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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings - May 8

Just For Today
May 8
Teachable

“We have learned that it is okay to not know all the answers, for then we are teachable and can learn to live our new life successfully.”
Basic Text, p. 93

In a way, addiction is a great teacher. And if addiction teaches us nothing else, it will teach us humility. We hear it said that it took our very best thinking to get to NA. Now that we’re here, we’re here to learn.

The NA Fellowship is a wonderful learning environment for the recovering addict. We aren’t made to feel stupid at meetings. Instead, we find others who’ve been exactly where we’ve been and who’ve found a way out. All we have to do is admit that we don’t have all the answers, then listen as others share what’s worked for them.

As recovering addicts and as human beings, we have much to learn. Other addicts—and other humans—have much to teach us about what works and what doesn’t. As long as we remain teachable, we can take advantage of the experience of others.

Just for today: I will admit that I don’t have all the answers. I will look and listen to the experience of others for the answers I need.

Daily Reflections
May 8
A RESTING PLACE

All of A.A.’s Twelve Steps ask us to go contrary to our natural desires . . . they all deflate our egos. When it comes to ego deflation, few Steps are harder to take than Five. But scarcely any Step is more necessary to longtime sobriety and peace of mind than this one.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 55

After writing down my character defects, I was unwilling to talk about them, and decided it was time to stop carrying this burden alone. I needed to confess those defects to someone else.  I had read – and been told – I could not stay sober unless I did. Step Five provided me with a feeling of belonging, with humility and serenity when I practiced it in my daily living.

It was important to admit my defects of character in the order presented in Step Five: “to God, to ourselves and to another human being.” Admitting to God first paved the way for admission to myself and to another person . As the taking of the Step is described, a feeling of being at one with God and my fellow man brought me to a resting place where I could prepare myself for the remaining Steps toward a full and meaningful sobriety.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 8
A.A. Thought For The Day

I’m grateful that I found a program in A.A. that could keep me sober. I’m grateful that A.A. has shown me the way to faith in a Higher Power, because the renewing of that faith has changed my way of life. And I’ve found a happiness and contentment that I had forgotten existed, by simply believing in God and trying to live the kind of a life that I know He wants me to live. As long as I stay grateful, I’ll stay sober. Am I in a grateful frame of mind?

Meditation For The Day

God can work through you better when you are not hurrying. Go very slowly, very quietly, from one duty to the next, taking time to rest and pray between. Do not be too busy. Take everything in order. Venture often into the rest of God and you will find peace. At work that results from resting with God is good work. Claim the power to work miracles in human lives. Know that you can do many things through the Higher Power. Know that you can do good things through God who rests you and gives you strength. Partake regularly of rest and prayer.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not be in too much of a hurry. I pray that  I may take time out often to rest with God.

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As Bill Sees It
May 8
Back To Work, p. 128

It is possible for us to use the alleged dishonesty of other people as a plausible excuse for not meeting our own obligations.

Once, some prejudiced friends exhorted me never to go back to Wall Street. They were sure that the rampant materialism and double-dealing down there would stunt my spiritual growth. Because this sounded so high-minded, I continued to stay away from the only business that I knew.

When, finally, my household went broke, I realized I hadn’t been able to face the prospect of going back to work. So I returned to Wall Street, and I have ever since been glad that I did. I needed to rediscover that there are many fine people in New York’s financial district. Then, too, I needed the experience of staying sober in the very surroundings where alcohol had cut me down.

A Wall Street business trip to Akron, Ohio, first brought me face to face with Dr. Bob. So the birth of A.A. hinged on my effort to meet my bread-and-butter responsibilities.

Grapevine, August 1961

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Walk in Dry Places
May 8
Regrets over roads not taken
Releasing the past.

Looking back, every one of us can point to moment when we made choices that helped set the course of our lives. It?s easy to waste time and energy wondering what our lives would have been like if other choices had been made at these critical points.

Such thinking is mostly a waste of time and may reflect dissatisfaction with our lives today. Whatever our past mistakes, the decisions we made that brought us sobriety were the correct ones. Realizing this, many of us even come to feel gratitude for the problem that brought us into the program.

We are never able to say with certainty that different choices made earlier in life would have been better in the long run. Bill W., an AA co-founder, said that a business setback moved him to make the calls that led him to Dr. Bob, the other co-founder. Had his business venture succeeded, it?s doubtful that Bill would have been thinking about helping another alcoholic.

The best choice any of us can make is to turn such maters and questions over to our Higher Power. We have a duty to do the best we can with today?s opportunities and conditions.

I’ll live today in the present. The good experiences from the past are always with me, and I can benefit from any lessons learned by my mistakes.

