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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 6

NA Just For Today
January 6
“How Does It Work?”

“I used to think that I had all the answers, but today I am glad that I don’t”
Basic Text p. 272

What are the two favorite words of most addicts? “I know!” Unfortunately, many of us arrive in NA thinking we have all the answers. We have a lot of knowledge about what’s wrong with us. But in and of itself, knowledge never helped us stay clean for any length of time.

Members who have achieved long-term recovery will be the first to admit that the longer they are here, the more they have to learn. But they do know one thing: By following this simple Twelve Step program, they have been able to stay clean. They no longer ask “why”; they ask “how”? The value of endless speculation pales in comparison to the experience of addicts who’ve found a way to stay clean and live clean.

This doesn’t mean we don’t ask “why” when it’s appropriate. We don’t come to NA and stop thinking! But in the beginning, it’s often a very good idea to reword our questions. Instead of asking “why,” we ask “how”: How do I work this step? How often should I attend meetings? How do I stay clean?

Just for today: I don’t have all the answers, but I know where to find the ones that matter. Today, I will ask another addict, “How does it work?”
pg. 6

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Daily Reflections
January 6
THE VICTORY OF SURRENDER

We perceive that only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength.  Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 21

When alcohol influenced every facet of my life, when bottles became the symbol of all my self-indulgence and permissiveness, when I came to realize that, by myself, I could do nothing to overcome the power of alcohol, I realized I had no recourse except surrender. In surrender I found victory – victory over my selfish self-indulgence, victory over my stubborn resistance to life as it was given to me. When I stopped fighting anybody or anything, I started on the path to sobriety, serenity and peace.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 6
A.A. Thought For The Day

Keeping sober is the most important thing in my life.  The most important decision I ever made was my decision to give up drinking. I am convinced that my whole life depends on not taking that first drink. Nothing in the world is as important to me as my own sobriety. Everything I have, my whole life depends on that one thing. Can I afford ever to forget this, even for one minute?

Meditation For The Day

I will discipline myself. I will do this disciplining now.  I will turn out all useless thoughts. I know that the goodness of my life is a necessary foundation for its usefulness. I will welcome this training, for without it God cannot give me his power. I believe that this power is a mighty power when used in the right way.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may face and accept whatever discipline is necessary. I pray that I may be fit to receive God’s power in my life.

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As Bill Sees It
January 6
All or Nothing?, p. 6

Acceptance and faith are capable of producing 100 percent sobriety. In fact, they usually do; and they must, else we could have no life at all. But the moment we carry these attitudes into our emotional problems, we find that only relative results are possible. Nobody can, for example, become completely free from fear, anger and pride.

Hence, in this life we shall attain nothing like perfect humility and love.  So we shall have to settle, respecting most of our problems, for a very gradual progress, punctuated sometimes by heavy setbacks. Our oldtime attitude of “all or nothing” will have to be abandoned.

Grapevine, March 1962

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Walk In Dry Places
January 6
No Need to be Perfect
Perfectionism.

We often declare that we suffered from perfectionism while we were drinking. This did not mean that we did things perfectly or always met high standards. More likely, it meant that we had grandiose ideas of the perfect people we wanted to be, but felt deep inadequacy about our failure to meet these high standards.

While we should develop good standards and values for our lives, we place an impossible demand on ourselves by wanting to be perfect in every way. What is this but a secret desire to be better than others, to occupy a superior position that will enable us to look down on others and, at the same time, to receive their approval and admiration?

In some manufacturing fields, there is a useful saying that serves as a guideline for inspectors: “Good enough is best.” If something is good enough for its intended purpose, it may be equal to the best. If my performance and actions this day are good enough, it maybe that they are as good as they have to be or as God wants them to be.

I will not expect impossible things from myself today. I will meet reasonable standards without permitting myself to become tense or strained.

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Keep It Simple
January 6

“We.”
—First word of the Twelve Steps.

We. This little word says a lot about the Twelve Steps. Our addiction made us lonely. The “we” of the program makes us whole again. It makes us a member of a living, growing group of people. Our addiction isolated us from others. We couldn’t be honest. We felt a lot of shame. But all this is in the past. The “we” of the program helps us live outside ourselves. Now we tell each other about our pasts. We comfort each other. We try to help each other.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to join the WE of the program. Help me to admit and accept my illness, so the healing can begin.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll work to make the WE of the program even stronger. I’ll find someone to help.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 6

There are as many ways to live and grow as there are people. Our own ways are the only ways that should matter to us.
–Evelyn Mandel

Wanting to control other people, to make them live as we’d have them live, makes the attainment of serenity impossible. And serenity is the goal we are seeking in this recovery program, in this life.

