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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – June 18

Just For Today
June 18
Indirect Amends

“Indirect amends may be necessary where direct ones would be unsafe or endanger other people.”
Basic Text, p.40

When we used, we allowed nothing to stand in the way of that next high. As a result, many of us didn’t always know precisely whom we had injured, either financially or emotionally. When it came time to make amends through our Ninth Step, we found that there were so many people we had victimized that we might never remember them all.

With the help of our sponsor and other recovering members of NA, we found a solution to this obstacle. We vowed to complete these nameless amends by making restitution to our communities. We focused our service efforts on helping the still-suffering addict. In this manner, we found a way to give back to society.

Today, with the love and guidance of members in NA, we are giving back to the world around us rather than taking. We are making our communities better places to live by carrying the message of recovery to those we encounter in our daily lives.

Just for today:

I will make indirect amends by reaching out to an addict who may need help. I will strive in some small way to make my community a better place in which to live.

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Daily Reflections
June 18
A FELLOWSHIP OF FREEDOM

. . . if only men were granted absolute liberty, and were compelled to obey no one, they would then voluntarily associate themselves in the common interest.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 50

When I no longer live under the dictates of another or of alcohol, I live in a new freedom. When I release the past and all the excess baggage I have carried for so very long, I come to know freedom. I have been introduced into a life and a fellowship of freedom. The Steps are a “recommended” way of finding a new life, there are no commands or dictates in A.A. I am free to serve from desire rather than decree. There is the understanding that I will benefit from the growth of other members and I take what I learn and bring it back to the group. The “common welfare” finds room to grow in the society of personal freedom.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
June 18
A.A. Thought For The Day

The A.A. way of living is not an easy one. But it’s an adventure in living that is really worthwhile. And it’s so much better than our old drunken way of living that there’s no comparison. Our lives without A.A. would be worth nothing. With A.A., we have a chance to live reasonably good lives. It’s worth the battle, no matter how tough the going is from day to day. Isn’t it worth the battle?

Meditation For The Day

The spiritual life has two parts. One is the life apart, the life of prayer and quiet communion with God. You spend this part of your life apart with God. Every day your mind can be set in the right direction so that your thoughts will be of the right kind. The other is the life impart–imparting from others what you have learned from your own meditative experience. The victories you have won over yourself through the help of God can be shared with others. You can help them by imparting to them some of the victory and security that you have gained in your life apart.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may grow strong from my times apart with God. I pray that I may pass on some of this strength to others.

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As Bill Sees It
June 18
Learning Never Ends, p. 169

“My experience as an oldtimer has to some degree paralleled your own and that of many others. We all find that the time comes when we are not allowed to manage and conduct the functional affairs of the groups, areas, or, in my case, A.A. as a whole. In the end we can only be worth as much as our spiritual example has justified. To that extent, we become useful symbols–and that’s just about it.”

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

“I have become a pupil of the A.A. movement rather than the teacher I once thought I was.”

1. Letter, 1964
2. Letter, 1949

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Walk In Dry Places
June 18
AA is an Automatic sprinkler system
Emotional emergencies

Wise managers install automatic sprinkler systems to protect their businesses. The system’s great value is that it goes into action during the first few minutes of a fire, before it gets out of control. This gives the fire department precious time to arrive and put the fire out.

Our AA program gives us something like an automatic sprinkler system. We never know when the flames of resentment might leap up, seemingly our of nowhere. If we’ve been working our program, something takes over automatically to being dealing with resentment.

This gives us time to bring more of our valuable spiritual tools into use. Knowing that resentment is burning away, we can try one thing and then another until it is brought to rest. Perhaps we will try prayer. We might also discuss our problem with a close friend or sponsor. Maybe we’ll attend a meeting and lay the matter out for the group attention. We may help somebody, even in a small way. An amazing healing of resentment can come from any helpful action. Even a simple action like helping a person in a stalled automobile can work wonders in deflecting the pain of ongoing resentment.

I need not fear the sudden appearance of resentment if I have been following my program. I already have within myself the methods for holding resentment at bay while I deal with it.

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Keep It Simple
June 18

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.
– Rodin

When we first start our recovery, it hurts a lot to look at our past. We feel sad. It feels like our life was a waste.

But it wasn’t a waste. The program promises that if we practice the Steps, we’ll not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. Hard to believe? Just look at all the happy old-timers in AA. Their lives were just as messed up as ours.

