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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – May 20

Just For Today
May 20
Coming Out Of Isolation

“We find ourselves doing and enjoying things that we never thought we would be doing.”
Basic Text, p. 98

Active addiction kept us isolated for many reasons. In the beginning, we avoided family and friends so they wouldn’t find out we were using. Some of us avoided all nonaddicts, fearing moral backlash and legal repercussions. We belittled people who had “normal” lives with families and hobbies; we called them “uncool” believing we could never enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Eventually, we even avoided other addicts because we didn’t want to share our drugs. Our lives narrowed, and our concerns were confined to the daily maintenance of our disease.

Today, our lives are much fuller. We enjoy activities with other recovering addicts. We have time for our families. And we’ve discovered many other pursuits that give us pleasure. What a change from the past! We can live life just as fully as the “normal” people we once scorned. Enjoyment has returned to our lives, a gift of recovery.

Just for today: I can find pleasure in the simple routines of daily living.

Daily Reflection
May 20
ONE DAY AT A TIME

Quote:Above all, take it one day at a time.
AS BILL SEES IT, p.11

Why do I kid myself that I must stay away from a drink for only one day, when I know perfectly well I must never drink again as long as I live? I am not kidding myself because one day at a time is probably the only way I can reach the long-range objective of staying sober. If I determine that I shall never drink again as long as I live, I set myself up. How can I be sure I won’t drink when I have no idea what the future may hold? On a day-at-a-time basis, I am confident I can stay away from a drink for one day. So I set out with confidence. At the end of the day, I have the reward of achievement. Achievement feels good and that makes me want more!

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 20
A.A. Thought For The Day

If we get up in a meeting and tell something about ourselves in order to help the other person, we feel a whole lot better. It’s the old law of the more you give the more you get. Witnessing and confession are part of keeping sober. You never know when you may help somebody. Helping others is one of the best ways to stay sober yourself. And the satisfaction you get out of helping a fellow human being is one of the finest experiences you can have. Am I helping others?

Meditation For The Day

Without God, no real victory is ever won. All the military victories of great conquerors have passed into history. The world might be better off without military conquerors. The real victories are won in the spiritual realm. “He that conquers himself is greater than he who conquers a city.” The real victories are victories over sin and temptation, leading to a victorious and abundant life. Therefore, keep a brave and trusting heart. Face all your difficulties in the spirit of conquest. Remember that where God is, there is the true victory.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that the forces of evil in my life will flee before God’s presence. I pray that with God I will win the real victory over myself.

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As Bill Sees It
May 20
Defects and Repairs, p. 140

More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character.  This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it.

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

Guilt is really the reverse side of the coin of pride. Guilt aims at self-destruction, and pride aims at the destruction of others.

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

“The moral inventory is a cool examination of the damages that occurred to us during life and a sincere effort to look at them in a true perspective. This has the effect of taking the ground glass out of us, the emotional substance that still cuts and inhibits.”

1. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 73
2. Grapevine, June 1961
3. Letter, 1957

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Walk in Dry Places
May 20
Gratitude is not natural.
Gratitude

“Nobody ever gave me a helping hand,” a young alcoholic complained, having handed in prison. “My life has been one bad break after another.”

While this person indeed had bad breaks, it’s doubtful that he’d never been given a helping hand by somebody. If we have no gratitude, it’s likely taht we don’t ever recognize a helping hand when it is extended. We may have believed any assistance we took was our right, even resenting our benefactors.

The remedy for such immature thinking is a conscious effort to vultivate gratitude. IF we’re not aware of feeling it, we can at least act as if we have it. Thank people for any favor, no matter how small. Express appreciation for the wonderful people around you. Give people praise at every opportunity.

This will help start a current of gratitude that can be amplified in time. You’ll come to recognize many helping hands.

Today I’ll be grateful and appreciative of everything in my life. I’ll let gratitude build up in my life until I can feel it and others can sense that I have it.

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Keep It Simple
May 20

And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
—Matt. 15:14

The Twelve Step programs are sometime called self-help programs. But they’re not really, because we all help each other. We don’t stay sober by ourselves. Sometimes we call Twelve Step programs peer programs. And they are. All of us equal. No one is an expert. But we need to be careful who we choose for a sponsor. We each need to find someone who has been sober longer than us. Someone who understands the Steps. Someone who lives by them. Some we want to be like. We need to stick with the winners.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I know I’m like a blind person who is just beginning to see. Help me follow the path of those who see better than I do.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list the people in my program I go to for help. Am I sticking with the winners?

