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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 3

Just For Today
July 3
Quiet Time

“Many of us have found that setting aside quiet time for ourselves is helpful in making conscious contact with our Higher Power.”
Basic Text, p.92

Most of us pay lip-service to the value of conscious contact with a Higher Power. Yet how many of us consistently take time to improve that conscious contact? If we’ve not already established a regular regimen of prayer and meditation, today is the day to start one.
A “quiet time” need not be long. Many of us find that twenty to thirty minutes is enough time to quiet ourselves, focus our attention with a spiritual reading, share our thoughts and concerns in prayer, and take a few moments to listen for an answer in meditation. Our “quiet time” need not be lengthy to be effective, provided it is consistent. Twenty minutes taken once a month to pray will probably do little but frustrate us with the poor quality of our conscious contact. Twenty minutes taken regularly each day, however, renews and reinforces an already lively contact with our Higher Power.

In the hustle and bustle of the recovering addict’s day, many of us end up going from morning to night without taking time out to improve our conscious contact with the God we’ve come to understand. However, if we set aside a particular time of the day, every day, as “quiet time,” we can be sure that our conscious contact will improve.

Just for today: I will set aside a few moments, once I finish reading today’s entry, to pray and meditate. This will be the beginning of a new pattern for my recovery.

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Daily Reflections
July 3
EXPERIENCE: THE BEST TEACHER

Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times.
ALCOHOLIC ANONYMOUS , p. 87

Some say that experience is the best teacher, but I believe that experience is the only teacher. I have been able to learn of God’s love for me only by the experience of my dependence on that love. At first I could not be sure of His direction in my life, but now I see that if I am to be bold enough to ask for His guidance, I must act as if He has provided it. I frequently ask God to help me remember that He has a path for me.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
July 3
A.A. Thought For The Day

In the beginning of Alcoholics Anonymous there were only two persons. Now there are many groups and thousands of members.  True, the surface has only been scratched. There are probably ten million or more persons in America alone who need our help. More and more people are making a start in A.A. each day. In the case of individual members, the beginning has been accomplished when they admit they are powerless and turn to a Power greater than themselves, admitting that their lives have become unmanageable. That Higher Power works for good in all things and helps us to accomplish much in individual growth and in the growth of A.A. groups. Am I doing my part in helping A.A. to grow?

Meditation For The Day

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Only in the fullness of faith can the heart-sick and faint and weary be satisfied, healed, and rested.  Think of the wonderful spiritual revelations still to be found by those who are trying to live the spiritual life. Much of life is spiritually unexplored country. Only to the consecrated and loving people who walk with God in spirit can these great spiritual discoveries be revealed. Keep going forward and keep growing in righteousness.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not be held back by the material things of the world. I pray that I may let God lead me forward.

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As Bill Sees It
July 3
Meeting Adversity, p. 184

“Our spiritual and emotional growth in A.A. does not depend so deeply upon success as it does upon our failures and setbacks. If you will bear this in mind, I think that your slip will have the effect of kicking you upstairs, instead of down.

“We A.A.’s have had no better teacher than Old Man Adversity, except in those cases where we refuse to let him teach us.”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

“Now and then all of us fall under heavy criticism. When we are angered and hurt, it’s difficult not to retaliate in kind. Yet we can restrain ourselves and then probe ourselves, asking whether our critics were really right. If so, we can admit our defects to them. This usually clears the air for mutual understanding.

“Suppose our critics are being unfair. Then we can try calm persuasion. If they continue to rant, it is still possible for us–in our hearts–to forgive them. Maybe a sense of humor can be our saving grace–thus we can both forgive and forget.”

1. Letter, 1958
2. Letter, 1966

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Keep It Simple
July 3

We are only as sick as the secrets we keep.
— Anonymous

It is dangerous for us to keep secrets. Shame builds, and we’ll want relief. We may turn to alcohol or other drugs. True relief comes by talking about our secrets, by sharing who we really are with others. Our program helps us live a life based on honesty. Our program helps us battle shame. We don’t keep secrets anymore. We start our meetings and share what we tried to keep secret before.

