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Issue # 39

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Page 3

“Hooking Up” in THe program

One of the oldest topics discussed by AA and NA members (and others) is the idea of finding romance in the program – or, as the younger generation calls it, “hooking up”. We see it all the time, no matter what fellowship we go to, mostly because it is such a natural thing for people to do. First of all, many of us come to 12 step meetings after having destroyed many of our previous relationships so we find ourselves “single” and healthier than we have been in quite awhile. Plus, if you add the “hole in our soul” that we used to try and fill with other things, it's a perfect recipe for the “mating game”. There are many negative aspects that have been talked about with this subject – everything from “13th stepping” {experienced members hitting on newcomers} to “taking the focus off of recovery/sobriety”. Many people feel like it is a direct threat to someone's well-being...the idea of becoming obsessed with romance and have that overshadowing the healing process. So, let's take a look at the pros and cons of this very sensitive issue. The arguments against dating in the program are kind of different with respect to newcomers as opposed to people who have over a year or two. If you're new to “the rooms”, it is really crucial that you get a foothold in what's going to be a life or death thing before you get distracted by anything, much less a new romance. That's a 'no-brainer'. However, if you're one of these people who has to have somebody, most people will agree it's better to make it a recovering or sober person than some abusive, still using character from your recent past. The important thing is that no matter what we do, as newcomers or longtimers, we have to make sure to keep our program first. Without that, nothing matters. So, the first piece of advice against hooking up in the rooms is that it can become anything from a minor distraction all the way to a full blown obsession. Feelings are always involved and that's dangerous for us. Another argument against it is that many people expect meetings to be our “one safe refuge”. The place where we can talk about anything and not have to worry about this and that. An atmosphere of flirting can ruin that. How about a positive or “pro” for dating in the program? Here's one,

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although it can be thought of as indirect; the thought of seeing somebody we're kind of 'into' can get many people to make sure they come to meetings – where, without that, they might have skipped it. Many of us have admitted that checking out some attractive members was a big part of our excitement in coming to meetings in early recovery. But then again, we can be so crazy that if we go to a meeting and our 'dream person' isn't there, we may jump up and leave the meeting. Not good. So, just like many issues we face, there's going to be good and bad. {Also check out a few words on dating in the program from the website, 12StepMatch.com on page 39} Probably, the best way we can approach this is, number one, to talk to our sponsors about it and be honest with them. Don't just tell them what we think they want to hear but tell it like it is. Secrets are dangerous. Maybe then they can at least give us some behavioral boundaries or words of caution based on years of experience. They might remind us of the awful possibility that flirting in the rooms can lead to us or someone else getting hurt. That's tough no matter how long we've been clean and sober. It's all very rocky terrain with land mines and potholes everywhere. But on the good side, anything we can do to keep our meetings and the fellowship in the center of our universe - even if it's seeking love or a job, in addition to recovery and friendships - is a good thing. So let's talk about dating somebody in the program. We all know that in so many ways we're not like other people. We have our own language and definitely common interests. So that part is good. However, we know from 'jump street' that we're going to be hooking up with somebody who probably has a lot of issues. That's what our disease produces...tons of baggage! But it's usually stuff that's not too different from our own little set of 'luggage'. Problems we can actually share in – solutions we can come up with together. We know our “wiring” - so that's a big plus in not getting too shocked later on down the road if troubled waters show up. Probably not that bad of an idea, dating each other. Although, naturally, that presents a whole new bunch of problems – like taking each others inventory or trying to work each others programs. (More On ‘Hooking Up’ On Page 5)

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Issue # 39

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Page 5

Where Do You Sit In Meetings? Where people sit when they walk into a meeting can say a lot about where their heads were at before the meeting started. Sometimes it is not a deliberate choice – it may just depend on what seats are available. Other times there might be an open seat next to a friend of ours, or next to a sponsee or next to the fan if it's a hot summer night. Those kinds of “seat decisions” are not what we'll be talking about here. However, we thought it would be fun to generalize and take a look at some seating options that sometimes do reflect our state of mind. DENIAL AISLE – You have to love this seating location if not just for the cleverness of the name itself. It's not really an aisle (we love rhymes in our cliches), it's the very last row in the back of the room. While it's true that everybody who sits there may not necessarily be 'in denial', it does reflect a little hesitancy to be an active part of the meeting that night. We may have to start adding a 'cell phone texting' ingredient to that name since those of us who can’t put our phones down sit there too. I.C.U. - (The Intensive Care Unit) - Can you guess where this is? That's right, the front row! Right in front of the chairperson or speaker. Years ago they used to say, “sickies up front” so maybe that's where this clever name comes from. It really is fitting though – if you're in dire need of a meeting where you know you better get very involved – what better place then the front row. Note: Sometimes “meeting hogs” sit there to make sure that they get called on, but most 'sharing addicted members' will probably sit in the second row to look less obvious. {There's nothing wrong with a need to share at meetings often, but we’re talking about the frantic, I must get called on crew}. SPECTATOR SECTION– These people have kind of made a decision to check everybody out during the meeting. They came mainly for social reasons or maybe they just are feeling so cool looking tonight (new hairstyle, hip clothes, new tattoo), that they just HAVE to get everybody to see them. These spectators usually stand along a wall, near the bathroom or at the “coffee bar” (if the meeting has one). Sometimes members are looking like spectators but what they're really doing is waiting for a phone call (business or personal) –

they will usually pick a nice spot near the exit where they can kind of “slink out” without being too obvious. PEANUT GALLERY – Then there's the infamous “peanut gallery”. These people have obviously come to the meeting to have some fun – not that there's anything wrong with that. Many of us get to a meeting after having had a really hard day at either work, at home, or both and need to unwind a little. So, when we see some people that we feel really close to, we might want some relief from a stressful day and laughter is a common way to get that. It’s natural to want to lighten things up. But the problem is that the smiling, giggling and whispering is so distracting to everybody around you that it looks totally disrespectful. You would think the peanut gallery-ites would take it outside but for some reason it's not as much fun out there. Inside the meeting is where they seem to get their “material” causing them to 'crack up'. “ASSIGNED” SEATS – These are the people who, for some crazy reason, feel compelled to sit in the exact same seat at a particular meeting every single week. Most likely it's because we are creatures of habit but it's still funny when you notice it. Sometimes it seems like it's some kind of rigidity or vigilance to not change anything since we're doing so good – we don't want to jinx ourselves. In other words, if it works, don't fix it. It's like they think, “if I'm doing good sitting in this seat every week, I'm not gonna change it now”! They're probably right – why mess with success. Continued From Page 3 - Hooking Up In The Program - Many of us have tried to use the desire for sex as a justification for hooking up at meetings. But really, how many of us can engage in that without catching all kinds of feelings; possessiveness, jealousy, attachment, hostage-taking, love, infatuation, etc. There's really no way to look for romance of any kind in the rooms, without setting ourselves up for the posibility of a nightmare. It doesn't mean we can't try it, but we better be careful. And certainly, it is the kind of stuff that newcomers should definitely wait, at least a little while, before attempting.

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Issue # 39

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12 Step Programs Invade American Cinema!

Did you ever find yourself sitting in the movie theater, watching some really good film - and all of a sudden the plot reveals that one of the cast members goes to 12 step meetings! It's such a cool feeling when it happens, usually, because many of us still seem to think that we're in this strange minority or cult. It's almost like, “see – everybody's got issues!” Or maybe more like, “darn, we're (people in recovery) everywhere!” Well, this phenomenon has been going on for years. First it started with movies about alcoholism, then it started to move into flicks about other issues but the screenwriters wanted to add maybe a little edge {Barbara Hershey's character in Hannah and Her Sisters replies to Michael Caine's character, after he says, “do you still go to those AA meetings?” with “I don't think about drinking anymore but meetings just make me feel better}. Now, however, it seems like so many mainstream films bring it into the plot just to be topical – and it works really well. How many people loved the scenes in Finding Nemo where Bruce The Shark winds up at a 12 step meeting where sea creatures go to be abstinent from eating other fish. “Fish are our friends, they're not food” was like a first step there. We find many more references of 12 step programs in movies the more popular 12 step programs become. In “Wreck it Ralph”, Ralph at-

tends a support group with other bad guys from video games and at the end of the movie states, “You'll be glad to know I'm taking it one game at a time.” In a more serious vein, the latest movie from famous director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump and others), Flight, starring Denzel Washington, has a lot to do with drinking, drugging, recovery and has many scenes where Denzel's character (and the female costar's) sobriety is on the line. That film seemed to have program messages all over it but it wasn't necessarily promoted as a “Clean and Sober” type movie. A less popular movie that came out recently was 4:44 Last Day On Earth, starring Willem Dafoe. In this film, one of the side plots was that Dafoe's character, Cisco, was a recovering heroin addict and his brother was also one. They didn't have much in the way of program references, if any, but you could tell they were “on the wagon”. As the end of the world is approaching in hours (literally), they show Cisco's brother hanging out with old friends (still using buddies) saying how he wants to 'go out' clean. On the other hand, Cisco winds up copping and it's a real mess. Let's face it - anytime we're somewhere and we see references to our 12 step lifestyle, we all sit there and go, "cool. That's us!"

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Issue # 39

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One of the first things a newcomer encounters is the pressure to 'get a sponsor'. Many other aspects are presented as suggestions, but not this one. Usually experienced members of every 12 step program insist on it. So why is it so important? Here are some reasons why we push this; First of all, if you've never been to meetings or actually tried to get clean and sober before, it's a whole new ball game. One that is filled with a “new language”, some (perhaps) strange customs and an almost cult-like or special club atmosphere. Really we're just a bunch of alcoholics, addicts, etc. who get together to share our common problems and help each other with the only solution that we have found that works – a 12 step program. But it can be intimidating and maybe even scary to some people. So, we need to get a sponsor to explain to us what is going on, to hopefully guide us in this journey and help us get through the 12 steps. If we try to do it alone, without a sponsor, we're relying on the same person who got us into trouble in the first place – ourselves. Another great reason to have a sponsor is accountability. We are people who are known to start off strong and willing, go at something pretty good for awhile and then slowly taper off. With a sponsor, although it can be very irritating, we need to have that one person who is just like us who can tell us the truth – that we can't afford to slack off too much in this life or death commitment. Aware of the fact that we often hate authority figures, a sponsor is more like a caring older brother or sister than a parent. They're not going to yell at us as if we're “bad”, but caution us because they want the best for us. Sometimes, we'll find ourselves doing what we need to do just because we have that somebody that we “have to” answer to. Here's a great reason to get a sponsor that you might not see mentioned in all the pamphlets on sponsorship; somebody to confide in and tell all your secrets to that you know you can trust to not tell anyone and keep stuff just between the two of you. {By the way, besides the many pamphlets on sponsorship, NA has a whole book on it that came out in recent years.} Often, there are many things that are going on in our lives, in addition to maybe

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many traumatic or ongoing issues from our past, that we don't feel comfortable discussing with any new people we meet in the rooms. We need to be able to tell someone some of this “background” stuff especially if it may affect our recovery and our chances of continued sobriety. We also can use someone in our corner who believes in us and is willing to give us the hope that we can do this. Sponsors are often great as little cheerleaders, urging us on to do the next right thing and then patting us on our back when we do. But the number one reason (most recovering people will agree on this) we need a sponsor is to guide us through the 12 steps. There are so many ways (it seems) to 'work' the 12 steps that if one were to try to do this themselves, they wouldn't know where to start. Plus, if they guessed how to do it, it would be – once again – the “blind leading the blind”! If we were “so good at running our own lives what are we doing here”, is a sign you'll see at many meetings and that applies to trying to go through the steps by ourselves as well. So we need a sponsor – period. We don't have to wait for the perfect person to show up, either. If we're drowning, grab the first lifeboat that passes by! If it seems like it's not working out with that person, we can always get a different sponsor. If the person you have asked has any spiritual principles they won't get mad at you or take it personally, if we decide to move on to a different sponsor.

