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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – April 17

Just For Today
April 17
Priority: Meetings

“I initially felt that it would be impossible to attend more than one or two meetings a week. It just wouldn’t fit in with my busy schedule. I later learned that my priorities were [180] degrees reversed. It was the everything else that would have to fit into my meeting schedule.”
—Basic Text p. 204

Some of us attended meetings infrequently when we first came to Narcotics Anonymous, then wondered why we couldn’t stay clean. What we soon learned was that if we wanted to stay clean, we had to make meeting attendance our priority.

So we began again. Following our sponsor’s suggestion, we made a commitment to attend ninety meetings in ninety days. We identified ourselves as newcomers for our first thirty days so that others could get to know us. At our sponsor’s direction, we stopped talking long enough to learn to listen. We soon began to look forward to meetings. And we began to stay clean.

Today, we attend meetings for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we go to meetings to share our experience, strength, and hope with newer members. Sometimes we go to see our friends. And sometimes we go just because we need a hug. Occasionally we leave a meeting and realize that we haven’t really heard a word that’s been said—but we still feel better. The atmosphere of love and joy that fills our meetings has kept us clean another day. No matter how hectic our schedule, we make meeting attendance our priority.

Just for today: In my heart, I know that meetings benefit me in all kinds of ways. Today, I want what’s good for me. I will attend a meeting.

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Daily Reflections
April 17
LOVE AND FEAR AS OPPOSITES

“All these failings generate fear, a soul-sickness in its own right.”
—TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 49

“Fear knocked at the door; faith answered; no one was there.” I don’t know to whom this quote should be attributed, but it certainly indicates clearly that fear is an illusion. I create the illusion myself.  I experienced fear early in my life, and I mistakenly thought that the mere presence of it made me a coward. I didn’t know that one of the definitions of “courage” is “the willingness to do the right thing in spite of fear.” Courage, then, is not necessarily the absence of fear.  During the times I didn’t have love in my life, I most assuredly had fear. To fear God is to be afraid of joy. In looking back, I realize that, during the times I feared God most, there was no joy in my life.  As I learned not to fear God, I also learned to experience joy.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
April 17
A.A. Thought For The Day

Every time we go to an A.A. meeting, every time we say the Lord’s Prayer, every time we have a quiet time before breakfast, we’re paying a premium on our insurance against taking that first drink. And every time we help another alcoholic, we’re making a large payment on our drink insurance. We’re making sure that our policy doesn’t lapse. Am I building up an endowment in serenity, peace, and happiness that will put me on easy street for the rest of my life?

Meditation For The Day

I gain faith by my own experience of God’s power in my life. The constant, persistent recognition of God’s spirit in all my personal relationships, the ever accumulating weight of evidence in support of God’s guidance, the numberless instances in which seeming chance or wonderful coincidence can be traced to God’s purpose in my life. All these things gradually engender a feeling of wonder, humility, and gratitude to God. These in turn are followed by a more sure and abiding faith in God and His purposes.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that my faith may be strengthened every day. I pray that I may find confirmation of my life in the good things that have come into my life.

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As Bill Sees It
April 17
Learn in Quiet, p. 108

In 1941, a news clipping was called to our attention by a New York member. In an obituary notice from a local paper, there appeared these words: “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Never had we seen so much A.A. in so few words. With amazing speed the Serenity Prayer came into general use.

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

In meditation, debate has no place. We rest quietly with the thoughts or prayers of spiritually centered people who understand, so that we may experience and learn. This is the state of being that so often discovers and deepens a conscious contact with God.

1. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 196
2. 12 & 12, pp. 101-100

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Walk in Dry Places
April 17
We can’t go home again …
Living here and now.

Despite all evidence that we must live for today, some of us persist in trying to recapture the past. We may be holding a few good memories that we would like to bring alive today. More likely, we may also be re-fighting old battles in the hope that this time we’ll come out winners.

But since change is taking place everywhere at every moment, we can never return to any previous place or time. Time does march on, and we are part of the parade. Whether we were winners or losers in the past, we can live only in the here and now.

The good news is that we can retain any lessons from the past and put them to use today. If we have scalding memories of twisted relationships, we can remind ourselves that growth and understanding now place us out of harm’s way. And if we remember the things that did turn out right even in the confused past, we can reflect that even greater good is possible today.

