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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – October 20

Just For Today
October 20
Freedom To Choose

“Enforced morality lacks the power that comes to us when we choose to live a spiritual life.”
Basic Text, p.44

In our active addiction, many of us lived our lives by default. We were unwilling or unable to make choices about how we wanted to act, what we preferred to do, or even where we would live. We allowed the drugs or other people to make our most basic decisions for us. Freedom from active addiction means, among other things, the freedom to make those choices for ourselves.

Freedom of choice is a wonderful gift, but it’s also a great responsibility. Choice allows us to find out who we are and what we believe in. However, in exercising it, we’re called on to weigh our own choices and accept the consequences. This leads some of us to seek out someone who will make our choices for us-our sponsor, our home group, our NA friends-just as our disease made our choices for us when we were using. That’s not recovery.

Seeking others’ experience is one thing; abdicating personal responsibility is something else. If we don’t use the gift of freedom we’ve been given, if we refuse to accept the responsibilities that go along with it, we’ll lose that gift and our lives will be diminished. We are responsible for our own recovery and our own choices. Difficult as it may seem; we must make those choices for ourselves and become willing to accept the consequences.

Just for today: I am grateful for the freedom to live as I choose. Today, I will accept responsibility for my recovery, make my own choices, and accept the consequences.

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Daily Reflections
October 20
SOLACE FOR CONFUSION

Obviously, the dilemma of the wanderer from faith is that of profound confusion. He thinks himself lost to the comfort of any conviction at all. He cannot attain in even a small degree the assurance of the believer, the agnostic, or the atheist. He is the bewildered one.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 28

The concept of God was one that I struggled with during my early years of sobriety. The images that came to me, conjured from my past, were heavy with fear, rejection and condemnation. Then I heard my friend Ed’s image of a Higher Power: As a boy he had been allowed a litter of puppies, provided that he assume responsibility for their care.  Each morning he would find the unavoidable “byproducts” of the puppies on the kitchen floor. Despite frustration, Ed said he couldn’t get angry because “that’s the nature of puppies.” Ed felt that God viewed our defects and shortcomings with a similar understanding and warmth. I’ve often found solace from my personal confusion in Ed’s calming concept of God.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
October 20
A.A. Thought For The Day

For the past few weeks we have been asking ourselves some searching questions. We have not been able to answer them all as we would like. But on the right answers to these questions will depend the usefulness and effectiveness of our lives and to some extent the usefulness and effectiveness of the whole A.A. movement. It all boils down to this: I owe a deep debt to A.A. and to the grace of God. Am I going to do all I can to repay this debt? Let us search our souls, make our own decisions, and act accordingly. Any real success we have in life will depend on that. Now is the time to put our conclusions into effect. What am I going to do about it?

Meditation For The Day

“Our Lord and our God, be it done unto us according to Thy will.” Simple acceptance of God’s will in whatever happens is the key to abundant living. We must continue to pray:  Not my will but Thy will be done. It may not turn out the way you want it to, but it will be the best way in the long run, because it is God’s way. If you decide to accept whatever happens as God’s will for yourself, whatever it may be, your burdens will be lighter. Try to see in all things some fulfillment of the Divine Intent.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may see the working out of God’s will in my life. I pray that I may be content with whatever He will for me.

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As Bill Sees It
October 20
Pain-Killer—-or Pain-Healer, p. 291

“I believe that when we were active alcoholics we drank mostly to kill pain of one kind or another–physical or emotional or psychic. Of course, everybody has a cracking point, and I suppose you reached yours–hence, the resort once more to the bottle.

“If I were you, I wouldn’t heap devastating blame on myself for this; on the other hand, the experience should redouble your conviction that alcohol has no permanent value as a pain-killer.”

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In every A.A. story, pain has been the price of admission into a new life. But this admission price purchased more than we expected. It led us to a measure of humility, which we soon discovered to be a healer of pain. We began to fear pain less, and desire humility more than ever.

1. LETTER, 1959
2. TWELVE AND TWELVE, p. 75

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Walk In Dry Places
October 20
This too shall pass
Acceptance

When personal problems are brought up in group discussions, someone usually remembers the saying, “This too shall pass.” We use it in reference to unpleasant matters, but it also applies to happier experiences. It is a certainty that nothing will ever stay the same.

