the certain knowledge that my continued drinking would take from me everything that I wanted and held dear.

Then came the inevitable collapse. I was hospitalized. Three days later I realized where I was. Those 12 days of terror, fear, misgivings, recriminations, physical torture, the beginning of D. T.'s, of which the Good Lord permitted me only a glimpse, make up a period in my life which I recall only with horror. But through the maze that my alcoholic mind wandered constantly recurred the only thought that had penetrated from a visit of three A.A.s the night before my illness became acute.

That thought was: "A.A. can save you! A.A. can save you."

I clung to it as a drowning person does to a straw, for I knew that without it I would die from drinking or end in an insane asylum.

To most of us the early days in Alcoholics Anonymous are days of confusion. The transition from a life of alcohol to a life divorced from the bottle is abrupt. Those first few weeks and months are difficult. We are impatient to grasp all at once all that A.A. has to offer, to grab at it like a package we might purchase at the store. We want immediately to become as non-alcoholic in our thinking and actions as we once were alcoholic.

Despite my haste, one thing firmly embedded itself in my reasoning very early in my rehabilitation. To me it is the most important thing in following the 12 Steps. That requisite is honesty, not honesty with others but honesty with one's self. It has been harder for me to be honest with myself than anything I have ever tried to do. I find, though, that if I am honest with myself, I don't have to worry about honesty with others. It comes automatically.

With that as a stepping stone, I am slowly building a structure in which I can live with myself. As the structure rises I find many of the bricks and stones are placed imperfectly and have to come out and be reset. I make mistakes, but I am soon aware of them and make an honest effort to rectify them. Many times I am not honest with myself. But when I am not, that which goes hand in hand with honesty--conscience--asserts itself immediately. And to live with myself I have to do the right thing.

I accepted A.A. on blind faith. I didn't try to reason it out. I couldn't rationalize it. All I knew was that other people who had embraced A.A., people who said they were as bad or worse alcoholics than I, had become sober. It was the last street car as far as I was concerned.

I accepted what I was told to accept. I did what others said they had done, and out of that blind faith has arisen a faith of my own, a faith that has carried me along for a year. I don't know whether it is truth, or honesty, or conscience, or good, or God. I call it God. And I pray for his help each day to enable that faith to carry me through a succession of 24 hours as long as I live.

I think my greatest desire for sobriety was that I might restore myself in the eyes of my son, a 19-year-old Navy photographer. I wrote him some time ago that I had been hospitalized, that I had become an A.A., and I told him what I was trying to do. I'd like to quote a portion of his answer to me:

"It wasn't such a horrible thing to admit you needed care, Mom. You said this fact might startle me. On the contrary, it is the best thing that could happen. I am prouder of you than I have ever been before. Please believe me. This is from the bottom of my heart. I am proud of you for facing the music and your spirit for not quitting. I feel all empty inside when I try to express my gratitude. I thank you, Mom, with all the humbleness in me."

And they say the age of miracles is past!

Chicago, Illinois
"We, in our turn, sought the same escape with all the desperation of
drowning men. What seemed at first a flimsy reed, has proved to be
the loving and powerful hand of God. A new life has been given us
or, if you prefer, "a design for living" that really works."

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, There Is A Solution, pg. 28~

Practice Love

It easier to speak of love, than to practice it. --- Anonymous

Do we help our neighbor who is in need? We must help when we see the need, not just when it fits our schedule. In the program, this becomes our goal. We work at helping out. For example, when someone is needed to run the meeting, we offer. We see that the needs of the group are also our needs. We are the group. Over time, the idea of service spreads to the rest of our lives. Maybe we help a family down the street. We start to see that we have something to offer the world; ourselves. We start to see that the needs of the world are also our needs. We are an important part of the world.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, make me quick to act when I see a need. Please don't let my fear stop me.

Action for the Day: Today, I'll list what I have to offer the world. I will think of two ways I can use these gifts my Higher Power has given me.

Everything Is Connected

"Every thing or living being that exists in this world, be it trees, flowers, birds, grasses, rocks, soil of the earth, or human beings, has its unique manner of existence --its essence, its spirit that makes it what it is. That is what is meant by connectedness." 

--Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

Scientists are finally realizing what the Elders have taught for thousands of years-every- thing is connected. Because everything is interconnected, whatever you do to any one thing, you do to everything. If you poison any part of the earth, the poison eventually affects everything else. If you poison the plants, the birds will eat the plants, which poisons the birds. The birds are eaten by humans which poisons the humans. The humans will have babies who could be deformed because the plants were poisoned. We must learn to live in harmony with the earth. We must learn to think good things. Every good thought is felt by everything, which causes everything to be happy.

Creator, let my thoughts only be good thoughts.

Who really gets better?

“We can also use the steps to improve our attitudes. Our best thinking got us into trouble. We recognize the need for change.”

Basic Text, p. 55

When new in recovery, most of us had at least one person we just couldn’t stand. We thought that person was the rudest, most obnoxious person in the program. We knew there was something we could do, some principle of recovery we could practice to get over the way we felt about this person—but what? We asked our sponsor for guidance. We were probably assured, with an amused smile, that if we just kept coming back, we’d see the person get better. That made sense to us. We believed that the steps of NA worked in the lives of everyone. If they could work for us, they could work for this horrible person, too.

Time passed, and at some point we noticed that the person didn’t seem as rude or obnoxious as before. In fact, he or she had become downright tolerable, maybe even likeable. We got a pleasant jolt as we realized who had really gotten better. Because we had kept coming back, because we had kept working the steps, our perception of this person had changed. The person who’d plagued us had become “tolerable” because we’d developed some tolerance; he or she had become “likeable” because we’d developed the ability to love.

