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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – January 9

Just For Today
January 9
Returning Our Sponsor’s Kindness

“Our earliest involvements with others often begin with our sponsor”
Basic Text p. 55

Our sponsor can be an abundant source of recovery information, wisdom, and loving words. They’ve done so much for us. From the late night telephone calls to the hours spent listening to our recovery writing, they’ve believed in us and invested their time to prove it. They’ve lovingly and firmly shown us how to be honest. Their boundless compassion in times of turmoil has given us the strength to go on. Their way of helping has prompted us to seek our answers within ourselves, and we’ve become mature, responsible, confident individuals as a result.

Though our sponsor has given so generously and has never demanded repayment, there are things we can do to show our appreciation. We treat our sponsor with respect. They are not a trash can designed for us to dump our garbage in. They have their times of trial, just as we do, and sometimes need our support. They are human, have feelings, and appreciate our concern. Maybe they would like to receive a card in the mail or a phone call expressing our love.

Whatever we do to return our sponsor’s kindness will enhance our personal recovery, not to mention the joy we’ll bring to our sponsor.

Just for today: My sponsor has cared for me when I couldn’t care for myself. Today, I will do something nice for my sponsor.

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Daily Reflections
January 9
AN ACT OF PROVIDENCE

It is truly awful to admit that, glass in hand, we have warped our minds into such an obsession for destructive drinking that only an act of Providence can remove it from us.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 21

My act of Providence, (a manifestation of divine care and direction), came as I experienced the total bankruptcy of active alcoholism – everything meaningful in my life was gone. I telephoned Alcoholics Anonymous and, from that instant, my life has never been the same.  When I reflect on that very special moment, I know that God was working in my life long before I was able to acknowledge and accept spiritual concepts. The glass was put down through this one act of Providence and my journey into sobriety began. My life continues to unfold with divine care and direction. Step One, in which I admitted I was powerless over alcohol, that my life had become unmanageable, takes on more meaning for me – one day at a time – in the life-saving, life-giving Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
January 9
A.A. Thought For The Day

When we were drinking, most of us had no real faith in anything. We may have said that we believe in God, but we didn’t act as though we did. We never honestly asked God to help us and we never really accepted His help. To us, faith looked like helplessness. But when we came into A.A., we began to have faith in God. And we found out that faith gave us the strength we needed to overcome drinking. Have I learned that there is strength in faith?

Meditation For The Day

I will have faith, no matter what may befall me. I will be patient, even in the midst of troubles. I will not fear the strain of life, because I believe that God knows just what I can bear. I will look to the future with confidence.  I know that God will not ask me to bear anything that could overcome me or destroy me.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may put this day in the hands of God. I pray for faith, so that nothing will upset me or weaken my determination to stay sober.

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As Bill Sees It
January 9
Group and World-Wide Community, p. 9

The moment Twelfth Step work forms a group, a discovery is made–that most individuals cannot recover unless there is a group.  Realization dawns on each member that he is but a small part of a great whole; that no personal sacrifice is too great for preservation of the Fellowship. He learns that the clamor of desires and ambitions within him must be silenced whenever these could damage the group.

It becomes plain that the group must survive or the individual will not.

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

“The Lone member at sea, the A.A. at war in a far land–all these members know that they belong to A.A.’s world-wide community, that theirs is only a physical separation, that their fellows may be as near as the next port of call. Ever so importantly, they are certain that God’s grace is just as much with them on the high seas or the lonely outpost as it is with them at home.”

1. 12 & 12, p. 130
2. Letter, 1966

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Walk In Dry Places
January 9
Coming to grips with Fear
Finding courage.

Fear, a universal human emotion, strikes each of us in different ways. The brave parachute jumper may be afraid of public speaking, and the brilliant orator may have a fear of flying. An alcoholic’s drinking is partly an attempt to cope with the feelings of fear. The recovering person, now having no drug, must face fear by using the tools of the program. The sober way to deal with fear is to admit that one has fears, to discuss them with a sponsor or another understanding person, and to seek the help of one’s Higher Power in living with fear or having it removed.

