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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – June 13, 2014

Just For Today
June 13, 2014
A Full Life

“The program works a miracle in our lives….We become free to live.”
Basic Text, p. 11

Most of us-if we’ve been in recovery for any length of time at all-have heard some member complaining in a meeting about being terribly overworked, too busy for meetings or sponsorship or other activities. In fact, we may have been the complaining member. The days seem so full: job, family and friends, meetings, activities, sponsorship, step work. “There just aren’t enough hours in the day;” the member complains, “to get everything done and meet everyone’s demands on my time!”

When this happens, usually there’s soft laughter from some of the other members-probably members who had planned to grumble about the same sort of thing. The laughter stems from our recognition that we are complaining about the miracle of the life that is ours today. Not so long ago, few of us were capable of having any of these “problems” in our life. We devoted all of our energy to maintaining our active addiction. Today we have full lives, complete with all the feelings and problems that go with living in reality.

Just for today: I will remember that my life is a miracle. Instead of resenting how busy I am, I will be thankful my life is so full.

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Daily Reflections
June 13, 2014
LIVING OUR AMENDS

“Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife or child neurotic. The entire family is to some extent, ill.”
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 122

It is important for me to realize that, as an alcoholic, I not only hurt myself, but also those around me. Making amends to my family, and to the families of alcoholics still suffering, will always be important. Understanding the havoc I created and trying to repair the destruction, will be a lifelong endeavor. The example of my sobriety may give others hope, and faith to help themselves.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
June 13, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

In A.A. we have to reeducate our minds. We have to learn to think differently. We have to take a long view of drinking instead of a short view. We have to look through the glass to what lies beyond it. We have to look through the night before to the morning after. No matter how good liquor looks from the short view, we must realize that in the long run it is poison to us. Have I learned to look through the bottle to the better life that lies ahead?

Meditation For The Day

If you are honestly trying to live the way you believe God wants you to live, you can get guidance from God in times of quiet communion with Him, provided your thoughts are directed toward God’s will and all good things. The attitude of “Thy will, not mine, be done’ leads to clear guidance. Act on this guidance and you will be led to better things. Your impulses seem to become less your own and more the leading of God’s spirit acting through your thoughts. Obeyed, they will bring you the answers to your prayers.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may try to think God’s thoughts after Him. I pray that my thoughts may be guided by His thoughts.

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As Bill Sees It
June 13, 2014
A Saving Principle, p. 164

The practice of admitting one’s defects to another person is, of course, very ancient.  It has been validated in every century, and it characterizes the lives of all spiritually centered and truly religious people.

But today religion is by no means the sole advocate of this saving principle.  Psychiatrists and psychologists point out the deep need every human being has for practical insight and knowledge of his own personal flaws and a discussion of them with an understanding and trustworthy person.

So far as alcoholics are concerned, A.A. would go even further. Most of us would declare that without a fearless admission of our defects to another human being, we could not stay sober. It seems plain that the grace of God will not enter to expel our destructive obsessions until we are willing to try this.

12 & 12, pp. 56-57

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Keep It Simple
June 13, 2014

The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.
—Robert Frost

Worry—it’s a lonely activity. It puts distance between us and others. Our program is full of ideas about what to do with worry. On Step Three, we turn our will and our lives over to God. This includes worry.

Our slogans also suggest what to do with worry. One Day at a Time. Live and Let Live. Easy Does It. Let Go and Let God. Their main message is stop worrying. Trust the program. Trust your Higher Power. Everything will be okay.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I give You my worries. Teach me how to trust again. I want to trust in You, my program, and myself.

Action for the Day: I’ll write the program slogans listed above on a piece of paper, and I’ll read them over today. I’ll let myself live them today.

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Each Day a New Beginning
June 13, 2014

Everyday . . . life confronts us with new problems to be solved which force us to adjust our old programs accordingly.
—Dr. Ann Faraday

Facing the day straight on is occasionally difficult to do. There are those days we feel like crawling under the covers and staying there, certain that we can’t handle whatever might be asked of us. Maybe today is one of those days. Perhaps we feel 12 years old, instead of 42. To consciously behave like a responsible 42-year-old is out of the question. Acting “as if” is the next best thing, the program tells us, and it is.