So who really gets better? We do! As we practice the program, we gain a whole new outlook on those around us by gaining a new outlook on ourselves.

Just for today: As I get better, so will others. Today, I will practice tolerance and try to love those I meet.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

..I was the breadwinner.
Only I didn’t WIN the bread,
I worked hard, and earned it
Elise Maclay

Step Four – “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

So when A.A. suggests a fearless moral inventory, it must seem to every newcomer that more is being asked of him than he can do. Both his pride and his fear beat him back every time he tries to look within himself. Pride says, “You need not pass this way,” and Fear says, “You dare not look!” But the testimony of A.A.’s who have really tried a moral inventory is that pride and fear of this sort turn out to be bogeymen, nothing else. Once we have a complete willingness to take inventory, and exert ourselves to do the job thoroughly, a wonderful light falls upon this foggy scene. As we persist, a brand-new kind of confidence is born, and the sense of relief at finally facing ourselves is indescribable. These are the first fruits of Step Four.

pp. 49-50

Ralph W. "The Greatest Show on Earth: 12-Step Recovery" AA Speaker

On Doing The Fourth Step

By doing a Fourth Step, we start to see ourselves more clearly. We see how we’ve acted against ourselves. Soon, we hear a little voice inside telling us to stop before we act. “Are you sure you want to say or do that?” the little voice asks. Then we make a choice: we do something the same old way, or we try a new way. One part of us will always want to do things the old, sick way. This is natural. But we’re getting stronger every day. Our spirit wants to learn new ways so we can be honest and loving. Sometimes we don’t know how. But we still have a choice. We can ask for help.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me listen to the little voice inside that helps me see that I have choices.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll make a choice between old ways and new ways of acting. I will call my sponsor this evening to talk about my choices.
"All religions must be tolerated . . . for . . . every man must get to heaven his own way." ~ Frederick the Great

Twenty Four hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

By submitting to God, we’re released from the power of liquor. It has no more hold on us. We’re also released from the things that were holding us down: pride, selfishness, and fear. And we’re free to grow into a new life, which is so much better than the old life that there’s no comparison. This release gives us serenity and peace with the world. Have I been released from the power of alcohol?

Meditation For The Day

We know God by spiritual vision. We feel that He is beside us. We feel His presence. Contact with God is not made by the senses. Spirit-consciousness replaces sight. Since we cannot see God, we have to perceive Him by spiritual perception. God has to span the physical and the spiritual with the gift to us of spiritual vision. Many persons, though they cannot see God, have had a clear spiritual consciousness of Him. We are inside a box of space and time, but we know there must be something outside of that box, limitless space, eternity of time, and God.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may have a consciousness of God’s presence. I pray that God will give me spiritual vision.

Prelude to the Program, p. 118

Few people will sincerely try to practice the A.A. program unless they have “hit bottom,” for practicing A.A.’s Steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking. The average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn’t care for this prospect–unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself.


We know that the newcomer has to “hit bottom”; otherwise, not much can happen. Because we are drunks who understand him, we can use at depth the nutcracker of the-obsession-plus-the-allergy as a tool of such power that it can shatter his ego. Only thus can he be convinced that on his own unaided resources he has little or no chance.

1. 12 & 12, p. 24
2. A.A. Today, p. 8
Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
~ Richard L. Evans

Bob D. - AA Speaker - "Turn our will and our lives over to the care of God"

Thief of Love

Grapevine June 1986 (thanks Ronny H)

I grew up in a lake resort town north of big, bad Chicago. Our house was as good as anyone's and better than some. When you walked in the front door, you saw the bathroom. It was a mark of distinction. No hiding that bathroom down the hall for us.

In our town, there were three churches and seventy-three taverns. In the basement of the church I went to was the seventy-fourth tavern. We had a bar, a juke box, draft beer, and slot machines. We had fish fries caught from a cold lake and served hot for one dollar. From the age of six, I knew which beer belly at the bar was likely to hand a cute little kid a nickel to play the slot machines, and it was likely to be the same one who lost his false teeth throwing up later on.

I learned about life on my parents' knees as they hung out on the bar stools. Lots of it was fun. At my favorite bar, a place called "Hello Folks," a red-faced, red-haired, boisterous lady played the piano and everybody sang and my parents were happy. They drank shots and beers and my father swept the ladies around doing the polka and my mother was the prettiest one there and everybody packed up all their cares and woes and took them to "Hello Folks" every night.

Somehow, it began to change. The man who gave me the most nickels died and after his funeral everybody got drunk because that's the way he would have wanted it. The jolly lady who played happy music cried into the glass on her piano because she had loved him. My parents began to argue, first with words, then with fists. Another baby was born and she wouldn't stop crying at night and my mother wouldn't wake up to take care of her. My parents were passed-out drunk while the house got colder and the nights got longer and the baby cried harder.

I was ashamed of our house now. It was a mess when I got home from school and my mother told me to clean it up before my father got home, and when my father got home he looked at my work, but he didn't look at me. At twelve years old I was held responsible for the havoc created by four younger children and, by God, I had better get the job done and keep my mouth shut, or else. Once I stamped my foot and yelled, "Unfair!" Once.

I missed my loving parents. They didn't look at me anymore. They avoided me or glared. Once upon a time, I was a feast to their eyes, and when they gazed at me it was like sunshine enveloping me and I felt wrapped in their arms. I was bursting with love at those moments; at six, I knew I could move mountains.

When I was old enough to drink, I did my folks one better. I arrived at the lakeside taverns courtesy of boyfriends with brand new rip-snorting powerboats. In the winter, it was by snowmobile or ice skates and I always had a wonderful time. No shots and beers for me. I drank like a lady. I drank martinis. Lots of them. If I got home at five in the morning, I'd merely say, "Hello Folks."

