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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – August 22

Just For Today
August 22
Contribution

“We recognize our spiritual growth when we are able to reach out and help others.”
Basic Text p. 56

To make a difference in the world, to contribute something special, is perhaps the highest aspiration of the human heart, Each one of us, no matter what our personal makeup, has a unique quality to offer.

Chances are that at some time in our recovery we met someone who reached us when no one else could. Whether it was someone who made us laugh at our first meeting, a warm and compassionate sponsor, or an understanding friend who supported us through an emotional storm, that person made all the difference in the world.

All of us have had the gift of recovery shared with us by another recovering addict. For that, we are grateful. We express our gratitude by sharing freely with others what was given to us. The individual message we carry may help a newcomer only we can reach.

There are many ways to serve our fellowship. Each of us will find that we do some things better than others, but all service work is equally important. If we are willing to serve, we’re sure to find that particular way to contribute that’s right for us.

Just for today: My contribution makes a difference. I will offer a helping hand today.

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Daily Reflections
August 22
SEEKING EMOTIONAL STABILITY, p.243

When we developed still more, we discovered the best possible source of emotional stability to be God Himself. We found that dependence upon His perfect justice, forgiveness, and love was healthy, and that it would work where nothing else would. If we really depended upon God, we couldn’t very well play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care.
12 & 12, p.116

All my life I depended on people for my emotional needs and security, but today I cannot live that way anymore. By the grace of God, I have admitted my powerlessness over people, places and things. I had been a real “people addict”; wherever I went there had to be someone who would pay some kind of attention to me. It was the kind of attitude that could only get worse, because the more I depended on others and demanded attention, the less I received. I have given up believing that any human power can relieve me of that empty feeling. Although I remain a fragile human being who needs to work A.A.’s Steps to keep this particular principle before my personality, it is only a loving God who can give me inner peace and emotional stability.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
August 22
A.A. Thought For The Day

“Those who do not recover are people who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault. They seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.  Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover, if they have the capacity to be honest.” Am I completely honest with myself and with other people?

Meditation For The Day

You can make use of your mistakes, failures, losses, and sufferings.  It is not what happens to you so much as what use you make of it.  Take your sufferings, difficulties, and hardships and make use of them to help some unfortunate soul who is faced with the same troubles. Then something good will come out of your suffering and the world will be a better place because of it. The good you do each day will live on, after the trouble and distress have gone, after the difficulty and the pain have passed away.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may make good use of my mistakes and failures. I pray that some good may result from my painful experiences.

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As Bill Sees It
August 22
Everyday Living, p. 233

The A.A. emphasis on personal inventory is heavy because a great many of us have never really acquired the habit of accurate self-appraisal.

Once this heavy practice has become a habit, it will prove so interesting and profitable that the time it takes won’t be missed. For these minutes and often hours spent in self-examination are bound to make all the other hours of our day better and happier. At length, our inventories become a necessity of everyday living, rather than something unusual or set apart.

12 & 12, pp. 89-90

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Walk In Dry Places
August 22
Whose experience is important?
Sharing.

In the Twelve Step movement, we often feature outstanding speakers at large anniversary meetings. In some ways, this makes celebrities of them….. their personal stories seem to be deemed more important that those of others. We should accept such large meetings for what they are: Part entertainment, part socialization, and part celebration. The real work of our fellowship, however, lies in ordinary, continuous activity in the groups.

The most important experience to be shared is not the dramatic or humorous account heard at the large meeting. What really works to keep us sober is the experience we share with each other. This can survive long after the powerful speech is forgotten.

I’ll remember today that I can find help and growth in talking with different people I meet at regular meetings.

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Keep It Simple
August 22, 2011

It’s a rare person who wants to hear what we doesn’t want to hear.—Dick Cavett We want only to hear good thins. That we’re nice people. That our loved ones are healthy.

That we did a good job. We don’t want to hear that anyone is angry with us, or that we made a mistake. We don’t want to hear about illness or troubles.

