Phuket, Thailand in August
Spiritual experiences transform men and women so that they can do, feel, and believe what had hitherto been impossible to them. It mattered little whether these awakenings were sudden or gradual; their variety can be almost infinite. –Grapevine: AA Co-Founder, Bill W., July 1953
With prayer and good intentions, we make our lives sacred and come into balance.
Only through prayer can we make spiritual changes that are permanent. You have told us that all life is sacred. Let me see today with a sacred eye. Let me see beauty in all things. –Elders Meditations | More…
The bottom started falling out faster than I could lower my standards –-Wisdom Of The Rooms | More…
The Creator has a way of allowing us to see or know in the spiritual world.
This is called the Sixth Sense. The Sixth Sense is like a radar system; our personal radar system. It will help us “see” opportunities and help us avoid disaster. This Sixth Sense is controlled by God. We must learn to listen to it. We must learn to trust it. We must learn to act on it even if our head says differently. We must learn to look at things through the eyes of God. –Elders Meditations | More…
The temporary or seeming good can often be the deadly enemy of the permanent best. –Grapevine: Bill W. January 1955/Why Alcoholics Anonymous is Anonymous
Truth connects us to life while fear, isolation, and dishonesty alienate us from it.
We need not hide from the reality of our relations with the people, places, and things in our lives. We accept those relationships just as they are, and we own our part in them. We take time every day to ask, “Am I telling the truth about myself?” Each time we do this, we draw that much further away from the alienation that characterizes our addiction. Each time we do this, we draw that much closer to the freedom recovery can bring us.–Just For Today | More…
Let’s think about this.
Before coming to the Program, could we stay clean on our own? What makes us think we can now? Then there’s the disease itself to consider—the chronic self-centeredness, the obsessiveness, the compulsive behavior patterns that express themselves in so many areas of our lives.
Can we live and enjoy life without effective treatment for our disease?
No. “Ordinary” people may not have to worry about such things, but we’re not “ordinary” people—we’re addicts. We can’t pretend we don’t have a fatal, progressive illness, because we do. Without our program, we may not survive to worry about the demands of work, school, family, or anything else. Meetings give us the support and direction we need to recover from our addiction, allowing us to live the fullest lives possible. –Just For Today | More…
Life is a series of decisions, actions, and consequences.
Given that, many of us have great difficulty learning to make decisions in recovery. Slowly, by working the Twelve Steps, we gain practice in making healthy decisions, ones that give positive results. Where our disease once affected our will and our lives, we ask our Higher Power to care for us. We inventory our values and our actions, check our findings with someone we trust, and ask the God of our understanding to remove our shortcomings.
In working the steps we gain freedom from the influence of our disease, and we learn principles of decision-making that can guide us in all our affairs. Today, our decisions and their consequences need not be influenced by our disease.
Our faith gives us the courage and direction to make good decisions and the strength to act on them. The result of that kind of decision-making is a life worth living. –Just For Today | More…
We mistakenly think that others have talent, never ourselves, but that’s because we misunderstand what talent means. Talent is really just an inclination; it develops from a desire to pursue some activity that we then proceed to cultivate with a passion. It’s not mysterious. It doesn’t just happen. We persevere because we feel good when involved in the activity. When we define talent this way, we realize how right it is. It’s just that many of us haven’t followed our passion yet. — Keepers of the Wisdom | More…
It’s sometimes hard to believe that when we’re grappling with disappointment, anger, or loss. Only when we love ourselves can we love others realistically, instead of seeing them as fantasy figures, projections of our own desire. We’re full partners in everything that we do, and taking responsibility for our actions and our desires is our first step toward being fully lovable. — The Promise of a New Day | More…
Friends are there for us when we’re not there for ourselves.
Friends help us gain valuable perspective on the events in our lives and our recovery. It is important that we actively cultivate friendships, for we have learned that we cannot recover alone. –Just For Today | More…
The individual message we carry may help a newcomer only we can reach.