Our home is never in the past. It is in the time and place where we are today. As we make the best of it, all of our future homes in place and time will improve, for “in God’s house are many mansions.”

Accepting the value of all of its lessons, I will close the door firmly on the past, knowing that I must devote all of my interest and energies to the present moment.

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Keep It Simple
April 17

“We create revolution by living it.”
—Jerry Rubin

There’s a lot wrong in the world—child abuse, homeless and hungry people, pollution. Our old way of dealing with these troubles was to break the rules or to “drop out” by using chemicals.

Now we have a new way to change the world. We’re changing ourselves. One Day at a Time, we’re acting like the caring , responsible people we want to be. We use the ideas of the program in our lives.

We’re kinder. We’re more honest. We stand up for ourselves and for others who need our help. What if the whole world started working the Steps? What a wonderful world this would be!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, please work through me today. Help me make the world a little better place.

Action for the Day: I’ll list one thing that bothers me about the world today. How can using the ideas of the program help solve that problem? Remember, the program tells us to look at our own behavior.

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Each Day a New Beginning
April 17

“I can stand what I know. It’s what I don’t know that frightens me.”
—Frances Newton

Fear of the unknown, often referred to as free-floating anxiety, catches up to us on occasion. But it needn’t. The program offers us strength whenever we need it, and faith diminishes all fear. It is said that fear cannot exist where there is faith.

We have many days when we feel strong, in touch with our higher power, able to meet all situations. On those days, we are seldom conscious of how our faith is guiding us. But the hours of fear that we experience on other days make us aware of faith’s absence. There is a simple solution: We can reach out to a friend. We can be attentive to her needs, and the connection to God will be made.

Shifting our focus, from self-centered fears to another person’s needs, offers us a perspective on our own life. It also offers us a chance to let God work through us. Our own faith is strengthened each time we offer our services to God and to a friend in need. What may frighten us seems less important the closer we are to the people in our lives.

When I touch someone else, God touches me in return.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
April 17
LISTENING TO THE WIND

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

I did quite well financially. After one year I found a beautiful large apartment that had a view of the ocean, bought a new car and a purebred Collie dog. The social workers started getting very nosy. I could not figure out what their problem was. I led a double life. By day I was super-mom, and by night I was a drunken hooker.

p. 461

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
April 17

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

At this stage of the inventory proceedings, our sponsors come to the rescue. They can do this, for they are the carriers of A.A.’s tested experience with Step Four. They comfort the melancholy one by first showing him that his case is not strange or different, that his character defects are probably not more numerous or worse than those of anyone else in A.A. This the sponsor promptly proves by talking freely and easily, and without exhibitionism, about his own defects, past and present. This calm, yet realistic, stocktaking is immensely reassuring. The sponsor probably points out that the newcomer has some assets which can be noted along with his liabilities. This tends to clear away morbidity and encourage balance. As soon as he begins to be more objective, the newcomer can fearlessly, rather than fearfully, look at his own defects.

p. 46

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Xtra Thoughts
April 17

“See with your heart not with your eyes for beauty lies everywhere.  The mind reasons. The heart knows.”
—Unknown

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
—Martin Luther King Jr.

“God, help me take guided action, then surrender to your will. Help me remember that true power comes from aligning my will, intentions, and desires with you.”
—Melody Beattie

“God, help me learn to take care of myself and live with passion, compassion, and an open heart.”
—Melody Beattie

“Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes.”
—Unknown

“Compromise often leads to the solution to a problem, so keep your heart open to it.”
—Unknown

“God is with us through all the changes in our lives.”
—Greg Faggart

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
April 17
POWER

“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts, perhaps the fear of loss of power.”
—John Steinbeck

In my recovery, I am beginning to understand that so much “power” in the world is really fear. The power that seeks to attack first in order to feel secure is really fear. The power that always has to have an answer is really fear. The power that arrogantly refuses to listen is really fear. So much power is “fear” dressed in illusion!

Spiritual power has the ability to be vulnerable. It can live with confusion. It can stand alone. It allows others to walk away to pursue their happiness. Spiritual power can exist in suffering and loneliness, and it does not expect perfection.

My recovery is teaching me to live and let others live, too. My freedom must respect the freedom of others; respect is a two-way street!

Give me the power that can rest in imperfection.

