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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 23

Just For Today
January 23
Serenity Check

“Lack of daily maintenance can show up in many ways.”
Basic Text p. 91

Ever had a perfect stranger remark about how great the weather was, only to reply “It stinks”? When this happens, we are probably suffering from a lack of daily maintenance in our program.

In recovery, life can get pretty hectic. Maybe those added responsibilities at work have got you hopping. Maybe you haven’t been to a meeting for awhile. Perhaps you’ve been too busy to meditate, or haven’t been eating regularly or sleeping well. Whatever the reason, your serenity is slipping.

When this happens, it is crucial that we take action. We can’t afford to let one “bad day”; complete with a bad attitude, slip into two days, four days, or a week. Our recovery depends on our daily maintenance program. No matter what is happening in our lives, we can’t afford to neglect the principles that have saved our lives.

There are many ways to recover our serenity. We can go to a meeting, phone our sponsor, meet another recovering addict for lunch, or try to carry the message to a newcomer. We can pray. We can take a moment to ask ourselves what simple things we haven’t been doing. When our attitudes head downhill, we can avert a crash with simple solutions.

Just for today: I will examine the maintenance of my daily program of recovery.

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Daily Reflections
January 23
HAVING FUN YET?

. . . we aren’t a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn’t want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life. We try not to indulge in cynicism over the state of the nations, nor do we carry the world’s troubles on our shoulders.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS , p. 132

When my own house is in order, I find the different parts of my life are more manageable. Stripped from the guilt and remorse that clocked my drinking years, I am free to assume my proper role in the universe, but this condition requires maintenance. I should stop and ask myself, Am I having fun yet? If I find answering that question difficult or painful, perhaps I’m taking myself too seriously – and finding it difficult to admit that I’ve strayed from my practice of working the program to keep my house in order. I think the pain I experience is one way my Higher Power has to get my attention, coaxing me to take stock of my performance. The slight time and effort it takes to work the program – a spot-check inventory, for example, or the making of amends, whatever is appropriate – are well worth the effort.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 23
A.A. Thought For The Day

Alcoholics are people whose drinking got them into a “blind alley.”  They haven’t been able to learn anything from their drinking experiences. They are always making the same mistakes and suffering the same consequences over and over again. They refuse to admit they’re alcoholic. They still think they can handle the stuff. They won’t swallow their pride and admit that they’re different from ordinary drinkers. They won’t face the fact that they must spend the rest of their lives without liquor. They can’t visualize life without ever taking a drink. Am I out of this blind alley?

Meditation For The Day

I believe that God has all power. It is His to give and His to withhold.  But He will not withhold it from the person who dwells near Him, because then it passes insensibly from God to that person. It is breathed in by the person who lives in God’s presence. I will learn to live in God’s presence and then I will have those things which I desire of Him: strength, power, and joy. God’s power is available to all who need it and are willing to accept it.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may get myself out of the way, so that God’s power may flow in. I pray that I may surrender myself to that power.

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As Bill Sees It
January 23
Worshipers All, p. 23

We found that we had indeed been worshipers. What a state of mental goose flesh that used to bring on! Had we not variously worshiped people, sentiment, things, money, and ourselves?

And then, with a better motive, had we not worshipfully beheld the sunset, the sea, or a flower? Who of us had not loved something or somebody? Were these not things the tissue out of which our lives were constructed? Did not these feelings, after all, determine the course of our existence?

It was impossible to say we had no capacity for faith, or love, or worship. In one form or another, we had been living by faith and little else.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 54

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Walk In Dry Places
January 23
Thinking well of ourselves
Raising self-esteem

Although there may have been conceit and cockiness in our past behavior, most of us suffered from feelings of low self-esteem. We often felt alone and unworthy. Often, we had memories of parents and others who reminded us of our shortcomings or compared us unfavorably with others.

Whatever our past problems, we can raise our self-esteem in the present. We can begin by forgiving ourselves and others for past wrongs and mistakes. We must become willing to give up any belief or practice that causes us to dislike ourselves. We can remember that our self-esteem does not depend on achievements or on winning in competitions with others. Despite our failings, now and in the past, we are worthy in the sight of God and are entitled to God’s grace.

Growth in the program usually brings growth in self-esteem. If we think well of ourselves, in the right sense, others will tend to think well of us, too. With proper self-esteem, we will not be crushed or dismayed when someone seems to dislike us. Our feelings about ourselves will be much more than a mirror of others’ opinions.

I will think well of myself today, I will not put myself down, even jokingly. I will know that if God is for me, no one can be against me.

