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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – February 21

Just For Today
February 21
Self-Pity Or Recovery – It’s Our Choice

“Self-pity is one of the most destructive of defects; it will drain us of all positive energy.”
Basic Text, p. 77

In active addiction, many of us used self-pity as a survival mechanism. We didn’t believe there was an alternative to living in our disease&151or perhaps we didn’t want to believe. As long as we could feel sorry for ourselves and blame someone else for our troubles, we didn’t have to accept the consequences of our actions; believing ourselves powerless to change, we didn’t have to accept the need for change. Using this “survival mechanism” kept us from entering recovery and led us closer, day by day, to self-destruction. Self-pity is a tool of our disease; we need to stop using it and learn instead to use the new tools we find in the NA program.

We have come to believe that effective help is available for us; when we seek that help, finding it in the NA program, self-pity is displaced by gratitude. Many tools are at our disposal: the Twelve Steps, the support of our sponsor, the fellowship of other recovering addicts, and the care of our Higher Power. The availability of all these tools is more than enough reason to be grateful. We no longer live in isolation, without hope; we have certain help at hand for anything we may face. The surest way to become grateful is to take advantage of the help available to us in the NA program and to experience the improvement the program will bring in our lives.

Just for today: I will be grateful for the hope NA has given me. I will cultivate my recovery and stop cultivating self-pity.

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Daily Reflections
February 21
I’M PART OF THE WHOLE

At once, I became a part–if only a tiny part–of a cosmos….
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 225

When I first came to A.A., I decided that “they” were very nice people–perhaps a little naive, a little too friendly, but basically decent, earnest people (with whom I had nothing in common). I saw “them” at meetings–after all, that was where “they” existed. I shook hands with “them” and, when I went out the door, I forgot about “them.” Then one day my Higher Power, whom I did not then believe in, arranged to create a community project outside of A.A., but one which happened to involve many A.A. members. We worked together, I got to know “them” as people. I came to admire “them,” even to like “them” and, in spite of myself, to enjoy “them.” “Their” practice of the program in their daily lives–not just talk at meetings –attracted me and I wanted what they had. Suddenly the “they” became “we.” I have not had a drink since.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 21
A.A. Thought For The Day

I go to the A.A. meetings because it helps me in my business of keeping sober. And I try to help other alcoholics when I can, because that’s my part of my business of keeping sober. I also have a partner in this business and that’s God. I pray to Him every day to help me keep sober. As long as I keep in mind that liquor can never be my friend again, but is now my deadly enemy, and as long as I remember that my main business is keeping sober and that it’s the most important thing in my life, I believe that I’ll be prepared for that crucial moment when the idea of having a drink pops into my mind. When that idea comes, will I be able to resist it and not take that drink?

Meditation For The Day

I will be more afraid of spirit-unrest, of soul- disturbance, of any ruffling of the mind, than of earthquake or fire. When I feel the calm of my spirit has been broken by emotional upset, then I must steal away alone with God, until my heart sings and all is strong and calm again. Uncalm times are the only times when evil can find an entrance. I will beware of unguarded spots of unrest. I will try to keep calm, no matter what turmoil surrounds me.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that no emotional upset will hinder God’s power in my life. I pray that I may keep a calm spirit and a steady heart.

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As Bill Sees It
February 21
To Guard Against A Slip, p. 52

Suppose we fall short of our chosen ideals and stumble? Does this mean we are going to get drunk? Some people tell us so. But this is only a half-truth.

It depends on us and on our motives. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. These are facts out of our experience.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 70

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Walk In Dry Places
February 21
Unexpected Disappointments
Acceptance.

As life unfolds, we sometimes get unexpected disappointments that seem undeserved — the car breaks down, a business deal goes sour, or a close friend betrays us. As alcoholics, most of us don’t handle such things too well. “Why me, Lord?” we often respond.

Our best approach is simply to view life as a mixture of bitter and sweet, knowing that we’ve been given real mastery over conditions. We cannot always be sure that a disappointment really is as bad as it seems to be, and sometimes it can become a step toward our good. As one alcoholic phrased it, “some of the worst things that have happened turned out to be the best.”

It’s good to face the day with optimism, with confidence, and even with some excitement about the opportunities ahead. If we’re maintaining sober thinking, everything that happens today will be transformed into gains for tomorrow — all our tomorrows. We’re on a spiritual journey that goes far beyond anything we’re doing here and now.

I won’t expect to be disappointed today, but I’ll know that nothing can really upset or disturb me without my permission.

