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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – May 11

Just For Today
May 11
Balancing The Scales

“A lot of our chief concerns and major difficulties come from our inexperience with living without drugs. Often when we ask an old timer what to do, we are amazed at the simplicity of the answer.”
Basic Text, pp. 41-42

Finding balance in recovery is quite a bit like sitting down with a set of scales and a pile of sand. The goal is to have an equal amount of sand on each side of the scales, achieving a balance of weight.

We do the same thing in recovery. We sit down with the foundation of our clean time and the Twelve Steps, then attempt to add employment, household responsibilities, friends, sponsees, relationships, meetings, and service in equal weights so that the scales balance. Our first try may throw our personal scales out of kilter. We may find that, because of our over-involvement in service, we have upset our employer or our family. But when we try to correct this problem by resigning from NA service altogether, the other side of the scales go out of balance.

We can ask for help from members who have stabilized their scales. These people are easy to recognize. They appear serene, composed, and self-assured. They’ll smile in recognition at our dilemma and share how they slowed down, added only a few grains of sand at a time to either side of the scales, and were rewarded with balance in recovery.

Just for today: I seek balance in my life. Today, I will ask others to share their experience in finding that balance.

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Daily Reflections
May 11
A NEW SENSE OF BELONGING

Until we had talked with complete candor of our conflicts, and had listened to someone else do the same thing, we still didn’t belong.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 57

After four years in A.A. I was able to discover the freedom from the burden of buried emotions that had caused me so much pain. With the help of A.A., and extra counseling, the pain was released and I felt a complete sense of belonging and peace. I also felt a joy and a love of God that I had never experienced before. I am in awe of the power of Step Five.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 11
A.A. Thought For The Day

We can depend on those members of any group who have gone all out for the program. They come to meetings. They work with other alcoholics. We don’t have to worry about their slipping. They’re loyal members of the group. I’m trying to be a loyal member of the group.  When I’m tempted to take a drink, I tell myself that if I did I’d be letting down the other members who are the best friends I have. Am I going to let them down, if I can help it?

Meditation For The Day

Wherever there is true fellowship and love between people, God’s spirit is always there as the Divine Third. In all human relationships, the Divine Spirit is what brings them together. When a life is changed through the channel of another person, it is God, the Divine Third, who always makes the change, using the person as a means. The moving power behind all spiritual things, all personal relationships between people is God, the Divine Third, who is always there. No personal relationships can be entirely right without the presence of God’s spirit.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be used as a channel by God’s spirit. I pray that I may feel that the Divine Third is always there to help me.

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As Bill Sees It
May 11

More than Comfort, p. 148

When I am feeling depressed, I repeat to myself statements such as these: “Pain is the touchstone of progress.” . . . “Fear no evil.” . . .
“This, too, will pass.” . . . “This experience can be turned to benefit.”

These fragments of prayer bring far more than mere comfort. They keep me on the track of right acceptance; they break up my compulsive themes of guilt, depression, rebellion, and pride; and sometimes they endow me with the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Grapevine, March 1962

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Walk in Dry Places
May 11

Unfair People
Relations

Now and then, we encounter people who are almost blatant in their unfairness to others. We may make a 200-mile drive to a customer who is completely unprepared to see us, despite having had advanced notice. Or we may have a friend who is openly critical of our shortcomings while completely overlooking his or her own.

Unfair though these people may be, they give us the opportunity to exercise spiritual muscles. We can improve ourselves and the world by refusing to retaliate when such unfairness occurs.

The long-term benefit is that many of these unfair people change or fade out of our lives. As we handle such things spiritually, we recall times when we too were unfair, and we realize that such faults are part of the human condition. We are lucky people because we’re being given the opportunity to raise the human condition to a higher level. We also hear that "life’s isn’t fair", it’s just there" Not understanding life completely , we’re not sure about its fairness. What we are sure about is that we value fairness and can show more of it now that we’re sober.

I will not seek out unfair treatment today, but neither will I be upset if it occurs. If it does, I’ll deal with it as another lesson in my spiritual growth.

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Keep It Simple
May 11

An honest man’s the noblest work of God.
— Alexander Pope

Step five says,” Admitted to God, to ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” When we did this Step, the person we admitted our wrongs to didn’t run away or reject us. That person stuck with us. Chances are, we were told that we are quite human. And working Step Five helped us to see that we can change, now that we’re sober.

