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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – February 14

Just For Today
February 14, 2014
Honesty And Spirituality

“The right to a God of your understanding is total and without any catches. Because we have this right, it is necessary to be honest about our belief if we are to grow spiritually”
Basic Text, p. 25

In meetings, over refreshments, in talks with our sponsor, we hear our NA friends talking about the way they understand their Higher Power. It would be easy to “go with the flow;” adopting someone else’s beliefs. But just as no one else can recover for us, so no one else’s spirituality can substitute for our own. We must honestly search for an understanding of God that truly works for us.

Many of us begin that search with prayer and meditation, and continue with our experiences in recovery. Have there been instances where we have been given power beyond our own to face life’s challenges? When we have quietly sought direction in times of trouble, have we found it? What kind of Power do we believe has guided and strengthened us? What kind of Power do we seek? With the answers to these questions, we will understand our Higher Power well enough to feel safe and confident about asking it to care for our will and lives.

A borrowed understanding of God may do on a short haul. But in the long run, we must come to our own understanding of a Higher Power, for it is that Power which will carry us through our recovery.

Just for today: I seek a Power greater than myself that can help me grow spiritually. Today, I will examine my beliefs honestly and come to my own understanding of God.

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Daily Reflections
February 14, 2014
EXPECTATIONS vs. DEMANDS

Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 98

Dealing with expectations is a frequent topic at meetings. It isn’t wrong to expect progress of myself, good things from life, or decent treatment from others. Where I get into trouble is when my expectations become demands. I will fall short of what I wish to be and situations will go in ways I do not like, because people will let me down sometimes. The only question is: “What am I going to about it?” Wallow in self-pity or anger; retaliate and make a bad situation worse; or will I trust in God’s power to bring blessings on the messes in which I find myself? Will I ask Him what I should be learning; do I keep on doing the right things I know how to do, no matter what; do I take the time to share my faith and blessings with others?

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 14, 2014
A.A. Thought for the Day

After that first drink, we had a single-track mind. It was like a railroad train. The first drink started it off and it kept going on the single track until it got to the end of the line, drunkenness. We alcoholics knew this was the inevitable result when we took the first drink, but still we couldn’t keep away from liquor. Our willpower was gone. We had become helpless and hopeless before the power of alcohol. It’s not the second drink or the tenth drink that does the damage. It’s the first drink. Will I ever take that first drink again?

Meditation for the Day

I must keep a time apart with God every day. Gradually I will be transformed mentally and spiritually. It is not the praying so much as just being in God’s presence. The strengthening and curative powers of this I cannot understand because such knowledge is beyond human understanding, but I can experience them. The poor, sick world would be cured if every day each soul waited before God for the inspiration to live aright. My greatest spiritual growth occurs in this time apart with God.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may faithfully keep a quiet time apart with God. I pray that I may grow spiritually each day.

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As Bill Sees It
February 14, 2014
Our Companions, p. 45

Today, the vast majority of us welcome any new light that can be thrown on the alcoholic’s mysterious and baffling malady. We welcome new and valuable knowledge whether it is issues from a test tube, from a psychiatrist’s couch, or from revealing social studies. We are glad of any kind of education that accurately informs the public and changes its age-old attitude toward the drunk.

More and more we regard all who labor in the total field of alcoholism as our companions on a march from darkness into light. We see that we can accomplish together what we could never accomplish in separation and in rivalry.

Grapevine, March 1958

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Walk In Dry Places
February 14, 2014
Releasing the Past
Living in the Present.

Some of us waste time brooding over past failures and lost opportunities. Since the past is beyond our reach, we can’t change anything that happened. We do, however, have the power to change the way we view the present. We can begin by realizing that our past troubles really may have been valuable lessons.

We can also get a better perspective by releasing the idea that anything from the past controls our future. The real meaning of the saying “with God, all things are possible” is that our Higher Power can transform anything that happened in our past. AA has had its share of miraculous changes that came to people who seemingly had lost all hope. These changes have included miraculous restorations in health, finances, and relationships.

