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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

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Daily Recovery Readings – February 4

Just For Today
February 4
Feeling Good Isn’t The Point

“For us, recovery is more than just pleasure.”
Basic Text p. 42

In our active addiction, most of us knew exactly how we were going to feel from one day to the next. All we had to do was read the label on the bottle or know what was in the bag. We planned our feelings, and our goal for each day was to feel good.

In recovery, we’re liable to feel anything from one day to the next, even from one minute to the next. We may feel energetic and happy in the morning, then strangely let down and sad in the afternoon. Because we no longer plan our feelings for the day each morning, we could end up having feelings that are somewhat inconvenient, like feeling tired in the morning and wide-awake at bedtime.

Of course, there’s always the possibility we could feel good, but that isn’t the point. Today, our main concern is not feeling good but learning to understand and deal with our feelings, no matter what they are. We do this by working the steps and sharing our feelings with others.

Just for today: I will accept my feelings, whatever they may be, just as they are. I will practice the program and learn to live with my feelings.

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Daily Reflections
February 4
WHEN FAITH IS MISSING

Sometimes A.A. comes harder to those who have lost or rejected faith than to those who never had any faith at all, for they think they have faith and found it wanting. They have tried the way of faith and the way of no faith.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 28

I was so sure God had failed me that I became ultimately defiant, though I knew better, and plunged into a final drinking binge. My faith turned bitter and that was no coincidence. Those who once had great faith hit bottom harder. It took time to rekindle my faith, though I came to A.A. I was grateful intellectually to have survived such a great fall, but my heart felt callous.  Still, I stuck with the A.A. program; the alternatives were too bleak! I kept coming back and gradually my faith was resurrected.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 4
A.A. Thought For The Day

Treating others to drinks gave us a kind of satisfaction.  We liked to say, “Have a drink on me.” But we were not really doing the other people a favor. We were only helping them to get drunk, especially if they happened to be an alcoholic. In A.A., we really try to help other alcoholics. We build them up instead of tearing them down. Drinking created a sort of fellowship. But it really was a false fellowship, because it was based on selfishness. We used our drinking companions for our own pleasure. In A.A., we have real fellowship, based on unselfishness and a desire to help each other.  And we make real friends, not fair weather friends. With sobriety, have I got everything that drinking’s got, without the headaches?

Meditation For The Day

I know that God cannot teach anyone who is trusting in a crutch. I will throw away the crutch of alcohol and walk in God’s power and spirit. God’s power will so invigorate me that I shall indeed walk on to victory.  There is never any limit to God’s power. I will go step by step, one day at a time. God’s will shall be revealed to me as I go forward.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may have more and more dependence on God. I pray that I may throw away my alcohol crutch and let God’s power take its place.

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As Bill Sees It
February 4
Suffering Transmuted, p. 35

“A.A. is no success story in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a story of suffering transmuted, under grace, into spiritual progress.”

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

For Dr. Bob, the insatiable craving for alcohol was evidently a physical phenomenon which bedeviled several of his first years in A.A., a time when only days and nights of carrying the message to other alcoholics could cause him to forget about drinking. Although his craving was hard to withstand, it doubtless did account for some part of the intense incentive that went into forming Akron’s Group Number One.

Bob’s spiritual release did not come easily; it was to be painfully slow. It always entailed the hardest kind of work and the sharpest vigilance.

1. Letter, 1959
2. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 69

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Walk In Dry Places
February 4
The Rewards of Honesty
Honesty

Sometimes we think that honesty is simply too painful and demanding—- all sacrifice with no gain. If we are completely honest with ourselves, however, the results can only be positive.

What are the advantages of being entirely honest about our motives and feelings? One benefit is that we never will have to face the disillusionment and humiliation that come from self-deception. Surely we had enough of that while drinking.

Honesty also speaks for itself. People know intuitively when a person is completely honest, and they are drawn to that person because of it. An honest AA member-one who has truly faced personal faults—- also becomes an example to others.

The honest person has self-respect and a clear conscious. In real honesty, there is no inner struggle to keep up appearances or to pretend we are anybody except ourselves.

Honesty makes us comfortable rather than pained, relaxed rather than anxious, and decisive rather than confused. These are rich rewards for people who once lived in the false world of alcoholism.

I’ll try to be honest in all things today. In any case, I will at least be honest with my self about my true motives and feelings.

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Keep It Simple
February 4

We do not remember days, we remember moments.
—-Cesare Pavese

It’s the moment that’s important. Each moment holds choice. Our spirits grow through working our program moment to moment. Moments lead to days, days to years, and years to a life of honest recovery.

It will be the moments of choice that we remember. The moment we call a friend instead of being alone.

