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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings - October 10, 2014

Just For Today
October 10
Consequences

“Before we got clean, most of our actions were guided by impulse. Today, we are not locked into this type of thinking.”
Basic Text p. 87

Ever been tempted to do something even when you knew the results would be disastrous? Ever thought about how much it was going to hurt to do what you were tempted to do, then proceed to do it anyway?

It is said that there are consequences to every action. Before we got clean, many of us simply didn’t believe this. But now we know exactly what it means. When we act, we know there will be consequences to pay. No longer can we decide to do something in ignorance when we know full well that we won’t like the price we’ll have to pay.

There’s a prize and a price. It’s okay to act despite the consequences if we’re willing to pay the price, but there’s always one to pay.

Just for today: I will think about the consequences of my actions before I take them.

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Daily Reflections
October 10
FIXING ME, NOT YOU

If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 90

What a freedom I felt when this passage was pointed out to me!  Suddenly I saw that I could do something about my anger, I could fix me, instead of trying to fix them. I believe that there are no exceptions to the axiom. When I am angry, my anger is always self-centered. I must keep reminding myself that I am human, that I am doing the best I can, even when that best is sometimes poor.  So I ask God to remove my anger and truly set me free.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
October 10
A.A. Thought For The Day

When new members come into my A.A. group, do I make a special effort to make them feel at home? Do I put myself out to listen to them, even if their ideas of A.A. are vague? Do I make it a habit to talk to all new members myself, or do I often leave that to someone else? I may not be able to help them, but, then, again it may be something that I might say that would put them on the right track. When I see any members sitting alone, do I put myself out to be nice to them, or do I stay among my own special group of friends and leave them out in the cold? Are all new A.A.s my responsibility?

Meditation For The Day

You are God’s servant. Serve Him cheerfully and readily.  Nobody likes a servant who avoids extra work, who complains about being called from one task to do any less enjoyable. A master would feel that he was being ill served by such a servant.  But is that not how you so often serve God? View your day’s work in this light. Try to do your day’s work in this light. Try to do your day’s work the way you believe God wants you to do it, never shirking any responsibility and often going out of your way to be of service.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be a good servant.  I pray that I may be willing to go out of my way to be of service.

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As Bill Sees It
October 10
Ourselves as Individuals, p.281

There is only one sure test of all spiritual experiences: “By their fruits, ye shall know them.”

This is why I think we should question no one’s transformation–whether it be sudden or gradual. Nor should we demand anyone’s special type for ourselves, because experience suggests that we are apt to receive whatever may be the most useful for our own needs.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Human beings are never quite alike, so each of us, when making an inventory, will need to determine what his individual character defects are. Having found the shoes that fit, he ought to step into them and walk with new confidence that he is at last on the right track.

1. Grapevine, July 1963
2. Twelve and Twelve, p.48

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Walk In Dry Places
October 10
Putting our trust in people.
Trust

How much should we trust other people? This is an important question, because many of us have erred in both directions: we’ve trusted people too much or not enough.

We can find our answer in the spiritual side of the program. We do have a Higher Power in whom we can have absolute trust. We can have little doubt that the spiritual presence behind everything is infallible and supreme.

As human beings, we know that we can only be trusted in certain ways. We can work to develop our trustworthiness, but it is never high enough, even with the strongest souls. All of us have weaknesses that can keep us from being what we know to be our best.

In our 12 Step living, we should work to develop trust in both ourselves and others, but no be hurt or disappointed when things go wrong. Above all, our real trust should be in our Higher Power.

I’ll work today to be trusting and trustworthy, but I’ll not expect too much of anybody, including myself.

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Keep It Simple
October 10

The foolish and the dead never change their opinions.
—James Russell Lowell

We need to stay fresh in our program. We need to be open to new ideas. We need change. The ways we work the Steps should change for us as the years go by. And as we grow, more of the fog of our denial clears away. Then we see the world and our program in different ways.

We need to allow this to happen. At times, it’s scary to give up old ways and old opinions, but this is what allows new growth. Every day, we wake up to a new world. Being alive means change. Opinions and ideas are like a strong tree: the base is strong, but leaves change with the seasons.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me stay fresh and alive. Help me stay open to new ideas and attitudes.  Help me to not become rigid.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll ask two friends to tell me how I may be rigid. I will listen to what they say.

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 10

Sometimes it’s worse to win a fight than to lose.
–Billie Holiday

Our struggles with other people always take their toll on us. They often push us to behavior we’re not proud of. They may result in irreparable rifts. They frequently trigger an emotional relapse. No battle is worth the damage to the psyche that nearly any battle can cause. Nonresistance is the safer way to chart our daily course.