But life isn’t just happy news. Bad things happen. We can’t change that. As we live our recovery program, we learn to handle the addiction. We choose the path of life. We need to know all the news, good, and bad. Then we can deal with life as it really is.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me listen—even when I don’t want to. Gently help me deal with both the good and bad. All the help I need is mine for the asking.

Action for the Day: I will ask my sponsor and three friends to tell me about my blind spots.

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Each Day Is A New Beginning
August 22

We’re only as sick as the secrets we keep.
—Sue Atchley Ebaugh

Harboring parts of our inner selves, fearing what others would think if they knew, creates the barriers that keep us separate, feeling different, certain of our inadequacies.

Secrets are burdens, and they weigh heavily on us, so heavily. Carrying secrets makes impossible the attainment of serenity – that which we strive for daily. Abstinence alone is not enough. It must come first, but it’s not enough by itself. It can’t guarantee that we’ll find the serenity we seek.

This program of recovery offers self-assurance, happiness, spiritual well-being, but there’s work to be done. Many steps to be taken. And one of these is total self-disclosure. It’s risky, it’s humbling, and it’s necessary.

When we tell others who we really are, it opens the door for them to share likewise. And when they do, we become bonded. We accept their imperfections and love them for them. And they love us for ours. Our struggles to be perfect, our self-denigration because we aren’t, only exaggerates even more the secrets that keep us sick.

Our tarnished selves are lovable; secrets are great equalizers when shared. We need to feel our oneness, our sameness with other women.

Opportunities to share my secrets will present themselves today. I will be courageous.

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
August 22

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.”

Upon entering A.A., these attitudes were sharply reversed, often going much too far in the opposite direction. The spectacle of years of waste threw us into panic. There simply wouldn’t be time, we thought, to rebuild our shattered fortunes. How could we ever take care of those awful debts, possess a decent home, educate the kids, and set something by for old age? Financial importance was no longer our principal aim; we now clamored for material security. Even when we were well reestablished in our business, these terrible fears often continued to haunt us. This made us misers and penny pinchers all over again. Complete financial security we must have–or else. We forgot that most alcoholics in A.A. have an earning power considerably above average; we forgot the immense goodwill of our brother A.A.’s who were only too eager to help us to better jobs when we deserved them; we forgot the actual or potential financial insecurity of every human being in the world. And, worst of all, we forgot God. In money matters we had faith only in ourselves, and not too much of that.

pp. 120-121

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Xtra Thoughts
August 22

“Holding resentment is like eating poison and then waiting for the other person to keel over.” –Unknown “Would you rather be right, or happy?”
–A Course in Miracles

“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden, where the flowers are all dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.”
–Oscar Wilde

Ask a question and you’re a fool for three minutes; do not ask a question and you’re a fool for the rest of your life.
–Chinese Proverb

Giving is the highest expression of our power.
–Vivian Greene

What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
–Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
August 22
INDIFFERENCE

“The worst sin towards our fellow creatures in not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That’s the essence of inhumanity.”
– George Bernard Shaw

For years I was indifferent to family and friends. And the tragedy was that because of my alcoholism I did not know it! For too long I was unaware of my disease and its multiple implications.

Today I am not indifferent. Spirituality teaches me that I am not a spectator but a participant. I am involved in my life and, ultimately, in the lives of others. Today I seek to practice the principles of sobriety in every area of my life. I not only seek to be sober on a daily basis, but I also seek to be honest, open and tolerant with other people.

The spiritual goal of sobriety and abstinence has placed me at the center of the universe and I know today that I make a difference to my fellow man.

Remove from me all attitudes of indifference and apathy. Make me a worthy steward in Your vineyard.

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Bible Scriptures
August 22

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13

“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.”
Isaiah 66:13

“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

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Daily Inspiration
August 22

Each day offers many opportunities to smile when others don’t and be more patient when others aren’t. Lord, may I be an example of Your presence within me and a reminder to others that You are there for them too.

