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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 4

Just For Today
January 4
The Love of the Fellowship

“Today secure in the love of the fellowship, we can finally look another human being in the eye and be grateful for who we are.”
Basic Text p. 89

When we were using, few of us could tolerate looking someone in the eye-we were ashamed of who we were. Our minds were not occupied with anything decent or healthy, and we knew it. Our time, money, and energy weren’t spent building loving relationships, sharing with others, or seeking to better our communities. We were trapped in a spiral of obsession and compulsion that went only in one direction: downward.

In recovery, our journey down that spiral path has been cut short. But what is it that has turned us around, drawing us back upward into the open spaces of the wide, free world? The love of the fellowship has done this.

In the company of other addicts, we knew we would not be rejected. By the example of other addicts, we were shown how to begin taking a positive part in the life around us. When we were unsure which way to turn, when we stumbled, when we had to correct a wrong we had done, we knew our fellow members were there to encourage us.

Slowly, we’ve gotten the feel of our freedom. No longer are we locked up in our disease; we are free to build and grow and share along with everyone else. And when we need support to take our next step, it is there. The security we’ve found in the love of the fellowship has made our new lives possible.

Just for today: I can look anyone in the eye without shame. I am grateful for the loving support that has made this possible.

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Daily Reflections
January 4
BEGIN WHERE YOU ARE

We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p.19

It’s usually pretty easy for me to be pleasant to the people in an A.A. setting. While I’m working to stay sober, I’m celebrating with my fellow A.A.s our common release from the hell of drinking. It’s often not so hard to spread glad tidings to my old and new friends in the program. At home or at work, though, it can be a difference story. It is in situations arising in both of those areas that the little day-to-day frustrations are most evident, and where it can be tough to smile or reach out with a kind word or an attentive ear. It’s outside of the A.A. rooms that I face the real test of the effectiveness of my walk through A.A.’s Twelve Steps.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 4
A.A. Thought For The Day

Have I admitted I am an alcoholic? Have I swallowed my pride and admitted I was different from other drinkers?  Have I accepted the fact that I must spend the rest of my life without liquor? Have I any more reservations, any idea in the back of my mind that some day I’ll be able to drink safely? Am I absolutely honest with myself and with other people? Have I taken an inventory of myself and admitted the wrong I have done? Have I come clean with my friends? Have I tried to make it up to them for the way I have treated them?

Meditation For The Day

I will believe that fundamentally all is well. Good things will happen to me. I believe that God cares for me and will  provide for me. I will not try to plan ahead. I know that the way will unfold, step by step. I will leave tomorrow’s burden to God, because He is the great burden-bearer. He only expects me to carry my one-day’s share.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not try to carry the burden of the universe on my shoulders. I pray that I may be satisfied to do my share each day.

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As Bill Sees It
January 4
Can We Choose?, p. 4

We must never be blinded by the futile philosophy that we are just the hapless victims of our inheritance, of our life experience, and 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 active alcoholics, we lost our ability to choose whether we would drink. We were the victims of a compulsion which seemed to decree that we must go on with our own destruction.

“Yet we finally did make choices that brought about our recovery. We came to believe that alone we were powerless over alcohol. This was surely a choice, and a most difficult one. We came to believe that a Higher Power could restore us to sanity when we became willing to practice A.A.’s Twelve Steps.

“In short, we chose to ‘become willing,’ and no better choice did we ever make.”

1. Grapevine, November 1960
2. Letter, 1966

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Walk In Dry Places
January 4
God’s will for us
Higher Will

More than one alcoholic has trouble learning and accepting God’s will. This difficulty may grow out of the old belief that God’s will is going to be something unpleasant or dull. “I was afraid of learning God’s will, because I thought I might have to go off to Africa as a missionary,” one young person said at a meeting.

But God only intends what is best for us; therefore, the only real happiness and security comes from learning and carrying out God’s will. God’s plan is always better and greater than anything we might produce when depending solely on human reason. Our own view and understandings are limited, but God can see a breathtaking sweep of wonderful activities and opportunities for us.

Most of us, by yielding to self-will, lose out in the search for real joy, true success, and genuine happiness. Our alcoholism was perhaps the best example of self-will in action. It was only when we turned to a Higher Power that we began to find the things that we had been vainly seeking in the bottle. God has brought us this far and will not fail us when we ask for guidance and understanding in other matters.

