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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – October 19

NA Just For Today
October 19
Standing For Something

“… we could feel time, touch reality, and recognize spiritual values long lost to many of us.”
Basic Text, p.85

In our active addiction, we were prepared to compromise everything we believed in just to get our hands on more drugs. Whether we stole from our families and friends, sold ourselves, or lied to our employers, we were ignoring the values that mattered most to us. Each time we compromised another dearly held belief, another chunk of the mortar holding our characters together fell away. By the time many of us came to our first meeting, nothing was left but the ruin of our former selves.

We will locate our lost values as we carry out our first honest self-examination. But in order to rebuild our characters, we’ll find it necessary to maintain those values, no matter how great the temptation to shove them aside. We will need to be honest, even when we think we could fool everyone by lying. If we ignore our values, we’ll discover that the biggest fibs we’ve told have been the ones we’ve told ourselves.

We don’t want to start the demolition of our spirits again after all the work we’ve put into their restoration. It’s essential that we stand for something, or we risk falling for anything. Whatever we find important to us, we honor.

Just for today: I stand for something. My strength is the result of living my values.

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Daily Reflections
October 19
A. A.’S “MAIN TAPROOT”

The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole Society has sprung and flowered.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 21-22

Defeated, and knowing it, I arrived at the doors of A.A., alone and afraid of the unknown.  A power outside of myself had picked me up off my bed, guided me to the phone book, then to the bus stop, and through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous. Once inside A.A. I experienced a sense of being loved and accepted, something I had not felt since early childhood. May I never lose the sense of wonder I experienced on that first evening with A.A., the greatest event of my entire life.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
October 19
A.A. Thought For The Day

Do I realize that I do not know how much time I have left? It may be later than I think.  Am I going to do the things that I know I should do before my time runs out? By the way, what is my purpose for the rest of my life? Do I realize all I have to make up for in my past wasted life? Do I know that I am living on borrowed time and that I would not have even this much time left without A.A. and the grace of God? Am I going to make what time I have left count for A.A.?

Meditation For The Day

We can believe that somehow the cry of the human soul is never unheard by God. It may be that God hears the cry, even if we fail to notice God’s response to it. The human cry for help must always evoke a response of some sort from God. It may be that our failure to discern properly keeps us unaware of the response. But one thing we can believe is that the grace of God is always available for every human being who sincerely calls for help. Many changed lives are living proofs of this fact.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may trust God to answer my prayer as He sees fit. I pray that I may be content with whatever form that answer may take.

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As Bill Sees It
October 19
TIME VERSUS MONEY, p. 290

Our attitude toward the giving of time when compared with our attitude toward giving money presents an interesting contrast. We give a lot of our time to A.A. activities for our own protection and growth, but also for the sake of our groups, our areas, A.A. as a whole, and, above all, the newcomer. Translated into terms of money, these collective sacrifices would add up to a huge sum.

But when it comes to the actual spending of cash, particularly for A.A. service overhead, many of us are apt to turn a bit reluctant. We think of the loss of all that earning power in our drinking years, of those sums we might have laid by for emergencies or for education of the kids.

In recent years, this attitude is everywhere on the decline; it quickly disappears when the real need for a given A.A. service becomes clear. Donors can seldom see what the exact result has been. They well know, however, that countless thousands of other alcoholics and their families are being helped.

TWELVE CONCEPTS, pp. 63-64

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Walk In Dry Places
October 19
The same situation… over and over
Growth in Maturity.

Our drinking experience should have taught us that we’ll continue to repeat old destructive behaviors until we change our attitudes.

In sobriety, we can take this idea a step further and apply it to other areas. If we have trouble with other people, for example, we should ask what we’re doing to bring about unpleasant situations.

This is not to say that we’re responsible for everything that goes wrong, but we are getting a message ourselves if we continuously meet the same problem in different forms. Some people, for example, repeatedly become involved in bad relationships or find themselves working for abusive bosses.

Just as a changed attitude helped us recover from our drinking problem, so can a new attitude keep us from repeating other destructive situations.

I’ll be on the lookout today for any indications of a tendency to “attract” trouble. It’s true that I can have bad luck, but I don’t need to bring it on myself.

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Keep It Simple
October 19

A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will.
—Seventeenth century proverb

We addicts used to be stubborn. Once we got an idea in our heads, we wouldn’t change it.

We didn’t listen to others ideas. We almost seemed to say, “Don’t tell me the facts. I’ve already made up my mind.”

