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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 15

Just For Today
January 15
Fear

” We grow to feel comfortable with our Higher Power as a source of strength. As we learn to trust this Power, we begin to overcome our fear of life.”
Basic Text, p. 24

Powerless as we are, living on self-will is a frightening, unmanageable experience. In recovery, we have turned our will and our lives safely over to the care of the God of our understanding. When we lapse in our program, when we lose conscious contact with our Higher Power, we begin to take control of our own lives again, refusing the care of the God of our understanding. If we do not make a daily decision to surrender our lives to the care of our Higher Power, we may become overwhelmed with our fear of life.

Through working the Twelve Steps, we’ve found that faith in a Power greater than ourselves helps relieve our fear. As we draw closer to a loving God, we become more conscious of our Higher Power. And the more conscious we are of God’s care for us, the less our fears.

When we feel afraid, we ask ourselves, “Is this fear an indication of a lack of faith in my life? Have I taken control again, only to find my life still unmanageable?” If we answer yes to these questions, we can overcome our fear by turning our will and our lives back over to care of the God of our understanding.

Just for today: I will rely on the care of my Higher Power to relieve my fear of life.

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Daily Reflections
January 15
AN UNSUSPECTED INNER RESOURCE

With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 569-70

From my first days in A.A., as I struggled for sobriety, I found hope in these words from our founders. I often pondered the phrase: “they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource.” How, I asked myself, can I find the Power within myself, since I am so powerless? In time, as the founders promised, it came to me: I have always had the choice between goodness and evil, between unselfishness and selfishness, between serenity and fear. That Power greater than myself is an original gift that I did not recognize until I achieved daily sobriety through living A.A.’s Twelve Steps.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 15
A.A. Thought For The Day

The A.A. program is a way of life. It’s a way of living and we have to learn to live the program if we’re going to stay sober. The twelve steps in the book are like guide posts. They point the direction in which we have to go. But each member of the group has to find his own best way of living the program. We don’t all do it exactly alike. Whether by quiet times in the morning, meetings, working with others, or spreading the word, we have to learn to live the program. Has A.A. become my regular, natural way of living?

Meditation For The Day

I will relax and not get tense. I will have no fear, because everything will work out in the end. I will learn soul-balance and poise in a vacillating, changing world.  I will claim God’s power and use it because if I do not use it, it will be withdrawn. As long as I get back to God and replenish my strength after each task, no work can be too much.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may relax and that God’s strength will be given to me. I pray that I may subject my will to God’s will and be free from all tenseness.

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As Bill Sees It
January 15
Eternal Values, p. 15

Many people will have no truck at all with absolute spiritual values.  Perfectionists, they say, are either full of conceit because they fancy they have reached some impossible goal, or else they are swamped in self-condemnation because they have not done so.

Yet I think that we should not hold this view. It is not the fault of great ideas that they are sometimes misused and so become shallow excuses for guilt, rebellion, and pride. On the contrary, we cannot grow very much unless we constantly try to envision what the eternal spiritual values are.

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

“Day by day, we try to move a little toward God’s perfection. So we need not be consumed by maudlin guilt for failure to achieve His likeness and image by Thursday next. Progress is our aim, and His perfection is the beacon, light-years away, that draws us on.”

1. Grapevine, June 1961
2. Letter, 1966

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Walk In Dry Places
January 15
Never too late
Self expression

Many of us lament the fact that we wasted youthful years when we should have been earning college degrees or perfecting a skill. Many of us simply do not feel we can take up something new because we missed the opportunity to try it when we were younger.

We are now learning that age is mental, not really physical. Some people seem aged and beaten at twenty-five, while others act sprightly and young at sixty. Moreover, we can find wonderful examples of people who blossom out in new activities without any thought or concern about age barriers. It is never too late for a person to study, to take up a new trade or profession, to follow a new scientific or artistic interest, or to begin other lessons.

If we are using age as a reason for not following our heart’s desire, we should ask if we are really finding ways to avoid responsibility for our own performance in life. We may be seeking excuses to spare ourselves the struggle and effort tha tare always required when we do something new or challenging.

