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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 17

Just For Today
January 17
Forgiveness

“As we realize our need to be forgiven, we tend to be more forgiving. At least we know that we are no longer intentionally making life miserable for people.”
—Basic Text, p. 38

In our addiction we often treated others badly, sometimes deliberately finding ways to make their lives miserable. In our recovery, we may still have a tendency to pass judgment on others’ actions because we think we know how that person should behave. But as we progress in our recovery we often find that, to accept ourselves, we must accept those around us.

It may be difficult to watch as someone’s insanity manifests itself. But if we detach ourselves from the problem, we can start living in the solution. And if we feel affected by another’s actions, we can extend the principle of forgiveness.

Just for today: I will strive to forgive rather than be forgiven. I will try to act in such a way that I feel worthy of self-love.

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Daily Reflections
January 17
HAPPINESS COMES QUIETLY

“The trouble with us alcoholics was this: We demanded that the world give us happiness and peace of mind in just the particular order we wanted to get it—by the alcohol route. And we weren’t successful. But when we take time to find out some of the spiritual laws, and familiarize ourselves with them, and put them into practice, then we do get happiness and peace of mind … There seem to be some rules that we have to follow, but happiness and peace of mind are always here, open and free to anyone.”
—DR. BOB AND THE GOOD OLDTIMERS, p. 308

The simplicity of the A.A. program teaches me that happiness isn’t something I can “demand.” It comes upon me quietly, while I serve others. In offering my hand to the newcomer or to someone who has relapsed, I find that my own sobriety has been recharged with indescribable gratitude and happiness.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 17
A.A. Thought For The Day

It doesn’t do much good to come to meetings only once in a while and sit around, hoping to get something out of the program. That’s all right at first, but it won’t help us very long. Sooner or later we have to get into action, by coming to meetings regularly, by giving a personal witness of our experience with alcohol, and by trying to help other alcoholics. Building a new life takes all the energy that we used to spend on drinking. Am I spending at least as much time and effort on the new life that I’m trying to build in A.A.?

Meditation For The Day

With God’s help, I will build a protective screen around myself which will keep out all evil thoughts. I will fashion it out of my attitude toward God and my attitude toward other people. When one worrying or impatient thought enters my mind, I will put it out at once. I know that love and trust are the solvents for the worry and frets of life. I will use them to form a protective screen around me.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that frets and impatience and worry may not corrode my protective screen against all evil thoughts.  I pray that I may banish all these from my life.

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As Bill Sees It
January 17
Toward Honesty, p. 17

The perverse wish to hide a bad motive underneath a good one permeates human affairs from top to bottom. This subtle and elusive kind of selfish-righteousness can underlie the smallest act or thought.  Learning daily to spot, admit, and correct these flaws is the essence of character-building and good living.

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The deception of others is nearly always rooted in the deception of ourselves.

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Somehow, being alone with God doesn’t seem as embarrassing as facing up to another person. Until we actually sit down and talk aloud about what we have so long hidden, our willingness to clean house is still largely theoretical. When we are honest with another person, it confirms that we have been honest with ourselves and with God.

1. 12 & 12, pp. 94-95
2. Grapevine, August 1961
3. 12 & 12, p. 60

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Walk In Dry Places
January 17
Avoiding AA Chauvism
Friendliness toward Others

The term “chauvinism” has often been applied to men who are prejudiced toward women. But “chauvinism” has broader meanings as well. It is a belief in the alleged superiority of one’s own nation or group. AA members can develop this peculiar chauvinism in supposing that there is some superiority in having survived alcoholism.

In the past, some of us have been particularly critical of non-alcoholics who choose to work in the alcoholism field. We may have relied on the axiom “it takes an alcoholic to understand an alcoholic” when in fact there are many people who have suffered from other problems and can understand our sufferings.

Perhaps one of the worst things about AA chauvinism is that it can offend people who could benefit from its principles and could become our allies in the work of helping alcoholics. While we have been highly successful in helping others, we still have not reached more than a small percentage of those who suffer. Additional breakthroughs are needed in the field of alcoholism, and the vital information might come from a non-alcoholic who empathizes with our suffering and wants to do something about it. Even AA has received some of its best ideas from non-alcoholics.

I will know today that membership in AA really means that I’ve found a rightful place in a larger fellowship; The Human Race. I’ll view the world as a friendly place.

