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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – June 23, 2014

Just For Today
June 23, 2014
Surrender

Quote: “We didn’t stumble into this fellowship brimming with love, honesty, open-mindedness, or willingness….When we were beaten, we became willing.”
Basic Text, p. 20

Surrender may be the necessary foundation for recovery, but sometimes we fight it. Most of us look back after some clean time and wonder why on earth we fought so hard to deny our powerlessness when surrender is what finally saved our lives.

As we recover, new opportunities to surrender present themselves. We can either struggle with everyone and everything we encounter or we can recall the benefits of our first surrender and stop fighting.

Most of the pain we experience comes from fighting, not surrendering. In fact, when we surrender, the pain ends and hope takes its place. We begin to believe that all will be well and, after some time, realize that our lives are much better as a result. We feel the same way we did when we gave up the illusion that we could control our using-relieved, free, and filled with fresh hope.

Just for today: Is there a surrender I need to make today? I will remember my first surrender and remind myself that I don’t need to fight anymore.

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Daily Reflections
June 23, 2014
TRUSTING OTHERS

Quote: But does trust require that we be blind to other people’s motives or, indeed, to our own? Not at all; this would be folly. Most certainly, we should assess the capacity for harm as well as the capability for good in every person that we would trust. Such a private inventory can reveal the degree of confidence we should extend in any given situation.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 144

I am not a victim of others, but rather a victim of my expectations, choices and dishonesty. When I expect others to be what I want them to be and not who they are, when they fail to meet my expectations, I am hurt. When my choices are based on self-centeredness, I find I am lonely and distrustful. I gain confidence in myself, however, when I practice honesty in all my affairs. When I search my motives and am honest and trusting, I am aware of the capacity for harm in situations and can avoid those that are harmful.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
June 23, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

No chain is stronger than its weakest link. Likewise, if you fail in the day-by-day program, in all probability it will be your weakest point. Great faith and constant contact with God’s power can help you discover, guard, and undergird your weakest point with a strength not your own. Intelligent faith in God’s power can be counted on to help you master your emotions, help you to think kindly of others, and help you with any task that you undertake, no matter how difficult. Am I master of my emotions?

Meditation For The Day

You need to be constantly recharged by the power of the spirit of God. Continue with God in quiet times until the life from God, the Divine life, by that very contact, flows into your being and revises your fainting spirit. When weary, take time out and rest. Rest and gain power and strength from God, and then you will be ready to meet whatever opportunities come your way. Rest until every care and worry and fear have gone and then the tide of peace and serenity, love and joy, will flow into your consciousness.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may rest and become recharged. I pray that I may pause and wait for the renewing of my strength.

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As Bill Sees It
June 23, 2014
Constructive Forces, p. 174

Mine was exactly the kind of deep-seated block we so often see today in new people who say they are atheistic or agnostic. Their will to disbelieve is so powerful that apparently they prefer a date with the undertaker to an open-minded and experimental quest for God.

Happily for me, and for most of my kind who have since come along in A.A., the constructive forces brought to bear in our Fellowship have nearly always overcome this colossal obstinacy. Beaten into complete defeat by alcohol, confronted by the living proof of release, and surrounded by those who can speak to us from the heart, we have finally surrendered.

And then, paradoxically, we have found ourselves in a new dimension, the real world of spirit and faith. Enough willingness, enough open-mindedness–and there it is!

A.A. Today, p. 9

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Keep It Simple
June 23, 2014

Quote: Words are sacred, we must use them wisely. . . . They are a gift from God.
Burton Pretty-On-Top

We use words to bring peace to others. We can use words to tell God and others how much we care. Or we can use words to hurt others. We can curse them and scare them away. We often did when we used alcohol and other drugs.

In recovery, we learn to use words in a kind, wise way. We treat words as a gift from God. We use words to build our relationships.

Do I always use words in a kind way? Do I treat words as a powerful gift from God? Do my words make the world better or worse for those who hear me speak?

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, when I speak words, help me think about their power. Help me speak to others in a kind way.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll speak to others with respect. My words will add a little kindness, honesty, and love to the world today.

