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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 11

Just For Today
January 11
Faith

“As we develop faith in our daily lives, we find that our Higher Power supplies us with the strength and guidance that we need.”
—Basic Text, p. 91

Some of us come into recovery very frightened and insecure. We feel weak and alone. We are uncertain of our direction and don’t know where to go for answers. We are told that if we find some faith in a Power greater than ourselves, we will find security and guidance. We want that feeling of safety and strength. But faith doesn’t come overnight. It takes time and effort to grow.

The seed is planted when we ask our Higher Power for help and then acknowledge the source of our help when it comes. We nurture the tiny seed of faith with the sunlight of our prayers each day. Our faith grows, a reward for living life on its own terms. One day we realize our faith has become like a huge spreading tree; it doesn’t stop the storms of life, but we know that we are safe in its shelter.

Just for today: I know that faith in my Higher Power will not calm the storms of life, but it will calm my heart. I will let my faith shelter me in times of trouble.

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Daily Reflections
January 11
THE 100% STEP

“Only Step One, where we made the 100% admission we were powerless over alcohol, can be practiced with absolute perfection.”
—TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 68

Long before I was able to obtain sobriety in A.A., I knew without a doubt that alcohol was killing me, yet even with this knowledge, I was unable to stop drinking. So, when faced with Step One, I found it easy to admit that I lacked the power to not drink. But was my life unmanageable? Never! Five months after coming into A.A., I was drinking again and wondered why.

Later on, back in A.A. and smarting from my wounds, I learned that Step One is the only Step that can be taken 100%. And that the only way to take it 100% is to take 100% of the Step. That was many 24 hours ago, and I haven’t had to take Step One again.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 11
A.A. Thought For The Day

When we were drinking, most of us never thought of helping others. We liked to buy drinks for people, because that made us feel like bigshots. But we only used others for our own pleasure. To really go out and try to help somebody who needed help never occurred to us. To us, helping others looked like a sucker’s game. But when we came into A.A., we began to try to help others. And we found out that helping others made us happy and also helped us to stay sober. Have I learned that there is happiness in helping others?

Meditation For The Day

I will pray only for strength and that God’s will be done. I will use God’s unlimited store of strength for my needs. I will seek God’s will for me. I will strive for consciousness of God’s presence, for He is the light of the world. I have become a pilgrim, who needs only marching orders and strength and guidance for this day.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may seek God’s guidance day by day. I pray that I may strive to abide in God’s presence.

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As Bill Sees It
January 11
Quantity or Quality, p. 11

“About this slip business—I would not be too discouraged. I think you are suffering a great deal from a needless guilt. For some reason or other, the Lord has laid out tougher paths for some of us, and I guess you are treading one of them. God is not asking us to be successful. He is only asking us to try to be. That, you surely are doing, and have been doing. So I would not stay away from A.A. through any feeling of discouragement or shame. It’s just the place you should be. Why don’t you try just as a member? You don’t have to carry the whole A.A. on your back, you know!

It is not always the quantity of good things that you do, it is also the quality that counts.

Above all, take it one day at a time.”

Letter, 1958

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Walk In Dry Places
January 11
BEING DOWN
Overcoming Depression

It would be difficult to find a group of people more subject to mood swings than alcoholics. While we were drinking, most of us were not perceptive enough to realize most of us were not perceptive enough to realize that our moods rose and fell in a rhythmic pattern. We did not mind being “up,” but it distressed us greatly when we were “down.” Alcohol was the “upper” most of us took when we were depressed.

In sobriety, there is usually no chemical “upper” that’s safe to take for any of our down moods. Some of us have been helped by vitamins or by inspirational reading. But most of us simply have to RIDE OUT our down moods, doing the best we can until things are on the upswing again. In spite of being down, we do not have to drink.

Whatever the causes of mood swings, we can live with them, and we do not need any mood-altering drugs to see us through a down period. Our depression will pass, and we might even notice its hold lessening as we continue to grow in sobriety.

I will accept my feelings today, and I will not be disturbed if my mood seems somewhat low. This, too, will pass away.