Acting “as if” also comes in handy when only a minor kink interferes with the day’s progression. Most problems don’t fit an easy solution or a familiar one. However, most problems are dispensed with by seeing them as opportunities for creative response, calmly seeking guidance and then moving ahead slowly, being aware of the effects of our actions.

Today, and every day, I will have an opportunity to think creatively and to rely on my inner guide. Instead of dreading the unfamiliar, I will be glad for it. It’s moving me ever closer to understanding life’s mysteries.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
June 13, 2014
Our Southern Friend

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

My wife hears my voice and knows I have found the answer to life. She comes to New York. I get out of the hospital and we visit some of these new-found friends. What a glorious time we have!

p. 216

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
June 13, 2014

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

When a drunk has a terrific hangover because he drank heavily yesterday, he cannot live well today. But there is another kind of hangover which we all experience whether we are drinking or not. That is the emotional hangover, the direct result of yesterday’s and sometimes today’s excesses of negative emotion–anger, fear, jealousy, and the like. If we would live serenely today and tomorrow, we certainly need to eliminate these hangovers. This doesn’t mean we need to wander morbidly around in the past. It requires an admission and correction of errors now. Our inventory enables us to settle with the past. When this is done, we are really able to leave it behind us. When our inventory is carefully taken, and we have made peace with ourselves, the conviction follows that tomorrow’s challenges can be met as they come.

pp. 88-89

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Xtra Thoughts
June 13, 2014

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
–unknown

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
–Helen Keller

Laughter is God’s sunshine.
–Anonymous

“A fear faced is a fear erased.”
–unknown

When we step off the path it is up to us to step back on it.
–SweetyZee

Faith can take us to a place beyond time and space where God dwells.
–SweetyZee

Faith relieves worry and cares, brings peace and harmony, gives us all the strength we need.
–SweetyZee

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
June 13, 2014
WORLD

“We are citizens of the world; and the tragedy of our time is that we do not know this.”
–Woodrow Wilson

In recovery I have learned to “go home” to who I am – and part of this involves my understanding my place in this vast universe. I am a child of God and my “family” is not just my immediate blood relatives, but also the millions of other people that inhabit this planet.

God did not just make me. God does not just love me. God is concerned for all His children. As an alcoholic I did not have this attitude and I was always feeling lost and different. I became selfish and narrow in my lifestyle. Other people were tolerated.

Today I have a “big” God and He has enabled me to grow not only in my acceptance of self but also in my acceptance of others. Today I am a citizen of the world and it feels good.

Lord, today I know what it is to belong to the human family. And with this awareness comes responsibility.

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Bible Scriptures
June 13, 2014

“Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a lamp to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to observe thy righteous ordinances.”
Psalm 119:105-106

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18

If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”
Romans 8:11

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Daily Inspiration
June 13, 2014

The phrase “Never Again” is too large a commitment and too easily discarded when we stumble. Lord, help me to work on being a better person today, so that in time, my good habits will require little or no effort.

Tragedy and suffering often opens the soul to the heights of spiritual growth. Lord, let the hardships of my life be my prayer and work to draw You closer and closer.

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A Day At A Time
June 13, 2014

Reflection For The Day

I don’t believe that The Program and Twelve Steps work because I read it in a book, or because I hear other people say so.  I believe it because I see other people recovering and because I know that I, too, am recovering.  No longer do I believe that I am “helpless and hopeless.”  When I see the change in other people and in myself, I know that The Program works.  When a television reporter once asked the philosopher Jung if he believed in God, Jung replied slowly, “I don’t believe — I know”  Do I know that The Program works?

Today I Pray

Show me the happy endings, the mended lives, the reconstituted selves, the rebuilt bridges, so I will not have to accept on faith the fact that The Program works.  May I see it working — for others and for me.  May I be grateful for the documented reality of The Program’s success.  May this certainty help me find the faith I need to follow the Twelve Steps.

Today I Will Remember

The Program works.

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One More Day
June 13, 2014

A desperate disease requires a dangerous remedy.
–  Guy Fawkes

Safety is important to all of us, but sometimes it is so important that we refuse to take risks.  We may stay in unhealthy relationships or ignore our own or others’ bizarre behavior because we’re afraid of leaving the safety of our routine.

