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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

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Daily Recovery Readings – April 12

Just For Today
April 12
The Big Picture

“All spiritual awakenings have some things in common. Common elements include an end to loneliness and a sense of direction in our lives.”
Basic Text p. 48

Some kinds of spiritual experiences take place when we confront something larger than we are. We suspect that forces beyond our understanding are operating. We see a fleeting glimpse of the big picture and find humility in that moment.

Our journey through the Twelve Steps will bring about a spiritual experience of the same nature, only more profound and lasting. We undergo a continual process of ego-deflation, while at the same time we become more conscious of the larger perspective. Our view of the world expands to the point where we no longer possess an exaggerated sense of our own importance.

Through our new awareness, we no longer feel isolated from the rest of the human race. We may not understand why the world is the way it is or why people sometimes treat one another so savagely. But we do understand suffering and, in recovery, we can do our best to alleviate it. When our individual contribution is combined with others, we become an essential part of a grand design. We are connected at last.

Just for today: I am but one person in the entire scheme of things. I humbly accept my place in the big picture.

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Daily Reflections
April 12
GIVING UP INSANITY

. . . where alcohol has been involved, we have been strangely insane.
–ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 38

Alcoholism required me to drink, whether I wanted to or not. Insanity dominated my life and was the essence of my disease. It robbed me of the freedom of choice over drinking and, therefore, robbed me of all other choices.  When I drank, I was unable to make effective choices in any part of my life and life became unmanageable. I ask God to help me understand and accept the full meaning of the disease of alcoholism.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
April 12
A.A. Thought For The Day

This sober world is a pleasant place for an alcoholic to live in. Once you’ve gotten out of your alcoholic fog, you find that the world looks good. You find real friends in A.A. You get a job. You feel good in the morning. You eat a good breakfast and you do a good day’s work at home or outside. And your family loves you and welcomes you because you’re sober. Am I convinced that this sober world is a pleasant place for an alcoholic to live in?

Meditation For The Day

Our need is God’s opportunity. First we must recognize our need. Often this means helplessness before some weakness or sickness and an admission of our need for help. Next comes faith in the power of God’s spirit, available to us to meet that need. Before any need can be met, our faith must find expression. That expression of faith is all God needs to manifest His power in our lives. Faith is the key that unlocks the storehouse of God’s resources.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may first admit my needs. I pray that then I may have faith that God will meet those needs, in the way which is best for me.

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As Bill Sees It
April 12
Healing Talk, p. 102

When we consult an A.A. friend, we should not be reluctant to remind him of our need for full privacy. Intimate communication is normally so free and easy among us that an A.A. adviser may sometimes forget when we expect him to remain silent. The protective sanctity of this most healing of human relations ought never be violated.

Such privileged communications have priceless advantages. We find in them the perfect opportunity to be as honest as we know how to be. We do not have to think of the possibility of damage to other people, nor need we fear ridicule or condemnation. Here, too, we have the best possible chance of spotting self-deception.

Grapevine, August 1961

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Walk in Dry Places
April 12
Beating Depression
Emotional Fortitude

If you’re seeking a lively meeting discussion topic, bring up depression. It’s so closely tied to alcoholism that some people even think alcoholics are attempting to “treat” depression when they drink. Others feel that depression shows they’re not “working” the program.

Overcoming depression is a monumental undertaking, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be done. The dearly mistake is that believe your circumstances are so hopeless that there’s no solution. Sometimes, as AA co-founder Bill Wilson contended (based on personal experience), depression actually corrects itself in time. Stay sober, live rightly, keep physically and mentally active, and in time some depressive mood swings will ease. Even more serious clinical depression can be treated.

It’s human to be temporarily depressed about a terrible failure or setback. The Twelve Steps are tools for coping with unpleasant situations, but we still might feel bad about tem for a time. The really good news is that enough fortitude will see us through for the long term. We have much experience to show that this is true.

Whether today’s mood is up or down, I’ll hold to the view that the Twelve Steps will help me defeat mental depression in time. My Higher Power assures me that joy and peace are my rightful state of mind.

