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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – February 11

Just For Today
February 11
A Curse Into A Blessing

“We have become very grateful in the course of our recovery … We have a disease, but we do recover.”
—Basic Text, p. 8

Active addiction was no picnic; many of us barely came out of it alive. But ranting against the disease, lamenting what it has done to us, pitying ourselves for the condition it has left us in—these things can only keep us locked in the spirit of bitterness and resentment. The path to freedom and spiritual growth begins where bitterness ends, with acceptance.

There is no denying the suffering brought by addiction. Yet it was this disease that brought us to Narcotics Anonymous; without it, we would neither have sought nor found the blessing of recovery. In isolating us, it forced us to seek fellowship. In causing us to suffer, it gave us the experience needed to help others, help no one else was so uniquely suited to offer. In forcing us to our knees, addiction gave us the opportunity to surrender to the care of a loving Higher Power.

We would not wish the disease of addiction on anyone. But the fact remains that we addicts already have this disease—and further, that without this disease we may never have embarked on our spiritual journey. Thousands of people search their whole lives for what we have found in Narcotics Anonymous: fellowship, a sense of purpose, and conscious contact with a Higher Power. Today, we are grateful for everything that has brought us this blessing.

Just for today: I will accept the fact of my disease and pursue the blessing of my recovery.

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Daily Reflections
February 11
THE LIMITS OF SELF-RELIANCE

“We asked ourselves why we had them [fears]. Wasn’t it because self-reliance failed us?”
—ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p.68

All of my character defects separate me from God’s will.  When I ignore my association with Him I face the world and my alcoholism alone and must depend on self-reliance.  I have never found security and happiness through self-will, and the only result is a life of fear and discontent. God provides the path back to Him and to His gift of security and comfort. First, however, I must be willing to acknowledge my fears and understand their source and power over me. I frequently ask God to help me understand how I separate myself from Him.

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

If we’re going to stay sober, we’ve got to learn to want something else more than we want to drink. When we first came into A.A., we couldn’t imagine wanting anything else so much or more than drinking. So we had to stop drinking on faith, on faith that someday we really would want something else more than drinking. But after we’ve been in A.A. for a while, we learn that a sober life can really be enjoyed. We learn how nice it is to get along well with our family at home, how nice it is to do our work well at the office, how nice it is to try to help others. Have I found that when I keep sober, everything goes well for me?

Meditation For The Day

There is almost no work in life so hard as waiting. And yet God wants me to wait. All motion is more easy than calm waiting, and yet I must wait until God shows me His will. So many people have marred their work and hindered the growth of their spiritual lives by too much activity.  If I wait patiently, preparing myself always, I will be some day at the place where I would be. And much toil and activity could not have accomplished the journey so soon.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may wait patiently. I pray that I may trust God and keep preparing myself for a better life.

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As Bill Sees It
February 11
Self-Confidence and Will Power, p. 42

When first challenged to admit defeat, most of us revolted. We had approached A.A. expecting to be taught self-confidence. Then we had been told that so far as alcohol was concerned, self-confidence was no good whatever; in fact, it was a total liability. There was no such thing as personal conquest of the alcoholic compulsion by the unaided will.

<< << << >> >> >>

It is when we try to make our will conform with God’s that we begin to use it rightly. To all of us, this was a most wonderful revelation. Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God’s intention for us. To make this increasingly possible is the purpose of A.A.’s Twelve Steps.

12 & 12
1. p. 22
2. p. 40

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Walk In Dry Places
February 11
Practice makes patience.
Acquiring Maturity

Extreme impatience is part of most alcoholic stories: “I want what I want when I want it.” When it continues in sobriety, impatience leads to mistakes and accidents. How can we bring impatience under control without losing all drive and initiative?

One route may be to acquire patience through practice. We can devote some time each day to a task that must be done, even if it is tedious and boring. We can make a real effort to be more patient with somebody who is slow or difficult. We can face the fear and anxiety that sometimes make us overwork or turn us into people-pleasers.

These exercises won’t eliminate impatience overnight. But they’ll produce the satisfaction of knowing that we’re getting control of our lives. They will also make us more effective in our dealings with others.

Reminding ourselves that all outcomes are in God’s hands can help us acquire patience. Willful pushing does not bring the serenity and well being we really seek. We labor in vain if we are seeking goals that are not in line with God’s will for us.

I will do my work today with the knowledge that God really is in charge of my life … I do not have to let anything or anyone rob me of my serenity and self-control. I will practice patience in situations where it is needed.