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Keep It Simple
January 23

Sex, like all else between human beings, is never prefect.
— Theodore Isaac Rubin

Addiction made our sex lives a mess. Maybe we wanted prefect sex or we wanted no sex.

We were afraid. Maybe we wanted a high from sex we just couldn’t seem to get it. Some of us had lots of sex partners; some of us had none. What now?

We’re doing what we need to do by being in recovery. We’re getting to know ourselves. We’re living by our real values. We’re being honest with ourselves and others. We’re learning to love and care about others. It’s open, honest caring we express with our bodies. Thus, sex can be trusting and safe.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I turn over my sex life and my will to You—Just for today. I know You want me to be happy.

Action for the Day: What do I believe about sex? How does it match with what’s said in the third paragraph above?

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 23

She had trouble defining herself independently of her husband, tried to talk to him about it, but he said nonsense, he had no trouble defining her at all.
–Cynthia Propper Seton

To recover means to learn who we are, independent of friends, children, parents, or intimate partners. It means knowing how we want to spend our time, what books we like to read, what hobbies interest us, what our favorite foods are. It means understanding self-direction. It means charting a daily personal course and staying on it. It means defining our responsibilities and carrying them out.

Having an independent identity does not preclude depending on others for certain needs. Perhaps we revel in massage–both getting and giving. Maybe we share the expenses of a household or the responsibilities of raising children. Depending on others to meet their responsibilities does not negate our independent identity; it strengthens it. We choose where and when to be dependent. Healthy dependency complements healthy independence.

Recovery is giving me options. Each day gives me new opportunities.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 23
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

My college had a long history of drinkers, including Dr. Bob. At the time of my accident, the deans were assessing how to respond to student alcohol abuse and were waiting to try out their latest idea. Alcoholics Anonymous. I was the test case. They told me in no uncertain terms that I would never get back into this college unless I went to A.A. Under that pressure, I went to my first meeting.

p. 425

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 23

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.”

There was actually a time when the press of America thought the anonymity of A.A. was better for us than some of our own members did. At on point, about a hundred of our Society were breaking anonymity at the public level. With perfectly good intent, these folks declared that the principle of anonymity was horse-an-buggy stuff, something appropriate to A.A.’s pioneering days. They were sure that A.A. could go faster and farther if it availed itself of modern publicity methods. A.A., they pointed out, included many persons of local, national, or international fame. Provided they were willing–and many were–why shouldn’t their membership be publicized, thereby encouraging others to join us? These were plausible arguments, but happily our friends of the writing profession disagreed with them.

p. 182

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Xtra Thoughts
January 23

I touch my feelings, knowing, I have never been so free, I have never been so happy, sobriety, has changed me.
–Shelley

There is a guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening we shall hear the right word… Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which flows into your life. Then, without effort, you are impelled to truth and perfect contentment.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Look for the beauty inside of each person.
–I. June Stephenson

The God who calls us into the unknown travels with us.
–Robert W. Rae

Spiritual vision means looking at life as God does.
–Lisa D. Wiener

Whatever our future holds for us, we will find God already there.
–Patricia Garrison

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 23
SLEEP

“Sleep that knots up the raveled sleeve of care.”
— William Shakespeare

When I was new in my recovery from alcoholism I was told to remember the letters H.A.L.T.: Do not get too: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.

Sleep is something my body needs, and even if I do not always know it, my body does. The tiredness in my body is telling me to slow down.

Sleep is part of my spiritual program because it enables me to feel rested, invigorated and alive. Through sleep I am able to be creative and positive in my life — showing a practical love to my body. Sleep is me taking care of self!

Thank You for the joy and rest that comes with sleep.

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Bible Scriptures
January 23

“But I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more.”
Psalm 71:14

Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalm 141:3

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.
The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
Psalm 141:3,8,9,13,14,17,18,20

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Daily Inspiration
January 23

Shine a little brighter today because someone needs your light. Lord, may I reflect You like sun hitting a mirror.

If you are not happy with what you have, how will you be happy with what you want to have? Lord, may I appreciate the good things in my life and refuse to feel sorry for myself or compare myself to others.

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A Day At A Time
January 23

Reflection For The Day

We must never be blinded by the futile philosophy that we are just the hapless victims of our inheritance, of our life experience, an of our surroundings — that these are the sole forces that make our decisions for us. This is not the road to freedom. We have to believe that we can really choose. As addictive persons, we lost our ability to choose whether wee would pursue our addictions. Yet we finally did make choices that brought about our recovery. Do I believe that in “becoming willing,” I have made the best of all choice?

