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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 14

Just For Today
January 14
A Loving God

” Our understanding of a Higher Power is up to us…. The only suggested guidelines are that this Power be loving, caring, and greater than ourselves.”
Basic Text, p. 24

We’ve been told that we can believe in any kind of Higher Power we want as long as it is loving and, of course, greater than ourselves. Some of us, however, have trouble with these requirements. We either believe in nothing but ourselves, or we believe that anything that could be called “God” could only be cold-hearted and unreasonable, sending us bad luck on a whim.

Believing in a loving Power is quite a leap for some of us, for many reasons. The thought of turning our will and lives over to the care of something we think might hurt us is sure to fill us with reluctance. If we come into the program believing that God is judgmental and unforgiving, we must overcome those beliefs before we can be truly comfortable with the Third Step.

Our positive experiences in recovery can help us come to believe in a loving God of our own understanding. We have been given relief from a disease that has afflicted us for a long time. We’ve found the guidance and support we need to develop a new way of life. We’ve begun to experience a fullness of spirit where once there was only emptiness. These aspects of our recovery have their source in a loving God, not a harsh, hateful one. And the more we experience recovery, the more we’ll trust that loving Higher Power.

Just for today: I will open my mind and my heart to believe that God is loving, and trust my loving Higher Power to do for me what I cannot do for myself.

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Daily Reflections
January 14
NO REGRETS

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p.83

Once I became sober, I began to see how wasteful my life had been and I experienced overwhelming guilt and feelings of regret. The program’s Fourth and Fifth Steps assisted me enormously in healing those troubling regrets. I learned that my self-centeredness and dishonesty stemmed largely from my drinking and that I drank because I was an alcoholic. Now I see how even my most distasteful past experiences can turn to gold because, as a sober alcoholic, I can share them to help my fellow alcoholics, particularly newcomers. Sober for several years in A.A., I no longer regret the past; I am simply grateful to be conscious of God’s love and of the help I can give to others in the Fellowship.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 14
A.A. Thought For The Day

When we first came into A.A., a sober life seemed strange. We wondered what life could possibly be like without ever taking a drink. At first, a sober life seemed unnatural. But the longer we’re in A.A., the more natural this way of life seems. And now we know that the life we’re living in A.A., the sobriety, the fellowship, the faith in God, and the trying to help each other, is the most natural way we could possibly live. Do I believe it’s the way God wants me to live?

Meditation For The Day

I will learn to overcome myself, because every blow to selfishness is used to shape the real, eternal, unperishable me. As I overcome myself, I gain that power which God releases in my soul. And I too will be victorious. It is not the difficulties of life that I have to conquer, so much as my own selfishness.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may obey God and walk with Him and listen to Him. I pray that I may strive to overcome my own selfishness.

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As Bill Sees It
January 14
Newcomer Problems, p. 14

The temptation is to become rather possessive of newcomers.  Perhaps we try to give them advice about their affairs which we aren’t really competent to give or ought not give at all. Then we are hurt and confused when the advice is rejected, or when it is accepted and brings still greater confusion.

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

“You can’t make a horse drink water if he still prefers beer or is too crazy to know what he does want. Set a pail of water beside him, tell him how good it is and why, and leave him alone.

“If people really want to get drunk, there is, so far as I know, no way stopping this–so leave them alone and let them get drunk. But don’t exclude them from the water pail, either.”

1. 12 & 12, p. 111
2. Letter, 1942

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Walk In Dry Places
January 14
If God be for us
Good Orderly Directions

Sometimes we find help and power in staying sober, yet feel naked and alone when facing other problems. It is almost as if we see our Higher Power as a “sobering-up God” who has said, “I’ll help you with drinking problem, but you’re on your own in everything else.

The true way to practice AA’s principles in all of our affairs is to view everything as spiritual, as being under God’s direction and influence. God is with us in our homes, in the shop, on the highway, or wherever we go. There is no place and no action that is beyond God’s scrutiny and power.

We should reflect on this truth at times when we are frustrated or when others threaten us. We should not expect God to aid us in manipulating or dominating others. God will be with us as a protecting, guiding presence in all our activities and relationships. And when we truly understand this, we will find surprising reserves of courage in situations that used to frighten u s. This is true even when we are not ceratin of the outcome of a situation.

I will know that God is with me in all of my affairs today, in all that I think, say, or do.

