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Daily Recovery Readings – August 29, 2014

Just For Today
August 29, 2014
Don’t Look Back

“The steps offer a big change from a life dominated by guilt and remorse. Our futures are changed because we don’t have to avoid those who we have harmed. As a result… we receive a new freedom that can end isolation.”
Basic Text p.31

Many of us come to Narcotics Anonymous full of regrets about our past. Our steps help us begin to resolve those regrets. We examine our lives, admit our wrongs, make amends for them, and sincerely try to change our behavior. In doing so, we find a joyous sense of freedom.

No longer must we deny or regret our past. Once we’ve made our amends, what’s done is truly over and gone. From that point on, where we come from ceases to be the most important thing about us. It’s where we are going that counts.

In NA, we begin to look forward. True, we live and stay clean just for today. But we find that we can begin to set goals, dream dreams, and look ahead to the joys a life in recovery has to offer. Looking forward keeps us centered in where we are going, not remorseful or regretful about our past. After all, it is hard to move forward if we are looking back.

Just for today: The steps have freed me from regrets over my past. Today, I look forward to my new life in recovery.

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Daily Reflections
August 29, 2014
I CHOOSE ANONYMITY

We are sure that humility, expressed by anonymity, is the greatest safeguard that Alcoholics Anonymous can ever have.
12 & 12, p.187

Since there are no rules in A.A. I place myself where I want to be, and so I choose anonymity. I want my God to use me, humbly, as one of His tools in this program. Sacrifice is the art of giving of myself freely, allowing humility to replace my ego. With sobriety,  I suppress that urge to cry out to the world, “I am a member of A.A.” and I experience inner joy and peace. I let people see the changes in me and hope they will ask what happened to me. I place the principles of spirituality ahead of judging, fault-finding, and criticism. I want love and caring in my group, so I can grow.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
August 29, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

“We cannot get along without prayer and meditation. On awakening, let us think about the 24 hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking. Our thought lives will be placed on a much higher plane when we start the day with prayer and meditation. We conclude this period of meditation with a prayer that we will be shown through the day what our next step is to be. The basis of all our prayers is: Thy will be done in me and through me today.” Am I sincere in my desire to do God’s will today?

Meditation For The Day

Breathe in the inspiration of goodness and truth. It is the spirit of honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love. It is readily available if we are willing to accept it wholeheartedly. God has given us two things – His spirit and the power of choice – to accept or not, as we will. We have the gift of free will. When we choose the path of selfishness and greed and pride, we are refusing to accept God’s spirit. When we choose the path of love and service, we accept God’s spirit and it flows into us and makes all things new.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may choose the right way. I pray that I may try to follow it to the end.

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As Bill Sees It
August 29, 2014
Hard On Ourselves, Considerate Of Others, p. 240

We cannot disclose anything to our wives or our parents which will hurt them and make them unhappy. We have no right to save our own skins at their expense.

Such damaging parts of our story we tell to someone else who will understand, yet be unaffected. The rule is, we must be hard on ourselves, but always considerate of others.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Good judgment will suggest that we ought to take our time in making amends to our families. It may be unwise at first to rehash certain harrowing episodes. While we may be quite willing to reveal the very worst, we must be sure to remember that we cannot buy our own peace of mind at the expense of others.

1. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 74
2. 12 & 12, p. 84

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Walk In Dry Places
August 29, 2014
Giving The Right Support
Carrying the Message

We’re surrounded by people who need help-financial and otherwise.  It is sometimes tempting to believe that we can and should reach out to improve the conditions of their lives.

This is not always an easy thing to do, or even a right thing to do. The early AA members who tried this finally decided to limit most of their help simply to carrying the 1Welve Step message.  While this seemed callous, it was really the only practical approach to a difficult problem.

Many people are able to solve their own financial problems when they really understand and practice the twelve Step program. If they still need other assistance, it is then given and received in ways that work. In any case, we should always seek guidance and direction from our Higher Power when considering or offering any kind of assistance. We’ll then know that any support we give will be the right kind.

