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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – February 6

Just For Today
February 6
I Can’t – We Can

“We had convinced ourselves that we could make it alone and proceeded to live life on that basis. The results were disastrous and, in the end, each of us had to admit that self-sufficiency was a lie”
Basic Text p. 59

“I can’t, but we can.” This simple but profound truth applies initially to our first need as NA members: Together, we can stay clean, but when we isolate ourselves, we’re in bad company. To recover, we need the support of other addicts.

Self-sufficiency impedes more than just our ability to stay clean. With or without drugs, living on self-will inevitably leads to disaster. We depend on other people for everything from goods and services to love and companionship, yet self-will puts us in constant conflict with those very people. To live a fulfilling life, we need harmony with others.

Other addicts and others in our communities are not the only ones we depend on. Power is not a human attribute, yet we need power to live. We find it in a Power greater than ourselves which provides the guidance and strength we lack on our own. When we pretend to be self-sufficient, we isolate ourselves from the one source of power sufficient to effectively guide us through life: our Higher Power.

Self-sufficiency doesn’t work. We need other addicts; we need other people; and, to live fully, we need a Power greater than our own.

Just for today: I will seek the support of other recovering addicts, harmony with others in my community, and the care of my Higher Power. I can’t, but we can.

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Daily Reflections
February 6
A RALLYING POINT

Therefore, Step Two is the rallying point for all of us. “Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand together on this Step.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 33

I feel that A.A. is a God-inspired program and that God is at every A.A. meeting. I see, believe, and have come to know that A.A. works, because I have stayed sober today. I  am turning my life over to A.A. and to God by going to an A.A. meeting. If God is in my heart and He speaks to me through other people, then I must be a channel of God to other people. I should seek to do His will by living spiritual principles and my reward will be sanity and emotional sobriety.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
February 6
A.A. Thought For The Day

On a dark night, the bright lights of the corner tavern look mighty inviting. Inside, there seems to be warmth and good cheer. But we don’t stop to think that if we go in there we’ll probably end up drunk, with our money spent and an awful hangover. A long mahogany bar in the tropical moonlight looks like a very gay place. But you should see the place the next morning. The chairs are piled on the tables and the place stinks of stale beer and cigarette stubs. And often we are there too, trying to cure the shakes by gulping down straight whiskey. Can I look straight through the night before and see the morning after?

Meditation For The Day

God finds, amid the crowd, a few people who follow Him, just to be near Him, just to dwell in His presence. A longing in the Eternal Heart may be satisfied by these few people. I will let God know that I seek just to dwell in His presence, to be near Him, not so much for teaching or a message, as just for Him. It may be that the longing of the human heart to be loved for itself is something caught from the Great Divine Heart.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may have a listening ear, so that God may speak to me. I pray that I may have a waiting heart, so that God may come to me.

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As Bill Sees It
February 6
A Full and Thankful Heart, p. 37

One exercise that I practice is to try for a full inventory of my blessings and then for a right acceptance of the many gifts that are mine–both temporal and spiritual. Here I try to achieve a state of joyful gratitude.  When such a brand of gratitude is repeatedly affirmed and pondered, it can finally displace the natural tendency to congratulate myself on whatever progress I may have been enabled to make in some areas of living.

I try hard to hold fast to the truth that a full and thankful heart cannot entertain great conceits. When brimming with gratitude, one’s heartbeat must surely result in outgoing love, the finest emotion that we can never know.

Grapevine, March 1962

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Walk In Dry Places
February 6
Competing with Others
A new View of Competition.

We live in a world torn by endless strife and competition. Although competitiveness can be a good quality, we’ve seen it become very ugly and destructive. A few alcoholics like the excitement of competition, but many of us withdraw from it. We hate anything that includes the risk of defeat or might make us appear second best. Sometimes we even feel guilty in winning.

We don’t need the kind of competition that causes us to gloat arrogantly in victory or to wallow in self-pity in defeat. We don’t really need to compete with others in anything if we are truly seeking guidance from our Higher power. If God is in charge of our lives, we do not have to struggle with others for the good we seek in life. It is God’s pleasure to give us the good things of the kingdom.

There is a kind of competition that does pay off in sobriety…… competition with ourselves. We can try to be better people than we might have been yesterday, or a week ago, or a month ago. This kind of competition requires skill and stamina, and it also requires exercise and training. But anybody who sincerely seeks a spiritual life and true self-improvement can find it in AA.

This day, I won’t try to reform or change anybody but myself. I’ll remember that God is in charge of things and concentrate on competing with the person I once was by letting the program work in my life.

