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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – February 28

Just For Today
February 28
The Greatest Gift

“Our newly found faith serves as a firm foundation for courage in the future.”
Basic Text, p. 93

When we begin coming to meetings, we hear other addicts talking about the gifts they have received as a result of this program, things we never thought of as “gifts” before. One such “gift” is the renewed ability to feel the emotions we had deadened for so long with drugs. It’s not difficult to think of love, joy, and happiness as gifts, even if it’s been a long time since we’ve felt them. But what about “bad” feelings like anger, sadness, fear, and loneliness? Such emotions can’t be seen as gifts, we tell ourselves. After all, how can we be thankful for things we want to run from?

We can become grateful for these emotions in our lives if we place them in their proper perspective. We need to remember that we’ve come to believe in a loving Higher Power, and we’ve asked that Power to care for us – and our Higher Power doesn’t make mistakes. The feelings we’re given, “good” or “bad;” are given to us for a reason. With this in mind, we come to realize that there are no “bad” feelings, only lessons to be learned. Our faith and our Higher Power’s care give us the courage we need to face whatever feelings may come up on a daily basis.

As we heard early in recovery, “Your Higher Power won’t give you more than you can handle in just one day.” And the ability to feel our emotions is one of the greatest gifts of recovery.

Just for today: I will try to welcome my feelings, firm in the belief that I have the courage to face whatever emotions may come up in my life.

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Daily Reflections
February 28
WHAT? NO PRESIDENT?

When told that our Society has no president having authority to govern it, no treasurer who can compel the payment of any dues … our friends gasp and exclaim, “This simply can’t be …”
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 132

When I finally made my way to A.A., I could not believe that there was no treasurer to “compel the payment of dues.” I could not imagine an organization that didn’t require monetary contributions in return for a service. It was my first and, thus far, only experience with getting “something for nothing.” Because I did not feel used or conned by those in A.A., I was able to approach the program free from bias and with an open mind. They wanted nothing from me. What could I lose? I thank God for the wisdom of the early founders who knew so well the alcoholic’s disdain for being manipulated.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 28
A.A. Thought For The Day

We should be free from alcohol for good. It’s out of our hands and in the hands of God, so we don’t need to worry about it or even think about it any more. But if we haven’t done this honestly and fully, the chances are that it will become our problem again. Since we don’t trust God to take care of our problem for us, we reach out and take the problem back to ourselves. Then it’s our problem again and we’re in the same old mess we were in before. Do I trust God to take care of the problem for me?

Meditation For The Day

No work is of value without preparation. Every spiritual work must have behind it much spiritual preparation. Cut short times of prayer and times of spiritual preparation and many hours of work may be profitless. From the point of view of God, one poor tool working all the time, but doing bad work because of lack of preparation, is of small value compared with a sharp, keen, perfect instrument working only for a short time, but that turns out perfect work because of long hours of spiritual preparation.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may spend more time alone with God. I pray that I may get more strength and joy from such times, so that they will add much to my work.

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As Bill Sees It
February 28
Conviction and Compromise, p. 59

One qualification for a useful life is give-and-take, the ability to compromise cheerfully. Compromise comes hard to us “all or nothing” drunks. Nevertheless, we must never lose sight of the fact that progress is nearly always characterized by a series of improving compromises.

Of course, we cannot always compromise. There are circumstances in which it is necessary to stick flat-footed to one’s convictions until the issue is resolved. Deciding when to compromise and when not to compromise always calls for the most careful discrimination.

Twelve Concepts, pp. 39-40

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Walk In Dry Places
February 28
Seeking Excitement
Seeking Serenity

“I haven’t found anything to replace the excitement I felt while drinking,” a member complained.  “Sure, Im grateful to be sober.  But sometimes it’s so darned boring!

Let’ talk about that need for excitement, or “high.”  For many of us, it was an important part of our drinking.  At times, our drinking was exciting—it came with celebrations, graduations, marriage receptions, engagements, and just about anything else out of the ordinary.  Along with it, we wanted other excitement:  exciting love affairs, exciting experiences, exciting stories.

For us, however, excitement always ended with a crash, often a terrible one.  Waking up after an exciting binge was a horrible moment.  It stretched out to become horrible It never seemed to have a happy ending.

We can take this addiction to excitement in hand by recognizing it as a component of our alcoholism.  We’ll still be able to be excited at times, but it must be a type of excitement that brings neither crash nor hangover.

I will not let boredom push me into actions that I know will be destructive in the long run.  I do not want thrills at the expense of my self-respect and sense of well-being.

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Keep It Simple
February 28

Leave yourself alone.—Jenny Janacek

We often pick on ourselves. We put ourselves down. But doing this isn’t part of our recovery.

