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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – August 21

Just For Today
August 21
Friendships

“Our friendships become deep, and we experience the warmth and caring which results from addicts sharing recovery and a new life.”
IP No.19, “Self-Acceptance”

Most of us come to Narcotics Anonymous with few genuine friends. And most of us arrive without the slightest understanding of what it takes to build lasting friendships. Over time, though, we learn that friendships require work. At one time or another, all friendships are challenging. Like any relationship, friendship is a learning process.

Our friends love us enough to tell us the truth about ourselves. The old saying, “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you furious,” seems especially true in friendship. This can make friendships awkward. We may find ourselves avoiding certain meetings rather than facing our friends. We have found, though, that friends speak out of concern for us. They want the best for us. Our friends accept us despite our shortcomings. They understand that we are still a work in progress.

Friends are there for us when we’re not there for ourselves. Friends help us gain valuable perspective on the events in our lives and our recovery. It is important that we actively cultivate friendships, for we have learned that we cannot recover alone.

Just for today: I will be grateful for the friends I have. I will take an active part in my friendships.

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Daily Reflections
August 21, 201
WE JUST TRY, p.242

My stability came out of trying to give, not out of demanding that I receive.
The Best Of Bill, pp. 46-47

As long as I try, with all my heart and soul, to pass along to others what has been passed along to me, and do not demand anything in return, life is good to me. Before entering this program of Alcoholics Anonymous I was never able to give without demanding something in return. Little did I know that, once I began to give freely of myself, I would begin to receive, without ever expecting or demanding anything at all. What I receive today is the gift of “stability,” as Bill did: stability in my A.A. program; within myself; but most of all, in my relationship with my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
August 21
A.A. Thought For The Day

“Who are you to say there is no God? This challenge comes to all of us. Are we capable of denying that there is a design and purpose in all of life as we know it? Or are we willing to admit that faith in some kind of Divine Principle is a part of our makeup, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend? We find a great Reality deep down within us, if we face ourselves as we really are. In the last analysis, it is only there that God may be found. When we find this Reality within us, we are restored to our right minds.” Have I found the great reality?

Meditation For The Day

“Behold, I make all things new.” When you change to a new way of life, you leave many things behind you. It is only the earth-bound spirit that cannot soar. Loosen somewhat the strands that tie you to the earth. It is only the earthly desires that bind you. Your new freedom will depend on your ability to rise above earthly things.  Clipped wings can grow again. Broken wings can regain a strength and beauty unknown before. If you will, you can be released and free.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be freed from things that hold me down. I pray that my spirit may soar in freedom.

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As Bill Sees It
August 21
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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Today’s Gift
August 21

Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is the lightning that does the work.
—Mark Twain

Thunder demands our attention. From the ear-splitting boom overhead to the faint rumble in the distance, it is an impressive part of nature. Yet, it is the lightning that discharges electricity from one cloud to another, or to the earth.

We are sometimes like thunder. We may shout our intentions to family members, or quietly tell our dreams to friends. No matter how we say it, it is the ability to follow through that is most important. When we’ve completed what we’ve set out to do, we will feel a sense of satisfaction and energy. With this energy, and the knowledge we can finish what we set out to do, we will make our dreams come true.

What is left incomplete that I can finish today?

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Walk In Dry Places
August 21
Meeting needs in the Right Way.
Self-Understanding.

Bizarre as it is, the bad behavior of drunkenness has an underlying logic when it’s really understood.

Why, for example, would people squander money buying drinks for total strangers when their families are going without?

This is an insane way of meeting needs for intimacy and approval.  It’s true that these needs will never be met in this fashion, but try telling that to a person who is still drinking!

In recovery, we can more easily forgive ourselves for past actions when we realize they came out of a misguided attempt to meet basic needs. A starving person will seek out garbage. Starved as we were for necessities of life, we sought a form of garbage. The good news in AA recovery is that sobriety will help us meet basic needs in the right way.

I’ll keep in mind today that as a human being I have certain needs that should be met in proper ways.

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Keep It Simple
August 21

Beauty is not caused. It is.
— Emily Dickinson

Probably, there have been many times when we thought we weren’t beautiful. We thought we were ugly. We thought we were bad people. This is a natural part of addiction. Our program tells us we’re good, we’re beautiful. Do we believe this? Do we accept this part of the program?

Beauty is an attitude, just as self-hate is an attitude. We need to keep the attitude that we’re beautiful. We owe it to ourselves and to those around us. And, yes, it’s true that you must love yourself before you can love others. Remember, ours is a selfish program. We have to love and see ourselves as beautiful, before we can give it to others.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me claim my beauty. Help me to see that, sometimes, I have to be selfish to grow.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll work at falling in love with myself.

