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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – May 18

Just For Today
May 18
Friends And Amends—Keeping It Simple

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

In every relationship, we don’t always handle things the way we would have hoped. But friendships don’t have to end when we make mistakes; instead, we can make amends. If we are sincerely willing to accept the responsibilities involved in friendship and make the amends we owe, those friendships can become stronger and richer than ever.

Making amends is simple. We approach the person we have harmed and say, “I was wrong.” Sometimes we avoid getting to the point, evading an admission of our own part in the affair. But that frustrates the intent of the Ninth Step. To make effective amends, we have to keep it simple: we admit our part, and leave it at that.

There will be times when our friends won’t accept our amends. Perhaps they need time to process what has happened. If that is the case, we must give them that time. After all, we were the ones in the wrong, not them. We have done our part; the rest is out of our hands.

Just for today: I want to be a responsible friend. I will strive to keep it simple when making amends.

Daily Reflections
May 18
FREEDOM TO BE ME

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p 83

My first true freedom is the freedom not to have to take a drink today. If I truly want it, I will work the Twelve Steps and the happiness of this freedom will come to me through the Steps – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Other freedoms will follow, and inventorying them is a new happiness. I had a new freedom today, the freedom to be me. I have the freedom to be the best me I have ever been.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 18
A.A. Thought For The Day

We’re in A.A. for two main reasons: to keep sober ourselves and to help others to keep sober. It’s a well known fact that helping others is a big part of keeping sober yourself.  It’s also been proved that it’s very hard to keep sober all by yourself. A lot of people have tried it and failed. They come to a few A.A. meetings and then stay sober alone for a few months, but usually they eventually get drunk. Do I know that I can’t stay sober successfully alone?

Meditation For The Day

Look by faith into that place beyond space or time where God dwells and whence you came and to which you shall eventually return. “Look unto Him and be saved.” To look beyond material things is within the power of everyone’s imagination. Faith’s look saves you from despair. Faith’s look saves you from worry and care. Faith’s look brings a peace beyond all understanding.  Faith’s look brings you all the strength you need. Faith’s look gives you a new and vital power and a wonderful peace and serenity.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may have faith’s look. I pray that by faith I may look beyond the now to eternal life.

As Bill Sees It
May 18
Two Roads for the Oldtimer, p. 138

The founders of many groups ultimately divide into two classes known in A.A. slang as “elder statesmen” and “bleeding deacons.”

The elder statesman sees the wisdom of the group’s decision to run itself and holds no resentment over his reduced status. His judgment, fortified by considerable experience, is sound; he is willing to sit quietly on the side lines patiently awaiting developments.

The bleeding deacon is just as surely convinced that the group cannot get along without him. He constantly connives for re-election to office and continues to be consumed with self-pity. Nearly every oldtimer in our Society has gone through this process in some degree.  Happily, most of them survive and live to become elder statesmen.  They become the real and permanent leadership of A.A.

12 & 12, p. 135

Walk in Dry Places
May 18

No Limits on our Higher power
The Spiritual Way

One ancient saying claims that “with God, all things are possible.” That’s quite a statement, one we may claim to believe without living as though we do.

What it really neat is that God exists outside the conditions and restrictions that make our own lives so limited. The more we can move into conscious contact with God, the more freedom and power we will experience.

It might be said that all real human progress is the same order. Every advancement in science really reveals more information about God and the universe. We are always discovering new possibilities for humankind as we stretch the frontiers of knowledge.

Our most serious lag is in learning to understand ourselves and each other. It is humbling to realize that the ideas we’re using in Twelve Step programs have been around for centuries. Fced with impossible problems, we must remember that God can solve these problems if only we ask.

I’ll follow today the old idea of working as if everything depended on me and believing as if everything depended on God.

Keep It Simple
May 18

You cannot plan the future by the past.
—Edmund Burke

We got tried of how we were living. We honestly looked at our life. We saw that alcohol and other drugs controlled our life. We met others who understood us. And we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could help us. We turned our will and our life over to this Power. In so doing, we learned that life doesn’t take place in the past or in the future. We find our program in the present.

Prayer for the Day: I pray that I’ll leave the past in the past.  I pray that I’ll walk into each moment with my Higher Power.

Action for the Day: The only time we revisit the past is when we tell our story. Today, I’ll tell my story to someone. I’ll tell what really happened. I’ll tell what life is like now.