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Issue # 39

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Page 11

“Rhyme & Reason”

“Katz Kommunicates”

We no longer have to crawl in pain from that old ball and chain that we know as our ego up in our brain. Throughout the recovery community, we talk a whole lot about humility and we understand the practice of it to be a central component in our recovery process. We also talk a whole lot about the importance of being in service to others, and this too is understood to be a critical element in sustaining our long-term recovery. Interesting, both practicing humility and being in service to others actually serve the same valuable function within our individual recovery processes - they both facilitate the escape from the confines of our ego-selves. Why would practicing humility, being in service to others and employing various other principles and tools that help us escape our ego-selves be so important to our recovery? Well, many pathways to recovery acknowledge “self-centeredness” as being the absolute core of the disease we seek recovery from. Self-centeredness finds its warm and righteous home in each and every one of our egos. Now, it is important to remember that ego is not a dirty word! The development of the ego is as much a part of the human experience as are living and breathing. Some of us, however, didn’t quite experience a healthy development of the ego. And some of us, therefore, did experience the struggle to actually look at and go beyond thinking only of ourselves. As a matter of fact, chances are that if you are reading this publication as a person in recovery, you too found the use of drugs and alcohol to be the, albeit problematic, magical solution to escaping the confines of self. It sure was painful being stuck up in there all alone! In recovery however, we learn how to live life in a manner that is not limited to the confines of our ego-selves. We learn that (gasp!) the world actually does NOT revolve around us, and we learn to define who we are and our life as a part of the larger whole. Practicing humility is the art of understanding that we are not the most important thing ever at all times to all people in all instances. We find serenity in knowing and accepting this as we realize our place in the bigger picture, the picture beyond the limitation of our ego-selves. And being in service to others allows us to think, behave, and act in a manner that benefits somebody else and the greater good rather than only our ego-selves. We find peace in understanding and realizing that being in service to somebody else and bettering the whole is more important than serving only our ego-selves. Ultimately, we slowly but surely learn how to look beyond the limited self-centered lens of the ego by practicing these and other principles and tools that force us to look beyond ourselves. And even better – we ultimately learn that this is in fact our true solution to escaping the ball and chain that kept us in pain for so long.

Filling The Void Many of us have heard about or experienced the ‘void’ described in addicts. Some may refer to it as a bottomless pit, an inner-gnawing, or just a constant feeling of dis-ease. Why we have this void or how we got it is interesting to discuss, but ultimately gets us nowhere. In our addiction we did all we could to fill this void with drugs. However while in recovery and on the spiritual path, we seek to fill this void in positive ways. Many of us used drugs because we could not cope with the emptiness inside of us. This is also what takes many of us out after being clean for a short time. When we first get clean and sometimes even after a long period of abstinence, this void can rear its ugly head again. This void is present and we have to acknowledge it if we are to fill it correctly. Before we know about our spiritual void, we may find ourselves acting out in ways we don’t like and that are not conducive to our recovery. Through excessive gambling, relationship hopping, binge eating or sleeping around, not properly filling our void can result in many destructive behaviors. Just because we get clean does not mean we become saints - however, if we want the blessings recovery has to offer, we must be aware when we start to act out on our void. Some may argue that a little gambling or sex never hurt anybody- they might be right if they were talking to a non-addict. With us, however, our obsessive, compulsive and self-centered nature can devour us in many ways if we allow it. We need to remember we are dancing with the devil when we play with our disease. If we give the disease an inch it will take a mile and more. Eventually, our void isn’t filled by the poor substitutes we feed it and it wants drugs. It’s before that happens that we need to begin to seek solutions. A void implies that something is missing; something that needs to be filled. Our internal void is natural and felt by most addicts at some point in recovery. Contrary to our old beliefs, it can be filled. The most basic answer to what naturally belongs in this void is spirituality. One can describe it as positivity, love, friendship, fellowship, God, goodness or simply, recovery. The application of spiritual principles are how we fill it, specifically. We can practice principles by being in service, helping another addict, or just showing up for a friend or family member. The spiritual void we have within us is an integrated part of our addiction and must be acknowledged in our first step. In step two we come to believe that a power greater than ourselves can fill this void. The steps are ultimately what fill our seemingly bottomless void. Recovery and a spiritual way of life is a choice for addicts - those who choose it are blessed by rewards.

By Brooke Feldman

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A Column By Brad K.

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Page 12

Issue # 39

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Page 13

Relflections On Decision Making

"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing." – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, (1858-1919) When it comes to making decisions, helping us to get into the proper frame of mind are our 12-step sponsor, our therapist (if we still have counseling as a part of our aftercare), our family and loved ones. We need to rely upon our support network to provide us with the kind of constant encouragement and support that’s necessary to keep us motivated and doing the work of recovery. It’s a given fact. That’s important so we don’t backslide. It’s dangerous to want to coast, to let things slide, to put off doing what we know we need to do because we feel we’re working too hard already or tell ourselves that we need a break. Our sponsor and loved ones can call us out on our tendency to drift – not in a bad way, but just a gentle reminder. Another problem that arises is keeping our emotions bottled up and failing to communicate to our loved ones what’s going on with us. This can prevent an opportunity to make things easier in our decision-making process. Let’s say that we really dread making a choice of this or that because we’re afraid that we’ll choose the wrong one. We may tell ourselves that we’re not ready to make the choice because we don’t have enough skill or lack knowledge in that area. If that’s the case, then we can make the decision to obtain the skills, to learn what it is that we need to know and to practice applying such knowledge and skills. That doesn’t mean that we’re not equipped with or cannot learn the skills to be able to handle decision-making in the appropriate way. It’s just that we’re either not used to relying on our own judgment or we’re not yet all that confident that we’ll be able to make the right decisions when the time comes. For some of us, making any sort of a decision on our own will come as a high achievement, so unaccustomed as we’ve been to the experience. Here’s another way to look at making decisions. Our decision-making skill is like a muscle. It needs to be exercised in order to remain supple

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and strong and resilient. If we fail to make any decisions, we’ll be permitting that muscle to atrophy, to wither away. That’s not a good prognosis. The good news is that exercise of our decision-making ability makes us stronger, more self-confident, and more willing to tackle the next item on our list and so on. In other words, there’s no downside to making decisions. We do, however, need to recognize that we will sometimes make an inappropriate or wrong decision for us at a certain time. This does not mean that it may not work at another time. We need to allow ourselves the flexibility to not be bowled over by mistakes or wrong decisions. We learn from them so that we don’t make the same mistake the next time. No person is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, no matter how smart or accomplished or well-known or pious they are. Let’s not allow ourselves to become paralyzed with fear either of making a mistake or of coming back from it. The worst thing we can do is nothing. It does require some courage to make a decision when we still feel unsure, but with the support of others and a willingness to do what it takes to strengthen our recovery, we can and will become more confident in our decision-making ability.

Three Quotes From The Great Will Rogers “Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.“ “People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.” “Letting the 'cat out of the bag' is a whole lot easier than 'putting it back in'.” And One From John F. Kennedy “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.“

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Issue # 39

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It’s all about the people at Malvern Institute It is our goal to ensure you feel welcomed and that you know we are glad you have reached out for help. We will guide you and your family by providing you the utmost excellence in treatment, as you begin the process to lifelong recovery. Welcome to Malvern Institute!

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The Power of Believing Religious individuals and people who, while they may not classify themselves as religious, but nonetheless believe in a Higher Power, know the power of belief. But we don’t have to be religious to know instinctively that there is tremendous power in believing something even if there is no proof that it is so. Take, for example, the belief that if we keep doing the work of recovery, we will eventually find peace, serenity and happiness. We know there are no guarantees of success and that not every person will take the same path toward common goals, but we are inspired by the accomplishments of others to the point where we feel encouraged enough to push ahead despite difficulties in order to achieve our own goals. This is the power of belief. We may have absolutely no previous record of success in this area. We may have failed at pretty much everything we’ve ever attempted, save our uncanny ability to remain steeped in our addictive ways. What’s there to point to that would give us any inkling that we’d be able to remain steadfast in our sobriety, let alone achieve goals that we say are important to us? That’s right. It is belief that we can that motivates us, that adds steel to our spines and brings about the wind at our feet. When it seems as if all is lost and we’ve got nothing left, we manage to cling to our sobriety like an iron-grip on a life-raft and stay the course until we reach safety. Belief helps make this a reality. Belief helps give us the courage to push through our fears, to do what is necessary to get through the rough patch and stay true to our commitment. Think, for a minute, about some particularly difficult or challenging issue or task that we’ve tried to tackle. We put in a good amount of effort, had more or less a reasonable and logical chance at success, and then were thrown into a tizzy over some unexpected development, a set-back or new set of obstacles. We felt the awful gnaw of fear in the pit of our stomachs as we worried that we might not make it through this troubling

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time. What kept us going? It was very likely the power of belief. We could have given up, of course, and that would have been perfectly understandable. This doesn’t mean that we were a failure, just that we may have encountered obstacles for which we weren’t adequately prepared. Or we may have lacked the necessary skills or experience in order to be able to manage the situation. Still, this didn’t equate to failure, although our first inclination may have been to see it that way. What about those of us who are only now entering recovery, those of us that have no track record of achieving any sobriety milestones or other goals yet? Here’s something that may help. We can take comfort from knowing that we will get stronger every day, and that others in the rooms of recovery will steadfastly offer us their encouragement and support, and we will gradually begin to see that we’re making progress. We didn’t get here overnight. Our addiction took some time to reach critical levels. It took us however long it was before we made the decision to seek treatment and get clean and sober. Doesn’t it stand to reason that it will likely take some time for us to be able to achieve some of the goals we want in our new life in sobriety? But we have already come such a long way. And that is also a testament to the power of belief. If we didn’t believe we could do it, guess what? We wouldn’t have been able to make it this far. We would have given up long ago. Even those of us who have relapsed time and time again have somehow found the courage and determination and the hope for a better tomorrow and got back into recovery. Something attracts us and helps motivate us to do the hard work of recovery. It is the power of belief, pure and simple. So, the next time that we feel like we’re chugging uphill pushing a very heavy load, look at how far we’ve already come. This load should be getting a little bit lighter. If we can see the summit or even envision it in our thoughts, we are adding steam to our engine so that we can keep right on going until we get where we want to go.

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January/February 2013

Page 17

The essenTials Of happiness

"The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." – Allan K. Chalmers, author What do we need to be happy - not just pie-in-the-sky wishes, but real and down-to-earth essentials that we absolutely must have in order to be happy? Ask any two people, including those in recovery, and the answers are likely to be different. There will be similarities, of course, and many individuals will say something along the same lines but worded differently. We all want to feel happiness, even if we can’t quite put our arms around what that might look or feel like. Let’s take a look at the three components listed by the author above. First, something to do is one of the trio of "grand essentials," according to Allan K. Chalmers. This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s actually an element that many of us either take for granted or have no clue about. If we’re simply wandering through life aimlessly and without purpose, chances are that we haven’t singled out what it is that is important enough for us to devote our energies to. This doesn’t mean that each of us will have an earth-shattering or world-renowned career, discovery or other type of achievement, but that each of us has one single thing that we feel drawn to do – one thing to exert our best possible efforts in the process of doing something. So, having something to do would definitely seem to fit within the parameters of happiness. If we enjoy what we are involved in doing, that’s even icing on the cake. Next, Chalmers says that we need to have something to love in order to be happy. What could this entail? Does it mean that those of us who are single and have no loving partner (at least, not a live-in or constant partner or spouse) cannot possibly be happy? Does having a dog or other pet qualify as having something to love? What about loving to serve mankind, as members of religious orders and spiritual leaders and teachers do? Can loving our job qualify? What about loving foster children that we take into our homes, or loving to help the poor and unfortunate? In fact, all of these fit nicely under the umbrella of something to love. When we love something or someone, we go out of our way to ensure that thing is a success or that person has no reasonable wants that we don’t seek to fulfill. We will sacrifice our time, energy, and forego our own pleasure in order to help out another, to demonstrate how much we care – all without thought of gain for ourselves. Surely this kind of love is both admirable and self-fulfilling. While human beings are far from perfect, at least in having something to love we can strive to be more