In fact, it goes against our program. Our program is based on loving care. We have turned our lives over to a caring, loving Higher Power who will give us the answers. We are told Easy Does It. We back off. As recovering addicts, we learn not to judge. Instead, we learn to be kind to ourselves. Our job is not to figure out the world, butt to add more love to it. Let’s start with ourselves.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, stop me from judging. Help me know what You want to do. Help me work the Steps Two and Three.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll leave myself alone. I will remember that picking on myself is another from of control.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 28

The weariest night, the longest day, sooner or later must perforce come to an end.
—Baroness Orczy

The difficult spells in our lives come to an end. And no matter the depth of our disturbance, we will survive. We forget that the depths teach us how to better appreciate the heights.

Sorrow heightens joy. Depression heightens laughter. We wouldn’t know the joys and laughter were it not for the sorrows. In them we learn to be patient, waiting for the wisdom which will light our way. In them we learn to listen for the guidance that beckons us forth.

We must reflect on the troubling experiences we’ve passed through of late. They made us wiser; they gave us strength. They changed us, moving us ever closer to the women, whole and happy, we desire to be.

Difficulties often precede enlightenment. They pull us inward, perhaps push us to search for our connectedness to God, a connectedness that is at home in our hearts. The paradox is that these painful periods strengthen our oneness with the Spirit.

If the day looks bleak, I will accept it as a hand reaching toward me, to pull me forward, to secure my place in the spiritual family.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 28
EMPTY ON THE INSIDE

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

I would love to tell you that I have been sober ever since, but that is not the case. I didn’t want to drink that day, but I took no action to insure against it. You see, I believe that we get more than one “moment of grace” from God–but it is up to us to seize the moment by taking action. But I heeded the voice that said, “You may as well drink. You know you’re going to.”

pp. 516-517

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 28

Step Six – “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”

“This is the Step that separates the men from the boys.” So declares a well-loved clergyman who happens to be one of A.A.’s greatest friends. He goes on to explain that any person capable of enough willingness and honesty to try repeatedly Step Six on all his faults–without any reservations whatever–has indeed come a long way spiritually, and is therefore entitled to be called a man who is sincerely trying to grow in the image and likeness of his own Creator.

p. 63

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Xtra Thoughts
February 28

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.
Nido Qubein

On the recollection of so many and great favours and blessings, I now, with a high sense of gratitude, presume to offer up my sincere thanks to the Almighty, the Creator and Preserver.
William Bartram

Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?
Fulton J. Sheen

If you’re going to put your product in beta – put your business model in beta with it.
– Joe Kraus

I’m always afraid of failing. It’s great motivation to work harder.
– Mark Cuban

The essence of profound insight is simplicity.
– Jim Collins

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 28
PERFECTION

“He that is without sin amongst you, let him cast the first stone.”
— Jesus Christ

It is so easy for me to focus on the failings of others and miss my own. My attraction to gossip is that it is usually about other people and that keeps the attention away from me.  Sometimes I am made to “feel good” by exposing the weaknesses of others.

This attitude needs to be changed if I am ever to fully enjoy the fruits of sobriety. I do not need to be drinking to behave like a drunk; gossip and character assassination are reminiscent of my past addictive behavior. I do not need the side of me that seeks to destroy the character of others. With my spiritual program, I am trying to change.

May I grow in my forgiveness and acceptance of others.

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Bible Scriptures
February 28

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:18 NIV

They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
Matthew 22:21

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:18

But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Mark 6:49-50

God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Philippians 2:3-4

Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Luke 6:38

“If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”
Matthew 5:41

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Luke 6:31

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Daily Inspiration
February 28

Set your priorities daily because some things in our path are just not important enough to use up our time and energy. Lord, with Your help I can have a full and enjoyable day.

God doesn’t always end the storm, but He will calm your spirit and give you the courage you need. Lord, I have come to know and believe in the love You have for me.

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A Day At A Time
February 28

Reflection For The Day

We’re taught in The Program and the Twelve Steps that the chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear — mainly fear that we would lose something we already possessed or that we would fail to get something we demanded.  Living on the basis of unsatisfied demands, we obviously were in a state of continuable disturbance and frustration.  Therefore, we are taught, no peace will be ours unless we find a means of reducing these demands.  Have I become entirely ready to have God remove all my defects of character?

Today I Pray

May I make no unrealistic demands on life, which, because of their grandiosity, can be met.  May I place no excessive demands on others, which, when they are not fulfilled, leave me disappointed and let down.

Today I Will Remember

The set-up for a let-down.

