In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – September 13

Just For Today
September 13
Something Different

“We had to have something different, and we thought we had found it in drugs.”
Basic Text p.13

Many of us have always felt different from other people. We know we’re not unique in feeling that way; we hear many addicts share the same thing. We searched all our lives for something to make us all right, to fix that “different” place inside us, to make us whole and acceptable. Drugs seemed to fill that need.

When we were high, at least we no longer felt the emptiness or the need. There was one drawback: The drugs, which were our solution, quickly became our problem.

Once we gave up the drugs, the sense of emptiness returned. At first we felt despair because we didn’t have any solution of our own to that miserable longing. But we were willing to take direction and began to work the steps. As we did, we found what we’d been looking for, that “something different” Today, we believe that our lifelong yearning was primarily for knowledge of a Higher Power; the “something different” we needed was a relationship with a loving God. The steps tell us how to begin that relationship.

Just for today: My Higher Power is the “something different” that’s always been missing in my life I will use the steps to restore that missing ingredient to my spirit.


Daily Reflections
September 13

Good judgment, careful sense of timing, courage and prudence – these are the qualities we shall need when we take Step Nine.

To make amends can be viewed two ways: first, that of repairing damage, for if I have damaged my neighbor’s fence, I “make a mend,” and that is a direct amend; the second way is by modifying my behavior, for if my actions have harmed someone. I make a daily effort to cause no further harm. I “mend my ways,” and that is an indirect amend. Which is the best approach? The only right approach, provided that I am causing no further harm in so doing, is to do both. If harm is done, then I simply “mend my ways.”  To take action in this manner assures me of making honest amends.


Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 13
A.A. Thought For The Day

“No one is too discredited, nor has sunk too low, to be welcomed cordially into A.A., if he or she means business. Social distinctions, petty rivalries and jealousies are laughed out of countenance. Being wrecked in the same vessel, being restored and united under one God, with hearts and minds attuned to the welfare of others, the things which matter so much to some people no longer signify much to us. In A.A., we have true democracy and true brotherhood.”

Meditation For The Day

When you call on God in prayer to help you overcome weakness, sorrow, pain, discord, and conflict, God never fails in some way to answer the appeal. When you are in need of strength for yourself or for the help of some other person, call on God in prayer. The power you need will come simply, naturally, and forcefully. Pray to God not only when you need help, but also just to commune with Him. The spirit of prayer can alter an atmosphere from one of discord to one of reconciliation. It will raise the quality of thought and word and bring order out of chaos.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may bring peace where these is discord.  I pray that I may bring conciliation where these is conflict.


As Bill Sees It
September 13
Wider Understanding, p.255

To reach more alcoholics, understanding of A.A. and public good will towards A.A. must go on growing everywhere. We need to be on still better terms with medicine, courts, prisons, mental hospitals, and all enterprises in the alcoholism field. We need the increasing good will of editors, writers, television and radio channels. These publicity outlets need to be opened ever wider.


Nothing matters more to A.A.’s future welfare than the manner in which we use the colossus of modern communication. Used unselfishly and well, it can produce results surpassing our present imagination. Should we handle this great instrument badly, we shall be shattered by the ego manifestations of our own people.  Against this peril, A.A. members’ anonymity before the general public is our shield and our buckler.

1. Twelve Concepts, p.51
2. Grapevine, November 1960


Walk In Dry Places
September 13
Learning to Cut my Losses

Business people speak of “cutting their losses” when it becomes clear that a venture is going sour. As recovering alcoholics, we need to practice the same principle when we’re obviously on the wrong track.

If a resentment is developing, for example, the sooner we spot it and clear it out, the less damage we suffer. In the same way, we may be engaging in selfish but destructive behavior, or perhaps something that borders on being illicit or dishonest. We minimize our losses by admitting the wrong and getting back to our basic principles of living.

In cutting our losses, the usual barriers are pride and self-deception. While these shortcomings will probably always dog us, we at least have experience in dealing with them, or we wouldn’t have made any progress in sobriety.

If a course of thought or action isn’t working out well, perhaps it’s time today to cut my loses in order to get back on the right track.


