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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – June 11, 2014

Just For Today
June 11, 2014
Living Clean

“As we recover; we gain a new outlook on being clean…. Life can become a new adventure for us.”
Basic Text, p. 88

The using life is not a clean one-no one knows this better than we do. Some of us lived in physical squalor, caring neither for our surroundings nor ourselves. Worse, though, than any external filth was the way most of us felt inside. The things we did to get our drugs, the way we treated other people, and the way we treated ourselves had us feeling dirty. Many of us recall waking too many mornings just wishing that, for once, we could feel clean about ourselves and our lives.

Today, we have a chance to feel clean by living clean. For us addicts, living clean starts with not using – after all, that’s our primary use for the word “clean” in Narcotics Anonymous. But as we stay “clean” and work the Twelve Steps, we discover another kind of clean. It’s the clean that comes from admitting the truth about our addiction rather than hiding or denying our disease. It’s the freshness that comes from owning up to our wrongs and making amends for them. It’s the vitality that comes from the new set of values we develop as we seek a Higher Power’s will for us. When we practice the principles of our program in all our affairs, we have no reason to feel dirty about our lives or our lifestyles – we’re living clean, and grateful to be doing so at last.

“Clean living” used to be just for the “squares.” Today, living clean is the only way we’d have it.

Just for today: I feel clean because I’m living clean – and that’s the way I want to keep it.

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Daily Reflections
June 11, 2014
FAMILY OBLIGATIONS

. . . a spiritual life which does not include . . . family obligations may not be so perfect after all.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 129

I can be doing great in the program–applying it at meetings, at work, and in service activities–and find that things have gone to pieces at home. I expect my loved ones to understand, but they cannot. I expect them to see and value my progress, but they don’t–unless I show them. Do I neglect their needs and desire for my attention and concern? When I’m around them, am I irritable or boring? Are my “amends” a mumbled “Sorry,” or do they take the form of patience and tolerance? Do I preach to them, trying to reform or “fix” them? Have I ever really cleaned house with them? “The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.”
(Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 83).

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
June 11, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

We alcoholics have to believe in some Power greater than ourselves. Yes, we have to believe in God. Not to believe in a Higher Power drives us to atheism. Atheism, it has been said before, is blind faith in the strange proposition that this universe originated in a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere. That’s practically impossible to believe. So we turn to that Divine Principle in the universe that we call God.  Have I stopped trying to run my own life?

Meditation For The Day

“Lord, we thank Thee for the great gift of peace, that peace which passeth all understanding, that peace which the world can neither give nor take away.” That is the peace that only God can give in the midst of a restless world and surrounded by trouble and difficulty. To know that peace is to have received the stamp of the kingdom of God. When you have earned that peace, you are fit to judge between true and false values, between the values of the kingdom of God and the values of all that the world has to offer.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that today I may have inner peace. I pray that today I may be at peace with myself.

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As Bill Sees It
June 11, 2014
“Let’s Keep It Simple”, p. 162

“We need to distinguish sharply between spiritual simplicity and functional simplicity.”

“When we say that A.A. advocates no theological proposition except God as we understand Him, we greatly simplify A.A. life by avoiding conflict and exclusiveness.

“But when we get into questions of action by groups, by areas, and by A.A. as a whole, we find that we must to some extent organize to carry the message–or else face chaos. And chaos is not simplicity.”

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

I learned that the temporary or seeming good can often be the deadly enemy of the permanent best. When it comes to survival for A.A., nothing short of our best will be good enough.

1. Letter, 1966
2. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 294

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Walk in Dry Places
June 11, 2014
What can we change ?
Handling limitations.

There’s always danger that resignation will masquerade as acceptance. In 12 Step programs, we must learn the difference between the two. Resignation refers to putting up with conditions that we should actually change; it regards self-imposed limitation. Acceptance means recognizing reality and becoming comfortable with it.

We might resign ourselves to bad treatment that is unacceptable, or we might put up with personal shortcomings that we could change. When someone points this out, we defend ourselves by asserting points this out., we defend ourselves by asserting that we’re practicing acceptance.

