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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – April 7

Just For Today
April 7
The Value Of The Past

“This firsthand experience in all phases of illness and recovery is of unparalleled therapeutic value. We are here to share it freely with any addict who wants to recover.”
Basic Text p. 10

Most of us came into the program with some serious regrets. We had never finished high school, or we had missed going to college. We had destroyed friendships and marriages. We had lost jobs. And we knew that we couldn’t change any of it. We may have thought that we’d always be regretful and simply have to find a way to live with our regrets.

On the contrary, we find that our past represents an untapped gold mine the first time we are called on to share it with a struggling newcomer. As we listen to someone share their Fifth Step with us, we can give a special form of comfort that no one else could provide – our own experience. We’ve done the same things. We’ve had the same feelings of shame and remorse. We’ve suffered in the ways only an addict can suffer. We can relate – and so can they.

Our past is valuable – in fact, priceless – because we can use all of it to help the addict who still suffers. Our Higher Power can work through us when we share our past. That possibility is why we are here, and its fulfillment is the most important goal we have to accomplish.

Just for today: I no longer regret my past because, with it, I can share with other addicts, perhaps averting the pain or even death of another.

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Daily Reflections
April 7
A WIDE ARC OF GRATITUDE

And, speaking for Dr. Bob and myself, I gratefully declare that had it not been for our wives, Anne and Lois, neither of us could have lived to see A.A.’s beginning.
–THE A.A. WAY OF LIFE, p. 67

Am I capable of such generous tribute and gratitude to my wife, parents and friends, without whose support I might never have survived to reach A.A.’s doors? I will work on this and try to see the plan my Higher Power is showing me which links our lives together.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
April 7
A.A. Thought For The Day

In A.A. alcoholics find a way to solve their personality problems. They do this by recovering three things. First, they recover their personal integrity. They pull themselves together. They get honest with themselves and with other people. They face themselves and their problems honestly, instead of running away. They take a personal inventory of themselves to see where they really stand. Then they face the facts instead of making excuses for themselves. Have I recovered my integrity?

Meditation For The Day

When trouble comes, do not say: “Why should this happen to me?” Leave yourself out of the picture. Think of other people and their troubles and you will forget about your own.  Gradually get away from yourself and you will know the consolation of unselfish service to others. After a while, it will not matter so much what happens to you. It is not so important any more, except as your experience can be used to help others who are in the same kind of trouble.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may become more unselfish. I pray that I may not be thrown off the track by letting the old selfishness creep back into my life.

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As Bill Sees It
April 7
Self-Respect Through Sacrifice, p. 97

At the beginning we sacrificed alcohol. We had to, or it would have killed us. But we couldn’t get rid of alcohol unless we made other sacrifices. We had to toss the self-justification, self-pity, and anger right out the window. We had to quit the crazy contest for personal prestige and big bank balances. We had to take personal responsibility for our sorry state and quit blaming others for it.

Were these sacrifices? Yes, they were. To gain enough humility and self-respect to stay alive at all, we had to give up what had really been our dearest possessions–our ambitions and our illegitimate pride.

A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 287

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Walk in Dry Places
April 7
Deserving Happiness
Emotional Control

Somewhere in the course of living sober, we should realize that we can deserve to be happy. If happiness is eluding us, the fault may lie in a peculiar guilt from our past. In a perverse way, we may be using unhappiness as penance for our past wrongs.

We deserve to be happy if we are doing the things that should bring happiness to ourselves and others. Thinking and living rightly is a path to happiness. Meeting our obligations to society and others contributes to personal happiness. Placing the overall responsibility for our lives in God’s hands is yet another route to happiness.

We can also learn from our experience. Did any of us ever meet a truly happy person who was totally self-seeking? Do we remember any happy, serene people among our drinking companions? Did any of our temporary successes and victories bring permanent happiness?

AA experience gives us the answers we need. Happiness is always in the direction of love and service, never in anything selfish. We deserve to be happy, but we must plant seeds of happiness by our thoughts and actions.

I’ll be happy today. If I’m worrying about something, I’ll suspend the worry and let myself be happy in spite of it. I deserve to be happy and I am usually the person who is responsible for this happiness.