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Bible Scriptures
April 17

“My child, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life and abundant welfare they will give you.”
—Proverbs 3:1

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Daily Inspiration
April 17

It’s very possible that our problems may not be as big as they seem and could sometimes actually be a blessing. Lord, I place my trust in You to see me through my trials and help me to become a stronger and wiser person because of them.

Enthusiasm will be yours if you love God, love people, and love life. Lord, the nearer I follow Your way, the happier I become.

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A Day At A Time
April 17

Reflection For The Day

The Program teaches me to remain on guard against impatience, lapses into self-pity, and resentments of the words and deeds of others.  Though I must never forget what it used to be like, neither should I permit myself to take tormenting excursions into the past—merely for the sake of self-indulgent morbidity.  Now that I’m alert to the danger signals, I know I’m improving day by day.  If a crisis arises, or any problem baffles me, do I hold it up to the light of the Serenity Prayer?

Today I Pray

I pray for perspective as I review the past.  May I curb my impulses to upstage and outdo the members of my group by regaling them with the horrors of my addiction. May I no longer use the past to document my self-pity or submerge myself in guilt. May memories of those miserable earlier days serve me only as sentinels, guarding against hazardous situations or unhealthy sets of mind.

Today I Will Remember

I cannot change the past.

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One More Day
April 17

“The great and glorious masterpiece of man is to know how to live to purpose.”
– Montaigne

When we undergo any crisis, it’s quite common for self-esteem to take a plunge.  If life seems to hand us one crisis after another, our feelings of self-worth may vary from day to day.  Once we get used to the newest change (perhaps this time it is diminished health) we begin to realize that only we are capable of nurturing ourselves.

We can solve some of our problems by setting new, more realistic goals, goals that we can reach successfully.  Then our damaged self-esteem can start to become whole once again.

I am capable of taking better care of myself by setting challenging goals and by doing things I love to do.

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One Day At A Time
April 17
~ FORGIVENESS ~

“Forgiving is not forgetting; it’s letting go of the hurt.”
—Mary McCleod Bethune

When I first came into the program, I was so fired up with anger and resentment that I had no space for any other emotions. After all, I had the food which would anesthetize me against any emotions I didn’t want to feel. I was angry with God for all the trauma and losses that had happened to me in my life. I blamed my mother for not being the kind of mother I wanted, which was, of course, why I ate. But the person towards whom I felt the most anger and resentment was my ex-husband, who never financially supported my children, making my financial burden and my present husband’s very heavy. What made it worse was that he was good to the children and they thought he was great because they would have fun with him on a weekend, while we had all the financial responsibility and resulting worry.

But when I came to Step Eight, my sponsor gently reminded me that I needed to forgive the people towards whom I felt the most anger, namely my mother and my ex-husband. My mother had passed away and so I had to write a long letter to her, forgiving her for not being the person I wanted her to be and also making amends to her for my part in it all. I realize now that she did the best she knew how, just as I have done with my children, and I have been able to forgive her with love. When it came to forgiving my ex-husband, I knew that I wasn’t able forgive him in person, but I was able to write a letter to him which I never sent. In it, I forgave him for being the irresponsible person that he is. It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. When my younger daughter had her 21st birthday, I could be there for her and not spoil it as I had done before, and in fact, I could be almost friendly to her father. As a result, the relationship with all my children has improved a hundredfold, but more importantly, I’m a much better person for it.

One day at a time …
I will forgive the people who have harmed me, let them go with love, and entrust them to their Higher Power.

~ Sharon ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 17

“Women know more about love than men do … Love is taking. Love is sharing. Love is learning things about each other.”
—Mary Leitka, HOH

The Elders say Mother Earth shares Her special gifts of love with the Women. The Women know about bringing forth life and nurturing their offspring. Through this gift of love the Earth really makes the Woman special. Men should look upon the Woman with a Sacred Eye. She should be respected. The Woman is a role model for love. When the Woman talks, we should listen; when she shares, we should be grateful. We should all learn about each other.

Grandmother, teach me to love with the power of the Woman.

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Journey To The Heart
April 17
Listen to the Voice of Your Heart

Cultivate the art of listening to your intuition, your inner voice. This is the guidance of your heart. It’s a voice that speaks differently from the one in your head. The heart whispers softly, the head prattles loudly.