As human beings and children of God, we are entitled to live with dignity and to receive fair treatment. We should never resign ourselves to anything that robs us of this basic humanity. Our Higher Power will show us how to eliminate resignation if we have been practicing it. The message of the program is that we never have to accept the things we can and should change.

Today if I am uncomfortable with something, I’ll ask myself if I’ve been practicing resignation instead of acceptance. There may be many things in my life that can and should be changed.

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Keep It Simple
June 11, 2014

Who is the bravest hero? He who turns his enemy into a friend.
— Hebrew Proverb

In recovery we take our worst enemy, addiction, and turn it around. We were ashamed of our addiction. Over time we become proud of our recovery. We were our own worst enemy. Now we’re our own best friend. We are brave people.

Being brave is about facing our fears. Often we think brave people don’t get afraid, but this isn’t true. Brave people learn to stay put, even when their knees are shaking. Many times in recovery, we will want to run when we should stay put. We may even think about using chemicals again.

We need to remember our bravery and how we turned our worst enemy into a friend.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, teach me when to run and when to stay put. Help me be brave.

Action for the Day: I will claim bravery today. I’ll hold my head up high and be proud of how far I’ve come. I now have nothing to be ashamed of.

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Each Day a New Beginning
June 11, 2014

My lifetime listens to yours.
—Muriel Rukeyser

Our experiences educate us to help show each other the way. Others’ experiences, likewise, will help still others. We need to share our histories. And the program offers us the way. There is no greater honor we can give one another than rapt attention. We each want to be heard, to be special, to be acknowledged. And recognition may will be the balm that will heal someone’s hurt today.

A new day faces us, a day filled with opportunities to really listen to someone who needs to be heard. And the surprise is that we will hear a message just right for us, where we are now. A message that may well point us in a new, better direction. Guidance is always at hand, if only we listen for it. But when we are trapped in our own narrow world of problems and confusion, we scramble whatever messages are trying to reach us. And we miss the many opportunities to make another person feel special and necessary to our lives.

My growth is enhanced every time I give my attention fully to another person. And this process is multiplied over and over and over. I will be there for someone today.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
June 11, 2014
Our Southern Friend

Pioneer A.A., minister’s son, and southern farmer, he asked, “Who am I to say there is no God?”

Then comes a thought that is like A Voice. “Who are you to say there is no God?” It rings in my head, I can’t get rid of it.
I get out of bed and go to the man’s room. He is reading. “I must ask you a question,” I say to the man. “How does prayer fit into this thing?”
“Well,” he answers, “you’ve probably tried praying like I have. When you’ve been in a jam you’ve said, ‘God, please do this or that’ and if it turned out your way that was the last of it and if it didn’t you’ve said ‘There isn’t any God’ or ‘He doesn’t do anything for me’. Is that right?”
“Yes” I reply.
“That isn’t the way” he continued. “The thing I do is to say ‘God here I am and here are all my troubles. I’ve made a mess of things and can’t do anything about it. You take me, and all my troubles, and do anything you want with me.’ Does that answer your question?”
“Yes, it does” I answer. I return to bed. It doesn’t make sense. Suddenly I feel a wave of utter hopelessness sweep over me. I am in the bottom of hell. And there a tremendous hope is born. It might be true.
I tumble out of bed onto my knees. I know not what I say. But slowly a great peace comes to me. I feel lifted up. I believe in God. I crawl back into bed and sleep like a child.

p. 215

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
June 11, 2014

Step Ten – “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

As we work the first nine Steps, we prepare ourselves for the adventure of a new life. But when we approach Step Ten we commence to put our A.A. way of living to practical use, day by day, in fair weather or foul. Then comes the acid test: can we stay sober, keep in emotional balance, and live to good purpose under all conditions?

p. 88

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Xtra Thoughts
June 11, 2014

“No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.”
–Abraham Lincoln

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

The right time for the journey is when you begin it. Why not today?  God, motivate me to live a fuller, richer life.
–An excerpt from Melody Beattie – (More Language of Letting Go)