Three husbands and seven children later, I was still drinking martinis. I drank them until 4:30 in the morning the day my youngest daughter was born. By three years old, she was begging me to stop fighting with her daddy. Before she was ten, I didn't want her to look at me anymore because I didn't want her to see what I was doing. I was killing the joy of life, killing her love, and killing myself. She was too young to understand that I needed those martinis to fill the empty, hungry, gnawing void. It was later that I realized I was using alcohol to replace the love that was stolen from me by alcohol in the first place. The first few drinks gave me back a touch of that sunlight, and I wanted that so much I paid the price of the blackness and cold that inevitably followed. I would lie on the floor by my bed and cry in anguish while my daughter listened, and the look on her face was a mirror image of my own face at the same age.

I tried to stop for her sake, but I couldn't stop for anything or anybody, until one morning when I got up with a pounding head, exhausted and depleted from the previous night's drinking. Bent and aching and sick to my stomach, lackluster, weeping outside and inside, beaten and alone with my clutching devils that gave me no rest, I had a vivid, terrifying thought. "What if she turns out like me, as I and two of my brothers and sisters turned out like our parents? How long can alcohol keep a family whipped?"

I went to Alcoholics Anonymous and I shared at my first and second meetings. I saw the love I'd been missing in the eyes of those people. I felt something I can only describe as a wave of love sweeping over me, and I was relieved of my obsession to drink.

For five months, I have felt the arms of love around me, and I know I need never again let alcohol--cunning, baffling, and oh so powerful--steal any more love from me or my folks.

H. H.
Costa Mesa, California


Selfishness—self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of
our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-
seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they
retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation,
but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made
decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, How It Works, pg. 62~

The Steps Are Always there

Hitch your wagon to a star. --- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Millions of people are sober and have peace of mind through the Twelve Steps. Like the stars, the Steps are always there. At times, clouds block our view of the stars, but we know they are still there. Let's view the Twelve Steps the same way.

It is said that the stars are the gate to heaven, that we pass through their beauty to get ready to enter heaven. The Twelve Steps are the gate to spirituality here on earth. We travel through their beauty on our way to a spiritual awakening. Hitch your wagon to the Steps, and get ready for the ride of a lifetime.

Prayer for the Day: I pray to remember that the Steps keep me sober. I pray that I will follow where the Steps take me.

Action For the Day: I'll look at the stars tonight. I'll think of them as symbols of my life touched by the Twelve Steps.

Recognizing and releasing resentments

“We want to look our past in the face, see it for what it really was, and release it so we can live today.”

Basic Text, p. 29

Many of us had trouble identifying our resentments when we were new in recovery. There we sat with our Fourth Step in front of us, thinking and thinking, finally deciding that we just didn’t have any resentments. Perhaps we talked ourselves into believing that we weren’t so sick after all.

Such unwitting denial of our resentments stems from the conditioning of our addiction. Most of our feelings were buried, and buried deep. After some time in recovery, a new sense of understanding develops. Our most deeply buried feelings begin to surface, and those resentments we thought we didn’t have suddenly emerge.

As we examine these resentments, we may feel tempted to hold onto some of them, especially if we think they are “justified.” But what we need to remember is that “justified” resentments are just as burdensome as any other resentment.

As our awareness of our liabilities grows, so does our responsibility to let go. We no longer need to hang on to our resentments. We want to rid ourselves of what’s undesirable and set ourselves free to recover.

Just for today: When I discover a resentment, I’ll see it for what it is and let it go.


We realize we know only a little. God will constantly
disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning
meditation what you can do each day for the man who is
still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in
order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you
haven't got. See to it that your relationship with Him is
right, and great events will come to pass for you and
countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.


Sobriety is a journey of joyful discovery. Each day brings
new experience, awareness, greater hope, deeper faith,
broader tolerance. I must maintain these attributes or I will
have nothing to pass on.
Great events for this recovering alcoholic are the normal
everyday joys found in being able to live another day in
God's grace.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

The only disability in life is a bad attitude.
~ Scott Hamilton

Craig F. - AA Speaker - "Laughing is the Sound Effect of Recovery" (Funny!)

THE DOCTOR'S OPINION (pg. xxvi & top of xxvii)

We believe, and so suggested a few years ago, that the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate drinker. These allergic types can never safely use alcohol in any form at all; and once having formed the habit and found they cannot break it, once having lost their self-confidence, their reliance upon things human, their problems pile up on them and become astonishingly difficult to solve.

Frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices. The message which can interest and hold these alcoholic people must have depth and weight. In nearly all cases, their ideals must be grounded in a power greater than themselves, if they are to re-create their lives.

If any feel that as psychiatrists directing a hospital for alcoholics we appear somewhat sentimental, let them stand with us a while on the firing line, see the tragedies, the despairing wives, the little children; let the solving of these problems become a part of their daily work, and even of their sleeping moments, and the most cynical will not wonder that we have accepted and encouraged this movement. We feel, after many years if experience, that we have found nothing which has contributed more to the rehabilitation of these men than the altruistic movement now growing up among them.

Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks-drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.

You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.

--- Irish Proverb

Each of us has been given recovery. Now it's up to each of us what we do with it. At times, we'll work hard to grow quickly. At other times, our growth will be slower. This is okay. We're not in a race. Our pace is not important. What is important is that we're always working on our recovery.
We're all part of a fellowship, a caring group. We're one of many. But we're each important. Each of us will have a special way to work our programs through our readings, friends, meetings, and what we know of how life works. each of us puts together a miracle of recovery. We than take our miracle and share it with others, so they can build their miracle.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me work at growing. Help me be a person who is an important part of a group.