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Keep It Simple
April 12

Life I love you, all is groovy.
–Paul Simon

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me let go of my fears and enjoy life. I haven’t always known how to enjoy life, but Working the Twelve Steps is more than recovery from alcohol or other drug addiction. It’s also about how to enjoy life. Our illness pulled us toward death. Our spirits were dying, and maybe our bodies were dying. Now our spirits are coming to life. We feel more alive than ever before. Our feelings are coming alive. We feel hope and faith, love, and joy, and even hurt and fear. We notice the sunshine as well as the clouds. We know life needs both sunshine and rain, both joy and pain. We are alive. You can teach me. All life is from You, so teach me to be free in Your light and love.

Action for the Day: Right now, I can think of at least three things in life that make me feel like sunshine. What are they?

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Each Day a New Beginning
April 12

Make yourself a blessing to someone. Your kind smile or pat on the back just might pull someone back from the edge.
–Carmelia Elliott

Someone will be helped today by our kindness. Compassionate attention assures others that they do matter, and every one of us needs that reassurance occasionally. The program has given us the vehicle for giving and seeking the help we need–it’s sponsorship.

Not all of the people we encounter share our program, however. Sponsorship as we know it isn’t a reality in their lives. Offering words of encouragement to them, or a willing ear, can be unexpected gifts. They will be deeply appreciated.

The real gift, though, is to ourselves. Helping someone in need benefits the helper even more. Our own closeness to God and thus assurance about our own being is strengthened each time we do God’s work–each time we do what our hearts direct.

We are healed in our healing of others. God speaks to us through our words to others. Our own well-being is enhanced each time we put someone else’s well-being first.

We’re all on a trip, following different road maps, but to the same destination. I will be ready to lend a helping hand to a troubled traveler today. It will breathe new life into my own trip.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
April 12
LISTENING TO THE WIND

– It took an “angel” to introduce this Native American woman to A.A. and recovery.

When I got off the bus, I got a waitressing job in a bar. By the end of my shift, however, I had enough money to get a bottle and a sleazy motel room nearby.  A few weeks later I saw him, the only Indian I had met in a very long time. He was leaning over a pool table when I came to work. I put my apron on, grabbed a tray, and headed straight for him to see if he needed a refill.  “Who let you off the reservation?” he asked. I was furious, humiliated, and embarrassed,

p. 460

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
April 12

Step Four – “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

But that is not all of the danger. Every time a person imposes his instincts unreasonably upon others, unhappiness follows. If the pursuit of wealth tramples upon people who happen to be in the way, then anger, jealousy, and revenge are likely to be aroused. If sex runs riot, there is a similar uproar. Demands made upon other people for too much attention, protection, and love can only invite domination or revulsion in the protectors themselves–two emotions quite as unhealthy as the demands which evoked them. When an individual’s desire for prestige becomes uncontrollable, whether in the sewing circle or at the international conference table, other people suffer and often revolt. This collision of instincts can produce anything from a cold snub to a blazing revolution. In these ways we are set in conflict not only with ourselves, but with other people who have instincts, too.

p. 44

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Xtra Thoughts
April 12

What matters is what’s in our hearts.  “The reason angels can fly is that they take themselves so lightly,” G. K. Chesterton once wrote:  Once you stop taking yourself so seriously and let go of the gravity of all that you do, you can learn to fly, too. God, help me lighten up.
–Melody Beattie

“Humility leads to strength and not to weakness. It is the highest form of self-respect to admit mistakes and to make amends for them.”
–John (Jay) McCloy

Learning is an upward, ever-evolving process. We will never reach the point where we’ve learned all we need to know. Every aspect of life contains lessons. We can choose to discard them or to embrace them.  Lessons embraced lead to wisdom.
–Mary Manin Morrissey

We can stop waiting for others to give us what we need and take responsibility for ourselves. When we do, the gates to freedom will swing wide. Walk through.
–Melody Beattie

Believe and the healing will come.
–Gary Barnes

Each of us is a unique expression of God’s beauty.
–Jane F. Maxwell

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
April 12
SUFFERING

“Every man, on the foundation of his own sufferings and joys, builds for all. ”
–Albert Camus

In my pain I am able to reach out to others. When I share my pain, I not only understand but I am understood. It is my pain and suffering that unites me with others. Other people become a part of my life and are involved in who I am.