It is never too late to be the people God intended us to be.

I will give some thought today to the excuses I’ve been using for not making better use of my talents and opportunities.

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Keep It Simple
January 15

I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Don not wait for the last judgment, it takes place every day.
–Albert Camus

“Later.” How often have we said this? This trick help us avoid the tasks of the day. Life is full of task–many fun, some boring, others hard. Can I accept the task my Higher Power gives me, easy or hard?

When we used alcohol or other drugs, we’d avoid task, if they became hard for us. We believed we had more control than we really did. We started to believe we could control outcomes. What we really were doing was setting ourselves up for a great fall. We had to face the fact that when our Higher Power had given us a task, we said no, and turned away. Thus, we turned away from the guiding hand of our Higher Power.

Prayer for the Day: God, help me face You and the tasks You give me. Make me a grateful student of life.

Today’s Action: Today I will talk with friends. I will tell them what tasks I’m working on.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 15

Everything is so dangerous that nothing is really very frightening.
–Gertrude Stein

Life is full of dangers and risks and challenges. We can choose to meet them fearfully or in a spirit of welcome. To choose fear, to say, “I won’t take that risk because I might lose,” is to prevent ourselves from ever winning. If we welcome the danger, the risk, or the challenge, we acknowledge that life is made up of losses as well as victories, of gains as well as pain.

Life holds the dangers as well as the rewards. We choose how we will act. Sometimes we may feel trapped in a cycle of fearfulness. If we examine our own part, will we find that we are neglecting to take a balanced view? Perhaps, through a fear of losing, we are missing many chances for satisfaction.

I will remember: I have the power to choose what my attitude will be toward this day’s offerings.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 15
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

Then I discovered alcohol. I had tried it a few times in high school, but never enough to get drunk. I knew that getting drunk meant being out of control. My escape plan required that I always keep my wits about me. I was too afraid to be out of control. When I got to college, however, that fear left me. In order to fit in, I pretended, at first, that I had as extensive a drinking history as any of my classmates. It was not long before my history surpassed everyone’s.

p. 423

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 15

Tradition Eleven – “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.”

WITHOUT its legions of well-wishers, A.A. could never have grown as it has. Throughout the world, immense and favorable publicity of every description has been the principal means of bringing alcoholics into our Fellowship. In A.A. offices, clubs, and homes, telephones ring constantly. One voice says, “I read a piece in the newspapers . . .”; another, “We heard a radio program . . .”; and still another, “We saw a moving picture . . .” or “We something about A.A. on television. . . .” It is no exaggeration to say that half of A.A.’s membership has been led to us through channels like these.

p. 180

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Xtra Thoughs
January 15

What are you going through in your life right now?
Don’t feel you’re the only one.
Open your eyes.
Open your heart to your connections with your larger family.
Let them share their stories with you.
Let them share their strengths, hopes, fears, and joys.
Stop looking for what’s different and what makes you separate and apart.
Go on an adventure of discovering your common bonds.
–Melody Beattie

“Always hold your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.”
–Max L. Forman

“Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.”
–Aldous Huxley

Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God.
–Diana Robinson

“What do you think of God,” the teacher asked. After a pause, the young pupil replied, “He’s not a think, he’s a feel.”
–Paul Frost

I must respect the opinions of others even if I disagree with them.
–Herbert Henry Lehman

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 15
POPULARITY

“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity, opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment.”
— Albert Einstein

Part of my growth in sobriety is learning to say “no”. For years as a practicing alcoholic I tried to please every body with the result that I pleased very few and became exhausted in the process! I have learned that sometimes I need to be unpopular in order to remain serene; unpopular to practice my spiritual program.

To understand the gift of God’s creation requires the acceptance that we are not the same and, as people, we will have different opinions and attitudes. Truth has many shades. To be unpopular at times is reality; truth is always real.

I pray that I might always say and do what I believe to be right, regardless of public opinion.

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Bible Scriptures
January 15

“Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Psalm 119:105

“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Galatians 6:8-10

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Daily Inspiration
January 15

Prayer is a great source of joy and the best protection from depression. When we talk, Lord, You help me see solutions for a better day.