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Keep It Simple
February 11

“Sanity is madness put to good use.”
—George Santayana

In Step Two we come to believe a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. In a way, as we work Step Two, we’re praying that our madness can be put to good use. This is just what happens. Addiction was wrecking our life. But it’s also our addiction that forced us into a new way of life.

As long as we remember what our madness was like, we can put it to good use. When we feel like giving up, let’s remember our madness. It will help us go on. When we see someone suffering from the illness of addiction, let’s remember our days of madness. It will help us be there for that person. It’s also good to remember that our madness is only a pill or a drink away.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I believe You can put my madness to good use. I give up my madness; do with it what You want.

Action for the Day: I’ll list a couple ways my Higher Power and I have changed my madness into sanity.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 11

“It’s odd that you can get so anesthetized by your own pain or your own problem that you don’t quite fully share the hell of someone close to you.”
—Lady Bird Johnson

Preoccupation with self can be the bane of our existence. It prevents all but the narrowest perspective on any problem. It cuts off any guidance from our higher power that may be offered through a friend. It blocks whatever truths are trying to gain our attention. The paradox is that whatever our pain, it is lessened by turning our attention elsewhere, to another’s pain or her joy.

When we open our minds to fresh input from others, insights emerge. We need the messages others are trying to give us. Nothing that is said in a loving spirit is empty of meaning for our lives.

We might consider that every conversation we have is a conversation with our Creator. What we need to know, for our own growth, is guaranteed to be revealed in our many conversations with others. But we can’t hear another’s thoughts until we let go of our own.

Full attention to the persons sent to me will offer me exactly what I need, today. My inner guide has beckoned them. I can be alert, expect solutions, and celebrate the wonder of it all.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 11

Part III — THEY LOST NEARLY ALL

The fifteen stories in this group tell of alcoholism at its miserable worst.

Many tried everything—hospitals, special treatments, sanitariums, asylums, and jails. Nothing worked. Loneliness, great physical and mental agony—these were the common lot. Most had taken shattering losses on nearly every front of life. Some went on trying to live without alcohol. Others wanted to die.

Alcoholism has respected nobody, neither rich nor poor, learned nor unlettered. All found themselves headed for the same destruction, and it seemed they could do nothing whatever to stop it.

Now sober for years, they tell us how they got well. They prove to almost anyone’s satisfaction that it’s never too late to try Alcoholics Anonymous.

p. 435

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 11

Foreword

There is, too, a rising interest in the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. Students of human relations are beginning to wonder how and why A.A. functions as a society. Why is it, they ask, that in A.A. no member can be set in personal authority over another, that nothing like a central government can anywhere be seen? How can a set of traditional principles, having no legal force at all, hold the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous in unity and effectiveness? The second section of this volume, though designed for A.A.’s membership, will give such inquirers an inside view of A.A. never before possible.

p. 16

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Xtra Thoughts
February 11

“Serenity isn’t freedom from the storm, it is peace within the storm.”

“When we release the bitterness, judgment and blame of the past, whether of ourselves or others, the past becomes a stepping stone to spiritual growth, to increased compassion, understanding and love. Today, repeat several times, ‘I bless my past and see it as a stepping stone to greater good.'”
—Mary Manin Morrissey

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
—William Arthur Ward

“Great Spirit, grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins.”
—Native American Proverb

“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.”
—Frank A. Clark

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 11
PITY

“When a man has pity on all living creatures, then only is he noble.”
—Buddha

We all need each other. More than this, we need to help and sustain each other. And this concept extends beyond human beings—the world is full of other creatures that God has made and which make our lives so fascinating and entertaining. Animals and plants make up our ecological history, and yet, so often we rob and hurt our environment.

Recovery from alcoholism means more than putting down “the drink.”  Today I am picking up a responsible attitude that makes me care, on a spiritual level, for my world.

Lord, as I look around my world I cannot help but worship You.

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Bible Scriptures
February 11

“If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
—1 John 5:14-15

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Look to him, and be radiant.”
—Psalm 34:4-5

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Daily Inspiration
February 11

God will answer our prayers if we believe, but first we must ask. Lord, I need the strength that only You can give.

God will give you strength because He will give of Himself. Lord, thank You for the many gifts of which You always bless me.

