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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – May 27

Just For Today
May 27
Meeting The Day’s Challenge

“…the decision to ask for God’s help is our greatest source of strength and courage.” Basic Text, p. 26

A challenge is anything that dares us to succeed. Things new and unfamiliar serve as challenges, whether those things appear good or bad to us. We are challenged by obstacles and opposition from within ourselves and from without. New and difficult things, obstacles and opposition, all are a part of “life on life’s terms” Living clean means learning to meet challenge.

Many of us, consciously or unconsciously, took drugs to avoid meeting challenge. Many of us were equally afraid of failure and success. Each time we declined the day’s challenge, we suffered a loss of self-esteem. Some of us used drugs to mask the shame we felt. Each time we did that, we became even less able to meet our challenges and more likely to use.

By working the NA program, we’ve found the tools we need to successfully meet any challenge. We’ve come to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, a Power that cares for our will and our lives. We’ve asked that Power to remove our character defects, those things that made our lives unmanageable. We’ve taken action to improve our conscious contact with that Higher Power. Through the steps, we’ve been given the ability to stop using drugs and start living.

Each day, we are faced with new challenges. And each day, through working our program of recovery, we are given the grace to meet those challenges.

Just for today: I will ask my Higher Power to help me squarely meet today’s challenge.

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Daily Reflections
May 27
NO MAUDLIN GUILT

Day by day, we try to move a little toward God’s perfection. So we need not be consumed by maudlin guilt…
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 15

When I first discovered that there is not a single “don’t” in the
Twelve Steps of A.A., I was disturbed because this discovery swung
open a giant portal. Only then was I able to realize what A.A. is for
me:
A.A. is not a program of “don’ts”, but of “do’s.”
A.A. is not martial law; it is freedom.
A.A. is not tears over defects, but sweat over fixing them.
A.A. is not penitence; it is salvation.
A.A. is not “Woe to me” for my sins, past and present.
A.A. is “Praise God” for the progress I am making today.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 27
A.A. Thought For The Day

In twelfth-step work, the fifth thing is Continuance. Continuance means our staying with prospects after they have started on the new way of living. We must stick with them and not let them down. We must encourage them to go to meetings regularly for fellowship and help. They will learn that keeping sober is a lot easier in the fellowship of others who are trying to do the same thing. We must continue to help prospects by going to see them regularly or telephoning them or writing them so that they don’t get out of touch with A.A. Continuance means good sponsorship. Do I care enough about other alcoholics to continue with them as long as necessary?

Meditation For The Day

Every strong and beautiful flower must have a strong root in the ground. It must send a root down so that it may be rooted and grounded while at the same time it sends a shoot up to be the flower that shall gladden the world. Both growths are necessary. Without a strong root, it would soon wither. The higher the growth upward, the deeper must be the rooting. My life cannot flower into success and helpfulness unless it is rooted in a strong faith, or unless it feels deeply secure in the goodness and purpose of the universe.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that my life may be deeply rooted in faith. I pray that I may feel deeply secure.

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As Bill Sees It
May 27
Spot-Checking, p. 132

A spot-check inventory taken in the midst of disturbances can be of very great help in quieting stormy emotions. Today’s spot check finds its chief application to situations which arise in each day’s march. The consideration of long-standing difficulties had better be postponed, when possible, to times deliberately set aside for that purpose.

The quick inventory is aimed at our daily ups and downs, especially those where people or new events throw us off balance and tempt us to make mistakes.

12 & 12, pp. 90-91

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Walk in Dry Places
May 27
Who is important?
Respect for people.

The Twelve step movement grew out of an earlier society, the Oxford group, whose members believed in “key People.” They embraced the idea that attracting promising individuals with high standing would, in turn, attract others.

We’ve also had such people in AA and other 12 step groups, and we are grateful for their examples and efforts. We’ve learned, however, not to view one person as more important than another’s. We could even harm a recovering person by focusing on his or her personal prestige in the community. Our purpose is to help people get well, not to run a club emphasizing social standing.

We’ll find our program working much better if we treat all people equally, and view them as equal in the sight of God. We have a standing in God’s sight that is eternal and everlasting.

I’ll extend kind and generous thoughts toward every person I meet today. We are all children of equal standing in the sight of God.