Each Day a New Beginning
May 18

. . . in order to feel anything you need strength . . .
—Anna Maria Ortese

Strength for any task, to withstand any pressure, to find the solution to any problem, is always as close as our very breath. We expend all our energy, wearing ourselves down, even getting sick from worry when we fail to turn to the source of strength that is ours for the taking.

We are offered, moment-by-moment, opportunities to experience the rapture of life. We have the chance, with recovery, to trust our senses, to turn ourselves over to the moment, knowing we can survive every experience, knowing we are guaranteed new knowledge, a greater awareness of the meaning of our own lives when we’re fully attuned to the experiences that are uniquely our own, right here, right now.

Our strength increases as we flex it, not unlike muscles. The more we turn to that greater power, the more available that source of strength becomes. With practice, it becomes habitual to let God help us withstand all pressures, solve every problem. In time, the pressures and problems seem to exist no more. We learn to let our higher power circumvent the difficulties in our lives. Free at last, we become free at last to feel the real joys of living.

All the strength I need to face anything that’s worrying me is at hand. I will let go and let God help me today.

Alcoholics Anonymous
May 18

Women Suffer Too

Despite great opportunities, alcohol nearly ended her life. Early member, she spread the word among women in our pioneering period.

It didn’t stop there. They knew what to do about those black abysses that yawned ready to swallow me when I felt depressed, or nervous. There was a concrete program, designed to secure the greatest possible inner security for us long-time escapists. The feeling of impending disaster that had haunted me for years began to dissolve as I put into practice more and more of the Twelve Steps. It worked!

p. 207

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 18

Step Seven – “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”

The Seventh Step is where we make the change in our attitude which permits us, with humility as our guide, to move out from ourselves toward others and toward God. The whole emphasis of Step Seven is on humility. It is really saying to us that we now ought to be willing to try humility in seeking the removal of our other shortcomings just as we did when we admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, and came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. If that degree of humility could enable us to find the grace by which such a deadly obsession could be banished, then there must be hope of the same result respecting any other problem we could possibly have.

p. 76

Xtra Thoughts
May 18

Self-esteem is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom, while discouragement often nips it in the bud.
–Alex F. Osborn

There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.
–Chinese Proverb

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing; that’s why we recommend it daily.”
–Zig Ziglar

“No matter what you have done to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day.”
–Brian Tracy

“Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.”
–Dorothy Sarnoff

Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 18

FAITH

“Faith has need of the whole truth.”
–Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Faith is a journey that ends in God. Our understanding of imperfection teaches us to look beyond ourselves into the truth that is yet to be revealed. Our daily attitude adjustments bring us, step by step, to that truth and freedom that awaits us in the future.

Sufficient today to know that we are not God and nobody has all the answers. The hardest part of being a human being is accepting the limitations of our lives. Things happen without our involvement. We need not be there for existence to happen; there is life beyond me! God holds the world together, not me. Truth is in me but also beyond me. In this sense my faith is enriched by others, and at some point in the future we will all become ONE in truth.

As I look to the future I see the Oneness of tomorrow.

Bible Scriptures
May 18

“I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:12b-13

“Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”
Psalms 147:5

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 8:39

Daily Inspiration
May 18

Daily Inspiration
May 18, 2012

If you are stressed, you are probably makings things more important than they really are. Lord, I pray for clarity of thought and calmness of spirit because I know that when my heart grows weary, You send me peace.

Joy does not depend on your circumstances, but rather on your triumph over your circumstances. Lord, my joy comes from within where Your spirit fills my soul and You bless me with Your strength.

A Day At A Time 
May 18

Reflection For The Day

I considered myself a “loner” in the days when I was actively addicted.  Although I was often with other people — saw them, heard them, touched them–most of my important dialogues were with my inner self.  I was certain that nobody else would ever understand.  Considering my former opinion of myself, it’s likely that I didn’t want anybody to understand.  I smiled through gritted teeth even as I was dying on the inside.  Have my insides begun to match my outside since I’ve been in The Program?

Today I Pray

May my physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual selves become one, a while person again.  I thank my Higher Power for showing me how to match my outside to my inside, to laugh when I feel like laughing, to cry when I feel sad, to recognize my own anger or fear or guilt.  I pray for wholeness.

Today I Will Remember

I am becoming whole.

