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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – May 30

Just For Today
May 30
Loneliness vs. Being Alone

“Sharing with others keeps us from feeling isolated and alone.”
Basic Text, p. 81

There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Being lonely is a state of the heart, an emptiness that makes us feel sad and sometimes hopeless. Loneliness is not always alleviated when we enter into relationships or surround ourselves with others. Some of us are lonely even in a room full of people.

Many of us came to Narcotics Anonymous out of the desperate loneliness of our addiction. After coming to meetings, we begin to make new friends, and often our feelings of loneliness ease. But many of us must contend with loneliness throughout our recovery.

What is the cure for loneliness? The best cure is to begin a relationship with a Higher Power that can help fill the emptiness of our heart. We find that when we have a belief in a Higher Power, we never have to feel lonely. We can be alone more comfortably when we have a conscious contact with a God of our understanding.

We often find deep fulfillment in our interactions with others as we progress in our recovery. Yet we also find that, the closer we draw to our Higher Power, the less we need to surround ourselves with others. We begin to find a spirit within us that is our constant companion as we continue to explore and deepen our connection with a Power greater than ourselves. We realize we are spiritually connected with something bigger than we are.

Just for today: I will take comfort in my conscious contact with a Higher Power. I am never alone.

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Daily Reflections
May 30
OUR PRIMARY PURPOSE

The more A.A. sticks to its primary purpose, the greater will be its helpful influence everywhere.
A.A. COMES OF AGE, p. 109

It is with gratitude that I reflect on the early days of our Fellowship and those wise and loving “foresteppers” who proclaimed that we should not be diverted from our primary purpose, that of carrying the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. I desire to impart respect to those who labor in the field of alcoholism, being ever mindful that A.A. endorses no causes other than its own. I must remember that A.A. has no monopoly on miracle making and I remain humbly grateful to a loving God who made A.A. possible.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 30
A.A. Thought For The Day

I am part of A.A., one among many, but I am one. I need the A.A. principles for the development of the buried life within me. A.A. may be human in its organization, but it is Divine in its purpose. The purpose is to point me toward God and a better life. Participating in the privilege of the movement, I shall share in the responsibilities, taking it upon myself to carry my fair share of the load, not grudgingly but joyfully. To the extent that I fail in my responsibilities, A.A. fails. To the extent I succeed, A.A. succeeds. Do I accept this as my A.A. credo?

Meditation For The Day

“Praise the Lord.” What does praising God mean? It means being grateful for all the wonderful things in the universe and for all the blessings in your life. So praise God by being grateful and humble. Praise of this kind has more power to vanquish evil than has mere resignation. The truly grateful and humble person who is always praising God, is not tempted to do wrong. You will have a feeling of security because you know that fundamentally all is well. So look up to God and praise Him.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be grateful for all my blessings. I pray that I may humble because I know that I do not deserve them.

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As Bill Sees It
May 30
No Boundaries, p. 150

Meditation is something which can always be further developed. It has no boundaries, of width or height or depth. Aided by such instruction and example as we can find, it is essentially an individual adventure, something which each one of us works out in his own way.  But its object is always the same; to improve our conscious contact with God, with His grace, wisdom, and love.

And let’s always remember that meditation is in reality intensely practical. One of its first fruits is emotional balance. With it we can broaden and deepen the channel between ourselves and God as we understand Him.

12 & 12, pp. 101-102

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Walk in Dry Places
May 30
Civilians who show resentments
Healthy Thinking

As compulsive people, we’re urged to watch resentments carefully. These negative feelings can flare up out of nowhere and bring terrible destruction.

This sensitivity in spotting our own resentments also makes us more aware of resentments in others— perhaps people who are not alcoholics and thus are considered NORMAL. (Earth people I call them even if I doubt that anyone is really normal)

When this happens, we have no responsibility to point their resentment out to them. Our best approach is to deal with them as cordially as possible and to withdraw gracefully if their resentment is directed at us. This teaches us that resentment is a universal human problem— not just an affliction of alcoholics and other compulsive people.

While guarding against resentment in myself today, I’ll not be surprised or hurt when it appears in others. If it does, I will not feel hurt or surprised, knowing that it’s a human problem.

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Keep It Simple
May 30

One Day at a Time
—AA program slogan

One Day at a Time reminds us to live in a sane, natural way. It reminds us we can’t control the past. It reminds us we can’t control the future. We can live only in the present. We have only the moment. We have only today.