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God-like, more forgiving and accommodating, and loving without boundaries. The last component of the grand essentials of happiness is something to hope for. Here’s where most people in recovery seem to center their thoughts. Indeed, recovery goals are pinned on the hopeful outcome, since we need to have something to work toward, something that’s motivational enough to keep us going even through the difficult times. But identifying that something to hope for? This is often a project that becomes fraught with emotional conflict. On the one hand, we want to achieve certain goals, possibly those that are commonly discussed in the rooms of recovery, but just as often they are personal goals that we believe are important for our future happiness and wellbeing in sobriety. Maybe we don’t feel like we deserve to achieve a certain goal, so we put it out of our mind as unachievable. It may, in fact, be totally achievable, since there’s nothing really standing in our way – except ourselves. Getting over the obstacle that’s self-imposed takes some doing – and constant encouragement from others. Once we are able to see past that roadblock that we’ve constructed and are able to look at our future with new eyes, a raft of new possibilities often emerges. Like the outline of a ship that becomes distinct as it sails out of the fog, we are able to clearly see things that before were hidden to us. It isn’t just a far-off goal that comes into view as a possibility, but also the interim steps that we may need to take in order to get there. Each of the three grand essentials of happiness require determination, perseverance, a willingness to forgive ourselves and let the past go, and, let’s not forget, the ongoing support and encouragement of others in our network. It may be our 12-step sponsor that serves in this role, along with our fellow group members in the rooms of recovery. Our family and loved ones are other integral members of our support network and we both depend upon and benefit from their constant belief in our capabilities, their never-ending support and encouragement. Perhaps it is a close friend, a co-worker, our therapist or member of the clergy that keeps us motivated and spurs us on to continue to work toward happiness. It can be anybody. Lastly, listen to how others have achieved happiness – even if they don’t identify the emotion as such. We can see it in their faces - it’s that look of contentment, peace and utter joy and we can get there too.

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GettinG Help tHen GivinG to otHers

"Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness you are able to give." – Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States (1884-1962) We have a lot to learn and there are excellent teachers from whom we can learn. As we’ve heard before during various phases of rehab or treatment, we are never in recovery alone. There are many others in this population of recovering individuals who are there to help us, to encourage us with their unwavering support, to listen to our difficulties and to inspire us with their accounts of how they were able to overcome problems and surmount obstacles. They are, in fact, available in every city and town, in rural areas and in locations that seem out-of-the-way and otherwise inaccessible. If we look for the rooms of recovery, we will be able to find them. If there aren’t any physical locations nearby or we’re physically incapable of getting to a meeting, we can always connect with our group or a group online, via online meetings, chats, or telephone meetings. We do need to have a well-thought-out plan, pursue a schedule and a daily regimen that is designed to help keep us in solid recovery – or, at least as solid as we can possibly make it, given our newness to this life of recovery. Also keep in mind that our sponsor is going to be our single most valuable guide as we begin our journey in recovery. We are likely not that familiar with the Twelve Steps and may know very little about the Principles of Recovery. Our sponsor will serve as our guide, showing us and encouraging us as we work our recovery. Now, on to giving... Some of us have forgotten or never learned how to give. Others of us have an inordinately hard time being able to receive. But the two are inextricably tied to each other. When we are in recovery, it may take us a long time to get to the point where we even feel like giving, let alone be inspired to actively pursue ways that we can bring joy to others. At the outset, we’re too caught up in the business of surviving our daily lives without giving in to the temptation to pick up that bottle or go back to using. It literally consumes all our energy and waking hours. Sometimes, it even keeps us up at night. But this will change. It always does. Nothing remains constant, not even the uncertainty, fear, confusion, and mixture of other emotions tossed in. Over time, we will start to feel like we’ve established a good foundation in this new life of sobriety that we’ve chosen. We will transition

from being the newly-recovered to being in recovery. The more we work the steps and follow our recovery plan, the stronger and more self-confident we will feel. It’s at this point in our recovery that we may be more open to giving back, to bringing joy to others, to stepping outside of ourselves and our immediate concerns to see how we can be of service to others. If we have no family, we can be helpful to others in the rooms of recovery, just as we were once helped as newcomers. If we do have a family, we can begin opening up ourselves and allowing our light to shine on them, permitting ourselves to smile and offer our love and appreciation in ways that are welcomed by our loved ones – especially after such a long a time of confusion, pain and problems. Maybe we don’t have any idea how to do this or where to begin. If we have the intention to give of ourselves, we will find a way. What does our loved one enjoy doing most? Is it having some time away from the home for a healing massage or to go to a movie with friends or to have a relaxing day at the beach? Will a mini-spa gift be appropriate? How about a book of movie passes? If our loved one or friend we want to surprise loves to read and has a favorite author, we can be on the lookout for a new release and buy it for them. It doesn’t have to be a big or expensive or extravagant thing to bring happiness to another. But it does need to be thoughtful, something that we go out of our way to do and we do without any desire for something in return. Make a list. Think of ways that we can lighten the load, take away some of the burden, even spend quality time with the person we want to delight and surprise. Maybe what’s really needed is for us to open up our hearts and share ourselves with that individual, to the extent that we haven’t been able to before or for quite some time. This could be our spouse or a child or a best friend who is starved for our attention and affection and friendship. They’ve stood off on the sidelines, still offering us encouragement and support, but in need of a kind look, a sign of affection, acknowledgement and appreciation. We can give that, if we cannot give anything else. And this may be enough to start us on the path of learning how to bring joy to others. Remember, it isn’t the size or amount or quantity that counts. It’s the quality of the gift that we bring. For many of us, the most important quality is our sincere desire to give what we believe in our hearts will be received with joy.

Hilarious podcasts from the world of recovery on the West Coast. Not to be missed!

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Gazette’s Humor PaGe

Page 19

In Honor Of Valentines Day, Some “Old School” Jokes About Marriage

Husband: Honey, why are you wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger? Wife: Because I married the wrong man! . ☻ Marriage is very much like a violin; after the sweet music is over, the strings are still attached. ☻ Marriage is an institution in which a man loses his Bachelor's Degree and the woman gets her Masters. ☻ An archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have: the older she gets, the more interested he is in her! ☻ Love is blind. Marriage is the eye-opener. ☻ A husband is what is left of the man after the nerve has been extracted. ☻ Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same. ☻ I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry. ☻ I never knew what real happiness was until I got married. And by then it was too late. ☻ Why does a woman work ten years to change a man's habits and then complain that he's not the man she married? ☻ The bonds of marriage are like the bonds in other institutions-Handcuffs! ☻ A man in love is incomplete until he has married. Then he's finished. ☻ When a man opens a car door for his wife, it's either a new car or a new wife. ☻ The woman cries before the wedding, the man after. ☻ In olden times sacrifices were made at the altar - a practice which still continues! ☻ Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife. ☻ A wealthy man came home from a gambling trip and told his wife that he had lost their entire fortune and that they'd have to drastically alter their life-style. "If you'll just learn to cook," he said, "we can fire the chef." "Okay," she said. "And if you learn how to make love, we can fire the gardener". ☻ Before marriage, a man yearns for the woman he loves. After marriage, the "y" becomes silent. ☻ A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man. ☻ A man said his credit card was stolen but he decided not to report it because the thief was spending less than his wife did. ☻

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A little boy asked his father, "Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?" And the father replied, "I don't know, son, I'm still paying for it." ☻ A couple was having a discussion about family finances. Finally the husband exploded, "If it weren't for my money, the house wouldn't be here!" The wife replied, "My dear, if it weren't for your money, I wouldn't be here." ☻ No man is regular in his attendance at his place of work until he is married. ☻ All marriages are happy. It's the living together afterward that causes all the trouble. ☻ It's a shame married men live longer than single men, because married men are a lot more willing to die! ☻ A husband said to his wife, "No, I don't hate your relatives. In fact, I like your mother-in-law a lot better than I like mine! ☻ What's the difference between a boyfriend and a husband? About 30 pounds. ☻ I'm an excellent housekeeper. Every time I get a divorce, I keep the house. ☻ Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished. ☻ Love is blind and marriage is the institution for the blind. ☻ I don't think I'll get married again. I'll just find a woman I don't like and give her a house. ☻ If you want to sacrifice the attention of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married. ☻ The best way to get husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they are too old to do it. ☻ Marriage is give and take. You'd better give it to her or she'll take it anyway. ☻ I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury. ☻ There's a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It's called marriage ☻ I haven't spoken to my wife in years. I didn't want to interrupt her. ☻ After a quarrel, a husband said to his wife, "You know, I was a fool when I married you." She replied, "Yes, I know, but I was in love and didn't notice." ☻ Marriage is a three ring circus: engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffering. ☻

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Issue # 39

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January/February 2013

Page 21

Anonymity And Alcoholics Anonymous

Story by Susan Cheever courtesy of TheFix.com In 1954, A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson was offered an honorary degree from Yale University [because of his work with AA]. Delighted, he took the offer to the trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation. But when trustee Archibald Roosevelt explained that his father, Theodore, had avoided personal honors, Bill knew what he had to do. After all, he had just defined anonymity in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions published the year before. “If I don’t take this, it will act as a terrific restraint on big shots and power seekers in Alcoholics Anonymous,” he wrote to his old friend Mark Whalon. “I’m declining for that reason only, not because I am so damn noble or anything.” Bill Wilson, who never graduated from college, refused a degree from Yale because he didn’t want to break his anonymity. Personal anonymity at the public level, the aspect of anonymity that caused Bill Wilson to decline the Yale degree, is only one small fraction of what anonymity means in A.A. Mentioned in the eleventh tradition that urges recovering alcoholics to “maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and film,” it’s not only about what happens in the rooms of A.A. It’s not only about the principle of confidentiality and keeping other alcoholics’ names and stories to oneself. It’s not only about the spiritual umbrella of anonymity that defines each recovering alcoholic, no matter how successful, as being just another drunk. So how do we balance the principle of anonymity with the need to carry the message to others? You can’t keep your sobriety unless you give it away, one slogan says. This principle is critical in our world where the public’s ignorance of addiction and treatment is appalling and disturbing. Many people still fail to understand alcoholism and its links to our health care crisis, and even more have no idea how treatment works or what happens when an individual recovers in A.A. They don’t know because people in A.A. don’t tell them. Yet this ignorance is lethal. Alcoholics who don’t get

At an early A.A. meeting in 1942, some members chose to wear masks. treatment often die. So how can A.A. members who deal with the press, balance the obligation to educate and be of service with the obligation to preserve anonymity? Since A.A.’s 1935 beginning, the idea of anonymity has been anything but rigid. Bill Wilson’s observation that perfection comes through trial and error is especially relevant when it comes to anonymity’s many changes. The first mention of anonymity in A.A. has nothing to do with self-protection or a response to the shame of being publicly identified. “It is important that we remain anonymous,” the founders wrote in the preface to Alcoholics Anonymous, “ because we are too few, at present, to handle the overwhelming number of personal appeals which may result from this publication. Being mostly business or professional folk, we could not well carry on our occupations in such an event.” Bill Wilson’s friend Marty Mann broke her anonymity and Bill’s while raising money for what became the National Council of Alcohol and Drug Dependency, which led to some debate. Clearly, anonymity as described in the literature of A.A. has three parts: spirituality, community and personal identity, and public relations. For The Complete Story visit www.TheFix.com

cool homegroup nAmes – phoenix, Az.