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Keep It Simple
May 27

It’s only by forgetting yourself that you draw near to God.
—Henry David Thoreau

The biggest danger we face as recovering people is self-will. Do we try to control others?

Do we always put ourselves before others? Are we full of self-pity? These are all ways that bind us to our self-will.

In recovery, we put our lives in the hands of a loving God. Here, we find a new home. Our goal is to lose as much of our self-will as we can. We than put love in place of self-will. Recovery is truly about love.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I pray and offer my self-will to You, Self-will is a danger to my sobriety. I pray that I may be closer to You than to myself.

Action for the Day: I’ll list the areas that self-will get in my way. I’ll read my list every day next week, and I’ll try to put love in place of self will.

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Each Day a New Beginning
May 27

As the wheel of the decades turns, so do a person’s needs, desires, and tasks. Each of us does, in effect, strike a series of “deals” or compromises between the wants and longings of the inner self, and an outer environment that offers certain possibilities and sets certain limitations.
—Maggie Scarf

What life has measured out may not be what we had dreamed of. Life’s lessons may not be those we’d have chosen to learn. Wisdom dictates that the joy of life is proportional to the ease with which we accept those possibilities for growth that have grown out of our inner desires.

Our desires are like an outline for a written assignment, a research project. They help us to see where we want to go at any one time, but as we move the direction may need to change. The natural flow of “the assignment” will help to refine it.

We may not have tried to “realize” many of our desires in the past. But the time has come. One of the joys of recovery is that we understand our desires are closely related to our spiritual program and our recovery. And we know we are not alone. We need to attend to the inner desires that beckon to us. They are calling us to move forward.

Today, I can take the first few steps.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
May 27
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.

The last three years of my drinking, I drank on my job. The amount of willpower exercised to control my drinking during working hours, diverted into a constructive channel, would have made me president, and the thing that made the willpower possible was the knowledge that as soon as my day was finished, I could drink myself into oblivion. Inside, though, I was scared to death, for I knew that the time was coming (and it couldn’t be too remote) when I would be unable to hold that job. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to hold any job, or maybe (and this was my greatest fear) I wouldn’t care whether I had a job or not. I knew it didn’t make any difference where I started, the inevitable end would be skid row. The only reality I was able to face had been forced upon me by its very repetition–I had to drink; and I didn’t know there was anything in the world that could be done about it.

pp. 547-548

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 27

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.”

There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life. Now and then we may be granted a glimpse of that ultimate reality which is God’s kingdom. And we will be comforted and assured that our own destiny in that realm will be secure for so long as we try, however falteringly, to find and do the will of our own Creator.

p. 98

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Xtra Thoughts
May 27

“What worries you, masters you.”
–Haddon W. Robinson

God, help me to have the strength to set reasonable limits for myself and to tell others when I cannot help them. Help me learn to say no.
–Melody Beattie

God is watching over me, making my path easy.
–Alan Cohen

The Way To God “Start the Day with Love; Spend the Day with Love; Fill the Day with Love; End the Day with Love; This is the way to God.”
–Sathya Sai Baba

Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.
–Native American Proverb

Time is like a river – it flows by and doesn’t return.
–Chinese Proverb

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 27
MOTIVES

“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.”
–Michelangelo

I must always “think big”, not in an egotistical sense but as an adventure in spirituality. When I had a small God, I always remained a small person, with small aspirations and dreams. Today I have an all-embracing inclusive God that fills the universe. Today I have hope in my dreams.

As an alcoholic I missed so much. I observed very little about myself and God’s world, people and friends became inconsequential; nothing really mattered except the desire to drink. My spiritual potential was lost in my alcoholism.

Today I am realizing my potential and I can risk in sobriety. My motto has become “go for it”. Behind my dreams is my growth. I have a sense of so much joy in the world that I wish to enthusiastically experience my life.

God, I am so grateful to be alive.

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Bible Scriptures
May 27

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:19-21

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6

Though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the LORD holds us by the hand.
Psalm 37:24

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Daily Inspiration
May 27

Too much of a good thing can actually diminish the joy and make it a burden. Lord, help me avoid excess and keep my life simpler and freer.

To know someone doesn’t mean to know every detail of that person’s life. It means to feel affection, confidence and to believe in that person. Lord, may I really know You and have it reflect in how I treat others.

