Saturday, 17 April 2021

Grapevine June 1986 #essentialsofrec #Recovery #Grapevine #AA

Thief of Love

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
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Deborah and Roy - NA Speakers - "More will be revealed" #essentialsofrec #Recovery #Speakers #NA

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DAILY REFLECTIONS #essentialsofrec #Love #Fear


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


“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.

Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc
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JUST FOR TODAY #essentialsofrec #NA #Recovery #Meetings

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.

© 1991 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services Inc
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TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY #essentialsofrec #Meetings #AA #Recovery

A.A. Thought for the Day

Every time we go to an AA. meeting, every time we say the Lord’s Prayer, every time we have a quiet time before breakfast, we’re paying a premium on our insurance against taking that first drink. And every time we help another alcoholic, we’re making a large payment on our drink insurance. We’re making sure that our policy doesn’t lapse. Am I building up an endowment in serenity, peace, and happiness that will put me on easy street for the rest of my life?

Meditation for the Day

I gain faith by my own experience of God’s power in my life. The constant, persistent recognition of God’s spirit in all my personal relationships, the ever- accumulating weight of evidence in support of God’s guidance, the numberless instances in which seeming chance or wonderful coincidence can be traced to God’s purpose in my life. All these things gradually engender a feeling of wonder, humility, and gratitude to God. These in turn are followed by a more sure and abiding faith in God and His purposes.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that my faith may be strengthened every day. I pray that I may find confirmation of my life in the good things that have come into my life.

© 1954, 1975, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation
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AS BILL SEES IT #essentialsofrec #Pride #Recovery

Page 107 ~

Two Kinds of Pride

The prideful righteousness of “good people” may often be just as destructive as the glaring sins of those who are supposedly not so good.

<< << << >> >> >>

We loved to shout the damaging fact that millions of the “good men of religion” were still killing one another off in the name of God. This all meant, of course, that we had substituted negative for positive thinking.

After we came to A.A., we had to recognize that this trait had been an ego-feeding proposition. In belaboring the sins of some religious people, we could feel superior to all of them. Moreover, we could avoid looking at some of our own shortcomings.

Self-righteousness, the very thing that we had contemptuously condemned in others, was our own besetting evil. This phony form of respectability was our undoing, so far as faith was concerned. But finally, driven to A.A., we learned better.


© 1967 by Alcoholics Anonymous ® World Services, Inc
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WALK IN DRY PLACES #essentialsofrec #Memories #Recovery#Now


Living here and now

Despite all evidence that we must live for today, some of us persist in trying to recapture the past. We may be holding a few good memories that we would like to bring alive today. More likely, we may also be re-fighting old battles in the hope that this time we’ll come out winners.

But since change is taking place everywhere at every moment, we can never return to any previous place or time. Time does march on, and we are part of the parade. Whether we were winners or losers in the past, we can live only in the here and now.

The good news is that we can retain any lessons from the past and put them to use today. If we have scalding memories of twisted relationships, we can remind ourselves that growth and understanding now place us out of harm’s way. And if we remember the things that did turn our right even in the confused past, we can reflect that even greater good is possible today.

Our home is never in the past. It is in the time and place where we are today. As we make the best of it, all of our future homes in place and time will improve, for “in God’s house are many mansions.”

Accepting the value of all of its lessons, I will close the door firmly on the past, knowing that I must devote all of my interest and energies to the present moment.

© 1996 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.
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KEEP IT SIMPLE #essentialsofrec #Recovery #HigherPower

We create revolution by living it.

~ Jerry Rubin ~

There’s a lot wrong in the world – Child abuse, homeless and hungry people, pollution. Our old way of dealing with these troubles was to break the rules or to “drop out” by using chemicals. Now we have a new way to change the world. We’re changing ourselves. One Day at a Time, we’re acting like the caring , responsible people we want to be. We use the ideas of the program in our lives.

We’re kinder. We’re more honest. We stand up for ourselves and for others who need our help. What if the whole world started working the Steps? What a wonderful world this would be!

Prayer for the Day:

Higher Power, please work through me today. Help me make the world a little better place.

Action for the Day:

I’ll list one thing that bothers me about the world today. How can using the ideas of the program help solve that problem? Remember, the program tells us to look at our own behavior.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation
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FR.LEO'S DAILY MEDITATION #essentialsofrec #Power #Corruption #Recovery


“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts, perhaps the fear of loss of power.”

~ John Steinbeck ~

I now see that much of what we perceive as power in the world is really fear. Power that seeks to attack first to feel secure is fear. Power that always demands an answer is fear. Power that arrogantly refuses to listen is fear.

Spiritual power can be vulnerable. It can live with confusion. It can stand alone. It allows others to walk away to pursue their own happiness. Spiritual power can exist in suffering and loneliness and does not expect perfection.

My recovery is teaching me to live and let others live, too. My freedom must respect the freedom of others. Respect is a two-way street.

Give me the power that can rest in imperfection.

© 2008 Leo Booth
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A DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrec #Impatience #Self-Pity

Reflection for the Day

The Program teaches me to remain on guard against impatience, lapses into self-pity, and resentments of the words and deeds of others. Though I must never forget what it used to be like, neither should I permit myself to take tormenting excursions into the past—merely for the sake of self-indulgent morbidity. Now that I’m alert to the danger signals, I know I’m improving day by day. If a crisis arises, or any problem baffles me, do I hold it up to the light of the Serenity Prayer?

Today I Pray

I pray for perspective as I review the past. May I curb my impulse to upstage and outdo the members of my group by regaling them with the horrors of my addiction. May I no longer use the past to document my self-pity or submerge myself in guilt. May memories of those miserable earlier days serve me only as sentinels, guarding against hazardous situations or unhealthy sets of mind.

