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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – October 7, 2014

Just For Today
October 7
Depending On Our Higher Power

“As recovering addicts, we find that we are still dependent, but our dependence has shifted from the things around us to a loving God and the innerstrength we get in our relationship with Him.”
Basic Text pp.67-68

For many addicts, rebelliousness is second nature. We didn’t want to depend on anyone or anything, and especially not on God. The beauty of using, we thought, was that it gave us the power to be and feel anything we wanted, all by ourselves. But the price we paid for this illusory freedom was a dependence beyond our worst nightmares. Rather than freeing us, using enslaved us.

When we came to Narcotics Anonymous, we learned that dependence on God didn’t have to mean what we may have thought it meant. Yes, if we wanted to be restored to sanity, we would need to tap “a Power greater than ourselves.” However, we could choose our own concept of this Higher Power – we could even make one up. Dependence on a Higher Power would not limit us, we discovered; it would free us.

The Power we find in recovery is the power we lacked on our own. It is the love we were afraid to depend on others for. It is the sense of personal direction we never had, the guidance we couldn’t humble ourselves to ask for or trust others to give. It is all these things, and it is our own. Today, we are grateful to have a Higher Power to depend on.

Just for today: I will depend on the love and inner strength I draw from the God of my own understanding.

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Daily Reflections
October 7
DAILY MONITORING

Continued to take personal inventory. . . . .
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 88

The spiritual axiom referred to in the Tenth Step–”every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us”–also tells me that there are no exceptions to it. No matter how unreasonable others may seem, I am responsible for not reacting negatively. Regardless of what is happening around me I will always have the prerogative, and the responsibility, of choosing what happens within me. I am the creator of my own reality. When I take my daily inventory, I know that I must stop judging others. If I judge others, I am probably judging myself. Whoever is upsetting me most is my best teacher. I have much to learn from him or her, and in my heart, I should thank that person.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
October 7
A.A. Thought For The Day

Do I put too much reliance on any one member of the group?  That is, do I make a tin god out of some one person? Do I set that person on a pedestal? If I do, I am building my house on sand. A.A. members have “clay feet.” They are all only one drink away from a drunk, no matter how long they have been in A.A. This has been proved to be true more than once. It’s not fair to any member to be singled out as a leader in A A. and to always quote that member on the A.A. program. If that person should fail, where would I be?

Meditation For The Day

You must always remember that you are weak but that God is strong. God knows all about your weakness. He hears every cry for mercy, every sign of weakness, every plea for help, every sorrow over failure, every weakness felt and expressed.  We only fail when we trust too much to our own strength. Do not feel bad about your weakness. When you are weak, that is when God is strong to help you. Trust God enough, and your weakness will not matter. God is always strong to save.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may learn to lean on God’s strength.  I pray that I may know that my weakness is God’s opportunity.

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As Bill Sees It
October 7
Speak Up Without Fear, p.278

Few of us are anonymous so far as our daily contacts go. We have dropped anonymity at this level because we think our friends and associates ought to know about A.A. and what it has done for us. We also wish to lose the fear of admitting that we are alcoholics. Though we earnestly request reporters not to disclose our identities, we frequently speak before semipublic gatherings. We wish to convince audiences that our alcoholism is a sickness we no longer fear to discuss before anyone.

If, however, we venture beyond this limit, we shall surely lose the principle of anonymity forever. If every A.A. felt free to publish his own name, picture, and story, we would soon be launched upon a vast orgy of personal publicity.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

“While the so-called public meeting is questioned by many A.A. members, I favor it myself providing only that anonymity is respected in press reports and that we ask nothing for ourselves except understanding.”

1. Grapevine, January 1946
2. Letter, 1949

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Walk In Dry Places
October 7
Taming the instincts.
Orderly direction

Though alcoholics can appear to have serious shortcomings, these problems are really only misguided attempts to satisfy needs that must be met. In the 12 Step program, we do not deny our human needs. We realize, however, that these needs must be met in moral, constructive ways. Falso methods of meeting needs will bring false, harmful results.