Keep It Simple
September 13

People seldom improve when they have no model but themselves to copy.
—Oliver Goldsmith

If we had to get well by ourselves, we’d be in trouble. We’ve already tried this route. We need to learn a new way to live, not the old way we already know.

That’s why we have sponsors in Twelve Step programs. Sponsors are one of the best things about our recovery. We pick people who are happy and doing well in recovery. Then we copy them. We copy them because sponsors are special people who have what we want. They have sobriety. They have happiness. They have common sense. They have peace and serenity. And they will help us get those things too. We learn a new way to live from them.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me pick good models. Help me copy what works for them.

Action for the Day: If I don’t have a sponsor now, I’ll work today on getting one.


Each Day a New Beginning
September 13

Nobody told me how hard and lonely change is.
…………Joan Gilberston

Pain, repeatedly experienced, indicates a need for self-assessment, an inventory of our behavior. Honest self-appraisal may well call for change, a change in attitude perhaps, a change in specific behavior in some instances, or maybe a change in direction. We get off the right path occasionally, but go merrily on our way until barriers surface, doors close, and experiences become painful.

Most of us willingly wallow in our pain awhile, not because we like it, but because its familiarity offers security. We find some comfort in our pain because at least it holds no surprises.

When our trust in God is high, we are more willing to change. And we open ourselves to the indications for movement in a new direction. Each of us must find our own willingness. Each of us must develop attentiveness to the signs that repeatedly invite changes in our behavior. But most of all, each of us has to travel the road to change, singly. Changes we must find th courage to make will never be exactly like someone else’s changes.

Courage to change accompanies faith. My fears are telling me to look within to the spiritual source of strength, ever present but often forgotten.


Alcoholics Anonymous
September 13
He Sold Himself Short

But he found there was a Higher Power that had more faith in him than he had to himself. Thus, A.A. was born in Chicago.

After a particular bad Christmas and New Year’s holiday, Dad picked me up again early in January 0937 to go through the usual sobering up routine. This consisted of walking the floor for three or four days and nights until I could take nourishment. This time he had a suggestion to offer. He waited until I was completely sober, and on the day before I was to head back for Chicago, he told me of a small group of men in Akron who apparently had the same problem that I had but were doing something about it. He said they were sober, happy, and had their self-respect back, as well as the respect of their neighbors. He mentioned two of them who I had known through the years and suggested that I talk with them. But I had my health back, and besides, I reasoned, they were much worse than I would ever be. Why, even a year ago I had seen Howard, an ex-doctor, mooching a dime for a drink. I could not possibly be that bad. I would at least have asked for a quarter! So I told Dad that I would lick it on my own, that I would drink nothing for a month and after that only beer.


Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 13

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

Being the founder, he is at first the boss. Who else could be? Very soon, though, his assumed authority to run everything begins to be shared with the first alcoholics he has helped. At this moment, the benign dictator becomes the chairman of a committee composed of his friends. These are the growing group’s hierarchy of service – self-appointed, of course, because there is no other way. In a matter of months, A.A. booms in Middletown.

p. 133


Xtra Thoughts
September 13

None of us has gotten where we are solely by pulling ourselves up from our own bootstraps. We got here because somebody bent down and helped us.
–Thurgood Marshall

Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.
–Henry James

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
–Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

“Listen or Thy tongue will keep Thee deaf.”
–American Indian Proverb


Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 13

“The greatest good of a minority of our generation may be the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the long run.”
– Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr.

I belong to a minority. I am a recovering alcoholic. I use a spiritual program that keeps me sober a day at a time. I have a God that I can understand today. I do a daily inventory and make amends when appropriate, and I feel good about myself.

This spiritual program is reaching out to the world: gamblers, overeaters, cocaine addicts, the families of addicts, the children of compulsive people; obsessive people can all be helped by this daily program of acceptance.

Perhaps the recovering drunk has stumbled upon a miracle that can bring the world back to God!

Lord, the more I talk about my “difference” with people, the more they and I feel the same.