We are each powerless over others, which relieves us of a great burden. Controlling our own behavior is a big enough job. Learning to behave responsibly takes practice. Most of us in this recovery program have behaved irresponsibly for much of our lives. Emotional immaturity is slow to depart, but every responsible action we take gives us the courage for another–and then another. Our own fulfillment is the by-product of the accumulation of our own responsible actions. Others’ actions need not concern us.

Today, I will weigh my behavior carefully. Responsible behavior builds gladness of heart.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 6
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.

It hasn’t been easy to work out this relationship with Max. On the contrary, the hardest place to work this program has been in my own home, with my own children and, finally, with Max. It seems I should have learned from my wife and family first; the newcomer to A.A., last. But it was the other way around. Eventually I had to redo each of the Twelve Steps specifically with Max in mind, from the First, saying, “I am powerless over alcohol, and my homelife is unmanageable by me,” to the Twelfth, in which I tried to think of her as a sick Al-Anon and treat her with the love I would give a sick A.A. newcomer. When I do this, we get along fine.

pp. 419-420

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 6

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

It is clear now that we ought never to name boards to govern us, but it is equally clear that we shall always need to authorize workers to serve us. It is the difference between the spirit of vested authority and the spirit of service, two concepts which are sometimes poles apart. It is in this spirit of service that we elect the A.A. group’s informal rotating committee, the intergroup association for the area, and the General Service Conferences of Alcoholics Anonymous for A.A. as a whole. Even our Foundation, once an independent board, is today directly accountable to our Fellowship. Its trustees are the caretakers and expediters of our world services.

pp. 174-175

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Xtra Thoughts
January 6

Do not spit into the well you may have to drink out of.
–French Proverb

“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have for instance.”
–Franklin P. Jones

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I still can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”
–Helen Keller

“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”
–Henry Van Dyke

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 6
BOREDOM

“Nothing is interesting if you are not interested.”
— Helen MacInnes

There is a subtle distinction between the “dry” alcoholic and the “sober” alcoholic.  The sober alcoholic chooses not to drink because he has accepted his alcoholism. The “dry” alcoholic is “not drinking” but is invariably angry and resentful — and he is new expressing these feelings. His abstinence is not exciting because he is not interested in it — he is bored.

The “dry” alcoholic is also boring to be around. Why? Because he is bored. His boredom makes him boring. He really wants to drink. He has stopped drinking for reasons that do not include the acceptance of the disease; he is still a victim of the disease.

Sobriety, by contrast, is an adventure into self. It greets the new day with enthusiasm and energy. Sobriety is the spiritual discovery of God in our lives.

Let me always remember that my interests in life reflect my interest in You.

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Bible Scriptures
January 6

We are to grow up in all aspects into Him.
Ephesians 4:15

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:1

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Matthew 7:24-27

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Daily Inspiration
January 6

Everyone is important; very important. Lord, help me to always treat those in my life with respect and speak with a gentle heart.

Our lives should be productive and useful and we should always make a difference because we are alive. Lord, You have brought me to this new day. Work with me so that I will have a successful day with many accomplishments whether they are great or small.

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A Day At A Time
January 6

Reflection For The Day

When I finally convince myself to let go of a problem that’s been tearing me apart — when I take the action to set aside my will and let God handle the problem — my torment subsides immediately. If I continue to stay out of my own way, then solutions begin to unfold and reveal themselves. More and more, I’m coming to accept the limitations of my human understanding and power. More and more, I’m learning to let go and trust my Higher Power for the answers and the help. Do I keep in the forefront of my mind the fact that only God is all-wise and all-powerful?

Today I Pray

If I come across a stumbling-block, may I learn to step out of the way and let God remove it. May I realize my human limitations at problem-solving, since I can never begin to predict God’s solutions until I see them happening. May I know that whatever answer I come to, God may have a better one.

Today I Will Remember

God has a better answer.

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One More Day
January 6

A little learning is a dangerous thing.
— Alexander Pope

Since childhood we’ve been told that education is the key to success, to happiness, to almost all good things in life. We gradually gain knowledge as we go through school and continue through life, and at each plateau we feel more confident. But a crisis may undermine that confidence. Problems within our families, such as alcohol or other drug abuse or a chronic illness, can sharply point out how little we really know. Our reaction differ — some of us dive into a frenzy of denial and activity, while others are immobilized by fear and uncertainty.

