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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – February 27

Just For Today
February 27
“Pure Motives”

“We examine our actions, reactions, and motives. We often find that we’ve been doing better than we’ve been feeling.”
Basic Text, p. 42

Imagine a daily meditation book with this kind of message: “When you wake up in the morning, before you rise from your bed, take a moment for reflection. Lie back, gather your thoughts, and consider your plans for the day. One by one, review the motives behind those plans. If your motives are not entirely pure, roll over and go back to sleep.” Nonsense, isn’t it?

No matter how long we’ve been clean, almost all of us have mixed motives behind almost everything we do. However, that’s no reason to put our lives on hold. We don’t have to wait for our motives to become perfectly pure before we can start living our recovery.

As the program works its way into our lives, we begin acting less frequently on our more questionable motives. We regularly examine ourselves, and we talk with our sponsor about what we find. We pray for knowledge of our Higher Power’s will for us, and we seek the power to act on the knowledge we’re given. The result? We don’t get perfect, but we do get better.

We’ve begun working a spiritual program. We won’t ever become spiritual giants. But if we look at ourselves realistically, we’ll probably realize that we’ve been doing better than we’ve been feeling.

Just for today: I will examine myself realistically. I will seek the power to act on my best motives, and not to act on my worst.

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Daily Reflections
February 27
A UNIQUE STABILITY

Where does A.A. get its direction? . . . These practical folk then read Tradition Two, and learn that the sole authority in A.A. is a loving God as He may express Himself in the group conscience. . . The elder statesman is the one who sees the wisdom of the group’s decision, who holds no resentment over his reduced status, whose judgment, fortified by considerable experience, is sound, and who is willing to sit quietly on the sidelines patiently awaiting developments.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 132, 135

Into the fabric of recovery from alcoholism are woven the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions. As my recovery progressed, I realized that the new mantle was tailor made for me. The elders of the group gently offered suggestions when change seemed impossible.  Everyone’s shared experiences became the substance for treasured friendships. I know that the Fellowship is ready and equipped to aid each suffering alcoholic at all crossroads in life. In a world beset by many problems, I find this assurance a unique stability.  I cherish the gift of sobriety. I offer my gratitude for the strength I receive in a Fellowship that truly exists for the good of all members.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 27
A.A. Thought For The Day

When we first came into A.A., the first thing we did was to admit that we couldn’t do anything about our drinking.  We admitted that alcohol had us licked and that we were helpless against it. We never could decide whether or not to take a drink. We always took the drink. And since we couldn’t do anything about it ourselves, we put our whole drink problem into the hands of God. We turned the whole thing over to that Power greater than ourselves. And we have nothing more to do about it, except to trust God to take care of the problem for us. Have I done this honestly and fully?

Meditation For The Day

This is the time for my spirit to touch the spirit of God.  I know that the feeling of the spirit-touch is more important than all the sensations of material things. I must seek a silence of spirit-touching with God. Just a moment’s contact and all the fever of life leaves me. Then I am well, whole, calm and able to arise and minister to others. God’s touch is a potent healer. I must feel that touch and sense God’s presence.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that the fever of resentment, worry and fear may melt into nothingness. I pray that joy, peace and serenity may take its place.

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As Bill Sees It
February 27
Who Is To Blame?, p. 222

At Step Four we resolutely looked for our own mistakes. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, and frightened?  Though a given situation had not been entirely our fault, we often tried to cast the whole blame on the other person involved.

We finally saw that the inventory should be ours, not the other man’s. So we admitted our wrongs honestly and became willing to set these matters straight.

Page 67

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Walk In Dry Places
February 27
Selling myself
Personal Relations

Thoughtful people tell us that every person has to “sell” himself or herself in daily work. As alcoholics, we can find that threatening. Uncertainty and the fear of rejection or failure put us under.

We can avoid this stress and tension by putting all responsibility for results in God’s hands. While it is true that we want to succeed and to be accepted, we can never be sure that our idea of success is the right one. There are times when our strong determination to succeed at all costs makes us overbearing and demanding in our approach. We may be so anxious to appear competent and knowledgeable that we overreach our selves and make stupid blunders.

God can show us how to handle each day’s affairs in an orderly, reasonable way. It is not necessary to win every argument or to make every sale. We can sell ourselves more effectively when we go through the day calmly and take a genuine interest in the ideas and concerns of others.

I will look upon my customers and fellow workers as friends and allies. I don’t have to bludgeon every person into accepting my point of view. If I am sincerely trying to follow God’s will in all my affairs, others will sense my sincerity and will be glad to consider what I have to say.

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Keep It Simple
February 27

Without work all life goes rotten.
—Albert Camus

Work is more than earning money. Work means using our time and skills to make life better for those around us. Our work can be our hobbies. Growing food or growing flowers can be our work.

