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Daily Recovery Readings – October 20

Just For Today
October 20
Freedom To Choose

“Enforced morality lacks the power that comes to us when we choose to live a spiritual life.”
Basic Text, p.44

In our active addiction, many of us lived our lives by default. We were unwilling or unable to make choices about how we wanted to act, what we preferred to do, or even where we would live. We allowed the drugs or other people to make our most basic decisions for us. Freedom from active addiction means, among other things, the freedom to make those choices for ourselves.

Freedom of choice is a wonderful gift, but it’s also a great responsibility. Choice allows us to find out who we are and what we believe in. However, in exercising it, we’re called on to weigh our own choices and accept the consequences. This leads some of us to seek out someone who will make our choices for us-our sponsor, our home group, our NA friends-just as our disease made our choices for us when we were using. That’s not recovery.

Seeking others’ experience is one thing; abdicating personal responsibility is something else. If we don’t use the gift of freedom we’ve been given, if we refuse to accept the responsibilities that go along with it, we’ll lose that gift and our lives will be diminished. We are responsible for our own recovery and our own choices. Difficult as it may seem; we must make those choices for ourselves and become willing to accept the consequences.

Just for today: I am grateful for the freedom to live as I choose. Today, I will accept responsibility for my recovery, make my own choices, and accept the consequences.

************************************

Daily Reflections
October 20
SOLACE FOR CONFUSION

Obviously, the dilemma of the wanderer from faith is that of profound confusion. He thinks himself lost to the comfort of any conviction at all. He cannot attain in even a small degree the assurance of the believer, the agnostic, or the atheist. He is the bewildered one.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 28

The concept of God was one that I struggled with during my early years of sobriety. The images that came to me, conjured from my past, were heavy with fear, rejection and condemnation. Then I heard my friend Ed’s image of a Higher Power: As a boy he had been allowed a litter of puppies, provided that he assume responsibility for their care.  Each morning he would find the unavoidable “byproducts” of the puppies on the kitchen floor. Despite frustration, Ed said he couldn’t get angry because “that’s the nature of puppies.” Ed felt that God viewed our defects and shortcomings with a similar understanding and warmth. I’ve often found solace from my personal confusion in Ed’s calming concept of God.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
October 20
A.A. Thought For The Day

For the past few weeks we have been asking ourselves some searching questions. We have not been able to answer them all as we would like. But on the right answers to these questions will depend the usefulness and effectiveness of our lives and to some extent the usefulness and effectiveness of the whole A.A. movement. It all boils down to this: I owe a deep debt to A.A. and to the grace of God. Am I going to do all I can to repay this debt? Let us search our souls, make our own decisions, and act accordingly. Any real success we have in life will depend on that. Now is the time to put our conclusions into effect. What am I going to do about it?

Meditation For The Day

“Our Lord and our God, be it done unto us according to Thy will.” Simple acceptance of God’s will in whatever happens is the key to abundant living. We must continue to pray:  Not my will but Thy will be done. It may not turn out the way you want it to, but it will be the best way in the long run, because it is God’s way. If you decide to accept whatever happens as God’s will for yourself, whatever it may be, your burdens will be lighter. Try to see in all things some fulfillment of the Divine Intent.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may see the working out of God’s will in my life. I pray that I may be content with whatever He will for me.

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As Bill Sees It
October 20
Pain-Killer—-or Pain-Healer, p. 291

“I believe that when we were active alcoholics we drank mostly to kill pain of one kind or another–physical or emotional or psychic. Of course, everybody has a cracking point, and I suppose you reached yours–hence, the resort once more to the bottle.

“If I were you, I wouldn’t heap devastating blame on myself for this; on the other hand, the experience should redouble your conviction that alcohol has no permanent value as a pain-killer.”

*********************************

In every A.A. story, pain has been the price of admission into a new life. But this admission price purchased more than we expected. It led us to a measure of humility, which we soon discovered to be a healer of pain. We began to fear pain less, and desire humility more than ever.

1. LETTER, 1959
2. TWELVE AND TWELVE, p. 75

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Walk In Dry Places
October 20
This too shall pass
Acceptance

When personal problems are brought up in group discussions, someone usually remembers the saying, “This too shall pass.” We use it in reference to unpleasant matters, but it also applies to happier experiences. It is a certainty that nothing will ever stay the same.

Our responsibility to ourselves is to see all situations constructively, whether they are seen as good or bad at the time. WHat seems a disappoint today might be seen as a blessing tomorrow. And we can’t always be sure that today’s wonderful opportunity doesn’t have a few hidden nettles in it.