But then we remember: Learning is the key; we don’t have to know instinctively what to do. We can turn to others who have greater knowledge. Organizations are three to give us well-qualified assistance. We want and need to learn the truth.

I don’t have to have all the answers, just the right questions.

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One Day At A Time
January 6
LONELINESS

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.

Mother Theresa

I remember being lonely for most of my growing up years. I never had many friends and never felt I fitted in, so I buried myself in studying and became an overachiever. I also buried myself in reading novels and lived in a fantasy world, always trying to escape that terrible empty feeling inside. I could be in a crowd of people or at home with my family, and yet the feeling of loneliness was always there. I didn’t realize then that this was a kind of spiritual sickness, and I began to fill the “hole in my soul” with food; I was hoping food would take away the empty feeling. It took me years and a great deal of pain to realize that no amount of food could relieve that empty lonely feeling. Keeping busy couldn’t help either. It was only when the pain of the food and the destructive things I was doing to myself became greater than the pain and the loneliness that I was trying to bury under mounds of food that I was brought to my knees and found the doors of my first program meeting.

Even though I wasn’t sure that the program was for me at that first meeting, I knew then that I need never be alone. Other people suffered as I did and the feeling of not having to go it alone any more was very powerful. As I grow in the program and have discovered a Higher Power who is with me day and night, I have come to realize that I need never be alone. I can call on that Power at any time when I feel alone and scared. No longer do I have to feel the spiritual emptiness inside that used to drive me to food.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will remember to call on my Higher Power for guidance and help with my life; in that way, I need never be alone. When I follow the path that God intended me to follow in the first place, the loneliness disappears.

~ Sharon ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 6

“When we’re through with this earth and all these problems, we don’t have to come back. But as long as we’re here we have a job to do and a purpose to fulfill and that means dealing with the circumstances around us.”
–Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE

We are put on the earth to participate in life. We have a beautiful mind, we have the ability to pray, we have the ability to change, we have the ability to accept, and we have choices. All things God created are constantly changing. This constant change causes our circumstances to change. Sometimes we say life is difficult. During these times we need to use our tools: the tools of prayer, and the tools of meditation. We are designed to change and live joyfully on this earth. The only requirement for living joyfully is to live according to the laws, principles and values given to us by the Creator.

Great Spirit, give me Your courage today, and guide my footsteps.

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Journey To The Heart
January 6
Embrace the Unknown

How boring it would be if we knew everything that was going to happen. Yet we are always trying to peek around the corner and see ahead.

If we knew everything that was going to happen, we wouldn’t need to experience it. There would be nothing to learn, explore, or gain. We’d stay in our heads instead of our hearts. So often, it’s the surprises of the moments and hours, the unexpected twists and turns that give meaning to our journey and make our lessons come alive.

You are connected to truth. You are connected to Divine guidance. You can trust and embrace your guidance from God. That means you will get all the visions, all the guidance, all the advance knowledge and wisdom you need. Not too much to spoil the surprise. Not too much to neutralize the lesson.

Just enough guidance to let you know you are never alone.

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Today’s Gift
January 6

We, too, the children of the earth, have our moon phases all through any year; the darkness, the delivery from darkness, the waxing and waning.
—Faith Baldwin

Let us think, for a moment, about the changes of the moon. In the beginning of its cycle, it is just a sliver in the darkness. Each night it grows larger until it reaches its full size. When the moon is full and rising, its orange glow fills the sky. All night its gentle light brightens everything it touches.

But this fullness is only part of the life of the moon. For a while it grows smaller, then turns its dark side toward us before reappearing as a sliver and growing again to fullness. We are children of the earth, and we have our different moods and phases, too. There will be periods of darkness when we try to find our way by the light of the stars. Again and again we will grow to our full size, only to fade and grow again in a new way.

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The Language of Letting Go
January 6
Relationships

If we are unhappy without a relationship, we’ll probably be unhappy with one as well. A relationship doesn’t begin our life; a relationship doesn’t become our life. A relationship is a continuation of life.
Beyond Codependency

Relationships are the blessing and bane of recovery. Relationships are where we take our recovery show on the road.

Each day, we are faced with the prospect of functioning in several different relationships. Sometimes, we choose these relationships; sometimes, we don’t. The one choice we usually have in our relationships concerns our own behavior. In recovery from codependency, our goal is to behave in ways that demonstrate responsibility for us.

