In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – May 7

Just For Today
May 7
Turning Turmoil Into Peace

“With the world in such a turmoil, I feel I have been blessed to be where I am.”
Basic Text, p. 155

Some days it doesn’t pay to turn on the news, we hear so many stories about violence and mayhem. When we used, many of us grew accustomed to violence. Through the fog of our addiction, we rarely got too disturbed by the state of the world. When we are clean, however, many of us find we are particularly sensitive to the world around us. As recovering people, what can we do to make it a better place?

When we find ourselves disturbed by the turmoil of our world, we can find comfort in prayer and meditation. When it seems like everything is turned upside down, our contact with our Higher Power can be our calm in the midst of any storm. When we are centered on our spiritual path, we can respond to our fears with peace. And by living peaceably ourselves, we invite a spirit of peace to enter our world. As recovering people, we can affect positive change by doing our best to practice the principles of our program.

Just for today: I will enhance peace in the world by living, speaking, and acting peacefully in my own life.

Daily Reflections

May 7

Such parts of our story we tell to someone who will understand, yet be unaffected. The rule is we must be hard on ourself, but always considerate of others.

Respect for others is the lesson that I take out of this passage. I must go to any lengths to free myself if I wish to find that peace of mind that I have sought for so long. However, none of this must be done at another’s expense. Selfishness has no place in the A.A. way of life.

When I take the Fifth Step it’s wiser to choose a person with whom I share common aims because if that person does not understand me, my spiritual progress may be delayed and I could be in danger of a relapse. So I ask for divine guidance before choosing the man or woman whom I take into my confidence.

Twenty Four Hours A Day
May 7
A.A. Thought for the Day

It’s very important to keep in a grateful frame of mind, if we want to stay sober. We should be grateful that we’re living in a day and age when an alcoholic isn’t treated as he often used to be treated before Alcoholics Anonymous was started. In the old days, every town had its town drunk who was regarded with scorn and ridiculed by the rest of the townspeople. We have come into A.A. and found all the sympathy, understanding, and fellowship that we could ask for. There’s no other group like A.A. in the world. Am I grateful?

Meditation for the Day

God takes our efforts for good and blesses them. God needs our efforts. We need God’s blessing. Together, they mean spiritual success. Our efforts are necessary. We cannot merely relax and drift with the tide. We must often direct our efforts against the tide of materialism around us. When difficulties come, our efforts are needed to surmount them. But God directs our efforts into the right channels and God’s power is necessary to help us choose the right.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may choose the right. I pray that I may have God’s blessing and direction in all my efforts for good.

As Bill Sees It
May 7

Persistence in Prayer, p. 127

We often tend to slight serious meditation and prayer as something not really necessary. To be sure, we feel it is something that might help us to meet an occasional emergency, but at first many of us are apt to regard it as a somewhat mysterious skill of clergymen, from which we may hope to get a secondhand benefit.

<< << << >> >> >>

In A.A. we have found that the actual good results of prayer are beyond question. They are matters of knowledge and experience. All those who have persisted have found strength not ordinarily their own. They have found wisdom beyond their usual capability. And they have increasingly found a peace of mind which can stand firm in the face of difficult circumstances.

12 & 12
1. p. 96
2. p. 104

Walk in Dry Places
May 7
Did I have a dysfunctional family?
Healing the Past.

We hear much about the long-term effects of growing up in a dysfunctional family. Many alcoholics, in fact, have bitter memories of their own parents’ drinking, and may feel this caused needless deprivation and misery.

Whether our families were dysfunctional or not, we must agree that most of our parents did the best they could. We cannot bring back the past—- nor can they, —-and it is best released, forgiven, and forgotten. Our wisest course is to use the tools of the program to reach the maturity and well-being that will bring happiness into our own lives. This will not happen, however, if we believe that growing up in a dysfunctional home has left us permanently impaired.

In our fellowship, we can find endless examples of people who used the Twelve Steps to overcome all kinds of emotional and physical disabilities. Just when we start thinking something in our past is a permanent handicap, we meet other people who survived the same bitter experiences and are living life to the fullest. They’ve cleared away the wreckage of their past in order to build wisely for the future.

I’ll remember today that I am not bound or limited by anything that was ever done or said to me. I face the day with self-confidence and a sense of expectancy, knowing that I am really a fortunate person with many reasons to be grateful.

Keep It Simple
May 7

So live that you wouldn’t be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.
—Will Rogers

Secrets help keep us sick. In our drinking and using days, we did things we weren’t proud of. We lived in a secret world we were ashamed of. This part of the power of addiction. Our behavior and our secrets kept us trapped. Recovery offers us a way out of this secret world. In our groups, we share our secrets, and they lose their power over us. There may be things we’re too ashamed to talk about in our groups. When we share these things in our Fifth Step, they lose their power over us.