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Keep It Simple
February 6

We will not know unless we begin.
——-Howard Zinn

Let us begin! Whether it be working on our First Step, Finding a sponsor, or talking to someone we hurt—Let us begin. Doubt will set in if we wait too long. Fear will follow. So, let us begin. We learn by doing. Recovery is for doers. Sobriety doesn’t just happen. We create it. We create it by working the Steps and learning from them. We’ll never totally understand the Steps unless we work them. In the same way, we’ll never learn how to have friends unless we try. So, call your friends, instead of waiting to be called. Begin and begin again. Each day is a new beginning.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, today I’ll begin. I begin by asking for Your help and love. Be with me as I go through my day. Help me work for progress, not perfection.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll not sit on the sidelines. I’ll be a doer. I’ll decide what to do to move closer to friends, family, Higher Power, and myself.

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Each Day a New Beginning
February 6

I believe that a sign of maturity is accepting deferred gratification.
–Peggy Cahn

It’s okay to want to feel good all the time. Happiness is something we all deserve. However, there are often preparatory steps we need to take, a number of which will not bring joy, before we arrive at a place of sustained happiness.

The level of our pain at any particular moment has prompted us to seek short-term highs. And with each attempt at a quick “fix,” we will be reminded that, just as with our many former attempts, the high is very short-term.

Long-term happiness is not the byproduct of short-term gratification. We don’t have to earn happiness, exactly, but we do have to discover where it’s found. How fortunate we are to have the program guiding our search. We will find happiness when we learn to get quiet and listen to our inner selves. We will find happiness when we focus less on our personal problems and more on the needs of others.

Many of us will need to redefine what happiness is. Understanding our value and necessity to our circle of acquaintances will bring us happiness, a happiness that will sustain us, and so will gratitude for our friends, our growing health, our abstinence also sustain us. Sincerely touching the soul of someone else can tap the well of happiness within each of us.

I will find happiness. Searching within myself, I will patiently, trustingly share myself with others.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
February 6
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

After some time I called my sponsor to report my progress. He stopped me short with a simple question. “These people who aren’t doing right, are they staying sober?” I admitted that, despite their failings, they were staying sober. “Good,” he said. “You have told them what A.A. is. Now it’s time for you to listen to figure out how they are staying sober.” I followed that suggestion and began to listen. Slowly but surely, some wisdom and humility began to creep in. I became more teachable. I found God working all around me where previously I was sure I had been alone. When I opened my eyes enough to see the miracle, I found that it was right in front of my face. I was growing in God’s love.

p. 430

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
February 6
Foreword

Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship of more than one hundred thousand* alcoholic men and women who are banded together to solve their common problems and to help fellow sufferers in recovery from that age-old, baffling malady, alcoholism.

*In 1998, it is estimated that nearly two million have recovered through A.A.

p. 15

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Xtra Thoughts
February 6

We can teach the faith by the way we face what each day brings.
–Damaris Hernandez

“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” –One Day at a Time in Al-Anon

“I said to a man who stood at the gate of the year: Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way.”
–Minnie L. Haskins

The greatest gift you receive from loving someone is Loving Someone.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
–Mother Teresa

The solution is simple. The solution is spiritual.

S T E P S = Solutions To Every Problem in Sobriety.

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
February 6
LIES

“Christ cannot possibly have been a Jew. I don’t have to prove that scientifically. It is a fact!”
— Joseph Goebbels

Today I know that if a lie is said loudly enough, often enough, with ceremony and ritual, people will believe it. I can identify with the above statement: I said I was not alcoholic because I did not drink every day, in the mornings, all day and I was too young! People believed me. Some people still choose to believe this lie.

Spirituality requires that I not only confront the lies in other people but also in myself.  Usually if I am angry at the remarks of others, it is because they remind me of myself.

Today I seek not simply to condemn but to understand.

May I continue to learn from the criticism I make of others.

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Bible Scriptures
February 6

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:4-5

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:5-8

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Daily Inspiration
February 6

It is better to try and fail than to fail because you are afraid to try. Lord, grant me the courage to live my life to the fullest.

Learn to be peaceful in all situations and trust that through all stages of our lives, God has a plan. Lord, may I have the wisdom to be able to turn my stumbling blocks into building blocks.

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A Day At A Time
February 6

Reflection For The Day

I used to be an expert at unrealistic self-appraisal. At certain times, I would look only at that part of my life which seemed good. Then I would magnify whatever real or imagined virtues I had attained. Next, I would pat myself on the back for the fantastic job I was doing in The Program. Naturally, this generated a craving for still more “accomplishments” and still greater approval. Wasn’t that the pattern of my days during active addiction? The difference now, though, is that I can use the best alibi known — the spiritual alibi. Do I sometimes rationalize willful actions and nonsensical behavior in the name of “spiritual objectives?”

Today I Pray

God help me to know if I still crave attention and approval to the point of inflating my own virtues and magnifying my accomplishments in The Program or anywhere. May I keep a realistic perspective ab out my good points, even as I learn to respect myself.

Today I Will Remember

Learn to control inflation.

