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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – February 17

NA Just For Today
February 17
Carrying The Message, Not The Addict

“They can be analyzed, counseled, reasoned with, prayed over, threatened, beaten, or locked up, but they will not stop until they want to stop.”
Basic Text, p. 62

Perhaps one of the most difficult truths we must face in our recovery is that we are as powerless over another’s addiction as we are over our own. We may think that because we’ve had a spiritual awakening in our own lives we should be able to persuade another addict to find recovery. But there are limits to what we can do to help another addict.

We cannot force them to stop using. We cannot give them the results of the steps or grow for them. We cannot take away their loneliness or their pain. There is nothing we can say to convince a scared addict to surrender the familiar misery of addiction for the frightening uncertainty of recovery. We cannot jump inside other peoples’ skins, shift their goals, or decide for them what is best for them.

However, if we refuse to try to exert this power over another’s addiction, we may help them. They may grow if we allow them to face reality, painful though it may be. They may become more productive, by their own definition, as long as we don’t try and do it for them. They can become the authority on their own lives, provided we are only authorities on our own. If we can accept all this, we can become what we were meant to be – carriers of the message, not the addict.

Just for today: I will accept that I am powerless not only over my own addiction but also over everyone else’s. I will carry the message, not the addict.

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Daily Reflections
February 17
THE LOVE IN THEIR EYES

Some of us won’t believe in God, others can’t, and still others who do not believe that God exists have no faith whatever He will perform this miracle.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 25

It was the changes I saw in the new people who came into the Fellowship that helped me lose my fear, and change my negative attitude to a positive one. I could see the love in their eyes and I was impressed by how much their “One Day at a Time” sobriety meant to them.  They had looked squarely at Step Two and came to believe that a power greater than themselves was restoring them to sanity. That gave me faith in the Fellowship, and hope that it could work for me too. I found that God was a loving God, not that punishing God I feared before coming to A.A. I also found that He had been with me during all those times I had been in trouble before I came to A.A. I know today that He was the one who led me to A.A. and that I am a miracle.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 17
A.A. Thought For The Day

Alcohol is poison to the alcoholic. Poison is not too strong a word, because alcoholism leads eventually to the death of the alcoholic. It may be a quick death or a slow death. When we go by package stores and see various kinds of liquor all dressed up in fancy packages to make it look attractive, we should always make it a point to say to ourselves, so that we’ll never forget it: That stuff’s poison to me. And it is. Alcohol poisoned our lives for a long time. Do I know that since I am an alcoholic all liquor is poison to me?

Meditation For The Day

I must somehow find the means of coming nearer to God.  That is what really matters. I must somehow seek the true bread of life, which is communion with Him. I must grasp at the truth at the center of all worship. This central truth is all that matters. All forms of worship have this communion with God as their purpose and goal.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may meet God in quiet communion.  I pray that I may partake of the soul-food which God has provided for me.

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As Bill Sees It
February 17
Live Serenely, p. 48

When a drunk has a terrific hangover because he drank heavily yesterday, he cannot live well today. But there is another kind of hangover which we all experience whether we are drinking or not. That is the emotional hangover, the direct result of yesterday’s and sometimes today’s excesses of negative emotion–anger, fear, jealousy, and the like.

If we would live serenely today and tomorrow, we certainly need to eliminate these hangovers. This doesn’t mean we need to wander morbidly around in the past. It requires an admission and correction of  errors–now.

12 & 12, pp. 88-89

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Walk In Dry Places
February 17
Be Careful What you Pray for

Choosing the right goals.

“Be careful what you pray for,” the Old-Timers said, for you are likely to get it. While this sounds exciting, it’s really an important warning. Prayers are currents of thought directed toward a goal. The goal must be something few want to live with once it is achieved. What often happens, unfortunately, is that we seek things that turn out to be shallow and even harmful after we get them. Such disillusionment has been the stuff of countless morality tales.

Our bitter experiences with alcohol can also furnish lessons about the kinds of goals we should strive for in sobriety. Let’s take an inventory if we find ourselves thinking that our happiness depends on certain people, places, or things. Our true happiness comes from our Higher Power and the right combination of love and service. With the right attitude, we can actually be happy under many kinds of conditions and with all sorts of people.

What, then, should we pray for? “Knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out,” is a prayer that puts things in proper order. Seek to do God’s will, and you might be utterly amazed at the results. After all, it is God’s pleasure to give you good things.

