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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings - January 1, 2013

Just For Today
January 1, 2014
Vigilance

“We keep what we have only with vigilance … ”
—Basic Text, p. 57

How do we remain vigilant about our recovery? First, by realizing that we have a disease we will always have. No matter how long we’ve been clean, no matter how much better our lives have become, no matter what the extent of our spiritual healing, we are still addicts. Our disease waits patiently, ready to spring the trap if we give it the opportunity.

Vigilance is a daily accomplishment. We strive to be constantly alert and ready to deal with signs of trouble. Not that we should live in irrational fear that something horrible will possess us if we drop our guard for an instant; we just take normal precautions. Daily prayer, regular meeting attendance, and choosing not to compromise spiritual principles for the easier way are acts of vigilance. We take inventory as necessary, share with others whenever we are asked, and carefully nurture our recovery. Above all, we stay aware.

We have a daily reprieve from our addiction as long as we remain vigilant. Each day, we carry the principles of recovery into all we do, and each night, we thank our Higher Power for another day clean.

Just for today: I will be vigilant, doing everything necessary to guard my recovery.

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Daily Reflections
January 1, 2014
“I AM A MIRACLE”

The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 25

This truly is a fact in my life today, and a real miracle. I always believed in God, but could never put that belief meaningfully into my life. Today, because of Alcoholics Anonymous, I now trust and rely on God, as I understand Him; I am sober today because of that! Learning to trust and rely on God was something I could never have done alone. I now believe in miracles because I am one!

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 1, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

When I came into A.A., was I a desperate person? Did I have a soul-sickness? Was I so sick of myself and my way of living that I couldn’t stand looking at myself in a mirror? Was I ready for A.A.? Was I ready to try anything that would help me to get sober and to get over my soul-sickness? Should I ever forget the condition I was in?

Meditation For The Day

In the new year, I will live one day at a time. I will make each day one of preparation for better things ahead. I will not dwell on the past or the future, only on the present. I will bury every fear of the future, all thoughts of unkindness and bitterness, all my dislikes, my resentments, my sense of failure, my disappointments in others and in myself, my gloom and my despondency. I will leave all these things buried and go forward, in this new year, into a new life.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that God will guide me one day at a time in the new year. I pray that for each day, God will supply the wisdom and the strength that I need.

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As Bill Sees It
January 1, 2014
Personality Change, p. 1

“It has often been said of A.A. that we are interested only in alcoholism.  That is not true. We have to get over drinking in order to stay alive.  But anyone who knows the alcoholic personality by firsthand contact knows that no true alky ever stops drinking permanently without undergoing a profound personality change.”

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

We thought “conditions” drove us to drink, and when we tried to correct these conditions and found that we couldn’t do so to our entire satisfaction, our drinking went out of hand and we became alcoholics. It never occurred to us that we needed to change ourselves to meet conditions, whatever they were.

1. Letter, 1940
2. 12 & 12, p. 47

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Walk In Dry Places
January 1, 2014
A year to grow.
Growth.

This new year can be a time of growth in sobriety. While we have no crystal ball that tells us what luck and fortune the year will bring, we do have a program that gives us the power to make the best of this year, to grow in sobriety. We can make progress in overcoming resentment and selfishness, we can help others in their search for happy sobriety, and we can make better use of our talents and opportunities.

We can live sober, and we also can find happiness and true self-esteem in sobriety. In our drinking, a desperate search for happiness and self-esteem compelled us to drink, but we could never find our happy destiny in the bottle. No matter what came to us, things had a way of turning sour as we continued to drink and to take other harmful substances.

In our new life, we have good reason to feel confident and optimistic. We have friends who understand us; we have sponsors who will share with us their own experience and hope. We have a Higher Power who is, as the poet Tennyson said, “closer to us than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.” We face nothing alone, and in the new year all experiences can help us grow.

I face this day with confidence, courage, and optimism. I will know that my Higher Power is present in every person and situation.

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Keep It Simple
January 1, 2014

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol…
–First part of Step One.

In Step One, we accept our powerlessness over alcohol and other drugs. But we are powerless over many parts of life. We are powerless over other people. We are powerless over what our HP has planned for us. Before recovery, we only believed in control. We tried to control everything. We fought against a basic truth, the truth that we are powerless over much of life. When we accept this truth, we begin to see what power we do have. We have the power to make choices. When we’re lonely, we have the power to reach out to others. We have power over how we live our own lives.

PRAYER: HP, help me to know that it’s You who is running my life. Help me to know that power comes from accepting I am powerless.

ACTION: I am powerless over much of life. Today, I’ll look to see how this is true. I’ll look to see what I really have control over and what I don’t.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 1, 2014

We don’t always understand the ways of Almighty God–the crosses sent us, the sacrifices demanded . . . But we accept with faith and resignation the holy will with no looking back, and we are at peace.
–Anonymous

Acceptance of our past, acceptance of the conditions presently in our lives that we cannot change, brings relief. It brings the peacefulness we so often, so frantically, seek.