Action for the Day: Today, I'll work at seeing myself as very important. I'll remind myself that other's recovery also depends on my recovery. I am needed.

Always Pray

In the life of the Indian there was only one inevitable duty, the duty of prayer, the daily recognition of the Unseen and Eternal. His daily devotions were more necessary to him than daily food." 

--Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), SANTEE SIOUX

The most important habit one can develop is the daily act of prayer. Prayer is our eyes, our ears, our feelings, our success, our guidance, our life, our duty, our goal. There really is only prayer and meditation. We can only help others through prayer. We can only help ourselves through prayer. You can never become an Elder unless you pray. You can never stay an Elder unless you pray. You never get wisdom unless you pray. You never understand unless you pray.

Great Spirit, today, teach me to pray.


“The most effective means of achieving self-acceptance is through applying the Twelve Steps of recovery.”
IP No. 19, Self-Acceptance

Most of us came to Narcotics Anonymous without much self-acceptance. We looked at the havoc we had wreaked in our active addiction, and we loathed ourselves. We had difficulty accepting our past and the self-image produced by it.

Self-acceptance comes more quickly when we first accept that we have a disease called addiction, because it’s easier to accept ourselves as sick people than as bad people. And the easier it is to accept ourselves, the easier it becomes to accept responsibility for ourselves.

We achieve self-acceptance through the process of ongoing recovery. Working the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous teaches us to accept ourselves and our lives. Spiritual principles like surrender, honesty, faith, and humility help relieve us of the burden of our past mistakes. Our attitude changes with the application of these principles in our daily lives. Self-acceptance grows as we grow in recovery.

Just for today: Self-acceptance is a process set in motion by the Twelve Steps. Today, I will trust the process, practice the steps, and learn to better accept myself.


We don't think happiness or unhappiness is the point. How do
we meet the problems we face? How do we best learn from
them and transmit what we have learned to others, if they
would receive the knowledge? 


In my search "to be happy," I changed jobs, married and
divorced, took geographical cures, and ran myself into
debt—financially, emotionally and spiritually. In A.A., I'm
learning to grow up. Instead of demanding that people,
places and things make me happy, I can ask God for selfacceptance.
When a problem overwhelms me, A.A.'s
Twelve Steps will help me grow through the pain. The
knowledge I gain can be a gift to others who suffer with the
same problem. As Bill said, "When pain comes, we are
expected to learn from it willingly, and help others to learn.
When happiness comes, we accept it as a gift, and thank
God for it." (As Bill Sees It, p. 306)

Friday, 25 April 2014

Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.
~ Irving Berlin

Sister Maurice - AA Speakers - "An Amazing and Fulfilling Life in Recovery"

Any Lengths

"Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to
find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and
direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal
consequences may be."

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Into Action, pg. 79~

Make A Start

We will not know unless we begin. --- Howard Zinn

Let us begin! Whether it be working on our First Step, Finding a sponsor, or talking to someone we hurt---Let us begin. Doubt will set in if we wait too long. Fear will follow. So, let us begin. We learn by doing. Recovery is for doers. Sobriety doesn't just happen. We create it. We create it by working the Steps and learning from them. We'll never totally understand the Steps unless we work them. In the same way, we'll never learn how to have friends unless we try. So, call your friends, instead of waiting to be called. Begin and begin again. Each day is a new beginning.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, today I'll begin. I begin by asking for Your help and love. Be with me as I go through my day. Help me work for progress, not perfection.

Action for the Day: Today, I'll not sit on the sidelines. I'll be a doer. I'll decide what to do to move closer to friends, family, Higher Power, and myself.

Give Freely

".we hold on to our otuhan, our give-aways, because they help us to remain Indians."
--Lame Deer, LAKOTA

Our traditional communities and villages function on interdependence. Share the deer and give freely of what you have to another. Another way to express this principle is, it's better to give than to receive. To share what you have eliminates complexity. The Elders say, live a simple life. One of the principles in the Unseen World is, the more you give, the more you get. You can become a channel for abundance for your family, tribe or community. A giving person sets up a flow or replacement. Whatever you share will be returned to you in an amount equal or greater. The Indian way is for everyone to give to another, thus the community wins.

Great Spirit, today, teach me the principle of giving. Let me be Your channel of abundance

Embracing reality

“Recovery is a reality for us today.”

Basic Text, p. 101

Pain and misery were realities in our using lives. We were unwilling either to accept our living situation or to change what was unacceptable in our lives. We attempted to escape life’s pain by taking drugs, but using only compounded our troubles. Our altered sense of reality became a nightmare.

Through living the program of Narcotics Anonymous, we learn that our dreams can replace our nightmares. We grow and change. We acquire the freedom of choice. We are able to give and receive love. We can share honestly about ourselves, no longer magnifying or minimizing the truth. We accept the challenges real life offers us, facing them in a mature, responsible way.

Although recovery does not give us immunity from the realities of life, in the NA Fellowship we can find the support, genuine care, and concern we need to face those realities. We need never hide from reality by using drugs again, for our unity with other recovering addicts gives us strength. Today, the support, the care, and the empathy of recovery give us a clean, clear window through which to view, experience, and appreciate reality as it is.

Just for today: A gift of my recovery is living and enjoying life as it truly is. Today, I will embrace reality.


In the late stages of our drinking the will to resist has fled.
Yet when we admit complete defeat and when we become
entirely ready to try A. A. principles, our obsession leaves
us and we enter a new dimension—freedom under God as
we understand Him. 


