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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – February 20

Just For Today
February 20
Powerlessness, Personal Responsibility

“Through our inability to accept personal responsibilities, we were actually creating our own problems.”
Basic Text, p. 13

When we refuse to take responsibility for our lives, we give away all of our personal power. We need to remember that we are powerless over our addiction, not our personal behavior.

Many of us have misused the concept of powerlessness to avoid making decisions or to hold onto things we had outgrown. We have claimed powerlessness over our own actions. We have blamed others for our circumstances rather than taking positive action to change those circumstances. If we continue to avoid responsibility by claiming that we are “powerless;” we set ourselves up for the same despair and misery we experienced in our active addiction. The potential for spending our recovery years feeling like victims is very real.

Instead of living our lives by default, we can learn how to make responsible choices and take risks. We may make mistakes, but we can learn from these mistakes. A heightened awareness of ourselves and an increased willingness to accept personal responsibility gives us the freedom to change, to make choices, and to grow.

Just for today: My feelings, actions, and choices are mine. I will accept responsibility for them.

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Daily Reflections
February 20
THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER

At this juncture, his A.A. sponsor usually laughs.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 26

Before my recovery from alcoholism began, laughter was one of the most painful sounds I knew. I never laughed and I felt that anyone else’s laughter was directed at me! My self-pity and anger denied me the simplest of pleasures or lightness of heart. By the end of my drinking not even alcohol could provoke a drunken giggle in me. When my A.A. sponsor began to laugh and point out my self-pity and ego-feeding deceptions, I was annoyed and hurt, but it taught me to lighten up and focus on my recovery. I soon learned to laugh at myself and eventually I taught those I sponsor to laugh also.  Every day I ask God to help me stop taking myself too seriously.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 20
A.A. Thought For The Day

Liquor used to be my friend. I used to have a lot of fun drinking. Practically all the fun I had was connected with drinking. But the time came when liquor became my enemy. I don’t know just when liquor turned against me and became my enemy, but I know it happened, because I began to get into trouble. And since I realize that liquor is now my enemy, my main business now is keeping sober.  Making a living or keeping a house is no longer my main business. It’s secondary to the business of keeping sober.  Do I realize that my main business is keeping sober?

Meditation For The Day

I can depend on God to supply me with all the power I need to face any situation, provided that I will sincerely believe in that power and honestly ask for it, at the same time making all my life conform to what I believe God wants me to be. I can come to God as a business manager would come to the owner of the business, knowing that to lay the matter before Him means immediate cooperation, provided the matter has merit.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may believe that God is ready and willing to supply me with all that I need. I pray that I may ask only for faith and strength to meet any situation.

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As Bill Sees It
February 20
The Coming Of Faith, p. 51

In my own case, the foundation stone of freedom from fear is that of faith: a faith that, despite all worldly appearances to the contrary, causes me to believe that I live in a universe that makes sense.

To me, this means a belief in a Creator who is all power, justice, and love; a God who intends for me a purpose, a meaning, and a destiny to grow, however little and haltingly, toward His own likeness and image.  Before the coming of faith I had lived as an alien in a cosmos that too often seemed both hostile and cruel. In it there could be no inner security for me.

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

“When I was driven to my knees by alcohol, I was made ready to ask for the gift of faith. And all was changed. Never again, my pains and problems notwithstanding, would I experience my former desolation. I saw the universe to be lighted by God’s love; I was alone no more.”

1. Grapevine, January 1962
2. Letter, 1966

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Walk In Dry Places
February 20, 2012
A day of Acceptance
Releasing the Past

“We will not regret the past nor fear the future,” goes one of the promises in Twelve Step programs. Neither the past nor the future should control what we’re thinking and doing today. After all, if our higher power is everything, no person or action can be outside of this supreme control.

Today, I will rise above anything that was said or done in the past. I will also hold the idea that the future is bright with promise, and that this promise will be fulfilled. Nobody’s opinion or criticism can be unsettling to me if my beliefs and self-worth are anchored in my Higher Power.

It’s true that there might have been lots of wreckage in the past…. Even more recently when we have been living sober. It doesn’t matter. I amazing ways, our higher power sometimes turns negative conditions into future benefits. This was actually what happened when our compulsive condition led directly to a new way of life.