Every issue we travel to a different area of the world in search of great names of home groups for both AA and NA meetings. Last issue was a cold trip to Alaska – this time we went to the warmer climate of Phoenix, Arizona. Let's see what we found... We started with the NA meeting list mainly because the Rolling Stones have been in the news a lot lately and the first name that jumped out was the “Gimme Shelter” group. Then we saw another cool one, the “Staying Clean For Dummies” group (actually in Tempe, Az.). And there were more - we saw the “Wild Bunch” meeting (lots of bikers there?) and in Mesa you have the spacey “Recovery and Beyond” group. This next meeting has nothing to do with marching, we're sure – it's called the “Step In Time” group. This next one will definitely attract former acid heads seeking help – how about a “Dose of Recovery”? This next one reminds us of the admonition in NA's Basic Text about being “terminally hip” and “fatally cool” - it's the “Hip, Slick & Kool” group. Then you have your more middle of the road names of groups that aren’t maybe that cool but at least deserve an honorable mention. How about the “Outer Circle” group? Or “Hope For The Slope” (there was a “Hope ON The Slope” out of Brooklyn, N.Y. {we think}a couple of issues back). This one we love – the “Sanity Is Possible” group (and Thank God it is !). This group is perfect for addicts (we're still in NA names), who wandered out to Phoenix from the East Coast (maybe following The Grateful Dead or something), the “MIA” group {Missing In Action}. Then you have the “AIR” {heads} group of NA (Addicts In Recovery). The “Stairway” group definitely should have added, “To Heaven” but maybe they didn't want to make extravagant promises. We love when they rhyme – there's the “Discovery To Recovery” group and this classic...”No Longer Zoned”. Here's two very 'inviting' groups - “Home Sweet Home” and “Give Yourself a Break”. Here's one that will test your willingness to go to any lengths to stay clean - “The Last Mile” (or else it's the last mile at the end of a very long street LOL). Here's a great name for a young person's NA group,

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“The Young and The Restless” in Scottsdale, Az. If you're worried about menopause, I don't think this group will be a problem, although it is called, the “Change of Life” group. Here's a meeting that obviously is not afraid to boast about their recovery – the “Not Just Another NA Meeting” group. Hey! Another rhyming group – we love those – the “More Gratitude, Less Attitude” meeting. There's always a “Talking Heads” group (after all, that's what we would look like if observed by aliens new to our planet). Here's one where you know they're saving a seat for you – the “Space Available” group. Need to get a lot off your chest and just want a meeting where it's okay to vent? Check out the “Unload” group in Phoenix. Here's two Friday night meetings that you gotta love – the “Friday Night Feel Good” meeting and “TGIF”. This one sounds good enough to have a little barbecue or catch some rays while you're recovering, the “Backyard NA” group. Here's one where we would expect to see some interesting looking members (or maybe we watch too many movies), the “Tersus Victus” group in Glendale, Az. Finally, we ran out of cool NA home group names in Arizona, so let's at least run some AA group names before we run out of room here. Here's a great one for some AA people we might have met along our journey “Principles Before Your Personality”. Here's two eyebrow raisers that are a little curious – the “Whipple Group” and “Godsticks”; we at The Gazette have no idea what they mean. This one is interesting - “Unconscious Contact”. Here's an AA classic, the “Toolbox Group”. Well, that's it for this issue, see you next time.

"The greaTesT discovery of all Time is ThaT a person can change his fuTure by merely changing his aTTiTude." – oprah Winfrey

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Does AA HAve A Drug Problem?

For the last twenty to thirty years, many opinions have been tossed about regarding whether it is okay or not okay to talk about drugs at an AA meeting. We found this little question and answer discussion on the internet (by “anonymous�) and thought it would be helpful. Question: I have been to meetings where people have mentioned they also have had drug problems and it was accepted. I have been to other meetings were people preached that you can not mention this. Which is right? Answer: (From the perspective of an AA member); There is no "correct" answer to this question. Each individual A.A. group decides for itself how it will deal with it. We can't tell you what is correct, but we can try to explain why it is something of a controversial topic and how it is often dealt with. A.A. is a fellowship open to anyone with a desire to stop drinking. Because of this among the membership are people with every sort of problem. It was realized early on that A.A. could not solve all the problems people have and long ago chose to limit its primary purpose to helping people recover from alcoholism only. Drinking too much is just about the only thing we all have in common and many fear A.A. would lose its identity and effectiveness if it were to address problems other than alcoholism. Other fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous, and many people in A.A., see alcoholism and drug addiction as the same thing. At the same time A.A. tries to maintain its traditional focus on alcoholism only. At times this creates friction, particularly because many in A.A. do not think that alcoholism and drug addiction are the same thing. Some see this as an antiquated view, but it is the way A.A. has been set up since it began, with its sole focus on alcohol - not addiction. Among the membership are many people who have tried various drugs but find that alcohol is the only one they have problems with. In A.A., Step One says that we admit we are powerless over alcohol which is a physical substance. In N.A., Step One replaces "alcohol" with being powerless over "our addiction" which is a concept, behavior or disease. This embodies a significant difference in approach. A.A. is focused on being powerless over one certain substance while N.A. is focused on addiction in general. A.A. tries to limit its focus to alcoholism but all sorts of other problems can influence a person's recovery. Some in A.A. talk of how money, health, mental and other problems influence their recovery. Often people talk about how their drug addiction influences their recovery or alcoholism. "The problem" comes up when some feel that the primary focus of a group or meeting is getting away from alcoholism. If a meeting were to focus on a problem such as tax evasion or smoking, many would object that the meeting was straying from A.A.'s "primary purpose" and suggest the

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meeting be re-focused onto drinking problems. When the focus leans toward drug addiction some see this as OK, others think this too is getting away from the focus of alcoholism, it often simply depends on who happens to be in the room at the time. If a person goes to a meeting and talks at length about trout fishing they might be asked to let someone else share or change the subject. While one person may see their fishing addiction and alcoholism as one in the same, they could be asked to limit their comments to the alcoholism to keep the focus on the one thing all in the meeting share in common - alcoholism. Likewise, many view their cocaine and alcohol addiction as the same problem but in an A.A. meeting they may be asked to limit their discussion of their crack smoking to keep the focus on alcoholism - the only problem common to everyone in the fellowship. In many places introducing yourself as something other than "an alcoholic" at an A.A. meeting is often an occasion for controversy or tension. Many feel that introducing oneself as an "addict" or an "alcoholic/addict" moves the focus away from the primary purpose of an A.A. meeting. The sentiment behind this is that if we focus on our differences, rather than what we share in common, we will lose the common thread that holds us together as a fellowship. A person may be an alcoholic/gambler or an alcoholic/tax cheat or an alcoholic/diabetic or an alcoholic/thief or, as is quite common, an alcoholic/addict, but the only thing we all have in common is the "alcoholic" part. As a practical matter then, introducing yourself as simply "an alcoholic" can be the easiest way to limit the tensions surrounding the issue and to help keep A.A. focused on alcoholism (even if addiction and alcoholism are the same thing - a subject which A.A. has no opinion on). Going to an A.A. meeting and introducing yourself as "an addict" is seen by many to be like going to a square dance and doing the waltz; it is just not what the gathering is meant for. Even if your primary hobby is the waltz, there is a time and a place for everything and if you are at a square dance it is only polite to stick to square dancing. If many kinds of dances happened at a square dance it would no longer be a square dance. Likewise many fear A.A. would no longer be A.A. if the common focus on alcoholism were to be lost amid a multitude of addictions or bad behaviors. Similarly, an A.A. member attending an N.A. meeting may want to consider showing respect for the intended purpose of that fellowship and introduce themselves as "an addict" instead of "an alcoholic." There the commonality is found in addiction and introducing one's self as an alcoholic could be seen as emphasizing an individual difference rather than the shared problem.

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Page 23

Does NA HAve A Problem Too?

An issue in NA about drug use and saying you're clean has been knocked around group conscience meetings for some time now and we thought this Bulletin, from NA's World Service Board, would help to shed some light on a sometimes difficult issue. WORLD SERVICE BOARD OF TRUSTEES BULLETIN #29 Regarding Methadone and Other Drug Replacement Programs This bulletin was written by the World Service Board of Trustees in 1996. It represents the views of the board at the time of writing. Not all of us come to our first NA meeting drug free. Some of us were uncertain about whether recovery was possible for us and initially came to meetings while still using. Others came to their first meetings on drug replacement programs such as methadone and found it frightening to consider becoming abstinent. One of the first things we heard was that NA is a program of complete abstinence and "The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using." Some of us, upon hearing these statements, may have felt that we were not welcome at NA meetings until we were clean. But NA members reassured us that this was not the case and we were encouraged to "keep coming back." We were told that through listening to the experience, strength, and hope of other recovering addicts that we too could find freedom from active addiction if we did what they did. Many of our members, however, have expressed concern about individuals on drug replacement programs. Questions come up regarding such individuals' membership status, ability to share at meetings, lead meetings, or become trusted servants on any level. "Are these members clean?" they ask. "Can one really be a 'member' and still be using?" Perhaps by answering the most important question first—the issue of membership—we can establish a context by which to approach this issue. Tradition Three says that the only requirement for NA membership is a desire to stop using. There are no exceptions to this. Desire itself establishes membership; nothing else matters, not even abstinence. It is up to the individual, no one else, to determine membership. Therefore, someone who is using and who has a desire to stop using, can be a member of NA. Members on drug replacement programs such as methadone are encouraged to attend NA meetings. But, this raises the question: "Does NA have the right to limit members participation in meetings?" We believe so. While some groups choose to allow such members to share, it is also a common practice for NA groups to encourage these members (or any other addict who is still using), to participate only by listening and by talking with members after the meeting or during the break. This is not meant to alienate or embarrass; this is meant only to preserve an atmosphere of recovery in our

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meetings. Our Fifth Tradition defines our groups' purpose: to carry the message that any addict can stop using and find a new way to live. We carry that message at our recovery meetings, where those who have some experience with NA recovery can share about it, and those who need to hear about NA recovery can listen. When an individual under the influence of a drug attempts to speak on recovery in Narcotics Anonymous, it is our experience that a mixed, or confused message may be given to a newcomer (or any member, for that matter) For this reason, many groups believe it is inappropriate for these members to share at meetings of Narcotics Anonymous. It may be argued that a group's autonomy, as described in our Fourth Tradition, allows them to decide who may share at their meetings. However, while this is true, we believe that group autonomy does not justify allowing someone who is using to lead a meeting, be a speaker, or serve as a trusted servant. Group autonomy stands only until it affects other groups or NA as a whole. We believe it affects other groups and NA as a whole when we allow members who are not clean to be a speaker, chair a meeting, or be a trusted servant for NA. Many groups have developed guidelines to ensure that an atmosphere of recovery is maintained in their meetings. The following points are usually included: Suggesting that those who have used any drug within the last twenty-four hours refrain from sharing, but encouraging them to get together with members during the break or after the meeting. The next one, abiding by our fellowship's suggested clean time requirements for service positions. Then, seeking meeting leaders, chairpersons, or speakers who help further our primary purpose of carrying the message to the addict who still suffers. We make a distinction between drugs used by drug replacement programs and other prescribed drugs because such drugs are prescribed specifically as addiction treatment. Our program approaches recovery from addiction through abstinence, cautioning against the substitution of one drug for another. That's our program; it's what we offer the addict who still suffers. However, we have absolutely no opinion on methadone maintenance or any other program aimed at treating addiction. Our only purpose in addressing drug replacement and its use by our members is to define abstinence for ourselves. Our fellowship must be mindful of what kind of message we are carrying if a still-using addict leads a meeting, or becomes a trusted servant. We believe that under these circumstances we would not be carrying the Narcotics Anonymous message of recovery. Permissiveness in this area is not consistent with our traditions. We believe our position on this issue reinforces our recovery, protects our meetings, and supports addicts in striving for total abstinence.