There are many ways to serve our fellowship. Each of us will find that we do some things better than others, but all service work is equally important. If we are willing to serve, we’re sure to find that particular way to contribute that’s right for us. –Just For Today | More…
It is sometimes easy to get off track when times are good.
We need to remember how honourable it is each day to come into the presence of the Creator. How happy we should be to talk to the Grandfathers, to have the choice to start each day on the Sacred Spot – our place of communion with the Great Spirit. – Elders Meditations | More…
The more I change, the more I hope the Traditions and principles of AA don’t change –Grapevine: San Mateo, California
The Serenity Prayer is the handrail to grab until you can work the Steps. — My Mind is Out to Get Me
You’ve got to give time, time. — My Mind is Out to Get Me
The value of staying close to the Creator is the immediate help we have available to us whenever we need it. I can listen to the whisper of my heart for this is the place He communicates with me. Staying close helps me remember that we are here to serve Him and to help other people. The Grandfathers are my direct access to wisdom; He who has wisdom has everything. If we have wisdom, then we will see our lives become more effective in the areas of jobs, relationships, family, friends, and finances. –Elders Meditations | More…
ACT AS IF
As I continue to grow in awareness in recovery, I realize that “acting as though until it becomes so” is one of the great universal spiritual truths of humanity. Books like “The Secret” and others on positive attraction explain why this is, and I know through experience that it is true. Today if I want my reality to change, I simply begin acting as if.
It always works. –Wisdom of the Rooms | More…
Many of us fake emotions because our past experiences never taught us how to use boundaries when dealing with feelings. Sometimes we need to learn to “fake it till we make it.” We can learn to “act as if” – working all the time to liberate the frozen emotions of years gone by – until we actually do experience what we seek. Like new shoes, new behaviors and feelings will feel stiff and uncomfortable for a little while. Willingness to live through the “breaking in” period in necessary. — Days of Healing, Days of Joy | More…
If we keep everything in balance, we are in harmony with ourselves and are at peace. We need to keep ourselves in balance. We must be careful to not get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. We must know the times – time to work, time to rest, time to play, time to sleep, time to pray, time to lighten up, time to laugh, time to eat, time to exercise. We need to take care of ourselves. You cannot give away what you don’t have. –Elders Meditations | More…
Every life has a beginning and an end.
However, when someone we love a great deal reaches the end of their life, we may have a very hard time accepting their sudden, final absence. Our grief may be so powerful that we fear it will completely overwhelm us—but it will not. Our sorrow may hurt more than anything we can remember, but it will pass. We need not run from the emotions that may arise from the death of a loved one.
Death and grieving are parts of the fullness of living “life on life’s terms.” By allowing ourselves the freedom to experience these feelings, we partake more deeply of both our living in recovery and our human nature. Sometimes the reality of another’s death makes our own mortality that much more pronounced.
We re-evaluate our priorities, appreciating the loved ones still with us all the more. We want to make the most of what’s most important while it lasts. We can accept the loss of one we love and turn to our Higher Power for the strength to accept my feelings. –Just For Today | More…
The first thing that captured me at my very first meeting was the way AA members talked with one another. There was a genuineness, something real there, that I wanted… I saw they were sober and that they were honest with each other. –Grapevine: New York, New York, February 2001
God, this is hard. Today, allow me to be a Warrior.
Let me be strong. Let Your voice be clear to me. Let me hear Your guidance. My goal today is to serve You, to develop myself to be the kind of Indian person that You would have me be. To Walk the Red Road it must sometimes be walked alone. –Elders Meditations | More…
An old-timer spoke about the danger of becoming complacent and explained the need for the Steps in her life. ‘The way I see it,’ she said, ‘I might have gotten the monkey off my back, but the circus is still in town.’ –Grapevine: New York, New York, September 2005
FIRST THINGS FIRST
It’s been said that recovery is simple—all we’ve got to change is everything!