I’ll pray for knowledge of God’s will today, while exercising prudence in all my affairs.

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Keep It Simple
February 17

. . . no one who learns to know himself remains just what he was before
—Thomas Mann

Deep inside, we all know that we’re changing. It started when we took Step One. We learned and accepted something new about ourselves. That changed us, just a little. We no longer wanted to live as addicts. That meant we had to change and to learn to live sober. It’s been nonstop ever since: learn about ourselves, change a little, learn about ourselves, change a little more, and so on. All we know is that each step of learning and changing makes life better. How long can it keep getting better? As long as we keep learning to know ourselves.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, teach me about myself today. Teach me gently.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll think about what I’ve learned about myself by working the program. I’ll list five things.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 17

One can never pay in gratitude; one can only pay “in kind” somewhere else in life.
–Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Life is a series of payments. The common expression, “What goes around, comes around,” is a truth that governs each of our lives. As women and as members of the human family, we have received untold “payments” from others. On occasion, the payment may not have been one we’d have chosen for ourselves. It takes the distance of time to realize that our payments are meant for our good. And we can share the goodness; in fact, we need to share the goodness with one another. If we give to another the joy given to us, if we give to another the understanding given to us, if we give to another the friendship given to us, we will be ready to receive more in kind.

You and I meet today to make payments. I will receive yours gladly.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 17
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.

After several years of semidelinquent adolescence, I was old enough to join the marines. Leaving behind the origin of my bitterness, I thought my life would be better and the drinking not so bad. However, during boot camp, I recognized that this was not the answer. The discipline, the authority, the tight schedule went against my very nature, but it was a two-year stint, so there had to be a way to function in spite of the anger and now hatred that seethed through me. Every night found me at a bar drinking until they threw me out. That got me through the week; on weekends we went to a club nearby. This place was managed by people who drank as much as or more than I did. I became a constant customer. Arguments and fights were a regular occurrence.

p. 438-439

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 17

Foreword

This starting expansion brought with it very severe growing pains. Proof that alcoholics could recover had been made. But it was by no means sure that such great numbers of yet erratic people could live and work together with harmony and good effect.

pp. 17-18

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Xtra Thoughts
February 17

If you want to feel rich, just count the things money can’t buy.
–Cited in BITS & PIECES

The alcoholic is in no greater peril than when he takes sobriety for granted.
–Unknown

There is no place where God is not.
–Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., Fire In The Soul

A positive attitude can overcome most daily troubles. So wake up and set your mind to it, first thing every day.
–Unknown

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
–e. e. cummings

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
–Lao Tzu

Whom do I need to forgive?
–Suzannah Willingham

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 17
BELONGING

“But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it came to me that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed.”
— Alice Walker

Today I am aware of the truth that I belong. I am an essential part of God’s world. I share divinity because God made me. Today I choose to seek that spiritual center in me that is forever positive and creative. Today I am the center of my universe.

Past hurts and wrongs cannot take away the uniqueness in my life.  Past abuses and painful put-downs, my years of alternating between the lost child and the scapegoat in my family need not make me a victim today. Today I am free to choose recovery and an acceptance of self. Today I choose to associate with the winners of this world.  Today I participate in creation by being a creative person for me.  Yesterday’s pain need not have any power in my life today.

When I kneel before the stream, mountains and stars, I feel me.

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Bible Scriptures
February 17

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:12-14

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
James 1:12

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Daily Inspiration
February 17

There is a purpose for our trials and burdens just as there is a purpose for the joys and wonders in our lives. Lord, grant me Your peace as Your plan for me unfolds.

Thoughts are powerful, so pay close attention to what you think about. Lord, help me to think thoughts of love, peace and abundance so that this becomes my experience.

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A Day At A Time
February 17

Reflection For The Day

If I become angry today, I’ll pause and think before I say anything, remembering that my anger can turn back upon me and worsen my difficulties,.  I’ll try  to remember, too, that  well-timed silence can give me command of a stressful situation as angry reproaches never can.  In such moments of stress, I’ll remember that my power over others ins nonexistent, and  that only God is all-powerful.  Have I learned that I alone can destroy my own peace of mind?

Today I Pray

May I learn that I can choose how to handle my anger — in silence or a tantrum, a rage, a fist fight , a pillow fight, a tirade, and elaborate plan to “get back at” whoever caused it, an icy glare, a cool pronouncement of hate — or a simple statement of fact, “I am angry at you because ______” (in 25 words or less).  Or may I , if need be, turn my anger into energy and shovel the walk, bowl or play a game of tennis, or clean the house.   I pray that God will show me appropriate ways to deal with my anger.