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A Day At A Time 
May 27

Reflection For The Day

When I have only myself to talk to, the conversation gets sort of one-sided.  Trying to talk myself out of a drink or a pill or a “small wager” or just one chocolate eclair is sort of like trying self-hypnosis.  It simply doesn’t work;  most of the time, it’s about as effective as trying to talk myself out of a case of diarrhea.  When my heart is heavy and my resistance low, I can always find some comfort in sharing with a true and understanding friend in The Program.  Do I know who my friends are?

Today I Pray

May I be convinced that, as part of God’s master plan, we were put here to help each other.  May I be as open about asking for help as I am ready to give it, no matter how long I have been in The Program.  May the experiences of countless others be enough to prove to me that “talking myself out of it” seldom works, that the mutual holstering that comes from sharing with a friend usually does.

Today I Will Remember

When I ask for help, I am Helping.

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    One More Day
    May 27

True miracles are created by men where they use the courage and intelligence that God gave them.
— Jean Anouilh

Recently a woman in Minnesota received her Ph.D. She was eighty years old. She said she needed to conquer new worlds.

The quest for learning should never end, yet all too often we feel our education ends when we are done with school. If we want something intensely enough, whether we set our sights for an education or some other goal, it’s very likely we will find a way of achieving our needs. Sometimes in the process of getting there, we discover other tracks to follow, which may take us to a slightly different endpoint than the one we had originally envisioned. We learn, as mature adults, to accept substitutes. And still we reach as far as we are able.

    I can learn to set new goals — ones which challenge me but don’t defeat me.

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One Day At A Time
May 27
Balance

“I’ve learned that you can’t have everything … and do everything … at the same time.”
–Oprah Winfrey

Learning about balance has been a struggle throughout my life; both as an addict and as a mother, friend, lover, sister… and woman. I’m not sure if it is my addiction that causes me to be over-zealous when it comes to giving too much to too many, or if my desire for love has manifested my addiction out of a need to feel full and satisfied. For me, finding that spot where a relationship is comfortable and not one-sided, where work is just ‘work’ and not all that nourishes my life… where school is an enhancement and not a crutch for hiding and isolating, is a hard place to for me to find. I see patterns within my life where I consistently struggle for harmony and balance. Why isn’t one of anything enough? No matter what it is that is in my life; relationships, work, eating, shopping, I have to work at managing balance so that things flow at the right pace, otherwise, my entire life is off kilter.

But today, I don’t need to struggle. I don’t need to overdo my relationships or my work. I can do just one thing and know that the rest will be there tomorrow. Today I have the gifts that have been given to me to manage my life.

One Day at a Time . . .
I pray that God will help me to manage and balance my life so that I can do a good job with all things, especially living.

~ Pamela

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 27

“One of the things the old people taught me about the spirits was to never have a doubt.”
–Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

The spirit world is sometimes hard to believe in because we can’t see it. Our minds convince us to seek proof for everything. We need to believe that the Unseen World exists and the Unseen World is guided by principles, laws, and values. If we have doubts, we can pray to the Great Spirit to remove the doubt. He understands how difficult it can be sometimes, so He’s always ready to help us during our doubtful times. We are lucky to have such an understanding and helpful Father.

Great Spirit, today, divorce me from doubt.

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Journey to the Heart
May 27
Stop Punishing Yourself with Fear

It’s time to stop punishing ourselves. Time to stop beating ourselves over the head with fear.

This is the scenario. A fear enters our mind. Our mind takes it and runs with it. Something bad is going to happen. Something terrible and traumatic is on the way. We quickly review the traumas of our past and make the determination: Yes, it is very possible that this devastating event will happen.

So we sit crouched in the present moment full of fear and dread. We worry that the worst that could possibly happen, probably will. We begin to believe that it is most likely waiting at our doorstep, ready to pounce on us and steal our joy, our peace, our place and rhythm in the universe.

Because we have harbored the fear so intensely, it has already manifested itself. The thing we fear doesn’t need to happen; it already has– or it might as well have– because we are already forcing ourselves to live through it.

Yes, many awful things have happened to you and me that we are very sorry happened. But that doesn’t mean that we have to give up the beauty of the present moment to something that hasn’t happened yet. Even if it does happen sometime in the future, by harboring the fear we will have lived through it twice as long as we need to.

Recognize and acknowledge your fear. Then release it. Let go of the energy. Stop punishing yourself. While life’s seasons may not always be fair, they are trustworthy. And within each day, each moment of each season, there is a way of peace and love.