The moment we decide to go for a walk instead of arguing with our partner. The moment we decide to go to an extra meeting instead of drinking or using other drugs. The moments lead us to our Higher Power.

These moments teach us that we’re human, that we need others. At these moments, we know others care about us–our joys, and our struggles.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me remember that my recovery is made up of many moments of choice.

Today’s Action: I’ll look back over the last twenty-four hours. What moments come to mind? Why were they important to me.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 4

Genius is the talent for seeing things straight. It is seeing things in a straight line without any bend or break or aberration of sight, seeing them as they are, without any warping of vision.
–Maude Adams

We are learning, each day of our abstinence, to see more clearly what lies before us. Less and less are we hampered by our own selfish needs, distorting that which we face. We all have within us the talent for seeing things as they really are. But it is a process that takes practice, a process of turning within to the untapped talent which is one of the gifts of a spiritual life.

We are spiritual entities, one and all. And the genius to see as God sees is ours for the asking. This program is paving our way. Each day it becomes easier to live an honest life. Each day we trust more the people we encounter. And each day we take greater risks being our true selves.

The need to distort that which we see ahead lessens, as we begin reaping the benefits of the honest, caring, spirit-filled life. Our unhealthy egos stood in our way in the past. And they can get in the way even now, if we forget to look ahead with the eyes of our inner genius.

My path today is straight, clean, and love-filled, if I choose to follow my genius.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 4
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

– This young alcoholic stepped out a second-story window and into A.A.

My life began to change. Just before my first anniversary. I was readmitted to my college. I arrived back on campus terrified. All I had known there was drinking. How was I ever going to stay sober under these conditions? The answer was simple–I threw myself into A.A. Some very loving people took me under their wings. I had the opportunity to perform a fair amount of Twelfth Step work with other students, and by the time I graduated, there was a thriving A.A. community at that school.

p. 429

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 4

Tradition Twelve – “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”

As this tide offering top public approval swept in, we realized that it could do us incalculable good or great harm. Everything would depend upon how it was channeled. We simply couldn’t afford to take the chance of letting self-appointed members present themselves as messiahs representing A.A. before the whole public. The promoter instinct in us might be our undoing. If even one publicly got drunk, or was lured into using A.A.’s name for his own purposes, the damage might be irreparable. At this altitude (press, radio, films, and television), anonymity–100 percent anonymity–was the only possible answer. Here, principles would have to come before personalities, without exception.

p. 187

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Xtra Thoughts
February 4

If we had no Winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; If we did not sometimes taste the adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
–Anne Bradstreet

“Change is what happens when the pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go!”
–Anonymous

Some flowers grow best in the sun; others do well in the shade. God plants us where we grow best.
–Unknown

To go fast, row slowly.
–Norman Vincent Peale

“Storms make trees take deeper roots.”
–Claude McDonald

God’s love and grace are bigger than all our worries.
–Denise DeKemper

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 4
INTELLIGENCE

“The brighter you are, the more you have to learn.”
— Don Herold

The one thing I know in sobriety is how much I do not know! I thought I knew every thing about God because I was a priest, only to discover that I had made Him a prisoner of the Church. Once I was willing to free Him from my prison, I discovered a freedom and awareness that daily fascinates and astounds me.

Today I see that the glory of God shines within my pain, within my loneliness, within my confusion, and the acceptance of my disease is the key to recovery. Today the suffering enables me to discover a realistic spirituality — and it is okay to be confused!

With each new day, Lord, let me learn something — even if it is that I have not learned anything that day!

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Bible Scriptures
February 4

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:21

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:21

“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
2 Peter 3:13

You were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.
Ephesians 5:8

“I will instruct you and teach you.”
Psalm 32:8

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Daily Inspiration
February 4

One of life’s greatest rewards is not what we get, but what we become. Lord, teach me as I am able to learn and give me the courage to be all that I can.

When we have to justify our actions, it may be that our actions are not just. Lord, Your will is goodness. May I always have the strength and courage to choose Your way so that I can simplify my life and enjoy the peace of Your presence.

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A Day At A Time
February 4

Reflection For The Day

Rare is the recovering alcoholic who will now dispute the fact that denial is a primary symptom of the illness.  The Program teaches us that alcoholism is the only illness which actually tells the afflicted person that he or she really isn’t sick at all.  Not surprisingly, then, our lives as practicing alcoholics were characterized by endless rationalization, countless alibis and in short, a steadfast unwillingness to accept the fact that we were, without question, bodily and mentally different from our fellows.  Have I conceded to my innermost self that I am truly powerless over alcohol?

Today I Pray

May The Program’s First Step be not half-hearted for me, but a total admission of powerlessness over my addiction.  May I rid myself of that first symptom — denial — which refuses to recognize any other symptom of my disease.

Today I Will Remember

Deny denial.