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Xtra Thoughts
August 21

Don’t worry about what’s ahead. Just go as far as you can go – from there you can see farther.
–unknown

Life’s most difficult challenges, are our greatest teachers and an opportunity for growth.
–unknown

Happiness is intrinsic, it’s an internal thing. When you build it into yourself, no external circumstances can take it away. That kind of happiness is a twenty-four-hour thing.
–Leo F. Buscaglia

Spirit is at work through me, I am led to do the right and loving thing.
–Shelley

Stay committed to your growth process until you wake up one morning and ask yourself, What is that strange thing I am feeling? Then know what the answer is. The answer is joy.
–Melody Beattie

We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies.
–Roderick Thorpe

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
August 21
HAPPINESS

“We are looking in the wrong places for happiness.”
– Robert J. McCracken

I sought happiness in the bottle. Others looked for “good feelings” in drugs, food or other people. Today I know that nothing that is outside of me can make me acceptable — acceptance must come from within.

I need to discover that spiritual place where I can be acceptable to me. Self-esteem is an essential part of my recovery and that can only be realized by making the spiritual journey within.

Today I seek to discover me. I want to know me — because You created me.

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
August 21

Step Twelve – “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

Where the possession of money and material things was concerned, our outlook underwent the same revolutionary change. With a few exceptions, all of us had been spendthrifts. We threw money about in every direction with the purpose of pleasing ourselves and impressing other people. In our drinking time, we acted as if the money supply was inexhaustible, though between binges we’d sometimes go to the other extreme and become almost miserly. Without realizing it we were just accumulating funds for the next spree. Money was the symbol of pleasure and self-importance. When our drinking had become much worse, money was only an urgent requirement which could supply us with the next drink and the temporary comfort of oblivion it brought.

p. 120

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Bible Scriptures
August 21

“Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”
Psalm 38:21-22

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
Luke 6:37

“The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you with his love.”
Zephaniah 3:17a

“You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”
Psalm 73:24

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Daily Inspiration
August 21

By being less judgmental of others, you will eliminate much frustration. Lord, I pray for the peace that comes from understanding and compassion.

Because Jesus is with you, you can survive the darkest moment and emerge a better and stronger person. Lord, I trust quietly that you are working things out according to Your plan for me.

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Journey To The Heart
August 21
You’re Free to Open Your Heart

Open your heart to the people you love. Open your heart to the world. Open your heart to God, to the universe, to life, and all the creatures and creations in it. Open your heart as much as you can.

It’s safe to open your heart now. There was a time when you believed that the only way to protect yourself was to shut down and close your heart. You have learned the powers of honesty, compassion, forgiveness, and kindness. You will no longer become stuck or trapped if you open your heart. You can leave if you want to. You can say what you need to. You no longer need to protect yourself by guarding your heart with the heavy armor you wore in the past. Now you are free. Free to open your heart. Free to open yourself to the universe.

A woman I met in Sedona gave me a lovely visualization to use. Picture your heart. In front of your heart see a beautiful rosebud, tightly closed. Whenever you want your heart to open, picture the rose blooming wide, beautiful, alive, and fragrant. Whenever you want to retreat, turn the rose back into a bud.

Open your heart to the world, to the people who live in it. Open yourself to creation. Open your heart to yourself, to God, to life. Life will become magical. And you’ll think back and smile. You will wonder why it took so long to open your heart.

Open your heart as much as choose, as much as you can. Share it with the world.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – August 21

“The greater the faith, the greater the result.”
–Fools Crow, LAKOTA

The Creator designed us to act on faith. We are able to do this by holding firm to our beliefs. If we believe something and if we don’t want the belief to change, we need to add the power of the Great Spirit to this belief. We must always have the spiritual added to our beliefs. If we don’t add the Spirit, then we may very well change our minds the first time we are tested. Each time we are tested and we don’t change our minds, we get stronger. The wind may blow on the red willow trees bending them and causing the roots to grow deeper. The more the wind bends the tree, the bigger, stronger, and deeper the roots grow. We should be happy that we are tested. It’s the Creator’s way of making us have greater faith for greater results.

Great Mystery, Grandfather, I know if I am tested today that I can count on You to give me the courage to get to the other side. On the other side of every test is the reward of strength. Make me strong.

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Each Day Is A New Beginning
August 21

With each new day I put away the past and discover the new beginnings I have been given.
—Angela L. Wozniak

We can’t recapture what is no more. And the minutes or hours we spend dwelling on what was or should have been only steal away from all that presently is. Today stands before us with promise. The opportunities for growth are guaranteed, as is all the spiritual help we need to handle any situation the day offers.