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Vince DiPasquale’s “ThoughT For The MonTh”

January As we begin a New Year, instead of making New Year’s Resolutions that in time we probably will not keep, let’s dedicate this year to developing new attitudes towards life’s journey. When our creator sent us on the Journey of Life, we were given some really special gifts, the Spirit and energy of being able to love ourselves and others. We were also given the power of willingness. Life is a process that is always changing. If we are open to flow with the changes, we will experience things beyond our wildest dreams. God only wants good for us, so we have been given the tools we need for the Journey. Yet in order to grow we have to be the participants in the battle and struggle between good and evil. We are taught in our Recovery Program that all of our experiences, if we are willing to face them, will in God’s time, teach us our strengths. It all comes down to our attitudes and vision. One of the greatest awakenings for me was the discovery that there are no absolutes, everything in life is always changing and growing. We are unique as human beings in that we can look at life as survivors or thrivers. Looking at some special words of recovery, willingness differs from willpower. Willingness is the attitude of being open to all the downsides of life. To have an open mind and to always allow ourselves to be teachable is different than willpower which really is control power. We cannot control life’s journey, we must be willing to be open to the lessons we need to learn. Change is a powerful spiritual word that can at times be scary; we are a people in constant process of change. Nothing stays the same, if you don’t believe that, look in the mirror every day; not only must we change physically but we also experience change emotionally, spiritually and socially. This is the real adventure of life. The enemy of change is fear, yet once we face it and embrace it, we experience the positive energy of growth. Even our relationship with our Higher Power hopefully is always changing like any relationship. If we are able to come to the unconditional acceptance of life in the present, then we will be able to move forward to new directions. Willingness is the attitude that allows us to grow. All of life’s experiences are gifts from God, they are the strongholds we go through to discover our strength. We are a people of hope, we are teachers and pupils, each day, each experience, each person that comes into our life helps us to discover the beauty in each of us. Remember, we are not an accident or a mistake. Everyone is exactly who and where they are supposed to be. At this moment in time, when we are able and willing to accept this turn, we are ready to know change and be led to life’s next experience.

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February When we think of February two things come to mind, winter and Valentine’s Day. I call it the month when we can allow ourselves to reflect on those moments just before our birth. We felt safe and comfortable in our mother’s womb and really did not want to leave and enter into this dysfunctional world. The journey was a struggle and painful, but at the moment of birth we felt love. This month, we are still in the cold of winter looking forward to the birth of new life, spring. Isn’t it interesting that Valentine’s Day is placed in the middle of this month to remind us that we have inside of us this special gift from God: the power to love. Deep inside this energy is the force that will allow us to forgive, heal and be open to learning and growing. It is the energy that softens us to be gentle to ourselves and others. We were all taught the secret to life’s journey is to love ourselves and to share the gift with others. Yet we are human, we have to go through pain and hurt to come to forgiveness. My Dad always told me, “You don’t know how to get up until you fall down.” Life is a balance of negative and positive. We need both! To become people of love we must embrace both. Our 12 step program teaches us that all of our experiences will one day become our strength and hope. Acceptance is the key. My Dad once again taught me some powerful lessons that today I see as his love for me. My father was a city farmer. We lived in Camden, NJ. yet my Dad had a farm in our yard and at the railroad yards. He used nothing but fresh horse manure in his garden. One day, I was in our yard and my Dad told me to pick up a hand full of soil and taste it. He confused me but then came the lessons. All that manure that we put into the ground was changed into vitamins and minerals to feed the plants. Manure was the fertilizer of love to help those plants to grow and produce. Life is the same. Our experiences, struggles and pain, if we can accept them and learn from them, become our fertilizer for growth. They become our strength. Love is the energy that allows us to heal, make peace and let go. Learning to love ourselves is the ultimate spiritual journey of life. We are God’s creations, and as we become stronger, as we face life, we are open to heal, make peace and do closures. Our life will be filled with this gift, the power to love. Then by our example, love is an energy that can’t be contained. We are a power house of love. It will flow out of us to others by the way we live our life.

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on - Thomas Jefferson

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NA Events Every Saturday Night @ 9:00PM - Saturday Night Dance at The First Unitarian Church - 21st and Chestnut - $5 Admission - Proceeds from the dance go to support the Greater Philadelphia Regional Convention of Narcotics Anonymous XXVIII January 18th-20th - New Jersey Area Convention 17 - Woodbrige Renaissance Hotel 515 US Highway 1 South Iselin, NJ January 26th - SPONSORSHIP BANQUET - First Presbyterian Church - 2 South Chester Pike, Glenolden, PA 19036 - Tickets are $15 per person* Sponsee Family Table Tickets (seats 8) are $100 per table - Contact Patty H. @ 610-500-1951 February 8th - 10th - MARLCNA XXIX - 2300 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, PA 17602 - Verlina: 717-330-3037, Denyse G: 717-396-0741 - www.marscna.org August 29th 2013 - September 1st - World Convention of Narcotics Anonymous 35 - To be held at the Philadelphia Convention Center - They will be celebrating NA's 60th anniversary.

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AA Events January 18-20, 2013 - The Annapolis Area Intergroup will host their 2ND ANNUAL CONVENTION at the Double Tree Hilton at 210 Holiday Court in Annapolis, Maryland. Registration fee is $30. Visit: www.annapolisareaintergroup.org for more info. Sunday, January 27th - Last Sunday of the Month Breakfast Meeting - 8:45am to 11am at the Brookside Manor, 50 Bustleton Pike, Feasterville behind Somerton Springs Swim Club, County Line and Bustleton Roads - $13 (No tickets sold at the door). Call for tickets call Steve 215-284-4546 or Barbara 267-496-0512 Monday, January 28th - the MONDAY NITERS group will host their 6th Annual MONDAY NITERS LONG TIMERS PANEL. Meeting is NOT at Holy Nativity. It is at St. Cecilia's Church, 535 Rhawn Street in NE Philadelphia from 7pm to 9pm. Donuts, dessert, and discussion with a dozen longtimers. February 17th - the SHARE-A-DAY EVENT will take place from 11am until 4pm. University of the Sciences, South 43rd Street in Philadelphia. For More AA Listings, SEPENNAA.org

Livengrin Alumni Association is now meeting the third Sunday of every month, 6:00PM at the Bensalem Main Campus - For Every Wednesday @ 7:30 PM - Bristol-Bensalem Nar-Anon more information please contact Laura at 215-638-5200 x164 Meeting - St. Thomas Aquinas Church 601 Bristol Pike (Rte Every Saturday @ 6pm - 7pm - Tune to 900 on the AM dial for 13.) Croydon, PA 19021 - Enter meeting from rear of church. Recovery Radio Personality Rick Ford’s show. Every Saturday @ 11AM - GreySheeters Anonymous Meeting Mother Of Prepetual Hope is having prayer meetings Tuesday (To stop overeating compulsively) - Located at Starting Point at 7pm and Sunday at 1:30pm in the upper room. For Info Call Pam @ 856-307-1988 Every 1st & 3rd Thursday of each month – G.R.A.S.P (Grief Recovery After A Substance Passing) Support Group- Held at PRO-ACTs Southern Bucks Recovery Community Center starts at 6:30PM. Contact PRO-ACT 215-788-3738 for info.

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Starting Point, Inc. - 856-854-3155 - Westmont, NJ Free Wednesday Lectures at 5:30 and 7:00PM ADDICTION SERIES January 16th: Fantasy Addictions; Core Issues Of Shame January 23rd: Caretaking Addictions; Control Addiction January 30th: Guest Speaker CO-DEPENDENCY SERIES February 6th: What Is Co-dependency February 13th: Family Systems; How They Affect Our Life February 20th: How To Play And Have Fun February 27th: Co-dependency And Relationships For a full list of free Starting Point meetings visit their website at www.startingpoint.org

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The Messengers M.C. “Carry The Message” Yep, it’s that time of year again, another cold November morning. The type of November morning where you can see your breath through your bandana wrapped around your face. The kind of November morning where you can smell your neighbors wood burner smoking away. Yep it was that kinda November morning. So why the heck are we pulling our bikes outta the garage this early? Well this is the morning of The 15th Annual BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) of DelCo’s, Sen. Clarence D. Bell Toy Run. So with big grins on our bandana covered faces, we strap down and secure a toy that will, hopefully, bring a little joy to a child in need in DelCo. It’s saddle up time so we jump on our scoots, and its off to 333 Naamans Rd. in Claymont Delaware, the staging area of this years Toy Run. That ride down 95S was really cold that morning. At the staging area the sun starts peeking through, and slowly but surely it gets warmer and warmer. Like clockwork for this type of day, off comes the layers of our winter garb and the mad scramble to find a Brother with room in his saddlebags begins. So with the sun shining down on what has become a great November day to go for a putt, a few of us get together to go over our assignments, making sure everyone is where they should be at, and there at the correct time. After doing all that now we’re ready. With McTuillio’s now open for breakfast and coffee, the time has come to see some old friends and hopefully make new ones. As time passes by, the lot starts filling up with bikes and toys. With the clock about to hit noon, a Brother yells, “Saddle Up!” and The Messengers Motorcycle Club ride off to secure the route to the after party. The after party was, as usual, a great time. The Lagoon parking lot was full of bikes and the back deck was full of riders The guys and gals of BACA DelCo really know how to throw a party. With the sounds of Tongue N Groove playing, (a great band, if you haven’t seen them, see them), Santa taking pictures with some ladies and some of the best food and beverages in town, it really was the place to be. You see, The Messengers have been doing stuff like this for 19 years strong, because, when someone asks us for help we do what we need to do, and enjoy every minute of it. You would think being in a Clean and Sober Club may limit what we do as a Club, however, The Messengers know that being free from alcohol and drugs actually opens the roads to us, and allows us to be one with our Brothers. We carry the message of recovery, because, we know when we do, we help ourselves get another day. Remember

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though, we ain’t Saints, none of us are. To Thy Own Self Be True. We know a lot has been said about us, some good, some bad, some true, some false, and that’s OK. We turned 19 on December 28th, doing it one day at a time. It’s now the slow winter months, but in January we pick our five Mandatory Runs, then spring is right around the corner, so screw that bottle and hit the throttle. Want to learn more about us? www.MessengersMC.net If you have any questions about recovery or The Messengers Brotherhood? Ask a Member, we won’t bite. -Jabber and Patches of The DelCo Chapter of The Messengers Motorcycle

"Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears." – Les Brown

Tattoo Alert! Some Universal Symbols For Hope

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one perSon’S verSion of the golden Key When I was about 3 years clean in 1987 (my first of quite a few “stretches” of recovery), I remember being so willing to do almost everything my sponsor suggested I do. One day he said, “go to intergroup (back then AA and NA literature were passed back and forth fairly often) and pick up Emmett Fox's pamphlet “The Golden Key” {it wasn't exactly AA literature, he was a writer of religious or spiritual stuff}. Sure enough, I drive down to Juniper St. and get the pamphlet and start to read it. To my amazement it was about this tool where if you're really in a tough situation, and formal or well thought out prayers are too hard to conjure up – but you feel like you need somebody to hold your hand, quickly, - you just keep saying “God”. That's it. The way I use that tool is I try to summon His spirit (trust me, I'm not religious at all – this is kind of like 'foxhole praying') and think, “come here, please, I'm scared”. Here's a couple of examples where I remember using it lately; about a year ago I needed gum surgery and without gas (man did I love that stuff, LOL), I had to get those giant needles fill of Novocaine. OMG, do they hurt or what? I don't care how much stuff they dab on before they do it or how much they shake my cheeks, it is one of my worst moments in life. Luckily, I remembered about The Golden Key thing and boy was I using it. “God, God, God,God!” It worked...no, it still hurt a little but nowhere near as much as it would have if I had just sat there stoically. You want another example? There was a business decision that was totally out of my hands and it was going to be decided within a four hour period. Naturally, I wanted to it to go my way. But, being in recovery, we know that we have to be prepared for the reality that things won't always go our way. We can even call our sponsors (which I did) to help us get a perspective on things or to maybe learn something from the whole experience. But as time went by, the suspense was killing me! I couldn't take it anymore so once again I turned to The Golden Key. It worked in the way that I felt very comforted as I repeated, “God, God, God”. I then sat down and wrote this little 400 + word thing in the hopes that, just maybe, it will work for somebody else too. - Anonymous

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Spotlight on the group “BleSSed recovery”

Story by Latasha Shears Courtesy of Ideal Magazine Can recovery be a blessing? Apparently so; just ask the members of the band Blessed Recovery. At frst glance, they seem like the average musical group. They are equipped with a bass guitar, acoustic guitar, percussion, drums, keyboards, a rapper and vocalists. Yet somehow the melodic rhythms and lyrics take you on a journey through personal stories of healing and recovery from addiction, mental illness, and disAbilities – a unique spelling that is no mistake. Recovery based music is no gimmick. It is relevant, perhaps crucial, to the healing process. It is constantly reminding listeners to never give up, to turn your situations, frustrations, concerns and struggles over to a higher power. This movement and this music are for people genuinely and truly serious about recovery. Once you believe in it, there’s nothing you can’t achieve. Blessed Recovery is part of COMHAR Inc., which serves people who are living with mental health issues, substance addiction and intellectual disAbilities. The band evolved out of a musical kinship between people with common struggles. Lisa wrote beautiful songs that touched Dawn every time she would sing them, while Larry Mackey passionately played his piano. As their counselor, Dawn was inspired to form a band from the foundation that Lisa and Larry had already formed. During COMHAR’s annual luncheon with the Supported Independent Living (S.I.L.) consumers, Lisa and Dawn spoke with Gary Schoenberg, the Continuing Care Director about their desire to create music. Gary quickly gave his approval to start a Recovery Band. Dawn posted fyers in many different COMHAR locations seeking consumers interested in joining a recovery band. Robert, Larry, Craig, and Margaret responded. The band’s frst show was held on April 11, 2012 at COMHAR’s HOPE Art Show. This performance exhibited confdence, passion, and hope. The event was considered a success, but something was missing. Dawn held open auditions on April 18th and Leo, a rapper also known as Coazy, was added to the group. It is unanimously believed by the members of the band that God had a purpose in uniting them. It could be no accident that despite their different lives and paths, they shared such passion for music, for God, and for the blessed recovery they all believed in.

