In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – August 11

Just For Today
August 11
Active Listening

“Through active listening, we hear things that work for us.”
Basic Text, p.102

Most of us arrived in Narcotics Anonymous with a very poor ability to listen. But to take full advantage of “the therapeutic value of one addict helping another” we must learn to listen actively.

What is active listening for us? In meetings, it means we concentrate on what the speaker is sharing, while the speaker is sharing. We set aside our own thoughts and opinions until the meeting is over. That’s when we sort through what we’ve heard to decide which ideas we want to use and which we want to explore further.

We can apply our active listening skills in sponsorship, too. Newcomers often talk with us about some “major event” in their lives. While such events may not seem significant to us, they are to the newcomer who has little experience living life on life’s terms. Our active listening helps us empathize with the feelings such events trigger in our sponsee’s life. With that understanding, we have a better idea of what to share with them.

The ability to listen actively was unknown to us in the isolation of our addiction. Today, this ability helps us actively engage with our recovery. Through active listening, we receive everything being offered us in NA, and we share fully with others the love and care we’ve been given.

Just for today: I will strive to be an active listener. I will practice active listening when others share and when I share with others.


Daily Reflections
August 11

The moral inventory is a cool examination of the damages that occurred to us during life and a sincere effort to look at them in a true perspective. This has the effect of taking the ground glass out of us, the emotional substance that still cuts and inhibits.

My Eighth Step list used to drag me into a whirlpool of resentment. After four years of sobriety, I was blocked by denial connected with an ongoing abusive relationship. The argument between fear and pride eased as the words of the Step moved from my head to my heart. For the first time in years I opened my box of paints and poured out an honest rage, an explosion of reds and blacks and yellows. As I looked at the drawing, tears of joy and relief flowed down my cheeks.  In my disease, I had given up my art, a self-inflicted punishment far greater than any imposed from outside. In my recovery, I learned that the pain of my defects is the very substance God uses to cleanse my character and to set me free.


Twenty-Four Hours A Day
August 11
A.A. Thought For The Day

“While alcoholics keep strictly away from drink, they react to life much like other people. But the first drink sets the terrible cycle in motion. Alcoholics usually have no idea why they take the first drink.  Some drinkers have excuses with which they are satisfied, but in their hearts they really do not know why they do it. The truth is that at some point in their drinking they have passed into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of no avail.” Am I satisfied that I have passed my tolerance point for alcohol?

Meditation For The Day

He who made the ordered world out of chaos and set the stars in their courses and made each plant to know its season, He can bring peace and order out of your private chaos if you will let Him. God is watching over you, too, to bless you and care for you. Out of the darkness He is leading you to light, out of unrest to rest, out of disorder to order, out of faults and failure to success. You belong to God and your affairs are His affairs and can be ordered by Him if you are willing.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be led out of disorder into order. I pray that I may be led out of failure into success.


As Bill Sees It
August 11
One Fellowship–Many Faiths, p.223

As a society we must never become so vain as to suppose that we are authors and inventors of a new religion. We will humbly reflect that every one of A.A.’s principles has been borrowed from ancient sources.


A minister in Thailand wrote, “We took A.A.’s Twelve Steps to the largest Buddhist monastery in this province, and the head priest said, “Why, these Steps are fine! For us as Buddhists, it might be slightly more acceptable if you had inserted the word ‘good’ in your Steps instead of ‘God.’ Nevertheless, you say that it is God as you understand Him, and that must certainly include the good.  Yes, A.A.’s Twelve Steps will surely be accepted by the Buddhists around here.’”


St. Louis oldtimers recall how Father Edward Dowling helped
start their group; it turned out to be largely Protestant, but this
him not a bit.

A.A. Comes Of Age
1. p. 231
2. p. 81
3. p. 37

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Walk In Dry Places
August 11
What is real Open-mindedness?
New Ideas

When we’re urged to be open-minded, what’s really involved? Open-mindedness certainly can’t mean accepting every idea that comes down the road, because some of them are worthless or harmful.

Open-mindedness really means a readiness to put our deeply held opinions aside long enough to consider new ideas. If we simply refuse to listen to anything new, we’ll avoid the bad ideas, but we’ll also miss out on the ideas that can help us.

