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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings - October 11

Just For Today
October 11
Eyeglasses And Attitudes

“Our best thinking got us into trouble…. Recovery is an active change in our ideas and attitudes.”
Basic Text p.53

In active addiction, the world probably looked like a horrible place. Using helped us tolerate the world we saw. Today, however, we understand that the world’s condition wasn’t really the problem. It was our ideas and attitudes about the world that made it impossible for us to find a comfortable place in it.

Our attitudes and our ideas are the eyeglasses through which we see our lives. If our “glasses” are smudged or dirty, our lives look dim. If our attitudes aren’t well focused, the whole world appears distorted. To see the world clearly, we need to keep our attitudes and ideas clean, free of things like resentment, denial, self-pity, and closed-mindedness. To insure our vision of life is in focus, we have to bring our ideas in line with reality.

In addiction, our best thinking kept us from clearly seeing either the world or our part in it. Recovery serves to correct the prescriptions in our attitudinal eyewear. By stripping away our denial and replacing it with faith, self-honesty, humility, and responsibility, the steps help us see our lives in a whole new way. Then the steps help us keep our spiritual lenses clean, encouraging us to regularly examine our ideas our attitudes, and our actions.

Today, seen through the clean lenses of faith and recovery the world looks like a warm, inviting place to live.

Just for today: I will view the world and my life through the clean spiritual lenses of my program.

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Daily Reflections
October 11
SELF–RESTRAINT

Our first objective will be the development of self-restraint.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 91

My drive to work provides me with an opportunity for self-examination.  One day while making this trip, I began to review my progress in sobriety, and was not happy with what I saw. I hoped that, as the work day progressed, I would forget these troublesome thoughts, but as one disappointment after another kept coming, my discontent only increased, and the pressures within me kept mounting. I retreated to an isolated table in the lounge, and asked myself how I could make the most of the rest of the day. In the past, when things went wrong, I instinctively wanted to fight back.  But during the short time I had been trying to live the A.A. program I had learned to step back and take a look at myself.  I recognized that, although I was not the person I wanted to be,  I had learned to not react in my old ways. Those old patterns of behavior only brought sorrow and hurt, to me and to others. I returned to my work station, determined to make the day a productive one, thanking God for the chance to make progress that day.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
October 11
A.A. Thought For The Day

How good a sponsor am I? When I bring new members to a meeting, do I feel that my responsibility has ended? Or do I make it my job to stay with them until they have either become good members of A.A. or have found another sponsor? If they don’t show up for a meeting, do I say to myself: “Well they’ve had it put up to them, so if they don’t want it, there’s nothing more I can do? “  Or do I look them up and find out whether there is a reason for their absences or that they don’t want A.A.? Do I go out of my way to find out if there is anything more I can do to help? Am I a good sponsor?

Meditation For The Day

“First be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift to God.” First I must get right with other people and then I can get right with God. If I hold a resentment against someone, which I find it very difficult to overcome, I should try to put something else constructive into my mind. I should pray for the one against whom I hold the resentment. I should put that person in God’s hands and let God show him or her the way to live. “If a man say: ‘I love God’ and hateth his brother, he is a liar, for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may see something good in every person, even one I dislike, and that I may let God develop the good in that person.

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As Bill Sees It
October 11
INSTINCTS RUN WILD, p. 282

Every time a person imposes his instincts unreasonably upon others, unhappiness follows. If the pursuit of wealth tramples upon people who happen to be in the way, then anger, jealousy, and revenge are likely to be aroused. If sex runs riot, there is similar uproar.

Demands made upon other people for too much attention, protection, and love can invite only domination or revulsion in the protectors themselves-two emotions quite as unhealthy as the demands which evoked them. When an individual’s desire for prestige becomes uncontrollable, whether in the sewing circle or at the international conference table, other people suffer and often revolt. This collision of instincts can produce anything from a cold snub to a blazing revolution.

TWELVE AND TWELVE, p. 44

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Walk In Dry Places
October 11
Keeping anger in safe limits
Dealing with anger

“The most heated bit of letter-writing can be a wonderful safety valve,”  AA co-founder, Bill W. said, “providing the wastebasket is somewhere nearby.”  This is a delightful bit of advice about the right way to handle anger.

Writing an angry letter is at least a way of bringing our feelings out so  that we can see them. This is far healthier than the peculiar method of “Stuffing” one’s feelings and pretending that there was no hurt or offense.  But an angry letter, once mailed, can be more destructive than a bullet.  We may live to regret ever having mailed it. It could have unintended consequences of the worst kind.

That’s why the wastebasket becomes the second hand way to deal with our anger. We throw the letter away and let time and wisdom heal the matter. What usually happen under the guidance of our Higher Power is that we find a much more satisfactory way of settling whatever has happened.  If I become angry today, I’ll admit it to myself. Perhaps I’ll even put my feelings on paper. But I’ll have the good sense not to go further with such outbursts.