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Keep It Simple
January 17

“When all else fails, read the instructions.”
—Agnes Allen

The instructions for recovery are in our Twelve Step program. Yet, there are times when we feel our program isn’t working. At these times, we need to read the instructions. Have you followed the “instructions,” the wise words that are found in The Big Book, The Twelve and Twelve, and other recovery literature? When we do, we recover. It’s hard at times, and easy at others. Our problems go deeper than just staying sober. No matter what our problems, our program can help us start fixing them, if we follow the instructions. Don’t use alcohol or other drugs. Go to meeting. Talk often with sponsors and program friends. Work the Steps. Think. Easy Does It. First Things First. Listen. Let Go and Let God. One Day at a Time.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, tell me which instructions to read today. If I’m headed for trouble, help me out.

Today’s Action: I’ll read the instructions today.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 17

“She lacks confidence, she craves admiration insatiably. She lives on the reflections of herself in the eyes of others. She does not dare to be herself.”
—Anas Nin

How aptly these words describe the woman so many of us were. Many activities were not attempted, courses weren’t taken, conversations weren’t initiated because we lacked confidence. The pain, the constant search for acceptance and love in the eyes and behavior of others, still haunts us. But those days are past. We are daring to be ourselves, one day at a time.

Confidence still wavers on occasion, and we may need assurance that we’re lovable. Gratefully, we can look to one another for the additional boost we may need to face the day. Being there for one another, knowing that we understand each other’s fears as women offers the strength to go ahead that we may lack today or tomorrow.

Today a woman may need me to dare to be herself. I will be there.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 17
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

As I look back on that period, I realize how true it is that one of the primary differences between alcoholics and nonalcoholics is that nonalcoholics change their behavior to meet their goals and alcoholics change their goals to meet their behavior. Everything that had been important to me, all of my dreams, goals, and aspirations, were swept away in a wave of booze. I realized quickly that I could not drink and function at any high level. That did not matter. I was willing to give up anything so that I could keep drinking. I went from being a solid A-student to nearly flunking out of school, from being anointed a class leader to being shunned as a pariah. I almost never went to class and did little of the required reading. I never attended any of the cultural events sponsored by the college. I forsook everything that makes college worthwhile in favor of drinking. Occasionally, some sliver of pride would work its way through the chaos, resentment, and fear and cause me to look at my life. But the shame was so great, and I would drink it back down with bottles of vodka and cases of beer.

p. 423-424

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 17

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.”

Therefore, a great responsibility fell upon us to develop the best possible public relations policy for Alcoholics Anonymous. Through many painful experiences, we think we have arrived at what that policy ought to be. It is the opposite in many ways of usual promotional practice. We found that we had to rely upon the principle of attraction rather than of promotion.

pp. 180-181

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Xtra Thoughts
January 17

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
—Carl Jung (1875 – 1961)

“The best portions of a good man’s life are his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.”
—William Wordsworth

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
—Helen Keller

“A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.”

“Nothing hath separated us from God but our own will, or rather our own will is our separation from God.”
—William Law

“Relinquish pain and suffering. Experience joy and serenity. Let go and move forward.”
—Deborah Ann Smith

“Love yourself. Accept yourself. Be honest about what heals and helps you. Then you’ll bring your healing gifts to others. Your life will be a gift to the world.”
—Melody Beattie

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 17
CREATIVITY

“Creative intelligence in its various forms and activities is what makes man.”
—James Harvey Robinson

Spirituality is being a positive and creative human being in all areas of my life; this I know to be true today. I am not only creative, I am a creative human being. God created me to create. I am a part of His love for the world; through me, great and wonderful events can happen. Although I am not divine, I know that I share divinity. I am special.

But with this knowledge comes tremendous responsibility because things are only going to happen if I make them happen in my life. To know that I am creative does not make me creative. I have to do something, make something, create something in my life.

Today I work at my life like a carpenter works at his wood. I chip away those things I do not want; I smooth down the rough areas of my life, and I polish up those things I want people to see. I accept responsibility for my creativity, and I thank God, on a daily basis, for it.

Teach me, O Creator of the universe, to use my life as a tool for goodness, joy and truth.