” Hi, my name is____________, and I’m am alcoholic.” ” Hi my name is_____________, and I’m a drug addict.” We keep telling our secret, and the shame gets less and less.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I pray to live an honest life.

Action for the Day: I’ll list any secrets I’ve been keeping. I’ll talk with my sponsor about them.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
July 3
The Vicious Cycle

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

This was the background that made me willing to listen on January 8. After being dry for two weeks and sticking close to Jackie, all of a sudden I found I had become the sponsor of my sponsor, for he was suddenly taken drunk. I was startled to learn he had only been off the booze a month or so himself when he brought me the message! However, I made as SOS call to the New York Group, whom I hadn’t met yet, and they suggested we both come there. This we did the next day, and what a trip! I really had a chance to see myself from a nondrinking point of view. We checked into the home of Hank, the man who had fired me eleven years before in Mississippi, and there I met Bill, our founder. Bill had then been dry three years and Hank, two. At the time, I thought them just a swell pair of screwballs, for they were not going to save all the drunks in the world but also all the so-called normal people! All they talked of that first weekend was God and how they were going to straighten out Jackie’s and my life. In those days we really took each other’s inventories firmly and often. Despite all this, I did like these new friends because, again, they were like me. They had also been periodic big shots who had goofed out repeatedly at the wrong time, and they also knew how to split one paper match into three separate matches. (This is very useful knowledge in places where matches are prohibited.) They, too, had taken a train to one town and had wakened hundred of miles in the opposite direction, never knowing how they got there. The same old routines seemed to be common to us all. During that first weekend, I decided to stay in New York and take all they gave out with, except the “God stuff.” I knew they had to straighten out their thinking and habits, but I was all right; I just drank too much. Just give me a good front and a couple of bucks, and I’d be right back in the big time. I’d been dry three weeks, had the wrinkles out, and had sobered up my sponsor all by myself!

pp. 226-227

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
July 3

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.”

Sometimes we took a slightly different tack. Sure, we said to ourselves, the hen probably did come before the egg. No doubt the universe had a “first cause” of some sort, the God of the Atom, maybe, hot and cold by turns. But certainly there wasn’t any evidence of a God who knew or cared about human beings. We liked A.A. all right, and were quick to say that it had done miracles. But we recoiled from meditation and prayer as obstinately as the scientist who refused to perform a certain experiment lest it prove his pet theory wrong. Of course we finally did experiment, and when unexpected results followed, we felt different; in fact we knew different; and so we were sold on meditation and prayer. And that, we have found, can happen to anybody who tries. It has been well said that “almost the only scoffers at prayer are those who never tried it enough.”

p. 97

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Xtra Thoughts
July 3

Deep within us is a place where we have found God and God has found us. Once in a great while, we come to this place within us and we realize it is the goal of our seeking. It feels like home. We may not be consciously aware of our seeking. We may be living our lives day by day. The wonder is that while this searching goes on within us, there is also the One who seeks us out, calling to us, desiring that we find the home within. It is God who takes the initiative of seeking and places the desire in our hearts to be found.
–Unknown

The world needs all of our power and love and energy, and each of us has something to give. The trick is to find it and use it, to find it and give it away so there will always be more. We can be lights for each other, and through each other’s illumination we will see the way. Each of us is a seed, a silent promise, and it is always spring.
–Merle Shain

A true winner is one who congratulates the one receiving recognition in heart felt words.
–unknown

Forgiveness is only one step in the healing process, but a very important one to learn.
–unknown

Burdening yourself with trivial things only affects one person – YOU.
–unknown

There is no investment you’ll ever make which will pay you so well as the effort to scatter sunshine and good cheer wherever you are.
–unknown

We see God through eyes of faith.
–SweetyZee

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
July 3
CHOICES

“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice;  it is not a thing to be achieved.”
–William Jennings Bryan

It is so important for us to see that we create our destiny. We create our futures in the choices we initiate today. During my addiction I was like a ship without a sail. I drifted through life and was tossed in a thousand directions. Today I am able to point myself in the direction I want to go.