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One More Day
February 28

We all like to forgive, and we all love best not those who offend us least, not those who have done the most for us, but those who make it most easy for us to forgive them.
–  Samuel Butler

None of us likes to harbor angry or bitter feelings toward another person.  We know that friends may drift apart because of disagreements in which either of us will bend or compromise.

More and more, we know what our values are and the importance of how we reflect those values.  When a friendship is threatened by anger or misunderstanding,  we’re able to let our values guide us.  We’ve been less willing o  sacrifice our values to save a weak relationship.  We’ve let go of some friends.  If we’ve been stubborn or selfish, we’re better able now to preserve the friendship by making amends.

I will nurture my friendships and myself by letting my principles guide my life.

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One Day At A Time
February 28
~ RECOVERY ~

The people who get on in the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want.
–George Bernard Shaw

There was a time, not so long ago, that my life was much different than it is right now. My weight was skyrocketing because my eating compulsion was out of control. I couldn’t walk very far without huffing and puffing. My lower back hurt because my stomach pulled my spine out of alignment. My feet and ankles were swollen, my knees hurt, just standing was painful. I was hot all the time because my fat acted as insulation, keeping my body temperature high. My wife was hounding me about losing the weight, my doctor was taking her side, and even the kids at my son’s daycare were asking me why I was so big.

I didn’t start the recovery process (and it IS a process!) until I got to the point where I was so uncomfortable with myself that I had to do something. It wasn’t just that I was physically uncomfortable. I had to get past the comfort zone I had mentally and emotionally set up for myself; I had to get uncomfortable. I had to jump into the unknown, which was the most frightening thing I’d ever done.

Sitting around, moaning about my circumstances and suffering the physical consequences of my weight, didn’t get me anywhere. It was only when I became ready to see my life change, mentally, emotionally AND physically, that I began the footwork of this Program. That was the key to the beginning of my recovery, the getting up and actually doing something about it. When I took that first Step, the miracle began.

One Day at a Time …
I will take the necessary steps to maintain my
recovery from compulsive eating.

~ JAR ~

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Journey to the Heart
February 28
Let Life’s Rhythm Find You

I sat in my room, a small cabin in Chimayo, New mexico. The clock whizzed through the hours, but I didn’t whiz through my morning. I felt overwhelmed. Lost. I had more to do than I could handle. I didn’t know where to begin. So there I sat. Stuck.

Genera, who ran the hostel, knocked on my door about noon. “Are you okay?” she asked. “Come have coffee and fruit with us.” Her quiet kindness, her gentle concern, and the simple act of having coffee and fruit with a friend brought me back to balance.

There’s a life force, a movement, a momentum that transcends our fears and hopes, our limitations, our overwhelmed feelings, and even our confusion. There’s a heartbeat, a rhythm to life and the universe. It’s gentle, easy, natural. It’s in us; it’s around us. It comes gently, naturally, like a friend knocking quietly on the door, asking if we are okay, if we have lost our way.

There is purpose, meaning, and rhythm to each step, each beat of your life. Each step, each feeling, each beat of your life is another mile traveled on your journey, your journey to your heart.

If you’ve lost your way and can’t find life’s rhythm, don’t worry. Keep your heart open and it will find you.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day
February 28

“Ultimately, nature will do the teaching.”
–Tom Porter, MOHAWK

There are things man has control over, and there are things man does not have control over. No matter how smart we get, whether it be in technology or science, there are things we will never control. The Great Spirit carefully protected and hid the control over certain things in the Unseen World. There are forces in the Unseen World that make sure humans don’t mess things up. The bottom line is, no matter what we do, nature will have the last say. Nature is the teacher, we are the students. May we honor and respect our teacher.

Great Spirit, today, help me to live in harmony with people, principles, and life.

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Today’s Gift
February 28

Nothing that is worth doing can be done alone, but has to be done with others.
—Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr

We who are blessed with a closely-knit family life, where thoughts and actions can be discussed and developed, are aware that what is given is not as important as what is shared. As we help one another, we learn that sharing can never exist unless we care first. This is the major ingredient of love.

Albert Schweitzer described human service toward a common goal as the greatest of deeds. Charles Dickens assured us that when we lighten the burdens of another, we can never consider ourselves useless. Those of us who are led today may show the way tomorrow. In giving, we receive, and in getting we cannot avoid being givers.

What do I receive by giving today?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 28
Letting Go of Denial

We are slow to believe that which, if believed, would hurt our feelings.
—Ovid

Most of us in recovery have engaged in denial from time to time. Some of us relied on this tool.

We may have denied events or feelings from our past. We may have denied other people’s problems; we may have denied our own problems, feelings, thoughts, wants, or needs. We denied the truth.