That can seem a pretty tall order. The enormity of the change required in our lives can be paralyzing. We know we can’t take care of all that needs to be done, not all at once. How do we start? We’ve done the first, most obvious things that needed to be done: We’ve stopped using drugs, and we’ve started going to meetings. What do we do next? Pretty much the same thing, just more of it: From where we are, we do what we can. We walk the path of recovery by picking up our feet and taking the step that’s right in front of us. Only when that’s been accomplished must we concern ourselves with what comes next. Slowly but surely, we’ll find ourselves making progress. I will walk the path of recovery by taking the step right in front of me. –Just For Today | More…
Blame-saying is game-playing.
I see that my preoccupation with the faults of others is a smokescreen to keep me from taking a hard look at my own. As well as a way to bolster my own failing ego. May I check out the “why’s” of my blaming. — A Day at a Time
When we are born, we start with a beautiful empty mind ready to be given our beliefs, attitudes, habits and expectations.
Most of our true learning comes from watching the actions of others. As we watch our family or relatives, whatever their actions and values are, so will be the children’s values and acts. If we see our families living a just and peaceful way of life, so then will the children. If we see our family shouting, arguing, and hateful, so will it be for the children. The cycle of life – baby, youth, adult and Elder is all connected. If the older ones have good values, it will be connected to the children. –Elders Meditations | More…
It is important that we practice thinking about consequences before we make decisions about choices.
Every choice I make is like setting up dominos one after the other that produce consequences. Not just for me but also for my children and for the children that are unborn. My choices and decision today will have consequences for seven generations. For example, if I work on my own spiritual development, the odds are that my children will. They will marry and their children will follow and so will my grandchildren even up to the seventh generation. This will happen because of the choices and decisions that I make today. –Elders Meditations | More…
We become like that which we think about.
What we think about creates our vision. It’s important to be aware of what we are thinking about. As I live my vision, my children watch and live their lives the same way. –Elders Meditations | More…
We need to honor and respect our Mother Earth.
She is the source of all life. The sun shines life to the earth, then the earth produces life in all forms and in a balanced way. Everything is here to serve everything else. If we interrupt the flow in any way, we leave nothing for the future generations. Before every decision is made, we should ask, and answer, a final question; “If we do this, what will be the effects on the seventh generation? What will we cause our children to live with?” We need to have respect and love for all things and for all people. We need to do this for ourselves and for all the children still unborn. –Elders Meditations/White Bison | More…
We form habits and then these habits begin to form us.
To stay clean and sober we must develop new habits, new patterns of living. We must give up old hangouts, old friends, old attitudes, and ideas. It seems this is the only way to form new habits – for example, kindness, love, and honesty – on which our program is based. –Day by Day
There are no short cuts.
Every tree must grow according to the growth plan of the Creator. Every flower must grow according to the plan of God. The moon must make its trip around the earth according to God’s plan. Every human being must grow according to the plan of the Creator. Sometimes we look at ourselves and we think we are not growing but we are always growing. Because we cannot see it with our mind does not mean it is not happening. We must be patient with ourselves and let the Creator direct our growth. –Elders Meditations | More…
I learned that if I had the capacity to be honest, I would get better. –Grapevine: Cornwall, Ontario, January 2005
There were many injustices done to Native people.
Sometimes I wonder; why am I connected to the past injustices done to Indian people? Why am I so angry about the past? The Elders say our ancestors are alive within each of us. Therefore, I may experience anger and resentment inside of me because of the injustice done to them. The way I get rid of these past feelings is to forgive. It may be necessary to even learn to forgive the unforgivable. –Elders Meditations | More…
The only way I ever found to displace a thought was to put another thought in its stead. –Grapevine: Alexandria, Virginia, August 1950
A long time ago the Creator said to the People – You will be the keepers of the Mother Earth.