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Keep It Simple
May 8

The only way to speak truth is to speak lovingly.
—Thoreau

Recovery teaches us to tell the truth. We must be honest if we want to save our lives. We must learn to speak with care—care for ourselves and for others. To be honest means to speak in a fair and truthful way. To be honest and loving means learning when to speak, and how to speak, in a caring way. We can help others by honestly telling them what we think and feel and see—but only when we do this with love. We must be careful when we speak. Speaking the truth is like using a sharp knife—it can be used for good, or it can be used to hurt others. We should never handle it carelessly of use it to hurt someone.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me know the truth. Help me speak the truth to others with love.

Action for the Day: I’ll make a list of three times I’ve hurt someone be being honest, but not with love. I’ll also list three times I’ve helped someone by being truthful, with love.

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Each Day a New Beginning
May 8

The battle to keep up appearances unnecessarily, the mask–whatever name you give creeping perfectionism–robs us of our energies.
—Robin Worthington

How familiar we are with trying to be women other than ourselves; ones more exciting, we think, or sexier, or smarter. We have probably devoted a great deal of energy to this over the years. It’s likely that we are growing more content with ourselves now. However, aren’t there still situations in which we squirm, both because we want to project a different image, and because we resent our desire to do so?

We each have been blessed with unique qualities. There is no other woman just like ourselves. We each have special features that are projected in only one way, the way we alone project them.

Knowing that we are perfect as we are is knowledge that accompanies recovery. How much easier life is, how much more can be gained from each moment, when we meet each experience in the comfort of our real selves. The added gift of simply being ourselves is that we’ll really hear, see, and understand others for the first time in our lives.

I can only fully focus on one thing, one person at a time. I will free my focus from myself today and be filled up by my experiences with others.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
May 8
Women Suffer Too

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

That was the beginning of a new life, a fuller life, a happier life than I had ever known or believed possible. I had found friends, understanding friends who often knew what I was thinking and feeling better than I knew myself, and didn’t allow me to retreat into my prison of loneliness and fear over a fancied slight or hurt. Talking things over with them, great floods of enlightenment showed me myself as I really was and I was like them. We all had hundreds of character traits, of fears and phobias, likes and dislikes, in common. Suddenly I could accept myself, faults and all, as I was?for weren’t we all like that? And, accepting, I felt a new inner comfort, and the willingness and strength to do something about the traits I couldn’t live with.

pp. 206-207

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 8

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

So it is that we first see humility as a necessity. But this is the barest beginning. To get completely away from our aversion to the idea of being humble, to gain a vision of humility as the avenue to true freedom of the human spirit, to be willing to work for humility as something to be desired for itself, takes most of us a long, long time. A whole lifetime geared to self-centeredness cannot be set in reverse all at once. Rebellion dogs our every step at first.

p. 73

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Xtra Thoughts
May 8

Remember To Live Your Life Today

Today is a beautiful day to be alive, to be the person you are. A beautiful day, simply, to be. Don’t waste energy trying to possess or control. Don’t let yourself be burdened by things that have happened in the past. Don’t worry about being “right,” or about impressing anyone.

Focus instead on creating things that have never before existed. On adding value to the lives of others. On finding ways to express the unique person that you are. Feel good by simply deciding to, rather than by abusing yourself or others. Look at everything that happens as an opportunity for growth.

Accept and be thankful for the abundance that is yours. Dust off your dreams and find a way to follow them. Life is precious and beautiful.  Every breath you take is an opportunity to live life to the fullest.
–Ralph S. Marston, Jr.

“Today, I will relax. I am being prepared. I can let go of timing. I can stop manipulating outcomes. Good things will happen when the time is right, and they will happen naturally.”
–Melody Beattie

“We find comfort among those who agree with us; growth among those who don’t.”
–Frank A. Clark

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 8
HONESTY

“Where is there dignity unless there is honesty?”
–Marcus Cicero

The cornerstone of my life today is honesty. It is the quality I most desire in my life because I believe that with honesty comes a knowledge of God, self and relationships. It is the key to my recovery from addiction. It is the key to the meaning of spirituality. Honesty affords me hope for tomorrow.

As an alcoholic I was a dishonest man. I was not just dishonest because I told lies and manipulated the truth, I was dishonest because I refused to risk the journey into self. My dishonesty was not about what I said but what I did not say! Not so much about what I did but what I did not do.  My dishonesty stopped me from discovering my God-given dignity.

Today I risk the journey into self and I am discovering more about God “as I understand Him”. My level of honesty helps me to be happy and relaxed with who I am today.

“Be still and know that I am God.” In the silence of self-honesty may I know myself.