When we share our experience with fear, we hear different kinds of stories. One person may declare that fear was completely removed by prayer. Another person, who prayed with what seemed to be the same degree of sincerity, may still be troubled by occasional fears. We cannot know exactly how the program will help each person cope with fear, but we can be confident that it will work for all of us. We have met fear successfully when we continue to stay sober and meet our responsibilities in all sorts of threatening situations.

I will not let fear keep me from any good thing today. My Higher Power can see me through any difficult or threatening situation.

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Keep It Simple
January 9

Everything is funny as long as it happening to someone else.
–Will Rogers

We laugh when others do something silly. We’re amused when something funny happens to them. But if the same happens to us and people laugh, we might give them the evil eye. Yet, when others laugh, it can free us. It frees us to see the world through new eyes. Likewise, when we laugh at ourselves, we’re free to see ourselves with new eyes. Instead of trying to be perfect, we accept we’re human. To laugh at ourselves is to accept ourselves. There’s no room for shame when we laugh. We enjoy ourselves just as we are.

Can I accept the fact I’m human and I have limits?

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, when I refuse to accept that I’m only human, be gentle with me. I know that, when I least expect it, You will remind me that I’m only human.

Action for the Day: I will share with a friend one or two stories about funny mistakes I’ve made.

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Each Day a New Beginning
January 9

The Chinese say that water is the most powerful element, because it is perfectly nonresistant. It can wear away a rock and sweep all before it.
–Florence Scovel Shinn

Nonresistance, ironically, may be a posture we struggle with. Nonresistance means surrendering the ego absolutely. For many of us, the ego, particularly disguised as false pride, spurred us on to struggle after struggle. “Can’t they see I’m right?” we moaned, and our resistance only created more of itself. Conversely, flowing with life, “bubbling” with the ripples, giving up our ego, releases from us an energy that heals the situation that smoothes the negative vibrations in our path. Peace comes to us. We will find serenity each time we willingly humble ourselves.

Resistance is more familiar. Nonresistance means growth and peace. I’ll try for serenity today.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
January 9
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 must keep my magic magnifying mind on my acceptance and off my expectations, for my serenity is directly proportional to my level of acceptance. When I remember this, I can see I’ve never had it so good. Thank God for A.A.!

p. 420

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
January 9

Tradition Ten – “Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.”

NEVER since it began has Alcoholics Anonymous been divided by a major controversial issue. Nor has our Fellowship ever publicly taken sides on any question in an embattled world. This, however, has been no earned virtue. It could almost be said that we were born with it, for, as one old-timer recently declared, “Practically never have I heard a heated religious, political, or reform argument among A.A. members. So long as we don’t argue these matters privately, it’s a cinch we never shall publicly.”

p. 176

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Xtra Thoughts
January 9

You cannot think your way into sober living.  You live your way into sober thinking.

Worry doesn’t help tomorrow’s troubles, but it does ruin today’s happiness.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”
–Robert Byrne

“When you stand outside a room where a group of Alcoholics Anonymous is meeting, the most frequent sound you hear is laughter.  Mellow laughter, which can come only from people who have looked destruction and catastrophe in the face, not once but continuously over long years, and now are free and unafraid. The laughter, in short, of people who hold God’s hand and feel safe.”
c. Letter to a Woman Alcoholic (A.A. Pamphlet P-14) – page 13

My creed is that; Happiness is the only good. The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now. The way to be happy is to make others so.
–Robert G. Ingersoll

Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.
–Storm Jameson

It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has.
–Henry Ward Beecher

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
January 9
EXTREMISTS

“Extremists think that ‘communication’ means agreeing with them.”
— Leo Rosten

As an alcoholic I was an extremist. I was not only compulsive and obsessive about alcohol, but I became compulsive and obsessive about my opinions, my thoughts and my attitude towards life. Anybody who disagreed with me was wrong or a fool! I only listened to those who were saying what I wanted to hear.