Each day there are lessons to learn and lives to touch. Lord, You have done so much for me. Help me to repay You.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day August 22

“When life is too good, we think too highly of ourselves and our blessings. Then we decide we are the wisest and the favored ones, and we don’t think we need Wakan-Tanka and the Helpers anymore.”
–Fools Crow, LAKOTA

It is sometimes easy to get off track when times are good. We start to take the credit and start to think we are in control. We start to think we are smart. Then we quit praying or pray only with lip service. We say the words but don’t mean them.
Sometimes our head is our greatest enemy. We start acting like a foolish child. We must develop the discipline to be humble during the good times. We need to remember how honorable it is each day to come into the presence of the Creator. How happy we should be to talk to the Grandfathers, to have the choice to start each day on the Sacred Spot – our place of communion with the Great Spirit.

Oh Great Spirit, first let me thank You for the honor of talking to You today. To have the insight of Your love, that only You can love me when I don’t deserve to be loved. Let me be reminded to talk to You all day long.

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Journey To The Heart
August 22
Heal Your Resentments

How fast resentments creep in during the course of an ordinary year. How much faster they can creep in during intense times, times of change, times of evolution– the kind of times we’ve been experiencing on our journey.

Things shift. Things change. We let go of the old and stumble toward the new. And resentments crop up along the way. People become angry with us for changing; we become angry with them because we believe their experiences have unjustly impacted us.

Resentments are tricky little things, devious little devils of energy that block our souls and hearts. They tell us they’re justified. They tell us we need them to protect ourselves. They tell us we should have adopted them a long time ago. They tell us we’re not safe if we release them, if we send them packing.

Those are lies, illusions that keep us blocked, stuck, and often quite uncomfortable.

Go deeper into yourself. What do you feel underneath the resentment? Betrayed? Hurt? Ashamed? Embarrassed? Left out? Forgotten? Misunderstood? You’re safe now. Go ahead and feel whatever you need to feel. Honor and recognize your gentler, softer side– those other feelings that make you feel vulnerable, those more tender feelings hiding behind, underneath, or to the side of the resentment.

Feel and release your resentment. Feel the feelings underneath it,too. You’ll become clear. The resentment will dissolve. And you’ll return to love.

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One Day At A Time
August 22, 2011
PREPARING

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
John Wooden

Every morning I make a decision. I decide to prepare for a day of recovery, or I decide to not prepare for a day of recovery. It comes as no surprise that on the days I prepare I do better.

I have to take responsibility for my decisions, even my indecision. If I do nothing to help myself today, I have no one to blame but myself. If nothing else, I can take five minutes in the morning to invite my Higher Power into my life.

One day at a time…
I will prepare for a good day today. I will take responsibility for my recovery.

~ Q

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Today’s Gift
August 22

… sparrow, your message is clear: it is not too late for my singing.
—Tess Gallagher

There was once a mother who loved to hang the laundry out on the clothesline in the backyard. Her baby crawled through the sheets and towels that almost touched the grass. The baby didn’t talk yet, so nobody knew what she was thinking.

Ten years later, the baby, twelve years old, told her that her happiest memory of childhood was playing in her “playhouse” of laundry on the line. She remembered thinking that her mother hung the sheets out there just so she could play in the grass and wind and sun!

How wonderful to be living in a world where we can accidentally make people happy! This knowledge is a miraculous gift, and can give us reason to do every task well and with love, because it may be remembered for a lifetime by someone near to us.

What happy memory do I have of childhood?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
August 22

The irony of your present eating habits is that while you fear missing a meal, you aren’t fully aware of the meals you do eat.
—Dan Millman

Many of us have had problems with eating. Some of us eat compulsively. We may have become overly focused on diet or abused ourselves by mindlessly indulging in unhealthy eating. We all grow by becoming more aware of our relationship to food. Our spiritual life is nourished by fully experiencing all our sensations concerning food.

We can begin with awareness of our empty stomachs and take pleasure in feeling hungry. We can give time to eating and use a meal as a time for relationships. Taking pleasure in the preparation of healthy food, making it look attractive, smelling the aromas, tasting the flavors, and enjoying the fullness and renewed energy after eating are all ways of growing spiritually as we become healthier in our use of food.