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Keep It Simple
February 21

It easier to speak of love, than to practice it.
–Anonymous

Do we help our neighbor who is in need? We must help when we see the need, not just when it fits our schedule. In the program, this becomes our goal. We work at helping out. For example, when someone is needed to run the meeting, we offer. We see that the needs of the group are also our needs. We are the group. Over time, the idea of service spreads to the rest of our lives. Maybe we help a family down the street. We start to see that we have something to offer the world; ourselves. We start to see that the needs of the world are also our needs. We are an important part of the world.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, make me quick to act when I see a need. Please don’t let my fear stop me.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list what I have to offer the world. I will think of two ways I can use these gifts my Higher Power has given me.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 21

We can never go back again, that much is certain.
–Daphne DuMaurier

Yesterday is gone, but its experiences will be reflected in those of today. We learned from both the good and the bad situations of yesterday. Where we travel today, likewise, will influence our direction tomorrow. We can’t do over what has gone before, but we can positively incorporate all that life is offering us from this moment forth.

We are moving toward greater understanding of life’s mysteries with each experience. As today unfolds, we can be moved by the adventures. What we experience is ours alone and will contribute to the unfolding of our special destiny. We move forward, only forward. The doors behind us are closed forever.

Facing what comes to us, with strength, is a gift from this program we share. Letting go of the yesterdays and the last years is another gift offered by this program. And trust that what we face along with what we let go will weave the pattern of our rightful unfolding–that is the ultimate gift given to us by this program.

I need never go back again. I am spared that. My destiny lies in the future. And I can be certain it will bring me all that I desire, and more.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 21
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 scorching day, when I was in a desert town drinking, something unusual happened. I felt as though I had reached the point where I couldn’t go on. To get away from everyone I managed to find some booze and started walking out into the desert, thinking, I’ll just go until I die. Soon, so drunk I couldn’t walk another step, I fell to the ground and moaned, “Oh, God! Please help me.” I must have passed out because, hours later, I came to and found my way back to town. At the time I had no idea what made me change my mind about death. Today I know it was that my Higher Power took over my life.

p. 441

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 21

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

No other kind of bankruptcy is like this one. Alcohol, now become the rapacious creditor, bleeds us of all self-sufficiency and all will to resist its demands. Once this stark fact is accepted, our bankruptcy as going human concerns is complete.

p. 21

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Xtra Thoughts
February 21

Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.
–Cited in Even More of…The Best of BITS & PIECES

I was led around by emotions rather than facts.

Honesty is the absence of the intent to deceive.

Every man must take time daily for quiet and meditation. In daily meditation lies the secret of power. No one can grow in either spiritual knowledge or power without it.
–H. Emilie Cady

No matter what is happening in your life, know that God Is Waiting for you with open Arms.

Sometimes Love is just Love and can’t be something you can analyze or even understand.

“It doesn’t matter if your on the right track, if you don’t move, you’ll get run over” –
-Will Rogers

Today I know that I am doing the best I can and will be gentle with myself. I will watch what comes without struggle and will accept what is and adjust myself to it, rather than wanting it to be different than it is.
–Ruth Fishel

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 21
ART

“Only work which is the product of inner compulsion can have spiritual meaning.”
— Walter Gropius

I have developed, in my recovery, an awareness of the beauty of this world and an appreciation of what man can produce. Sobriety has made art accessible. Today I can see beauty in paintings, sculpture, music, literature and the natural “art” of nature.

Spirituality is always creative and it is at the center of all that is good, noble and inspiring. Although I am not an artist, I can appreciate and have a feeling of “belonging” to the beauty of this world — in a sense it all happens and takes shape through me. The rediscovery of spirituality has brought the world and the universe into my life.

Help me to have the desire to recreate Your splendors through my experiences.

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Bible Scriptures
February 21

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Romans 15:13

“I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.”
Phillipians 4:13

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
1 Peter 3:8-9

“And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying…. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”
Luke 12:29,31

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
Hebrews 13:4

“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”
Proverbs 17:9

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Daily Inspiration
February 21

All the good things in life don’t mean much if we fail to enjoy them. Lord, may I pause to notice my blessings and be joyful.

Your last chance to do anything about today is right now. Lord, help me keep my thoughts on making this day better so that I build a good foundation for tomorrow.

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A Day At A Time
February 21

Reflection For The Day

Do I waste my time and energy wrestling with situations that aren’t actually worth a second thought?  Like Don Quixote, the bemused hero of Spanish literature, do I imagine windmills as menacing giants, battling them until I am ready to drop from exhaustion?  Today, I’ll not allow my imagination to build small troubles into big ones.  I’ll try to see each situation clearly, giving it only the value and attention it deserves.   Have I come to believe, as the seecond of the Twelve Steps suggest, that a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity?

Today I Pray

God, keep my perspective sane.   Help me to avoid aggrandizing petty problems, trying to much significance to casual conversations,making a Vesuvius out of an anthill.  Keep my fears from swelling out of scale, like shadows on a wall.  Restore my values, which became distorted during thee days of my chemical invollvement.