Bible Scriptures
September 13

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.”
Psalm 143:10

“You have let me sink down deep in desperate problems. But you will bring me back to life again, up from the depths of the earth!”
Psalms 71:20


Daily Inspiration
September 13

Talent is the ability to do easily that which others find difficult. Lord, help me to recognize and value the abilities that I have been given and use them gratefully.

Simple trust in God is all that is required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Lord, I love You. I trust in You. I am Your child.


A Day At A Time
September 13

Reflection For The Day

We hear often in The Program that pain is the touchstone of spiritual progress.  We eventually realize that just as the pains of alcoholism has to come before sobriety, emotional turmoil comes before serenity.  We no longer commiserate with all people who suffer, but only with those who suffer in ignorance — those who don’t understand the purpose of ultimate utility of pain.  In Proust’s words, “To goodness and wisdom we make only promises; pain we obey.”  Do I believe that pain is God’s way of trying to get my attention?

Today I Pray

May I Understand that value of pain in my life, especially if I am headed breakneck down a track of self-destruction.   May I know that pain is God’s way of flagging down the trail I’m on before  it gets to a bridge wash-out.  May I be thankful that pain forced me to throw the switch in time.

Today I Will Remember

Pain saves lives.


One More Day
September 13

What next?  Why ask?  Next will com a demand about  which you  already know all you need to know:  that its sle measure is your own strength.
–  Dag Hammarskyjol

Life is full of demands;  we know and expect that.  Most of us wish we knew about them ahead of time, but it’s just not possible to prepare in advance for stress.  Negative stressors like a flat tire of a server illness and positive stressorrs like a family reunion are typical of the demands placed on us throughput our lives.

Somehow, when these things happen, we manage to rise to the occasion.  We may need to sue all our resources — physical and spiritual — to cope, but we usually find within ourselves the strength and enth7usiasm for the demands we face.

By knowing that I will be able to handle life crises with deep inner strength, I need not ask myself “What’s Next?


One Day At A Time
September 13

“It’s a funny thing about life.
If you refuse to settle for anything less than the best,
that’s what it will give you.”
–W. Somerset Maugham

When I first came to program, I was in the diet mentality. After a few “slips” I had to face the facts: I was in relapse, and I had never really surrendered. With the help of the program, I gained an increasing awareness of this progressive disease. Did I really want to recover? Was I really willing to go to any lengths to find relief from compulsive eating?

When I finally surrendered the food and began working the Steps, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that food could no longer be the answer. With seven months’ abstinence, I now know that I have a long way to go in my recovery. However, one day at a time, I am willing to find my answers in the Steps instead of in the food. Thank you, Higher Power!

One day at a time…
I choose abstinence and will listen for God’s calling in my life. God’s will for me is the safest and most loving place I can be, and I know God wants me to live a life free from the compulsion to eat.

~ Christine S.


Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 13

“The most important thing you can do during the course of the day is to pray.”

There are many things we do during the day that are important. There are many places we have to go and there are many things to accomplish. The old ones say, the most important thing we can do is remember to take the time to pray. We should pray every morning and every evening. In this way we can be sure that the Great Spirit is running our lives. With the Great Spirit we are everything but without Him we are nothing. All Warriors know their greatest weapon is prayer. To spend time talking to the Creator is a great honor.

Great Spirit, thank You for listening to my prayers.


Journey to the Heart
September 13
Surrender to Your Feelings

Sometimes we think being strong means not giving in to our emotions. But that’s not strength, that’s denial and resistance. Real power comes from being vulnerable enough to feel whatever you feel.

Keep going, we tell ourselves. Don’t give in, This will pass… But the only way to pass through these times is by feeling what we feel. The longer we fight and resist our emotions, the longer the situation will continue that is triggering them.

We may not see the lesson until we feel the feeling. We may not see the issue, the next step, the way out or the way through until we give in, feel our emotions, then release them. It’s not enough to talk about them, although that will help bring them into consciousness, into the light of day. But talking about our feelings is different from surrendering to and feeling the emotional energy.