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One More Day
February 4

A simple grateful thought raised to heaven is the most perfect prayer.
–  Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Can we picture ourselves as small children, bouncing back out of bed to add just one more, “and also bless my teddy bear, and my . . . “?  Most of us prayed because that’s what we were taught to do.  We didn’t understand many of the reasons, but it felt good and made us feel safe too.

We form new habits as grown-ups.  Perhaps prayer isn’t part of our day anymore.  We may start to pray only when we need to ask for something.  It is within our reach to develop the habit of prayer once again.  There may be comfort in the habit of giving thanks every day … for what good health we do enjoy … for the beauty of nature … for our family and friends.

I will use prayer as one of the ways I can express myself and live a fulfilling life.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – February 4

“We say there is a right time and place for everything.It’s easy to say, but hard to understand. You have to live it to understand it.”
–Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE

The Elders tell us there is a right time and a right place. Don’t plant seeds in the fall- wrong time. One way we find out about the right time and right place is our experience. If we are lucky, we have a few friends who will share their experience; this will help us too. The best way is to let God guide us. Only He knows the right time and the right place. So we need to pray and ask Him for guidance.

Great Spirit, show me patience so I can live in the right time and right place.

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One Day At A Time
February 4
~ Laughter ~

Laughter can be more satisfying than honor; more precious than money; more heart-cleansing than prayer.
–Harriet Rochlin

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a serious person. I can’t remember ever doing something just for fun or to have a laugh. There always had to be a purpose for what I did in my life, or else it was of no value. As for being able to laugh at myself, that wasn’t even in my frame of reference. I was so super-sensitive that I’d get upset if someone made fun of me, as it would always make me feel “less than” or stupid.

So when I came into the doors of my first Twelve Step meeting, I was amazed that, even though all the people I met had problems around food, they were still able to look at their mistakes and realize that that didn’t make them a bad person. But even more heartwarming was the fact that I heard laughter in those rooms. Before, I’d always thought that when someone laughed at what I said, they were laughing at me, and that would reinforce my feelings of inadequacy.

The lessons I’m learning here are not easy ones and there are still times when my old behaviors of being overly sensitive creep in, but I know that recovery is a process, and as I grow in the program, it will get better.

One day at a time …
As I practice the program and work the steps, I am becoming more able to laugh at myself and not always look at the dark side of life. What a gift it has been to start enjoying life!

~ Sharon ~

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Journey To The Heart
February 4
See How Powerful You Are

People who believe they’re victims get to be right. Each experience they have convinces them of that. They don’t open themselves to the lessons, the growth, and the beauty of each situation they encounter. All they can see is their victimization.

Many of us have done the hard work to shift our belief system about being a victim. As we did that, we noticed that the scenery in our lives changed. When we believe something different, we get to see something different.

People who believe they have powers get to be right,too. Although we know there is much in life we can’t control, we also know we have the power to think, to feel, to choose, and to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives. We’re discovering our creative powers, and our powers to love, including our power to love ourselves. We’ve embraced our powers to grow, to change, to move forward. We know we have the power to claim our lives and take responsibility for ourselves in any situation life brings. Although life may deal us certain hard blows, we’ve learned to see beyond that. We see life’s beauty, gifts, and lessons, and its mysterious and sometimes magical nature.

On the road to freedom we may have made a stopover. We believed we were victims and we got to be right. Now, our journey has led us someplace else. We know we have powers, we know we have choices. And we no longer need to be right. Just free.

See how powerful you are!

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Today’s Gift
February 4

The shy man usually finds that he has been shy without cause, and that, in practice, no one takes the slightest notice of him.
—Robert Lynd

We sometimes feel self-conscious in front of others. It may be that we’ve just gotten braces or a new haircut and we’re afraid everyone will stare at us. We stop smiling and talk with our heads bowed. Many people have worn braces and many more will. We need not be ashamed just because we feel different. By beginning to smile again we will see how many people really didn’t notice our braces, or our haircuts, or anything but what they see inside us.

All we need to do is lift our heads and smile. We will be amazed to find how little even our best friends notice about the externals, the things that don’t really matter. Who we are is far more noticeable and far more important than what we look like. A smile at shy times helps us accept ourselves as others do.

What makes me shy?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 4
Enjoying Recovery

What a journey!

This process of growth and change takes us along an ever-changing road. Sometimes the way is hard and craggy. Sometimes we climb mountains. Sometimes we slide down the other side on a toboggan.

Sometimes we rest.

Sometimes we grope through the darkness. Sometimes we’re blinded by sunlight.

At times many may walk with us on the road; sometimes we feel nearly alone.

Ever changing, always interesting, always leading someplace better, someplace good.

What a journey!

