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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 10

NA Just For Today
January 10
Gratitude

“I’m very grateful to have come to believe.”
IP No. 21, “The Loner”

Belief in a Higher Power can make all the difference when the going gets tough! When things don’t go our way in recovery, our sponsor may direct us to make a “gratitude list.” When we do, we should include our faith in a Power greater than ourselves on the list. One of the greatest gifts we receive from the Twelve Steps is our belief in a God of our own understanding.

The Twelve Steps gently lead us toward a spiritual awakening. Just as our addiction progressed, so does our spiritual life develop in the course of working the program of Narcotics Anonymous. The steps are our path to a relationship with a God of our understanding. This Higher Power gives us strength when our road gets rough.

Are we grateful for our deepening relationship with a Higher Power? Do we remember to thank God for each day clean, no matter what has happened that day? Do we remember that, no matter how deep our despair or how great our joy, the God of our understanding is with us?

Our recovery is a gift, a gift that we sometimes take for granted. Each day we stay clean, we can rejoice in our Higher Power’s care.

Just for today: I am grateful for my relationship with a Higher Power that cares for me.

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Daily Reflections
January 10
UNITED WE STAND

We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.
Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 30

I came to Alcoholics Anonymous because I was no longer able to control my drinking. It was either my wife’s complaining about my drinking, or maybe the sheriff forced me to go to A.A. meetings, or perhaps I knew, deep down inside, that I couldn’t drink like others, but I was unwilling to admit it because the alternative terrified me.  Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women united against a common, fatal disease. Each one of our lives is linked to every other, much like the survivors on a life raft at sea. If we all work together, we can get safely to shore.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 10
A.A. Thought For The Day

When we were drinking most of us were full of pride and selfishness.  We believed we could handle our own affairs, even though we were making a mess of our lives. We were very stubborn and didn’t like to take advice. We resented being told what to do. To us, humility looked like weakness. But when we came into A.A., we began to be humble.  And we found out that humility gave us the power we needed to overcome drinking. Have I learned that there is power in humility?

Meditation For The Day

I will come to God in faith and He will give me a new way of life. This new way of life will alter my whole existence, the words I speak, the influence I have. They will spring from the life within me. I see how important is the work of a person who has this new way of life. The words and the example of such a person can have a whole influence for good in the world.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may learn the principles of the good life. I pray that I may meditate upon them and work at them, because they are eternal.

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As Bill Sees It
January 10
Out Of The Dark, p. 10

Self searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action, and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our natures. With it comes the development of that kind of humility that makes it possible for us to receive God’s help. Yet it is only a step. We will want to go further.

We will want the good that is in us all, even in the worst of us, to flower and grow. But first of all we shall want sunlight, nothing much can grow in the dark.  Meditation is our step out into the sun.

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“A clear light seems to fall upon us all–when we open our eyes. Since our blindness is caused by our own defects, we must first deeply realize what they are. Constructive meditation is the first requirement for each new step in our spiritual growth.”

1. Twelve And Twelve, p. 98
2. Letter, 1946

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Walk In Dry Places
January 10
No Need for Envy
Overcoming Envy

We would be unusual people if we did not suffer from the common feeling of envy. Quite often, we are envious of people who surpass us in some activity or who threaten our self-esteem in some way. Even if we are high achievers in spite of our drinking, we might envy people who appear to be rivaling or overtaking us.

We can make choices about envy. We do not have to be envious of anybody when we fully accept ourselves and God’s will for us. There is no reason to be envious of another if we are doing what God wants us to do and if we have turned our will and lives over to God.

We should be on guard for jealous feelings toward those close to us. Most of us can shrug when we read about strangers winning the million-dollar lottery, but how would we feel if a close friend or relative won? When those envious feeling surface, we might face them by admitting them to others and asking God’s help in rising above them. And if we share these feelings in-group discussions, others will be helped by our display of honesty.

I will accept myself, as I am this day. I will not be jealous of anyone’s status, possessions, or opportunities.

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Keep It Simple
January 10

I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
—Winston Churchill

We addicts are used to learning the hard way. Many of us think we’re different and can do things our own way. But then we get in too much trouble or pain. The first AA members were just like us. They knew how it is to hate being told what to do. So they suggested we follow the Twelve Steps. They didn’t say we have to do anything. They didn’t say working the Steps is the only way to live sober. They just said the Steps worked for them. we’re finding out that the Steps work for us too. We don’t have to work them.