I will keep in mind today that God’s will for me is good, and that God gives me the power to live in peace and harmony with others.

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Keep It Simple
January 4

He who is swift to believe is swift to forget.
—Abraham Joshua Herschel

Life is full of questions. Many people tell us they have the answers. We have to be careful of who and what we believe. Other people’s ideas may not fit us. The program doesn’t tell us much about what to believe. It teaches us how to believe. How well the program works for us depends on what we believe and how well we live it. When we face all the facts, we can really believe. We believe we are powerless over our addiction. We believe we must and can change some things in our lives. We believe we can trust a Higher Power to care for us. When we choose to believe, we want to choose the best beliefs we can. And once we believe, we must not forget.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me know You, and help me know the truth.

Action for the Day: Today I’ll think about my First Step. Do I truly believe I’m powerless over my disease?

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 4

Once I knew that I wanted to be an artist, I had made myself into one. I did not understand that wanting doesn’t always lead to action. Many of the women had been raised without the sense that they could mold and shape their own lives, and so, wanting to be an artist (but without the ability to realize their wants) was, for some of them, only an idle fantasy, like wanting to go to the moon.
–Judy Chicago

There are probably not many of us, in this recovery program, who grappled with life as straight on as Judy Chicago did. It is likely we didn’t understand that we could mold and shape our lives. How lucky we are to be learning that now with the help of the Twelve Steps and one another. Each day we are confronted with many opportunities to make responsible choices, reasonable decisions. These choices and decisions are the molders, the shapers, of who we are becoming. Our identity as women is strengthened each time we thoughtfully make a choice. The action we take through making each choice gives our identity more substance–our wholeness as women is guaranteed through these choices.

Many opportunities to make choices will arise today. I can be thoughtful and make choices that will lead to my greater wholeness.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 4
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.

I can do the same thing with an A.A. meeting. The more I focus my mind on its defects–late start, long drunkalogs, cigarette smoke–the worse the meeting becomes. But when I try to see what I can add to the meeting, rather than what I can get out of it, and when I focus my mind on what’s good about it, rather than what’s wrong with it, the meeting keeps getting better and better. When I focus on what’s good today, I have a good day, and when I focus on what’s bad, I have a bad day. If I focus on a problem, the problem increases; if I focus on the answer, the answer increases.

p. 419

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

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

At this juncture, we can hear a churchman exclaim, “They are making disobedience a virtue!” He is joined by a psychiatrist who says, “Defiant brats! They won’t grow up and conform to social usage!” The man in the street say, “I don’t understand it. They must be nuts!” But all these observers have overlooked something unique in Alcoholics Anonymous. Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles.

p. 174

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Xtra Thoughts
January 4

Situations I fear are rarely as bad as the fear itself.
–unknown

“Growl all day and you’ll feel dog tired at night.”
–Anonymous

“Laughter is as good as jogging for our heart, lungs, and brain.”
–Gail Grenier Sweet

If you touch, you feel. If you ask, you learn. If you look, you see. If you love, you live.
–unknown

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.
–St. Augustine of Hippo

The heart of AA is the act of one person giving to another.

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 4
FREEDOM

“A hungry man is not a free man.”
— Adlai Stevenson

For years I craved food. It was my escape from reality. It stopped the pain, loneliness and anger — for a moment. It felt good. Eventually I began to feel bad — but I could not stop. I was addicted to sugar and sodium. My freedom was being exchanged for doughnuts!

I heard a man talk about his compulsion around cocaine and gambling. I asked how he managed to abstain and he replied: “Talk about it, a day at a time!”

Today I am compulsive about getting well, and I talk about my disease every day. The price of freedom is vulnerability. God is in the risk. I have taken it.

God, let me experience freedom in the choices I make today.

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Bible Scriptures
January 4

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving towards all He has made.
Psalm 145:13

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Daily Inspiration
January 4

It is you, not where you are or what you have, that makes the difference. Lord, may I always blossom where I am planted.

Kindness can accomplish that which force won’t. Lord, may I pause when I am about to react to irritations and respond as though it is You to whom I speak.

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A Day At A Time
January 4
Reflection For The Day

For a good part of my life, I saw things mostly in negative terms. Everything was serious, heavy, or just plain awful. Perhaps now I can truly change my attitude, searching out the winners in The Program who have learned how to live comfortably in the real world — without numbing their brains with mood-altering chemicals. If things get rough today, can I take a quiet moment and say to myself, as the philosopher Homer once said, “Bear patiently, my heart — for you have suffered heavier things…”?