Today, God, help me relax and enjoy the scenery. Help me know I’m right where I need to be on my journey.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 4
Don’t let fear throw you off balance

Lay a two-by-four on the ground and walk its length without falling off. Easy, isn’t it? Now place a couple of bricks under the two-by-four, raising it off the ground by a few inches. Walk it again. A little harder this time? Now imagine that same two-by-four suspended at the height of your house with no safety net under it. Would you care to try again?

The higher the stakes, the harder it is to maintain our balance. That’s what fear does in our lives.

When we’re faced with simple situations in life, it’s easy to do the right thing. But as the stakes get higher and higher, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on the task. We imagine “what is” and what might happen if we fail.

Look at the two-by-fours that you have to cross every day in your life. Are you allowing fear of a worst-case scenario to upset your balance? Put the situation back on the ground. Rarely will failure result in permanent damage. Remove the fear that your mind has created around the possibility of failure and just walk along the plank.

God, help me do the tasks that I have to without the balance-upsetting confusion brought by fear. Help me do what is right simply and easily each day.

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Touchstones
February 4

Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it – what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellowmen. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.
—Carlos Castaneda

Were we offended by someone today? Do we harbor resentment for remarks, oversights, or unpleasant mannerisms? Do we feel tense or uneasy about how someone else has treated us? We can probably make a good case to justify our reactions. Perhaps we are in the right and they are in the wrong.

Yet, even if we are justified, it doesn’t matter. We may be puffing ourselves up and wasting energy. When we are oversensitive, we take a self-righteous position, which leads us far from our path of spiritual awakening. Our strength is diminished.

How much better it is to let go of the lightness, let go of our grandiosity, and accept the imperfections in others. We need to accept our own imperfections too. When we do, we are better men, and our strength and energy can be focused on richer goals.I will accept others’ imperfections; I do not need to be right.

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Daily TAO
February 4
UTILIZATION

Kites harness the force of the wind.
They express our intent,
But they cannot change the wind.

A person with a kite can make it dip, turn, and flutter at will. An expert can even use a fighting kite and engage another’s until one is cut loose. It’s fun flying a kite, feeling the gigantic tug on the end of your line. Sometimes the wind is so strong that it will nearly lift you off the ground. When you harness the forces of nature, you harness something quite powerful.

This is an example of the proper utilization of Tao. It is taking advantage of natural forces. It means accepting the way they work, and then finding a way to borrow their power. It does not mean trying to change or circumscribe things. If the wind is not blowing our kite the way we want, we cannot change it. We can only borrow its energy. When initiative and natural forces are combined, there is true harmony.

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Daily Zen
February 4

Two methods enable us to rectify the heart:
The first is study,
Enriching our mind through practice
And discipline; training, studying
Until an inner light begins to grow within.
This seed of consiousness,
The sages teach, should be nourished
And kept in silence.
The second is the cultivation of virtue.
A sincere student discovers the
Workings of Tao by overcoming all
Manner of temptation.
Hordes of riches are outweighed in
Merit by a single word, Virtue.

– Loy Ching-yuen 1879-1960’s)

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Food for Thought
February 4
Don’t Relax!

It requires extra effort to maintain abstinence during a particularly difficult time when we are especially tempted. Entertaining guests, visiting family, coping with a crisis – there are some times when it seems to take every ounce of strength we have to stay abstinent.

When the crisis has passed, we breathe a sigh of relief and are grateful that life is back to normal. This, for many of us, is the danger point. Having made it through the difficult situation, we may feel that we are now safe and can let down our guard. We may even feel that we deserve a reward for having said no to temptation.

Let’s remember that the best reward is continued abstinence. There is no time when we are safe from compulsive overeating. We are always one bite away from a binge. We may never relax vigilance over our thoughts and actions.

When we are weary, let’s remember that the strength we need comes not from ourselves but from our Higher Power. Let’s recharge our batteries with prayer, meditation, and contact with other OA members.

Sustain me, Lord, when I am tempted to give up.

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In God’s Care
February 4

Happiness in the older years of life, is a matter of choice–your choice for yourself.
~~Harold Azine

We empower ourselves every time we accept responsibility for choosing the thoughts and feelings we act on. Choosing behavior that encourages happiness is often as easy as any other choice and the rewards are certainly greater than when we act out of fear or resentment. Events we had expected to be troubling, and relationships where we had predicted conflict are made likely to turn out surprisingly smooth when we come to them with a happy attitude. We will feel better about ourselves when we are able to respond to other people with encouragement and hope.

We complicate our life unnecessarily when we choose to act out of meanness, self-centeredness, or self-pity. Actions arising from negative attitudes eventually lower or self-esteem and block our connection to God. Happiness is often as simple as making the decision to take charge of who we are now, as we rely on God’s will for us.

I will choose happiness today as I rely on God’s will for me.

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