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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings - May 3, 2014

Just For Today
May 3, 2014
Sharing Our Gratitude

“My gratitude speaks when I care and when I share with others the NA way.”
Gratitude Prayer

The longer we stay clean, the more we experience feelings of gratitude for our recovery. These feelings of gratitude aren’t limited to particular gifts like new friends or the ability to be employed. More frequently, they arise from the overall sense of joy we feel in our new lives. These feelings are enhanced by our certainty of the course our lives would have taken if it weren’t for the miracle we’ve experienced in Narcotics Anonymous.

These feelings are so all-encompassing, so wondrous, and sometimes so overwhelming that we often can’t find words for them. We sometimes openly weep with happiness while sharing in a meeting, yet we grope for words to express what we are feeling. We want so badly to convey to newcomers the gratitude we feel, but it seems that our language lacks the superlatives to describe it.

When we share with tears in our eyes, when we choke up and can’t talk at all—these are the times when our gratitude speaks most clearly. We share our gratitude directly from our hearts; with their hearts, others hear and understand. Our gratitude speaks eloquently, though our words may not.

Just for today: My gratitude has a voice of its own; when it speaks, the heart understands. Today, I will share my gratitude with others, whether I can find the words or not.

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Daily Reflections
May 3, 2014
CLEANING HOUSE

Somehow, being alone with God doesn’t seem as embarrassing as facing up to another person. Until we actually sit down and talk aloud about what we have so long hidden, our willingness to clean house is still largely theoretical.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p 60

It wasn’t unusual for me to talk to God, and myself, about my character defects. But to sit down, face to face, and openly discuss these intimacies with another person was much more difficult. I recognized in the experience, however, a similar relief to the one I had experienced when I first admitted I was an alcoholic. I began to appreciate the spiritual significance of the program and that this Step was just an introduction to what was yet to come in the remaining seven Steps.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 3, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

A.A. teaches us to take it easy. We learn how to relax and to stop worrying about the past or the future, to give up our resentments and hates and tempers, to stop being critical of people, and to try to help them instead.  That’s what “Easy Does It” means. So in the time that’s left to me to live, I’m going to try to take it easy, to relax and not to worry, to try to be helpful to others, and to trust God. For what’s left of my life, is my motto going to be “Easy Does It”?

Meditation For The Day

I must overcome myself before I can truly forgive other people for injuries done to me. The self in me cannot forgive injuries. The very thought of wrongs means that my self is in the foreground. Since the self cannot forgive,  I must overcome my selfishness. I must cease trying to forgive those who fretted and wronged me. It is a mistake for me even to think about these injuries. I must aim at overcoming myself in my daily life and then I will find there is nothing in me that remembers injury, because the only thing injured, my selfishness, is gone.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may hold no resentments. I pray that my mind may be washed clean of all past hates and fears.

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As Bill Sees It
May 3, 2014
Perception of Humility, p. 156

An improved perception of humility starts a revolutionary change in our outlook. Our eyes begin to open to the immense values which have come straight out of painful ego-puncturing. Until now, our lives have been largely devoted to running from pain and problems.  Escape via the bottle was always our solution.

Then, in A.A., we looked and listened. Everywhere we saw failure and misery transformed by humility into priceless assets.

To those who have made progress in A.A., humility amounts to a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.

12 & 12
1. pp. 74-75
2. p. 58

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Walk in Dry Places
May 3, 2014
Knowing a new freedom
Spiritual growth

Most of us place a high value on freedom without always knowing what it really is, or ought to be. “Freedom” in the drinking world is often merely license to indulge ourselves without concern about consequences. This false freedom usually forces us into dependency or the need to rely on others to get us out of trouble.

The “new freedom” that comes out of the 12 Steps is a higher order. It means that by following principles in living we find choices and experiences that were never possible in the old life. We are free from the destructive behavior that always ended in pain and defeat.

This freedom is more of the spirit than of worldly things. It is knowing the truth about ourselves and life. As the Bible says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” In this new freedom, we no longer pursue activities that are ruinous and wasteful. We no longer deceive ourselves with painful illusions and false hopes, because we’ve learned to live and think on higher levels. Knowing the truth, we’re free from alcohol and from the bad thinking that poisoned our lives and relationships.

Today I’ll be grateful for the new freedom I have found in the program. I am free from the compulsions that caused me to hurt myself and others. I am free to choose new opportunities for service and self-expression.