Today, I will take pleasure as I eat. I will make room in my life for healthy nourishment of body and spirit.

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The Language of Letting Go
August 22
Responsibility for Family Members

I can still remember my mother clutching her heart, threatening to have a heart attack and die, and blaming it on me.
—Anonymous

For some of us, the idea that we were responsible for other people’s feelings had its roots in childhood and was established by members of our nuclear family. We may have been told that we made our mother or father miserable, leading directly to the idea that we were also responsible for making them happy. The idea that we are responsible for our parents’ happiness or misery can instill exaggerated feelings of power and guilt in us.

We do not have this kind of power over our parents – over their feelings, or over the course of their lives. We do not have to allow them to have this kind of power over us.

Our parents did the best they could. But we still do not have to accept one belief from them that is not a healthy belief. They may be our parents, but they are not always right. They may be our parents, but their beliefs and behaviors are not always healthy and in our best interest.

We are free to examine and choose our beliefs.

Let go of guilt. Let go of excessive and inappropriate feelings of responsibility toward parents and other family members. We do not have to allow their destructive beliefs to control our feelings, our behaviors, our life, or us.

Today, I will begin the process of setting myself free from any self-defeating beliefs my parents passed on to me. I will strive for appropriate ideas and boundaries concerning how much power and how much responsibility I can actually have in my relationship with my parents.

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More Language Of Letting Go
August 22
Be grateful for your families

I walked into the kitchen at the Blue Sky Lodge one afternoon. I looked around at my group of friends. “I feel really blessed,” I said. “You know we’re more like family than friends.”

They agreed.

My house is full of friendship, and at the risk of sounding mushy, it’s full of love. There’s almost always someone home to take care of the place, though we do forget to take the trash out from time to time.

I’ve learned and laughed with my housemates, and I hope that they have learned from me as well. Are you grateful for the people you live with? Or if you live alone, are you grateful for your friends? Someone once told me that the great thing about being independent is that we get to choose our families. Be thankful for your family today, whether it’s the one that you were born with or the one that you’ve chosen.

Our families are a gift.

God, thank you for my families.

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Daily TAO
August 22
Spider

Mind in the center
Radiates to eight legs,
Creating a supreme web
To sift Tao.

A spider is a perfect creature of Tao. Its body is an elegant expression of its mind; It spins beautiful threads, and its legs are exactly suited to create and walk its web. From its center, a spider radiates its world out with a spare economy.

A Spider’s posture in regard to Tao is to set up a pattern. Its mind determines this pattern. It realizes the flow of Tao and does nothing to interfere with it. It simply creates its pattern and waits for Tao to bring it sustenance. That which comes to it, it accepts. That which does not come to it is not its concern.

Once its web is established, a spider does not think of expanding unnaturally. It does not make war upon its neighbors, it does not go for adventures in other countries, it does not try to fly to the moon, it does not build factories, it does not try to enslave others, it does not try to be intellectual. It is simply who it is and is content with that.

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Daily Zen
August 22

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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Food For Thought
August 22
Emotional Abstinence

When our eating was out of control, our emotions were also out of control. Even after we accept physical abstinence from compulsive overeating, we may still go on emotional binges. This indulgence leaves us depleted and hung over and wreaks havoc in our relationships with those we love.

The Twelve Steps are our guide to emotional abstinence. They are the means by which we can live without being destroyed by anger, envy, fear, and all of the other negative emotions. Working the Steps frees us from our slavery to self-centered, irrational reactions, which harm ourselves and others.

Realizing the damage, which comes from hanging on to anger and resentment, we gradually become able to turn these feelings over to our Higher Power before they get out of hand. Accepting ourselves means that we can accept others for what they are without trying to manipulate them or expect them to be perfect. Controlled by our Higher Power, we learn to avoid emotional binges.

May I remember the importance of emotional abstinence today.

