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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 19

Just For Today
January 19
Making Mountains Into Molehills

“When we stop living in the here and now, our problems become magnified unreasonably.”
Basic Text, p. 96

Some of us seem to make mountains out of molehills with our problems. Even those of us who’ve found some measure of serenity have probably blown a problem far out of proportion at some time in our recovery-and if we haven’t done so yet, we probably will before long!

When we find ourselves obsessed with a complication in our lives, we will do well to sharply remind ourselves of all that is going right. Perhaps we’re afraid we won’t be able to pay our bills for the month. Instead of sitting at the calculator, adding our financial liabilities over and over, we can take stock of our efforts to reduce expenses. Following this mini-inventory, we continue with the task at hand and remind ourselves that as long as we are doing the footwork, a loving Higher Power will care for our lives.

Mountain-sized problems happen sometimes, but we don’t need to create them. Trust in a loving God of our understanding will put most of our problems in their proper perspective. We no longer need to create chaos to feel excited about our lives. Our recovery gives us countless real-life opportunities for excitement and drama.

Just for today: I will take a realistic look at my problems and see that most of them are minor. I will leave them that way and enjoy my recovery.
pg. 19

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Daily Reflections
January 19
ROUND-THE-CLOCK FAITH

Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p.16

The essence of my spiritually, and my sobriety, rests on a round-the-clock faith in a Higher Power. I need to remember and rely on the God of my understanding as I pursue all of my daily activities. How comforting for me is the concept that God works in and through people.  As I pause in my day, do I recall specific concrete examples of God’s presence? Am I amazed and uplifted by the number of times this power is evident? I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my God’s presence in my life of recovery. Without this omnipotent force in my every activity, I would again fall into the depths of my disease – and death.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 19
A.A. Thought For The Day

On the foundation of sobriety, we can build a life of honesty, unselfishness, faith in God, and love of our fellow human beings. We’ll never fully reach these goals, but the adventure of building that kind of life is so much better than the merry-go-round of our old drinking life that there’s no comparison. We come into A.A. to get sober, but if we stay long enough we learn a new way of living.  We become honest with ourselves and with other people.  We learn to think more about others and less about ourselves. And we learn to rely on the constant help of a Higher Power. Am I living the way of honesty, unselfishness, and faith?

Meditation For The Day

I believe that God had already seen my heart’s needs before I cried to Him, before I was conscious of those needs myself. I believe that God was already preparing the answer. God does not have to be petitioned with sighs and tears and much speaking, before he reluctantly looses the desired help. He has already anticipated my every want and need. I will try to see this, as His plans unfold in my life.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may understand my real wants and needs. I pray that my understanding of those needs and wants may help to bring the answer to them.

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As Bill Sees It
January 19
The Wine Of Success, p. 19

Disagreeable or unexpected problems are not the only ones that call for self-control. We must be quite as careful when we begin to achieve some measure of importance and material success. For no people have ever loved personal triumphs more than we have loved them; we drank of success as of a wine which could never fail to make us feel elated.  Blinded by prideful self-confidence, we were apt to play the big shot.

Now that we’re in A.A. and sober, winning back the esteem of our friends and business associates, we find that we still need to exercise special vigilance. As an insurance against the dangers of big-shot-ism, we can often check ourselves by remembering that we are today sober only by the grace of God and that any success we may be having is far more His success than ours.

12 & 12, pp. 91-92

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Walk In Dry Places
January 19
Willpower Isn’t the Power
Power

We almost universally agree that willpower simply does not work as a direct force in overcoming alcoholism. The alcoholic who believes that a strong will and determination bring sobriety is probably headed for disaster.

In the same way, willpower is ineffective in dealing with a number of personal problems. In fact, the mustering of willpower seems to strengthen the problems or cuase them to take other forms. We know that we are using willpower on problems when there is a great deal of tension and anxiety in letting our Higher Power handle matters in a way that brings contentment and satisfaction. When excessive will is involved, we usually suppress feelings that ought to be expressed in positive ways.

The solution is not to fight problems in ourselves or in the outer world. By turning all matters over to the Higher Will, we will find the best way to deal with the evils within ourselves and with the opposition in our world. “Self-will run riot” was a problem in drinking, and it can be equality destructive in sobriety. Our will should be joined with the Higher Will for true success in living.

I will rely on my Higher power as I go through the day. God can do the many things I cannot do for myself.