One More Day
May 18

Pain is part of being alive, and we need to learn that. Pain does not last forever, nor is it necessarily unbearable, and we need to be taught that.
— Harold Kushner

Losing anything — a loved one, a favorite book, even a set of goals we thought were reachable — can hurt deeply. But the loss of good health is one of the greatest pains we can suffer, for it signifies the ending of what is familiar and what is expected. The pain of a long-term medical condition isn’t just physical, it’s also emotional. We are afraid that we will not be able to live through the change.

With time, however, we adjust to this latest loss, just as we have adjusted the others. We create new routines that allow for diminished health. As laughter filters through our days once again, we understand that even despair is not permanent.

    I reach outward, extending my arms for hope. I turn inward with the thought of helping myself. I am getting stronger.

One Day At A Time
May 18
STEP ELEVEN

“Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings. ”
–Victor Hugo

Step eleven tells us to seek “through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” For me, that is a daily, some times, minute by minute task. As a food addict and compulsive overeater I face temptation daily and need to be in fit spiritual condition to resist. I do this by making a daily conscious contact with the God of my understanding. Then I am connected when I need the fox hole prayers like, “Help me!” or “I’m in trouble!”

Step eleven for me is a spiritual discipline to be practiced daily. I do not do that perfectly, but I aspire to connect daily with my God. As I connect I pray for His will for my life and the power to carry that out. It is easy to get selfish with my prayers and step eleven helps me with this. There are certain things that I know are His will, such as attending meetings, talking to my sponsor, using the tools and staying connected to my God. If I am unsure, I pray for God’s will and leave the rest to Him.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will maintain a fit spiritual condition by connecting with the God of my understanding.

~ Carolyn

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 18

“…Grandmother the Earth. That power is here all the time. It is continuous, and nobody controls it.”
–Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

There are certain powers that the human being has no choice but to obey. We cannot negotiate or barter with this power. Our choice is either to conform or to live out of harmony. Whatever our choice, it will be the end result in our lives that we notice. So it is with the powers of the Earth which produce life. The Earth has the life force power. If anyone plants a seed, the seed will grow. The Earth treats everyone equally. The human cannot interfere, only obey. We should all show great respect for the Earth and Her powers.

Great Spirit, today, let me honor and respect the power of the Grandmother, the Earth.

Journey to the Heart
May 18
Love All of Yourself

Do more than just accept yourself, tolerate yourself, put up with yourself, endure who you are. Love yourself.

There came a time in my life when I simply could no longer put up with putting up with myself. I had talked about self-love. I had said aloud that I loved myself. The words were good, but they didn’t ring true. I had to actually begin experiencing and practicing love for myself. It became the next step on my path.

To live in a magical way, one in which you connect with the universe, loving yourself isn’t optional. It comes first. To hear the quiet voice of your heart so you know when you’re being led, to hear your thoughts so you can see what you really believe, to trust, and open your heart, you must first experience love for yourself.

Have you abandoned yourself? Let yourself see if that’s true, feel if that’s true. Then learn to experience love for yourself.

Learn to love the way you handle things. Love your unique way of learning, growing, and seeing things. Love where you’ve been. Love what you’ve done. Love where you are, and what you’re doing now.

Love how you look, smell, and feel. Love the color of your eyes, the color of your hair, and the radiance in your heart. Love how you laugh. Love how you cry. Love your mistakes, and love all the good you’ve done. Love it all. Love all of you.

Step into love for yourself, and the universe will reflect that love back to you.

Today’s Gift
May 18

He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven.
—Thomas Fuller

We have all seen adventure movies in which the heroes or villains are caught on a bridge that collapses. As they fall to whatever lies below, they are perhaps able to climb to one side or the other. But for the time being, their ability to cross between the two sides is gone.

When we have been hurt by people in our lives, or when we have hurt others, mutual forgiveness is needed in order to rebuild the trust between us. It is very much like rebuilding a bridge – one piece at a time. We take cautious steps at first – testing the safety and strength of our bridge.

When two people have become separated by loss or anger, it is forgiveness that can rebuild the bridge between them. Forgiveness needs time and so does the rebuilding of trust.

Can I begin to rebuild a friendship today?

The Language of Letting Go
May 18
Don’t stop living your life!

So often, when a problem occurs, inside or around us, we revert to thinking that if we put our life on hold we can positively contribute to the solution. If a relationship isn’t working, if we face a difficult decision, if we’re feeling depressed, we may put our life on hold and torment ourselves with obsessive thoughts.