I am fortunate to be among the ones who have had this
awesome transformation in my life. When I entered the
doors of A.A., alone and desperate, I had been beaten into
willingness to believe anything I heard. One of the things I
heard was, "This could be your last hangover, or you can
keep going round and round." The man who said this
obviously was a whole lot better off than 1.1 liked the idea
of admitting defeat and I have been free ever since! My
heart heard what my mind never could: "Being powerless
over alcohol is no big deal." I'm free and I'm grateful!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.
~ Helen Keller

Sister Bea - AA Speaker - "Gratitude and Grace One Day at a Time"

"I am more and more convinced that our happiness or unhappiness
depends more on the way we meet the events of life than on the
nature of those events themselves."

--Alexander Humboldt

Teach The Children Well

"If anyone has children, they better teach their children to follow the traditions that we're leaving behind because it is later than we think with all that's going on." 

--Juanita Centeno, CHUMASH

The habits, attitudes and beliefs that carry the human through the trials of life are developed at a very young age. If we are taught respect at a very young age, the odds are we'll be respectful through our whole lives. If we are taught to dance at a young age, we'll dance our whole lives. If we are taught to sing the traditional songs while we are young, we'll sing those songs through out whole lives. And who do we drum and sing songs to? Our children. This is how we keep it going.

Great Spirit, today, teach me to teach the children.


Spirituality is...the awareness that survival is a savage fight between you and yourself. --- Lisa S.

As recovering people, we're getting stronger each day. We go to meetings to learn how to be better people. But we also go to remind ourselves of the beast inside us---our addiction. This beast is waiting for us to slip---to go back to our addiction---so it can regain control.

Thus, it's wise to learn all we can about our disease. That's why it's important to do a good job on our Fourth Step. When we work Step Four, we learn how our addiction acts, thinks, and feels. With the help of our program, we can quiet the beast. One Day at a Time.,

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I'm fighting for my life. Thanks to You, I'm winning today and my life is free.

Action for the Day: I'll talk to a friend about my addiction, the beast inside me. I'll do this so it will have less power over me.

Chapter 2 THERE IS A SOLUTION (pg 18 & top 19)

An illness of this sort-and we have come to believe it an illness-involves those about us in a way no other human sickness can. If a person has cancer all are sorry for him and no one is angry or hurt. But not so with the alcoholic illness, for with it there goes annihilation of all the things worth while in life. It engulfs all whose lives touch the sufferer's. It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives and parents—anyone can increase the list.

We hope this volume will inform and comfort those who are, or who may be affected. There are many.

Highly competent psychiatrists who have dealt with us have found it sometimes impossible to persuade an alcoholic to discuss his situation without reserve. Strangely enough, wives, parents and intimate friends usually find us even more unapproachable than do the psychiatrist and the doctor.

But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.

That the man who is making the approach has had the same difficulty, that he obviously knows what he is talking about, that his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect that he is a man with a real answer, that he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except the sincere desire to be helpful; that there are no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured-these are the conditions we have found most effective. After such an approach many take up their beds and walk again.

Twelve Steps of life

Through abstinence and through working the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous, our lives have become useful.”
Basic Text, p. 8

Before coming to Narcotics Anonymous, our lives were centered around using. For the most part, we had very little energy left over for jobs, relationships, or other activities. We served only our addiction.

The Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous provide a simple way to turn our lives around. We start by staying clean, a day at a time. When our energy is no longer channeled into our addiction, we find that we have the energy to pursue other interests. As we grow in recovery, we become able to sustain healthy relationships. We become trustworthy employees. Hobbies and recreation seem more inviting. Through participation in Narcotics Anonymous, we help others.

Narcotics Anonymous does not promise us that we will find good jobs, loving relationships, or a fulfilling life. But when we work the Twelve Steps to the best of our ability, we find that we can become the type of people who are capable of finding employment, sustaining loving relationships, and helping others. We stop serving our disease, and begin serving God and others. The Twelve Steps are the key to transforming our lives.

Just for today: I will have the wisdom to use the Twelve Steps in my life, and the courage to grow in my recovery. I will practice my program to become a responsible, productive member of society.


Alcoholism was a lonely business, even though we were surrounded by people who loved us . . . We were trying to find emotional security either by dominating or by being dependent upon others . . . We still vainly tried to be secure by some unhealthy sort of domination or dependence.


When I did my personal inventory I found that I had

unhealthy relationships with most people in my life—my

friends and family, for example. I always felt isolated and

lonely. I drank to dull emotional pain.

It was through staying sober, having a good sponsor and

working the Twelve Steps that I was able to build up my

low self-esteem. First the Twelve Steps taught me to

become my own best friend, and then, when I was able to

love myself, I could reach out and love others.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you'll never enjoy the sunshine.
~ Morris West

Lizz H. AA Speaker sharing her moving story 12-Step

Chapter 2 THERE IS A SOLUTION (pg 17)

WE, OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know thousands of men and women who were once just as hopeless as Bill. Nearly all have recovered. They have solved the drink problem.

We are average Americans. All sections of this country and many of its occupations are represented, as well as many political, economic, social, and religious backgrounds. We are people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful. We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the vessel from steerage to Captain's table. Unlike the feelings of the ship's passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined.

The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism.


" have to believe it first. Not wait until you see it first, then touch it, then believe it...You have to say it from the heart." 

--Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

We are designed to function from faith. First we pray. Then we use our imagination to create a vision or picture in our mind. We surround this mental picture with our emotions or feelings. These feelings are available when we ask or say it from the heart. The combination of the mental picture and asking from the heart to create the emotions will cause us to believe it. Then we just need to wait. We need to believe as though it is already done.

Great Spirit, remove from me any doubt that comes up today.

The secret of success is constancy of purpose.

