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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – June 3

Just For Today
June 3
Direct And Indirect Amends

“We make our amends to the best of our ability.”
– Basic Text, p. 40

The Ninth Step tells us to make direct amends wherever possible. Our experience tells us to follow up those direct amends with long – lasting changes in our attitudes and our behavior – that is, with indirect amends. For example, say we’ve broken someone’s window because we were angry. Looking soulfully into the eyes of the person whose window we’ve broken and apologizing would not be sufficient. We directly amend the wrong we’ve done by admitting it and replacing the window – we mend what we have damaged.

Then, we follow up our direct amends with indirect amends. If we’ve acted out on our anger, breaking someone’s window, we examine the patterns of our behavior and our attitudes. After we repair the broken window, we seek to repair our broken attitudes as well – we try to “mend our ways.”We modify our behavior, and make a daily effort not to act out on our anger.

We make direct amends by repairing the damage we do. We make indirect amends by repairing the attitudes that cause us to do damage in the first place, helping insure we won’t cause further damage in the future.

Just for today: I will make direct amends, wherever possible. I will also make indirect amends, “mending my ways,”changing my attitudes, and altering my behavior.

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Daily Reflections
June 3
ON A WING AND A PRAYER

. . . . we then look at Step Six. We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 76

Steps Four and Five were difficult, but worthwhile. Now I was stuck on Step Six and, in despair, I picked up the Big Book and read this passage. I was outside, praying for willingness, when I raised my eyes and saw a huge bird rising in the sky. I watched it suddenly give itself up to the powerful air currents of the mountains. Swept along, swooping and soaring, the bird did things seemingly impossible for mortal birds to do. It was an inspiring example of a fellow creature “letting go” to a power greater than itself. I realized that if the bird “took back his will” and tried to fly with less trust, on its power alone, it would spoil its apparent free flight. That insight granted me the willingness to pray the Seventh Step prayer.

It’s not easy to know God’s will in each circumstance. I must search out and be ready for the currents, and that’s where prayer and meditation help! Because I am, of myself, nothing, I ask God to grant me the knowledge of His will and the power and courage to carry it out – today.

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

Some more things I do not miss since becoming dry: running all over town to find a bar open to get that “pick-me-up”; meeting my friends and trying to cover up that I feel awful; looking at myself in a mirror and calling myself a dam* fool; struggling with myself to snap out of it for two or three days; wondering what it is all about. I’m positive I don’t miss these things, am I not?

Meditation For The Day

Love is the power that transforms your life. Try to love your family and your friends and then try to love everybody that you possibly can, even the “sinners and publicans” everybody. Love for God is an even greater thing. it is the result of gratitude to God and it is the acknowledgment of the blessing that God has sent you. Love for God acknowledges His gifts and leaves the way open for God to shower yet more blessings on your thankful heart.  Say “Thank you, God,” until it becomes a habit.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may try to love God and all people. I pray that I may continually thank God for all His blessings.

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As Bill Sees It
June 3
Relapses–and the Group, p. 154

An early fear was that of slips or relapses. At first nearly every alcoholic we approached began to slip, if indeed he sobered up at all.  Others would stay dry six months or maybe a year and then take a skid. This was always a genuine catastrophe. We would all look at each other and say, “Who next?”

Today, though slips are a very serious difficulty, as a group we take them in stride. Fear has evaporated. Alcohol always threatens the individual, but we know that it cannot destroy the common welfare.

<< << << >> >> >>

“It does not seem to pay to argue with ‘slippers’ about the proper method of getting dry. After all, why should people who are drinking tell people who are dry how it should be done?

“Just kid the boys along–ask them if they are having fun. If they are too noisy or troublesome, amiably keep out of their way.”

1. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 97
2. Letter, 1942

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Walk in Dry Places
June 3
Self-help or Mutual Aid?
Assisting others.

The Twelve step movement is sometimes called a self-help program. This falls short of describing what it really is. Mutual Aid might be a better term.

Self-help implies that an individual will help himself or herself. Mutual aid is a much different sort of thing. With mutual aid, we do help ourselves, but we hve found that the best way to do this is by helping each other. Self-help says, “I can do it,” where as mutual aid says… “WE can do it.”

We should not dismiss the idea of self-help or of doing one’s best in achieving self-improvement. We must know, however, that we need the assistance and loving help of others for our highest growth. There are times when we will feel helpless and alone. That’s when mutal aid will carry the day for us and perhaps even save our lives.

I’ll realize today that I have a bond with others and that I can achieve my highest good only in mutual service with them.

