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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – May 29

Just For Today
May 29
Carry Me

“We believe that our Higher Power will take care of us”
Basic Text, p. 55

We all have times when it seems as though our lives are falling apart. There are days, or even weeks, when it seems that everything that can go wrong is going wrong. Whether it’s the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, or the end of a relationship, we doubt that we’ll survive the changes taking place in our lives.

It’s during the times when the world is crashing down around our ears that we find our greatest faith in a loving Higher Power. No human being could relieve our suffering; we know that only God’s care can provide the comfort we seek. We feel broken but we go on, knowing that our lives will be repaired.

As we progress in our recovery and our faith in our Higher Power grows, we are sure to greet the difficult times with a sense of hope, despite the pain we may be in. We need not despair, for we know that our Higher Power’s care will carry us through when we can’t walk on our own.

Just for today: I will rely on God’s care through the painful times, knowing that my Higher Power will always be there.

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Daily Reflections
May 29
TRUE TOLERANCE

The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 139

I first heard the short form of the Third Tradition in the Preamble. When I came to A.A. I could not accept myself, my alcoholism, or a Higher Power. If there had been any physical, mental, moral, or religious requirements for membership, I would be dead today. Bill W. said in his tape on the Traditions that the Third Tradition is a charter for individual freedom. The most impressive thing to me was the feeling of acceptance from members who were practicing the Third Tradition by tolerating and accepting me. I feel acceptance is love and love is God’s will for us.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 29
A.A. Thought For The Day

We who have learned to put our drink problem in God’s hands can help others to do so. We can be used as a connection between an alcoholic’s need and God’s supply of strength. We in Alcoholics Anonymous can be uniquely useful, just because we have the misfortune or fortune to be alcoholics ourselves. Do I want to be a uniquely useful person? Will I use my own greatest defeat and failure and sickness as a weapon to help others?

Meditation For The Day

I will try to help others. I will try not to let a day pass without reaching out an arm of love to someone. Each day I will try to do something to lift another human being out of the sea of discouragement into which he or she has fallen. My helping hand is needed to raise the helpless to courage, to strength, to faith, to health. In my own gratitude, I will turn and help other alcoholics with the burden that is pressing too heavily upon them.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be used by God to lighten many burdens. I pray that many souls may be helped through my efforts.

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As Bill Sees It
May 29
More than Comfort, p. 148

When I am feeling depressed, I repeat to myself statements such as these: “Pain is the touchstone of progress.” . . . “Fear no evil.” . . . “This, too, will pass.” . . . “This experience can be turned to benefit.”

These fragments of prayer bring far more than mere comfort. They keep me on the track of right acceptance; they break up my compulsive themes of guilt, depression, rebellion, and pride; and sometimes they endow me with the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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Walk in Dry Places
May 29
Guarding against disguised hostility
Fairness.

One of the pitfalls in continued recovery is the tendency to become self-righteous and judgmental. Sometimes this fuses into a hostility directed toward newcomers or chronic “slippers”. Now and then, we’ve seen grumpy older members demanding that those who slip get honest.

While we may be right in concluding that a person is not showing honesty, we have NO RIGHT to denounce or expose anyone in a group setting. Far from helping the person, we may be showing off. If there is hostility in our words or manner, the other person will certainly sense it.

The best group setting for good recovery is always one that expresses warmth, acceptance, and understanding. There are few, if any, times when a verbal assault can be justified. Before we lash out at another person’s lack of honesty, we must take an honest look at our own motives and feelings.

I’ll face the day with a feeling of goodwill and acceptance in my dealings with every person I meet. If I attend a meeting, I’ll show the same warmth and acceptance toward every person there.

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Keep It Simple
May 29

The more one judges the less on love.
—Balzac

At times we need to make judgments about people’s behavior. We stand back and look at how their lives affect our sobriety. We have to do this to choose people whose relationships will be good for us. We have to do this before we trust someone in business. We should take a good look at the others person before we fall in love. But we decide to trust or love someone, we have to stop judging.

When we love someone, we don’t stand back. We move in close. We give them all our love can offer. We don’t just think and judge. We feel. We are on their side. We look for the good in them. We don’t pick them apart. We love the whole person.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to judge a little and love a lot. Help me accept the people I love, faults and all. Help me love them better.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll catch myself when I start to judge others. I will accept them as they are.