Raising children or caring for older people who need help can be our work. Building homes or helping people live in them can be our work. Thanks to our program of recovery, we can do our best work again. What a change from the drugged-up and hung over days when we didn’t do anything well. We are sober, and we have something to offer.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me see that work makes me part of the human family. Help me do Your will in my work today.

Action for the Day: Good work teaches us good habits. How do the things I’ve learned in my work help me in my recovery program? I’ll list five ways.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 27

Being alone and feeling vulnerable. Like two separate themes, these two parts of myself unite in my being and sow the seeds of my longing for unconditional love.
—Mary Casey

How easily we slip into self-doubt, fearing we’re incapable or unlovable, perhaps both. How common for us to look into the faces of our friends and lovers in search of affirmation and love.

Our alienation from ourselves, from one another, from God’s Spirit which exists everywhere causes our discontent. It is our discontent. When souls touch, love is born, love of self and love of the other. Our aloneness exists when we create barriers that keep us separate from our friends, our family. Only we can reach over or around the barriers to offer love, to receive love.

Recovery offers us the tools for loving, but we must dare to pick them up. Listening to others and sharing ourselves begins the process of loving. Risking to offer love before receiving it will free us from the continual search for love in the faces of others.

I won’t wait to be loved today. I will love someone else, fully. I won’t doubt that I, too, am loved. I will feel it. I will find unconditional love.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 27
EMPTY ON THE INSIDE

– She grew up around A.A. and had all the answers–except when it came to her own life.

I finally for on my knees and asked God for help. I couldn’t go on the way I was living. I had been in the apartment since August and hadn’t bothered to unpack. I wasn’t bathing. I couldn’t answer my phone. I couldn’t show up on weekends to visit my kids. So I prayed. Something made me go dig through a box, and I found the Big Book my father had sent me years earlier (I always tell new people to buy the hardcover version–for some reason they are harder to throw away.) I read “Bill’s Story” again. This time it made sense. This time I could identify. I slept, holding the book like a teddy bear. I woke up feeling rested for the first time in months. And I didn’t want to drink.

p. 516

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 27

Step Five – “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

This feeling of being at one with God and man, this emerging from isolation through the open and honest sharing of our terrible burden of guilt, brings us to a resting place where we may prepare ourselves for the following Steps toward a full and meaningful sobriety.

p. 62

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Xtra Thoughts
February 27

Never, never, never, hire people with an attitude. You will regret it.
– Omar Hamoui

The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.
– Marc Benioff

The only way people will have the trust to give their all to their job is if they feel like their contribution is recognized and valued.
– Mark Pincus

I try not to make any decisions that I’m not excited about.
– Jake Nickell

A milestone is less date and more definition.
– Michael Lopp

See things in the present, even if they are in the future.
– Larry Ellison

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 27
FACTS

“To treat your facts with imagination is one thing, but to imagine your facts is another.”
— John Burroughs

When I was drinking, I was always confusing fantasy with reality. Lies got mingled with the facts and the facts became exaggerated. It was almost impossible for me to distinguish between reality and fantasy, imagination and fact. My life was a complicated lie.

Today I have a program of “rigorous” honesty; I must be rigorous and stop the game before it starts. I need to practice the principles of recovery in every area of my life. The spiritual road involves a comprehensive journey and nothing need be left out.

God, who created the mountains, help me to take responsibility for the grit between my toes.

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Bible Scriptures
February 27

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”
Psalm 28:7

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”
Deuteronomy 8:3

“Come to me all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The teaching I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
Thessalonians 3:12

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”
1 John 4:9

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Daily Inspiration
February 27

Time passes too quickly so waste none of it on anger, self-pity or the irritations of life. Lord, may my choices remove stress and free me to enjoy the goodness of today.

In your pursuit of happiness, pause to relax and be happy. Lord, slow me down just enough to enjoy all that You have given to me.

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A Day At A Time
February 27

Reflection For The Day

If I live just one day at a time, I won’t so quickly entertain fears of what might happen tomorrow. As long as I’m concentrating on today’s activities, there won’t be room in my mind for worrying. I’ll try to fill every minute of this day with something. Then, when the day is ended, I’ll be able to look back on it with satisfaction, serenity and gratitude. Do I sometimes cherish bad feeling so that I can feel sorry for myself?

Today I Pray

That I will get out of the self-pity act and live for today. May I notice the good things from dawn to nightfall, learn to talk about them and thank God for them. May I catch myself if I seem to be relishing my moans and complaints more often than appreciating the goodness of my life.

Today I Will Remember

Today is good.

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One More Day
February 27

I shall not pass this way again;
Then let me now relieve some pain,
Remove some barrier from the road,
Or brighten someone’s heavy load.
–  Eva Rose York

Sometimes we help other through –  neighborhood clean-up committees, recycling stations, and paint-a-tons.  Maybe we’ve volunteered through school or church or community organizations.

