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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

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Daily Recovery Readings – May 14

Just For Today
May 14
Oops!

“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.”
Basic Text, p. 23

Mistakes! We all know how it feels to make them. Many of us feel that our entire lives have been a mistake. We often regard our mistakes with shame or guilt—at the very least, with frustration and impatience. We tend to see mistakes as evidence that we are still sick, crazy, stupid, or too damaged to recover.

In truth, mistakes are a very vital and important part of being human. For particularly stubborn people (such as addicts), mistakes are often our best teachers. There is no shame in making mistakes. In fact, making new mistakes often shows our willingness to take risks and grow.

It’s helpful, though, if we learn from our mistakes; repeating the same ones may be a sign that we’re stuck. And expecting different results from the same old mistakes—well, that’s what we call “insanity!” It just doesn’t work.

Just for today: Mistakes aren’t tragedies. But please, Higher Power, help me learn from them!

Daily Reflections
May 14
IT’S OKAY TO BE ME

Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. . . . they have turned to easier methods. . . .But they had not learned enough humility. . . .
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 72-73

Humility sounds so much like humiliation, but it really is the ability to look at myself — and honestly accept what I find. I no longer need to be the “smartest” or “dumbest” or any other “est.” Finally, it is okay to be me. It is easier for me to accept myself if I share my whole life.  If I cannot share in meetings, then I had better have a sponsor — someone with whom I can share those “certain facts” that could lead me back to a drunk, to death. I need to take all the Steps. I need the Fifth Step to learn true humility. Easier methods do not work.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 14
A.A. Thought For The Day

Having gotten over drinking, we have only just begun to enjoy the benefits of A.A. We find new friends, so that we are no longer lonely. We find new relationships with our families, so that we are happy at home. We find release from our troubles and worries through a new way of looking at things. We find an outlet for our energies in helping other people. Am I enjoying these benefits of A.A.?

Meditation of the Day

The kingdom of heaven is within you. God sees, as no one can see, what is within you. He sees you growing more and more like Himself. That is our reason for existence, to grow more and more like God, to develop more and more the spirit of God within you. You can often see in others those qualities and aspirations that you yourself possess. So also can God recognize His own spirit in you. Your motives and aspirations can only be understood by those who have attained the same spiritual level as you have.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not expect complete understanding from others. I pray that I may only expect this from God, as I try to grow more like Him.

As Bill Sees It
May 14
Coping With Anger, p. 179

Few people have been more victimized by resentments than have we alcoholics. A burst of temper could spoil a day, and a well-nursed grudge could make us miserably ineffective. Nor were we ever skillful in separating justified from unjustified anger. As we saw it, our wrath was always justified. Anger, that occasional luxury of more balanced people, could keep us on an emotional jag indefinitely. These “dry benders’ often led straight to the bottle.

Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen. We must avoid quick-tempered criticism, furious power-driven argument, sulking, and silent scorn. These are emotional booby traps baited with pride and vengeful emotions. When we are tempted by the bait, we should train ourselves to step back and think. We can neither think nor act to good purpose until the habit of self-restraint has become automatic.

12 & 12
1. p. 90
2. p. 91

Walk in Dry Places
May 14
Making Laws For Ourselves
Attaining Freedom

Being human means that we’re subject to all the laws and limitations that apply to human beings. We should not, however, put more limitations on ourselves than might be required by our situation.

Recovering People should be able to do anything within their capabilities. It’s usually a mistake to think that our problem means forfeiture of opportunities. One person, for example, often told his friends that he could not return to his former profession in sales because “nobody want to hire an alcoholic salesman.”

But it is not written anywhere that firms will not gladly welcome a capable sales associate who is recovering. Many alcoholics do return to their former employment upon recovery. Our friend was simply making a law for himself by believing he was blocked from this field.

Let’s always remember that recovery is freedom, not bondage. And let’s see ourselves doing anything that’s reasonable and proper for others.

Having rejoined the human race, I’ll enthusiastically accept all the advantages and opportunities others have.