If we’re really honest, we can look back to see many ideas that helped us after we reluctantly agreed to consider them. It’s important to screen ideas as they come to us, but we can’t block them out completely. All a good idea needs to help us is a fair chance.

I’ll work at being more open-minded today. It’s possible I’ve been blocking out ideas that could help me.

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Keep It Simple
August 11

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you’re still a rat.
— Lily Tomlin

Alcoholism is rat race. Drug addiction is a rat race. We were always trying to keep one or two steps ahead of the cat. We were always sneaking around, and everyone was disgusted with us.

Our goal in recovery is stop acting like a rat and join the human race again. Recovery teaches us sayings like Easy Does It and One Day At a Time. Our sayings remind us to pace ourselves. Our sayings remind us that healing takes time.

We live by human values: honesty, respect from others, fairness, openness, self-respect. We work at just being ourselves. We learn that this is enough. We are enough.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me accept my humanness. I am part of the human race, not the rat race.

Action for the Day: Just for today, I’ll pace myself. I’ll list ways I often go to fast for my own good. I’ll ask friends how they pace themselves.

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Each Day a New Beginning
August 11

Imagination has always had powers of resurrection that no science can match.
–Ingrid Bengis

In the imagination are transmitted messages, from God to us. Inspiration is born there. So are dreams. Both give rise to the goals that urge us forward, that invite us to honor this life we’ve been given with a contribution, one like no other contribution.

Our imagination offers us ideas to ponder, ideas specific to our development. It encourages us to take steps unique to our time, our place, our intended gifts to the world. We can be alert to this special “inner voice” and let it guide our decisions; we can trust its urgings. It’s charged with serving us, but only we can decide to “listen.”

The imagination gives us another tool: belief in ourselves. And the magic of believing offers us strength and capabilities even beyond our fondest hopes. It prepares us for the effort we need to make and for handling whatever outcome God has intended.

My imagination will serve me today. It will offer me the ideas and the courage I need to go forth.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
August 11

GUTTER BRAVADO – Alone and unemployable, he was given two options by the court, get help or go to jail, and his journey toward teachability began.

I was born in a major midwestern city at the tail end of the baby boom. My parents were not well-to-do, but they were employed and pursuing the American dream in the mid-1950’s. Dad was an ex-policeman who had put himself through law school and worked with banks and as a real estate broker. Mom had graduated from a well-known East Coast college, majoring in journalism, and moved west to marry my father and raise a family. Both were children of hard-working European immigrants.

p. 501

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
August 11

Step Ten – “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

Finally, we begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and see what real love for our fellows actually means. It will become more and more evident as we go forward that it is pointless to become angry, or to get hurt by people who, like us, are suffering from the pains of growing up.

p. 92

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Xtra Thoughts
August 11

If what you are doing is not working, take a moment to stop and take a look at what you are doing and, if necessary, take another path.
–Jan Ruhe

“Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

When it is time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.
–Henry David Thoreau

I can get more out of God by believing Him for one minute than by shouting at Him all night.
–Smith Wigglesworth

“I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.”
–Walter Anderson


Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
August 11

“The race advances only by the extra achievements of the individual. You are the individual.”
— Charles Towne

The spiritual program that involves a “love of self” has made me get in touch with my individuality. Although we can identify with other people’s feelings and situations, we are also not exactly the same. Our dreams and aspirations are different, our gifts and achievements vary, our personal individuality adds to the variety of life.

My “difference” needs to be nurtured alongside my spiritual growth, especially since being a recovering alcoholic I am tempted to “please” the crowd. Today my personal inventory revolves around my needs, hopes and dreams that are realistic. Spirituality is reality.

In helping myself to the abundant richness that is within me, I am contributing to society and the world.

Thank You for making the world with such creative difference; may I continue to risk in this knowledge.


Bible Scriptures
August 11

“Even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed, the Lord answered, you could say to this mulberry tree, May God uproot you and throw you into the sea, and it would obey you!”
Luke 17:6

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Galatians 5:1


Daily Inspiration
August 11

Thoughts of the past can not hurt you without your consent. Lord, help me to learn from my past, not live there by continually bringing it into the present.

