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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 24

Just For Today
May 24
Risking Vulnerability

“As we grow, we learn to overcome the tendency to run and hide from ourselves and our feelings.”
Basic Text, p. 81

Rather than risk vulnerability, many of us have developed habits that keep others at a safe distance. These patterns of emotional isolation can give us the feeling we are hopelessly locked behind our masks. We used to take risks with our lives; now we can take risks with our feelings. Through sharing with other addicts, we learn that we are not unique; we do not make ourselves unduly vulnerable simply by letting others know who we are, for we are in good company. And by working the Twelve Steps of the NA program, we grow and change. We no longer want or need to hide our emerging selves. We are offered the opportunity to shed the emotional camouflage we developed to survive our active addiction.

By opening ourselves to others, we risk becoming vulnerable, but that risk is well worth the rewards. With the help of our sponsor and other recovering addicts, we learn how to express our feelings honestly and openly. In turn, we become nourished and encouraged by the unconditional love of our companions. As we practice spiritual principles, we find strength and freedom, both in ourselves and in those around us. We are set free to be ourselves and to enjoy the company of our fellow addicts.

Just for today: I will openly and honestly share with another recovering addict. I will risk becoming vulnerable and celebrate my self and my friendship with other NA members. I will grow.

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Daily Reflections
May 24
“HAPPY, JOYOUS AND FREE”

We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn’t do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 133

For years I believed in a punishing God and blamed Him for my misery. I have learned that I must lay down the “weapons” of self in order to pick up the “tools” of the A.A. program. I do not struggle with the program because it is a gift and I have never struggled when receiving a gift. If I sometimes keep on struggling, it is because I’m still hanging onto my old ideas and “. . . the results are nil.”

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 24
A.A. Thought For The Day

In twelfth-step work, the third thing is conviction. Prospects must be convinced that they honestly want to stop drinking. They must see and admit that their life is unmanageable. They must face the fact that they must do something about their drinking. They must be absolutely honest with themselves and face themselves as they really are. They must be convinced that they must give up drinking and they must see that their whole life depends on this conviction. Do I care enough about other alcoholics to help them reach this conviction?

Meditation For The Day

There is no limit to what you can accomplish in helping others. Keep that thought always. Never relinquish any work or give up the thought of any accomplishment because it seems beyond your power. God will help you in all good work. Only give it up if you feel that it’s not God’s will for you. In helping others, think of the tiny seed under the dark, hard ground. There is no certainty that, when it has forced its way up to the surface, sunlight and warmth will greet it. Often a task seems beyond your power, but there is no limit to what you can accomplish with God’s help.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may never become discouraged in helping others. I pray that I may always rely on the power of God to help me.

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As Bill Sees It
May 24
Victory in Defeat, p. 135

Convinced I never could belong, and vowing I’d never settle for any second-rate status, I felt I simply had to dominate in everything I chose to do: work or play. As this attractive formula for the good life began to succeed, according to my then specifications of success, I became deliriously happy.

But when an undertaking occasionally did fail, I was filled with resentment and depression that could be cured only by the next triumph. Very early, therefore, I came to value everything in terms of victory or defeat–“all or nothing.” The only satisfaction I knew was to win.

Only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength. Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built.

1. Grapevine, January 1962
2. 12 & 12, p. 21

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Walk in Dry Places
May 24
Guidance and Power in making Decisions.
Higher power

The Twelve Step movement grew out of an earlier society that emphasized taking “quiet times” and seeking continuous guidance in a group setting. While this isn’t usually practiced by 12 step groups anymore, such exercises are still recommended for individuals.

Our needs in seeking guidance are twofold; FIRST, we must reach a belief that our higher power is always available to supply the guidance and power we need. SECOND, we must take care to set aside personal opinions and prejudices while letting real guidance come through. We can easily fall into serious error by assuming that our own impulses and prejudices are “the will of God” for ourselves and others.

How can we identify real guidance when it comes? Usually, we have a sense of peace and rightness about a God-inspired decision. This will be accompanied by a confidence that the correct way will bed shown to us, perhaps a step at a time. The right decision will also be morally correct, involving no harm to others.

I’ll seek the guidance of my Higher power in all things today, knowing that I have within myself the capacity to heed such guidance and follow it.