We don’t have to stay sober. We just like our new sober life better than our old drinking or drugging life.

And we learned how to live this new life by working the Steps

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me be open to your lessons. Teach me gently and help me listen.

Action for the Day: I will list five ways that I get in the way of my own learning.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 10

A complete revaluation takes place in your physical and mental being when you’ve laughed and had some fun.
–Catherine Ponder

Norman Cousins, in his book Anatomy of an Illness, describes how he cured his fatal illness with laughter. Laughter recharges our entire being; every cell is activated. We come alive, and full vitality restores us physically and emotionally. Many of us need both emotional and physical healing, but perhaps we’ve overlooked the times to laugh because we’ve been caught in a negative posture.

Unfortunately, negativity becomes habitual for many of us. However, it’s never too late to turn our lives around, to laugh instead of complain. Choosing to see the bright side of life, to laugh at our mistakes, lessens our pain, emotional and physical. Laughter encourages wellness. It is habit-forming and, better yet, contagious. Bringing laughter to others can heal them as well.

We all want health and happiness in ourselves and others, and we can find it by creating it. The best prescription for whatever ails us may well be a good laugh.

Today Ill seek out those chances to dispense a little medicine.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 10
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

I got sober while I was still in college. Once, outside of a meeting, I overheard a conversation between another sober student and a woman who lived in the town where I went to school. She was explaining why so many local residents disliked the students. She described the common perception of students as arrogant and self-centered, and went on to tell the following story.

“I am a nurse and I work in the emergency room. Two years ago a student was brought in by ambulance in the middle of the night. He had gotten drunk, walked through a second-story window, and fallen twenty feet headfirst into a concrete window well. He was brought in covered with blood. His head had swollen the size of a watermelon. He kept swearing at the nurses and doctors, telling them to keep their hands of of him, and threatening to sue them. He was, without a doubt, the single most obnoxious person I have ever met.”

At that point I interrupted her. “That was me,” I said. “That was my last drunk.” I had walked through that window when I was nineteen years old.

p. 421

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 10

Tradition Ten – “Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.”

As by some deep instinct, we A.A.’s have known from the very beginning that we must never, no matter what the provocation, publicly take sides in any fight, even a worthy one. All history affords us the spectacle of striving nations and groups finally torn asunder because they were designed for, or tempted into, controversy. Others fell apart because of sheer self-righteousness while trying to enforce upon the rest of mankind some millennium of their own specification. In our own times, we have seen millions die in political and economic wars often spurred by religious and racial difference. We live in the imminent possibility of a fresh holocaust to determine how men shall be governed, and how the products of nature and toil shall be divided among them. That is the spiritual climate in which A.A. was born, and by God’s grace has nevertheless flourished.

pp. 176-177

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Xtra Thoughts
January 10

Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of others, but from doing something worthwhile.
–Wilfred Grenfell (1865 – 1940)

Joy has nothing to do with material things, or with a man’s outward circumstance… A man living in the lap of luxury can be wretched, and a man in the depths of poverty can overflow with joy.
–William Barclay (1907 – 1978)

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key.

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
–Abraham Lincoln

Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.
–Seneca

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 10
DIFFERENCE

As a recovering alcoholic I belong to a minority. As somebody with the disease of addiction I am aware of my difference. And I have experienced prejudice and injustice because I was not born like other people.

But in a spiritual sense the acceptance of my disease has given me a freedom that united me with other minorities, other “different” groups, the countless shades of humanity. My disease has produced a spiritual unity and bond with creation that makes me rejoice in my difference and produces a tolerance of others that was not there before. In this sense I thank God for my dis-ease.

You, who made the different, also created the unity; help me find both in my life.

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Bible Scriptures
January 10

“My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.”
Psalm 5:3

May my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word.
May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise.
May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees.
May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.
May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight.
Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.
Psalm 119:169-176

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Daily Inspiration
January 10

We have many doors, but it is our choice which one to open. Lord, bless me with the wisdom to make the best of my daily life.

Happiness comes from knowing that you can handle the things in your life. Lord, help me to become confident and see the power that is really within me.

