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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – April 13

Just For Today
April 13
People – Pleasing

“…approval-seeking behavior carried us further into our addiction…”
Basic Text p. 14

When others approve of what we do or say, we feel good; when they disapprove, we feel bad. Their opinions of us, and how those opinions make us feel, can have positive value. By making us feel good about steering a straight course, they encourage us to continue doing so. “People-pleasing” is something else entirely. We “people-please” when we do things, right or wrong, solely to gain another person’s approval.

Low self-esteem can make us think we need someone else’s approval to feel okay about ourselves. We do whatever we think it will take to make them tell us we’re okay We feel good for awhile. Then we start hurting. In trying to please another person, we’ve diminished ourselves and our values. We realize that the approval of others will not fill the emptiness inside us.

The inner satisfaction we seek can be found in doing the right things for the right reasons. We break the people-pleasing cycle when we stop acting merely to gain others’ approval and start acting on our Higher Power’s will for us. When we do, we may be pleasantly surprised to find that the people who really count in our lives will approve all the more of our behavior. Most importantly, though, we will approve of ourselves.

Just for today: Higher Power, help me live in accordance with spiritual principles. Only then can I approve of myself.

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Daily Reflections
April 13
THE FALSE COMFORT OF SELF-PITY

Self-pity is one of the most unhappy and consuming defects that we know. It is a bar to all spiritual progress and can cut off all effective communication with our fellows because of its inordinate demands for attention and sympathy.  It is a maudlin form of martyrdom, which we can ill afford.
–AS BILL SEES IT, p. 238

The false comfort of self-pity screens me from reality only momentarily and then demands, like a drug, that I take an ever bigger dose. If I succumb to this it could lead to a relapse into drinking. What can I do? One certain antidote is to turn my attention, however slightly at first, toward others who are genuinely less fortunate than I, preferably other alcoholics. In the same degree that I actively demonstrate my empathy with them, I will lessen my own exaggerated suffering.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
April 13
A.A. Thought For The Day

Having found my way into this new world by the grace of God and the help of A.A., am I going to take that first drink, when I know that just one drink will change my whole world?  Am I deliberately going back to the suffering of that alcoholic world? Or am I going to hang onto the happiness of this sober world? Is there any doubt about the answer?  With God’s help, am I going to hang onto AA. with both hands?

Meditation For The Day

I will try to make the world better and happier by my presence in it. I will try to help other people find the way God wants them to live. I will try to be on the side of good, in the stream of righteousness, where all things work for good. I will do my duty persistently and faithfully, not sparing myself. I will be gentle with all people. I will try to see other people’s difficulty and help them to correct it. I will always pray to God to act as interpreter between me and the other person.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may live in the spirit of prayer. I pray that I may depend on God for the strength I need to help me to do my part in making the world a better place.

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As Bill Sees It
April 13
Principle Before Expediency, p. 103

Most of us thought good character was desirable. Obviously, good character was something one needed to get on with the business of being self-satisfied. With a proper display of honesty and morality, we’d stand a better chance of getting what we really wanted. But whenever we had to choose between character and comfort, character-building was lost in the dust of our chase after what we thought was happiness.

Seldom did we look at character-building as something desirable in itself. We never thought of making honesty, tolerance, and true love of man and God the daily basis of living.

<< << << >> >> >>

How to translate a right mental conviction into a right emotional result, and so into easy, happy and good living, is the problem of life itself.

1. 12 & 12, pp. 71-72
2. Grapevine, January 1958

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Walk in Dry Places
April 13
No Conditional Sobriety
Admission of Powerlessness

Sobriety in AA is unconditional. This means that there’s never been a reason for drinking, no matter how bad our circumstances may become. As the AA pioneers were fond of saying, “THERE’S NOTHING THAT DRINKING WON’T MAKE WORSE.”

How do we know if we’ve been setting conditions on sobriety? It’s revealed to us in our own thinking. If we believe, for example, that a certain setback such as the ending of a relationship is just cause for drinking, we have made our sobriety conditional.