Because of our addiction, we’re learning a new way to live. We are getting to know ourselves, our Higher Power, and other people.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, thanks for helping me into recovery. Help me learn from my addiction.

Action for the Day: I’ll list three important things I’ve learned about life because of my addiction. I’ll talk to my sponsor about them.

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Each Day a New Beginning
June 18

. . . we could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.
—Helen Keller

We chase after joy, like a child after a firefly, being certain that in joy all problems are solved, all questions are answered. Joy has its rewards, and we deserve them. But life has more to teach us.

We need to learn patience; through patience we come to respect time and its passage, and we are mellowed. We need to learn tolerance; through tolerance our appreciation of another’s individuality is nurtured. We need to learn self-respect; self-respect prepares us to contribute more freely to our experiences, and we find wholeness.

Life’s travails are our opportunities for lasting, enriching joy. The rough spots deepen our understandings. And these help us to bring joy to the lives of the friends near and dear.

I need not turn my back on joy. But I will be glad for all life’s experiences. The panorama will sustain me more fully.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
June 18
The Vicious Cycle

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

January 8, 1938–that was my D-Day; the place, Washington, D.C. This last real merry-go-round had started the day before Christmas, and I had really accomplished a lot in those fourteen days. First, my new wife had walked out, bag, baggage, and furniture; then the apartment landlord had thrown me out of the empty apartment; and the finish was the loss of another job. After a couple of days in dollar hotels and one night in the pokey, I finally landed on my mother’s doorstep–shaking apart, with several days’ beard, and of course, broke as usual. Many of these same things had happened to me many times before, but this time they had all descended together. For me, this was it.

p. 219

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
June 18

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

A spot-check inventory taken in the midst of such disturbances can be of very great help in quieting stormy emotions. Today’s spot check finds its chief application to situations which arise in each day’s march. The consideration of long-standing difficulties had better be postponed, when possible, to times deliberately set aside for that purpose. The quick inventory is aimed at our daily ups and downs, especially those where people or new events throw us off balance and tempt us to make mistakes.

pp. 90-91

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Xtra Thoughts
June 18

“If we’ve been fighting something or someone, we can try gratitude & acceptance.”
–Melody Beattie

“My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”
–Oprah Winfrey

“Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions.”
–Earl Gray Stevens

“Whatever your problem, no matter how difficult, you can release spiritual power sufficient to solve your problem. The secret is–pray and believe.”
–Norman Vincent Peale

“When you focus on what might have been, it gets in the way of what can be.”
–Patricia Fripp

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
June 18
ACCEPTANCE

“Less is more.”
–Mies van der Rohe

As a gambler, I always wanted more. I wanted to win more, get more, have more, spend more – always my energy was in getting “the more”.  But this constant and demanding lifestyle only gave me less. I could never stop to smell the roses. Activity robbed me of satisfaction. I was running through my life and missing it.

Then somebody told me to stop and rest awhile. Don’t chase life; enjoy it. The gambling had become a compulsive and obsessive disease that was ruining my life. I was losing. I was not only losing money – but family, intimacy, life. I was so busy trying to win that I missed the pain and loneliness of my daily losses.

Today I choose not to do this. I accept that the “less” in my life is giving me more. I take responsibility for me, and I share freely with other recovering gamblers.

God, teach me to see Your power and beauty in what I can give up.

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Bible Scriptures
June 18

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Ephesians 5:8-10

Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.
Psalm 20:13

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Daily Inspiration
June 18

Live with gratitude for all that you are and all that you have because often what looks good on the outside is not really what it seems. Lord, remind me to spend a few moments each day appreciating my life and becoming aware of how good it really is.

Worse than being a quitter is the one who is afraid to begin. Lord, grant me the courage to believe in myself and the ability to focus on what I can do, not what I can’t do.

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A Day At A Time
June 18

Reflection For The Day

I believe today that I have a right to make spiritual progress.  I have a right to be emotionally mature.  I have a right to take pleasure in my own company, and that makes me more pleasant to be with.  I also have a right to become willing — deeply willing, entirely willing – to make amends to all those I’ve harmed.  Because I can now accept myself the way I am, I can accept other people the way they are — no entirely, but to a much greater degree than in the past.  Have I begun to make friends with God, and thus with myself?

Today I Pray

May God show me that it’s okay to like myself, even while trying to repair old wrongs and rebuild from splinters.  May I keep telling myself that I am different now, I have changed.  I am a better and wiser and healthier person, I have made some good choices.  As this “new person,” may I find it easier to make atonement for what happened long ago and in another spiritual place.  May those I have wronged also find it easier to accept my amends.