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Each Day a New Beginning
May 29

Women sometimes gossip when they want to get close to people.
—Joan Gilbertson

Feeling alone and lonely heightens our fears of inadequacy. In our alienation from others, paranoia grips us. We yearn to feel connection with someone, and gossip about another someone can draw two lonely people close. We are bonded.

We need a sense of belonging, every one of us: belonging to the neighborhood, belonging to the staff where we work, belonging to the group we call friends. Knowing that we do belong fosters the inner warmth that accompanies security, well-being. And our fears are melted.

The program’s Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Steps guarantee that we’ll feel the closeness we long for when we work them. Self-revelation strengthens our ties to the people we long to connect with. Gossip loses its appeal when we know we share a closeness already. Mingling our vulnerabilities secures our closeness.

We need to be attentive to our judgments of others, be they verbalized in gossip or only savored in silence. These judgments act as barometers of our own self-image. Our security in knowing we belong, that we are one, relieves us of the need to judge others unfairly.

Loneliness pushes me to behavior that even compounds the loneliness. Real closeness will come when I talk about myself rather than someone else.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
May 29
Our Southern Friend

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

It is ten o’clock of a Saturday night. I am working hard on the books of a subsidiary company of a large corporation. I have had experience in selling, collecting, and accounting, and am on my way up the ladder.
Then the crack-up. Cotton struck the skids and collections went cold. A twenty three million dollar surplus wiped out. Offices closed up and workers discharged. I, and the books of my division have been transferred to the head office. I have no assistance and am working nights, Saturdays and Sundays. My salary has been cut. My wife and new baby are fortunately staying with relatives, What a life! I feel exhausted. The doctor has told me that if I don’t give up inside work, I’ll have tuberculosis. But what am I to do? I have a family to support and have no time to be looking for another job.
I reach for the bottle which I just got from George, the elevator boy.

p. 211

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 29

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

Such gross misbehavior is not by any means a full catalogue of the harms we do. Let us think of some of the subtler ones which can sometimes be quite as damaging. Suppose that in our family lives we happen to be miserly, irresponsible, callous, or cold. Suppose that we are irritable, critical, impatient, and humorless. Suppose we lavish attention upon one member of the family and neglect the others. What happens when we try to dominate the whole family, either by a rule of iron or by a constant outpouring of minute directions for just how their lives should be lived from hour to hour? What happens when we wallow in depression, self-pity oozing from every pore, and inflict that upon those about us? Such a roster of harms done others–the kind that make daily living with us as practicing alcoholics difficult and often unbearable could be extended almost indefinitely. When we take such personality traits as these into shop, office, and the society of our fellows, they can do damage almost as extensive as that we have caused at home.

p. 81

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Xtra Thoughts
May 29

“Good friends are good for your health.”
–Irwin Sarason

“Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.”
–Elbert Hubbard

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. . . . Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
–Melody Beattie

Why do birds sing in the morning? It’s the triumphant shout: “We got through another night.”
–Enid Bagnold

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
–Kahlil Gibran

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 29
SELF

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings.”
–William Shakespeare

My addiction to alcohol led me away from “self”: today in my sobriety I am beginning to understand me. For years I blamed others for my misfortunes but today I see that I was the enemy in my life. It was a “cop-out” to blame God, family, job or life for my alcoholism – I needed to take responsibility for “self”.

Part of my recovery program today involves me not looking “outside” for answers but looking within. The answer is not in the stars, not in fate – but rather in the destiny I create by the decisions I make today. I, and I alone, forge my future.

O Lord, let me create a life that is pleasing in Your sight.

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Bible Scriptures
May 29

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river.
Jeremiah 17:8

“The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.”
Nahum 1:7

The LORD said, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
Isaiah 43:2

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Daily Inspiration
May 29

Sometimes we spend our time demanding that the present moment be different than it is instead of facing the situation and dealing with it. Lord, strengthen my faith because through You I will have enough power to overcome any obstacles.

Take heart in the beauty of your life because God loves, helps, fights and wins. Lord, I will never fear because nothing can triumph over Your Will.

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A Day At A Time 
May 29

Reflection For The Day

When we fist reached The Program and for the first time in our lives stood among people who seemed to understand, the sense of belonging was exhilarating.  We felt that the problem of isolation had been solved.  We soon discovered, however, that while we weren’t alone any more, in a social sense, we still suffered many of the old pangs of anxious apartness.  Until we had talked with complete candor of our conflicts, and had listened to someone else do the same thing, we still didn’t belong.  Step Five was the answer.  Have I found through the Fifth step the beginning of true kinship with my fellows and God?

