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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 3

NA Just For Today
January 3
Our Greatest Need

“We eventually redefine our beliefs and understanding to the point where we see that our greatest need is for knowledge of God’s will for us and the strength to carry that out”
Basic Text p. 46

When we first arrived in NA, we had all kinds of ideas of what we needed. Some of us set our sights on amassing personal possessions. We thought recovery equaled outward success. But recovery does not equal success. Today, we believe that our greatest need is for spiritual guidance and strength.

The greatest damage done to us by our addiction was the damage done to our spirituality. Our primary motivation was dictated by our disease: to get, to use, and to find ways and means to get more. Enslaved by our overwhelming need for drugs, our lives lacked purpose and connection. We were spiritually bankrupt.

Sooner or later, we realize that our greatest need in recovery is “for knowledge of God’s will for us and the strength to carry that out” There, we find the direction and sense of purpose our addiction had hidden from us. In our God’s will we find freedom from self-will. No longer driven only by our own needs, we are free to live with others on an equal footing.

There’s nothing wrong with outward success. But without the spiritual connection offered by the NA program, our greatest need in recovery goes unmet, regardless of how “successful” we may be.

Just for today: I will seek the fulfillment of my greatest need: a vital, guiding connection with the God of my understanding.

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Daily Reflections
January 3
POWERLESS

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 21

It is no coincidence that the very first Step mentions powerlessness: An admission of personal powerlessness over alcohol is a cornerstone of the foundation of recovery. I’ve learned that I do not have the power and control I once thought I had. I am powerless over what people think about me. I am powerless over having just missed the bus. I am powerless over how other people work (or don’t work) the Steps. But I’ve also learned I am not powerless over some things. I am not powerless over my attitudes. I am not powerless over negativity. I am not powerless over assuming responsibility for my own recovery. I have the power to exert a positive influence on myself, my loved ones, and the world in which I live.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 3
A.A. Thought For The Day

When I came into A.A., I learned what an alcoholic was and then I applied this knowledge to myself to see if I was an alcoholic. When I was convinced that I was an alcoholic, I admitted it openly. Since then, have I been learning to live accordingly? Have I read the book Alcoholics Anonymous? Have I applied the knowledge gained to myself? Have I admitted openly that I am an alcoholic? Am I ready to admit it at any time when I can be of help?

Meditation For The Day

I will be renewed. I will be remade. In this, I need God’s help. His spirit shall flow through me and, in flowing through me, it shall sweep away all the bitter past. I will take heart. The way will open for me. Each day will unfold something good, as long as I am trying to live the way I believe God wants me to live.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be taught, just as a child would be taught. I pray that  I may never question God’s plans, but accept them gladly.

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As Bill Sees It
January 3
Pain And Progress, p. 3

“Years ago I used to commiserate with all people who suffered. Now I commiserate only with those who suffer in ignorance, who do not understand the purpose and ultimate utility of pain.”

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

Someone once remarked that pain is the touchstone of spiritual progress. How heartily we A.A.’s can agree with him, for we know that the pains of alcoholism had to come before sobriety, and emotional turmoil before serenity.

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

“Believe more deeply. Hold your face up to the Light, even though for the moment you do not see.”

1. Letter, 1950
2. 12 & 12, pp. 93-94
3. Letter, 1950

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Walk In Dry Places
January 3
Forgiving others
Releasing the past

There is a general reluctance on the part of most people to forgive old injuries. Some of us wasted lots of time brooding about old wrongs done to us or trying to get even for some past injuries.

But the only way we can ever really get even is to forgive others completely and without the slightest hidden reservation. If we haven’t forgiven others, the old resentments are a poison in our own lives. We continue to feel the pain of the original injury, and the ensuing resentment destroys our peace of mind and endangers our relationships.

