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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 21

Just For Today
January 21
Unity And Uniformity

“Unity is a must in Narcotics Anonymous.”
—Basic Text p. 60

Unity is not uniformity. Unity springs from the fact that we have unity of purpose—to recover, and to help others stay clean. Even so, we often find that while we strive to fulfill the same purpose, our means and methods may be radically different.

We can’t impose our ideas of unity on others or confuse unity with uniformity. In fact, a big attraction of the NA program is the absence of uniformity. Unity springs from our common purpose, not from standards imposed on the group by a few well-meaning members. A group that has the unity which springs from the loving hearts of its members allows each addict to carry the message in his or her own unique way.

In our dealings with each other in NA, we sometimes disagree rather vocally. We must remember that the details of how we get things done isn’t always important, so long as we keep our focus on the group’s primary purpose. We can watch members who vehemently disagree over trivial things pull together when a newcomer reaches out for help. Someone was there for us when we got to the rooms of NA. Now it is our turn to be there for others. We need unity to help show the newcomer that this way of life works.

Just for today: I will strive to be a part of unity. I know that unity does not equal uniformity.

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Daily Reflections
January 21
SERVING MY BROTHER

The member talks to the newcomer not in a spirit of power but in a spirit of humility and weakness.
—ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS COMES OF AGE p. 279

As the days pass in A.A., I ask God to guide my thoughts and the words that I speak. In this labor of continuous participation in the Fellowship, I have numerous opportunities to speak. So I frequently ask God to help me watch over my thoughts and my words, that they may be the true and proper reflections of our program; to focus my aspirations once again to seek His guidance; to help me be truly kind and loving, helpful and healing, yet always filled with humility, and free from any trace of arrogance.

Today I may very well have to deal with disagreeable attitudes or utterances—the typical stock-in-trade attitude of the still-suffering alcoholic. If this should happen, I will take a moment to center myself in God, so that I will be able to respond from a perspective of composure, strength and sensibility.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 21
A.A. Thought For The Day

To grasp the A.A. program, we have to think things out. Saint Paul said: “They are transformed by the renewing of their minds.” We have to learn to think straight. We have to change from alcoholic thinking to sober thinking. We must build up a new way of looking at things.  Before we came into A.A., we wanted an artificial life of excitement and everything that goes with drinking. That kind of life looked normal to us then. But as we look back now, that life looks the exact opposite of normal. In fact, it looks most abnormal. We must reeducate our minds. Am I changing from an abnormal thinker to a normal thinker?

Meditation For The Day

I will take the most crowded day without fear. I believe that God is with me and controlling all. I will let confidence be the motif running through all the crowded day. I will not get worried, because I know that God is my helper. Underneath are the everlasting arms. I will rest in them, even though the day be full of things crowded in upon me.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be calm and let nothing upset me. I pray that I may not let material things control me and choke out spiritual things.

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As Bill Sees It
January 21
Citizens Again, p. 21

“Each of us in turn—that is, the member who gets the most out of the program—spends a very large amount of time on Twelfth Step work in the early years. That was my case, and perhaps I should not have stayed sober with less work.

However, sooner or later most of us are presented with other obligations—to family, friends, and country. As you will remember, the Twelfth Step also refers to ‘practicing these principles in all our affairs.’ Therefore, I think your choice of whether to take a particular Twelfth Step job is to be found in your own conscience. No one else can tell you for certain what you ought to do at a particular time.

I just know that you are expected, at some point, to do more than carry the message of A.A. to other alcoholics. In A.A. we aim not only for sobriety—we try again to become citizens of the world that we rejected, and of the world that once rejected us. This is the ultimate demonstration toward which Twelfth Step work is the first but not the final step.”

Letter, 1959

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Walk In Dry Places
January 21
Giving Wisely is Safe
Helping others.

Most of us admit that we were selfish people when we drank. Even when we brought drinks for others, we did so either to seek their approval or in the expectancy that they would return the favor.

Our need in sobriety is to become unselfish by giving freely and cheerfully of ourselves. This, too, has its pitfalls. Feeling guilty about past selfishness, we may go overboard in helping others do things that they need to do for themselves. This can only lead to failure and disillusionment. It is common to hear AA members complain about people who are not in recovery despite help extended to them in finding a job, a place to live, and other necessities.

But in giving, it is not always right tolook for a “quid pro quo” … something in return … or even for the others person’s recovery and well-being. It’s best to let the giving itself be its own reward. If we feel good about what we have done, we probably are doing the right things. Later on, when additional and unexpected rewards come to us, we can accept them as bonuses.