We’re learning to acknowledge our power to take care of ourselves in our relationships. We’re learning to be intimate with people when possible.

Do we need to detach from someone who we’ve been trying to control? Is there someone we need to talk to, even though what we have to say may be uncomfortable? Is there someone we’ve been avoiding because we’re afraid to take care of ourselves with that person? Do we need to make an amend? Is there someone we need to reach out to, or show love?

Recovery is not done apart from our relationships. Recovery is done by learning to own our power and to take care of ourselves in relationships.

Today, I will participate in my relationships to the best of my ability. I will make myself available for closeness and sharing with people I trust. I will ask for what I need and give what feels right.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 6
Take responsibility for your life

Before you can jump out of the airplane, before you can fly solo in an airplane, before you can go on the whitewater rafting trip, before you can make a bungee jump, you have to sign a waiver.

The waiver is a document that says that you realize the dangers in what you’re about to do, that you and you alone have made the decision to participate in the activity, and that you and you alone are responsible for the outcome.

You sign away your right to sue, whine, complain– to do anything except risk your life for a new experience.

You sign the waiver to protect others from being liable in case of an accident. I think waivers are a good reminder that ultimately no one is responsible for my life but me. There is no one to blame, no one to sue, no one to ask for a refund. I make my own decisions and I live with the results of those choices each day.

So do you.

It’s your life. Sign a waiver saying that you take responsibility for it. Set yourself and others free.

God, help me understand the inherent powers I have. Help me take responsibility for my choices, and guide me about what decisions are best for me.

Activity: Read the following waiver carefully. Fill in the blanks, and be aware of what you’re signing. It is your life, after all. Take responsibility for what you do.

WAIVER
I understand that during the course of my life I will be required to make many decisions, such as where I want to live, whom I want to live with, where I work, how much fun I have, and how I spend my money and time, including how much time I spend waiting for things to get better and people to change, and whom I choose to love.

I understand that many events that occur will be out of my hands and that there are inherent dangers and risks in all decisions I make.Life and people have no obligation to live up to the expectations of anybody else. Life is a high-risk sport, and I may become injured along the way.

I agree that all the decisions I make are mine and mine alone, including how I choose to handle the events that are beyond my control. I hereby forfeit my right to recourse as a victim, including my rights to blame, complain, and whine or hold someone else responsible for the path I choose to take. I am responsible for my for my participation– or lack of it– in life. And I take complete responsibility for the outcomes and consequences of all decisions I make, understanding that ultimately it is my choice whether I become happy, joyous, and free or stay miserable and trapped.

Although people may voluntarily nurture and love me, I and I alone am responsible for taking care of and loving myself.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
January 6

Being human is difficult. Becoming human is a lifelong process. To be truly human is a gift.
—Abraham Heschel

The processes of becoming more human, becoming a real person, and finding spiritual enlightenment are very similar. They require slow growth over time. We can only follow these paths in small steps, one day or one hour at a time. Many of us grew up in families with an addicted parent. We, too, went to great excesses and have been abusive to others and ourselves. Because of these problems, we developed a distorted outlook on life. Now we still demand quick and complete fixes for recovery.

Our program says, “Look to this day.” It is a difficult path to learn, but we only take it in small steps. There are no instant fixes for any human being. Yet, when we surrender to the reality of life, we are given the gift of true humanity. We feel like real people, we love others, and we enjoy the pleasure of true contact with them.

I am grateful I can be a part of the process. Help me give up my drive to control it.

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Daily TAO
January 6
EMERGING

Thunder and rain at night.
Growth comes with a shock.
Expression and duration
Appear in the first moment.

Things cannot remain in stillness forever. Winter storms may destroy some things, but they also prepare the way for life. If things are swept away, it is appropriate. There must be an opportunity for new living things to emerge and begin their own cycle.

All growth comes with a shock. When a sprout breaks its casing and forces its way to the surface of the earth, it is the climax to a long and deep accumulation of life force. We may think that it came up suddenly, but in actuality, it emerged as the product of unseen and subtle cycles.

When the seedling appears, it carries with it the complete pattern for its growth, perhaps even the makings of an enormous tree. Although time and the right conditions are necessary, neither of those factors adds anything to the inherent nature of the seedling. It completely embodies its destiny. Therefore, the growth and character of the plant — and its very life — are all present at the moment of emerging.

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