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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – February 18

Just For Today
February 18
The Recovery Partnership

“As long as I take it easy and make a commitment with my Higher Power to do the best I can, I know I will be taken care of today”
Basic Text, p. 120

Many of us feel that our fundamental commitment in recovery is to our Higher Power. Knowing that we lack the power to stay clean and find recovery on our own, we enter into a partnership with a Power greater than we are. We make a commitment to live in the care of our Higher Power and, in return, our Higher Power guides us.

This partnership is vital to staying clean. Making it through the early days of recovery often feels like the hardest thing we’ve ever done. But the strength of our commitment to recovery and the power of God’s care is sufficient to carry us through, just for today.

Our part in this partnership is to do the very best we can each day, showing up for life and doing what’s put in front of us, applying the principles of recovery to the best of our ability. We promise to do the best we can&151not to fake it, not to pretend to be superhuman, but simply to do the footwork of recovery. In fulfilling our part of the recovery partnership, we experience the care our Higher Power has provided us.

Just for today: I will honor my commitment to a partnership with my Higher Power.

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Daily Reflections
February 18
OUR PATHS ARE OUR OWN

… there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 25

My first attempt at the Steps was one of obligation and necessity, which resulted in a deep feeling of discouragement in the face of all those adverbs: courageously; completely; humbly; directly; and only.  I considered Bill W. fortunate to have gone through such a major, even sensational, spiritual experience.  I had to discover, as time went on, that my path was my own. After a few twenty-four hours in the A.A. Fellowship, thanks especially to the sharing of members in meetings, I understood that everyone gradually finds his or her own pace in moving through the Steps. Through progressive means, I try to live= according to these suggested principles. As a result of these Steps, I can say today that my attitude towards life, people, and towards anything having to do with God, has been transformed and improved.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 18
A.A. Thought For The Day

After I became an alcoholic, alcohol poisoned my love for my family and friends, it poisoned my ambition, it poisoned my self-respect. It poisoned my whole life, until I met A.A. My life is happier now than it has been for a long time. I don’t want to commit suicide. So with the help of God and A.A., I’m not going to take any more of that alcoholic poison into my system. And I’m going to keep training my mind never even to think of liquor again in any way except as a poison. Do I believe that liquor will poison my life if I ever touch it again?

Meditation For The Day

I will link up my frail nature with the limitless Divine
Power. I will link my life with the Divine Force for Good
in the world. It is not the passionate appeal that gains the Divine attention as much as the quiet placing of the difficulty and worry in the Divine Hands. So I will trust God like a child who places its tangled skein of wool in the hands of a loving mother to unravel. We please God more by our unquestioning confidence than by imploring Him for help.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may put all my difficulties in God’s hands and leave them there. I pray that I may fully trust God to take care of them.

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As Bill Sees It
February 18
Out Of Defect. . . Strength, p. 49

If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that some day we will be immune to alcohol.

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

Such is the paradox of A.A. regeneration: strength arising out of my complete defeat and weakness, the loss of one’s old life as a condition for finding a new one.

1. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 33
2. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 46

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Walk In Dry Places
February 18
Shining shoes for Subordinates
Growing in Humility

Did you ever hear of a man named Samuel Logan Brengle? He was a Salvation Army office whose spiritual consciousness was legendary. But he didn’t start that way. A gifted ministerial student of the nineteenth century, he joined the Salvation Army only to find himself sent to a cellar to clean the shoes of other cadets___ most of them far below him in learning and intelligence.

Brengle used that humbling experience to conquer his pride and resentment. He later recalled the utter joy he felt as he cleaned the shoes and prayed for each person. Later on, Brengle became an inspiration to thousands.

It’s not likely any of us will have to clean shoes for subordinates today. What’s more likely is that we’ll encounter situations that would our pride or churn up resentment. We can turn any such experience into an opportunity for growth by praying to see God’s hand in the matter and refusing to fight about it. The peace and serenity we feel is our reward, and, like Brengle, we’ll become better people who can be of real service to others.

Somebody may come to me today with something that makes my blood boil. I won’t be a doormat, but I will remember that I always have the choice of making anything a positive experience.

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Keep It Simple
February 18

Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you. —
Spanish proverb

Gossip can kill the trust in a Twelve Step program. We all need to feel safe when we share our personal lives with others. We need to know our private business won’t spread around.