Today I Pray

May I shed the idea that I am the world’s victim, an unfortunate creature caught in a web of circumstance, inferring that others ought to “:make it up to me” because I have been given a bad deal on this earth. We are always given choices. May God help me to choose wisely.

Today I Will Remember

God is not a puppeteer.

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One More Day
January 23

Those wrinkles are the map of my life. … They’re battle scars.
– Etta Furlow

One woman calls her wrinkles a patina that glows only with age. When first we notice tiny sprinkles — crow’s feet or smile lines — we may lament our loss of youth.

Naturally, our faces change as we age. Our life experiences, both joy and pain, etch themselves on our faces as surely as they mold our minds and spirits. Our bodies may begin to change as well. Previously nimble fingers may stiffen; backaches and a slowed pace may become the norm.

Skin is but a wrapping for the inner soul, and the soul’s enjoyment of life is not diminished by its wrapping. Our spirits never grow old. Our belief in the beauty and joy of life is renewed with each season. And we remain strong.

My body will change as the years go by, but I will stay aware of my spirit and faith. This keeps me emotionally vibrant.

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One Day At A Time
January 23
~ CRITICISM ~

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
–Elbert Hubbard

For so many years, I thought I was the only kid who had been raised with criticism. Fear of criticism is one of the reasons I walked on eggshells at home. I learned to fear success in anything and everything. If I could only be “middle of the road,” maybe no one would notice me and I wouldn’t have to deal with criticism. I did what I had to do to survive.

As I grew older, I received constructive criticism by wise people, but sadly, I didn’t know how to utilize such a gift. It hurt me, and I turned away from well-meaning people. I rebelled against their advice.

The program has taught me that all criticism is not bad. I never thought a day would come where I was comfortable with it. I recently took a correspondence course to help me with my work, and naturally the instructor had to critique my work. I worried about that before I took the course. In fact, I’d wanted to take that class for years, but had not been able to handle the cold fear that stabbed at me when I looked at the application. I finished the class last month. There was much criticism to help me to learn, and I didn’t shrink from it. I learned from it. It’s all in the attitude.

One Day at a Time …
I will pray to remember I have choices. I will pray to keep my attitude in a good place so that I might see all the opportunities available to me.
~ Rhonda ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 23

“Our true enemies, as well as our true sources of strength, lie within.”
–Willaru Huayta, QUECHUA NATION, PERU

A long time ago, the Creator put inside the human being the secrets to the laws of life. We usually know this is true even though we may not know what these laws are. If something goes wrong with our lives, we usually fix the blame on something outside of ourselves. We tend to give up accountability. One way or another we say, “It’s not my fault.” We need to realize that all permanent and lasting change starts on the inside and works its way out. If it’s meant to be, it is up to me.

Oh Great Spirit, let me realize fully that my problems are of my own making. Therefore, so are the solutions.

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Journey To The Heart
January 23
Honor the Needs of Your Body

Take time to rest and regroup as often as you need. At the beginning of the journey and along the way take time to honor your body. When you honor your body, you honor your soul.

You have been working hard on yourself, on your spiritual growth. You are moving forward, evolving at a rapid pace. Give your body time to catch up. Your body isn’t a bother; it’s an ally. Your body knows what it needs, and what your soul needs,too.

Tune in to your body. Listen. On those days when your body is adjusting, regrouping, shifting because you’re growing and healing emotionally and spiritually, let it do that. Don’t ignore it. Don’t force it. Be gentle. Recognize its nuances. Ask it what it needs. Juice? Vitamins? Rest? Exercise? Let it tell you. Then go easy. Do tasks that are easier, that seem to fit what you can handle that day.

After a spiritual growth spurt, our body works diligently to flush the toxins released when emotions are cleansed and healed. After a day, week, or month of intense spiritual growth, our body is tired from flushing through so many emotions, going through so many changes. To deny the body’s connection to our growth, to push it when it needs rest, is denying the importance and impact of the spiritual work we’re doing.

By taking time to honor the body, to honor its shifts and needs, it will be there for you in a way it has never been before. Rest and care will help it come back to center quickly. You will have the benefit of a healed spirit and a body that was allowed to adjust and adapt to that healing process. You will be honoring the oneness of body, mind, and soul. You will be honoring your newfound connection.

Taking time to honor the needs of your body is taking time to respect the needs of your soul.

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Today’s Gift
January 23

Little girl, little girl, where have you been?
—Mother Goose

She’s been everywhere and nowhere in and around the house. She’s been in her room crying with her doll, on the grass kicking her ball, on the floor big-eyed and blank in front of the TV. Her things are everywhere in the way, as if left there to block the path. She learns to be happiest alone in her room. There she can gather roses to give to the Queen and receive in return a diamond as big as a shoe. There she can wait for some prince, or dream of crossing the street without looking back.