I’ll be willing today to assist others in any way I can. I will not, however, take responsibility for running their lives.

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Keep It Simple
August 29, 2014

This day I choose to spend in perfect peace.
— A Course in Miracles

Today, let’s be gentle and kind. Lets talk to ourselves with love and respect. Let’s be gentle with others too.

Today, let’s be clear in how we think, speak, and act. And if we start to get mixed up, let’s stop thinking and listen for our Higher Power’s voice.

Today, we know that we have just a small job to do. It is to live today with love in our heart. We can’t take care of every problem in the world. But we make our actions today part of the answer instead of the part of the problem. Let’s Keep It Simple.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me find Your calmness and peace in my heart today.

Action for the Day: Do I believe that peace starts with me? Today, I’ll listen to the simple voice of peace inside of me. And I’ll Keep It Simple.

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Each Day a New Beginning
August 29, 2014

  Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. —Helen Keller

The next 24 hours are guaranteed to excite us, to lift us to new levels of understanding, to move us into situations with others where we can offer our unique contributions. All that is asked of us is a willingness to trust that we will be given just what we need at each moment.

We can dare to live, fully, just for today. We can appreciate the extraordinariness of every breath we take, every challenge we encounter. Within each experience is the invitation for us to grow, to reach out to others in caring ways, to discover more fully the women we are capable of being. We must not let a single moment go by unnoticed.

When we withdraw from life, we stunt our growth. We need involvement with others, involvement that perturbs us, humors us, and even stresses us. We tap our internal resources only when we have been pushed to our limits, and our participation in life gifts us, daily, with that push. How necessary the push!

None of us will pass this way again. What we see and feel and say today are gone forever. We have so much to regret when we let things slip away, unnoticed or unappreciated.

A special series of events has been planned for me today. I shall not miss it.

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Xtra Thoughts
August 29, 2014

“God’s strength behind you, His concern for you, His love within you, and His arms beneath you are more than sufficient for the job ahead of you.”
–William Arthur Ward

Each day comes bearing its gifts. Untie the ribbons.
–Ruth Ann Schabacker

“Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.”
–Og Mandino

People do not grow old; When they cease to grow, They become old.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”
–Brian Tracy

God knows what He’s about. If He has you sidelined, out of the action for a while, He knows what He’s doing. You just stay faithful–stay flexible–stay available–stay humble.
–Growing Strong In The Seasons Of Life, p.531

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
August 29, 2014
EDUCATION

“The university exists only to find and communicate the truth.”
– Robert Maynard Hutchins

Today in my recovery I know I am a student of Truth and will hopefully be so until the day that I die. No longer do I search for the cheap thrill or the quick fix — now I desire lasting truths.

Spirituality is about finding God in things that are true and honest, good and wholesome, creative and positive.

I battle daily with that sick side of me that is greedy, selfish and dishonest — I’m not perfect. Today I know that the sick and dishonest way of living does not work. My history teaches me that it does not work. I was never truly happy knowing that the gains came at the expense of others. Now I am a student in the “university of life”, and I enjoy learning something new about me every day. Today I am able to listen — listen to those who are wiser than I. I know that I do not have all the answers — and with this knowledge comes freedom.

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Bible Scriptures
August 29, 2014

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.”
Psalms 24:1

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:29-31

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

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Daily Inspiration
August 29, 2014

Count on God for what you lack. Would you not do the same for someone that you loved? Lord, I know that whatever I am doing, You can and will help.

Mistakes give us experience. Without them going forward is almost impossible. Lord, may I always look for the good and use it to make tomorrow better.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – August 29

“The devastated earth, the air, water, the extinct species of mankind, animalkind, and plantkind, the drugs, suicides, family separations – these are all the result of false ceremonies.”
–Barney Bush, SHAWNEE

All life is a ceremony.
Every act is a ceremony creating a result in our lives.
Every ceremony we do always brings results to our lives.

If we do bad medicine to others, we do bad medicine to ourselves.
If we keep on doing bad ceremonies, we will eventually destroy ourselves.