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Keep It Simple
June 3

When I have listened to my mistakes, I have grown.
—Hugh Prather

Everyone makes mistakes. We all know that. So why is it so hard to admit out own? We seem to think we have to be prefect. We have a hard time looking at our mistakes. But our mistakes can be very good teachers. Our Twelve Step program helps us learn and grow from our mistakes. In Step Four, half of our work is to think of our mistakes. In step Five, we admit our mistakes to God, ourselves, and another person. We learn, we grow and become whole. All by coming to know our mistakes The gift of recovery is not being free from mistakes. Instead, we do the Steps to claim our mistakes and talk about them. We find the gift of recovery when we learn from our mistakes.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to see my mistakes as changes to get to know myself better.

Action for the Day: Today I’ll talk to a friend about what my mistakes taught me. Today I’ll feel less shame.

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Each Day a New Beginning
June 3

Follow your dream . . . take one-step at a time and don’t settle for less, just continue to climb.
—Amanda Bradley

Dreams are common to us all. Dreams are special as well. We probably keep to ourselves many of our dreams for fear of derision or misunderstanding. Oftentimes we may have selectively shared some dreams, those we figured would get approval. The ones closest and dearest to us, the ones we feel most vulnerable about, we may choose to treasure to our hearts only, sometimes thinking, “If only you knew,” sometimes wondering if we are being silly.

We are coming to believe that our dreams are spirit-filled. They are gifts to encourage us. Like a ship at sea needing a “heading” to move forward, our dreams lend direction to our lives. Our frustration may be that we can’t realize a dream without many steps and much time. But life is a process of steps. Success in anything comes inch-by-inch, stroke-by-stroke, step after step.

My dreams today are meant to guide me. I will take a first step toward making the dream a reality.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
June 3
Our Southern Friend

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

I call the boot-legger and fill up my charred keg. But I do not wait for the charred keg to work. I get drunk. My wife is extremely unhappy. Her father comes to sit with me. He never says an unkind word. He is a real friend but I do not appreciate him.

p. 212

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
June 3

Step Nine – “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Most of us begin making certain kinds of direct amends from the day we join Alcoholics Anonymous. The moment we tell our families that we are really going to try the program, the process has begun. In this area there are seldom any questions of timing or caution. We want to come in the door shouting the good news. After coming from our first meeting, or perhaps after we have finished reading the book “Alcoholics Anonymous,” we usually want to sit down with some member of the family and readily admit the damage we have done by our drinking. Almost always we want to go further and admit other defects that have made us hard to live with. This will be a very different occasion, and in sharp contrast with those hangover mornings when we alternated between reviling ourselves and blaming the family (and everyone else) for our troubles. At this first sitting, it is necessary only that we make a general admission of our defects. It may be unwise at this stage to rehash certain harrowing episodes. Good judgment will suggest that we ought to take our time. While we may be quite willing to reveal the very worst, we must be sure to remember that we cannot buy our own peace of mind at the expense of others.

pp. 83-84

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Xtra Thoughts
June 3

What we give to others, we give to ourselves. What we withhold from others, we withhold from ourselves. In any moment, when we choose fear instead of love, we deny ourselves the experience of Paradise.
–Marianne Williamson

When we’re facing challenges, the ego is very seductive in trying to get us to think thoughts about “look what’s happening to me.” It is our spiritual work to keep returning again and again to God and asking, “Is my heart clear? Can I see this with love? I want to go through this with God’s presence.” And over time, Spirit can make any mess into a miracle.
–Mary Manin Morrissey

Many of us grew up in dysfunctional families, because modern society is a dysfunctional place. But the spiritual journey, the path of recovery and personal growth, is a detoxification process in which we bring up and out the negative beliefs we have carried with us from the past and that now poison the present.
–Marianne Williamson

“Don’t just do something, sit there! Sit there long enough each morning to decide what is really important during the day ahead.”
–Richard Eyre

You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.
–Oliver Goldsmith

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
June 3
DREAMS

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
–Thomas Jefferson

I am an optimist. I believe that things are getting better day by day.  Today I believe that what happened yesterday need not happen today or tomorrow. Dreams can come true. I know this to be true. Today I have dreams. Today I have a hope for my life and on a daily basis it is coming true. My life is becoming more meaningful. Today my dreams have coincided with God’s dream for me.

Now I love myself enough to speak out for me – and it feels good. Now my decision to embrace the spiritual life is not dependent upon others.  Today I can dream to be me.

Help me to dream with my feet firmly on the ground.

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Bible Scriptures
June 3

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.
James 4:10

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11 28-30

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
Job 8:21

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Daily Inspiration
June 3

The more peaceful you become, the easier time you will have living. Lord, bring my life back into perspective.

You can never sincerely help others without also helping yourself. Lord, Your generosity touches every part of my life even when I least expect it. May I not let it go unnoticed and not give thanks.

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One More Day
June 3

There are no gains without pain.
— Adlai Stevenson

Parents often are surprised that their children seem to change before their very eyes. The same is true in how we deal with each day. It was frightening when we experienced the toppling of many parts of our lives which had given us comfort and which we had expected to continue to comfort us. We may have initially thought that we’d never be able to reconstruct a productive life.