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Keep It Simple
January 14

If you play with a thing long enough, you will surely break it.
—Anonymous

Some things shouldn’t be played with. Our recovery program is one these things. When we play with our program, we’re taking a risk. We play with the program by missing meetings. Or by not calling our sponsors. Or by skipping the Steps we think are to hard. It’s okay to play. But it’s not okay to play with our program, we risk our lives.

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 ways 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 14

In a culture where approval/disapproval has become the predominant regulator of effort and position, and often the substitute for love, our personal freedoms are dissipated.
–Viola Spolin

Wanting others to approve our efforts, our appearance, our aspirations and behavior is perfectly normal, certainly not unhealthy. However, needing the approval in order to proceed with our lives is.

In early childhood we are taught to obey others and to please them. We confuse love with approval, and we begin to march to someone else’s drum. Then we get even more approval. But soon we get out of step with ourselves; we neglect our personal needs and become puppets. Giving away our power to the whims of others weakens our Spirit. Personal freedom means choosing our own behavior; it means acting rather than reacting. It also means allowing ourselves the full adventure of living, of meeting each moment wholly, of responding in a pure, spontaneous, personally honest manner. Only then can we give to life what is ours to give.

Each of us has a unique part to play in the drama of life. And we need to rely on our higher power for our cues, not on those whose approval we think we need. When we turn within for guidance, all the approval we could hope for will be ours.

I will be free today. I will let no one control my actions. I will let God give the only approval that counts. Aligning my will with God’s will guarantees it.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 14
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

I went to a college filled with people who had also spent their entire lives at or near the top of their academic classes. Suddenly, I was no longer special. To make matters worse, many of them had what I only dreamed of—money. My family was strictly working class, struggling to get by on what my father earned. Money had always been a big issue, and I equated it with security, prestige, and worth. My father was fond of saying that the sole prupose of life is to make money. I had classmates whose names were household words that connoted wealth. I was ashamed, ashamed of my family and of myself. My shaky confidence crumbled. I was terrifed of being found out. I knew that if others discovered who I really was, they wouldn’t like me and I would be left alone, worthless and alone.

pp. 422-423

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 14

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

The lesson to be learned from the Washingtonians was not overlooked by Alcoholics Anonymous. As we surveyed the wreck of that movement, early A.A. members resolved to keep our Society out of public controversy. Thus was laid the cornerstone for Tradition Ten: “Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.”

pp. 178-179

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Xtra Thoughs
January 14

You cannot think your way into sober living. You live your way into sober thinking.

I embrace the beauty of life, and depend deeply upon God.
–Shelley

“You Can’t Change The Wind, But You Can Adjust Your Sails…” Make This Day Shine.
–Carol Anne

Without Gods inner source of enlightenment and refreshment, I would soon stagnate and feel despair.
–Shelley

God is my constant companion and comfort.
–JReid51546

I faithfully, trustfully, have acceptance for God’s will, and I therefore find serenity.
–Shelley

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 14
RESPONSIBILITY

“The fault is in us.”
— Hannah Arendt

As a drunk I would blame everybody for my problems: My family was too controlling. I did not have people around who understood me. I worked too hard and the people were too demanding. The weather was awful!

Today I accept my involvement with my past predicament. Bad things happened to me because I created them in my life. And this means that good and creative things can also happen in my life if I create them. I need not remain the problem. I can be the solution!

Let me discover Your answer in my response to life.

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Bible Scriptures
January 14

“As servants of God, live as free people.”
1 Peter 1:16

“Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces.”
Isaiah 25:8

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13

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Daily Inspiration
January 14

Home should be the happiest place to be. Fill it with love, laughter and good conversation. Lord, give us Your peace and teach us to share it.

Faith grows by speaking daily with God. Lord, You teach me Your promises when times are good so that I will be able to trust in You when times are hard.

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A Day At A Time
January 14

Reflection For The Day

I admitted that I couldn’t win the booze and chemical battle on my own. So I finally began to accept the critically important fact that dependence on a Higher Power could help me achieve what had always seemed impossible. I stopped running. I stopped fighting. For the first time, I began accepting. And for the first time, I began to be really free. Do I realize that it doesn’t matter what kind of shoes I’m wearing when I’m running away?

Today I Pray

May I know the freedom that comes with surrender to a Higher Power — that most important kind of surrender that means neither “giving in” nor “giving up” but “giving over” my will to the will of God. Like a weary fugitive from spiritual order, may I stop hiding, dodging, running. May I find peace in surrender, in the knowledge that God wills hat I be whole and healthy and He will show me the way.