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Keep It Simple
April 7

To make the world a friendly place One must show it a friendly face.
–James Whitcomb Riley

We are beginning to learn that we get what we expect. Why? If we believe that people are out to get us, we’ll not treat them well. We will think it’s okay to “get them” before they “get us.” Then, they’ll be angry and want to get even. And on it goes. It’s great when we can meet the world with a balance. We are honest people. We can expect others to be fair with us. We get the faith, strength, and courage to do this because of our trust in our Higher Power.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I put my life in Your care. Use me to spread Your love to others.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll spread friendliness. I will greet people with a smile.

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Each Day a New Beginning
April 7

It is only when people begin to shake loose from their preconceptions, from the ideas that have dominated them, that we begin to receive a sense of opening, a sense of vision.
–Barbara Ward

A sense of vision, seeing who we can dare to be and what we can dare to accomplish, is possible if we focus intently on the present and always the present. We are all we need to be, right now. We can trust that. And we will be shown the way to become who we need to become, step by step, from one present moment to the next present moment. We can trust that, too.

The past that we hang onto stands in our way. Many of us needlessly spend much of our lives fighting a poor self-image. But we can overcome that. We can choose to believe we are capable and competent. We can be spontaneous, and our vision of all that life can offer will change–will excite us, will cultivate our confidence.

We can respond to life wholly. We can trust our instincts. And we will become all that we dare to become.

Each day is a new beginning. Each moment is a new opportunity to let go of all that has trapped me in the past. I am free. In the present, I am free.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
April 7
LISTENING TO THE WIND

 

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

I had a hard time reading and understanding school work, so I skipped school every chance I got. My dad and grandma had told me the old stories about the longhouse and the travels of our people across the deserts and mountains of this country. I met a boy and together we ditched school and stole a truck. We drank tequila and explored the red mesas together. Sometimes we sat in the shade of the trading post directly across the street from the tracks. When the train rumbled through the dusty small town near the reservation, it promised glamorous places far away.

p. 458

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
April 7
Step Four

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

Yet these instincts, so necessary for our existence, often far exceed their proper functions. Powerfully, blindly, many times subtly, they drive us, dominate us, and insist upon ruling our lives. Our desires for sex, for material and emotional security, and for an important place in society often tyrannize us. When thus out of joint, man’s natural desires cause him great trouble, practically all the trouble there is. No human being, however good, is exempt from these troubles. Nearly every serious emotional problem can be seen as a case of misdirected instinct. When that happens, our great natural assets, the instincts, have turned into physical and mental liabilities.

p. 42

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Xtra Thoughts
April 7
It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.
–Vince Lombardi

If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.
–Kahlil Gibran

“Devote uninterrupted chunks of time to the most important people in your life.”
–Brian Tracy

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
–John Powell

You can sit there choosing to live your life in pain, or you can choose to take action and free yourself from the bondage.
–Gary Barnes

Nothing is better than experiencing joy except sharing it with someone else.
–Deanna Smythe

There shall be an eternal summer in the grateful heart.
–Celia Thaxter

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
April 7
OLD AGE

“You just wake up one morning and you got it!”
–Moms Mabley

I am so busy living I don’t think about “getting old”. I am so grateful in my recovery from alcoholism that tomorrow, the future and age are secondary.

In my sickness I was always living in the future; what would tomorrow bring? Will I die crippled, lonely and afraid? My projections into the future produced an emotional pain.

Today I do not need to do this. I welcome old age because I bring into it the joy and experience of my sobriety. Will I be lonely? I doubt it if I stick to my recovery program; I have so many friends all over the world meeting together to face the disease on a daily basis. Also I know that nothing could ever compare with the loneliness of my drinking days.

My spiritual program reminds me to be grateful for my life and this includes the inevitability of old age.

Lord, as I grow in age may I also grow in wisdom and tolerance.

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Bible Scriptures
April 7

“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
–Job 23:10

Do not plot harm against your neighbor who lives trustfully near you.
–Proverbs 3:29

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Daily Inspiration
April 7

One of the best parts of receiving blessings is enjoying them. Lord, may I take time to recognize my blessings and appreciate their wonder.

As a mother sets aside gifts for her children long before they need them, so, too, has God prepared for our needs long before we call out to Him. Lord, I give thanks and place my trust in Your loving arms.