Today I Pray

May the peace of God that passes all human understanding fill the place within me that once harbored my despair. May an appreciation for living — even for life’s trials — cancel out my old negative attitudes in heart-heavy moments, help to remind me that my heart was once much heavier still.

Today I Will Remember

I, too, am a winner.

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One More Day
January 4

Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.
— Faith Baldwin

Each stage of life brings its own gifts. Every age gives us a chance to examine where we are right now. When we were young, many of us still insisted that we could change the world. We even thought we could change people. The next stage in life may have given us the gift of seeing that we could only change ourselves.

Whatever stage we are in right now is the perfect place to reassess our priorities again. It has become obvious to us by now which things we cannot change, and are busily accepting that truth.

Time itself alters us and our expectations. The time we have lived has already created change, and the passing of time will create more. The alterations we make today can help us accept this stage in life as being the best place to be.

Now is the time to alter my expectations of myself, to tailor them to my current needs.

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One Day At A Time
January 4
HAPPINESS

Happiness is an achievement brought about by inner productiveness.  People succeed at being happy by building a liking for themselves.
–Erich Fromm

It has been said that if one of us ever treated another human being the way we treated ourselves, we would be liable for criminal charges. I did not treat myself as a friend, someone I loved; I constantly fed into my unhappiness.

Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill W. was asked, shortly before he died, to sum up the program in the lowest common denominator. He replied, “Get right with yourself, with God, then with your neighbor.” Therefore, it stands to reason that I must start making friends with myself. I must treat myself with love and dignity, and the result will be happiness. To be happy, joyous, and free is the by-product of obedience to the program.

One Day at a Time . . .
Am I going to try being happy?
Am I going to make friends with myself?
If not today, when?

~ Jeremiah ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 4

“Our circle is timeless, flowing, it is a new life emerging from death-life winning out over death.”
–Lame Deer, LAKOTA

When we look at the world in the manner which the Great Spirit designed it, we can see why it makes sense to live in harmony with it: the trees grow and bear fruit, the fruit has seeds, the seeds fall to the ground, the ground grows new trees, old trees die to make way for the young. Any time we think we can interrupt this cycle or change it we will experience turmoil and confusion. The Human Cycle exists as the baby becomes the youth, the youth becomes the adult, the adult has children, the adult becomes the Elder, and the Elder teaches the youth. Elders go on to the Spirit World. Spirit comes into babies to produce new life. Flow into the flow. Be the path of least resistance.

My Creator and my Make, today, teach me to just flow with the river of life.

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Journey To The Heart
January 4
Go with What You Know

The commercial on the radio sang to me as I drove across the Southern California desert. “Don’t just go with the flow. Go with what you know.”

Sometimes answers come from outside us. The universe is abundant in its supply of guidance for us. It can’t wait to share its signals, teachings, lessons, and words of wisdom. It is eager to give us guidance if we just watch, wait, and listen. Sometimes this guidance comes from people we know, other times from people we barely know. But even when this help comes from those we are closest to and love most, the answer must resonate with that place deep inside us. It must resonate with our core. It must ring true for us.

Listen to those around you. Listen to the guidance of the universe and all the voices it uses to speak to you. But always trust yourself. Trust your inner voice. Trust what you know, because ultimately your path will bring you back to that place. No matter what you do, if it’s not right for you, you will need to return to your center, your place of peace, and figure out the action that is right.

It’s good to go with the flow. But it’s better to go with what you know– what you know to be true for you. Trusting yourself is the ultimate lesson. It’s where all the guidance leads.

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Today’s Gift
January 4

“A tip-off to an abusive family system is a situation in which nobody ever apologizes.”
—Karen Shaud

When we get a tip-off, we can open the door to a whole new way of looking at the world. The tip-off about apologies can help us learn to have a healthier family. It is hard to apologize, but with practice, it will get easier. We are learning that we can make mistakes, and admit them, and that other people will accept our apologies. In the same way, we are learning we can accept others’ apologies. Apologies are sometimes hard to make. It helps to keep in mind that we make them as much for ourselves and our own growth as for the person we apologize to. We are not worthless just because we make mistakes, but we increase our value t o ourselves and others by being able to recognize them and apologize.