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Keep It Simple
October 11

May you live all the days of your life.
—Jonathan Swift

The truth is, life hard. Accepting this fact will make it easier. Remember how well it worked in Step One? Once we admitted and that we were powerless over alcohol and other drugs, we were given the power to recover.  It works the same with life’s problems.

We can spend a lot of energy trying to avoid life’s hardships. But our program teaches us to use the same energy to solve our problems. Problems are chances to better ourselves and become more spiritual. We have a choice: we can either use our energy to avoid problems, or we can face them. When we stop wasting energy, we start to feel more sure of ourselves.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, life is to be lived, both the easy and the hard parts. Help me face and learn from it all.

Action for the Day: I’ll work at not complaining about how hard life is. I’ll take the same energy and us it to solve problems I may face.

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 11

Be still and listen to the stillness within.
–Darlene Larson Jenks

No answer eludes us if we turn to the source of all answers–the stillness within.  Prayer accompanied by meditation will always provide the answers we need for the situations facing us. The answers we want are not guaranteed, however. We must trust that we will be directed to take the right steps. Our well being is assured if we let go of the control and turn our wills over to the care of God, our messenger within.

How comforting to know that all answers are as close as our quiet moments. God never chooses to keep them from us. We simply fail to quiet our thoughts long enough to heed them. Our minds race, obsessively, all too often. We jump from one scenario to another, one fear to another, and one emotion to another. And each time our thoughts capture a new focus; we push the answer we seek further into the background.

The process is simple, if I want to follow it. The answers await me if I truly want them. I need only sit quietly and ask God to offer the guidance I need. And then I will sit quietly some more.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
October 11
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.

My husband and I met and married in law school in a romantic haze of alcohol, twinkling lights, and much promise. We stood out as the only young married couple in our class. We worked and played hard, camped and hiked and skied, threw fabulous parties for our sophisticated friends, and prided ourselves on staying away from drugs. In fact, it was fear that kept me away from drugs– fear that I might not get called to the bar (that’s the other bar, the legal one) if I were convicted of possession of illegal street drugs. More importantly, my best friend was wonderful, powerful alcohol, and I loved it.

p. 389

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 11

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

This brings us straight to the question “Does A.A. have a real leadership?”  Most emphatically the answer is “Yes, notwithstanding the apparent lack of it.”  Let’s turn again to the deposed founder and his friends. What becomes of them?

As their grief and anxiety wear away, a subtle change begins. Ultimately, they divide into two classes known in A.A. slang as “elder statesmen” and “bleeding deacons.” The elder statesman is the one who sees the wisdom of the group’s decision, who holds no resentment over his reduced status, whose judgment, fortified by considerable experience, is sound, and who is willing to sit quietly on the sidelines patiently awaiting developments. The bleeding deacon is one who is just as surely convinced that the group cannot get along without him, who constantly connives for reelection to office, and who continues to be consumed with self-pity. A few hemorrhage so badly that – drained of all A.A. spirit and principal – they get drunk. At times the A.A. landscape seems to be littered with bleeding forms.

Nearly every oldtimer in our Society has gone through this process in some degree.  Happily, most of them survive and live to become elder statesmen. They become the real and permanent leadership of A.A. Theirs is the quiet opinion, the sure knowledge and humble example that resolve a crisis. When sorely perplexed, the group inevitably turns to them for advice. They become the voice of the group conscience; in fact, these are the true voice of Alcoholics Anonymous. They do not drive by mandate; they lead by example. This is the experience which has led us to the conclusion that our group conscience, well-advised by its elders, will be in the long run wiser than any single leader.

pp. 134-135

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Xtra Thoughts
October 11

A clear conscience is a good pillow.
–American Proverb

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.” –Vince Lombardi

There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.
–John F. Kennedy

The first service one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love of God begins in listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but lends us His ear. So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him.
–Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together

“Often we seek to grow or change ourselves by adjusting the external aspects of our lives. …We all too often forget that permanent or real change only comes when the center of our being, our inner drives and motivations, undergoes transformation.”
–Errol Strider

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 11
ART

“Art is not a thing; it is a way.”
– Elbert Hubbard

In the spiritual twelve-step program it talks about “…a God as you understand Him.”  This is a liberating concept that teaches us to risk and think “big”. God is not only found in churches, temples and rituals — God can be found in the myriad of art forms. God is always to be found in the creative. Because art is always concerned with life and truth, God is always involved.

Today I am able to look for God in His or Her World.

In my recovery from the disease of addiction I need to discover the wonder and splendor of life that got damaged in my drinking days. Art can help me to feel again. It helps me to think and be concerned again. Art teaches me to be involved in life.