Actions have consequences. Lord, may my actions not create difficulties, but rather bring peace and joy to my life.

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A Day At A Time
January 15

Reflection For The Day

I must never forget who and what I am and where I come from. I have to remember the nature of my illness and what it was like before I cam to The Program. I’ll try to keep the memory green, yet not spend my time dwelling morbidly on the past. I won’t be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to others, so others will give to me.

Today I Pray

May I never forget the painful days of my addiction. May I never forget that the same misery awaits me if I should slip back into the old patterns. At the same time, may such backwards glances serve only to bolster my own present strength and the strength of others like me. Please, God, do not let me dredge up these recollections in order to outdo or “out-drunk” my fellow members. Like others who are chemically dependent, I must be wary of my desire to be center-stage in the spotlight.

Today I Will Remember

I do more when I don’t “outdo.”

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One More Day
January 15

The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being.
— Pearl S. Buck

We all enjoy going out to dinner or to a movie. Some of us who are not well, however, choose to become stay-at-homes. Our reasons are many, and one big reason is we don’t want to be stared at or singled out as different. But, in hiding from the stares, we also hide from ourselves.

We don’t want to put ourselves on the line, but we must if we are to become “public” once again. It may mean using a cane or a brace; it may mean utilizing some of the fine adaptive living aids invented to help us. It’s a hard decision, but not as hard as being alone and staying at home.

It takes tremendous inner strength to venture from the protective cocoon of my home. I have the same inner strength as always, and I can use it to survive tough times.

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One Day At A Time
January 15
GOD OF MY UNDERSTANDING

“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us.”
–John Lennon

Like many people, I originally came to Program primarily seeking help with my compulsive overeating. My main concern was to gain control of my weight and my appetite. I was expecting some kind of diet program, but I found something quite different.

I already considered myself religious and didn’t think I needed much help in this area. I also wasn’t particularly interested in working on my shortcomings, but I was willing to overlook these “problem” areas of Program because I was so desperate for help.

Well, I did get my weight and appetite under control, but I got much more than that. Program’s concept of being able to work with a God of my own understanding may have been the most radical and personally-enlightening theological tidbit I’ve ever had the pleasure of tripping over. It changed everything I thought I knew about spirituality and God. Through this shift in my understanding, my Higher Power began to change me and help me with my COE by gradually removing all of my past baggage and encumbrances.

Even though I’ve now reached my recovery goals, my purification continues daily, as does my spiritual growth. I went searching for a diet that actually worked and instead found a whole new way of life. Whoda thunk?

One day at a time…
I will continue to nurture my relationship with the God Of MY Understanding by working the tools of recovery.

~ Rob.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 15

It’s all spirit and it’s all connected.”
–Grandfather William Commanda, ALGONQUIN

If everything is connected, we cannot disconnect. To disconnect is not a real choice. This is why we are always spiritual no matter what we do. Every alcoholic is spiritual. All our brothers and sisters are spiritual. We may not be behaving correctly, but nevertheless, we are spiritual. Our choice is to live out of harmony with spiritual ways or in harmony with spiritual ways. Everything is spiritual.

Great Spirit, give me the knowledge to be in harmony with the spirit today.

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Journey To The Heart
January 15
You’re Free to Follow Your heart

No one has taken your freedom away. You may have relinquished it for reasons known and unknown. But you’ve always been free– free to choose.

And you have been choosing, whether or not you have been conscious of your choices. For many years, you chose not to be free. Then you felt stifled, so you groused and rebelled. That was an important part of your journey. It helped you break out of your prison, loosened the chains around you. Now you see the truth. You have always been free.

Celebrate the breaking of the chains. Celebrate your freedom. And share it joyfully with others. Tell yourself, tell others,too, that you’re free to trust and follow your own heart.

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Today’s Gift
January 15

What secrets can I share today?
—Marion Weinstein

A girl named Iris was tormented by the boys at school. Whenever she walked by they would make rude noises. Sometimes, when no one was looking, they would block her way and not let her go home. She was too inexperienced at taking care of herself to realize that believing she couldn’t do anything made it true. Feeling helpless kept her from thinking about what she might do.