In such cases, what we need to do is clear up our own thinking on the subject. Maybe further inventory is needed, or perhaps we should let ourselves learn from the experience of others. Self-honesty is also important in getting priorities in order.

The decision to choose unconditional sobriety brings additional benefits in helping us to organize our lives. Once we completely understand that sobriety is all-important, it becomes easier to make other decisions that bear on keeping sober. We find ourselves choosing the ideas and activities that enhance sobriety, while rejecting other things that could threaten it.

I’ll never waver in a moment from my relief that I must continue to seek sobriety…… unconditionally. There is nothing that could ever justify my taking a drink.

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Keep It Simple
April 13

No labor, however humble, is dishonoring.
–The Talmud

Work is good for the heart. Work is good for our minds. It can give us something to focus on besides ourselves. Labor doesn’t just mean having a job. It may mean planting a garden or helping a friend. It certainly means working our program. Hopefully, it’s a labor of love. We can get into trouble if we have to much time on our hands. We can turn it into mischief or self-pity. We can get bored. Being bored is a matter of choice. We’ll never be bored if we ask ourselves, “How can I make this world a better place?” We can turn our answers into action.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, teach me to use my time wisely. Help me be well-balanced between labor and fun. I need both.

Action for the Day: I’ll list five ways that labor and fun can help me get closer to my Higher Power. And I’ll look for people and things to fill my time in positive ways.

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Each Day a New Beginning
April 13

The world is a wheel always turning. Those who are high go down low, and those who’ve been low go up higher.
–Anzia Yezierska

Everything changes. Nothing stays the same. And letting go of the way things are, anticipating instead what they might become, frees us to live each moment more fully.

Time marches on, and our destiny marches with it. There is purpose in how our lives unfold, the ups and downs serve our growth. We must neither resent the doldrums nor savor too long the elation. Giving too much attention to either state interferes with our awareness of the present. And the present has come to teach us.

We must move with time. We must focus our attention on the moment and accept whatever feelings each experience elicits. Emotional maturity is accepting our feelings and letting them go and facing instead the next moment with fresh receptivity. Our lessons are many, and they accompany the lows as well as the highs. We can be grateful for both.

The program has taught us freedom from lingering lows. It has given us the tools to move confidently forward, trusting that all is well. Nothing lasts forever, and within each struggle is the opportunity for real growth.

The highs will pass away, just as will the lows. They visit us purposefully. I will give them their freedom and find mine as well.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
April 13
LISTENING TO THE WIND

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

That man became the father of my first-born child. My relationship with him lasted only a few months and was the first of many mutually abusive relationships that would continue over the next few years. I found myself alone, drunk, homeless, and pregnant in a matter of weeks. Afraid that I would wind up back in jail, I went to live with my brother and sister-in-law.

p. 460

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
April 13
Step Four

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

Alcoholics especially should be able to see that instinct run wild in themselves is the underlying cause of their destructive drinking. We have drunk to drown feelings of fear, frustration, and depression. We have drunk to escape the guilt of passions, and then have drunk again to make more passions possible. We have drunk for vain glory–that we might the more enjoy foolish dreams of pomp and power. This perverse soul-sickness is not pleasant to look upon. Instincts on rampage balk at investigation. The minute we make a serious attempt to probe them, we are liable to suffer severe reactions.

pp. 44-45

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Xtra Thoughts
April 13

According to my experience, the principal characteristic of genuine happiness is peace, inner peace.
–His Holiness the Dalai Lama

God, help me remember to be peaceful first, no matter what situation I face.
–Melody Beattie

“When human beings stand by one another, testify to their faith, and witness each other’s pain, miracles happen. If we are loved enough, we are emotionally healed and spiritually made whole.”
–Marianne Williamson

God, teach me to let go of worry about money.
–Melody Beattie

“Don’t go through life, GROW through life.”
–Eric Butterworth

Let those whom you care about know how much you appreciate them, right now!
–Unknown

Look for opportunities to speak words that help and heal.
–Roy Shaver

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
April 13
REALITY

“I tend to be suspicious of people whose love of animals is exaggerated; they are often frustrated in their relationship with humans.”
–Yila (Camilla Koffler)

Anything can be used to avoid dealing with reality. People can use alcohol, food, drugs, people, sex, gambling – and yes, even animals – to avoid dealing with their loneliness and feelings of isolation.