We become more willing, however, to take risks when things become desperate.  The we might take desperate measures.  We might seek counseling or file for divorce in order to rescue or end a hurting relationship.  If we feel emotionally upset, we might as for professional help.  That, too, involves taking a risk.  These decisions don’t come lightly.  There is much soul-searching involved but we’re able to make the decision when we realize that safety is sometimes more dangerous than risk.

I can make choices that are good for me, even if they threaten my safe routine.

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One Day At A Time
June 13, 2014
LONERS

“I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
–Henry David Thoreau

When I am physically, emotionally or spiritually unfit, I find myself isolating. On the other hand, I also find there are differences between solitude and isolation. Granted, sometimes those differences are subtle; nevertheless, they are different. It only takes abstinence to clearly see the difference and unless one has experienced that state, I doubt if this can really be understood.

Isolation shuts us off, not only from other people, but from God Himself. We tuck in our tails and busy ourselves with whatever comes to mind and our sole purpose is to avoid human contact. Isolation is not good. When I am isolating, I feel shame and I risk overeating. While I may not do this consciously, I run a risk of depression. I also feel guilty and the negative thoughts run amok.

Solitude is not hiding from others as isolation can be. On the contrary, I can nourish myself by being in solitude. Because I have a creative nature, solitude allows me the freedom to explore and be as creative as God intends for me to be. If I don’t allow myself solitude on occasion, I am in essence damming up the gifts God has given me. These gifts need the freedom of solitude to make them materialize and be all they can be. Because I have experienced the disease of compulsive eating and all the manifestations of this disease, I can clearly see the differences between solitude and isolation. I learned that I can be in a crowd of people and still be isolating. I can also be in a crowd of people and be in solitude. If I have spiritually and emotionally shut down, I would be going through the motions but deep down in my soul I would know that I’m isolating. When my spirit is free and I am working the program, one might glance at me and see me drifting off to a room where there is a piano and recapturing a moment of music … or staring out a window at a view so beautiful that it takes my breath away … or sipping a cup of coffee and observing those around me but not actively participating in their small talk but wondering who they really are.

One day at a time…let me remove myself from the pain of the seclusion of isolation and substitute the wonderful state of solitude that brings me such great joy and peace of mind.

~ Mari

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day June 13

“We have an old saying, Everything living must die. Only the rocks and mountains are forever.”
–Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA

The Creator designed all life to happen in a circle. For example, the cycle of life for the human being is Baby, Youth, Adult, Elder, then we die. The trees and the leaves happen in a circle; the leaves bud, then the leaves mature, next the leaves change color, and at last they fall off the tree to return to the Mother Earth. The birds bear their young, raise their young, then they die. The salmon are born, swim to the ocean, live their lives, swim back to the spawning grounds, then die. All aspects of the Life Cycle should be honored.

Great Spirit, today, let me enjoy today.

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Journey to the Heart
June 13, 2014
Trust the Process of Growth

Be patient with yourself. It takes time to work out issues, to work through things. It takes time to learn lessons. The more important the lesson, the longer the cycle to work it out and work it through.

We may live in a technical age, but our souls aren’t technical. They’re still connected to nature. We grow and change as nature does. Learn her ways. Study her seasons and cycles, and know those same seasons and cycles are in each of us. The process of change is like planting a seed and watching it grow and bloom into a flower.

What are you trying to develop? A project? A change in yourself? Is there something new you’re learning, trying to do? Are you trying to adjust to a major change in your life? Is there an old habit you’re struggling to let go of? A love relationship or friendship you’re hoping to begin or attempting to end?

Each stage of the process of growth and change is important. From those first moments when we see the idea, or the change begins, to those long moments of nurturing and nourishing the idea, each stage counts. Is there a change in your life that’s begun, one you’ve started to notice? Are you thinking about it a lot, talking about it a lot, but not quite ready to take action? That stage is important too. You’re nurturing and nourishing the seeds of change.

It takes time for nature to change things into what they’re becoming. It takes time for things to develop. Be patient with yourself and life. Trust the process of growth.