A new saying is that something or some person who bothered us in the past is history, as far as we’re concerned. Let’s put history where it belongs__ on the shelves and away from our daily thinking and activities.

I can be a new person today and every day. The past cannot control or limit me, but I do benefit from its lessons.

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Keep It Simple
February 14, 2014

Some things have to be believed to be seen.
–Ralph Hodgson

In recovery, we learn to trust. We trust that our Higher Power is on our side. Maybe we can’t see our Higher Power , but once we start trusting things change. Step Two says, “Came to believe. . . ” Once we come to believe, we start to see our Higher Power working in many ways. We make new program friends. We find new peace. Our family and friends trust us again. Life won’t always be fair. We won’t get all we want. But we’ll find the love and care we need. If we’re open to believing in love, the easy times will be easier and the harder times a bit softer. Do I believe in love?

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me believe, especially when times are hard. Help me not blame You for the hard times.

Action for the Day: I will write what I believe the program and my Higher Power want for me.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 14, 2014

Friendship of a kind that cannot easily be reversed tomorrow must have its roots in common interests and shared beliefs.
–Barbara W. Tuchman

The gift of friendship has been extended to each of us sharing this program. Our interest is common: we want to stay abstinent. And we share the belief that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. We trust our commitment to one another here. We are learning to live the program’s principles in all our affairs.

In years gone by, friendships were often missing from our lives. We had a friend, here and there, certainly, but could she really be trusted – with our secrets, with our spouse? An overriding fear and one not without reason. It’s likely that we, too, failed to be good friends. Friendship, anytime, means risking vulnerability. It means making a decision to be trustworthy. And it means not backing away from either, anytime.

Friendships so enrich our lives; they complete us. The experiences shared among friends give us all an edge on living. It is no accident that we have been drawn here together. What we have will help another.

I must be willing to give away my intimate self to my sisters in trust. My strength as a woman recovering will increase as my ties of friendship increase.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 14, 2014
MY BOTTLE, MY RESENTMENTS, AND ME

– From childhood trauma to skid row drunk, this hobo finally found a Higher Power, bringing sobriety and a long-lost family.

One night my mother failed to return home from her job at a car manufacturing plant. The next morning there was still no sign of her or any clue to why she had disappeared; with great apprehension the police were called. Since I was a mama’s boy, this was especially traumatic for me. And to make matters unbelievably worse, a few days later the police came and arrested my father. They had found mom’s mutilated body in a field outside of town and wanted to question him. In that instant the family life I knew was destroyed! My father was soon returned because the police had found a pair of glasses that did not belong to him at the murder scene. This clue led to the man who had so brutally killed my mother.
pp. 437-438

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 14, 2014

Foreword

After three years of trial and error in selecting the most workable tenets upon which the Society could be based, and after a large amount of failure in getting alcoholics to recover, three successful groups emerged–the first at Akron, the second at New York, and the third at Cleveland. Even then it was hard to find twoscore of sure recoveries in all three groups.

pp. 16-17

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Xtra Thoughts
February 14, 2014

If you keep falling in the same hole, go down a different road.

It is not easy to straighten in the oak the crook that grew in the sapling.
–American Proverb

“Silence is one of the hardest things to refute.”
–Josh Billings

Little deeds of kindness, little words of love, help to make earth happy like the heaven above.
–Julia A. Fletcher Carney

Faith is not only a belief and a feeling, it is an action. Action, really does speak louder than words.
–Shelley

Let us dedicate ourselves to peace within ourselves, that wherever we go, we bring peace and we learn to find peace in all things.
–John Morton

God treasures each of us as a rare and lovely flower.
–Patricia Bellah

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 14, 2014
LOVE

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness.”
— Kahlil Gibran

As an alcoholic I demanded love and was possessive of others. I had a selfish love that treated people as “things” — for my own satisfaction and survival. I was claustrophobic in my affection and smothered any creative love; my fear of being alone made me blackmail people with my needs and emotions.

Today I can love people while still allowing them to breathe. An important part of my program is detachment; I take responsibility for me and I allow others to take responsibility for themselves. I give the people I love space.

