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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 5

NA Just For Today
January 5
Recovery at Home

“We can enjoy our families in a new way and may become a credit to them instead of an embarrassment or a burden.”
Basic Text p. 100

We’re doing great in recovery, aren’t we? We go to a meeting every day, we spend every evening with our friends in the fellowship, and every weekend we dash off to a service workshop. But if things are falling to pieces at home, we’re not doing so great after all.

We expect our families to understand. After all, we’re not using drugs anymore. Why don’t they recognize our progress? Don’t they understand how important our meetings, our service, and our involvement with the fellowship are?

Our families will not appreciate the change NA is working in our lives unless we show them. If we rush off to a meeting the same way we rushed off to use drugs, what has changed? If we continue to ignore the needs and desires of our partners and children, failing to accept our responsibilities at home, we aren’t “practicing these principles in all our affairs.”

We must live the program everywhere we go, in everything we do. If we want the spiritual life to be more than a theory, we have to live it at home. When we do this, the people we share our lives with are sure to notice the change and be grateful that we’ve found NA.

Just for today: I will take my recovery home with me.

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Daily Reflections
January 5
TOTAL ACCEPTANCE

He cannot picture life without alcohol. Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it. Then he will know loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p.152

Only an alcoholic can understand the exact meaning of a statement like this one. The double standard that held me captive as an active alcoholic also filled me with terror and confusion: “If I don’t get a drink I’m going to die,” competed with “If I continue drinking it’s going to kill me.” Both compulsive thoughts pushed me ever closer to the bottom. That bottom produced a total acceptance of my alcoholism – with no reservations whatsoever – and one that was absolutely essential for my recovery. It was a dilemma unlike anything I had ever faced, but as I found out later on, a necessary one if I was to succeed in this program.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 5
A.A. Thought For The Day

Have I turned to a Higher Power for help? Do I believe that each man or woman I see in A.A. is a demonstration of the power of God to change a human being from a drunkard into a sober, useful citizen? Do I believe that this Higher Power can help me from drinking? Am I living one day at a time? Do I ask God to give me the power to stay sober for each twenty-four hours? Do I attend A.A. meetings regularly?

Meditation For The Day

I believe that God’s presence brings peace and that peace, like a quiet flowing river, will cleanse all irritants away. In these quiet times, God will teach me how to rest my nerves. I will not be afraid. I will learn how to relax.  When I am relaxed, God’s strength will flow into me. I will be at peace.

Prayer For The Day

I pray for that peace which passes all understanding.  I pray for that peace which the world can neither give nor take away.

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As Bill Sees It
January 5
Maintenance and Growth, p. 5

It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worthwhile. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of harboring resentment is infinitely grave. For then we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.

If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the sudden rage were not for us. Anger is the dubious luxury of normal men, but for us alcoholics it is poison.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 66
Letter, 1962

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Walk In Dry Places
January 5
The problem of Gossip
Breaking free from faults.

Our character defects hand on tenaciously because we secretly enjoy or need them. Gossip is an example of this problem. Most of us know that gossip is mean and malicious, yet we enjoy the spurious self-satisfaction and self-importance it gives us.

However, this feeling of self-satisfaction and self-importance is fleeting. When we engage in GOSSIP, we feel guilty, uneasy, and ashamed. We also know the fear of being gossiped about when our own backs are turned, because those who gossip will betray their friends.

Our search for real growth in sobriety should include wiliness to part company with gossip. We also should not permit ourselves to gossip indirectly; that is, by pretending to “understand” another person to induce them to share personal information, or by introducing a subject with the intention of having gossip shared with us. We can also help ourselves by turning away from gossipy news stories and magazines. We cannot grow mentally and spiritually by reading about the misbehavior and shortcomings of others.

Knowing that my true good is in keeping straight, I will go through this one day without engaging in gossip.

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Keep It Simple
January 5

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
—Chinese proverb.

Life holds so many choices now that we are sober. We’d like to go so many places. We’d like to see so many things. We have so much to do. We are slowly learning how to trust our dreams and reach for them. Our program teaches us that we live One Day at a Time. We make progress by doing First Things First. Easy Does It. Our dreams may seem very big and far away. We wonder if we’ll ever get there. But our faith tells us to go for it. And we know how: one step at a time.

