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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – June 9

Just For Today
June 9
Old Dreams Needn’t Die

“Lost dreams awaken and new possibilities arise.”
Basic Text, p. 88

Most of us had dreams when we were young. Whether we dreamed of a dynamic career, a large and loving family, or travels abroad, our dreams died when our addiction took hold. Anything we ever wanted for ourselves was cast away in our pursuit of drugs. Our dreams didn’t go beyond the next drug and the euphoria we hoped it would bring.

Now in recovery, we find a reason to hope that our lost dreams could still come true. No matter how old we are, how much our addiction has taken from us, or how unlikely it may seem, our freedom from active addiction gives us the freedom to pursue our ambitions. We may discover that we’re very talented at something, or find a hobby we love, or learn that continuing our education can bring remarkable rewards.

We used to put most of our energy into spinning excuses and rationalizations for our failures. Today, we go forward and make use of the many opportunities life presents to us. We may be amazed at what we’re capable of. With our foundation of recovery, success, fulfillment, and satisfaction are within our reach at last.

Just for today: Starting today, I’ll do whatever I can to realize my dreams.

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Daily Reflections
June 9
LIVING IN THE NOW

First, we try living in the now just in order to stay sober — and it works. Once the idea has become a part of our thinking, we find that living life in 24 hour segments is an effective and satisfying way to handle many other matters as well.
LIVING SOBER, p. 7

“One Day At A Time.” To a newcomer this and other one-liners of A.A. may seem ridiculous. The passwords of the A.A. Fellowship can become lifelines in moments of stress. Each day can be like a rose unfurling according to the plan of a Power greater than myself. My program should be planted in the right location, just as it will need to be groomed, nourished, and protected from disease. My planting will require patience, and my realizing that some flowers will be more perfect than others. Each stage of the petals’ unfolding can bring wonder and delight if I do not interfere or let my expectations override my acceptance — and this brings serenity.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
June 9
A.A. Thought For The Day

We finally came to the bottom. We did not have to be financially broke, although many of us were. But we were spiritually bankrupt.  We had a soul-sickness, a revulsion against ourselves and against our way of living. Life had become impossible for us. We had to end it all or do something about it. Am I glad I did something about it?

Meditation For The Day

Faith is not seeing, but believing. I am in a box of space and time and cannot see spacelessness or eternity. But God is not within the shell of time and space. He is timeless and spaceless. He cannot be fully comprehended by our finite minds. But we must try to make a union between our purposes and the purposes of God. By trying to merge our minds with the mind of God, a oneness of purpose results. This oneness of purpose puts us in harmony with God and others. Evil comes from being in disharmony with God and good comes from being in harmony with Him.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be in harmony with God. I pray that I may get into the stream of goodness in the universe.

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As Bill Sees It
June 9
The Rationalizers and the Self-Effacing, p. 160

We alcoholics are the biggest rationalizers in the world. Fortified with the excuse that we are doing great things for A.A., we can, through broken anonymity, resume our old and disastrous pursuit of personal power and prestige, public honors, and money–the same implacable urges that, when frustrated, once caused us to drink.

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

Dr. Bob was essentially a far more humble person than I, and anonymity came rather easily to him. When it was sure that he was mortally afflicted, some of his friends suggested that there should be a monument erected in honor of him and his wife, Anne–befitting a founder and his lady. Telling me about this, Dr. Bob grinned broadly and said, “God bless ‘em. They mean well. But let’s you and me get buried just like other folks.”

In the Akron cemetery where Dr. Bob and Anne lie, the simple stone says not a word about A.A. This final example of self-effacement is of more permanent worth to A.A. than any amount of public attention or any great monument.

A.A. Comes Of Age
1. pp. 292-293
2. pp. 136-137

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Walk in Dry Places
June 9
Do I feel uneasy?
Serenity

When facing difficult situations, we can expect to feel a certain amount of discomfort. What’s more often a problem for compulsive people is being tense and apprehensive even when things seem to be going well.