Today I Pray

May God help me learn to share myself, my attributes and my failings, not just as I take the Fifth Step but in a continuing give-and-take process with my friends.  May I cultivate an attitude of openness and honesty with others, now that I have begun to be honest with myself.  May I remember who I used to be — the child in a game of hide-and-seek, who hid so well that nobody could find her/him and everyone gave up trying and went home.

Today I Will Remember

I will be open to friendships.

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One More Day
    May 29

There is a period of life when we swallow a knowledge of ourselves and it becomes either good or sour inside.
— Pearl Bailey

We have a tendency to hold on to those dreams, goals, and images we had when we were young. When we accept the reality of what our lives have become — good or bad — we are finally adult.

It’s far easier to accept external realities than our deeper, more personal internal realities. Accepting that we are never going to be tall or agile or rich is simpler than admitting that we are selfish or angry or unkind. Perhaps the external things are easier because there is nothing we can do to change them, and we resist admitting to character defects because those can be changed. We may not like what we see, but if we swallow that bitter pill we are able to change.

    I will ignore my fear and admit to the good and bad within me. This gives me the freedom to change.

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One Day At A Time
May 29
HIGHER POWER

“Think not because no man sees, such things will remain unseen.”
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Recently at a meeting I heard a person share that they weren’t sure that the program would work for them because they did not believe in God. They were very distressed. I wanted to get out the Big Book and quote to them from page 47, “When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. At the start this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him.”

Many of us have a problem with God in the beginning of our program. We may be atheists, agnostics, or simply have had bad experiences regarding God or His/Her people. We can choose the group, or the Higher Power of another, to be our Higher Power until we are able to begin, bit-by-bit, to define and establish a relationship with our own Higher Power. I know that when I came into the program I was very angry with God. I used the group as my Higher Power at first. Then I used my sponsor’s God of her understanding as my Higher Power because He was so loving and full of grace. We had many talks about her God. This helped me greatly until I was able to reconnect to my relationship with the God of my understanding. Today I have a full, rich and intimate relationship with my God.

One day at a time…
I will be tolerant of others’ conception of their Higher Power and will continue to grow in my relationship with the God of my understanding.

~ Carolyn H.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 29

“Humility is probably the most difficult virtue to realize.”
–Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

Two definitions of humility are; one, being aware of one’s own defects of character, and two, giving credit where credit is due. This means if you do something and are successful because God gave you certain talents, give credit to God when someone tells you how well you did; this is being humble. If you are successful at something, but had help from friends, spouse, neighbors, give credit to those who helped you; this is being humble. If you have done a task and you alone accomplished it, give credit to yourself; this is being humble. Say the truth and give credit where credit is due.

Grandfather, let me walk a truthful road today.

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Journey to the Heart
May 29
Let the Past Slip Away

Gently, lovingly, leave past moments behind.

You can’t lose love. You don’t need to hang on so tightly. If the lesson has been learned, if it is time to move on, let the past slip away. Come into the present moment. Discover all that’s there for you. Clinging to the lessons, people, and feelings from yesterday will keep you tired, confused, and afraid.

Shed the tears that need to be shed. Feeling your grief will help you bring about your transformation.

Then say your good-byes. Be glad you had the experience you did. Be gratefu for all you’ve learned about yourself, about love. Then gently move into today.

Stop believing in loss. Start believing in life. Let the past slip away. Come gently into now.

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Today’s Gift
May 29

The only people who never fail are those who never try.
—Ilka Chase

A boy once asked his grandfather how he had become so happy and successful in his life. “Right decisions,” replied his grandfather. The boy thought for a while and then asked a second question, “But how do you learn to make right decisions?” The grandfather answered quickly with a twinkle in his eye, “Wrong decisions!”

We, too, will learn from our “wrong decisions,” our mistakes. Whenever we try anything, there is always the possibility of failure. We must learn to not let this keep us from trying. When we are willing to try, we have already conquered our fear. We can grow no matter what the outcome is.

What failure have I turned into success?

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The Language of Letting Go
May 29, 2011
Powerlessness and Unmanageability

Willpower is not the key to the way of life we are seeking. Surrender is.

“I have spent much of my life trying to make people be, do, or feel something they aren’t, don’t want to do, and choose not to feel. I have made them, and myself, crazy in that process,” said one recovering woman.

I spent my childhood trying to make an alcoholic father who didn’t love himself be a normal person who loved me. I then married an alcoholic and spent a decade trying to make him stop drinking.