Today I Will Remember

I cannot change the past.

© 1989 by Hazelden Foundation
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ONE DAY AT A TIME #essentialsofrec #OA #overeaters #Forgiveness


Forgiving is not forgetting; it’s letting go of the hurt.

~ Mary McCleod Bethune ~

When I first came into the program, I was so fired up with anger and resentment that I had no space for any other emotions. After all, I had the food which would anesthetize me against any emotions I didn’t want to feel. I was angry with God for all the trauma and losses that had happened to me in my life. I blamed my mother for not being the kind of mother I wanted, which was, of course, why I ate. But the person towards whom I felt the most anger and resentment was my ex-husband, who never financially supported my children, making my financial burden and my present husband’s very heavy. What made it worse was that he was good to the children and they thought he was great because they would have fun with him on a weekend, while we had all the financial responsibility and resulting worry.

But when I came to Step Eight, my sponsor gently reminded me that I needed to forgive the people towards whom I felt the most anger, namely my mother and my ex-husband. My mother had passed away and so I had to write a long letter to her, forgiving her for not being the person I wanted her to be and also making amends to her for my part in it all. I realize now that she did the best she knew how, just as I have done with my children, and I have been able to forgive her with love. When it came to forgiving my ex-husband, I knew that I wasn’t able forgive him in person, but I was able to write a letter to him which I never sent. In it, I forgave him for being the irresponsible person that he is. It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. When my younger daughter had her 21st birthday, I could be there for her and not spoil it as I had done before, and in fact, I could be almost friendly to her father. As a result, the relationship with all my children has improved a hundredfold, but more importantly, I’m a much better person for it.

One day at a time…

I will forgive the people who have harmed me, let them go with love, and entrust them to their Higher Power.

~ Sharon
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ELDER'S MEDITATION OF THE DAY #essentialsofrec #Recovery #Hoh #Native

“Women know more about love than men do … Love is taking. Love is sharing. Love is learning things about each other.”

~ Mary Leitka, HOH ~

The Elders say Mother Earth shares Her special gifts of love with the Women. The Women know about bringing forth life and nurturing their offspring. Through this gift of love the Earth really makes the Woman special. Men should look upon the Woman with a Sacred Eye. She should be respected. The Woman is a role model for love. When the Woman talks, we should listen; when she shares, we should be grateful. We should all learn about each other.

Grandmother, teach me to love with the power of the Woman.
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A WOMAN’S SPIRIT #essentialsofrec #Thoughts #Women #Happiness

What thoughts are you willing to give up your happiness for?

~ Jane Nelson 

Far too quickly we put the responsibility for our happiness on others. We pout and blame and cry, but our lives never change. This doesn’t have to be true, however. We can decide to follow the example of the happier women we are discovering in this Twelve Step program. The difference between them and us is their willingness to be responsible for every thought they have, every feeling they harbor. It’s a simple change in mind-set, but it affects every aspect of their lives.

We are just as capable of finding happiness as any of the women we have grown to admire here. They have taken back their power from the others In their lives. They let no one decide how they are going to feel or think about a situation. They take charge of themselves. It’s not all that difficult or there would be far fewer successes. Let’s try it today.

I can purposefully decide how I’ll think and feel today. Nbehaviouo one else’s behavior will control my own.

© 1994 by Hazelden Foundation
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THE EYE OPENER #essentialsofrec #Lonliness #Boredom #Recovery

Loneliness drives more people to the Gin Mill than almost any other single factor – perhaps even the compulsion to drink.

In the old days when our society was objectionable to all our old friends, we would from sheer boredom go to the bar just to talk to someone. Anyone’s conversation was preferable to our thoughts. The drink was frequently only incidental.

Boredom is still one of our worst enemies. If you have an AA club, there is always some guy you can try to help. Regardless of your effect on him, the experience is bound to help you and will relieve you of your blues.

Published by Hazelden
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Daily Tao / 107 – Withdrawal #essentialsofrec #Tao #Taoism #Zen

Activity is essential, but exhausting,
And its importance is only on the surface.
Withdraw into Tao at the end of the day.
Returning is renewal.

Each day is filled with activity. We rush around from meeting to meeting; we make all sorts of arrangements for the future. Such doings are important, but they are not all that there is in life. Even as we engage in them, we must remember that all human endeavors are temporary and provisional.

We cannot allow our accomplishments to divorce us from what is actually happening in the world. It is imperative that we withdraw to reflect upon the day’s events and collect ourselves for the continuation of our path. There is no need to go to a temple, a sacred spot, or a special room. We do not need elaborate ritual. All we need is a simple and natural turning within.

This is why followers of Tao always use the word ‘returning.’ They recognize the necessity of activity in life, but they also recognize the need to return to Tao. In Tao is the source of all things, and in the source one finds the renewal that one needs to go on with life. This back-and-forth movement between the source and the activity of life is the movement of all things.

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Around the Year With Emmet Fox #essentialsofrec #judgement #Emmet


We often hear the expression "saluting the Christ in him," or "seeing the Christ in him," and we may well ask ourselves what that phrase really means. It is simply the practical application of the rule of Jesus Christ.

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment (John7:24).

Each of us has a divine Self that is spiritual and perfect but that is never seen on this plane. That is the true man, God's man, and is what we sometimes call "the Christ within." Now whenever you dwell upon or realize the presence of the Christ within yourself or within anyone else, outer appearances begin at once to improve. If somebody displeases you, silently salute the Christ in him. If someone says something against John Smith's character, salute the Christ in him, refuse to discuss the matter, and of course do not repeat it.

The more often you salute the Christ in others, the sooner you will find Him in yourself.
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