Among you I will give the wisdom about nature, about the interconnectedness of all things, about balance and about living in harmony. You will see the secrets of nature. You will live in hardship and the blessing of this is you will stay close to the Creator. The day will come when you will need to share the secrets with the other people of the earth because they will stray from their spiritual ways. The time to start sharing is today. –Elders Meditations | More…
We are made in the image of the Great Spirit.
A long time ago He breathed life into our ancestors. He made the Indian strong. He created a Warrior. Our ancestors created more warriors. We have been tested throughout the seasons and we are still here, stronger than ever. It is good to be Indian. We are proud of ourselves and our ancestors. Mostly we are proud the Great Spirit has never forsaken us, and continues to guide us. –Elders Meditations | More…
Everyone has to find the right path.
You can’t see it so it’s hard to find. No one can show you. Each person has to find the path by himself. Inside of everyone is the natural, built-in desire to be seeking a relationship with the Creator. We must make this journey because we want to. The path is inside of ourselves. It is inside that we must begin our search. –Elders Meditations | More…
Honesty is one of the fundamental principles of recovery.
We apply this principle when we finally admit our powerlessness and unmanageability. We continue to apply the principle of honesty each time we are faced with the option of either living in fantasy or living life on its own terms. Learning to be honest isn’t always easy, especially after the covering up and deception so many of us practiced in our addiction. Our voices may shake as we test our newfound honesty. But before long, the sound of the truth coming from our own mouths settles any doubts: Honesty feels good! It’s easier living the truth than living a lie. –Just For Today | More…
When you get older and you are ready, your ancestors will show up to guide you.
When we are young we sometimes think we know everything. Sometimes we do foolish things. As we get a little older, we realize we don’t know anything. This is when we become teachable. There is a saying that goes, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. We usually aren’t teachable unless we are ready. The ancestors are waiting and willing to help. When we are ready, many beautiful teachers start to come into our lives. Then we really start to grow and mature. We are ready for the spiritual lesson. –Elders Meditations | More…
The Creator told everyone of us in our tribal beginnings to look after our ceremonies, and each other.
Our ceremonies are important and each has a purpose. They teach us about the Creator and about each other. The ceremonies teach us to be humble and teach us to pray. They teach us to look inside ourselves. –Elders Meditations | More…
Recovery is something that has to be worked for.
It isn’t going to be handed to us on a silver platter, nor can we expect our friends or our sponsor to be responsible for the work we must do ourselves. We recover by making our own decisions, doing our own service, and working our own steps. By doing it for ourselves, we receive the rewards. –Just For Today | More…
When it hurts enough, when we’re scared enough, when we’re sick and tired enough, when we’ve lost enough, then we’ll begin to change.
But we have to want to change. That is the key. — Day by Day | More…
Thunder demands our attention.
From the ear-splitting boom overhead to the faint rumble in the distance, it is an impressive part of nature. Yet, it is the lightning that discharges electricity from one cloud to another, or to the earth. We are sometimes like thunder. We may shout our intentions to others, or quietly tell our dreams to friends. No matter how we say it, it is the ability to follow through that is most important. When we’ve completed what we’ve set out to do, we will feel a sense of satisfaction and energy. With this energy, and the knowledge we can finish what we set out to do, we will make our dreams come true. –Today’s Gift | More…
The Elders have taught us to balance our lives emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
If I am out of control emotionally, I get angry, doubtful or erratic, I am out of balance. If I trigger bad mental pictures of my brothers and sisters, I am out of balance. If I get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, I am out of balance physically. If I don’t pray and talk to the Creator daily, I am out of balance spiritually. To be centered, I must be in balance.
The Creator talks to me in the quiet and still place. So if I get angry, what I should do first is to pause and get still so I can hear the guidance of the Grandfathers. –Elders Meditations | More…
Forgiveness seems to depend more on the love of the one who does the forgiving than on the lovability of the one being forgiven. –Grapevine: West Henrietta, New York, September 1997
Today I can only keep changing and keep growing if I stay on the train of recovery.