We are all the same way, even as adults. We live with our dreams and fantasies, and our secret lives thrive in privacy. All around us, our loved ones live out their private lives often unnoticed by us until we enter them. When we honor others’ unspoken needs, when we allow others their privacy without being asked, or when we appreciate something they’ve done, we share the joy of living together in natural harmony.

How invisible are those in our presence every day?

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The Language of Letting Go
January 23
New Energy Coming

Fun becomes fun, love becomes love, and life becomes worth living. And we become grateful.
–Beyond Codependency

There is a new energy, a new feeling coming into our life. We cannot base our expectations about how we will feel tomorrow, or even a few hours from now, on how we feel at this moment.

There are no two moments in time alike. We are recovering. We are changing. Our life is changing. At times, things haven’t worked out the way we wanted. We had lessons to learn. The future shall not be like the past.

The truly difficult times are almost over. The confusion, the most challenging learning experiences, the difficult feelings are about to pass.

Do not limit the future by the past!

Reflect on the beginning of your recovery. Haven’t there been many changes that have brought you to where you are now? Reflect on one year ago. Haven’t you and your circumstances changed since then?

Sometimes, problems and feelings linger for a while. These times are temporary. Times of confusion, uncertainty, times of living with a particular unsolved problem do not last forever.

We make these times doubly hard by comparing them to our past. Each situation and circumstance has had its particular influence in shaping who we are. We do not have to scare ourselves by comparing our present and future to a painful past, especially our past before we began recovering or before we learned through a particular experience.

Know that the discomfort will not be permanent. Do not try to figure out how you shall feel or when you shall feel differently. Instead, trust. Accept today, but do not be limited by it.

A new energy is coming. A new feeling is on the way. We cannot predict how it will be by looking at how it was or how it is, because it shall be entirely different. We have not worked and struggled in vain. It has been for and toward something.

Times are changing for the better. Continue on the path of trust and obedience. Be open to the new.

Today, God, help me not judge or limit my future by my past. Help me be open to all the exciting possibilities for change, both within and around me.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 23
Remember to let go

A friend called me into the next room. I didn’t want to move. I was head-deep in obsession, fretting about something I couldn’t change, at least not at that moment. I reluctantly walked to the window where he stood, walking in that stiff, unnatural way we jerk about when we’re obsessing.

“Look at the moonlight reflecting off the waves,” he said.

I stared at the white shimmering ripples in the ocean, like diamonds in the night.

We talked for a moment, about whether it was phosphorescence– that delightful and new phenomenon that causes the sea to glow in the dark– or whether it was simply moonlight bouncing off the waves. We decided it was light.

I walked away, a little more relaxed. Letting go isn’t something we do to manipulate the universe into giving us what we want. It’s a way of opening our hearts to receive the gifts it and God have for us.

God, help me remember that I don’t have to let go today, but I’ll be happier if I do.

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Touchstones – Daily Meditation For Men
January 23

Spontaneity is the quality of being able to do something just because you feel like it at the moment, of trusting your instincts, of taking yourself by surprise and snatching from the clutches of your well-organized routine a bit of unscheduled pleasure.
—Richard Lannelli

The idea of turning our lives and our will over to the care of God is a very revolutionary thing to do. We are being told, “Let go of your excessive carefulness. Let the spirit guide you.” When we are in touch with ourselves, with the people around us, with God, we are free to experiment. We don’t learn from doing the same things correctly again and again. We learn from trying new things and making mistakes.

Over control is spiritually deadening. This is a program of life. Our renewal is a miraculous event. Why stop now? We can be in touch with the messages around us without trying to control the outcome. When we let God do the worrying, we find many possibilities open up,

As this adventure of life unfolds, I will not shy away from it.

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Daily TAO
January 23
RENEWAL

City on a hill,
Untouched land beyond.
A fallow field is
The secret of fertility.

In the city, we see millions of lives represented in the windows, doors, and many floors of each building. We see excitement and the glories of civilization. But no matter how much those who follow Tao may enjoy the city, they understand the need for retreat into nature.

In the countryside, they find the nurturing quality of freedom. They can see new possibilities and can wander without societal impositions.  In the past, pioneers saw the open prairies and were filled with dreams of dominating nature with the glories of man. Now we know different : We must preserve the wilds for our very survival.

We need time to lie fallow. If you cannot leave the city, just find a little quiet time each day to withdraw into yourself. If you are able to walk in fields or in the hills, so much the better. But none of us can maintain the fertility of our beings without renewal.

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