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Keep It Simple
January 11

“If there is a harder way of doing something, someone will find it.”
—Ralph E. Ross

When we used alcohol or other drugs, we did most things the hard way. We could turn a simple task into a day-long project. We could turn a simple problem into an argument. We were creative giants in doing things the hard way! we need to change this. We deserve easier lives. It’s okay to take the smooth road .

In our program ,We have slogans for this: Keep It Simple, Let Go and Let God, First Things First, and Easy Does It. These slogans remind us that it’s okay to live with as little trouble as possible.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, show me how to live a simple life. I don’t have to do everything the hard way if I listen better to You.

Action for the Day: I’ll list three or four things I do that makes my life harder than it needs to be. I’ll share them with a friend.

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Each Day a New Beginning

“Fear is only an illusion. It is the illusion that creates the feeling of separateness, the false sense of isolation that exists only in your imagination.”
—Jeraldine Sounders

We are one. We are connected, interdependent parts of the whole. We are not separate from each other except in the mind, in our false understanding of reality. As we come to understand our connectedness, our need for one another to complete the whole of creation, our fears will die.

It is often said we learn who we really are by closely observing our behavior toward the people in our lives. We meet ourselves in those others. They are our reflections. They are, perhaps, parts we ourselves have not yet learned to love. The program’s message is to trust, to have faith; our higher power is in control. We are faced with no person, no situation too big to handle if we trust the program, if we remember the connections among us all.

I will look around today at others, with knowledge of our oneness. Fearing not, I will smile upon the wholeness of life.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 11
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

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.

How had I gotten there? I had always been a “good kid” growing up, the kind of son other mothers loved. I was at the top of my classes academically and had been in almost no trouble for the first seventeen years of my life. I would like to say that was because of my well-developed moral fiber; in fact, much of it was a result of fear. My earliest memories included threats by my parents to throw me out onto the street for the slightest acts of disobedience. The thought of being forced to live on the street is pretty terrifying for a six-year-old. Those threats, coupled with a fair amount of physical punishment, kept me frightened and obedient.

pp. 421-422

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 11

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

Let us reemphasize that this reluctance to fight one another or anybody else is not counted as some special virtue which makes us feel superior to other people. Nor does it means that the members of Alcoholics Anonymous, now restored as citizens of the world, are going to back away from their individual responsibilities to act as they see the right upon issues of our time. But when it comes to A.A. as a whole, that’s quite a different matter. In this respect, we do not enter into public controversy, because we know that our Society will perish if it does. We conceive the survival and spread of Alcoholics Anonymous to be something of far greater importance than the weight we could collectively throw back of any other cause. Since recovery from alcoholism is life itself to us, it is imperative that we preserve in full strength our means of survival.

p. 177

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Xtra Thoughts
January 11

“Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“All I need to know I learned from my cat.”
—Suzy Becker

“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”
—Kahlil Gibran

“You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.”
—Henry Drummond

“I know and trust that God cares for me, and takes care of all my needs.”
—Shelley

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 11
PHILOSOPHY

“To teach men how to live without certainty and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation is perhaps the chief thing philosophy can do.”
—Bertrand Russell

I suppose the “Twelve Steps” are a practical philosophy of how to live positively with the disease of alcoholism: (a) Don’t drink. (b) Find a God in your life that is understandable. (c) Begin to make positive choices in attitudes and behaviors. (d) Let “never forget” be an essential part of the message.

The miracle of this philosophy is that it reaches out to so many who suffer with addictive compulsions and teaches us how to live with being imperfect. I believe the Twelve Steps are the answer to “The Fall” of man—we are going home to God.

Let me see beyond the logic to Your loving energy.

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Bible Scriptures
January 11

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
—Ephesians 4:32

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
—Colossians 3:16

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Daily Inspiration
January 11

Look beyond a person’s faults so that you can see the real person. Lord, may I learn to focus on the goodness that is in each person and love them because all are your children.

The moment of absolute certainty over decisions made never arrives, so make your decision and move on. Lord, grant me wisdom and confidence in making my choices and the ability to recognize when new decisions need to be made.