Feel the feeling, then release it. Now your soul and the universe can move you forward into new circumstances, into growth. An issue to work on– such as freedom, forgiveness, acceptance, love, or valuing some part of ourselves or our lives– may naturally and automatically emerge. If we pay attention to the process by which we grow, we will clearly see that each step of the way– feeling our feeling, accepting it, and then releasing it– triggered the next step of growth. Soon we will see that we are learning a new lesson. We are on our way again.

There is magic in allowing our feelings to pass through us, magic in giving in. There is power, more than we think in being vulnerable enough to feel what we feel.


Today’s Gift
September 13

Love, a thousand, thousand voices,
From night to dawn,
from dawn to night,
Have cried the passion
of their choices
To orb your name and keep it bright.
–William Rose Benet

We are each in the midst of unique lives, and our choices are based on our own experiences, so it’s only natural that they all be different. One of us may choose to go to jail for protesting nuclear weapons; another may choose to pray for peace. Both are working for the same goal.

It is a sign of our love to respect others’ right to choose for themselves, even to make choices we may not agree with. Perhaps a brother or sister likes music we hate, or a son or daughter wants to wear an unusual style of clothing. How often do we, in the name of love, try to force our choices on others? When we give the gift of letting loved ones choose what is right for them, it strengthens our ability to choose what is right for us.

Whose choices can I honor today, even if I disagree?


The Language of Letting Go
September 13

Times of Reprogramming

Recovery is not all-tiresome, unrewarded work. There are times of joy and rest, times when we comfortably practice what we have learned. There are times of change, times when we struggle to learn something new or overcome a particular problem.

These are the times when what we’ve been practicing in recovery begins to show in our life. These times of change are intense, but purposeful.

There are also times when, at a deep level, we are being “reprogrammed.” We start letting go of beliefs and behaviors. We may feel frightened or confused during these times. Our old behaviors or patterns may not have worked for us, but they were comfortable and familiar.

During these times we may feel vulnerable, lonely, and needy – like we are on a journey without a road map or a flashlight, and we feel as if no one has traveled this ground before.

We may not understand what is being worked out in us. We may not know where or if we are being led.

We are being led. We are not alone. Our Higher Power is working His finest and best to bring true change in us. Others have traveled this road to. We will be led to someone who can help us, someone who can provide the markers we need.

We are being prepared for receiving as much joy and love as our heart can hold.

Recovery is a healing process. We can trust it, even when we don’t understand it. We are right where we need to be in this process; we’re going through exactly what we need to experience. And where we’re going is better than any place we’ve been.

Today, God, help me believe that the changes I’m going through are for the good. Help me believe that the road I’m traveling will lead to a place of light, love, and joy.


More Language Of Letting Go
September 13
Who do you say you are?

I was driving out to the skydiving center one day, mulling things over in my head. Before long, I’d be on the plane and it would be my time to walk to that door and jump out. The fears started brewing and building up. I don’t know if I can do this, I thought. I don’t even know if I want to become a sky diver or if this path is right for me.

“You already are a sky diver,” a quiet voice said.

That’s right, I thought.

When I first began recovering from my chemical dependency, I preferred to identify myself as a drug addict. “My name is Melody, and I am a drug addict,” I’d say quietly at the group. One member of the group started harping at me after hearing me identify myself this way. “You’re an alcoholic,too,” he said. “And you should label yourself as that.”

I resisted what he said for a while, and then I decided to give it a try. Finally at one meeting, I said the words aloud. “My name is Melody, and I am an alcoholic.”

Now, I understand why it was so important– not to him but to me– to label myself as an alcoholic. Number one, it was important because it was the truth. In order to focus on my recovery, I needed to abstain from using both alcohol and drugs. Number two, whether this friend knew it or not, he knew the power of the Great I Am.

He wasn’t asking me to degrade or limit myself. All he was asking me to do was identify who I really was and am. And by saying and acknowledging this, I helped create a new role, a new personality. I am now, at the time of this writing, by the grace of God, a recovering alcoholic and addict.

Most of us aren’t one single thing. We’re a parent, a student, maybe a recovering person, and a grown child. We form many new I am’s as we go through life.

Watch each time you say the words I am in a conversation or thought. Pay attention to the times you say I’m not, as well. Then spend some time reflecting not only on who you are, but who you want to become.