Through my shared feelings, other people begin to share. Trust develops across this bridge of understanding. Feelings unite the world.

Lord, You created us in ONENESS – help us in our struggle to unite.

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Bible Scriptures
April 12

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
–1 John 4:7

“And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
–Matthew 18:3

Pleasant words are a honeycomb sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
–Proverbs 16:24

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Daily Inspiration
April 12

Forget the hurts and unkindnesses of all yesterdays so that today you will have room to be joyful and at peace. Lord, bless me with the ability to let go of that which causes me pain so that I may not miss the great joys that today will bring.

Small acts of kindness make lasting memories. Lord, help me to remember that it is a privilege to pause for those moment in which I can really make a difference.

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A Day At A Time
April 12

Reflection For The Day

If we attempt to understand rather than to be understood, we can more quickly assure a newcomer that we have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way by which faith can be acquired.  All of us, whatever our race, creed, color or ethnic heritage are the children of a living Creator, which whom we may form a relationship upon simple and understandable terms — as soon as we are willing and honest enough to try.  Do I know the difference between sympathy and empathy?  Can I put myself in the newcomer’s shoes?

Today I Pray

May I try to love all humanity as children of a living God.  May I respect the different ways through which they find and worship Him.  May I respect the different ways through which they find and worship Him.  May I never be so rigid as to discount another’s path to God or so insensitive that I use the fellowship of the group as a preaching ground to extol my religion beliefs as the only way.  I can only know what works for me.

Today I Will Remember

We are all children of God.

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One More Day
April 12

A crisis event often explodes the illusions that … anchor our lives.
–  Robert Veninga

Chronic illness an become so common-place for us that we lull ourselves into thinking we’ve become the best we can be and believing we can handle everything.  When another crisis occurs — family problems, financial setbacks, or loss of friends — we may stubbornly try to fix the situation, only to be rewarded with self-pity or anger or sadness.

In time, we usually realize that we don’t have to carry every burden or solve every problem.  sometimes there is no answer other than acceptance of a situation as being unchangeable.  What can be changed is our reaction to this fact.  We can, as we have before, build our lives around the new situation.  We can allow ourselves to grow into a greater maturity.

Every day, every experience is an opportunity to grow.

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One Day At A Time
April 12
Recovery

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
–Fannie Lou Hamer

I used to get so disgusted with myself. I was sick and tired of trying to lose weight because I always failed. I had lost weight several times but I would still feel ugly, fat and unacceptable to everybody else. The sickness and tiredness remained because I had not changed anything inside my head, just my body size! My past was still there and it continued to haunt me, and I was filled with the guilt and shame of the past.

A friend told me about this great program where I could discover what was really making me sick and how I could recover. She said, “You will have someone with you to help continually 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“How can this be?” I asked.

She said, “Well, this wonderful program helps you recover by teaching you what really has been bothering you. Maybe it’s things you are sorry you did or didn’t do in the past, people you’ve hurt or who have hurt you.”

“Do I need to leave home or pay a lot of money?” I asked.

She said, “No. You work it at home, at work and everywhere you go. The cost is nothing, except a desire to stop eating compulsively. Your continual help is your Higher Power and he never goes to sleep, he listens and helps you when you ask for his help.”

“Wow, you mean I don’t have to be sick and tired any more?”

“That’s right and all it takes is Twelve small but important Steps, a lot of love, hugs, acceptance, trust and sincere honesty. It’s easy and works as long as you work it.”

One Day at a Time . . .
I don’t need to be sick and tired of myself any more. I have a wonderful program with a lot of tools, friends and my Higher Power to help me. I can achieve recovery one day at a time … it’s a matter of progress, not perfection.