I will accept life today and will look for unexpected blessings. No person or group can keep me from good as I accept God’s direction in my life.

“In all your ways acknowledge [God who] shall direct your paths.” I’ll remember this frequently as I go about the day.

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Keep It Simple
February 20

Let Go and Let God.
—Twelve Step slogan

Some days we might ask ourselves, Is it worth it? We feel alone. No one seems to care.

Life seems hard. Recovery seems hard. This is when we need to slow down and take a look at what’s going on. We’re feeling this way because we’re off our recovery path. We may be back into wanting people to see things our way. We want control. Remember, all problems are not our problems. All work is not our work. We can’t have everything the way we want it. But we can do our part and let go of the rest. Than we can feel better.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me remember my only work today is to do Your will for me. It is not my job to be You.

Action for the Day: I’ll talk with my sponsor or a program friend today. I’ll talk about how to deal with things that seems to pull me down.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 20

No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently.
–Agnes DeMille

The day ahead offers us choices of many kinds–some big ones, many that will affect other persons close to us, a few that will have profound effects on our destiny. But no choice, no decision we make, will be wrong. A particular decision may lead us slightly astray. Down a dead-end path perhaps–but we can always turn back and choose again.

We are seldom aware of the gravity of a particular choice at the time of making it. Only hindsight reveals the wisdom of an important choice. Nevertheless, no choice is without importance in the overall picture of our lives. And at the same time, no choice is all-powerful regarding our destiny. We are offered chances again and again for making the right choices, the ones that will most contribute to the bigger plan for our lives.

I need not worry about today’s opportunities for decision-making. I will listen to those around me. I will seek guidance in the messages coming to me. I will make the choices I need to, today.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 20
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.

Other hobos I met taught me the safest way to hop on a moving freight train and how to protect myself. They told me who were the easiest people to get a handout from and how to scam them. My biggest problem at the time was to find a way to get enough to drink to keep the reality of my life at bay. I was consumed by hate! For the next six years I went from skid row to skid row. One boxcar headed in any direction was as good as the another. I had no place to go. One thing about it, I never got lost, because I never cared where I was! I crossed the United States three times, with no plan, no reason, not eating half the time. I hung out with other misfits like myself. Someone would say they were hiring in Florida, or New York, or Wyoming, and off we’d go. But by the time we would finally get there, they would say they were not hiring anymore. That was all right, because we didn’t want to work anyway.

p. 440

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 20

Step One – “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Who cares to admit complete defeat? Practically no one, of course. Every natural instinct cries out against the idea of personal powerlessness. It is truly awful to admit that, glass in hand, we have warped our minds into such an obsession for destructive drinking that only an act of Providence can remove it from us.

p. 21

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Xtra Thoughts
February 20

God, please help me let go of my expectations and accept the gifts that you give me each day, knowing that there is beauty and wonder in each act of life.
–Melody Beattie

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
–Mother Theresa

“Life has a way of creating roadblocks that end up as building blocks in our lives.”
–Doug Firebaugh

“Turn your troubles into treasures. Learn from them and grow from them.”
–Mark Victor Hansen

Teaching is the best way to learn.
Leading by example is the best way to teach.

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 20
CHRISTIANITY

“Going to Church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car.”
— Laurence J. Peter

I cannot help but believe that the truth of Christianity is about bringing the world and mankind together, rather than creating divisions and resentments. It must be much bigger than what we do or say in any building. Christ’s truth seeks to discover God in the splendor of His varied world. In this sense, Christianity is an aspect of the world’s spirituality!

My addiction made me a small man with a small god. Constantly focusing on the differences in the world stopped me from seeing the glaring similarities; my exclusiveness kept me a lonely man. The world of black and white, rather than shades of creative color, is a sick and dangerous world to live in. Jesus Christ reveals for me the “man for others”; the bridge by which reconciliation and harmony can be achieved. His message for me is not so much a series of dogmas as a revealed journey into Truth.

In the created stranger, help me to discover the friend.

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Bible Scriptures
February 20

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
2 Peter 1:3

“A cheerful heart is good medicine…”
Proverb 17:22a

“Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.”
Psalm 16:1

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Matthew 26:52

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
1 John 4:11-12

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Daily Inspiration
February 20

Prayer helps us see that God is not the cause of unpleasant happenings, but the healing of them. Lord, I trust in You for the right outcomes in all situations.

