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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – October 23

NA Just For Today
October 23
Surrender

“By surrendering control, we gain a far greater power.”
Basic Text, p.43

When we were using, we did everything we could to run things our way. We used every scheme imaginable to bring our world under control. When we got what we wanted, we felt powerful, invincible; when we didn’t, we felt vulnerable, defeated. But that didn’t stop us – it only led to more efforts to control and manipulate our lives into a manageable state.

Scheming was our way of denying our powerlessness. As long as we could distract ourselves with our plans, we could put off accepting that we were out of control. Only gradually did we realize that our lives had become unmanageable and that all the conning and manipulating in the world was not going to put our lives back in order.

When we admit our powerlessness, we stop trying to control and manage our way to a better life – we surrender. Lacking sufficient power of our own, we seek a Power greater than ourselves; needing support and guidance, we ask that Power to care for our will and our lives. We ask others in recovery to share their experience with living the NA program instead of trying to program our own lives. The power and direction we seek is all around us; we need only turn away from self to find it.

Just for today: I will not try to scheme and manipulate my way to a manageable life. Through the NA program, I will surrender myself to my Higher Power’s care.

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Daily Reflections
October 23
WHAT WE KNOW BEST

“Shoemaker, stick to thy last!” . . . better do one thing supremely well than many badly.  That is the central theme of this Tradition [Five]. Around it our Society gathers in unity.  The very life of our Fellowship requires the preservation of this principle.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 150

The survival of A.A. depends upon unity. What would happen if a group decided to become an employment agency, a treatment center or a social service agency? Too much specialization leads to no specialization, to frittering of efforts and, finally, to decline. I have the qualifications to share my sufferings and my way of recovery with the newcomer.  Conformity to A.A.’s primary purpose insures the safety of the wonderful gift of sobriety, so my responsibility is enormous. The life of millions of alcoholics is closely tied to my competence in “carrying the message to the still-suffering alcoholic.”

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
October 23
A.A. Thought For The Day

I have learned how to be honest. What a relief! No more ducking or dodging. No more tall tales. No more pretending to be what I am not. My cards are on the table, for all the world to see. “I am what I am,” as Popeye used to say in the comics. I have had an unsavory past. I am sorry, yes. But it cannot be changed now. All that is yesterday and is done. But now my life is an open book. Come and look at it, if you want to. I’m trying to do the best I can. I will fail often, but I won’t make excuses. I will face things as they are and not run away. Am I really honest?

Meditation For The Day

Though it may seem a paradox, we must believe in spiritual forces which we cannot see more than in material things which we can see, if we are going to truly live. In the last analysis, the universe consists more of thought or mathematical formulas than it does of matter as we understand it. Between one human being and another only spiritual forces will suffice to keep them in harmony. These spiritual forces we know, because we can see their results although we cannot see them. A changed life–a new personality–results from the power of unseen spiritual forces working in us and through us.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may believe in the Unseen. I pray that I may be convinced by the results of the Unseen which I do see.

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As Bill Sees It
October 23
Love+Rationality=Growth, p. 294

“It seems to me that the primary object of any human being is to grow, as God intended, that being the nature of all growing things.

“Our search must be for what reality we can find, which includes the best definition and feeling of love that we can acquire. If the capability of loving is in the human being, then it must surely be in his Creator.

“Theology helps me in that many of its concepts cause me to believe that I live in a rational universe under a loving God, and that my own irrationality can be chipped away, little by little. This is, I suppose, the process of growth for which we are intended.”

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Walk In Dry Places
October 23
How do we hurt others?
Inventory

Even while drinking, few of us abused others physically or committed crimes. Yet we did harm others, even when we thought we were hurting only ourselves.

One way we harmed others…. and this applies to many alcoholic family relationships.. was by with-holding the love and support they needed. If we had a nasty disposition at times, this poisoned the atmosphere and made others uncomfortable and afraid.

Maybe we harmed others by not being productive at work. Our absenteeism, for example, may have put our boss in a bad light with superiors or caused the firm to lose a client.

Perhaps the worst harm was in being completely indifferent to what we were doing to others. Any willingness to admit wrong, then, can be a major step toward recovery and self-improvement.

Though, I have no intention of harming anyone today, I’ll realize that even my attitude can affect others unfavorably. I’ll try to maintain an attitude that’s uplifting to everyone.

