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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – October 17

Just For Today
October 17
“The Truth”

“Everything we know is subject to revision, especially what we know about the truth.”
Basic Text, p.91

Many of us thought we could recognize “The Truth.” We believed the truth was one thing, certain and unchanging, which we could grasp easily and without question. The real truth, however, was that we often couldn’t see the truth if it hit us square in the face. Our disease colored everything in our lives, especially our perception of the truth – in fact, what we “knew” about the truth nearly killed us. Before we could begin to recognize truth, we had to switch our allegiance from our addiction to a Higher Power the source of all that is good and true.

The truth has changed as our faith in a Higher Power has grown. As we’ve worked the steps, our entire lives have begun to change through the healing power of the principles of recovery. In order to open the door for that change, we have had to surrender our attachment to an unchanging and rigid truth.

The truth becomes purer and simpler each time we encounter it. And just as the steps work in our lives every day – if we allow them – our understanding of the truth may change each day as we grow.

Just for today: I will open my eyes and my heart to changes brought about by the steps. With an open mind, I can understand the truth in my life today.

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Daily Reflections
October 17
A DAILY TUNE-UP

Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 85

How do I maintain my spiritual condition? For me it’s quite simple: on a daily basis I ask my Higher Power to grant me the gift of sobriety for that day! I have talked to many alcoholics who have gone back to drinking and I always ask them: “Did you pray for sobriety the day you took your first drink?” Not one of them said yes. As I practice Step Ten and try to keep my house in order on a daily basis, I have the knowledge that if I ask for a daily reprieve, it will be granted.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
October 17
A.A. Thought For The Day

What am I going to do today for A.A.? Is there someone I should call up on the telephone or someone I should go to see? Is there a letter I should write? Is there an opportunity somewhere to advance the work of A.A. which I have been putting off or neglecting? If so, will I do it today? Will I be done with procrastination and do what I have to do today? Tomorrow may be too late. How do I know there will be a tomorrow for me?  How about getting out of my easy chair and getting going? Do I feel that A.A. depends partly on me today?

Meditation For The Day

Today look upward toward God, not downward toward yourself. Look away from unpleasant surroundings, from lack of beauty, from the imperfections in yourself and in those around you. In your unrest, behold God’s calmness; in your impatience, God’s patience; in your limitations, God’s perfection. Looking upward toward God, your spirit will begin to grow. Then others will see something in you that they also want. As you grow in the spiritual life, you will be enabled to do many things that seemed too hard for you before.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may keep my eyes trained above the horizon of myself. I pray that I may see infinite possibilities for spiritual growth.

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As Bill Sees It
October 17
EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY, p. 288

If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependency and its consequent unhealthy demand. Let us, with God’s help, continually surrender these hobbling liabilities.

Then we can be set free to live and love; we may then be able to twelfth-step ourselves, as well as others, into emotional sobriety.

GRAPEVINE, JANUARY 1958

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Walk In Dry Places
October 17
Driven by Fear
Finding courage.

During any group discussion of fear, someone usually points out that it serves a protective purpose by keeping us out of harm’s way.

With the type of fear that drove us, however, we more often fled into further harm while trying to avoid the threats at hand. No person whose fear reaches a panic stage can effectively control his or her actions.

We cannot expect sobriety alone to make us exempt from fear. What it can do is give us an ability to handle our fear constructively.

There are steps to doing this. FIRST, we should not be too prideful to admit that fear can come to us. SECOND, we should admit it when we do feel fear. THIRD, we can discuss our fear with others while turning it over to our Higher Power.

It would be wonderful if these steps then lifted us above any sense of fear. Even if this doesn’t happen completely, we’ve succeeded in mastering our problems if we don’t let fear drives us to work against ourselves. If I am afraid to give a presentation for work or go for a job interview, for example, I am being driven into inaction. This must no be allowed to happen.

I can find courage today in the Twelve Step program. This will enable me to act properly and responsibly, even if I’m a bit queasy with fear.

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Keep It Simple
October 17

Every child is an artist. The problem is remain an artist once your grow up.
—Pablo Picasso

We each have colorful ideas waiting to be shared. We’re alive inside. But do we let this side of us show? Our disease stole much of the child like openness. Many of us were taught that growing up meant denying the child within us. Many of us grew up in homes where it wasn’t safe to act alive and creative. Whatever the reason, it’s time to claim the child, the artist, in each of us. Each of our programs is different, and each has its artistic touch. When we tell our stories, we share our life. And our lives are unique and alive. The more alive we become, the more color we bring to others and ourselves. Let’s not be afraid to add color to our lives.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me claim the child inside of me. Joy is choice. Help me choose it.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll work at not hiding myself from others. I’ll be alive, and I’ll greet everyone I meet with the openness of a child.