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Each Day a New Beginning
June 23, 2014

Quote:. . . How much bondage and suffering a woman escapes when she takes the liberty of being her own physician of both body and soul.
—Elizabeth Cady Stanton

If we listen to ourselves, to the innermost voice of our Spirits, we know that we have the power to heal ourselves. Self-healing begins with making our own decisions-about what we wear, what we do, who we are-and deciding that we will be true to ourselves. With the help of our spiritual guide, we can resist the temptations to betray ourselves, for these temptations are born of fear; the fear that we are not good enough to be our “own physicians.”

To give away our powers binds us and causes us to suffer. But we can go to others for help without losing our own strength.

Today and every day, I will pray for the wisdom to choose wise counselors and the strength to love and heal myself.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
June 23, 2014
The Vicious Cycle

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

Until I was thirteen I attended public schools, with regular promotions and average grades. I have never shown any particular talents, nor have I had any really frustrating ambitions. At thirteen I was packed off to a very fine Protestant boarding school in Virginia, where I stayed four years, graduating without any special achievements. In sports I made the track and tennis teams; I got along well with the other boys and had a fairly large circle of acquaintances but no intimate friends. I was never homesick and was always pretty self-sufficient.

p. 221

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
June 23, 2014

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

Finally, we begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and see what real love for our fellows actually means. It will become more and more evident as we go forward that it is pointless to become angry, or to get hurt by people who, like us, are suffering from the pains of growing up.

p. 92

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Xtra Thoughts
June 23, 2014

Remember how we’d talk every night at bedtime? I miss that.
–God

If you think clothes make no difference, try walking down the street without any.
–unknown

“The greatest treasures of your life are associated with the people you love and who love you in return.”
–Brian Tracy

Half the failures of this world arise from pulling in one’s horse as he is leaping.
–Augustus Hare

The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth and delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that your world is transformed.
– Krishnamurti

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
–Buddha

“Tis grace that brought me safe thus far. Tis grace will lead me home.”
–John Newton (“Amazing Grace”)

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
June 23, 2014
REALITY

Quote: “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”
–Elbert Hubbard

When I used to take life too seriously, I was always miserable. I missed so much. I placed a disproportionate amount of energy on my own importance. I am not saying that I am not important, but I must learn to live within the structures of this imperfect world.

For so long I made myself the “victim” of this world. Every airplane missed was seen as a personal abuse. I could not wait in a line without getting angry and developing a resentment to everybody around. Everybody was expected to revolve around my world and I felt the world owed me a living! The result: unhappiness.

I needed to change or remain unhappy. Today I am learning to change and I am working on patience.

Thank You for the spiritual gift of balance in my life.

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Bible Scriptures
June 23, 2014

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalms 23:1-6

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31

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Daily Inspiration
June 23, 2014

Integrity is one of our most valuable assets. Lord, may I live responsibly and never have the need to make excuses for my behavior.

Kindness can accomplish that which force won’t. Lord, may I pause when I am about to react to irritations and respond as though it is You to whom I speak.

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A Day At A Time
June 23, 2014

Reflection For The Day

Complacency is my enemy, easy to recognize in others, but difficult to identify and accept in myself. Complacency simply means being sure we’re right — taking it for granted that we couldn’t possibly be wrong. It means, moreover, judging others by what we think is right. It blocks out understanding and kindness, and seems to justify qualities in ourselves that we’d find wholly intolerable in others. Do I tend to assume that my views are always correct?

Today I Pray

God, please steer me past complacency, that state of being on dead center. When I am smug, I am no longer a seeker. If I assume I am always right, I am never on guard for my own mistakes, which can run away with me. Keep me teachable. Keep me growing, in heart, mind and spirit.

Today I Will Remember

Complacency stunts growth.

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One More Day
June 23, 2014

Quote: The degree and kind of sexuality of a human being reaches up into the ultimate principle of his spirit.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Having a long-term medical problem presents new problems, which we have to cope with as part of our total picture. One area that may present difficulties is sexuality.