PRAYER: Higher Power, help me know this gentle truth: my life matters. Help me set goals that I can grow toward, one step at a time.

ACTION: Today, I’ll think about one of my goals. I will list ten little steps that will help me get there.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 5

Instead of concentrating on why we can’t do a thing, we would be wise to change our “Yes, but . . .” attitude to a more positive one. Saying “yes” means I really do want to change my life for the better.
–Liane Cordes

We truly can do these things that are our “hearts’ pure desires.” However, most of us look at the whole task and feel overwhelmed. We need, instead, to look at the task’s many parts. One part at a time, one day at a time, we can accomplish any goal we set for ourselves. I know a recovering woman who wrote a 300-page dissertation, the final achievement to obtain her PhD. When asked at a meeting how she ever did it, her reply was, “One word at a time.” That’s wonderful advice. No matter how many goals were missed or plans dashed when we were still using, now that we are recovering, each of us can do whatever is in our hearts–if we do it little by little, not all at once, today.

Today, I will do one small task that will contribute toward the achievement of a life goal.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 5
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.

Today Max and I try to communicate what we feel rather than what we think. We used to argue about our differing ideas, but we can’t argue about our feelings. I can tell her she ought not to think a certain way, but I certainly can’t take away her right to feel however she does feel. When we deal in feelings, we tend to come to know ourselves and each other much better.

p. 419

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 5

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

The same stern threat applies to the group itself. Unless there is approximate conformity to A.A.’s Twelve Traditions, the group, too, can deteriorate and die. So we of A.A. do obey spiritual principles, first because we must, and ultimately because we love the kind of life such obedience brings. Great suffering and great love are A.A.’s disciplinarians; we need no others.

p. 174

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Xtra Thoughts
January 5

“You can’t brag that you’re humble … and be humble.”
–Terry McEwen

Be still like a mountain and flow like a river.
–Lao-Tze

See how many people you personally can make smile today.
–unknown

We experience peace, not panic, when we trust the power of God.
–unknown

Your words can bring satisfaction, life, and death. We must take the consequences for what we say.
–unknown

Speak kind words and you will hear kind echoes.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 5
CHANGE

“It’s the most unhappy people who most fear change.”
—Mignon McLaughlin

When I was drinking, I hated change. I hated things not being the same. I feared anything being different. Rarely did I want to go anywhere new. My attitudes were fixed and rigid. I resented any criticism of my behavior. The unexpected was seen as sabotage or a threat. My paranoia was extreme.

Today I have decided to let go of the control, the pretense and the arrogance. I face life as it comes — and today I do not drink. I am responsible for my life but I cannot control the world. Today I am learning to relax in the acceptance of my disease.

May I always discover the courage to change the things I can.

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Bible Scriptures
January 5

The fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth.
Ephesians 5:9

The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
Psalm 145 : 14

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Ephesians 4:2-3

“If you have faith as a mustard seed you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.”
Matthew 17:20

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Daily Inspiration
January 5

People make mistakes, but seldom on purpose. Lord, may my patience with others grow and may I replace my frowns with smiles.

If you want peace and goodness in your life you must be kind and loving. Lord, may I avoid creating misery so that my life will reflect my love for You.

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A Day At A Time
January 5
Reflection For The Day

“Vision is, I think, the ability to make good estimates,” wrote Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. “Some might feel this sort of striving to be heresy against ‘One Day At A Time.’ But that valuable principle really refers to our mental and emotional lives, and means chiefly that we are not foolishly to repine over the past nor wishfully daydream about the future.” Can i believe that “A day has a hundred pockets when one has much to put in them…”?

Today I Pray

I pray that the bright colors of this day may not be blurred by muted vagaries of the future or dulled by storm-gray remnants from the past. I pray that my Higher Power will help me to choose my actions and concerns out of the wealth of busyness that each day offers.

Today I Will Remember

I will not lose for today,
If I choose for Today.

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One More Day
January 5

We are never as fortunate or as unfortunate as we suppose.
— La Rouchefoucauld

Pain, especially continual pain, is very draining and is often one of the largest problems associated with chronic illness. In the beginning we may have reacted to our pain with anger or whining and, in doing so, came to see ourselves as victims or martyrs. That self-image made us feel helpless, powerless.