We can meet our needs in an orderly manner by turning to our Higher Power and following the slow and impractical, but over the longer term we will come to see that it is the right way to live. Our instinctive needs are proper and God-given, but they must not run wild in our lives. Living sober also means taming our instincts.

I’ll not be surprised by the various needs I may feel today. I am committed, however, to a moral and principled response to these needs.

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Keep It Simple
October 7

We never thought we could get old.
—Bob Dylan

Here we are no longer children. Yet we’re not quite grown up either. At least, we don’t always feels grown up. Our program helps us accept the stages of our life.  And the child in our heart is getting happier. In some ways, we feel younger everyday.

We’re also starting to feel older and wiser. It feels good. We’re not so afraid of the world, because we’re learning better ways to live in it. We can learn by having friends who teach us to stay young at heart.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me be the best I can be, at the age I am today.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll call an older friend and ask him or her this question:  “What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about life since you were my age?”

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 7

There is a divine plan of good at work in my life. I will let go and let it unfold.
–Ruth P. Freedman

We are never certain of the full importance or the eventual impact of any single event in our lives. But of one thing we can be sure: Each experience offers something valuable to our overall development. We must not discount the experiences that are long gone. They contributed to all we’ve achieved at the present. And wherever today takes us will influence what tomorrow will bring.

Perhaps our greatest difficulty as recovering women is not trusting that life is a process and one that promises goodness. That growth and change are guaranteed. That our lives have design, and we’re blessed therein. Trusting isn’t easy. But we can learn, and we’ll discover freedom.

Letting go of the outcome of every experience, focusing instead on our efforts, making them as good as possible, validates our trust in the ultimate goodness of life. Our frustrations diminish when our efforts, only, are our concern. How much easier our days go when we do our work and leave the outcome where it belongs.

I will know a new freedom when I let go and trust that “my plan” is unfolding as it must. I will do my part, and no more.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
October 7
ME AN ALCOHOLIC?

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

My story has a happy ending but not of the conventional kind. I had a lot more hell to go through. But what a difference there is between going through hell without a Power great than one’s self, and with it! As might have been predicted, my teetering tower of worldly success collapsed. My alcoholic associates fired me, took control, and ran the enterprise into bankruptcy. My alcoholic wife took up with someone else, divorced me, and took with her all my remaining property. The most terrible blow of my life befell me after I’d found sobriety through A.A. Perhaps the single flicker of decency that shone through the fog of my drinking days was a clumsy affection for my two children, a boy and a girl. One night my son, when he was only sixteen, was suddenly and tragically killed. The Higher Power was on deck to see me through, sober. I think He’s on hand to see my son through too.

p. 387

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 7

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

What are these facts of A.A. life which brought us to this apparently impractical principle?  John Doe, a good A.A. moves – let us say – to Middletown, U.S.A. Alone now, he reflects that he may not be able to stay sober, or even alive, unless he passes on to other alcoholics what was so freely given him. He feels a spiritual and ethical compulsion, because hundreds may be suffering within reach of his help. Then, too, he misses his home group. He needs other alcoholics as much as they need him. He visits preachers, doctors, editors, policemen, and bartenders … with the result that Middletown now has a group, and he is the founder.

pp. 132-133

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Xtra Thoughts
October 7

If you like what you’re getting keep doing what you’re doing!  If you don’t like what you’re getting, keep doing what you’re doing and you will keep getting what you’re getting!