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Gazette IntervIew wIth Joe Curran, Ceo of Malvern InstItute Gazette Guy: You're such a down to earth guy to be the CEO of a large rehab. The people I've met in your position don't usually wear jeans and ride motorcycles. How did you keep your "personality" intact while still getting important positions? Joe Curran: I’m a Philadelphia guy through and through! I grew up in the city (well I was born there….some people would say I’m still not grown up) and I have strong roots that were given to me by my grandparents and the “neighborhood” we lived in. A friend of mine’s son when he heard I am a CEO and that I teach Graduate classes at St. Joseph’s University once told me that “I hide my intelligence and my business knowledge well”! I’ve been blessed in the jobs I’ve had in my career. I know addicts/alcoholics recover and I love being part of that! Gazette Guy: Malvern Institute before 2 years ago (approx.) seemed to be content in just cruising along on their reputation and momentum as a facility that has been around for years. Lately it seems that somebody "picked up the ball and started running with it". Is that an accurate assessment? Joe Curran: The disease of addiction demands that we all pick up the ball and never cruise along. The disease seems to be progressing at a quicker pace than ever before and those who have the disease are dying if they don’t get help! We, as a field, need to continue to use the core of treatment that we know works but we also need to find new methods to connect with our patients. The increased use of opiates in young people (under 25) is an epidemic and the treatment community needs to aggressively respond to this population. At Malvern we are using 12 step recovery along with new methods to engage these young people in recovery. We are finding that music and creative activities along with traditional therapy can touch some young people that are hard to reach. Gazette Guy: About the recent acquisition of the old Huntingdon Hospital by Malvern Institute. Just the mention of that facility brings back a ton of memories. I remember the pool table in the tiny rec room - we would get there early and shoot a few games before the Monday night meeting. Has it even be open all this time? I must be going back 25 years. Joe Curran: Huntingdon Hospital was sold and became a nursing home for some years. The nursing home closed some time back and that is the facility we are acquiring. The nursing home had made some additions to the old hospital including a brand new, state of the art patient wing. We are pursuing inpatient beds for both drug and alcohol detoxification and rehab

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stays, as well as hospital based beds for co-occurring patients. Gazette Guy: I have to ask this, are you in recovery yourself? Joe Curran: I live my life “one day at a time” and have for the past 36 years. I don’t pick up a drug or a drink under any and all conditions each day. I remember where I come from because I don’t want to go back there. I start each day asking for the day and end the day saying thank you. I talk to someone else who suffers from the same problems I do every day. Does that make me recovering? Gazette Guy: I heard that when your new facility finally gets to open there (can we call it Malvern Willow Grove?), that it will be a lot bigger than the old Huntingdon Hospital. When can people who are looking for positions there start applying and how? Joe Curran: I am very pleased to announce that we have hired Scott Weisenberger as Executive Director for Malvern Willow Grove and that we are accepting applications for positions now. We need supervisors, nurses, counselors, techs and all other positions. Anyone interested can apply through our website (www.malverninstitue.com). Gazette Guy: I always get asked this question so I'm going to ask you. What exactly does somebody need as a requirement to be a drug and alcohol counselor? Joe Curran: We would consider applicants that have a CAC or a Masters Degree. Gazette Guy: Here's a question that's extremely personal for me. I get very fearful when I hear that insurance companies don't want to pay for detox or rehab stays like they used to do. I have never been able to get clean by detoxing on the outside - I always needed a good, inpatient "head start". Is this acquisition a sign that maybe there's hope that there will always be inpatient facilities for people who need them? Joe Curran: We must continue to fight for appropriate levels of care and appropriate lengths of stay for those who suffer from the disease. Research shows that if an individual receives the appropriate treatment for the appropriate time they “do recover”. The “Malvern Model” is based on a 90 day continuum that builds a foundation for life-long recovery. Evidence indicates that if an individual gets 90 days of recovery their chances of “not” relapsing increase tremendously. Think of the wisdom of AA’s suggestion of 90 meetings in 90 days. Someone knew that 90 day mark was important and meaningful!

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restart the disease process, and serve as the entrance way into that black hole of active addiction. It will also lead to physical, spiritual, and mental deterioration. The negative health effects from chronic marijuana smoking are a topic for a different day, but I can assure you that there are many. Mark Sigmund CADC, CCDP is a counselor at Rehab After Work.

Mark Sigmund’s

Dumb Criminal - $100 Bills With Lincoln’s Picture The Marijuana Issue Marijuana has been in the news alot recently. Even though federal law still prohibits the recreational use of marijuana, some states like Washington legalized it's recreational use. In fact, I have been noticing increased news coverage of this drug. Often, I pass by a marijuana documentary as I surf the television. It is so important that as recovering people, we realize that Marijuana is still a dangerous drug. I used to be the guy who wrote papers in college arguing about pot's benefits, it's harmless nature, and promising I would be smoking pot on my porch as an old man. However, my opinion has changed greatly since entering recovery, and also working with many people who have marijuana problems. The truth is that pot is a major problem for many addicts seeking recovery. It is important to remember the cunning, baffling, and powerful nature of addiction. It loves to use this so called "harmless" drug to suck people back into the nightmare of active addiction. Can you think of a better tool for addiction to use than a supposedly "safe" drug? I have witnessed so many recovering people falter in recovery because they thought they could still just smoke pot. They had so many rationalizations and arguments about why pot smoking wasn't a problem. They couldn't recover. Many of us began smoking marijuana heavily as our first favorite drug, and promised we wouldn't move on to bigger things, or would just moderate marijuana use. However, as people with the disease of addiction, our attempts failed. As addicts, our brains are hard-wired for addictive use. Our pleasure centers have been primed to crave more and more of what we like. Marijuana use will only

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A Rhode Island man, police say, who used counterfeit $100 bills to make purchases at a Target store made a critical mistake. The bills had a picture of President Abraham Lincoln on them. Real $100 bills bear a picture of Benjamin Franklin. Lincoln's portrait graces the $5 bill. Dana Leland of Central Falls, R.I., was held on $1,000 cash bail after pleading not guilty in Attleboro District Court to charges of passing a counterfeit note and possession of a counterfeit note. Police tell The Sun Chronicle the 29-year-old Leland used the fake notes on three consecutive days at the North Attleborough store to buy items worth less than $25. Leland's lawyer said her client has struggled with drug and alcohol problems and untreated mental health issues, and had a relapse.

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January/February 2013

Gazette Guy’s

“Word Up!”

The Ups and Downs of 12 Step Living The curve balls keep coming. Just because we're in recovery it doesn't mean our lives are going to be manageable and that we're guaranteed that we won't lose it from time to time. Life can be crazy. We can have weeks of smooth sailing and all of a sudden – bam! We do make progress in our ability to handle life on life's terms and often that lulls us into a false sense of security. Well, maybe not a false sense, but we forget that there might be more storms coming. If we're lucky they won't be big ones. And I've been lucky, so far. But my experience tells me to not to put my guard down so fast. Especially when we don't live on an island. We have all kinds of unpredictable people in our little worlds who are probably capable of some interesting behavior. The roller coaster ride continues. They told us to fasten our seat belts because we were in for the ride of our lives. True, true. It has been quite a trip. A surprisingly good one, actually. Most of us have miraculously lost the desire to drink and drug (for the most part), have found a new way to live and have found joy and contentment in our second and third chances at life. But smooth it's not. At least not for me. Well, not all the time. It is a

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lot smoother than it used to be! I guess the main problem is that with growth and maturity comes change and the need for courage. And that's not easy to muster up. It's really kind of nerve wracking. It doesn't matter if it's finding a new place to live, looking for a new job, the breakup of a relationship – change is a tough one. We're never out of the woods. That's not just when it comes down to taking that first drink or drug either. We're never totally free of having to push ourselves to do the next right thing. We always seem to be debating in our heads all kinds of questions of what to say and what to do. Or what not to say or do. Luckily we have people we can bounce stuff off of, but deep down fear is always with us. Our faith in the recovery process and some security comes with a belief in a higher power but it's always a little scary moving through the next portion of life's little obstacle courses. A sense of humor and a hand to hold help a lot. But there's always that little voice saying, “I hope this doesn't blow up in my face”! Ahhhh. Made it through another hurdle. The funny thing is when we do move forward through a problem or challenge, instead of trying to avoid it or go around it, we can really see how great the recovery process can be. We can actually grow and become successful, productive members of society. Many of us even get to live out some of our hopes and dreams. And things usually do work out okay. We really need to try and stop listening to those hecklers in the “balcony section” of our heads. Those negative voices can stop a lot of good possibilities before they even get to see the light of day. President Franklin Roosevelt really knew what he was talking about when he said, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself”.

NA World Convention Coming To Philly In September WCNA 35 in Philadelphia - August 29 2013 – September 1 2013 Philadelphia Convention Center - 1101 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19107 Email: WCNA@conferencedirect.com or events@na.org or call 818-7739999 x 771 WCNA has reserved rooms at discounted group rates for conference attendees at hotels close to the Philadelphia Convention Center. Reservations should be made through their official housing bureau, ConferenceDirect. TO SUPPORT WCNA - To make WCNA cost effective, they have negotiated special room rates and have committed to a block of rooms at their official hotels. In return, they are providing meeting space and other considerations based on using a specific number of sleeping rooms. They ask you to support WCNA by reserving your sleeping accommodations within the room block. Your support allows them to keep their registration fees reasonable. ENTERTAINMENT: Comedic superstar, Gabriel Iglesias, among others to be announced, will be part of the featured performers at the convention.

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Issue # 39

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Bill W. On Acid?

Wikipedia - In the 1950s, Bill W. used LSD in medically supervised experiments with Betty Eisner, Gerald Heard, and Aldous Huxley. With Wilson's invitation, his wife Lois, his spiritual adviser Father Ed Dowling, and Nell Wing also participated in experimentation of this drug. Later Wilson wrote to Carl Jung, praising the results and recommending it as validation of Jung's spiritual experience. (The letter was not in fact sent as Jung had died.) According to Wilson, the session allowed him to re-experience a spontaneous spiritual experience he had had years before, which helped him to overcome his own alcoholism. Bill was enthusiastic about his experience; he felt it helped him eliminate many barriers erected by the self, or ego, that stand in the way of one's direct experience of the cosmos and of God. He thought he might have found something that could make a big difference to the lives of many who still suffered. Bill is quoted as saying: "It is a generally acknowledged fact in spiritual development that ego reduction makes the influx of God's grace possible. If, therefore, under LSD we can have a temporary reduction, so that we can better see what we are and where we are going — well, that might be of some help. The goal might become clearer. So I consider LSD to be of some value to some people, and practically no damage to anyone. It will never take the place of any of the existing means by which we can reduce the ego, and keep it reduced." Wilson felt that regular usage of LSD in a carefully controlled, structured setting would be beneficial for many recovering alcoholics. However, he felt this method only should be attempted by individuals with well-developed egos.

