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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 30

Just For Today
January 30
Giving It Away

“We must give freely and gratefully that which has been freely and gratefully given to us.”
Basic Text p. 47

In recovery, we receive many gifts. Perhaps one of the greatest of these gifts is the spiritual awakening that begins when we stop using, growing stronger each day we apply the steps in our lives. The new spark of life within is a direct result of our new relationship with a Higher Power, a relationship initiated and developed by living the Twelve Steps. Slowly, as we pursue our program, the radiance of recovery dispels the darkness of our disease.

One of the ways we express our gratitude for the gifts of recovery is to help others find what we’ve found. We can do this in any number of ways: by sharing in meetings, making Twelfth Step calls, accepting a commitment to sponsorship, or volunteering for H&I or phoneline duty. The spiritual life given to us in recovery asks for expression, for ” we can only keep what we have by giving it away.”

Just for today: The gift of recovery grows when I share it. I will find someone with whom to share it.

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Daily Reflections
January 30
FREEDOM FROM … FREEDOM TO

We are going to know a new freedom. . . .
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS , p. 83

Freedom for me is both freedom from and freedom to.  The first freedom I enjoy is freedom from the slavery of alcohol. What a relief! Then I begin to experience freedom from fear – fear of people, of economic insecurity, of commitment, of failure, of rejection.  Then I begin to enjoy freedom to – freedom to choose sobriety for today, freedom to be myself, freedom to express my opinion, to experience peace of mind, to love and be loved, and freedom to grow spiritually.  But how can I achieve these freedoms? The Big Book clearly says that before I am halfway through making amends, I will begin to know a “new” freedom; not the old freedom of doing what I pleased, without regard to others, but the new freedom that allows fulfillment of the promises in my life. What a joy to be free!

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 30
A.A. Thought For The Day

A drinking life isn’t a happy life. Drinking cuts you off from other people and from God. One of the worst things about drinking is the loneliness. And one of the best things about A.A. is the fellowship. Drinking cuts you off from other people, at least from the people who really matter to you, your wife and children, your family and real friends. No matter how much you love them, you build up a wall between you and them by your drinking. You’re cut off from any real companionship with them. As a result, you’re terribly lonely. Have I got rid of my loneliness?

Meditation For The Day

I will sometimes go into a quiet place of retreat with God. In that place, I will find restoration and healing and power. I will plan quiet times now and then, times when I will commune with God and arise rested and refreshed to carry on the work which God has given me to do. I know that God will never give me a load greater than I can bear. It is in serenity and peace that all true success lies.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may strengthen my inner life, so that I may find serenity. I pray that my soul may be restored in quietness and peace.

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As Bill Sees It
January 30
Getting Off a “Dry Bender”, p. 30

“Sometimes, we become depressed. I ought to know; I have been a champion dry-bender case myself. While the surface causes were a part of the picture–trigger-events that precipitated depression–the underlying causes, I am satisfied, ran much deeper.

“Intellectually, I could accept my situation. Emotionally, I could not.

“To these problems, there are certainly no pat answers. But part of the answer surely lies in the constant effort to practice all of A.A.’s Twelve Steps.”

Letter, 1954

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Walk In Dry Places
January 30
No Justified Resentments
Personal Inventory

One of the greatest hurdles in sobriety is the so-called justified resentment. We feel that we have a right to be angry at somebody who has hurt or offended us. This feeling might be correct if our anger could remedy the matter and bring it to a just conclusion, but this hardly ever happens. If we are angry, we usually want revenge more than we want justice. Uncontrolled anger will make us behave as unjustly as those who harmed us did. This means more trouble.

Whether revenge is sought or not, anger also poisons our own lives. Emmet Fox compared it to the insane practice of drinking prussic acid. People cannot take a drink of acid and then assign it to the person they detest. They will bear its effect in their own bodies. In the same way, our anger produces its own acids, which destroy our peace of mind and make us ineffective.

We can deal with “justified resentment” by reminding ourselves that there’s no justification for the pain and sickness a festering resentment will cause in our lives. There is no justified resentment.

Today I may have to swim against the tide by not getting upset over matters that enrage others. I will not let myself be drawn into the angry currents around me.

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Keep It Simple
January 30

Go and wake up your luck
—Perian proverb

We’ve been given recovery. For this, we’re lucky. And we’re grateful. Now it’s up to us.

