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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

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Daily Recovery Readings – July 1, 2014

 Just For Today
July 1, 2014
A Simple Program

“The program is simply sharing, working the Twelve Steps, attending meetings, and practicing the principles of the program.”
Basic Text, p.188

Our complicated lives can be made a lot less complicated if we concentrate on a few simple things-sharing our experience, strength, and hope with others, regular meeting attendance, and practicing the principles of the program in our daily lives.

By sharing our experience, strength, and hope with other addicts, we provide a powerful example for newcomers to follow. The effort we put into helping others also helps keep self centeredness, the core of our disease, at bay.

Many of us pick one group, a “home group” whose meetings we attend faithfully. This regularity gives some routine to our lives, and lets others know where they can find us if they need us.

Practicing the Twelve Steps in our daily lives makes the difference between a balanced recovery and simply not using. The steps give us some much-needed guidance in managing our everyday affairs.

Yes, we are complex people. But the NA program simplifies our lives, enabling us to live a life free from active addiction. Our lives can be filled with serenity and hope when we live by the guidance of the simple principles of our program.

Just for today: I will remember that, while I am a complex person, NA is the simplest way for me to make my life less complicated.

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Daily Reflections
July 1, 2014
THE BEST FOR TODAY

The principles we have set down are guides to progress.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 60

Just as a sculptor will use different tools to achieve desired effects in creating a work of art, in Alcoholics Anonymous the Twelve Steps are used to bring about results in my own life. I do not overwhelm myself with life’s problems, and how much more work needs to be done. I let myself be comforted in knowing that my life is now in the hands of my Higher Power, a master craftsman who is shaping each part of my life into a unique work of art. By working my program I can be satisfied, knowing that in the doing the best that we can for today, we are doing all that God asks of us.”

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
July 1, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

In following the A.A. program with its twelve steps, we have the advantage of a better understanding of our problems. Day after day our sobriety results in the formation of new habits, normal habits. As each twenty-four-hour period ends, we find that the business of staying sober is a much less trying and fearsome ordeal than it seemed in the beginning. Do I find it easier as I go along?

Meditation For The Day

Learn daily the lesson of trust and calm in the midst of the storms of life. Whatever of sorrow or difficulty the day may bring, God’s command to you is the same. Be grateful, humble, calm, and loving to all people. Leave each soul the better for having met you or heard you. For all kinds of people, this should be your attitude: a loving desire to help and an infectious spirit of calmness and trust in God.  You have the answer to loneliness and fear, which is calm faith in the goodness and purpose in the universe.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be calm in the midst of storms. I pray that I may pass on this calmness to others who are lonely and full of fear.

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As Bill Sees It
July 1, 2014
The Reality of Spiritual Experiences, p. 182

“Perhaps you raise the question of hallucination versus the divine imagery of a genuine spiritual experience. I doubt if anyone has authoritatively defined what a hallucination really is. However, it is certain that all recipients of spiritual experiences declare their reality. The best evidence of that reality is in the subsequent fruits. Those who receive these gifts of grace are very much changed people, almost invariably for the better. This can scarcely be said of those who hallucinate.

“Some might think me presumptuous when I say that my own experience is real.  Nevertheless, I can surely report that in my own life and in the lives of countless others, the fruits of that experience have been real, and the benefactions beyond reckoning.

Talk, 1960

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Keep It Simple
July 1, 2014

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
—Step Seven

In Step Six, we got ready to give up our shortcomings. In Step Seven, we ask God to remove them. There is one catch. We humbly as God to remove them.

Being humble means we remember who we are: human beings who need God’s help. Being humble means not pretending we’re God. We admit we need God’s help. Being humble means seeing ourselves as we are. We’re a small but important part of God’s plan. We can change much, but only God can change some things about us. This is why we ask. Being humble is not a weakness, but a true strength.

Prayer for the Day: God, please remove my shortcomings.

Action for the Day: Throughout the day, I’ll pray to God to remove my shortcomings.

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Each Day a New Beginning
July 1, 2014

It’s quite uncomfortable to be an adolescent at age thirty-two.
—Peggy Cahn

Our lives are in process every moment, which means change is ever-present. As new information is sorted and acquired, old habits are discarded. We don’t let go of some old behaviors easily, however. They are like comfortable shoes. They may be worn thin, and they probably embarrass us in certain company, but we slip them on unconsciously and then it’s too late.

Maturity is an “as if” behavior, initially. Emotional development was stunted, for most of us, with the onset of our addictive behavior, thus, we often respond to situations like adolescents. Application of the “as if” principle will result both in new personal attitudes and unfamiliar, yet welcome, responses from others. Acting as if we are capable, strong, confident, or serene will pave the way for making those behaviors real, after a time. If we believe in ourselves and our ability to become the women we strive to be, we can then move forward confidently.

