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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – June 4

Just For Today
June 4
Build, Don’t Destroy

“Our negative sense of self has been replaced by a positive concern for others.”
Basic Text, p. 16

Spreading gossip feeds a dark hunger in us. Sometimes we think the only way we can feel good about ourselves is to make someone else look bad by comparison. But the kind of self-esteem that can be purchased at another’s expense is hollow and not worth the price.

How, then, do we deal with our negative sense of self? Simple. We replace it with a positive concern for others. Rather than dwell on our low self-esteem, we turn to those around us and seek to be of service to them. This may seem to be a way of avoiding the issue, but it’s not. There’s nothing we can do by dwelling on our low sense of self except work ourselves into a stew of self-pity. But by replacing our self-pity with active, loving concern for others, we become the kind of people we can respect.

The way to build our self-esteem is not to tear others down, but to build them up through love and positive concern. To help us with this, we can ask ourselves if we are contributing to the problem or to the solution. Today, we can choose to build instead of destroy.

Just for today: Though I may be feeling low, I don’t need to tear someone down to build myself up. Today, I will replace my negative sense of self with a positive concern for others. I will build, not destroy.

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Daily Reflections
June 4
LETTING GO OF OUR OLD SELVES

Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last. . . . Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things which we have admitted are objectionable?
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 75, 76

The Sixth Step is the last “preparation” Step. Although I have already used prayer extensively, I have made no formal request of my Higher Power in the first Six Steps. I have identified my problem, come to believe that there is a solution, made a decision to seek this solution, and have “cleaned house.” I now ask: Am I willing to live a life of sobriety, of change, to let go of my old self? I must determine if I am truly ready to change. I review what I have done and become willing for God to remove all my defects of character; for in the next Step, I will tell my Creator I am willing and will ask for help. If I have been thorough in the preparation of my foundation and feel that I am willing to change, I am then ready to continue with the next Step. “If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing.”
(Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 76)

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
June 4
A.A. Thought For The Day

Some things I like since becoming dry: feeling good in the morning; full use of my intelligence; joy in my work; the love and trust of my children; lack of remorse; the confidence of my friends; the prospect of a happy future; the appreciation of the beauties of nature; knowing what it is all about. I’m sure that I like these things, am I not?

Meditation For The Day

Molding your life means cutting and shaping your material into something good, something that can express the spiritual. All material things are the clay out of which we mold something spiritual. You must first recognize the selfishness in your desires and motives, actions and words, and then mold that selfishness until it is sublimated into a spiritual weapon for good. As the work of molding proceeds, you see more and more clearly what must be done to mold your life into something better.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may mold my life into something useful and good. I pray that I may not be discouraged by the slow progress that I make.

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As Bill Sees It
June 4
Built by the One and the Many, p. 155

We give thanks to our Heavenly Father, who, through so many friends and through so many means and channels, has allowed us to construct this wonderful edifice of the spirit in which we are now dwelling–this cathedral whose foundations already rest upon the corners of the earth.

On its great floor we have inscribed our Twelve Steps of recovery. On the side walls, the buttresses of the A.A. Traditions have been set in place to contain us in unity for as long as God may will it so. Eager hearts and hands have lifted the spire of our cathedral into its place.  That spire bears the name of service. May it ever point straight upward toward God.

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

“It is not only to the few that we owe the remarkable developments in our unity and in our ability to carry A.A.’s message everywhere. It is to the many, indeed, it is to the labors of all of us that we owe these prime blessings.”

1. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 234
2. Talk, 1959

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Walk in Dry Places
June 4
Needing to receive credit
Humility

“Is it wrong to want credit for the good things I do?” a person asked at a 12 Step meeting.

“Why do people say my ego is showing just because I feel I should get proper credit?”

We should, indeed, receive the right amount of praise and recognition for the good things we do. We have to remember, however, that we’re trying to get this from human beings… many of whom are poorly informed or indifferent. Whatever credit we receive will be influenced by others perceptions. Sometimes we will be praised too lavishly: at other times, insufficiently.

But the real question is not whether others give us the right amount of praise or credit. The question we should really ask is why we need such recognition. If we are doing a good thing or have made progress, isn’t that sufficient reward? What can receiving credit do for us that we do not already have?