But we have been able to rebuild our lives. Like toddlers, we have taken a few small steps forward each day. Day after day, we’ve strengthened ourselves by making steady, but small, advances. Step by step we’ve re-created our lives, often without recognizing our growth. Then, suddenly, we look at our lives, and we are amazed at how far we’ve come. Amazed — and proud.

Today, I will take time to measure my growth, both emotionally and spiritually.

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A Day At A Time
June 3, 2011

Reflection For The Day

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise, “wrote Thomas Merton, “we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” As I replace my self-destructive addictions, with a healthy dependence on The Program and its Twelve Steps, I’m finding that the barriers of silence and hatred are melting away. By accepting each other as we are, we have learned again to love. Do I care enough about others in The Program to continue working with them as long as necessary?

Today I Pray

May I be selfless enough to love people as they are, not as I want them to be, as they mirror my image or feed my ego. May I slow down in my eagerness to love — now that I am capable of feeling love again — and ask myself if I really love someone or only that someone’s idea of me. May I remove the “self” from my loving.

Today I Will Remember

Love is unconditional.

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One Day At A Time
June 3
EXPERIENCE, STRENGTH AND HOPE

“Experience is not what happens to you.  It is what you do with what happens to you.”
–Aldous Huxley

Every day is filled with experiences. I can choose to let them pass me by, or I can allow myself to learn lessons from them. It is easy to let the day pass by quickly and virtually unlived. If I refuse to stay in the present moment and choose rather to be filled with resentment, stuck in the past, filled with fear, or stuck in the future, life truly does pass me by. My experience truly has no value. But if I choose to learn lessons, stay in the present moment, and remain connected to my Higher Power, my day becomes experience, strength and hope.

Since coming to the program I have learned that I can share my experience, strength and hope in so many ways. A call to or from an OA friend gives me an opportunity to give and receive experience, strength and hope. I hear experience, strength and hope shared daily as I attend meetings. People share not only what has happened to them, but the great lessons that they have allowed their Higher Power to teach them. This is such an honor to be part of, an honor that I would not want to miss. I give and receive my experience, strength and hope on the loops where I share — and receive shares — on a daily basis. I am blessed to be a part of strong loops with great recovery and sharing. My sponsors frequently share their experience, strength and hope with me. I am privileged to have two sponsors with quality recovery who are members of The Recovery Group. I am so grateful for their input in my life and recovery. They have been such an important part of my life lessons. Every source of experience, stren th and hope in my life gives me more encouragement to learn new lessons with every experience I have every day.

One day at a time…
I will find every opportunity to share my experience, strength and hope.

~ Carolyn H.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day June 3

“IN THE BEGINNING were the Instructions… The Instruction was to live in a good way and be respectful to everybody and everything.”
–Vickie Downey, TEWA/Tesuque Pueblo

A long time ago, in the beginning, the Creator gave to all people and to all things the Wisdom and the knowledge of how to live in harmony. Some tribes call these teachings the original Instructions, the original teachings, or the Great Laws. All of Nature still lives and survives according to these teachings. In modern times, human beings are searching for the Instructions. Many churches claim they have these Instructions. Where are these teachings? The Instructions are written in our hearts.

Great Spirit, today, whisper to me the secrets of the original Instructions.

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Journey To The Heart
June 3
Transcend Your Judgements

“Not judging people is really a practical issue,” a friend explained. “Everybody does something they could be judged for. If we start judging, we’ll spend all our time doing that.”

My friend was right. But not judging is more than a practical matter, it is a spiritual issue as well.

I used to spend a lot of time judging other people. I used to think the world was divided into right and wrong. I thought judging others would help me stay clear on the difference; I thought judging was my job. Now I’ve learned something new about judgements and about myself. Judging others is what I do when I feel afraid, insecure, and limited. Judging others is something I do when I am afraid to love, when I can’t accept love because I can’t accept myself. And most important, I’ve learned that judging others is not my job. When I judge others, I judge myself.

Yes, there are issues we need to work on. Many of us have quirks we may live with most or all of our lives. But judging doesn’t help. Judgements limit us. Judgements condemn. They say, My past is not as it should be. I’m wrong. My life is wrong. Judgements put us in prison, no matter where we are.

Judgements come from the head. Freedom and love come from the heart. Transcending judgements will set you free. Learn to look at yourself in love– who you are, where you are, where you’ve been. Learn to look at others with love,too.

When we accept others with freedom and love, we accept ourselves.

Judgements put up barriers. Transcend your judgements, and you’ll be free.

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Today’s Gift
June 3

Men will find that they can prepare with mutual aid far more easily what they need and avoid far more easily the perils which beset them on all sides, by united forces.
—Baruch Spinoza

Three travelers stopped in a small town on their way to the city. They had tents to sleep in, but no food or money. They knocked on doors asking for a little food, but the people were poor, with little to eat and nothing to spare.