Today, I like what I am getting, so I will keep doing what I am doing!
–Source Member at Columbia Missouri

With God everyday, I make my way. I hold on to God’s hand As I journey through this land.
–Tammy

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Do not let a desire for wealth cause you to become so consumed by your work that you prevent happiness for yourself and your family. Happiness is foremost. A look filled with understanding, and accepting smile, a loving word, a meal shared in warmth and awareness are the things which create happiness in the present moment. By nourishing awareness in the present moment, you can avoid causing suffering to yourself and those around you.
–Thich Nhat Hanh

“No matter how much you talk to your plant, if you don’t water it, it’s going to die.”
–Mike Perry

Thoughts and beliefs are nothing without action”
–James A. Ray

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 7
POWER

“The first and great commandment is ‘Don’t let them scare you.’”
– Elmer Davis

In my sobriety I still need to deal with fear. A fear of people, a fear of not being good enough, a fear of saying the wrong thing, a fear of not looking “good enough” — fear still haunts me in sobriety.

However, my recovery also tells me that I am a child of God. I am a beautiful and powerful human being because God not only made me, but has shared something of His precious divinity with me. I am good enough. In Him I can afford to risk. Love must begin with the recognition of self.

Today I must remember that people are not “out to get me”. I need not make myself the victim. People are much the same inside, and we all need each other to survive.

Thank You for the power to live with my fear.

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Bible Scriptures
October 7

Let them give thanks for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
Psalm 107:8-9

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.”
Psalm 55:22

We love Him, because He first loved us.
1 John 4:19

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Daily Inspiration
October 7

Be grateful for the simple things that you can do such as being able to see, to walk, to have health and to be able to face life with peace of mind. Lord, on a daily basis I will count my many unnamed blessings.

Smile. If you know that God is with you and will never fail you, then you always have every reason to smile. Lord, my heart seeks You and clings to You and I rejoice.

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A Day At A Time
October 7

Reflection For The Day

When I first read the Serenity Prayer, the word “serenity” itself seemed like an impossibility. At the time, the word conjured up images of lethargy, apathy, resignation, or grim-faced endurance; it hardly seemed a desirable goal. But I’ve since found that serenity means none of those things. Serenity for me today is simply a clear-eyed and realistic way of seeing the world, accompanied by inner peace and strength. My favorite definition is, “Serenity is like a gyroscope that lets us keep our balance no matter what turbulence swirls around us.” Is that a state of mind worth aiming for?

Today I Pray

may I notice that “serenity” comes first, ahead of “courage” and “wisdom,” in the sequence of the Serenity Prayer. May I believe that “serenity” must also come first in my life. I must have the balance, realistic outlook and acceptance that is part of this blessing of serenity before I can go on to the kind of action and decision-making that will bring order to my existence.

Today I Will Remember

Serenity comes first.

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One More Day
October 7

Honor your challenges, for those spaces that you label as dark are actually there to bring you more light.
–  Sanaya Roman

Many of us have wondered whether we should begin using adaptive living aids openly.  We worry about what people would think if they saw us using equipment that brands us as handicapped.  We fear embarrassment.  Some folks never solve the problem, and they stay at home, trapped by their fears of being noticed, of being different.  It’s difficult to forfeit the anonymity of being the same as everyone else.

One thing is certain — without special gadgets, we have to ask for help.  So, with foresight and a fierce sense of independence, many of us grasp any opportunity to “do” for ourselves.  We can use aids because they will assist and support our zest for life.

I will risk being different.  By using adaptive devices I can remain more independent.

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One Day At A Time
October 7
WISDOM

“Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.”
–Kahlil Gibran

When I heard the serenity prayer at the first OA meeting I attended, I didn’t understand what it meant to accept what I couldn’t change, have courage to change the things I could, and wisdom to know the difference. I said it at each meeting and hoped that eventually I would somehow find that wisdom. It was quite some time into my recovery when I finally understood what having wisdom really meant.

Before Program, I never accepted things or people the way they were. I felt paralyzed by my fears about what wasn’t working in my life. This fear kept me from seeing what I could change, or even try to change, in my life.

I finally realized that before coming into the Program I had put on a mask and never let anyone know the real me. I didn’t know how to laugh or cry, and I certainly never knew how to reach out to others because it was always about me and my unfortunate life.

