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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 13

Just For Today
January 13
Surrender To Win

“Help for addicts begins only when we are able to admit complete defeat.”
—Basic Text, p. 22

Complete defeat—what a concept! That must mean surrender. Surrender—to give up absolutely. To quit with no reservations. To put up our hands and quit fighting. Maybe to put up our hand at our first meeting and admit we’re addicts.

How do we know we’ve taken a First Step that will allow us to live drug-free? We know because, once we have taken that gigantic step, we never have to use again—just for today. That’s it. It’s not easy, but it’s very simple.

We work the First Step. We accept that, yes, we are addicts. “One is too many, and a thousand never enough.” We’ve proven that to ourselves enough times. We admit that we cannot handle drugs in any form. We admit it; we say it out loud, if necessary.

We take the First Step at the beginning of our day. For one day. This admission frees us, just for today, from the need to live out our addiction all over again. We’ve surrendered to this disease. We give up. We quit. But in quitting, we win. And that’s the paradox of the First Step: We surrender to win, and by surrendering we gain a far greater power than we ever imagined possible.

Just for today: I admit that I am powerless over my addiction. I will surrender to win.

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Daily Reflections
January 13
IT DOESN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT

“We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.”
—ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 85

The most common alcoholic fantasy seems to be: “If I just don’t drink, everything will be all right.” Once the fog cleared for me, I saw—for the first time—the mess my life had become. I had family, work, financial and legal problems; I was hung up on old religious ideas; there were sides of my character to which I was inclined to stay blind because they easily could have convinced me that I was hopeless and pushed me toward escape again. The Big Book guided me in resolving all of my problems. But it didn’t happen overnight—and certainly not automatically—with no effort on my part. I need always to recognize God’s mercy and blessings that shine through any problem I have to face.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 13
A.A. Thought For The Day

When we were drinking, we were living an unnatural life physically and mentally. We were punishing our bodies by loading them with alcohol. We didn’t eat enough and we ate the wrong things. We didn’t get enough sleep or the right kind of rest. We were ruining ourselves physically.  We had an alcoholic obsession, and we couldn’t imagine life without alcohol. We kept imagining all kinds of crazy things about ourselves and about other people. We were ruining ourselves mentally. Since I came into A.A., am I getting better physically and mentally?

Meditation For The Day

I believe that my life is being refined like gold in a crucible. Gold does not stay in the crucible, only until it is refined. I will never despair or be despondent. I now have friends who long for me to conquer. If I should err or fail, it would cause pain and disappointment to them. I will keep trying to live a better life.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may always call on God’s strength, while the gold of my life is being refined. I pray that I may see it through, with God’s help.

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As Bill Sees It
January 13
The Shared Gift, p. 13

A.A. is more than a set of principles; it is a society of alcoholics in action. We must carry the message, else we ourselves can wither and those who haven’t been given the truth may die.

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

Faith is more than our greatest gift; its sharing with others is our greatest responsibility. May we of A.A. continually seek the wisdom and the willingness by which we may well fulfill that immense trust which the Giver of all perfect gifts has placed in our hands.

1. Service Manual, p. 5
2. Grapevine, April 1961

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Walk In Dry Places
January 13
The need for approval.
Raising self-esteem.

Although drinking behavior may have been defiant and antisocial, most of us wanted others to think well of us. If we are not watchful, this need for approval can tyrannize us in sobriety.

A fierce need for approval can drives us to do more than our share of talking at discussion meetings. On the other hand, the fear of disapproval may cause us to “pass” when we really do have something to say. Outside of the fellowship, a strong desire for others’ approval can make us anxious and unsure of ourselves. In the same way, a strong fear of being rejected or criticized can make us afraid to act.

In sobriety, we can free ourselves from an unreasonable desire for approval. When we learn to like ourselves more, we do not need constant reassurance and applause from others. We may also discover that we have been doing certain things against our will simply because we wanted somebody’s approval. This is our fault, not theirs, and we can get such practices out of our lives when we no longer need them.