I can make progress in overcoming selfishness and self-centeredness if I give selflessly to others and take an honest interest in their problems.

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Keep It Simple
January 21

“What is defeat? … Nothing but the first step to something better.”
—Wendell Phillips

A man walks into a meeting. He says,”I surrender. I can’t drink like other folks.” We smile and welcome him. We know that feeling. All of us in the program must admit defeat. Our illness is more powerful than we are. We begin recovery when we surrender. Admitting defeat is our first step into a beautiful world. Like all first steps, it’s hard. But what a world we find ourselves in! A world where we count. A world where all are really equal! This first step brings us into God’s world of care. We get love. We give love. We stay sober because daily we admit defeat.

Prayer for the Day: In surrender, I can’t drink and use other drugs. I’m different. Higher Power, help me surrender daily.

Action for the Day: Every so often, I need to admit defeat and talk about what it was like, what happened, and where I am now.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 21

“Too many activities, and people, and things. Too many worthy activities, valuable things, and interesting people. For it is not merely the trivial which clutters our lives but the important as well.”
—Anne Morrow Lindbergh

We need interaction with others, and we need activities. We have many gifts to offer those who cross our paths, and we need the many gifts they have to offer us. But we soon have little to share, to give to others, if we neglect the special times, the empty spaces needed for nurturing the soul.

Some time away from people, activities, and things, some time away to commune with God, to seek guidance, to seek security in the fullest sense, will prepare us to better give our gifts to others. That time alone will also ready us to accept others’ gifts to us.

It is true we find God’s message in others. But the time alone with God lowers the barriers that too often prevent us from hearing another of God’s messages as expressed through the friends and even foes who cross our paths.

My gift to myself is some time alone. I deserve that gift today and every day.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 21
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

A few days went by. With the pressure lifted, my life did not look so unmanageable. In fact, it looked as if I was back in the saddle. So, I thanked the dean for his help but told him that I would be okay on my own. I did not go to a rehab. Two weeks later I walked through a second-story window.

p. 425

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 21

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.”

The way this restraint paid off was startling. It resulted in more favorable publicity of Alcoholics Anonymous than could possibly have been obtained through all the arts and abilities of A.A.’s best press agents. Obviously, A.A. had to be publicized somehow, so we resorted to the idea that it would be far better to let our friends do this for us. Precisely that has happened, to an unbelievable extent. Veteran newsmen, trained doubters that they are, have gone all out to carry A.A.’s message. To them, we are something more than the source of good stories. On almost every newsfront, the men and women of the press have attached themselves to us as friends.

p. 181

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Xtra Thoughts
January 21

“When you make a mistake, make amends immediately. It’s easier to eat crow while it’s still warm.”
—Sherrie R.

“God claims by grace those who have no claim to grace.”

“In any moment of decision, The best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
—President Theodore Roosevelt

“Forgiveness ought to be like a canceled note—torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.”
—Henry Ward Beecher

“Someone once said that it’s bad to suppress laughter; it goes back down and spreads to your hips! So, keep laughing, everyone!”
—unknown

“The best way to get the last word is to apologize.”

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 21
TOLERANCE

“The price of freedom of religion or of speech or of the press is that we must put up with, and even pay for, a good deal of rubbish.”
—Justice Robert Jackson

I need to be tolerant in my sobriety. I need to allow others to say what they feel and live according to their standards.

I was intolerant towards people who were different from myself. Much of what I criticized yesterday, I accept today; some things I still reject.

To love a person should not require “sameness;” equally, I can accept a person without agreeing with what they say or how they behave.  Disagreements and conflicts lead to growth; change requires a variety of forces.

Not everything I say to do is “pure”—and that has become the key to the acceptance of others. My history teaches me that I benefit from the variety of opinions that are represented in mankind.

Lord, You have created many ways to Truth, may I appreciate them through the experiences of others.

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Bible Scriptures
January 21

“Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock.”
—Matthew 7:24

“Beloved, we are God’s children now.”
—1 John 3:2

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field God’s building.”
—1 Corinthians 3:7-9

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Daily Inspiration
January 21

When your burdens seem heavier than usual, know that your blessings are more than usual. Lord, I call on You for the strength, the wisdom and the confidence that I will need today.

God values us so much that He gave us all that He has; His Son Jesus. Show that you value Him, too, by putting Him first in all aspects of your life. Lord, when I put You first in my life, order and peace follow.