We must accept our choices. When we’re afraid, do we choose to be alone? Or do we choose to go to extra meeting? When we’re not honest, do we keep it secret? Or do we admit it and try to be more honest? No matter what we choose, we’re responsible for that choice. Through choices, we either make our program strong or weak. We can choose to be lucky. Or we can choose not to be.

The choice is ours. Our addiction robbed us of choice. It taught us to blame others. Now we see ourselves as responsible.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to choose wisely. Help me remember I’m responsible for my choices.

Action for the Day: Today I’ll work at being responsible for my choices. I’ll see myself as one of the lucky ones.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 30

Fortunately [psycho]analysis is not the only way to resolve inner conflicts. Life itself still remains a very effective therapist.
–Karen Horney

The passage of time, coupled with an openness to the messages gleaned from our conversations with others, can provide answers we need for the way out of painful situations. Life is ebb and flow, peaks and valleys, struggles and sweet times. What we fail to realize, all too often, is that the struggles make possible the times that are sweet.

Our conflicts are our special lessons in life. We can learn to flow with them, move through them, trust their value to us as growing, changing women. How good it feels to have found security with one another and that power greater than ourselves who can, when we are willing, show us the path to resolution.

Life will never be free of conflict–nor should it be. Our lessons move us to higher planes of awareness. We can experience the joy hidden within the conflict. We can help one another remember that the sweetness of a moment is tied to the pain of a former, forgotten moment.

All events, all experiences, are connected. The path I travel, alone and with others, is bringing me brighter days. I will trust my path. It’s right for me.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 30
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

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

People gave me many other good suggestions as well. They suggested that I stay out of relationships. I was young and single, and I rejected this idea out of hand. For the first year I bounced from one sick relationship to another. They suggested that I get a sponsor. I had no idea what a sponsor was and was too proud to ask, but I was sure I didn’t need one. After all, I was smarter than the rest of these people. They might need someone to tell them how to run their lives, but double vision, neck brace, and all, I was doing just fine on my own. People suggested that I find a Higher Power. I was not fooled. I knew when they said Higher Power they meant God. And I knew that God waited for me to step out of line just once so that he could take his revenge. I wanted no part of God.

pp. 427-428

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 30
Tradition Twelve

– “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”

With characteristic intemperance, however, some of our newcomers cared not at all for secrecy. They wanted to shout A.A. from the housetops, and did. Alcoholics barely dry rushed about bright-eyed, buttonholing anyone who would listen to their stories. Others hurried to place themselves before microphones and cameras. Sometimes, they got distressingly drunk and let their groups down with a bang. They had changed from A.A. members into A.A. show-offs.

p. 185

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Xtra Thoughts
January 30

That light at the end of the tunnel may be you.
–unknown

What other people think of you is none of your business!
–unknown

Bricks and mortar make a house, but the laughter of children makes a home.
–Irish Proverb

“If I can just love you because here we are, then you are free to grow as you need to grow, because none of it’s going to change my feeling of love.”
–Ram Dass

God beats in my heart. I share his light with the world.
–Shelley

“What we must realize is that we cannot see everything. We do not know everything. More important, we must understand that it is impossible for us to control anything. The process of life is a spiritual one, governed by invisible, intangible spiritual laws and principles.”
–Iyanla Vanzant

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 30
POTENTIAL

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”
— Johann W. von Goethe

My program of recovery from alcoholism helps me have a relationship with myself and helps me relate to and understand others. The more I understand my strengths and weaknesses, the more I am able to understand others.

Any understanding of spirituality involves other people. If spirituality helps me become what God intends for me, then this is also true for others. Today I choose to treat myself and other people as children of God, remembering that we were created to reach for the skies!

Lord, our potential forever rests in You.

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Bible Scriptures
January 30

Encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
2 Timothy 2:22-24

But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction. “He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.
Job 36:15-16

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
1 Peter 3:8-12

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Daily Inspiration
January 30

Slow down and see the gracious blessings that God has for you. In my quient moments, Lord, I know that You are there.

When we have to justify our actions, it may be that our actions are not just. Lord, Your will is goodness. May I always have the strength and courage to choose Your way so that I can simplify my life and enjoy the peace of Your presence.