Today I Will Remember

First surrender, then serenity.

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One More Day
January 14

Ill health of body or of mind, is defeat. Health alone is victory. Let all men, if they can manage it, contrive to be healthy.
— Thomas Carlyle

This message, on the surface, could be upsetting to people who are chronically ill. Can we be sick and healthy at the same time? We learn that we can. Even if we have an ongoing health need, we can still create a new frame of reference which allows us to be as healthy as we can. Rather than letting our problems run us into the ground, we can make the opposite choice.

We can choose balance in our lives, by deciding to put the problem in its place as only one facet of our lives. At the moment we decide, at the moment we make a conscious decision to be a fighter, we will be striving toward wellness once again.

By constructively choosing to keep a strong attitude emotionally and physically, I will be on the road to balanced health.

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One Day At A Time
January 14
~ RECOVERY ~

Survival is nothing more than recovery.
–Dianne Feinstein

As a very young child, I had a loving relationship with my Higher Power. I talked to God all the time about the things I didn’t understand. I asked for His help in making me a better person, daughter, granddaughter, etc.

Then, as happens in dysfunctional families, things got worse. Being the youngest, I became the scapegoat for people who didn’t know how to express anger and pain properly. I, too, learned inappropriate ways to express my feelings. I also began to turn against my Higher Power. Why wasn’t He helping me? Why was He letting me be so unhappy? Why wasn’t He answering my prayers? Why hadn’t I awakened thin yet?

It took me many years to destroy my relationship with God, but thankfully, it only took a few years of the Twelve Step program for me to rediscover my former relationship with Him. As my eating disorders have been lessened and abstinence has become the norm in my life, I am very grateful for the Higher Power in my life today. I truly feel as if I’ve gained something I once lost. Thanks to recovery, I’ve also gained things I never had or don’t remember having. I have a peace, serenity, acceptance, understanding and love that I can never remember experiencing before. The more I trust in my Higher Power, the more rewards of recovery become mine.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will work my program and be grateful for the level of recovery I’m currently experiencing. When I feel a lack of growth within myself, I will look at how far I’ve come and trust that my growth is in my Higher Power’s time, not mine.

~ Rhonda H. ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 14

“It is a native tradition to sit in a circle and talk-to share what is in your heart.”
–John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG

The talking circle is also a listening circle. The talking circle allows one person to talk at a time for as long as they need to talk. So much can be gained by listening. Is it a coincidence that the Creator gave us one mouth and two ears? The power of the circle allows the heart to be shared with each other. What we share with each other also heals each other. When we talk about our pain in the circle, it is distributed to the circle, and we are free of the pain. The talking circle works because when the people form a circle, the Great Mystery is in the center.

My Creator, give me the courage to share, and the courage to listen.

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Journey To The Heart
January 14
Release Your Fears

The Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado is the world’s highest suspension bridge. Visiting it was a significant part of my journey, an important turning point.

Spanning a section of the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas River, the bridge is constructed of small wooden slats. You can drive across or you can walk it, peering down through the slats to see the river 1,050 feet below.

When I reached the park surrounding the bridge, I parked my car, grabbed my backpack, and got out to walk across the bridge. I neared the bridge, then turned around. I was too afraid to walk across, certain I’d blow off. I decided to drive.

I returned to the jeep, drove to the bridge, but stopped again. I backed up, drove back to the toll booth, and hailed the man working inside. “Will I be fine?” I said. He looked at me strangely. “Will I be fine?” I repeated.

He finally got it. “You’ll be fine,” he said with a smile.

I drove back to the bridge. Inch by inch, I drove the car across the wooden slats. I was afraid to look to the right or left. Afraid to look down. Afraid to look. Afraid not to look… I never knew how much fear was in me until I drove across the bridge. And to get back, I had to turn the jeep around and drive across the bridge once more.

Sometimes, we’re so afraid we don’t know how afraid we are. Sometimes, we carry so much fear that it interferes with our ability to enjoy life.

Feel and release your fears. See how needless they are? See how they keep you from enjoying life? Unclench your hands. Don’t always look straight ahead. Experience. Adventure. Let yourself live.

As the man said, “You’ll be fine.”

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Today’s Gift
January 14

The universe is made up of stories, not atoms.
—Muriel Rukeyser

There was once a storyteller who told many people of her life. They listened and heard their own stories in hers. Hearing her story, they didn’t feel so lonely anymore. Hearing about someone else who had lost things and people she loved, who had felt lonely, scared, and unsure of herself, let them feel less crazy when similar things happened to them.