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Each Day a New Beginning
May 20

It only takes one person to change your life – you.
—Ruth Casey

Change is not easy, but it’s absolutely unavoidable. Doors will close. Barriers will surface. Frustrations will mount. Nothing stays the same forever, and it’s such folly to wish otherwise. Growth accompanies positive change; determining to risk the outcome resulting from a changed behavior or attitude will enhance our self-perceptions. We will have moved forward; in every instance our lives will be influenced by making a change that only each of us can make.

We have all dreaded the changes we knew we had to make. Perhaps even now we fear some impending changes. Where might they take us? It’s difficult accepting that the outcome is not ours to control. Only the effort is ours. The solace is that positive changes, which we know are right for us and other people in our lives, are never going to take us astray. In fact, they are necessary for the smooth path just beyond this stumbling block.

When we are troubled by circumstances in our lives, a change is called for, a change that we must initiate. When we reflect on our recent as well as distant past, we will remember that the changes we most dreaded again and again have positively influenced our lives in untold ways.

Change ushers in glad, not bad, tidings.

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Alcoholics Anonymous – Fourth Edition
May 20
Our Southern Friend

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

TWO rosy-cheeked children stand at the top of a long hill as the glow of the winter sunset lights up the snow covered country-side. “It’s time to go home” says my sister. She is the eldest. After one more exhilarating trip on the sled, we plod homeward through the deep snow. The light from an oil lamp shines from an upstairs window of our home. We stamp the snow from our boots and rush in to the warmth of the coal stove which is supposed to heat upstairs as well. “Hello dearies,” calls Mother from above, “get your wet things off.”
“Where’s Father?” I ask, having gotten a whiff of sausage cooking through the kitchen door and thinking of supper.
“He went down to the swamp,” replies Mother. “He should be home soon.”
Father is an Episcopal minister and his work takes him over long drives on bad roads. His parishioners are limited in number, but his friends are many, for to him race, creed, or social position make no difference. It is not long before he drives up in the old buggy. Both he and old Maud are glad to get home. The drive was long and cold but he was thankful for the hot bricks which some thoughtful person had given him for his feet. Soon supper is on the table. Father says grace, which delays my attack on the buckwheat cakes and sausage. What an appetite!
A big setter lies asleep near the stove. He begins to make queer sounds and his feet twitch. What is he after in his dreams? More cakes and sausage. At last I am filled. Father goes to his study to write some letters. Mother plays the piano and we sing. Father finishes his letters and we all join in several exciting games of parchesi. Then Father is persuaded to read aloud some more of “The Rose and the Ring.”

p. 208

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 20

Step Eight – “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”

This is a very large order. It is a task which we may perform with increasing skill, but never really finish. Learning how to live in the greatest peace, partnership, and brotherhood with all men and women, of whatever description, is a moving and fascinating adventure. Every A.A. has found that he can make little headway in this new adventure of living until he first backtracks and really makes an accurate and unsparing survey of the human wreckage he has left in his wake. To a degree, he has already done this when taking moral inventory, but now the time has come when he ought to redouble his efforts to see how many people he has hurt, and in what ways. This reopening of emotional wounds, some old, some perhaps forgotten, and some still painfully festering, will at first look like a purposeless and pointless piece of surgery. But if a willing start is made, then the great advantages of doing this will so quickly reveal themselves that the pain will be lessened as one obstacle after another melts away.

pp. 77-78

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Xtra Thoughts
May 20

Thoughts have power. Thoughts are energy. You can make your world or break it by your thinking.
–Susan Taylor

When life seems to be going in a direction you don’t want, take a moment and recognize all the wonderful gifts in your life. This really helps you change your perspective and appreciate things once again.
–unknown

“Find places of healing. Discover people, things and places that nourish your soul, bring you back to center, help you heal.”
–Melody Beattie

What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.
–Ellen Burstyn

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 20
RELIGION

“You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.”
–Viscount John Morley

I need to remember that you cannot force a person into faith. You cannot make a person believe. You cannot bribe a person into prayer.  So much of my early religion was “a deal”: you do this and you will get this. If you do this for God and His church you will be happy and successful. There always seemed to be a “payoff” with God, or that was how it seemed.

I think many of the silent majority sense the same kind of thing; God has got lost in “the business” of religion. Spirituality accepts the pain, confusion and anger of this silent majority and says, “find a God as you understand Him.” Discover your power in your life – and then God will be perceived.

Lord, in my silence is the “shout” heard.

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Bible Scriptures
May 20

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalms 23

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Daily Inspiration
May 20

You can keep things in perspective by realizing that not much in life is as urgent as others would like you to believe. Lord, help me to know and stay focused on that which is really important to me.