Cheerfully, they returned to their camp and built a fire. “What are you doing?” asked a bystander, “Building a fire with nothing to cook?”

“But we do have something to cook!” they said. “Our favorite dish, stone soup. We only need a pot.”

“I think I can find one,” said one of the bystanders, and she ran home to fetch it.

When she returned, the travelers filled the pot with water and placed two large stones in it. “This will be the finest soup we’ve ever made!” said the first traveler. “I agree,” said the second, “but don’t you think it would taste better with a cabbage in it?”

“I think I can find one,” said another bystander. And so it went the whole afternoon until, by evening, the travelers had a hearty, fragrant feast, which they shared with the hungry townspeople.

What can I do with help today, that I couldn’t do alone?

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The Language of Letting Go
June 3, 2011
Charity

We need healthy boundaries about receiving money, and we need healthy boundaries about giving money. Some of us give money for inappropriate reasons.

We may be ashamed because we have money and don’t believe we deserve it. We may belong to an organization that uses shame as a form of control to coerce us out of our money that the organization wants.

We can get hooked into giving money to our children, family members, or friends because we have earned or unearned guilt. We allow ourselves to be financially blackmailed, sometimes by the people we love. This is not money freely given, or given in health.

Some of us give money out of a sense of caretaking. We may have exaggerated feelings of responsibility for others, including financial responsibility.

We may be giving simply because we have not learned to own our power to say no when the answer is no.

Some of us give because we hope or believe people will love us if we take care of them financially.

We do not have to give money to anyone. Giving money is our choice. We do not have to allow ourselves to be victimized, manipulated, or coerced out of our money. We are financially responsible for ourselves. Part of being healthy is allowing those around us to be financially responsible for themselves.

We do not have to be ashamed about having the money that we earn; we deserve to have it – whatever the amount – without feeling obligated to give it all away, or guilty because others want what we have.

Charity is a blessing. Giving is part of healthy living. We can learn to develop healthy boundaries around giving.

Today, I will strive to begin developing healthy boundaries about giving money. I understand that giving is my choice.

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More Language Of Letting Go
June 3
Say relax when you start to worry

Sometimes we tire ourselves out before we have even begun. We struggle and wrestle with our spirit before finally consenting, giving in, and deciding to walk our path. Then when we start, we wonder why we’re so tired.

Why do these things happen to me? What will happen if I try this idea? Where will I go if she leaves me? How will I live without him? What if I don’t do it right? What if?

The path is sometimes uphill. Walk up the hill. Sometimes we have to go around an obstacle. Go around it. When we spend time and energy fussing, complaining, and questioning the road before us, we rob energy from ourselves– energy that could be better spent on the journey.

Relax. Accept the path before you. A flat path would be boring. If we could see all the way to the end of the road from where we are standing, then what would be the point of walking it? Quit fighting the journey and start enjoying it.

God, keep me from the exhausting practice of worry and resentment. Let me trust in you and the universe.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
June 3, 2011

Almost anything you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
—Mohandas Gandhi

Looking back at yesterday, looking at today, what sense do we have of progress in our growth? Probably nothing very significant. Sometimes it is amazing how little a person can accomplish in a day’s efforts. Yet, what alternative do we have? Only that we could do nothing. Or worse, we could return to our old ways.

Gandhi, one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the twentieth century, said he felt that almost anything one can do will be insignificant. Yet to do something is very important. Each day, each chance is small but takes us in a direction. When we look back over the last month or last year, we may see that only remaining faithful to our program, one day at a time, has carried us a very long way. The kind of person we each become is just as important as what we accomplish in the world around us.

May I learn to have patience with the insignificant moments in the present. They are very important indeed.

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Daily TAO
June 3
SHEATHS

Outside is form,
Inside is thought.
Deepest is the soul.

Traditional sages describe a human being as having three sheaths. The outer one is the physical body and incorporates primitive drives and instincts. The inner one is the mind and includes discrimination, reasoning, and sense of individuality.

Both the body and the mind are enslaved to the outer world because they gain their knowledge from sensory input. They cannot know anything “intangible,” anything without a form or a name.

At the core of every person is the soul. This is a pure, virgin self. It does not think in the ordinary sense of the word, has no egotism, and is not concerned with maintaining itself in the world. Although the body has a shape and the mind is multi-faceted, the soul is completely without form or features. No markings, profiles, names, formulas, numbers, ideas, or conceptions can be projected upon it. It is pure, shapeless, and empty.

Any person with training can reach this soul. Only then can you be convinced of its presence. When you reach it, your body and mind will become irrelevant, for you are now in a state beyond the senses and beyond thought. The soul is called absolute because it is beyond all relativity.

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