But lately , some new ideas are making sense to us. We are starting to change our minds. Maybe we are good people, after all. Maybe we do deserve to be happy. Maybe other people can help us. Maybe our Higher Power does know best.

We’re not acting like fools any longer. We’re learning to change our old ideas.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, when I hear a better idea, help me change my mind.

Action for the Day: When I hear or read a new idea today, I’ll really think about it. If it fits, I’ll try it.

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 19

One of the conclusions I have come to in my old age is the importance of living in the ever-present now. In the past, too often I indulged in the belief that somehow or other tomorrow would be brighter or happier or richer.
–Ruth Casey

How easily our minds jump from the present to the foibles of the past or our fears about the future. How seldom are our minds on this moment, and only this moment.

Before we picked up this book, where were our thoughts? We need to practice, with diligence, returning our minds to whatever the experience at hand. A truly creative response to any situation can only be made when we are giving it our undivided attention. And each creative response initiates an even more exciting follow-up experience.

All we have of life, all that it can offer us is here, now. If we close our mind to the present, this present, we’ll only continue to do so when the tomorrow we dream of now becomes the present. There are no tomorrows.

I will let go of the past and the future. My only reality is here, now. God’s gifts are here, today, right now.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
October 19
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.

Incredibly, I did not connect the improved manageability of my life in this short period of abstinence to the absence of booze. It didn’t matter in the long run, because unfortunately, I started to get drunk again. I recall being fixated on that first glass of wine I was allowed to drink the day my coach informed me that I was ready to start drinking in controlled fashion. My tongue was almost hanging out.

p. 391

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 19

Tradition Three – “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

To establish this principle of membership took years of harrowing experience. In our early time, nothing seemed so fragile, so easily breakable as an A.A. group. Hardly an alcoholic we approached paid any attention; most of those who did join us were like flickering candles in a windstorm. Time after time, their uncertain flames blew out and couldn’t be relighted. Our unspoken, constant thought was “Which of us may be the next?”

p. 139

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Xtra Thoughts
October 19

I am never alone
never abandoned
never deserted
never judged
never chastised
and never without Gods aid.
–Shelley

“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God.”

Those who are lifting the world upward and onward are those who encourage more than criticize.
–Elizabeth Harrison

Correction does much, but encouragement does more.
–Goethe

Words to live by are just words, unless you live by them. You have to walk the talk.
–Cited in BITS & PIECES

Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.
–Cited in More of…The Best of BITS & PIECES

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 19
TACT

“Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.”
— Howard W. Newton

An aspect of my recovery is not hurting people’s feelings unnecessarily. I am learning how to say what I have to say without causing offense. Today I am learning to be tactful and respectful.

As a drunk I would say the first thing that came into my head without any regard for the feelings of others. I was often violent with words, sarcastic with comments and cruel in dialogue. Tact was a sign of weakness; gentleness and sensitivity were unmanly; my power was seen in forcing people to change their minds!

Today I do not wish to be like this. Today I desire to be tactful.

Lord, let me always express my opinion respectfully.

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Bible Scriptures
October 19

For great is Your love higher than the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Psalm 108:4

You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my only source of hope. Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God. LORD, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed. Sustain me, and I will be saved; then I will meditate on your principles continually.
Psalm 119:114-117

Let not kindness and truth forsake thee: Bind them about thy neck; Write them upon the tablet of thy heart.
Proverbs 3:3

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Daily Inspiration
October 19

Complaining reinforces your own unhappiness. Lord, when I speak, help to say things that are worth listening to and reinforce a joyful spirit.

Life is what our thinking makes it. Lord, help me visualize myself richly living each day, believing, achieving, and then succeeding.

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A Day At A Time
October 19

Reflection For The Day

There are countless ways by which my progress and growth in The Program can be measured.   One of the most important is my awareness that I’m no longer compelled, almost obsessively, to go around judging everything and everybody.  My only business today is to work on changing myself, rather than other people, places and things.  In its own way, the obsession of being forever judgmental was as burdensome to me as the obsession of my addiction;  I’m grateful that both weights have been lifted from my shoulders.  When I become judgmental, will I remind myself that I’m trespassing on God’s territory?

Today I Pray

Forgive me my trespasses, when I have become the self-proclaimed judge-and-jury of my peers.  By  being judgmental, I have trespassed on the rights of others to judge themselves– and on the rights of God in the Highest Court of all.  May I throw away all my judgmental tools — my own yardstick and measuring tapes, my own comparisons, my unreachable standards — and accept each person as an individual beyond compare.