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A Day At A Time
January 30

Reflection For The Day

Have I gained freedom simply because one day I was weak and the next day I became suddenly strong? Have I changed from the helpless and hopeless person I once seemed to be simply by resolving, “from now on, things will be different…”? Is the fact that I am more comfortable today than ever before the result of my own willpower? Can I take credit for pulling myself up by my own bootstraps? I know better, for I sought refuge in a Power greater than myself — a Power which is still beyond my ability to visualize.   Do I consider the change in my life a miracle far beyond the workings of any human power?

Today I Pray

As the days of sobriety lengthen, and the moment of decision becomes farther behind me, may I never lose sight of the Power that changed my life. May I remember that my sobriety is an ongoing miracle, not just a once-in-a-lifetime transformation.

Today I Will Remember

Life is an ongoing miracle.

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One More Day
January 30

If you make friends with yourself you will never be alone.
– Maxwell Maltz

Sometimes, we frantically adopt other people’s problems to avoid confronting our own. Hiding from ourselves and our problems solved nothing. Yet some of us are so frightened by the challenge life has thrown before us that we are reluctant to confront it head-on.

Most important is being able to face ourselves, especially when we are alone. We can’t always hide in the hustle and bustle of a crowd. But we can find a comfort level within ourselves, regardless of what we face. Then, when our spirituality is deepened and we understand our own struggles — and only then — can we assist, support, and share with others.

My awareness of myself has been enhanced by my new life circumstances. The deeper I did, the more soul I find. The more and I find, the more I can share myself.

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One Day At A Time
January 30
~ NEW BEGINNINGS ~

…To dry my eyes and laugh at a fall, and baffled, get up and start again…
–Robert Browning
(1812– 1889) British poet and playwright

When things didn’t go my way, I would stamp my feet, lose my temper, and walk away. I was the world’s greatest quitter!

The Twelve Step program of recovery teaches me that when I trip over something, I can pick myself up, dust myself off, and start over at any time. I can turn whatever I stumble over into an opportunity for growing and learning.

One Day at a Time …
When confronted by roadblocks to my recovery, I can humble myself and ask my Higher Power, “What do YOU want for me to learn from this?” I can turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones and move on in my recovery journey.

~ Linda K. ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 30

“Bright days and dark days were both expressions of the Great Mystery, and the Indian reveled in being close to the Great Holiness.”
–Chief Luther Standing Bear, SIOUX

The Great Spirit created a world of harmony, a world of justice, a world that is interconnected, a balanced world that has positive and negative, this way and that way, up and down, man and woman, boy and girl, honest and dishonest, responsible and irresponsible, day and night. In other words, He created a polarity system. Both sides are to be respected. Both sides or anything are sacred. We need to do good and we need to learn from our mistakes. We need to honor what takes place in the daytime and we need to honor what takes place in the nighttime. WE learn that we need to learn and we see what we are supposed to see by staying close to the Great Spirit. We need to be talking to Him all the time, saying “Grandfather, what is it you want me to learn?”

Great Spirit, let me learn today that all things are sacred. Help me stay close to You, my Creator.

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Journey To The Heart
January 30
Warm Up

Sit in the sun and warm up.

Sit in the sun. Soak up the love and warmth from the world around you. Take that warmth into your everyday life. Open your heart more to the people you see, the people you meet, the people you greet, and the people you love. Practice being warm, loving, and open. Do more than just think loving thoughts. Say it. Do more than just think of something nice you’d like to do for someone. Do it.

Fear is cold. Sometimes, we become so afraid of life, people, ourselves– so afraid– that we become cold. Cold toward people, toward life, toward God. We may not be aware of how cold we have become. We may have been cold for so long, we just don’t see it. Being cold and afraid has become our everyday posture. It’s the way we interact with the world around us. Now it’s time to put warmth back in our lives.

Don’t let your fears turn you cold. Sit in the sun and warm up. Then radiate that warmth to the people around you. Warm up to people. Warm up to life. Warm up to yourself.

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Today’s Gift
January 30

Everyone has his own fingerprints. The white light streams down to be broken up by those human prisms into all the colors of the rainbow. Take your own color in the pattern and be just that.
—Charles R. Brown

We are often amazed at how different members of the same family seem to be. Contrasts are often great: one child might be loud and funny, one might be timid and quiet, and yet neither seems to take after the parents. A family is like a vegetable garden. The vegetables respond to outside influences. The one exposed to more sunlight will grow differently than the one growing in a damp, shady place. Vegetables growing in crowded areas of the garden may not be as developed as those around them, but they might be tastier. Although we may have common roots, outside experiences and friends mold us too, making each of us unique. We sometimes lose ourselves by comparisons and feel as if we don’t belong, but the variety of our family garden is what makes the world so interesting.