The head has an agenda for our lives. It chatters away boldly, but its vision is limited. It leaves no room for the mysterious workings of the universe, nor does it take into account the side trips we need to get where we’re going, where our souls need to go. It’s the voice that says, “This is the way it’s going to be.”

The heart, the inner voice, speaks differently. Sometimes it whispers. Sometimes it pulls. Sometimes it pushes. It’s spontaneous, in the present moment, and often a surprise. The heart takes into account what has to be done and the best way to do that. The heart takes emotions into account—the way things feel, the way you feel, the wisdom of your soul. The heart leads us into and through the lessons we’re here to learn.

Cultivate your inner voice. Practice listening to the whispers of your heart. Practice trusting your intuition, what you really feel, what you really know. Practice until that voice is the one that you hear.

Be patient. Be gentle. Let yourself learn to hear the gentle and trustworthy words of your heart.

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Today’s Gift
April 17

“If your heart catches in your throat, ask a bird how she sings.”
—Cooper Edens

The idea of your heart getting caught in your throat and then asking a bird how she sings may seem silly. It is, but being silly is sometimes exactly what we need. Instead of always trying to figure out the lumps in our throats, we can learn how to sing with them.

Birds sing all day. Their songs are lighthearted and playful. And they bring us color along with their songs. We have all stopped to notice a special bird outside the window. A bird song can be a lullaby. It can be laughter. We need these things in our lives, too. By playing and laughing, we change the lumps in our throats to songs.

What sadness can I turn into song today?

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The Language of Letting Go
April 17
Taking Care of Ourselves

We often refer to recovery from codependency and adult child issues as self-care. Self-care is not, as some may think, a spin off of the me generation. It isn’t self-indulgence. It isn’t selfishness – in the negative interpretation of that word.

We’re learning to take care of ourselves, instead of obsessively focusing on another person. We’re learning self-responsibility, instead of feeling excessively responsible for others. Self-care also means tending to our true responsibilities to others; we do this better when were not feeling overly responsible.

Self-care sometimes means, me first, but usually, me too. It means we are responsible for ourselves and can choose to no longer be victims.

Self-care means learning to love the person we’re responsible for taking care of – ourselves. We do not do this to hibernate in a cocoon of isolation and self indulgence; we do it so we can better love others, and learn to let them love us.

Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s self-esteem.

Today, God, help me love myself. Help me let go of feeling excessively responsible for those around me. Show me what I need to do to take care of myself and be appropriately responsible to others.

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More Language Of Letting Go
April 17
Keep your balance

Sometimes, our legitimate needs and wants run amuck.

We want something so badly—for instance our spouse sobering up, or that job, or that woman or that man—that we begin to obsess and dwell. We take ourselves out of that place of balance and end up in a no-win tailspin.

It’s not that what we want and need is bad for us. It’s just that right now, what we want isn’t, obviously, taking place. Don’t take it out on yourself by judging yourself wrong. Don’t take it out on your needs by telling yourself you shouldn’t have any.

Relax. Come back to center, to that clear, balanced place.

Don’t let your needs and desires run away with you. Yes, passion is great stuff. Identify what you want. Then let it go. And ask God what your lesson is.

Today, I will come back to balance with any need or want that seems to be controlling my life. Instead of dwelling on it, I’ll give it to God and focus on taking care of myself.

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Daily TAO
April 17
WITHDRAWAL

Activity is essential, but exhausting,
And its importance is only on the surface.
Withdraw into Tao at the end of the day.
Returning is renewal.

Each day is filled with activity. We rush around from meeting to meeting; we make all sorts of arrangements for the future. Such doings are important, but they are not all that there is in life. Even as we engage in them, we must remember that all human endeavors are temporary and provisional.

We cannot allow our accomplishments to divorce us from what is actually happening in the world. It is imperative that we withdraw to reflect upon the day’s events and collect ourselves for the continuation of our path. There is no need to go to a temple, a sacred spot, or a special room. We do not need elaborate ritual. All we need is a simple and natural turning within.

This is why followers of Tao always use the word ‘returning.’ They recognize the necessity of activity in life, but they also recognize the need to return to Tao. In Tao is the source of all things, and in the source one finds the renewal that one needs to go on with life. This back-and-forth movement between the source and the activity of life is the movement of all things.