The key to addiction is to be found in the obsessive and compulsive behavior patterns that stop us from reaching our full potential as human beings. We cannot relax with who we are because of our exaggerated and painful lifestyles. We cannot truly love ourselves because of our obsession with the “it” that seems to be controlling us. At some point we need to see the obsession and begin to talk about it.

In order for me to be a spiritual person I must free myself from compulsive attitudes.

God, I meditate on the “comfortableness” of freedom.

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Bible Scriptures
April 13

“From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
–John 1:16

“When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.”
–Psalm 91:15

“Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
–Luke 6:37

I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
–Psalm 121:1-2

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

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Daily Inspiration
April 13

Grow and learn from every situation no matter how insignificant because to stand still is really going backwards. Lord, may my spirit always remain young and vibrant and my enthusiasm for each new day remain alive.

It is the optimist that opens new doors and takes advantage of even the smallest of life’s opportunities. Lord, may my spirit shine and my eyes be open so that I may discover all that life offers.

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A Day At A Time
April 13

Reflection For The Day

Any number of addicted people are bedeviled by the dire conviction that if they ever go near The Program — whether by attending meetings or talking on-tune with a member — they’ll be pressured to conform to some particular  brand of faith or religion.   They don’t realize that faith is never an imperative for membership in The Program;  that freedom from addiction can be achieved with an easily acceptable minimum of it;  and that our concerts of a Higher Power and God — as we understand Him — afford everyone a nearly unlimited choice of spiritual belief and action. Am I receiving strength by sharing with newcomers?

Today I Pray

May I never frighten newcomers or keep away those who are considering coming to The Program by “laying on them” my particular, personal ideas about a Higher Power.  May each discover his or her own spiritual identity.  May all find within themselves a link with some great universal.  Being or Spirit whose Power is greater than theirs individually.  May I grow, both in tolerance and in spirituality, every day.

Today I Will Remember

I will reach, not preach.

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One More Day
April 13

Tears are summer showers to the soul.
–  Alfred Austin

All our lives, we have been told that time would heal all wounds –  and that if time couldn’t then the doctor would.

There are few things which may feel as final as a diagnosis of chronic illness.  Chronic means forever — and we can never hardly conceive of a problem that will never go away.  We may find ourselves crying over and over again, and wonder if the tears will ever end.

For many of us, our tears were how we began to grieve.  Grief was how we started to heal ourselves emotionally from the burden of “forever.”  The tears we shed helped cleanse our thoughts and bodies so we could move on to live the rest of our lives.  Today, our grief and weeping will help us continue to grow.

I can let myself shed the purifying tears that well up in my heart.  They will help me move on with my life.

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One Day At A Time
April 13
BE STILL

Be still, and know that I am God.
–The Bible, Book of Psalms

I don’t always know what “normal” is. I’m learning that my disease keeps me from having a normal relationship with food, but I also know that there are times when my feelings and thoughts are due to normal circumstances. I might not feel well physically, I could be fatigued from a demanding task, or I might simply be having an off day. There are normal reactions to these situations and I can feel them. Not everything is caused by my disease!

However, the way I handle these kinds of experiences can very much be affected by my disease. On those bad days, I don’t have to make important decisions and I don’t have to filter experiences through these thoughts and feelings. I can postpone things until I’m on a more even keel and, just for today, take care of myself and do the next right thing.