Denial means we didn’t let ourselves face reality, usually because facing that particular reality would hurt. It would be a loss of something: trust, love, family, perhaps a marriage, a friendship, or a dream. And it hurts to lose something or someone.

Denial is a protective device, a shock absorber for the soul. It prevents us from acknowledging reality until we feel prepared to cope with that particular reality. People can shout and scream the truth at us, but we will not see or hear it until we are ready.

We are sturdy yet fragile beings. Sometimes, we need time to get prepared, time to ready ourselves to cope. We do not let go of our need to deny by beating ourselves into acceptance; we let go of our need to deny by allowing ourselves to become safe and strong enough to cope with the truth.

We will do this, when the time is right. We do not need to punish ourselves for having denied reality; we need only love ourselves into safety and strength so that each day we are better equipped to face and deal with the truth. We will face and deal with reality – on our own time schedule, when we are ready, and in our Higher Power’s timing. We do not have to accept chastisement from anyone, including ourselves, for this schedule.

We will know what we need to know, when it’s time to know it.

Today, I will concentrate on making myself feel safe and confident. I will let myself have my awareness’s on my own time schedule.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 28
Experience life for yourself

We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way.
–John Holt

“I’m an armchair adventurer,” I’ve heard more than one person say. This means that they never actually go out and do anything. They let others take all the risk. Through books, they’ve climbed Mount Everest, sailed around the world, hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, and snowshoed to the South Pole. They were even able to tell me all about how to fly a plane before my first lesson.

It’s one thing to spend our time reading books or listening to lectures about how to do this or that– how to have a successful relationship, how to build a business, how to live life more fully, whatever comes after how to. The trick is to finally put the books down, walk away from the lecture, and do it. Getting information, support, and encouragement is helpful. Necessary,too. But life was meant to be lived, not studied. The only way that you’ll have a successful career, relationship, or hobby is to go out and get one for yourself.

God, help me take the risk of actually doing something I want to learn to do.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 28

All of my life I been like a doubled up fist… poundin’, smashin’, drivin’ — now I’m going to loosen these doubled up hands and touch things easy with them.
—Tennessee Williams

Every man has many sides. Some sides are highly developed and other sides aren’t at all. We need not fear turning to a new side and exploring it. This recovery program has enabled us to pursue sides of ourselves that were closed before. When we were lost in our narrow world of codependency and addiction, we had fewer options. Now we have far greater access to our strength and our self-esteem, and we find new parts of ourselves.

Many of us have found relationships, which were never possible before, job choices we would never have had, and the pleasure of greater involvement in life. It is reassuring to see that we don’t always have to give up one side of ourselves to add new ones.

Thanks to God for the many options opening up to me in this renewed life.

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Daily TAO
February 28
SOURCE

Wellspring of energy
Rises in the body’s core
Tap it and be sustained.
Channel it, and it will speak.

The source of all power is within yourself. Although external circumstances may occasionally hamper you, true movement comes solely from within yourself. The source is latent in everyone, but anyone can learn to tap it. When this happens, power rises like a shimmering well through the center of your body.

Physically, it will sustain and nourish you. But it can do many other things as well. It can give you gifts ranging from unusual knowledge to simple tranquility. It all depends on how you choose to direct your energies.

We cannot say that a person will become enlightened solely by virtue of having tapped this source of power; energy is neutral. It requires experience, wisdom, and education to direct it. You may gain power from your meditations, but it is possible for two people with the same valid attainment to use it in two different ways, even to the extremes of good and evil. Finding the source of spiritual power is a great joy; deciding how to direct it is the greatest of responsibilities.

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Daily Zen
February 28

The splendor of the tathagata
Is the compassion that dwells
At the center of all minds.
The clothing of the tathagata
Is the gentleness and patience
That dwell in every mind.
The seat of the tathagata
Is the emptiness of all phenomena.

– Lotus Sutra

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Food for Thought
February 28
Conserving Resources

In this fight against compulsive overeating, we need all the strength we can muster. We can learn to conserve our energy for what is important, rather than wasting it on non-essential activities.

An extra hour of sleep may do more for our program than an hour spent reading a novel or watching television. We have to guard against compulsive overactivity as well as overeating. Often, we tend to push too hard to complete something which can just as well wait until tomorrow. If we are tired, we are less able to resist temptation.

Choosing the foods, which will provide us with necessary proteins, vitamins, and minerals, is a vital part of maintaining energy. To take care of our bodies is to nurture the most valuable physical resource we have.

Conserving our resources often means saying no to people and activities, which drain them unnecessarily. Only we ourselves, with the guidance of our Higher Power, can decide how best to use the strength and energy we have.

Teach me to conserve the resources You have given me.

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