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 17

Pride, we are told, my children, “goeth before a fall” and oh, the pride was there, and so the fall was not far away.
–Wilhelmina Kemp Johnstone

Requesting help. Admitting we are wrong. Owning our mistake in either a big or small matter. Asking for another chance or someone’s love. All very difficult to do, and yet necessary if we are to grow. The difficulty is our pride, the big ego. We think, “We need to always be right. If we’re wrong, then others may think less of us, look down on us, and question our worth.” Perfectionism versus worthlessness.

If we are not perfect (and of course we never are), then we must be worthless. In between these two points on the scale is “being human.” Our emotional growth, as women, is equal to how readily we accept our humanness, how able we are to be wrong. With humility comes a softness that smoothes our every experience, our every relationship. Pride makes us hard, keeps us hard, keeps others away, and sets us up for the fall.

I will let myself be human today. It will soften my vision of life.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
October 17
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.

Unfortunately, by the time we thought it was time to have a “real life” and maybe start a family, the marriage disintegrated. I was then twenty-eight years old, getting divorced, drinking all the time, and seeing a psychiatrist three times a week, trying to solve my problem, whatever it was.

p. 391

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 17

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

“So spoke the group conscience. The group was right and I was wrong; the voice on the subway was not the voice of God. Here was the true voice, welling up out of my friends. I listened, and – thank God – I obeyed.”

p. 138

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Xtra Thoughts
October 17
Acceptance does not mean that I have to agree, I don’t have to approve, I don’t even have to like it. I just have to accept.
–unknown

“I can forgive, but I can not forget” is only another way of saying, “I will not forgive.”  Forgiveness ought to be like a cancel note – torn in two and burned up so that it never can be shown against one.
–Henry Ward Beecher

To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.
–William H. Walton

Life is not always what one wants it to be, but to make the best of it as it is, is the only way of being happy.
–Jennie Jerome Churchill

Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.
–Doris Mortman

Ask not that events should happen as you will, but let your will be that events should happen as they do, and you shall have peace.
–Epicetus

God’s word refreshes our minds; God’s spirit renews our strength.
–unknown

God is all-knowing, righteous, longsuffering, all powerful, and good.”
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 17
PROGRESS

You’ve got to be a fool to want to stop the march of time.”
–Pierre Renoir

My fear of the future gave me a fear of change. My need to control made me avoid any new or confusing ideas. My alcoholism wanted me to escape and hide in the past–tomorrow was too fearful to be contemplated. At other times–and this is why alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful–I would want to escape into tomorrow and avoid the reality of today.

Time and reality were to be “played with” rather than experienced. But time moves on, it progresses just like the disease, and if I am to be a winner in this world, I need to move with it. God is to be experienced in the march of time and today I want to be in a relationship with God.

Teach me to respect time as an opportunity for growth.

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Bible Scriptures
October 17

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress.
Psalm 107:19

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

Your principles have been the music of my life throughout the years of my pilgrimage. I reflect at night on who you are, O LORD, and I obey your law because of this. This is my happy way of life: obeying your commandments.
Psalm 119:54-56

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Daily Inspiration
October 17

Mistakes are often a great source of learning. Lord, may I treat myself kindly when I appear to fall short of my expectations and anticipate the goodness that often is not very obvious.

The source of courage is having a deep sense of God’s presence and hearing Him say, “I am with you always.”. Lord, You are my solution. You are with me always giving me all that I need.

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A Day At A Time
October 17

Reflection For The Day

Now that we’re sober and living in reality, it’s sometimes difficult to see ourselves as others see us and, in the process, determine how much progress we’ve made in recovery.  In the old days, the back-of-the-bar mirror presented us with a distorted and illusory view of ourselves;  the way we imagined ourselves to be and the way we imagined ourselves to appear in the eyes of others.  A good way for me to measure my progress today is imply to look about me at my friends in The Program.  As I witness the miracle of their recoveries, I realize that I’m part of the same miracle — and will remain so as long as I’m willing.  Am I grateful for reality and the Divine miracle of my recovery?

Today I Pray

May god keep my eyes open for miracles — those marvelous changes that have taken place in my own life and in the lives of my friends in the group.  May I ask no other measurement of progress than a smile I can honestly mean and a clear eye and a mind that can, at last, touch reality.  May my own joy be my answer to my question.  “How am I doing?”

today I Will Remember

Miracles measure our progress:  Who needs more?

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One More Day
October 17

Maturity:  among other things — not to hide one’s strength out of fear and consequently live below one’s best.
–  Dag Hammarskjold

The fear of being different is a powerful force in our lives, especially in the early times after a chronic illness is diagnosed.  We fear being recognized as a victim of an illness, and we become afraid of any recognition at all.