Each day is new! Each day is an opportunity to start again and be our best selves. Lord, silence my old ways of thinking, my old habits, and my old tapes inside my head.

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A Day At A Time
February 20

Reflection For The Day

We are often told in The Program that “more will be revealed.”  As we are restored to health and become increasingly able to lve comfortably in the real world without using chemicals, we begin to see many things in a new light.  Many of us have come to realize, for example, that our arch enemy, anger, comes disguised in many shapes and colors:  intolerance, contempt, snobbishness, rigidity, tension, sarcasm, distrust, anxiety, envy, hatred, cynicism, discontent, self-pity, malice, suspicion, jealousy.  Do I let my feelings get the best of me?

Today I Pray

May I recognize that my anger, like dancer at a masquerade, wears many forms of many faces.  May I strip off it’s several masks and know it for what it is.

Today I Will Remember

Anger wears a thousand masks.

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One More Day
February 20

This is a delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense and imbibes delight through every pore.
–  Henry David Thoreau

We carry the memory of a soft spring rain within us even in a dry season.  We remember the pungent fragrance of new mow grass, the chirping of crickets, the singing of birds.

Such memories are important to us, but we’re increasingly determined to also create new ones.  It takes some planning on our part to get out, but we know the experience is worth the effort.  Our mobility maybe  limited, or we might not be living in a place where we can commune with nature as easily as we did when we were younger.  But we’re creative and find the joy of outdoors, on the stoop of our building or on a park bench.  Zoos, nature preserves, and public parks give us a areas for today’s enjoyment and tomorrow’s memories.

My illness imposes real limitations upon me; I will not impose artificial ones upon myself.

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One Day At A Time
February 20
Secrets

There were deep secrets hidden in my heart, never said for fear others would scoff or sneer.  At last I can reveal my sufferings, for the strength I once felt in silence has lost all its power.
–Deidra Sarault

I’ve heard it said in program that we are only a sick as the secrets we keep. If that is the case, then I was very sick when desperation forced me through the doors of ths wonderful fellowship.

Not one of my friends or family knew what I was doing around food, as most of it was done in secret, and I was always careful to remove all the evidence. I couldn’t believe that anyone would love me if they knew what I was doing around food, and felt that I was either really bad or totally crazy, or both. But for the first time ever, I was able to come clean about what I was doing around food, and I wasn’t judged or frowned upon. The love and acceptance I have received here has been totally overwhelming, but in addition I found out that others had done the same or similar things to what I had done, and so for the first time ever, I felt that I wasn’t alone. Not only have I been able to talk freely about my food and what I had been doing, as well as what it was doing to me, but in the fourth and fifth step, I was finally able to share with another person my darkest deepest secrets, that for years I’d thought had made me this terrible person. It was in fact in sharing all the things that I’d thought of as so bad, that I came to realise that it was only my magnifying mind that had made them appear so, and that in fact they really weren’t bad at all. I would never have found that out, had I not been in this program, and I’m so grateful for the relief that sharing all these things has given me.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will learn to get honest and share with my sponsor and others in this program, all the things that are bothering me, whether it be food or other issues, so I can be relieved of the pain that all my secrets are causing me.

~ Sharon

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day
February 20

“When a community does something together, that community is very happy, jovial, connected, and unified.”
–Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

The Indian People have always been able to adapt. If the hunting changed, we found new hunting grounds. If the earth changed, we moved to a better place. If the river changed course, we followed the river. But with every change, we kept our Indianness and spirituality. Our culture and spirituality have always been our strength. Our culture and spirituality taught us to live in harmony. We must change with the times, but we must maintain our culture and spirituality, always living in harmony.

Great Spirit, You have taught us to survive. Let me always maintain my Indianness.

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Journey to the Heart
February 20
Spread Your Wings and Fly

I sat on the ground on a dirt road that wandered off a main highway in Idaho. I leaned against a tree and watched a mother eagle and her babies in a nest overhead. She fussed as she protected them, watching me closely, responding with her call to any noise she heard. She was very protective now, but someday it would be time to push them out of the nest. It would be time to teach them to fly.