~ Jeanette ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 12

“Dissimilar things were fitted together to make something beautiful and whole.”
–Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE

Sometimes we look at something close up and it appears to be ugly; but then we drop back and look at it as a whole and it is beautiful. If we look at an insect close up, it may be ugly, but if we drop back and look at the whole insect it becomes beautiful. We can drop back even more and observe what its role and purpose is, and the insect becomes even more beautiful and whole. How are we looking at ourselves? Are we focused on something ugly about ourselves, or are we dropping back and looking at ourselves as a whole? We all have purpose, and we are all beautiful.

Grandfather, today, let me see the beauty of the whole.

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Journey To The Heart
April 12
Open Yourself to the Wealth of the Universe

We all have sources we turn to for support. We may turn to special people in our lives– family members, friends, a lover. We may turn to nature– the mountains, trees, oceans, rivers, sun, moon, and stars. But we no longer have to limit ourselves to just one person, one source for love, energy, comfort, and guidance.

Certain people come into our lives for a short while to help us through particular times. Other people come to stay for a longer time. Sometimes we love people and are so deeply committed to them that they will be sources of energy and love for us, and we for them, for most of our lives. That’s good. That’s how it should be.

But while it’s good to have people who are special sources of support for us, allowing one person to be our sole support can mean trouble. We may begin to drain that person. We may become overly dependent. He or she may move away from us. Or we may become angry, as we usually do, at whomever or whatever we are dependent on. For many reasons, we may find ourselves in conflict with the one we have deemed our source. Something may happen that causes our source to no longer be available to us. It’s important to be conscious of what our needs are and to get our needs met. But it’s also important not to make one person responsible for doing that.

Open to a larger, more abundant source. That source is God. And God’s supply is the universe. When we look to God and the universe, we open ourselves to a never-ending supply of what we need– love, energy, teaching, support, information, guidance, and nurturing. Certain people and places may help us along our way, but God is our source for love.

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Today’s Gift
April 12

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
—Wendell Berry

Blessed are all birds and animals, the wildest beasts, and, yes, all serpents, too, for they live in nature, in a state of natural grace. They live beyond the rules of evil and good. Their instincts are obedient only to the laws of survival, growth, and health. And as their lives unfurl in obedience to these laws, they suffer no shame, regret, or sin. Nor do they curse their failures, or themselves.

We can learn much from them. They harbor no evil toward one another, and they trust their own inner sense of how to live, and that their Higher Power makes sure everything which befalls them is for the best. Yes, they are blessed, and so are we, the highest animal.

What guilt can I free myself from today, just by letting go?

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The Language of Letting Go
April 12
Letting Go of Fear

Picture yourself swimming floating – peacefully down a gentle stream. All you need to do is breathe, relax, and go with the flow.

Suddenly, you become conscious of your situation. Frightened, overwhelmed with “what if’s?” your body tenses. You begin to thrash around, frantically looking for something to grab on to.

You panic so hard you start to go under. Then you remember – you’re working too hard at this. You don’t need to panic. All you need to do is breathe, relax, and go with the flow. You won’t drown.

Panic is our great enemy.

We don’t need to become desperate. If overwhelming problems appear in our life, we need to stop struggling. We can tread water for a bit, until our equilibrium returns. Then we can go back to floating peacefully down the gentle stream. It is our stream. It is a safe stream. Our course has been charted. All is well.

Today, I will relax, breathe, and go with the flow.

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More Language Of Letting Go
April 12
Is it what you really want?

“Are you still in that relationship?” I asked a friend one day.

“If I were really sick, I could be,” my friend said. “But I’ve decided not to do that to myself anymore.”

Sometimes, a door is open. We can walk through it and into that room. We can stay there as long as we want and as long as we can stand being in that room. Many of us have learned to take care of ourselves so well that we can be in extremely uncomfortable situations and still comfortably take care of ourselves.

The question then becomes not “Can I?” but, “Do I want to?”

There are many situations in life where we can insist on having our will and way, sometimes for an extended period of time. Stubbornness and persistence can be good qualities. We can stay with a thing until we learn it well. But we can also take that too far and stick with a thing– a project or relationship– when other weaker and wiser souls might have given up.

Instead of asking yourself if you can, ask yourself something different. If you’ve been hanging in there, trying harder, and diligently taking care of yourself, back off. Stop asking yourself if you’re good enough to handle the situation. Ask yourself if the situation is good for you.

