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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – August 20, 2014

Just For Today
August 20, 2014
Facing Death

“Often we have to face some type of crisis during our recovery, such as the death of a loved one…”
Basic Text, p. 98

Every life has a beginning and an end. However, when someone we love a great deal reaches the end of their life, we may have a very hard time accepting their sudden, final absence. Our grief may be so powerful that we fear it will completely overwhelm us – but it will not. Our sorrow may hurt more than anything we can remember, but it will pass.
We need not run from the emotions that may arise from the death of a loved one. Death and grieving are parts of the fullness of living “life on life’s terms.” By allowing ourselves the freedom to experience these feelings, we partake more deeply of both our recovery and our human nature.

Sometimes the reality of another’s death makes our own mortality that much more pronounced. We reevaluate our priorities, appreciating the loved ones still with us all the more. Our life, and our life with them, will not go on forever. We want to make the most of what’s most important while it lasts.

We might find that the death of someone we love helps strengthen our conscious contact with our Higher Power. If we remember that we can always turn to that source of strength when we are troubled, we will be able to stay focused on it no matter what may be going on around us.

Just for today: I will accept the loss of one I love and turn to my Higher Power for the strength to accept my feelings. I will make the most of my love for those in my life today.

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Daily Reflections
August 20, 2014
TOWARD EMOTIONAL FREEDOM

Since defective relations with other human beings have nearly always been the immediate cause of our woes, including our alcoholism, no field of investigation could yield more satisfying and valuable rewards than this one.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS , p. 80

Willingness is a peculiar thing for me in that, over a period of time, it seems to come, first with awareness, but then with a feeling of discomfort, making me want to take some action. As I reflected on taking the Eighth Step, my willingness to make amends to others came as a desire for forgiveness, of others and myself.

I felt forgiveness toward others after I became aware of my part in the difficulties of relationships. I wanted to feel the peace and serenity described in the Promises. From working the first seven Steps, I became aware of whom I had harmed and that I had been my own worst enemy. In order to restore my relationships with my fellow human beings, I knew I would have to change. I wanted to learn to live in harmony with myself and others so that I could also live in emotional freedom. The beginning of the end to my isolation – from my fellows and from God – came when I wrote my Eighth Step list.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
August 20, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

“When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith.  When we see others solve their problems by simple reliance upon some Spirit of the universe, we have to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work, but the God-idea does. Deep down in every man, woman, and child is the fundamental idea of God. Faith in a Power greater than ourselves and miraculous demonstrations of that power in our lives are facts as old as the human race.” Am I willing to rely on the Spirit of the universe?

Meditation For The Day

You should not dwell too much on the mistakes, faults, and failures of the past. Be done with shame and remorse and contempt for yourself. With God’s help, develop a new self-respect. Unless you respect yourself, others will not respect you. You ran a race, you stumbled and fell, you have risen again, and now you press on toward the goal of a better life. Do not stay to examine the spot where you fell, only feel sorry for the delay, the shortsightedness that prevented you from seeing the real goal sooner.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not look back. I pray that I may keep picking myself up and making a fresh start each day.

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As Bill Sees It
August 20, 2014
The Value of Human Will, p. 232

Many newcomers, having experienced little but constant deflation, feel a growing conviction that human will is of no value whatever.  They have become persuaded, sometimes rightly so, that many problems besides alcohol will not yield to a headlong assault powered only by the individual’s will.

However, there are certain things which the individual alone can do.  All by himself, and in the light of his own circumstances, he needs to develop the quality of willingness. When he acquires willingness, he is the only one who can then make the decision to exert himself along spiritual lines. Trying to do this is actually an act of his own will. It is the right use of this faculty.

Indeed, all of A.A.’s Twelve Steps require our sustained and personal exertion to conform to their principles and so, we trust, to God’s will.

12 & 12, p. 40

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Walk In Dry Places
August 20, 2014
All that Glitters
Tempting Moments

Though real sobriety means all lose of desire to drink, it’s not uncommon to have moments when the old life takes on a sudden appeal. This appeal is never based on a realistic look at things as they were. It is more a rush of feeling connected with some alluring aspect of the drinking life.