One day she got so scared that she told her best friend what was happening. Together they began to think of all sorts of things she could do. Knowing she could do something took away the helpless feeling, and the boys noticed and stopped teasing her. It wasn’t fun for them anymore.

We often feel helpless in situations that seem too much for us to handle. In fact, help is always available–through friends and family, and through God, who helps us see how we can help ourselves. All we have to do is stop being distracted by that helpless feeling and ask for what we need.

Can I see the many solutions to my problems today?

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The Language of Letting Go
January 15
Standing Up for Ourselves

We learn some behaviors have self-defeating consequences, while others have beneficial consequences. We learn we have choices.
–Beyond Codependency

It is so easy to come to the defense of others. How clear it is when others are being used, controlled, manipulated, or abused. It is so easy to fight their battles, become righteously indignant, rally to their aid, and spur them on to victory.

“You have rights,” we tell them. “And those rights are being violated. Stand up for yourself, without guilt.”

Why is it so hard, then, for us to rally to our own behalf? Why can’t we see when we are being used, victimized, lied to, manipulated, or otherwise violated? Why is it so difficult for us to stand up for ourselves?

There are times in life when we can walk a gentle, loving path. There are times, however, when we need to stand up for ourselves – when walking the gentle, loving path puts us deeper into the hands of those who could mistreat us.

Some days, the lesson we’re to be learning and practicing is one of setting boundaries. Some days, the lesson we’re learning is that of fighting for our own rights and ourselves.

Sometimes, the lesson won’t stop until we do.

Today, I will rally to my own cause. I will remember that it is okay to stand up for myself when that action is appropriate. Help me, God, to let go of my need to be victimized. Help me appropriately, and with confidence, stand up for myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 15
Discipline yourself to let go

It may sound odd, but the way to give up being over controlled is to become more disciplined about letting go.
–Stella Resnick, The Pleasure Zone

I was sitting at home worrying one day when a friend called. He asked how I was. I told him I was worrying. Actually, I was crossing the line into obsessing about something that was going on in my life then. “There’s nothing you can do about it,” he said. “Just relax. It’s out of your control.”

What my friend was really talking about was practicing the discipline of letting go. After I hung up the phone, I deliberately put my worries and obsessions aside. I surrendered to the way things were. I simply relaxed. It was like a miracle. I was able to move forward with my life.

When we began letting go, it may seem almost impossible just to relax and let go. As with anything else, with practice and repetition, we will become more skilled. That doesn’t mean we don’t need to remember to do it. It just means letting go will become easier, in time.

If you’ve become highly skilled at worrying, obsessing, or trying to control, deliberately practice relaxing and letting go until you’re good at that,too.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
January 15

Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box.
—Italian proverb

Much of our time has been spent saying, “I’m not good enough for that job,” “She’s too good for me,” or “I don’t deserve that compliment.” Sometimes we have been very status conscious because underneath we felt unworthy. Many of us have taken either superior or inferior roles with everyone we’ve dealt with. We ended up with no one who could be our peer or our friend.

True humility occurs when we stop shaming or inflating ourselves and begin accepting ourselves as no worse and no better than anyone else. Then all people are our peers. At our meetings, our powerlessness puts us all in the same box. In the sight of God we are all equal – and status games, which have seemed so important are ultimately silly.

Today, I will remember we are all brothers and sisters in the sight of God.

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Daily TAO
January 15
TIME

The river, surging course,
Uninterrupted current.
Headwater, channel, mouth.
Can they be divided?

Each day, we all face a peculiar problem. We must validate our past, face our present, plan for the future.

Those who believe that life was better in the “old days” sometimes are blind to the reality of the present; those who live only for the present frequently have little regard for either precedent or consequence; and those who live only for some deferred reward often strain themselves with too much denial. Thinking of past, present, and future is a useful conceptual technique, but ultimately they must be appropriately balanced and joined.

We must understand how the past affects us, we should keep the present full of rich and satisfying experiences, and we should devote some energy each day to building for the future. Just as a river can be said to have parts that cannot be clearly divided, so too should we consider the whole of our time when deciding how to spend our lives.

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