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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 12

Just For Today
January 12
Spiritual Awakenings

” Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps…”
Step Twelve

” How will I know when I have had a spiritual awakening?” For many of us, a spiritual awakening comes gradually. Perhaps our first spiritual awareness is as simple as a new appreciation for life. Maybe one day we’ll suddenly discover the sound of birds singing early in the morning. The simple beauty of a flower may remind us that there is a Power greater than ourselves at work around us.

Often, our spiritual awakening is something that grows stronger over time. We can strive for more spiritual awareness simply by living our lives. We can persist in efforts to improve our conscious contact through prayer and meditation on a daily basis. We can listen within for the guidance we need. We can question other addicts about their experiences with spirituality. We can take time to appreciate the world around us.

Just for today: I will reflect on the spiritual awakenings I have experienced. I will strive to be God-conscious. I will take time out in the day to appreciate my Higher Power’s handiwork.

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Daily Reflections
January 12
ACCEPTING OUR PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES

Our very first problem is to accept our present circumstances as they are, ourselves as we are, and the people about us as they are. This is to adopt a realistic humility without which no genuine advance can even begin. Again and again, we shall need to return to that unflattering point of departure. This is an exercise in acceptance that we can profitably practice every day of our lives. Provided we strenuously avoid turning these realistic surveys of the facts of life into unrealistic alibis for apathy or defeatism, they can be the sure foundation upon which increased emotional health and therefore spiritual progress can be built.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 44

When I am having a difficult time accepting people, places or events, I turn to this passage and it relieves me of many an underlying fear regarding others, or= situations life presents me. The thought allows me to be human and not perfect, and to regain my peace of mind.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 12
A.A. Thought For The Day

The longer we’re in A.A., the more natural this way of life seems. Our old drinking lives were a very unnatural way of living. Our present sober lives are the most natural way we could possibly live. During the early years of our drinking, our lives weren’t so different from the lives of a lot of other people. But as we gradually became problem drinkers, our lives became more and more unnatural. Do I realize now that the things I did were far from natural?

Meditation For The Day

I will say thank you to God for everything, even the seeming trials and worries. I will strive to be grateful and humble. My whole attitude toward the Higher Power will be one of gratitude. I will be glad for the things I have received. I will pass on what God reveals to me.  I believe that more truths will flow in, as I go along in the new way of life.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be grateful for the things I have received and do not deserve. I pray that this attitude will make me truly humble.

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As Bill Sees It
January 12
Seeking Fool’s Gold, p. 12

Pride is the basic breeder of most human difficulties, the chief block to true progress. Pride lures us into making demands upon ourselves or upon others which cannot be met without perverting or misusing our God-given instincts. When the satisfaction of our instincts for sex, security, and a place in society becomes the primary object of our lives, then pride steps in to justify our excesses.

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

I may attain “humility for today” only to the extent that I am able to avoid the bog of guilt and rebellion on one hand and, on the other hand, that fair but deceiving land which is strewn with the fool’s-gold coins of pride. This is how I can find and stay on the highroad to humility, which lies between these extremes. Therefore, a constant inventory which can reveal when I am off the road is always in order.

1. 12 & 12, pp. 48-49
2. Grapevine, June 1961

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Walk In Dry Places
January 12
IF IT FEELS GOOD. . .
Facing Other Excesses

In the drinking life, one of the flippant sayings we heard was, “If it feels good, do it!” We hear that often in sobriety, although it sometimes appears on a bumper sticker or as casual comment. And if we’ve learned anything in sobriety, we know that this remark is really a permit for disaster. We drank to feel good, but we often ended up feeling terrible.

Yet the same slogan, properly understood, can be useful for the recovering alcoholic. We all want to feel good. But a drink means temporary pleasure followed by pain, guilt, remorse, and ruin. This is not really feeling good. It is a nightmare of the worst feeling we can imagine.

Happy sobriety does feel good, even though it may include short-term discomfort or temporary boredom. The long-run tendency of sobriety is toward having peace of mind, feeling good about ourselves, and using our talents and opportunities wisely. This is the mature way to feel good, but we achieve it only by thinking and acting in the right ways. Perhaps our slogan could be, “If it will make you feel good now and in the future, do it!”

Today I will pass up anything that seems pleasurable in the short run but will make me guilty and unhappy later on.

