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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 18

Just For Today
January 18
The Simple Inventory

” Continuing to take a personal inventory means that we form a habit of looking at ourselves, our actions, our attitudes, and our relationships on a regular basis.”
Basic Text, p. 41

The daily inventory is a tool we can use to simplify our lives. The most complicated part of taking a regular inventory is deciding how to start. Should we write it out? What should we examine? In how much detail? And how do we know when we’ve finished? In no time, we’ve turned a simple exercise into a major project. Here’s one simple approach to the daily inventory. We set aside a few minutes at the close of each day to sit quietly and check out our feelings. Is there a knot, big or small, in our gut? Do we feel uncomfortable about the day we’ve just finished? What happened? What was our part in the affair? Do we owe any amends? If we could do it over again, what would we do differently?

We also want to monitor the positive aspects of our lives in our daily inventory. What has given us satisfaction today? Were we productive? Responsible? Kind? Loving? Did we give unselfishly of ourselves? Did we fully experience the love and beauty the day offered us? What did we do today that we would want to do again?

Our daily inventory doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. It is a very simple tool we can use to keep in daily touch with ourselves.

Just for today: I want to keep in touch with the way I feel in living this life I’ve been given. At the end of this day, I will take a brief, simple inventory.

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Daily Reflections
January 18
WOULD A DRINK HELP?

By going back in our drinking histories, we could show that years before we realized it we were out of control, that our drinking even then was no mere habit, that was indeed the beginning of a fatal progression.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 23

When I was still drinking, I couldn’t respond to any of life’s situations the way other, more healthy, people could. The smallest incident triggered a state of mind that believed I had to have a drink to numb my feelings.  But the numbing did not improve the situation, so I sought further escape in the bottle. Today I must be aware of my alcoholism. I cannot afford to believe that I have gained control of my drinking – or again I will think I have gained control of my life. Such a feeling of control is fatal to my recovery.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 18
A.A. Thought For The Day

The new life can’t be built in a day. We have to take the program slowly, a little at a time. Our subconscious minds have to be re-educated. We have to learn to think differently. We have to get used to sober thinking instead of alcoholic thinking. Anyone who tries it, knows that the old alcoholic thinking is apt to come back on us when we least expect it. Building a new life is a slow process, but it can be done if we really follow the A.A. program. Am I building a new life on the foundation of sobriety?

Meditation For The Day

I will pray daily for faith, for it is God’s gift. On faith alone depends the answer to my prayers. God gives it to me in response to my prayers, because it is a necessary weapon for me to possess for the overcoming of all adverse conditions and the accomplishments of all good in my life. Therefore, I will work at strengthening my faith.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may so think and live as to feed my faith in God. I pray that my faith may grow because with faith God’s power becomes available to me.

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As Bill Sees It
January 18
Companion and Partner, p. 18

“Dr. Bob was my constant companion and partner in the great A.A. adventure. As the physician and great human being he was, he chose work with others as his prime A.A. vocation and achieved a record which, in quantity and in quality, none will ever surpass. Assisted by the incomparable Sister Ignatia at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, he–without charge–medically treated and spiritually infused five thousand sufferers.

“In all the stress and strain of A.A.’s pioneering time, no hard word ever passed between us. For this, I can thankfully say that the credit was all his.”

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

I took my leave of Dr. Bob, knowing that he was to undergo a serious operation. The old, broad smile was on his face as he said almost jokingly, “Remember, Bill, let’s not louse this thing up. Let’s keep it simple!” I turned away, unable to say a word. That was the last time I ever saw him.

1. Letter, 1966
2. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 214

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Walk In Dry Places
January 18
The Greatest Thing In The World
Love and Goodwill

In a famous sermon, Henry Drummond described love as a spectrum with nine ingredients. Love is patience, kindness, and generosity; it is humility, courtesy, and unselfishness. Finally, it is also good temper, gentleness, and sincerity. Drummond called love the “greatest thing in the world.”

Growth in sobriety includes improvement in all the nine ingredients that make up love. It has been fashionable in recent years to talk and sing about love as something the world needs, and we have an opportunity to practice love when we strengthen the qualities that make us loving people. And if we are uncomfortable with love as a word, we can call it goodwill.

If we are practicing the elements of love or goodwill, we won’t have to sing about it or tell people what we’re doing. They will see the change in our own lives and will be attracted by it. Love acts the part, and even people who cannot define love will respond to it. If love is present in our AA activities, it will cover a multitude of sins and will make up for many other shortcomings.