Today I Will Remember

Throw away old tapes – especially measuring tapes.

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One More Day
October 19

There must be something strangely sacred in salt.  It is in our tears and in the sea.
—  Kahlil Gibran

Emotion plays around a person’s face, making it strained or relaxed.  We say we can “read” someone else’s face.  Few of us burst into spontaneous tears or laughter, but instead first show slight emotion on our faces or in the way we speak.

Laughter is instrumental to our well-being, but tears are also essential to our emotional survival.  When we finally release the emotions we feel and the dams break loose, the tears are healing.  They allow us to cleanse ourselves of pent-up angers, fears, and frustrations.

I know crying is a human characteristic.  I will not be ashamed of my need to cry, for tears are part of my human experience.

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One Day At A Time
October 19
Live and Let Live

“If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.”
–Henry David Thoreau

I have gleaned from the OA program that I can let others be themselves and make their own decisions unless an issue involves me as well. What a powerful concept. I have struggled long and hard with the issue of letting others live their lives as they choose without the benefit of my wise, profound advice. I really believed that I had all the answers and that by listening to me, one could get his or her life on the right track and be forever grateful to me for the magnanimous favor I had done them. I really believed this! I was also deeply frustrated when people did not immediately do whatever it was I had “advised” them to do. How could they be so dumb?

More importantly, how did I overlook the fact that my own life was heading downhill at a remarkable clip? Thanks to the OA program, I have slowly learned to keep my mouth shut. My motto for relationships is simple: sweep off my side of the street. It makes being me so much easier and it makes the lives of those around me a bit better too.

One day at a time…
Today I will accept and love those around me without acting on the urge to make their lives “better.” I will live and let live as I continue to realize the freedom the program offers me.

~ Pete

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 19

“The teachings are for all, not just for Indians… The white people never wanted to learn before. They thought we were savages. Now they have a different understanding, and they do want to learn. We are all children of God. The tradition is open to anyone who wants to learn.”
–Don Jose Matusuwa, HUICHOL

In the summer of 1994, a white buffalo calf was born. This means that now is the time for all races to come together. The Elders say that at this time a voice from within will speak to everyone. It will say now is the time to forgive, now is the time to come together. Are we willing to do this? Are we willing to quit judging other people? The Elders say, He will be talking through people of all races and gender. We need to open our hearts and welcome our brothers and sisters.

Great Spirit, let my ears be open as I walk the path You have chosen for me.

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Journey To The Heart
October 19
Honor This Time of Change

I left Point Reyes, a seashore town close to San Francisco, heading for Sequoia National Park. I wanted to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, but I wasn’t certain I could find it. City traffic was jarring after being in the woods, the mountains, and by the sea. Before long, however, I found myself at the foot of the Golden Gate. As I drove the span of the bridge, I felt the same electric charge surge through me as I had felt in Chimayo, in Ojo Caliente, and on the Flathead Reservation. It was the first time I realized that bridges are holy, sacred ground.

Times of change are holy. We may not know where we’re going. It may not feel like our feet are on solid ground. They aren’t. We’re crossing a bridge to another part of our lives.

Sometimes we may find ourselves at this bridge unwittingly, not certain how we got there, not certain we want to cross. Other times, we may have sought, prayed for, hoped for, longed for this time of change.

Drive across the bridge. You don’t have to understand it all right now. Information and understanding will come later. You’ll get to the other side. For now, trust and experience what you’re going through. Know that this time of change is sacred,too.

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Today’s Gift
October 19

All power is a trust. We are accountable for its exercise. From people and for people all power springs, and all must exist.
—Benjamin Disraeli

The sun is power. It warms, and it burns, it feeds the plants without which we could not live. Yet, for all its power, the sun cannot make so much as a rainbow by itself. For that, it needs the rain, at just the right time and angle.

No matter how strong we are – or smart or talented or attractive – we realize our full power only by filtering it through others. Our most meaningful achievements are born of combined efforts. Even when we do something that feels like ours alone – paint a painting, win an award, and hit a home run – there is always a constellation of friends and family and teachers, even enemies, who’ve been a part of our success.

Like the rain’s part in the rainbow, the contributions of others do not detract from our achievements, but enhance them and bring them to their fullest light.

How are others enhancing my growth today?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 19
Our Good Points

What’s a codependent? The answer’s easy. They’re some of the most loving, caring people I know.
–Beyond Codependency

We don’t need to limit an inventory of ourselves to the negatives. Focusing only on what’s wrong is a core issue in our codependency.