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Faith’s Check Book
August 22
Wrath to God’s Glory

Surely the wrath of man shall raise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.
(Psalm 76:10)

Wicked men will be wrathful. Their anger we must endure as the badge of our calling, the token of our separation from them: if we were of the world, the world would love its own. Our comfort is that the wrath of man shall be made to redound to the glory of God. When in their wrath the wicked crucified the Son of God they were unwittingly fulfilling the divine purpose, and in a thousand cases the willfulness of the ungodly is doing the same. They think themselves free, but like convicts in chains they are unconsciously working out the decrees of the Almighty.

The devices of the wicked are overruled for their defeat. They act in a suicidal way and baffle their own plottings. Nothing will come of their wrath which can do us real harm. When they burned the martyrs, the smoke which blew from the stake sickened men of popery more than anything else.

Meanwhile, the Lord has a muzzle and a chain for bears. He restrains the more furious wrath of the enemy. He is like a miller who holds back the mass of the water in the stream, and what He does allow to flow He uses for the turning of His wheel. Let us not sigh, but sing. All is well, however hard the wind blows.

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This Morning’s Readings
August 22

“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.”
—Song of Solomon 5:8.

SUCH is the language of the believer panting after present fellowship with Jesus, he is sick for his Lord. Gracious souls are never perfectly at ease except they are in a state of nearness to Christ; for when they are away from Him they lose their peace. The nearer to Him, the nearer to the perfect calm of heaven; the nearer to Him, the fuller the heart is, not only of peace, but of life, and vigour, and joy, for these all depend on constant intercourse with Jesus. What the sun is to the day, what the moon is to the night, what the dew is to the flower, such is Jesus Christ to us. What bread is to the hungry, clothing to the naked, the shadow of a great rock to the traveller in a weary land, such is Jesus Christ to us; and, therefore, if we are not consciously one with Him, little marvel if our spirit cries in the words of the Song, “I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, tell Him that I am sick of love.” This earnest longing after Jesus has a blessing attending it: “Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness”; and therefore, supremely blessed are they who thirst after the Righteous One. Blessed is that hunger, since it comes from God: if I may not have the full-blown blessedness of being filled, I would seek the same blessedness in its sweet bud-pining in emptiness and eagerness till I am filled with Christ. If I may not feed on Jesus, it shall be next door to heaven to hunger and thirst after Him. There is a hallowedness about that hunger, since it sparkles among the beatitudes of our Lord. But the blessing involves a promise. Such hungry ones “shall be filled” with what they are desiring. If Christ thus causes us to long after Himself, He will certainly satisfy those longings; and when He does come to us, as come He will, oh, how sweet it will be!

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This Evening’s Readings
August 22

“The unsearchable riches of Christ.”
—Ephesians 3:8.

Y Master has riches beyond the count of arithmetic, the measurement of reason, the dream of imagination, or the eloquence of words. They are unsearchable! You may look, and study, and weigh, but Jesus is a greater Saviour than you think Him to be when your thoughts are at the greatest. My Lord is more ready to pardon than you to sin, more able to forgive than you to transgress. My Master is more willing to supply your wants than you are to confess them. Never tolerate low thoughts of my Lord Jesus. When you put the crown on His head, you will only crown Him with silver when He deserves gold. My Master has riches of happiness to bestow upon you now. He can make you to lie down in green pastures, and lead you beside still waters. There is no music like the music of His pipe, when He is the Shepherd and you are the sheep, and you lie down at His feet. There is no love like His, neither earth nor heaven can match it. To know Christ and to be found in Him—oh! this is life, this is joy, this is marrow and fatness, wine on the lees well refined. My Master does not treat His servants churlishly; He gives to them as a king giveth to a king; He gives them two heavens—a heaven below in serving Him here, and a heaven above in delighting in Him for ever. His unsearchable riches will be best known in eternity. He will give you on the way to heaven all you need; your place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks, your bread shall be given you, and your waters shall be sure; but it is there, THERE, where you shall hear the song of them that triumph, the shout of them that feast, and shall have a face-to-face view of the glorious and beloved One. The unsearchable riches of Christ! This is the tune for the minstrels of earth, and the song for the harpers of heaven. Lord, teach us more and more of Jesus, and we will tell out the good news to others.

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