I’ll try to practice the nine ingredients that make up love. Around difficult people, I’ll remember that God’s love is always present with us.

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Keep It Simple
January 18

The reality is that changes are coming….they must come. You must share in bring them.
–John Hersey

Change. It’s scary. It’s hard. It’s needed. Sometimes it feels bad. But one thing is for sure: it keeps on happening. Just when our life seems settled, it changes. We can’t stop life. We can’t stay this age forever. The world changes. Life moves on. There are always new things to do and learn. Changes means we’re always beginners in some ways. We need to ask for wisdom and courage. We get it by listening, by praying, by meditating. When we ask, our Higher Power will teach us to be part of good changes.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me believe that Your plans call for good changes.

Action for the Day: Today I’ll think about the changes in my life. I’ve lived through a lot. I’ll be okay when more changes come, with God’s help. I can keep on growing.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 18

We are born in innocence. Corruption comes later. The first fear is a corruption, the first reaching for something that defies us. The first nuance of difference, the first need to feel better than the different one, more loved, stronger, richer, more blessed–these are corruptions.
–Laura Z. Hobson

We are corrupted. To be a human is to be corrupted. Our corruptions interfere with our happiness at the very time we are seeking happiness. When we think if only we were prettier, smarter, had a better job, then we’d be happy, we are giving in to corruptions. And these corruptions stifle our growth. We are each who we need to be. We have a supporting role in one another’s lives. We can teach and learn from one another.

Recovery is choosing to help ourselves and one another to be as we are; to quit making comparisons; to understand our equality as women; to celebrate our differences, knowing they give intensity to life’s colors for us all.

I can celebrate our special and different gifts today. My heart will be lightened.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 18
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

Because my college was fairly small, it did not take long for me to come to the attention of the college deans. It was under their watchful eyes that I first agreed to enter counseling. While the administration saw this as an opportunity to help a troubled student, I saw it as a bargain. I would go to counseling to make them happy, and they would owe me one. Not surprisingly, the counseling had no effect. My daily drinking continued unabated.

p. 424

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 18

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.”

Let’s see how these two contrasting ideas–attraction and promotion–work out. A political party wishes to win an election, so it advertises the virtues of its leadership to draw votes. A worthy charity wants to raise money; forthwith, its letterhead shows the name of every distinguished person who support can be obtained. Much of the political, economic, and religious life of the world is dependent upon publicized leadership. People who symbolize causes and ideas fill a deep human need. We of A.A. do not question that. But we do have to soberly face the fact that being in the public eye is hazardous, especially for us. By temperament, nearly every one of us had been an irrepressible promoter, and the prospect of a society composed almost entirely of promoters was frightening. Considering this explosive factor, we knew we had to exercise self-restraint.

p. 181

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Xtra Thoughts
January 18

Through morning prayers and meditation, we embark upon the day spiritually prepared. Without this preparation, we enter the day with yesterday’s anxieties – our own and those of millions of others.
–Marianne Williamson

The value of persistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but we will finally hear Him.
–William McGill

I know and trust that God cares for me, and takes care of all my needs.
–Shelley

Give your friends and family the gift of kindness all throughout the year. Your body is your vehicle through life. Do you take better care of your body or your car?

It seems in life that most of us end up doing things we don’t enjoy. You can turn things that you don’t enjoy into something you do by changing how you do those things AND changing how you view them.

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 18
GLUTTONY

“Gluttony is not a secret vice.”
— Orson Welles

The unspoken disease of food: hide in food, bury anger with food, cry behind food. Food addiction — eating, forever dieting, starving — is the hidden disease that is becoming more obvious. But are we talking about it? Recovering alcoholics minimize it and get lost in ice cream and doughnuts. For many people the pain around food is as real as alcohol or any other drug. And the family and relationships suffer.

Today I am willing to talk about it. Spirituality affects all my life and this involves my eating habits and body weight. God does not make junk and so I choose not to eat junk. Today I choose to talk about the buried emotions that I am stuffing behind the food. That is a step towards living.

When I bless the food at meal time, may I also bless my abstinence.

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Bible Scriptures
January 18

“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalms 9:10

“May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. Genesis 31:49

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:11-16

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Daily Inspiration
January 18

Do not walk around with a long face. Radiate God’s love. Lord, help me live my daily life with gratitude and peace from knowing that You are always with me.

