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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – May 17

Just For Today
May 17
“Defects”

“We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
Step Six

After taking the Fifth Step, many of us spend some time considering “the exact nature of our wrongs” and the part they’d played in making us who we were. What would our lives be like without, say, our arrogance?

Sure, arrogance had kept us apart from our fellows, preventing us from enjoying and learning from them. But arrogance had also served us well, propping up our ego in the face of critically low self-esteem. What advantage would be gained if our arrogance were removed, and what support would we be left with?

With arrogance gone, we would be one step closer to being restored to our proper place among others. We would become capable of appreciating their company and their wisdom and their challenges as their equals. Our support and guidance would come, if we chose, from the care offered us by our Higher Power; “low self-esteem” would cease to be an issue.

One by one, we examined our character defects this way, and found them all defective—after all, that’s why they’re called defects. And were we entirely ready to have God remove all of them? Yes.

Just for today: I will thoroughly consider all my defects of character to discover whether I am ready to have the God of my understanding remove them.

Daily Reflections
May 17
. . . . AND FORGIVE

Under very trying conditions I have had, again and again, to forgive others–also myself.
AS BILL SEE IT p. 268

Forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others are just two currents in the same river, both hindered or shut off completely by the dam of resentment. Once that dam is lifted, both currents can flow. The Steps of A.A. allow me to see how resentment has built up and subsequently blocked off this flow in my life. The Steps provide a way by which my resentments may – by the grace of God as I understand Him – be lifted. It is as a result of this solution that I can find the necessary grace which enables me to forgive myself and others.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 17
A.A. Thought For The Day

A lot of well-meaning people treat alcoholics like the priest and the Levite. They pass by on the other side by scorning them and telling them what low people they are, with no willpower. Whereas, they really have fallen for alcohol, in the same way as the man in the story fell among robbers. And the member of A.A. who is working with others is like the Good Samaritan. Am I moved with compassion? Do I take care of another alcoholic whenever I can?

Meditation For The Day

I must constantly live in preparation for something better to come. All of life is a preparation for something better. I must anticipate the morning to come. I must feel, in the night of sorrow, that understanding joy that tells of confident expectation of better things to come. “Sorrow may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Know that God has something better in store for you, as long as you are making yourself ready for it. All your existence in this world is a training for a better life to come.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that when life is over, I will return to an eternal, space-less life with God. I pray that I may make this life a preparation for a better life to come.

As Bill Sees It
May 17
Domination and Demand, p. 176

The primary fact that we fail to recognize is our total inability to form a true partnership with another human being. Our egomania digs two disastrous pitfalls. Either we insist upon dominating people we know, or we depend upon them far too much.

If we lean too heavily on people, they will sooner or later fail us, for they are human, too, and cannot possibly meet our incessant demands. In this way our insecurity grows and festers.

When we habitually try to manipulate others to our own willful desires, they revolt, and resist us heavily. Then we develop hurt feelings, a sense of persecution, and a desire to retaliate.

My dependency meant demand — a demand for the possession and control of other people and the conditions surrounding me.

1. 12 & 12, p. 53
2. Grapevine, January 1958

Keep It Simple
May 17

Each day provides its own gifts.
—Ruth P. Freedman

Spiritual growth is the greatest gift we can receive. And we earn it through taking risks. There is much risk involved in working the Steps: The risk of admitting that we’re out of control. The risk of turning our will and lives over to a Power greater than ourselves. The risk of letting go of character defects. The risk of making amends to people we’ve harmed. The risk of admitting our wrongs. The risk of telling our stories as we carry the message of hope. To grow spiritually, we need these adventures. These challenges. These risk.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to take the risks that I need in order to grow.

Action for the Day: I will look at today as an adventure with my Higher Power. I will list the fears I’ll need to let go of.

Walk in Dry Places
May 17
Rehearsing Outcomes
Serenity

Imagination is undeniably a human faculty that accounts for much progress. Compulsive people, however, can use imagination in a most destructive way.

One destructive practice is that of rehearsing i our minds the outcome of some treat or problem, usually expecting the worst. While we should not avoid facing real problems, it’s wrong to assume that the worst will always happen. This tendency to anticipate the worst possible outcome can actually produce the very outcome we’d like to avoid, thus making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We can deal with such pessimistic thinking by reminding ourselves that God is in charge and will bring our good to pass in just the right way. If we’re going to rehearse anything, let it be an outcome that includes the best for everybody, including ourselves.

I’ll expect the best today, knowing that all outcomes and results are in God’s hands.