When my behavior embarrasses or shames me, I will accept the responsibility for changing it. Changing it offers immediate rewards. The people around me will react in refreshing ways, and I’ll feel more fully alive.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
July 1, 2014
The Vicious Cycle

How it finally broke a Southerner’s obstinacy and destined this salesman to start A.A. at Philadelphia.

After the tire job came the thirties, the Depression, and the downhill road. In the eight years before A.A. found me, I had over forty jobs–selling and traveling–one thing after another, and the same old routine. I’d work like mad for three or four weeks without a single drink, save my money, pay a few bills, and then “reward” myself with alcohol. Then I’d be broke again, hiding out in cheap hotels all over the country, having one-night jail stands here and there, and always that horrible feeling “What’s the use–nothing is worthwhile.” Every time I blacked out, and that was every time I drank, there was always that gnawing fear, “What did I do this time?” Once I found out. Many alcoholics have learned they can bring their bottle to a cheap movie theater and drink, sleep, wake up, and drink again in the darkness. I had repaired to one of these one morning with my jug, and, when I left late in the afternoon, I picked up a newspaper on the way home. Imagine my surprise when I read in a page-one “box” that I  ad been taken from the theater unconscious around noon that day, removed by ambulance to a hospital and stomach-pumped, and then released. Evidently I had gone right back to the movie with a bottle, stayed there several hours, and started home with no recollection of what had happened.

p. 225

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
July 1, 2014

Step Eleven – “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Prayer and meditation are our principal means of conscious contact with God.
We A.A.’s are active folk, enjoying the satisfactions of dealing with the realities of life, usually for the first time in our lives, and strenuously trying to help the next alcoholic who comes along. So it isn’t surprising that we often tend to slight serious meditation and prayer as something not really necessary. To be sure, we feel it is something that might help us to meet an occasional emergency, but at first many of us are apt to regard it as a somewhat mysterious skill of clergymen, from which we may hope to get a secondhand benefit. Or perhaps we don’t believe in these things at all.

p. 96

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Xtra Thoughts
July 1, 2014

I welcome solitude into my life today. I welcome the peace, serenity, wisdom and spirituality I find when I take that special time for me.
–Ruth Fishel

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
–Robert Louis Stevenson

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
–Norman MacEwan

We’re not invited into relationship with God at a deeper level in the absence of our challenges, but in the midst of all of life, including our challenges. Difficulties provide us a chance for greater closeness.  Every situation in life carries with it an incredible opportunity for sweetness, depth and wonder. Receive every experience today as an opportunity and a gift.
–Mary Manin Morrissey

“It is easy enough to be pleasant, When life flows by like a song,  But the man worth while is the one who can smile, When everything goes dead wrong. For the test of the heart is troubled, And it always comes with the years. And the smiles that is worth the praises of earth, Is the smile that shines through tears.”
–Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.
–Josh Billings

“Character is what you are in the dark.”
–Dwight L. Moody

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
July 1, 2014
BELIEF

“Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you understand.”
–St. Augustine

For years I tried to understand my behavior around alcohol and I only came away more confused. Sometimes my efforts to understand led me into dishonesty and manipulation. I drank because I was lonely, angry, happy, overworked or because I had problems with my parents. You see, I tried to understand “why”!

Science has no definitive answer as to why some people are alcoholic other than to postulate the disease factor, with the emphasized advice, “Don’t pick up the first drink.” So today I don’t understand why I am an alcoholic. I also believe that I can never drink alcohol without having alcohol problems. This cherished belief keeps me sober and gives me a God I can understand; a life that I can love; and a world I can live in.

Oh yes — and I can remember where I have been today!

Help me to believe in what I know and to be content with the imperfection of my knowledge.

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Bible Scriptures
July 1, 2014

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:1-3

“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”
Psalms 119:105

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Daily Inspiration
July 1, 2014

It’s easy to give up, but no matter what the outcome is, if you do your best, you are always the winner. Lord, may I truly realize that it is the way I participate in life that counts for me.

Example is the best way to teach. Lord, may I teach Your goodness by the way I live my life.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day  July 1

“I’m an Indian, I’m one of God’s children.”
–Mathew King, LAKOTA

My Creator, today let me remember the reason I’m here on Mother Earth. Let me look into my own eyes and see the beauty You have created. Let me have good thoughts.

Being Indian is not the color of my skin. Being Indian is to listen to my heart, to think only the things You have taught, to watch nature and live in harmony.

Being Indian is to walk in prayer, to talk to You constantly during the day. Being Indian is to act and to walk in a sacred way.

Today, let me think in beauty, let me walk in beauty, let me pray in beauty.