Many of us have been pushed out of the nest. Something unexpected happened, and our world changed. We may have fought valiantly to get back in the nest, to return to the safety of life as we knew it. But life had pushed us out. We had no choice but to flap our wings and learn to fly the best we could.

See how magical this time has been? See how much you’ve learned? With all our fears and resistance, it has still been a grand and powerful time. You flailed around a bit, wondering who to trust. You tried to trust others, then found that didn’t work. Finally you understood. The very lesson you were learning was that of trusting yourself.

You were learning to listen to and trust your inner voice. You were learning to open your heart. Despite all your fears, you have done a grand job. Look how much you’ve changed.

See all the powers you’ve gained? You’ve opened up to your healing powers, your creative powers,too. You know and sense things in a way that used to seem beyond reach and now seems both magical and commonplace. Your instincts and intuition are finely tuned. Your inner voice is clear. And despite all your fears about being abandoned, you now see how much you are loved.

When life pokes and prods you, it’s not punishment or abuse. You’re being pushed out of the nest. Spread your wings and take flight. See how well you can fly.

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Today’s Gift
February 20

Say what you like: say I’m ill,
Say I broke my leg on the stairs,
Say we’ve had a fire
—T. S. Eliot

Think of the trouble of excuses and lies. They force us to make ourselves sick, live with a whole broken leg, start some sort of slow burn. When we tell someone we’re not at home, we have to hide in that place. When we invent a long line of lies, we have to memorize each one. It’s easiest just to come clean, use plain and simple words, and speak true. When accusers spear us with their stares, we can disarm them by looking them right in the eye.

Not only do lies deceive others, they keep us hidden from ourselves, and make our real reasons for the choices we’ve made seem unworthy, if we feel we can’t express them. Better that we be truthful, even if a little pain results. Truth keeps communication lines open. Then, when someone really wants to know what’s on our minds, we can simply open our hearts.

Is anything too terrible to tell to a friend?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 20
Setting Our Own Course

We are powerless over other people’s expectations of us. We cannot control what others want, what they expect, or what they want us to do and be.

We can control how we respond to other people’s expectations.

During the course of any day, people may make demands on our time, talents, energy, money, and emotions. We do not have to say yes to every request. We do not have to feel guilty if we say no. And we do not have to allow the barrage of demands to control the course of our life.

We do not have to spend our life reacting to others and to the course they would prefer we took with our life.

We can set boundaries, firm limits on how far we shall go with others. We can trust and listen to ourselves. We can set goals and direction for our life. We can place value on ourselves.

We can own our power with people.

Buy some time. Think about what you want. Consider how responding to another’s needs will affect the course of your life. We live or own life by not letting other people, their expectations, and their demands control the course of our life. We can let them have their demands and expectations; we can allow them to have their feelings. We can own our power to choose the path that is right for us.

Today, God, help me own my power by detaching and peacefully choosing the course of action that is right for me. Help me know I can detach from the expectations and wants of others. Help me stop pleasing other people and start pleasing myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 20
Take a side road

Adventures don’t begin until you get into the forest. That first step in an act of faith.
–Micky Hart

We were driving along highway 166 in central California on another road trip. The trip had been a long one, started on the spur of the moment, as they usually are, and now we were anxious to get back home. Then we– Andy, Chip, and I– all saw it: a small road leading up into the mountains behind an open gate. It wasn’t on the atlas. The road turned to dirt. Cows lounged on the path and we had to wait for them to move out of the way. The GPS (Global Positioning System) got lost. The path degraded. We hit a patch of black mud and the truck struggled for a moment. Chipster gunned the motor and we leapt ahead.

“Think we should turn around?” he asked.

“No, this road must go somewhere,” said Andy.

“Aaaah,” I said.

We came to a small lake in the middle of the path.

“You can make it,” said Andy, rolling up his window.

“Aaaah,” I said.

Chip switched into four-wheel drive and gunned the motor. Muddy water poured in through the open sunroof.

Much later– after we moved rocks out of the way, splashed through more puddles, saw stunning views from a high ridgeline, and drove far too close to the edge of the cliff– we came across an old man pushing a bicycle up the road. We asked, “How much further is it to get out of here?”