In forgiving others, we do not grant a favor to them, but to ourselves. By extending forgiveness, we release thoughts and feelings that have been like a cancer in our lives. We are not giving up a possession or a right; instead, we are freeing ourselves from a burden that nobody needs to carry. We are letting go of garbage that we do not need in our lives. When we forgive others, we also realize that we are forgiven. As it is stated in closing meetings, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

I will not review past hurts and injuries this day. I will go through the day knowing that God forgives me to the extent that I forgive.

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Keep It Simple
January 3

Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.
—Unknown

As we work Step One, we accept that alcohol and other drugs are poison to us. We accept our limits.

This means we know that hanging around our using “buddies” can remind us of “the good old days.”

Hanging around “slippery places” means we could “slip” back into our old ways. This isn’t testing our sobriety; it’s being reckless with it. So let’s accept our limits. Everybody has limits. When we know our limits, we protect our recovery against the people and places that pull us from our spiritual center. This is what true acceptance means.

Prayer for the Day: I pray for true acceptance. Higher Power, help me to stay away from slippery places. I will protect the gift You’ve given me.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list the people and places that are risky for me to be around. I will share this list with my sponsor, my group, and my sober friends.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 3

Like an old gold-panning prospector, you must resign yourself to digging up a lot of sand from which you will later patiently wash out a few minute particles of gold ore.
–Dorothy Bryant

Sometimes we feel buried in sand, blocked, clogged, unable to move. Then we must remember that we are not alone. Help is at hand, if only we will ask for it. If we invoke our higher power, our source of spiritual strength can help us to believe that there is gold somewhere in all this sand, and that the sand itself is useful.

No one and no thing is good all the time. Let us remember that if we expect nothing but gold, we are distorting life, getting in our own way. We don’t want to falsify the texture of our lives; the homespun quality helps us to appreciate the gold when it appears.

I will find some gold among the sand, today.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 3
ACCEPTANCE WAS THE ANSWER

– The physician wasn’t hooked, he thought–he just prescribed drugs medically indicated for his many ailments. Acceptance was his key to liberation.

Then, one day in A.A., I was told that I had the lenses in my glasses backwards; “the courage to change” in the Serenity Prayer meant not that I should change my marriage, but rather that I should change myself and learn to accept my spouse as she was. A.A. has given me a new pair of glasses. I can again focus on my wife’s good qualities and watch them grow and grow and grow.

p. 419

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 3

Tradition Nine – “A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.”

You might think A.A.’s headquarters in New York would be an exception. Surely, the people there would have to have some authority. But long ago, trustees and staff members alike found they could do no more than make suggestions, and very mild ones at that. They even had to coin a couple of sentences which still go into half the letters they write: “Of course, you are at perfect liberty to handle this matter any way you please. But the majority experience in A.A. does seem to suggest . . . ” Now, that attitude is far removed from central government, isn’t it? We recognize that alcoholics can’t be dictated to–individually or collectively.

pp. 173-174

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Xtra Thoughts
January 3

Serenity isn’t freedom from the storm; it is peace within the storm.
–unknown

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
–Buddha (B.C. 568-488)

“The more you invest in a marriage, the more valuable it becomes.”
–Amy Grant

Envy shoots at others and wounds herself.
–Costa Rican Proverb

If you dig a grave for others, you might fall into it yourself.
–Irish Proverb

I embrace the beauty of life, and depend deeply upon God.
–Shelley

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 3
ISOLATION

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
— John Donne

For years I thought that I was alone; lost isolated and afraid. Today I understand this to be a symptom of my alcoholism, an aspect of my disease. Alcoholism is “cunning, baffling and powerful”; it is a mystery that we have only begun to understand. One thing we know, the disease, the “ism” of alcoholism, involves more than the act of drinking. Feelings of inadequacy, isolation and fear keep us from recovering until we discover the spiritual strength to confront the disease in our lives. The initial risk of “letting go” and trusting others is an essential part of the recovery process.

When we discover that we are not alone, then relationships and hope are reactivated; life is worth living again.

O Lord, I believe I am part of this world and an important part of You.