Honestly, fearlessly, ask: “What’s right with me? What are my good points?”

“Am I a loving, caring, nurturing person?” We may have neglected to love ourselves in the process of caring for others, but nurturing is an asset.

“Is there something I do particularly well?” “Do I have a strong faith?” “Am I good at being there for others?” “Am I good as part of a team, or as a leader?” “Do I have a way with words or with emotions?”

“Do I have a sense of humor?” “Do I brighten people up?” “Am I good at comforting others?” “Do I have an ability to make something good out of barely nothing at all?” “Do I see the best in people?”

These are character assets. We may have gone to an extreme with these, but that’s okay. We are now on our way to finding balance.

Recovery is not about eliminating our personality. Recovery aims at changing, accepting, working around, or transforming our negatives, and building on our positives. We all have assets; we only need to focus on them, empower them, and draw them out in ourselves.

Codependents are some of the most loving, caring people around. Now, we’re learning to give some of that concern and nurturing to ourselves.

Today, I will focus on what’s right about me. I will give myself some of the caring I’ve extended to the world.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 19
See for yourself

I have a friend who likes to hike and backpack. He always takes beautiful pictures of the places he visits. After one trip he was telling me about a camp high in the California Sierras while showing me a photo of a stunning sunset. He told me about the night that he returned to camp after walking to the top of the mountain.

“When I got down, I found that everyone else had packed up and left camp. I was alone at twelve thousand feet. The silence was so thick I could almost touch it. You should have seen the sunset that night. It was even better than this picture.”

“Why didn’t you take a picture if the sunset was even more beautiful?” I asked.

“I figured that no one else cared to see the world from that viewpoint that night but me, so I just kept the sunset all to myself,” he explained. “If you weren’t there, you just missed out.”

This summer I watched the sun set over a lake in a corner of New Mexico, then I spent the night under the stars in a sleeping bag. The stars were so clear, so close, so brilliant I felt like I could touch them. And no, I didn’t take a picture. If you weren’t there, you just missed out.

You can read a meditation book, make a list, and even talk to people who live their lives fully, but unless you make the trip yourself, you won’t see all this life has to offer.

Is there a picture that you’ve been too busy to see lately? Break out of the ordinary. See something new or see the ordinary in a new way. Don’t just glance. Really look. Then bring back the picture in your heart. Unless you’re there, you’re just missing out. Some things you just need to see for yourself.

God, help me live my life to the fullest. Help me see and treasure all the beauty in the world.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 19

If only I could throw away the urge to trace my patterns in your heart I could really see you.
—David Brandon

Trying to control and change the people around us creates great problems in our relationships. When people we love are expressing themselves, we’re thinking about what we wish they would say, and it blocks us from hearing clearly. A need for safety and for a guarantee that we won’t be abandoned urges us to manipulate the people we love. We know we have innocent motives. We say we only want what is best and that we are only trying to protect ourselves or be helpful. But we hide from the effects our actions have on our relationships.

We seem to be more trapped in these self-centered behaviors with the ones we are closest to. We can change ourselves by slowly releasing our security grip on others. We can focus more on understanding what others are saying to us than on changing how they think and feel. Intimacy is clearly seeing each other and knowing the differences as well as the similarities. It requires that both people be allowed to walk on separate paths.

I will release my grip on my loved ones and turn to my Higher Power for security and serenity.

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Daily TAO
October 19
BALANCE

Summer withered grass to flaxen yellow,
Scorched leaves to brittle paper,
Dried lakes to cracked clay.
Chill autumn brought little relief —
Only frosted the devastation.
But with the early gentle rains,
The earth’s fissures softened
And desiccated plants began to dissolve.
Slowly, balance comes once again.

Many cultures describe old people as having seen many winters. Those elders have seen many cycles come and go, and their wisdom comes from long observation of life’s rising and falling.

If we have a long-range view, then we realize that equilibrium comes in the course of nature’s progression. Nature does not achieve balance by keeping to one level. Rather, elements and seasons alternate with one another in succession. Balance, as defined by Tao, is not stasis but a dynamic process of many overlapping alternations; even if some phases seem wildly excessive, they are balanced by others.

Everything has its place. Everything has its season. As events turn, balance is to know what is here, what is coming, and how to be in perfect harmony with it. Then one attains a state of sublimity that cannot be challenged.

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