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A Day At A Time
February 11

Reflection For The Day

I can always take strength and comfort from knowing I belong to a worldwide fellowship.  Hundreds and hundreds of thousands, just like myself, are working together for the same purpose.  None of us needs to ever be alone again, because each of us in our own way works for the good of others.   We are bound together by a common problem that can be solved by love and understanding and mutual service.  The Program—like the little wheel in the old hymn—runs by the grace of God.  Have I thanked God today for helping me to find The Program, which is showing me the way to a new life?

Today I Pray

May my  thanks be lifted to God each day for dispelling my self-inflicted loneliness, for warming any stoicism, for leading me to the boundless fun of friendship in The Program.

Today I Will Remember

I have a world of friends.

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One More Day
February 11

“You are responsible for your own life and have a job to perform in your healthcare.”
– Neil A. Fiore

It’s a real shock to find out that we have an ongoing medical problem.  Lots of us may get quite angry and blame the doctor for the diagnosis.  Or we may want to turn it all over to the professionals.  But soon we begin to see that we are the primary ones responsible for ourselves.  Eventually, we begin to give full cooperation to our doctors and therapist.  We become equal members of our healthcare team.

Adjustments are difficult in the best of circumstance, but with the help of those who love us, with the assistance of our doctors, and with our participation, we adjust to chronic illness.  Then we can see our problems in their proper perspective and begin again to enjoy our lives.

In accepting changes in my life, I find balance once again.

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One Day At A Time
February 11
FREEDOM

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”
—Judy Garland

As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be like —or act like—someone else. I never allowed myself the freedom to be me. I was my parents’ child, my husband’s wife, and my children’s mother. It wasn’t until I came into program wearing all of my identities on my body—150 pounds’ worth—that I was able to see how unhappy I really was.

I began my journey to recovery by slowly discovering the real me underneath all that extra weight. Working the Twelve Steps of recovery helped me to peel away the layers of fear that kept me stuck.

One Day at a Time …
I am free to be me ~ And I am enough.

~ Eileen

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day
February 11

“Oh God! Like the Thunderbird of old I shall rise again out of the sea; I shall grab the instruments of the white man’s success—his education, his skills, and with these new tools I shall build my race into the proudest segment of your society.”
—Chief Dan George, SALISH

One thing the Indian people do well is adapt. This is why we survive. We must learn to keep our culture, but also to learn the good things that other races have to offer. Education is the future weapon of Native people. We must learn the legal system, health, science and engineering. Indian people have great contributions to make to the world. We need to educate ourselves so we can better protect the land and our children. Otherwise, we will lose the things and the land that we have.

Great Spirit, make me teachable today.

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Journey To The Heart
February 11
The Universe Is Abundant

Watch out for greed—greed for money, for resources, for love. Greed can slowly corrupt the heart. Greed can slowly take over our lives. Greed and fear can block our connection with the universe, and with universal love.

Let go of the fears of deprivation, of doing without, that haunt you from the past. Having more and more won’t solve your problem if what you need is to heal your fears. Look around with love at your life and the people in it. If you open your heart and look without fear, you may see that you have enough now.

Go back to your heart. Let love, not fear and greed, lead the way. Be led by your desire to joyfully serve, by the desire to bring your gifts, your healing, your comforts and talents to others. Go back to your heart as often as you need. And remember what is honorable and true. Say to those you love, This is what I shall give. And I’ll give it because my heart leads me to do so.

The universe is abundant. Take your part, take your place, in universal love. Go back to your heart. Give from the heart. And the universe will respond in kind.

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Today’s Gift
February 11

“Life deals more rigorously with some than others.”
—Lewis F. Presnall

How often we think about a friend, He sure is lucky! And probably just as often we say to ourselves, Why did that happen to me? It’s not fair! The truth is, life isn’t always fair. We don’t all get the same experiences, the same lessons. But we each learn what we need to learn in order to fulfill our destiny.

We have to learn to trust. Maybe a bike gets stolen or a friend moves away. It’s not easy to accept such things as these, but we must all learn to understand and accept losses in our lives.

Perhaps we fail a test. The lesson we learn from this may be to study harder or to consider a different course of study in school. There are always reasons for why things happen, but we don’t have to know them.

Can I trust in the lessons of my failures today?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 11
Divinely Led

“Send me the right thought, word, or action. Show me what my next step should be. In times of doubt and indecision please send your inspiration and guidance.”
—Alcoholics Anonymous

The good news of surrendering ourselves and our life to a Power greater than ourselves is that we come into harmony with a Grand Plan, one greater than we can imagine.