Before recovery, our worries about the past and the future put stress in our lives We need to live in a way that doesn’t put us in danger. We need to live in a way that lets us enjoy things. We need to live in a way that lets us stay close to others, ourselves, and our Higher Power.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, teach me to really live One Day at a Time.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll keep reminding myself that I have the moment. No more, no less. Am I using my moments the way my Higher Power wants me to?

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Each Day a New Beginning
May 30

In anxiety-provoking situations, many women feel unable to act. They find themselves at a loss to come up with an effective response, or any response at all.
—Stanlee Phelps and Nancy Austin

Feeling unable to act is a humiliation, perhaps an embarrassment, and it is habit-forming. Perhaps our inertia is due to our need to act “correctly” and the accompanying fear that we’ll err. Unfortunately, our fear of action reinforces itself. The only way to end the vicious cycle is to act – right or wrong. The surprise in store for us is that no action we take will be truly wrong. We will learn not only from the action itself, but also from its ripples.

The response to life we make through action will gratify us; it will nourish us and will make us dread less the next situation that calls for a response.

Opportunities for action are the stepping-stones to emotional maturity. The more we “act,” the more able we are to act. And a new habit is formed.

Taking action, even when I fear it’s wrong, is growth producing. Without growth there is no life. Today, I will live!

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Alcoholics Anonymous
May 30
Our Southern Friend

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

I am a traveling salesman. The day is over and business has been not so good. I’ll go to bed. I wish I were home with the family and not in this dingy hotel.

p. 211

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 30

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

Having carefully surveyed this whole area of human relations, and having decided exactly what personality traits in us injured and disturbed others, we can now commence to ransack memory for the people to whom we have given offense. To put a finger on the nearby and most deeply damaged ones shouldn’t be hard to do. Then, as year by year we walk back through our lives as far as memory will reach, we shall be bound to construct a long list of people who have, to some extent or other, been affected. We should, of course, ponder and weigh each instance carefully. We shall want to hold ourselves to the course of admitting the things we have done, meanwhile forgiving the wrongs done us, real or fancied. We should avoid extreme judgments, both of ourselves and of others involved. We must not exaggerate our defects or theirs. A quiet, objective view will be our steadfast aim.

pp. 81- 82

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Xtra Thoughts
May 30

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”
–Pope John XXIII

“You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.”
–Goldsmith

“The value of all service lies in the spirit in which you serve and not in the importance or magnitude of the service. Even the lowliest task or deed is made holy, joyous, and prosperous when it is filled with love.”
–Charles Fillmore

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. Honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
–Spencer Johnson

“A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.”
–Denis Waitley

“When you talk, you can only say something that you already know. When you listen, you learn what someone else knows.”
–Unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 30
POSTERITY

“We need to make a world in which fewer children are born, and in which we take better care of them.”
–Dr. George Wald

Spirituality is concerned for the physical. How we plant seeds, do exercises and develop a healthy food plan is as important as prayer, reading and meditation. The body is part of the soul.

Also we have a responsibility for the future; for those who follow us on this planet. The ecological welfare of our world is spiritual. An irresponsibility concerning childbirth reveals an arrogance that does not belong to the spiritual program. The satisfaction of our personal desires should never hurt the lives of others – including the unborn.

Teach me to have a spiritual responsibility to the future.

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Bible Scriptures
May 30

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Matthew 5:43-45

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Daily Inspiration
May 30

Look beyond people’s behaviors and have compassion for what may be causing their insensitivities. Lord, I will not take everything personal because I don’t know the weight of my neighbor’s cross.

We are on earth to discover our own path and will never be happy trying to live someone else’s idea of life. Lord, may I be happy with who I am and not evaluate myself in terms of someone else’s success.

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A Day At A Time 
May 30

Reflection For The Day

Since I’ve been in The Program, I’ve learned to redefine love.  I’ve come to understand, for example, that sometimes it’s necessary to place love ahead of indiscriminate “factual honesty.”  No longer, under the guise of “perfect honesty,” can I cruelly and unnecessarily hurt others.  Today, I always must ask myself, “What’s the best and most loving thing I can do?”  Have I begun to sow the seeds of love in my daily living?

Today I Pray

May God, in His live, show me how to be loving.  May I first sense the feelings of love and caring within me and then find ways to show those feelings.  May I remember how many times I cut myself off from relationships because I did not know how either to let myself feel love or to show what I did feel.