The one certainty is that everything will pass. We should extract the good from everything, and let what is unpleasant fade into the past.

Whatever I’m facing today will certainly change as I do my best in the 24 hours ahead. None of us is permanently bound to any problem.

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Keep It Simple
October 20

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
—Eric Hoffer

When we’re not honest with others, we’re not being honest with ourselves. In recovery, we’re taught how to heal our hearts. We admit we’re wrong, and we do it quickly. We let our spirit have the loudest voice. This way, lies lose power over us. We find a way to be true to our spirit.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, You have a soft, quiet voice inside me. Help me, through meditation, to hear You better. Yours is the voice to follow.

Action for the Day: I’ll listen to my Higher Power. I’ll list any lies I’ve been telling myself and others lately. Then I’ll find someone I trust and tell that person what I’ve lied about.

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 20

…You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now.
–Joan Baez

How thrilling to contemplate that we can choose every attitude we have and every action we take. We have been gifted with full responsibility for our development. What will we try today? It’s our personal choice. How will we decide on a particular issue? Our options are only limited by our vision.

Every situation in life offers us a significant opportunity for making a decision that will, of necessity, influence the remaining situations we encounter. Just as we are interdependent, needing and influencing one another in all instances that bring us together, likewise our decisions are never inviolate. Each is singly important; however, its impact is multiplied by the variety of other decisions triggered.

The choice is ours for livings fully today, for taking advantage of all the opportunities that present themselves. Our personal growths, our emotional and spiritual development, are in our hands. God will provide us with the guidance, and the program offers us the tools. The decision to act is ours, alone.

I will exercise my personal power. My choices determine my development.

************************************************** *********

Alcoholics Anonymous
October 20
THE PERPETUAL QUEST

– This lawyer tried psychiatrists. biofeedback, relaxation exercises, and a host of other techniques to control her drinking. She finally found a solution, uniquely tailored, in the Twelve Steps.

Many drunks later, I tried everything else I could find: more therapy, different psychiatrists (it was always to be the next one would solve my problem), biofeedback, relaxation exercises, Antabuse, lots of self-help books from Freud to Jung, to every current fad that was published or taught. All to no avail, of course, because I’d always end up drunk.

pp. 391-392

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 20

Tradition Three – “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

A member gives us a vivid glimpse of those days. “At one time,” he says, “every A.A. group had many membership rules. Everybody was scared witless that something or somebody would capsize the boat and dump us all back into the drink. Our Foundation office* asked each group to send in its list of `protective’ regulations. The total list was a mile long. If all those rules had been in effect everywhere, nobody could have possibly joined A.A. at all, so great was the sum of our anxiety and fear.

pp. 139-140

*In 1954, the name of the Alcoholic Foundation, Inc., was changed to the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc., and the Foundation office is now the General Service Office.

************************************************** *********

Xtra Thoughts
October 20

Faith that the thing can be done is essential to any great achievement.
–Thomas N. Carter

Knowing Gods gift of inner strength and courage, I move forward with the things that once terrified me.
–Shelly

You could have everything in life and still have nothing or you could seek the Truth.
–unknown

The surface holds only illusions. Search deeper for the truth.
–unknown

Communication is the key to unlocking many doors in life.
–unknown

Change is hard, explaining why it is easier to stay in a negative frame of mind rather than a positive one.
–unknown

God is there when we need him the most. When we are afflicted, when trials are facing us, he is there for us. But what we need to understand is that God is there for us even when there are no trials, or when we are not afflicted. In knowing this truth, we can appeal to God at any time. We need not look to God only in testing times, but in fertile times. We should look to cultivate a relationship with Him in good times, and not just bad.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 20
OBSERVANCE

“The older I grow, the more I listen to people who don’t say much.”
— German G. Gladden

I’ve noticed that an important part of my recovery is people watching. I have fun watching people — at a party, on a train or in a park. I find the daily “theater” of life fascinating and stimulating. I also learn so much about me by observing others. I can identify with their mannerisms, actions and facial antics and intuitively sense what they are feeling. I see their fear, hesitancy and shame and connect it with mine. People are a mirror to my life.

Part of my recovery is developing that instinctive spirituality that grows through observation. The human being is forever communicating, sending energy and messages not only with words but by his existence — and especially by his silence. Sometimes a person’s silence can be deafening! God is most alive to me in the lives and behavior of His people, and part of my worship and prayer is observing the splendor and richness of my fellow human beings.