Now, we’re better able to understand pain, not as a curse thrust upon us, but as our bodies’ normal function. Pain, is a signal and sometimes a warning. But pain can assist us now in better management of our illnesses by helping us regain some of our personal power and inner strength. Methods such as relaxation therapy, biofeedback, and self-hypnosis can all work on different levels to control our pain. Appropriate exercise can also be an excellent method of pain control.

I will explore ways to deal with my pain.

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One Day At A Time
January 5
PERSEVERANCE

“Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
. . . James 1:2

It’s always been easy for me to feel sorry for myself. My life has been difficult since I was a very young child, and early on I developed a chip on my shoulder the size of a boulder. “Surely no one has ever suffered what I suffer,” I often told myself. I used my pain and loneliness as excuses for bitterness, cynicism, arrogance, and harshness. In a twisted manifestation of my sickness, I held onto my suffering as though it were a precious testament to how “special” I was. I was actually Proud of my hardships! By doing this, I was mocking James’ instruction to consider trials of our faith as reasons to rejoice, and I was sentencing myself to years of immaturity, lack of faith, conflict, resentment, and heartache.

Because I held onto my arrogant, self-defeating attitude, the trials I faced led only to more and more illnesses of my body, mind, soul, and spirit. I was a prisoner in my own mind – ignoring the fact that I held in my hand the key to my freedom.

In the last six months I have been hit with more profoundly chaotic, agonizing, destructive trials of faith than I’ve encountered in the last ten years. The number, frequency, and intensity of these events did what my rational mind could not do – they brought me to my knees and led me to finally surrender my efforts to control my life.

I thank God for the friends He’s given me in Recovery. Trusted Servants have prayed for me, listened to me, and encouraged me. They have shared with me their own stories of suffering and the growth they have gained through it. With God’s grace and the support of dear friends, I am learning to release my twisted hold on Suffering, and to instead cooperate with God’s work in me. As I focus my attention on the lessons He has for me, I find that even the most painful trials I face can – and will – produce perseverance and maturity, one day at a time.

One day at a time … I will choose to welcome the lessons and growth that God has for me – even when they come disguised as horrific events in my life. I will choose perseverance over bitterness.

~ Lisa

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 5  

“But first, let us join hands and pray.”
–Starleaf, SHINNECOCK

Where two or more human beings joined together for a common cause, the helpers and the Grandfathers will show up to help. When our Indian people come together, the Elders say, “always pray first-do a ceremony and ask the Creator to be with us and to help us. We can never pray enough.” The Elders also say, “pray in a circle because the Creator made things in circles. When we stand in a circle and pray together, a sacred hoop will form above the people. This is the spiritual way.”

Oh Great Spirit, through my prayers I can find Your guidance. I pray You guide my path today. Touch my life with Your holy breath,

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Journey To The Heart
January 5
Let Life Reveal Itself to You

You don’t have to strain so, trying to get your revelations. The guidance, the inspiration, the awareness you need will come to you.

The way we’re living now– from the heart– is much easier than the way we lived before. Sometimes it is so natural we might not understand what’s happening. We may even be uncomfortable at first with how easy it is. We find ourselves straining to lift a heavy bowling ball, when what we have to pick up is only a Ping Pong ball. Then we wonder why it feels so light. We may question whether there’s something wrong because it feels so different.

Just because your life feels lighter doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong.

Your next step, the answer to the question you’ve been mulling about– the direction for the next stage of your growth, where you will live next, what you need to do next about work, money, or that problem you’ve been struggling with– will come. If you’re fussing and straining you may not hear it. Don’t worry about getting all your answers or your agenda for the years ahead. That is not how this process works. In order to participate in this more magical way of life, trust that all you need will be revealed to you when it is time.

Relax. You’re on a journey of discovery. Let life reveal itself to you.

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Today’s Gift
January 5

. . . and, when the time comes to let it go, . . . let it go.
—Mary Oliver

If we all let go of one thing we like, and take instead each other’s hand; if we all let go of three minutes each day, and find instead a few perfect words for someone in the house; if we all withhold our judgments for one hour, and reveal during that time one of our own small secret sins; if we all skip the same meal each week, and spend the time together in the park; would we have less or more than what we started with?