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A Day At A Time
January 11

Reflection For The Day

The experiences of thousands upon thousands of people have proven that acceptance and faith are capable of producing freedom from dependence on chemicals. When we apply the same principles of acceptance and faith to our emotional problems, however, we discover that only relative results are possible. Obviously, for example, nobody can ever become completely free from fear, anger or pride. None of us will ever achieve perfect love, harmony or serenity. We’ll have to settle for very gradual progress, punctuated occasionally by very heavy setbacks. Have I begun to abandon my old attitude of “all or nothing?”

Today I Pray

May God grant me the patience to apply those same principles of faith and acceptance which are keys to my recovery to the whole of my emotional being. May I learn to recognize the festering of my own human anger, my hurt, my frustration, my sadness. With the help of God, may I find appropriate ways to deal with these feelings without doing harm to myself or others.

Today I Will Remember

Feelings are facts.

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One More Day
January 11

“Always do one thing less than you think you can do.”
—Bernard Baruch

Without even realizing it, we all have developed different levels of expertise. Too often, however, our knowledge of ourselves and of our physical capabilities is that we know the least of. The true measure of knowing ourselves, regardless of how capable we seem to be, is to stop the activity before we get too exhausted, before we have too much pain—before we cause an accident.

Understanding one’s own body has become a primary concern for many of us because now we realize that how we “used to” function doesn’t matter anymore. What does matter is how our bodies function right now, and we learn to structure our goals and expectations around those limitations.

I am learning, finally, how to recognize and heed my own body’s warning signals.

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One Day At A Time
January 11
~ FOCUS ~

“It takes a long time to become young.”
—Pablo Picasso

By the time I came to the Twelve Step program, I had forgotten how to have fun. My whole world revolved around food—eating it, planning to eat it, or not eating it (and being very aware of it). When asked to go anywhere, what first came to mind is what foods I could eat there. I would agree to go only if I were in the mood for the kind of food that would be available, and if the person going with me would be interested in eating it, too. Parties were all about the food, not who I’d see and meet. Family reunions were about Aunt Betty’s specialty dish and Uncle John’s grilled meats.

This focus on food made me forget how to have fun. I even forgot what I liked to do, if I ever knew. The truth is that fun came to mean eating, and it was what I liked to do.

In the recovery program, I’ve learned that I have choices; I just couldn’t see them for the food! The first time I went to a party where I didn’t even think about the food, but enjoyed all the new people I met while reconnecting with old friends, I was shocked when I ended up at the refreshment table. The party was almost over, and I hadn’t visited this area the second I walked in the door! What a relief! And what fun! I came home full of life and love and laughter. I hadn’t felt so young in years.

One Day at a Time …
I will pray to keep my focus away from food and instead focus on life.

~ Rhonda ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 11

“Race and language makes no difference; the barriers are gone when persons can come together on high spiritual levels.”
—Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE

Not only are race and language barriers overcome by spirituality, but all things are overcome by spirituality. Inside every human being is the spirit. When we see people, we can choose to look at their outside or we can choose to look at their inside. Spirituality resides inside of others, we must be able to look at our own inside. If we see spirituality inside ourselves, we will see spirituality inside others. The saying is, “what you sees is what you gets.”

My Creator, let me see all my brothers and sisters through the spiritual eye.

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Journey To The Heart
January 11
Let Go of the Blocks

I wandered into the bookstore in a small Southern California town, browsed for a while, then began chatting with the clerk. “Times are different now,” I said. “Changing fast. Turning into something so new, so different, many of us can’t imagine.”

“Yes,” she replied quietly and prophetically. “Things are going to be easier. Unless there’s something you’re still hanging on to.”

Is there something you’re still hanging on to? A remnant from the past that’s blocking you from stepping into the future? From stepping into today?

Look into your heart. The answer is there. Perhaps it’s a behavior, a person, a belief. Is there an issue from the past that’s blocking your ability to love yourself, to connect with God, life, others? Ask yourself if there’s something you’re hanging on to that has outworn its purpose. Old chains can tie us to the past, to past pain, to a path we’ve already trodden, a place we’ve already been.