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Keep It Simple
May 3, 201

When I have listened to my mistakes, I have grown.
—Hugh Prather

Everyone makes mistakes. We all know that. So why is it so hard to admit our own? We seem to think we have to be prefect. We have a hard time looking at our mistakes. But our mistakes can be very good teachers. Our Twelve Step program helps us learn and grow from our mistakes. In Step Four, half of our work is to think of our mistakes. In step Five, we admit our mistakes to God, ourselves, and another person. We learn, we grow and become whole. All by coming to know our mistakes The gift of recovery is not being free from mistakes. Instead, we do the Steps to claim our mistakes and talk about them. We find the gift of recovery when we learn from our mistakes.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to see my mistakes as changes to get to know myself better.

Action for the Day: Today Ill talk to a friend about what my mistakes taught me. Today I’ll feel less shame.

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Each Day a New Beginning
May 3, 2014

. . . love is a great beautifier.
—Louisa May Alcott

Meeting life head-on, with a smile, attracts to us people and situations. Our attitudes shape our world – which is not to deny that problems do occur. However, problems can be viewed as special opportunities for personal growth — as gifts, more or less, that we are ready to receive. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. The stumbling blocks we encounter push us beyond our present awareness. They teach us that we are stronger and more creative than we’d thought. Problem solving is esteem-building.

Negatively confronting the day is sure to complicate any experiences. A simple misunderstanding can be exaggerated into a grave situation, requiring the energy of many people to handle it. On the other hand, a patient, trusting, loving attitude can turn a grave situation into a positive learning experience for all affected.

We can beautify the day by smiling at it and throughout all the experiences it offers us. The expression of love to everyone we meet guarantees to make us more lovable in return.

How great is my influence today! I can go forth feeling love, if I choose to–guaranteeing an enjoyable day for me and everyone I meet.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
May 3, 2014
A LATE START

– “It’s been ten years since I retired, seven years since I joined A.A. Now I can truly say that I am a grateful alcoholic.”

Some months later I invited my daughter and son-in-law for dinner to celebrate her birthday. They found me sprawled across the living room floor, passed out cold. What a mournful birthday present! It took very little persuasion to convince me to go into the detoxification program at the local hospital. I knew I was in trouble; I was ashamed and heartbroken that I had caused her such hurt. Seven days in detox and eight weeks of really good help from a psychologist, and I was dry, sober, and ready to face the world again. The doctor strongly suggested that I participate in the local A.A. program, but I would have none of it. I was cured–I needed no further help.

p. 538

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 3, 2014

Step Ten – “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

As we work the first nine Steps, we prepare ourselves for the adventure of a new life. But when we approach Step Ten we commence to put our A.A. way of living to practical use, day by day, in fair weather or foul. Then comes the acid test: can we stay sober, keep in emotional balance, and live to good purpose under all conditions?

p. 88

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Xtra Thoughts
May 3, 2014

My experience has been that putting the program into practice in my life is not just turning things over to my Higher Power, but turning them over and then taking my hands off!
–Nancy S.

God has got us covered today!!
–Anonymous

When self-will is running riot, hit the brakes, take time out, talk to God.  Reconnect with God to refresh, renew, restore yourself with Him.
–Tammy B.

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.
–Franklin P. Adams

I bask in the sunshine of God’s love.
–SweetyZee

When the pace of change seems overwhelming, we find stability in God.
–Sherry Holloway

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 3, 2014
UNIQUENESS

“God sees nothing average.”
–Anonymous

God created every human being from the dust and yet He bestowed within all of us His image. This means that we are divine. We are creatures created to create. We share God’s life for the universe. We are anything but average!

And yet for years we thought we were not good enough. We needed drugs, food or people to make us okay. We considered ourselves “less-than”, inferior or freaks.

But today we awake to a new message. The spiritual message tells us that we are forever holding the hand of God. He needs you and me to work in His vineyard. In us He makes miracles. Today I know that I am beautiful. I am important. I am unique.

Master, part of Your beauty is in Your healing power. Help me to be healed daily by beholding my beauty that is forever within and without.

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Bible Scriptures
May 3, 2014

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Isaiah 40:8

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.
Romans 12:10

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:19-21

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Daily Inspiration
May 3, 2014

Patience grows with practice and elevates the hearts of those who benefit from it as well as your own. Lord, may my actions show love and speak loudly of Your presence within me.

Most of us never set our sights as high as Jesus intended we should. Lord, may the celebration of Your birth serve as a rebirth within me of my sense of commitment, consecration and purpose.