Each Day a New Beginning
May 17

Loving allows us to live and through living we grow in loving.
—Evelyn Mandel

Many days it seems too easy to be centered on ourselves, wondering if others love us rather than loving others. On those days, we may have to act “as if” we love the persons who live on our pathways. The unexpected gift is that we do begin to feel both love and loved. Living becomes easier, and so does loving. Acting “as if” is a good way of learning those behaviors that don’t feel natural. And in time, acting “as if” is necessary no more.

I can behave in any way I decide to. I can choose to think about others, and love them. I can choose to forget myself, today.

Alcoholics Anonymous
May 17
ACCEPTANCE WAS THE ANSWER

– The physician wasn’t hooked, he thought–he just prescribed drugs medically indicated for his many ailments. Acceptance was his key to liberation.

My major problems were marital. “If you had my wife, you’d drink too.” Max and I had been married for twenty-eight years when I ended up in A.A. It started out as a good marriage, but it deteriorated over the years as she progressed through various stages of qualifying for Al-Anon. At first, she would say, “You don’t love me. Why don’t you admit it?” Later, she would say, “You don’t like me. Why don’t you admit it?” And as her disease was reaching its terminal stages, she was screaming, “You hate me! You hate me! Why don’t you admit you hate me?” So I admitted it.

p. 407

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 17

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.”

In A.A. we have found that the actual good results of prayer are beyond question. They are matters of knowledge and experience. All those who have persisted have found strength not ordinarily their own. They have found wisdom beyond their usual capability. And they have increasingly found a peace of mind which can stand firm in the face of difficult
circumstances.

p. 104

Xtra Thoughts
May 17

Do you know how important now is? Enjoy it as much as you can, because no matter how much you want to hold on to “now,” it’s going to be “was.”
–Sid Caesar

All yesterdays are canceled, and tomorrow is but a speculation, today is the day God has made.
–SweetyZee

If it was going to be easy to raise kids, it never would have started with something called labor.
–Cited in Even More of…The Best of BITS & PIECES

Aristotle said: “Those who say there is only one road to Rome don’t know Rome very well.” New Thought teaches us not only to tolerate but to honor all paths to God. All religions have love at their core.  We are meant to learn to love one another, love God and love ourselves. No religion is bigger than God.
–Mary Manin Morrissey

“In forgiving ourselves, we make the journey from guilt for what we have done (or not done) to celebration of what we have become.”
–Joan Borysenko

Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 17
TOLERANCE

“Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another’s beliefs, practices and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them.”
–Joshua Liebman

Today I am able to tolerate people, listen to what they are saying and if I do not agree with them, it is okay! I do not have to agree with a person to tolerate or befriend him.

This is a new attitude for me and is part of my spiritual program.  When I was drinking, I would not listen to people who had ideas different to mine. I would not tolerate people who had a different philosophy on life. Other religions were discounted as being cultish, crude or superstitious. I have learned that my disease of alcoholism made me very arrogant and narrow in my attitude to life – I rejected two-thirds of the world as being heretical!

Today I can tolerate and learn from people who view God, the world and morality differently from me. Spirituality is teaching me to be open and accepting.

Lord, may I find traces of Your love in different philosophies and religions.

Bible Scriptures
May 17

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Phil. 4:6-7

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
I John 4:4

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7

Daily Inspiration
May 17

Change first from the inside and the other things will follow. Lord, bless me the desire to become a better person and the firmness of will to succeed because I know that together we have the power to change my life.

God never promised to make your troubles go away, but He did promise to give you the strength and power to overcome them. Lord, when I am weak, strengthen me, when I forget, remind me and when the day is done, accept my thanksgiving because without You I am nothing.

A Day At A Time 
May 17

Reflection For The Day

If we felt guilty, degraded or ashamed or either our addiction itself or the things we did while “under the influence,” that served to magnify our feelings of being outcasts. On occasion, we secretly feared or actually believed that we deserved every painful feeling:  we thought, at times, that we truly were outsiders.  The dark tunnel of our lives seemed formidable and unending.  We couldn’t even voice our feelings and could hardly bear to think about them.  So we soon drank or used again.  Do I remember well what it used to be like?

Today I Pray

May I remember how often, during my days of using chemicals, I felt alone with my shame and guilt.  The phony jollity of a drinking party or the shallow relationships struck up at a bar could not keep me from feeling like an outsider.  May I appreciate the chance to make new friends through the fellowship of the group.  May I know that my relationships now will be saner, less dependent, more mature.