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Keep It Simple
October 23

It’s not dying faith that’s so hard, it’s living up to it.
William Makepeace Thackeray

We may ask, “Do I have to do an Eighth or Ninth Step?” “Do I really need a sponsor?” “Hmm…can I get by without going to so many meetings?” Having faith means putting our questions aside. So…what do we do? We work the program. We accept that those who’ve gone before us were right. We accept the idea that we need others. Faith is knowing that others love and care for us. Faith is also about action. The main way we know that we have faith is by looking at our behavior. Ask yourself this: “Are my actions those of a person with faith?”

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me remove the questions that get in my way. Help me act like a person with faith.

Action for the Day: I’ll list four parts of my program that I have faith in, such as, “I believe honesty is important to my sobriety.”

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 23

…words are more powerful than perhaps anyone suspects, and once deeply engraved in a child’s mind, they are not easily eradicated.
–May Sarton

How burdened we became, as little girls, with the labels applied by parents, teachers, even school chums. We believe about ourselves what others teach us to believe. The messages aren’t always overt. But even the very subtle ones are etched in our minds, and they remind us of our “shortcomings” long into adulthood.

Try as we might to forget the criticisms, the names, they linger in our memories and influence our self-perceptions as adults. The intervening years have done little to erase whatever emotional scars we acquired as children.

Our partnership with God will help us understand that we are spiritual beings with a wonderful purpose in this life. And we are as lovely, as capable, as successful as we perceive ourselves to be. Our own thoughts and words, our own labels can become as powerful as those of our youth. It takes practice to believe in ourselves. But we can break the past’s hold on us.

My higher power will help me know the real me. I am all that I ever needed to be; I am special, and I will come to believe that.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
October 23
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 friend suggested that we contact a man she knew who was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and I agreed to call him. “Perhaps he could call you,” she said helpfully, which was the key, because by that night I was just fine, and didn’t need any outside help aside form a drink or two. But he kept phoning and bothering me about going to a meeting. When he told me he went to A.A. meetings three or four times a week, I thought, Poor man, he has nothing better to do. What a boring life it must be for him, running around to A.A. meetings with nothing to drink! Boring indeed: no bouncing off walls. no falling down stairs, no regular trips to hospital emergency rooms, no lost cars, and on and on.

p. 393

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 23

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

Why did A.A. finally drop all its membership regulations? Why did we leave it to each newcomer to decide himself whether he was an alcoholic and whether he should join us? Why did we dare say, contrary to the experience of society and government everywhere, that we would neither punish nor deprive any A.A. of membership, believe anything, or conform to anything?

The answer, now seen in Tradition Three, was simplicity itself. At last experience taught us that to take away any alcoholic’s full chance was sometimes to pronounce his death sentence, and often to condemn him to endless misery. Who dared to be judge, jury, and executioner of his own sick brother?

p. 141

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Xtra Thoughts
October 23

Honesty is something you can’t wear out.
–Waylon Jennings

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
–Antoine de Saint- [The Little Prince]

“Sometimes we need to look hard at a person and remember that he is doing the best he can. He’s just trying to find his way. That’s all.”
–Ernest Thompson

“God’s gift to us is our life. What we do with it, is our gift to God.”

An error is a positive way to learn provided you make the attempt to correct the mistake.
–unknown

“It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.”
–Helen Keller

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 23
VALUE

“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and value of nothing.”
— Oscar Wilde

I never knew the value of my life until I looked beyond it. For years I was so self-obsessed that I missed the joy and beauty of this wonderful world. I was so concerned with details and minutia of life that I missed the fun of living.

I now see that my behavior had its roots in my childhood. I was the child in a dysfunctional family. I became a parent to my parents. I took charge of everybody’s life and I felt responsible and guilty. Everything was work and I did not learn how to play.

Today I am working on my recovery. I am “dumping” my feelings of guilt, shame and anger. I am beginning to understand that I am not responsible for my parents and I am beginning to feel free. Today I am learning how to play.

Lord of the dance, teach me the steps.

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Bible Scriptures
October 23

“Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God.”
Joshua 23:11

“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”
Matthew 16:26

“Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”
Psalm 91:3-4

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Daily Inspiration
October 23

Start an “I am grateful for…” list and read it when you are feeling low. Lord, help me see things in a new light and understand that with a little effort I can turn my complaints into something positive.

We are the only ones who can change how we think or how we act. Lord, help me make positive decisions so that life doesn’t just happen to me.