Now is the time to let go. Gently, quietly, let go. Allow yourself a few looks back and as many tears as needed. Where you’ve been has been important. It has helped shape who you are. But have faith that where you’re going is important and wonderful,too.

Gently let go. Be free to step into your future of joy.

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Today’s Gift
January 11

Letting Go of Guilt

“There’s a good trick that people in dysfunctional relationships use,” said one recovering woman. “The other person does something inappropriate or wrong, then stands there until you feel guilty and end up apologizing.”

It’s imperative that we stop feeling so guilty.

Much of the time, the things we feel guilty about are not our issues. Another person behaves inappropriately or in some way violates our boundaries. We challenge the behavior, and the person gets angry and defensive. Then we feel guilty.

Guilt can prevent us from setting the boundaries that would be in our best interests, and in other people’s best interests. Guilt can stop us from taking healthy care of ourselves.

We don’t have to let others count on the fact that we’ll always feel guilty. We don’t have to allow ourselves to be controlled by guilt—earned or unearned! We can break through the barrier of guilt that holds us back from self care. Push. Push harder. We are not at fault, crazy, or wrong. We have a right to set boundaries and to insist on appropriate treatment. We can separate another’s issues from our issues, and let the person experience the consequences of his or her own behavior, including guilt. We can trust ourselves to know when our boundaries are being violated.

Today, I will let go of my big and little guilty feelings. Light and love are on my side.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 11
Throw the ball

“I think of letting go as being like throwing a baseball,” a friend said to me. “The problem is, I just don’t want to let go of the ball.” Hanging on to the ball is a temptation. We’ve got it in our hands. Why not keep it there? At least if we’re dwelling on the problem, it feels like we’re doing something. But we’re not. We’re just holding on to the ball, and chances are we’re holding up the game.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to solve the problem or offering requested advice. But if we’ve done everything we could, and there’s nothing left to do but obsess, the person we need to stop is ourselves.

Here are some rules:

  • If you’ve tried to solve a problem three times, and obsessing doesn’t count as a problem-solving skill, then stop yourself. Let go. Throw the ball. At least for today.
  • If others ask for advice, give them the advice once. Then throw the ball to them. Say no more.
  • If a person hasn’t asked for advice, or if you’ve offered advice and were told no thanks, there’s nothing to throw. The ball isn’t in your hands.

Remember the times you’ve willingly let go. Think about how things worked out for you then. Now remember those times you resisted letting go. Whether you wanted to or not, did you throw the ball in the end?

God, please show me the benefits of letting go.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
January 11

“All truth is an achievement. If you would have truth at its full value, go win it.”
—Munger

Truth can seem so elusive. Yet, at times it is so simple and obvious. In entering this program, many of us thought of ourselves as honest men. Some of us couldn’t bear the anguish of our dishonesty. As we repeatedly face ourselves, take our personal inventories, and hold ourselves accountable, we realize we have all grown in our honesty. What seemed honest before now looks like half-truth. It was the best we could do at the time. Our perception of truth has deepened by the grace of God and as a result of our hard work.

Truth is won when we have the courage to feel the pain of knowing it. Some of our pain has been the grief of realizing what we missed or lost in our insanity. Some has been the anguish of facing the harm we caused the ones we love, and some in admitting honestly how we ourselves were hurt.

Truth does make me free. The richness in my life is a generous reward for courage.

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Daily TAO
January 11
HEALING

Fire cools.
Water seeks its own level.

No matter how extreme a situation is, it will change. It cannot continue forever. Thus, a great forest fire is always destined to burn itself out; a turbulent sea will become calmer. Natural events balance themselves out by seeking their opposites, and this process of balance is at the heart of all healing.

This process takes time. If an event is not great, the balancing required is slight. If it is momentous, then it may take days, years, even lifetimes for things to return to an even keel. Actually, without these slight imbalances, there could be no movement in life. It is being off balance that keeps life changing. Total centering, total balance would only be stasis. All life is continual destruction and healing, over and over again.

That is why, even in the midst of an extreme situation, the wise are patient. Whether the situation is illness, calamity, or their own anger, they know that healing will follow upheaval.

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