How can I honor another person’s uniqueness today?

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The Language of Letting Go
January 30
Religious Freedom

“… a Power greater than ourselves …” “God as we understood Him.” These words introduce spirituality in the Twelve Steps. They are the first two references to God, and they are worded that way for a reason.

We each have the freedom to define, and understand, our Higher Power – God – as we choose.

That means we do not bring our religious affiliation into our recovery groups. It means that we do not try to impose our religious beliefs, or our understanding of God, on anyone else. We do not use our groups or meetings as a soapbox to gain religious converts. We do not try to force the particulars of our religious beliefs on others.

We give each person, the right to a personal understanding of a Higher Power and ourselves.

Today, I will respect other people’s understanding of God, as well as my own. I will not allow others’ judgment of my beliefs to cause me anxiety and distress. I will seek to grow spiritually in recovery, with or without the assistance of a particular religion or denomination.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 30
See the good in yourself,too

“Let me see your hands,” she said, gently holding my right hand up close to hers. “Look,” she said. “We have the same hands.”

My daughter was thrilled by the discovery that our fingers were the same size, curved the same way; even our wrists were the same shape. I was at her house visiting her, her child, and her husband that afternoon. We had snuck away for a few quiet moments together. Later that evening, when I returned home, she called me on the phone.

“You seem so excited and interested in our hands,” I said.

“I’ve always thought your hands were so beautiful. Then I started looking at my hands, and I though maybe they looked just like yours, but I wasn’t sure until we looked at them today. It’s just so cool,” she said, “that my hands look just like yours.”

It’s so easy to see and notice what we like in other people. Sometimes, it’s not easy to see the attributes and beauty in ourselves. It’s good to see the beauty in others. But sometimes, take a moment and get excited when you notice what’s beautiful in yourself,too.

We hear so much about people mirroring our negative qualities back to us. You know– what you don’t like in others is probably what you don’t like in yourself. And often that’s true. But people can also mirror our desires, our hopes, our attributes, and our strengths back to us. Chances are that what you see and admire in others is probably a mirror shining your good qualities back to you.

God, help me see the beauty and the good in life. Help me be aware of what I like in others, so that I can better define what I aspire to become.

Activity: Choose five people in your life whom you like and respect. Make a list of the qualities they have that you admire. Now, see how many of these qualities might correctly be used to describe yourself, as well. If you don’t believe you already possess these qualities, could you be selling yourself short? Or do these qualities describe who you aspire to be? If you define some new aspirations, transfer them to your goal list. See how easy it is to begin defining and clarifying our dreams?

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Touchstones – Daily Meditation For Men
January 30

Man can live his truth, his deepest truth, but cannot speak it.
—Archibald MacLeish

For many men, being addicts meant living double lives. There were public selves whom others knew, and private selves whom no one met. It was a compulsive world, and both sides were false. Many of us grew up in addicted families and learned this double life early by hiding from outsiders what life was really like at home.

In this program we learn to live our truth before we can speak it. It is more in our actions than in what we say. We may never know the words for this truth because we do not consciously invent it. It comes to us quietly over time and slowly merges all our parts. Gradually we begin to feel whole again as we surrender our double lives for single, truthful ones.

Let me have the trust to give myself to the work of recovery and follow it where it takes me.

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Daily TAO
January 30
LOVEMAKING

Nocturnal downpour
Wakes the lovers,
Floods the valley.

Making love is natural. Why be ashamed of it?

That seems simple, but it is actually a great challenge in these complex times. Too many other layers of meaning have been imposed upon sex. Religions straitjacket it, ascetics deny it, romantics glorify it, intellectuals theorize about it, obsessives pervert it. These actions have nothing to do with lovemaking. They come from fanaticism and compulsive behavior. Can we actually master the challenge of having lovemaking be open and healthy?

Sex should not be used as leverage, manipulation, selfishness, or abuse. It should not be a ground for our personal compulsions and delusions.

Sexuality is an honest reflection of our innermost personalities, and we should ensure that its expression is healthy. Making love is something mysterious, sacred, and often the most profound interaction between people. Whether what is created is a relationship or pregnancy, the legacy of both partners will be inherent in their creation. What we put into love determines what we get out of it.

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