The secret of success is constancy of purpose. --- Benjamin Disraeli

In Twelve Step meetings, we don't talk about counseling, treatment centers, or non-program reading. Many of us have been helped in these ways, but we shouldn't confuse them with Twelve Step programs. We must keep our Twelve Step programs pure, no matter what is in style among counselors or at treatment centers, or what the latest books say. Certainly, we should use these sources if they help us, but not in our program meetings. There, we must stick to the basics that have helped addicts recover all over the world for many years. Steps, traditions, meetings, sponsorship---these things work, no matter what is in style.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, let me be there to help an addict in need, by sharing my Twelve Step program.

Action for the Day: I will help out today be being a sponsor or by calling a new member, just to say hello.

A God of our own understanding

“Many of us understand God to be simply whatever force keeps us clean.”

Basic Text, p. 25

Some of us enter recovery with a working understanding of a Higher Power. For a lot of us, however, “God” is a troublesome word. We may doubt the existence of any sort of Power greater than ourselves. Or we may remember uncomfortable experiences with religion and shy away from “the God stuff.”

Starting over in recovery means we can start over in our spiritual life, too. If we’re not comfortable with what we learned when we were growing up, we can try a different approach to our spirituality. We don’t have to understand everything all at once or find the answers to all our questions right away. Sometimes it’s enough just to know that other NA members believe and that their belief helps keep them clean.

Just for today: All I have to know right now about my Higher Power is that it is the Power that helps keep me clean.


It would be a product of false pride to claim that A. A. is a
cure-all, even for alcoholism 


In my early years of sobriety I was full of pride, thinking
that A. A. was the only source of treatment for a good and
happy life. It certainly was the basic ingredient for my
sobriety and even today, with over twelve years in the
program, I am very involved in meetings, sponsorship and
service. During the first four years of my recovery, I found
it necessary to seek professional help, since my emotional
health was extremely poor. There are those folks too, who
have found sobriety and happiness in other organizations.
A.A. taught me that I had a choice: to go to any lengths to
enhance my sobriety. A.A. may not be a cure-all for
everything, but it is the center of my sober living.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Spiritual Experiences

"The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God's universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way that is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do for ourselves.
If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help.
This we did because we honestly wanted to, and were willing to make the effort."
It is not length of life, but depth of life.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Scott L. - AA Speakers - "Prayers, Promises and Self-Forgiveness"

Chapter 1 BILL'S STORY (pg 14 & top 15)

These were revolutionary and drastic proposals, but the moment I fully accepted them, the effect was electric. There was a sense of victory, followed by such a peace and serenity as I had never know. There was utter confidence. I felt lifted up, as though the great clean wind of a mountain top blew through and through. God comes to most men gradually, but His impact on me was sudden and profound.

For a moment I was alarmed, and called my friend, the doctor, to ask if I were still sane. He listened in wonder as I talked.

Finally he shook his head saying, "Something has happened to you I don't understand. But you had better hang on to it. Anything is better than the way you were." The good doctor now sees many men who have such experiences. He knows that they are real.

While I lay in the hospital the thought came that there were thousands of hopeless alcoholics who might be glad to have what had been so freely given me. Perhaps I could help some of them. They in turn might work with others.
My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me. Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that.
In the same way that rain breaks into a house with a bad roof, desire breaks into the mind that has not been practicing meditation.

Traveling the open road

“This is our road to spiritual growth.”

Basic Text, p. 37

When we arrived at our first NA meeting, it looked like the end of the road to many of us. We weren’t going to be able to use anymore. We were spiritually bankrupt. Most of us were totally isolated and didn’t think we had much to live for. Little did we realize that, as we began our program of recovery, we were stepping onto a road of unlimited possibilities.

At first, just not using was tough enough. Yet, as we watched other addicts working the steps and applying those principles in their lives, we began to see that recovery was more than just not using. The lives of our NA friends had changed. They had a relationship with the God of their understanding. They were responsible members of the fellowship and of society. They had a reason to live. We began to believe these things were possible for us, too.

As we continue our recovery journey, we can get sidetracked by complacency, intolerance, or dishonesty. When we do, we need to recognize the signs quickly and get back on our path—the open road to freedom and growth.

Just for today: I am continuing to develop my spiritual, social, and general living skills by applying the principles of my program. I can travel as far as I wish on the open road of recovery.


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.”

Monday, 21 April 2014

Traditions Are Important

"Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors—the dreams of our old men, given them in the solemn hours of night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people." 

--Chief Seattle, DWAMISH

Our Spiritual ways have carefully been given to chosen people. Slowly, through our past generations, through past conflicts, our Elders prayed for guidance, which the Creator provided. Then it was passed down to the next generation through culture, ceremony and oral traditions. our Indian religion has been tested and is about how we should behave and treat other people, animals and the earth. This knowledge is written in the heart of every person. We can find this knowledge by looking inside ourselves.

My Creator, today, when conflict occurs, I will look inside myself for the answers.

Chapter 1 BILL'S STORY (pg 11 & top 12)

To Christ I conceded the certainty of a great man, not too closely followed by those who claimed Him. His moral teaching-most excellent. For myself, I had adopted those parts which seemed convenient and not too difficult; the rest I disregarded.

The wars which had been fought, the burnings and chicanery that religious dispute had facilitated, made me sick. I honestly doubted whether, on balance, the religions of mankind had done any good. Judging from what I had seen in Europe and since, the power of God in human affairs was negligible, the Brotherhood of Man a grim jest. If there was a Devil, he seemed the Boss Universal, and he certainly had me.

But my friend sat before me, and he made the pointblank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself. His human will had failed. Doctors had pronounced him incurable. Society was about to lock him up. Like myself, he had admitted complete defeat. Then he had, in effect, been raised from the dead, suddenly taken from the scrap heap to a level of life better than the best he had ever known!