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Bible Scriptures
May 8

O LORD my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me.
Psalm 30:2

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6

. . .the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”
Romans 8:6

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Daily Inspiration
May 8

When we want things around us to change, the best place to start in within ourselves. Lord, grant that my frustrations can be a motivation to better myself and my environment.

Tragedy and suffering often opens the soul to the heights of spiritual growth. Lord, let the hardships of my life be my prayer and work to draw You closer and closer.

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A Day At A Time
May 8
Reflection For The Day

I’ve learned in The Program that I need not apologize to anyone for depending upon God as I understand Him.  In fact, I now have good reason to disbelieve those who think spirituality is the way of weakness.  For me, it is the way of strength.  The verdict of the ages is that men and women of faith seldom lack courage.  they trust their God.  So I never apologize for my belief in Him, but, instead, I try to let Him demonstrate, through me and those around me, what He can do.  Do I walk as I talk?

Today I Pray

May my faith be confirmed as I see how God has worked through others since the beginning of time.  May I see that the brave ones, the miracle-workers, the happy people are those who have professed their spirituality.  May I see, even now as I look around,  how God works through those who believe in Him.

Today I Will Remember

To Watch God at Work.

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One More Day
May 8

Leisure is the most challenging responsibility a man can be offered.
— William Russell

We are a work-oriented society. As children, we were taught to do our homework and the chores. We may have “played house” or pretended we were “going to work.”

Play, therefor, can be a real challenge, especially for adults. Keyed up from a day in the work force or a day coping with the rigors of illness or pain, we can hardly settle down when busy thoughts crowd our consciousness. Leisure time can be a burden to us if we don’t’ know how to creatively fill it.

Regardless of what our job is, at home or away, we can learn to set it aside when work is over. Playtime should become sacred, for it’s a special time when we feed our need to be carefree and spontaneous.

Using my leisure time for play will keep me healthier, mentally and physically.

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One Day At A Time
May 8
POSITIVE THOUGHTS

“I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.”
–James Arthur Baldwin

What did I think about before I was in recovery? I worried about what others thought of me. I thought of what and when I could eat next. I picked apart the way others’ bodies looked, while being jealous of them. I didn’t know that thinking of negative things brought my energy level down. I thought self-discipline meant disciplining myself — which meant mentally beating myself up.

My Higher Power has shown me a way of thinking that was new to me, but is age old — positive thoughts. Thinking positive brings me to a level of serenity. When my mind wanders, I can bring it back. When I find myself obsessing over something negative, I can work the first three steps with it. I am powerless over negativity. I have a HP who can remove it from me. I choose to let my HP direct my thoughts. And then let myself to think of something else.

One day at a time…
I choose to think positively. The result is serenity.

Nancy F.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 8

“Anyways, with medicine there’s a time and a place for everything. It only comes around once. You have to get it at the right time.”
—- Cecilia Mitchell, MOHAWK

The old ones say two things must be present for a miracle to take place. One, the right time. Two, the right place. This is why we need to honor our ceremonies. eremonies are done in an order. This order is applied to open a “door” to the right time and place of the medicine. This door opens to the Spiritual World. The Spiritual World is available to us at the right time and the right place.

My Creator, let me be patient today so the timing is right.

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Journey to the Heart
May 8
Love Yourself

No matter what, love yourself.

Love yourself, even if it feels like the world around you is irked with you, even if it feels like those you’ve counted on most have gone away, even if you wonder if God has abandoned you.

When it feels like the journey has stopped, the magic is gone, and you’ve been left sitting on the curb, love yourself. When you’re confused and angry about how things are going or how they’ve gone, love yourself. No matter what happens or where you are, love yourself. No matter if you aren’t certain where you’re going or if there’s anyplace left to go, love yourself.

This situation will change, this time will pass, and the magic will return. So will joy and faith. You will feel connected again– to yourself, God, the universe, and life. But the first thing to do is love yourself. And all the good you want will follow.

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Today’s Gift
May 8

Talking little, and with the low, tender part of our voices, as in nodding to one who already knows what you mean.
—Tess Gallagher

Once there was a small child whose only word was no. When she wanted to indicate yes, she nodded her head emphatically. What she liked to do instead of talk was play. She liked to play outside in the meadow with the bugs and rocks and plants.

The mullein was her favorite plant. She rubbed the soft, furry leaves across her cheek. Her mother told her that in the old days, American Indians used these leaves as bandages. Several years later, Lucy picked a mullein leaf and took it in the house to her mother. “Look, Mama. Indian owee.”

We, too, can remember some surprising things from the dim past, before we could talk or understand all that went on around us. Communication does not always depend on words alone but on the tenderness with which they are spoken. Walking through the world in a tender, loving way is a form of communication that goes beyond words to our deepest feelings.

What are some of the ways we show our love without words?