For years I played at being God. But that spiritual part of me, that I believe exists in all of us, was isolated and unhappy with this behavior. Although I would never admit it, I knew that often I was wrong, bull-headed and in pain. I would spend sleepless nights thinking how I could say I was sorry without apologizing! For years my pride and ego kept me sick and unhappy.

Today I appreciate those who have a different view on life. Today I can disagree with my neighbor without carrying a grudge. Today I can live with difference.

I pray that I may always hear what my opponent is saying.

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Bible Scriptures
January 9

“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.”
Deuteronomy 16:17

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Matthew 7:7-8

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Daily Inspiration
January 9

If the strong won’t protect the weak, who will? Lord, grant me the courage to stand up for what I believe and the wisdom to be an encouragement to others.

God will never fail you or abandon you. Lord, I am sure that everything that happens is for the purpose of strengthening me and bringing me closer to You. I trust in You to continually bless me with all that I need to successfully handle my circumstances.

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A Day At A Time
January 9

Reflection For The Day

In the past, and sometimes even now, I automatically have thought, “Why me?”, when I’m trying to learn that my first problem is to accept my present circumstances as they are, myself as I am and the people around me as they are. Just as I finally accepted my powerlessness over my addiction, so must I accept my powerlessness over people, places and things. Am I learning to accept life on life’s terms.

Today I Pray

May I learn to control my urge to control, my compulsion to manage, neaten, organize and label the lives of others. May I learn to accept situations and people as they are instead of as I would like them to be. Thus, may I do away with the ongoing frustrations that a controlling person, by nature, faces continually. May I be entirely ready to have God remove this defect of character.

Today I Will Remember

Control for the controller (me).

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One More Day
January 9

Every baby born into the world is a finer one than the last.
— Charles Dickens

Place a newborn infant in any adult’s arms, and that adult will turn all attention to the tiny new life. Most of us feel overwhelmed with the miracle of birth and the beauty contained within that tiny body. Tod hold an infant is to feel perpetuity and an incredible sense of joy. In the infant, we see a projection of life and the full scope of life’s possibilities.

Long ago, others marveled at the fragility and wonder of life as we were placed as babes in their arms. Now we recognize we all had the same beginnings, we all had time before us. We still have time, and it is still full of possibilities.

I marvel at the gift of life and all that lies before me.

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One Day At A Time
January 9
~ SEEING CLEARLY ~

If your eyes hurt after you drink coffee, you have to take the spoon out of the cup.
–Norm Crosby

For so many years I had trouble seeing the obvious. I felt blind when dealing with emotions. I didn’t know how to express anger properly. I was either furious (and eating) over little things, or emotionally void (and eating) over big things. I was told my feelings were hurt too easily, so I began to stifle my rightfully hurt feelings, using food to stuff the pain. But the worst was happiness. I was hysterically happy over the stupidest little things, and felt immensely unworthy of kindnesses done for me. Neither felt comfortable, so I always ended up eating.

It all began to come clear in the program. For once I could see my actions and my reactions and begin to understand myself and my motives. As I have worked this program, I no longer feel like my emotions swing on a pendulum from one extreme to the other. I can see things as they really are. I no longer make big mountains out of small hills or make small hills out of big mountains. I can now feel happiness, and express it, in complete comfort with myself. The nicest part is that while I may not be well-acquainted with my new behavior yet, it feels very comfortable, and I no longer have to practice my eating disorders to cover up my feelings.

One day at a time…
My eyes are opened by the program to the truth of what is and the feelings that are.