Such a false feeling will always pass if we let ourselves remember what happened to us and why we needed to seek recovery. We cannot have this rush of feeling when we remember the misery, despair, and other pain from that part of our lives.

All that glitters is not gold, goes an old saying. All the glittering scenes connected with drinking are not really golden moments, either. They are, for us, always preludes to disaster.

I’ll remember today to let realistic thinking rule my life even if there are moments when my feelings run temporarily awry.

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Keep It Simple
August 20, 2014

Heaven and hell is right now. . .You make it heaven or you make it hell by your actions.
—-George Harrison

We used chemicals to feel better, but we started feeling worse. We were out of control. Life seemed like hell.

Now we have a program that tells us how to make life better. Some days, it even feels like heaven! But we have to work our program to make our own heaven.

Working the program isn’t too hard. And it makes us feel so good. So, why don’t we do it all the time? Maybe we’re a little afraid of heaven. It’s time to learn to love having a better life!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me work my program each day, so each day has a little bit of heaven in it. Help me get used to having a better life.

Action for the Day: Tonight, I’ll think about the moments of kindness, joy, hope and faith that put a little bit of heaven into my life today.

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Xtra Thoughts
August 20, 2014

Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
–M. Scott Peck

Let me tell thee, time is a very precious gift of God; so precious that it’s only given to us moment by moment.
–Amelia Barr

“You cannot give to people what they are incapable of receiving.”
–Agatha Christie

“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

If I love with my Spirit, I don’t have to think so hard with my head.
–unknown

“For many people, change is more threatening than challenging. They see it as the destroyer of what is familiar and comfortable rather than the creator of what is new and exciting.”
–Nido Qubein

Often when we’re being tough and strong, we’re scared. It takes a lot of courage to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to be soft.
–Dudley Martineau

Heaven and hell is right now. . .You make it heaven or you make it hell by your actions.
–George Harrison

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
August 20, 2014
TOGETHERNESS

“A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in Americas has not yet become an American.”
– Woodrow Wilson

Today I know that I belong. I am not alone. I do not exist outside of the human race. I am an important part of this world.

Addiction makes us feel different, separated and isolated. It keeps us divided within ourselves, our family and relationships. So long as it can do this, it wins.

Now I know that I belong. I make up a part of the whole. Something of this universe is mine.

I am not an island unto myself. I am an essential part of the human race. I am at home in my world.

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Bible Scriptures
August 20, 2014

My help comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:2

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
Genesis 4:7

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
Ephesians 4:26

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Daily Inspiration
August 20, 2014

Make peace with your imperfections and concentrate on your strengths. Lord, teach me to become more aware of my goodness so that little by little I will become even better.

We can be serious about our work without being serious about ourselves. Lord, help me to enjoy the person that I am.

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A Day At A Time
August 20, 2014

Reflection For The Day

All of The Program’s Twelve Steps ask us to go contrary to our natural inclinations and desires:  they puncture, squeeze, and finally deflate our egos.  When it comes to ego deflation, few Steps are harder to take then the Fifth, which suggest that we “admit to God, To Ourselves,  and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”  Few steps are harder to take, yes, but scarcely any Step is more necessary to long-term freedom from addiction and peace of mind.  Have I quit living by myself with the tormenting ghost of yesterday?

Today I Pray

May God give me strength to face that great ego-pincher — Step Five.  May I not hesitate to call a trusted hearer of Fifth Steps, set up a meeting and share it.  By accepting responsibility for my behavior, God and one other.  I am actually unburdening myself.

Today I Will Remember

My Fifth Step pain is also my liberation.

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One More Day
August 20, 2014

Repose is not more welcome to the worn and to the aged, to the sick and to the unhappy, then danger, difficulty, and toil, to the young and the adventurous.
–  Fanny Burney

Within the same week, a ten-year-old boy made a solo flight across America, and a woman who was sover eighty climbed Mount Everest.  Some of us don’t aspire to such mind-boggling events.  But there is a time for more adventurous quests and a time for quiet.  They don’t have to be age related.