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A Day At A Time
May 3, 2014

Reflection For The Day

“To stand on one leg and prove God’s existence is a very different thing,” wrote Soren Kierkegaard, “from going down on one’s knees and thanking Him.”  It is my confidence in a Higher Power, working in me, which today releases and activates my ability to make my life a more joyous, satisfying experience.  I can’t bring this about by relying on myself and my own limited ideas.  Have I begun to thank God every night?

Today I Pray

May I remember constantly that it is my belief in my Higher Power that flips the switch to release the power in me.  Whenever I falter in my faith, that power is shut off.  I pray for undiminished faith, so that this power — give by God and regenerated by my own belief in it — may always be available to me as the source of my strength.

Today I Will Remember

Faith regenerate God-given Power.

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One More Day
May 3, 2014

In our own secret hearts we each and all of us feel superior to the rest of the world, or, if not superior, at least “different” with a difference that is very precious and beautiful to us, and the base of all our pride and perseverance.
– Solomon Eagle

How alike we all are, yet how different. Differences are what make each person so special. All our efforts and all our experiences can shine forth ready to enhance our lives and the lives of others when we dare to let our differences show.

In the complex world, each of us and our differences are needed. To find where our uniqueness is most useful, we may have to go out of our way. We may need to actually create a niche for ourselves as we have done so many times before. In doing this, we affirm our value and that of all others.

I accept my differentness as a gift and a strength, not a weakness.

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One Day At A Time
May 3, 2014
STEP ONE

“The cause is hidden, but the result is known.”
–Ovid

When I went to my first meeting and was told about Step One, that I was to admit my powerlessness, it was somewhat of a mystery to me. I thought powerlessness was weakness. It was obvious that the result of my compulsive overeating could be seen by everyone, but to me, I was not sure that powerlessness was the answer to the problem. As I kept going to meetings and listening to people share about powerlessness, read the literature, and talked to my sponsor, I learned that powerlessness was not weakness. In fact, to admit my powerlessness, was to connect me to a power that was greater than I had ever experienced before in my life.

The paradoxes of the program, such as we “lose to win” and “give to receive” are true of admitting my powerlessness to find a greater power. In The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous on p. 5 it reads, “Later we discovered that, far from being a negative factor, the admission of our powerlessness over food opened the door to an amazing newfound power.” What a blessing it is to now know that I am powerless, and have opened the door of a newfound power through the steps, the tools and my Higher Power.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will freely admit my powerlessness and gladly open the door to the newfound power in my life.

~ Carolyn

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 3

“But I have learned a lot from trees: sometimes about the weather, sometimes about animals, sometimes about the Great Spirit.”
–Walking Buffalo, STONEY

Nature is the greatest teacher on the Earth. Nature produces many different plants, animals, trees, rocks, birds, insects, and weather patterns. Nature designed all these various things to grow and multiply while at the same time live in harmony with each other. We can learn a lot of we observe and study Nature’s system of harmony and balance. Today, go sit on a rock and quietly observe and ask to be shown the lessons.

Great Spirit, Nature is my teacher. Today, let me be the student.

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Journey to the Heart
May 3, 2014
Say Good-Bye with an Open Heart

On our journey, we meet many souls with whom we interact, exchange energy, in a way that enhances our growth and theirs. We learn lessons together. We break bread. We share love. But there often comes a time to say good-bye.

A good-bye can come suddenly, unexpectedly, without much warning. Or a good-bye can be expected, planned on, and take a while to work out. The length of time doesn’t matter. What matters is how we handle our good-byes.

We can do it with our hearts open, saying thank you for all we’ve learned. Or we can close our hearts and bitterly say we’ve lost again. We can say good-bye with an attitude of trust, faith, and love, believing our hearts led us together, for the time we were close, to celebrate life and further our journeys. Or we can do it with harsh judgement, asking what’s wrong with us that our paths didn’t let us stay together. We can say good-bye with our hearts open, feeling our sadness, our longing, and our joy. Or we can say good-bye with emotions walled off, saying that’s just the way life is.

Sometimes, it’s time to say good-bye. We can’t always choose timing, but we can choose the words of our heart.

And sometimes it’s not good-bye. It’s till we meet again.