We don’t want to live with this unreasonable fear, and we begin to understand that healthy thinking requires us to develop and use our many strengths.  We stop denying and start accepting.  The voice of our individuality begins to speak, loudly and clearly, and we answer with definitive action.  We start to face our problems, to accept the ways in which we differ from others, and to rejoice in our strengths.

I won’t hid my strengths, for they are the means to life at its best.

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One Day At A Time
October 17
Self-sabotage

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occupy when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
M. Scott Peck

For the last fifteen years I have been an avid and restless student of “self-help.” I read popular books, spent years in therapy, and attended various support groups. Because I didn’t see any improvement in my life, I was consumed with anger, shame, bitterness, and a pervasive sense of injustice. I blamed my Higher Power, my family, my partner, and my life circumstances. Only since joining The Recovery Group have I discovered the source of my toxic stagnation. It was myself. When doing a thorough examination of my life, I was absolutely shocked to find that I had been repeatedly practicing destructive acts of self-sabotage.

I was in love with my suffering. I was addicted to my misery. Sometimes we cling to our illnesses and weaknesses because they are so familiar to us. Though they hurt us, we find them oddly comforting. It’s what we’re used to. And change is scary. The unknown is scary. I found that my self-sabotage stemmed from shame, anger, low self-esteem, my lust for being a Victim — and even a Fear of Being Well. I had to reach the profound darkness of depression before I could admit that the damage I did to myself had become unbearable.

Now I make a choice each day to not sabotage myself. It’s not easy. Rather than being my enemy, I choose to be my friend and advocate. With the help of this program and my friends in recovery, I have come to like myself and to truly want good things for myself. The changes are gradual and require me to be patient and gracious with myself. Now I can celebrate each baby step and forgive myself when I fall back into old patterns. I now know that when I do make a mistake, I can admit it, learn from it, and press forward with my Recovery.

One day at a time…
I will choose to accept myself as a person of worth. I will resist temptations to sabotage my recovery and I will choose good things for my life.

~ Lisa

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 17

“Peace… comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
–Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) OGLALA SIOUX

If we are to know peace we must look within ourselves. In order to do this, we must learn to be still. We must quiet the mind. We must learn to meditate. Meditation helps us locate and find the center that is within ourselves. The center is where the Great One resides. When we start to look for peace, we need to realize where it is within ourselves. When we experience conflict we need to pause for a moment and ask the Power within ourselves, “How do you want me to handle this? What would you suggest I do in this situation?” By asking the Higher Power for help we find peace.

Creator, help me to find peace.

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Journey To The Heart
October 17
Feeling Overwhelmed Is a Trap

Feeling overwhelmed is a trap, a tricky one at that. When we’re overwhelmed, we see all that needs to be done and say, That’s too much. I can’t do it. So instead, I shall do nothing. Feeling overwhelmed occurs when we say, I am already too busy so I can’t do that and now all is pressing in on me and I can’t do anything. And the acts that are ours to do keep piling up and pulling on us. And we keep resisting. And stress and pressure build up.

Feeling overwhelmed leads to feeling stuck, and both are an illusion. How simple those things that overwhelm us actually become when we release the feeling and return to the rhythm of our lives. When we say, Yes, I need to make that phone call, do that task. How simple the task becomes, how simple life becomes.

What’s bothering you that needs to be done? What’s pulling on you? What’s causing you to feel overwhelmed and maybe stuck, too? Make a list. Put your list aside, and begin by taking one simple action. Then watch as life unfolds. One act at a time, one thing at a time, all that needs to be done will get done. The stress will disappear, and you’ll feel back on track.

You’ll be given the ability, power, and guidance to do all that is on your path to do. Begin simply, quietly, by acknowledging feeling overwhelmed. Denying the pull of life and its tasks doesn’t remove stress, it compounds it.

Surrendering to the simple truths, even the simple truth of what we’re really feeling, will always set us free.

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Today’s Gift
October 17

Fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.
—Shirley MacLaine

No one is brave every moment; each of us feels awkward, shy, perhaps even ugly or dumb part of the time. If we could understand that about each other, it would make it easier for us to be friendly and willing to talk to someone new. Instead, we often sit back, waiting to be noticed; waiting for someone to invite us to join in an activity.

We are all so much alike, yet we are so certain we’re different. Being self-conscious is normal. Even those who are the most popular suffer the same fears as the rest of us. The better we understand the ways we are the same, the easier it will be to make friends with someone new. And it’s through friends that we grow and are strengthened for whatever lies ahead.

What new person can I offer friendship to today?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 17
Feelings and Surrender

Surrendering is a highly personal and spiritual experience.

Surrender is not something we can do in our heads. It is not something we can force or control by willpower. It is something we experience.