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A Day At A Time
October 23

Reflection For The Day

“One’s own self is well hidden from one’s own self,” a renowned philosopher once wrote.  “of all mines of treasure, one’s own is the last to be dug up.”  The Twelve Steps have enabled me to unearth my “own self,” the one that for so long was buried beneath my desperate need for approval from others.  Thanks to The Program and my Higher Power, I’ve begun acquiring a true sense of self and a comfortable sense of confidence.  No longer do I have to react chameleon like, changing my coloration from one moment to the next, fruitlessly trying to bee all things to all people.  Do I strive, at all time, to be true to myself?

Today I Pray

I pray that I may be honest with myself, and that I will continue — with the help of God and my friends — to try to get to know the real me.  May I know that I cannot suddenly be a pulled-together, totally defined, completely consistent personality;  it may take a while to develop into that personality, to work out my values and my priorities.  May I know now that I have a good start on being who I want to be.

Today I Will Remember

I’m getting to be who I want to be.

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One More Day
October 23

The more passionately we love life, the more intensely we experience the joy of life.
—   Jurgen Moltman

While we would occasionally like to hide from the real-life drama around us, we know it’s not a healthy way to live.  Instead we live the drama, love it, cry with it, and at times even hate it.

Choosing to live life on its terms brings enthusiasm and passion into our experiences.  Our decisions to love life – despite the highs and lows — allows us to delight in the highs and to accept the lows as unavoidable, but momentary, setbacks.  Although hiding from reality can sometimes insulate us from pain, it also blinds us to the joys of wonderment and living fully.

I choose to be enthusiastic about my life.

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One Day At A Time
October 23
Pain

“People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous … Pain is meant to wake us up … You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.”
–Jim Morrison

I am what some might call a “pain expert.” Inside, outside, stuffed, unavoidable ~ there are so many kinds of pain. I used to think that if I were really strong, I would never let pain effect me, regardless of its source. And there were plenty of sources. I walked around with this smile on my face and this wall built around me, trying to ward off the pain.

Then one day I cracked. I lost someone very close to me. When I actually accepted that, I just broke down. There was so much pain I had been avoiding for years. At that moment I was confronted by all of it!

That was when I started to realize that I couldn’t go through life avoiding pain. It was still there and it would come back. And it would be worse. Joining this program and reading the Big Book helped me to recognize my pain and feel it. I’m now able to not fear it, but to see it for what it is: a piece of me. I grow from what I feel, including pain. Without it I wouldn’t be me.

One day at a time…
I will feel my pain and I will do what is necessary to accept it. Together we are bound by pain. Together we can see our strength.

~ Miranda G.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 23

“We do not walk alone.
Great Being walks beside us.
Know this and be grateful.”
–Polingaysi Q“yawayma, HOPI

Many religions have different names for these Beings.
Some are called angels, some are called spirits.
These Spirit Beings are helpers.
They guide us, protect us and will help us during our times of need. Sometimes they give us dreams.
We need not be afraid when these Spirit Helpers come.
We need to understand they are the Creator’s helpers.

Great Spirit, send me the helpers to guide my path as I seek to walk in Your service.

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Journey To The Heart
October 23
Cherish Joy

Choose joy. Then cherish and savor it.

Joy is not a fleeting emotion based on outward sircumstances, a transitory feeling of the moment, a reaction to the scenery around you. It comes from within your heart like a waterfall that rushes out the side of a mountain. Joy is a runoff from the wellspring within you. And sometimes it is a delightful, surprising contrast to the scenery around you.

Embrace joy. Relish it. Even if those around you don’t have it right now, you can feel your joy. You don’t have to be disrespectful of their feelings, nor do you have to let their lack of joy diminish yours.

You have done your work. You have chosen to open your heart. Now you have your reward

Cherish joy. It’s your treasure. You’ve found it. You’ve earned it. It’s yours.

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Today’s Gift
October 23

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
—D. H. Lawrence

Sometimes when we feel sorry for ourselves we will sit alone in our bedroom. We may even feel so down in the dumps that we decide to stay there, indulging in self-pity, thinking about how the world is against us.

However, if we use our imagination to step outside our own point of view for a moment, we might think differently. If we were deer in the forest, we would be thinking about keeping safe from the wolves, and where our next meal would be coming from.

The animals have no time to feel sorry for themselves, they are too busy doing what has to be done to survive, and each thing that happens presents a new survival problem to be solved.

When we feel blue, it helps to keep this in mind. If we have the time to feel down, and can get physically comfortable while doing it, how bad can the problem really be?

In what ways is my life comfortable, easy, and full of love?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 23
Morning Cues

There is an important message for us first thing every day.

Often, once we get started with the day, we may not listen as closely to life and ourselves as we do in those still moments when we first awaken.