If today offers us a challenge, we can be grateful. Our challenges are gifts. They mean we are ready to move ahead to new awarenesses, to a new sense of our womanhood. Challenges force us to think creatively; they force us to turn to others; they demand that we change. Without challenges, we’d stagnate, enjoying life little, offering life nothing.

We each are making a special contribution, one that only we can make; each time we confront a new situation with courage. Each time we dare to open a new door. What we need to do today is to close the door on yesterday. Then we can stand ready and willing to go forward.

This day awaits my full presence. I will be the recipient of its gifts.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
August 21

Many situations can be clarified by the passing of time.
—Theodore Isaac Rubin

Time heals our wounds. It teaches lessons that cannot be learned in a day. It allows truths to rise to the surface that first were difficult to see. In our impatience and restlessness we may forget that our answers come and simply waiting often fills our needs. We live in a goal-oriented world, and men are expected to go after what they want. But that is sometimes a foolish approach.

Our problems developed over time, and now recovery and growth take time. The learning we missed while we were absorbed in our excesses cannot be captured in a day. Anxieties and stresses come and go for everyone, but we often increased our problems by trying to cure what would pass on its own accord. We are learning to live more wisely through our periods of stress by trusting in the care of God.

Today, I will allow time to heal and correct rather than automatically reaching for a cure.

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The Language of Letting Go
August 21
Detaching in Relationships

When we first become exposed to the concept of detachment, many of us find it objectionable and questionable. We may think that detaching means we don’t care. We may believe that by controlling, worrying, and trying to force things to happen, we’re showing how much we care.

We may believe that controlling, worrying, and forcing will somehow affect the outcome we desire. Controlling, worrying, and forcing don’t work. Even when we’re right, controlling doesn’t work. In some cases, controlling may prevent the outcome we want from happening.

As we practice the principle of detachment with the people in our life, we slowly begin to learn the truth. Detaching, preferably detaching with love, is a relationship behavior that works.

We learn something else too. Detachment – letting go of our need to control people – enhances all our relationships. It opens the door to the best possible outcome. It reduces our frustration level, and frees us and others to live in peace and harmony.

Detachment means we care, about others and ourselves. It frees us to make the best possible decisions. It enables us to set the boundaries we need to set with people. It allows us to have our feelings, to stop reacting and initiate a positive course of action. It encourages others to do the same.

It allows our Higher Power to step in and work.

Today, I will trust the process of detaching with love. I will understand that I am not just letting go; I am letting go and letting God. I’m loving others, but I’m loving myself too.

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More Language Of Letting Go
August 21
Practice an act of gratitude

None of our success comes without the help of others. Time after time, it seems that there is someone standing at the crossroads waiting for us, pointing the way down the path with heart.

They may be friends, family members, ministers, or mentors, or even police officers or judges. I think they might be angels sent to help us through those tough spots and point us back to the path with heart.

They’re in the right place at the right time with the exact words and help we need.

Have you thanked them yet?

Practice an act of gratitude. Find one of your guiding lights or guardian angels and tell that person what he or she meant to you in your life. Your guides may not even be aware of the impact that they had on you. And who knows whether your kind words may be just the light that they need today to push them gently down their path with heart.

Then, take it one step further. Take the kind, loving thing they did to or for you and pass it along to someone else.

God, remind me to give thanks where thanks is due.

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Daily TA0
August 21
Prophets

      The prophets have their secrets
      And their certain magic.
      I am not a prophet.
      I know only the ordinary.
      That is my Tao.

Prophets of Tao are a special category. These men and women are acknowledged experts in meditation, philosophy, medicine, geomancy, sorcery, marital arts, science,mathematics, literature, painting, poetry, scripture, history, music, and liturgy. They can do extraordinary things; they can answer any question. The vast number of secrets each of them embodies is staggering. The degree of extraordinary skill they command is formidable.

They are great, but that is all.

Those who follow Tao strive for perfection, but they are wary about being called prophets. That is a limited role. Being a prophet represents a great trap baited with the temptation of self-importance. The ultimate aim of following Tao is to transcend identity. Those who call themselves prophets or even masters maximize their identities.

It is far better not to be a prophet, and to eschew the responsibilities, limitations, and temptations. It is far better to be obscure and to be thought stupid. Having someone call you by a title is an interference that you don’t need. When you are seeing the greatest wonder of your life, the last thing you want is to have someone blocking the light.

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Food For Thought
August 21
Fake Gods

Our Higher Power is that which we can turn to in times of stress. In the past, we turned to food, thus making it in fact our Higher Power, even though we may not have realized what we were doing. Food is not capable of being a Higher Power for anyone; food is a thing. By turning to food in stressful situations, we cheated ourselves with a false god.