Although many explanations are offered for this unpleasant feeling, the solution is to be found in the 12 Steps. The more secure we feel in our program, the less apprehension we’ll have in facing the problems of living. With the program as our foundation, we will continue to develop more self-assurance as we go along.

We may not immediately find this self-assurance, yet we should not hold back from normal duties and responsibilities. Most of the world’s work and accomplishments are undertaken by people who do not necessarily feel confident and self-assured all the time. Why should it be any different for us?

Whether I feel confident or not, I’ll do my best today. I know that my fellowship, my program, and my Higher Power are fully supporting me.

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Keep It Simple
June 9

Anyone can blame; it takes a specialist to praise.
—Konstantin Stanislawski

Are we blamers? We sure were blamers when we were using alcohol and other drugs. Then everything was someone’s fault. Some of us did our blaming out loud. And some of us blamed others silently.

It’s harder to praise than to blame people. Faults stand out like street

signs, but the good things about people may be harder to see. We can see the good in people when we slow down, watch, and listen.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me pay attention to people around me. Help me praise them.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list three people who mean a lot to me. I’ll write what I like about each of them. I’ll talk to them and tell them what I wrote.

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Each Day a New Beginning
June 9

Many of us achieve only the semblance of communication with others; what we say is often not contingent on what the other has just said, and neither of us is aware that we are not communicating.
—Desy Safan-Gerard

When we don’t listen fully to each other, when we don’t revere the Spirit within others that’s trying to talk to us, we destroy the connection that wants to be made between our Spirits. Our inner selves have messages to give and messages to receive for the good of all. Our ego selves often keep us from hearing the very words that would unravel a problem in our lives.

How hard it is, how often, to be still and to fully listen to the words, rather than the person. How much more familiar it is to filter the message with our own ongoing inner dialogue-our own ongoing continual assessment of another’s personhood at the very time our higher power is trying to reach us through them.

There really are no wasted words. Messages are everywhere. We can learn to listen.

I will hear just what I need to hear today. I will open myself fully to the words.

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Alcoholics Anonymous – Fourth Edition
June 9
Our Southern Friend

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

Four alcoholics play bridge in a smoke-filled room. Anything to get my mind from myself. The game is over and the other three leave. I start to clean up the debris. One man comes back, closing the door behind him.
He looks at me. “You think you are hopeless, don’t you?” he asks.
“I know it,” I reply.
“Well, you’re not,” says the man. “There are men on the streets of New York today who were worse than you, and they don’t drink anymore.”
“What are you doing here then?” I ask.
“I went out of here nine days ago saying that I was going to be honest, and I wasn’t,” he answers.
A fanatic, I thought to myself, but I was polite. “What is it?” I enquire.

pp. 213-214

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
June 9

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

Many a razor-edged question can arise in other departments of life where this same principle is involved. Suppose, for instance, that we have drunk up a good chunk of our firm’s money, whether by “borrowing” or on a heavily padded expense account. Suppose that this may continue to go undetected, if we say nothing. Do we instantly confess our irregularities to the firm, in the practical certainty that we will be fired and become unemployable? Are we going to be so rigidly righteous about making amends that we don’t care what happens to the family and home? Or do we first consult those who are to be gravely affected? Do we lay the matter before our sponsor or spiritual adviser, earnestly asking God’s help and guidance–meanwhile resolving to do the right thing when it becomes clear, cost what it may? Of course, there is no pat answer which can fit all such dilemmas. But all of them do require a complete willingness to make amends as fast and as far as may be possible in a given set of conditions.

pp. 86-87

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Xtra Thoughts
June 9

Love should never be a conditional emotion. It should be a gift where you expect nothing in return.
–unknown

Take the program seriously, not yourself.
–unknown

We all have within us the capacity to be happy and to suffer. It all depends on which one our mind chooses to feed.
–unknown

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
–James Baldwin

“There is no greater treasure than the respect and love of a true friend.”
–Anonymous

“Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.”
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
June 9
IDEALS

“Every dogma has its day, but ideals are eternal.”
–Israel Zangwill

For too long I lived in a box of rules and dogma. Life had to have definable answers and everything needed to be structured. Then the answers didn’t seem to work. Nobody seemed interested in the answers I was giving. The world had moved on!

