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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – October 29

NA Just For Today
October 29
Living In The Now

“Living just for today relieves the burden of the past and the fear of the future.”
Basic Text, pp. 90-91

Thoughts of how bad it was – or could be – can consume our hopes for recovery. Fantasies of how wonderful it was – or could be – can divert us from taking action in the real world. That’s why, in Narcotics Anonymous, we talk about living and recovering “just for today.”

In NA, we know that we can change. We’ve come to believe that our Higher Power can restore the soundness of our minds and hearts. The wreckage of our past can be dealt with through the steps. By maintaining our recovery, just for today, we can avoid creating problems in the future.

Life in recovery is no fantasy. Daydreams of how great using was or how we can use successfully in the future, delusions of how great things could be, overblown expectations that set us up for disappointment and relapse – all are stripped of their power by the program. We seek God’s will, not our own. WE seek to serve others, not ourselves. Our self-centeredness and the importance of how great things could or should be for us disappears. In the light of recovery, we perceive the difference between fantasy and reality.

Just for today: I am grateful for the principles of recovery and the new reality they’ve given me.

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Daily Reflections
October 29
OUR SURVIVAL

Since recovery from alcoholism is life itself to us, it is imperative that we preserve in full strength our means of survival.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 177

The honesty expressed by the members of A.A. in meetings has the power to open my mind. Nothing can block the flow of energy that honesty carries with it. The only obstacle to this flow of energy is inebriation, but even then, no one will find a closed door if he or she has left and chooses to return. Once he or she has received the gift of sobriety, each A.A. member is challenged on a daily basis to accept a program of honesty. My Higher Power created me for a purpose in life. I ask him to accept my honest efforts to continue on my journey in the spiritual way of life. I call on Him for strength to know and seek His will.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
October 29
A.A. Thought For The Day

My relationships with my children have greatly improved. Those children who saw me drunk and were ashamed, those children who turned away in fear and even loathing have seen me sober and like me, have turned to me in confidence and trust and have forgotten the past as best they could. They have given me a chance for companionship that I had completely missed. I am their father or their mother now. Not just “that person the Mom or Dad married and God knows why.” I am a part of my home now. Have I found something that I had lost?

Meditation For The Day

Our true measure of success in life is the measure of spiritual progress that we have revealed in our lives. Others should be able to see a demonstration of God’s will in our lives. The measure of His will that those around us have seen worked out in our daily living is the measure of our true success. We can do our best to be a demonstration each day of the power of God in human lives, and example of the working out of the grace of God in the hearts of men and women.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may so live that others will see in me something of the working out of the will of God. I pray that my life may be a demonstration of what the grace of God can do.

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As Bill Sees It
October 29
People Of Faith, p. 300

We who have traveled a path through agnosticism or atheism beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. We have learned that, whatever the human frailties of various faiths may be, those faiths have given purpose and direction to millions. People of faith have a rational idea of what life is all about.

Actually, we used to have no reasonable conception whatever. We used to amuse ourselves by cynically dissecting spiritual beliefs and practices, when we might have seen that many spiritually-minded persons of all races, colors, and creeds were demonstrating a degree of stability, happiness, and usefulness that we should have sought for ourselves.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 49

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Walk In Dry Places
October 29
Diminishing returns are still beneficial
Getting better.

There’s a “Cloud nine” effect that some of us had when we first found sobriety. Some call it the honeymoon stage. It includes a feeling of great joy and relief over having found, at last, an answer to drinking.

This gradually fades away, as it should under normal conditions. We then feel as though we’re in stages of diminishing returns, where the benefits The experience we have in getting sober is like that of people who recovery from a terrible physical illness. At first, they feel remarkably better for the first time. But then their recovery becomes taken for granted, and “feeling better” isn’t as remarkable as it was when they first recovered.

We should not expect it to be. Instead, we can focus on the contentment and well-being that living sober and steady improvement give us.

I may not have anything today like the excitement that accompanied early recovery. I’ll be satisfied with the normal blessings of good living.

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Keep It Simple
October 29

Each morning puts a man on trail and each evening passes judgment.
–Ray L. Smith

In many ways, the Tenth Step is very natural. We continue to take a personal inventory.  And when we’re wrong, we promptly admit it.

At the end of each day we ask ourselves, “How did my day go?” As we think about our day, we bring order to our life. The Tenth Step teaches us about order. It also teaches us how to correct mistakes. We do this by admitting our wrongs. This way, we have no backlog of guilt. It’s good to start each day fresh, free from quilt. Admitting our wrongs is a loving thing to do. It’s another way the program teaches us to love ourselves.

Prayer for the Day: Today, I’ll face many choices. Higher Power, be with me as I choose. When the day is done, remind me to think about how I lived today. This will help me learn.