Abandoning our life or routines contributes to the problem and delays us from finding the solution.

Frequently, the solution comes when we let go enough to live our life, return to our routine, and stop obsessing about the problem.

Sometimes, even if we don’t feel like we have let go or can let go, we can act as if we have, and that will help bring about the letting go we desire.

You don’t have to give up your power to problems. You can take your focus off your problem and direct it to your life, trusting that doing so will bring you closer to a solution.

Today, I will go on living my life and tending to my routine. I will decide, as often as I need to, to stop obsessing about whatever is bothering me. If I don’t feel like letting go of a particular thing, I will act as if I have let go of it until my feelings match my behavior.

More language of letting go
May 18
Use your creativity in saying when

Grace was the single parent of a seventeen-year-old son– Shawn. Shawn was charismatic, powerful, strong-willed, intelligent, and chemically dependent.

Grace loved Shawn deeply. But she also felt trapped by his rebellious teenage years, coupled with his drug and alcohol usage. Shawn had been through treatment once, did well for a while, then had relapsed. Shawn had a driver’s license and a car. In his sober times, Shawn handled the responsibility of the car well. And the agreement was, if Shawn relapsed, he would relinquish the keys.

The problem with chemical dependency is that denial and lying go hand in hand with the disease. When Shawn began using again, he also began lying to his mother. It didn’t take long for Grace to see and understand what was going on. She knew what her boundary was. Take away the car.

Grace was clear about what she could and couldn’t do. She couldn’t make Shawn stay sober, but she could refuse to allow him to drive.

Grace took action. She grabbed a screwdriver, went outside, removed both license plates form Shawn’s car, and drove directly to the post office. She then mailed the license plates to a friend of the family and asked the friend to keep the plates until Shawn sobered up.

Shawn knew a boundary had just been clearly set. Six months later, when his plates were returned to him, he was sober and ready to respect the responsibility involved with driving an automobile.

Sometimes, it’s not enough just to stay when. We need to get creative in how we say it,too.

God, help me know that you will always be there to guide me in setting limits, when it is my responsibility and in my best interests to enforce a particular boundary.

Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 18

One should learn to enjoy the neighbor’s garden, however small; the roses straggling over the fence, the scent of lilacs drifting across the road.
—Henry Van Dyke

There are many gifts around us which we overlook when we’re busy dealing with our anxieties and obligations. We talk about burning out from our high-intensity lifestyles. We act as though nothing would get done if we didn’t do it ourselves. We get so engrossed in fighting with the frustrations of life that we fail to see the good things coming our way that took no effort on our part.

As we look around us this very moment, what good things do we find? Has a friend given a warm hello? Is the sun shining? The rain falling? Has the traffic flowed smoothly? We have no claim on these generous events, and we can’t say God smiles on us when we have them or He frowns when we don’t. We can say there are always generous forces coming our way, which comfort and heal us. We only need to take time to enjoy them.

Today, I will take some quiet moments to notice the good things coming my way. I will be grateful for them.

DailyTAO
May 18
SCHOLASTICISM

Ocean inside a skull-cup,
Seeking the universal code in letters.
The mind is like a flower on icy water :
An eye within the petals.

The intellect is one of the thorniest problems for a spiritual aspirant. One cannot do without it — indeed, it is essential — and yet one cannot allow it to remain totally dominant. The intellect must be fully developed before it is brought to a point of neutrality. Unless this is done, it will act as a block, and there will not be any ultimate spiritual success.

Scholarship is thus an important first step. Education is a means of gaining access to the conventional world, of satisfying our curiosity, and of avoiding superstitious tendencies. There can be no talk of delving into philosophical mysteries if one has not even satisfied one’s curiosity about nature, civilization, mathematics, and language. But once mental cultivation is achieved, one must focus increasingly on a part of the mind that is far beyond the scholarly.

The intellect uses discrimination, categorization, and dualistic distinctions in highly sophisticated ways. By contrast, spiritual contemplation involves no discrimination, no categorization, and no dualism, so it has very little need for scholasticism. It is pure action that requires the totality of our inner beings. It needs pure involvement, no mere study. The proper use of the intellect is to give it free play, develop it to an extraordinary degree, and yet to leave it behind when spiritual action is required. A sage knows how to balance and combine both.

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