Discover the power in your life from saying I am.

Who do you say you are and you aren’t?

Give yourself a chance to become someone new.

God, help me understand and use correctly, to the best possible benefit of my growth, the power of the Great I Am.


Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 13

Mothers give sons permission to be a prince but the father must show him how…. Fathers give daughters permission to be princesses. And mothers must show them how. Otherwise, both boys and girls will grow up and always see themselves as frogs.
—Eric Berne

Relationships with our fathers have been central in shaping our characters. We catch ourselves saying what we heard our fathers say, or doing something we know they did. Many of us have had pain and resentments in these relationships. We wanted more time than they gave us, or we longed for praise but got criticism, or we were never sure we measured up to them.

Some of us can change our relationships with our fathers. We can do it, not by asking them to be different, but by being our full adult selves with them. This new experience is the doorway to a new aspect of our selves. Many of us cannot change our relationships with our fathers, but being with our sons and daughters in ways that nurture their growth is another chance to redo for ourselves what we missed.

My father’s importance to me is a fact I must surrender to. I will take what he has given me and grow with it.


Daily TAO
September 13

Meaning in life is arbitrary.
Why ruin the universe with rigidity?

Why do we make the choices we do? After all, we do not have unlimited freedom to do things. We find ourselves constrained by our gender, our race, our economic circumstances, our personalities that were shaped both by genetics and the random processes of life. Furthermore, we find that other people have their own ideas of what we should be doing, and they constrain us still further.

A person born into one culture will have entirely different options that one born into another. They may both lead valuable lives, but they will most certainly differ in many respects. The meaning that they find will come from different palettes. We cannot say that one person’s life is more valuable than another’s.

Of all the people who have lived, have any of them been truly “better”, than another? We see in their lives only the exercise of preferences, not differences of inherent meaning.

All meaning in life is arbitrary. It is not tied to god, family, or self unless we define it as such. Nothing in life gives us meaning in and of itself. It is we who assign meaning to objects and relationships. We all try to make the structure of our meaning pretty, but in the end, there is no escape from the feeling that it is all arbitrary.

It might be better not to ruin the universe with our own patterns.


Daily Zen
September 13

Food and clothes sustain body and life
I advise you to learn being as is.
When it’s time, I move my hermitage and go,
And there’s nothing to be left behind.

– Layman P’ang (740-808)


Food For Thought
September 13

Deep within us is a hunger, which is not satisfied by food. We hunger for love and fellowship with each other and we hunger for communion with our Higher Power. We were not made to be alone and isolated. Withdrawing into compulsive overeating makes the deep hunger even worse.

As long as we are alive, we will never be fully satisfied. There will always be more love to give and receive and more steps to take on our spiritual journey. In this sense, we will always be hungry. Spiritual hunger is a good thing, as long as we recognize it for what it is and do not try to appease it with material substitutes.

Our Higher Power has created us with a hunger, which He alone can satisfy. As our progress through the Twelve Steps brings us closer to Him and closer to each other, we experience a fulfillment, which we had not known before. We are learning to hunger for spirituality.

Bless our hunger, we pray.


Faiths Checkbook
September 13
The Dew of Heaven

His heavens shall drop down dew.
(Deuteronomy 33:28)

What the dew in the East is to the world of nature, that is the influence of the Spirit in the realm of grace. How greatly do I need it! Without the Spirit of God I am a dry and withered thing. I droop, I fade, I die. How sweetly does this dew refresh me! When once favored with it I feel happy, lively, vigorous, elevated. I want nothing more. The Holy Spirit brings me life and all that life requires. All else without the dew of the Spirit is less than nothing to me: I hear, I read, I pray, I sing, I go to the table of Communion, and I find no blessing there until the Holy Ghost visits me. But when He bedews me, every means of grace is sweet and profitable.