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 14

Step Eleven – “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

As the day goes on, we can pause where situations must be met and decisions made, and renew the simple request: “Thy will, not mine, be done.” If at these points our emotional disturbance happens to be great, we will more surely keep our balance, provided we remember, and repeat to ourselves, a particular prayer or phrase that has appealed to us in our reading or meditation. Just saying it over and over will often enable us to clear a channel choked up with anger, fear, frustration, or misunderstanding, and permit us to return to the surest help of all–our search for God’s will, not our own, in the moment of stress. At these critical moments, if we remind ourselves that “it is better to comfort than to be comforted, to understand than to be understood, to love than to be loved,” we will be following the intent of Step Eleven.

pp. 102-103

Keep It Simple
May 14

Make yourself an honest [person], and then you may be sure that there is one rascal less in the world.
—Thomas Carlyle

Honesty does not mean saying all we think or feel. Many of our thoughts and feelings are only with us for a minute. They are not always the truth. For example, saying to someone you love, “I hate you!” in the middle of an argument can destroy things.

Honesty means living by what is true to us. Then we choose when and how to say things to others.

Think of honesty as the air we breathe; it’s what keeps us alive, but it can get polluted and kill. It must be treated with respect and care.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me know the power of honesty. Help me speak it with care and respect.

Action for the Day: Before I speak today I’ll ask myself: “Is this true? Am I speaking because this needs to be said?”

Each Day a New Beginning
May 14

Miracles are instantaneous, they cannot be summoned, but come of themselves, usually at unlikely moments and to those who least expect them.
—Katherine Anne Porter

Each of us has miraculously been summoned to the road to recovery. We no doubt felt hopeless many times. We no doubt pleaded, aimlessly and to no one in particular, for help. And then it came. Many of us probably do not know just how. But we can look around at one another and appreciate the miracle in our lives.

We still have days when the going is rough. Days when we feel twelve years old, unable to handle the responsibility of our lives, in need of a mother to nurture us and assure us that the pain will pass. We can look to a sponsor on those days. We can look for someone else to help. We can also reflect on how far we’ve come. Gratitude, in the midst of distress, for all the gifts of recovery eases the pain, the fear, and the stress of the moment.

The miracles continue in my life. Every day offers me a miracle. Thankfulness today will help me see the miracles at work in my life and in the lives of other women on the road to recovery.

Alcoholics Anonymous
May 14
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

– The more he listened at meetings, the more he came to know about his own drinking history.

That was a big step for me; I finally began to separate the religious aspect of my life from A.A.’s spiritual program. Now the big difference to me is that religion is the ritual, and we all differ there, and spirituality is the way we feel about what we do. It’s about my personal contact with my personal Higher Power, as I understand Him.

p. 406

Xtra Thoughts
May 14

Birds sing after a storm, why shouldn’t we?
–Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (1890 – 1995)

“Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first
or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.”
–Betty Smith

“AA may or may not get me to heaven, but it surely got me out of
he!!.”
–unknown

There is more to life than increasing its speed.
–Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)

When our faith is weak, God is still strong and present with us.
–Elaine S. Massey

Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 14
SEX

“A little theory makes sex more interesting, more comprehensive and less scary. Too much is a put-down especially as you’re likely to get it out of perspective and become a spectator of your own performance.”
–Dr. Alex Comfort

We make too much of sex because we are afraid of it. We abuse God’s gift of sex by placing it out of context, removing it from the other things that make it meaningful, e.g., gentleness, trust, sensitivity, communication and commitment.

The performance becomes more important than the expression. The meaning gets lost in the event. God’s precious gift of sex is abused by the sex act itself and it then begins to feed on itself. Compulsive sex is only demonstrated loneliness!

Spirituality teaches me to see all things as part of God’s gift of “wholeness” and sex is an important part of this – but only a part.

God, in the awareness of my sexuality, may I discover a relationship with myself, others and You.

Bible Scriptures
May 14

“He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.”
Deuteronomy 32:4

For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.
Psalm 66:10-12

The LORD says, “Do not fear, for I am with you . . . I will strengthen you, I will help you.”
Isaiah 41:10

Daily Inspiration
May 14

Fill your time with that which is important to you and you will feel accomplished. Lord, help me to know my priorities and to be focused enough to avoid distraction.

When we have to justify our actions, it may be that our actions are not just. Lord, Your will is goodness. May I always have the strength and courage to choose Your way so that I can simplify my life and enjoy the peace of Your presence.

A Day At A Time
May 14

Reflection For The Day

“A very popular error — having the courage of one’s convictions;  rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack upon one’s convictions,” wrote Nietzsche.  The Program is helping me to get rid of myh old ideas by sharing with others and working the Twelve Steps.  Having made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself;  having admitted too God, to myself, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs;  and having become entirely ready to have God remove all my defects of character — I will humbly ask Him to remove my shortcomings.  Am I trying to follow The Program just as it is?