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Keep It Simple
May 24

The way to love anything is to realize it might be lost.
—G.K. Chesterton

Every day we take so much for granted. But we can count certain blessings: a roof over our head, food, clothing, family, and friends, freedom, a Higher Power we trust. These things are special.

Thinking about them wakes up our happiness. Our recovery program shows us how happy. we just have to remember to do what it tells us!

Step Ten helps us wake up our happiness. Each evening, as we think about our day, we can give thanks for the things we love: our recovery, our health, and the special people in our lives. If we spend part of our day thinking about these important areas, we wont lose them.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me make the most of my blessings today.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll tell five people I love that I’m glad to have them in my life. And I’ll tell each of them one reason why.

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Each Day a New Beginning
May 24

It’s ironic, but until you can free those final monsters within the jungle of yourself, your life, your soul is up for grabs.
—Rona Barrett

We all have monsters. Maybe it’s depression over the past or present circumstances, or resentment about another’s behavior, or fear of new situations. Maybe it’s jealousy of other women. The more attention we give the monsters, the more powerful they get. The harder we try to resist the jealousy or depression or fear, the greater it becomes.

The program offers us the way to let go. And we find the way through one another. When we share ourselves fully with one another, share our monsters with one another, they no longer dominate us. They seek the dark recesses of our minds, and when we shine the light on them, they recoil. The program offers us an eternal light.

I will let the program shine its light in my life today. My monsters will flee for the day.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
May 24
FREEDOM FROM BONDAGE

– Young when she joined, this A.A. believes her serious drinking was the result of even deeper defects. She here tells how she was free.

I wasn’t afraid of anything or anybody after I learned about drinking. It seemed right from the beginning that with liquor I could always retire to my little private world where nobody could get at me to hurt me. It seems only fitting that when I did finally fall in love, it was with an alcoholic, and for the next ten years I progressed as rapidly as is humanly possible in what I believed to be hopeless alcoholism.

p. 546

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 24

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.”

To certain newcomers and to those one-time agnostics who still cling to the A.A. group as their higher power, claims for the power of prayer may, despite all the logic and experience in proof of it, still be unconvincing or quite objectionable. Those of us who once felt this way can certainly understand and sympathize. We well remember how something deep inside us kept rebelling against the idea of bowing before any God. Many of us had strong logic, too, which “proved” there was no God whatever. What about all the accidents, sickness, cruelty, and injustice in the world? What about all those unhappy lives which were the direct result of unfortunate birth and uncontrollable circumstances? Surely there could be no justice in this scheme of things, and therefore no God at all.

pp. 96-97

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Xtra Thoughts
May 24

“Humility leads to strength and not to weakness. It is the highest form of self-respect to admit mistakes and to make amends for them.”
–John (Jay) McCloy

I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.
–Walter Anderson

Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.
–Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.”
–Benjamin Disraeli

Appreciate the time that you have been given. Don’t procrastinate, because you just may not get the chance to do something you have been meaning to do.
–unknown

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.
–Henry Van Dyke

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 24
IMMATURITY

“My mother loved children – she would have given anything if I had been one.”
–Groucho Marx

For too many years I allowed myself to be treated as a child. I played the child role in order to avoid responsibility. Part of my people-pleasing was living as a thirty-year-old child! I was afraid to say “no”. Afraid to disappoint or hurt another’s feelings. Afraid to tell my parents how they were hurting me by their need to control my life. God, when I think about it, I spent years feeling guilty and afraid.

Today I am willing to deal with this pain in my life; today I am willing to talk about it. My biggest relief comes in knowing that I am not alone. There are millions of us out there. The difference is I have a program today that enables me to talk about it.

God, help me to be child-like without being childish. Help me to grow into maturity with a smile.

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Bible Scriptures
May 24

Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
Psalm 37:1-9

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Daily Inspiration
May 24

Do not be upset by events of the past, rather be upset by the time and energy you are devoting to them. Lord, help me to enjoy each moment by completely letting go of the past.

Appreciate every moment of life because even in your darkest moment God is with you. Lord, I know that when things become too difficult for me, You will take my burden and carry me. I am not afraid.

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A Day At A Time
May 24

Reflection For The Day

Getting over years of suspicion and other self-protective mechanisms can hardly be an overnight process. We’ve become thoroughly conditioned to feeling and acting misunderstood and unloved — whether we really were or not. Some of us may need time and practice to break out of our shell and the seemingly comfortable familiarity of solitude. Even though we begin to believe and know we’re no longer alone, we tend to sometimes feel and act in the old ways. Am I taking it easy? Am I learning to wear The Program and life like a loose garment?