Today I Will Remember

Sanity is perspective.

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One More Day
February 21

I will not keep myself from taking positive action.
–  K. O’Brien

The inability to get going can sometimes plague us.  Muscles that don’t work properly or joints that won’t bend can keep us from beginning the day as we once did, even if we have excellent intentions.

Excellent intentions only, however, get us nowhere unless we act upon them.  What we need is that extra measure of strength, drawn from some inner resource that we hold in store only for days such as these.  Often those sources spring from our intense belief that we will make it through these difficult times.  Gradually we recognize that our actions and reactions are becoming more positive.

I try to reach a little bit further for the strength I need to fulfill my good intentions.

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One Day At A Time
February 21
~ PROGRESS ~

” … I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy.”
–Marie Curie

I have always been the queen of quick fix, so if I wanted something to happen, it had to happen today if not yesterday. So coming into the program was very hard for me, in that for the first time I have had to realise that recovery is not an overnight thing. For a perfectionist like me, that has been a very hard lesson to learn, in that I don’t have to have perfect recovery. My journey in this program has been an up and down one, with many slips along the way, and everytime I have slipped, I have had to remember that I may think I’m a failure, but I’m only a failure if I fail to pick myself up. In the past if I made a mistake, I was a total and utter failure, but I know now that all I have to do each time is to pick myself up, dust myself off and start over.

The other thing I’ve learned in the program is that I also always need to remember where I came from, and when I look back, I can see the progress I have made. My self esteem is growing, and even though I still seem to slip back into the old character defects from time to time, they are nowhere near as bad as in the past. I am able to forgive people whom I thought I would never be able to forgive, and I make amends whenever the need arises, and as a result my relationships with people have improved dramatically.

One Day at a Time . . .
May I remember that in this program, it is always progress and not perfection that counts.

~ Sharon ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day
February 21

“Every thing or living being that exists in this world, be it trees, flowers, birds, grasses, rocks, soil of the earth, or human beings, has its unique manner of existence – its essence, its spirit that makes it what it is. That is what is meant by connectedness.”
–Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

Scientists are finally realizing what the Elders have taught for thousands of years – everything is connected. Because everything is interconnected, whatever you do to any one thing, you do to everything. If you poison any part of the earth, the poison eventually affects everything else. If you poison the plants, the birds will eat the plants, which poisons the birds. The birds are eaten by humans which poisons the humans. The humans will have babies who could be deformed because the plants were poisoned. We must learn to live in harmony with the earth. We must learn to think good things. Every good thought is felt by everything, which causes everything to be happy.

Creator, let my thoughts only be good thoughts.

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Journey to the Heart
February 21
Let Love Be

You can’t control love. It’s impossible. It’s like screaming and screeching and begging a rose to unfold faster, better, or differently.

Love is an energy– an active, living force that runs its threads through all of life, through all of the universe. But we can’t control love. It is not its nature to be controlled. It’s futile to stand with our hands in our pockets and heels dug into the ground saying, I shall control the course of love, or I shall allow another to control me because I’m afraid love will go away.

We can open our hearts and let love run through us. We can open our hearts and receive love. We can open our eyes and see universal love all around us, in places we never saw it before. We can awaken our souls and see that all these experiences have been lessons of love. Learning courage, faith, patience. Learning to love ourselves, when it looked and felt as if no one else did. Learning to express our creativity, express our emotions, and experience joy. Each one has been a lesson of love.

We have learned to let love be and be open to what that is and the new direction it may lead us in. Love is a powerful living force that permeates the universe and funnels through us. We don’t lead it, it leads and guides us.

Honor the guidance of your heart, and you will be honoring the guidance of love.

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Today’s Gift
February 21

We cannot do all things.
—Virgil

We are each limited in terms of time and energy. If we try to do too much, we do everything half-rate. How much better it is to clearly sort out what is really important to us, and then give ourselves to those things or people wholeheartedly.

Famous writers have written about the difficulty of having more than one or two really good friends. That number seems so unimpressive if we equate popularity with the number of friends we have. If we want quality, we must accept our limitations. In this way we avoid wasting energy on unimportant tasks, on friends who aren’t true or close, on goals which aren’t what we really want. We can only commit ourselves wholeheartedly to a limited number of tasks and a limited number of people.

Who are my truly good friends?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 21
Living in the Present

The present moment is all we have. Yes, we have plans and goals, a vision for tomorrow. But now is the only time we possess. And it is enough.

We can clear our mind of the residue of yesterday. We can clear our mind of fears of tomorrow. We can be present, now. We can make ourselves available to this moment, this day. It is by being fully present now that we reach the fullness of tomorrow.

