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Daily life and coping with stress

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+ Saturday, January 9, 2021


Thought for the Day

When we were drinking, most of us had no real faith in anything. We may have said that we believed in God, but we didn't act as though we did. We never honestly asked God to help us and we never really accepted His help. To us, faith looked like helplessness. But when we came into A.A., we began to have faith in God. And we found out that faith gave us the strength we needed to overcome drinking. Have I learned that there is strength in faith?

Meditation for the Day

I will have faith, no matter what may befall me. I will be patient, even in the midst of troubles. I will not fear the strain of life, because I believe that God knows just what I can bear. I will look to the future with confidence. I know that God will not ask me to bear anything that could overcome or destroy me.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may put this day in the hands of God. I pray for faith, so that nothing will upset me or weaken my determination to stay sober.

~~~

Use the Telephone

When we join OA, we discover that we are not alone. We become part of a large network of individuals who share a common problem, compulsive overeating, and who gain strength and support from each other. The telephone is our lifeline. A phone conversation is a mini meeting, and most of us find that we need several each day.

It is suggested that we make at least three phone calls every day, in addition to calling our food sponsor. We call in times of temptation and difficulty, and we also call when we have good news to share. A phone call may be a means of preventing problems later in the day or it may be simply a gesture of friendship and fellowship - keeping in touch.

Whatever the reason, the person called is helped as much as the caller. The telephone call is a reminder that none of us is alone, that we have a program, which sustains us, and that together we shall succeed.

May I not be too proud or too shy or too busy to use the telephone.

~~~

AN ACT OF PROVIDENCE
It is truly awful to admit that, glass in hand, we have warped our minds into such an obsession for destructive drinking that only an act of Providence can remove it from us.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 21
My act of Providence, (a manifestation of divine care and direction), came as I experienced the total bankruptcy of active alcoholism—everything meaningful in my life was gone. I telephoned Alcoholics Anonymous and, from that instant, my life has never been the same. When I reflect on that very special moment, I know that God was working in my life long before I was able to acknowledge and accept spiritual concepts. The glass was put down through this one act of Providence and my journey into sobriety began. My life continues to unfold with divine care and direction. Step One, in which I admitted I was powerless over alcohol, that my life had become unmanageable, takes on more meaning for me—one day at a time—in the life-saving, life-giving Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

~~~

Returning our sponsor's kindness
Page 9

"Our earliest involvements with others often begin with our sponsor."

Basic Text, p. 57

Our sponsor can be an abundant source of recovery information, wisdom, and loving words. They've done so much for us. From the late night telephone calls to the hours spent listening to our recovery writing, they've believed in us and invested their time to prove it. They've lovingly and firmly shown us how to be honest. Their boundless compassion in times of turmoil has given us the strength to go on. Their way of helping has prompted us to seek our answers within ourselves, and we've become mature, responsible, confident individuals as a result.

Though our sponsor has given so generously and has never demanded repayment, there are things we can do to show our appreciation. We treat our sponsor with respect. They are not a trash can designed for us to dump our garbage in. They have their times of trial, just as we do, and sometimes need our support. They are human, have feelings, and appreciate our concern. Maybe they would like to receive a card in the mail or a phone call expressing our love.

Whatever we do to return our sponsor's kindness will enhance our personal recovery, not to mention the joy we'll bring to our sponsor.

Just for Today: My sponsor has cared for me when I couldn't care for myself. Today, I will do something nice for my sponsor.


Thursday, January 07

Don't Take the First Compulsive Bite

OA says that if you don't take the first compulsive bite, you won't overeat. It is that first extra bite that gets us into trouble. The first bite may be as "harmless" as a piece of lettuce, but when eaten between meals and not as part of our daily plan, it invariably leads to another bite. And another, and another. And we have lost control. And there is no stopping.

It is the first compulsive bite that breaks abstinence. When we take it, we cheat ourselves and fall back into slavery to our appetites. To rationalize by saying that just a little deviation won't make any difference is like saying that someone is just a little bit pregnant.

All we have to give up is the first compulsive bite. Then we do not have to worry about the rest of them. Simple. Once we decide not to take the first one, our problem is solved. Abstinence is a lifeboat. It is possible to stay afloat in the lifeboat as long as we do not jump out by taking the first compulsive bite.

Thank you; Lord, for the saving gift of abstinence.

Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters

~~~

AT THE TURNING POINT
Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 59
Every day I stand at turning points. My thoughts and actions can propel me toward growth or turn me down the road to old habits and to booze. Sometimes turning points are beginnings, as when I decide to start praising, instead of condemning someone. Or when I begin to ask for help instead of going it alone. At other times turning points are endings, such as when I see clearly the need to stop festering resentments or crippling self-seeking. Many shortcomings tempt me daily; therefore, I also have daily opportunities to become aware of them. In one form or another, many of my character defects appear daily: self-condemnation, anger, running away, being prideful, wanting to get even, or acting out of grandiosity.

Attempting half measures to eliminate these defects merely paralyzes my efforts to change. It is only when I ask God for help, with complete abandon, that I become willing—and able—to change.

From the book Daily Reflections
by Alcoholics Anonymous

~~~

Recovery
Page 7

"Narcotics Anonymous offers addicts a program of recovery that is more than just a life without drugs. Not only is this way of life better than the hell we lived, it is better than any life that we have ever known."

Basic Text, p.107

Few of us have any interest in "recovering" what we had before we started using. Many of us suffered severely from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Getting high and staying high seemed like the only possible way to cope with such abuse. Others suffered in less noticeable but equally painful ways before addiction took hold. We lacked direction and purpose. We were spiritually empty. We felt isolated, unable to empathize with others. We had none of the things that give life its sense and value. We took drugs in a vain attempt to fill the emptiness inside ourselves. Most of us wouldn't want to "recover" what we used to have.

Ultimately, the recovery we find in NA is something different: a chance at a new life. We've been given tools to clear the wreckage from our lives. We've been given support in courageously setting forth on a new path. And we've been given the gift of conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves, providing us with the inner strength and direction we so sorely lacked in the past.

Recovering? Yes, in every way. We're recovering a whole new life, better than anything we ever dreamed possible. We are grateful.

Just for Today: I've recovered something I never had, something I never imagined possible: the life of a recovering addict. Thank you, Higher Power, in more than words can say.

by NA World Services

~~~

To affect the quality of the day - that is the highest of the arts.
—Henry David Thoreau

We are the sculptors of our day. We can mold it creatively into a wonderful masterpiece. We control the amount of moisture we mix into our clay. We pound it, shape it, stroke it, and love it. Others can offer suggestions, and we gain new perspectives from their advice, but it is finally our own creation. Our knife may occasionally slip, or our mixture of earth may be too dry. Any great artist suffers temporary setbacks. Besides, imperfections in art often make it all the more interesting.

How creative can I be in my life today?