Our responsibility to ourselves is to see all situations constructively, whether they are seen as good or bad at the time. WHat seems a disappoint today might be seen as a blessing tomorrow. And we can’t always be sure that today’s wonderful opportunity doesn’t have a few hidden nettles in it.

The one certainty is that everything will pass. We should extract the good from everything, and let what is unpleasant fade into the past.

Whatever I’m facing today will certainly change as I do my best in the 24 hours ahead. None of us is permanently bound to any problem.

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Keep It Simple
October 20

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
—Eric Hoffer

When we’re not honest with others, we’re not being honest with ourselves. In recovery, we’re taught how to heal our hearts. We admit we’re wrong, and we do it quickly. We let our spirit have the loudest voice. This way, lies lose power over us. We find a way to be true to our spirit.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, You have a soft, quiet voice inside me. Help me, through meditation, to hear You better. Yours is the voice to follow.

Action for the Day: I’ll listen to my Higher Power. I’ll list any lies I’ve been telling myself and others lately. Then I’ll find someone I trust and tell that person what I’ve lied about.

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 20

…You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now.
–Joan Baez

How thrilling to contemplate that we can choose every attitude we have and every action we take. We have been gifted with full responsibility for our development. What will we try today? It’s our personal choice. How will we decide on a particular issue? Our options are only limited by our vision.

Every situation in life offers us a significant opportunity for making a decision that will, of necessity, influence the remaining situations we encounter. Just as we are interdependent, needing and influencing one another in all instances that bring us together, likewise our decisions are never inviolate. Each is singly important; however, its impact is multiplied by the variety of other decisions triggered.

The choice is ours for livings fully today, for taking advantage of all the opportunities that present themselves. Our personal growths, our emotional and spiritual development, are in our hands. God will provide us with the guidance, and the program offers us the tools. The decision to act is ours, alone.

I will exercise my personal power. My choices determine my development.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
October 20
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.

Many drunks later, I tried everything else I could find: more therapy, different psychiatrists (it was always to be the next one would solve my problem), biofeedback, relaxation exercises, Antabuse, lots of self-help books from Freud to Jung, to every current fad that was published or taught. All to no avail, of course, because I’d always end up drunk.

pp. 391-392

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 20

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

A member gives us a vivid glimpse of those days. “At one time,” he says, “every A.A. group had many membership rules. Everybody was scared witless that something or somebody would capsize the boat and dump us all back into the drink. Our Foundation office* asked each group to send in its list of `protective’ regulations. The total list was a mile long. If all those rules had been in effect everywhere, nobody could have possibly joined A.A. at all, so great was the sum of our anxiety and fear.

pp. 139-140

*In 1954, the name of the Alcoholic Foundation, Inc., was changed to the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc., and the Foundation office is now the General Service Office.

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Xtra Thoughts
October 20

Faith that the thing can be done is essential to any great achievement.
–Thomas N. Carter

Knowing Gods gift of inner strength and courage, I move forward with the things that once terrified me.
–Shelly

You could have everything in life and still have nothing or you could seek the Truth.
–unknown

The surface holds only illusions. Search deeper for the truth.
–unknown

Communication is the key to unlocking many doors in life.
–unknown

Change is hard, explaining why it is easier to stay in a negative frame of mind rather than a positive one.
–unknown

God is there when we need him the most. When we are afflicted, when trials are facing us, he is there for us. But what we need to understand is that God is there for us even when there are no trials, or when we are not afflicted. In knowing this truth, we can appeal to God at any time. We need not look to God only in testing times, but in fertile times. We should look to cultivate a relationship with Him in good times, and not just bad.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 20
OBSERVANCE

“The older I grow, the more I listen to people who don’t say much.”
— German G. Gladden

I’ve noticed that an important part of my recovery is people watching. I have fun watching people — at a party, on a train or in a park. I find the daily “theater” of life fascinating and stimulating. I also learn so much about me by observing others. I can identify with their mannerisms, actions and facial antics and intuitively sense what they are feeling. I see their fear, hesitancy and shame and connect it with mine. People are a mirror to my life.

Part of my recovery is developing that instinctive spirituality that grows through observation. The human being is forever communicating, sending energy and messages not only with words but by his existence — and especially by his silence. Sometimes a person’s silence can be deafening! God is most alive to me in the lives and behavior of His people, and part of my worship and prayer is observing the splendor and richness of my fellow human beings.