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A Day At A Time
January 21

Reflection For The Day

Every person, no matter what his or her balance for good or evil, is a part of the Divine economy. We are all children of God, and it is unlikely that He intends to favor one over another. So it is necessary for all of us to accept whatever positive gifts we receive with a deep humility, always bearing in mind that our negative attitudes were first necessary as a means of reducing us to such a state that we would be ready for a gift of the positive ones via the conversion experience. Do I accept the fact that my addiction and the bottom I finally reached are the bedrock upon which my spiritual foundation rests?

Today I Pray

May I know that from the first moment I admitted my powerlessness, God-given power was mine. Every step taken from that moment of defeat has been a step in the right direction. The First Step is a giant step. Though it is often taken in despair, may I realize that I must be drained of hope before I can be refilled with fresh hope, sapped of wilfulness before I can feel the will of God.

Today I Will Remember

Power through powerlessness.

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One More Day
January 21

“Historic continuity with the past is not a duty, it is a necessity.”
–Oliver Wendell Holmes

Our personal histories mark the pathways of life. Our having lived and loved and worked makes a difference in thousands of ways. This impact on life is a history and heritage for our loved ones and for ourselves. What memories have we created for those we love? Perhaps quilts that will be treasured as family heirlooms. A family farm or profession? But what else?

Even more important than heirlooms and family jobs are loving memories and personal histories. Recorded histories, especially anecdotal, can be written or tape recorded. Pictures can be taken, and older photos can be labeled for the generations to come. What will we leave when we die? Communication, tradition, and the ability to love unconditionally.

This small but important moment is a good time to record my journey thus far and to affirm my sense of continuity.

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One Day At A Time
January 21
~ POSITIVE THINKING ~

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”
—Zig Ziglar

I came into Twelve Step meetings after descending into a well of negative thinking. It was a vicious cycle, one I wasn’t even aware of for the longest time. My negative thinking fostered many resentments, hurts and binges. Once I became aware of this and started to work on changing my destructive thinking, I discovered that letting in just one negative thought opened the door to more negative thinking.

Then one day in a meeting I heard a longtimer say that negative thinking attracted negative (thinking and actions) and positive thinking attracted positive (thinking and actions). That made sense with what I was experiencing. As I walked out of that meeting, I determined that I would do everything I could to keep all my thoughts positive in order to attract more positives to my life.

It worked! The more positive I could keep my thoughts, the better I felt about everything, and the more good things happened to me. My general attitude soared. When a bad thing happened (and they do happen) I found good things about it and focused on the good. Many, many times I discovered that the “bad” thing had actually been a new good direction in disguise.

Positive attracts positive. Negative attracts negative. I’d rather attract positive.

One Day at a Time …
I will remember to turn to the program to help maintain my peace and serenity, especially through the bad times.
~ Rhonda ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 21

“This is the time of awakening to the inner father and the inner mother. Without this we will receive no high initiation; instead we get initiated into darkness. That’s because any investigation or revolution without God leads, not to freedom, but to more slavery.”
—Willaru Huayta, QUECHAU NATION, PERU

Honor the Father and the Mother. Father stands for wisdom and Mother stands for feelings. Inside each of us is the Father and the Mother. If we do not honor both, we will not grow in balance. To honor both the Father and the Mother helps our masculine and feminine sides grow. The winter season is a good time to focus on this. This is our season of reflection. Honoring both sides allows us to see the Creator is both Father and Mother.

Great Spirit, Father Sky, Mother Earth, guide me today. Let me experience balance.

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Journey To The Heart
January 21
Discover Your Own Truth

No truth is ours until we make it our own.

All the truths in the world don’t matter unless and until we discover them to be true for ourselves. That’s what the journey is about. An insight, a lesson, a new belief is at the end of each adventure—whether that adventure happens in a moment, an hour, a day, or a year. This lesson doesn’t come from books, although books might help along the way. It doesn’t come from classes or lectures or well-meaning friends. The lesson we’re seeking comes from inside us, from our hearts, from our deep abiding connection to consciousness and the truth.

It springs quietly from within us as we notice one day that we believe something new, something different, something more free, more fun, and more life-enhancing than what we believed before. For a moment we may turn back and say, “Why didn’t I know that? Why didn’t I see that before?” Then we step back on our path, laugh, and go on our way understanding that is why we are really here. Not to know everything in advance. But to allow ourselves to go freely through all the lessons that teach us all we came here to learn.

You are on a journey of discovery. Find out what’s true for you. Remember. A truth isn’t yours until it rings true for you.