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Keep It Simple
January 19

Study sickness when you are well.
—Thomas Fuller

Now is the time to learn about our sickness–chemical dependency. It is a chronic illness. That means it never goes away. We have to live with it the best we can. Luckily, we can live with it–very well! Our program of recovery is so simple, and it feels so good, that we think we’ll never give it up. But we can’t take our recovery for granted. Our disease is “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” The more we know about it, the less we’ll let it fool us. Some days we may find we’re headed toward a slip. We must learn to recognize the first trouble signs in ourselves so we can get help to stay sober.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, my addiction is “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” Don’t let me use alcohol or others drugs again. Thank you for my sobriety today.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll learn my warning signs: I’ll list ten old thoughts, feelings, and actions that were part of my illness. I’ll share this with my sponsor.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 19

The special genius of women, I believe to be electrical in movement, intuitive in function, spiritual in tendency.
–Margaret Fuller

We are women, and we are moving, together and alone. We are moving into new images of ourselves. There is a healing power that comes from moving, from sharing one’s ideas and changing one’s self. And it is by trusting ourselves and trusting others that we bring harmony, thoughtfulness, and courage to all our actions.

Life holds many possibilities, and we are able to realize them when we risk changing ourselves through taking action. Those of us struggling to recover are taking action; we are changing ourselves. And as we listen to and support one another, we encourage the necessary changes in our sisters. As one is healed, we are all healed.

Today holds a special promise for me. I can be in harmony. I can share with others. My courage will strengthen others, and others will strengthen me.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 19
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

About a year later I realized that I was in trouble. I had failed a class during the winter term (I had rarely attended and had not turned in the term paper on which 50 percent of our grade was based.) The spring term was looking equally bleak. I was enrolled in a class that I had attended only once. I had not written any of the required papers or bothered to show up for the midterm examination. I was bound for failure and expulsion. My life had become unmanageable, and I knew it.

p. 424

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 19

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 19

Knowing is not enough; We must Apply. Willing is not enough; We must Do.
–Goethe

I shall stay in this 24 hours, and leave tomorrows burdens, cares, and worries, in Gods hands.
–Shelley

It isn’t enough to draw near to the light. Absorb it into you. Let it charge you and change you with its energy and its power. Healing is all around you. Wherever you are, whatever your resources, healing, energy, and joy are there.
–Melody Beattie

Speaking without thinking is shooting without aiming.
— French Proverb

Three things that become more precious with age are old wood to burn, old books to read, and old friends to enjoy.

“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.”
–English proverb

We in AA don’t carry the alcoholic; we carry the message.

We are not living just to be sober; we are living to learn, to serve, and to love.

Don’t mess up an amends with an excuse.

The First Step identifies the problem. The remaining eleven Steps are the solution.

S T E P S = Solutions To Every Problem, Sober.

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 19
EQUALITY

“Treat all men alike. Give them all the same laws. Give them all an even chance to live and grow.”
— Chief Joseph

Today it is important for me to remember that I am not the only human being in this universe; I need to respect and be considerate of others.  Spirituality requires that I treat all people with dignity and respect because they carry something of God within them — the image of God is with all men. In this way I show and give respect to self.

As an alcoholic I was selfish and demanding, wanting my way all the time. Sobriety teaches me that “the way” must include others; my fellow men are part of my life and journey. I cannot live in isolation and be sober.

O Spirit of the World, teach me to respect all men as a service to myself.

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Bible Scriptures
January 19

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58

How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him. Psalm 147:1

“However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all.” Ecclesiastes 11:8

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Daily Inspiration
January 19

People should be able to look at us and see that we are different. Lord, may I be an example of Your love and learn to rely on You at all times.

Nothing is ever quite as bad as it seems. Call on God and then practice expectancy and optimism and things will turn out better than you expect. Lord, thank You for tomorrow.

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A Day At A Time
January 19

Reflection For The Day

It was far easier for me to accept my powerlessness over my addiction than it was for me to accept the notion that some sort of Higher Power could accomplish that which I had been unable to accomplish myself. Simply by seeking help and accepting the fellowship of others similarly afflicted, the craving left me. And I realized that if I was doing what I was powerless along to do, then surely I was doing so by some Power outside my own and obviously greater. Have I surrendered my life into the hands of God?

Today I Pray

May God erase in me the arrogant pride which keeps me from listening to Him. May my unhealthy dependence on chemicals and my clinging dependence on those nearby be transformed into reliance on God. Only in this kind of dependence/reliance on a Higher Power will I find my own transformation.

Today I Will Remember

I am God-dependent.

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One More Day
January 19

Wisdom is knowing when you can’t be wise.
—Paul Engle

Whenever we previously thought of wisdom we may either have imagined a venerated sage or a beloved grandparent. Or we may have thought of formal schooling and college degrees.

We remember wisdom learned from our parents. We remember conveying similar ideas to our children. How many of us really remember the first time we had to answer, “I don’t know”? And what about the moment when it finally occurred to us that there are certain skills that we will never be able to develop?

