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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – October 6, 2014

Just For Today
October 6
Amends Without Expectations

“Projections about actually making amends can be a major obstacle both in making the list and in becoming willing.”

Basic Text p.38

The Eighth Step asks us to become willing to make amends to all persons we have harmed. As we approach this step, we may wonder what the outcome of our amends will be. Will we be forgiven? Relieved of any lingering guilt? Or will we be tarred and feathered by the persons we’ve harmed?

Our tendency to seek forgiveness must be surrendered if we expect to receive the spiritual benefits of the Eighth and Ninth Steps. If we approach these steps expecting anything, we’re likely to be very disappointed with the results. We want to ask ourselves if we are pinning our hopes on gaining the forgiveness of the person to whom we are making amends. Or maybe we’re hoping we’ll be excused from our debts by some sympathetic creditor moved to tears by our hard-luck story.

We need to be willing to make our amends regardless of the outcome. We can plan the amends, but we can’t plan the results. Although we may not be granted a full pardon by everyone to whom we owe amends, we will learn to forgive ourselves. In the process, we will find that we no longer have to carry the burdens of the past.

Just for today: I will let go of any expectations I have on the people to whom I owe amends.

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Daily Reflections
October 6
FACING OURSELVES

. . . . and Fear says, “You dare not look!”
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 49

How often I avoided a task in my drinking days, just because it appeared so large! Is it any wonder even if I have been sober for some time, that I will act that same way when faced with what appears to be a monumental job, such as a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself? What I discover after I have arrived at the other side–when my inventory is completed–is that the illusion was greater than the reality. The fear of facing myself kept me at a standstill and, until I became willing to put pencil to paper, I was arresting my growth based on an intangible.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
October 6
A.A. Thought For The Day

Is it my desire to be a big shot in A.A.? Do I always want to be up front in the limelight? Do I feel that nobody else can do as good a job as I can? Or am I willing to take a seat in the back row once in a while and let somebody else carry the ball? Part of the effectiveness of any A.A. group is the development of new members to carry on, to take over, from the older members. Am I reluctant to give up authority? Do I try to carry the load for the whole group? If so, I am not being fair to the newer members. Do I realize that no one person is essential? Do I know that A.A. could carry on without me, if it had to?

Meditation For The Day

The Unseen God can help to make us truly grateful and humble. Since we cannot see God, we must believe in Him without seeing. What we can see clearly is the change in a human being, when he sincerely asks God for the strength to change. We should cling to faith in God and in His power to change our faith in God and in His power to change our ways. Our faith in all Unseen God will be rewarded by a useful and serviceable life. God will not fail to show us the way we should live. When in real gratitude and true humility we turn to Him..

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may believe that God can change me.  I pray that I may be always willing to be changed for the better.

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As Bill Sees It
October 6
To Lighten Our Burden, p.277

Only one consideration should qualify our desire for a complete disclosure of the damage we have done. That will arise where a full revelation would seriously harm the one to whom we are making amends. Or–quite as important–other people. We cannot, for example, unload a detailed account of extramarital adventuring upon the shoulders of our unsuspecting wife or husband.

It does not lighten our burden when we recklessly make the crosses of others heavy.

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Walk In Dry Places
October 6
By Their fruits
Inventory.

An old saying reminds us that the value of any spiritual effort can be measured by how well it work: “A good tree is known by its fruits.”

By that standard, the 12 Step movement fares very well. Its life-changing work has won consistent praise and has had continuous success ever since it became known to the public.

We can apply that same statement to new ideas as they appear in our lives. If somebody has suggestions or advice, we might ask how well such ideas are working out for them. We would not take investment advice, for example, from someone who had repeatedly lost money.

We should always be wary of ideas that go counter to the basic principles of our program. some people may invite us to share their resentments, for example, but we have no obligation to do so. We will be even less inclined to do so when we look at the results they’re getting from their resentments, Evaluating ideas “by their fruits” is a good test.

I’ll be careful to look at all the facts in connection with any idea presented today.  I have a right to judge everything by results.

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Keep It Simple
October 6

If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people.
—Virginia Woolf

Working the Twelve Steps helps us learn the truth. As we struggle with Step Four, we learn the truth about ourselves. We learn even more about ourselves by doing Steps Eight and Ten. When we admit the truth about ourselves, things come into focus. Big changes happen.

As a result, we can see other people more clearly. We see bad sides in people we thought were prefect. We see good sides in people we hated. We start to know that everyone has to work hard to find what’s right for them. No one knows all the answers.

In short, we begin to trust others also who also are looking for the truth.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me clearly see myself and others.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll think about how doing Step Ten keeps me clear about what’s going on in my life.