Bowing with the wind, flowing with the tide, eases the steps we need to take, the steps that will carry us to our personal fulfillment. Part of the process of our growth is learning to slide past the negative situations that confront us, coming to understand that we are in this life to fulfill a unique purpose. The many barriers that get in our way can strengthen our reliance on God if we’ll let them. People or situations need never thwart us. We will profit from taking all experiences in our stride. The course we travel is the one we chart. The progress we make toward our life goals is proportionate to the smoothness of our steps.

I will flow with the tide. It will assuredly move me closer to my destination.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
October 10
THE PERPETUAL QUEST

– This lawyer tried psychiatrists. biofeedback, relaxation exercises, and a host of other techniques to control her drinking. She finally found a solution, uniquely tailored, in the Twelve Steps.

Within a dozen years, three of these five promising lawyers were dead from alcoholism, struck down at the peak of their careers. The judge is still and always has been a sober judge. And I somehow unwittingly, and even while drinking, turned into a corporate counsel and later, thankfully, became a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. The professor’s kidneys gave out from one too many martinis; the exporting lawyer kept drinking until he died, despite a liver transplant; my ex-husband died in a fire on what was to be, he had said, his last drunk before going to A.A. again, when I was ten years sober. I have been to too many premature funerals due to our good friend alcohol.

pp. 388-389

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 10

Tradition Two – “For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.”

Now comes the election. If the founder and his friends have served well, they may – to their surprise – be reinstated for a time. If, however, they have heavily resisted the rising tide of democracy, they may be summarily beached. In either case, the group now has a so-called rotating committee, very sharply limited in its authority. In no sense whatever can its members govern or direct the group. They are servants. Theirs is the sometimes thankless privilege of doing the group’s chores. Headed by the chairman, they look after public relations and arrange meetings. Their treasurer, strictly accountable, takes money from the hat that is passed, banks it, pays the rent and other bills, and makes a regular report at business meetings. The secretary sees that literature is on the table, looks after the phone-answering service, answers the mail, and sends out notices of meetings. Such are the simple services that enable the group to function. the committee gives no spiritual advice, judges no one’s conduct, issues no orders. Every one of them may be promptly eliminated at the next election if they try this. And so they make the belated discovery that they are really servants, not senators. These are universal experiences. Thus throughout A.A. does the group conscience decree the terms upon which its leaders shall serve.

p. 134

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Xtra Thoughts
October 10

Do not be wise in words – be wise in deeds.
–Jewish Proverb

Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing.”
–Jim Rohn

“If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent and you will have given your children one of the greatest of all blessings.”
–Brian Tracy

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 10
TOLERANCE

“Art, if it is to be reckoned with as one of the great values of life, must teach men . . . tolerance.”
– Somerset Maugham

There is something about art that is accepting, tolerant and reconcilable with “difference”. I have observed that artists — those who paint, write, dance, sculpture, design — are also people who are accepting and tolerant because they need the “different” in order to create and progress. Things cannot stay the same and art is the recorder of man’s journey towards the truth; but mankind needs friction, argument, confrontation, rejection — yes, “difference” in order to grow and develop.

People say that artists are crazy, and I suppose this is true. But we need crazy people to take the world where it needs to go. In the crazy, the seed of genius is often buried.

Lord, before I reject the artist or the “crazy”, let me seriously consider the message.

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Bible Scriptures
October 10

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.
Psalm 136 : 1

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
2 Corinthians 3:17

” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Phillipians 4:13

16since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”  17And if you invoke as Father him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.
Peter I:  Chapter1 vs 16 & 17

20He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.
Peter I:  Chapter1 vs 20

22Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart.
Peter I:  Chapter1 vs 22

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Daily Inspiration
October 10

Most often a gentle approach is the best resolution to a conflict. Lord, I have been given today to improve myself and make life better for others. Help me walk in the way that You lead me.

Live your life as though today was your last and learn as though you’ll live forever. Lord, You ask so little of the talents You have given to me. May I not neglect them.

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A Day At A Time
October 10

Reflection For The Day

When we allow our Higher Power to take charge, without reservations on our part, we stop being “anxious.”  When we’re not anxious about some person or situation, that doesn’t mean we’re disinterested or have stopped caring.  Just the opposite is true.  We can be interested and caring without being anxious or fearful.  The poised, calm and faith-filled person brings something positive to every situation.  He or she is able to do the things that are necessary and helpful.  Do I realize how much better prepared I am to do wise and loving things if I banish anxious thoughts and know that God is in charge?