We can do two things to help keep the trust in our groups, and in the rest of our lives too. First, don’t gossip. Second, don’t listen to gossip about others.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me mind my own business today. Help me honor the trust of my friends by not gossiping.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll think of two ways to stop someone from telling me gossip. Then, I’ll put those ways to use.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 18

To keep your character intact you cannot stoop to filthy acts. It makes it easier to stoop the next time.
–Katharine Hepburn

Behaving the way we believe God wants us to behave sounds so easy on the surface. We don’t willingly hurt others, do we? Or do we? . . . When did we last secretly burn with jealousy over another’s good fortune or good looks? Has there been a time, recently, when we sulked for lack of attention . . . or perhaps picked a fight?

We can simplify life from this moment forth. There is only one path to walk, one decision to make, in every instance, and all our burdens will be lifted, all our anxiety released. We can decide to act in good faith. We can be silent a moment with ourselves and let our inner guide direct our behavior, our words, our thoughts.

Each of us knows, when we dare to let our spiritual nature reign, the right act in every case. Letting God choose our acts will ease our lives. No more obsessive confusion. No more regrets. No more immobility due to fear of wrong moves.

Freedom is guaranteed when I depend on God to direct my behavior. Life’s burdens are lifted. I will go forth today, doing God’s will, and my Spirit will be light.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 18
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.

Through some friends I met a woman I really cared for and soon we were married. A year later our daughter was born, and eventually two boys. Oh, how I loved my brood! This nice little family should have settled me down, but instead my drinking progressed. It finally reached a point where I was intolerable to live with, and my wife filed for divorce. I just went berserk, and the sheriff ordered me to leave town. I knew if I stayed , my anger at my wife for taking those children away from me would get me into more trouble than even I could handle, so once again I set off. I left with my hatred, my resentment, and the clothes on my back. This time for good.

pp. 439-440

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 18

Foreword

Everywhere there arose threatening questions of membership, money, personal relations, public relations, management of groups, clubs, and scores of other perplexities. It was out of this vast welter of explosive experience that A.A.’s Twelve Traditions took form and were first published in 1946 and later confirmed at A.A.’s First International Convention, held at Cleveland in 1950. The Tradition section of this volume portrays in some detail the experience which finally produced the Twelve Traditions and so gave A.A. its present form, substance, and unity.

p. 18

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Xtra Thoughts
February 18

“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.”
–Anonymous

When we practice loving kindness towards others, we run out of willingness and generosity quickly if we think it all has to come from us. When we understand that love comes through us, there is an endless Source.
–Mary Manin Morrissey

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you.”
–Robert Fulghum, 20th-century American author

When we walk in God’s light, we are transformed.
–Eleanor Park Kammer

As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 18
LAW

“The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Today I respect the law. In this way I respect the society in which I live. I am not “an island unto myself”. I live in a community and have a responsibility to myself and that community — such is sobriety.

For years I did what I wanted and tried not to be “found out”. I was manipulative, dishonest and unhappy; to stay sick is depressing and exhausting.

Then I decided to remove the pain. I accepted the disease and began to “change” my life. I discovered the “spiritual law” of freedom with responsibility. Law is the collective experience of the many who choose to live a certain way, and today I choose to live amongst them.  My understanding of spirituality involves respecting the laws that give me the dignity of citizenship.

O Lord, help me to see that in the laws of civilization is the gift of freedom.

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Bible Scriptures
February 18

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all thy wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in thee, I will sing praise to thy name, O Most High.”
Psalm 9:1-2

“O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you.”
Psalm 63:1

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Ephesians 5:8-10

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Daily Inspiration
February 18

Never be too busy to pray. Lord, without Your presence in my life, today would be barren.

We don’t choose how or when we will die, but we do decide how we will live. Lord, forgive my frequent drifting and help me to see clearly the best path for me.

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A Day At A Time
February 18

Reflection For The Day

We learn in The Program that we cannot punish anyone without punishing ourselves.  The release of my tensions, even justified, in a punishing way leaves behind the dregs of bitterness and pain.  This was the monotonous story of my life before I came to The Program.  So in my new life,k I’d do well to consider the long-range benefits of simply owning my emotions, naming them and thus releasing them.  Does the voice of God have a chance to be heard over my reproachful shouting.?

Today I Pray

May I avoid name-calling, ego-crushing exchanges.  If I am angry, may I try to assign my anger to what someone did instead of what someone is.  May I refrain from downgrading, lashing out at character flaws of mindless abuse.  May I count on my Higher Power to show me the way.

Today I Will Remember

Tod deal with anger appropriately.

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One More Day
February 18

Self pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.
–  Helen Keller

Pity, either from ourselves or others, harms us.  yet, sometimes, we allow it to happen.