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A Day At A Time
January 10

Reflection For The Day

Since I came to The Program, I’ve become increasingly aware of the Serenity Prayer. I see it on literature covers, the walls of meeting rooms, and in the homes of new-found friends. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Do I understand the Serenity Prayer? Do I believe in its power and repeat it often? Is is becoming easier for me to accept the things I cannot change?

Today I Pray

God grant that the words of the Serenity Prayer never become mechanical for me or lose their meaning in the lulling rhythms of repetition. I pray that these words will continue to take on new depths of significance as I fit life’s realities to them. I trust that I may find the solutions I need in this prayer, which, in its simplicity, encompasses all of life’s situations.

Today I Will Remember

Share the prayer.

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One More Day
January 10

In loving myself I gain the power of identity that is necessary before love for others is possible.
— David G. Jones

Throughout our lives, we may have loved and cared for other people more than we did for ourselves. Some of us were raised to feel that self-love meant selfish. And some of us had trouble finding anything in ourselves that we could love.

Learning to love ourselves is not easy, especially if our lives are not going the way we had hoped. And those of us who had expected greater personal growth are often unable to take pride in what progress we’ve made. If we hoped for perfection, we were bound to be disappointed.

Now, we’re more likely to see self-love as meaning self-acceptance. We simply offer ourselves what we’ve so freely offered others — love, care, and a second chance.

I am a worthy person, deserving of love and forgiveness.

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One Day At A Time
January 10
~ FORGIVENESS ~

Don’t carry a grudge.  While you’re carrying the grudge, the other guy’s out dancing.
Buddy Hackett

I have spent so much of my life wanting and, in my sickest moments, demanding amends from others. I truly have been treated poorly, wrongly and unfairly. But when I focus on how someone else owes me apologies and amends, I’m keeping myself in a negative attitude while trying to change someone else.

One of the best parts of Twelve Step recovery for me has been to let go of these grudges. I work on forgiving people. It sounds wacky, but forgiving them (not forgetting) allows me to let it go. One way I can find forgiveness is to know they never asked themselves how they could make me miserable today. From there, I can wish them well. It has been an absolute blessing to let go of these things rather than waiting for these people to make amends to me.

One day at a time…
I will remember that no one is intentionally doing harm to me. Forgiveness is a much more serene place.

Rhonda H.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 10

“We cannot escape remembering the important things that have happened, and we cannot escape the awareness of the important things that have not happened.”
–Ralph Salisbury, CHEROKEE

There is a Master Plan. There are Natural Laws that run the universe. Everything on the earth has a purpose. Change is constant. That which is built is constantly being destroyed. That which is loose is being used to build new things. Nothing can be destroyed, only rearranged. Change will happen and every setback is only temporary. In other words, the Creator is in charge. We are not in charge. He designed the universe. He runs the universe and He will change what needs to be changed. As humans, it is easier for us to participate in all of this if we are spiritual. We need to be tuned in. Therefore, God gave us the spiritual concept of acceptance. When things change, we can change ourselves through the principle of acceptance.

Great Spirit, let me live today in acceptance of Your will. Today let us do it Your way.

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Journey To The Heart
January 10
Value Your Passion

For too long, we have wrongly judged our passion– our passion for living, our vitality and zest for places, people, things, and ideas. I shouldn’t have what I want. I shouldn’t say what I like. I shouldn’t get too excited. What helps us come to life? What takes us out of the motions and into our emotions? What connects us to the energy of life, the energy of love, the energy of the life force that permeates us all?

All your growth, all your work, has not been to lead you away from your passions, to turn you into a robot. It has been to bring you back to life, to put you in touch with the vital energy of the universe, an energy that permeates all that is. An energy that permeates you.

Honor your passion by honoring your emotions. Feeling your emotions releases passion into life. Feel them. Feel them all. Then you will know what you like, what instills passion in you. Once you know and can recognize that, you’ll know which direction to go.

Expressing passion and gratitude will guide your life. Say it again and again. Say it until you believe it. Say it until you live it.