You, who have created the universe in such magnificent silence, touch me with Your stillness.

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Bible Scriptures
October 20

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Luke 12:32

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Matthew 24:36

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
1 Peter 3:15

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:9-15

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Daily Inspiration
October 20

When we are in a bad mood we are often reactive and irrational. A few moments of gratitude for all that we have will quickly change our feelings. Lord, help me gratefully remember that there is always more good in my life than bad.

Through the power of God within me, I am stronger than any of my circumstances. Lord, I seek, I knock and I ask and You are always there and ready to give me the miracles that I need.

************************************

A Day At A Time
October 20

Reflection For The Day

Before I admitted my powerlessness over alcohol and other chemicals, I had as much self-worth as a “peeled zero.”  I came into The Program as a nobody who desperately wanted to be a somebody.  In  retrospect, my self-esteem was shredded, seemingly beyond repair.  Gradually, The Program has enabled me to achieve an even-stronger sense of self-worth.  I’ve come to accept myself, realizing that I’m not so bad as I had always supposed myself to be.  Am I learning that my self-worth is not dependent on the approval of others, but instead is truly an “inside job”?

Today I Pray

When I am feeling down and worthless, may my Higher Power and my friends in the group help me see that, although I was “fallen,” I was not “cast down.”  However sick I might have been in my worst days, with all the self-esteem of an earth worm, may I know that I still had the power of choice.  And I chose to do something about myself.  May that good choice be the basis for my reactivated self-worth.

Today I Will Remember

I will not kick myself when I’m down.

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One More Day
October 20

By a tranquil mind I mean nothing else than a mind well ordered.
—  Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

When we are diagnosed as having a permanent medical condition, we may think we’ll never know tranquility again.  Before too long, though, we realize that whether we are entirely healthy or not, we bring to our new challenge the same value system we always had.  We can still find peace and serenity in our lives, for we continue to live our lives as well as we are able.

We owe it to ourselves to search out tranquility — a state in which we feel extremely peaceful, at eas3e with our inner strength, with nature, and with our sense of higher purpose.  Walking hand in hand with tranquility creates harmony, a time when our thoughts are orderly and we feel little distress.

I will work on keeping a peaceful mind in order to smooth out my rougher days.

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One Day At A Time
October 20
Limitations

“You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”
–Abraham Lincoln

I love the idea of helping people. Seeing the other person shine after my input gives me a great feeling. The flip side of this peak experience is the sadness and bleakness I feel when the person I am helping does not succeed. When it is all about me, I have to accept responsibility for everything: the good and the bad.

Thank You, God, that it is not really me who is the source of all help, it is You. I can point the way and make suggestions, but I cannot make someone change for the better. What causes people to change is something for which no person can take credit. It is simply divine!

The real question is whether or not the person I want to help will turn to his or her Higher Power and use the help that is offered. I cannot actually take these steps for others. I can pretend to do that, and perhaps offer some temporary relief, but lasting recovery will come only to those who make a quality decision to take the necessary steps on their own.

One day at a time…
I will realize the limitations of my help. I will not try to do for others what only they can and should do for themselves.

~ Q

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day October 20

“As Elders, it is our place to show respect to our young people in order to gain respect.”
–Grace Azak, NISGA’A

The attitude of our leaders will be the attitude of the people.
The attitude of the parents will be the attitude of the children.

If respect is shown from above, respect will be developed below.
If the Elders show respect, the younger people will be respectful.
As above, so below.

This happens because of interconnectedness. The heart of the Elders is connected to the heart of the youth.

Great Spirit, in the fall season let me respect both the Elders and the youth.

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Journey To The Heart
October 20
Fall into the Arms of Universal Love

Often in our lives we stand on a precipice. Something happens, a situation occurs, and in one moment our life changes dramatically in a way we hoped and prayed it wouldn’t. We topple off. In that moment, we may feel as if we’ve been pushed off a cliff.

Other times when we stand poised and our life changes radically in one moment, it’s a welcome change. We feel delightfully spontaneous, guided, powerful, centered. Ready to take risks. Ready to leap into the adventure.

Sometimes we’re pushed, sometimes we decide to make the leap on our own. Either way, we’re safe, we’re protected. Either way we can trust that we’ll land in the arms of universal love.