I realized that life had to be lived, not simply talked about. Having the answers to questions that nobody was asking (including myself) seemed a waste of time. I was uncomfortable. I was living in the past.

Spirituality is reality. It is okay to benefit from a tradition and then move on. I was not disloyal or a traitor because I had changed my mind. God and truth live in a changing world and if we are to grow, our perception of ourselves and life must change. Today I can accept this.

Give me the willingness to change in my life.

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Bible Scriptures
June 9

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:1-2

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

“I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the LORD.”
Jeremiah 39:18

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39

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Daily Inspiration
June 9

Seek God’s guidance, but know that the responsibility to act on it is yours. Lord, may I not be lazy because I have prayed and expect You to do everything for me.

It is a bigger mistake to fear making a mistake than to actually make one. Lord, give me the confidence to live a full life and the ability to try again if I stumble.

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A Day At A Time
June 9

Reflection For The Day

Some of us, new in The Program, couldn’t resist telling anyone who would listen just how “terrible” we were.  Just as we often exaggerated our mdest accomplishments by pride, so we exaggerated our defects through guilt.  Facing about and “confessing all,”  we somehow considered the widespread exposure of our sins to be true humility, considering it a great spiritual asset.  Only as we grew in The Program did we realize that our theatrics and storytelling were merely forms of exhibitionism.  And with that realization came the beginning of a certain amount of humility.  Am I starting to become aware that I’m not so important after all?

Today I Pray

May I learn that there is a chasm of difference between real humility and the dramatic self-put-down.  May I be confronted if I unconsciously demand center-stage to out-do and “out-drunk” others with my “adventrue” stories.  May I be cautious that the accounts of my addictive misdeeds do not take on the epic grandeur of heroic exploits.

Today I Will Remember

I will not star in my own drunkologue (or junkologue).

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One More Day
June 9

No man is an island, entire of itself.
John Donne

It’s sometimes easy to develop a sense of aloneness.  During our emotional an physical lows, we might sadly or bitterly isolate from other people because we feel so different from them.  Our lives seem so much more complicated than theirs.

Usually, though, we do not choose to be completely independent of others.  As we go through the motions of our day, our lives are touched by many people.  They are part of the normal rhythm and flow of our experience.

And we are part of theirs.  In hundreds of ways, we all support and nurture each other.  We share their joys and pains because we care, because we’re human.

When I am in need, caring people surround me.  I will make sure that I am available for others when they need me too.

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One Day At A Time
June 9
PROMISES

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”
Oscar Wilde

Before program, I would dwell in my mistakes. Experience, feh! I was all about self-abuse and feeling rotten about mistakes. My mistakes would certainly lead to overeating, since there was no other option in my mind. Even with years of therapy – with the same therapist – I still used eating as a soothing tool for those times when the mistake was enough to send me into a tailspin. Time and time again people would tell me I was too hard on myself, or that I should just relax and smile. Another mistake for me to internalize — I couldn’t even make a mistake right. I wonder now if I sometimes looked for things to call mistakes so I’d have a reason to feel as rotten as I did most of the time. Having been abused as a child wasn’t enough, blaming other people for my pain never satiated me.

In my first OA meeting, I heard the promises and I started to feel something melt away. Some of the shame and self-pity evaporated into the room of men and women who also felt this lack of satisfaction. A room of men and women loved me because I struggled with the same addictive behaviors. I don’t think I’d ever been loved for my weakness, and there is something powerful in that. When I make a mistake, I can think about my friends in OA who tell me that there is no wrong way, just another way.