Today I Will Remember

When I feel love, I will be loving.

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One More Day
    May 30

I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there can be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow human being, let me do it now.
— William Penn

Each night, as we place our heads upon our pillows, we can think back over the day and remember the things we said or did that added pleasure to others’ lives. Usually, those same words and actions add joy to our lives too.

During our lives we have passed by multiple opportunities to be kind to others — there are no second chances. But what we can do is be aware of those special opportunities now and make the very best of them.

    My new awareness of life’s fleeting opportunities will help me show my kinder side more often.

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One Day At A Time
May 30
Home

“A person can run for years but sooner or later he has to take a stand in the place which, for better or worse, he calls home, do what he can to change things there.”
–Paule Marshall

I’ve been running for most of my life. I was in a hurry to grow up. As a kid, all I wanted was to grow up and move out. I was so sick of everything and everyone in my life. I didn’t want to be told what to do. I wanted to be able to call the shots. Then, when I grew up, I wanted to be a kid again. I wanted people to tell me what to do and to take care of me. When I was calling the shots, I found myself in bars and eating out all the time because I didn’t want to go to the grocery store or cook. The only foods I kept in my studio apartment were binge foods. I lived in a very urban area and could very easily walk to fast food or to convenience stores. I didn’t know what home meant. When I’m running, I get out of breath, my body hurts, my soul hurts, and I have no space for my Higher Power to guide me. I run laps in the same place, expecting to feel better, but never feeling better.

As a relative newcomer to program, I have made a conscious choice to stop. I turned it over to my Higher Power and asked for guidance in finding home and staying there. Now, as I am standing in place, I find that my home is my Higher Power. Standing in place, I’ve found that the world isn’t as adverse as I’d perceived it to be. I can actually see the beauty in the world around me and feel nurtured by the feeling of home.

One day at a time…
Today I can stand in place and look around. I can be aware of the ever-loving presence of my Higher Power and the comfort of the home that have both been with me all along.

~ AJ

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 30

“Power comes and goes. It can vanish in the twinkling of an eye, like smoke dissolving in the air.”
–Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA

The East, South, West, and North are the powers of the four directions. The Creator makes these powers available to do things. We pray to the Creator to give us the power to do these things. Often, we are given these powers for awhile, then these powers disappear. Power is given and taken from us by the Great Spirit, the source of power. During the time we have this power, we should be responsible and use the power in a good way. Many good things can be accomplished when we realize where this power really comes from.

Great Spirit, today, show me how to use Your power.

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Journey to the Heart
May 30
Open Your Heart

She laughed so much she made me giggle. “Do you laugh and smile all the time?” I asked the woman. “Are you this happy all the time?”

“My heart is open and healed,” she said. “I laugh a lot. But I cry a lot,too.”

An open heart feels all it needs to feel. Cry when it hurts. At the end of your tears, you will see more clearly, Tears clear our eyes and our heart. Cry whenever you need to.

Laugh often, as often as you can. Laugh with friends. Laugh out loud. The discoveries, the growth, the insights, the closeness, the sharing, the learning don’t have to be such serious, somber events. Truth is discovered most often in laughter. Bonds are formed. Love becomes unveiled.

Cry a lot. Laugh a lot. Let life reveal its mysteries to you. Let love find you, course through you, touch all you meet through your laughter and tears. The fortunate person is not the one who wins the lottery. That’s luck. We find fortune when we open our hearts and learn the secret of life.

Laughter and tears are the signs of an open heart.

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Today’s Gift
May 30

The cut worm forgives the plow.
—William Blake

Would anyone believe that rain abuses grass, or accuse roots, hungry for a better hold on life, of digging too far into earth’s flesh? And if the earth should have to quake, would anyone blame it for cracking here and there? Look closely at the small world of busy life overturned in the garden each spring. No ant there curses another bug, and no worm curses itself. Though they can neither speak nor think, even small creatures know enough to accept their pain as a natural part of life.

Why, then, should we waste time blaming others, or ourselves, for the natural sensations of life?

In the process of new growth, can we expect no pain?

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The Language of Letting Go
May 30, 2011
Commitment

As we walk through life, there are many things and people we may lose, or lose out on, if we are unwilling to commit. We need to make a commitment for relationships to grow beyond the dating stage, to have the home or apartment we want, the job we want, or the car we desire.