“There is a very little difference between people; it is called attitude; and it makes a really big difference. The big difference is whether it’s positive or negative.”
–W. Clement Stone

“Kindness can become its own motive.  We are made kind by being kind.”
–Eric Hoffer

Look past the body, past the personality, past the behavior, into the window of one another’s souls. There we make a connection. The God in me recognizes and honors the God in you.
–Mary Manin Morrissey

God, grant me the serenity to not try to force outcomes and solutions too soon.
–Melody Beattie

Wish not so much to live long, as to live well.
– Benjamin Franklin

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
–Epictetus

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
June 11, 2014
SOLITUDE

“Everyone should try to find a spot to be alone.”
–Queen Juliana (Netherlands)

Greta Garbo was reported to have said, “I want to be alone.” Life brings its pressures, but we all need to find a place where we can be “alone”.

Alone – not to “think” or “do” – simply to be. We need time to simply rest in our lives. A time in the day which we can call our own, to have a visit with the most important person we have got in our lives – ourselves.

To rest in self is to experience “spiritual selfishness” – the joy of self-love.

And how much we look forward to setting aside a time just for heart and mind to center on the pathway to listening to God.

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Bible Scriptures
June 11, 2014

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Revelation 21:4

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.  Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.
Psalm 112:4-9

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Daily Inspiration
June 11, 2014

It is laughter that helps us cope with the upsets and chaos of everyday living. Lord, lighten my spirit so that I will not take myself so seriously and be able to find more moments to laugh.

Take care of yourself so that you may give care to others. Lord, may I never totally ignore myself and my feelings for the sake of others and fit in time daily to refresh my spirit.

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A Day At A Time
June 11, 2014

Reflection For The Day

Guilt is a cunning weapon in the armory of the addictive person which continues to lurk patiently inside each of us.  We can use the weapon against ourselves in many subtle ways;  it can be deftly wielded, for example, in an attempt to convince us that The Program doesn’t really work.  I have to protect myself constantly against guilt an d self-accusations concerning my past.  If necessary, I must constantly “re-forgive” myself, accepting myself as a mixture of good as well as bad.  Am I striving for spiritual progress?  Or will I settle for working less than the human impossibility of spiritual perfection?

Today I Pray

May I look inside myself now and then for any slow-burning, leftover guilt which can, when I’m unwary, damage any purpose.  may I stop kicking myself and pointing our my own imperfections — all those leaser qualities which detract from the ideal and “perfect” me.  May I no longer try to be unreachable, inhumanly perfect, but just spiritually whole.

Today I Will Remember

I am human — part good, part no-so-good.

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One More Day
June 11, 2014

What we call the beginning is often the end.  And to make an end is to make a beginning.  The end is where we start from.
–  George Eliot

Sometimes a painful ending can be the beginning of a new way of life which is a happy reality.  The end of grief brings us new acceptance and balance.  The end of a bad relationship might be a welcome beginning.

An ending?  Or a beginning?  Often the answer depends on how we choose to see it.  Grown children leaving home can be a sad end, or it can be an exciting opportunity to begin living more for ourselves.  A move can mean leaving old friends or meeting new ones.  Almost every event in life — marriage, a new job, graduation, even a vacation — means an ending of some sort.  As we face each ending, we can choose to see a new beginning.

Today, I will remember that life is made of many new beginnings.

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One Day At A Time
June 11, 2014
PAIN

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.”
Kahlil Gibran

There was much to be unhappy about in my childhood. There was also a lot of unhappiness in my adult life. Until I found The Recovery Group online, that unhappiness was the driving force in my life. That force robbed me of the ability to see and enjoy the many wonderful things that I had experienced. I wore a cloak of sadness, bitterness and resentment ~ I had been short-changed. It was the old glass-half-empty, glass-half-full story….poor me.

Being able to share the pain and unhappiness I have known has freed me from the power it had over me. Clearing away the wreckage is enabling me to see my part in some of the unhappiness I’ve known. It has enabled me to see more clearly that there is so much for which I can be grateful. It has enabled me to see that I truly AM the person of value which I had represented myself to be towards others. I am integrating that person into the “unacceptable” being I carried within. I have seen others here endure challenge, pain and hardships with so much grace. I have learned that pain is, indeed, inevitable. I have the choice whether to dwell on the pain morbidly, or to instead focus on the joy of this day.