Today I Will Remember

“I am angry because..”

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One More Day
February 17

Grace is the absence of everything that indicates pain or difficulty, hesitation or incongruity.
–  William Hazlitt

It seems that, when we think of our lives are back on course, another obstacle appears and we stumble.  In the case of physical illness, symptoms or pain may worsen or new problems may crop up.  Other circumstances can make our stress level rise as well, until it feels as though we just can’t carry the burden anymore.

Adjustments can be very difficult.  With new symptoms we may feel that illness is chipping away, one tiny piece at a time, at our independence.  It’s difficult to be gracious with so many complications going on.  Yet this is the time to be gracious — to ourselves and to those around us.

If I have ever needed to reach into my innermost being to find peace and contentment, it is now.  I dislike what has happened to my body, but I can continue to be a gracious person.

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One Day At A Time
February 17
~ CHANGES ~

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
–Andy Warhol

Time changes things – but what things? Can I wait for time to change those ways of coping that don’t serve me anymore? Can I wait for time to make me abstinent?

Yes, time will change things, but chances are that these will be the changes: my coping mechanisms will become even more entrenched and my eating even more destructive. I don’t really want to wait for that kind of change. When I joined OA, I started a new trend. I asked for the wisdom to understand which things I can change and then, armed with the tools of the program, I set about following my new trend of eating healthy and living a life where I don’t sit around waiting.

I will not wait idly for things to get better. I will ask my Higher Power to guide me to make necessary changes.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will not wait idly for things to get better. I will ask my Higher Power to guide me to make necessary changes.

~ Isabella M. ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day February 17

“Silence and self-control permeate the entirety of our lives.”
–Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

The Creator gave us all the Red Road and on this Red Road we are required to think and act in a spiritual way. To make sure I conduct myself according to the Red Road, I must make sure I develop my self discipline. Self control works best when we pray for the courage and power to do the will of the Great Spirit. We are here on the earth to do the will of the Great Spirit. Sometimes, we must battle ourselves to do this.

Great Spirit, help me to have my self- control guided by spiritual ways.

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Journey to the Heart
February 17
Who Empowers You?

Most of us need people around us who empower and help us feel able, on track, in balance, hopeful. We need people who tell us we can. Even if they don’t use words, they believe in us and that belief comes shining through. We look at them and what we see reflected back is our own power.

But sometimes we run into those who, instead, try to convince us of their power, convince us that they have our answers, that we need them to be able to see clearly, that without them, we won’t be able to find the way. They don’t believe in us, they only believe in themselves. That’s not empowerment. That’s an approach destined to create dependency, often unhealthy dependency.

Cultivate relationships with people who make you feel like you can, who help you know that you’re on track, right where you need to be. Spend time with people who help you know that you can trust yourself.

Seek out people who empower you. Learn to empower those you love. And during those times when no one’s around, know that you can empower yourself.

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Today’s Gift
February 17

There is glory in a great mistake.
—Nathalia Crane

Once there was a big girl who liked to play with little kids and their toys. One day she rode one of their small bikes and her foot slipped off the little pedal and her leg got caught and dragged along the sidewalk.

She went home, limping and howling. Her mother put ice on the terrible scrape. The next day, the girl’s mother told her she was too big for the little kids’ toys. The girl looked up defiantly and said, “I can TOO ride that baby bike.”

The girl’s mother didn’t say anything else. She knew people must be free to make mistakes. We cannot protect another person from the experiences of the world. It would be harmful to both of us to try.

What mistakes have I made more than once before I learned my lesson?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 17
Acceptance

Our basic recovery concept that never loses its power to work miracles is the concept called acceptance.

We do not achieve acceptance in a moment. We often have to work through a mirage of feelings – sometimes anger, outrage, shame, self-pity, or sadness. But if acceptance is our goal, we will achieve it.

What is more freeing than to laugh at our weaknesses and to be grateful for our strengths? To know the entire package called “us” – with all our feelings, thoughts, tendencies, and history – is worthy of acceptance and brings healing feelings.

To accept our circumstances is another miraculous cure. For anything to change or anyone to change, we must first accept others, the circumstance, and ourselves exactly as they are. Then, we need to take it one step further. We need to become grateful for our circumstances or ourselves. We add a touch of faith by saying, “I know this is exactly the way it’s supposed to be for the moment.”