You, who have created the universe in such magnificent silence, touch me with Your stillness.

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Bible Scriptures
October 20

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Luke 12:32

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Matthew 24:36

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
1 Peter 3:15

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:9-15

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Daily Inspiration
October 20

When we are in a bad mood we are often reactive and irrational. A few moments of gratitude for all that we have will quickly change our feelings. Lord, help me gratefully remember that there is always more good in my life than bad.

Through the power of God within me, I am stronger than any of my circumstances. Lord, I seek, I knock and I ask and You are always there and ready to give me the miracles that I need.

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A Day At A Time
October 20

Reflection For The Day

Before I admitted my powerlessness over alcohol and other chemicals, I had as much self-worth as a “peeled zero.”  I came into The Program as a nobody who desperately wanted to be a somebody.  In  retrospect, my self-esteem was shredded, seemingly beyond repair.  Gradually, The Program has enabled me to achieve an even-stronger sense of self-worth.  I’ve come to accept myself, realizing that I’m not so bad as I had always supposed myself to be.  Am I learning that my self-worth is not dependent on the approval of others, but instead is truly an “inside job”?

Today I Pray

When I am feeling down and worthless, may my Higher Power and my friends in the group help me see that, although I was “fallen,” I was not “cast down.”  However sick I might have been in my worst days, with all the self-esteem of an earth worm, may I know that I still had the power of choice.  And I chose to do something about myself.  May that good choice be the basis for my reactivated self-worth.

Today I Will Remember

I will not kick myself when I’m down.

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One More Day
October 20

By a tranquil mind I mean nothing else than a mind well ordered.
—  Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

When we are diagnosed as having a permanent medical condition, we may think we’ll never know tranquility again.  Before too long, though, we realize that whether we are entirely healthy or not, we bring to our new challenge the same value system we always had.  We can still find peace and serenity in our lives, for we continue to live our lives as well as we are able.

We owe it to ourselves to search out tranquility — a state in which we feel extremely peaceful, at eas3e with our inner strength, with nature, and with our sense of higher purpose.  Walking hand in hand with tranquility creates harmony, a time when our thoughts are orderly and we feel little distress.

I will work on keeping a peaceful mind in order to smooth out my rougher days.

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One Day At A Time
October 20
Limitations

“You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”
–Abraham Lincoln

I love the idea of helping people. Seeing the other person shine after my input gives me a great feeling. The flip side of this peak experience is the sadness and bleakness I feel when the person I am helping does not succeed. When it is all about me, I have to accept responsibility for everything: the good and the bad.

Thank You, God, that it is not really me who is the source of all help, it is You. I can point the way and make suggestions, but I cannot make someone change for the better. What causes people to change is something for which no person can take credit. It is simply divine!

The real question is whether or not the person I want to help will turn to his or her Higher Power and use the help that is offered. I cannot actually take these steps for others. I can pretend to do that, and perhaps offer some temporary relief, but lasting recovery will come only to those who make a quality decision to take the necessary steps on their own.

One day at a time…
I will realize the limitations of my help. I will not try to do for others what only they can and should do for themselves.

~ Q

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day October 20

“As Elders, it is our place to show respect to our young people in order to gain respect.”
–Grace Azak, NISGA’A

The attitude of our leaders will be the attitude of the people.
The attitude of the parents will be the attitude of the children.

If respect is shown from above, respect will be developed below.
If the Elders show respect, the younger people will be respectful.
As above, so below.

This happens because of interconnectedness. The heart of the Elders is connected to the heart of the youth.

Great Spirit, in the fall season let me respect both the Elders and the youth.

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Journey To The Heart
October 20
Fall into the Arms of Universal Love

Often in our lives we stand on a precipice. Something happens, a situation occurs, and in one moment our life changes dramatically in a way we hoped and prayed it wouldn’t. We topple off. In that moment, we may feel as if we’ve been pushed off a cliff.

Other times when we stand poised and our life changes radically in one moment, it’s a welcome change. We feel delightfully spontaneous, guided, powerful, centered. Ready to take risks. Ready to leap into the adventure.

Sometimes we’re pushed, sometimes we decide to make the leap on our own. Either way, we’re safe, we’re protected. Either way we can trust that we’ll land in the arms of universal love.