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Today’s Gift
January 10

You feel the way you do right now because of the thoughts you are thinking at this moment.
—David D. Burns

Good thoughts are like bright colors in a painting. Negative thoughts are dark and dreary and drab. Each day we paint pictures of our own lives with our thoughts. If we step back and look at the canvas, we will see whether the picture is alive with bright colors or dreary and lifeless like a dark cloud. Our thoughts have the power to bring joy or sadness our way, depending on what we expect or look for in our surroundings. The choice of how we want our lives to be is ours. Since we paint a new picture each day, we are always free to change things when they don’t please us. What better time than the present?

Is there something in my life I’d like to change today?

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The Language of Letting Go
January 10
Fear

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse, and. you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again; you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fear can be a big stopper for many of us: fear of fragility, fear of failure, fear of making a mistake, fear of what others might think, fear of success. We may second-guess our next action or word until we talk ourselves out of participating in life.

“But I failed before!” “I can’t do it good enough!” “Look at what happened last time!” “What if.. .?” These statements may disguise fear. Sometimes the fear is disguising shame.

After I finished the first two chapters of a book I was writing, I read them and grimaced. “No good,” I thought. “Can’t do it.” I was ready to pitch the chapters, and my writing career, out the window. A writer friend called, and I told her about my problem. She listened and told me: “those chapters are fine. Stop being afraid. Stop criticizing yourself. And keep on writing.”

I followed her advice. The book I almost threw away became a New York Times best seller.

Relax. Our best is good enough. It may be better than we think. Even our failures may turn out to be important learning experiences that lead directly to – and are necessary for – an upcoming success.

Feel the fear, and then let it go. Jump in and do it – whatever it is. If our instincts and path have led us there, it’s where we need to be.

Today, I will participate in life to the best of my ability. Regardless of the outcome, that makes me a winner.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 10
Push a different button

If you keep pushing the same button, you will get the same results. If you don’t like the same results, maybe you could try pushing a different button.

“I try and I try and I try. Nothing seems to change. I don’t know why he can’t try to please me a little more. I’ve done so much for him.” “The people at work don’t appreciate my efforts after all that I’ve done.”

If you find yourself reacting to the same situations with the same responses over and over again, waiting for a change, stop! If you’ve been pushing the same button again and again, maybe the only result you’re going to get is the one that’s been taking place.

Look at your relationships. Is there a situation that has been moving steadily downhill despite your best efforts to push the right button? Do you find yourself responding to the same situations in the same way over and over, never satisfied with the results? Are you trying the same thing over and over, waiting for something outside of yourself to change instead of doing something differently yourself? Maybe it’s time to stop pushing the button, walk away, and do something else.

God, give me the clarity to see the situations in my life honestly and to act with wisdom and responsibility in the associations that I have.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
January 10

“If you don’t take chances, you can’t do anything in life.”
—Michael Spinks

Many of us have done things that, in looking back, seem insane or dangerous. We may have had friends or family members who got into serious trouble and frightened us by their risky behavior. Out of fear, we may have become too cautious about everything.

Our dilemma is that growth is a risk, too. If we avoid all risk, we become stagnant. Life thrives on possibilities and options. Of course, risk means the outcome is unsure. We may not get the result we desire. But not all risk taking is as self-destructive as it was in our past. Now we have our relationship with our Higher Power and ourselves. Now taking a chance may help us grow, even when we don’t get what we want.

Today let me see possibilities, and guide my inner sense of when to take a chance for growth.

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Daily TAO
January 10
DISASTER

Mute black night,
Sudden fire.
Destruction.

Disaster strikes at its own time. It is so overwhelming that we can do nothing other than accept it. It alters the course of our days, our work, our very thinking. Although it is tempting to resent disaster, there is not much use in doing so. We cannot say that a disaster had malice toward us, though it might have been deadly, and it’s hard to say that it has “wrecked” our plans : In one stroke it changes the very basis of the day.

Disaster is natural. It is not the curse of the gods, it is not punishment. Disaster results from the interplay of forces : the earthquake from pressures in the earth, the hurricane from wind and rain, even the accidental fire from a spark. We rush to ask “Why?” in the wake of a great disaster, but we should not let superstition interfere with dispassionate acceptance. There is no god visiting down destruction.

Disasters may well change us deeply, but they will pass. We must keep to our deeper convictions and remember our goals. Whether we remain ash or become the phoenix is up to us.

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