Illness has helped us better understand the relationship between those who help and those who need help.  Loving help is not prompted by pity or superiority, but by empathy and shared humanness.  Also, we’ve learned that no one is always the helper or always the one needing help.  We are both.  We are bonded to others through what we give — and what we receive.

I will show my love by helping and being willing to be helped.

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One Day At A Time
February 27
~ FIGHTING ~

And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone …
–The Big Book, page 84

When one goes through life at full speed ahead as I have done, it’s hard to really step back and look at one’s life. Everything is happening too fast and each day seems to blend into the next and, before you know it, the next segment of life seems to take over.

When I began my Twelve Step recovery program, I found myself slowing down … examining my life … observing those around me … and reflecting on my past. I began to know who I was and I didn’t like one of the things I discovered: I was a fighter. I didn’t accept people, places or things unless and until they met my expectations of what they should be. I tried to control situations that I should have walked away from. I clung to people I should have distanced myself from. I tried to manipulate things that were toxic to me, and make them un-toxic … and, in the process, did myself great harm.

When I first read those words from the AABB, “We have ceased fighting anything or anyone,” I felt it didn’t apply to me … because at that point, I hadn’t categorized myself as a fighter. It took living and working the Steps to realize that. And it took living and working the Steps to take the action necessary to stop being a fighter.

Life is calmer now. Relationships are smoother. I sometimes miss the excitement of going through like as though I were on a roller coaster … but I won’t go back there. Serenity means too much to me. Fighting is something I have put away forever.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will direct my thinking and doing to those things in my life which will contribute to a meaningful and pleasant journey.

~ Mari ~

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Journey to the Heart
February 27
Open to Life’s Magic

“I will never forget my mother’s words to me the first time she took me to the Hob rain forest,” a woman told me, when she learned I was going there. “We were at the edge of the forest, about to enter. My mother stopped walking and turned to me. “There’s magic here,” she said. It wasn’t her words that impressed me. What struck me was the absolute certainty and matter-of-fact way she said it. It was like she had just told me, ‘Dinner’s ready,'”

There’s magic in the air. It’s the next place on the journey. It’s inevitable. We have been clearing the path so we could do more than merely trudge down the road. The road leads to magic– a magical way of living. A magical way of being here. The magic in the air isn’t an illusion, isn’t a trick. You have done your work. You have stuck with the journey. Now is the time for fun,the time to see and know more of life’s magical ways.

Walk lightly. Enter the enchanted forest. Look around. Keep your eyes and ears open. Tell others what you see. The journey to the heart is a journey of wonder and awe.

“The ancient ones, the trees, are waiting for you,” the woman said. “When you get there, tell them I said hi.” Open to life’s magic. It’s been waiting for your call.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day February 27

“The Old Ones have always said that no matter who despises or ignores you, no matter who keeps you from entering their circles, it is right to pray for them because the are like us, too.”
–Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

You don’t know how an apple tastes until you taste it. You don’t know what a fish tastes like until you eat it. You don’t know how it is to be a woman unless you are one. You don’t know what it means to have a baby until you have one. So it is with the natural laws. An example: the natural law of forgiveness says, if you hate someone, pray for the person to be blessed with happiness, joy and all the blessings of the Great Spirit. You will not know about this law unless you do it. The natural law says love others as you love yourself. If you hate yourself or feel guilt in some area of yourself, you will tend to judge and condemn your neighbor. You cannot give away what you don’t have. You teach your children by your example, not by your words. The natural laws are written in our hearts.

Great Spirit, teach me how to look into my heart.

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Today’s Gift
February 27

The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
—Walter Bagehot

Everyone knew Jacob was a bitter old hermit who hated people. He lived by himself in a cabin in the woods. He never came to town, never talked to anyone, and never put up a mailbox or put in a phone. But he had one thing the townsfolk wanted — the very first Bible brought by a preacher when the town was first settled. They wanted it for their centennial celebration.

Little Tom listened as the townsfolk complained daily about how much they wanted the old book to put on display. One day, he walked on out to the little cabin and just asked the old man if he could borrow the book, just for a week. Imagine the surprise on the faces of the people when the boy wandered back to town with the old dusty book in hand.

Are we like the townspeople sometimes? Do we assume things won’t work out without even trying? Sometimes help is there, just waiting to be asked. What have we got to lose?

What can I request today that I have been afraid to ask for?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 27
People-Pleasers

Have you ever been around people-pleasers? They tend to be displeasing. Being around someone who is turned inside out to please another is often irritating and anxiety- producing.

People-pleasing is a behavior we may have adapted to survive in our family. We may not have been able to get the love and attention we deserved. We may not have been given permission to please ourselves, to trust ourselves, and to choose a course of action that demonstrated self-trust.