Today I Pray

May I expect no sudden, total reversal of all my old traits. My sobriety is just a beginning. May I realize that the symptoms of my disease will wear off gradually. If I slip back, now and then, into my old self-pity bag or my grandiosity, may I not be discouraged, but grateful. At last, I can face myself honestly and not let my delusions get the best of me.

Today I Will Remember

Easy Does It.

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One More Day
May 24

Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this — that you are dreadfully like other people.
— James Russell Lowell

Scientist have long known that all human bodies have essentially the same structure. In this day and age, one person’s heart — or even other organs — can be implanted into another human being’s body.

Other similarities come to mind as we live the day-by-day struggles of having a long-term medical condition. We share the frustrations, the unshed tears, pain, and hopelessness with all people whose state of health is forever altered. But we also share in joy, in pleasure, in the small and large successes we all can achieve as we move on with our lives. We are different, but we are also so very much the same.

Despite my physical limitations, I am more like all other people than I am different from them. Today, I will look for the similarities.

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One Day At A Time
May 24
PERFECTION

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
Anna Quindlen

“Perfect”…to me that word sounds like: “Do it again. You didn’t do it right.” That’s the message I get from the voices in my head. The messages of perfectionism tell me over and over that I did it wrong. It’s a powerful weapon when you use it as a whip against yourself, just like negative messages when you look in a mirror. I have a choice every single moment of every single day to either pick up that whip and hurt myself, or to “get out of my own way” and be kind. I can choose to look in the mirror and be thankful, and to look at myself and feel love. It takes a lot of practice, but it is worth it.

If you love yourself more than you love anyone else, you can feel happiness again. You can create again. You can look at your shadow and say good things about it too! It’s another beautiful you ~ unique and wonderfully made.

One day at a time…
I will celebrate the beauty of myself today and everyday.

~ Karen

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 24

“…in Tunkashila, there is no time. Everything moves in the blink of an eye. It’s as fast as thought. So there is no speed there. There is no time in between.”
–Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

There is a relationship between thought and reality. Every thought is alive, and as soon as you think it, a result occurs immediately. However, to make something happen it may take a series of one thousand thoughts before you can actually see it with your eyes. This occurs because the Laws of the Great Spirit act immediately. When you tell a lie, you immediately experience fear. When you tell the truth, you immediately experience freedom. To the Creator, there is no time. For us to experience the meaning of this requires us to act on faith. Faith is belief without evidence.

Great Spirit, today, let me act on my faith.

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Journey to the Heart
May 24
Rituals Connect Us with Faith

I stopped in at the Franciscan monastery, a short visit to look around. I bought a keychain, returned to my car, than realized I had misplaced my keys. I went back inside and talked to the receptionist. Just then a short priest joined our conversation. He had a bald head encircled by a short fringe of hair and he wore a flowing black robe. “Let me show you what I do when I lose something,” he said. “I ask St. Anthony for help.”

The next moment, the priest was spinning in a circle, clapping his hands in a joyful prayer. “St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please look around. Something’s been lost and cannot be found.” He stopped, looked at me, then smiled. “Now you’ll find your keys,” he said. He was right. Within thirty seconds, we found the keys. They were on a counter in a place we had looked twice before. For some reason, we just hadn’t seen them.

But I found something more wonderful than my keys. I had witnessed a delightful man expressing pure, innocent joy for a ritual that helped him and others through the days.

What are the rituals that are important to you, that awaken joy, innocence, and faith in you? Do you allow yourself to use these rituals freely? What were the rituals you enjoyed as a child, the ones that brought you comfort? Do you remember them? Engage in these rituals. Use them freely. Share them with others, as the priest did with me.

Rituals connect us to faith. They’re faith in action. Rituals are reminders of our connection to God. They bring us back to God and ourselves.

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Today’s Gift
May 24

Spring does not ask an audience, but shapes each blossom perfectly, indifferent to applause.
—Joan Walsh Anglund

In the spring each blossom brings its own shape, color, and fragrance. The lilacs come early to spread their lavender splash. Apple trees burst into white, cherry blossoms into pink, and each weaves its unique and pleasant perfume.