We have a new life that we’re not ashamed to talk about. When shame leaves, pride enters our hearts. We know we’re good people!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me live a good life.

Action for the Day: Do I have any secrets that get in my way? Do I need to do a Fifth Step? If so, I’ll pick a date—today.

Each Day a New Beginning
May 7

We tend to think of the rational as a higher order, but it is the emotional that marks our lives. One often learns more from ten days of agony than from ten years of contentment.
—Merle Shain

Pain stretches us. It pushes us toward others. It encourages us to pray. It invites us to rely on many resources, particularly those within.

We develop our character while handling painful times. Pain offers wisdom. It prepares us to help other women whose experiences repeat our own. Our own pain offers us the stories that help another who is lost and needs our guidance.

When we reflect on our past for a moment, we can recall the pain we felt last month or last year; the pain of a lost love, or the pain of no job and many bills; perhaps the pain of children leaving home, or the death of a near and dear friend. It might have seemed to us that we couldn’t cope. But we did, somehow, and it felt good. Coping strengthened us.

What we forget, even now, is that we need never experience a painful time alone. The agony that accompanies a wrenching situation is dissipated as quickly and as silently as the entrance of our higher power, when called upon.

I long for contentment. And I deserve those times. But without life’s pain I would fail to recognize the value of contentment.

Alcoholics Anonymous
May 7
Women Suffer Too

Despite great opportunities, alcohol nearly ended her life. Early member, she spread the word among women in our pioneering period.

I went to a meeting to see for myself this group of freaks or bums who had done this thing. To go into a gathering of people was the sort of thing that all my life, from the time I left my private world of books and dreams to meet the real world of people and parties and jobs, had left me feeling an uncomfortable outsider, needing the warming stimulus of drinks to join in. I went trembling into a house in Brooklyn filled with strangers . . . and I found I had come home at last, to my own kind. There is another meaning for the Hebrew word that in the King James version of the Bible is translated “salvation.” It is: “to come home.” I had found my salvation. I wasn’t alone any more.

p. 206

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 7

Step Seven – “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”

For us, the process of gaining a new perspective was unbelievably painful. It was only by repeated humiliations that we were forced to learn something about humility. It was only at the end of a long road, marked by successive defeats and humiliations, and the final crushing of our self sufficiency, that we began to feel humility as something more than a condition of groveling despair. Every newcomer in Alcoholics Anonymous is told, and soon realizes for himself, that his humble admission of powerlessness over alcohol is his first step toward liberation from its paralyzing grip.

pp. 72-73

Xtra Thoughts
May 7

Whoever seeks God . . . has already found God.

“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.”
–Aldous Huxley

“A happy life is made up of little things . . . a gift sent, a letter written, a call made, a recommendation given, transportation provided, a cake made, a book lent, a check sent.”
–Carol Holmes

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life.”
–John Homer Miller

We need to let the old go, so the new can emerge.
–Peggy Bassett

Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 7

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”
–Elbert Hubbard

I produced the failure in my life. For years I would blame everything and everyone – my parents, the job, my health, low income, a cruel world, thoughtless friends, the weather! Today I am able to own my failures because they are mine.

Today I am also able to see my successes – and this makes me a winner.  I am able to see the things that I have achieved, the character defects I have confronted, the happiness that comes with an acceptance of self.

I may not be perfect but I am certainly not worthless. I may make mistakes but I am not evil. I have a heart that needs to love and also needs to be loved. Today I am able to reveal my vulnerability and discover its strength.

This underling is learning how to fly.

Master, may I continue to seek Your power and glory in my life.

Bible Scriptures
May 7

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
Proverbs 23:24

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

Daily Inspiration
May 7

Right now is a good time to free yourself of the burden of that which needs to be done, but has been put off. Lord, little by little, help me remove my procrastinations so that I can fully live in the present.

Live a God-filled life and it will be only natural that you will express enthusiasm for life, joy, laughter and happiness. Lord, may the way I live always express my love for You.

A Day At A Time
May 7
Reflection For The Day

If I believe that it’s hopeless to expect any improvement in my life, I’m doubting the power of God.  If I believe I have reason for despair, I’m confessing personal failure, for I do have the power to change myself;  nothing can prevent it but my own unwillingness.  I can learn in The Program to avail myself of the immense, inexhaustible power of God — if I’m willing to be continually aware of God’s nearness.  Do I still imagine that my satisfaction with life depends on what someone else may do?