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The Language of Letting Go
May 8
Giving Ourselves What We Deserve

I worked at a good job, making a decent salary. I had been recovering for years. Each morning, I got into my car and I thanked God for the car. The heater didn’t work. And the chance of the car not starting was almost as great as the chance that it would. I just kept suffering through and thanking God. One day, it occurred to me that there was absolutely no good reason I couldn’t buy myself a new car – that moment – if I wanted one. I had been gratitudeing myself into unnecessary deprivation and martyrdom. I bought the new car – that day.
—Anonymous

Often, our instinctive reaction to something we want or need is, No! I can’t afford it!

The question we can learn to ask ourselves is, But can I?

Many of us have learned to habitually deprive ourselves of anything we might want, and often things we need.

Sometimes, we can misuse the concept of gratitude to keep ourselves unnecessarily deprived.

Gratitude for what we have is an important recovery concept. So is believing we deserve the best and making an effort to stop depriving ourselves and start treating ourselves well.

There is nothing wrong with buying ourselves what we want when we can afford to do that. Learn to trust and listen to yourself about what you want. There’s nothing wrong with buying yourself a treat, buying yourself something new.

There are times when it is good to wait. There are times when we legitimately cannot afford a luxury. But there are many times when we can.

Today, I will combine the principles of gratitude for what I have with the belief that I deserve the best. If there is no good reason to deprive myself, I won’t.

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More Language Of Letting Go
May 8
Say when something triggers you

How do you defend yourself when you feel angry and hurt?

When Sally was a child, she lived with disturbed parents. They said mean, hurtful things to her much of the time. She waan’t allowed to say anything back, and she especially wasn’t allowed to say how angry and hurt she felt.

“The only way I could deal with anger was by going numb and telling myself I didn’t care– that the relationship wasn’t important,” Sally said. “Then I carried this behavior into my adult life. I learned to just go cold when I felt angry or hurt. I automatically shut down and pushed people away. One hint of feeling hurt or angry, and boom– I was gone.”

It’s important to know our boundaries. It’s even more important not to allow people to be reckless with our hearts. It’s also important to know how hurt and anger trigger our defenses.

Do you have an instant reaction, not to other people, but to your own feelings of being betrayed, hurt, or angered? Do you shut down? Lose your self-esteem? Do you “go away” from yourself or others? Do you counterattack?

Feelings of hurt and anger will arise in the course of most relationships. Sometimes when we feel that way, it’s a warning that we need to beware. Other times it’s a minor incident, something that can be worked out. You may have needed to protect yourself once, a long time ago. But now it’s okay to be vulnerable and let yourself feel what you feel.

Say when something triggers you and learn how you defend yourself.

God, help me become aware of how I protect myself when I feel hurt, angry, and attacked. Give me the courage to be vulnerable and learn new ways of taking care of myself.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 8

Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.
—Oscar Wilde

The mature man eventually forgives his parents. Any adult can look back and see childhood wrongs and unfairness. Many of us were disappointed by our parents, even neglected or hurt by them. We certainly didn’t get all we wanted or needed. Yet, upon joining the ranks of grown men and women, we become responsible for ourselves. Every situation has limited choices, and we work with what we’ve got. As adults, we realize this is exactly where our parents were when we were children. They, too, were born into an imperfect world and had to do the best they could.

When we can forgive our parents, we are free to accept them as they are, as we might a friend. We can accept them, enjoy the relationship, and forget about collecting old debts. Making peace with them imparts to us the strengths of previous generations and helps us be more at peace with ourselves.

I pray for the maturity and the wisdom to be more forgiving of my parents.

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DailyTAO
May 8
LIMITS

Every river has its banks,
Every ocean has its shores.

Constant expansion is not possible. Everything reaches its limits and the wise always try to identify these limits. In the environment, they do not willfully expand civilization at the expense of natural wilderness. In economics, they do not spend beyond the market. In personal relationships, they do not demand more than others can fairly give. In exercise, they do not strain beyond their capacities. In health, they do not go beyond the limits of their age. With such attitudes, the wise can even exploit what others think to be barriers.

When one senses that one has come to the limits of the time and situation, one should conserve one’s energy. Often, this will be in preparation for a challenge to the limits, or a changing over to a new set of constraints. Whenever one comes upon the circumference, it is best to consider carefully and marshal one’s resources before crossing the line. There is always uncertainty, and we must be wary.

We can also utilize limits for our own purposes. We can trap someone because we know of the limits ahead. Defense is possible by utilizing given limits, as a wall protects our backs in a fight. Work is easier when we know that we will be working for a limited time. We can take advantage of opportunities because we know that they are only there for the moment. Limitations should not always be seen as negative constraints. They are the geography of our situation, and it is only right to take advantage of this.

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