From Today's Gift: Daily Meditations for Families

~~~

Thought for the Day

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

Meditation for the Day

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

Prayer for the Day

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

From Twenty-Four Hours a Day by Hazelden Foundation.


Wednesday, January 6

Recovery at home
Page 5

"We can enjoy our families in a new way and may become a credit to them instead of an embarrassment or a burden."

Basic Text, p.104

We're doing great in recovery, aren't we? We go to a meeting every day, we spend every evening with our friends in the fellowship, and every weekend we dash off to a service workshop. But if things are falling to pieces at home, we're not doing so great after all.

We expect our families to understand. After all, we're not using drugs anymore. Why don't they recognize our progress? Don't they understand how important our meetings, our service, and our involvement with the fellowship are?

Our families will not appreciate the change NA is working in our lives unless we show them. If we rush off to a meeting the same way we rushed off to use drugs, what has changed? If we continue to ignore the needs and desires of our partners and children, failing to accept our responsibilities at home, we aren't "practicing these principles in all our affairs."

We must live the program everywhere we go, in everything we do. If we want the spiritual life to be more than a theory, we have to live it at home. When we do this, the people we share our lives with are sure to notice the change and be grateful that we've found NA.

Just for Today: I will take my recovery home with me.

by NA World Services


Monday, January 4

The love of the fellowship
Page 4

"Today, secure in the love of the fellowship, we can finally look another human being in the eye and be grateful for who we are."

Basic Text, p. 92

When we were using, few of us could tolerate looking someone in the eye-we were ashamed of who we were. Our minds were not occupied with anything decent or healthy, and we knew it. Our time, money, and energy weren't spent building loving relationships, sharing with others, or seeking to better our communities. We were trapped in a spiral of obsession and compulsion that went only in one direction: downward.

In recovery, our journey down that spiral path has been cut short. But what is it that has turned us around, drawing us back upward into the open spaces of the wide, free world? The love of the fellowship has done this.

In the company of other addicts, we knew we would not be rejected. By the example of other addicts, we were shown how to begin taking a positive part in the life around us. When we were unsure which way to turn, when we stumbled, when we had to correct a wrong we'd done, we knew our fellow members were there to encourage us.

Slowly, we've gotten the feel of our freedom. No longer are we locked up in our disease; we are free to build and grow and share along with everyone else. And when we need support to take our next step, it is there. The security we've found in the love of the fellowship has made our new lives possible.

Just for Today: I can look anyone in the eye without shame. I am grateful for the loving support that has made this possible.

by NA World Services
Read more => https://jftna.org/jft

~~~

BEGIN WHERE YOU ARE
We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs.
— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 19
It's usually pretty easy for me to be pleasant to the people in an A.A. setting. While I'm working to stay sober, I'm celebrating with my fellow A.A.s our common release from the hell of drinking. It's often not so hard to spread glad tidings to my old and new friends in the program.

At home or at work, though, it can be a different story. It is in situations arising in both of those areas that the little day-to-day frustrations are most evident, and where it can be tough to smile or reach out with a kind word or an attentive ear. It's outside of the A.A. rooms that I face the real test of the effectiveness of my walk through A.A.'s Twelve Steps.

From the book Daily Reflections
by Alcoholics Anonymous
Read more => www.aa.org/pages/en_US/daily-reflection

~~~

Thought for the Day

Have I admitted I am an alcoholic? Have I swallowed my pride and admitted I was different from ordinary drinkers? Have I accepted the fact that I must spend the rest of my life without liquor? Have I any more reservations, any idea in the back of my mind that some day I'll be able to drink safely? Am I absolutely honest with my self and with other people? Have I taken an inventory of myself and admitted the wrong I have done? Have I come clean with my friends? Have I tried to make it up to them for the way I have treated them?

Meditation for the Day

I will believe that fundamentally all is well. Good things will happen to me. I believe that God cares for me and will provide for me. I will not try to plan ahead. I know that the way will unfold, step by step. I will leave tomorrow's burden to God, because He is the great burden-bearer. He only expects me to carry my one-day's share.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may not try to carry the burden of the universe on my shoulders. I pray that I may be satisfied to do my share each day.

From Twenty-Four Hours a Day by Hazelden Foundation.
Read more => www.hazeldenbettyford.org/thought-for-the-day/twenty-four-hours-a-day

~~~

A tip-off to an abusive family system is a situation in which nobody ever apologizes.

— Karen Shaud

When we get a tip-off, we can open the door to a whole new way of looking at the world. The tip-off about apologies can help us learn to have a healthier family. It is hard to apologize, but with practice, it will get easier. We are learning that we can make mistakes, and admit them, and that other people will accept our apologies. In the same way, we are learning we can accept others' apologies. Apologies are sometimes hard to make. It helps to keep in mind that we make them as much for ourselves and our own growth as for the person we apologize to. We are not worthless just because we make mistakes, but we increase our value t o ourselves and others by being able to recognize them and apologize.

From Today's Gift: Daily Meditations for Families by Hazelden Foundation.