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Today’s Gift
October 20

The bough, which has been downward thrust by force of strength to bend its top to earth, so soon as the pressing hand is gone, looks up again straight to the sky above.
—Boethius

When we are down, low, depressed, why can’t we ignore the desire to rise up again? Because we’re like plants that need pure air, water, and sun. Because no matter how bent and old, we just keep wanting to grow up. Because there is a natural spring in us like that which makes flowers leap from the earth in May. Because we have hidden wings. And if we listen, we can feel the difference between wrong and right: we know the difference even with our eyes closed. Therefore we should not try putting ourselves down, for we will spring up again, sure as spring.

What is the main way I try to put myself down?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 20
Detaching with Love

Sometimes people we love do things we don’t like or approve of. We react. They react. Before long, we’re all reacting to each other, and the problem escalates.

When do we detach? When we’re hooked into a reaction of anger, fear, guilt, or shame. When we get hooked into a power play – an attempt to control or force others to do something they don’t want to do. When the way we’re reacting isn’t helping the other person or solving the problem. When the way we’re reacting is hurting us.

Often, it’s time to detach when detachment appears to be the least likely, or possible, thing to do.

The first step toward detachment is understanding that reacting and controlling don’t help. The next step is getting peaceful – getting centered and restoring our balance.

Take a walk. Leave the room. Go to a meeting. Take a long, hot bath. Call a friend. Call on God. Breathe deeply. Find peace. From that place of peace and centering will emerge an answer, a solution.

Today, I will surrender and trust that the answer is near.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 20
Be present now

Take time, but not too much, to see where you want to go. Learn the lessons from your past. Then let go of yesterday. Let tomorrow take care of itself. Even our best prediction about what may come in the future is only an educated guess, no matter how diligently we try to see ahead. If all you look at is where you’re going, you’ll miss all the wonder and beauty along the way. And once you get there– your future– you may not even remember where you’ve been. Rushing may be such a habit that you won’t enjoy your future once it arrives.

Be where you are right now. See what’s in front of you, not what you wish were there. Take time to see, enjoy, and appreciate what’s present. Take action if you need to. Or just enjoy the view. You’ve worked hard to get there. Enjoy it.

The past is important. It’s where we’ve been. The future is important,too. But there’s no time– and no time as real– as the present.

Learn to be here,now.

God, heighten my awareness and appreciation of each moment in my life.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 20

Life is not a spectacle or a feast; it is a predicament.
—George Santayana

We could probably feel more tranquil if the world were a simpler place and always gave us simple answers. But we are faced with many ambiguous and uncertain situations. The changing roles of men and women can often leave us bewildered. We are engaged in the development of relationships that have lives of their own, and it’s not always clear where they are headed. Even within ourselves we have contradictory feelings, and it’s difficult to come up with clear answers.

Since we cannot force simplicity upon the world, we must turn to ourselves for a new response. We can become more tolerant of our unsettled predicaments. We can learn to have faith that good comes from change. Things have a way of settling out and clarifying with time. As we develop patience with the questions and the unclear issues in our lives, we gain a deeper serenity.

Today, I will recall the predicaments in my past life that, in time, became clearer, and I will have patience with what seems unsettled.

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Daily TAO
October 20
INTERVAL

Seven geese pierce straight line over frigid bay,
Intervals between them constantly equal,
Pointed wings slash as if joined to an axle:
Today is the ideal moment between yesterday and tomorrow.

Every morning means a fresh start on things. If yesterday was trying and exhausting, today is a given opportunity to do something different.  If yesterday was full of triumph and satisfaction, today is a free chance to go further. All too often, we wake up, think of our schedules, and assume that we must act according to the same dull script. We need not. If we find what is unique to each day, we will have freshness and the greatest fulfillment possible.

Although we have talked about our relationship to Tao in terms of positioning and timing, the clear discerning of intervals is just as important. Geese keep a perfect distance between them to establish a dynamic equilibrium; so too must we fit in with the intervals of a day’s events. If we, like the geese, act in unison with these moments, with each other, and with the season, then we will be in total concert with Tao.

Today is poised between yesterday and tomorrow. What you may have started yesterday can be continued or interrupted today. What you want for tomorrow may be planted or destroyed today. Every morning is a new day. That observation is so simple as to seem trite. If we could observe the simple, there would be no need to study Tao.

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