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Journey To The Heart
July 1, 2014
Embrace Each Cycle of Your Life

It took me a long time to accept wearing glasses. I am still surprised when I need my spectacles to read a menu or scan the telephone directory. Sometimes I look in the mirror expecting to see the body, the face of my youth because I remember her. She’s still in me.

Now I’m learning to welcome aging, as each decade of life brings its own challenges, joys, sorrows, and teachings. I’m learning to trust the lessons of each cycle of my life. I don’t fear aging, for I know that it’s as much, and as important, a part of life as my youth.

“My mother just had her seventieth birthday,” the woman at the lodge told me. “My sister and I asked her what she wanted. She wanted a wet suit for diving because waterskiing had strained her back.”

What does getting older mean to you?

Young and old. All part of the same. Each moment is a moment of life, your life. Each cycle has its lessons. Dig out your glasses, if you must, but laugh whe you do it. And remember to make each moment count.

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The Language of Letting Go
July 1, 2014
Receiving

Here is an exercise.

Today let someone give to you. Let someone do something nice for you. Let someone give you a compliment or tell you something good about yourself. Let someone help you.

Then, stand there and take it. Take it in. Feel it. Know that you are worthy and deserving. Do not apologize. Do not say, “You shouldn’t have.” Do you feel guilty, afraid, ashamed, and panicky? Do not immediately try to give something back.

Just say, “Thank you.”

Today, I will let myself receive one thing from someone else, and I will let myself be comfortable with that.

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More Language Of Letting Go
July 1, 2014
Learn to say how it feels

He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and of the lions on the beach.
–Ernest Hemingway

Many teachers of our time attribute consciousness– energy not just matter– to all creations that exist in God’s marvelous world. Many teachers from ancient times espoused this philosophy,too.

How does it feel when you sit next to a sprawling oak tree? How does it feel when you lie in the hot sand at the beach, listening to the waves splashing on the shore? How does it feel in your kitchen in the morning? How does it feel when you’re with your best friend? Or your spouse?

How does it feel to go into a store filled with beautiful objects, stuffy salesclerks, and signs that scream: DO NOT TOUCH?

Many of us are survivors. We learned the art of leaving our bodies early on, perhaps in our childhood or maybe later, as a way of coping with situations that didn’t feel good and that didn’t feel right to us. We learned to deny how a situation felt– and often how it felt to be with certain people– in order to cope with situations we found ourselves in that we didn’t have the tools or power to escape. We trained ourselves to ignore how things felt because either we told ourselves we had no choice, or we truly didn’t have a say in the matter.

We don’t have to survive anymore. That time is past. Now, it’s time to live.

Come back into your body. Stretch your senses, so that they fill up all of you– your sense of taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound, and your intuitive senses,too. How do you feel emotionally? If you can’t put words to it, just describe it as best as you can. Then go to the next level. Tune into the feelings and moods of the world around you, but not so much that you take these feelings on as yours. Tune in just enough to recognize how the energy of each situation feels to you.

Don’t judge your responses and feelings as either good or bad. And you don’t have to do anything to control how it feels– to you or anyone else. Just allow yourself to experience and recognize how it feels to be you.

Part of speaking the language of letting go means learning to delight and revel in all our senses, including our inner knowing.

Learn to say with trust and confidence, This is how I feel.

God, help me come fully to life.

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Today’s Gift
July 1, 2014

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
—Rachel Carson

Beauty is everywhere. It is in the daisies, in the lavender wildflowers, in the new green grass of spring. As we walk through life, noticing such beauty strengthens us. It reminds us of the spiritual creative force alive in this world. On better days, we can feel our own creativity gaining power from such beauty. On harder days, nature’s sunset can help us step out of our suffering for a moment to be comforted and inspired by its splendor.

Even storms, in their wild and angry way, show us a power greater than ourselves. Such awesome beauty is beyond our understanding, and yet it is part of the earth we live on.

What lessons will nature teach me today?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
July 1, 2014

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.
—Raymond Inmon

We all seek creative ideas from time to time – perhaps when we have a problem resting heavily on our minds, or when we are simply in a bad mood. We need to refresh ourselves at those times. Refreshment doesn’t solve a problem, but it can revitalize our thinking. Sometimes when we are feeling hopeless, we neglect to care for ourselves, forgetting a better environment will give us a stronger attitude, even toward the most difficult problems.

We must learn our own best methods for being refreshed – ways that allow angels to whisper to us. They should be simple, inexpensive, and accessible daily. Going for a walk is a very good example. Daily reading and study is another possibility. Observing nature, doing handicrafts or hobbies are refreshing for some men. These activities allow us to temporarily set aside our tasks and concerns and open us to creative ideas.

Today, I will give myself a creative break from the concerns I am facing.