Understanding comes when we expand ourselves to our fullest capacities and accept ourselves just as we are. Then and only then are we wise.

The more comfortable I become with my limitations, the more I can grow.

Author Sefra Kobrin Pitzele

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One Day At A Time
January 19
~ OPPORTUNITIES ~

Tiger, tiger, burning bright, In the forest of the night, What immortal hand or eye, could frame thy dreadful symmetry?
–William Blake

This quote from mystic and poet William Blake expresses the sense of wonder and awe I have about God, who can make a being like a tiger, an aggressive carnivore. God, who I suppose to be kind and loving, makes beings that are potentially dangerous to me. The question “Why?” stirs in my mind, alongside fears about what God may have in store for me.

“Fear of the Lord, is the beginning of wisdom,” says one religious text. I can feel grateful for the stirring fear, and question, as the seeds of new wisdom.

A quick thought enters, “I can also feel grateful for the chance to flex my faith muscles and to increase their strength. Maybe that’s why God makes tigers and their ilk.”

A habit of staying detached from the emotions life arouses in me heightens my perceptions of what life has to offer, highlights what God has to offer in each situation and the reasons I have for being grateful. This is essential to my recovery. It’s the spine of an attitude of gratitude that also nurtures remembrance of God, and conscious contact with Him.

One Day at a Time …
I thank God for what I have already learned, for all opportunities to learn more, and for the chance to perfect “skill in action” in my recovery way of life.

~ James ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 19

“Heal yourself-your physical and spiritual bodies. Regenerate yourself with light, and then help those who have poverty of the soul. Return to the inner spirit, which we have abandoned while looking elsewhere for happiness.”
–Willaru Huayta, QUECHUA NATION, PERU

It is difficult to look inside ourselves, especially when we see conflict or confusion. During times of conflict we need to realize that we are talking to ourselves about our thoughts. This conversation is printing in our subconscious and forming our beliefs. During times of conflict we need to ask the spirit to control our self-talk. Only thorough finding that inner place and going there during troubled times will we ever find happiness.

Great Spirit, You are my peace and you dwell within me. Let me look for You within myself.

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Journey To The Heart
January 19
Honor the Process of Spiritual Growth

Don’t wait for things to change. The change you’re waiting for will come from within you. Start to nurture yourself through each stage of your evolution, your spiritual growth.

Waiting for things to change is a tiresome, irritating, process. But embracing our own emotions and growth is exciting. It can become a positive challenge that turns life into a vital, interactive process. The moment we surrender to this process, something happens. If we feel an emotion– an old, stuck, hardened chunk of emotion or a new one that has arisen along the path, we can release it and the belief attached to it: I am an alcoholic. Life has to be hard. I deserve to be punished.

When we release the emotion and the belief, our body shifts. It detoxifies. Changes. A new lesson emerges. We discover we can choose joy, freedom, forgiveness. The lessons that can emerge are as unique as our old beliefs. We wrestle with each new lesson as it grows and appears in many different forms– on the job, in love relationships, in all areas of our lives.

Soon we come to a new conclusion about ourselves, about life. I am lovable. I am creatively feeling what God and the universe have to offer me. I am free. I can bring my full essence and energy before the world. Then when we change, when our beliefs change, our lives change. The change we’ve been waiting for happens, but it happens as a result of our own evolutionary process– not because we waited for something or someone in our lives outside ourselves to change.

Trust this process of change. Honor it, respect it, revere it. You no longer have to wait for something to happen. Something is happening right now; within you. Welcome the changes that can be yours. Let life help you, as you take an active part in creating these changes. Let the process become living, interactive, and magical.

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Today’s Gift
January 19

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
—Chinese proverb

Even the strongest, most loving families always have room for growth. There is no such thing as a “perfect” family. If our family is far from perfect, that’s okay. It only matters that we are working at getting better. Often, runners will say they can remember many days when they just did not feel like running; however, once they started, they felt more energy and were easily able to run the distance they had set for that day.

Whatever we need to do, we can do in small acts–a chore done without being asked, a helping hand with the dishes, a soft word, a surprise gift for no reason. These are small things, easily done. Love is made of small things; what is large is the love with which they are accomplished.

When we begin to work on our relationship with our family, we will feel the new energy, and quickly we will find ourselves making progress.

What is the first thing I can do today to improve my relationship with my family?

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The Language of Letting Go
January 19
Owning Our Power

There is one feeling we need to pay particular attention to in recovery: feeling victimized. We do not need to become comfortable with that feeling.

How do we feel when we’ve been victimized? Helpless. Rageful. Powerless. Frustrated.

Feeling victimized is dangerous. Often, it can prompt us into addictive or other compulsive behaviors.