Today I Pray

I pray that I may be rid of the anxiety which I have equated in my mind with really caring about people.  May I know that anxiety is not an item of outerwear that can be doffed like a cap.  May I know that I must have serenity within myself and confidence that God can do a better job that I can — and then my anxiety will lessen.

Today I Will Remember

Anxiety never solved anything.

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One More Day
October 10

But if a man happens to find himself … he has a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity all the days of his life.
–  James Michener

If only, we think, I could regain that joy, that feeling of being so pleased with myself that I had as a child.  if we think about it, we might decide that the child didn’t disappear;  it may still be waiting to be freed once again.

We can pause and look at what we have become as adults.  If we see self-worth by pleasing or impressing others, we may have stopped listening to that childlike voice that tells us to trust ourselves.  Dignity, self-worth, contentment — these things grow out of a sense of self, not from the opinions of others.

The choices I make today will be based on my own values.

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One Day At A Time
October 10
TOLERANCE

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.”
–Khalil Gibran

Two of my biggest character defects are arrogance and fear. I used to have a hard time tolerating people who are not like me. When I was driven by fear, anger, and shame, I believed they threatened my social position. A normal day for me was filled with frustration and anger at people I didn’t like. Gossip was my language.

After I decided that I was truly powerless over my addiction and that my life had become really unmanageable, I surrendered. I started writing the suggested Step work and had a great awakening. In the 4th Step inventory, I came to the conclusion that I did not like “different people” because I was afraid to be like them. And what were they like? Just like me. I didn’t like myself. That was one of the most revealing acknowledgements that were given to me. I have no reason to pick a fight anymore, nor discuss or judge any person. When I meet people I do not like, I know why.

One day at a time…
My greatest teachers are those who have shown me what I do not like or accept about myself. I understand that I would never have appreciated these lessons as precious gifts without the understanding, growth and tolerance within the 12 Step fellowship. Today I make a living amend by never judging or disliking any person. Every human being is a creature of God as I understand him, and who am I to judge?

~ Trine

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 10

“I think that’s what unity is – knowing one another and coming together and working with no conflict.”
–Chief Alan Wilson, HAIDA

When we are aligned with spiritual values, we cannot be in fear or conflict. When we are aligned to spiritual values, we have the Creator whispering solutions in our ears. Unity is one of the spiritual values. When we value unity we value solutions. If we think this way, then we have no conflict within ourselves.

Great Spirit, let me see through Your eyes.

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Journey To The Heart
October 10
We Are Transmitters and Receivers

We are a finely tuned instrument– body, mind, and soul. We receive messages, we receive guidance. And we transmit energy– the energy of love.

When we become off center, we become like two-way radios whose tuners aren’t on the right frequency. We aren’t receiving or transmitting clearly. We hear and feel the static. Often, instinctively, that’s when we start broadcasting more loudly, sometimes screaming to be heard. Now is not the time to crank up the volume.

Take the time you need to get centered, to get peaceful. What do you need to do? What do you need to feel? What healing resources do you need to utilize? What’s your voice, your quiet, trustworthy inner voice, the one that speaks through your heart, urging you to do?

Taking time to get centered and peaceful isn’t selfish. It’s not a waste of time. When we’re receiving clearly, we transmit clearly.

And the frequency we use is love.

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Today’s Gift
October 10

Look, the wind vane fluttering in the autumn breeze
Takes hold of certain things that cannot be held.
—Feng Chih

When we think we are losing our grip, we have good reason to look up. Consider the moon suspended in the sky, how it continues to come and go, follows its natural law, and never really loses face. Consider the sun, the stars, the seasons, how they refuse to abandon us, to let go of their hold on our lives. And come closer to home. We can marvel at the magic of small efficient things – the toaster and stove, the light in the room, the words in a good book that are permanent, faithful, and clear. We can consider how music, without saying a word, still speaks to us, and how a few friends, maybe miles away, continue to hang on to the strength of our small and faithful words.

We can keep in mind that we are part of a complex and loving system, and our grip can never be lost.

How do I see my unity with my surroundings today?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 10
Payoffs from Destructive Relationships

Sometimes it helps to understand that we may be receiving a payoff from relationships that cause us distress.

The relationship may be feeding into our helplessness or our martyr role.