Any time we live our lives out of harmony, we are doing bad ceremonies. Any time we treat anything with disrespect whether it is another human being or a plant or an animal, we are performing bad ceremonies.
These ceremonies not only have an effect on ourselves but will simultaneously affect everything. We need to use our power well, only do good ceremonies.

My Creator, teach me only good ceremonies. Teach me ceremonies that accomplish good for all the people. Good ceremonies cause good results. Teach me ceremonies that are helpful

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A Day At A Time
August 29, 2014

Reflection For The Day

Prayer can have many rewards.  One of the greatest rewards is the sense of belonging it brings to me.  No longer do I live as a stranger in a strange land, alien in a completely hostile world.  No longer am I lost, frightened and purposeless.  I belong.  We find, in The Program, that the moment we catch a glimpse of God’s will — the moment we begin to see truth, justice and love as the real and eternal things in life — we’re no longer so deeply upset by all the seeming evidence to the contrary surrounding us in purely human affairs.  Do I believe that God lovingly watches over me?

Today I Pray

May I be grateful for the comfort and peace of belonging — to God the ultimately wise “parent” and to His family on earth.  May I no longer need bumper stickers or boisterous gangs to give me my identity.  Through prayer, I am God’s.

Today I Will Remember

I find my identity through prayer.

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One More Day
August 29, 2014

Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
–  Psalm 90

Funny, but when we were kids we probably didn’t give much thought to worlds such as peace or harmony.  We just lived our sweet childish lives with little, if any, worry about feelings.

Now we speak often of “meeting of the minds,”  “harmonious thoughts,” and “world peace,”  for we all want to achieve as high a level as personal and emotional comfort as we are able.  With our newly developed understanding of wisdom comes a deepened sense of pride because we know that each day is a precious entity, special in and of itself.

The harmony and peace that surround me are mine for the taking.

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Journey To The Heart
August 29, 2014
First Heal Your Heart

I checked into the lodge in Sedona, certain I was there to get my job done.  I told the woman behind the desk, a delightful soul with brown hair, brown eyes, a warm smile, and an open heart, why I was there – to begin writing this book.

“Maybe you will,” she said, “but that’s not why you’re really here.  You came here to cleanse the past and heal your broken heart.”  I looked at her in surprise.  I knew what she said was true.

Many of us show up at a place in our lives with a particular agenda.  We think we are there to get the job done, build a relationship, accomplish a task.  Then, life takes a twist, one we didn’t quite expect or plan on.

We discover we’re at a certain place for a reason different from what we thought.  The real reason we’re there is to cleanse the past and heal our broken heart.  Healing our heart is a worthwhile mission, more purposeful perhaps than the one we intended.  Healing our heart is worthwhile and crucial, something that often needs to be done first, so that we can accomplish what we intended.

The biggest block to service and love is a broken heart.  To care about life again, to open our hearts, to dare to dream, to risk love again, we must first heal our heart.  Decide on your mission.  Be clear on your purpose.  But remember, first things need to be done first.

Maybe you’re where you are today for a reason other than you thought.  Maybe the first thing to do is cleanse the past and heal your heart.

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Today’s Gift
August 29, 2014

When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart.
—Russian Proverb

The woman on the park bench was gnarled and dirty. Her hair was an uncombed mess, her clothes torn and old. She clutched a paper bag to her side, which seemed to contain her belongings. She sat in the sun, humming to herself. Occasionally she threw a bit of popcorn to ducks who waited at her feet. A little boy and his mother sat by the lake, not wanting to share the bench with this wild-eyed old woman. But when the old woman beckoned to the little boy to share her popcorn with him, he ran to the bench and let out squeals of laughter as they fed the hungry ducks.

Our world is full of variety and surprises. Would we have it any other way? When we shun someone because of the way they look, we cut ourselves off from part of life. But when we are ready for anything – accepting and trusting – we are a wonder to everyone.

How shall I judge people today?