Sometimes I need to love a person enough to let them go. Spiritually I am beginning to understand that in order to be free, I must give freedom to others.

God, in the “spaces” of my love is the growth experienced.

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Bible Scriptures
February 14, 2014

Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in the mighty heavens.
Psalm 150:1

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.”
Isaiah 40:31

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.
1 John 3:1

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Daily Inspiration
February 14, 2014

Don’t ever grow too old for your birthdays or give up on your dreams. Lord, help me to know where You are leading me today and face this adventure with excitement.

Never let what you can’t do get in the way of what you can do. Lord, help me to recognize my abilities and focus only on my strengths so that each day I will get nearer to my goals.

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A Day At A Time
February 14, 2014

Reflection For The Day

Today I will take the time to list the positive aspects of my new life and the blessings that accompany the miracle of my recovery.  I will be grateful  for the seemingly simple ability to eat normally, to fall asleep with a feeling of contentment, to awaken with a gladness to be alive.  I will be grateful for the ability to face life on life’s terms — with peace of mind, self-respect, and full possession of all my faculties.  On a daily basis, do I count my blessings?   Do I seek through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God as I understand Him?

Today I Pray

On this day of love-giving,may I count all the good things in my life and give thanks for them.  May I take no blessing for granted, including the beating of my own heart and the fresh feel of new air as I breathe.

Today I Will Remember

To  count — and consider — my blessings.

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One More Day
February 14, 2014

We don’t love qualities, we love persons.

–Jacques Maritain

No matter what happens to us in our lifetime, regardless of whether we are rich or poor,m strong or weak, ill or well, we always have room for love.  Unqualified love and caring cost nothing.  Despite our financial position, allowing ourselves to love, allowing ourselves to be loved strengthens and lends greater value to our lives.

In loving others and in being loved, we’re reminded that people, not events or even characteristics, are th important elements of our lives.  We don’t look for perfection in our loved ones, and we’re freed of the notion that we must earn another’s love.  Love balances our lives;  it helps us keep sight of our values and priorities.

I will remember today that I love people for themselves, not for their potential.  The love I receive is given just as freely.

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One Day At A Time
February 14, 2014
OZ

“Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man That he didn’t, didn’t already have.”
–Tin Man
Written by Dewey Bunnell, ©1974

These are simple words, and at first glance look like a song from the ‘Wizard of Oz.’ However, to me they are complex and have deep meaning.

I have a body, a mind and a spirit; yet for the better part of my growing-up years I thought I had a flaw. I never felt complete and kept searching for whatever-it-was that would make me whole and fix me. I had no idea I was looking in the wrong places; but the real problem was I didn’t know what I was looking for.

I never knew how to just ‘be’ without expecting some kind of negative feedback or teasing or criticism or uncertainty in return. Because I never felt good enough, I learned to ‘not be’ and to make myself invisible emotionally while eating, and in later years eating and purging.

Coming to OA was like surfacing for air after staying under water too long. People who didn’t know me understood and supported me. I slowly opened up and shared at meetings and did service and stopped hiding, and the void created with food and loneliness began to fill with hugs and support and recovery.

Today I have a Program with wonderful friends who reinforce I am OK as I am. God gave me and continues to give me what I need – physically (help with my food plan), emotionally and spiritually. The miracles in my life keep coming when I least expect them and only when I turn them over to God. Each new miracle and blessing nourishes me.

I began writing professionally again; writing is my passion, and my disease stole it from me. My spirit is happy, and I am grateful to my loving friend who had confidence and faith in me.

One day at a time …
I am discovering my emerging identity was inside me all the time.

Janie

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day
February 14

“Sometimes, life is very simple, but it is we two-leggeds, we who are thought to be smart that make it complicated.”
–Larry P. Aitkin, CHIPPEWA

Sometimes it may take years for us to find out what we are really after – it is to be happy. The Elders say, lead a simple life. This doesn’t necessarily mean poor, it means simple. There are some things that makes life complicated such as needing control, needing power or being resentful or angry. These things make complications happen. We need to walk in balance in every area of our lives.