Our time here is short and there is still so much to be done. Lord, please let me do a little more for You today so that the world may be a little better because of me.

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A Day At A Time
May 20

Reflection For The Day

Alcoholism is called the “lonely disease”;  almost without exception, alcoholics are literally tortured by loneliness.  Even before the end of our drinking — before people began to shun us and we were “eighty-sixed” from bars, restaurants or people’s homes — nearly all of us felt that we didn’t quite belong.  We were either shy, and dared not draw near otters, or we were noisy good fellows craving attention and approval, but rarely getting it.  There was always that mysterious barrier we could neither surmount nor understand.  Finally, ever Bacchus betrayed us;  we were struck down and left in terrified isolation.  Have I begun to achieve an inner calm?

Today I Pray

May I know the tenderness of an intimate relationship with God and the calm I feel when I touch His spirit.  May I translate this tenderness and calm to my relationships with others.  May God deliver me from my lifelong feeling of loneliness and show me how to be a friend.

Today I Will Remember

God can teach me to be a friend.

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One More Day
May 20

Stripped of all their masquerades, the fears of men are quite identical: the fear of loneliness, rejection, inferiority, unmanageable anger, illness and death.
— Joshua Loth Liebman

Sometimes we may try to hold ourselves apart from others, pretending our uniqueness makes us superior. Underneath all our bluff and bravado we recognize that our fears are shared by all people.

We fashion our lives to protect ourselves from hurt, from displeasing those we love, and from disappointing ourselves. Our best chance for success, despite some difficult burdens, is to develop a positive attitude, an open nature, and a willingness to risk. Doing this doesn’t necessarily protect us from all our fears, but it does create an honest bond with other people who also accept their human nature.

My fears don’t have to isolate me; in fact, they can be the means by which I reach out to others.

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One Day At A Time
May 20
AVOIDANCE

” Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored..”
–Aldous Huxley

Step 1 has a basic principle behind it which is truth. For me that truth is, just as I use tools for recovery, there are tools that my willful mind uses to keep me rooted in my disease. One of the strongest is avoidance.

Recovery can bring up a lot of painful issues and have me recall situations in which I feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I find that these old feelings have a way of creeping into my psyche. Suddenly some old behavior comes rushing back and I find myself using avoidance as a means to protect myself. Other times, I find myself acting very willfully by deliberately putting things off like going to the gym even when I know that it is good for me, I enjoy myself and am always happy for having gone..

My avoidance can take the form of rebellion against a person, chore, or situation.

Recovery has taught me to face situations. Once the situation has been faced, I often feel a sense of immediate relief. I know that the deed is done, my fears whether they be realistic or not, usually fall away, and sometimes I even feel a little silly for having avoided the situation in the first place.

One day at a time…
I will fact the situations that I encounter today with action.

~ Marilyn S.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 20

“…the sacred ceremonies given to us by the Creator are the Heart of our existence. These ceremonies are our first duty.”
–Traditional Circle of Elders. NORTHERN CHEYENNE

Hidden in the ceremonies are many truths, many principles, many guidelines for living our access to the Unseen World, healing and visions. Because the Indian People didn’t have schools or books, the Great Spirit gave us Ceremonies. The ceremonies are handed down from generation to generation to learn their meaning. Today, many Indian People live in cities or urban areas where it’s hard to learn the ceremonies. We need to go to the Elders and learn the ceremonies so we can pass them on to our children.

Great Spirit, teach me the Secrets of the Ceremonies.

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Journey to the Heart
May 20
Value the Fragrances of the Universe

I stopped at the small gas station to fill the tank and get a cup of coffee en route through northern California. “Did you know that the world’s largest manufacturer of aromatherapy products is right here in town? asked the attendant. His remark reminded me of the power of our sense of smell to affect how we feel. We are surrounded by odors, but unless one is particularly noxious, we tend to ignore the effects of the scents we are inhaling. And we tend to underestimate the power of certain scents to help us heal.

Nurture your sense of smell. Let it come alive. Use its power to help you heal. A bundle of white sage burning in a sea shell on the table. The wisp of cedar smoke from the fireplace. A cone of incense filling the air. Lavender oil in the bath. Drops of eucalyptus sprinkled in the shower, its penetrating aroma mingling with the steam. A vanilla candle on the nightstand next to your bed. The smell of a forest, fresh with rain. Ocean air, salty and damp. The rich sawdust smell of redwood. Comforting smells from childhood– bread baking in the oven, freshly baked chocolate cake on the counter, chicken frying in the pan. The smell of our favorite people, their hair, their clothes, their cologne.