The most important part of Step five is the act of being totally honest about ourselves. Then we know that relationships—with our Higher Power, ourselves, and others—can be built. We have faced the truth. Now we know we never have to lie.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I know no Fifth Step is perfect. Please help me be as honest as I can in doing my Fifth Step and at other times.

Action for the Day: If I’ve avoided doing a Fifth Step, I’ll talk to my sponsor about it today.

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Each Day a New Beginning
May 11

Bad moments, like good ones, tend to be grouped together.
—Edna O’Brien

Rough times may be pouring in on us at the moment, and they may seem unending. Difficulties appear to attract more difficulties, problems with loved ones, problems at work, and problems with our appearance. A negative attitude, something that we all struggle with at times (some of us more than others), is the culprit.

When the good times come, as they always do, they are accompanied by a positive attitude. We do find what we look for.

Our attitude is crucial. It determines our experiences. A trying situation can be tolerated with relative ease when we have a positive, trusting attitude. We forget, generally, that we have an inner source of strength to meet every situation. We forget the simple truth – all is well, at this moment, and at every moment. When the moments feel good, our presence is light, cheery. When the moments are heavy, so are we.

I can turn my day around. I can change the flavor of today’s experiences. I can lift my spirits and know all is well.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
May 11

A LATE START

– “It’s been ten years since I retired, seven years since I joined A.A. Now I can truly say that I am a grateful alcoholic.”

Small miracles keep offering new opportunities just when I need change and growth. New friends have shown me hidden truths in those sayings that I once found so shallow. The lessons of tolerance and acceptance have taught me to look beyond exterior appearances to find the help and wisdom so often lurking beneath the surface. All my sobriety and growth, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, are dependent upon my willingness to listen, understand, and change.

p. 542

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 11

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

In all these situations we need self-restraint, honest analysis of what is involved, a willingness to admit when the fault is ours, and an equal willingness to forgive when the fault is elsewhere. We need not be discouraged when we fall into the error of our old ways, for these disciplines are not easy. We shall look for progress, not for perfection.

p. 91

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Xtra Thoughts
May 11

“The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keep out the joy.”
–Jim Rohn

What men and women need is encouragement. . . Instead of always harping on a man’s faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits.
–Eleanor H. Porter

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.
–Chinese Proverb

An airport is where you go to waste time waiting that you’re going to save flying.
–Cited in BITS & PIECES

I know that what comes to me today is a tiny part of God’s big plan for my life. I am not alone.
–A Woman’s Spirit

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 11

PROCRASTINATION

“Procrastination – the art of keeping up with yesterday.”
–Don Marquis

Today I try to do all that I have set myself to do in a given day. I make a list of things that I need to do and a list of those things that I want to do – the things I “need” to do usually take priority.

This was not always the case. As a drinking alcoholic my life was littered with promises that were never kept, intentions that were never honored, appointments and meetings that did not happen. I pushed everything into tomorrow – and tomorrow never came.

My understanding of spirituality involves a responsibility for those things that I need to do. When I awake, I thank God for my sleep and I make a silent intention not to drink today; then I face my responsibilities. I separate my “needs” from my “wants” and I remember that I have a responsibility to other people: family, friends and colleagues. Today I am learning to live in my day.

Lord, may I do the things I should do and may I find time for those things I want to do.

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Bible Scriptures
May 11

“If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and I if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophecy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13

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Daily Inspiration
May 11

Stand tall and smile often and it will be very difficult to be unhappy. Lord, may my disposition reflect the joy and peace that is Your Will.

When we give in to fears and worries they will take charge of our lives. Lord, I place my trust in You so that I may experience every opportunity and not miss in life that which is meant for me.

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A Day At A Time
May 11

Reflection For The Day

Now that I know I can’t use bottled courage, I seek and pray for 24-hour courage to change the things I can.  Obviously, this isn’t the kind of courage that will make me a strong and brave person for life,  able to handle any and all situations courageously.  Rather, what I need is a persistent and intelligent courage, continuing each day into the next one — but doing today only what can be done today and avoiding all fear and worry with regard to the final results.  What does courage mean to me today?

Today I Pray

May I tackle only those things which I have a chance of changing.  And change must start with me, a day at a time.  May I know that acceptance often is a form of courage.   I pray not for super-bravery, but just for persistence to meet what life brings to me without being overcome by it.

