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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – October 5, 2014

Just For Today
October 5
Ask For Mercy, Not Justice

“Many of us have difficulty admitting that we caused harm for others… We cut away our justifications and our ideas of being a victim.”
Basic Text p.37

Our lives are progressing nicely. Things are going good, and each year in recovery brings more material and spiritual gifts. We may have a little money in the bank, a new car, or a committed relationship. We have a little self-confidence, and our faith in a Higher Power is growing.

Then, something happens. Someone breaks into our new car and steals the stereo, or the person we’re in the relationship with becomes unfaithful. Right away, we feel victimized. “Where’s the justice?” we wail. But if we take a look back on our own behavior, we may find that we’ve been guilty of what’s just been done to us. We realize we wouldn’t really want justice – not for ourselves, and not for others. What we want is mercy.

We thank a loving God for the compassion we’ve been shown, and we take the time to appreciate all the precious gifts that recovery brings.

Just for today: I will pray for mercy, not justice. I am grateful for the compassion I’ve been shown, and will offer mercy to others.

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Daily Reflections
October 5
YESTERDAY’S BAGGAGE

For the wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching becomes a regular habit, until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong.
12 & 12, p. 88

I have more than enough to handle today, without dragging along yesterday’s baggage too. I must balance today’s books, if I am to have a chance tomorrow. So I ask myself if I have erred and how I can avoid repeating that particular behavior. Did I hurt anyone, did I help anyone, and why? Some of today is bound to spill over into tomorrow, but most of it need not if I make an honest daily inventory.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
October 5
A.A. Thought For The Day

Do I have any hard feelings about other group members or for any other A.A. group? Am I critical of the way a group member thinks or acts? Do I feel that another group is operating in the wrong way and do I broadcast it? Or do I realize that all A.A. members, no matter what their limitations, have something to offer, some good, however little, that they can do for A.A. in spite of their handicaps? Do I believe that there is a place for all kinds of groups in A.A., provided they are following A.A. traditions, and that they can be effective even if I do not agree with their procedure? Am I tolerant of people and groups?

Meditation For The Day

“The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in, from this time forth and even forever more.” All your movements, your goings and comings can be guided by the Unseen Spirit. Every visit to help another, every unselfish effort to assist, can be blessed by that Unseen Spirit. There can be a blessing on all you do, on every interview with one who is suffering. Every meeting of a need may not be a chance meeting, but it may have been planned by the Unseen Spirit. Led by the Spirit of the Lord, you can be tolerant, sympathetic, and understanding of others and so accomplish much.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be led by the spirit of God. I pray that the Lord will preserve my goings and my comings.

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As Bill Sees It
October 5
A Higher Power for Atheists, p.276

“I have had many experiences with atheists, mostly good.  Everybody in A.A. has the right to his own opinion. It is much better to maintain an open and tolerant society than it is to suppress any small disturbances their opinions might occasion. Actually, I don’t know of anybody who went off and died of alcoholism because of some atheist’s opinions on the cosmos.

“But I do always entreat these folks to look to a ‘Higher Power’–namely, their own group. When they come in, most of their A.A. group is sober, and they are drunk. Therefore, the group is a ‘Higher Power.’ That’s a good enough start, and most of them do progress from there. I know how they feel, because I was once that way myself.”

Letter, 1962

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Walk In Dry Places
October 5
What can Sobriety Bring?
Living Sober

The single goal of staying sober is so all-important in AA that side benefits are often overlooked. There is even a tendency to warn members about the hazards of attaching importance to anything except sobriety.

But we do have to become responsible people in all things, not just sober people.  We can expect real sobriety to bring the confidence and well-being we expected from the bottle, but never received.

Sobriety is not likely to give us the equivalent of the euphoria we got from drinking, but a great sense of well-being based on realistic expectations is more satisfying than the ridiculous mental states we sought in drinking. Living the right kind of life will bring its own rewards.

Alone with staying sober today, I’ll meet all my responsibilities to my family and friends. Sobriety does not promise miracles, but it does bring a good life.

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Keep It Simple
October 5

It is often easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them
—Adlai Stevenson

It easy to talk about our values. But when the clerk at the store gives extra change my mistake, those values get put to the test. It feels good to read about spirituality in a comfortable chair at home. But when we get stuck in a traffic jam, it’s hard to live by our values.