Today I Will Remember

It’s okay to like myself.

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One More Day
June 18

Never believe in faith, see for yourself!  What you yourself don’t learn, you don’t know.
–  Berolt Brecht

While faith seems to be the watchword here, this quotation also extols the value of learning.  Learning is not the opposite of faith.  In fact, it supports and builds our faith.  We often can trust our intuitions to guide us through all the lessons life provides us.  It’s up to us to pick and choose, to decide what lessons would be particularly pertinent to us, and to incorporate that knowledge into our own spirituality.

We learn firsthand, of course, from our own day-to-day lessons in living, but we also learn from the experiences of others, and these are equally beneficial to us.  We can see for ourselves.

Learning strengthens my faith — in my Higher Power, in others, and in myself.  I can use that greater faith to enhance and strengthen the quality of my life.

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One Day At A Time
June 18
GUILT

“The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt.”
–Ayn Rand

I think that I was fed on guilt from the minute I was knee-high to a grasshopper. My mother’s favorite saying was, “After all I’ve done for you…” I’d immediately feel guilty because of all that I perceived my mother had given up for me. As a result, I was given the message that love had to be earned and that as far as my mother was concerned, I had to do something to be worthy of her love. I felt like I had to be the perfect daughter my mother wanted. No matter what I did, it never seemed to be good enough. My guilt grew even more.

Of course I know now that I didn’t deserve that guilt and that I chose to take it on ~ but as a child I didn’t know that. Thank goodness for the program which is enabling me to see what I deserve — and what doesn’t belong to me. I am realizing that most of the time it’s other people’s stuff and that I don’t have to take that on.

One day at a time…
I will remember to only take on what is rightfully mine and I don’t need to feel guilty if I don’t deserve to.

~ Sharon

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day June 18

“I am particularly fond of the little groves of oak trees. I love to look at them, because they endure the wintry storm and the summer’s heat, and, not unlike ourselves, seem to flourish by them.”
–Sitting Bull, SIOUX

Every season, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, has gifts that it gives to all creatures. The animals will develop thicker furs just before Winter and will shed this fur in the Spring. Squirrels will store their food in the Fall; other animals build up fat so they can hibernate during the Winter. We can watch all forms of nature and see all creatures work in harmony with the seasons. The secret for us is to learn by observing nature. Watch the trees. Learn from them. We human beings need to learn the gifts and blessings of the seasons.

Grandfather, Grandmother, teach me to live in harmony with the seasons.

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Journey To The Heart
June 18
Don’t Worry

Worrying doesn’t help. Our worries haven’t prevented one disaster along the way. At times, the only thing they’ve prevented is our joy. Our worries are fear. We say, I will worry and be fearful until things have worked out; only then can I relax and enjoy. Our worries are self-punishment, a form of not forgiving ourselves, not loving ourselves, not trusting.

We may think that worrying helps ward off trouble, but that’s an illusion. Sometimes worrying brings trouble upon us, because we’re so caught up in our fear that we don’t take the responsible steps we need to take. By neglecting our lives due to worry and fear, we may bring needless consequences upon ourselves.

The lesson is trust. When we’re trusting, we let go of our fear, confident that what we want and need will come. We trust that if what comes appears to be trouble or hardship, we will get what we need to get through that,too. When we trust, we get peaceful first, before we get what we want, before we see what the future brings.

Worry and fear are the opposite of love. Love yourself more that you ever have. Love yourself enough to stop worrying. Love yourself enough to give yourself the gift of peace.

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Today’s Gift
June 18

Let your conscience be your guide.
—Jiminy Cricket

Crickets sing on summer nights because it’s their nature to do so. They don’t think about whistling or trumpeting or sleeping or changing the world. They’ve figured out their role on earth, and they do it.

We are a bit more complex than crickets, and most of the time that’s lucky. In most of our affairs it’s our conscience more than sheer instinct that helps us choose those thoughts and acts and feelings that are right for us.

Each of us has that little voice inside, relentless as a chirping cricket, telling us what to do. Even in the middle of our toughest decisions, we always have within us the solution that is right for us. All we have to do is listen-and trust.

What does my inner voice say about today’s decisions?