One Day at a Time . . .
I am grateful for the ways I am “normal” and thank God for the knowledge that I don’t have to let my disease make me think everything about me is “sick.” Let me simply be still on those uneven days and know that God is God and He is there.

~ Sandee S. ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 13

“Once you make a friend, a friend never leaves you, even to death. So a friend is really hard to find.”
–Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

Once, an Elder told me he made a decision to be my friend. He said this friendship wasn’t based on my behavior or how I acted; he said the friendship was based on his decision. He decided to be my friend. This friendship has happened like he said. Even if I don’t see him for a long time, or if I get mad at him, he has never changed his decision. This is true friendship.

Great Spirit, I’m glad you are this kind of Friend.

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Journey To The Heart
April 13
Give Freely of What You’ve Been Given

Learning not to overcare, overgive, and overdo are the lessons of the past. We have learned them, learned them well. There was a time when we needed to monitor our giving because we were giving compulsively, almost addictively, with no thought to what felt right in our heart, with no understanding of loving ourselves. But that was yesterday.

This is now. We can trust ourselves to know when it’s time to stop or when our giving has become destructive. We can trust ourselves to know when it’s not our job to give, because now we are connected to ourselves, listening to ourselves, on track.

Give freely of your time, your heart, your joy, your wisdom. Share your experiences, your strength, your hope. Share your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Share your money, your gifts, your laughter. Share your hope. Share yourself.

Give freely of what you’ve been given, and the universe will provide you with exactly what you need. Give freely and the universe will give freely to you.

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Today’s Gift
April 13

Nobody can be in good health if he does not have all the time fresh air, sunshine, and good water.
—Chief Flying Hawk

Before this part of the world was colonized by Europeans, native Americans thrived here, living in wigwams and teepees, spending their time in the fresh air and sun, and drinking pure, fresh water from springs, streams, and rivers. They lived long, healthy lives and almost never were sick–precisely because they knew how important the natural elements were.

When we feel depressed or nervous, nature is a good listener. We can take a walk in the sun, listen to the small birds, or twigs cracking under our feet, or simply the sound of our shoes on the pavement. We don’t need to live in teepees to follow the Indians’ example today. But getting out in the sunshine and fresh air every day, even on really cold days, rejuvenates us. Sunlight is healing, fresh air cleanses our lungs and brings more oxygen to the blood and brain. When we think enough of ourselves to take a walk when we need it, even that small amount of self-consideration is also healing.

Have I given myself time to live outside today?

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The Language of Letting Go
April 13
Enjoyment

One of the prohibitions many of us learned in childhood is the unspoken rule; don’t have fun and enjoy life. This rule creates martyrs – people who will not let themselves embrace the pleasures of day-to-day living.

Many of us associated suffering with some sort of sainthood. . Now, we associate it with codependency. We can go through the day making ourselves feel anxious, guilty, miserable, and deprived. Or we can allow ourselves to go through that same day feeling good. In recovery, we eventually learn the choice is ours.

There is much to be enjoyed each day, and it is okay to feel good. We can let ourselves enjoy our tasks. We can learn to relax without guilt. We can even learn to have fun.

Work at learning to have fun. Apply yourself with dedication to learning enjoyment. Work as hard at learning to have fun as you did at feeling miserable.

Our work will pay off. Fun will become fun. Life will become worth living. And each day, well find many pleasures to be enjoyed.

Today, I will let myself enjoy life as I go through my day.

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More Language Of Letting Go
April 13
Let yourself make mistakes

There are times we don’t know which way to proceed or what to do next. We can become so blocked and stymied trying to figure it out that we just sit and spin our wheels. In those situations, the solution may involve making some choice– even if it turns out to be the wrong one.

Ideally, we can meditate on our choices and one way will feel right and clear, and the other won’t. But in those times when we can’t get clear, sometimes we have to give things a try. Take that job. Move into a condo. Date that woman. If it’s a mistake, you can correct it as honestly, quickly, and humbly as you can.

You don’t have to live life as perfectly as you think. Sometimes it takes making a mistake in order for us to get clear.