In recovery, we’re learning to identify when we’re feeling victimized, when we are actually being victimized, and why we’re feeling victimized. We’re learning to own our power, to take care of ourselves, and to remove ourselves as victims.

Sometimes, owning our power means we realize we are victimizing ourselves – and others are not doing anything to hurt us. They are living their lives, as they have a right to, and we are feeling victimized because we’re attempting to control their process or we’re unreasonably expecting them to take care of us. We may feel victimized if we get stuck in a codependent belief such as: Other people make me feel…. Others hold the key to my happiness and destiny…. Or, I can’t be happy unless another behaves in a particular way, or a certain event takes place…

Other times, owning our power means we realize that we are being victimized by another’s behavior. Our boundaries are being invaded. In that case, we figure out what we need to do to take care of ourselves to stop the victimization; we need to set boundaries.

Sometimes, a change of attitude is all that’s required. We are not victims.

We strive to have compassion for the person who victimized us but understand that compassion often comes later, after we’ve removed ourselves as victims in body, mind, and spirit. We also understand that too much compassion can put us right back into the victim slot. Too much pity for a person who is victimizing us may set up a situation where the person can victimize us again.

We try not to force consequences or crises upon another person, but we also do not rescue that person from logical consequences of his or her behavior. If there is a part that is our responsibility to play in delivering those consequences, we do our part – not to control or punish, but to be responsible for ourselves and to others.

We try to figure out what we may be doing that is causing us to feel victimized, or what part we are playing in the system, and we stop doing that too. We are powerless over others and their behavior, but we can own our power to remove ourselves as victims.

Today, I will take responsibility for myself and show it to others by not allowing myself to be victimized, I cannot control outcomes, but I can control my attitude toward being victimized. I am not a victim; I do not deserve to be victimized.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 19
You’re connected to life and the universe

“My friend died, and I was upset,” a man told me one day. “I took off on a trip, wandering around the Southwest, hiking through Bryce Canyon. I saw the snow in the caverns, the rich red carved peaks sticking up. I saw the vastness of the universe, and the beauty in all of it. I had set off on my trip to prove how unique and isolated I was in my grief. By the time the trip ended, I realized just how connected to this world I am.”

Part of letting go is recognizing that you are part of this universe and not separate from it.

Perhaps a situation has come up in your life recently that signals an ending– the passing of a relative, the end of a relationship, the loss of a job. The people we love and the things we do contribute to our sense of who we are. When the people and things we love are threatened, taken away, we can rebel. We want to hold on to the known and don’t want to see what’s on the other side.

Let go of the uncontrollable in your life. You’re not a solitary being in this great universe, set to struggle against all of the forces; you’re part of the whole. And the changes that come– whether they’re joyous or sad, easy or difficult– are just a part of the growing process that each of us goes through.

Feel the pain when you have a loss. Feel the joy when you triumph. Then let go and continue to grow.

See how connected you are.

God, help me recognize that I am a part of your creation and don’t need to fight it. Help me live in peace and celebration of life.

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Touchstones – Daily Meditation For Men
January 19

You are reading from the book TouchstonesSelf-realization is not a matter of withdrawal from a corrupt world or narcissistic contemplation of oneself. An individual becomes a person by enjoying the world and contributing to it.
—Francine Klagsbrun

After we admitted our self-destructive patterns and gave them up, there were many days when we said, “Now what? Is that all there is? I need some answers. How should I live? How can I feel whole? How can I feel like a real person?” These questions may feel too painful to answer. These are among the first spiritual questions we encounter in recovery, and we must not hide or escape from them. They are valuable to us, and we need to follow their urgings.

We are asking these questions as if they were new and unique. But through the centuries many people have asked them too. They found answers we can learn from. They tell us to get engaged with life, take time for reflection, learn to enjoy it where we can, and try to make a contribution.

Today, I will listen to my questions and doubts as urgings from my Higher Power, pushing me to grow. I will be involved in living.

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Daily TAO
January 19
INITIATIVE

Let us not be confused
With kaleidoscopic reality.
Using wisdom and courage to act,
Let us not add to the confusion.

The world is a storm of myriad realities, yet we cannot allow ourselves to be swept into the vortex. To do so is to be lost and to lose the true center where all understanding will come. We must act, but in the right way.

Action must be guided by both intellect and experience. We learn from teachers, elders, and others. But we must also test what we learn in the world. It is not enough to simply meditate, and it is not enough just to have theoretical knowledge. We need both in order to be wise.

Only when wisdom, courage, timing, and perseverance are combined can one have a sound basis for initiative. The action must be complete. It must burn clean; it cannot leave any bad ramifications or lingering traces. An act that leaves destruction, resentment, or untidiness in its wake it a poor one. Then initiative is insufficient, and Tao has not been attained.

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