Today I Will Remember

Thank God for new Friends.

  One More Day
May 17

When you did another out of trouble, you find a place to bury your own.
— Anonymous

When acting the way people expect us to, we may help others, but does it really come from the heart? Frequently people act not out of compassion or caring, but because that’s how they feel others will expect them to behave.

When helping others in a completely unselfish manner, we need no kudos from anyone, for we have no ulterior motive other than helpfulness. Willingness to assist other people with their problems crates soe freedom from our own.

    I will know I have become less selfish when I don’t have a moment’s hesitation before helping another human being.

One Day At A Time
May 17
The Human Spirit

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.
–Unknown

I spent most years of my life feeling like a damaged person, one who was permanently and irreparably defective. I am the survivor of abuse, and had been a practicing compulsive overeater since early childhood. The only way I knew myself was broken, hopeless, and damaged beyond repair. On the days when I could manage to have a goal, my goal was to make the best of it … and to simply survive the remainder of my days on this earth.

Recovery has transformed my view of myself and my experience of life. In receiving the love, support and guidance of my friends on this journey I began to see a glimmer of hope. With the loving care of my sponsors I began to take the Steps, and I learned to live them out … one day at a time.

In taking the Steps and living them out, I found my buried spirit, and I found that it was alive and well! In recovery I became reacquainted with the spiritual part of myself that I thought was lost forever. In this connection, I learned to live, laugh, and hope again. My spiritual connection is stronger than anything that can happen to me. This is the truth in my life today, and it transforms me to peace, joy, and love greater than I had ever dreamed.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will practice Step Eleven, and improve my conscious contact with God. I will choose to live in connection with my inner spirit.

~ Cate

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 17

“If the Great Spirit wanted men to stay in one place He would make the world stand still; but He made it to always change…”
–Chief Flying Hawk, OGLALA SIOUX

The Elders tell us change occurs in two directions. They say, “That which is built is constantly being destroyed; that which is loose is being used to build the new.” In other words, change is constantly going on. Many times we hear people say, “I hate change.” Does it make sense that the Great Spirit would design people to hate it? The Great Spirit designed people with change abilities such as visioning, imagery and imagination. Maybe we need to learn to use these tools and then we’ll look forward to change.

Great Spirit, today, let me see the harmony of Yours, truly changing world.

Journey to the Heart
May 17
Happiness Is Within Reach

What we need to be happy is a question we often forget to ask ourselves.

Is there something you could do for yourself that would make you happy, put a spring in your step, a smile in your heart? Many of us haven’t asked ourselves this question enough. Some of us haven’t asked it at all. Or if we have, we haven’t answered it. Instead we diligently search for our path, for the way through our lives, through our current situation or circumstance, never taking time to ask ourselves what would make us happy and what would feel good to us. Then we wonder why life feels so hard, so difficult and unrewarding.

Discovering what would make us happy can help us through any difficulty in life. It can help us through the quieter moments of our day. It can help us make larger, more significant decisions. It can help us in our work. Especially if we look in our hearts and answer honestly.

What would make you happy? It’s a simple question, but one with profound consequences. Asking and answering that question, then acting on it, is often our path– a path that will lead to the next step, a path that is in our best interests. We will be choosing our destiny. And the destiny we’re choosing is joy.

What would make you happy? Ask yourself often. Think about your answer. You may well find that the answer is within reach.

Today’s Gift
May 17

Growth is the only evidence of life.
—John, Cardinal Newman

We should be thankful we can never reach complete serenity. If we could, we would never have the need to improve ourselves. We would stop growing, because there would be no reason to learn any more than we already know, and we would become bored. Even the things, which seem so serene in nature usually contain a struggle within. A lake, with a swan gliding slowly across it, seems a perfect picture of serenity. But, unseen below the surface, fish, turtles, and frogs struggle each day for survival.

The important thing is to accept the struggles as a part of the beauty of life, not as blemishes on it.

What struggles shall help me grow better today?

The Language of Letting Go
May 17
Boundaries

Sometimes, life and people seem to push and push. Because we are so used to pain, we may tell ourselves it doesn’t hurt. Because we are so used to people controlling and manipulating us, we may tell ourselves there is something wrong with us.

There’s nothing wrong with us. Life is pushing and hurting to get our attention. Sometimes, the pain and pushing are pointing toward a lesson. The lesson may be that we’ve become too controlling. Or maybe we’re being pushed to own our power to take care of ourselves. The issue is boundaries.