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Keep It Simple
January 12

Remember always that you have not only the right to be individual, you have an obligation to be one.
–Eleamnor Roosevelt

When we were using alcohol and other drugs, we often thought that we were different from others. We secretly thought that no one could understand us. Maybe we tried to be one of the group, but we were lonely. Now we know for sure–we are different from others. Everyone’s unique. We all have this in common. Being like others helps us feel safe and normal. But we need to feel good about the ways we’re different from others too. We think a little different, act a little different, and look a little different from anyone else. We each have our own way to make life better for others.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me be an individual. Help me use my special gifts, not hide them.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll make a list of the things I’m good at. I’ll think about how I can use these gifts.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 12

It isn’t sufficient to seek wholeness through men, it never was and it never will be for any woman, married or single.
–Patricia O’Brien

Most of us were encouraged from childhood on to “find a husband.” The message, often subtle, was nonetheless there. And many of us did marry. However, no relationship carries a lifetime guarantee. Pinning our hopes on another person keeps us dependent; it keeps us in a “holding pattern.” It keeps us from making those choices tailored to who we are and who we want to be.

Our recovery as women is closely aligned with our growth in decision-making, our choosing responsible behavior and activities, our personal achievement. We do, each of us, need to discover our own wholeness. We need to celebrate our personhood. We need to cheer one another on as women recovering from an addictive past, as worthwhile women in full measure.

I will respect my wholeness today. I will help another woman nurture hers.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 12
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

As I grew older, however, I made a plan. I would be dutiful until I graduated from high school. Then I would escape to college, secure my economic future, and never go home again. Just after my eighteenth birthday, I left for college. I was, I thought, finally free. I was in for a rude awakening.

p. 422

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 12

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

Maybe this sounds as though the alcoholics in A.A. had suddenly gone peaceable, and become one great big happy family. Of course, this isn’t so at all. Human beings that we are, we squabble. Before we leveled off a bit, A.A. looked more like one prodigious squabble than anything else, at least on the surface. A corporation director who had just voted a company expenditure of a hundred thousand dollars would appear at an A.A. business meeting and blow his top over an outlay of twenty-five dollars’ worth of needed postage stamps. Disliking the attempt of some to manage a group, half its membership might angrily rush off to form another group more to their liking. Elders, temporarily turned Pharisee, have sulked. Bitter attacks have been directed against people suspected of mixed motives. Despite their din, our puny rows never did A.A. a particle of harm. They were just part and parcel of learning to work and live together. Let it be noted, too, that they were almost always concerned with ways to make A.A. more effective, how to do the most good for the most alcoholics.

pp. 177-178

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Xtra Thoughts
January 12

You are a child of God. You are a child of Light.  The Soul that is your true identity resides naturally in love and joy.
–John-Roger

Take LOVE as an acronym:
LISTEN intently to the people with whom you are traveling your journey. Listen deeply; it is a great gift.

OPTIMIZE the time you have with your loved ones. The truth is, we do not know our last hour; don’t postpone giving your love.

VALUE the people in your life, really notice their goodness.

Then, EXPRESS your gratitude, appreciation and praise.
–Mary Manin Morrissey

Message of Peace
May there always be work for your hands to do;
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.
–Leo Buscaglia

If you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel… then run down there and light the darn thing yourself… 🙂

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 12
VALUES

“The aim of education is the knowledge not of fact, but of values.”
— Dean William R. Inge

Facts can sometimes confuse. They can be used to hide behind. They can be manipulated into lies. Facts are no substitute for values — human values.

Today I not only value my life but I value life itself. When I walk amongst nature, I taste her purity, observe her beauty, experience her strength — and I know I am a part of it all. Today my values have changed because I see myself as “part of” rather than “separate from”. I belong to this universe, this world, this planet and what I do affects the essential value of life. With my daily respect for self comes a respect for property, people, different cultures and God.

Today the things I truly value I do not pay for; the things I cherish cannot be won or bought. Spirituality is free.

Teach me to value the meaning of freedom and the richness of life.

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Bible Scriptures
January 12

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28

For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, (it is) the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
Galatians 5:16

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

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Daily Inspiration
January 12

Take today and make it beautiful. Lord, my life is no accident and neither is how I live it. Help me to fill it with smiles.

We can be serious about our work without being serious about ourselves. Lord, help me to enjoy the person that I am.