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A Day At A Time
April 7

Reflection For The Day

Our spiritual and emotional growth in The Program doesn’t depend so deeply upon success as it does upon our failures and setbacks.  If we bear this in mind, a relapse can have the effect of kicking us upstairs, instead of down.  We in The Program have had no better teacher than Old Man Adversity, except in those cases where we refuse to let him teach us.  Do I try to remain always teachable?

Today I Pray

May I respect the total Program, with its unending possibilities for spiritual and emotional growth, so that I can view a relapse as a learning experience, not “the end of the world.”   May relapse for one of our fellowship serve to teach not only the person who slipped, but all of us.  May it strengthen our shared resolve.

Today I Will Remember

If you slip, get up.

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One More Day
April 7

Sometimes I have believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
–  Lewis Carroll

While sitting at the table with an early morning cup of tea or coffee, we can get lost in reverie.  Briefly, for a frozen moment in time, we can believe that we are capable of anything once again.

We sill have the joy of our imagination, and even if there are physical restrictions placed upon us by our long-term medical condition, we can still imagine ourselves achieving an impossible dream.  It’s wonderful to get lost in pure fantasy about how we would like our lives to be.  We can imagine ourselves richer in relationships and in friends.  Even when our body betrays us, we need never betray the belief in ourselves.

I have the freedom to imagine whatever I want.  My illness doesn’t restrict what I can accomplish in my mind.

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One Day At A Time
April 7
~ Higher Power ~

If you spend all your time looking for Him, you might miss Her when She shows up.
–Neale Donald Walsch

Our program of recovery teaches us that we each must lean on a Higher Power. This Higher Power is also known as “the God of my understanding.” There is nothing in this Twelve Step program of ours that says that my Higher Power must be the same as your Higher Power. For some, the Higher Power in their life is a deity. The program itself, or a weekly meeting, might be the Higher Power for someone else. It doesn’t matter what or who each person has for a Higher Power.

Recovery is possible for everyone. Those who believe in one God can come together with those who believe in many Gods, or maybe no God at all. The atheist has just as much chance of recovery as a very religious person. The beauty of this program is that it works for everybody, regardless of their approach to the spiritual aspect. That is why it is imperative that we accept each other’s ideas of a Higher Power. What works for one individual might not work for another. But one thing is sure … the program that works if you work it, regardless of which Higher Power you decide on.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will work my program with my Higher Power, the God of my understanding, and allow others to work their program with the God of their understanding.

~ Jeff ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 7

“Women. They have the power of generations. Women have the power to have children and not to have children.”
–Cecilia Mitchell, MOHAWK

The Woman is not only the key to life; she is also the key to future generations. An Elder once joked that the Woman only needs the man for one night. We need to look at and respect the power of the Woman. She is special and we need to treat her that way.

Great Spirit, today, let me show the greatest respect to our Women.

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Journey To The Heart
April 7
What Are You Resisting Most?

Be open to the whole journey, all parts of it.

Is there a feeling, a person, a thought, a project that you have been avoiding? Is there some part of your life that you’re refusing to deal with or open up to? Is there something you’re resisting, something that makes you stubbornly say no? Ignore the voice that says, This is how I decided it will be, so I will close off to that part, I will not consider it. That is the voice of resistance.

Be open to everything. Your most valuable lessons may well come from the things you’re resisting most.

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Today’s Gift
April 7

Take time every day to do something silly.
—Philipa Walker

Spring fever may bring out our longings and our sense of unfilled needs for attention, play, or laughter. We may be afraid to express these needs because they are not often taken seriously, but thought of as childish. We may even be afraid our needs are so enormous that they will never be satisfied, and so we keep them bottled up inside ourselves, and all we can express to others is frustration.

Spring is a reminder that we can find a way to satisfy our needs. We can give ourselves a break from work or study, laugh a little, and try to share our laughter with someone else. There are many ways to fulfill a need, and by giving what we have to offer, we may find ourselves getting back exactly what we really need, even though it may not be what we had hoped for.

In the act of giving we learn we are worth giving to also. We learn that we deserve to be loved, most of all by ourselves.

What do I think I need today?

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The Language of Letting Go
April 7
Those Old Time Feelings

I still have bad days. But that’s okay. I used to have bad years.
–Anonymous

Sometimes, the old feelings creep back in. We may feel fearful, ashamed, and hopeless. We may feel not good enough, unlovable, victimized, helpless, and resentful about it all. This is codependency, a condition some describe as soul sickness.