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Bible Scriptures
January 17

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
—James 1:22

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
—1 John 3:1

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God …”
—Ephesians 2:8

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”
—Ephesians 6:10

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Daily Inspiration
January 17

God will put things in order if we are patient and prayerful. Lord, You know all of my needs and wants. I trust that You will provide.

When we give in to fears and worries they will take charge of our lives. Lord, I place my trust in You so that I may experience every opportunity and not miss in life that which is meant for me.

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A Day At A Time
January 17

Reflection For The Day

I have been told over and over that I must constantly work to give up my old ideas. “That’s easy for you to say, ” I’ve sometimes thought. All my life, I have been programmed, computer-style; specific inputs brought forth predictable responses. My mind still tends to reach as a computer reacts, but I am learning to destroy the old tapes and literally reprogram myself. Am I fully willing to abandon my old ideas? Am I being fearless and thorough on a daily basis?

Today I Pray

Help me to take inventory each day of my stock, of my new, healthy thoughts, throwing out the old ones as I happen upon them without regret or nostalgia. For I have outgrown those old ideas, which are as scuffed and as over as an old pair of shoes. Now, in the light, I can see that they are filled with holes.

Today I Will Remember

The Program reprograms.

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One More Day
January 17

“Probably no one alive hasn’t at one time or another brooded over the possibility of going back to an earlier, ideal age in his existence and living a different kind of life.”
–Hal Boyle

If we could go back to a more perfect idyllic life, what section of life would we choose? As we daydream about the wonderful “yesterdays” in our life, little do we realize that even though our health and life circumstances may have changed somewhat, we could , right at this very moment, be creating the memories upon which we will look back fondly.

We make our own good times and our own good memories. We can’t ever go backward—but we do still have the ability and capacity to move forward.

I am aware that it’s up to me to create all my future memories. I can take from life only as much as I am willing to put into it.

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One Day At A Time
January 17
~ PROCRASTINATION ~

“Procrastination, more than anything else I can think of, separates those who want to be successful from those who are.”
—Lee Silber

I would always intend to start everything “tomorrow.” As a compulsive overeater I constantly promised myself the diet would start the next day, or if a weekend was approaching, then it would be Monday. When I first found this program I still had the same attitude: I would get a sponsor in good time, I would get a food plan next week, I’d read the Big Book and other program literature when I got a moment. I thought if I just kept going to meetings something will happen.

However, I found that procrastination does not work in program any more than it does outside. I no longer wanted to be the member who was constantly sharing what a dreadful week I had with the food and other aspects of my life.

Today I have a sponsor, I have worked through all the Twelve Steps—I am still working and living the Steps—I am in good contact with my Higher Power, have a good food plan which I am following religiously, and I have recovery to bring to my shares.

One Day at a Time …
When I make a decision I follow it through with action immediately.

~ Lilian ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 17

“In our story of Creation, we talk about each one of us having our own path to travel, and our own gift to give and to share. You see, what we say is that the Creator gave us all special gifts; each one of us is special. And each one of us is a special gift to each other because we’ve got something to share.”
—John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG

We are all equally special. We need to focus on what is right for ourselves. As we focus on what is right for ourselves, we will start to see our special gifts. Then we can see how to share our special gifts with others. If we focus on what’s wrong with ourselves, we will not be able to see our gifts. Then we will think we have nothing to give others and we become selfish and withdrawn. The more we focus on our good, the more we see the good in others. The more we see the good in others, the more we see the gifts they have to share. What you sees is what you gets!

My Creator, today, let me use the gifts You have given me. Let me use them wisely.

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Journey To The Heart
January 17
Awaken to the World Around You

There is a universe outside your door, waiting to touch you, soothe you, heal you. There is an entire world out there waiting to help you open your heart and nurture your soul. The universe wants to teach you things, show you things, help you come more alive than you’ve ever been before.

Open you eyes, open your senses, open your heart. Walk out your door, look around. You’ll be shown. You’ll be guided. Your heart will lead you to what you need. Listen, look, feel. You are connected to the universe.

Let the universe bring you all the healing you need. Let the universe bring you alive. Awaken to the world around you, and you’ll awaken to yourself.

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Today’s Gift
January 17

“Man cannot remake himself without suffering. For he is both the marble and the sculptor.”
—Alexis Carrel

A sculptor begins with an unformed piece of marble. He must be able to envision what he wants to create. Then, armed with tools and courage, he begins to chink away at the marble he does not need. Every day he examines how it looks and what he wants it to become.