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Bible scriptures
January 3

“But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
–Mark 10:27

Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.
–Matthew 6:34

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
–Matthew 11:28

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Daily Inspiration
January 3

It is good to know where you are, but better to know where you are going. Lord, may I use every day to grow closer to You.

When you feel you aren’t as blessed as your neighbor, consider the troubles that you have been spared. Lord, thank You for the trials that I do not have to endure.

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A Day At A Time
January 3
Reflection For The Day

My addiction is three-fold in that it affects me physically, mentally and spiritually. As a chemically-dependent person, I was totally out of touch not only with myself, but with reality. Day after miserable day, like a caged animal on a treadmill, I repeated my self-destructive pattern of living. Have I begun to break away from my old ideas? Just for today, can I adjust myself to what is, rather than try to adjust everything to my own desires?

Today I Pray

I pray that I may not be caught up again in the downward, destructive spiral which removed me from myself and from the realities of the world around me. I pray that I may adjust to people and situations as they are instead of always trying, unsuccessfully and with endless frustration, to bend them to my own desires.

Today I Will Remember

I can only change myself.

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One More Day
January 3

Laugh at yourself first, before anybody else can.
— Elsa Maxwell

A sense of humor is an essential living tool. Unfortunately, it is most difficult to keep a sense of humor when we’re under stress, and that’s the time we need it most. In the face of a crisis, we may have found it easier to be dour and nasty, even if we knew, deep in our hearts, that such an attitude was not in our best interests.

Ironically, our medical problems have helped many of us cultivate a humorous attitude toward life. Making the choice between bitterness and acceptance is easier when we take ourselves less seriously. Seeing the funny side of life helps us deal with the most difficult situations life has to offer. Humor cleanses us through spontaneous laughter. It draws others to us and bonds us.

I choose to see humor and lightness in my life. I will allow this attitude to brighten my life and that of those around me.

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One Day At A Time
January 3
CHARACTER DEFECTS

God seldom delivers virtues all wrapped in a package and ready for use. Rather He puts us in situations where by His help we can develop those virtues.
–C. R. Findley

I have been reading and studying a lot about the 6th and 7th Steps lately. I have realized that these steps are threefold. I must first become aware of the defect of character. Next, I must accept that I own it and it no longer works for me as it once did.

Lastly, I need to surrender that defect of character to my Higher Power. In the meantime, it is my job to act as if the change has already occurred. This means that I may come into contact with some seemingly obnoxious people who will mirror my character defects. I must remember that “Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake,” and they are here to teach me something. Maybe I am here to be the lesson for them. I may be the only example they ever see of a person trying to work and walk a spiritual path, in a 12 Step program of recovery.

One Day at a Time . . .
God, I ask that You continue to help me to be aware of my actions and how they affect others, and to accept and become willing to relinquish my character defects to You.

~ Jeanine ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 3

“We don’t have to say or think what we don’t wish to. We have a choice in those things, and we have to realize that and practice using that choice.”
–Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE

Having choices makes us fully accountable. No one can make us think anything we don’t want to think. No one can determine our behavior and how we act. It’s not what’s going on but how we look at what’s going on. If someone does something and we get upset, we can change how we look at it any time we want. We can tell ourselves in the morning that the day is going to be beautiful and that we have expectations that great things will happen. Doing this daily sets our mind to look for the joy and the excitement of each day.

Great Spirit, help me to choose my thoughts with Your wisdom.

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Journey To The Heart
January 3
Trust Your Heart

For so long, you relied on your head. Now it’s time to make the shift– the great leap into your heart.

Are you beginning to see how your head gets in the way? How it creates so much noise? The chatter, the limited vision, the fear? Are you beginning to see how what you’ve relied on– your intellect, your assessments, and sometimes your logic– has complicated your life?

It isn’t the head that sees clearly, nor does the head always see with love. Often, it sees with eyes of fear. The heart sees clearly. It balances the mind and emotions. It takes what’s real and processes it into truth, then into action. It takes into account all that needs to be done, then draws a map, an itinerary, for how to accomplish that. Yes, you say, but my head does that too. And then I don’t need to feel.