When you have faith in yourself and God, you will know that you are loved and safe and never alone. Lord, I am these things because You are always with me.

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A Day At A Time
January 18

Reflection For The Day

If we are determined to stop drinking or using other chemicals, there must be no reservations whatever, nor any lurking notion that our allergy of the body and obsession of the mind will some day reverse themselves. Our regeneration comes through the splendid paradox of the Twelve Steps: Strength arises from complete defeat, and the loss of one’s old life is a condition for finding a new one. Am I convinced that in powerlessness, Power comes? Am I certain that by releasing my life and will, I am released?

Today I Pray

May I know power through powerlessness, victory through surrender, triumph through defeat. May I learn to relinquish any trace of secret pride that I can “do it by myself.” Let my will be adsorbed and steered by the omnipotent will of God.

Today I Will Remember

Let Go and Let God

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One More Day
January 18

Life’s a pretty precious and wonderful thing. You can’ sit down and let it lap around you . . . you have to plunge into it, you have to dive through it.
— Kyle Crichton

Life isn’t always carefree. Especially when we are suffering pain and discomfort, we may tend to back away from the mainstream. We’re just not sure how to behave in the face of new problems. We become confused about what we expect from others. Uncertain of what to do, we may be content for a while to let life lap around us.

We find, however hard the lesson, that in order to be a participant, to get into the swing of things, we must dive back into life. No one is going to take care of all our needs. We are responsible for our actions.

I have been confused how to continue living my life. Now I understand that I must plunge in again and get going.

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One Day At A Time
January 18
~ LOVING WORDS ~

One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter.
–James Earl Jones

Many years ago I had difficulty in expressing feelings of love and caring and warmth and concern. Contrary to this, I had no difficulty in expressing criticism, unkind words or constant critiques. Over the years I have learned so much about myself and others … and now I can express feelings to my friends and loved ones about everything.

Those who are imprisoned by emotional constipation do little to make life better for themselves or for others. To be able to look at someone in your life and tell them you love them is such a beautiful gift. To tell a store clerk that you like something about them makes their heart sing. To look a little child in the eyes and tell them they have a good heart and you admire them takes them through the rest of the day on wings.

One Day at a Time . . .
Here’s to letting the words out of hearts.

~ Mari ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 18

“Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit.”
–Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), SANTEE SIOUX

Be still and know. All new learnings, all ideas about new things, creativity, daydreaming and mental effectiveness come to those who learn about silence. All warriors know about the power of silence. All Elders know about stillness. Be still and know God. Meditation is about the place of silence. This is the place to hear God’s voice. We can find tremendous amounts of knowledge in the place of silence. This is the sacred place of God.

Great Spirit, teach me the power of silence.

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Journey To The Heart
January 18
Set Yourself Free from Control

You don’t have to let people control or manipulate you. You don’t have to scream and beat upon your breast, telling them they’re wrong, they cannot do that. That’s letting them control you.

People are energy. Thoughts are energy. When someone tries to control, that energy limits love and growth. Any attempt to control other people, what they think or what they do, puts little strings, cords, tentacles that smother, hold back, and impact in ways that don’t heal. Control is not the way of the heart. It’s not the way of love.

As you proceed along this journey, you will become increasingly sensitive to attempts to control. You will see and feel when its tentacles reach out to you. You will see and feel how control affects you, how it makes you feel, how it pulls at you, bothers you, annoys you. You don’t have to scream and yell. You can quietly recognize it as control.

Whether the person is someone you love, an acquaintance, a business associate, a friend, or a family member, you can recognize control for what it is– a block to the heart, a hindrance to love.

Set yourself free from control and manipulation. Love can’t be controlled. Open your heart and let love be.

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Today’s Gift
January 18

The stream that was locked up for the winter now ripples and gurgles along its way.
—John F. Gardner

Winter presents us with a frozen world, silent, sometimes forbidding. It seems like such a harsh time, forcing us indoors, letting us out only when we’re wrapped in extra woolens, extra boots, extra hats and mittens. But beneath the snow’s blanket, the earth is resting. Just as we sleep at night, the earth naps, nurturing its roots and bulbs, replenishing its moisture and minerals, refreshing itself. Spring is the earth’s first stirring; it opens one eye, then another, wiggles a toe, stretches, yawns. The earth rises, shaking leaves off, brushing twigs away. It sends new shoots up to welcome the day.