Today I Pray

May I give over my life to the will of God, not to the whims and insensitivities of others.  When I counted solely on what other people did and thought and felt for my own happiness, I became nothing more than a cheap mirror reflecting others’ lives.  May I remain close to God in all things.  I value msyelf because He values me.  May I have my being in his Being and be dependent only upon Him.

Today I Will Remember

Stay close to God.

One More Day
May 7

Faith has a powerful effect in helping people recover a sense of balance, tranquility, and hope.
— Robert Veninga

It’s the funniest thing about human nature: When we are well we accept our Higher Power with few second thoughts. When we have undergone some kind of crisis, however, large numbers of people seem to lose their faith for a while. After all, who among us hasn’t asked, “Why me?” when our health first took a turn for the worse? Questioning our faith is common at such a time.

A health crisis often encourages soul-searching, and spiritual exploration. Life as we knew it has gone Topsy-turvy, and we need time to adjust. After a while many of us return with renewed strength to our spiritual beliefs.

My belief in my Higher Power may have diminished for a while, but I take comfort in knowing that belief is always there.

One Day At A Time
May 7

“People who are happy don’t use food to sublimate. Food is supposed to be good for you – not make you feel good!”
–Gary Null

All compulsive overeaters use food to sublimate. Sublimation in layman’s terms is any habit or technique we use to alter or change our reality – for better or worse! Sublimation methods of choice are a great gauge to measure mental and physical health. Poor choices are using food, gambling, television, alcohol, drugs, shopping, excessive sleep or too many passive activities. Healthy choices are meditation, visual imagery, prayer, journaling, yoga, physical exercise, relaxation exercises, deep breathing, etc. Anything from lawn mowing to vacuuming could be an act of sublimation – IF done with high level of awareness and concentration. A person who’s high up the ladder spiritually sees Higher Power in all things at all times. Since we sublimate regardless, the trick is to make it a consciously controlled positive sublimation rather than subconscious negative sublimation.

One day at a time…
I will consciously incorporate positive, healthy methods of sublimation.

~ Rob R.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 7

“We must all become caretakers of the Earth.”
—- Haida Gwaii Traditional Circle of Elders

Mother Earth is the source of all life. We should not only be concerned about the part of the Earth we live on, but we should be concerned about the parts of the Earth that other people live on. The Earth is one great whole. The trees in Brazil generate the air in the Untied States. If the trees are cut in Brazil, it affects the air that all people breathe. Every person needs to conscientiously think about how they respect the Earth. Do we dump our garbage out of the car? Do we poison the water? Do we poison the air? Am I taking on the responsibility of being a caretaker of the Earth?

Great Spirit, today, I will be aware of the Earth. I will be responsible.

Journey to the Heart
May 7
Are You Angry?

Anger ranks high on the list of perplexing, troublesome emotions. We want to be kind and loving, but then suddenly we feel a jolt in our heart, an edge to our voice. Something has been tapped deep inside. It could be a chunk of old anger, something we weren’t conscious of or safe enough to feel back then. It may be current. Something has come into our life today, and our reaction is anger.

Oh no, we may think, this sin’t what I need. But denying anger will not bring us joy. Hiding it, tucking it away deep inside is not the answer. We may even turn it upon ourselves. Not feeling anger won’t make it go away. Its energy will still be there, pounding away inside us and, in subtle ways, pounding away at others,too. Until we acknowledge our anger, feel it, and release it, it will keep us off balance, on edge, and irritable. We need to give ourselves permission to feel all our emotions, including anger.

But allowing yourself to feel angry doesn’t mean giving yourself permission to rage, to hack and cleave at the world, to verbally abuse those around you. Find ways to express your anger with grace and dignity. Park your car, roll down the windows, and yell. Find a solitary place, a spot where you are safe, then speak loudly about how you feel. Write it out. Shout it out. Pound it out. Go to the gym and work it out.

Anger can be a guide, Used creatively, it can help us decide where to go and where not to go. It can help us get to the next place in our lives. Feeling and expressing our anger in appropriate ways will take us forward to a place of power within ourselves.

Let yourself feel angry when anger is what you really feel. Then get the anger out of your head and out of your body. Once that’s happened, you’ll feel clear. You’ll know what to do next. The path to your heart, to your inner voice, will be opened. Sometimes getting angry is exactly what we need to do next.

Today’s Gift
May 7

Our deeds will travel with us from afar, and what we have been makes us what we are.
—George Eliot

We grow within, the way a tree does. We’ve all seen the rings representing the years of a tree’s life. We carry our histories with us, too. Our actions, our attitudes, our goals, and our dreams all gather together inside us to make us what we are today. We’re probably ashamed of some of our past, but our behavior each day adds to our history, and we control it.

We can’t escape our mistakes, but we don’t have to repeat them; and every day that is lived well gives us a history to be proud of.