We can put the past behind us. Each day is a new beginning. And each day of abstinence offers us the chance to look ahead with hope. A power greater than ourselves helped us to find this program. That power is ever with us. When we fear facing new situations, or when familiar situations turn sour, we can look to that power for help in saying what needs to be said and for doing what needs to be done. Our higher power is as close as our breath. Conscious awareness of its presence strengthens us, moment by moment.

The past is gone. Today is full of possibilities. With each breath I will be aware of the strength at hand.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 1, 2014
ACCEPTANCE WAS THE ANSWER

– The physician wasn’t hooked, he thought–he just prescribed drugs medically indicated for his many ailments. Acceptance was his key to liberation.

Acceptance has been the answer to my marital problems. It’s as though A.A. had given me a new pair of glasses. Max and I have been married now for thiry-five years. Prior to our marriage, when she was a shy, scrawny adolescent, I was able to see things in her that others couldn’t necessarily see–things like beauty, charm, gaiety, a gift for being easy to talk to, a sense of humor, and many other fine qualities. It was as if I had, rather than a Midas touch which turned everything to gold, a magnifying mind that magnified whatever it focused on. Over the years as I thought about Max, her good qualities grew and grew, and we were married, and all these qualities became more and more apparent to me, and we were happier and happier.

p. 418

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 1, 2014

Tradition Nine – “A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.”

Yet Alcoholics Anonymous is an exception. It does not conform to this pattern. Neither its General Service Conference, its Foundation Board,* nor the humblest group committee can issue a single directive to an A.A. member and make it stick, let alone mete out any punishment. We’ve tried it lots of times, but utter failure is always the result. Groups have tried to expel members, but the banished have come back to sit in the meeting place, saying “This is life for us; you can’t keep us out.” Committees have instructed many an A.A. to stop working on a chronic backslider, only to be told: “How I do my Twelfth Step work is my business. Who are you to judge?” This doesn’t mean an A.A. won’t take advice or suggestions from more experienced members, but he surely won’t take orders. Who is more unpopular than the old-time A.A., full of wisdom, who moves to another area and tries to tell the group there how to run its business? He and all like him who “view with alarm for the good of A.A.” meet the most stubborn resstance or, worse still, laughter.

*In 1954, the name of the Alcoholic Foundation Inc., was changed to the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc., and the Foundation office is now the General Service Office.

p. 173

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Xtra Thoughts
January 1, 2014

A WORD
A CARELESS WORD MAY KINDLE STRIFE….
A CRUEL WORD MAY WRECK A LIFE……..
A TIMELY WORD MAY LEVEL STRESS…….
BUT A LOVING WORD MAY HEAL AND BLESS.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
–Helen Keller

In the process of growing to spiritual maturity, we all go through many adolescent stages.
–Miki L. Bowen

“Don’t water your weeds.”
–Harvey Mackay

“A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.”
–Thomas Carruthers

Ah the dawn of a New Year! May we find inner peace, gentle spirit, God’s grace, forgiveness, dreams and prayers, Recovery.
–Shelley

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 1, 2014
SPIRITUALITY

“It is not that I think or believe [in spirituality] but that I know.”
— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Some things I seem to know intuitively: and I know that spirituality is involved in and affects everything. In a human being it combines the physical, mental and emotional but it also reaches beyond the human being and connects the peoples of the world.  Spirituality is the force for good and wholeness in this universe.

This is not just an opinion or a thought. It is a feeling that runs so deep in my being that I know it must be true. When I read, hear music or see movies, this feeling is often evoked, and I know God is alive in His world and wanting it to be ONE.

In the silence of Your world I know You.

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Bible Scriptures
January 1, 2014

The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.
Psalm 145 : 9

“I will sing praises to my God my life long.”
Psalm 146:2

“Protect me. O God, for in you I take refuge…. You show me the path of life.”
Psalm 16:1,11

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Daily Inspiration
January 1, 2014

Begin every day as if it were your very first because you really are always at the beginning. Lord, thank you for the constant ability to stop any offensive behaviors that I have and the gift of being forgiven and being able to forgive myself.

To be wise, you must first find peace, for peace opens the door to a freer and fuller life. Lord, continue to draw me close to You so that I can know more and more of Your peace within me.

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A Day At A Time
January 1, 2014

Reflection For The Day

In the old days, I saw everything in terms of forever. Endless hours were spent rehashing old mistakes. I tried to take comfort in the forlorn hope that tomorrow “would be different.” As a result, I lived a fantasy life in which happiness was all but nonexistent. No wonder I rarely smiled and hardly ever laughed aloud. Do I still think in terms of “forever?”