Do not allow fear of what if to ruin the joy of what is.

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Today’s Gift
May 27

If your life is ever going to get better, you’ll have to take risks. There is simply no way you can grow without taking chances.
—David Viscott

One sunny day a caterpillar who was afraid of the dark came to a tunnel, which lay squarely in its path. It had a choice of going back where it started, or summoning the courage to crawl into the darkness. “What shall I do?” wondered the caterpillar. “If I go back home, I won’t get where I want to go, but I’m so afraid!”

Just then, a voice called out from the tunnel. “I can hear you, Mr. Caterpillar. I am Mr. Beetle. I am here in the tunnel and I can see the other end. If you come through, you won’t lose your fear of the dark, but you will get where you want to go.”

We are all like the caterpillar once in a while. But if we let our fear stop us from doing things, which are necessary to our growth, we will never realize what courage we really have.

Is my fear a necessary part of new experiences?

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The Language of Letting Go
May 27, 2011
Recognizing Choices

We have choices, more choices than we let ourselves see.

We may feel trapped in our relationships, our jobs, our life. We may feel locked into behaviors such as caretaking or controlling.

Feeling trapped is a symptom of codependency. When we hear ourselves say, I have to take care of this person . . . I have to say yes . . . I have to try to control that person . . . I have to behave this way, think this way, feel this way . . . we can know we are choosing not to see choices.

That sense of being trapped is an illusion. We are not controlled by circumstances, our past, the expectations of others, or our unhealthy expectations for ourselves. We can choose what feels right for us, without guilt. We have options.

Recovery is not about behaving perfectly or according to anyone else’s rules. More than anything else, recovery is about knowing we have choices and giving ourselves the freedom to choose.

Today, I will open my thinking and myself to the choices available to me. I will make choices that are good for me.

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More language of letting go
May 27
Say when it’s not right for you

Not all doors that open up are good for us to walk through.

Sometimes, we’re in that dark corridor, and no doors or windows are open. Then, a crack of light appears. We get an offer– for a job, for a relationship, for a place to live. Our gut goes off. We know this isn’t right for us. If we were desperate, we wouldn’t consider it.

You’re not desperate. Even if you are, act as if you aren’t. If it’s not right for you, it’s not right for you. Back off– even though you may be burning with impatience and desperation.

You don’t have to do anything that’s not right for you.

God, grant me a spirit of serenity and patience. Help me take a moment before making any decisions to ask for guidance first.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 27

At times almost all of us envy the animals. They suffer and die, but do not seem to make a “problem” of it.
—Alan Watts

When we sit quietly and open ourselves to contact with our Higher Power, problems may come to mind. We seek some wisdom beyond ourselves to help us meet the challenges of this day. For many of us men, the greatest problem is our thinking rather than the situations we have to deal with.

Unlike animals, we complicate what is very simple. The pain we face is never fair, so we need not waste time trying to understand the justice or injustice of it. Our problems may seem large or overwhelming from today’s perspective. By tomorrow or next month most of them will be resolved in some way, and we may not even remember them. Our spiritual path teaches us to do first things first each day and not fret about the outcome. We turn outcomes over to the will of God.

Today, I will use the simplicity of the animals as my guide.

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DailyTAO
May 27
SUBSERVIENCE

Out-of-season rain
Dashes crowns of princely trees.
Perplexed travelers ask for reasons,
Huddling under worn eaves.

Those who follow Tao make much of knowing and acting in conformity to the cycle of seasons. They have made a science of studying the exact ways in which events progress. Some have become so skillful that their lives are admired as nearly magical. Yet when things happen out of turn, even these wise ones are surprised.

Such is the case with unseasonable rain. It is supposed to be hot summer, yet it is a day like midwinter. What is there to do but to accept it? Following cycles does not mean that you can then expect things to occur with precision and regularity. The actual ways that circumstances develop will always remain beyond complete regimentation. Nature doesn’t act according to human theories. Rather, our sciences are imperfect at analyzing nature.

The follower of Tao is always flexible and adaptable to circumstance. Even if there is personal desire to do something and advance preparation has been made, the follower must nevertheless bow to nature. Knowing how to put aside personal priorities in order to fulfill the demands of the time is among the greatest of skills.

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