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The Language of Letting Go
June 18
Being Vulnerable

Part of recovery means learning to share ourselves with other people. We learn to admit our mistakes and expose our imperfections – not so that others can fix us, rescue us, or feel sorry for us, but so we can love and accept ourselves. This sharing is a catalyst in healing and changing.

Many of us are fearful of sharing our imperfections because that makes us vulnerable. Some of us have tried being vulnerable in the past, and people tried to control, manipulate, or exploit us, or they made us feel ashamed.

Some of us in recovery have hurt ourselves by being vulnerable. We may have shared things with people who didn’t respect our confidence. Or we may have told the wrong people at an inappropriate time, and scared them away.

We learn from our mistakes – and despite our mistakes, it is still a good thing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and honest. We can learn to choose safe people with whom to share ourselves. We can learn to share appropriately, so we don’t scare or push people away. We can also learn to let others be vulnerable with us.

Today, God, help me learn to be appropriately vulnerable. I will not let others exploit or shame me for being vulnerable, and I will not exploit myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
June 18
Relax even when you’re being attacked

Attacks can come in many shapes and forms. They can be emotional attacks, when someone pelts us with anger and rage. We can be attacked physically,too.

Self-defense is important. But ti’s easy to get confused when we’re being attacked, about what it means to take care of and protect ourselves. It may be a boss, a spouse, a child, or a friend who turns on us in anger and rage. We might be dating someone, someone we don’t know well, who suddenly starts spewing venom and rage. Instinctively, we may attack back.

If someone yells at us in anger, says something mean, or physically hurts us, we usually don’t think twice. We tense up and fight back. Then the situation escalates. The other perosn’s fear and anger contaminate us. We become afraid, angry, and mean,too. Our intense and volatile emotions feed and fuel the situation. Things can easily get out of control.

Instead of escalting the situation into an all-out brawl, try harmonizing and restoring the situation to peace. You might be surprised with the results that learning to relax and harmonize brings. And you’ll be closer to connecting with your true power.

God, fill me up with so much peace that my presence neutralizes and deflects attacks, no matter where I might be.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
June 18

Choice of attention – to pay attention to this and ignore that – is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences.
—W. H. Auden

Many of us have said, “I can’t help myself!” when we tried to stop our constant thinking about other people or their behavior. “I know it’s not good for me, but what can I do when they keep acting that way?”

Let us think of ourselves as living in a house with many windows. At each window is a different view, and within each view are many things to catch our attention. Perhaps there are some people, some traffic, some buildings, a horizon, and some trees. If we always go to the same window and focus on the same object, we are not using all our choices. We may have overlooked some things in our lives that need attention. There are many things we are totally powerless over. Our power exists in changing the focus of our attention.

Today, I will notice where I am choosing to pay attention. I pray for guidance in being aware of my options.

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Daily TAO
June 18
Armor

Ripe fruit, crisp greens, live grain,
Vital roots, tender meat, spring water.
Growing essence nourishes your own.
Essence alloyed with breath makes you flexible but hard.
The sage’s body is armored.
The sage is impervious to death.

Those who follow Tao speak of three treasures in the body: essence, breath, and spirit.

Essence is the biochemical aspect of your body, nurtured by the food you eat. and regulated by the quality of your hormones. Therefore, all your food should be packed and glowing with energy. Eat food as close to its source as possible. Pray before you eat, for everything that you take whether plant or animal is living. You must consume to survive, but when you die acknowledge that you will become food for others.

To build the breath, work and exercise diligently. Build stamina and discipline yourself. You will gain great flexibility combined with hardened flesh, and you will be graceful. Immunity to minor physical traumas as well as many kinds of illness will be yours.

The ultimate training of the spirit begins with the question of death. The sages see beyond dying. Though they must die, they also know that nothing is lost because no one owns body or mind anyway. Those who follow Tao safeguard themselves and live their spirituality with a realistic appreciation of death. The establishment of essence, breath, and spirit is like wearing armor; the travails of the world mean nothing.

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Food for Thought
June 18
Homesickness

There are certain foods, which we will always associate with home and which make us nostalgic to recapture the past. No matter how much we eat, we cannot go back home and again be the babies and little children we were. No food will satisfy our longing for the love, care, and safety most of us associate with home. Even (and especially) if our dependency needs were not met when we were young, eating unnecessary food now will not help.

As we grow in relationship with our Higher Power, we begin to believe that home lies ahead, rather than behind us. We begin to see that our homesickness is for a spiritual state instead of a physical place. Wherever we are, we are pilgrims and travelers, not sure of our final destination but drawn toward something more than what we know in this world. We sense that though we are in the world, we are not of it, that we are homesick for a spiritual fulfillment.