What we really need from others is empathy — for them to feel as if they were in our shoes.  Pity can be a deep pit to fall into, and the climb back out is difficult.  We can’t begin to make the ascent until we are fully aware of why we have allowed pity and self-pity to prevail.  Maybe feeling sorry for ourselves has been easier than encountering the frustration that may come when we make an effort.

The actions I take today will be based on growth for myself and will help me avoid self-pity.

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One Day At A Time
February 18
SERENITY

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;  the courage to change the things I can;   and the wisdom to know the difference.
–The Serenity Prayer

My life before abstinence was a fight in the dark to stabilize my world and protect myself from more pain. Too much suffering was endured by this child. She never understood that she could ever come back into the Light. But, the fog is lifting now … there are days of clarity and joy. How could she have known? She was too little.

Circumstances change … memories fade away … I can be safe again … I can allow myself to be me. I will work my program to secure the Light again in my world.

One day at a time . . .
I pray to understand that the stream of life keeps moving … I will live in darkness no longer.

Margaret ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day February 18

“Laughter is a necessity in life that does not cost much, and the Old Ones say that one of the greatest healing powers in our life is the ability to laugh.”
–Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

Laughter is a good stress eliminator. Laughter causes healing powers to be distributed through our bodies. Laughter helps heal relationships that are having problems. Laughter can change other people. aughter can heal the sick. Laughter is spiritual. One of the greatest gifts among Indian people has been our ability to laugh. Humor is natural to Indian people. Sometimes the only thing left to do is laugh.

Great Spirit, allow me to laugh when times get tough.

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Journey to the Heart
February 18
Your Body,Mind, and Soul Are One

The body, mind, spirit, and emotions are more than just connected. They are one. To nurture the body is to nurture the mind, spirit, and emotions.To nurture the spirit is to nurture the body, mind, and emotions. And so it goes, a continuous connection. A continuing whole.

Do you feel fragmented? Have you disowned a part of yourself? Invite it back. Maybe you’ve focused too heavily on one part and neglected others. You can be a world-class athlete and still not be in touch with your soul. You can be skilled at dealing with any emotion that comes along, and yet not see the delicate connection between that emotion and your conscious thoughts and beliefs. Or you may be so focused on tending to the needs of your spirit and mind that you neglect your body– resent it and think of it as a limitation.

Tend to each aspect of the whole. Do things that nurture your spirit, perhaps spend time in prayer and meditation or time with nature. Work on what you believe; clarify the thoughts that run through your head. Nurture yourself emotionally. Let yourself heal from the feelings of the past, and do what you need to stay current and clear. Listen to your body and give it what it needs– it’s not separate and apart, it’s not a nuisance. It’s the form your spirit created to experience the gift of life.

Find that place of balance in nurturing all parts of you. Then life will begin to be magical and you’ll see what you believe. Your feelings won’t be a bother. They’ll fuel your life; they’ll be the passion that adds color and zest to your life. Your body will lead you instinctively into what you want and away from what you dislike. And the longer you travel the journey to the heart, the more you’ll discover and trust your soul.

Start by becoming connected. If you love yourself and keep walking your path, soon you’ll see how connected you are.

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Today’s Gift
February 18

United souls are not satisfied with embraces, but desire to be truly each other.
—Sir Thomas Browne

If hugs could melt, if kisses were made of nothing but pure air, if talkers always agreed, and if hearts all beat to the same drum, would we desire any longer to be truly each other? No two leaves on a tree turn the same way in the wind; no two fish in a school tread the same water; and no two people can live the same life. Therefore, when we hug let’s leave some space; when we kiss let’s allow each other to breathe; when we talk let’s permit each other to disagree; when we love let’s honor each other’s rhythm and way.

Is it our similarities or differences that make us want to know each other better?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 18, 2012
Being Right

Recovery is not about being right; it’s about allowing ourselves to be who we are and accepting others as they are.

That concept can be difficult for many of us if we have lived in systems that functioned on the “right/wrong” justice scale. The person who was right was okay; the person who was wrong was shamed. All value and worth may have depended on being right; to be wrong meant annihilation of self and self-esteem.

In recovery, we are learning how to strive for love in our relationships, not superiority. Yes, we may need to make decisions about people’s behavior from time to time. If someone is hurting us, we need to stand up for ourselves. We have a responsibility to set boundaries and take care of ourselves. But we do not need to justify taking care of ourselves by condemning someone else. We can avoid the trap of focusing on others instead of ourselves.

In recovery, we are learning that what we do needs to be right only for us. What others do is their business and needs to be right only for them. It’s tempting to rest in the superiority of being right and in analyzing other people’s motives and actions, but it’s more rewarding to look deeper.