The heart cannot both doubt and have faith, hate and give love, worry and trust in God for one will soon crowd out the other. Lord, I commit myself to Your way and Your will and open my heart to Your peace.


Today’s Gift
August 11

Friends are people who help you be more yourself, more the person you are intended to be.
—Merle Shain

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a neighbor, almost always our moms and dads encourage us to try new activities or to improve our schoolwork, sports, drawing, or gardening. Because they are our friends, they want us to be the best we can be.

Not everyone knows how to be a friend. Some people only criticize and never praise. People who never encourage or praise us are usually unhappy with their own achievements. They don’t mean us harm. Perhaps they just need a friend, too. Not only do we each need friends to help us grow, we need to be friends to others. To encourage and praise those who need it will help us in return.

Whose friend can I be today?


The Language of Letting Go
August 11

Let healing energy flow through your body.

The healing energy of God, the Universe, life, and recovery surrounds us. It is available, waiting for us to draw on it, waiting for us to draw it in. It’s waiting at our meetings or groups, on the words of a whispered prayer, in a gentle touch, a positive word, a positive thought. Healing energy is in the sun, the wind, and the rain, in all that is good.

Let healing energy come. Attract it. Accept it. Let it soak in. Breathe in the golden light. Exhale. Let go of fear, anger, hurt, and doubt. Let healing energy flow to you, through you.

It is yours for the asking, for the believing.

Today, I will ask for, and accept, the healing energy from God and the Universe. I will let it flow to me, through me, and back out to others. I am part of, and at one with, the continuous cycle of healing.


More Language Of Letting Go
August 11
Pray for those you resent

My favorite story about praying for those I resent is one I told in Playing It By heart. Here it is again.

Years ago, when I spotted the Stillwater Gazette, the oldest family-owned daily newspaper in existence, I knew I wanted to work there. I could feel it– in my bones and in my heart. When I went in to the office to apply for the job, however, the owner didn’t have the same feeling I did. He had an opening for a reporter, but he wanted to hire someone else. Abigail, he said, was the right one for the job.

I prayed for Abigail every day. I asked God to take care of her, guide her, and bless her richly and abundantly. I prayed for her because that’s what I had been taught to do– pray for those you resent. Sometimes I prayed for her three or four times each day. I prayed for her this much because I resented her that much.

God, I hated Abigail.

For the next months, almost half a year, I tromped down to the Gazette once a week, begging to be hired. Finally, I got a job there. But it wasn’t the one I wanted. Abigail, bless her heart, had mine.

She got the best story assignments. She worked so quickly and with such journalistic ease.

So I kept praying, “God bless Abigail,” because that’s all I knew to do.

Over the months, as I got my lesser assingments from the editor– lesser than Abigail’s, that is– I began to watch her work. She wrote quickly and efficiently. Got right to the point. She was a good interviewer,too. I started pushing myself to write better, and more quickly. If Abigail can do it, so can I, I told myself. My enemy began to inspire me. Over the weeks and months that transpired, I spent more and more time around Abigail. I listened to her talk. I listened to her stories. Slowly, my enemy became my friend.

One day, Abigail and I were having coffee. I looked at her, looked straight in her eyes. And suddenly I realized, I didn’t hate Abigail anymore. She was doing her job. I was doing mine.

Soon I got an offer from a publisher to write a book. I was glad I didn’t have Abigail’s job; I wouldn’t have had time to write that book. Then one day in June 1987, that book hit the New York Times best-seller list.

Years later, I wrote the story about Abigail in Playing It By heart. The book got published. I returned to Minnesota to do a book signing. I was in the bookstore’s bathroom, washing my hands, when a woman approached me.

“Hi Melody,” she said. I looked at her confused. “It’s Abigail,” she said. Abigail wasn’t her real name, it was a name I had given her in the story. But with those words, I realized she had read the story. She knew she was Abigail, and she knew how I once felt.

We joked about it for a few moments. I asked her how her life was. She said she had quit writing and had become a wife and mother. I said I was still writing, and my years as a wife and mother were for the most part over.