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Today’s Gift
May 3, 2014

Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent.
—Erica Jong

How easy it is to look at others with envy, certain that everyone we know is better in every way: school, sports, games, and appearance. What we may not know is that each of us is exactly right the way we are. And what’s more, no one of us is without talent. Perhaps we simply have not discovered it yet, or maybe we’ve been certain we knew what the talent should be, rather than letting the talent within us emerge.

It’s reassuring to know that we are talented, that we are special just as we are, that no one else is able to bring to this life exactly the same ingredients that we’re able to bring.

What special talent shall I exercise today?

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The Language of Letting Go
May 3, 2014
Freedom from Self-Seeking

Please free my thinking of self-will, self-seeking, dishonesty, and wrong motives.
—paraphrased from Alcoholics Anonymous

There is a difference between owning our power to take care of ourselves, as part of God’s will for our life, and self-will. There is a difference between self-care and self-seeking. And our behaviors are not as much subject to criticism as are the motives underlying them.

There is a harmonic, gentle, timely feeling to owning our power, to self-care, and to acts with healthy motives that are not present in self-will and self-seeking. We will learn discernment. But we will not always know the difference. Sometimes, we will feel guilty and anxious with no need. We may be surprised at the loving way God wants us to treat ourselves. We can trust that self-care is always appropriate. We want to be free of self-will and self-seeking, but we are always free to take care of ourselves.

God, please guide my motives today, and keep me on Your path. Help me love myself, and others too. Help me understand that more often than not, those two ideas are connected.

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More Language Of Letting Go
May 3, 2014
Say when it’s too much

I was sitting at the bus stop many years ago watching impatiently for the bus. I had been patient for so long– taking the bus to the grocery store, lugging big bags of groceries home. Whenever I found myself feeling irritated about not having a car, I’d be grateful that I was sober and that I could get around. I’d be grateful for all the good things in my life.

Yet, it was getting harder and harder to be grateful.

The bus finally arrived, and I bustled my way on with my heavy bags, then lugged them the two blocks to my apartment after the bus dropped me off. I didn’t want to cry, but I couldn’t help it that day.

“God, I’m getting sick of walking and taking the bus,” I said. “I’m tired of this. How much longer do I have to wait to get a car?”

Within two months, I was driving an automobile.

It’s important to be grateful. But sometimes, repressing our emotions and not saying how we feel about a situation is a form of trying to control the situation,too. We think if we hold our breath, don’t complain, and do everything right, the universe will just benevolently give us what we want.

Is there some situation in your life that you’ve been hoping would magically get better if you bit your lip and wished long enough? If you’ve started playing the waiting game in a particular situation, tell yourself how you really feel.

Maybe it’s time to say when.

God, help me forgive myself for having needs and desires.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 3, 2014

Honesty without compassion and understanding is not honest, but subtle hostility.
—Rose N. Frarnzblau

Any good thing can be used in hurtful or destructive ways. Our entire recovery is based on a fundamental premise of honesty. But our honesty becomes distorted and hurtful when we are not in tune with our motivations. A man who contradicts other group members to feel superior rather than to be helpful is being hostile. If we criticize people about things they cannot change, we are only hurting them. In making amends, we should not approach people who are better off without our contact, or who are better off without our confessions.

As we grow, we encounter more parts of ourselves that may be hurtful. We need to accept those parts too, not condemn ourselves for being human, and not hide our destructive impulses from ourselves. Then our honesty with ourselves and with others will not be tainted by dishonest motives.

I pray for honesty with myself first so my honesty with others will be pure.

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DailyTAO
May 3, 2014
CENTER

From a bud, only a promise.
Then a gentle opening :
Rich blooming, bursting fragrance,
The fulfillment of the center.

True beauty comes from within. Take a flower as an example. In the beginning it is only a bud. It does not yet show its loveliness to the world, it does not attract bees or butterflies, and it cannot yet become fruit. Only when it opens is beauty revealed in its center. There is the focus of its exquisiteness, there is the source of its aroma, there is its sweet nectar. In the same way, our own unique beauty comes from within.

Our glory has nothing to do with our appearance or our occupation. Our special qualities come from an inner source. We must take care to open and bloom naturally and leisurely and keep to the center. It is from there that all mystery and power comes, and it is good to let it unfold in its own time.

Just as a flower goes through stages — bud, open, bloom, pollinate, wither, fruit, fall — each of us will go through the obvious stages of birth to death. We aren’t of a single character throughout our lives. We change and grow. Our identities unfold and bloom. Unless we attain the center and keep to our progressions, we cannot ever reach true independence in our lives.

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