I’ll take as my guide today the belief that right action is its own reward. I do not need credit or recognition from others, although I’ll appreciate it if it comes.

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Keep It Simple
June 4

We cannot solve life’s problems except by solving them.
—M. Scott Peck

Before getting into the program, we ran from problems at all costs. As time went on, we had more problems. As our problems grew, we became afraid of life.

The program—the Twelve Steps—teaches us how to face and solve our problem. We stop running and stand up to problems. That way, life’s problems scare us less and less over time.

In fact, life’s problems help us better know our Higher Power and ourselves. We now know our Higher Power is with us every step of the way.

Prayer for the Day: I pray for the courage to stand and face life’s problems. I pray for the wisdom to ask my Higher Power for help.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list all problems I now have. I will talk about them with friends and with my Higher Power. I will make plans to solve them (sometimes solving problems means accepting them).

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Each Day a New Beginning
June 4

We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.
—Anne Frank

Happiness feels so close and yet so far away. Perhaps we look to a person for it, or to a job, or a new winter coat. We deserve happiness, we know. Yet, we learn so slowly that happiness can only be found within. The person leaves; the job goes sour; the new coat is quickly out of style. Elusive, all of them.

But the happiness that comes from knowing who we are and how our lives fit in the grand design of the Creator, never eludes us. We are one of a kind. And there is no other who can offer to the world of friends just what each of us can. We are needed, and knowing that, really knowing it, brings happiness.

Before we found this program, we no doubt failed to realize our worth. We can celebrate it now. We can glory in our worth, our specialness, and we can cherish the design. We can cherish our parts and cherish the part each other person plays.

Combined, we are as one big orchestra. The conductor reads the music and directs the movements. Being in tune with the conductor feels good. I can call it happiness. All I need do is play my part.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
June 4
Our Southern Friend

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

We are staying with my wife’s father. Her mother is in critical condition at a hospital. The wind is moaning in the pine trees. I cannot sleep. I must get myself together. I sneak down stairs and get a bottle of whiskey from the cellaret. I pour drinks down my throat. My father-in-law appears. “Have a drink?” I ask. He makes no reply, and hardly seems to see me. His wife dies that night.

p. 212

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
June 4

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

Much the same approach will apply at the office or factory. We shall at once think of a few people who know all about our drinking, and who have been most affected by it. But even in these cases, we may need to use a little more discretion than we did with the family. We may not want to say anything for several weeks, or longer. First we will wish to be reasonably certain that we are on the A.A. beam. Then we are ready to go to these people, to tell them what A.A. is, and what we are trying to do. Against this background we can freely admit the damage we have done and make our apologies. We can pay, or promise to pay, whatever obligations, financial or otherwise, we owe. The generous response of most people to such quiet sincerity will often astonish us. Even our severest and most justified critics will frequently meet us more than halfway on the first trial.

p. 84

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Xtra Thoughts
June 4

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.
–Paulo Coelho

You’re never fully dressed without a smile!
–Anon

God gets our attention in a lot of different ways. For a great many of us, it was through accident or illness, coming close to death. All of us come to this program frightened for our life or our sanity or both. God has our attention.

And now we are learning about the spiritual aspect of our life, the one we had so long neglected. Now we are partaking of God’s love—soul food—and discovering that the spiritual life is fuller and more rewarding than anything we thought possible. Nothing we do to please our body can compare to the joy of unconditional love. When we lend a loving hand to anyone, we realize once again that the pain we suffered was worth it to bring us to this awareness.

Today I will look for ways to help others—-and bless my soul!
–Passing It On

“We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.”
–Samuel Smiles

Some tension is necessary for the soul to grow, and we can put that tension to good use. We can look for every opportunity to give and receive love, to appreciate nature, to heal our wounds and the wounds of others, to forgive, and to serve.
–Joan Borysenko

A life lived in love, goodness, and oneness with God is a life full of joy.  A soul that lives such a life is a soul that grows ever more beautiful.  May your life be joyous then and may your soul’s beauty shine on forever.
–Joseph J. Mazzella

The soul is made of love and must ever strive to return to love.  Therefore, it can never find rest nor happiness in other things. It must lose itself in love. By its very nature it must seek God, who is love.
–Mechthild of Magdenburg

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
June 4
PROFIT

“What is a man to profit if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
–Jesus (Mt. 16:26)

Spirituality brings with it a sense of priority in my life: first things first. Unless I discover me and have a love and respect for me, I have nothing to offer in this world. I am the center of my universe and through my life God is radiated. I am a part of God’s creative plan and the pleasures of this world must be seen as secondary to my developing a right relationship with God.