Lurking in the back of our mind, there may still be some false gods. We may think that more money or an exciting love affair would give us permanent security and happiness. The desire for popularity may be deluding us into thinking that we can please everyone if we try hard enough.

The beauty of the OA program is that it shows us, day by day, the Higher Power who will not let us down. As we see our false gods for what they are, we grow in truth. Daily communion with God as each of us understands Him gives us an intimate relationship with the One to whom we can turn in times of stress.

Thank You for revealing my false gods.

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Daily Zen
August 21

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 21
Night of Weeping; Joyous Day

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
(Psalm 30:5)

A moment under our Father’s anger seems very long, and yet it is but a moment after all. If we grieve His Spirit, we cannot look for His smile; but He is a God ready to pardon, and He soon puts aside all remembrance of our faults. When we faint and are ready to die because of His frown, His favor puts new life into us.

This verse has another note of the semi-quaver kind. Our weeping night soon turns into joyous day. Brevity is the mark of mercy in the hour of the chastisement of believers. The Lord loves not to use the rod on His chosen; He gives a blow or two, and all is over; yea, and the life and the joy, which follow the anger and the weeping, more than make amends for the salutary sorrow.

Come, my heart, begin thy hallelujahs! Weep not all through the night, but wipe thine eyes in anticipation of the morning. These tears are dews which mean us as much good as the sunbeams of the morrow. Tears clear the eyes for the sight of God in His grace and make the vision of His favor more precious. A night of sorrow supplies those shades of the pictures by which the highlights are brought out with distinctness. All is well.

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This Morning’s Readings
August 21

“He that watereth shall be watered also himself.”
—Proverbs 11:25.

WE are here taught the great lesson, that to get, we must give; that to accumulate, we must scatter; that to make ourselves happy, we must make others happy; and that in order to become spiritually vigorous, we must seek the spiritual good of others. In watering others, we are ourselves watered. How? Our efforts to be useful, bring out our powers for usefulness. We have latent talents and dormant faculties, which are brought to light by exercise. Our strength for labour is hidden even from ourselves, until we venture forth to fight the Lord’s battles, or to climb the mountains of difficulty. We do not know what tender sympathies we possess until we try to dry the widow’s tears, and soothe the orphan’s grief. We often find in attempting to teach others, that we gain instruction for ourselves. Oh, what gracious lessons some of us have learned at sick beds! We went to teach the Scriptures, we came away blushing that we knew so little of them. In our converse with poor saints, we are taught the way of God more perfectly for ourselves and get a deeper insight into divine truth. So that watering others makes us humble. We discover how much grace there is where we had not looked for it; and how much the poor saint may outstrip us in knowledge. Our own comfort is also increased by our working for others. We endeavour to cheer them, and the consolation gladdens our own heart. Like the two men in the snow; one chafed the other’s limbs to keep him from dying, and in so doing kept his own blood in circulation, and saved his own life. The poor widow of Sarepta gave from her scanty store a supply for the prophet’s wants, and from that day she never again knew what want was. Give then, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and running over.

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This Evening’s Readings
August 21

“I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye Me in vain.
—Isaiah 45:19.

WE may gain much solace by considering what God has not said. What He has said is inexpressibly full of comfort and delight; what He has not said is scarcely less rich in consolation. It was one of these “said nots” which preserved the kingdom of Israel in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, for “the Lord said not that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven.” 2 Kings 14:27. In our text we have an assurance that God will answer prayer, because He hath “not said unto the seed of Israel, Seek ye Me in vain.” You who write bitter things against yourselves should remember that, let your doubts and fears say what they will, if God has not cut you off from mercy, there is no room for despair: even the voice of conscience is of little weight if it be not seconded by the voice of God. What God has said, tremble at! But suffer not your vain imaginings to overwhelm you with despondency and sinful despair. Many timid persons have been vexed by the suspicion that there may be something in God’s decree which shuts them out from hope, but here is a complete refutation to that troublesome fear, for no true seeker can be decreed to wrath. “I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I have not said,” even in the secret of my unsearchable decree, “Seek ye Me in vain.” God has clearly revealed that He will hear the prayer of those who call upon Him, and that declaration cannot be contravened. He has so firmly, so truthfully, so righteously spoken, that there can be no room for doubt. He does not reveal His mind in unintelligible words, but He speaks plainly and positively, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” Believe, O trembler, this sure truth—that prayer must and shall be heard, and that never, even in the secrets of eternity, has the Lord said unto any living soul, “Seek ye Me in vain.”

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