Resentments are such silly little things. Envy is silly,too. But those silly little things can eat away at our hearts. Sometimes, people are put in our lives to teach us about what we’re capable of. Sometimes, the people we perceive as enemies are really our friends. Is there someone in your life you’re spending energy feeling envious of or resentful toward? Could that person be there to teach you something about yourself that you don’t know or to inspire you along your path? You’ll not know the answer to that question until you get the envy and resentment out of your heart.

God, thank you for the people I resent and envy. Bless them richly. Open doors for them, shower them with abundance. Help me know that my success doesn’t depend on their failure, it’s equivalent to how much I ask you to bless them.


Touchstones Meditations For Men
August 11

According to the teachers, there is only one thing that all people possess equally. This is their loneliness.
—Hyemeyohsts Storm

Many of us have tried to find a way to outwit our loneliness, or to escape its truth. We have learned that we cannot. As fathers looking at our children we may wish to spare them this pain. As men with our mates, we have dreamed of an ideal connection where all loneliness was dispelled.

We can’t obliterate loneliness. But we can learn to accept and deal with it. There is no need to compulsively cover all traces and all reminders that we are alone. We can accept this universal truth. We are alone, but so is everybody. We can make true contact with each other out of our aloneness. True intimacy with another man or woman comes out of first seeing our separateness, and then bridging the gap.

Today, I accept the feeling of loneliness as part of life. I can make contact with my brothers and sisters, knowing we are all in the same condition.


Elder’s Meditation of the Day – August 11

“May there be peace when we meet.”
–Audrey Shenandoah, ONONDAGA


The Elders tell us the greatest gift we can seek is peace of mind; to walk in balance, to respect all things. For us to do this, we must have peace within ourselves and peace within ourselves cannot come unless we are walking the path the Creator would have us walk. Sometimes the tests on this path are difficult, but we know that each test makes us stronger.

Oh Great Spirit, I ask You to whisper Your wisdom in my heart. You are the only one who knows the secret to peaceful living and the mystery of harmony. Teach me of Your peace, understanding and balance, and guide me onto your good path.


Daily TAO
August 11

He sits on a throne with smug confidence.
Skin is bright gold, eyes are reptilian marbles.
Lips are smeared with honey, tongue is virile red.
He exhorts his followers to purge inhibitions.
“Whatever you feel is Tao, and should be indulged.”
They scream, they sob, they dance madly.
“Yes! Yes!” he exclaims. “Whatever you do is Tao!”

There are all too many charlatans in spirituality these days. If you meet such self-proclaimed masters, you must be wary. If the way they present to you seems easy, it is probably false. Why should spirituality be any different than any other endeavor? Can you become a ballet dancer easily? Did you learn your job easily? Was it simple to graduate from school? Everything takes effort.

It does not stand to reason that spirituality will be established simply by sitting in the presence of a master. Yet people continue to fall victim to this logic. In mass gatherings, a mild hysteria and a herd mentality are cleverly exploited. A teacher will tell you whatever you do is holy. Whatever is said, though, the teacher cannot claim to give you Tao.


Food For Thought
August 11
Sloppy Thinking

If we begin to entertain thoughts of slight deviations from our food plan, thoughts of former binge foods, thoughts that maybe once in a while we could eat “normally,” we put ourselves on shaky ground. Our disease is never cured, and sloppy thinking can lead to a weakening or loss of control.

“Normal” eating for us is abstinence. Our food plan is what saves us from bizarre eating behavior. There is no such thing as taking a vacation from abstinence.

The less we think about food, the better off we are. To remember the so-called pleasure we once associated with certain foods may cause us to forget the inevitable pain and anguish which eating them eventually produced. We do not want to ever return to the misery of compulsive overeating.

Giving our minds to our Higher Power ensures positive, healthy thinking.

Take my thoughts, Lord, and straighten them out.


Daily Zen
August 11

A single path through a dense forest,
Mountains peek out from between the floating mist.
Not yet autumn, the leaves have already disappeared,
And without rain, the rocks are always dark.
I gather mushrooms in a basket
And draw spring water into a jar.
Except for a stray traveler,
No one finds the way here.