Value your sense of smell, the way it connects you to yourself, to memory, to emotion, to the universe and the world around you. Use your sense of smell to help you discover what’s right for you. Surround yourself with the fragrances of the universe. Let them help you heal.

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The Language of Letting Go
May 20
Sadness

Ultimately, to grieve our losses means to surrender to our feelings.

So many of us have lost so much, have said so many good byes – have been through so many changes. We may want to hold back the tides of change, not because the change isn’t good, but because we have had so much change, so much loss.

Sometimes, when we are in the midst of pain and grief, we become shortsighted, like members of a tribe described in the movie Out of Africa.

“If you put them in prison,” one character said, describing this tribe, “they die.”

“Why?” asked another character.

“Because they can’t grasp the idea that they’ll be let out one day. They think it’s permanent, so they die.”

Many of us have so much grief to get through. Sometimes we begin to believe grief, or pain, is a permanent condition.

The pain will stop. Once felt and released, our feelings will bring us to a better place than where we started. Feeling our feelings, instead of denying or minimizing them, is how we heal from our past and move forward into a better future. Feeling our feelings is how we let go.

It may hurt for a moment, but peace and acceptance are on the other side. So is a new beginning.

God, help me fully embrace and finish my endings, so I may be ready for my new beginnings.

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More language of letting go
May 20
Say when it’s time to get something done

Yesterday we talked about using deadlines to help ourselves let go. Self-imposed deadlines can also be a way to focus our energy on a task at hand, especially one we’ve been putting off.

“I’m going to get up and have the house cleaned by 10:00 A.M.” “I’m going to lock myself in the house and have this report written in two days.” “I’m going to get the yard cleaned up by the end of the week.”

There are many times in life when it’s appropriate and healthy to listen to our internal clock about what to do and when to do it. Going with the flow can be a spiritual process, but there are other times when it’s helpful to use self-imposed deadlines to help us get the job done.

Do you need to set a deadline for yourself?

God, help me set appropriate deadlines for myself.

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Today’s Gift
May 20

For nothing can be sole or whole that has not been rent.
—W. B. Yeats

The maple out front is young and healthy, but it grows in the shape of a Y. Neighborhood tree experts have warned that as it grows, it will split in half as the weight of the two main branches pull down against each other. One of these two beautiful branches, already lush with new leaves, must be cut. But once pruned, the remaining branch will straighten as it reaches for the sun. It will grow faster, and the whole tree will live many years longer – all by cutting it back today.

Sometimes we are like this tree. We go in too many directions, and can’t seem to do any one thing well. When this happens, we need to give something up, to choose which direction we want and stick with it. The results will be well worth the price.

What is holding me back from growth?

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 20

Truth is a demure lady, much too ladylike to knock you on the head and drag you to her cave. She is there, but the people must want her and seek her out.
—William F. Buckley, Jr.

As we develop a deeper and more reliable friendship with ourselves, we have little hunches or inner blips of feeling that tell us private truths. Ancient scriptures called it “a still, small voice.” We usually sense this inner message somewhere in our body. Some men say it’s in the heart, others say in the gut, or ear, or on their shoulders. When we are too focused on what others think and feel and what the world says is truth, we don’t notice our inner voice; it doesn’t get much chance to develop. It never hits us over the head; it requires silence and respect to be heard.

As we follow the Steps, we learn to regularly visit the cave of this demure lady, Truth, and seek out her wisdom. The more we listen and the more we respect the truths we receive in our quietness, the more wisdom we are given.

I will listen to the personal wisdom whispered by that still, small voice within.

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DailyTAO
May 20
DISSENT

Old man : Dissent is not disloyalty.
Be careful before you retaliate.
Your steel wrapped in cotton
May only be brittle bone wrapped in fat.

No one is a supreme authority. People seek leaders, priests, gurus, and hermits thinking that someone has a precise formula for living correctly. No one does. No one can know you as well as you can know yourself. All that you can gain from a wise person is the assurance of some initial guidance. You may even spend decades studying under such an extraordinary person, but you should never surrender your dignity, independence, and personality.

There is no single way to do things in life. There are valid paths, even though they may differ from the ways of respected elders. Diversity is good for tradition. Too often, elders confuse dissent with disloyalty and punish people for the crime of having a different view. They are no longer in touch with Tao but instead mouth self-serving convention. Perhaps the panic of their own impending death makes them clutch. When the leaders become repressive, it is a sign that their time is drawing to a close.

A saying about old masters was that they were like steel wrapped in cotton : They appeared soft on the outside but still held great power on the inside. We all hope for elders like that. But oftentimes, the old masters have lost their mandate of Tao. Then, when tested, they are merely brittle bone and fat. How can we respect such people?

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