God, help me take the time to ask myself, “Is this what I really want?”

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
April 12

Anyone who lives art knows that psychoanalysis has no monopoly on the power to heal…. Art and poetry have always been altering our ways of sensing and feeling – that is to say, altering the human body.
—Norman 0. Brown

A man can lead a healing life on many levels. On one level, many of us have turned to healing professionals for help. That may strengthen our program and be very beneficial for many of our problems.

Relationships heal when they are loving, affirming, reliable, committed, and loyal. Nature heals: a tree, a walk through tall grass, a dry seedpod, or a potted plant gives life when we turn in its direction. Beauty heals: music, a poem, a novel, or a picture may move us to another plane and teach us about life. Meditation heals: solitude, quiet relaxation, prayer, and cosmic consciousness bring an inner peace. Laughter heals. Physical activity heals. Doing something for others helps us. At the basic level, accepting ourselves as lovable men, just as we are, is the foundation for all healing.

The forces for renewal and wholeness are varied. May I reach out to them and be healed by them.

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Daily TAO
April 12
AWARENESS

Outer eyes
Cannot see themselves.
The inner eye
Is its own reflection

When we look we can see many things, but the eyes cannot see themselves without the help of a mirror. We are not used to introspection. Although the followers of Tao say to look within to gain self-awareness, we will be confused if we use the attitudes formed by looking with our eyes.

That is why it is important to make a clear distinction early on.  Do not try to understand yourself with the attitudes of physical seeing.  Look within using inner vision.

For centuries, people of many different cultures have referred to the “mind’s eye,” or the “inner eye,” or the “third eye.” These are all indications that there is a separate way of looking within. In meditation, it is important to discover and utilize this mode of introspection. We must go beyond thought, go beyond visualization, go beyond imagination and actually open a part of the mind that most people leave dormant. This inner eye has a location, buried deep in the brain.  When it is opened, it is our way of receiving more subtle experiences than we receive in our physical states. Perhaps looking and seeing are misleading terms, after all. We don’t necessarily “see” images through this inner eye: We gain direct awareness that is beyond the image.

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DailyZen
April 12

Oh Buddhas
Of unexcelled complete enlightenment,
Bestow your invisible aid
Upon this hut I open
On the mountain top.

– Saicho (767-822)

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Food for Thought
April 12
Compulsive Means My Will

When I am compulsive about something, I “have to” have it or see that it is done. I am insisting on my will, my way. I forget that the world does not revolve around me.

Going against the laws of the universe inevitably brings trouble. I cannot willfully consume everything my uncontrolled appetite demands without hurting myself and others. I cannot arrange other people’s lives to suit my time schedule. I cannot adjust the world to me; I can adjust myself to what is, to reality.

Giving up my selfish, egocentric desires is probably the most difficult task I have. “He who masters himself is greater than he who conquers a city.” I cannot do it alone. Through the fellowship of OA, with the help of the program, and by the grace of my Higher Power, I seek to turn from my will to His will.

Thy will be done.

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Faith’s Check Book
April 12
He Remembers No More

For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)

When we know the Lord, we receive the forgiveness of sins. We know Him as the God of grace, passing by our transgressions. What a joyful discovery is this!

But how divinely is this promise worded: the Lord promises no more to remember our sins! Can God forget? He says He will, and He means what He says. He will regard us as though we had never sinned. The great atonement so effectually removed all sin that it is to the mind of God no more in existence. The believer is now in Christ Jesus, as accepted as Adam in his innocence; yea, more so, for he wears a divine righteousness, and that of Adam was but human.

The great Lord will not remember our sins so as to punish them, or so as to love us one atom the less because of them. As a debt when paid ceases to be a debt, even so doth the Lord make a complete obliteration of the iniquity of His people.

When we are mourning over our transgressions and shortcomings, and this is our duty as long as we live, let us at the same time rejoice that they will never be mentioned against us. This makes us hate sin. God’s free pardon makes us anxious never again to grieve Him by disobedience.

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