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Today’s Gift
October 20

The bough, which has been downward thrust by force of strength to bend its top to earth, so soon as the pressing hand is gone, looks up again straight to the sky above.
—Boethius

When we are down, low, depressed, why can’t we ignore the desire to rise up again? Because we’re like plants that need pure air, water, and sun. Because no matter how bent and old, we just keep wanting to grow up. Because there is a natural spring in us like that which makes flowers leap from the earth in May. Because we have hidden wings. And if we listen, we can feel the difference between wrong and right: we know the difference even with our eyes closed. Therefore we should not try putting ourselves down, for we will spring up again, sure as spring.

What is the main way I try to put myself down?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 20
Detaching with Love

Sometimes people we love do things we don’t like or approve of. We react. They react. Before long, we’re all reacting to each other, and the problem escalates.

When do we detach? When we’re hooked into a reaction of anger, fear, guilt, or shame. When we get hooked into a power play – an attempt to control or force others to do something they don’t want to do. When the way we’re reacting isn’t helping the other person or solving the problem. When the way we’re reacting is hurting us.

Often, it’s time to detach when detachment appears to be the least likely, or possible, thing to do.

The first step toward detachment is understanding that reacting and controlling don’t help. The next step is getting peaceful – getting centered and restoring our balance.

Take a walk. Leave the room. Go to a meeting. Take a long, hot bath. Call a friend. Call on God. Breathe deeply. Find peace. From that place of peace and centering will emerge an answer, a solution.

Today, I will surrender and trust that the answer is near.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 20
Be present now

Take time, but not too much, to see where you want to go. Learn the lessons from your past. Then let go of yesterday. Let tomorrow take care of itself. Even our best prediction about what may come in the future is only an educated guess, no matter how diligently we try to see ahead. If all you look at is where you’re going, you’ll miss all the wonder and beauty along the way. And once you get there– your future– you may not even remember where you’ve been. Rushing may be such a habit that you won’t enjoy your future once it arrives.

Be where you are right now. See what’s in front of you, not what you wish were there. Take time to see, enjoy, and appreciate what’s present. Take action if you need to. Or just enjoy the view. You’ve worked hard to get there. Enjoy it.

The past is important. It’s where we’ve been. The future is important,too. But there’s no time– and no time as real– as the present.

Learn to be here,now.

God, heighten my awareness and appreciation of each moment in my life.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 20

Life is not a spectacle or a feast; it is a predicament.
—George Santayana

We could probably feel more tranquil if the world were a simpler place and always gave us simple answers. But we are faced with many ambiguous and uncertain situations. The changing roles of men and women can often leave us bewildered. We are engaged in the development of relationships that have lives of their own, and it’s not always clear where they are headed. Even within ourselves we have contradictory feelings, and it’s difficult to come up with clear answers.

Since we cannot force simplicity upon the world, we must turn to ourselves for a new response. We can become more tolerant of our unsettled predicaments. We can learn to have faith that good comes from change. Things have a way of settling out and clarifying with time. As we develop patience with the questions and the unclear issues in our lives, we gain a deeper serenity.

Today, I will recall the predicaments in my past life that, in time, became clearer, and I will have patience with what seems unsettled.

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Daily TAO
October 20
INTERVAL

Seven geese pierce straight line over frigid bay,
Intervals between them constantly equal,
Pointed wings slash as if joined to an axle:
Today is the ideal moment between yesterday and tomorrow.

Every morning means a fresh start on things. If yesterday was trying and exhausting, today is a given opportunity to do something different.  If yesterday was full of triumph and satisfaction, today is a free chance to go further. All too often, we wake up, think of our schedules, and assume that we must act according to the same dull script. We need not. If we find what is unique to each day, we will have freshness and the greatest fulfillment possible.

Although we have talked about our relationship to Tao in terms of positioning and timing, the clear discerning of intervals is just as important. Geese keep a perfect distance between them to establish a dynamic equilibrium; so too must we fit in with the intervals of a day’s events. If we, like the geese, act in unison with these moments, with each other, and with the season, then we will be in total concert with Tao.

Today is poised between yesterday and tomorrow. What you may have started yesterday can be continued or interrupted today. What you want for tomorrow may be planted or destroyed today. Every morning is a new day. That observation is so simple as to seem trite. If we could observe the simple, there would be no need to study Tao.