That’s why practicing our program daily helps. Practice prepares us for the tough times.  Maybe we’ll feel like drinking or using other drugs once a year. Maybe we’ll only get the wrong amount of change once a year. But if we live our values daily, we’ll be ready when the hard times come. Remember: “It’s not enough to talk the talk. You have to walk the walk.”

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me live this program each day. Help me “walk the walk.”

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll do a Step Ten, Taking an inventory tells me if I’m living up to my values.

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 5

Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest person in the world. There’s nothing better than having work you really care about. Sometimes I think my greatest problem is lack of confidence. I’m scared, and I think that’s healthy.

–Jane Fonda We each vacillate between feeling confident on some days, lucky on others, and yet frequently scared on others. It’s very human to vacillate. We need not be anxious because our emotions refuse to stand still.

Changing emotions are part of the process of normal living. And changing emotions reflect an involvement with the moment. Situations do touch us, as they should.  They do invite responses, as they should. And our responses will reveal our emotional involvement, as they should. We can cherish the variety of our emotions. They enrich us.  But they may also create problems, if they go unchecked.

We need to maintain a balance. Confidence, certainly desirable, can become overconfidence and thus complacency. Confidence needs humility to temper it. Fear makes us cautious, and that’s good; but too much can immobilize us. Being in charge of our emotions makes them work for us.

Emotions can energize me and keep me involved with the moment. They can also control me. It’s my decision to be in charge.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
October 5
ME AN ALCOHOLIC?

– Alcohol’s wringer squeezed this author–but he escaped quite whole.

Many times in the intervening years I have thanked God for that man, a man who had the courage to admit failure, a man who had the humility to confess that all the hard-won learning of his profession could not turn up the answer. I looked up an A.A. meeting and went there –alone.

p. 386

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 5

Tradition One – “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. Unity.”

Thus has it been with A.A. By faith and by works we have been able to build upon the lessons of an incredible experience. They live today in the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, which – God willing – shall sustain us in unity for so long as He may need us.

p. 131

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Xtra Thoughts
October 5

Give and forget. Receive and remember.  When you give of yourself, you receive more than you give.
–Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.
–Henry David Thoreau

Prosperity depends more on wanting what you have than having what you want.
–Geoffry F. Abert

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
–Melody Beattie

“The more you recognize and express gratitude for the things you have, the more things you will have to express gratitude for.”
–Zig Ziglar

When a person habitually thinks optimistically and hopefully, they activate life around them positively and thereby attract positive results. Positive Thinking sets in motion positive and creative forces and success flows toward you!
–Norman Vincent Peale

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 5
PRIDE

“The books I haven’t written are better than the books other people have.”
– Cyril V. Connolly

Today I still have to grapple with pride, vanity and conceit. Today, thanks to God and my spiritual program, I am not so preoccupied with self, but the old tapes can still be heard:  “Thank God I am not as stupid as her.” “I am blessed in not being like those people.” “I suppose everybody in the room is looking at me.”

Pride is still a big obstacle because it keeps me isolated from people. It emphasizes the difference between me and the world, rather than the commonality. Pride keeps me a prisoner of my ego and develops that cruel and sadistic streak in my nature that I know exists. Pride stops me being grateful because it keeps me too focused on what I am doing and I miss the beauty and splendor of my life. Pride keeps my nose pushed against the picture so I cannot see the portrait!

I can only change this “proudful” attitude by talking about it. The way for me to grow is to “dump it” . . . today.

May I find me in the people I meet and share with.

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Bible Scriptures
October 5

“I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.”
Genesis 17:7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:4-5

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:12-13

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Daily Inspiration
October 5

God will give you today, no more than you can handle today. It is when you choose to add yesterday’s and tomorrow’s troubles to it that it becomes too much to carry. Lord, help me remember that it is only right now that I can find all that I am looking for.

Take time to learn from the mistakes of others. We don’t have time to make all of them ourselves. Lord, guide me onto paths that lead me to You.

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A Day At A Time
October 5

Reflection For The Day

Soon after I came to The Program, I found a Higher Power whom I choose to call God.  I’ve come to believe that He has all power;  if I stay close to Him and do His work well, He provides me not with what I think I want, but with what I need.  Gradually, I’m becoming less interested in myself and my little schemes;  at the same time, I’m becoming more interested in seeing what I can contribute to others and to life.  As I become more conscious of God’s presence, am I beginning to lose my self-centered fears?

Today I Pray

May I see that the single most evident change in myself — beyond my own inner sense of peace — is that I have come out from behind my phony castle walls, dropped the drawbridge that leads into my real village and crossed it.  I am back among people again, interested in them, caring what happens to them.  May I find my joy here in this peopled reality, now that I have left behind those old self protective fears and illusions of my own uniqueness.