They don’t bloom because someone told them to, or because they will receive anything in return. They bloom for the pure joy of blooming. They bloom because that is what they are here to do.

Each one of us blooms in our own time, with our own color and fragrance. Every one of us is a special and important blossom, and we are all part of the tree of life.

How will my day today help me grow?

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The Language of Letting Go
May 24, 2011
Letting the Cycles Flow

Life is cyclical, not static. Our relationships benefit when we allow them to follow their own natural cycles.

Like the tide ebbs and flows, so do the cycles in relationships. We have periods of closeness and periods of distance. We have times of coming together and times of separating to work on individual issues.

We have times of love and joy, and times of anger.

Sometimes, the dimensions of relationships change as we go through changes. Sometimes, life brings us new friends or a new loved one to teach us the next lesson.

That does not mean the old friend disappears forever. It means we have entered a new cycle.

We do not have to control the course of our relationships, whether these be friendships or love relationships. We do not have to satisfy our need to control by imposing a static form on relationships.

Let it flow. Be open to the cycles. Love will not disappear. The bond between friends will not sever. Things do not remain the same forever, especially when we are growing and changing at such a rapid pace.

Trust the flow. Take care of yourself, but be willing to let people go. Hanging on to them too tightly will make them disappear.

The old adage about love still holds true: If it’s meant to be, it will be. And if you love someone, let them go. If they come back to you, the love is yours.

Today, I accept the cyclical nature of life and relationships. I will strive to go with the flow. I will strive for harmony with my own needs and the needs of the other person.

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More language of letting go
May 24
Say when it’s time to begin

I have a friend who is always planning to start a writing project “as soon as she gets organized.” She has read nearly every book, attended every seminar, and bought all the tapes on the subject. She has closets full of organizers, drawers stuffed with folders, and several related computer programs. There’s only one problem. Instead of starting, she hides behind a mask of “firsts.” “I’ll start writing, but first I’ve got to learn this program.” “I’ll listen to that tape, but first I’ve got to read this book.”

Are you hiding behind a mask of firsts? Is there always something that keeps you from beginning? Take off the mask. Start the project. Ask that special person for a date. Do that Fourth and Fifth Step. Stop making excuses. Eliminate them.

Learn to say when it’s time to begin.

God, please help me eliminate excuses from my life. Show me how full my life can be when I pursue my dreams.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 24

Edith Bunker: I was just thinking. In all the years we been married, you never once said you was sorry.
Archie Bunker: Edith, I’ll gladly say that I’m sorry – if I ever do anything wrong.
—Norman Lear

We can laugh at Archie because we see a part of ourselves in him. We have lived in a cloud of denial, blind to our faults. If we weren’t actually blind to them, perhaps we just refused to admit them because we did not dare. Changing this pattern takes time and determination. We make progress in recovery when we stop focusing on what is wrong with others and start being accountable for ourselves. We grow when we are willing to amend our lives and accept forgiveness for our mistakes.

A feeling of self-respect flows into us when we stand up and say “I did something wrong.” This statement also says, “I have the strength to face my responsibilities and repair my mistakes.” It is surprisingly helpful to our self-esteem, and it improves our relationships.

Today, I will be accountable for my actions and will admit my mistakes.

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DailyTAO
May 24
LATENT

Prophets and priest teach the form of Tao.
Tao’s essence cannot be taught.
It is latent,
And cannot be known by learning.

Why do religions wither and become extinct? Because they are only the works of people. After all, religion and spirituality, though related, are not synonymous. Religion is the creation of people and cultures. Spirituality is the direct personal relationship with Tao. Religions often degenerate into convention, ritual, and corruption. They are imperfect. When their creators fade, even the holiest words gradually lose their power.

Our spiritual problems don’t substantially differ from those of our ancestors, and today’s truths still attempt to find the same spirituality as before. Why? Because all truths eventually point to Tao, and Tao has always existed latently, unbroken and eternal. We may begin our investigations in the realm of the religious, but once we clear away the distortions and interfering aspects of our own consciousness, we enter the realm of Tao. Once that happens, there is no need for religions.

If we were to have a genuine spiritual experience, it would be lunacy to then go out and try to become religious leaders. We would only be repeating the same mistakes of countless other genuine seekers. It would be far better simply to be a nameless follower of Tao. Then we avoid the contradictions of social action.

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