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Today’s Gift
January 21

“If you realize you aren’t so wise today as you thought you were yesterday, you’re wiser today.”
—Olin Miller

Smug was a kitten who thought she knew everything. She knew how to clean herself with her sandpaper tongue, how to sleep, eat, and keep warm, and how to sharpen her tiny claws. One day, her mother wanted to teach Smug to climb trees. “I don’t need to learn this,” thought Smug, “I already know everything I need to know.” Without much interest, Smug watched her mother climb a tall tree and come down again. When it was Smug’s turn, she said, “I’ll stay on the ground where it’s safe.” Just then, a large black dog came trotting around the corner.

Aren’t we often like Smug, certain that we know all we need to know, or that we really don’t need to know something another is trying to teach us? When we rid ourselves of the pride that keeps us from learning these things, we’ll feel a little safer if any big black dogs come around the corner. And we will have grown smarter by recognizing our need to know more.

Am I smart enough to admit my need to learn more today?

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The Language of Letting Go
January 21
Wants and Needs

Part of taking responsibility for us means taking responsibility for what we want and need, and knowing that’s okay to do.

Learning to tune in to us, learning to listen to ourselves, is an art. It takes practice. We can use our ability to guess what others want and need and apply that skill to ourselves.

What does it sound like we might want and need? What would we guess would help us feel better? What are our feelings telling us? Our body? Our mind? Our intuition?

If we ask, then listen closely; we’ll hear the answer.

We are wiser than we think, and we can be trusted.

What we want and need counts. It’s important, and it’s valid. It’s okay to learn to participate in meeting our own needs.

We can learn to identify what we want and need and be patient with ourselves while we’re learning.

Today, I will pay attention to what I want and need. I will not discount myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 21
Try sharing with someone else

When we hoard what we have been given, we block the door to receiving more. If you are feeling stagnant in your life, share some of what has been given to you.

Let go of some of the sorrow that you have experienced by sharing your experience and the compassion that you have learned from it with another. Share your success by teaching someone else your methods. Share in the abundance given to you; donate to a favorite charity or church. Give of your time, your money, your abilities. When you give, you open the door to receive more.

Sharing your experience, strength, and hope is key in a Twelve Step program. It’s a key to all of life, whether we’re recovering from addictions or not.

Find some way to share yourself. Maybe it will be as simple as picking up the tab at lunch. Volunteer to help with a local project. Just find one small way to give. Give without any thought of compensation. Don’t look for a thank you; give without expectation. Be aware of how you feel in the act of sharing; be aware of the glow that you feel in the deepest part of your soul. Then, do it again. Keep sharing small pieces of your gifts—your experience, strength, and hope—until sharing becomes a natural part of you.

Open your heart to all you’ve been given by sharing your gifts with someone else. That small glow you first felt in the bottom of your soul will soon overflow in your life. Maybe we gave compulsively and without joy at some time in our lives. The answer isn’t to permanently stop giving, It’s to learn to give with joy.

God, help me give abundantly of what’s been given to me. Teach me how to give, so that both my giving and my receiving are healthy and free from attachments.

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Touchstones – Daily Meditation For Men
January 21

“There are things for which an uncompromising stand is worthwhile.”
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For many of us, a time came when we said, “I’m not going to live this way anymore!” This was a deep, internal decision for change, even though we didn’t know how it would come about. Somehow we had reached bottom, and we no longer debated about whose fault our problems were. We quit negotiating over what we would change and what we would not change. We were willing to put all our energy into finding a better life, no matter what it would require. That is the kind of inner readiness that finally made real change possible.

Such willingness to take an uncompromising stand and give ourselves totally to a worthwhile cause is a model for our lives. It’s the beginning of deep change. Many men and women have taken similar heroic stands for other causes, like world peace, compassion for the poor and hungry, human rights, and protection of the environment.

On this day, I will take a stand for what is worthwhile.

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Daily TAO
January 21
SKILLS

Zither, chess, book, painting, sword.
These symbolize classical skill.

There was once a wanderer who cared nothing for fame. Although he had many chances for position, he continued to search for teachers who could help him master five things: zither, chess, book, painting, and sword.

The zither gave him music, which expressed the soul. Chess cultivated strategy and a response to the actions of another. Books gave him academic education. Painting was the exercise of beauty and sensitivity. Sword was a means for health and defense.

One day a little boy asked the wanderer what he would do if he lost his five things. At first the wanderer was frightened, but he soon realized that his zither could not play itself, the chess board was nothing without players, a book needed a reader, brush and ink could not move on their own accord, and a sword could not be unsheathed without a hand. He realized that his cultivation was not merely for the acquisition of skills. It was a path to the innermost part of his being.

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