Today I Will Remember

What is life without people?

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One More Day
October 5

Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself.
–  St. Francis de Sales

Life fine cheese, we wait, as we grow older, to ripen properly.  We would like to hurry the process along, but haste won’t serve us well in the long run.  We have learned to let others take their time to mature and to become responsible adults, but often when it comes to ourselves, we are quick to anger at our own mistakes.  We frequently are not as forgiving of ourselves as we are of others.

Maturity arrives when we understand thta some of the goals we thought were crucial are really unattainable, and that it really doesn’t matter.  Maturity is a frame of mind where we learn to be pleased with what we can accomplish.  We can find contentment in just living our days as best we can.

I recognize there is no magic moment when I will become a fully mature adult.  Maturity is an attitude that conveys peace with myself.

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One Day At A Time
October 5
HABITS

”A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.”
–Mark Twain

How grateful I was when I read that quote – even though I had to translate it a bit. It has always been difficult for me to start good habits. I’ve heard all kinds of things about that – that it takes 21 days, 40 days, or an x-number of weeks to start a habit. It always made me feel bad and different because I swear for me, it probably takes at least two years. Until then I’d be biting my nails, knowing that even if I did practice good habits, they might disappear at any time. It was supposed to be so much faster, so much easier! A few weeks of eating healthy, and magically I would be cured! Well, that never happened.

Now I can look at good habits – like eating healthy, exercising, meditating, paying my bills on time – as tender, shy little animals that need a long time before they can be coaxed up the stairs of my life. They need patience, a lot of quiet time, and a willingness to be understood and studied. How do I feed, nurture and care for this habit?

I cannot do it alone. I do not have the patience, the willingness, nor the nurturing to do this by myself. I need the help of the fellowship and the help of my Higher Power. This help is freely given to me ~ all I need to do is accept it, and together we can make my habits more and more comfortable in the house of my life.

One day at a time…
With the help of my Higher Power and the program, I can patiently learn to practice healthy habits.

~ Isabella

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 5

“The dances are prayers.”
–Pop Chalee, TAOS PUEBLO

When we dance to the drum we pray to the Creator and attract the heartbeat of the earth. We never dance without reason; every dance has a purpose. We dance for rain; we dance for healing; we dance for seasons; we dance for joy; we dance for our children; we dance for the people; we dance for courage. The drum plays to the beat of the heart, to the beat of the Earth. The drum connects us to the Earth while we dance our prayers.

Oh, Great One, let my dance and prayer be heard by You.

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Journey To The Heart
October 5
Spiritual Growth Can Be Easier Now

For so long, you thought that spiritual growth, healing, life had to be hard. And it was– for many reasons.

That’s no longer the case. Do you see the rose struggling and straining to grow? Do you see a tree pushing and forcing its growth? Your growth can unfold as naturally, as inevitably, as beautifully as the tender shoots of a rose break through first with green, then a bud, then a fully opened flower. You have committed to life, you have committed to growth, you have committed to opening your heart and taking the journey. That is enough.

The rest will be revealed to you in time. The answers will become clear. The visions, the guidance, the leadings you are seeking will come. All you need to guide you through life will come– quiet spiritual awakenings, quiet revelations that profoundly change your life. Each awakening will take you to the next place. Each will lead you home.

Don’t worry about what you have to do to achieve spiritual growth. Let yourself be. The growth will happen, and it will happen naturally and easily.

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Today’s Gift
October 5

I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep.
—May Sarton

“How can I do what you say,” asked the child, “and still be me?”

“Look at me,” said the tree. “I bend in the wind, droop in the rain. Yet I always remain myself, a tree.”

“Look at me,” said the man. “I can’t change.”

“Look at me,” said the tree. “I change every season from green to brown to green again, from bud to flower to fallen leaf. Yet I always remain myself, a tree.”

“I can’t love anymore,” said the woman. “With my love, I have given away all that I am.”

“Look at me,” said the tree. “There are robins in my branches, owls in my trunk, moss and ladybugs living on my bark. They may take what I have, but not what I am.”

Whether we know it or not, we are like the tree. Only our pride hangs on to a false sense of self, wanting to keep everything, refusing to follow advice or orders. What we do doesn’t matter; how we do it is what counts.

What changes have I gone through without losing my real self?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 5
Knowledge

Learn to let yourself be guided into truth.