– Ryokan


Faith’s Check Book
August 11
Waiting, Not Running

Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.
(Psalm 62:1)

Blessed posture! Waiting truly and only upon the Lord. Be this our condition all this day and every day. Waiting His leisure, waiting in His service, waiting in joyful expectation, waiting in prayer, and content. When the very soul thus waits, it is in the best and truest condition of a creature before his Creator, a servant before his Master, a child before his Father. We allow no dictation to God, nor complaining of Him; we will permit no petulance and no distrust. At the same time, we practice no running before the cloud and no seeking to others for aid: neither of these would be waiting upon God. God, and God alone, is the expectation of our hearts.

Blessed assurance! From Him salvation is coming; it is on the road. It will come from Him and from no one else. He shall have all the glory of it, for He alone can and will perform it. And He will perform it most surely in His own time and manner. He will save from doubt, and suffering, and slander, and distress. Though we see no sign of it as yet, we are satisfied to bide the Lord’s will, for we have no suspicion of His love and faithfulness. He will make sure work of it before long, and we will praise Him at once for the coming mercy.


This Morning’s Readings
August 11

“Oh that I were as in months past.”
—Job 29:2.

NUMBERS of Christians can view the past with pleasure, but regard the present with dissatisfaction; they look back upon the days which they have passed in communing with the Lord as being the sweetest and the best they have ever known, but as to the present, it is clad in a sable garb of gloom and dreariness. Once they lived near to Jesus, but now they feel that they have wandered from Him, and they say, “O that I were as in months past!” They complain that they have lost their evidences, or that they have not present peace of mind, or that they have no enjoyment in the means of grace, or that conscience is not so tender, or that they have not so much zeal for God’s glory. The causes of this mournful state of things are manifold. It may arise through a comparative neglect of prayer, for a neglected closet is the beginning of all spiritual decline. Or it may be the result of idolatry. The heart has been occupied with something else, more than with God; the affections have been set on the things of earth, instead of the things of heaven. A jealous God will not be content with a divided heart; He must be loved first and best. He will withdraw the sunshine of His presence from a cold, wandering heart. Or the cause may be found in self-confidence and self-righteousness. Pride is busy in the heart, and self is exalted instead of lying low at the foot of the cross. Christian, if you are not now as you “were in months past,” do not rest satisfied with wishing for a return of former happiness, but go at once to seek your Master, and tell Him your sad state. Ask His grace and strength to help you to walk more closely with Him; humble yourself before Him, and He will lift you up, and give you yet again to enjoy the light of His countenance. Do not sit down to sigh and lament; while the beloved Physician lives there is hope, nay there is a certainty of recovery for the worst cases.


This Evening’s Readings
August 11

“Everlasting consolation.”
—2 Thessalonians 2:16.

CONSOLATION.” There is music in the word: like David’s harp, it charms away the evil spirit of melancholy. It was a distinguished honour to Barnabas to be called “the son of consolation”; nay, it is one of the illustrious names of a greater than Barnabas, for the Lord Jesus is “the consolation of Israel.” “Everlasting consolation”—here is the cream of all, for the eternity of comfort is the crown and glory of it. What is this “everlasting consolation”? It includes a sense of pardoned sin. A Christian man has received in his heart the witness of the Spirit that his iniquities are put away like a cloud, and his transgressions like a thick cloud. If sin be pardoned, is not that an everlasting consolation? Next, the Lord gives His people an abiding sense of acceptance in Christ. The Christian knows that God looks upon him as standing in union with Jesus. Union to the risen Lord is a consolation of the most abiding order; it is, in fact, everlasting. Let sickness prostrate us, have we not seen hundreds of believers as happy in the weakness of disease as they would have been in the strength of hale and blooming health? Let death’s arrows pierce us to the heart, our comfort dies not, for have not our ears full often heard the songs of saints as they have rejoiced because the living love of God was shed abroad in their hearts in dying moments? Yes, a sense of acceptance in the Beloved is an everlasting consolation. Moreover, the Christian has a conviction of his security. God has promised to save those who trust in Christ: the Christian does trust in Christ, and he believes that God will be as good as His word, and will save him. He feels that he is safe by virtue of his being bound up with the person and work of Jesus.

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