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S trAnge Weird FActS Walt Disney was afraid of mice. - Elephants are the only mammals that can't jump. - A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out. - Women blink nearly twice as much as men. - Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin. - The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building. - If Barbie were life-size, her measurements would be 39-23-33. She would stand seven feet, two inches tall. - A toothpick is the object most often choked on by Americans! - A house fly lives only 14 days. - An annoyed camel will spit at a person. - Pork is the world's most widely-eaten meat. - The heart of a blue whale is the size of a small car. - Slugs have 4 noses. - A snail can sleep for three years. - All polar bears are left handed. - It’s physically impossible for you to lick your elbow. - The cigarette lighter was invented before the match. - Marilyn Monroe had six toes on one foot. - In Tokyo, a bicycle is faster than a car for most trips of less than 50 minutes! - Every day 20 banks are robbed. The average take is $2,500! - The names of Popeye's four nephews are Pipeye, Peepeye, Pupeye, and Poopeye! - Tourists visiting Iceland should know that tipping at a restaurant is considered an insult! - The Nobel Peace Prize medal depicts three naked men with their hands on each other's shoulders! - When glass breaks, the cracks move faster than 3,000 miles per hour. To photograph the event, a camera must shoot at a millionth of a second! - The Philadelphia mint produces 26 million pennies per day! - Skepticisms is the longest word that alternates hands when typing!

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DiD You Know...

That leap years do not necessarily occur every 4 years. February 29 is added to the calendar year only when the number of the year is divisible by 4 -- Except in centenary years (eg: 2100, 2200, 2300, etc..) not divisible by 400. For instance, the year 2000 was a leap year but the year 2100, while divisible by 4, will not be a leap year because it is not divisible by 400, 2104 will be the next leap year following 2096. - George Washington never wore false teeth made from wood. They were actually made of ivory and gold. - S.O.S. does not stand for “Save Our Ship.” S.O.S., the international Morse code signal for distress, does not stand for anything. The letters S.O.S. were adopted by international agreement in 1908 because they are easy to transmit. The letter S is transmitted as three dots. The letter O is transmitted as three dashes. The international signal word for a distress call by radio or telephone is “Mayday,” derived from the French word m’aider (“help me”). A lightning bolt generates temperatures five times hotter than those found at the sun's surface! - In Tokyo, they sell toupees for dogs!

Soberstock 4 is now in the planning stages. Want to get involved, help out a good cause and have a lot of fun? Call Doug at 267-718-4702 for more info.

Recovery House Listings Pages 32 Thru 36 To Advertise Your Recovery House Call Bruce at 215-317-8774 or email inquiries to 12stepgazette@comcast.net

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Issue # 39

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Rat DRug StuDy giveS ClueS to RelapSe

A group of genes whose expression is significantly altered following exposure to drug paraphernalia after an enforced 'coldturkey' period have been identified. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience studied gene expression in the brains of heroin-addicted rats, identifying those genes that may be involved in precipitating a relapse. Kara Kuntz-Melcavage, from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, is part of a team of researchers who carried out the experiments. She said, "A number of gene expression studies have investigated changes induced by drug exposure, but few reports describe changes associated

with the mental state that leads to relapse. We identified 66 genes involved in the relapse response, including some that are important for neuroplasticity, and through that role may impact learning and behavior". Kuntz-Melcavage and her colleagues attached rats to a drug supply that for 3 hours each day delivered heroin into their jugular veins when they licked a particular empty spout. Over a two-week period, these animals were free to self-administer heroin, while control rats to whom they were linked received saline instead. Studies like these have proven very effective in the past in helping treatment providers understand the relapse process.

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Writers In Treatment Film Festival Now Accepting Submissions The 5th Annual REEL Recovery Film through the eye of the needle and exemplify the gifts of a valuable and proFestival is a multi-day exhibition event showcasing first-time filmmakers and experienced professionals who make films about addiction, treatment, recovery and sobriety. Our audience is treatment professionals, people in recovery, members of the entertainment industry, media representatives, educated moviegoers, and the general public. Certain television shows have brought individuals’ incomprehensible demoralizing moments (i.e., “bottoms”) to viewers everywhere. We honor the men and women who have passed

ductive sobriety. Review Process: W.I.T. is currently accepting films from January 1 through August 7, 2013. Reviews will be conducted by W.I.T.’s Board of Directors and/or other qualified advisors Format of Submission: 1. Films submitted as DVDs, clearly marked with: title and duration. Include name, address, phone number and e-mail address. 2. We also accept e-submissions via You Send It to info@reelrecoveryfilmfestival.org. 3. Vimeo link or URL. Submission Details: Submit entries via USPS to Writers In Treatment, PO Box 1745, Studio City, CA, 91614. The completed application and your DVD must be mailed together with a $35 submission fee (checks should be made out to Writers In Treatment). If you need additional information, please contact Leonard Buschel at (818) 762-0461 or info@writersintreatment.org.

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Marti Hottenstein’s Pain Leads to “KarLs Law”

Article By Gary Weckselblatt Courtesy of The Daily Intelligencer In the six years since Marti Hottenstein found her 24-year-old son Karl dead of a methadone overdose, the Warminster woman has moved many mountains. She founded the How to Save a Life Foundation, which helps people without money receive treatment for addiction, and earned a job at SOAR, a Northeast Philadelphia outpatient substance abuse treatment facility specializing in methadone treatment for opiate addiction. Working with state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-12, Hottenstein was instrumental in establishing a statewide task force to review how methadone is regulated and how people receive treatment. Her latest achievement, just two days after the six-year anniversary of her son's death, was Act 148 of 2012 known as Karl's Law. The law creates a Methadone Death and Incident Review Team within the Pennsylvania Department of Health. This team will be responsible for conducting reviews for all deaths where methadone was either a primary or secondary cause of death and will develop best practices to prevent future methadone-related deaths. "Six years ago, when I found my son dead, and I couldn't give him that last breath, I didn't think I was going to breathe much longer," Hottenstein said. Others she has worked with, however, "gave me that breath, that fight and that passion to help others so that mothers won't have to be like me. And children with addictions don't have to be like my son." Hottenstein teamed with Bensalem state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-18, for nearly six

years to get Karl's Law approved. DiGirolamo's legislation, combined with a measure by Philadelphia state Sen. Mike Stack, D-5, was ultimately signed by Gov. Tom Corbett. DiGirolamo said of Hottenstein. "Marti is just an amazing person." Methadone, which comes in liquid and pill form, is used as replacement therapy for opiate addictions like heroin to ease withdrawal symptoms, and is prescribed as a pain reliever by physicians. Karl Hottenstein died after taking methadone he had bought from a friend. He had been trying to fight off an addiction to the painkiller oxycodone, which he got hooked on following a car accident. Marti said her son was denied treatment, and never got to go to rehab. "I was not familiar with methadone. But I became very familiar after it took my son's life." Deaths from methadone overdose have increased six-fold between 1999 and 2009, and nearly one-third of prescription painkiller overdose deaths involve this drug, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. DiGirolamo said when someone on a methadone-related treatment plan passes away, there can be unanswered questions.

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. - George Bernard Shaw

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“Relationship� Word Search Puzzle Answers on Page 39 attraction argue children commitment compromise dinner furniture holidays interests love money pets sharing television friendship bills closeness common concerts family happy honesty laughing marriage movies principles sleep touching aging caring comfort companion content flowers helping hugs living meetings neighbors rings smiling vacation

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Recovery Residences May be What Many Need - Study By TRI By Amy A. Mericle, PhD, Jennifer Miles, BA, & John Cacciola, PhD For many in recovery, hard-fought gains are often jeopardized by precarious living arrangements or untenable housing. Recovery residences, like recovery homes, sober living houses, and Oxford Houses represent an important component in the continuum of care for substance use disorders. The study design includes both structured and semi-structured interviews to be conducted with site contacts (e.g., directors, house managers, owners), as well as focus groups with current residents and alumni. We will also follow up with some of the current residents to collect data every three-months. Unfortunately, recovery residences, particularly recovery homes, are understudied in the scientific literature and are often regarded with skepticism by community members.Without published research and licensed professionals, policymakers and potential funders will continue to question the legitimacy of recovery residences and peer-based recovery. With funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, scientists at the Treatment Research Institute seek to fill this critical gap in the literature by studying recovery homes in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is an ideal city to study recovery homes because it has a high concentration of them: more than 250 privately-funded recovery homes, eighteen homes that receive funding from Philadelphia’s Office of Addiction Services (OAS), and several others that receive funding through SAMHSA’s Access to Recovery program. Although data collection has been underway for only a few months, several important themes have emerged. 1. Recovery home operators are willing to participate in research. Despite the unpredictable nature of their busy schedules, site contacts have been extremely accommodating and have graciously welcomed research staff into their homes. They understand the necessity of research data in promoting the legitimacy of recovery homes and peer-based recovery. 2. Although site contacts have been welcoming and supportive of this re-

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search, we have encountered barriers because there is no central registry of recovery homes, and the recovery home landscape in Philadelphia changes frequently with homes closing, opening, or changing names, ownership or target population. 3. Despite not being considered formal “treatment providers”, recovery homes operate in a highly structured and therapeutically-oriented manner. These homes have a number of rules and expectations for residents, and provide basic as well as a variety of recovery-oriented services, all at a modest cost to residents. All of the homes interviewed performed drug testing. Over half mandated involvement in AA/NA and/or substance abuse treatment. Residents had curfews, were expected to do chores, and typically lived in shared sleeping quarters. 4. Although site contacts were stoic in discussing the challenges they face as recovery home operators, many cited stigma from the community as a hindrance to running their recovery home. To counter this stigma, many of the homes participated in community engagement activities (e.g., litter abatement), which they felt fostered good neighbor practices and positively affected the attitudes of surrounding neighbors. Financial hardship was also cited as an impediment to operating these recovery homes, but most operators found ways to overcome these obstacles, and remained hopeful in continuing to operate their homes. 5. Finally, recovery home operators do what they do to help others in recovery, which often comes from a very personal place. Although they had varying levels of education and came from diverse professional backgrounds, nearly all were in recovery themselves. Often having come through the home they now operate, site contacts mentioned a sense of dedication to the program, stating “this place saved my life.” The findings from this study are preliminary, but they hope this work will raise awareness about the potentially critical role of recovery homes in meeting the needs of those in recovery and lead to future research.

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About 12 Step MAtch.coM

the pickle Story by Jeff c.

12StepMatch.com is an online dating site devoted to single adults living in and practicing the principles of recovery. 12StepMatch.com is the only website where, besides searching by Country, City, zip code, sexual and personal preferences, members also have the ability to search for other members within their own personal program of recovery (AA, OA, NA, GA, OE, etc.) 12StepMatch.com is a much-needed resource for single adults living in 12 Step Programs of Recovery. Individuals in recovery often seek out others in recovery who understand the struggles of addiction and what life living in recovery is about. When a person becomes a member of a 12 Step Program, they usually select a group meeting which is in a close vicinity to their home, referred to as a “Home Group”. In order to keep their Home Group a safe haven, it is generally not a good idea to date others within that same group. 12StepMatch.com helps its members to locate others, in their personal Program of Recovery, in adjacent towns and cities (or across the globe) thereby continuing to keep their home group a safe place. When people in recovery travel, they often refer to either the Alcoholics Anonymous website or 12 Step Meeting books to set up meetings in advance before arriving at their destination. Through 12StepMatch.com, members can search for other members residing at those locations where they can develop online relationships in advance (whether for friendship or otherwise), as well as to gather information on local meetings and other points of interest in the area. It is generally suggested by various 12 Step Groups of Recovery for its members to refrain from dating within their first year of recovery so that they can focus on just that, their recovery. This is where the support and friendship of the site helps its members. The site encourages its members to: “Keep your Recovery First, in order to make it Last!” 12StepMatch.com is free to join, create a profile with photos and search for other members. The only time a very small fee is involved is if you would like to initiate contact with another member (or members) of the site, after having done a search. There is no need to have an upgraded membership in order to respond to other members who write you (as is the case with most dating sites). For those in the LGBT Community you might want to visit their sister site at SoberGayDating.com.