We will know what we need to know, when we need to know that. We don’t have to feel badly about taking our own time to reach our insights. We don’t have to force insight or awareness before it’s time.

Yes! Maybe the whole world saw a particular truth in our life, and we denied it – until we were ready to deal with it. That is our business, and our right! Our process is our own, and we will discover our truths at the right time, when we are ready, when the learning experience is complete.

The most growth-producing concept we can develop for others and ourselves is to allow ourselves to have our own process. We can give and receive support and encouragement while we go through this process. We can listen to others and say what we think. We can set boundaries and take care of ourselves, when needed. But we still give others and ourselves the right to grow at our own pace, without judgment, and with much trust that all is well and is on schedule.

When we are ready, when the time is right, and when our Higher Power is ready – we will know what we need to know.

Today, I will let myself and others have our own pace and time schedule for growth and change. I will trust that I will be empowered with insights and the tools for dealing with these insights, at the right time.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 5

Take time to see it first

“Go over your skydive in your mind,” my jump master taught me, when I first began learning to jump out of the plane. “Sit down by yourself and see yourself going through every movement, from the time you get into the plane until you come back to earth.”

Visualization has been a helpful tool to me in skydiving and in most areas of my life.

In the 1980s, Shakti Gawain wrote a best-seller, Creative Visualization. She talked about the powerful impact of using your mind to imagine yourself in some activity before actually doing it in reality.

Visualization has been a self-help tool that’s been around even longer than that. Many people in all walks of life, from therapists to sports professionals, agree that seeing yourself doing it beforehand is the best way to do it well.

We can use the tool of visualization to help create matter out of spiritual energy, simply by spending quiet time during our meditation focusing on what we want, seeing ourselves having it, doing it, touching it, and feeling it. One woman told me she used visualization to help see herself letting go of a partner.

“I get quiet and I actually see myself living happily without the person I thought I had to have in my life,” she said to me. “I get into the details of myself,too. How unencumbered I feel. How grateful I am for the lessons that person taught me. How I’m free of the burden of obsessing about this person. It really helps me let go.”

Visualization is an important tool. It’s a gift when we can see ourselves doing something and then having that activity manifested in reality.

Visualization only works if you use it. Make it a regular practice in your life.

Visualize yourself living with one of your dreams. Visualize yourself doing something you’re nervous about doing. Take a few moments and run through the entire scenario in your head, until you can see yourself doing that thing calmly, clearly, and successfully with all obstacles cleared from your path.

God, help me use visualization as a regular tool in my life. Help me do my part in creating positive situations by taking the time first to see it, visualize it.

Activity: Become an expert at visualization. Go to the library or bookstore and get a couple books on visualization. Then, read these books and begin applying the tool of visualization in your life.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 5

Men are doomed to live in an overwhelmingly tragic and demonic world.
—Ernest Becker

Life is difficult. We never reach the point where our path is free of obstacles and hardships. And regardless of how much we grow, how faithful we are to our program, nothing changes the fact that death is still there for us. As painful and hard as it is, life also is deeply meaningful and worthwhile when we submit to its reality and live in a spiritual way.

After we stop living in denial and accept the hard facts about life, we see that we need each other. We need relationships to stay sane. We need to pull together and support one another the way people do in difficult times. Rugged individualism isn’t always good for real people in the real world. We need relationships so we can celebrate and make music and encourage one another. We need relationships so we can laugh and make jokes and tell our personal stories. And we need to stand together to oppose the destructive forces around us.

God help me learn to have relationships with my brothers and sisters.

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Daily TAO
October 5
HISTORY

Autumn trees swept with dawn
Look as if they’ve been lacquered,
Rooted around an old battlefield.
The mists linger here like ghosts.

There are still places where you can walk and feel a profound gloom.  Such is the case with old battlefields. People died there. The force of their determination still resonates.

You can find such places in every country. Often no one builds anything there, even when land is dear. We say that we do not want to forget our dead. We say that there should be a memorial. Others say that the disturbance there is so great that the living cannot abide with the dead.

History is essential to our understanding of the present. Unless we are conscious of the way in which we came to this point in time as a people, then we shall never fully be able to plan the present and the future. We need to know what roots are still alive. We need to know how things came to be so that we can project from here. We also need to know the failures of the past so that we can avoid repeating them.

History is not always glorious. Sometimes our history is melancholy.  We must accept that. This life is terrible and people do terrible things to each other. If we are to live for the sake of the good and strong, then we should have as much of a background as possible.

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