Your heart can do it better because it maps the way in love.

Learn to listen to your inner voice. Listen to your heart. It’s your connection to God, to people, to the universe, and to yourself.

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Today’s Gift
January 3

 

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The Language of Letting Go
January 3
Nurturing Self Care

… there isn’t a guidebook for setting boundaries. Each of us has our own guide inside ourselves. If we continue to work at recovery, our boundaries will develop. They will get healthy and sensitive. Our selves will tell us what we need to know, and we’ll love ourselves enough to listen.
–Beyond Codependency

What do we need to do to take care of ourselves?

Listen to that voice inside. What makes you angry? What have you had enough of? What don’t you trust? What doesn’t feel right? What can’t you stand? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you want? Need? What don’t you want and need? What do you like? What would feel good?

In recovery, we learn that self care leads us on the path to God’s will and plan for our life. Self-care never leads away from our highest good; it leads toward it.

Learn to nurture that voice inside. We can trust ourselves. We can take care of ourselves. We are wiser than we think. Our guide is within, ever present. Listen to, trust, and nurture that guide.

Today, I will affirm that I am a gift to the Universe and myself. I will remember that nurturing self care delivers that gift in its highest form.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 3
Bring your ideals to life

There is a Zen story about two monks walking down a street after a heavy rain. Arriving at a corner, they came upon a beautiful girl in fine clothing unable to cross the muddy street without getting filthy.

“Here, I’ll help you,” said one monk. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her to the other side. The two monks walked in silence for a long time.

“We’ve sworn a vow of celibacy and are not supposed to go near women. It’s dangerous,” the second monk said to the first. “Why did you do that?”

“I left the girl back at the corner,” the first monk said. “Are you still carrying her?”

Sometimes, we may find ourselves in a situation where our ideals conflict. Being kind and loving to another person may conflict with our value of being committed and loving toward ourselves.

When one ideal imposes on another, then use your judgement. Do the right thing by others. Do the right thing by yourself,too. Then let the incident pass and move on.

For the monks in our story, right action usually meant not having contact with women. However, when encountering a stranded person on the road, right action became helping others. Ideals remain. Right thought, right action, right speech– but the path to those ideals may twist and turn throughout life. Be sensitive and aware that you are following an ideal and not a rigid belief.

God, help me learn when it’s time to let go.

Activity: In an earlier activity, we explored our goals and dreams list. Now, ;et’s determine the ethics and ideals we want to live by, the code of conduct we want to follow. What’s of foremost importance to you, whether or not your dreams come true and you achieve your goals? Examples of ideals may be staying clean and sober, honoring your commitments to others, and honoring your commitment to yourself. Many people choose additional spiritual values, such as compassion, honesty, tolerance. Some people choose to live by an ideal they call “Christ Consciosness,” some “Buddha consciousness,” some of the “Twelve Steps,” and some of the Ten Commandments. List your ideals, and put that list with your goals. Let these ideals be a light that guides your path and allows you to live in harmony with others and yourself.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
January 3

 

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Daily TAO
January 3
DEVOTION

Make the crooked straight,
Make the straight to flow.
Gather water, fire, and light.
Bring the world to a single point.

If we have devotion — total faith and commitment to our spiritual path — our determination will naturally build momentum. Fewer and fewer obstructions will come before us. Our path becomes like a crooked one made straight. No matter what tries to keep us from our purpose, we will not be deterred.

Proper devotion lies not simply in a headlong course. It also requires fortitude. Our bodies, our hearts, and our spirits must be totally concentrated upon what we want. Only by uniting all our inner elements can we have full devotion.

If we see our path clearly and our personalities are completely unified, then there is no distinction between the outer world and the inner one. Nothing is faraway anymore, nothing is not open to us. That is why it is said that the world is like a single point : So strong is devotion that there is nothing that is not a part of it.

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