I do not believe that this attitude takes anything away from the power of God because He gave me freedom in the first place! He created me to be free and to have the gift of decision-making. He is not a dictator God, and I am not a puppet on a string. He loves me enough to allow me to learn from my mistakes and take personal pride in my achievements. Addiction made me powerless. Sobriety puts me in touch with my God-given power.

I am forever grateful and thankful for my involvement in my own life.  I pray today that I might live responsibly a day at a time.

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Bible Scriptures
July 3

“Jesus said to him, If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Matthew 19:21

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
Romans 8:22-25

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 6:10-12

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
I Peter 5:8-9

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
I John 4:4

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Daily Inspiration
July 3

Stay close to God because He is the solution to all problems. Lord, I will live in Your presence, protected by You and Your peace will be mine.

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
July 3

Reflection For The Day

Chance is a part of the flow of life.  Sometimes we’re frustrated because change seems slow in coming.  Sometimes, too, we’re resistant to a change that seems to have been thrust upon us.  We must remember that change, in and of itself, neither blinds us not frees us.   Only our attitude toward change blinds or frees.  As we learn to flow with the stream of life, praying for guidance as to any change that presents itself — praying, also, for guidance if we want to make a change and none seems in view — we become willing.  Am I willing to let God take charge, directing me in changes I should make and the actions I should take?

Today I Pray

When change comes too fast — or not fast enough — for me, I pray I can adjust accordingly to make use of the freedom The Program offers to me.  I pray for the guidance of my Higher Power when change presents itself — or when it doesn’t and I wish it would.  May I listen for direction from that Power.

Today I Will Remember

God is in charge.

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One More Day
July 3, 2012

A chronic illness is a constant and sometimes overwhelming companion … only the power of a warm heart can alleviate the deep chill.
–  Robert K. Massie

When our lifestyles change and an illness pervades our lives, we often feel lonely.  It’s not like a bad mood we can just shake off.

We need our friends and family around us, but it’s up to us to give them the cue.  People may stay at arm’s length until we all — even encourage — them to come closer.  We need the support they can give us, and they need the satisfaction of contributing to our lives no matter how we’ve changed in our illness.  We comfort and encourage each other, and we all feel blessed.

My illness has not changed the basic person I am.  I needed the love and support of others before.  I still do.

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One Day At A Time
July 3, 2012
HOPE

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
–Emily Dickinson

I wanted desperately to lose weight, be happy, be spiritually and emotionally fulfilled, and feel serenity in my soul. How long must one wait in a single lifetime to achieve these things? How long must one function day-to-day at a fairly high level, only to close the door at night to a world of emptiness? How long must one go without hope?

My compulsion for food had come close to destroying my life. I was in a constant state of denial that the simple act of eating food could account for a life run amok and totally unmanageable. But the truth of the matter is that it could … and it did.

I found Twelve Steps that empowered me to do things I’d never dreamed of doing. These Twelve Steps enabled me to see the simple reality that compulsive eating could destroy my life. They showed me that life was beautiful and that my disease could turn out to be my greatest blessing. The Twelve Steps gave me something so precious that I am in awe of their power …. something so empowering that I had to admit powerlessness in order to become powerful. The Twelve Steps gave me the most beautiful gift I have ever received … a gift that no one can ever take away from me … a gift that I treasure above all gifts: hope. They gave me the gift of hope.

One day at a time…
I will hold onto my hope.
One day at a time … I will treasure my hope.
One day at a time … hope perches in my soul.
One day at a time … hope sings its song.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – July 3

“When you are in the woods, you can-not ever be lost. You are surrounded by friends and surrounded by God.”
–Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE

Every plant, every animal, every insect, every bird, every tree is made up of God. God is life and everything is alive.

When you are hunting, remember all nature is your friend. All nature has purpose. All nature participates in the life cycle. Nature communicates; Nature talks; Nature listens; Nature forgives; Nature re-spects; Nature loves.

Nature lives in harmony. Nature follows the law. Nature is kind. Nature is balance. The woods are alive and beautiful. She is our friend.