Today I Pray

I pray that I may continue to practice the Twelve Steps, over and over again, if need be.  The Program has worked for hundreds and hundreds of recovering chemically dependent people the world over.  It can work for me.  May I pause regularly and check to see if I am really practicing The Program, as it is set forth.

Today I Will Remember

Step By Step.  Day By Day.

One More Day
May 14

A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take the least thought about acquiring.
— La Rouchefocauld

Even with honorable intentions we may, once in a while, threat those who care about us with less respect than they deserve. When a chronic illness has entered our life we can become obsessed with ourselves. It is difficult to be anything but self-centered at first because we are frightened and uncertain about the future.

It is then that we may alienate our closest friends with a boring daily litany of symptoms. Gradually we learn that illness is only one part of our lives and that dwelling on it serves no purpose and may damage our friendships. When our obsession with illness subsides, we become able once again to express concern and interest in others — the foundation of friendship.

My friendships are invaluable. I will let my friends know how much I cherish them.

One Day At A Time
May 14
LOOKING AT THE STARS

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Oscar Wilde

Before I made the Twelve Steps part of my life, I considered myself to have been in the gutter. My weight had doubled, I was in a major depression, and I was going through the motions of life. Those looking at me from afar saw only a perfect marriage, a perfect career, a perfect home, and perfect children. Although I was blessed, the disease I suffered from day in and day out made it quite obvious to anyone who truly knew me that I was not “looking at the stars.” It took my first sponsor to start the healing process for me.

As I began to work Steps One, Two and Three, I felt “different.” Nothing had changed . . . everything had changed. It’s hard to describe because outwardly I looked the same … but my entire being opened up. Weight began to come off because I was able to focus on a plan of eating. I found my feelings returned … the ability to love and accept love came back. My spirituality blossomed once again. I truly felt alive.

One day at a time…
I want to remember each time I find myself in the gutter and giving up hope … to look at the stars … and remember that my program works if I will just work it.

~ Mari

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 14

“Prayer is the best answer to all of the trials that face us, because without prayer, even if we succeed in accomplishing some great goal in the eyes of men, we have failed in our sacred responsibilities, and thus we have failed in what is truly important.”
–Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

What are our sacred responsibilities? One is to be of maximum service to the Creator, and two is to serve the people. In a way, it’s like the Great Spirit is the employer and we are the employees. We live each day, do what we do, accomplish our goals, face our difficulties, overcome them all to the Glory of the Creator. We do these things to make Him proud! Even if we work for a company, agency or tribe, they are not really our employer; the Creator is our employer. Working for the Creator is better than working for a human being, because each night we can talk to the Creator and ask Him, “Well, how did I do today?”. He answers back each night, “I’m proud of you, my child; sleep well, and in the morning I’ll give you a new set of growing experiences.”.

Great Spirit, today, let me work for you. You will be my new boss.

Journey to the Heart
May 14
Stay Open to Surprise

On my journey, I have often been surprised. Sometimes, pleasantly surprised.

Some of the places I was told to visit, places I was told would bring me joy,didn’t. Occasionally, they left me cold and confused. I would reach out to grasp something from an experience, only to find it wasn’t there, at least not for me. I was left wondering why it didn’t work, why it didn’t feel right for me, or why it didn’t do for me what others said it did for them.

Then other places, other experiences– the ones I had the least expectations of– surprised me. They riveted my soul, opened my heart, touched me, changed me in ways I didn’t expect. In a way that still surprise me.

To have certain expectations is natural. But stay open to surprise. Don’t let your dreams and expectations color what you know to be true for you. Trust your perceptions. Trust how a thing feels to you. If you expected something to work and it didn’t, trust that. If something has opened your heart and produced growth, love, and joy, trust that.

Don’t let your expectations or prejudices color and distort your experience. You may be pleasantly surprised to find joy where you least expected it.

Today’s Gift
May 14

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.
—Henry Ward Beecher

Once there was a boy who always looked on the bright side and always expected the best. He expected to like brussels sprouts before he had ever tasted them, for instance, and to like his teacher on the first day of school. Because he had such a sunny outlook on things, he was rarely disappointed.

But the boy’s father thought he wasn’t realistic, so one Christmas he decided to test him. On Christmas morning there were many presents, all but one small one were for the boy’s brother. The brother opened his gifts with glee – a train set, a toy robot, a cowboy outfit, even his own TV.

Through all this, the boy smiled expectantly, confident the contents of his small box would equal the splendor of his brother’s gifts. When it was his turn he ripped the box open to find only a pile of hay and some very smelly animal droppings.