People-pleasing can be overt or covert. We may run around fussing over others, chattering a mile a minute when what we are really saying is, “I hope I’m pleasing you.” Or, we may be more covert, quietly going through life making important decisions based on pleasing others.

Taking other people’s wants and needs into consideration is an important part of our relationships. We have responsibilities to friends and family and employers. We have a strong inner responsibility to be loving and caring. But, people-pleasing backfires. Not only do others get annoyed with us, we often get annoyed when our efforts to please do not work as we planned. The most comfortable people to be around are those who are considerate of others but ultimately please themselves.

Help me, God, work through my fears and begin to please myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 27
Live your life

A painting of a rice cake does not satisfy hunger.
–Ancient saying

An old man was telling his grandson about how poor he was when he was younger. “Why when I was a kid, we couldn’t even afford cheese for the mousetraps,” he said. “We had to cut out pictures of cheese and use that.”

“Wow, did you catch anything gramps?”

“Yes. We caught pictures of mice.”

I have a picture in my house of a Buddhist ceremony in Tibet. The picture was taken by a photographer who lives close to the Blue Sky Lodge. She told me all about the picture when I bought it from her– told me about the smells in the air, the temperature, the crush of the people around her, the tastes, smells, and sights of that place. When I close my eyes and remember her words, I can almost go there. Almost, but not quite. I hope to travel there sometime, to see those things and to feel my soul filled with the spirituality of a monastery high on a hill. The picture is like a menu. It sits on the counter, tempting me with all that is offered in it. But it doesn’t satisfy my hunger.

We can share our experience, strength, and hope with each other. But I can’t learn your lessons and you can’t learn mine.

I’m planning my trip to Tibet, as I write this book. Will it all work out like the trip in the picture? I don’t know. I do know that I won’t get the experience– the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and the impact on my soul– from looking at the picture on my wall.

Have you been trying to gain sustenance from looking at a picture of an experience– reading books, taking classes, going to seminars, listening to mentors– instead of going out and living life for yourself? Take another look at your menu, the list you wrote at the beginning of the year. Order something from it.

Stop looking at the picture and go live for yourself.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 27

Self-interest is but the survival of the animal in us. Humanity only begins for man with self-surrender.
—Henri Amiel

When we were lost in our addictive ways, we were driven by self-interest. We didn’t necessarily like ourselves or want to be so self-centered. But we had no inner resources to help us escape the trap of our egos. When we were there, we could not see outside ourselves well enough to ask for help. Surrender, we thought, brought only defeat and humiliation.

The inspiration of this program brings us possibilities that cannot originate from within. When we surrender, we are no longer captive within our skin. We are actually restored to a more natural state as men in community with others, who literally cannot survive as isolated individuals. We must be a part of the give and take within the group, just as it has been for human beings since the beginning of time.

Today, I surrender my self-interest again, knowing I must do it over and over.

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Daily TAO
February 27
OPPORTUNITY

A green bird darting in the night.
Will you be able to see it?
Will you be able to catch it?
Cling to Tao like a shadow.
Move without a shadow.

Times of oppression and adversity cannot last forever. How is the transition made to new and better situations? In the midst of great difficulty, a tiny opportunity will open, if only by chance. You must be sharp enough to discern it, quick enough to catch it, and determined enough to do something with it. If you let it pass, you will be filled with regrets.

Stick to Tao like a shadow. Wherever it goes, you go. As soon as it throws something your way, catch it by sheer reflex. It is like the bird : If you try to catch it, you will miss. If you are always with it, moving at its speed, as much a part of it as its own shadow, then it is easy to seize it.

When you act, however, you in turn must have no shadow. In other words, what you do must leave no messiness, no leftover consequences, nothing that will haunt you later. That is one of the ways in which you avoid creating more bad situations for yourself : Your every movement is traceless.

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Daily Zen
February 27

When you can listen to your thoughts
without becoming lost in what you hear;
when you can hear them
without adding or subtracting,
without editing;
when you can remember the
very worst without cringing,
without even an eyeblink of the mind,
it’s then your life will turn.

– Journeys on Mind Mountain

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Food for Thought
February 27
No Standing Still

Life is movement, and to be alive is to change. There is no standing still. Either we are making progress in the control of our disease, or we are getting worse.

Progress forward is an upward climb. To look back with longing at a time which in retrospect seems easier, or to think about the so-called pleasure we once got from food, is to invite disaster. We have long passed the point of being satisfied with a small amount of uncontrolled eating. Now, a small amount will inevitably become a large amount, and instead of pleasure we will eventually feel much physical and emotional pain.

If we are making progress, let’s keep at it and not be deluded into going backwards. If we are losing control and slipping, let’s recognize that we are on a downward course and that our disease is getting worse. Let’s stop rationalizing and making excuses. Right now we can turn around and start climbing.

May I keep climbing.

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