Hi my name is Jeff and I’m an alcoholic. I started drinking very early, before I was even a teenager, but the day of my eighth grade graduation was a special day, a pivotal day in the life of a young man. I woke up about 5 am, extra early, to prepare for my celebration. I took all the bottles out of the liquor cabinet and lined them up on the counter. There was a variety of booze there that didn’t go together, but I didn’t know that at the time, all I knew was, there was alcohol in each and every one of the bottles; Crème de Mint, Crème de Coco, Gin, Brandy, Vodka, Whisky, Vermouth, Rum Etc… My plan was to take a little bit out of each bottle so as not to get caught. All I needed now was a jar. I looked in all the cabinets, but there were none to be found. If my parents came down with all this booze out, I was dead! I had to hurry, the pressure was on. Finally I looked in the refrigerator and there was a big Vlasic pickle jar with one pickle in it. I ate the pickle and began dumping the juice down the drain when suddenly I heard someone running the water in the bathroom directly above my head, Yikes! I had to hurry so I didn’t have time to wash the jar out. I filled the jar to the tippy top with my rancid mixture of alcohol and a little bit of pickle juice and put away the bottles, then scampered outside and stashed the booze jar in the garage. I then headed out for school. I went to the alley where we used to smoke cigarettes and weed and found one of my drinking buddies there. We choked down the horrible concoction and then went to school. I was plastered. I was never that drunk before, but somehow made it through the ceremony. My parents congratulated me, then drove me home, which seemed to take forever, and all I could think was man I can’t wait to go to bed. I needed to lie down, everything was starting to spin. When we got home I ran up the steps and opened the door, and much to my surprise and dismay, about fifty people shouted congratulations! I went blah and threw up all over the place then crawled up stairs and went to bed. When I woke up the next day I had the worst hangover ever in my young life. I struggled to make it down the hall to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. My hair was matted down on the one side with vomit. Apparently I must have been throwing up in my sleep, (a very common way for alcoholics to die) thank GOD I was still alive. My eyes were blood red and my head, oh my head was killing me. I looked at myself in the mirror and swore, “I will never ever, ever, ever, as long as I live eat another pickle!” A pivotal day indeed, as it was the first day I can remember blaming everything and anything for my problems, except the real culprit, alcohol and drugs.

Puzzle Answers From Page 37

Puzzle Answers From Page 37

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Goombah Logic by John P. “Taking Newcomers To Meetings� I was talking with this newcomer and he was telling me how he was having a difficult time getting rides to meetings. So I gave him my number and said when I usually go and told him to call me for a ride. He did and does, every Tuesday nite, but what really bothers me is that he continually calls people who are on the meeting list and the majority say to him that they're either not going to a meeting or they have some other excuse. But he does find the “one person� that does come and pick him up and follow through with step 12 in reaching out to help the newcomer. I still was kind of doubtful that he was calling all these people and that this was happening because in all the time I’ve been around I rarely heard that complaint - usually when someone needs a ride people at the meeting or on the phone list step up to the plate. So one day I took him to a noon meeting and hung out afterwards and went to lunch with some of the group-good fellowship stuff. On the way home he started to make some calls to get a ride for an evening meeting - he had 2 meeting lists filled with names + numbers. I watched as he dialed and I heard as everyone who answered said they weren't going or that they were doing something else. He called over 35 people and spoke to about half of them and left messages for the rest. I asked him to get back to me and tell me if he got a ride - he did call later and said someone had called back and was gonna pick him up---thank God-- again that “one person� who reached out to the newcomer. I cannot believe this!!!! Because when I made recovery my life I bought the whole package and that means reaching out and helping the newcomer and not to be selective or conditional; remember it's a “we� program. I do understand when people are working or have other responsibilities but to have over 30 people and not once but several times hear no! Or not to return the call of a newcomer is, excuse the language, not acceptable!{you know what I wanted to say} But then you have the optimists who say

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“that's all it took was the one to answer and take him�--the program works-ok--maybe-- that makes it acceptable, cause he did get to the meeting but what about those people who we know who have social anxiety or just have a hard time calling strangers - because we all do at first. After 5 rejections you really think they're gonna call anymore? I personally know someone who was told to call at least 3 people a day on that list to help them with their recovery and getting to know people. The first call, the person was starlted and kept asking who they were and when it finally connected that they put their name on the meeting list and he/she was calling because that was suggested, the person rudely told them they were with family in New York and “bye�. The next 2 they left messages, and the next day did the same thing and left 3 more messages. Only one out of the five called back and the person who was in N.Y. never came to them at a meeting when they were there to explain or even say hello. We say “the newcomer is the most important person� - well are they? I always remember a story when the hotline was just an answering service and the chairperson would call in 23 x a day to receive messages and call back people. The story goes that for some reason or irresponsibility they never got back to this one person who was calling and then one day when they retrieved the day's new messages it was a message from his mother asking why no one had called her son to help him and that he had died from a drug overdose. So I guess what I’m asking is, “is reaching out and working with a newcomer a part of your program of recovery?� I believe that the newcomer is our responsibility and it is part of our recovery whether you have months or years especially (1020-30 yrs - no exceptions). I say if you're not gonna answer the phone or your not gonna give a ride then don't put your name on the meeting list— because when you don’t answer or don’t pick them up they might get discouraged and not come back or continue to live in addiction or even die. Far fetched? I think not--I’ve witnessed one person walk away from this fellowship due to phone calls and “phonies� as they call it. I do live today (not try) by the slogan on one of our coins--�that no addict seeking recovery should ever die�. Please! Don't let that happen, we have something that works - let's keep it working.

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Horoscopes For Jan. & Feb. 2013 Aries (March 21 - April 19) - JAN - Winter has given you the urge to clean house when it comes to work. However, don’t let your temper get the best of you this month. Remain calm and think about what’s best for your future before making any rash decisions. Seek advice from a close friend or relative if you’re not sure what to do. FEB - Your forceful manner makes waves in the workplace. Keep your opinions to yourself this month and you will be a lot happier from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Your personal life blossoms when an old friend comes back into your life later in the month. Leo and Sagittarius play important roles. Taurus (April 20 - May 20) - JAN - Don’t go against your nature this month. A loved one helps you realize what you want when it comes to your personal life. So, go out and get it. Don’t let others stand in your way. However, when it comes to work, it’s best to hold back your opinions until you know the whole story. FEB - Your strong, steady nature will keep you calm during a tumultuous month at work. You won’t fall prey to co-workers’ worries. However, it’s a different story when it comes to romance. An evening with that special someone will allow you to open up and let your emotions show. Gemini (May 21 - June 20) - JAN - Your ability to think fast on your feet will come in handy during a social outing this month. Don’t let a surprise throw you off guard. Work will keep you busy during the beginning of the month, so you must focus on the task at hand. Your efforts won’t go unnoticed. A bonus is on the way. FEB - You’ll feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster when it comes to family this month. Relatives will be spending a lot of time with you and sharing their true feelings. Don’t hold your emotions in. Venting them will help bring you back to an even keel. Look to friends for relaxation. Cancer (June 21 - July 22) - JAN - A family situation will put you to the test this month. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Stay strong and use your sense of humor to keep loved ones calm. You’ll be riding high when it comes to romance. An evening with a good friend will turn out to be much more. FEB - Bask in the glory at work this month as you successfully complete a difficult project. Your superiors will be impressed. Your social life improves and your phone won’t stop ringing. Friends you haven’t heard from in quite a long time will be in touch. Taurus and Gemini are involved. Leo (July 23 - August 22) - JAN - Your pride may get you into trouble with a co-worker this month. Don’t make the situation worse by trying to take control. In your personal life, romantic efforts finally will pay off. That special someone will show you that he or she really cares. Don’t rush in too fast. Take your time. FEB - Your outgoing personality is a hit with superiors at work. They need someone to go after the heavy hitters and it very well could be you. Your loyalty to a good friend could put you in a difficult situation this month. Don’t lose someone close to you just because you’re feeling impetuous. Virgo (August 23 - September 22) - JAN - You’ll have to fight your fear of crowds this month as a meeting at work puts you in the spotlight. Your organization and perfectionism will pull you through with flying colors — and a lot of praise. Don’t be too hard on yourself after a fight with a loved one. FEB - Even though it may be hard for you, you’re going to have to sit still when it comes to a family event this month. Let relatives make the plans and only give your input if asked. It all will work out for the best. A friend will look to you for advice later in the month. Try not to be judgmental.

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Libra (September 23 - October 22) - JAN - Your ability to be a good listener will be needed this month as a close friend goes through a rough time. Your positive attitude will help get him or her back on track. Don’t let a quarrel with your special someone get you down. They will come back around eventually. FEB - Don’t let work get you down this month. It’s only a job; so many more important things go on after 5 p.m. Romance blossoms later in the month. You’ll be swept off your feet when you least expect it by someone whom you never thought could interest you. Gemini and Aries are involved. Scorpio (October 23 - November 21) - JAN - Your determination puts you in line for top honors in the workplace. The higher-ups finally recognize all the time and effort you put in. Don’t be shy when it comes to romance this month. Even though it’s against your nature, let your feelings be known. They’ll be reciprocated. FEB - You know who you are and what you can do, so don’t be a showoff at work early in the month. It can make you look foolish in front of your boss. Family matters are of prime importance this month. Show loved ones how much you care — even if they do drive you crazy at times. Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21) - JAN - Your happy, gregarious nature will be challenged this month as loved ones share a family secret. The news may come as a surprise but don’t let your temper flare. Take it in stride. Your optimism pays off when it comes to romance. That special someone finally will make a move. FEB - Don’t let a mistake at work get you down late in the month. Just explain yourself and correct the error. You don’t lie well, so don’t try it. Your family ties grow stronger this month. As for romance, you’re riding a wave of excitement. Enjoy it and start thinking about the future. Capricorn (December 22 - January 19) - JAN - Now is your chance to get ahead at work. Your boss offers you the opportunity to take a commanding role in the company and you’re up to the challenge. Don’t let your stubborn side take control when it comes to friends. You’ll have a good time, even though you didn’t make the plans. FEB - Keep your shoulder to the wheel at work this month. Don’t let petty arguments among co-workers distract you. A close friend will need your help. Give him or her support. However, stand your ground when he or she makes a ludicrous request. You’ll be thanked for it later. Aquarius (January 20 - February 18) - JAN - Your sense of realism does well for you in all areas of your life this month. You won’t overreact to a surprise at work, making you a pillar of strength for your co-workers. As for your love life, it’s time to take the next step in a relationship. Think about it. FEB - Don’t be a follower at work this month. Now’s your chance to take the lead and show everyone what you’re capable of. A loved one will seem aloof this month, but don’t overreact. He or she just needs to be alone for a little while. Respect his or her wishes. You’ll be close again soon. Pisces (February 19 - March 20) - JAN - Don’t let feelings of self-doubt keep you from reaching a new level of success. Believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything. A realistic look at finances will help you plan for the future. Pay attention to details at work, especially if you deal with numbers. Diet plays a role. FEB - Life is your stage this month — make your mark wherever you go. However, don’t let your satiric nature go overboard. Remember to respect other people’s feelings. Show compassion to a friend in need later in the month. He or she is counting on you for advice.

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January/February 2013

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January/February 2013

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