Great Spirit, let me lead a simple life.

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Journey to the Heart
February 14, 2014
Send Love Letters

Sending love letters to people we care about is a rewarding experience, both for us and for them. Making the time to take pen in hand and express our thoughts is valuable. But there’s another way to send love letters,too. This way takes as much time and attention as writing a loving note does, but it doesn’t require a pen and paper. It requires concentrated thought.

There’s an invisible thread of energy winding through the universe, one that connects us all. Have you ever noticed that sometimes you can tell if someone’s angry or upset with you, even if you haven’t talked to or seen this person? You can feel his or her anger, even if you haven’t been physically present to experience it. Thoughts have power, particularly those charged with intense emotional energy. When we think mean, bitter thoughts, it can be like sending hate mail along our connecting wires. It can almost be a sensory attack.

Why not send loving thoughts charged with positive emotional energy? We can consciously choose to use our connections to others to send love. Send positive thoughts. Blessings. Peace. Assistance in time of crisis. We can send our thoughts in the form of a prayer, or we can simply think a blessing or positive thought, charge it with energy, and send it along the wires with love.

When someone you know or love comes to mind, or even someone you don’t– perhaps someone in another part of the country or the world, perhaps someone going through a particular crisis– and you’re not certain what to do, send a love letter. Your loving thoughts will touch them and your blessings will all come back to you.

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Today’s Gift
February 14, 2014

Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.
—Karl Menninger

Receiving a loving hug from a parent or perhaps a smile from a friend or even a stranger gives us a special feeling inside. We know we are important to others when they show us their love through attention. And we sometimes forget that we matter to others. Family members and friends feel good in the same way when we show them our love. Everyone needs to be loved.

How can we show our love? Must it be through a hug? Doing a favor for someone is loving. Helping around the house or the yard is loving, particularly when we’ve volunteered our help. Giving an unexpected gift to a friend is a way of showing love. Showing others we care, even when they are angry, is perhaps the nicest of all expressions of love.

What new way can I show someone I care today?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 14, 2014
Valentine’s Day

For children, Valentine’s Day means candy hearts, silly cards, and excitement in the air.

How different Valentine’s Day can be for us as adults. The Love Day can be a symbol that we have not yet gotten love to work for us as we would like.

Or it can be a symbol of something different, something better. We are in recovery now. We have begun the healing process. Our most painful relationships, we have learned, have assisted us on the journey to healing, even if they did little more than point out our own issues or show us what we don’t want in our life.

We have started the journey of learning to love ourselves. We have started the process of opening our heart to love, real love that flows from us, to others, and back again. Do something loving for yourself. Do something loving and fun for your friends, for your children, or for anyone you choose.

It is the Love Day. Wherever we are in our healing process, we can have as much fun with it as we choose. Whatever our circumstances, we can be grateful that our heart is opening to love.

I will open myself to the love available to me from people, the Universe, and my Higher Power today. I will allow myself to give and receive the love I want today. I am grateful that my heart is healing, that I am learning to love.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 14, 2014
Say woohoo because there’s hope

The doorbell rang one day. I was slumping about in the big house I had just purchased in Minnesota. It was going to be the dream home for the children and me. The problem was, Shane had been killed the day after I closed the deal. Now Nichole and I were rambling around wondering what to do.

I answered the door. The FedEx man asked me to sign for a delivery. I did. And he handed me a large cardboard box. I brought it into the living room and put it down without opening it up. I didn’t get excited about much of anything back then. I was sad and angry. People, my readers, said they liked my writing because it gave them hope. The problem was, I didn’t have any of that hope for myself. I couldn’t see how life could or would ever make any kind of sense again. The one thing I wanted– my son alive and well, and my family intact–would not ever come to pass.

One day I got around to opening that big cardboard box. I took a knife, sliced it down the center, and looked at what was inside. It was filled with stuffed animals. A big green parrot with a fuzzy beak was sitting on top. There were monkeys, bears, and assorted things. They didn’t look brand new, but they were happy, cheerful little things. I took out the card and read the note inside. This is what it said.