Had this power originated in him? Obviously it had not. There had been no more power in him than there was in me at that minute; and this was none at all.
That floored me. It began to look as though religious people were right after all. Here was something at work in a human heart which had done the impossible. My ideas about miracles were drastically revised right then. Never mind the musty past; here sat a miracle directly across the kitchen table. He shouted great tidings.

I saw that my friend was much more than inwardly reorganized. He was on different footing. His roots grasped a new soil.

Keep It Simple

Love your enemy it will drive him nuts. --- Eleanor Doan

Love you enemy. It’s a lot easier on you! Hating someone takes so much time and energy.

Loving your enemy means, instead of trying to get even, you let your Higher Power handle that person. Of course, loving your enemy is also hard. It means giving up control. It means giving up self-will. We addicts naturally want to control things and people.

This is where we turn to our program for help. We learn to love our enemies, not for some grand reason. We simply do it because hate can cause us to use alcohol or other drugs again.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, watch over my family, friends, and my enemies. Take from me my desire to control. Take from me all reasons to get high.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list all my enemies. I’ll say each of their names, and then I’ll read the Third Step out loud.


“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. 22

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.


"I don't think we can do anything very well in this world
unless we practice it And I don't believe we do A.A. too well
unless we practice it. . . . We should practice . . . acquiring
the spirit of service. We should attempt to acquire some faith,
which isn't easily done, especially for the person who has
always been very materialistic, following the standards of
society today. But I think faith can be acquired; it can be
acquired slowly; it has to be cultivated. That was not easy
for me, and I assume that it is difficult for everyone else.


Fear is often the force that prevents me from acquiring and
cultivating the power of faith. Fear blocks my appreciation
of beauty, tolerance, forgiveness, service, and serenity.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
~ Buddha

Chapter 1 BILL'S STORY (pg 10)

He talked for hours. Childhood memories rose before me. I could almost hear the sound of the preacher's voice as I sat, on still Sundays, way over there on the hillside; there was that proffered temperance pledge I never signed; my grandfather's good natured contempt of some church fold and their doings; his insistence that the spheres really had their music; but his denial of the preacher's right to tell him how he must listen; his fearlessness as he spoke of these things just before he died; these recollections welled up from the past. They made me swallow hard.

That war-time day in old Winchester Cathedral came back again.

I had always believed in a Power greater that myself. I had often pondered these things. I was not an atheist. Few people really are, for that means blind faith in the strange proposition that this universe originated in a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere. My intellectual heroes, the chemists, the astronomers, even the evolutionist, suggested vast laws and forces at work. Despite contrary indications, I had little doubt that a might purpose and rhythm underlay all. How could there be so much of precise and immutable law, and no intelligence? I simply had to believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who knew neither time nor limitation. But that was as far as I had gone.

With ministers, and the world's religions, I parted right there. When they talked of a God personal to me, who was love, superhuman strength and direction, I became irritated and my mind snapped shut against such a theory.

A strong man cries

We must relearn how to cry. A strong man cries; it is the weak man who holds back his tears." 

--Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA

Indian men and other men should really meditate on this Elder's saying. So many men have been taught it is unmanly to cry, to show emotions or to feel. When people cry, the Elders say there are two types of tears – one type will taste salty; the other type will taste sweet. One is caused by pain, and the other is caused by the release from the pain, or joy tears. A strong man knows himself and knows his relationship with the Great Spirit. The release of tears is a spiritual act. Our bodies are designed to cry. We should honor our bodies and use them as the Creator intended.

Great Spirit, Grandfather, today, teach me to cry.


“Addiction is a family disease, but we could only change ourselves.”

Many of us come from severely damaged families. At times, the insanity that reigns among our relatives feels overwhelming. Sometimes we feel like packing our bags and moving far, far away.

We pray that our family members will join us in recovery but, to our great sadness, this does not always happen. Sometimes, despite our best efforts to carry the message, we find that we cannot help those we hold most dear. Our group experience has taught us that, frequently, we are too close to our relatives to help them. We learn it is better to leave them in our Higher Power’s care.

We have found that when we stop trying to settle the problems of family members, we give them the room they need to work things out in their own lives. By reminding them that we are not able to solve their problems for them, we give ourselves the freedom to live our own lives. We have faith that God will help our relatives. Often, the best thing we can give our loved ones is the example of our own ongoing recovery. For the sake of our family’s sanity and our own, we must let our relatives find their own ways to recover.

Just for today: I will seek to work my own program and leave my family in the care of a Higher Power.


. . . we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking
that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking


When said sincerely, this prayer teaches me to be truly
unselfish and humble, for even in doing good deeds I often
used to seek approval and glory for myself. By examining
my motives in all that I do, I can be of service to God and
others, helping them do what they want to do. When I put
God in charge of my thinking, much needless worry is
eliminated and I believe He guides me throughout the day.
When I eliminate thoughts of self-pity, dishonesty and selfcenteredness
as soon as they enter my mind, I find peace with God, my neighbor
and myself.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

What Is A Sponsor?

A Sponsor is a...







Remember when life's path is steep to keep your mind even.
~ Horace

Chris R. "Sponsorship, Meeting Etiquette, and More"

Fair to the Newcomer?

Grapevine October 1945

Since I believe that almost without exception alcoholics are deep-rooted individualists, I deplore a tendency I have noted recently among certain A.A. groups to lay down the law to newcomers. I have in mind specifically the article appearing in the September issue of The Grapevine regarding the procedure followed by the Genesee group of Rochester, N. Y., in the education of what that group terms "novices." The article invites comment--even to the extent of criticism--so I would like to express my (one individual's) entirely personal views on a subject of seeming importance to the future healthy growth of A.A.

I came into A.A. when the membership numbered approximately 2,000 with the distinct understanding that the only requirement was the honest admission on my part that I had a serious drinking problem and that I sincerely wanted to do something about it (i.e., Step No. 1).