My disease of obsession and compulsion wants me to place other things at the center of my life: food, alcohol, drugs, people, money, success, achievement and ego.

My spiritual program reminds me that my love of self is shown in my refusal of the first drink. If I am healthy, I can have the world; without me, I can have nothing!

Let me find Your Kingdom that is within.

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Bible Scriptures
June 4

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help.”  You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.
Psalm 30:1-3;10-12

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Daily Inspiration
June 4

The more you think about the little difficulties in life, the bigger they become and still nothing is resolved. Lord, may I let go of those problems that I cannot solve and resolve quickly those things that I can.

It is important to remember that different can be better. Lord, as I resist change and cling to the familiar, help me to remember that Your plan is perfect and will truly make me happy.

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One Day At A Time
June 4
FOURTH STEP SECRETS

“These are weighty secrets and we must whisper them.”
–Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (Susan Coolidge)

When I came to the Recovery Group, I was wearing the pain of a lifetime of well-kept secrets – secrets about a childhood of poverty and secrets about a difficult marriage. No one ever saw my secret pain; I never shared it with anyone. But all could see the effects of the food I used as a coping mechanism.

Because of my willingness “to do whatever it takes,” I shared these secrets with the person who took my 5th step. I later shared it with my sponsor and some of them later with a sponsee during her 5th step. Sharing this pain the first two times was like the bursting of a painful abscess, with poison being released. The poison that kept me living in resentful, negative thinking has been gradually replaced with gratitude for what I had and now have, and with the ability to experience joy in my many, many blessings.

One day at a time…
I will experience gratitude for the gifts I was given in my 4th and 5th steps and for the gifts of this program.

~ Karen A.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day June 4

“Wakan Tanka never stops creating.”
–Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA

The Medicine Wheel teaches about change. It says that which is created will fall apart; that which is loose, will be used to create new. In other words, everything on Earth is participating in a constant change that is being directed by an order of laws and principles which were originated by the Great Spirit. We humans are equipped with natural change abilities. We have the ability to vision; we can use imagination and imagery; we can change belief, attitude, habits, and expectations. We need to know ourselves and we need to know how we work inside to enable us to change naturally.

Great Spirit, teach me to change in harmony.

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Journey To The Heart
June 4
Let Joy Find You

Somewhere along my journey it happened. Quietly, imperceptibly, almost without my knowing it. I relaxed. Got comfortable with myself. I began enjoying myself, accepting life. Liking life. I found joy.

Somewhere along your journey it will happen to you.

Joy is a gift. It appears imperceptibly, without warning, like a morning sunrise lighting our bedroom while we sleep. And it is almost as predictable. Keep doing the activities that bring healing and growth into your life. Keep loving yourself. Keep walking your path. Continue loving.

Don’t worry about finding joy. Because somewhere along your journey, joy will find you.

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Today’s Gift
June 4

“Oh, ’tis love, ’tis love, that makes the world go round! Somebody said,” Alice whispered, “that it’s done by everybody minding their own business. Ah well! It means much the same thing.”
—Lewis Carroll

No one helps a caterpillar become a butterfly. First it must crawl through the leaves as a many-legged creature, and then it weaves its own cocoon. Nature does its slow, daily work inside the cocoon and one day a butterfly emerges – and each butterfly is a different shape and color. No other creature can step in and speed up this process without hurting the butterfly.

Sometimes we humans confuse love with playing the part of God. We think we can speed up the natural growth of people around us. We interfere by telling them to do what we think best.

Sometimes the greatest love we can offer is to accept our loved ones the way they are. We need to remember that each caterpillar weaves a cocoon in its own time and becomes a butterfly in its own way. The wisdom of the universe is greater than our own.

How will I show my acceptance of others today?