One day at a time…
I can know that there are people who love me because I share in their weakness, and I can read the promises to realize that recovery is possible.

~ AJ

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day June 9

Every part of this country is sacred to my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove has been hallowed by some fond memory or some sad experience of my tribe. Even the rocks, which seem to lie dumb as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore in solemn grandeur, thrill with memories of past events connected with the fate of my people.
—Chief Seattle, SUQUAMISH

Native people say the Earth is sacred. Some places on Earth will feel more sacred than others. You can often feel the sacredness of these places because of what has happened on them. If you do a ceremony on a certain place and return later, whatever happened before will still be there to help you. Even if someone you didn’t know did something on the Earth and you come along later, the powers will be there to help you. This is why the Earth is sacred and these special places are sacred spots.

My Creator, let the powers of the sacred places help the people today.

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Journey To The Heart
June 9
Believe in Life, Not Loss

Believing in life means we can trust– trust in the nature and rhythm of life with all its constant change. We believe in transformation, change, and purpose.

Believing in life means we’re not in bondage to the past. No matter what we’ve done, what decisions we’ve made, we set ourselves free to trust ourselves now. We trust what we feel, we trust what we know, we trust what we think we need to do next. Belieivng in life means we trust that the lessons we’re learning are real. They’re valuable and Divinely ordained– even when learning a lesson means feeling pain.

Believing in loss means we focus on the grief, on the pain, on the tragedy, on the inescapable reality of certain events. Belieivng in loss means we get fixated on what was taken from us, what we did wrong. We judge ourselves and our lives harshly. Believing in loss often means we stay stuck. We’re afraid to let go of a person, place, or thing that’s no longer right for us because we’re afraid to lose anything more.

Do you believe in loss? Or do you believe in life?

Believing in life means it’s okay to let go. We can trust where we’ve been. We trust where we’re going. And we’re right where we need to be now. Believe in life.

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Today’s Gift
June 9

We never know how high we are ‘Til we are called to rise; And then, if we are true to plan, Our statures touch the skies.
—Emily Dickinson

We are all capable of far more than we think we are. It’s in the tough times, however, that we discover the depths of our strength, and it’s then that we know that some power has enabled us to do what we thought we could not. Whatever we call that power, it is there for us when we need it.

To do what seems impossible, all we need to do is ask for the help we think we need. And we can look within, too, and summon our whole selves to the task at hand. With all that going for us, how can we fail? And when the tough work is over, we’ll look back and know we’ve grown from the experience. And yes, our statures will have touched the skies.

When I am faced with a tough task, how do I respond?

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The Language of Letting Go
June 9
Panic

Few situations – no matter how greatly they appear to demand it – can be bettered by us going berserk.
—Codependent No More

Don’t panic!

If a swimmer was crossing a great lake, then suddenly focused too heavily on the distance remaining, he might start to flounder and go under – not because he couldn’t swim, but because he became overwhelmed by panic.

Panic, not the task, is the enemy.

Many of us have moments when we feel crowded and overwhelmed. We have times when we feel like we cannot possibly accomplish all that needs to be done.

We may be facing a task at work, an improvement in ourselves, or change in our family life.

For a moment, it is helpful to look forward and envision the project. It is normal, when we look ahead at what needs to be done, to have moments of panic. Feel the fear, then let it go. Take our eyes off the future and the enormity of the task. If we have envisioned the goal, it will be ours. We do not have to do everything today, or at once.

Focus on today. Focus on the belief that all is well. All we need to do to reach our goal is to focus on what presents itself naturally, and in an orderly way, to us today. We shall be empowered to accomplish, peacefully, what we need to get where we want to be tomorrow.

Panic will stop this process. Trust and guided action will further it. Breathe deeply. Get peaceful. Trust. Act as guided, today.