“Well,” he replied, “how far in have you come?”

“We didn’t come in this way.”

A puzzled look crossed his face. “How did you get here then?”

“We drove over the ridge.”

He shook his head in disbelief and walked on.

Ten miles later we came to another gate. The cell phone started to work again.

The GPS decided that we were still on the planet after all.

Sometimes, we find the biggest adventures when we deviate from the map and drive through the gate into new territory just to see where it goes.

God, help me remember that I don’t have to follow the map all the time. Give me the spirit of adventure. Bring a little woohoo into my life.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 20

That’s what happens when you’re angry at people. You make them part of your life.
—Garrison Keillor

Our problems with anger and our problems in relationships go hand in hand. Some of us have held back our anger, which led to resentment of our loved ones. Some of us have indulged our anger and become abusive. Some of us have been so frightened of anger that we closed off the dialogue in our relationships when angry feelings came out.

Some of us have wasted our energy by focusing anger on people who weren’t really important to us. Do we truly want them to become so important? Yet, perhaps the important relationships got frozen because we weren’t open and respectful with our anger. It isn’t possible to be close to someone without being angry at times. We let our loved ones be part of our lives by feeling our anger when it is there and expressing it openly, directly, and respectfully to them – or by hearing them when they are angry. Then, with dialogue, we can let it go.

I will be aware of those people I am making important in my life and will grow in dealing with my anger.

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Daily TAO
February 20
BEAUTY

Lavender roses.
Incarnate fragrance,
Priestly hue of dawn,
Spirit unfolding.

Even on the road to hell, flowers can make you smile. They are fragile, ephemeral, uncompromising. No one can alter their nature. True, you can easily destroy them, but you will not gain anything; you cannot force them to submit to your will.

Flowers arouse in us an instinct to protect them, to appreciate them, and to shelter them. This world is too ugly, too violent. There should be something delicate to care about. To do so is to be lifted above the brute and to go toward the refined. When we offer flowers on our altar, we are offering a high gift. Money is too vulgar, food too pedestrian. Only flowers are unsullied. By offering them, we offer purity.

The tenderness of flowers arouses mercy, compassion, and understanding. If that beauty is delicate, so much the better. Life itself is fleeting. We should take the time to appreciate beauty in the midst of temporality.

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Daily Zen
February 20

To train in the fullest sense of the word, one needs an awareness of the impermanence of all phenomena, including our own lives, and an eye that isn’t blind to cause and effect; emotionally speaking, great compassion and courage on behalf of all beings; practically speaking, a firm faith in the Way and a firm resolve to actualize the Way through practice. If there is even a speck of any one of these present when beginning to train, that is enough. All will then become manifest through practice.

– Anon

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Food for Thought
February 20
A Selfish Program

We call our program a selfish one. It is something, which we want more than anything else, not only for weight loss but also for peace of mind. We do not join OA to please anyone else; our primary purpose is to do what is best for ourselves.

Starting the program where we are, we take the aspects of it which apply to each current situation. We give to and share with our group, but we also remember that the best thing we can do for any other compulsive overeater is to practice our own abstinence.

We have found that putting ourselves down does no good, either to ourselves or to anyone else. If for someone else we do something, which we sincerely believe is wrong for us, then our resentment is bound to come out sooner or later.

When we were overeating compulsively, we often tried to hold down our resentment with food. Instead of honestly facing anger and hostility, we tried to make it go away by eating.

The OA program gives us a better way to deal with negative emotions, and for selfish reasons we need this program!

May I not be afraid to recognize my needs.

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In God’s Care
February 20

Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.
~~Ursula K. LeGuin

Love works through our thoughts, feelings and actions–It is never static. We are moved as or expressions of love move others. Love soothes, heals, and encourages the fullest expression of who we are meant to be.

God’s love is our birthright. We need only open ourselves to this possibility, and we begin to feel the security needed to take the risks each day holds. Just remembering God’s love provides strength and ease for today’s activities–whether at work or play, we will be less stressful, more joyful.

As we receive God’s freely given love, we must give it away and share our courage and strengh with others. We pass God’s love on each time we share our hope or gratitude or encouragement with a friend. God’s love to us and through us will make us whole, will make secure our day.

My love of others won’t be idle today.

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