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One More Day
February 6

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be.
–  Robert Browning

We all have been to beautiful weddings.  A young couple’s love is so obvious.  They have so much to look forward to, so much living is still ahead.

We understand more and more that now is the best time of our lives.  Whether we are having a cup of coffee with a friend or fishing on a quiet lake, these are the best times.

As we age and reach the later decades of our lives, we become aware, even more sharply, that surely these are the best times of our lives.  We feel comfortable with ourselves and what we have, and with what we are still accomplishing.  We don’t set unreasonable goals anymore.  And we are lucky, too, for we can blend all our previous years of experience into our daily lives.

I am comforted by knowing that every stage of my life presents me with new opportunities.

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One Day At A Time
February 6
~ ERRORS AND ASSETS ~

We grow by our willingness to face and rectify errors and convert them into assets.
–The Big Book

I have had a paradigm shift in my life. This means that I have begun to see some of my most basic ideas about food and nourishment from a different angle. I never really thought these things through before this program nudged me to have a look at my life with rigorous honesty. Oh, I wanted to be thin, but I barely related that to my feelings about food.

I was on autopilot for years and now realize that my concept of food was reasoned out when I was still a child. I put that childish set of ideas in place and then just stopped thinking about it. That little child wanted the most she could get of everything there was. She wanted the most attention, the most love, the most toys . . . and the most food. And at that time it was exactly the right way to look at the world. When I was a child setting up the system that constantly demands more to calm or soothe or comfort or love, I turned to food because it is simple and I did not possess the skills to get my needs met in other ways. It was a victory really, because I coped, made it through to now. But, to stick with a plan set up by a little child reflects a lack of willingness to face a basic error in engaging the world and change my behavior.

Now I know that eating mass quantities of food isn’t about love, or fun, or comfort. Now my adult mind knows that food is a fuel that, if chosen judiciously, helps my body to work efficiently and clears my mind for the task of being a responsible adult in a busy, troubled world. By shifting from “How much food do I get for me?” to “What must I eat today to be healthy?” I change my whole basis for choosing. I take an area of my life that has been a constant error and change it into an asset, one that nourishes me and helps me to do that next right thing.

One Day at a Time . . .
I am willing to face my flawed thinking about food and change the way I make food choices, meal by meal, so that food is an asset to me and not a liability.
~ Carol B. ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – February 6

“We hold on to our otuhan, our give-aways, because they help us to remain Indians.”
–Lame Deer, LAKOTA

Our traditional communities and villages function on interdependence. Share the deer and give freely of what you have to another. Another way to express this principle is, it’s better to give than to receive. To share what you have eliminates complexity. The Elders say, live a simple life. One of the principles in the Unseen World is, the more you give, the more you get. You can become a channel for abundance for your family, tribe or community. A giving person sets up a flow or replacement. Whatever you share will be returned to you in an amount equal or greater. The Indian way is for everyone to give to another, thus the community wins.

Great Spirit, today, teach me the principle of giving. Let me be Your channel of abundance.

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Journey To The Heart
February 6
Look at What’s Right

Take time to notice what’s right in ourselves, in others, and in the world around us. We may become so concerned with correcting ourselves we become habituated to seeing what’s wrong. Not just seeing it– constantly looking for it. The question itself– What’s wrong? — is enough to keep us on edge.

There are times to take stock, do an inventory. Times to learn and grow. But spirituality and joy do not stem from trudging around in the muck of what’s wrong with others, ourselves, and life. We do not have to seek out mistakes and errors, poking and picking at ourselves to continue our growth. Poking and picking hurts. Our lessons will be revealed to us, and they will present themselves naturally. Growth will occur.

Give yourself a break. Ask yourself what’s right, what’s good, what’s true, what’s beautiful. Sometimes the lesson isn’t in discovering what’s wrong. Sometimes the lesson is discovering that the world is all right– and so are you.

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Today’s Gift
February 6

Pride works from within; it is the direct appreciation of oneself.
—Arthur Schopenhauer

Pride, like all emotions, has two faces: one healthy and one sick. It is our challenge to use the healthy side well. Sick pride fills us with ourselves, looks down on others, and has no room for generosity. Healthy pride is heavy with humility. If we can feel joyful when we succeed, and tell others about it honestly, we are not being boastful.

Sick pride often keeps us from doing things because we are too proud to ask for help when we need it, or too proud to risk failure, or too proud to do anything that might not turn out perfect.

Healthy pride about our greatest victories always comes with the awareness that we did not do it all by ourselves. We had the aid, advice, and encouragement of loved ones. In all things that really count, we never walk alone. Even those who claim pride is not a virtue admit that it is the parent of many virtues.

What makes me proud of myself today?