Daily Recovery Readings – October 19

NA Just For Today
October 19
Standing For Something

“… we could feel time, touch reality, and recognize spiritual values long lost to many of us.”
Basic Text, p.85

In our active addiction, we were prepared to compromise everything we believed in just to get our hands on more drugs. Whether we stole from our families and friends, sold ourselves, or lied to our employers, we were ignoring the values that mattered most to us. Each time we compromised another dearly held belief, another chunk of the mortar holding our characters together fell away. By the time many of us came to our first meeting, nothing was left but the ruin of our former selves.

We will locate our lost values as we carry out our first honest self-examination. But in order to rebuild our characters, we’ll find it necessary to maintain those values, no matter how great the temptation to shove them aside. We will need to be honest, even when we think we could fool everyone by lying. If we ignore our values, we’ll discover that the biggest fibs we’ve told have been the ones we’ve told ourselves.

We don’t want to start the demolition of our spirits again after all the work we’ve put into their restoration. It’s essential that we stand for something, or we risk falling for anything. Whatever we find important to us, we honor.

Just for today: I stand for something. My strength is the result of living my values.

************************************

Daily Reflections
October 19
A. A.’S “MAIN TAPROOT”

The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole Society has sprung and flowered.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 21-22

Defeated, and knowing it, I arrived at the doors of A.A., alone and afraid of the unknown.  A power outside of myself had picked me up off my bed, guided me to the phone book, then to the bus stop, and through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous. Once inside A.A. I experienced a sense of being loved and accepted, something I had not felt since early childhood. May I never lose the sense of wonder I experienced on that first evening with A.A., the greatest event of my entire life.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
October 19
A.A. Thought For The Day

Do I realize that I do not know how much time I have left? It may be later than I think.  Am I going to do the things that I know I should do before my time runs out? By the way, what is my purpose for the rest of my life? Do I realize all I have to make up for in my past wasted life? Do I know that I am living on borrowed time and that I would not have even this much time left without A.A. and the grace of God? Am I going to make what time I have left count for A.A.?

Meditation For The Day

We can believe that somehow the cry of the human soul is never unheard by God. It may be that God hears the cry, even if we fail to notice God’s response to it. The human cry for help must always evoke a response of some sort from God. It may be that our failure to discern properly keeps us unaware of the response. But one thing we can believe is that the grace of God is always available for every human being who sincerely calls for help. Many changed lives are living proofs of this fact.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may trust God to answer my prayer as He sees fit. I pray that I may be content with whatever form that answer may take.

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As Bill Sees It
October 19
TIME VERSUS MONEY, p. 290

Our attitude toward the giving of time when compared with our attitude toward giving money presents an interesting contrast. We give a lot of our time to A.A. activities for our own protection and growth, but also for the sake of our groups, our areas, A.A. as a whole, and, above all, the newcomer. Translated into terms of money, these collective sacrifices would add up to a huge sum.

But when it comes to the actual spending of cash, particularly for A.A. service overhead, many of us are apt to turn a bit reluctant. We think of the loss of all that earning power in our drinking years, of those sums we might have laid by for emergencies or for education of the kids.

In recent years, this attitude is everywhere on the decline; it quickly disappears when the real need for a given A.A. service becomes clear. Donors can seldom see what the exact result has been. They well know, however, that countless thousands of other alcoholics and their families are being helped.

TWELVE CONCEPTS, pp. 63-64

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Walk In Dry Places
October 19
The same situation… over and over
Growth in Maturity.

Our drinking experience should have taught us that we’ll continue to repeat old destructive behaviors until we change our attitudes.

In sobriety, we can take this idea a step further and apply it to other areas. If we have trouble with other people, for example, we should ask what we’re doing to bring about unpleasant situations.

This is not to say that we’re responsible for everything that goes wrong, but we are getting a message ourselves if we continuously meet the same problem in different forms. Some people, for example, repeatedly become involved in bad relationships or find themselves working for abusive bosses.

Just as a changed attitude helped us recover from our drinking problem, so can a new attitude keep us from repeating other destructive situations.

I’ll be on the lookout today for any indications of a tendency to “attract” trouble. It’s true that I can have bad luck, but I don’t need to bring it on myself.

************************************

Keep It Simple
October 19

A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will.
—Seventeenth century proverb

We addicts used to be stubborn. Once we got an idea in our heads, we wouldn’t change it.

We didn’t listen to others ideas. We almost seemed to say, “Don’t tell me the facts. I’ve already made up my mind.”

But lately , some new ideas are making sense to us. We are starting to change our minds. Maybe we are good people, after all. Maybe we do deserve to be happy. Maybe other people can help us. Maybe our Higher Power does know best.