Sexuality is how we think about ourselves, of how we present ourselves, of all that makes us unique. Our self-image may bottom out as we undergo the daily rigors of a medical problem, and we may for a time feel unsexual and unsensual. It takes us a while to realize that we still have the same needs we always had — to be touched and to feel good about ourselves. We don’t have to be silent or passive. We need love and support, and sometimes we have to ask before our needs can be met.

I will remember that the quality of a relationship depends on both people involved.

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One Day At A Time
June 23, 2014
MIRACLES

Quote: “Miracles are instantaneous, they cannot be summoned but come of themselves, usually at unlikely moments and to those who least expect them.”
–Katherine Ann Porter

I never believed that we live in an age of miracles. As far as I was concerned, those happened only in the days of the Bible — with burning bushes and the red sea opening up. When I first came into the program and heard people talking about miracles, I was skeptical. As I became more open to the possibility, things began to happen which I can only consider to be miracles. They may not have seemed large to my old closed mind, but being able to give up certain trigger foods — or having a fellow member in the program call me when I most needed a call — have become miracles in my life today.

Being able to maintain my weight, rather than losing and gaining weight every few months, is a miracle. Most importantly, my transformed relationships with my children and other loved ones are miracles.

One day at a time…
I will open my mind to the possibility of miracles occurring in my life…and they will come.

~ Sharon

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – June 23

Quote: “He [Wakan Tanka] walks with us along the pathways of Life, and He can do for us what we could never do on our own.”
–Fools Crow, LAKOTA

With the Creator in our lives, we are everything. Without the Creator, we are nothing. When the Creator is in our life, suddenly the impossible becomes possible. The extraordinary becomes ordinary. Things we thought could never happen start to happen. Talents we never know we had, start to blossom. Resources appear. Help arrives to give us guidance and direction. We become happy. We have peace of mind and confidence.

Oh Great Spirit, today I want You in my life. The days that I know You are with me are the days that are perfect. Let me be joyful today.

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Journey To The Heart
June 23, 2014
Discover the Power of Stillness

I will forever remember Yellowstone Glacier Lake at midnight. A large full moon– the biggest I have ever seen– was resting atop the lake. The lake was frozen over, a still mirror between the mountains. Even the pines stood motionless. At that moment, I saw stillness– quiet, motionless stillness– I began to understand its power.

Be still and know that I am God. How often I heard that verse from the Bible. How well I knew it, but how little I understood stillness. Stillness is different from aloneness, different from turning off the stereo or speaking softly.

Stillness is a place. You can find it in the desert or in the mountains. You can find it when you’re alone or when you’re in the midst of people. You can find stillness wherever you are, whatever you’re going through. Stillness is a place within you. Slow down. Breathe deeply. Get quiet. Become familiar with stillness. Take time to learn its power.

From that place of stillness, the right action will emerge and you will find your next step. From that place of stillness, you can move into the present moment. There you will find your power, and there God will find you.

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Today’s Gift
June 23, 2014

Quote:Real friends are those who, when you’ve made a fool of yourself, don’t feel that you’ve done a permanent job.
—Erwin T. Randall

What kind of friends do we have? Are they people who complain a lot? Are they people who laugh at us or put others down?

The kind of people we want to be will decide what kind of friends we have. If we want to feel sorry for ourselves, we will choose friends who will tell us how rotten their lives are. If we want to think we’re better than others, we will hang around people who laugh at others’ mistakes.

But if we want to be the best we can be, we will pick friends who see the good in life, people who will encourage us to be ourselves and who will help us try harder at things that are difficult for us.

How can I be a better friend today?

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The Language of Letting Go
June 23, 2014
Letting Go of Old Beliefs

Try harder. Do better. Be perfect.

These messages are tricks that people have played on us. No matter how hard we try, we think we have to do better. Perfection always eludes us and keeps us unhappy with the good we’ve done.

Messages of perfectionism are tricks because we can never achieve their goal. We cannot feel good about ourselves or what we have done while these messages are driving us. We will never be good enough until we change the messages and tell ourselves we are good enough now.

We can start approving of and accepting ourselves. Who we are is good enough. Our best yesterday was good enough; our best today is plenty good too.

We can be who we are, and do it the way we do it – today. That is the essence of avoiding perfection.