How can I add goodness to my past – and my future – by my actions today?

The Language of Letting Go
May 7
Letting Go of Fear

Fear is at the core of codependency. It can motivate us to control situations or neglect ourselves.

Many of us have been afraid for so long that we don’t label our feelings fear. We’re used to feeling upset and anxious. It feels normal.

Peace and serenity may be uncomfortable.

At one time, fear may have been appropriate and useful. We may have relied on fear to protect ourselves, much the way soldiers in a war rely on fear to help them survive. But now, in recovery, we’re living life differently.

It’s time to thank our old fears for helping us survive, then wave good-bye to them. Welcome peace, trust, acceptance, and safety. We don’t need that much fear anymore. We can listen to our healthy fears, and let go of the rest.

We can create a feeling of safety for ourselves, now. We are safe, now. We’ve made a commitment to take care of ourselves. We can trust and love ourselves.

God, help me let go of my need to be afraid. Replace it with a need to be at peace. Help me listen to my healthy fears and relinquish the rest.

More Language Of Letting Go
May 7
Say when it’s time to stop coping

In her book Recovering from the Loss of a Child, author Katherine Fair Donnelly writes of a man whose infant daughter, Robyn, died from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). The child died in the stroller, while the mother was out walking her. The father had stopped to get a haircut that day and was given a number for his turn.

“It was something he never did again in future years,” Donnelly wrote. “He would never take a number at the barber’s and always came home first to make sure everything was all right. Then he would go and get a haircut. It became one of the ways he found of coping.”

I hate “coping.” It’s not living. It’s not being free. It reeks of “surviving.”

But sometimes it’s the best we can do, for a while.

Eight years after my son died, I was signing the papers to purchase a home. It was the first home I had bought since his death. The night before he died, I had also signed papers to buy a new home. I didn’t know that I had begun to associate buying a home with his death, until I noticed my hand trembling and my heart pounding as I finished signing the purchase agreement. For eight years, I had simply avoided buying a home, renting one less-than-desirable place after another and complaining about the travails of being a renter. I only knew then that I was “never going to buy another house again.” I didn’t understand that I was coping.

Many of us find ways of coping. As children, we may have become very angry with our parents. Having no recourse, we may have said to ourselves, “I’ll show them. I’m never going to do well at music, or sports, or studies again.” As adults, we may deal with a loss or death, by saying, “I’m always going to be nice to people and make them happy.Then they won’t go away.” Or we may deal with a betrayal by saying, “I’m never going to open my heart to a woman, or man, again.”

Coping often includes making an incorrect connection between an event and our behavior. It may help us survive, but at some point our coping behaviors usually get in our way. They become habits and take on a life of their own. And although we think we’re protecting ourselves or someone we love, we aren’t.

Robyn didn’t die because her father took a number and waited to get his hair cut.

My son didn’t die because I bought a new house.

Are you keeping yourself from doing something that you really want to do as a means of coping with something that happened to you a long time ago? Cope if you must, if it helps save your life. But maybe today is the day you could set yourself free.

God, show me if I’m limiting myself and my life in some way by using an outdated coping behavior. Help me know that I’m safe and strong enough now to let that survival behavior go.

Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 7

The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in relations between human beings; and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem of what to say and how to say it.
—Edward R. Murrow

We may reduce our difficulties with others to communication problems, yet the remedy may remain unclear. How can we become more responsible for our share of the communication? Can we stop blaming others? When we improve in those ways, our relationships get better.

Clear, specific, and direct language will help us be more responsible and less blaming. We can use simple words that expose the truth rather than words that hide or sugarcoat it. We can use specific examples and give details rather than generalities or hints. We can be more direct by using you and me language. In the process, we yield to the truth within ourselves – and become more honest.

Today, I will be aware of communicating clearly, specifically, and directly.

May 7

Hide what you know.
Conceal talent.
Shield your light.
Bide your time.

Once you can follow Tao with skill, hide your abilities. Privately accumulate extraordinary knowledge and skill, but keep a plain appearance.

There is great wisdom in being inconspicuous. Do not brag or try anything beyond your means. Don’t let yourself become unbalanced before you have fully mastered an art. Thus, you will not be expected to use your talents on behalf of others unless you yourself volunteer, you will not become the victim of others’ resentment, and the depth of your character will not be judged. When you know how to hide, you avoid the attention and scorn of others, but retain the strategic advantage of surprise. You need to do this not for personal advantage, but to manage yourself and your skills well.

Knowledge and skill are neutral. They are meant to be used. That is all. Mastery should not be used to bolster self-image. We should not allow ourselves to be categorized by what we do know. It is far better to simplify ourselves and free ourselves from the limits of tightly defined identities.

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