I will accept myself as I am today. I will give others the approval that I desire for myself. I will not try to win approval by being a people-pleaser.

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Keep It Simple
January 13

“The junkie can never start to cure himself until he recognizes his true condition.”
—Malcolm X

Now we know what the problem is. Now we can do something about it. The truth of our problem is, we can’t handle alcohol or other drugs. They handle us. They control us. The Steps ask us to face the truth.

And the truth sets us free. What a wonderful gift! We feared the truth, but now it’s our friend. It’s a relief.

Facing the truth means we’re honest. And honestly is our best friend in recovery. It’s like a cozy fire on a winter’s night. Honesty is how we get well. It’s also what will keep us well. Do I truly believe I can’t use alcohol or other drugs?

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me know that I must work this program with care and respect.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll make two list, On one list, I’ll write ways I work on my program. On the other list, I’ll write way I play with my program. And I’ll put my energy into working the program.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 13

“I want, by understanding myself, to understand others. I want to be all that I am capable of becoming … This all sounds very strenuous and serious. But now that I have wrestled with it, it’s no longer so. I feel happy—deep down. All is well.”
—Katherine Mansfield

All is well. In the midst of turmoil, let us remember, all is well; in the midst of the pain of self-awareness, all is well. The struggle of the turmoil, the pain that accompanies the lessons of self-awareness, are preparing us for becoming all we are meant to become. We each have a special gift to offer in this life. We will come to understand those gifts and be able to give them as we grow with the pain of self-understanding. All is well. Deep down happiness ripples, it’s rippling to the surface of our lives.

My lesson for today is understanding, of myself and others. Happiness is the grade I earn each day of my “becoming.”

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 13
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

Like many alcoholics, I had spent much of my life feeling different, as though I just didn’t quite fit in. I covered those feelings and my low self-esteem by being one of the smartest people in any group, if not the smartest. Additionally, I became a performer in crowds, always ready with a quick joke to point out the humor in any situation. I managed to bring a great deal of laughter into my life.

p. 422

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 13

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

The Washingtonian Society, a movement among alcoholics which started in Baltimore a century ago, almost discovered the answer to alcoholism. At first, the society was composed entirely of alcoholics trying to help one another. The early members foresaw that they should dedicate themselves to this sole aim. In many respects, the Washingtonians were akin to A.A. of today. Their membership passed the hundred thousand mark. Had they been left to themselves, and had they stuck to their one goal, they might have found the rest of the answer. But this didn’t happen. Instead, the Washingtonians permitted politicians and reformers, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic, to use the society for their own purposes. Abolition of slavery, for example, was a stormy political issue then. Soon, Washingtonian speakers violently and publicly took sides on this question. Maybe the society could have survived the abolition controversy, but it didn’t have a chance from the moment it determined to reform America’s drinking habits. When the Washingtonians became temperance crusaders, within a very few years they had completely lost their effectiveness in helping alcoholics.

p. 178

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Xtra Thoughts

“Nothing is so bad, that a drink won’t make worse.”

“A contented mind is a continual feast.”
—American Proverb

“Daylight follows a dark night.”
—Maasai Proverb

“Even the longest day has its end.”
—Irish Proverb

“Lord, take me where You want me to go:
Let me meet who You want me to meet:
Tell me what You want me to say, and
Keep me out of Your way.”
—Franciscan friar, Mychal F. Judge

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 13
ACCEPTANCE

“Treat the other man’s faith gently; it is all he has to believe with.”
—Henry Hoskins

I said that I was a nonviolent drunk. Today I am able to see that I was sarcastic and verbally violent, and this was no less painful or destructive to the victim. A target for my anger and venom was the faith and beliefs of others, especially when they differed radically from my own. My alcoholism made me a prejudiced and bigoted man, a prisoner of my arrogance.

My sobriety teaches me to be accepting and tolerant of the views and opinions of others. A spirituality that embraces all men—rather than a narrow and restrictive religion—is my prescription for life. I have exchanged bigotry for freedom, and I am happy in God’s world.