God, help me let go of the messages that drive me into the crazies. I will give myself permission to be who I am and let that be good enough.

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More Language Of Letting Go
June 23, 2014
Relax and enjoy the ride

One of the good things about jumping out of airplanes is that there is at least one aspect of the sport that is impossible to mess up. When you choose to open the door and get out of the plane, one thing is certain. You will fall. There will be wind that you can use to control your movement through the air, and you will get back to the ground. So relax. Enjoy the ride.

Some things in life are that way,too. We can be as tense or as relaxed as we want to and the thing will not change– other people, the weather, the driver in front of you on the freeway. Often there is nothing that we can do to affect a situation, and yet we will fight with the universe, tense up, and try to control things rather than just relaxing and learning to use what is to the best of our ability.

There is no need to change the universe. It was before this lifetime, and it will be long after you have passed. You can choose to spend your life fighting it, or you can relax, let go of your control, and learn to work with and within it.

Have you been fighting against gravity, trying to get back into the plane? Let go of the uncontrollable situations in your life. Let them be what they are. Relax and learn to work with them rather than against them. You will have more strength and success when you do. You might even have some fun.

God, show me the areas of my life where I’m still trying to exert control over the impossible. Help me let go and enjoy the ride.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
June 23, 2014

Quote:He who conceals his disease cannot expect to be cured.
—Ethiopian proverb

Concealment and secrecy have been second nature to some of us. We may have felt that our masculinity kept us loners. Perhaps we said we were covering the truth for someone else’s good. Maybe we could not bear to expose the truth because we feared the consequences. For some of us a lie came more automatically than the truth. Now we are learning to be open with our friends, and we are finding the healing effect of fresh air for our secrets.

Although it’s frightening to stop tampering with the truth, it’s also exciting to feel the power of honesty and to deal with the consequences of uncovering it. Perhaps we still have some secrets that erode our wellbeing. If so, we need to bring them into the open so we can live completely honest lives. When we let others know us as we really are, we are casting our lot with good health and recovery.

Today, I will make progress in my recovery by letting myself be fully known.

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Daily TAO
June 23, 2014
Worship

You can worship gods.
You cannot worship Tao.

Adoration of your god is more beautiful than lovers, more fulfilling than feasts, more valuable than mammon. It provides greater shelter than places. Proper worship is joyous and ecstatic.

If you have a limited view of worship, you can always lose sight of holiness. When you are on a junior level of achievement, you can turn away from your gods at any time. Those who follow Tao know that Tao is not the god on the altar, they therefore see their god in their every action and never lose sight of the divine.

Gods can be worshiped, but the Tao can’t be worshiped. Why? Because gods lead to good things and inspire our highest devotion. As magnificent as this is to imagine, it is still limited when compared to the eternity of Tao. Tao has no definitions, no limit, no personal or individual consciousness. Thus, to worship Tao is meaningless, for our effort would be lost in an infinite sea. There is no supplication to it, for it will not respond. There is no adoration of it, for it displays no glory. There is no ecstatic union with it, for it has no differentiations. Tao is great. Tao is eternal. Anything limited and small – even worship – disappears in it. One can only enter Tao to become a part of its limitlessness.

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In God’s Care
June 23, 2014

Someone who knew what he was talking about once remarked that pain is the touchstone of all spiritual progress.
~~Bill W.

It’s perplexing that we don’t always seem able to live up to our own expectations. When we find ourselves snapping at our loved ones, belittling our friends, insulting strangers, or generally withholding our love, we can’t understand what came over us. It’s painful to realize that, even with the best intentions, we are hurting others.

Perhaps, though, this pain we feel is exactly what we need to bring us to our senses. God gave us the help we needed when our addictions had us licked, but not until we were really hurting. The help didn’t come until we hit bottom and surrendered. Our harmful character defects couldn’t be removed until we were ready to admit that our own efforts failed and we need God to show us the way.

    If I feel mental pain today, I may need to take inventory and humbly ask God to remove my character defects.

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Day By Day
June 23, 2014
    Becoming patient

Let us not rush and demand perfection all at once; it would only blind us. If we are impatient, it is impossible to work a daily program; but if we are patient, we can learn to see our daily opportunities for growth.