We, too, are part of nature, and as such we experience our own seasons. Sometimes we are happy, full of energy, always able to handle obstacles. When we are down, when things seem to be too much for us to handle, we must remember that it is natural and proper to feel that way, and that soon, without our even trying, a new season will lift our hearts.

When I feel low, what can I do best?

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The Language of Letting Go
January 18
Gratitude

Sometimes in life, things happen too fast. We barely solve one problem when two new problems surface. We’re feeling great in the morning, but we’re submerged in misery by nightfall.

Every day we face interruptions, delays, changes, and challenges. We face personality conflicts and disappointments. Often when we’re feeling overwhelmed, we can’t see the lessons in these experiences.

One simple concept can get us through the most stressful of times. It’s called gratitude. We learn to say, thank you, for these problems and feelings. Thank you for the way things are. I don’t like this experience, but thank you anyway.

Force gratitude until it becomes habitual. Gratitude helps us stop trying to control outcomes. It is the key that unlocks positive energy in our life. It is the alchemy that turns problems into blessings, and the unexpected into gifts.

Today, I will be grateful. I will start the process of turning today’s pain into tomorrow’s joy.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 18
Let go of the past

I was sitting outside on the patio one morning. A foggy mist gently covered the peaks of the Ortega Mountain Range. The birds were singing. My mind wandered back to ten years ago and my life in Minnesota with my children, Shane and Nichole.

Shane was still alive then. Nichole was still living at home. Our love, our family bond, was so strong. “We’ll always get together for birthdays,” we had vowed. “Our bond, our love, will live on.” It had been the best year, the happiest year, of my life. I wanted that time back again. If I could just see him again, for one minute. If the three of us could just be together again, for one day, I yearned, life would be so good.

Later that morning I picked up an Osho Zen meditation card– not to tell the future, but to get insights into now.

My card talked about “clinging to the past.”

It said, “It’s time to face up to the fact that the past is gone, and any effort to repeat it is a sure way to stay stuck in old blueprints that you would have already outgrown if you hadn’t been so busy clinging to what you have already been through.”

“Silly me,” I thought, coming back to the patio and to the Ortega Mountain Range. “Even though life is different and I miss the children, life is pretty good now.”

Let yourself have all your emotions and feelings about losing people and moments you loved and cherished. Feel as sad as you need to. Grieve. Then let the feelings and the past go. Don’t let your memories stop you from seeing how beautiful and precious each moment in your life is now.

God, help me let go of yesterday so I can open my heart to the gifts of today.

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Touchstones Daily Meditation For Men
January 18

Communication leads to community – that is, to understanding, intimacy, and mutual valuing.
—Rollo May

We have all thought, “If I tell the innermost things about myself, I will be rejected or put down.” Most real communication actually creates the opposite of what we fear. In this program, when we lowered our barriers and let our brothers and sisters know us better, they liked us more and our bonds became stronger. Are we concerned today about an intimate relationship? The way to deepen intimacy is to let ourselves be known. When talking about feelings, we need to emphasize those that make us feel most vulnerable.

The other side of communication is listening. In listening, our task is to hear without judgment and without trying to provide an answer or a cure for every pain. To express ourselves to others, to be fully understood, and to know we are understood will lift our hope and self esteem.

Today, I can make contact with people in my life by revealing my feelings to them and listening to what they are saying.

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Daily TAO
January 18
SPECTRUM

Pure light is all colors.
Therefore, it has no hue.
Only when singleness is scattered
Does color appear.

When we see pure sunlight streaming down upon us, it is a pure radiance so bright that we can discern neither details nor hues from its source. But when light strikes the gossamer wings of a dragonfly, or when it shines through misty rain, or even when it shines on the surface of our skin, it is polarized into millions of tiny rainbows. The world explodes with color because all the myriad surfaces and textures fracture the light into innumerable, overlapping dimensions.

The same is true of Tao. In its pure state, it embodies everything.  Thus, it shows nothing. Just as pure light has all colors yet shows no color, so too is all existence initially latent and without differentiation in Tao. Only when Tao enters our world does it explode into myriad things. We say that everything owes its existence to Tao.  But really, these things are only refractions of the great Tao.

Colored light, when mixed together, becomes pure, bright light again. That is why those who follow Tao constantly speak of returning.  They unify all areas of their lives and unify all distinctions into a whole. There cannot be diversity within unity. When our consciousness rejoins the true Tao, there is only brightness, and all color disappears.

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