We’re not acting like fools any longer. We’re learning to change our old ideas.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, when I hear a better idea, help me change my mind.

Action for the Day: When I hear or read a new idea today, I’ll really think about it. If it fits, I’ll try it.

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 19

One of the conclusions I have come to in my old age is the importance of living in the ever-present now. In the past, too often I indulged in the belief that somehow or other tomorrow would be brighter or happier or richer.
–Ruth Casey

How easily our minds jump from the present to the foibles of the past or our fears about the future. How seldom are our minds on this moment, and only this moment.

Before we picked up this book, where were our thoughts? We need to practice, with diligence, returning our minds to whatever the experience at hand. A truly creative response to any situation can only be made when we are giving it our undivided attention. And each creative response initiates an even more exciting follow-up experience.

All we have of life, all that it can offer us is here, now. If we close our mind to the present, this present, we’ll only continue to do so when the tomorrow we dream of now becomes the present. There are no tomorrows.

I will let go of the past and the future. My only reality is here, now. God’s gifts are here, today, right now.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
October 19
THE PERPETUAL QUEST

– This lawyer tried psychiatrists. biofeedback, relaxation exercises, and a host of other techniques to control her drinking. She finally found a solution, uniquely tailored, in the Twelve Steps.

Incredibly, I did not connect the improved manageability of my life in this short period of abstinence to the absence of booze. It didn’t matter in the long run, because unfortunately, I started to get drunk again. I recall being fixated on that first glass of wine I was allowed to drink the day my coach informed me that I was ready to start drinking in controlled fashion. My tongue was almost hanging out.

p. 391

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 19

Tradition Three – “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

To establish this principle of membership took years of harrowing experience. In our early time, nothing seemed so fragile, so easily breakable as an A.A. group. Hardly an alcoholic we approached paid any attention; most of those who did join us were like flickering candles in a windstorm. Time after time, their uncertain flames blew out and couldn’t be relighted. Our unspoken, constant thought was “Which of us may be the next?”

p. 139

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Xtra Thoughts
October 19

I am never alone
never abandoned
never deserted
never judged
never chastised
and never without Gods aid.
–Shelley

“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God.”

Those who are lifting the world upward and onward are those who encourage more than criticize.
–Elizabeth Harrison

Correction does much, but encouragement does more.
–Goethe

Words to live by are just words, unless you live by them. You have to walk the talk.
–Cited in BITS & PIECES

Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.
–Cited in More of…The Best of BITS & PIECES

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 19
TACT

“Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.”
— Howard W. Newton

An aspect of my recovery is not hurting people’s feelings unnecessarily. I am learning how to say what I have to say without causing offense. Today I am learning to be tactful and respectful.

As a drunk I would say the first thing that came into my head without any regard for the feelings of others. I was often violent with words, sarcastic with comments and cruel in dialogue. Tact was a sign of weakness; gentleness and sensitivity were unmanly; my power was seen in forcing people to change their minds!

Today I do not wish to be like this. Today I desire to be tactful.

Lord, let me always express my opinion respectfully.

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Bible Scriptures
October 19

For great is Your love higher than the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Psalm 108:4

You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my only source of hope. Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God. LORD, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed. Sustain me, and I will be saved; then I will meditate on your principles continually.
Psalm 119:114-117

Let not kindness and truth forsake thee: Bind them about thy neck; Write them upon the tablet of thy heart.
Proverbs 3:3

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Daily Inspiration
October 19

Complaining reinforces your own unhappiness. Lord, when I speak, help to say things that are worth listening to and reinforce a joyful spirit.

Life is what our thinking makes it. Lord, help me visualize myself richly living each day, believing, achieving, and then succeeding.

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A Day At A Time
October 19

Reflection For The Day

There are countless ways by which my progress and growth in The Program can be measured.   One of the most important is my awareness that I’m no longer compelled, almost obsessively, to go around judging everything and everybody.  My only business today is to work on changing myself, rather than other people, places and things.  In its own way, the obsession of being forever judgmental was as burdensome to me as the obsession of my addiction;  I’m grateful that both weights have been lifted from my shoulders.  When I become judgmental, will I remind myself that I’m trespassing on God’s territory?

Today I Pray

Forgive me my trespasses, when I have become the self-proclaimed judge-and-jury of my peers.  By  being judgmental, I have trespassed on the rights of others to judge themselves– and on the rights of God in the Highest Court of all.  May I throw away all my judgmental tools — my own yardstick and measuring tapes, my own comparisons, my unreachable standards — and accept each person as an individual beyond compare.