Today, I will remember that I don’t have to hide behind being right. I don’t have to justify what I want and need with saying something is “right” or “wrong.” I can let myself be who I am.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 18
Remember how to play

We don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing.
–Herbert Spencer

I was sitting in my back porch watching a group of children playing in the surf. As the waves came surging in, they would turn to face the shore on their body boards and paddle like heck to try to catch the wave. I watched the surf crash down on top of them, one by one. There would be nothing for a few moments but the torrent of water, and then a little while later a green foam board would pop up and a little while later, a laughing head and body. They’d shriek and laugh, then one by one turn around, go back out, and do it again.

Later toward sunset, I saw two gray-haired men in ocean kayaks paddling near the shore. They would wait for the perfect wave and then paddle as hard as they could, trying to catch it and ride it into shore. Again I watched as the waves reared up and crashed down on the little boats. A kayak would get pushed up on the beach, followed a few moments later by a laughing gray-haired man, who would then paddle back out and do it again.

I have a friend in his thirties who is determined to make it. He doesn’t know where he’s going; he just knows that he is going somewhere. And no, he doesn’t have time to go to a basketball game or Magic Mountain. He’s busy and doesn’t have time to play.

I have a friend in his fifties. He’s in excellent health. He sits in his house, feeds the dog, and complains about the pain and the shortness of life. He doesn’t play because his poor body just isn’t what it used to be.

We can play or we can not play. It doesn’t make any difference one way or another, except that at the end, you will have had a much more enjoyable time if you did.

God, help me start having some fun.

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Touchstones
February 18

Love can be its own reward.
—Arnold Label

The feeling of attachment, of being related, of caring about someone, is what life is all about. Before recovery, we may have feared we could not love anyone. When we feel love, we may also feel cheated because our affections aren’t returned, as we want them to be. Or we may think relationships are just too complicated and painful. It’s true that relationships are difficult at times. The only thing more difficult is having none.

In this quiet moment, let’s reflect on our relationships. Close attachments to both men and women are essential to our progress. Without them, we would not be in recovery. We don’t need to say to our friends, “What have you done for me?” We can feel an inner fullness and satisfaction, knowing we have relationships we truly care about and we are accepted as we are. That alone is a remarkable reward.

I appreciate the joys my relationships bring.

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Daily TAO
February 18
DEATH

Death is
The opposite
Of time.

We give death metaphors. We cloak it in meaning and make up stories about what will happen to us, but we don’t really know. When a person dies, we cannot see beyond the corpse. We speculate on reincarnation or talk in terms of eternity. But death is opaque to us, a mystery. In its realm, time ceases to have meaning. All laws of physics become irrelevant. Death is the opposite of time.

What dies? Is anything actually destroyed? Certainly not the body, which falls into its constituent parts of water and chemicals. That is mere transformation, not destruction. What of the mind? Does it cease to function, or does it make a transition to another existence? We don’t know for sure, and few can come up with anything conclusive.

What dies? Nothing of the person dies in the sense that the constituent parts are totally blasted from all existence. What dies is merely the identity, the identification of a collection of parts that we called a person. Each one of us is a role, like some shaman wearing layers of robes with innumerable fetishes of meaning. Only the clothes and decoration fall. What dies is only our human meaning. There is still someone naked underneath. Once we understand who that someone is, death no longer bothers us. Nor does time.

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Daily Zen
February 18

The earth is very thick. Lowly, below all else, it bears everything and nurtures all beings. It can bear even the weight of the great mountains, and it can endure even the erosive force of great waters. It tolerates being pierced by plants and trees, and it submits to the tread of bird and beasts.

What I realize as I observe this is the Tao of emulating heaven and earth. If people can be open-minded and magnanimous, be receptive to all, take pity on the old and poor, assist those in peril and rescue those in trouble, give of themselves without seeking reward, never bear grudges, look upon others and self impartially, and realize all as one, then people can be companions of heaven.

– Lui I-Ming

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Food for Thought
February 18
Setting Priorities

One of our slogans is “first things first.” We cannot have or do everything; we must set our priorities and choose what means the most to us.

Each of us needs to spend quiet time searching the inner self to determine which people, which activities, which tasks are most important. The results may surprise us. We may find that we are spending too much time with someone we really do not enjoy, preparing complicated meals which no one needs, working at a job which we dislike in order to make more money to buy more things. Do we really need the things? Do they enrich our lives or are they merely impressive?

Because I am a compulsive overeater, abstinence is the most important thing in my life. Without it, I do not enjoy other people, I do not like myself, I do not work well. If abstinence does not come first, everything else suffers.

May I remember that abstinence is my number one priority.

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