If something or somebody is pushing us to our limit, that’s exactly what’s happening: we’re being pushed to our limits. We can be grateful for the lesson that’s here to help us explore and set our boundaries.

Today, I will give myself permission to set the limits I want and need to set in my life.

More language of letting go
May 17
Sometimes it takes a lot to say when

At times we say when with relative ease. We say, “No thanks,this isn’t right for me,” and we walk away. There are other times when it’s harder to set a boundary or enforce a new limit or decision with people.

Jan and Patrick had a tough time saying when to their grown daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth had moved out of the house. She wanted her independence. But she still wanted her mom and dad’s money. She would make deals with them– help me buy this car, or put this deposit on an apartment, then I’ll pay you back. Then she wouldn’t keep her part of the bargain. Mom and Dad continued to send money, even though they had threatened, warned, and tried to deal with the situation in a rational, loving way. They didn’t want to alienate their daughter. And they didn’t want her suffering, which is what Elizabeth claimed she would do if she was “cut off.”

One day, Jan and Patrick sat down with the calculator. They figured out how much support they’d been contributing to Elizabeth’s life. They decided it was time to shut off the money supply. “The only time she called was when she wanted money anyway,” Patrick said. “Jan and I figured that there wasn’t much left of the relationship to lose.”

They gave Elizabeth a three-month warning. The money faucet was shutting off on this date. When that date arrived, the money stopped. A few days later, Elizabeth called back, ranting and raving. She said not only she, but all her friends, thought her parents were despicable for not helping her out, the way good parents should.

“The guilt I felt was overwhelming,” Jan said. “But I also knew that was one of Elizabeth’s favorite tricks. She used our guilt to control us. It was painful. Setting this boundary, this limit, took most of our energy for that entire year– the year of cutting Elizabeth off financially, pushing her out of the nest.”

It’s now been a few years since Jan and Patrick set that boundary. Elizabeth has taken financial responsibility for herself. She didn’t starve, nor did she go homeless. She was much more resourceful than her parents believed. Jan and Patrick still send her gifts, still take her out for dinner, but they no longer support their grown daughter financially. Their relationship with their daughter has shifted onto new ground. Conversations are no longer about money.

Saying when can be uncomfortable for the person saying it, and for the person hearing it. It sometimes involves more than an immediate decision or reaction; it involves a lifestyle change for the people involved. You may need to stand behind your when with focus, dedication, and commitment.

Don’t expect it to be easy to say when and mean what you say. Leave room for other people to have their emotions about your boundaries; give yourself room to have some feelings,too.

God, grant me the energy and commitment to say when and stand behind it.

Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 17

What sort of God would it be who only pushed from without?
—Goethe

Oh, we hate to be pushed! We get upset and angry when someone is pushing on us. What man likes it? Sometimes God does pushing, and it takes a while for us to realize it is God’s pressure on us that we feel. Our natural reaction is to resist and push back.

When we keep getting headaches or stomachaches, maybe we should listen for the message. An unsettled feeling in our lives about women, money, health, work, or something else may carry a message for us. God might be pushing from within. In this program we try to develop our ability to hear God’s will for us. Sometimes a problem is, in fact, a spiritual message. When we stop resisting and start listening, we soon grow wiser and stronger.

God, your message is not always clear to me. Today, I will try to put aside my own habit of pushing back so I can have a clearer mind to receive it.

DailyTAO
May 17
VULNERABILITIES

A warrior takes every person as an adversary.
He sees all their vulnerable points,
And trains to eliminate his own.
A sage has no vulnerable points.

A warrior takes everyone as a potential adversary. He assesses each person that he meets for their strengths and weaknesses, and he places himself strategically. No confrontation is ever a surprise. Protection, competition, honor, and righteousness are his principles.

He is the weapon. Therefore, a warrior trains body and mind to perfection. He knows that the average person has hundreds of points where death can enter. For himself, he seeks to eliminate as many of his own vulnerabilities as possible. In combat, he defends one or two points, and the rest of his attention is devoted to strategy and offense. Yet no warrior can eliminate all vulnerable points. Even for a champion, there is always at least one. Only the way of the sage eliminates all weaknesses.

It is said that the sage has no points for death to enter. This makes the sage, who is perfect in Tao, superior to the warrior, who is merely skilled in Tao. The warrior accepts death, but does not go beyond it. The sage goes beyond concepts of protection, competition, honor, and righteousness, and has no fear of death. The sage knows that nothing dies, that life is mere illusion : Life is but one dream flowing into another.

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