Action for the Day: Tonight, I’ll list three choices I made today. Would I make the same choices again?

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 29

Let your tears come. Let them water your soul.
–Eileen Mayhew

Letting down our guard, releasing the tension that keeps us taut, often invites our tears, tears that soften us, melt our resistance, reveal our vulnerability, which reminds us that we are only human. So often we need reminding that we are only human.

Perfectionism may be our bane, as it is for so many of us in this program. We’ve learned to push, push harder, and even harder yet, not only ourselves but also those around us. We must be better, we think, and we tighten our hold on life. The program can teach us to loosen our grip, if we’ll let it. The magic is that when we loosen our grip on this day, this activity, this person, we get carried gently along and find that which we struggled to control happening smoothly and naturally. Life is a series of ironies.

We should not hide from our tears. We can trust their need to be present. Perhaps they need to be present for someone else, as well as ourselves. Tears encourage compassion; maybe our assignment in life, today, is to help someone else experience compassion.

My tears will heal. And the wounded are everywhere.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
October 29
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.

I joined a downtown group that met near my office right after work at 5:15. (I would not have made it to 8:00 p.m.) Soon, I got into service. I was given bank books, notes of business meetings, and various other instructions and told to do whatever was necessary to keep the meeting going. I did that job for quite some time. I also instituted regular business meetings and found an eager newcomer to whom I eventually turned over the bank book and papers.

p. 395

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 29

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

At length the time came for him to speak in a meeting. We shivered, for we knew what was coming. He paid a fine tribute to the Fellowship; he told how his family had been reunited; he extolled the virtue of honesty; he recalled the joys of Twelfth Step work; and then he lowered the boom. Cried Ed, “I can’t stand this God stuff! It’s a lot of malarkey for weak folks. This group doesn’t need it, and I won’t have it! To he!! with it!”
A great wave of outraged resentment engulfed the meeting, sweeping every member to a single resolve: “Out he goes!”

p. 143

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Xtra Thoughts
October 29

“Living just for today relieves the burden of the past and the fear of the future.”
–unknown

You can be your best friend or your worst enemy. This is all determined by how you treat yourself. Do you harshly judge yourself, or do you find yourself without any conviction?
–unknown

Perhaps the reason a person gets upset over a situation is simply because they have preordained things in their own mind.
–unknown

“Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves.”
–Pierre T. De Chardin

“Your past is always going to be the way it was. Stop trying to change it.”
–Anonymous

“When thinking won’t cure fear, action will.”
–W. Clement Stone

A B C = Acceptance, Belief, Change.
–Unknown

AA is not something you join, it’s a way of life.
–Unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 29
RACISM

“I want to be the white man’s brother not his brother-in-law.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Addiction is always about separation, ego, isolation and prejudice. The disease makes us feel different, “less than” and we cover those feelings with false humility or we assume an arrogant and bombastic manner. Pride and feelings of inferiority put us on the defensive. It is not unusual for us to seek a scapegoat for our anger.  Drinking alcoholics can be vindictive and prejudicial in their attitude towards minorities: Blacks, gays and Jews. It is a strange quirk of circumstance when a minority seeks to victimize another minority — because alcoholics are a minority group!

Sobriety is about a change in attitude and behavior. The spiritual acceptance of self must lead inevitably to the acceptance of others. The false pride and arrogance of our drinking days must give way to the vulnerable strength of sobriety. Now we are able to embrace our brother, regardless of color, class or creed.

Lord, teach me to seek You in my fellow man and greet You in the stranger.

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Bible Scriptures
October 29

“As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”
2 Samuel 22:31

“But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Acts 5:29

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Daily Inspiration
October 29

Make more room for love in your life. Lord, may I love myself and what I do, may I love others, and how they better my life, and above all, may I love You more each day.

Peace comes not from having no problems, but from being able to deal with them. Lord, bless me with the confidence and wisdom to grow from life’s challenges.

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A Day At A Time
October 29

Reflection For The Day

Virtually all of us suffered the defect of pride when we sought help through The Program, the Twelve Steps, and the fellowship of those who truly understood what we felt and where we had been.  We learned about our shortcomings — and of pride in particular — and began to replace self-satisfaction with gratitude for the miracle of our recovery, gratitude for the privilege of working with others, and gratitude for God’s gift — which enabled us to turn catastrophe into good fortune.  Have I begun to realize that “pride is to character like the attic to the house — the highest part, and generally the most empty…”?

Today I Pray

God, please tell me if I am hanging my shins on my own pride.  Luckily for me, The Program has its own built-in check for flaws like this — the clear-eyed vision of the group, which sees in me what I sometimes cannot see myself.  May I know that any kind of success has always gone straight to my head, and be watching for it as I begin to reconstruct my confidence.