Have no fear, child, a voice whispers. Have no regrets. Relinquish your resentments. Let Me take your pain. All you have is the present moment. Be still. Be here Trust.

All you have is now. It is enough.

Today, I will affirm that all is well around me, when all is well within.

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The Language of Letting Go
February 21
Living in the Present

The present moment is all we have. Yes, we have plans and goals, a vision for tomorrow. But now is the only time we possess. And it is enough.

We can clear our mind of the residue of yesterday. We can clear our mind of fears of tomorrow. We can be present, now. We can make ourselves available to this moment, this day. It is by being fully present now that we reach the fullness of tomorrow.

Have no fear, child, a voice whispers. Have no regrets. Relinquish your resentments. Let Me take your pain. All you have is the present moment. Be still. Be here Trust.

All you have is now. It is enough.

Today, I will affirm that all is well around me, when all is well within.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 21
Say woohoo wherever you are

I walked into the beach house after a day of work to find my friendly tormentors, Chip and Andy, standing by the window that drops down to the beach. Actually, Chip was standing next to the window; Andy was outside, hanging by a climbing harness. The rope led into the house and was tied off around one of the support beams.

I didn’t ask what they were doing. I just grabbed the climbing harness that was lying on the floor at Chip’s feet and asked if I could try,too.

Rappelling from the house down to the beach is not my ordinary activity. But sometimes, even the smallest, most ridiculous things can be a chance for a mini-woohoo. That night, I learned to rappel in the moonlight on the beach from the living room of my house.

Be open to new experience in your life. If it isn’t life-threatening, maybe it’s okay, even if it is a little odd. Don’t be afraid to be ridiculous, look a little uncool, and even let out an aaah now and then.

Have you had a woohoo lately? Have you got one on your list? Or maybe in your garage? Put on some Rollerblades, buy a surfboard, get out your sled. Order something new off the menu. Take a different road. Find the woohoo; then carry it with you into your ordinary world and let it lighten your spirit.

Woohoos are the moments we’ll remember all our lives.

God, help me lighten my spirit by putting a little woohoo into my daily life.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 21

The readiness is all.
—William Shakespeare

Our concept of control was flawed. This program leads us into a New World. Here we meet the fact that we are powerless to change some aspects of ourselves. But we can become ready to be changed. That makes all the difference. When we accept this truth, we are already changed and we are more in line with nature and the universe.

We can’t make ourselves less perfectionistic, but we can become ready to let go of our demand for perfection. We can’t force family harmony into our lives, but we can become more ready to be harmonious. We can’t make a lasting love appear for us on command – we can become ready for such a relationship when the opportunities appear. Do we yearn for some change? How might we ready ourselves to receive it?

Today, I will try to become ready for the help and change I most need in my life.

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Daily TAO
February 21
NONCONFORMITY

The world is dazzling,
I alone am dull.
Others strive for achievement,
I follow a lonely path.

Followers of Tao are nonconformists. The conventional label our behavior erratic, antisocial, irresponsible, inexplicable, outrageous, and sometimes scandalous. We hear other voices, respond to inner urgings. We have no interest in the social norm; we only care about following Tao. It does not matter if no one can understand us, for we are nurtured by something most people do not sense. Awakening to this inner urge, and distinguishing spiritual impulses from the merely instinctual, is one of the crucial goals of self-cultivation.

We all have many voices, personalities, ambitions, and tendencies within ourselves. The ability to distinguish between them, and the ability to silence all the voices save for Tao’s, is imperative if one is to reach this state of being. Once one is in touch with the true Tao, there are no doubts, and the murmuring of others cannot have any effect. One is as comforted as a child at its mother’s breast.

The more one walks in Tao, the more one is interested in self-perfection. All that matters is constant cultivation to be with Tao. This is a lonely path. There are others who follow Tao, but it is not always possible to meet them. That is why is takes someone both sensitive enough to hear the call and strong enough to walk the solitary path.

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Daily Zen
February 21

There is no difference between
The mind,
The Buddha,
And all sentient beings.

– Lotus Sutra

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Food for Thought
February 21
Serenity

Serenity comes when we are tuned in to our Higher Power. Serenity enables us to take external circumstances in stride, even the most difficult ones. Serenity is a gift, which we are each free to receive daily.

Turning our will and our lives over to God, as we understand Him encourages serenity. Staying in contact with our Higher Power as we go about our daily activities produces serenity. Practicing abstinence from compulsive overeating maintains serenity.

In meeting after meeting, we hear people testify to the change that has come over them since they began the OA program. Circumstances which once would have sent them into a tailspin and into the refrigerator are now manageable. By the grace of God, they have been granted the serenity to accept the things they cannot change.

May I grow in serenity.

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