Because of the healing they felt through hearing someone else’s story, some of the listeners decided to become storytellers themselves. As they recounted their stories, they found that letting out secrets that had bothered them for years freed them to feel good about who they were and who they had always wanted to be.

What secrets can I share today?

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The Language of Letting Go
January 14
Accepting Anger

Anger is one of the many profound effects life has on us. It’s one of our emotions. And we’re going to feel it when it comes our way – or else repress it.
—Codependent No More

If I were working a good program, I wouldn’t get angry…. If I were a good Christian, I wouldn’t feel angry…. If I were really using my affirmations about how happy I am, I wouldn’t be angry…. Those are old messages that seduce us into not feeling again. Anger is part of life. We need not dwell in it or seek it out, but we can’t afford to ignore it.

In recovery, we learn we can shamelessly feel all our feelings, including anger, and still take responsibility for what we do when we feel angry. We don’t have to let anger control us, but it surely will if we prevent ourselves from feeling it.

Being grateful, being positive, being healthy, does not mean we never feel angry. Being grateful, positive, and healthy means we feel angry when we need to.

Today, I will let myself be angry, if I need to. I can feel and release my emotions, including anger, constructively. I will be grateful for my anger and the things it is trying to show me. I can feel and accept all my emotions without shame, and I can take responsibility for my actions.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 14
Say yes to yourself

Are you balanced? Do you share your time, you energy, your life, as much with yourself as you do with those around you? We all know how simple it is to say “yes,yes,yes” each time someone makes a request. After all, it makes us feel good, makes us feel needed, makes us feel loved. And the more we say yes, the more they ask of us. And we tell ourselves this is an example of even more love.

But soon we say yes to too many things. We get bitter about our relationships. Can’t they do anything for themselves? Nothing would get done around here if it weren’t for me. Isn’t there anyone else who can help? After a while, things don’t get done, promises go unfulfilled, relationships break down. And so do we.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Know your limits. You are one of the most important people you need to look after and love. Balance your time, your energy, your life with those around you. You will be able to give more freely and joyfully as a result, and you’ll be more open to the gifts of the universe.

It’s not wrong to give to others. But it’s okay to say yes to ourselves,too.

God, help me live a balanced life. Help me learn when it’s time to say yes to myself.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
January 14

If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?
—Hillel

Some of us were treated badly as young boys and never learned how to live for ourselves. We can see only two choices: either be submissive and caretaking or be abusive and demanding. Many of us have so much guilt and shame that we feel we don’t deserve to stand up for ourselves. This program demands that in recovery we be for ourselves. If we don’t know how, we learn. If we are unsure, we must experiment. When we make mistakes, we must admit them and know we have a right to be imperfect learners. And we can’t be only for ourselves, because that keeps us small and turns us back to where we came from.

As we accept ourselves and come to know our imperfections and weaknesses, we can understand others better. We are stronger in giving to others and more effective because we have a place to stand.

Today, even if I don’t feel good about myself, I will stand up for my dignity as a man.

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Daily TAO
January 14
POSITIONING

Heron stands in the blue estuary,
Solitary, white, unmoving for hours.
A fish! Quick avian darting;
The prey captured.

People always ask how to follow Tao. It is as easy and natural as the heron standing in the water. The bird moves when it must; it does not move when stillness is appropriate.

The secret of its serenity is a type of vigilance, a contemplative state. The heron is not in mere dumbness or sleep. It knows a lucid stillness. It stands unmoving in the flow of the water. It gazes unperturbed and is aware. When Tao brings it something that it needs, it seizes the opportunity without hesitation or deliberation. Then it goes back to its quiescence without disturbing itself or its surroundings.  Unless it found the right position in the water’s flow and remained patient, it would not have succeeded.

Actions in life can be reduced to two factors : positioning and timing. If we are not in the right place at the right time, we cannot possibly take advantage of what life has to offer us. Almost anything is appropriate if an action is in accord with the time and the place. But we must be vigilant and prepared. Even if the time and the place are right, we can still miss our chance if we do not notice the moment, if we act inadequately, or if we hamper ourselves with doubts and second thoughts. When life presents an opportunity, we must be ready to seize it without hesitation or inhibition. Position is useless without awareness. If we have both, we make no mistakes.

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