~ Rhonda H. ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 9

“So, with the Native way, it’s not whether people find out about what you’ve done or not… that’s not nearly as strong as having your source of morality within you, having your morality arise out of an inner perception of what is wrong, ridiculous, or shameful. You are your own judge.”
–Eunice Baumann-Nelson, Ph.D., PENOBSCOT

Inside each of us is a voice. It is a quiet voice. It is a guiding voice. If we listen for it, it will guide us, and help us avoid disaster. It is especially active when we are afraid, when we are in doubt, when we are scared, when we need help, and when we get angry. If we are excited emotionally, it is hard to hear this voice. If we are angry, it’s hard to hear this voice because it is usually quiet. The best thing we can do is to practice getting quiet. If we don’t get quiet, there is another voice called the judge. It tells us to attack or say bad things to other people or to judge ourselves. This voice is loud and usually gets us into trouble.

Creator, Great Mystery, help me listen for the quiet voice. Let me know this voice of Yours. Your ways are gentle. Guide me with this voice. Thank you.

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Journey To The Heart
January 9
You’re Going Someplace New

You are opening up more and more. You are becoming clearer each day. Embrace the changes taking place. They are good. They will last. They will take you and your life to someplace new, someplace you can’t fully imagine now because it’s so different from where you have been.

All will be changed. Your love, your life, your friends, your work. Your quiet moments and your times of sharing. Your playtime, your rest time. Your attitude will change. Your ability to fully and joyfully experience your life will change.

Things that used to bother you, hold you down, hold you back will roll easily off you. Problems that used to plague and pester you, making you feel weighted down, will be lifted easily. You will know and trust that the answers you need will come to you.

Your powers will increase. You will find yourself doing, knowing, and feeling things that you thought only certain others could do. You will find yourself gliding through life in a way that brings you joy, and touches and heals others.

You will laugh a lot. And yes, you will cry a lot,too, because an open heart feels all it needs to feel. But you will not think twice about your emotions. You will feel then with the purity of a child and the wisdom of a sage. You will see, touch, taste, and feel life’s magic in a way you never imagined. You will love, and you will be loved. And you will learn that it is all the same.

You are open now, more open than you’ve ever been. Trust the process and trust your heart. The journey is not in vain. Its purpose is to lead you to love.

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Today’s Gift
January 9

Life gives us so much time to collect bizarre thoughts and feelings.
—Claire Weekes

As we go through life, we run into all kinds of negative messages: teasing on the school bus, insulting nicknames, and other put-downs. Pretty soon we may discover that some of these messages stick in our minds, repeating themselves over and over like broken records. These messages can make us feel bad about ourselves.

But when we hear one of these tapes playing inside us, we have the power to push the STOP button. Then we can record a new message. We can even say it out loud, so that our voice settles emphatically into our thoughts. We can’t make others stop saying these things, but we can stop listening to them. They only have power over us when we give it to them. We have the ability and freedom to let negative thoughts float by us, like water going downstream.

What positive message can I send to myself?

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The Language of Letting Go
January 9
Responsibility for Ourselves

We have been doing the wrong things for the right reasons.
–Codependent No More

Caretaking: the act of taking responsibility for other people while neglecting responsibility for ourselves. When we instinctively feel responsible for the feelings, thoughts, choices, problems, comfort, and destiny of others, we are caretakers. We may believe, at an unconscious level, that others are responsible for our happiness, just as we’re responsible for theirs.

It’s a worthy goal to be a considerate, loving, nurturing person. But caretaking is neglecting us to the point of feeling victimized. Caretaking involves caring for others in ways that hamper them in learning to take responsibility for themselves.

Caretaking doesn’t work. It hurts other people; it hurts us. People get angry. They feel hurt, used, and victimized. So do we.

The kindest and most generous behavior we can choose is taking responsibility for ourselves – for what we think, feel, want, and need. The most beneficial act we can perform is to be true to ourselves, and let others take responsibility for themselves.

Today, I will pay attention to my actual responsibilities to myself. I will let others do the same. If I am in doubt about what my actual responsibilities are, I will take an inventory.

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More Language Of Letting Go
January 9
Detach in love

In the original Language of Letting Go, I told the gerbil story. It’s one of my favorite stories about letting go. Here it is again.