Saturday, January 2

Happiness is like manna; it is to be gathered and enjoyed every day.
—Tryon Edwards

Life is like a winding path surrounded by flowers, butterflies, and delicious fruit, but many of us spend much of life looking for happiness around the next corner. We do not bend to enjoy the happiness, which is ours for the taking just at our feet.

In our desire to reach the "pot of gold," the complete and lasting happiness we all want to fill our lives, we ignore anything which doesn't seem worthy of such a large ambition, or which can't give us the whole thing all at once.

Happiness is all around us, but it often comes in small grains. When we gather it grain by grain, we soon have a basketful.

~Today's Gift

Thought for the Day
What makes A.A. work? The first thing is to have a revulsion against myself and my way of living. Then I must admit I was helpless, that alcohol had me licked and I couldn't do anything about it. The next thing is to honestly want to quit the old life. Then I must surrender my life to a Higher Power, put my drinking problem in His hands and leave it there. After these things are done, I should attend meetings regularly for fellowship and sharing. I should also try to help other alcoholics. Am I doing these things?

Meditation for the Day
You are so made that you can only carry the weight of twenty-four hours, no more. If you weigh yourself down with the years behind and the days ahead, your back breaks. God has promised to help with the burdens of the day only. If you are foolish enough to gather again that burden of the past and carry it, then indeed you cannot expect God to help you bear it. So forget that which lies behind you and breathe in the blessing of each new day.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may realize that, for good or bad, past days have ended. I pray that I may face each new day, the coming twenty-four hours, with hope and courage.

~Twenty Four Hours a Day

FIRST, THE FOUNDATION
Is sobriety all that we can expect of a spiritual awakening? No, sobriety is only a bare beginning.
— AS BILL SEES IT, p. 8

Practicing the A.A. program is like building a house. First I had to pour a big, thick concrete slab on which to erect the house; that, to me, was the equivalent of stopping drinking. But it's pretty uncomfortable living on a concrete slab, unprotected and exposed to the heat, cold, wind and rain. So I built a room on the slab by starting to practice the program. The first room was rickety because I wasn't used to the work. But as time passed, as I practiced the program, I learned to build better rooms. The more I practiced, and the more I built, the more comfortable, and happy, was the home I now have to live in.

~Daily Reflection

Vigilance
Page 1

"We keep what we have only with vigilance..."

Basic Text, p. 60

How do we remain vigilant about our recovery? First, by realizing that we have a disease we will always have. No matter how long we've been clean, no matter how much better our lives have become, no matter what the extent of our spiritual healing, we are still addicts. Our disease waits patiently, ready to spring the trap if we give it the opportunity.

Vigilance is a daily accomplishment. We strive to be constantly alert and ready to deal with signs of trouble. Not that we should live in irrational fear that something horrible will possess us if we drop our guard for an instant; we just take normal precautions. Daily prayer, regular meeting attendance, and choosing not to compromise spiritual principles for the easier way are acts of vigilance. We take inventory as necessary, share with others whenever we are asked, and carefully nurture our recovery. Above all, we stay aware!

We have a daily reprieve from our addiction as long as we remain vigilant. Each day, we carry the principles of recovery into all that we do, and each night, we thank our Higher Power for another day clean.

Just for Today: I will be vigilant, doing everything necessary to guard my recovery.

~jftna.org

Help!

When we hit bottom and are ready to swallow our pride, help is available. When we admit that by ourselves we are powerless, a Higher Power takes over. Most of us have tried for years to control what we eat by ourselves. Often it seems that the harder we try, the more miserably we fail. We despair. When we are truly desperate and ask for help, OA can help us.

We have proven that we cannot solve our problem alone. A diet is not enough. We need a program that fills our emotional and spiritual needs as well as our physical ones.

Step by step and day by day we can learn to live without overeating. We will gradually become convinced that no amount of physical food will ever satisfy our emotional and spiritual hunger. The Higher Power, which infuses each OA GROUP, becomes our lifesaver and our nourishment.

God, save me from myself.


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