We must commit, on deep levels, to careers, to goals, to family, friends, and recovery. Trying something will not enable us to succeed. Committing ourselves will.

Yet, we need never commit before we are ready.

Sometimes, our fear of commitment is telling us something. We may not want to commit to a particular relationship, purchase, or career. Other times, it is a matter of our fears working their way out. Wait, then. Wait until the issue becomes clear.

Trust yourself. Ask your Higher Power to remove your fear of commitment. Ask God to remove your blocks to commitment. Ask God for guidance.

Ask yourself if you are willing to lose what you will not commit too. Then listen, quietly. And wait until a decision seems consistently right and comfortable.

We need to be able to commit, but we need never commit until we are ready. Trust that you will commit when you want to.

God, guide me in making my commitments. Give me the courage to make those that are right for me, the wisdom to not commit to that which does not feel right, and the patience to wait until I know.

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More language of letting go
May 30
Give yourself time

Set deadlines. Say when. Stop waiting for that perfect time. Be gentle with yourselves and others.

Too much waiting is a trap. Waiting, counting the days, months, years, waiting for someone or something outside of ourselves to make us happy and magically bring us what we want is a pit. If you fall into it, climb out.

But be gentle with yourself,too. If you’re tackling something new– whether it’s learning a new craft, beginning a new relationship, or recovering from alcoholism or codependency, give yourself time to reach your goals, to begin to get it, to understand.

Some revelations, insights, and illuminations are received in a moment, a second. But the work of assimilating new ideas and translating them into lifestyle changes takes time.

A friend of mine called me one day. He had lost his best friend and roommate to a sudden illness three months earlier. “What’s wrong with me?” he said. “My spiritual beliefs are intact. I work hard on myself. Yet I break down crying, for no reason. I’m a wreck. Why aren’t I over this yet?”

“Because it takes time,” I said. “Give that gift to yourself.”

The seeds of change grow gently, sometimes almost imperceptibly. Birth takes time. Transformation takes time.

You are being transformed and reborn.

Give yourself and others the gift of time.

God, help me let go of unrealistic expectations of how quickly I, or others, need to grow and change. Help me know that I have all the time I need.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 30

A frontier is never a place; it is a time and a way of life. Frontiers pass, but they endure in their people.
—Hal Borland

Frontiers are borders, and in our development we meet them again and again. Our first loves, as teenagers were emotional and spiritual frontiers. Leaving home after childhood was another. Becoming a father, perhaps another. Some frontiers are very generous and exciting, while others are frightening, dangerous. Certainly this program has been a frontier for us.

To stay alive spiritually we need to continually go to the borders of our experience – or go back and face an old one from a new angle. We may encounter a new border in learning God’s will for us in a new way, or in learning a new handicraft or sport, or meeting a life experience we didn’t expect. We accumulate these memories within us. Some frontiers from long ago exist within us as if they were just yesterday. What frontiers stand out in our lives as we look back? What spiritual learning came from them? This is how we grow as men.

I am grateful for past frontiers that endure within me. They have strengthened and deepened my manhood.

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DailyTAO
May 30
MERCY

Uphold precepts, but be merciful.
Gradually absorb, until there is no need for law.
Gain wisdom beyond right and wrong.

There was a young priest who returned to the community of his birth. Instead of the neighborhood he knew as a boy, the community was now predominantly homosexual. He was uncertain : On one hand, he had to serve the people. On the other hand, his sect forbade homosexuality and condemned it as a grave wrong. It would seem that whatever he did, he would be a hypocrite. He eventually decided to accept all who came to him but still uphold the doctrines of his sect. He saw his most important duty as mercy, and so he was able to help others without truly violating his precepts. When there are contradictions between beliefs, one must resolve them in favor of what one judges to be the higher principle.

We should not sell our ideals short for the sake of expediency or selfishness. Following a particular spiritual tradition means a full commitment to its rules in order to gain the essence of that tradition. But we cannot afford to be dogmatic. Human law is imperfect : There will always be unprecedented circumstances. Thus, we must go beyond rules and operate instead from pure wisdom. We must act with experience, flexibility, and insight. Let us so absorb integrity — experiencing both its triumphs and defeats — that we do the right thing intuitively.

Tradition is first. Mercy is greater than tradition. Wisdom is greater than mercy.

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