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DailyZen
April 17

Just by listening with your eyes
you can fold back on yourself and
merge into that primal
stream of awareness like a river
is swallowed by the immensity of the ocean.
Only then will you know what point to live from.

—Journeys on Mind Mountain

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Food for Thought
April 17
Easy Does It

Strain and struggle abound when we try to do everything ourselves, our way. We want positive change to occur immediately and expect miracles to happen according to our personal timetable. We sometimes feel that if our Higher Power is guiding us, we should be able to accomplish great and marvelous things constantly.

To remember “easy does it” is to humbly realize that we are not all powerful and that God does not expect us to be all things to all people. Growth is slow, time belongs to God, and change will occur according to His plan. If we do the jobs we have been given for this 24-hour period, our Higher Power will take care of tomorrow.

How much more agreeable life is when we do not overextend ourselves but admit our weakness and trust God to take care of us. We do not shirk our share, but we do not try to carry the whole load. Only our Higher Power is strong enough to do that.

Take from our lives the strain and stress.

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In God’s Care
April 17

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”
—Albert Schweitzer

Throughout our life we’ve been influenced by other people’s behavior and opinions. Many of us were influenced by very poor examples in earlier years. And we may have to pray for help rather than continuing to follow those poor examples now. But all around us are people who are healthy, loving, and honest. We are invited to emulate their behavior.

Acting As If can help us develop new behaviors. We may not feel very comfortable reaching out to a program newcomer or making conversation with someone we’ve just met, but we can do it. And in time, with practice, we’ll discover we’ve added a positive dimension to our character, one that influences the lives of other people who struggle just like us. All of us, Acting As If in positive ways, offer wonderful examples of behavior change. We reinforce our own changes, and each others every time we are thoughtful before we act.

With my Higher Power’s help, I will be a good example for someone today.

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Faith’s Check Book
April 17
Enemies at Peace

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
—(Proverbs 16:7)

I must see that my ways please the Lord. Even then I shall have enemies; and, perhaps, all the more certainly because I endeavor to do that which is right. But what a promise this is! The Lord will make the wrath of man to praise Him and abate it so that it shall not distress me.

He can constrain an enemy to desist from harming me, even though he has a mind to do so. This He did with Laban, who pursued Jacob but did not dare to touch him. Or He can subdue the wrath of the enemy and make him friendly, as He did with Esau, who met Jacob in a brotherly manner, though Jacob had dreaded that he would smite him and his family with the sword. The Lord can also convert a furious adversary into a brother in Christ and a fellow worker, as He did with Saul of Tarsus. Oh, that He would do this in every case where a persecuting spirit appears!

Happy is the man whose enemies are made to be to him what the lions were to Daniel in the den, quiet and companionable! When I meet death, who is called the last enemy, I pray that I may be at peace. Only let my great care be to please the Lord in all things. Oh, for faith and holiness; for these are a pleasure unto the Most High!

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This Morning’s Meditation
April 17

“We are come to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
—Hebrews 12:24.

READER, have you come to the blood of sprinkling? The question is not whether you have come to a knowledge of doctrine, or an observance of ceremonies, or to a certain form of experience, but have you come to the blood of Jesus? The blood of Jesus is the life of all vital godliness. If you have truly come to Jesus, we know how you came—the Holy Spirit sweetly brought you there. You came to the blood of sprinkling with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your everlasting hope. You came to the cross of Christ, with a trembling and an aching heart; and oh! what a precious sound it was to you to hear the voice of the blood of Jesus! The dropping of His blood is as the music of heaven to the penitent sons of earth. We are full of sin, but the Saviour bids us lift our eyes to Him, and as we gaze upon His streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, “It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting righteousness.” Oh! sweet language of the precious blood of Jesus! If you have come to that blood once, you will come to it constantly. Your life will be “Looking unto Jesus.” Your whole conduct will be epitomized in this—”To whom coming.” Not to whom I have come, but to whom I am always coming. If thou hast ever come to the blood of sprinkling, thou wilt feel thy need of coming to it every day. He who does not desire to wash in it every day, has never washed in it at all. The believer ever feels it to be his joy and privilege that there is still a fountain opened. Past experiences are doubtful food for Christians; a present coming to Christ alone can give us joy and comfort. This morning let us sprinkle our door-post fresh with blood, and then feast upon the Lamb, assured that the destroying angel must pass us by.

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