It is one of the great and pleasing mysteries of life that we gain by giving things up. Instead of grabbing things or demanding from others if we give something up, we leave a space for something new to enter our lives.

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The Language of Letting Go
January 5
Accepting Help

Some of us have felt so alienated that we’ve forgotten we’re not alone. We’ve come to believe that we have to do it ourselves. Some of us have been abandoned. Some have gone without love. Some of us have gotten used to people never being there for us. Some of us have struggled, had hard lessons to learn.

God’s there, always ready to help. There is an ample supply of people to care about us too. We will, if we want it, receive love and support, comfort and nurturing. If we take the risk to ask for it, help is there. We can draw on the strength of our recovery group and allow ourselves to be helped and supported by our Higher Power. Friends will come, good friends.

We aren’t alone. And we don’t have to do it ourselves. We’re not doing it ourselves. There is no shortage of love. Not anymore.

Today, God, help me let go of my need to do it alone and my belief that I am alone. Help me tap into Your Divine Power and Presence, and your resources for love, support, and friendship. Open my eyes and heart so I can see the love, help, and support that’s there for me. Help me know I am loved.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 5
Move when it’s time

We were touring the ruins at Hovenweep National Monument in the southwestern United States. A sign along the interpretive trail told about the Anasazi who had lived along the small, narrow canyon so long ago. The archaelogists have done their best to determine what those ancient Indians did and how they lived their lives. The signs told about the strategic positioning of the buildings perched precariously on the edge of a cliff, and questioned what had caused this ancient group to suddenly disappear long ago.

“Maybe they just got tired of living here and moved,” my friend said.

We laughed as we pictured a group of wise ancients sitting around a campfire one night. “You know,” says one of them. “I’m tired of this desert. Let’s move to the beach.” And in our story they did. No mystery. No aliens takiing them away. They just moved on, much like we do today.

It’s easy to romanticize what we don’t know. It’s easy to assume that someone else must have a greater vision, a nobler purpose than just going to work, having a family, and living a life. People are people, and have been throughout time. Our problems aren’t new or unique. The secret to happiness is the same as it has always been. If you are unhappy with where you are, don’t be there. Yes, you may be here now, you may be learning hard lessons today, but there is no reason to stay there. If it hurts to touch the stove, don’t touch it. If you want to be someplace else, move. If you want to chase a dream, then do it. Learn your lessons where you are, but don’t close off your ability to move, and to learn new lessons someplace else.

Are you happy with the path that you’re on? If not, maybe it’s time to choose a new one. There need not be a great mysterious reason. Sometimes it’s just hot and dry, and the beach is calling your name.

Be where you want to be.

God, give me the courage to find a path with heart. Help me move on when it’s time.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
January 5

Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude.
—Sir Thomas Browne

Loneliness and solitude are very different things. When we’re lonely, we feel sad about being alone. But when we’re in solitude, we have ourselves and can be at peace. Many of us have had so much pain in our relationships that we often feel lonely. Or we may have been so frightened of being alone that now we avoid it like poison. All of us have known the pain of loneliness, even while we were surrounded by people.

Through solitude we can become more fully acquainted with ourselves, develop greater honesty, and deepen our spiritual development. Each day, as we spend time alone in meditation, we make conscious contact with God and join other men in spirit who also walk this path. Even in our solitude we are not alone.

In this quiet time, I reestablish peace within and find the spirit of my fellow men and women on a similar path.

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Daily TAO
January 5
SOUND

Wind in the cave :
Movement in stillness.
Power in silence.

In a cave, all outer sounds are smothered by rock and earth, but this makes the sounds of one’s own heartbeat and breath audible. In the same way, contemplative stillness turns us away from everyday clamor but allows us to hear the subtle in our own lives.

When listening not with the ear but with the spirit, one can perceive the subtle sound. By entering into that sound, we enter into supreme purity. That is why so many religious traditions pray, sing, or chant as a prelude to silence.  They understand that the repetition and absorption of sound leads to sacredness itself.

The deepest sound is silence. This may seem paradoxical only if we regard silence as an absence of life and vibration. But for a meditator, silence is sound unified with all of its opposites. It is both sound and soundlessness, and it is in this confluence that the power of meditation emerges.

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