Thank You for the artist — another aspect of priesthood.

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Bible Scriptures
October 11

I will praise you O lord with all my heart.
Psalm 138 : 1

“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.”
Proverbs 30:5

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Daily Inspiration
October 11

Weeds grow easily, but flowers need care and nurturing to bloom. Lord, may I turn away from evil and tenderly encourage the goodness that comes my way so that I, too, may blossom.

Never doubt the power, the wisdom and the love that God has for you. Lord, thank You for Your constant care and the certainty of Your love for me.

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A Day At A Time
October 11

Reflection For The Day

When I say the Serenity Prayer, sometimes over and over,  I occasionally lose sight of the prayer’s meaning even as I repeat its words.  So I try to think of the meaning of each phrase as I say it, whether aloud or silently.  As I concentrate on the meaning, my understanding grows, along with my capability to realize the difference between what I can change, and what I cannot.  Do I see that most improvements in my life will come from changing my own attitudes and actions?

Today I Pray

May my Higher Power show me new and deeper meanings in the Serenity Prayer each time I say it.  As I apply it to my life’s situations and relationships, may its truth be underlined for me again and again.  May I realize that serenity, courage and wisdom are all that I need to cope with living, but that none of these three have value unless they grow out of my trust in a Higher Power.

Today I Will Remember

God’s formula for living;  Serenity, courage and wisdom.

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One More Day
October 11

Power said to the world, “You are mine,”  The world kept it prisoner on her throne.  Love said to the world, “I am thine.”  The world gave it the freedom of her house.
–  Rabindranath Tagore

We all need to test our spiritual muscles.  At first those muscles may seem weak.  It’s natural after a lengthy bout with illness to wonder why we were chosen for pain, misery, or illness.

After a time, we become ready to learn more about our own spirituality.  We open our minds and our hearts.  As we explore this wonderful side of ourselves, we discover our worth, our strengths, our wholeness.  And we discover that we are not alone, that a Higher Power is sharing His strength and peace with us.

Today, I will learn more about my spirituality than I knew yesterday.  I will feel the peace and strength given to me by my Higher Power.

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One Day At A Time
October 11
FAITH

”Faith is not belief. Belief is passive.  Faith is active.”
–Edith Hamilton

I always believed that God could relieve my suffering if He chose; however, I was overlooking the distinction of the required “partnership” between my choices and his strength. God is not a magician who, with artful finesse, will relieve me of the bondage of my free-will choices. He requires my attention — and then my ACTION — in order to work through and in my life.

One day at a time…
I am willing to test my faith by putting forth the required action(s) that will help me move toward my share of miracles that abound in this Program.

~ January K.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day October 11

“Men and women have an equal responsibility to restore the strength of the family, which is the foundation of all cultures.”
–Haida Gwaii Traditional Circle of Elders

The family is the heartbeat of strength of the culture. The grandfathers and grandmothers taught their children; they in turn had children who taught their children. If the family isn’t taught the culture, then the children become adults, and the adults become the grandfathers and grandmothers, and the result is the culture becomes lost. This is how language is lost; this is how dances are lost; this is how knowledge is lost. We need to listen to our Elders, today, before it’s too late.

Great Spirit, teach me the culture so I can teach the children.

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Journey To The Heart
October 11
Honor Your Connection to Your Body

Our bodies are matter, the physical form we have assumed. They are infused with our energy, our soul.

My awareness of the body-mind-soul connection came slowly, over many years. I had spent many years denying I had a body, denying its importance. I felt disconnected from it, as though it were something apart from me, a burden I had to carry around and live with. Then I began to see the connection between my emotions and the aches and pains– and sometimes illnesses– my body was experiencing. If I didn’t feel the feeling, listen to myself, my body would pound out the pain until it was heard that way. Energy needs to be discharged somewhere. If it isn’t discharged, the body will absorb and feel it as pain. I began to see the connection between changes in my life and changes in my body, the way the earth marks changing seasons and cycles.

I began to get massages, exercise, and slowly trust the wisdom of my body. I became connected to my body. Yes, I was a soul. Yes, I had a heart. Emotions. Thought. But to live on the physical plane of earth, we need a body. Our body is part of us. It is us. It holds the scars of our life to date, the stories of our life so far, it contains the wisdom and energy of what we need today and tomorrow.

Honor your connection to your body. Honor and value your body’s wisdom. It can tell you many things about your life, your growth, your past, and your path. Learn to listen to your body , and it will speak openly and lovingly to you.

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Today’s Gift
October 11

A musician must make music; an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.
Abraham Maslow

The same is true of a seamstress, carpenter, homemaker, lawyer, or mechanic. The question is, who and what am I? What must I do to be at peace with myself? What can I be, for that is what I must be?