Many of us felt this way when we began recovery. Sometimes, we slip back into these feelings after we’ve begun recovery. Sometimes there’s a reason. An event may trigger these reactions, such as ending a relationship, stress, problems on the job, at home, or in friendships. Times of change can trigger these reactions. So can physical illness.

Sometimes, these feelings return for no reason.

A return to the old feelings doesn’t mean were back to square one in our recovery. They do not mean we’ve failed at recovery. They do not mean were in for a long, painful session of feeling badly. They just are there.

The solution is the same: practicing the basics. Some of the basics are loving and trusting our self, detachment, dealing with feelings, giving and receiving support in the recovery community, using our affirmations, and having fun.

Another basic is working the Steps. Often, working the Steps is how we become enabled and empowered to practice the other basics, such as detachment and self-love.

If the old feelings come back, know for certain there is a way out that will work.

Today, if I find myself in the dark pit of codependency, I will work a Step to help myself climb out.

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More Language Of Letting Go
April 7
Examine what others expect

“There’s a difference between saying we’re not going to live up to other people’s expectations and actually not living up to them,” a friend said to me one day.

Other people’s expectations, or even what we imagine others expect from us, can be a powerful and motivating force. We can feel antsy, uncomfortable, wrong, and off-center when we step out of our place. These feelings can occur when we’re not living up to what other people expect from us– even, and sometimes especially, if these expectations aren’t vocalized.

Expectations are silent demands.

Not living up to someone’s expectations can take effort on our part. What we’re really doing when we don’t comply with what others expect from us is standing our ground and saying no. That takes energy and time.

What do people expect from you? What have you trained or encouraged them to expect? Are they actually expecting this from you, or are you just imagining that expectation and imposing it on yourself?

An unexamined life isn’t worth living, or so they say. The problem with living up to other people’s expectations too much is that it doesn’t leave us time to have a life. Take a moment. Ask yourself this question, and don’t be afraid to look deeply: Are you allowing someone else’s expectations to control your life? Examine the expectations you’re living up to; then live by your own inner guide.

God, help me become aware of the controlling impact other people’s expectations have on my daily life. Help me know I don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations but my own.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
April 7

Adversity introduces a man to himself.
—Anonymous

After difficult or challenging times we often say, “I never would have chosen to go through that, but I learned a lot from it.” It could be a job situation, a failed relationship, or trouble with the law. When we bump up against something hard something that pushes back at us, our strength is tested, forcing us to draw on unknown reserves. A mountain climber standing on a safe ledge finds it difficult to move forward onto a more frightening spot. After he has completed the route, he looks back and feels good about himself because he met a challenge. We meet these challenges in many ways in our lives, and they help us build our self-respect.

Whatever difficulty is facing us today, we may have to deal with it ourselves, but we do not have to be alone while we do it. We can reach out for support while we do what we must. This difficulty is part of being human and can help us see more fully who we are.

I pray for the courage to face my adversity when I must and the ability to learn from it.

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Daily TAO
April 7
ENCOURAGEMENT

One thousand miles from home,
I open the same prayer book.
Some nights it was only obligation;
Tonight, it is comfort.

It’s best to be patient and persevering. Devotion may sometimes seem to be pure drudgery. Away from home, it’s possible to gain a new outlook. Taken from its usual context, our commitment can stand out all the more brilliantly. Something that may have become like a bit and bridle may now be warm and comforting. That is why one should master one’s emotions, and use discipline to even out the ups and downs of impulse.

When traveling, we are away from our usual surroundings, including those elements that suppress and restrict us. Nearly all of us have fears, frustrations, and inhibitions that we have acquired in the past; time and distance help us to assess them more clearly. To overcome them takes courage and initiative. How can we do it if our very problem is fear and timidity? That is when we need a friend to help and encourage us. They can give us the guidance and support to face our fears.  Although they can neither live our lives nor solve our problems outright, they can provide an invaluable presence just when we most need it.

Within ourselves, our daily devotions are the way to encourage ourselves to persevere. With others, encouragement is the way to be compassionate.