Sometimes our concern about age may be more limiting than our physical capabilities.  “Should a person my age be actiong like this?”  “I think I’m too old for that.”  Thoughts like these prevent us from exploring and learning and acquiring new skills.  We can choose our direction, regardless of age.

I will set aside age prejudice when I look at the possibilities before me today.

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One Day At A Time
August 20, 2014
AMENDS

“If you have behaved badly, repent; make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.”
–Aldous Huxley

I grew up with high expectations of perfection and a constant feeling of failure. I seldom recognized truly bad behavior in myself, but instead I apologized for the things I had taken on as my responsibility that were not under my control. I apologized when the weather spoiled plans. I apologized for an adult family member’s poor behavior. I felt intense shame when I accidentally slipped and fell, sure that I’d embarrassed the people with me. Yet I was oblivious to how I snapped at people simply because I was in a HALTS (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Sick) place. My temper was quick to rise and explode, but I always told myself I had a “good” excuse or cause.

On the other hand, I could feel so mortified over my behavior that it haunted me night and day for weeks, and even months, after the incident; long after any witness could recall it. Years later a phrase would bring the memory back to the forefront and shame me all over again as though it had happened mere minutes before.

I couldn’t seem to find a truthful middle ground until I began working the Twelve Steps. In studying the Steps I learned how to uncover and acknowledge the wrongs for which I am sincerely responsible, how to make proper amends, and how to let go and move on.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will remember that I am responsible only for my own behavior and actions. With the help of my Higher Power, I will acknowledge my wrongdoings quickly and make loving amends.

~ Rhonda H.

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Today’s Gift
August 20, 2014

Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.
—Soren Kierkegaard

Once, in a small village, there was a huge fire. The blaze spread and several homes and businesses were burned to the ground. After a long while, the fire was brought under control and put out. Villagers banded together to rebuild their town, but one quite persistent young man insisted on searching the rubble for the cause of the fire. Impatient townspeople scolded him, saying, “Why waste time searching for causes? Knowing them won’t put out the blaze or repair the damage.” “I know,” replied the young man, “but knowing why might prevent other fires.”

Sometimes we have to look at painful past experiences in order to prevent their recurrence. When we understand ourselves better, we can move beyond the past and walk toward the future with surer, safer steps.

How well can I use my past today?

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Journey To The Heart
August 20, 2014
Your Soul Can Be at Peace

Peace is all around you.

If you forget to be peaceful, try some things. Forgive, trust, love yourself. Be still, be kind, be gentle. Do these things until peace returns.

Seek places of healing. Seek places of power. Come back to center. Breathe deeply. Breathe in the air, the energy, the loving resources around you. Fill up on life. Fill up until you find and feel peace. Work things out, work things through, release the past, take the steps your heart leads you to do. Do this until you find and feel peace.

Breathe deeply. With each breath, release your fear. If you know what’s causing your fear, write it down. Speak it out. If your fears are unknown, let them go,too. Trust that your body, your soul, your heart, is healing and releasing.

Be gentle with yourself. A place inside you is healing its fears, telling you something, feeling something. Don’t punish or abuse it for feeling afraid. That won’t make your fears go away. That will make the beautiful, delicate part of you go away. Be tender and gentle. Rest until your fears subside. Rest until peace returns.

Peace is yours for the asking, the wanting, the seeking. Desire it with passion, and you shall see it, find it, have it.

No matter what you’re going through, your soul can be at peace.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – August 20

“…remember and think about the closeness of Wanka-Tanka. If they live in this wisdom, it will give them endless strength and hope.”
–Fools Crow, LAKOTA

The value of staying close to the Creator is the immediate help we have available to us whenever we need it.II can listen to the whisper of my heart for this is the place He communicates with me.

Staying close helps me remember that we are here to serve Him and to help other people.

The Grandfathers are my direct access to wisdom.