A lucky few of us find the answers to these questions fairly early in life, and we work to develop into the people we can be and must be. We do that by looking at our deepest desires, and ask what would bring fulfillment for us. We ask what we would enjoy doing most, what we believe we have the ability to be really good at. What is it that sometimes burns within us to be expressed or done? The answers to what we can be, what we must be, come from within, through asking ourselves these questions.

What kind of a person am I capable of being?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 11
Recovery

How easy it is to blame our problems on others. “Look at what he’s doing.” . . . “Look how long I’ve waited.” . . . “Why doesn’t she call?” . . . “If only he’d change then I’d be happy.” . . .

Often, our accusations are justified. We probably are feeling hurt and frustrated. In those moments, we may begin to believe that the solution to our pain and frustration is getting the other person to do what we want, or having the outcome we desire. But these self-defeating illusions put the power and control of our life in other people’s hands. We call this codependency.

The solution to our pain and frustration, however valid is to acknowledge our own feelings. We feel the anger, the grief; then we let go of the feelings and find peace – within ourselves. We know our happiness isn’t controlled by another person, even though we may have convinced ourselves it is. We call this acceptance.

Then we decide that although we’d like our situation to be different, maybe our life is happening this way for a reason. Maybe there is a higher purpose and plan in play, one that’s better than we could have orchestrated. We call this faith.

Then we decide what we need to do, what is within our power to do to take care of ourselves. That’s called recovery.

It’s easy to point our finger at another, but it’s more rewarding to gently point it at ourselves.

Today, I will live with my pain and frustration by dealing with my own feelings.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 11
Make use of your imaginative powers

It was a small ad in a catalog for an electric flossing machine. “I don’t have the time or energy to floss,” the man in the ad declared. “That’s why I need this machine to do it for me.”

Too busy and too tired?

Some of us complain about all the things we have to do to maintain spiritual health. Prayer. Meditation. Attending support groups. All these things take time and energy, even though we get a good return on the time we invest. Now, we’re considering adding another activity to our already full self-care activities list: spending time and energy visualizing to help create positive events in our lives.

When someone first suggested I use visualization as a tool, my reaction was similar to one of the man in the ad. I don’t have the time. I’m too busy and tired.

But we’re always thinking about something and creating pictures in our minds. Usually what we see are worst case scenarios. So why not take the time, effort, and energy we’re already using to see things not working out and instead visualize things working out? If we’ve got enough time and energy to see the negative what if’s, we’ve got the time and energy to visualize positive events,too.

Visualizing isn’t a form of control. Just because we see things working out well doesn’t guarantee that they will. But if we can see it, it’s more likely to happen than if we can’t see it at all.

God, help me use the powers of thought and imagination in the most creative way I can.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 11

I resolve to meet evil courageously, but when even a small temptation cometh, I am in sore straits. That which seemeth trifling sometimes giveth rise to a grievous temptation.
—Thomas a’ Kempis

Even in recovery, we know we are vulnerable men, always subject to a return to old patterns. Sometimes we can understand the triggering event; other times there is no apparent reason for temptation to reappear. Perhaps it comes when we least expect it, when our guard is lowest. We may be tempted simply because we are addicts or codependents. Our powerlessness reminds us of our need for faithfulness to the program.

When we think we have moved beyond the draw of old behaviors, we veer away from our path of recovery. In saying we have grown out of our powerlessness, or that our resolve can now protect us, we are heading back into old troubles. Admitting the truth is unsettling. It also makes us more honest, more accessible, more spiritual, and more ready to deal with threats to our recovery.

I live with my powerlessness every day. Help me admit it to myself.

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Daily TAO
October 11
ENVIRONMENT

How can you live
With the constant noise of traffic?
The stench of garbage?
The sight of buildings instead of mountains?
The movement of streets instead of rivers?
The feel of pavement instead of earth?

There are some metropolitan areas famous for their power, their sophistication, their history, their place in civilization. These places cannot be centers of spirituality too. You only need to look at them with open eyes and heart. How can anything holy root there?

The noise of traffic is constant. At any time of the day or night, that distracting roar, that underlying trembling disrupts the subtle.  The air is not clean but is filled with dust and soot. Especially when the weather is hot, the smell of rotting garbage wafts up from the foundations like the odor of leprosy. The earth is unable to breathe, smothered beneath concrete, asphalt, steel, and junk.

Some people who live in these places become interested in spirituality. They want to know if it is possible to reach high levels in deeply urban environments. The answer is no. It is not possible to become fully realized in an urban environment. For to gain realization means the achievement of special psychophysical states. That requires quiet cultivation and an acquaintance with the subtle. When the roar of the city is all there is, how can the song of the divine be heard?

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