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Today’s Gift
June 13, 2014

Let the gentle bush dig its root deep and spread upward to split one boulder.
—Carl Sandburg

There is a fable about the sun and wind having a contest to see who can get the old man to take his coat off first. The wind blows fiercely, but the old man just pulls his coat tighter around him. Finally, the wind gives up and the sun comes out. The sun shines a steady warm light down on the old man, who soon takes his coat off.

More and better things are accomplished in this world by kindness and gentleness than by force. When we find ourselves most frustrated, it is often because we are trying to force certain things to happen. Our own patient and steady desire to grow, fed by the love and kindness of others, will not be stopped by anything or anyone. Our own gentleness is a powerful force in our lives. It is like the gentle bush that grows through granite.

What can I gain by gentleness today?

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The Language of Letting Go
June 13, 2014
Hanging on to Old Relationships

We want to travel baggage-free on this journey. It makes the trip easier.

Some of the baggage we can let go of is lingering feelings and unfinished business with past relationships: anger, resentments, feelings of victimization, hurt, or longing.

If we have not put closure on a relationship, if we cannot walk away in peace, we have not yet learned our lesson. That may mean we will have to have another go around with that lesson before we are ready to move on.

We may want to do a Fourth Step (a written inventory of our relationships) and a Fifth Step (an admission of our wrongs). What feelings did we leave with in a particular relationship? Are we still carrying those feelings around? Do we want the heaviness and impact of that baggage on our behavior today?

Are we still feeling victimized, rejected, or bitter about something that happened two, five, ten, or even twenty years ago?

It may be time to let it go. It may be time to open ourselves to the true lesson from that experience. It may be time to put past relationships to rest, so we are free to go on to new, more rewarding experiences.

We can choose to live in the past, or we can choose to finish our old business from the past and open ourselves to the beauty of today.

Let go of your baggage from past relationships.

Today, I will open myself to the cleansing and healing process that will put closure on yesterday and open me to the best today, and tomorrow, has to offer in my relationships.

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More Language Of Letting Go
June 13, 2014
Relax and flow

I visited the Hoover Dam in Nevada some time ago and marveled at its construction and purpose. Here was a huge structure that had been built into a canyon to harness the power of thousands of tons of moving water.

The water flows through the machinery, and the energy of the moving water is transformed into electricity that powers thousands of homes and businesses. But it wouldn’t work if you dammed up a lake, because the water has to be moving for it to have power.

The secret to the power is in the flowing.

How often we try to stifle the flow of events in our lives with control. We think that if we could only get things to go the way we want, then everything would be all right. We take the energy of the universe and bottle it up. And we kill its energy.

Let go of control.

Let the energy of life flow through and around you. You can learn to direct the flow, but you don’t need to control it. Become open to the energy that is flowing around you, and rather than trying to bottle it up, let it flow. Energy is useful only when it is flowing.

Relax and go with the flow of the universe. You’ll be better able to harness its power.

God, help me let go of my need to control. Help me let go of my fear.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
June 13, 2014

You must fight off a “bad luck” way of thinking as if you were dealing with an invasion of hostile forces – for that is precisely what you are dealing with.
—Maxwell Maltz

Life is an ongoing experience with two opposing forces. One force is constantly building up, and the other is constantly tearing down. We have successes and accomplishments, and we have failures and defeats. We finally get our house in order, and it immediately begins to become disordered again.

There are forces supporting our self-esteem and forces tearing us down. Friends who wish us well, good will and generosity among people, and the momentum of our healthy actions are constructive forces in our lives. Destructive forces are the pull of old habits, bad luck, accidents, and negative thoughts. We must choose on which side we will put our energies. Are we men who hate ourselves, believe in bad luck and despair, and thereby join the forces that would tear us down? Or will we choose to be on the side that builds us up?

Today, by the grace of God, I will join the forces that are on my side. I will stand up for myself and my worth.

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Daily TAO
June 13, 2014
Censorship

Emperors uphold censorship,
But extreme repression leads to extreme reaction.
Individualist believe in freedom,
But extreme expression leads to extreme reaction.