I pray that my acceptance of my fellow man, regardless of culture or creed, may lead to understanding.

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Bible Scriptures
January 13

“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
—1 Corinthians 2:9

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
—Ephesians 4:29

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Daily Inspiration
January 13

Don’t worry about tomorrow because God is already taking care of it. Lord, help me set aside needless worry and anxiety so that I have time to do all that I need to do today.

When life seems hard and filled with troubles, look for reasons to be thankful. Lord, Your beautiful presence is always with me.

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A Day At A Time
January 13

Reflection For The Day

The Program and my friends in the fellowship have provided me with a whole new set of tools for living. Even the slogans that once seemed so trite and corny are now becoming an important part of my daily life: Easy Does It; First Things First; This, Too, Will Pass. If I use all of my tools regularly and well, they’ll also help rid me of such negative feelings as guilt, anxiety, rebellion and pride. When I’m feeling depressed, do I use the tools that have been proven effective? Or do I grit my teeth and suffer in painful silence.

Today I Pray

I praise my wonder-working Higher Power for giving me the tools for recovery, once I admitted I was powerless over alcohol or other drugs or addictions and gave myself over to the will of God as I understand Him. I give thanks for the Twelve Steps, and for the fellowship of the group, which can help me see myself honestly. I give thanks for those words and phrases which become, as we understand them more completely, banners in our celebration of sobriety.

Today I Will Remember

Pass on the passwords to recovery.

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One More Day
January 13

“We cannot live, sorrow or die for somebody else ….”
—Edward Dahlberg

Our need to protect a stick child becomes frustration as we can do so little to protect the child from pain. When we become ill, our families and friends sometimes make awkward efforts to help protect us. They may try to make us laugh by telling jokes or recounting funny moments we’ve shared with them. Or, these people might become overly helpful, trying to save us some steps or inconveniences.

We understand their need to help us; all of us want to comfort and protect our loved ones as we would a child. However, we are not children, and the maturity we’ve gained has reversed the roles we play with our family and friends. We can comfort and protect them by laughing with them and by letting them help us, and this becomes a two-way expression of love.

Today, I will allow others to express their love for me.

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One Day At A Time
January 13
CHANGE

“If you would truly wish to understand something, try to change it.”
—Kurt Lewin

There is nothing more powerful to me than this one thought. My entire program teaches me to change the fellow who came in or he will surely drag me back out. Without change there is no hope. Without hope there is no peace or serenity.

The “how to” is simply and strongly told in the Big Book of AA. On page 28 it is plain that we must find and maintain a spiritual fitness in order to survive. Change is the key to open the door, and change is impossible without a power greater than ourselves. This, truly, is the easier, softer way. May you find Him now.

One day at a time …
I am willing to allow the God of my understanding to change the person I was into the person He wishes me to be.
~ Danny

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day January 13

“When you remove love and try to replace it with monetary things, you’ve got nothing … get him to understand that he has to love himself before he can love anything else.”
—John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG

It is said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” That’s the trouble, most of us do.

Great Spirit, You are love; You are spirit. Spirit and love are interconnected. I am spiritual. Let me realize what I am really made of.

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Journey To The Heart
January 13
Honor Winter’s Lesson

“See the pine trees and learn their lesson,” a friend once said. “Pine trees are nature’s reminder that growth continues even in the winter.”

Winter is an important season in our lives. It is more than a time of coldness and snow. It’s a time of going within. A time to rest from the work that’s been done, a time to prepare for the lessons ahead. Long for the sun on your shoulders, but let the frost and cold come. The ground has been left fallow in preparation for nourishing the seeds of new llife.

Honor winter’s lesson. Despite this time of lifelessness and inactivity, this is still a season of growth. Trust what’s being worked out in your soul. The snow will melt. The sun will shine again. The time will come to remove your heavy garb and return to the activity of life.

Cherish the winter. Cherish its quietness, the time of going within to rest and heal. Cherish this time of preparation that must come before new life. Cherish the hope that lies beneath the snow.