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The Language of Letting Go
August 29, 2014
Owning Our Energy

Learn to keep your energy inside.
–From Women, Sex, and Addiction
Charlotte Davis Kasl, Ph.D.

For many reasons, we may have mastered the art of giving away our energy. We may have learned it when we were young because the feelings we had were too overwhelming to feel, and we did not know how to process them.

Much of our obsessing, our intense focus on others, is done to facilitate this “out of body” experience we call codependency.

We obsess, we babble, we become anxious. We try to control, care take, and fuss over others. Our energy spills out of us on to whomever.

Our energy is our energy. Our feelings, thoughts, issues, love, sexuality; our mental, physical, spiritual, sexual, creative, and emotional energy is ours.

We can learn to have healthy boundaries – healthy parameters – around our energy and ourselves. We can learn to keep our energy within ourselves and deal with our issues.

If we are trying to escape from our body, if our energy is spilling out of us in unhealthy ways, we can ask ourselves what is going on, what is hurting us, what we are avoiding, what we need to face, what we need to deal with.

Then, we can do that. We can come back home to live – in ourselves.

Today, I will keep my energy in my body. I will stay focused and within my boundaries. God, help me let go of my need to escape myself. Help me face my issues so I am comfortable living in my body.

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More Language Of Letting Go
August 29, 2014
Spiral up

I was flying the airplane one day, practicing my turns, when I turned to my instructor,Rob. “Something doesn’t feel quite right to me,” I said. “The horizon looks a little bit off.”

“That’s because you’ve got us in a graveyard spiral,” he said. “If you keep going like this, we’ll keep spiraling faster and faster until we lose control and crash into the ground.”

“Aaaah!” I said. “You’ve got the controls. Get us out of this mess.”

The spiral had just begun. Rob easily restored the plane to coordinated flight, with a slight twist of his wrist. I was greatly relieved.

Sometimes in life, we can get a little complacent. We begin grumbling about a few little things. We start seeing the negative things about our jobs, our families, our romantic relationships, our friends. Or we get weary and tired of being alone, and not being able to meet anyone we want to date. Maybe nothing is really wrong in our career, but it just isn’t giving us the pizazz we’d prefer. So we start grumbling and complaining about how bad it is. We see other people making more money than we are, getting better breaks, and doing something that looks like more fun to us. It’s not that anything is wrong, it’s just that things don’t seem good enough.

Than we find more things that irritate us about our friends, our co-workers, and our boss. Soon, most of what we see looks depressing and wrong. The negative is accentuated in everything we see.

That’s a good indication that we’re in a graveyard spiral,too.

Some people in this world need a special technique to get peacefully, joyfully, and harmoniously through their lives. I’m not saying this applies to everyone, but I know it applies to me. Every day in my life, I need to deliberately, consciously apply large doses of gratitude to everything I see.

Look! If instead of seeing the beautiful horizon or the clouds, all you can see is down, apply gratitude and humility to each aspect of your life. In a few moments, you’ll restore yourself to coordinated flight.

God, help me use the powerful remedy of gratitude as a tool for daily transformation in my life.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
August 29, 2014

To be a man means to be a fellow man.
—Leo Baeck

Sometimes we become overburdened with frustration and disappointment in our lives. When we turn inward and focus only on our problems, we may be cutting ourselves off from the healing effect of contact with others. Today, there may be a new group member who would appreciate a phone call from us. Perhaps we could visit an aged person or someone who is sick. Help is always needed in providing food to the hungry. Perhaps a co-worker would welcome our assistance on a task or errand.

When we help others, we affirm our solidarity with them in their stress and suffering. We don’t give help because we are better or without problems of our own, but because we suffer too. When we act as fellowmen, the comradeship and human contact we get provide us with as much help as we give. They liberate us from our own oppressive egos and make us see we are worthwhile men.

I affirm myself as a man when I stand in solidarity with others and help them in their need.

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Daily TAO
August 29, 2014
Utopia

Chant one million times for world peace, they told me.
Pray three times a day to end all wars.
Practice austerities to liberate all living beings.
But the world’s miseries have never diminished.