The emperors of china and Rome punished any expression that displeased them. Whether it was dissent, unpleasant news, or a portrait that disgusted them, they were ready to destroy the perpetrators without hesitation. Today, there are democracies but no less a tendency to punish dissent, manipulate information or castigate artists. Those in power should be careful: Push the people too far, and they will rebel.

Artists from early on have tried to push the limits of their expression. Driven by the desire to create, they have sought to strike down every boundary. But as long as they do this in a social setting, they should not out pace their audiences. Those who create must be careful: Challenge the people too much, and they will rebel.

So there are two extremes. The desires of the powerful, who fell that censorship is a just tool, and the tendencies of the creative, who feel that they should have no limits to their freedom. Those who follow Tao avoid these extremes. They avoid becoming the ruler for such a position is fraught with danger, hypocrisy, and disappointment. Neither will they become the grandstanding artist; to arouse others is likewise dangerous. If they must rule, they use compassion as their standard. If they do create, they find satisfaction in self-expression. Above all, they avoid any extreme that will take them from Tao.

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Food for Thought
June 13, 2014
Research

In OA meetings, we sometimes hear reports of “research” done by a member who breaks abstinence in order to find out whether he or she is still a compulsive overeater. The experiment invariably proves that once a compulsive overeater, always a compulsive overeater. Among the results are remorse, regained weight, and weakened control.

It has been said that we are like someone who has lost a leg. We do not grow a new one. We can, nevertheless, learn to live with our disability if we are willing to abstain and follow the OA program. Most of us find that we cannot go back to eating binge foods moderately, but we can avoid them. We are like the alcoholic who can lead a normal, satisfying life as long as he or she stays away from alcohol.

Further research is not necessary. By accepting our need for a disciplined eating plan, we can benefit from the experience of those who have been in the program longer than we.

May I remember that further research is unnecessary.

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Faiths Check Book
June 13
Divine Cultivation

“I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: Lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day”
(Isaiah 27:3).

When the LORD Himself speaks in His own proper person rather than through a prophet, the word has a peculiar weight to believing minds. It is Jehovah Himself who is the keeper of His own vineyard; He does not trust it to any other, but He makes it His own personal care. Are they not well kept whom God Himself keeps?

We are to receive gracious watering, not only every day and every hour “but every moment.” How we ought to grow! How fresh and fruitful every plant should be! What rich clusters the vines should bear!

But disturbers come; little foxes and the boar. Therefore, the LORD Himself is our Guardian, and that at all hours, both “night and day.” What, then, can harm us? Why are we afraid! He tends, He waters, He guards; what more do we need?

Twice in this verse the LORD says, “I will.” What truth, what power, what love, what immutability we find in the great “I will” of Jehovah! Who can resist His will? If He says “I will,” what room is there for doubt? With an “I will” of God we can face all the hosts of sin, death, and hell. O LORD, since Thou sayest, “I will keep thee,” I reply, “I will praise Thee!”

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In God’s Care
June 13, 2014

Who can control his fate?
~~William Shakespeare

We often think we are in control when we’re not. For instance, the place we live, our friends, our co-workers, the amount of money we have, our spare time – how much can we really control these? How many people are in our life as a result of our own control? Were we able to control the outcome of situations we cared about?

Why, then, should we be reluctant to relinquish our questionable control to a Higher Power who knows far better how to handle our life? Questions about our work, how to spend our money, who our friends are, where we go, and what we do – these are not decisions we have to make alone. Even when we think we’re in control, we’re getting guidance from God. Acknowledging God’s presence is the surest way to accept who really is in control of our life.

    Today I will exercise the greatest power I have – my decision to ask God for help.

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Day By Day
June 13, 2014
Doing our best

Doing our best takes more time and energy, but the rewards are great. In staying clean and sober, it may mean feeling in tune, feeling committed, feeling successful – in short, serenity.

For many of us the fear of failure keeps us from putting everything we have into living. And when we don’t succeed, we always have the ready excuse, “I wasn’t really trying.” But the more we give to anything, the more we have to give, and the better we feel about ourselves.

Do I always put forth my best effort?

Higher Power, help me to accept my fear and do my best.

I will do my best today – even if I feel afraid – to

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