One day at a time…
I will live in the joy of this day and I will strive to share this wonderful gift of self-acceptance to others in program.

~ Karen A.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day June 11

“Behold, my bothers, the spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love!”
–Sitting Bull, SIOUX

Spring is the season of love. Spring is the season of new life, new relationships. It is the springtime that really reacts to the new position of Father Sun. New life forms all over the planet. Life is abundant. New cycles are created. Mother Earth changes colors, the flowers are abundant. It is the time for humans to observe nature and let nature create within us the feeling of Spring. We should let ourselves renew. We should let go of the feeling of Winter. We should be joyful and energetic.

My Maker, let me, today, feel the feelings of Spring.

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Journey To The Heart
June 11, 2014
Be Honest with Yourself

What are you feeling deep down inside? Under the anger. Under the rage. Under the numb I don’t care, it doesn’t matter. Are you really feeling scared? Hurt? Abandoned? Go more deeply into yourself and your emotions than you have ever gone before. The way to joy, the way to the heart is tender, soft, gentle, and honest. The way to the heart is to be vulnerable.

You don’t have to be so brave. You don’t have to be so strong. You don’t always have to walk away with your head held high saying, I can handle this. Ive been through worse before.

Become angry if you must. Feel your rage if it’s there. Go numb once in a while, if you must. Then take a chance, and go a little deeper. Go way down deep inside. See what’s there. Take a look. Risk being vulnerable.

Love yourself and all your emotions. Be as honest with yourself as you can be. Say how you really feel.

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Today’s Gift
June 11, 2014

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.—A. J. Cronin

There is always something to worry about. What if it rains tomorrow on the family picnic? What if the baby gets sick and we can’t go? What if we can’t find a shady spot for our lunch table? Will the water be too cold for swimming? Will the boat motor conk out in the middle of the lake? What if we forget the charcoal? Or the lighter fluid?

Today, while preparing the potato salad for tomorrow’s picnic, all we need to know is whether the potatoes are cool enough to peel and slice. Our worries about tomorrow change nothing but ourselves, and they have nothing to do with

what we are doing right now. Tomorrow will become today soon enough, and today is the day we have.

Which of my worries belong only to tomorrow and should be left alone until then?

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The Language of Letting Go
June 11, 2014
Moving Forward

Much as we would like, we cannot bring everyone with us on this journey called recovery. We are not being disloyal by allowing ourselves to move forward. We don’t have to wait for those we love to decide to change as well.

Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to grow, even though the people we love are not ready to change. We may even need to leave people behind in their dysfunction or suffering because we cannot recover for them. We don’t need to suffer with them.

It doesn’t help.

It doesn’t help for us to stay stuck just because someone we love is stuck. The potential for helping others is far greater when we detach, work on ourselves, and stop trying to force others to change with us.

Changing ourselves, allowing ourselves to grow while others seek their own path, is how we have the most beneficial impact on people we love. We’re accountable for ourselves. They’re accountable for themselves. We let them go, and let ourselves grow.

Today, I will affirm that it is my right to grow and change, even though someone I love may not be growing and changing alongside me.

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More Language Of Letting Go
June 11, 2014
Stop defending yourself

Do you walk around wearing a suit of armor? Often, if we were hurt as children or hurt frequently as adults, we put on a suit of emotional armor to protect us from being hurt more. We lower our visor to avoid seeing the pain and block out all hurtful sights. We pick up weapons, sharp words, manipulative behaviors, acting out– anything to help us defend ourselves against those who would hurt us again. We get used to being in battle and soon all of life is a struggle.

Stop fighting. Yes, you have been hurt. Many of us have. But when you project the characteristics of one person onto everyone you know, you don’t allow their true selves to shine through. All you can see is the limited view from your visor.