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The Language of Letting Go
January 4
Separating from Family Issues

We can draw a healthy line, a healthy boundary, between our nuclear family and ourselves. We can separate ourselves from their issues.

Some of us may have family members who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs and who are not in recovery from their addiction.

Some of us may have family members who have unresolved codependency issues. Family members may be addicted to misery, pain, suffering, martyrdom, and victimization. We may have family members who have unresolved abuse issues or unresolved family of origin issues.

We may have family members who are addicted to work, eating, or sex. Our family may be completely enmeshed, or we may have a disconnected family in which the members have little contact.

We may be like our family. We may love our family. But we are separate human beings with individual rights and issues. One of our primary rights is to begin feeling better and recovering, whether or not others in the family choose to do the same.

We do not have to feel guilty about finding happiness and a life that works. And we do not have to take on our family’s issues as our own to be loyal and to show we love them.

Often when we begin taking care of ourselves, family members will reverberate with overt and covert attempts to pull us back into the old system and roles. We do not have to go. Their attempts to pull us back are their issues. Taking care of ourselves and becoming healthy and happy does not mean we do not love them. It means we’re addressing our issues.

We do not have to judge them because they have issues; nor do we have to allow them to do anything they would like to us just because they are family.

We are free now, free to take care of ourselves with family members. Our freedom starts when we stop denying then issues, and politely, but assertively, hand their stuff back to them – where it belongs – and deal with our own issues.

Today, I will separate myself from family members, I am a separate human being, even though I belong to a unit called a family. I have a right to my own issues and growth; my family members have a right to their issues and a right to choose where and when they will deal with these issues. I can learn to detach in love from my family members and their issues. I am willing to work through all necessary feelings in order to accomplish this.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 4
Know when to compromise

Sometimes compromise is important. Sometimes it’s better to give in to someone else’s wishes in order to have fun as a group or as a couple, or for the benefits of the team. Sometimes compromise is dangerous. We need to guard against compromising our standards to gain the approval or love of someone else.

Decide when you can, and when you cannot compromise. If it’s not harmful and you are ambivalent about a decision, then compromise. If it could lead to breaking your values, compromise isn’t a good idea.

Is it okay to have lunch with an attractive colleague if you’re married? Possibly, but not if lunch will lead to dinner, which then leads to more time spent together, culminating in an affair. Is it okay to go to the bar with friends after work? Maybe, but not if it leads to one rationalized decision after another until you have broken your commitment to stay sober.

Remember that what may be an acceptable compromise for one person might not be acceptable for you. Know your limits, know your values, and be aware of the dangers that can come from compromising them.

God, help me be aware of my limits. Give me the strength not to compromise the values that I need to help me on my path.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
January 4

What if the interests of the self were expanded to … a God’s eye view of the human scene … accepting failure as being as natural an occurrence as success in the stupendous human drama… as little cause for worry and concern as having to play the role of a loser in a summer theater performance.    —Huston Smith

Detachment is a mature and wise way of dealing with life experiences. It is sometimes difficult because it challenges our maturity. How can we take failure lightly when we have been taught all our lives to be winners and to accept every dare? How can we stand back from a loved one who is anxious and in pain, still be supportive, but not take charge as if it were our problem?

We can question some of our old ideas. Maybe we were wrong to think we should always be Prince Charming who rescues maidens in distress. Maybe our ideas about being winners have been compulsions that stood in our way of having true friends.

As my perspective is changed, I will get stronger in maintaining a healthy detachment.

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Daily TAO
January 4
REFLECTION

Moon above water.
Sit in solitude.

If waters are placid, the moon will be mirrored perfectly. If we still ourselves, we can mirror the divine perfectly. But if we engage solely in the frenetic activities of our daily involvements, if we seek to impose our own schemes on the natural order, and if we allow ourselves to become absorbed in self-centered views, the surface of our waters becomes turbulent. Then we cannot be receptive to Tao.

There is no effort that we can make to still ourselves. True stillness comes naturally from moments of solitude where we allow our minds to settle. Just as water seeks its own level, the mind will gravitate toward the holy. Muddy water will become clear if allowed to stand undisturbed, and so too will the mind become clear if it is allowed to be still.

Neither the water nor the moon make any effort to achieve a reflection. In the same way, meditation will be natural and immediate.

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