To his father’s astonishment, the boy clapped his hands with joy and ran immediately to the backyard. “Yippee!” he cried. “There must be a pony here somewhere!”

If I expect the best, just for today, what wondrous things might happen?

The Language of Letting Go
May 14
Honesty

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
—Step Five of Al-Anon

Talking openly and honestly to another person about ourselves, in an attitude that reflects self-responsibility, is critical to recovery.

It’s important to admit what we have done wrong to others and to ourselves. Verbalize our beliefs and our behaviors. Get our resentments and fears out in the open.

That’s how we release our pain. That’s how we release old beliefs and feelings. That’s how we are set free. The more clear and specific we can be with our Higher Power, ourselves, and another person, the more quickly we will experience that freedom.

Step Five is an important part of the recovery process. For those of us who have learned to keep secrets from others, and ourselves it is not just a step – it is a leap toward becoming healthy.

Today I will remember that it’s okay to talk about the issues that bother me. It is by sharing my issues that I will grow beyond them. I will also remember that it’s okay to be selective about those in whom I confide. I can trust my instincts and choose someone who will not use my disclosures against me, and who will give me healthy feedback.

More language of letting go
May 14
Say when it’s time for a change

Eventually, enough is enough. We have held on to our broken dream until it has become a weight on our back, held on to our broken relationships until we cannot find the strength to give it another go, and clung to expectations, fears, worries, and chains until we can’t stand the strain any longer.

We’re at a crossroads. One path leads further into familiar territory. The other path leads to a breakthrough. What lies on the other side, we can’t see.

It’s the void, the unknown, the unknowable.

This isn’t death. It’s a rebirth, am awakening as profound as that moment when sobriety first takes hold of the lifelong drunk. Or when the confused codependent takes those first steps of self-care.

Are you willing to risk it? Have you reached the point, yet where enough is enough? Or will you take the other, more familiar path back to continue rehashing what you’ve already been through? Sometimes it’s easier to stay with our limitations and with what doesn’t work. At least then we know what to expect.

Take a chance. Try something new. Go ahead. Step on that new path, even though you’re not certain where it will lead. See! Right around the bend is a glowing light. The new path may not be any easier to walk than the old path, but this new road will lead to joy.

For now it’s enough to be willing to change.

To do that, step into the void.

God, help me see the things that I need to let go of to continue my growth. Help me walk away from what’s comfortable and known into the unknown and what I can’t see or predict.

Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 14

Often the wisdom of the body clarifies the despair of the spirit.
—Marion Woodman

The unity of body and spirit becomes more real for us as we learn to listen to the messages our bodies give. Perhaps if we are frequently ill with a cold we are hiding from the fact that we are discouraged and in need of something for our spirit. We all face the problems at times of sleeplessness or backaches or allergies. These are not moral problems but problems that go with being human. When we are open to the spirit dimension, we look for the part that may express a message from our spiritual selves.

As we notice our physical selves today, we perhaps feel a tension in a muscle or a sensation somewhere that can speak to us about our deeper feelings. The message may not be clear at first. Spiritual messages are not quick answers, but if we listen to our questions a while, the answers may gradually become clear. Simply being open to the messages strengthens us for our tasks and deepens our spiritual self-awareness.

Today, I am learning to listen to the wisdom of my own body.

DailyTAO
May 14
RELAXATION

Relaxation
Is total peace.

When you relax completely, there is total silence. No thought enters the mind, no problems arise from the body, no memories grip the spirit. This overwhelming sense of tranquility is really all meditation is about. The neutral stillness of the mind renews the tired soul, and this is regeneration.

Even if you don’t follow a formal meditation program, it is good to sit quietly for a little while every day. This form of rest should be as regular as sleeping each day. If you can sit still and just relax completely, you are actually meditating. All the various forms of complicated techniques and visualization exist because people can’t bring themselves to this very simple state of relaxation. Their minds are constantly racing, their bodies are out of balance, and the worries of the day weigh heavily upon them. They cannot let go, so they need a formal routine to follow. But if you can simply sit down and empty yourself, you will experience a wonderful silence and a deep, satisfying sense of peace.

One should try to return to a relaxed state on a regular and periodic basis. The simple reason for relaxation is that it renews us, purifies us, and leaves us with a profound feeling of serenity. It is not a ritual. It is not a religious obligation. It is a wonderful state away from problems. In it, we are poised in our natural state.

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