Periodically, some religious group proclaims that if everyone would just do something like chant, some fundamental social problem would be solved. Claims have been made that spiritual devotion could affect wars, famine, disease, the economy, and overpopulation.

Only personal endeavors can be spiritual. What you do with your daily devotions is purely for your own sake. Once you put ideals on a grand scale, they are compromised by the contradictions of life.

There is no utopia. There never will be. There is only the valiant attempt of each person to live spiritually in a world where spirituality is almost impossible.

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Faith’s Check Book
August 29, 2014
Plentiful Refreshment

Their soul shall be as a watered garden.
(Jeremiah 31:12)

Oh, to have one’s soul under heavenly cultivation; no longer a wilderness but a garden of the Lord! Enclosed from the waste, walled around by grace, planted by instruction, visited by love, weeded by heavenly discipline, and guarded by divine power, one’s favored soul is prepared to yield fruit unto the Lord.

But a garden may become parched for want of water, and then all its herbs decline and are ready to die. O my soul, how soon would this be the case were the Lord to leave thee! In the East, a garden without water soon ceases to be a garden at all: nothing can come to perfection, grow, or even live. When irrigation is kept up, the result is charming. Oh, to have one’s soul watered by the Holy Spirit uniformly—every part of the garden having its own stream; plentifully—a sufficient refreshment coming to every tree and herb, however thirsty by nature it may be; continually—each hour bringing not only its heat, but its refreshment; wisely—each plant receiving just what it needs. In a garden you can see by the verdure where the water flows, and you can soon perceive when the Spirit of God comes.

O Lord, water me this day and cause me to yield Thee a full reward for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

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This Morning’s Readings
August 29, 2014

“Have mercy upon me, O God.”
—Psalm 51:1.

WHEN Dr. Carey was suffering from a dangerous illness, the enquiry was made, “If this sickness should prove fatal, what passage would you select as the text for your funeral sermon?” He replied, “Oh, I feel that such a poor sinful creature is unworthy to have anything said about him; but if a funeral sermon must be preached, let it be from the words, ‘Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.’” In the same spirit of humility he directed in his will that the following inscription and nothing more should be cut on his gravestone:—

WILLIAM CAREY, BORN AUGUST 17th, 1761:
DIED—
“A wretched, poor, and helpless worm On Thy kind arms I fall.”

Only on the footing of free grace can the most experienced and most honoured of the saints approach their God. The best of men are conscious above all others that they are men at the best. Empty boats float high, but heavily laden vessels are low in the water; mere professors can boast, but true children of God cry for mercy upon their unprofitableness. We have need that the Lord should have mercy upon our good works, our prayers, our preachings, our alms-givings, and our holiest things. The blood was not only sprinkled upon the doorposts of Israel’s dwelling houses, but upon the sanctuary, the mercy-seat, and the altar, because as sin intrudes into our holiest things, the blood of Jesus is needed to purify them from defilement. If mercy be needed to be exercised towards our duties, what shall be said of our sins? How sweet the remembrance that inexhaustible mercy is waiting to be gracious to us, to restore our backslidings, and make our broken bones rejoice!

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This Evening’s Readings
August 29, 2014

“All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.”
—Numbers 6:4.