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A Day At A Time
January 12

Reflection For The Day

When I sit quietly and compare my life today with the way it used to be, the difference is almost beyond belief. But things aren’t always rosy; some days are a lot better than others. I tend to accept the bad days more easily on an intellectual level than I do emotionally, or at gut-level. There are no pat answers, but part of the solution surely life’s in a constant effort to practice all of the Twelve Steps. Do I accept the fact that my Higher Power will never give me more than I can handle — one day at a time.

Today I Pray

That I may receive strength in the knowledge that God never gives us more than we can bear, that I can always, somehow, endure present pain, whereas the trials of a lifetime, condensed into on disastrous moment, would surely overcome me. Thanks be to God for giving us only those tribulations which are in proportion to our strength, never destroying us in our frailty. May I remember that fortitude grows out of suffering.

Today I Will Remember

Present pain is endurable.

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One More Day
January 12

It’s a fine thing to rise above pride, but you must have pride in order to do so.
— George Bernanos

We are entitled to feel proud of our accomplishments. Pride is an essential ingredient in the receipt of life, and it comes from an inner sense of well-being, from knowing we have done the best we could under difficult conditions.

When our day’s plans are upset by the unexpected, we may struggle with maintaining our pride.

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One Day At A Time
January 12
~ GUILT ~

Who I am is what I have to give.  Quite simply, I must remember that’s enough.
–Anne Wilson Schaef

For most of my growing up years, I was fed on guilt, or so it seemed. I always felt that in order to justify being worthy of what others did for me, I had to be the best at whatever I did. I would feel guilty for not meeting others’ expectations. My self-esteem was virtually non-existent. I was always there for other people rather than being there for myself. It was no wonder I turned to food to help me cope.

Now, I’m grateful that it took the pain of all those years of compulsive overeating to bring me into this wonderful fellowship of people who accept me just as I am. I don’t need to do anything to justify myself. Through working the steps, I have been able to let go of a lot of guilt and I see that, even with all my character defects, I’m still a very special and unique human being. My self-esteem has improved, and I learned that I need to take care of myself if I’m to be of help to others.

I still struggle with those defects from time to time, but with the support I find in this fellowship, I am becoming comfortable with who I am, and I can let go of the guilt. What a relief that has been!

I don’t need to be just the person who is always there for others; I need to be there for myself. I am learning that I am a worthwhile person and that I’m just the way God wants me to be.

One Day at a Time . . .
I don’t need to be just the person who is always there for others;
I need to be there for myself.
I am learning that I am a worthwhile person and that I’m just the way God wants me to be.

~ Sharon ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 12

“The first thing that we want you to understand is that spirit has no color or race to it. It doesn’t matter whether your skin is white, black, red, Hispanic, whatever. No one out there is any better than you, and you are no better than anyone else out there.”
–John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG

We are all created to be of equal worth. We may be different sizes, different heights, different ages, different colors, we may have different beliefs and be of different cultures. In the unseen world, we are all spirit formed into different shapes and colors but we are all worthy. For example, you can have water, you can have steam, or you can have ice. Which of these is not made up of H2O?

My Creator, today, let me see equal worthiness in all people.

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Journey To The Heart
January 12
Let the Universe Help You

Let the universe help you. You are not in this world alone. You never have been, although your belief may have created that illusion.

Tell the universe what you want. Tell a friend. Tell God,too. Tell yourself. Write it down on a list. Be clear and forthright about what you need and want. Talk as if you were talking to a friend. That is not control. That is learning to own your own creative power– your power to help create your life. Then let go. Do not stand tapping your foot, impatiently waiting. Simply let go, the way you would if you trusted your friend to respond positively, in a way that was best for you.

Go naturally about the course of your life. Listen to your heart. Listen to your inner voice. What are you guided to do, where you are guided to go, where your attention is directed, the people you meet, the phone calls you receive, the experiences you have– even the problems that arise– these are some ways the universe can respond to you.

Open your eyes. Look around. See how the universe responds. Watch how it dances for you, with you. You are connected to a magical loving universe, one that will come alive for you, dance for you, in ways you cannot imagine– but in ways you will come to know as true.

Look within,too. Sometimes the most gentle, quiet, flickering thought– that glimmer of an idea, that awareness of a need or desire, or that small bit of inspiration or intuition– is how the universe prepares us for what it wants us to do or receive. Our inner voice, the one in our heart, is an important part of the way we’re guided and led down our path.

You stand at a gateway now. It’s the door to universal love.