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Daily TAO
July 1, 2014
Flow

If the boulders are moved,
Even a river will change its flow.

Except for occasional flooding, the mightiest river keeps to its bed. It flows where it finds openings between cliffs and rocks. If the river is dammed, if the cliff walls are moved, if the boulders are shifted, it will flow a different course. It could even be made to flow backward if the earth moved enough.

So it is with the flow of our lives. Once the fixed objects of our lives shift, our circumstances change. If we move to another city, life will change. If we marry one person over another, life will be different. If we situate our business in a good neighborhood, life will be prosperous. If we choose a house in a good setting, life will be healthy. If we arrange our furniture properly, life will be comfortable. If we eat correctly, life will be prolonged. In short, followers of Tao realize the flow of life can be affected and to some degree consciously manipulated simply by altering its parameters.

Life is the flow of energy. It is the air that we breathe, the force that moves the weather, the force of all minds combined. It keeps the rivers flowing, our hearts beating, and the sky blue. This flow of energy moves constantly according to the fixed points that exist at any given moment. Therefore, by manipulating the cardinal points of our lives, we can change the flow. The freedom to choose and to change belong to us.

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Food for Thought
July 1, 2014
Saying No

There are times when all of us find it difficult to say no. Even though we realize intellectually that we cannot have and do everything, we have trouble saying no to the foods, activities, and people that are not good for us.

Abstaining means saying “No, thank you” when offered something not on our food plan. We may think that we are afraid of hurting someone else’s feelings by our refusal, but usually it is our own compulsive desire that prevents us from giving a firm no. Our sanity and health are more important than pleasing whoever is offering what we should not have.

As we work the program, we become more aware of the people and activities that use up our energies unnecessarily. Avoiding them gives us more time and strength for what means most to us. Learning when and how to say no is a very important part of our recovery. Most often, the person we need to say no to is ourself.

I pray for the strength to say no to what is not good for me.

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DailyZen
July 1, 2014

Stripped of reason my mind is blank
Emptied of being my nature is bare
At night my windows often breathe white
The moon and stream come right to the door.

– Shih-wu (1272-1352)

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Faith’s Check Book
July 1, 2014
God with Us

God shall be with ye.
(Genesis 48:21)

Good old Jacob could no more be with Joseph, for his hour had come to die: but he left his son without anxiety, for he said with confidence, “God shall be with you.” When our dearest relations or our most helpful friends are called home by death, we must console ourselves with the reflection that the Lord is not departed from us but lives for us and abides with us forever.

If God be with us, we are in ennobling company, even though we are poor and despised. If God be with us, we have all-sufficient strength, for nothing can be too hard for the Lord. If God be with us, we are always safe, for none can harm those who walk under His shadow. Oh, what a joy we have here! Not only is God with us, but He will be with us. With us as individuals; with us as families; with us as churches. Is not the very name of Jesus, Immanuel—God with us? Is not this the best of all, that God is with us? Let us be bravely diligent and joyously hopeful. Our cause must prosper, the truth must win, for the Lord is with those who are with Him. All this day may this sweet word be enjoyed by every believer who turns to “faith’s checkbook.” No greater happiness is possible.

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This Morning’s Meditation
July 1, 2014

“In summer and in winter shall it be.”
—Zechariah 14:8.

THE streams of living water which flow from Jerusalem are not dried up by the parching heats of sultry midsummer any more than they were frozen by the cold winds of blustering winter. Rejoice, O my soul, that thou art spared to testify of the faithfulness of the Lord. The seasons change and thou changest, but thy Lord abides evermore the same, and the streams of His love are as deep, as broad and as full as ever. The heats of business cares and scorching trials make me need the cooling influences of the river of His grace; I may go at once and drink to the full from the inexhaustible fountain, for in summer and in winter it pours forth its flood. The upper springs are never scanty, and blessed be the name of the Lord, the nether springs cannot fail either. Elijah found Cherith dry up, but Jehovah was still the same God of providence. Job said his brethren were like deceitful brooks, but he found his God an overflowing river of consolation. The Nile is the great confidence of Egypt, but its floods are variable; our Lord is evermore the same. By turning the course of the Euphrates, Cyrus took the city of Babylon, but no power, human or infernal, can divert the current of divine grace. The tracks of ancient rivers have been found all dry and desolate, but the streams which take their rise on the mountains of divine sovereignty and infinite love shall ever be full to the brim. Generations melt away, but the course of grace is unaltered. The river of God may sing with greater truth than the brook in the poem—

“Men may come, and men may go,
But I go on for ever.”

How happy art thou, my soul, to be led beside such still waters! never wander to other streams, lest thou hear the Lord’s rebuke, “What hast thou to do in the way of Egypt to drink of the muddy river?”

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