Beyond that no one told me what I had to do about anything but it was definitely suggested I attend regular meetings as soon and as often as possible.
These meetings were my course of training and membership was up to me, not my sponsor, nor by approval of the group. Let me add hastily, at this point, that I do believe meetings, conducted by older members, at which newcomers can ask questions and present their problems and at which the 12 Steps are explained, are often most helpful.

Any other course of instruction seems to me to border on self-righteousness on the part of older members, the anathema of any alcoholic.

Mention is also made of the booklet prepared by the Genesee group for the purpose of preparing a "prospective candidate" for his first meeting.
I recently acquired a copy of this booklet which is entitled, "Rudiments of A.A." Again I must take exception to the answer contained therein to a supposed question from a "prospect" or "novice."

"Q. All right--I am an alcoholic and I really want to quit drinking forever. Am I now ready for A.A.?"

"A. Not quite, but you have come a long way. One further step is necessary.
You must have a belief in God and faith in His power to help you."

To answer the question of whether or not this is good medicine for the newcomer, let us consider for a moment the 12 Steps of the A.A. program.

It will be remembered that there is no mention of "God, as we understand Him," until the 3rd Step, although reference is made to a "Power greater than ourselves" in the 2nd Step.

I take it that no A.A. of any experience whatsoever expects the newcomer to accept or to understand the entire program by the time he is ready for his first meeting.

I have never claimed to be agnostic or atheistic but that answer might well have frightened me away from A.A. forever. The spiritual aspect of the program often takes the individual a long time to acquire but faith in a Higher Power eventually comes to us if we continue to have faith in the group and endeavor to the best of our ability to help others.

Finally, although I have been "dry" now some four and one-half years, which is, of course, comparatively unimportant as long as I remain "dry" for the current 24 hours, I am unenlightened and probably a little stupid and have not yet learned what comprise the Four Absolutes.

For me the 12 Steps seem to be sufficiently well thought out to assure permanent sobriety if I remember to work on them all and don't become careless or complacent.

However, "God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform" and what keeps me sober may not be the answer for the next guy, so good luck to the members of the Genesee group, even if I don't agree with a few of their ideas.

A. T.

Leave attachment behind

According to Buddhist psychology, most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for, attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities. The pursuit of the objects of our desire and attachment involves the use of aggression and competitiveness…These mental processes easily translate into actions, breeding belligerence. Such processes have been going on in the human mind since time immemorial, but their execution has become more effective under modern conditions. What can we do to control and regulate these “poisons”—delusion, greed and aggression? For it is these poisons that are behind almost every trouble in the world.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama


We recovered alcoholics are not so much brothers in virtue
as we are brothers in our defects, and in our common
strivings to overcome them 


The identification that one alcoholic has with another is
mysterious, spiritual—almost incomprehensible. But it is
there. I "feel" it. Today I feel that I can help people and that
they can help me.
It is a new and exciting feeling for me to care for
someone; to care what they are feeling, hoping for, praying
for; to know their sadness, joy, horror, sorrow, grief; to
want to share those feelings so that someone can have
relief. I never knew how to do this—or how to try. I never
even cared. The Fellowship of A.A., and God, are teaching
me how to care about others.

Friday, 18 April 2014

"I understand"

“We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”

Step Seven

Once we are entirely ready to have our character defects removed, many of us are entirely ready! Ironically, that’s when the trouble really starts. The more we struggle to rid ourselves of a particular defect, the stronger that shortcoming seems to become. It is truly humbling to realize that not only are we powerless over our addiction, but even over our own defects of character.

Finally, it clicks. The Seventh Step doesn’t suggest that we rid ourselves of our shortcomings, but that we ask our Higher Power to rid us of them. The focus of our daily prayers begins to shift. Admitting our inability to perfect ourselves, we plead with our Higher Power to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. And we wait.

For many days, our program may stay on Step Seven. We may experience no sudden, total relief from defects—but we often do experience a subtle shift in our perceptions of ourselves and others. Through the eyes of the Seventh Step, we begin to see those around us in a less critical way. We know that, just like us, many of them are struggling with shortcomings they would dearly love to be rid of. We know that, just like us, they are powerless over their own defects. We wonder if they, too, humbly pray to have their defects removed.

We begin evaluating others as we have learned to evaluate ourselves, with an empathy born of humility. As we watch others, and as we keep watch on ourselves, we can finally say, “I understand.”

Just for today: God, help me see through the eyes of Step Seven. Help me understand.


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.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

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.”

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.


All these failings generate fear, a soul-sickness in its own


"Fear knocked at the door; faith answered; no one was
there." I don't know to whom this quote should be
attributed, but it certainly indicates very clearly that fear is
an illusion. I create the illusion myself.
I experienced fear early in my life and I mistakenly
thought that the mere presence of it made me a coward. I
didn't know that one of the definitions of "courage" is "the
willingness to do the right thing in spite of fear." Courage,
then, is not necessarily the absence of fear.
During the times I didn't have love in my life I most
assuredly had fear. To fear God is to be afraid of joy. In
looking back, I realize that, during the times I feared God
most, there was no joy in my life. As I learned not to fear
God, I also learned to experience joy.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch
and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the
dubious luxury of the normal men, but for alcoholics these
things are poison. 


"Dubious luxury." How often have I remembered those
words. It's not just anger that's best left to nonalcoholics; I
built a list including justifiable resentment, self-pity,
judgmentalism, self-righteousness, false pride and false
humility. I'm always surprised to read the actual quote. So
well have the principles of the program been drummed into
me that I keep thinking all of these defects are listed too.
Thank God I can't afford them—or I surely would indulge
in them.