Today I Will Remember

Throw away old tapes – especially measuring tapes.

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One More Day
October 19

There must be something strangely sacred in salt.  It is in our tears and in the sea.
—  Kahlil Gibran

Emotion plays around a person’s face, making it strained or relaxed.  We say we can “read” someone else’s face.  Few of us burst into spontaneous tears or laughter, but instead first show slight emotion on our faces or in the way we speak.

Laughter is instrumental to our well-being, but tears are also essential to our emotional survival.  When we finally release the emotions we feel and the dams break loose, the tears are healing.  They allow us to cleanse ourselves of pent-up angers, fears, and frustrations.

I know crying is a human characteristic.  I will not be ashamed of my need to cry, for tears are part of my human experience.

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One Day At A Time
October 19
Live and Let Live

“If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.”
–Henry David Thoreau

I have gleaned from the OA program that I can let others be themselves and make their own decisions unless an issue involves me as well. What a powerful concept. I have struggled long and hard with the issue of letting others live their lives as they choose without the benefit of my wise, profound advice. I really believed that I had all the answers and that by listening to me, one could get his or her life on the right track and be forever grateful to me for the magnanimous favor I had done them. I really believed this! I was also deeply frustrated when people did not immediately do whatever it was I had “advised” them to do. How could they be so dumb?

More importantly, how did I overlook the fact that my own life was heading downhill at a remarkable clip? Thanks to the OA program, I have slowly learned to keep my mouth shut. My motto for relationships is simple: sweep off my side of the street. It makes being me so much easier and it makes the lives of those around me a bit better too.

One day at a time…
Today I will accept and love those around me without acting on the urge to make their lives “better.” I will live and let live as I continue to realize the freedom the program offers me.

~ Pete

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 19

“The teachings are for all, not just for Indians… The white people never wanted to learn before. They thought we were savages. Now they have a different understanding, and they do want to learn. We are all children of God. The tradition is open to anyone who wants to learn.”
–Don Jose Matusuwa, HUICHOL

In the summer of 1994, a white buffalo calf was born. This means that now is the time for all races to come together. The Elders say that at this time a voice from within will speak to everyone. It will say now is the time to forgive, now is the time to come together. Are we willing to do this? Are we willing to quit judging other people? The Elders say, He will be talking through people of all races and gender. We need to open our hearts and welcome our brothers and sisters.

Great Spirit, let my ears be open as I walk the path You have chosen for me.

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Journey To The Heart
October 19
Honor This Time of Change

I left Point Reyes, a seashore town close to San Francisco, heading for Sequoia National Park. I wanted to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, but I wasn’t certain I could find it. City traffic was jarring after being in the woods, the mountains, and by the sea. Before long, however, I found myself at the foot of the Golden Gate. As I drove the span of the bridge, I felt the same electric charge surge through me as I had felt in Chimayo, in Ojo Caliente, and on the Flathead Reservation. It was the first time I realized that bridges are holy, sacred ground.

Times of change are holy. We may not know where we’re going. It may not feel like our feet are on solid ground. They aren’t. We’re crossing a bridge to another part of our lives.

Sometimes we may find ourselves at this bridge unwittingly, not certain how we got there, not certain we want to cross. Other times, we may have sought, prayed for, hoped for, longed for this time of change.

Drive across the bridge. You don’t have to understand it all right now. Information and understanding will come later. You’ll get to the other side. For now, trust and experience what you’re going through. Know that this time of change is sacred,too.

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Today’s Gift
October 19

All power is a trust. We are accountable for its exercise. From people and for people all power springs, and all must exist.
—Benjamin Disraeli

The sun is power. It warms, and it burns, it feeds the plants without which we could not live. Yet, for all its power, the sun cannot make so much as a rainbow by itself. For that, it needs the rain, at just the right time and angle.

No matter how strong we are – or smart or talented or attractive – we realize our full power only by filtering it through others. Our most meaningful achievements are born of combined efforts. Even when we do something that feels like ours alone – paint a painting, win an award, and hit a home run – there is always a constellation of friends and family and teachers, even enemies, who’ve been a part of our success.

Like the rain’s part in the rainbow, the contributions of others do not detract from our achievements, but enhance them and bring them to their fullest light.

How are others enhancing my growth today?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 19
Our Good Points

What’s a codependent? The answer’s easy. They’re some of the most loving, caring people I know.
–Beyond Codependency

We don’t need to limit an inventory of ourselves to the negatives. Focusing only on what’s wrong is a core issue in our codependency.