Today I Will Remember

“Success” can be a setback.

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One More Day
October 29

You may talk on all subjects save one, namely, your maladies.
—  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Casual conversations have an unspoken rule:  never, never tell about our pain, our misery, our difficulties.  Ironically, the stars of social gatherings are often the ones who have just suffered an accident or injury.  We show interest and concern for new and obvious problems;  we often ignore ongoing ones.  A leg cast has glamor;  a wheelchair has none.

We can understand this.  Human nature finds adventure in broken bones or neck braces.  It also finds reassurance because these injuries are temporary and the victim will be as good as new in a matter of weeks.  Many people can’t identify with the permanence of chronic illness, but we can educate them about our social concerns without provoking pity.

My life becomes more balanced when I enjoy social activities as social — not medical — events.

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One Day At A Time
October 29
Trial and Error

“Anything worth doing at all is worth doing poorly.”
–Joachim de Posada

Imagine my shock the first time I heard this statement, which happened to be in a Twelve Step (OA) meeting. I had been reared in an environment in which anything worth doing at all was worth doing well. In fact, in my world this concept was practiced as if it had religious authority. It was perfectionism given flesh and bones.

Perhaps the idea that “anything worth doing at all is worth doing well” worked for some folks. For me, it was paralyzing. There were many things that I needed to do that I simply could not do well. These included things like trimming the hedge, praying, and making good investment choices. So how did my sick, obsessive-compulsive self respond? Predictably, of course: I just didn’t do those things I felt I couldn’t do well. I was rarely willing to take the chance of acting and being wrong, so I did not act at all. Soon I was living a very restricted life — a life hemmed in by the fear of messing up. I needed to be perfect or just not be at all.

Then I found the program. There I learned that I am human and that making mistakes is part of being human. I even learned that making mistakes is a good thing, because in doing so I have acted. This is a program of action. I learn by acting and by making mistakes. How liberating! How freeing. I can’t tell you how much my constricted, warped life began to open up. I acted and did things poorly, and people responded warmly and in a helpful manner. I took their advice and I joined the human race. I now consider this simple concept — act, even if it means doing a thing poorly — as one of the greatest gifts of the program. My life is really my life now. Perfectionism occasionally rears its ugly head, but when it does, I simply remember where I came from and then I go ahead and make a mistake and set myself free again.

One day at a time…
Today I will do what I need to do, and I will do it as well as I can. When I make a mistake I will not conclude that I am a mistake. I will accept that I am human and I will ask for help. Perfection has never been a goal of this program and it is not a goal for my life.

~ Pete M.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 29

“Mothers must protect the lives they have helped to bring into the world.”
–Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders

Every child is subject to the seeds each adult plants in his/her mind.
If we plant praise and “you can do it”, the child will grow up with certain predictable behavior patterns.
If we plant ideas that there’s something wrong with you or you’re good for nothing, the child will grow up with predictable behavior patterns.
We need to honor and respect the mothers who protect the children and plant positive seeds for their growth.

Great Spirit, bless each mother and give her courage and faith.

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Journey To The Heart
October 29
The Best Is Yet to Come

Set yourself free from limitations, limitations you have placed on yourself. Sometimes in life we may begin thinking the best part is over. I’ve done my best work, had my best times. We don’t have to limit ourselves, life or the universe.

You’ve had many great times, visited many interesting places, done excellent work, and had truly memorable experiences. You’ve experienced a lifetime of love– with friends, family members, loved ones. But the best isn’t over. Whether you’re at the end of a particular relationship, task, or part of your journey, the best is not over. It is still to come.

Memories of excellent times are to be cherished. Clinging to them in a way that limits our lives is a different issue. Often, it keeps us from cherishing the present moment and creatively participating in our future.

All endings are inexorably tied to new beginnings. That’s the nature of the journey. It continues to unfold. It builds on itself. It can’t help itself from doing that. Cherish the moments, all of them. You have seen and felt much in life so far. But still, the best is yet to come.

Open to all the journey holds. The universe is abundant. You are ready to be healed, calmed, empowered. You are ready to partake of the banquet of life, again and again. You are ready to take your place in new, creative experiences. There are many places still to see, soul mates yet to meet, lessons to be learned, joys to be experienced.

Transcend your limitations. Open your mind and heart to all that lies ahead. Call it to you often in the quietness of your heart by believing what is true.

The best is yet to come.

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Today’s Gift
October 29

There is nothing so moving – not even acts of love or hate – as the discovery that one is not alone.
—Robert Ardrey

Our fears are normal. Some of us fear going to a new school and making new friends. Taking an important test causes jitters in the bravest looking person. Maybe staying alone in the house for the first time has you looking under beds and in closets every time you hear a strange noise. Our fears are merely reminders that we’ve forgotten to let God help us out.