We can’t develop a new relationship with our Higher Power overnight. It is worth waiting for, striving for. Let us not go too fast but simply count each day as an opportunity.

Am I learning patience?

    Higher Power, I pray that I may be patient as I work my program and develop a relationship with you.

    Today I will practice patience with…

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Daily Zen
June 23, 2014

Cold Cliff’s remoteness is what I love
No one travels this way
Clouds lie around on the peaks
A lone gibbon howls on the ridge
What else do I cherish
It’s good to grow old content
Cold and heat change my appearance
The pearl of my mind stays safe

– Han shan

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Food for Thought
June 23
The Everlasting Arms

God moves, and yet He is always here. “Underneath are the everlasting arms.” Our former support systems failed us or proved inadequate. We overate because we had no firm ground of support to rely on.

Now we see that since our lives belong to a Higher Power, there is nothing temporal which can remove us from His care and protection. Whatever happens, the everlasting arms are there to uphold us. Knowing that, we no longer need to overeat. We are able to endure whatever comes, whether it is physical hunger, emotional anguish, or spiritual depression.

To experience God’s support, all we need to do is admit that we are powerless to sustain ourselves by our own efforts. What a relief not to have to depend on our own ego! If, when we are perplexed and upset, we will stop struggling and take time to be quiet, we will feel the inner peace and support which comes from our Higher Power. The everlasting arms are always here, underneath us.

I need You, Lord.

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Faith’s Check Book
June 23
The Enemy Frustrated

Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.
(2 Kings 19:32)

Neither did Sennacherib molest the city. He had boasted loudly, but he could not carry out his threats. The Lord is able to stop the enemies of His people in the very act. When the lion has the lamb between his jaws, the great Shepherd of the sheep can rob him of his prey. Our extremity only provides an opportunity for a grander display of divine power and wisdom.

In the case before us, the terrible foe did not put in an appearance before the city which he thirsted to destroy. No annoying arrow could he shoot over the walls, and no besieging engines could-he put to work to batter down the castles, and no banks could he cast up to shut in the inhabitants. Perhaps in our case also the Lord will prevent our adversaries from doing us the least harm. Certainly He can alter their intentions or render their designs so abortive that they will gladly forego them. Let us trust in the Lord and keep His way, and He will take care of us. Yea, He will fill us with wondering praise as we see the perfection of His deliverance.

Let us not fear the enemy till he actually comes, and then let us trust in the Lord.

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This Morning’s Meditation
June 23, 2014

“Ephraim is a cake not turned.”
—Hosea 7:8.

A cake not turned is uncooked on one side; and so Ephraim was, in many respects, untouched by divine grace: though there was some partial obedience, there was very much rebellion left. My soul, I charge thee, see whether this be thy case. Art thou thorough in the things of God? Has grace gone through the very centre of thy being so as to be felt in its divine operations in all thy powers, thy actions, thy words, and thy thoughts? To be sanctified, spirit, soul, and body, should be thine aim and prayer; and although sanctification may not be perfect in thee anywhere in degree, yet it must be universal in its action; there must not be the appearance of holiness in one place and reigning sin in another, else thou, too, wilt be a cake not turned.

A cake not turned is soon burnt on the side nearest the fire, and although no man can have too much religion, there are some who seem burnt black with bigoted zeal for that part of truth which they have received, or are charred to a cinder with a vainglorious Pharisaic ostentation of those religious performances which suit their humour. The assumed appearance of superior sanctity frequently accompanies a total absence of all vital godliness. The saint in public is a devil in private. He deals in flour by day and in soot by night. The cake which is burned on one side, is dough on the other.

If it be so with me, O Lord, turn me! Turn my unsanctified nature to the fire of Thy love and let it feel the sacred glow, and let my burnt side cool a little while I learn my own weakness and want of heat when I am removed from Thy heavenly flame. Let me not be found a double-minded man, but one entirely under the powerful influence of reigning grace; for well I know if I am left like a cake unturned, and am not on both sides the subject of Thy grace, I must be consumed for ever amid everlasting burnings.

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