Every one of us who is trying to be a better person is like the sculptor. We envision who we want to be and what kind of qualities we believe in. Some of these qualities might be kindness, good self-esteem, the ability to love and feel loved. If we are honest, we must also look with the artist’s eye at our faults. We might see some jealousy and resentment, or feelings of superiority. Our faults, human as they are, are like unwanted marble that keeps our most loving selves from taking shape. Carving away at our faults is hard work, and sometimes even hurts. Yet we do not do this work alone—we can only do it with the help of our God.

What can I chisel away today?

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The Language of Letting Go
January 17
Prayer

“As a matter of fact, prayer is the only real action in the full sense of the word, because prayer is the only thing that changes one’s character. A change in character, or a change in soul, is a real change.”
—Emmet Fox, The Sermon on the Mount

Erica Jong has said that we are spiritual beings who are human. Praying and meditating are ways we take care of our spirit. Prayer and meditation are disciplines suggested by the Eleventh Step of Twelve Step recovery programs: Al Anon, CoDa, Adult Children of Alcoholics, and others.

Prayer and meditation are not necessarily connected to organized religion. Prayer and meditation are ways to improve our personal relationship with a Higher Power to benefit our life, our growth, and us. Praying is how we connect with God. We don’t pray because we have to; we pray because we want to. It is how we link our soul to our Source.

We’re learning to take care of our emotions, our mind, and our physical needs. We’re learning to change our behaviors. But we’re also learning to take care of our spirit, our soul, because that is where all true change begins.

Each time we talk to God, we are transformed. Each time we connect with our Higher Power, we are heard, touched, and changed for the best.

Today, I will practice prayer and meditation. Whether I feel desperate, uneasy, or peaceful, I will make the effort to connect with my Higher Power, at least for a moment today.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 17
Relax. You’ll figure it out

Let the answers come naturally.

Have you ever gone into a room to get something and by the time you got there, you forgot what you went to get? Often the harder we try to remember, the worse our recollection.

But when we relax and do something else for a minute—just let go—what we’re trying so hard to remember pops naturally into our minds.

When I suggest that we let go, that’s all I’m suggesting that we do. I’m not saying the problem doesn’t matter, or that we have to entirely extinguish all thoughts of the subject from our minds, or that the person we care about isn’t important anymore. All I’m saying is that if we could do anything about it, we probably would have by now. And seeing as we can’t, letting go usually helps.

God, help me relax and let my answers about what to do next come naturally from you.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
January 17

“Wherever I found the living, there I found the will to power.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche

It has been said that addiction and codependency are problems of power. Recovery certainly calls us to admit the limits of our power. Yet, to reach for power seems to come from the deepest part of our nature. If this is so, can it be all bad? Men have used power in many ways for the good of all people. We have been defenders, protectors, and active community servants. At our best, we have taken strong stands for what was right.

We need not shun all power, but rather we learn to use it wisely. Our blindness to the limitations of power created great problems in our lives. Then we learned our first lessons about powerlessness. As humble men, we know we can be wrong, but we cannot be passive and still continue to grow.

I pray for guidance as I learn to assert my strength and power for the cause of well-being.

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Daily TAO
January 17
COOPERATION

Cooperation with others.
Perception, experience, tenacity.
Know when to lead and when to follow.

When we become involved with a fellowship, we must gradually become an integral, organic part of that organization. The relationship will be one of mutual influence. We must carefully influence the collective, and in turn, we will be shaped by the company we keep.

Influencing others requires perception. We need to know when to act, when to be passive, when others are receptive to us, and when they will not listen. This takes experience, of course, and it is necessary to take part in a great many relationships—from our families to community associations—to cultivate the proper sensitivity. In time, there will be moments of both frustration and success, but in either case, a certain tenacity is crucial. If we are thwarted in our initiatives, then we must persevere by either maintaining our position or changing it if a better one prevails. If we are successful, we must not rely on charisma alone, but we must also work to fully realize what the group has resolved to do.

True leadership is a combination of initiative and humility. The best leader remains obscure, leading but drawing no personal attention.  As long as the collective has direction, the leader is satisfied. Credit is not to be taken, it will be awarded when the people realize that it was the subtle influence of the leader that brought them success.

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