So often we think we’re alone, but we never are. We each have a Higher Power just waiting to be relied on. Nothing is too difficult or fearful for us to handle with the help of our Higher Power. When we develop the habit of letting God ease our way, our fears are gone.

Today, which fear can I replace with trust in my Higher Power?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 29
Acceptance

A magical potion is available to us today. That potion is called acceptance.

We are asked to accept many things: ourselves, as we are; our feelings, needs, desires, choices, and current status of being. Other people, as they are. The status of our relationships with them. Problems. Blessings. Financial status. Where we live. Our work, our tasks, our level of performance at these tasks.

Resistance will not move us forward, nor will it eliminate the undesirable. But even our resistance may need to be accepted. Even resistance yields to and is changed by acceptance.

Acceptance is the magic that makes change possible. It is not forever; it is for the present moment.

Acceptance is the magic that makes our present circumstances good. It brings peace and contentment and opens the door to growth, change, and moving forward.

It shines the light of positive energy on all that we have and are. Within the framework of acceptance, we figure out what we need to do to take care of ourselves.

Acceptance empowers the positive and tells God we have surrendered to the Plan. We have mastered today’s lesson, and are ready to move on.

Today, I will accept. I will relinquish my need to be in resistance to my environment and myself. I will surrender. I will cultivate contentment and gratitude. I will move forward in joy by accepting where I am today.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 29
Ask to see what you’re being shown

I was in a small shopping center dropping off film to be developed. When I returned to my car, I realized I had locked my keys inside it. Disbelief shortly turned to acceptance. I walked down to the police station, a few doors down. I had locked my purse in the car,too. I didn’t have a quarter on me to use the phone.

The police called the automobile club for me. They told me help was on the way. I went outside and sat on the curb. Then I began staring at a small kitchen furnishings store across the street. I stared and stared. Then I decided to go browse for a while, even though I didn’t have my purse.

For months I’d been searching all over Southern California looking for a particular brand of pots and pans. I’d almost given up. Although this was a small store, I decided to inquire if they carried that brand.

“Oh yes,” the clerk said. “We sure do.”

Sometimes an inconvenient incident is just that– inconvenient. Sometimes we just need to slow down, come back to earth, and be aware. Sometimes there’s something our Higher Power would like us to see. And once in a while that unexpected problem is really a blessing in disguise.

Take interruptions and inconveniences in stride. Instead of being angry, try to be quietly present in your life. Be aware. See if something’s being pointed out to you.

God, help me open my eyes to see what you want me to see.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 29

It is senseless to speak of optimism or pessimism. The only important thing to remember is that if one works well in a potato field, the potatoes will grow. If one works well among men, they will grow. That’s reality. The rest is smoke.
—Danilo Dolci

We can get so mired in our pessimism and negativity! What is the point in it? We even get committed to our pessimism, and we challenge the world – or God – to give us reason for hope. In our pessimism, we don’t notice we have chosen a negative place to stand. Recovery means loosening our grip on negativism. We are then free to do the work we need to do. We can slowly take the risk of believing that positive things will happen too.

Any man can see the results in his own life. When we work well at this program, when we are faithful to it, we do grow. We see this truth in one another’s lives. The work is not always easy. We sometimes wish to avoid it or find a reason to not even try. But there is no doubt, when we look around us, that the effort is rewarded with fulfilling lives.

God, please remove pessimism from me so I may continue my work.

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Daily TAO
October 29
MATURITY

Immortality does not beget wisdom.
Only mortality begets maturity.

There are people in this world who have had enough adventures for several lifetimes. They are the closest conception we can have of immortals. Yet some of these people are hopelessly immature. After all, whenever life became difficult for them, they changed to a new path and by luck the new one was always rich and fruitful. Life came so easily that they took more than one helping.

Unfortunately, maturity only comes from the threat of mortality.  Success only comes from the threat of failure. Without pressure, we would not plan, utilize wisdom, or exercise care. We realize that we have only a very short time to make an achievement, to prove that our existence was worthwhile, and so we strive harder. An immortal can never conceive of such effort.

It would be good if our religious traditions provided us with a foolproof way through life. After all, we live somewhat haphazardly :  Our lives are a tapestry woven of both mistakes and successes. Religion doesn’t always provide us with a meaningful pattern. We must make our decisions the best that we can, and as we mature, we can see our way better.

We are motivated by death. We are frightened by failure. We have to make our peace with this mysterious, sometimes hostile world. An immortal does not need to cope with any of this. But we mortals must, and we must strive to make a good showing for ourselves.

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