“I make my living out of taking all the stuffed animals that people throw away. Then I take them home and clean them up. I guess I like doing it just to prove a point,” the woman wrote. “Sometimes, we start thinking something’s no good anymore, so we throw it in the trash. Sometimes we throw things away too quickly, but all they really need is a little tender, loving care to bring them back to life. I heard about your son’s death. I thought maybe getting a box of my reborn animals might help.”

Many years have passed since then. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of my possessions, especially when I moved from Minnesota to California in 1994. But one of the things I’ve held on to– in fact he’s still sitting in this room with me next to my desk– is that happy green parrot with the big fuzzy beak.

He’s a gentle reminder that even something as broken and scaggly as I was can be brought back to life again. Some things in life are true, whether we believe them or not.

Hope is one of those things.

Even if you have to say it in disbelief, say woohoo.

God, help me believe in me as much as you do. Thanks for getting me through those tough spots when I lose my faith.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 14, 2014

The less able I am to believe in our epoch and the more arid and depraved mankind seems in my eyes, the less I look to revolution as the remedy and the more I believe in the magic of love.
—Hermann Hesse

Men have been more likely to look outward than inward for solutions to problems. Yet this program is changing us from within. As we come to terms with ourselves, as we learn to be in relationships with friends and family, the same picture that looked so dismal in past years may look full of possibilities and even rich in the present. The love we feel toward others and the love we receive change our perceptions.

We need not expect all relationships to be alike. One friend may be wonderful as a recreational buddy, but perhaps we wouldn’t talk about everything in our life with him. Another friend is comfortable and we can be ourselves with him, although he may not challenge us to grow or change. No friendship, no spouse, no one person can be enough in our life. But as a group they sustain and enrich us. We need the love and contact with them all.

I am thankful for love, which gives meaning and hope to life.

 

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Daily TAO
February 14, 2014
CIRCULATION

Spirituality begins in the loins,
Ascends up the back,
And returns to the navel.

Spirituality is not just mental activity. It is also an expression of energy.

The source of this energy is physical, rooted in the basic chemistry of the body. Self-cultivation refines this energy for spiritual attainment. Enlightenment, for a follower of Tao, is therefore a psycho-physical achievement. It is a state of being rather than mere intellectual understanding.

Once the energy is awakened through special exercises and meditations, the follower of Tao knows how to draw this energy upward. The force begins from the genitals and rises up the spine. On its way, it nourishes the kidneys, nerves, and blood vessels. When it passes the base of the skull, the nervous system and the lower parts of the brain are stimulated. Reaching the crown, this river of energy opens the entire subconscious potential of a human being. Descending downward, it nourishes the eyes, the senses, the vital organs. Cascading toward the navel, it returns us to our original state of purity. From there, it returns to the loins again, ready to be drawn into another circuit. Just as all existence operates on a continuum between gross physical matter and the most subtle levels of consciousness, so too does the follower of Tao utilize all parts of body, mind, and spirit for spiritual devotion.

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Daily Zen
February 14

The sage sees how to stop clinging
While all others find this very hard.
If you can see through joy and sorrow,
Then you too will glimpse the great peace.

– Perfection of Wisdom

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Food for Thought
February 14, 2014
Satisfaction

When we were overeating, we thought mainly about trying to satisfy ourselves. The more we ate, the more we wanted to eat. The more we ate, the less satisfied we were. We finally realized that satisfaction was not to be found by consuming more and more food.

When we stopped overeating, we suddenly had much more time and energy available for constructive activities. We began to contribute more to our families, our jobs, our recreation. We found new areas where we could be of service to others.

Because OA has given us so much, we in turn are able to share with our groups. As we give to others, we receive self-satisfaction as a by-product. This is a much more powerful satisfaction than we ever found in the refrigerator!

For each of us, serving and contributing to the best of our abilities means abstaining. Without abstinence, we can never be satisfied.

Thank You for opportunities to give and for the satisfaction of abstinence.

 

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