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 6

Many people are living in an emotional jail without recognizing it.
–Virginia Satir

Each of us is blessed with an internal guide, a source able to direct our actions if we but acknowledge it. Never are we in doubt for long about what path to take. The courage to take it might not be immediately forthcoming; however, it, too, is one of the gifts with which we’ve been blessed. Courage is ours for the asking. Right direction is ours for the taking.

Trusting our inner selves takes practice, followed by attention to the results of our risks.  Before recovery, many of us passively waited for others to orchestrate our behavior, our feelings, and our attitudes. Stepping forward as the leading lady, with our own script in hand is quite a change, but one we are being coached, daily, to make.

The Steps help us to know who we are. More importantly, they help us become the women we long to be. But most important, they offer us the spiritual strength to risk listening to the message within and the strength to go forth as directed.

Right results, again and again, are elicited by right action. And my knowledge of the right action is always, and forever, as close as myself.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
October 6
ME AN ALCOHOLIC?

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

Here I found an ingredient that had been lacking in any other effort I had made to save myself. Here was–power! Here was power to live to the end of any given day, power to have the courage to face the next day, power to have friends, power to help people, power to be sane, power to stay sober. That was seven years ago–and many A.A. meetings ago–and I haven’t had a drink during those seven years. Moreover, I am deeply convinced that so long as I continue to strive, in my bumbling way, toward the principles I first encountered in the earlier chapters of this book, this remarkable power will continue to flow through me. What is this power? With my A.A. friends, all I can say is that it’s a Power greater than myself. If pressed, all I can do is follow the psalmist who said it long before me: “Be still, and know that I am God.”

pp. 386-387

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 6

Tradition Two – “For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.”

Where does A.A. get its direction? Who runs it? This, too, is a puzzler for every friend and newcomer. When told that our Society has no president having authority to govern it, no treasurer who can compel the payment of any dues, no board of directors who can cast an erring member into outer darkness, when indeed no A.A. can give another a directive and enforce obedience, our friends gasp and exclaim, “This simply can’t be. There must be an angle somewhere.” These practical folk then read Tradition Two, and learn that the sole authority in A.A. is a loving God as He may express Himself in the group conscience. They dubiously ask an experienced A.A. member if this really works. The member, sane to all appearances, immediately answers, “Yes! It definitely does.” The friends mutter that this looks vague, nebulous, pretty naive to them. Then they commence to watch us with speculative eyes, pick up a fragment of A.A. history, and soon have the solid facts.

p. 132

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Xtra Thoughts
October 6

I have held many things in my hands and have lost them all, but whatever I placed in God’s hands I still possess.
–GGDNER

Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.
–Mother Teresa

Live your life and forget your age.
–Norman Vincent Peale

In a world that is constantly changing, there is no one subject or set of subjects that will serve you for the foreseeable future, let alone for the rest of your life. The most important skill to acquire now is learning how to learn.
–John Naisbitt

“In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.”
–Flora Edwards

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 6
FORGIVENESS

“Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.”
– Hannah Arendt

Early in sobriety I found it easy to forgive others but hard to forgive myself. This kept me sick and negative, even in recovery, because I was unable to practice self-love. I still blamed me and felt responsible for being alcoholic. I had not surrendered to the reality of alcoholism as a disease.

Then a moment of sanity was granted me whereby I understood that I was not responsible for being alcoholic, but that I am responsible for my recovery. And my recovery involves a love and respect of self. This knowledge brought a tremendous joy and freedom that led to action within the recovering community. Only by loving me will I be able to love you, and in both these ways I show my love of God.

May I always hold on to the spiritual power of forgiveness.

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Bible Scriptures
October 6

“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. I have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word. Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws. Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law. The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts. Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.  My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.
Psalm 119:105-112

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Daily Inspiration
October 6

Be aware of the blessings of friendship and know that to have a friend you must be one in return. Lord, help me to be able to smile, to share, to listen and to be available when I am needed.

God’s promises are not for those who walk through life with no obstacles, but for those who overcome their obstacles. Lord, I pray, not to overpower others, but to overcome my own weaknesses and strengthen my trust in You.

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A Day At A Time
October 6

Reflection For The Day

As we “keep coming back” to meetings, we’re able to recognize those people who have an abundance of serenity.  We are drawn to such people.  to our surprise, we sometimes find that those who seem most grateeful for today’s blessings are the very ones who have the most serious and continuing problems at home or at work.  Yet they have the courage to turn away from such problems, actively seeking to learn and hel others in The Program.  How hav ethey gotten this serenity?  It must be because they depend less on themselves and their own limited resources — and more on a Power greater than themselves in whom they have confidence.   Am I acquiring  the gift of serenity?  Have my actions begun to reflect my inner faith?