We are promised Divine Guidance if we ask for it if we work the Twelve Steps. What greater gift could we receive than knowing our thoughts, words, and actions are being directed?

We aren’t a mistake. And we don’t have to control or repress others or ourselves for life to work out. Even the strange, the unplanned, the painful, and those things we call errors can evolve into harmony.

We will be guided into understanding what we need to do to take care of ourselves. We will begin to trust our instincts, our feelings, and our thoughts. We will know when to go, to stop, and to wait. We will learn a great truth: the plan will happen in spite of us not because of us.

I pray today and each day that my thoughts, words, and actions may be Divinely led. I pray that I can move forward in confidence, knowing my steps are guided.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 11
Grief

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. … Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.'”
—C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

There’s no way to prepare for deep grief, for the pain that shatters a heart and a life when a beloved leaves.

No one can coach us on it. Those who could, who knew exactly how it felt, who could describe it in detail, wouldn’t do it, would not presume to encroach on this most intimate part of our relationship with a loved one. Those who casually say, “Aren’t you over that yet?” don’t understand.

This much I will tell you about grief. If there was ever a second, or a moment, when you suspected or knew you had been betrayed at the deepest level by someone you adored, and a splintering pain began to shred your heart, turn your world unbearable to the point where you would consciously choose denial and ignorance about the betrayal rather than feel this way, that is one-millionth of what it feels like to grieve.

Grief is not an abnormal condition, nor is it something to be treated with words. It is a universe, a world, unto itself. If you are called to enter this world, there is no turning back. We are not allowed to refuse that call. Grief is like nothing else, with the possible exception of the pounding waves of the ocean. To the untrained, casual eye, each wave looks the same. It is not. No two are the same. And each one washes away the old, and washes in the new.

Gradually, almost imperceptibly, whether we believe it or not, we are being transformed.

God, take care of me those moments and hours when I cannot find the will or power to take care of myself. Transform me, if not in the twinkling of an eye, then over the slow movement of the years, into who I will become.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 11

“Too much agreement kills a chat.”
—Eldridge Cleaver

Many of us haven’t learned there is room for disagreement in a relationship. Some men who grew up in addicted families saw a lot of pain, anger, and quarreling. Many learned to be always pleasing and agreeable, no matter how they felt. Others took it as a personal insult when someone disagreed with them.

We choke the vitality and excitement in our love relationships if we are too intent on avoiding conflict. Nothing can be resolved if we smooth everything over. Differences between people don’t just go away. If we don’t bring them out, they fester and create silent tension or boredom. If we willingly express our thoughts and feelings, we can learn how to resolve our disagreements and to appreciate each other for our differences as well as our similarities. If two people in a relationship were exactly alike, one of them would be unnecessary.

Today, I will try to be more open about my differences with people, not as a way of fighting, but as a way of letting them know me better.

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Daily TAO
February 11
WALKING

Trail beside stream,
Fragrant pine.
Rocky red earth,
Steep mountain.

Walking may be a good metaphor for spiritual life, but there are times when simple hiking is literally the best activity. When one walks in the woods or climbs mountains, there is a wonderful unity of body, mind, and spirit. Hiking strengthens the legs, increases stamina, invigorates the blood, and soothes the mind. Away from the madness of society, one is freed to observe nature’s lessons.

Erosion. Gnarled roots. The carcass of a dead deer. A flight of swallows. The high spirals of hawks. Bladed reflections of rushing water. Just budding bare branches. Gray rock, cracked, shattered, and worn. A fallen tree. A lone cloud. The laughter of plum branches. Even a little circle of rocks beside the trail—who put them there, or did any hand arrange them, and no matter which, what are the secrets of that circle?

There are a thousand meanings in every view, if only we open ourselves to see the scripture of the landscape.

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Food for Thought
February 11
Simplicity

Someone has said that God is simple; it is we who cause the complications. The more we are able to simplify our lives, the more effective we become.

A simple eating plan frees us from being preoccupied with food. We decide what we will have for our three measured meals, we may call the plan in to a sponsor, and then we can forget about food. We are free to concentrate on the jobs and activities of the day. In contrast, how muddled and messy our lives were when we were bingeing!

Turning our will and our life over to our Higher Power frees us from preoccupation with self. Rather than trying to figure out complicated methods of getting things to go our way, we are free to live each day as God gives it to us, trusting His will.

As we grow in this program, may we grow in simplicity.

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