NAZARITES had taken, among other vows, one which debarred them from the use of wine. In order that they might not violate the obligation, they were forbidden to drink the vinegar of wine or strong liquors, and to make the rule still more clear, they were not to touch the unfermented juice of grapes, nor even to eat the fruit either fresh or dried. In order, altogether, to secure the integrity of the vow, they were not even allowed anything that had to do with the vine; they were, in fact, to avoid the appearance of evil. Surely this is a lesson to the Lord’s separated ones, teaching them to come away from sin in every form, to avoid not merely its grosser shapes, but even its spirit and similitude. Strict walking is much despised in these days, but rest assured, dear reader, it is both the safest and the happiest. He who yields a point or two to the world is in fearful peril; he who eats the grapes of Sodom will soon drink the wine of Gomorrah. A little crevice in the sea-bank in Holland lets in the sea, and the gap speedily swells till a province is drowned. Worldly conformity, in any degree, is a snare to the soul, and makes it more and more liable to presumptuous sins. Moreover, as the Nazarite who drank grape juice could not be quite sure whether it might not have endured a degree of fermentation, and consequently could not be clear in heart that his vow was intact, so the yielding, temporizing Christian cannot wear a conscience void of offence, but must feel that the inward monitor is in doubt of him. Things doubtful we need not doubt about; they are wrong to us. Things tempting we must not dally with, but flee from them with speed. Better be sneered at as a Puritan than be despised as a hypocrite. Careful walking may involve much self-denial, but it has pleasures of its own which are more than a sufficient recompense.

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Food For Thought
August 29, 2014
Love God and Work the Program

How clear everything becomes when we put abstaining and recovering from compulsive eating first in our lives! As we recover, we grow in love for the Higher Power, which makes possible our new life. Loving God and working the program becomes our main purpose every day. From this, all else follows.

When we are confused and harried by conflicting demands on our time and attention, we need to withdraw for a moment and get back in touch with the God within. As long as we are sincerely trying to do His will, we do not have to be upset by negative responses from other people, whether their disapproval is real or imagined.

As our Higher Power provides a focus for our love, working the program provides a focus for our energies and ambitions. Whatever our situation, we are each capable of growing along spiritual lines, and it is this growth and progress which gives us deep, lasting satisfaction.

Accept my love and work.

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Daily Zen
August 29, 2014

Night after night
The moon shines
On the pond, leaving
No light,
No trace.

- Japanese Folk Zen saying

Daily Recovery Quotes – August 29, 2014

August 29, 2014

AA ‘Big Book’ – Quote

Many doctors and psychiatrists agree with our conclusions. One of these men, staff member of a world renowned hospital, recently made this statement to some of us: ‘What you say about the general hopelessness of the average alcoholic’s plight is, in my opinion, correct. As to two of you men, whose stories I have heard, there is no doubt in my mind that you were 100% hopeless, apart from divine help. Had you offered yourselves as patients at this hospital, I would not have taken you, if I had been able to avoid it. People like you are too heartbreaking. Though not a religious person, I have profound respect for the spiritual approach in such cases as yours. For most cases, there is virtually no other solution.’ – Pg. 43 – More About Alcholism

Hour To Hour – Book – Quote

Many of us have not gone this long without some kind of chemical for many years. We feel awkward, uncomfortable and in physical pain. It seems like too much is being asked of us. Sometimes we romanticize the ‘good times’ when we were using. But we must now trust that thousands of addicts have lived through this hour and go on to a better one.

God, as I understand You, show me that I can go to a better hour, day, and life!

The Next Right Action

My only job today is to take the next right action. I cannot solve my life in a day. I cannot erase my past in a day nor do I even want to. All I need to do is the task at hand as well and sincerely as I can. When I do that sincerely and daily, the rest takes care of itself. When I don ‘t I get overwhelmed with my own fears and pain and I eventually feel immobilized and stuck. I will not oneness about tomorrow because the only day I am in is today and the only moment I can do anything about is now.

- Tian Dayton PhD

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Pocket Sponsor – Book – Quote

Did you know that the word ‘share’ derives from the Old English word for ‘shear’ which means to cut or divide? To share with others means to divide your burden. Each time you share, you leave another little piece of the weight of your burden with them.

By sharing, I divide; by dividing, I lighten my load.

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“Walk Softly and Carry a Big Book” – Book

Chapter Five is called ‘How It Works,’ not ‘Why Me?’

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Time for Joy – Book – Quote

It feels so good to be alive and to be part of this universe.

No matter where I am in my life today, no matter what it is that I am doing, I know that I am growing richer and richer with love and with life.

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Alkiespeak – Book – Quote

NUTS = Not Using The Steps. Mickey B.