An ideal time to listen to ourselves is when we are laying quietly, our defenses are down, and we’re open and most vulnerable.

What is the first feeling that floods through us, the feeling that perhaps we are trying to avoid during the business of the day? Are we angry, frustrated, hurt, or confused? That is what we need to focus on and work through. That’s the issue we need to address.

When you awaken, what is the first idea or thought that enters your mind? Do you need to finish a timely project? Are you in need of a fun day? A restful day?

Do you feel sick and need to nurture yourself? Are you in a negative frame of mind? Do you have an issue to resolve with someone?

Do you need to tell someone something? Is something bothering you? Is something feeling particularly good?

Does an idea occur to you, something you could get or do that would feel good?

When you awaken, what is the first issue that presents itself? You don’t have to be fearful. You don’t have to rush. You can lay still and listen and then accept the message.

We can define some of our recovery goals for the day by listening to the morning message.

God, help me let go of my need to be in resistance to the harmonic flow of life. Help me learn to go with the flow and accept the help and support that You have to offer me.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 23
Find and respect your own stride

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.
–Basho

One of the dangers of following a hero is the temptation to emulate them too much instead of walking our own path. John quit his job and started his own company when he was twenty-four years old. Five years later he sold out for millions of dollars. We want to be like John so we try the same thing and go broke. What happened? Is the universe against us? No. We just got confused about the difference between learning from a hero and trying to walk his path. John’s path may have led him to start a company; your path may also lead you on that course, just not at the same time in your life.

We can still learn much from our heroes and the people we admire. Just be aware that their path and time frame may be different from ours.

When the time comes for you to start a business, learn a new skill, enter into a relationship, or whatever you’re hoping to do, the experience will be ready for you when you’re ready for it. Your timing may be different from everyone else’s.

I know people who got married after knowing each other only two weeks and then stayed mostly happily married for more than thirty years. I know people who date each other for years and still can’t decide if they’re ready to commit. My friend made the transition from living in the Midwest to living in Californis in months. That transition took several years.

We each have our own stride and path. And while many of our lessons are similar, each of us is unique. If we spend our time trying to emulate a person rather than an idea, we’ll at best be an inferior version of our teacher and at worst will never discover our own path. Their stride will be too long or too short for us, and we won’t learn the true lesson, which is to trust our inner guide.

Gautama Buddha found enlightenment while sitting under a banyan tree; Milarepa found it while living as a hermit in a Himalayan cave. Gainng enlightenment isn’t an exercise in following a person; it’s an exercise in following your heart.

God, help me let go of any expectations of perfection I may have of myself or others. Help me be aware of the messages you send me, then help me discern my own truth.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 23

Self-knowledge and self-improvement are very difficult for most people. It usually needs great courage and long struggle.
—Abraham Maslow

This is a simple program but it isn’t easy. We cannot take the principles we learn and thereby possess them as if we were taking a class or reading a book. We need to live them. We can only get this program by participating with others who are also on the journey. Gradually we absorb it into every fiber of our being. This takes time and dedication.

The honesty required is sometimes frightening and painful. Any man who remains faithful to this program has great courage and deserves deep respect. But we do not have to wait long to begin receiving the rewards. New freedoms, good feelings, and friendships quickly develop, and we are promised in this program to continue growing and to receive more benefits throughout our lives. What rewards have come from our courage and struggle?

I will give much to my spiritual growth because it gives much to me.

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Daily TAO
October 23
GROWTH

A moving door hinge never corrodes.
Flowing water never grows stagnant.

Even in the autumn of your life, you cannot give up growth. If you do, you only invite decline.

All the different aspects of a person — body, mind, and spirit — have one curious quality : If they cease to be exercised, they stop growing. Once they stop growing, they begin to atrophy. That is why, no matter how much you have accomplished and no matter how old you are, you must keep exercising all parts of yourself.

We only grow when we are challenged. Muscles do not strengthen without resistance. Mental faculties do not sharpen without critical thinking. The spirit does not soar without something to excite it. It may seem like a great effort to constantly try new things, but unless you do, you fall out of your heights very quickly. The constancy of physical exercise, varied from time to time into new routines, and the constancy of mental and spiritual challenges are essential to stave off the infirmities of aging.

We cannot reverse aging completely, but we can slow it down. As long as we are vital, we will not suffer as much. Although aging is natural, sometimes following Tao means more than following the route of least resistance. Why slide into old age, illness, and senility? The way of challenging oneself is also a valid but difficult path. Sometimes Tao chooses the difficult over the easy.

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