May our homesickness bring us closer to You.

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Faiths Check Book
June 18
God Himself Shall Work

“Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up Myself”
(Isaiah 33:10).

When the spoilers had made the land as waste as if devoured by locusts, and the warriors who had defended the country sat down and wept like women, then the LORD came to the rescue. When travelers ceased from the roads to Zion, and Bashan and Carmel were as vineyards from which the fruit has failed, then the LORD arose. God is exalted in the midst of an afflicted people, for they seek His face and trust Him. He is still more exalted when in answer to their cries He lifts up Himself to deliver them and overthrow their enemies.

Is it a day of sorrow with us? Let us expect to see the LORD glorified in our deliverance. Are we drawn out in fervent prayer? Do we cry day and night unto Him? Then the set time for His grace is near. God will lift up Himself at the right season. He will arise when it will be most for the display of His glory. We wish for His glory more than we long for our own deliverance. Let the LORD be exalted, and our chief desire is obtained.

LORD, help us in such a way that we may see that Thou Thyself art working. May we magnify Thee in our inmost souls. Make all around us to see how good and great a God Thou art.

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Daily Zen
June 18

Spring morning on the lake:
The wind merges with the rain,
Worldly matters are like flowers
That fall only to bloom again.
I retire to contemplate behind closed doors,
A place of true joy,
While the floating clouds come and go
The whole day long.

– Zhengue (12th cent)

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This Morning’s Meditation
June 18

“Thy Redeemer.”
—Isaiah 54:5.

JESUS, the Redeemer, is altogether ours and ours for ever. All the offices of Christ are held on our behalf. He is king for us, priest for us, and prophet for us. Whenever we read a new title of the Redeemer, let us appropriate Him as ours under that name as much as under any other. The shepherd’s staff, the father’s rod, the captain’s sword, the priest’s mitre, the prince’s sceptre, the prophet’s mantle, all are ours. Jesus hath no dignity which He will not employ for our exaltation, and no prerogative which He will not exercise for our defence. His fulness of Godhead is our unfailing, inexhaustible treasure-house.

His manhood also, which he took upon him for us, is ours in all its perfection. To us our gracious Lord communicates the spotless virtue of a stainless character; to us he gives the meritorious efficacy of a devoted life; on us he bestows the reward procured by obedient submission and incessant service. He makes the unsullied garment of his life our covering beauty; the glittering virtues of his character our ornaments and jewels; and the superhuman meekness of his death our boast and glory. He bequeaths us his manger, from which to learn how God came down to man; and his Cross to teach us how man may go up to God. All His thoughts, emotions, actions, utterances, miracles, and intercessions, were for us. He trod the road of sorrow on our behalf, and hath made over to us as his heavenly legacy the full results of all the labours of his life. He is now as much ours as heretofore; and he blushes not to acknowledge himself “our Lord Jesus Christ,” though he is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Christ everywhere and every way is our Christ, for ever and ever most richly to enjoy. O my soul, by the power of the Holy Spirit! call him this morning, “thy Redeemer.”

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In God’s Care
June 18

One can survive anything these days except death.
~~Oscar Wilde

Perhaps we remember the pain of discovering that a loved one had betrayed our trust. The hurt and shame might have felt unbearable. Maybe we suffered a devastating blow when a dream of ours was lost forever. At the time, our pain may have consumed and immobilized us. But it finally went away and we did survive.

We are survivors or we wouldn’t still be on this journey. All of us have lived through some tragic and overwhelming circumstances. At times we may have felt we were being pushed to the edge of sanity. But we didn’t topple over. And we are still on our journey of recovery. We can continue to find purpose in every situation that claims us, with the knowledge that our Higher Power will be there for us.

        I will be able to handle even the most difficult situation today with God’s help.

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Day By Day
June 18
Letting go of self-will

Self-will is what brought us to our knees. We must realize now that we can either make our will one with our Higher Power or we can remain separate. When we exercise uncontrolled self-will, things crumble before us and often we find ourselves in the streets again. But this need not happen because now we know the difference; we have a choice.

When we let go and make our will one with our Higher Power’s, we have no trouble avoiding mood-altering chemicals.

Have i turned my will over?

I pray that I might let my will become one with my Higher Power.

Today I will let go of my self-will by…

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