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DailyZen
April 7

Not Available

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Food for Thought
April 7
Appetite

Appetite grows as it is fed. The more we eat, the more we want to eat. If we let any physical appetite take over – whether it is for food, sex, security, or whatever – we become its slave.

If we do not nurture our relationship with our Higher Power so that God is the ultimate authority for everything that we do and the object of our greatest desire, then we will be enslaved by one or more of our physical appetites. When God is perceived to be the greatest good and the source of all joy and satisfaction, then physical appetites fall into their proper place.

First we seek spiritual growth. Our primary desire is to do God’s will for us, as He enables us to do it. When He is our Master, His love feeds our spiritual appetite and we begin to know the inner peace and satisfaction, which the world cannot give.

May my desire be always for You.

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In God’s Care
April 7

When you pray for anyone you tend to modify your personal attitude toward him.
— Norman Vincent Peale

We experience a wonderful tansformation in attitude each time we, with God’s help, suppress our ego and ask for God’s blessings on someone we envy, fear, or simply don’t like. Any action we take out of genuine concern for someone else’s well-being will heighten our own – many times over.

Praying may be troublesome for some of us. But as we’ve learned the value of Acting As If in other instances, we can do so with praying too. There is no formula for praying. Each attempt to speak to God is a prayer, one that God hears. Each loving thought we have toward someone near or far can be considered a prayer. We can pray in the midst of a crowd, at supper with family, laying in bed, or on our knees. With practice, prayer becomes easier. Through prayer, life becomes easier too.

I will look at my attitude toward someone I’m having trouble with and work on changing it today, through prayer.

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Faith’s Check Book
April 7
Without Fear of Man

And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. (Deuteronomy 28:10)

Then we can have no reason to be afraid of them. This would show a mean spirit and be a token of unbelief rather than of faith. God can make us so like Himself that men shall be forced to see that we rightly bear His name and truly belong to the holy Jehovah. Oh, that we may obtain this grace which the Lord waits to bestow!

Be assured that ungodly men have a fear of true saints. They hate them, but they also fear them. Haman trembled because of Mordecai, even when he sought the good man’s destruction. In fact, their hate often arises out of a dread which they are too proud to confess. Let us pursue the path of truth and uprightness without the slightest tremor. Fear is not for us but for those who do ill and fight against the Lord of hosts. If indeed the name of the eternal God is named upon us, we are secure; for, as of old, a Roman had but to say Romanus sum, I am a Roman, and he could claim the protection of all the legions of the vast empire; so every one who is a man of God has omnipotence as his guardian, and God will sooner empty heaven of angels than leave a saint without defense. Be braver than lions for the right, for God is with you.

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This Morning’s Meditation
April 7

“O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame?”—Psalm 4:2.

AN instructive writer has made a mournful list of the honours which the blinded people of Israel awarded to their long-expected King. (1.) They gave Him a procession of honour, in which Roman legionaries, Jewish priests, men and women, took a part, He Himself bearing His cross. This is the triumph which the world awards to Him who comes to overthrow man’s direst foes. Derisive shouts are His only acclamations, and cruel taunts His only paeans of praise. (2.) They presented Him with the wine of honour. Instead of a golden cup of generous wine they offered Him the criminal’s stupefying death-draught, which He refused because He would preserve an uninjured taste wherewith to taste of death; and afterwards when He cried, “I thirst,” they gave Him vinegar mixed with gall, thrust to His mouth upon a sponge. Oh! wretched, detestable inhospitality to the King’s Son. (3.) He was provided with a guard of honour, who showed their esteem of Him by gambling over His garments, which they had seized as their booty. Such was the body-guard of the adored of heaven; a quaternion of brutal gamblers. (4.) A throne of honour was found for Him upon the bloody tree; no easier place of rest would rebel men yield to their liege Lord. The cross was, in fact, the full expression of the world’s feeling towards Him; “There,” they seemed to say, “Thou Son of God, this is the manner in which God Himself should be treated, could we reach Him.” (5.) The title of honour was nominally “King of the Jews,” but that the blinded nation distinctly repudiated, and really called Him “King of thieves,” by preferring Barabbas, and by placing Jesus in the place of highest shame between two thieves. His glory was thus in all things turned into shame by the sons of men, but it shall yet gladden the eyes of saints and angels, world without end.

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