God, help me let go of perfectionism. Help me give myself permission to live.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
April 13

Are you willing to be sponged out, erased,/ cancelled,/made nothing?/Are you willing to be made nothing?/dipped into oblivion?/If not, you will never really change.
—D. H. Lawrence

Many men have a self-centered attitude about change. They say, “Lift yourselves up by your bootstraps! Take charge! Be aggressive!” They have only a beginner’s understanding of what real change is. When we try to change ourselves by our own methods, we simply give rebirth to our already limited controlling ideas. We recycle and intensify our problems.

This program has given us a profound possibility for change. We discover we are able to move beyond our compulsion to control by surrendering. The promises for recovery are clear and bright, if we yield to this program totally – but they do not come on our timetable. We yield. We allow ourselves to be helped. We allow change to overtake us. We earnestly seek to do our part. And change comes! It comes – not when we say, “Now I deserve, it,” but when we are ready to accept it.

Today, I surrender again. Each day I learn to surrender and grow deeper.

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Daily TAO
April 13
RECIPROCITY

Hands grasp, but also give.
Mouth tastes, but also speaks.
Nose breathes, but also smells.
Eyes see, but also show.
Ears hear, but also balance.

The hands teach us not to be selfish.  The mouth teaches us to give thanks in word and song.  The nose teaches us to learn from our environment.  The eyes teach us to show compassion and sincerity.

All parts of ourselves both give and receive. They function on a principle of reciprocity inherent in their very character. If our senses are so noble, shouldn’t we be as well?

The eyes of a dedicated person show an inner fortitude and charisma that the eyes of the ordinary do not. Scientifically, we know that an eye is an eye, a mere organ, yet experimentally we know that the eyes are virtual windows to the soul. For us to achieve similar depth of character, we must live according to the inherent nobility of our natures. Each one of our senses is not simply an information-gathering faculty but is a channel of expression as well.

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DailyZen
April 13

If you want to go to the pure land,
Then purify your mind.
When your mind is pure,
Then whatever you see will be pure
And wherever you go
You will find the Buddha realm.

– Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutra

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Food for Thought
April 13
Greed

How many of us are killing ourselves with our own greed? In spite of all that we take in, we remain empty. Excessive consumption depresses our spirits even before it destroys our bodies.

Why are we so empty? Is it because we search for fulfillment in the wrong places? Do we expect permanent satisfaction from new clothes, more food, a bigger house? When the acquisition of these things fails to satisfy us for long, we then think we must go out and get more clothes, better food, a more elegant house.

Sometimes our greed arises out of fear, fear that we will not have enough. Kahlil Gibran says, “What is fear of need but need itself? Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?”

We are all children of a Father who satisfies our need but not our greed. To trust Him to abundantly supply all that we truly require is to give up fear as well as greed.

Take away my greed, Lord.

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Faith’s Check Book
April 13
This Body Fashioned Anew

Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body. (Philippians 3:21)

Often when we are racked with pain and unable to think or worship, we feel that this indeed is “the body of our humiliation,” and when we are tempted by the passions which rise from the flesh we do not think the word vile at all too vigorous a translation. Our bodies humble us; and that is about the best thing they do for us. Oh, that we were duly lowly, because our bodies ally us with animals and even link us with the dust!

But our Savior, the Lord Jesus, shall change all this. We shall be fashioned like His own body of glory. This will take place in all who believe in Jesus. By faith their souls have been transformed, and their bodies will undergo such a renewal as shall fit them for their regenerated spirits. How soon this grand transformation will happen we cannot tell; but the thought of it should help us to bear the trials of today and alt the woes of the flesh. In a little while we shall be as Jesus now is. No more aching brows, no more swollen limbs, no more dim eyes, no more fainting hearts. The old man shall be no more a bundle of infirmities, nor the sick man a mass of agony. “Like unto his glorious body.” What an expression! Even our flesh shall rest in hope of such a resurrection!

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