Today I Pray

May I set my goals for the New Year not at the year-long mark, but one day at a time. My traditional New Year’s resolutions have been so grandly stated and so soon broken. Let me not weaken my resolve by stretching it to cover “forever” — or even one long year. May i reapply it firmly each new day. May I learn not to stamp my past mistakes with that indelible word, “forever.” Instead, may each single day in each New Year be freshened by my new-found hope.

Today I Will Remember

Happy New Day.

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One More Day
January 1, 2014

The beginning is the most important part of the work.

— Plato

On occasion we feel a bit sad as we ready ourselves for bed, knowing that our bedtime routine marks the end of another day. We may experience a slight sense of loss — time lost, opportunities lost, a piece of life gone forever. Or we may be filled with regret over words uttered harshly.

We can put this back into perspective with the realization that the nicest part about going to bed at night is knowing the daylight will come in the morning. We can’t erase today’s mistakes, but we can leave them with the day now past. We can set our sights on tomorrow. The dy we awaken to will hold a golden opportunity — to make amends, to make changes, to use our time well, to start the rest of our lives anew.

My life is made of some endings and many beginnings. I can choose to end an unproductive pattern by seeing it as a chance to begin.

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One Day At A Time
January 1, 2014
STEP THREE

“This only God may be had for the asking.”
James Russell Lowell

When I first came to the program and looked at the steps on the walls, my ego told me that I had Step Three already made. Of course, I had skipped right over Steps One and Two! I thought because I had experienced a religious experience many years ago, I didn’t need to take Step Three. What I was to discover in the next few months on my wonderful journey in recovery is that spirituality and religion were two different things. That my religion today is part of my spirituality, but my spirituality is so much more.

I finally in Step One “Came”. I kept coming to meetings and admitted my powerless and unmanageability. Then I “Came to.” Through Step Two a portion of my sanity was restored and continues to be restored on a daily basis. Then at the point of taking Step Three I “Came To Believe”. I realized that I had not turned my will and my life over to the care of God in the area of my compulsive overeating. That was a task yet to be done. And I offered myself to my God to do with as He would. I said the Third Step prayer which can be found in Alcoholic Anonymous on page 63, “God, I offer myself to Thee – the build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!” I had taken the Third Step. I was moved into a new dimension in my spiritual life.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will take Step Three this day, turning my will and life over to the care of my God.

~ Carolyn

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 1

“.because if you believe in something, and believe in it long enough, it will come into being.”
–Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE

We are created by the Great One to accomplish His will through our mental pictures or visions. Our thoughts are three dimensional: words, pictures and feelings. We create the vision by thinking the words and we create feeling for the vision by feeling enthusiasm, desire, commitment and other strong beliefs. Once we create the vision, we move toward and become like that which we think about. All visions are tested by our self talk; for example, “This isn’t going to happen, where is the money coming from anyway?” When this happens, we need to let go of the test and focus on belief in the vision. Why? Because God/Spirit said if we believe it long enough, He will guarantee it!!!

Great One, let my beliefs be strong today. Help me to have faith in my visions.

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Journey To The Heart
January 1, 2014
Honor the Beginning

Beginnings can be delicate or explosive. They can start almost invisibly or arrive with a big bang. Beginnings hold the promise of new lessons to be learned, new territory to be explored, and old lessons to be recalled, practiced, and appreciated. Beginnings hold ambiguity, promise, fear, and hope.

Don’t let the lessons, the experiences of the past, dampen your enthiusiasm for beginnings. Just because it’s been hard doesn’t mean it will always be that difficult. Don’t let the heartbreaks of the past cause you to become cynical, close you off to life’s magic and promise. Open yourself wide to all that the universe has to say.

Let yourself begin anew. Pack your bags. Choose carefully what you bring, because packing is an important ritual. Take along some humility and the lessons of the past. Toss in some curiosity and excitement about what you haven’t yet learned. Say your good-byes to those you’re leaving behind. Don’t worry who you will meet or where you will go. The way has been prepared. The people you are to meet will be expecting you. A new journey has begun. Let it be magical. Let it unfold.

All parts of the universe are sacred and holy. Take time now to honor the beginning.

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Today’s Gift
January 1, 2014

The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.
—Hada Bejar

Nothing is more attractive than sharing with others. No trait will be admired as much as generosity. There is no surer way to gain the respect of friends and neighbors than to show by what we give that we care about others. We can give many things besides money, shelter, clothing, or food to those in need. We can give the rich person love and understanding that money can’t buy. We can sympathize with those who are troubled, even though they appear wealthier than ourselves. We can share experience, strength, and hope with those who are ill or unhappy. We can even share our suffering with others who suffer, and hold up a light for them on the road to recovery.

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The Language of Letting Go
January 1, 2014
The New Year

Make New Year’s goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come.

Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level.

Goals give our life direction.

What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?

What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life?

Remember, we aren’t controlling others with our goals – we are trying to give direction to our life.

What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career?

What would you like to see happen inside and around you?

Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down – as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go.

Certainly, things happen that are out of our control. Sometimes, these events are pleasant surprises; sometimes, they are of another nature. But they are all part of the chapter that will be this year in our life and will lead us forward in the story.

The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.

Today, I will remember that there is a powerful force motivated by writing down goals. I will do that now, for the year to come, and regularly as needed. I will do it not to control but to do my part in living my life.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 1, 2014
Trust that good will come

It was a slow, boring January day at the Blue Sky Lodge. We had just moved in. The house was a mess. Construction hadn’t begun yet. All we had was a plan, and a dream. It was too cold and rainy to skydive or even be outdoors. There wasn’t any furniture yet. We were lying around on the floor.

I don’t know who got the idea first, him or me. But we both picked up Magic Markers about the same time. Then we started drawing on the wall.

“What do you want to happen in your life?” I asked. He drew pictures of seaplanes, and mountains, and boats leaving the shore. One picture was a video-camera man, jumping out of a plane. “I want adventure,” he said.

I drew pictures of a woman tromping around the world. She went to war-torn countries, then sat on a fence and watched. She visited the mountains and the oceans and many exciting places. Then I drew a heart around the entire picture, and she sat there in the middle of all the experiences on a big stack of books.

“I want stories,” I said, “ones with a lot of heart.”

Across the entire picture, in big letters, he wrote the word “Woohoo.”

As an afterthought, I drew a woman sky diver who had just jumped out of the plane. She was frightened and grimacing. Next to her I wrote the words “Just relax.”

On the bottom of the wall I wrote, “The future is only limited by what we can see now.” He grabbed a marker, corssed out “only” and changed it to “never.”

“There,” he said, “it’s done.”

Eventually, the house got cleaned up and the construction finished. Furniture arrived. And yellow paint covered the pictures on the wall. We didn’t think much about that wall until months later. Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, and sometimes in ways we’d least expect, each of the pictures we’d drawn on that wall began to materialize and manifest.

“It’s a magic wall,” I said.

Even if you can’t imagine what’s coming next, relax. The good pictures are still there. The wall will soon become covered with the story of your life. Thank God, the future is never limited by what we can see right now.

The wall isn’t magic.

The magic is in us and what we believe.

Before we start speaking the language of letting go, we need to understand what a powerful behavior letting go and letting God really is.

God, help me do my part. Then help me let go, and let you do yours.

Activity: Meditate for a moment on the year ahead. Make a list of things you’d like to see happen, attributes you’d like to gain, things you’d like to get and do, changes you’d like to occur. You don’t have to limit the list to this year. What do you want to happen in your life? Make a list of places you’d like to visit and things you’d like to see. Leave room for the unexpected, the unintended. But make room for the possibility of what you’d like,too– your intentions, wishes, dreams. hopes, and goals. Also, list what you’re ready to let go of, too– things, people, attitudes, and behaviors you’d like to release. If anything were possible, anything at all, what are the possibilities you’d like to experience and see?

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
January 1, 2014

He who is outside the door has already a good part of his journey behind him.
—Dutch proverb

When we see how far we’ve strayed from being the kind of men we wanted to be, we are overwhelmed by how far we have to go to get back on the track. Perhaps we see clearly for the first time how unfair we were or how much we hurt those we love. Maybe we see how pervasive our compulsions are in our lives and how much we missed.

That is when we are most ready to do the work of recovery and become most spiritual. It is helpful at those times to remember that this program is a journey. Although at times the distance seems overwhelming, all of us are on the path. As long as we live, we never reach a point where we can stop growing. The important thing is, we are on the path, and we have a good part of our journey behind us. Once begun, outside the door, we are progressing like all our brothers and sisters in the program.

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Daily TAO
January 1, 2014
BEGINNING

This is the moment of embarking.
All auspicious signs are in place.

In the beginning, all things are hopeful. We prepare ourselves to start anew. Though we may be intent on the magnificent journey ahead, all things are contained in this first moment : our optimism, our faith, our resolution, our innocence.

In order to start, we must make a decision. This decision is a commitment to daily self-cultivation. We must make a strong connection to our inner selves. Outside matters are superfluous. Alone and naked, we negotiate all of life’s travails. Therefore, we alone must make something of ourselves, transforming ourselves into the instruments for experiencing the deepest spiritual essence of life.

Once we make our decision, all things will come to us. Auspicious signs are not a superstition, but a confirmation. They are a response.  It is said that if one chooses to pray to a rock with enough devotion, even that rock will come alive. In the same way, once we choose to commit ourselves to spiritual practice, even the mountains and valleys will reverberate to the sound of our purpose.

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