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The Language of Letting Go
February 6
Stopping Victimization

Before recovery, many of us lacked a frame of reference with which to name the victimization and abuse in our life. We may have thought it was normal that people mistreated us. We may have believed we deserved mistreatment; we may have been attracted to people who mistreated us.

We need to let go, on a deep level, of our need to be victimized and to be victims. We need to let go of our need to be in dysfunctional relationships and systems at work, in love, in family relationships, in friendships. We deserve better. We deserve much better. It is our right. When we believe in our right to happiness, we will have happiness.

We will fight for that right, and the fight will emerge from our souls. Break free from oppression and victimization.

Today, I will liberate myself by letting go of my need to be a victim, and I’ll explore my freedom to take care of myself. That liberation will not take me further away from people I love. It will bring me closer to people and more in harmony with God’s plan for my life.

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More Language Of Letting Go
February 6
Revel in the void

In the original Language of Letting Go, I talked about the in between places in our lives. Those are the uncomfortable places along the journey where you’re not where you were but you’re not where you’re going yet,either. I talked about accepting that place, no matter how difficult it might be.

Let’s look at this place again. Only now, we’ll call it the void. Take another look at that moment when one door has closed behind you and you’re standing in that dark hallway, but no door opens up. Or you let go of whatever you’ve been grasping so tightly and stand there with an empty hand. Don’t say woohoo just when you begin something new. Feel the woohoo of this moment,too! Embrace the void. This wonderful in-between place holds the keys to all creation. In the biblical story of creation, God began with a clean slate like the one you may face now. It was the magic and mystery of the void that allowed all of this wonderful creation to be.

If you’re at an in-between place, don’t just accept it. Revel in it, embrace it, rejoice at your opportunity to sit in the birth-place of all that will come along your path. Relax into the void and allow creation to flow.

God, help me embrace the void and allow it to bring forth what it will, rather than trying to force something that really doesn’t fit.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
February 6

Behind an able man there are always other able men.
—Chinese proverb

Most of us have had a strong desire in our lives to “do it ourselves.” We have had the idea that strength and independence meant we should not rely on or receive help from others. Now, in recovery, we are learning a far more mature and time-honored principle. We find strength to develop to our fullest as members of a community. Maybe we never learned how to ask for help. Perhaps we haven’t learned yet how to accept it. It may still be difficult to express our gratitude for the help that brought us where we are today.

In recovery, we get many lessons about these things. If we are actively growing, we will get help from others and give it too. The rewards of recovery give us ample reasons and opportunities to express our gratitude. We are no longer loners. Now we have a network of friends who truly enjoy and enhance each other’s strength.

Today, I pray for help in learning how to share my strength and to appreciate the strength of others.

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Daily TAO
February 6
DISCORD

When birds fly too high,
They sing out of tune.

There are times when we feel out of harmony with our surroundings, matters do not go our way, and we feel confused and disoriented. Sometimes these moments will last a day, sometimes they may last for weeks. When we feel like this, we are not integrated with the Tao, or as it is sometimes metaphorically said, Tao has flowed elsewhere.

Being constantly in touch with Tao is an ideal. There will be times of misfortune and discord from external sources. We can also fall out of synchronization with Tao through our own follies, as when we act without complete consideration. Whenever this happens, we are like the birds singing out of tune: We are mired in discord.

If we keep our patience, we can usually ride out these times. We should take action and break the stagnation if an opportunity presents itself. Whether it is waiting or acting, we should always try to bring a situation back into balance so that we can rejoin Tao.

Whenever we find ourselves linked again, we will feel relieved. We are back on track, back on target. But we should learn from each time that we lose Tao. Sometimes this is enough to prevent reoccurrences, and sometimes it is enough to buoy our hopes through future lean times. Once we know the Tao, we will recognize it again and again. We will not lose faith, even in times of discord.

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Daily Zen
February 6

When the mind neither sorrows nor delights, that is supreme attainment of virtue. To succeed without changing is supreme attainment of calm. To be unburdened by habitual desires is supreme attainment of emptiness. To have no likes and dislikes is supreme attainment of equanimity. Not getting mixed up with things is supreme attainment of purity. Those who can accomplish these five things reach spiritual illuminations. Those who reach spiritual illumination are those who attain the inward.

– Huai-nan-tzu

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Food for Thought
February 6
The Power of Love

Love is the best motivation. When we are plugged in to our Higher Power, we are plugged in to love. It flows through us like a current, energizing our sluggish hearts and minds.

As we work the Steps of this program, we are given increased ability to love. By turning over our lives and our wills, we become receptive to the love, which surrounds and sustains us. By taking inventory and being ready to have our character defects removed, we are able to get rid of old ways of thinking and acting which have been blocking out love.

We cannot produce love for others by ourselves, but we can receive it from our Higher Power. We can even receive love for people we don’t particularly like.

Love gives energy for action and directs its course.

May I grow in Love.

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