Today I Will Remember

Courage is meeting A Day At A Time.

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One More Day
May 11

The emotions may be endless. The more we express them, the more we may have to express.
E. M. Foster

Like layers of paint, our resistance to expressing our emotions can be peeled away. Poor health may make us feel as though we don’t want to expend the effort anymore. We may have withdrawn within ourselves, isolated our feelings from risk or hurt or disappointment.

Right now might be a good time to take a long, hard look at ourselves. Are we protecting ourselves by not discussing our feelings or sharing our emotions with others? Not until those outer layers of fear, loneliness, and pain are stripped away can we get in touch with our emotions. Surprising as it seems, when we let go of our feelings and start to be totally honest with ourselves, we find greater and deeper and lovelier emotions to express.

I can openly express my feelings to those closest to me.

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One Day At A Time
May 11
COURAGE

“The courage of life is often less a dramatic spectacle
than the courage of the final moment;
but it is no less than a magnificent mixture
of triumph and tragedy.”

John F. Kennedy

As a little girl, I often daydreamed of a knight in shining armor who would ride bravely into my life and rescue me from my fears and insecurities. This knight would be fearless; un-phased by fire-breathing dragons, deep dark caves, or howling winds. He would have courage where I had only fear.

The knight never came. I began to look for other rescuers in my friends, role-models, teachers, and church. Still I could not find what I sought. My fears continued to scream in my soul … and I felt so weak. I turned to food in an attempt to silence the monsters in my belly.

Sometimes my fear and hopelessness were so desperate that I almost ended my life – yet something inside of myself stopped me from doing so. Something inside of me clung to life and eventually brought me to The Recovery Group.

In this group of amazing people I immediately noticed the courage they exhibited in confronting the challenges in their lives and in choosing to learn and grow from every failure and every success. I marvel at the courage with which they keep moving towards more and more healing, in spite of their fears.

They have courage in spite of their fears.

The open, honest sharing of dear friends in recovery has taught me that even I had courage all along. Courage is not the absence of fear;
if there were no fear, there’d be no need for courage.

Courage means making the choice to move forward in spite of our fears.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will honor the courage I have. I will thank God for giving me the strength to move forward in spite of fear. I will celebrate the courage I see in my friends and I will encourage them on their journey.

~ Lisa V.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 11

“[The Old People] would gather words as they walked a sacred path across the Earth, leaving nothinig behind but prayers and offerings.”
—- Cleone Thunder, NORTHERN ARAPAHOE

Whenever we walk on the Earth, we should pay attention to what is going on. Too often our minds are somewhere else, thinking about the past or thinking about the future. When we do this, we are missing important lessons. The Earth is a constant flow of lessons and learnings which also include a constant flow of positive feelings. If we are aware as we walk, we will gather words for our lives, the lessons to help our children; we will gather feelings of interconnectedness and calmness. When we experience this, we should say or think thoughts of gratitude. When we do this, the next person to walk on the sacred path will benefit even more.

My Creator, today, let me be aware of the sacred path.

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Journey to the Heart
May 11
Love Yourself Enough to Relax

Our bodies react to the world around us– and within us– in many ways. Our bodies act like sponges– they can soak up healing energy or they can absorb and trap the negative energy of stress and tension. Some of us are so used to keeping our body tense and bound up we don’t even notice how much they hurt, how strained and tight our muscles are.

Connect with your body. Learn to tell how tense it is. Take a few moments throughout the day to see what hurts, what aches, what muscles are being strained. Although tension can affect the entire body, many of us have favorite places in our body to store stress, places that usually become tense, rigid, and full of aches. Necks, shoulders, lower backs are favorite traps. Become familiar with your body and where it stores stress and tension.

Then, learn to relax. Explore different options. Therapeutic massage. Self-hynosis. Meditation. Soaking in a hot bath. Sitting in the steam room. Exercise. Visualization. Taking time to do activities that bring you pleasure. If you make the effort to explore relaxation techniques, you will find ways to relax that you like and can afford.

If you’ve been soaking up too much stress, give yourself a break. Let your body start soaking up some healing energy,too. Love yourself enough to help your body relax.