He who has wisdom has everything.

If we have wisdom, then we will see our lives become more effective in the areas of jobs, relationships, family, friends, and finances.

My Creator, today grant me the wisdom to seek Your wisdom. Help me to Walk of the Red Road.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
August 20, 2014

Every human being is a problem in search of a solution.
—Ashley Montagu

Each of us is a strong and fragile creature. We’re always subject to forces outside our control, and we’re learning steps for living that helps us cope and rise above these problems. Our particular situation might seem special to us but in another sense, everyone’s situation is a unique problem. Spiritual growth is the result of coming face to face with our own situation, feeling the brunt of our own puzzlement, recognizing no recipe will apply completely, and then trusting our Higher Power as we make unsure responses.

No school or parent can ever teach us enough to smooth our search for solutions. We become complete human beings by living through the muddle, by truly trusting our connections with God and other people to carry us along until we find clarity again. We progress into manhood when we meet our own particular life crises. We learn to see we have this process in common with every human being. Rather than resist our problems, we band together with others and pool our strength to find solutions.

My problems today are opportunities for spiritual growth.

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The Language of Letting Go
August 20, 2014
Honesty in Relationships

We can be honest and direct about our boundaries in relationships and about the parameters of a particular relationship.

Perhaps no area of our life reflects our uniqueness and individuality in recovery more than our relationships. Some of us are in a committed relationship. Some of us are dating. Some of us are not dating. Some of us are living with someone. Some of us wish we were dating. Some of us wish we were in a committed relationship. Some of us get into new relationships after recovery. Some of us stay in the relationship we were in before we began recovering.

We have other relationships too. We have friendships. Relationships with children, with parents, with extended family. We have professional relationships – relationships with people on the job.

We need to be able to be honest and direct in our relationships. One area we can be honest and direct about is the parameters of our relationships. We can define our relationships to people, an idea written about by Charlotte Kasl and others, and we can ask them to be honest and direct about defining their vision of the relationship with us.

It is confusing to be in relationships and not know where we stand – whether this is on the job, in a friendship, with family members, or in a love relationship. We have a right to be direct about how we define the relationship – what we want it to be. But relationships equal two people who have equal rights. The other person needs to be able to define the relationship too. We have a right to know, and ask. So do they.

Honesty is the best policy.

We can set boundaries. If someone wants a more intense relationship than we do, we can be clear and honest about what we want, about our intended level of participation. We can tell the person what to reasonably expect from us, because that is what we want to give. How the person deals with that is his or her issue. Whether or not we tell the person is ours.

We can set boundaries and define friendships when those cause confusion.

We can even define relationships with children, if those relationships have gotten sticky and exceeded our parameters. We need to define love relationships and what that means to each person. We have a right to ask and receive clear answers. We have a right to make our own definitions and have our own expectations. So does the other person.

Honesty and directness is the only policy. Sometimes we don’t know what we want in a relationship. Sometimes the other person doesn’t know. But the sooner we can define a relationship, with the other person’s help, the sooner we can decide on an appropriate course of conduct for ourselves.

The clearer we can become on defining relationships, the more we can take care of ourselves in that relationship. We have a right to our boundaries, wants, and needs. So does the other person. We cannot force someone to be in a relationship or to participate at a level we desire if he or she does not want to. All of us have a right not to be forced.

Information is a powerful tool, and having the information about what a particular relationship is – the boundaries and definitions of it – will empower us to take care of ourselves in it.

Relationships take a while to form, but at some point we can reasonably expect a clear definition of what that relationship is and what the boundaries of it are. If the definitions clash, we are free to make a new decision based on appropriate information about what we need to do to take care of ourselves.

Today, I will strive for clarity and directness in my relationships. If I now have some relationships that are murky and ill defined, and if I have given them adequate time to form, I will begin to take action to define that relationship. God, help me let go of my fears about defining and understanding the nature of my present relationships. Guide me into clarity – clear, healthy thinking. Help me know that what I want is okay. Help me know that if I can’t get that from the other person, what I want is still okay, but not possible at the present time. Help me learn to not forego what I want and need, but empower me to make appropriate, healthy choices about where to get that.