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The Language of Letting Go
June 4
Trusting God

A married couple, friends of mine, decided to make some changes in their living situation. They had always lived in the city, and now they decided they wanted to live in the country, on a lake.

They found a small lake home. It wasn’t the house of their dreams, but when they sold their city home, they would have money to remodel it. They had saved some money, so they moved into their lake home before selling their city home.

One year passed, and the city home didn’t sell. My friends went through many changes during this time. They had times of patience and impatience. Some days they trusted God; other days they couldn’t figure out why God was making them wait so long, why God wouldn’t let them move forward with their plan. The doors just wouldn’t swing wide open.

One day, a neighbor came to visit my friends. His home on the lake was my friends’ dream home — everything they wanted, plus more. The first time my friends saw this house, they admired it, wishing they could have a home just like it, but then they forgot about the idea. They didn’t believe it could ever be possible.

The reason the neighbor came to visit my friends was that he and his wife had decided to move. He offered my friends the first option on purchasing his home.

My friends accepted his offer, and signed a purchase agreement. Within two months, they sold their city home and their small but adequate lake home. A short time later, they moved into the home of their dreams.

Sometimes, we experience times of frustration in our life. We believe we’re on track, trusting God and ourselves, yet things don’t work out. We have false starts and stops. The door refuses to swing wide open. We may wonder if God has abandoned us, or doesn’t care. We may not understand where we’re going, or what our direction is.

Then one day we see: the reason we didn’t get what we wanted was because God had something much better planned for us.

Today, I will practice patience. I will ask, and trust, my Higher Power to send me His best.

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More Language Of Letting Go
June 4
Stop trying so hard

Stop trying to force and make things happen. Don’t you see that by pushing so hard, you’re sabotaging yourself.

There’s another way, a better way.

Surrender– not to the way you want things to be, but to the way things are, right now. Sometimes that means we surrender to loneliness, defeat, confusion, and helplessness. Sometimes that means we don’t get what we want today. Instead we get what we have today.

We’re not in control of many things and circumstances in this world. By forcing things, we often disconnect from our true power, instead of aligning with it.

Maybe something has to happen first, before you can get what you want or do what you want. Maybe there’s an important lesson you’re trying to skip. Maybe it’s not time. Stop trying so hard to push and force, to make it happen. Stop trying to do the impossible, and instead do what you can do– surrender to the way things are.

Then watch how naturally the impossible falls into place.

God, help me stop trying so hard to force things into place. Help me remember that all is well.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
June 4

I will thank you because I am marvelously made; your works are wonderful, and I know it well.
—Psalms 139:14

Some days we feel bad about ourselves. Perhaps there is no real reason except a mood has come over us. Moodiness is a remnant of our past. Or perhaps we feel guilty or ashamed or hurt. We feel blue. We feel grouchy toward ourselves or toward others around us and the world.

This is a time to turn it over to our Higher Power. We are children of the universe. We are loved. Our Creator has endowed us with marvelous strengths and potentials. Today may be a day we allow ourselves to be carried along by the love of our Higher Power. If we reach out we will feel the presence of the spirit in our contact with other people. We need not try so hard. We only need to pray for openness within ourselves to feel the love of God.

I pray for help today to renew the feeling within that God loves me and never abandons me.

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Daily TAO
June 4
Enjoyment

Sleek sky of cobalt blue;
Water like nectar satisfies deeply.
Air sweeter than the best perfume;
Sunlight warms a grateful cat.

It is hard to believe life is all for naught. Can’t we take happiness when it comes?

There is admittedly a great deal of suffering and horror in this world. But if we are to accept life’s sad parts, we must also embrace its good parts. As long as we are in this world, we must accept it all. If what comes our way is occasionally wonderful, no one should deny our enjoyment. We all know that every rise is followed by a fall. Why dwell only on dread of the future? As long as we have behaved responsibly, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the best of what life has to offer.

Look at a cat as she stretches out contentedly in the sun. There is no thought of the next moment, only the sheer enjoyment of the present. Rest assured that she will still be able to clean herself, still be able to catch mice, and still be able to do all the things that a cat must do. But she is without anxieties, and so she is purely and totally who she should be. She acts as if she were nature’s favorite. And who is to say otherwise?

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