As long as I continue to grow along spiritual lines, I know that things will change and things will get better. –Wisdom Of The Rooms | More…
It’s easy to be grateful when everything runs smoothly.
But when we find ourselves becoming obsessed with the things that are wrong, we can use a gratitude list. Whatever we have that we are grateful for goes on the Gratitude List. We have literally hundreds of things in our lives that inspire our gratitude. Those of us who are suffering from an illness or who have lost all material wealth will find blessings of a spiritual nature for which we can be thankful. An awakening of the spirit is the most valuable gift we can receive. –Just For Today | More…
Anonymity and humility are almost the same thing.
They are devoid of prestige; they demand nothing; they don’t ask to be ‘right’; They simply suggest that the icy egocentric elements in all of us retire into the background and that we wear the warm cloak of anonymity and humility and therefore, spirituality. –Grapevine: Walnut Creek, California, March 2000
Spirituality is not based on logic, it is faith-driven.
Faith makes the impossible possible. –Grapevine: Sacramento, California, September 2005
We’re as sick as our secrets.” What do we keep secret, and why?
We keep secret those things that cause us shame. We may hold onto such things because we don’t want to surrender them. Some of us hold onto the things that cause us shame for another reason. It’s not that we don’t want to be rid of them; we just don’t believe we can be rid of them. We need to remember who we are: recovering addicts. Only when our secrets stop being secret can we begin to find relief from those things that cause us shame. –Just For Today | More… http://www.jftna.org/pages/8-4.htm
LIVE AND LET LIVE
“Live and Let Live” can be extremely helpful when we are having trouble tolerating other people’s behavior.
We know for certain that nobody’s behavior – no matter how offensive, distasteful or vicious – is worth the price of a relapse. Our own recovery is primary, and while we must be unafraid of walking away from people or situations that cause us discomfort, we must also make a special effort to try to understand other people – especially those who rub us the wrong way. — A Day at a Time | More…
By shaping our thoughts with spiritual ideals, we are freed to become who we want to be. Denial is counteracted by admission, secretiveness by honesty, isolation by fellowship, and despair by faith in a loving Higher Power. The spiritual ideals we find in recovery are restoring the shape of our thoughts and our lives to their natural condition. –Just For Today | More…
Other people’s actions need not affect us.
Part of the problem is our desire to be liked. The anger or criticism that’s directed at us hurts. But we can change – we can learn detachment. Daily we can work at letting whatever someone else says or does roll off us. In time, detachment will become our nature. — A Life of My Own | More…
It is a paradox that in our desire for peace we must willingly give ourselves to struggle. The Grandfathers have taught us about sacrifice. We have been taught to pray for the people in a pitiful way. Struggle and conflict is neither good nor bad, it just is. Everything that grows experiences conflict. When the deer is born it is through conflict. When the seed first grows, it is through conflict. Conflict precedes clarity. Everything has the seasons of growth. Recognize – acknowledge – forgive and change. All of these things are done through conflict.–Elders Meditations | More…
How important it is for us to support one another?
How important it is for us to know our culture and to share our experiences with one another? How powerful it is to be authentic? How important it is to hold no secrets? I am as sick as my secrets –Elders Meditations | More…
“searching and fearless” means complete honesty about who and what we really are. Difficult as it is to be fully honest, it’s made easier when we remind ourselves that it’s all for our own recovery. We benefit in proportion to the amount of honesty we bring to our inventory. If it’s searching and fearless, the results will be far-reaching and substantial. –Walk in Dry Places | More…
All our choices and decisions will reflect on our people.
We need to assume the accountability of honouring people. We must remember to conduct ourselves in a sacred way. We must remember we have the assistance of the Spirit World, and we have the principles and values by which we should live, written in our hearts. The Creator will help us develop into a strong people if we just learn to depend upon Him. –Elders Meditations | More…
I think my Higher Power stepped in and started leading me out of the alcoholic life, as I seemed incapable of doing it on my own. –Grapevine: Alexandria, Virginia, April 2002