Today I Pray

May I never cease to be awed by the serenity I see in oohters in my group — a serenity which manifest their comfortable surrender to a Higher Power.  May I learn from them that peace of mind is possible even in the thick of trouble.  May I, too, learn that I need to pull back from my problems now and then and draw upon the God-provided pool of serenity within myself.

Today I Will Remember

Serenity is surrender to God’s plan.

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One More Day
October 6

Every human being is a problem in search of a solution.
–  Ashely Montagu

Despite the occasional disance or coolness that many of us sense within, we are also aware of wellsprings of emotion, ready to flow with feelings that have been long hidden.  It sometimes takes a crisis, such as illness, chemical deendency, or loss of a loved one to literally drive us to seek help.

Trying to uncover deeply hidden painful emotions can feel like a treacherous path to follow, and some of us may be tempted to stop trying.  But if we honestly open ourselves to these feelings, we can begin to know ourselves better and to build healthyier and more mature relationships.

Change can be frightening, especially when I’ve been hiding from my own emotions.   If there is a problem, dealing with my emotions is part of the solution.

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One Day At A Time
October 6
LONGINGS

“The great question – which I have not been able to answer – is, ‘What does a woman want?’”
–Sigmund Freud

All my life I have been searching for what I “really want”. I tried sports, different jobs, friends, lovers and traveling. I even tried therapy. None of these ever worked. Once I had what I thought I wanted, I didn’t want it anymore. The urge to want — to long for the best things — was an inner, unsatisfied hunger. Excessive food became my sedating drug. When using food, I was numb to my longings. I felt it was impossible to fill this void. It seemed I would never know or receive what I wanted.

The 12 step program of recovery taught me that I could have anything I wanted — if God gave it to me. When I stopped wanting everything so badly, and I surrendered to be His child and employee, I learned that what I’d thought of as “wanting”, was actually what I was “missing”. I missed everything important in my life, so I wanted everything. It was never enough ~ never the right thing or the right person. I felt that even I was “wrong” because I was without love, patience, tolerance or companionship. In OA I found all of that. With God’s help, I now have those things in my life every day when I ask for it and accept it as part of me today.

One day at a time…
I no longer want so much, and I am thankful for what I receive. I am receiving more than I have ever dreamed of.

~ Trine

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 6

“Lots of people hardly ever feel real soil under their feet, see plants grow except in flower pots, or get far enough beyond the street light to catch the enchantment of a night sky studded with stars. When people live far from scenes of the Great Spirit’s making, it’s easy for them to forget His laws.”
–Tatanga Mani (Walking Buffalo), STONEY

Nature is life’s greatest teacher. The natural laws are hidden in nature. Hidden are solutions to everyday problems such as conflict resolution, how to forgive, lessons about differences, how to manage organizations, how to think. Hidden are feelings. You can look at something and you will feel it. At night, have you ever looked at the sky when there are no clouds? As you look at all the stars, your heart will become very joyful. You will walk away feeling joyful and peaceful. We need to visit nature so we can see and feel these things.

My Creator, let me learn nature’s lessons.

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Journey To The Heart
October 6
What Are Your Priorities?

I was working away in my cabin, trying to print out the pages I had typed into my computer. It was taking half an hour to print each page. I had one hundred pages to go. For the umpteenth time I checked my computer, checked the program, checked the printer, checked everything I knew to see why it was printing so slowly. It all seemed to be set up properly. Then I accidentally touched a control setting, one I hadn’t noticed before. It was my priority control. It was set on low. I switched it to high priority. The pages now began to print at top speed.

Priorities are important. Learning how to focus our energy according to priorities– even though we’re going with the flow– is an important part of our lives. It’s one of the powers we’re learning.

What are your priorities? Is living from your heart one of them? Are there tasks you’d like to accomplish? Skills you’d like to acquire? Is meditation being centered, and living your life from a place of balance an area you’ve designated as critical?

Is loving yourself a priority? How important is your spiritual growth? What priority have you assigned to other areas like pleasure, having fun, feeling joy? Are your priorities set on high, medium,or low?

Look around and you’ll see your answers. Your life as it is now reflects the priorities you have chosen so far. If something is happening too slowly, try switching your priority setting from low to high.

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Today’s Gift
October 6

What we do upon some great occasion will probably depend on what we already are: and what we already are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline.
—H. P. Viddon

In the ninth inning of the baseball game with a tie score and the bases loaded, the batter hit a home run. The fans and the team cheered wildly, and the batter was jubilant.

What many fans did not know was that he had been playing on baseball teams for fifteen years. Many times he struggled without being noticed. He wondered if he was any good or not, and there were days he had to make himself go out and practice. He made many mistakes, but his love and dedication for the game had always won out.