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Today’s Gift
January 13

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
—Robert Frost

Our home is a place of roots, a place where we can always turn in time of need. Some of us may have had the experience of being away from home and not being able to make it on our own. We know what a relief it was to reach out at last and call our family, who we knew would take us in.

We became people in our homes, we learned to eat and walk and talk there. We feel comfortable there, safe from the pressures of the outside world. It is up to us to keep it safe and healthy by growing in love and generosity there.

Home is a place to really give of ourselves and put our best into making it happy and secure. It will affect our futures more than almost anything else in our lives. It deserves our prayers of blessing. It is our foundation, the source of our first feelings for others. May we treasure our home and the people who make up our family.

What small thing can I do right now to make home a better place?

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The Language of Letting Go
January 13
Good Feelings

When we talk about feelings in recovery, we often focus on the troublesome trio—pain, fear, and anger. But there are other feelings available in the emotional realm—happiness, joy, peace, contentment, love, closeness, and excitement.

It’s okay to let ourselves feel pleasurable feelings too.

We don’t have to worry when we experience good feelings; we don’t have to scare ourselves out of them; we don’t have to sabotage our happiness. We do that, sometimes, to get to the more familiar, less joyous terrain.

It’s okay to feel good. We don’t have to analyze, judge, or justify. We don’t have to bring ourselves down, or let others bring us down, by injecting negativity.

We can let ourselves feel good.

Today, I will remind myself that it is my right to feel as good as I can. I can have many moments of feeling good; I can find a balanced place of feeling content, peaceful, and good.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 13
Take care of yourself

“For once a person begins on this path of knowledge they will only look inward, learning how to fix themselves, instead of trying to fix other people.”
—Rav Brandwein

Letting go doesn’t mean we don’t care. Letting go doesn’t mean we shut down.

Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave. It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment. It means we stop trying to do the impossible—controlling that which we cannot—and instead, focus on what is possible—which usually means taking care of ourselves. And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.

Have you tricked yourself into believing there’s someone you can control? If you have, tell yourself the truth. Stop trying to have power where you truly have none. Instead, exercise your will in a way that will bring results. The one power you always have is the ability to let go and take care of yourself.

God, help me make letting go and taking care of myself a way of life.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
January 13

“The perfection of innocence, indeed, is madness.”
—Arthur Miller

We’ve all said, “I didn’t do anything. Don’t blame me; I didn’t mean any harm.” Overdevelopment of innocence contradicts our spiritual growth. The painful truth is, we do have an impact on other people. Many times we have cultivated innocence as a style, and it has stood in our way of being accountable.

We cannot be in a relationship without sometimes hurting the ones we love. Spiritual growth requires us to take action and to take responsibility for what we do. It is painful to acknowledge we made a mistake and hurt someone. But giving up our innocent style is constructive pain. It opens the possibility to correct our ways, make repairs, and be forgiven. Then we are in the mainstream of a hearty spiritual life.

May I nave the grace to let go of my innocence by taking action and admitting my mistakes.

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Daily TAO
January 13
ABSORPTION

Crimson light through pine shadows.
Setting sun settling into the ocean.
Night follows the setting sun,
Day follows the fleeing moon.

All too often, we tend to think of absorption as a static thing :  Water is absorbed into a sponge, and there it stays. But true absorption is a total involvement in the evolution of life without hesitation or contradiction. In nature there is no alienation. Everything belongs.

Only human beings hold ourselves aloof from this process. We have our civilization, our personal plans, our own petty emotions. We divorce ourselves from process, even as we yearn for love, companionship, understanding, and communion. We constantly defeat ourselves by questioning, asserting ourselves at the wrong times, or letting hatred and pride cloud our perceptions. Our alienation is self-generated.

In the meantime, all of nature continues its constant flow. We need to let ourselves go, enter freely into the process of nature, and become absorbed in it. If we integrate ourselves with that process, we will find success. Then the sequence of things will be as evident as the coming of the sun and the moon, and everything will be as it should be.

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