No matter how complicated we get, the basics never lose their power to restore us to sanity.

Today, God, help me practice the concept of acceptance in my life. Help me accept others, my circumstances, and myself. Take me one step further, and help me feel grateful.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 17
Lighten up

“Mom, can I sleep over at Johnny’s house again tonight? Please?” Shane begged.

“Why?” I asked.

“For fun,” he said.

“You just slept over last night,” I said.

“Who said you can’t have fun two days in a row?” he asked.

While ideas such as discipline and focus are undeniably important, so is the idea of having fun.

With a small amount of effort, we can extract all the fun and joy out of most parts of our lives– our relationships, our work, even our leisure time. We can put so many restrictions and should’s on everything we do that our very lives become dull, overly ponderous and routine. Before long, we find ourselves living up to a set of rules– and we’re not certain where the rules came from or whose they are.

I relented, and let Shane have the sleepover he asked for. He had fun. He had a lot of fun that entire year. So did I.

Let yourself go. Have a little fun with life. Or, have a lot of fun with life. If you’ve spent years being extremely disciplined, reliable, and somber, maybe part of achieving balance is having a decade of fun.

Dig out your goal list, the one you placed at the back of this book. Add another value to your list, have as much fun and joy as possible in the days, months, and years to come.

It’s time to lighten up.

God, please show me how to put ideas like fun and joy back into my life. Show me how to have more fun in work, in love, and in play.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 17

It takes more courage to reveal insecurities than to hide them, more strength to relate to people than to dominate them, more “manhood” to abide by thought out principles rather than blind reflex. Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles and an immature mind.
—Alex Karras

In our culture, being a man often means being tough, having sexual prowess, and not showing feelings. We realize in this life of recovery that those are silly and immature myths, even though we see them repeatedly on TV, on billboards, and in newspapers.

When we are told these things repeatedly, it makes an impact on us. So we need to hear from each other that this is not the way we wish to live. We don’t admire these attitudes, and we don’t believe the stories. Truly courageous men know themselves. They have been around enough to have depth to their souls, to let themselves love, and to feel the pain of life.

Today, I am grateful to know and share my feelings and to have genuine relationships with those I love.

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Daily TAO
February 17
KNOWLEDGE

Life is
Beauty,
Terror,
Knowledge.

A crucial part of following Tao is seeking knowledge. All the efforts of self-cultivation are meant to make us a fit vehicle for that search. Sometimes what we learn is not pleasant. With learning, we glimpse life as it really is, and that is difficult to bear. That is why spiritual progress is slow : not because no one will tell us the secrets, but because we ourselves must overcome sentiment and fear before we can grasp it.

There is an underbelly of terror to all life. It is suffering, it is hurt. Deep within all of us are intense fears that have left few of us whole. Life’s terrors haunt us, attack us, leave ugly cuts. To buffer ourselves, we dwell on beauty, we collect things, we fall in love, we desperately try to make something lasting in our lives. We take beauty as the only worthwhile thing in this existence, but it cannot veil cursing, violence, randomness, and injustice.

Only knowledge removes this fear. If we were shown the whole truth, we could not stand it. Both lovely and horrible details make us human, and when knowledge threatens to show us our follies, we may realize that we are not yet ready to leave them behind. Then the veil closes again, and we sit meditating before it, trying to prepare ourselves for the moment when we dare to part the curtain completely.

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Daily Zen
February 17

Contemplate the body until you see its true form.  Then you will cease your grasping.

These contemplations will extinguish the fires of desire In the same way that torrential rains Extinguish wild fires.

– Perfection of Wisdom

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Food for Thought
February 17
Forgiving Ourselves

We would like to be perfect, and when we make mistakes, it is hard to forgive ourselves. If we eat something not on our food plan, the resulting anger at our weakness may escalate a small slip into a full-scale binge. When we are under pressure and act foolishly or say something unkind to someone close to us, we may punish ourselves by eating or by sinking into a black mood.

In order to get back on a positive track, we need to forgive ourselves and put the mistake behind us. It does no good to dwell on our weakness and rehash what we should have done and say “if only.”

In OA, we become humble enough to admit that we will never be perfect. We strive for progress. Forgiving ourselves is necessary so that we may make a positive change.

As You forgive, may I forgive.

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