I have spent years trying to make emotionally unavailable people be emotionally present for me. I have spent even more years trying to make family members, who are content feeling miserable, happy.

What I’m saying is this: I’ve spent much of my life desperately and vainly trying to do the impossible and feeling like a failure when I couldn’t. It’s been like planting corn and trying to make the seeds grow peas. Won’t work!

By surrendering to powerlessness, I gain the presence of mind to stop wasting my time and energy trying to change and control that which I cannot change and control. It gives me permission to stop trying to do the impossible and focus on what is possible: being who I am, loving myself, feeling what I feel, and doing what I want to do with my life.

In recovery, we learn to stop fighting lions, simply because we cannot win. We also learn that the more we are focused on controlling and changing others, the more unmanageable our life becomes. The more we focus on living our own life, the more we have a life to live, and the more manageable our life will become.

Today, I will accept powerlessness where I have no power to change things, and I’ll allow my life to become manageable.

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More language of letting go
May 29
Say when it’s time to seek shelter

There’s a saying that a boat may be safe when it’s in harbor, but that isn’t what boats were made for. But let’s not forget the value of safe harbors either. A wise sailor knows the limits of each boat and will seek shelter if the weather becomes more than it can bear.

Seeking out new experiences, meeting new people, living life to its fullest is one of the best reasons for being alive. The purpose of recovering from addictions and learning to take care of ourselves isn’t to keep us stuck perpetually in therapy. It’s to free us to live our lives. But we need to be aware of our limits. And there is no reason to put yourself into a situation of unnecessary risk.

Only you can be the judge of that in your life. We each have different levels of freedom and similar but unique needs. A strong ocean liner can weather much stronger storms than a small powerboat. You may be able to withstand more or less pressure than someone else. Push your limits occasionally; that’s how we grow and change. But know what those limits are, and be willing to seek shelter when the storms come.

You are not alone. Whether through meditation or prayer; secular or religious support groups. Twelve Step or self-help meetings, a harbor exists in which you can ride out the storms and remain strong to sail the exciting waters of life another day.

Do you know where your harbors are? Lives are meant to be lived, so live yours as fully as you can. But remember that you cannot live fully when you’re recovering from storm damage. Be bold, but be safe.

God, help me be aware during times of stress that a safe harbor exists.

Activity: List your safe harbors. Examples of this might be friendships that are completely safe and supportive, support groups, prayer, meditation, and places of worship. How often do you need to connect with these harbors to keep yourself in good shape? Be aware that when you go through periods of stress and distress– and these times appear frequently in our lives– you might need to seek extra shelter to keep yourself safe from the storm.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 29

We cannot approach prayer as we do everything else in our push button, instant society. There are no prayer pills or enlightenment capsules.
—Janie Gustafson

Prayer is the relationship between each man and his Higher Power. Our approach to this relationship is guided by our understanding of God. How other men and women have prayed and related to God throughout history may guide us today.

Any relationship is a process, not a momentary event with an instantaneous outcome. It builds with repeated contact and dialogue. With give and take, prayer is our honesty encountering God and our openness hearing God expressed on God’s terms. Like any relationship, prayer includes all our feelings – anger, fear, and mistrust, as well as generosity, goodwill, and gratitude. Gradually, we see the events of our lives through the wisdom and detachment our spiritual relationship provides.

I return now to my dialogue with God, asking only for knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry it out.

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DailyTAO
May 29
PIVOTING

Some days, you and I go mad.
Our bellies get stuffed full,
Hearts break, minds snap.
We can’t go on the old way so
We change. Our lives pivot,
Forming a mysterious geometry.

Life revolves. You cannot go back one minute, or one day. In light of this, there is no use marking time in any one position. Life will continue without you, will pass you by, leaving you hopelessly out of step with events. That’s why you must engage life and maintain your pace.

Don’t look back, and don’t step back. Each time you make a decision, move forward. If your last step gained you a certain amount of territory, then make sure that your next step will capitalize on it. Don’t relinquish your position until you are sure that you have something equal or better in your grasp. But how do we develop timing for this process?

It has to be intuitive. On certain days, we come to our limits, and our tolerance for a situation ends. When that happens, change without the interference of concepts, guilt, timidity, or hesitancy. Those are the points when our entire lives pivot and turn toward new phases, and it is right that we take advantage of them. We mark our progress not by the distance covered but by the lines and angles that are formed.

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