What a promise is this for me! “His heavens shall drop down dew.” I shall be visited with grace. I shall not be left to my natural drought, or to the world’s burning heat, or to the sirocco of satanic temptation. Oh, that I may at this very hour feel the gentle, silent, saturating dew of the Lord! Why should I not! He who has made me to live as the grass lives in the meadow will treat me as He treats the grass; He will refresh me from above. Grass cannot call for dew as I do. Surely, the Lord who visits the unpraying plant will answer to His pleading child.


This Mornings Reading
September 13

“Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well, the rain also filleth the pools.”
—Psalm 84:6.

THIS teaches us that the comfort obtained by a one may often prove serviceable to another; just as wells would be used by the company who came after. We read some book full of consolation, which is like Jonathan’s rod, dropping with honey. Ah! we think our brother has been here before us, and digged this well for us as well as for himself. Many a “Night of Weeping,” “Midnight Harmonies,” an “Eternal Day,” “A Crook in the Lot,” a “Comfort for Mourners,” has been a well digged by a pilgrim for himself, but has proved quite as useful to others. Specially we notice this in the Psalms, such as that beginning, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” Travellers have been delighted to see the footprint of man on a barren shore, and we love to see the waymarks of pilgrims while passing through the vale of tears.

The pilgrims dig the well, but, strange enough, it fills from the top instead of the bottom. We use the means, but the blessing does not spring from the means. We dig a well, but heaven fills it with rain. The horse is prepared against the day of battle, but safety is of the Lord. The means are connected with the end, but they do not of themselves produce it. See here the rain fills the pools, so that the wells become useful as reservoirs for the water; labour is not lost, but yet it does not supersede divine help.

Grace may well be compared to rain for its purity, for its refreshing and vivifying influence, for its coming alone from above, and for the sovereignty with which it is given or withheld. May our readers have showers of blessing, and may the wells they have digged be filled with water! Oh, what are means and ordinances without the smile of heaven! They are as clouds without rain, and pools without water. O God of love, open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing!


This Evenings Reading
September 13

“This man receiveth sinners.”
—Luke 15:2.

OBSERVE the condescension of this fact. This Man, who towers above all other men, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners—this Man receiveth sinners. This Man, who is no other than the eternal God, before whom angels veil their faces—this Man receiveth sinners. It needs an angel’s tongue to describe such a mighty stoop of love. That any of us should be willing to seek after the lost is nothing wonderful—they are of our own race; but that He, the offended God, against whom the transgression has been committed, should take upon Himself the form of a servant, and bear the sin of many, and should then be willing to receive the vilest of the vile, this is marvellous.

“This Man receiveth sinners”; not, however, that they may remain sinners, but He receives them that He may pardon their sins, justify their persons, cleanse their hearts by His purifying word, preserve their souls by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, and enable them to serve Him, to show forth His praise, and to have communion with Him. Into His heart’s love He receives sinners, takes them from the dunghill, and wears them as jewels in His crown; plucks them as brands from the burning, and preserves them as costly monuments of His mercy. None are so precious in Jesus’ sight as the sinners for whom He died. When Jesus receives sinners, He has not some out-of-doors reception place, no casual ward where He charitably entertains them as men do passing beggars, but He opens the golden gates of His royal heart, and receives the sinner right into Himself—yea, He admits the humble penitent into personal union and makes Him a member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. There was never such a reception as this! This fact is still most sure this evening, He is still receiving sinners: would to God sinners would receive Him.
“This Man receiveth sinners”; not, however, that they may remain sinners, but He receives them that He may pardon their sins, justify their persons, cleanse their hearts by His purifying word, preserve their souls by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, and enable them to serve Him, to show forth His praise, and to have communion with Him. Into His heart’s love He receives sinners, takes them from the dunghill, and wears them as jewels in His crown; plucks them as brands from the burning, and preserves them as costly monuments of His mercy. None are so precious in Jesus’ sight as the sinners for whom He died. When Jesus receives sinners, He has not some out-of-doors reception place, no casual ward where He charitably entertains them as men do passing beggars, but He opens the golden gates of His royal heart, and receives the sinner right into Himself—yea, He admits the humble penitent into personal union and makes Him a member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. There was never such a reception as this! This fact is still most sure this evening, He is still receiving sinners: would to God sinners would receive Him.

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