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More Language Of Letting Go
August 20, 2014
Celebrate your abundance

Celebrate the abundance that comes into your life. So often, we spend so long in the “do without” stage that we don’t know what to do when we’re given the opportunity to ” do with.” We can get so used to the suffering– we can even come to expect it– that we feel guilty when we’re given the good things in life and when we finally have enough.

We may have become conditioned to believe that to have success and abundance, we must have done something wrong. We’re just not sure we deserve this newfound happiness.

What do we do now that we don’t have to struggle to make each step and beg God for the money to pay for each meal?

Celebrate. Enjoy it. Abundance is a gift of the universe. It’s important to learn to be a healthy, cheerful giver. It’s important to receive cheerfully,too.

If you’ve been given much, be thankful. Use your abundance wisely. Enjoy it. Share it with others. Be thankful for the gifts in your life.

God, thank you for the gifts.

Activity: Make an inventory of your gifts. This is separate from the gratitude list of things we’re striving to be grateful for. Exactly what are the gifts you’ve received? Sometimes we get so busy trying to get more, we forget to be thankful for what we’ve got.

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Each Day Is A New Beginning
August 20, 2014

Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change. So suffering must become love. That is the mystery.
—Katherine Mansfield

Acceptance of those conditions that at times plague us changes not only the conditions but, in the process, ourselves. Perhaps this latter change is the more crucial. As each changes, as we all change into more accepting women, life’s struggles ease. When we accept all the circumstances that we can’t control, we are more peaceful. Smiles more easily fill us up.

It’s almost as though life’s eternal lesson is acceptance, and with it comes life’s eternal blessings.

Every day offers me many opportunities to grow in acceptance and thus blessings. I can accept any condition today and understand it as an opportunity to take another step toward serenity, eternal and whole.

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Daily TA0
August 20, 2014
Labels

Don’t call me a follower of Tao.

Following Tao is an intensely personal endeavor in which you spend each minute of your life with the universal pulse. You follow the fluid and infinitely shifting Tao and experience its myriad wonders. You will want nothing more than to be empty before it – a perfect mirror, open to every nuance.

If you put labels on who you are, there is separation from Tao. As soon as you accept the designations of race, gender, name or fellowship, you define yourself in contrast to Tao.

That is why those who follow Tao never identify themselves with the name Tao. They do not care for labels, for status, or for rank. We all have an equal chance to be with Tao.
Reject labels.
Reject identities.
Reject conformity.
Reject convention.
Reject definitions.
Reject names.

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Food For Thought
August 20, 2014
Togetherness

In this program, we are able to do together what none of us could achieve alone. We may have tried many ways to control our disease before we came to OA, but they did not work or we would not be here.

We share a common illness and a common cure. Abstinence is possible as we share it with each other. The program works as we work it together. Each of us is an individual, but we function best with the support of the group. If we neglect to go to meetings and make phone calls, we cut ourselves off from the strength and inspiration we need.

Our Higher Power works through each of us as we share what we have been given. We do not achieve and maintain abstinence by ourselves. Most of us overate alone. Learning to live without overeating involves learning to live with other people. Our fellowship is our recovery, and together we grow.

Thank You for our togetherness.

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Daily Zen
August 20, 2014

The water of the mind, how clear it is!
Gazing at it, the boundaries are invisible.
But as soon as even a slight thought arises,
Ten thousand images crowd it.
Attach to them and they become real,
Be carried by them, and it will be difficult to return.
How painful to see a person trapped
In the ten-fold delusions.