Acceptance, or surrender, is not a tidy package. Often, it is a package full of hard feelings – anger, rage, and sadness, followed by release and relief. As we surrender, we experience our frustration and anger at God, at other people, at ourselves, and at life. Then we come to the core of the pain and sadness, the heavy emotional burden inside that must come out before we can feel good. Often, these emotions are connected to healing and release at a deep level.

Surrender sets the wheels in motion. Our fear and anxiety about the future are released when we surrender.

We are protected. We are guided. Good things have been planned. The next step is now being taken. Surrender is the process that allows us to move forward. It is how our Higher Power moves us forward. Trust in the rightness of timing, and the freedom at the other end, as you struggle humanly through this spiritual experience.

I will be open to the process of surrender in my life. I will allow myself all the awkward and potent emotions that must be released.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 17
The beauty is easy to see

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
–Ursula K. LeGuin

One lesson road trips have taught me is that while it’s good to have a destination, it’s good to see what the trip has to offer rather than waiting for it to bring us what we expected.

Recently, a friend and I made a trip to Santuario de Chimayo to visit the church and bring home some of the healing dust from the sacred place. Along the way, we planned to pass through other beautiful places in the Southwest, a spiritual pilgrimage we thought. We left the house ready to be enlightened. But something happened. In the hot Arizona air, we stopped letting the trip happen and started looking for a specific experience. The Indian ruins were overrun with tourist groups and the beautiful red rock vortex center had been reduced to strip malls and time-share condos. Our spiritual quest had yielded nothing but disappointment so far. We felt antsy, irritable, and let down.

Then we saw the sign: Meteor Crater road next right. We turned down that road, giving in to the cheesy kitsch of the trip. A mile wide and over five hundred feet deep the crater was left over fifty thousand years ago in the middle of what is now the Arizona desert. A man bought the land and he and his family became meteor experts– marketing experts as well since they now charge ten dollars to see a big hole in the ground. Nice enough folks though, and we smiled for the first time on the trip.

I’d always wanted to see the Petrified Forest, though I feared that once again the hype would overpower the reality of what it was. It didn’t. The giant logs-turned-to-stone were scarce but the place had a powerful timelessness to it. The sky was pastel blue. I lay on a giant wave of sand while Chip ran around taking pictures that would end up overexposed.

Later that evening we crossed the border into New Mexico. Chelle’s– a nice place to eat read the sign on the side of a building in Gallup. And it was nice, just like the sign said.

We can search for joy and enlightenment so frantically that we don’t see the brilliance at our own feet. Sometimes in the search for enlightenment, it helps to remember to lighten up. To paraphrase Winnie the Pooh, if you’re looking for enlightenment and only find the ordinary, then try looking at the ordinary and let it be what it is. You might then find something you weren’t looking for, which might be just what you were looking for when you began.

Don’t let your hopes and expectations be so high that you miss the beauty in what is. Joy and enlightenment, after all, aren’t that hard to see.

God, help me let go of my expectations and delight in what is.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 17

I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live – that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple happy, uncomplicated life.
—Dan Millman

Wisdom begins in seeing how much we do not know. Sometimes it’s a painful blow to our egos to face what we still have to learn. Many of us have believed we know how to live. Yet, when we look at our lives, we see something has been missing. When we continue to have great stress, when we haven’t made progress in simplifying our lives, when our lives seem full of crises – perhaps then it is time to open ourselves to some new learning.

We can talk to sponsors and get ideas from group members. Perhaps they have noticed our blind spots and will tell us if asked. Expressing our problems in specific ways may point us to new learning. Our program teaches us twelve specific disciplines for our growth. We need to return to them again and again. We can always ask ourselves, “What Step am I working on at this time?” We may need to learn new ways to work on a specific Step.

I will turn to my fellow group members and focus on one Step for my growth today.

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Daily TAO
October 17
TRANSFORMATION

You hurt me years ago;
My wounds bled for years.
Now you are back,
But I am not the same.

In the past, warriors fought by striking the same points that acupuncturists use. One famous swordsman nearly died in a duel in which his opponent attacked him in such a way. After that, the swordsman became a wanderer and tried to renounce the martial life. Years later, his enemy found him and challenged him to duel again. They fought. In the first flurry of blows, the aggressor stepped back in surprise. The swordsman smiled and said, “I trained for twenty years to move my vulnerable spots.” With that, he was finally able to triumph.

Spirituality is a process of inner healing. The wounds of the past can be the greatest obstacles for self-cultivation unless we find them all and heal them. This task can take years, but we must accomplish it.

In many cases, our wounds were inflicted by other people — enemies.  This is subtle. Our enemies can be others on the street, or people much more intimate with us : parents, teachers, siblings, lovers, friends.

If we move away from such people and succeed in our practice, they will have no chance to come back in our lives. How can they? We change whatever made us vulnerable in the first place.

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