Great Spirit, let me honor and respect the forest and all the life it contains.

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Journey To The Heart
July 3
Cherish Your Heart

A woman I met in Washington gave me a gift. It was a beautiful heart, sculpted by her son, an artist. It was a mosaic of broken pieces, a heart covered with break lines that had healed over and mended together.

“My son made this,” she said. “I want you to have it.” I thanked her for the gift. Now I keep it close. It’s a reminder to keep my heart open.

Keep your heart open. Take care lest life’s problems shut you down. When you close down, your passion, enthusiasm, faith, and zest will disappear.

Open your heart to all you meet. If it’s not safe, you’ll know. But don’t close your heart. Just move in another direction. Don’t worry about getting your heart broken. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes it’s the price you pay for opening your heart, for taking the risk. But if it does happen, you can allow your heart to heal, then open it once again.

Remember the sculpture. Let it remind you that, once healed, a broken heart is a beautiful work of art.

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Today’s Gift
July 3

You are here for a purpose. There is not a duplicate of you in the whole wide world; there never has been, there never will be. You were brought here now to fill a certain need. Take time to think that over.
—Lou Austin

No other person is exactly like you or me. No one can do exactly what we can, or touch another person in exactly the way we can. Out of all the people who could have been created, we were chosen to be a part of this time and place.

We are needed to fulfill a plan, in our families as well as in our relationships. Knowing we have unique abilities, we will spend less time feeling jealous of what others can do.

Through our dreams and yearnings, God shows us who we can be. It is up to us to have the courage to follow that dream with action.

What unique gift can I offer the world today?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
July 3

Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist but also in the ability to start over.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sitting in a stalled car on the railroad tracks with a train approaching, one needs to let go and start over. A man who persists in that situation will die. Many situations require fierce persistence, but in others we need to start over. Early in recovery, most of us haven’t had a good way of knowing the difference. Perhaps with every challenge we tried harder and held on tighter. Our codependent relationships and our addictions had been our escapes.

Often we long for some clear directions from God to tell us, “Now is the time to let go,” or “Now is the time to persist.” That is not how we hear from our Higher Power. We can practice being less automatic in rising to every challenge. We can learn to see the wisdom and vitality in starting over. Certainly our recovery is a good example. Gradually we develop our contact with our Higher Power to help discern the difference. As we do, we develop more options for leading healthier lives.

Today, I will not automatically persist with a challenge. I will notice when I have an opportunity to let go.

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The Language of Letting Go
July 3
Directness

So much of our communication can reflect our need to control. We say what we think others want to hear. We try to keep others from getting angry, feeling afraid, going away, or disliking us. But our need to control traps us into feeling like victims and martyrs.

Freedom is just a few words away. Those words are our truths. We can say what we need to say. We can gently, but assertively, speak our mind.

Let go of your need to control. We do not need to be judgmental, tactless, blaming, or cruel when we speak our truths. Neither do we need to hide our light. Let go, and freely be who you are.

Today, I will be honest with others, and myself knowing that if I don’t, my truth will come out some other way.

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More Language Of Letting Go
July 3
Say what’s up today

What’s up?

I don’t mean the events. You most likely are extremely aware fo the events taking place– or not occurring– in your life. What’s up emotionally?

Do you feel anxious, scared, ambivalent, wishy-washy, or fiercely determined? Do you feel clever, powerful, blissful, curious, or relieved?

There are many shades and colors, nuances of emotions. Some emotions get our attention quickly. They clearly present themselves and we immediately name them and claim them as ours. Sometimes the feelings are not that easy to identify. Those are usually the ones we need to pay the most attention to; those are often the ones that can be controlling our lives.

An important idea to remember about feelings is that they are just emotional energy and we’re allowed to feel however we feel. There’s no right and wrong about emotions; the names are just words we use to identify that particular emotional energy burst.

There’s another way we can feel, another space we’re each entitled to. That space is called “centered,balanced, and clear.” When we identify, feel, and release whatever feeling is up each day, we’ll easily and naturally return to that quiet, peaceful, centered place.