We can get back on track by treading water until we regain our composure. Once we feel peaceful, we can begin swimming again, with confidence. Keep the focus simple, on one stroke, one movement at a time. If we can make one movement, we have progressed. If we get tired, we can float — but only if we are relaxed. Before we know it, we shall reach the shore.

Today, I will believe that all is well. I am being led, but I shall only be led one day at a time. I will focus my energy on living this day to the best of my ability. If panic arises, I will stop all activity and deal with panic as a separate issue.

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More Language Of Letting Go
June 9
Manifest your life

Today, try this activity. Go down to the local harware store and buy a patio stone. Get one of the nice flat round ones, one that will fit into your briefcase or backpack. Take that patio stone home and look at it. Then take out a marker and start to think about one of your goals that you wrote on the list at the start of the year. Think about all that is keeping you from reaching that goal– all your fears, excuses, and prerequisites. Each time you think of a reason why you are not walking down that path, write it on the stone in marker. Keep writing until you can’t think of another reason.

Then carry the stone with you. You did write down a fear of looking ridiculous, didn’t you? Carry the stone to dinner– hold it on your lap while you eat. Hold it while you watch TV, while you go to the bathroom, in the shower, and even to bed this evening. Tomorrow, spend the day with your stone. Let it be a reminder of both your dream and your fear. Feel how rough, heavy, cumbersome it is. Makes it kind of difficult to get anything done, doesn’t it? Now, at the end of the day, sit down again with your stone. Look at all of your excuses written there. Make a conscious decision to let them go. Put down the stone– put it right next to the front door. Feel how much lighter your step is, how much easier it is to do things. Now, as you leave for your day each morning, look at the stone sitting there on the step– heavy, rough, cumbersome– and leave it there. Let life and the elements wear your fears away.

You have dreams, hopes, ambitions. All of your fears and excuses are stones, which fill your hands and weigh you down. Leave them behind. Start to manifest your dreams in your life.

God, help me let go of everything that is blocking me from fully and joyfully living my life today.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
June 9

I believe our concept of romantic love is irrational, impossible to fulfill, and the cause of many broken homes. No human being can maintain that rarified atmosphere of “true love.”
—Rita Mae Brown

What the popular media teach us about marriage and love is poor preparation for the real thing. When we enter a relationship we may be filled with a feeling of magic and excitement of new love. But that is not a good basis for a lifelong commitment. Love at first sight is no reason for marriage. Many of us, upon meeting difficulties in our relationships, said to ourselves, “Maybe it wasn’t true love after all, because now I don’t feel in love with my mate anymore.”

Honesty and learning how to resolve difficulties provide a solid foundation for durable love. Some relationships do not survive the honesty of recovery. Sometimes the development of honest love only begins with recovery. The love that endures, the love of real intimacy, comes when we know the real person. Loyalty to our loved ones may deepen as we deal more and more with reality.

As I grow in this program, married or single, I become more able to have an enduring love.

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Daily TAO
June 9
Superstition

The voices of ghosts are so familiar,
They whisper to me every day.
You, so young and rich,
Make assumptions with absolute assurance.
I vacillate between superstition and tradition.
You don’t need to question.

Tradition is the oral delivery of rites and customs from generation to generation. Superstition is belief inconsistent with what society generally considers true and rational. When tradition and superstition become bound together, it is a sign of trouble. For example, a woman was once taught not to wash her hair any anyone’s birthday. Whenever she protested this, the answer was, “Don’t question!” Years later, she learned that in the old country, letting one’s hair down was a sign of mourning and thus inauspicious on a birthday. What was etiquette in one generation became superstition in another.

Those raised with traditions and superstitions are often torn between the extremes of biculturalism. Their inbred beliefs conflict with current knowledge and quickly changing culture, creating doubt and uncertainty.

There has to be informed revision to all tradition if it is not to degenerate into superstition. The true substance of any tradition will take new form without compromising its inherent character. If not, it will just become the outmoded beliefs of old people, and it will fade into ghostly whispers.

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