It is the years of discipline that prepare us for our big moments in life. Daily practice and love give our lives a direction, even through times of doubt and despair. By doing our best each day and learning from our mistakes, we prepare ourselves for the big moments- – he home runs – in our lives.

How are my mistakes and pains today a part of my future success?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 6
Taking Care of Ourselves

It’s healthy, wise, and loving to be considerate and responsive to the feelings and needs of others. That’s different from caretaking. Caretaking is a self defeating and, certainly, a relationship defeating behavior – a behavior that backfires and can cause us to feel resentful and victimized – because ultimately, what we feel, want, and need will come to the surface.

Some people seem to invite emotional caretaking. We can learn to refuse the invitation. We can be concerned; we can be loving, when possible; but we can place value on our own needs and feelings too. Part of recovery means learning to pay attention to, and place importance on, what we feel, want, and need, because we begin to see that there are clear, predictable, and usually undesirable consequences when we don’t.

Be patient and gentle with yourself as you learn to do this. Be understanding with yourself when you slip back into the old behavior of emotional caretaking and self-neglect.

But stop the cycle today. We do not have to feel responsible for others. We do not have to feel guilty about not feeling responsible for others. We can even learn to let ourselves feel good about taking responsibility for our needs and feelings.

Today, I will evaluate whether I’ve slipped into my old behavior of taking responsibility for another’s feelings and needs, while neglecting my own. I will own my power, right, and responsibility to place value on myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 6
See it simple

“It’s too much,” I said to my instructor. “Jumping out of a plane is too much for my mind to comprehend.”

“Then keep it simple,” he said. “Break it down into parts. You have the ride up, where you practice relaxing, your exit, your free-fall time, then you deploy your parachute. Then you decide if it’s working or if you need to go to plan B. Next set up your landing pattern. When you get near the ground, pull your strings and flare.”

I could handle the steps, but the big picture of jumping out of an airplane was too much to envision. But exiting, falling stable, pulling, and flaring were simple parts that felt manageable. My mind could comprehend these simple tasks.

You may never make a skydive. Or maybe you will. But there’s a lot of things in life that seem like too much if we try to see them all as one big thing. I never thought I could stay sober and drug-free for twenty-seven years. But with God’s help and the help of the program, I believed I could refrain from using drugs and alcohol for twenty-four hours. Then the next day, I got up and believed the same thing again.

There have been times I didn’t think I could start my life over. But I could get up in the morning and do the things I thought best for that day.

Are you facing something now in your life that feels to overwhelming? Then simplfy it. Break it down into manageable parts until you can see how simple it is.

God, if I’m complicating a task or making it too big and unmanageable in my mind, help me to simplify what I see.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 6

Forgiveness is another word for letting go.
—Matthew Fox

Learning forgiveness – both granting it to others and accepting it for ourselves – is one of the primary means of a man’s spiritual recovery. Many of us, after entering this program, are plagued with strong feelings of guilt. We have finally become accountable, and we see our lives in a new perspective. We long for a chance to undo our mistakes. Many men carry guilt for years as if they deserved to be punished. Our recovery program tells us to let go.

Simply going through the motions of forgiving or accepting forgiveness will not get us very far. We must squarely face our feelings and tell someone so we are no longer alone with our guilt. Then, if there is the possibility for repair without further hurt, we must make repair. In this concrete way we can be genuinely forgiven and fully accept forgiveness. When a man has a spiritual experience like this, he matures and gains the ability to forgive others.

I am grateful for the relief of being forgiven and letting go of past mistakes. I will genuinely let go of my guilt and resentment.

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Daily TAO
October 6
STILLNESS

Wind stirs the bamboo,
But once the wind passes,
The bamboo is silent.
Geese land in the chill pond,
But once the geese fly away,
There are no reflections.
In the same way,
Once the red dust passes,
The mind is still.

The affairs of the world are often euphemistically referred to as red dust. This is the involvement of the world that is hard to brush away and yet equally hard to hold on to. We may seek meditative detachment, but as long as the stimulations of the world continue to blow through our minds, the true stillness of meditation is impossible.

If we do not involve ourselves with the difficulties of the world, there will naturally not be any suggestion or stimulation present. Then the mind will be still. The still mind is capable of the most supreme states of existence.

Obviously, total withdrawal from the tribulations, dangers, sensual temptations, and entanglements of everyday life would be one way of doing this. If you feel ready to do this and you have that option, then you should do so. You will find satisfaction and happiness very quickly.  But if you are obligated to remain in the world for some time more, and still want to practice the art of tranquility, you must execute withdrawal on a more microcosmic scale. Then stillness is possible for at least short periods.

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