Maybe the relationships feeds our need to be needed, enhancing our self-esteem by allowing us to feel in control or morally superior to the other person.

Some of us feel alleviated from financial or other kinds of responsibility by staying in a particular relationship.

“My father sexually abused me when I was a child,” said one woman. “I went on to spend the next twenty years blackmailing him emotionally and financially on this. I could get money from him whenever I wanted, and I never had to take financial responsibility for myself.”

Realizing that we may have gotten a codependent payoff from a relationship is not a cause for shame. It means we are searching out the blocks in ourselves that may be stopping our growth.

We can take responsibility for the part we may have played in keeping ourselves victimized. When we are willing to look honestly and fearlessly at the payoff and let it go, we will find the healing we’ve been seeking. We’ll also be ready to receive the positive, healthy payoffs available in relationships, the payoffs we really want and need.

Today, I will be open to looking at the payoffs I may have received from staying in unhealthy relationships, or from keeping destructive systems operating. I will become ready to let go of my need to stay in unhealthy systems; I am ready to face myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 10
See how it feels to do it right

In skydiving, there’s an activity called dirt diving. At the drop zone, you’ll see people lying on their bellies on contraptions that look like skateboards. They make all the moves on the ground as if they were free-falling through the air. They’re training their bodies and themselves to do it right. They’re experiencing how it feels to do it right.

Do you have something you’re trying to learn how to do? Are you struggling to let go of someone? Are you trying to do something for the first time– conquer your fear of flying or write a book? Do you have a meeting scheduled that’s causing you some strain? Maybe you need to approach your boss and ask for a raise.

See yourself doing it. Quiet yourself first by deliberately relaxing each part of your body and mind. Then imagine yourself doing it, whatever it is. See how it feels to do it right. Go into each detail of how you would feel if you were doing it right.

If you encounter a block that keeps you from moving forward smoothly in your visualization time, ask your Higher Power or yourself how to remedy or release that block. Do you have a fear that’s blocking you? Is it a new or an old fear? Maybe it’s concern over what somebody told you long ago about your inadequacy? Release that energy, then start all over again, seeing what it feels like to do it right. Keep at your visualizatiom until you can go through the entire process smoothly from beginning to end.

If you try but can’t imagine yourself doing something, much less see how it feels to do it right, maybe you’re trying to do something that’s not right for you. Ask your Higher Power for guidance about that,too.

Visualization can give us time to safely dirt-dive and work through awkwardness, fears, and potential blocks and problems. Sometimes spending quiet time trying to visualize how it feels to do it right can give us a message that either this is or isn’t the right time or thing for us.

God, help me use my mental powers to create the most positive scenes I can imagine taking place in my life.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 10

The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitudes.
—Victor Frankl

When we stand and look at a mountain, it looks awesome, majestic, and perhaps intimidating. To climb the mountain we will need to select a route. Which approach will give us success? Which will provide a beautiful view? Which is safest? What are the rewards and trade offs among the paths available?

In our lives, we usually cannot choose the mountains that face us, but we can choose the best paths to approach them. One path may be a very negative attitude. It may feel safe like a narrow, protected passageway. It is predictable, but it keeps us cut off from others. Another path may be filled with too many self-indulgent pleasures and never progress in any direction. Another path may be hard and include some risks, but it allows us to be in contact with others and to appreciate the beauty along the way. When we make positive choices about our attitudes, although the mountain is challenging, we are liberated to become the kind of men we’re meant to be.

Today, I will choose friendly attitudes toward myself that will help me on my journey.

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Daily TAO
October 10
DURATION

The sun shines half a day,
The moon dominates the rest.
Even contemplation
Should have its proper duration.

Some monks meditate sixteen hours at a time. Some have sat cross-legged so long that they have calluses on the sides of their feet.  Others need frames to prop their bodies up, or they rest sticks on the floor with the sharp tips at their chins, so that they are awakened by a stab if they doze off. Is this admirable? Or is it mere obsession?

Meditation should have its proper duration. Once one finds the proper procedures, they should not be seen as an activity isolated from the rest of life. Those who follow Tao hold meditation to be imperative, but not exclusive. The primary point of this existence is to live, and all living things move and grow. Therefore meditation should be integrated with the flow of life. It should not dominate above all else.

There is one exception to this. That is the case where one spontaneously and naturally falls into a long period of meditation.  Sometimes this state will last for hours, even days. This is not the same as meditation artificially induced by forced sitting. This is a wholly different type of meditation. One is now with the universe and meditation ceases to be an activity. It becomes a natural expression.

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