But once I finally allowed myself to be real and vulnerable with others, miracles began to happen. I became more willing to accept people and places as exactly the way they should be at that time. I was able to walk through my fears and learn what I could change in my life. To my delight, when I became more vulnerable to others it didn’t make me weak; rather, I felt a strength and power flow through me and I became more able to know the difference between what I could or couldn’t change, and for me, that is wisdom.

One day at a time…
May I always be willing to know the difference between what I can and cannot change.

~ Sharon S.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 7

“We have a biological father and mother, but our real Father is Tunkashila [Creator] and our real Mother is the Earth.”
–Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

Who really gives us our life? Who really gives us our food and nurturing? Who really allows us to be born? We are born through our parents who act as the vehicle of life for the Creator and Mother Earth. Our parents take care of us for a little while and when we are ready we must leave them and be faithful to our true Father, the Creator, and our true Mother, the Earth. Then we need to be of service to the Creator and be respectful to Mother Earth.

Great Spirit, thank you for being my Father. Teach me to honor the Earth.

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Journey To The Heart
October 7
Value the Power of Seeing

I have learned a valuable tool. It is one of the easiest and most powerful tools I’ve been given. I call it the power of seeing.

It is the simple act of observing myself: what I do, how I react, how I respond to others. It is particularly useful in situations that have gotten confused or sticky and I don’t know what to do to become unstuck. When I feel overwhelmed or a situation gets too difficult and I can’t see my way through, I watch myself. It helps.

Learn to observe yourself. Let yourself really see and be present in the moment in the situation you’re in. Watch yourself as a neutral observer would, without judgement. Try to see the other person in the same way. Watch how the two of you interact, respond to each other. Watch yourself think and feel. See the actions you take. You don’t have to talk about what you’re doing; it’s better if you don’t. Just stay with yourself. Do it once. Do it twice. Then do it again.

Soon you’ll begin to see something else: you’ll begin to see the situation change, evolve, take a turn for the better. The power of seeing is one most of us can easily claim. It helps, heals, and sometimes produces miracles. Physicists have deicided that the act of observing can impact the behavior, appearance, or energy of whatever is being observed. How we look at someone, including ourselves, can have an impact, cause a change.

There’s power in seeing. There’s even more power in seeing with the eyes of love.

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Today’s Gift
October 7

There are two kinds of slaves, the prisoners of addiction, and the prisoners of envy.
—Ivan Ilich

No emotion brings us more personal pain or wastes more of our time than envy. When we envy, we are never free from stress, because envy takes no holidays. Shakespeare called envy the green sickness. Envy magnifies molehills into mountains.

Just how foolish envy truly is becomes clear when we think of it as a row of hooks on which to hang grudges. When we envy others, especially our family members, we blind ourselves to the good we could see in all people. We are ignoring life’s flowers to gather bouquets of weeds.

When we envy the accomplishments or possessions of another, we will be better off if we look to our own prized possessions, to those things in ourselves that no one else has in exactly the same way.

What riches do I have within and around me?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 7
Letting Go Of Naivete

We can be loving, trusting people and still not allow ourselves to be used or abused.  We don’t have to let people do whatever they want to us.  Not all request are legitimate!  Not all request require a yes!

Life may test us.  People may seek out our weak spots.  We may see a common denominator to the limits that are being tested in our life.  If we have a weak spot in one area, we may find ourselves tested repeatedly in that area by family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.  Life, people, our Higher Power, and the Universe may be trying to teach us something specific.

When we lear that lesson, we will find that problems with that are dwindle.  The boundry has been set, the power has been owned.  For now, the lesson has been learned.  We may need to be angry with certain people for a while, people who have pushed our tolerance over the edge.  That’s okay.  Soon, we can let go of the anger and exchange it for the gratitude.  These people have been here to help us learn about what we don’t wnat, what we won’t tolerate, and how to own our power.

We can than them for what we have learned.