Many years ago, when I lived in Stillwater, Minnesota, my children wanted a pet. They wanted a puppy, but I said no. We had tried a bird, but its feathers fell off. I suggested a goldfish, but we settled on a gerbil instead.

One day, the gerbil got loose. It got out of its cage and scurried across the floor. It ran so fast that none of us could catch it. We watched as it disappeared under a crack in the wall. We stood around, wondering what to do, but there wasn’t much that could be done.

In the months that followed, the gerbil made timely appearances. It would scurry out from behind the walls, run across the room, then dart back into the walls. We’d chase it, lunging after it and screaming as we ran.

“There he is. Catch him.”

I worried about the gerbil, even when we didn’t see it. “This isn’t right,” I’d think. “I can’t have a gerbil running loose in the house. We’ve got to catch it. We’ve got to do something.”

A small animal the size of a mouse had the entire household in a tizzy.

One day, while sitting in the living room, I watched the animal scurry across the hallway. I started to lunge at it, as I usually did, then I stopped myself.

“No,” I said. “I’m all done. If that animal wants to live in the nooks and crannies of this house, I’m going to let it. I’m done worrying about it. I’m done chasing it.”

I let the gerbil run past without reacting. I felt slightly uncomfortable with my new reaction– not reacting– but I stuck to it anyway. Before long, I became downright peaceful with the situation. I had stopped fighting the gerbil. One afternoon, only weeks after I started practicing my new attitude, the gerbil ran by me, as it had so many times, and I barely glanced at it. The animal stopped in its tracks, turned around, and looked at me. I started to lunge at it. It started to run away. I relaxed.

“Fine,” I said. “Do what you want.” And I meant it.

About an hour later, the gerbil came and stood by me, and waited. I gently picked it up and placed it in its cage, where it happily reestablished its home. Don’t lunge at the gerbil. He’s already frightened, and chasing him just scares him more and makes us crazy,too.

Is there someone you’d like to get close to? Is there an irregular circumstance in your life that you can’t change? Detachment, particularly detaching in love, helps.

God, show me the power of using detachment as a tool in all my relationships.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
January 9

Fear is an emotion indispensable for survival.
—Hannah Arendt

We men face fear many times in life. Sometimes it’s an inner voice, warning us of danger. Some fears remain from the paranoia caused by our former abuses and excesses. In recovery, we feel many new emotions, and we’re afraid because we don’t understand them. Any normal feeling can seem abnormal and frightening to a man who is feeling it for the first few times. We may think it isn’t manly to be afraid, so we become afraid of our fear! At these times, we need to turn to our Higher Power for guidance.

We have friends we can talk to. When we simply say, “I am afraid” to a trusted friend, the fear may vanish. Sometimes it’s not that easy, and we have to talk in detail about our fear. In the end, when we submit our lives to the care of our Higher Power, we know that whatever happens, nothing can separate us from the love of God.

In my fear, help me remember the comfort of my closeness to my Higher Power and my loved ones. I can reach out, and I am never alone.

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Daily TAO
January 9
OPTIMISM

Clearing blue sky,
A promise in bare branches.
In winter, there are sunny days.
In adulthood, childhood can return.

In winter, all things appear dead or dormant. The rain and snow seem incessant, the nights long. Then one day, the sky clears to a brilliant blue. The air warms. A mist rises from the earth and the perfume of water, clay, and moss drifts through the air. Gardeners are seen preparing new stock, though they are only bare branches and a gray root ball. The people are optimistic : They know that there will be an end to the cold.

In adulthood, we often see responsibilities as something dreadful.  Why should we dig the ground when the weather is disagreeable? We see activities only as obligations, and we strain against our fate. But there is a joy to working in harmony with the proper time. When we do things at just the right occasion and those efforts bear fruit later, the gratification is tremendous.

There was an old man who began an orchard upon his retirement.  Everyone laughed at him. Why plant trees? They told him that he would never live to see a mature crop. Undaunted, he planted anyway, and he has seen them blossom and has eaten their fruit. We all need that type of optimism. That is the innocence and hope of childhood.

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