– Ryokan (1758-1831)

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 Faith’s Check Book
August 20, 2014
Deliverance Not Limited

He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.
(Job 5:19)

Eliphaz in this spoke the truth of God. We may have as many troubles as the workdays of the week, but the God who worked on those six days will work for us till our deliverance is complete. We shall rest with Him and in Him on our Sabbath. The rapid succession of trials is one of the sorest tests of faith. Before we have recovered from one blow it is followed by another and another till we are staggered. Still, the equally quick succession of deliverances is exceedingly cheering. New songs are rung out upon the anvil by the hammer of affliction, till we see in the spiritual world the antitype of “the Harmonious Blacksmith.” Our confidence is that when the Lord makes our trials six, six they will be and no more.

It may be that we have no rest day, for seamen troubles come upon us. What then? “In seven there shall be no evil touch thee.” Evil may roar at us, but it shall be kept at more than arm’s length and shall not even touch us. Its hot breath may distress us, but its little finger cannot be laid upon us.

With our loins girt about us, we will meet the six or the seven troubles and leave fear to those who have no Father, no Savior, and no Sanctifier.

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This Morning’s Readings
August 20, 2014

“The sweet psalmist of Israel.”
—2 Samuel 23:1.

AMONG all the saints whose lives are recorded in Holy Writ, David possesses an experience of the most striking, varied, and instructive character. In his history we meet with trials and temptations not to be discovered, as a whole, in other saints of ancient times, and hence he is all the more suggestive a type of our Lord. David knew the trials of all ranks and conditions of men. Kings have their troubles, and David wore a crown: the peasant has his cares, and David handled a shepherd’s crook: the wanderer has many hardships, and David abode in the caves of Engedi: the captain has his difficulties, and David found the sons of Zeruiah too hard for him. The psalmist was also tried in his friends, his counsellor Ahithophel forsook him, “He that eateth bread with me, hath lifted up his heel against me.” His worst foes were they of his own household: his children were his greatest affliction. The temptations of poverty and wealth, of honour and reproach, of health and weakness, all tried their power upon him. He had temptations from without to disturb his peace, and from within to mar his joy. David no sooner escaped from one trial than he fell into another; no sooner emerged from one season of despondency and alarm, than he was again brought into the lowest depths, and all God’s waves and billows rolled over him. It is probably from this cause that David’s psalms are so universally the delight of experienced Christians. Whatever our frame of mind, whether ecstasy or depression, David has exactly described our emotions. He was an able master of the human heart, because he had been tutored in the best of all schools—the school of heart-felt, personal experience. As we are instructed in the same school, as we grow matured in grace and in years, we increasingly appreciate David’s psalms, and find them to be “green pastures.” My soul, let David’s experience cheer and counsel thee this day.

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This Evening’s Readings
August 20, 2014

“And they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall.”
—Nehemiah 3:8.

CITIES well fortified have broad walls, and so had Jerusalem in her glory. The New Jerusalem must, in like manner, be surrounded and preserved by a broad wall of nonconformity to the world, and separation from its customs and spirit. The tendency of these days break down the holy barrier, and make the distinction between the church and the world merely nominal. Professors are no longer strict and Puritanical, questionable literature is read on all hands, frivolous pastimes are currently indulged, and a general laxity threatens to deprive the Lord’s peculiar people of those sacred singularities which separate them from sinners. It will be an ill day for the church and the world when the proposed amalgamation shall be complete, and the sons of God and the daughters of men shall be as one: then shall another deluge of wrath be ushered in. Beloved reader, be it your aim in heart, in word, in dress, in action to maintain the broad wall, remembering that the friendship of this world is enmity against God.

The broad wall afforded a pleasant place of resort for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, from which they could command prospects of the surrounding country. This reminds us of the Lord’s exceeding broad commandments, in which we walk at liberty in communion with Jesus, overlooking the scenes of earth, and looking out towards the glories of heaven. Separated from the world, and denying ourselves all ungodliness and fleshly lusts, we are nevertheless not in prison, nor restricted within narrow bounds; nay, we walk at liberty, because we keep His precepts. Come, reader, this evening walk with God in His statutes. As friend met friend upon the city wall, so meet thou thy God in the way of holy prayer and meditation. The bulwarks of salvation thou hast a right to traverse, for thou art a freeman of the royal burgh, a citizen of the metropolis of the universe.

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