You are growing and gaining strength every day. You’re safe now. Why not put down the weapons for a little while, lift the visor on your suit of armor, and see the people around you for who they are– mostly kind, good-hearted ordinary people just like you. They have been hurt and healed, they have won and lost. They laugh and they cry. Open up to them, and allow the sharing to begin to heal you and your heart.

God, help me to lower my defenses today, to be open to the good in the people around me and to the good that I have to offer them.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
June 11, 2014

We are each so much more than what some reduce to measuring.
—Karen Kaiser Clark

Our society places great emphasis on how well each person is doing. It makes us judgmental and competitive. As children we may have thought that our real value was measured by the grades we got in school or the scores of our baseball games. As grown men we continue measuring our worth by things like the size of our wages, the model of the car we drive, or even how many months or years we have in recovery.

We can’t stop the measuring, but we are in a program that helps us step outside this system. We seek to know and do the will of our Higher Power, which is beyond the limitations of such measurements. Submitting our own will to our Higher Power releases us from the competition and the judgments in these games of measurement. Our loyalties are to values like honesty, respect, peace, and wholeness.

Today, I will remember that my value as a man isn’t measured on a man-made scale.

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Daily TAO
June 11, 2014
Accessibility

As long as the sun rises
And your heart beats,
Tao is at hand.

People think that Tao can only be known through fairy-tale stories of old men in the mountains or obscure poetry about gods riding dragons. Others declare that elaborate ritual, frightening talismans, and mumblings from the depths of spirit possession are necessary for understanding. This is imply not true. Why put another’s experience before your own? Tao is in each of us. Admittedly, an individual’s common ignorance usually obscures awareness of Tao, but this does not mean there is no Tao or that it is not important. Tao is there for us to experience any time that can open ourselves to it.

Is the sun shining? Does night follow day? Is the sky blue? Do you have feeling? Then it is possible to know Tao directly and immediately. Don’t delay, don’t think yourself too insignificant. Feel for it. Right now. As long as you are alive, Tao is right at hand.

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In God’s Care
    June 11, 2014

“What do you think of God,” the teacher asked. After a pause, the young pupil replied, “He’s not a think, he’s a feel.”
~~Paul Frost

If our approach to God rested on how much brain power we could summon, a lot of us would be in trouble. We can’t think our way to God. We have to feel our way there. We have to need God so much, love God so much (or love the idea of God so much) that we just find ourselves in communion with God. It’s our feelings that bring us there.

Our reaching out to God usually comes as a last resort. It’s the result of finally realizing that everything else we’ve tried has failed to bring us peace of mind. It doesn’t say much for our good sense that we have a tendency to approach God only when we’re desperate, but then it isn’t intellectual power that brings us to our knees. Let’s face it, we neen God, not in our head, but in our gut.

I don’t have to use my intelligence to get to God. I only have to want God in my life

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Day By Day
    June 11, 2014
    Being an addict

Sometimes people feel more qualified to be members of the program because they feel they have suffered more physical deprivation. But this does not really matter: An addict is an addict, pain is pain, suffering is suffering.

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Food for Thought
June 11, 2014
Our Security Blanket

Turning to food when we are afraid is a tendency shared by many of us. Since being fed reassured us as infants and children, we compulsive overeaters reach for something to eat when we are anxious or apprehensive. When the anxiety does not disappear, we eat more.

The desire for security is basic to all of us. Unfortunately, we often look for it in the wrong places. A fortress of fat is not much protection against the hurts and dangers to which we are all vulnerable as human beings. Overeating does not keep us safe from real or imagined threats.

We need to accept the fact that there is no such thing as absolute security. All of us are mortal and subject to hazards and destruction. Paradoxically, our security consists in relinquishing our lives to the care of our Higher Power. When we feel safely centered in Him, we have the courage to take risks and give up our worn-out security blankets.

I trust You to care for me, Lord.

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You can be an addict and suffer whether you have holes in your pants or a new suit, am empty belly or a full one.

Do I realize that addiction and suffering are a state of mind?

Higher Power, help me see that pain is pain and that I cannot judge it for anyone.

Today I will help those who still suffer, whether rich or poor, by…

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