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Today’s Gift
January 12

I held a moment in my hand, brilliant as a star, fragile as a flower, a shiny sliver out of one hour. I dropped it carelessly. O God! I knew not I held an opportunity.
—Hazel Lee

Once, a famous artist was hired to put stained glass windows into a great cathedral. His eager young apprentice pleaded for the chance to design just one small window. The master artist feared an experiment on even a small window would prove costly, but the persistent young apprentice kept up his pleas. Finally, the master agreed that he could try his hand on one small window if he furnished his own materials and worked on his own time.

The enterprising apprentice began gathering bits of glass his master had discarded, and set to work. When the cathedral doors were open, people stood in groups before the small window, praising its delicate excellence.

Our lives are like this. If we take the time to gather together the moments and opportunities we too often discard and waste, we find we can weave them into something beautiful.

What can I make of moments I usually waste today?

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The Language of Letting Go
January 12
Finding Balance

The goal of recovery is balance – that precious middle ground.

Many of us have gone from one extreme to another: years of taking care of everyone but ourselves, followed by a time of refusing to focus on anyone’s needs but our own.

We may have spent years refusing to identify, feel, and deal with our feelings, followed by a period of absolute obsession with every trace of emotional energy that passes through our body.

We may succumb to powerlessness, helplessness, and victimization, then we swing to the other extreme by aggressively wielding power over those around us.

We can learn to give to others while taking responsibility for ourselves. We can learn to take care of our feelings, as well as our physical, mental, and spiritual needs. We can nurture the quiet confidence of owning our power as equals in our relationships with others.

The goal of recovery is balance, but sometimes we get there by going to extremes.

Today, I will be gentle with myself, understanding that sometimes to reach the middle ground of balance, I need to explore the peaks and valleys. Sometimes, the only way I can extricate myself from a valley is to jump high enough to land on a peak, and then slowly ease myself down.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 12
Stop playing tug-of-war

Letting go can be like a tug-of-war with God.

Have you ever played tug-of-war with a puppy and an old sock or toy? You pull. He pulls. You pull it out of his mouth. He grabs hold again and shakes and shakes and says grrrrrr. The harder you tug, the harder the puppy tugs. Finally, you just let go. Then he comes right back again, for more.

I have never successfully treated or solved one problem in my life by obsessing or controlling. I’ve yet to accomplish anything by worrying. And manipulation has not wrought one successful outcome. But I forget that from time to time.

The best possible outcomes happen when I let go. That doesn’t mean I always get my way. But things work out and, ultimately, the lesson becomes clear. If we want to play tug-of-war, we can, but it’s not an efficient problem-solving skill.

God, help me surrender to your will.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
January 12

I should be content to look at a mountain for what it is and not as a comment on my life.
—David Ignatow

We have recognized our self-centeredness as addicts and codependents. On the other side is the feeling of peace and well being when we are released from it. Self-centeredness caused us to take everything personally. We were hypersensitive to our surroundings, to other people, and to how they reacted. Yet, so often these things had very little to do with us. God sends rain for the just and the unjust.

When we can look at a mountain and lose ourselves in the sight, we are refreshed spiritually. But no mountain is necessary for this experience. When we listen to a friend and simply hear his perspective, when we pet a dog and just enjoy this loving creature, when we look at a sunset and drink it in for what it is – then we are growing.

God, grant me release from the oppression of my ego.

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Daily TAO
January 12
SHAPING

Potter at the wheel.
From centering to finished pot,
Form increases as options decrease;
Softness goes to hardness.

When a potter begins to throw a pot, she picks up a lump of clay, shapes it into a rough sphere, and throws it onto the spinning potter’s wheel. It may land off-center, and she must carefully begin to shape it until it is a smooth cylinder. Then she works the clay, stretching and compressing it as it turns. First it is a tower, then it is like a squat mushroom. Only after bringing it up and down several times does she slowly squeeze the revolving clay until its walls rise from the wheel.  She cannot go on too long, for the clay will begin to “tire” and then sag. She gives it the form she imagines, then sets it aside. The next day, the clay will be leather hard, and she can turn it over to shape the foot. Some decoration may be scratched into the surface. Eventually, the bowl will be fired, and then the only options are the colors applied to it; its shape cannot be changed.

This is how we shape all the situations in our lives. We must give them rough shape and then throw them down into the center of our lives.  We must stretch and compress, testing the nature of things. As we shape the situation, we must be aware of what form we want things to take. The closer something comes to completion, the harder and more definite it becomes. Our options become fewer, until the full impact of our creation is all that there is. Beauty or ugliness, utility or failure comes from the process of shaping.

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