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Today’s Gift
May 11

I’m delighted that the future is unsure. That’s the way it should be.
—William Sloane Coffin

Some of life’s richest moments are the most unexpected: the old friend met by chance, or the new one discovered when neither of us were really looking; the toy at the bottom of the toy box, rediscovered and loved anew; the book, the flower, the shaft of light we were in the right place at the right time to notice and embrace.

It is important to dream and plan, to work toward goals, to mark the milestones we pass on life’s journey. No less important, though, is to open ourselves to the unexpected joys awaiting us every day.

Am I ready, today, to expect the unexpected?

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The Language of Letting Go
May 11
Perfection

Many of us picked on ourselves unmercifully before recovery. We may also have a tendency too pick on ourselves after we begin recovery.

If I was really recovering, I wouldn’t be doing that again . . . I should be further along than I am. These are statements that we indulge in when we’re feeling shame. We don’t need to treat ourselves that way. There is no benefit.

Remember, shame blocks us. But self-love and acceptance enable us to grow and change. If we truly have done something we feel guilty about, we can correct it with an amend and an attitude of self-acceptance and love.

Even if we slip back to our old, codependent ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving, we do not need to be ashamed. We all regress from time to time. That’s how we learn and grow. Relapse, or recycling, is an important and necessary part of recovery. And the way out of recycling is not by shaming ourselves. That leads us deeper into codependency.

Much pain comes from trying to be perfect. Perfection is impossible unless we think of it in a new way: Perfection is being who and where we are today; it’s accepting and loving ourselves just as we are. We are each right where we need to be in our recovery.

Today, I will love and accept myself for who I am and where I am in my recovery process. I am right where I need to be to get to where I’m going tomorrow.

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More language of letting go
May 11
Say when it’s time to disengage

“Run, duck, hide.”

It’s a motto that has served me well, particularly since I moved to California. “It takes money and a car to live here,” a friend told me once. He was right. And those who don’t have money or a car may try to take yours, I learned soon after that.

Manipulations, scams, and disturbed people abound.

They can be found anywhere. And sometimes these people are not all that disturbed. They’re just going through their stuff, and it doesn’t involve or pertain to us.

Sometimes, it doesn’t make any sense to be therapeutic, helpful, or nice when other people are trying to dump their insanity on you. It will only get you in deeper. Using any rules of engagement will simply mean you’re engaged. Disengage immediately.

Learn when to use your social skills. And learn when it’s time to run, duck, or hide.

God, help me detach when immediate disengagement is what’s required.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 11

There is no shortcut to life. To the end of our days, life is a lesson imperfectly learned.
—Harrison E. Salisbury

There are no perfect days. We have struggled hard against this truth. In our demanding ways, we haven’t wanted life to be a process; we have wanted to reach a secure point of arrival. We have struggled against the dialogue and learning process of experience. We’ve looked for a “fix” and for perfection. Even now in recovery we long to “get it right.” We continue to learn and to grow, but the lessons we learn are not the things we expected. We grieve the lateness of our learning, and then we go on to learn more.

As we grow in this program, we learn how to learn. We become more accepting of life as a process with no shortcut to the truth. We learn to engage in the process and accept that there usually is no right or wrong answer at the end of our search.

Today, may I accept the truth, which comes from the lessons of my experience – and be tolerant of its incompleteness.

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DailyTAO
May 11
MEANING

Lightning tears temple asunder.
Divine wrath, or natural disaster?

There was a seaside temple in India that was struck by lightning. That minor storm was the vanguard to a full hurricane that eventually ravaged the entire countryside. The old temple was split from its roof line to its foundations. One entire end of the building was parted from its body like a severed head. Was this karma? Was this the punishment of the gods? Or was it simply an old building and an unfortunate accident?

What you say shows your attitude about nature, reality, and whether you believe gods intervene in human affairs. If you insist that there was some reason that lightning cleaved the temple, then you live in a world where uncertainty is the by-product of some supreme being’s emotional whims. If, however, you accept this incident solely as a natural disaster, then you also accept random occurrences in life. Such a viewpoint does not preclude any notion of the divine, of course. It merely states that not everything in nature is administered by some heavenly bureaucracy.

It is a simple fact that lightning split the temple. The meaning of this incident — if there is any — is determined by each person. One person regards it as a disaster, another as a good thing, while a third views it dispassionately. There is nothing inherent in the incident that dictates its meaning. It is enough that we all recognize that it happened.

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