How much are we willing to tolerate?  How far shall we let others go with us?  How much of our anger and intuition shall we discount?  Where are our limits?  Do we have any?  If we don’t, we’re in trouble.

There are times to not trust others, but instead trust ourselves and set boundaries with those around us.

Today, I will be open to new awareness about the areas where I need healthier boundaries.  I will forgo my maive assumption that the other person is always right.  I will exchange that view for trusting myself, listening to myself, and having and setting healthy boundaries.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 7
Tell yourself how simple it is

Here’s another example about the power of simplification.

For years, I heard about hiking. It sounded so elusive, difficult, and mysterious. I didn’t do it, but I thought about hiking wistfully. One day a friend asked me to go hiking with him. “Sure,” I said. As the day of our hike approached, I began thinking things through. I was getting a little nervous. What if I couldn’t do it well enough? What if I didn’t know how to do it at all?

Don’t be ridiculous, I scolded myself. You’re making this much more complicated than it really is. Hiking is just walking, and you’ve been doing that since you were ten months old.

The next day, I arose at 6:00 A.M. and my friend and I left for our hike. I followed my friend as he began walking up the steep incline.

Just walk, I told myself after the first ten steps. Put one foot in front of another. Walk like you’ve done all your life.

I didn’t make it to the top of the mountain that day, but I made it almost halfway.

Is there something you’ve wanted to do but have put off because it sounds too difficult and complicated? Are you saying no to something in your life that you’d like to say yes to, but it seems elusive and out of your reach? Try reducing the task or activity to its simplest form.

I have a friend who hadn’t dated for years. One day, a girl he liked asked him to go to the movies. He was anxious and nervous.

“Going to a movie is just sitting down and staring at the screen, then getting up and going home when you’ve finished,” I said. “I think you can do that.”

“You’re right,” he said. He went and had a great time.

Sometimes, we can scare ourselves out of doing the easiest things in life. Yes, hiking involves more than walking. And going on a date with someone involves a little more than sitting and staring at a screen. But not that much more. Simplify things. Bring them down to their most manageable level. Instead of talking yourself out of living, learn to talk yourself into it.

God, give me the courage to fully live my life. Help me deliberately talk myself into doing things, instead of scaring myself away.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 7

If there are two hundred people in a room and one of them doesn’t like me, I’ve got to get out.
—Marlon Brando

How much acceptance is enough for us? Do we feel one person’s criticism undermines the acceptance of 199 others? Do we get so focused on one person’s negative response to us that we cannot hear the positive? If we are unable to accept criticism from others, it becomes a sink without a plug, draining away all the positives we naturally have in our life.

As we become spiritual men, we’re able to detach from negative and critical messages. We must still hear them. We must still listen to their messages because we can learn from them. But we can separate ourselves from the negative message. We can make a mistake. Someone can dislike us. But we do not give up our places as equal, worthwhile men for any reason.

God, I pray for your support when my own strength to stand up for myself falters.

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Daily TAO
October 7
MEASURE

Birthdays, anniversaries, memorials, festivals
Measure our progress on the path.

How old are you? Have you made a life you can look back on and be satisfied?

How long have you been practicing your devotions? Can you look back on years of unbroken progress?

How long has it been since a significant world event? Has the world gone any further in creating collective good?

Is today a day of celebration? How much have you done since the last holiday?

Each day of measure is a milestone on the path. If you are just beginning on the path, then it is good to determinedly look forward to the day when you can look back on a year, a decade, or many decades of perseverance. If you are today standing on the vantage point of some anniversary, then count the time that you have maintained your progressand be glad.

Those who follow Tao do not celebrate their birthdays, do not mark the anniversary of their embarking on the path. They say that following Tao is one continuous flow, not to be violated by the calendar. They are like hikers who wander, not worrying about the road, not concerned about distance or time. The rest of us have not yet attained that level of pure spontaneity. For we who are still struggling to maintain a foothold on the path, it is profitable to look forward to passing milestones as a way of encouraging ourselves and measuring our progress.

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