Sometimes, if the emotional burst is big– of the volcanic size– it might take a few days or a week to return to that clear, centered place. Other times, just an acknowledging nod in the direction of the emotion that’s up is all we need to do.

Don’t resist. Give in. Give in all the way to what and how you feel. Then just let that feeling float away. The more you give in to whatever you’re feeling, the less it will hurt and the more quickly it’ll disappear. The more specific you can be about the event or person that’s triggering the emotion, the more you’ll help yourself slide gracefully through the emotional burst.

Mastering your emotions means taking responsibility for how you feel. Feelings are important, but remember, they’re just feelings,too. Don’t let them define reality, control your life, or color your world. Mastering your emotions means clearing out your emotions so you can live, move, love, work, and play from that peaceful, centered place.

Take a moment today and each day of your life.

As yourself, “What’s up?”

God, help me become fluent with my emotions. Help me learn to feel whatever I feel, then regularly restore myself to that centered, balanced, place.

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Daily TAO
July 3
Site

Desert:  visions.
Tropics:  possession.
Forests:  alchemy.
Mountains:  asceticism.

Throughout the world, the site where people practiced spirituality has been significant. In the deserts of the Middle East, holy people had visions. In the tropics, sorcerers used spirit possession. In the forests of Europe and Asia, alchemists perfected their arts. In the Himalayas, sages hid themselves away for ascetic practices. Of course, these were not the only places for such arts, but it is more than coincidental that certain practices are tied to the place. If you go to any of these lands, you can still feel the essence that inspired generations.

Thus it is that you should be sensitive to where you situate yourself in the world. Selecting a spiritual site requires subtlety. If you do not know the science of geomancy, it is better to go to a place known to be conducive to what you want to achieve. Then narrow your choice by what you see and feel. If you sense there is great well-being, that the plants and animals of the area are healthy, that the place is not subject to extremes of weather that would adversely affect your health, the that is the place for you. When you move there, you will be sustained.

No site is forever. If you find the flow of energy has gone elsewhere or that others begin to ruin an area, then search for a new place of vitality. That is why those who follow Tao seldom have fixed homes. They wander from site to site so as to constantly remain in the stream of Tao.

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Food for Thought
July 3
Rest in God

Fatigue is one of our worst enemies.  Sometimes it is our own unnecessary busyness and over-ambition which wears us out, and sometimes the cause of our fatigue seems unavoidable.  Depression and weariness go hand in hand.

It was our habit to reach for something to eat when we were tired.  We may still crave refined sugar and carbohydrates as a quick boost when our energy lags.  Instead of these substances, which we know will let us down, we need to turn to our Higher Power for rest and refreshment.

Even better than waiting until we are fatigued to ask for help is the habit of resting continuously in God.  We may then carry on our activities knowing that we are upheld by His power, and we will avoid the exhaustion of trying to accomplish everything by our own efforts.

May I remember to rest in You.

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Faith’s Check Book
July 3
A Guide All the Way

“He will be my guide even unto death”
(Psalm 48:14).

We need a guide. Sometimes we would give all that we have to be told exactly what to do and where to turn. We are willing to do right, but we do not know which one of two roads we are to follow. Oh, for a guide!

The LORD our God condescends to serve us as guide. He knows the way and will pilot us along it till we reach our journey’s end in peace. Surely we do not desire more infallible direction. Let us place ourselves absolutely under His guidance, and we shall never miss our way. Let us make Him our God, and we shall find Him our guide. If we follow His law we shall not miss the right road of life, provided we first learn to lean upon Him in every step that we take.

Our comfort is that as He is our God forever and ever, He will never cease to be with us as our guide. “Even unto death” will He lead us, and then we shall dwell with Him eternally and go no more out forever. This promise of divine guidance involves lifelong security: salvation at once, guidance unto our last hour, and then endless blessedness. Should not each one seek this in youth, rejoice in it in middle life, and repose in it in old age? This day let us look up for guidance before we trust ourselves out-of-doors.

Sprinkled afresh with pardoning blood,
I lay me down to rest
As in the embraces of my God,
Or on my Saviour’s breast.

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