Honestly, fearlessly, ask: “What’s right with me? What are my good points?”

“Am I a loving, caring, nurturing person?” We may have neglected to love ourselves in the process of caring for others, but nurturing is an asset.

“Is there something I do particularly well?” “Do I have a strong faith?” “Am I good at being there for others?” “Am I good as part of a team, or as a leader?” “Do I have a way with words or with emotions?”

“Do I have a sense of humor?” “Do I brighten people up?” “Am I good at comforting others?” “Do I have an ability to make something good out of barely nothing at all?” “Do I see the best in people?”

These are character assets. We may have gone to an extreme with these, but that’s okay. We are now on our way to finding balance.

Recovery is not about eliminating our personality. Recovery aims at changing, accepting, working around, or transforming our negatives, and building on our positives. We all have assets; we only need to focus on them, empower them, and draw them out in ourselves.

Codependents are some of the most loving, caring people around. Now, we’re learning to give some of that concern and nurturing to ourselves.

Today, I will focus on what’s right about me. I will give myself some of the caring I’ve extended to the world.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 19
See for yourself

I have a friend who likes to hike and backpack. He always takes beautiful pictures of the places he visits. After one trip he was telling me about a camp high in the California Sierras while showing me a photo of a stunning sunset. He told me about the night that he returned to camp after walking to the top of the mountain.

“When I got down, I found that everyone else had packed up and left camp. I was alone at twelve thousand feet. The silence was so thick I could almost touch it. You should have seen the sunset that night. It was even better than this picture.”

“Why didn’t you take a picture if the sunset was even more beautiful?” I asked.

“I figured that no one else cared to see the world from that viewpoint that night but me, so I just kept the sunset all to myself,” he explained. “If you weren’t there, you just missed out.”

This summer I watched the sun set over a lake in a corner of New Mexico, then I spent the night under the stars in a sleeping bag. The stars were so clear, so close, so brilliant I felt like I could touch them. And no, I didn’t take a picture. If you weren’t there, you just missed out.

You can read a meditation book, make a list, and even talk to people who live their lives fully, but unless you make the trip yourself, you won’t see all this life has to offer.

Is there a picture that you’ve been too busy to see lately? Break out of the ordinary. See something new or see the ordinary in a new way. Don’t just glance. Really look. Then bring back the picture in your heart. Unless you’re there, you’re just missing out. Some things you just need to see for yourself.

God, help me live my life to the fullest. Help me see and treasure all the beauty in the world.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 19

If only I could throw away the urge to trace my patterns in your heart I could really see you.
—David Brandon

Trying to control and change the people around us creates great problems in our relationships. When people we love are expressing themselves, we’re thinking about what we wish they would say, and it blocks us from hearing clearly. A need for safety and for a guarantee that we won’t be abandoned urges us to manipulate the people we love. We know we have innocent motives. We say we only want what is best and that we are only trying to protect ourselves or be helpful. But we hide from the effects our actions have on our relationships.

We seem to be more trapped in these self-centered behaviors with the ones we are closest to. We can change ourselves by slowly releasing our security grip on others. We can focus more on understanding what others are saying to us than on changing how they think and feel. Intimacy is clearly seeing each other and knowing the differences as well as the similarities. It requires that both people be allowed to walk on separate paths.

I will release my grip on my loved ones and turn to my Higher Power for security and serenity.

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Daily TAO
October 19
BALANCE

Summer withered grass to flaxen yellow,
Scorched leaves to brittle paper,
Dried lakes to cracked clay.
Chill autumn brought little relief –
Only frosted the devastation.
But with the early gentle rains,
The earth’s fissures softened
And desiccated plants began to dissolve.
Slowly, balance comes once again.

Many cultures describe old people as having seen many winters. Those elders have seen many cycles come and go, and their wisdom comes from long observation of life’s rising and falling.

If we have a long-range view, then we realize that equilibrium comes in the course of nature’s progression. Nature does not achieve balance by keeping to one level. Rather, elements and seasons alternate with one another in succession. Balance, as defined by Tao, is not stasis but a dynamic process of many overlapping alternations; even if some phases seem wildly excessive, they are balanced by others.

Everything has its place. Everything has its season. As events turn, balance is to know what is here, what is coming, and how to be in perfect harmony with it. Then one attains a state of sublimity that cannot be challenged.