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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – September 21, 2014

Just For Today
September 21, 2014
Prayer

“Prayer takes practice, and we should remind ourselves that skilled people were not born with their skills.”
Basic Text, p.45

Many of us came into recovery with no experience in prayer and worried about not knowing the “right words!” Some of us remembered the words we’d learned in childhood but weren’t sure we believed in those words anymore. Whatever our background, in recovery we struggled to find words that spoke truly from our hearts.

Often the first prayer we attempt Is a simple request to our Higher Power asking for help in staying clean each day. We may ask for guidance and courage or simply pray for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out. If we find ourselves stumbling in our prayers, we may ask other members to share with us about how they learned to pray. No matter whether we pray in need or pray in joy, the important thing is to keep making the effort.

Our prayers will be shaped by our experience with the Twelve Steps and our personal understanding of a Higher Power. As our relationship with that Higher Power develops, we become more comfortable with prayer. In time, prayer becomes a source of strength and comfort. We seek that source often and willingly.

Just for today: I know that prayer can be simple. I will start where I am and practice.

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Daily Reflections
September 21, 2014
THE LAST PROMISE

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84

The last Promise in the Big Book came true for me on the very first day of sobriety. God kept me sober that day, and on every other day I allowed Him to operate in my life. He gives me the strength, courage and guidance to meet my responsibilities in life so that I am then able to reach out and help others stay sober and grow. He manifests within me, making me a channel of His word, thought and deed. He works with my inner self, while I produce in the outer world, for He will not do for me what I can do for myself. I must be willing to do His work, so that He can function through me successfully.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 21, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

Let us continue with Steps Four, Five, Six, Seven and Ten. In taking personal inventory of ourselves, we have to face facts as they really are. We have to stop running away. We must face reality. We must see ourselves as we really are. We must admit our faults openly and try to correct them. We must try to see where we have been dishonest, impure, selfish, and unloving. We do not do this once and forget it. We do it every day of our lives, as long as we live. We are never done with checking up on ourselves. Am I taking a daily inventory of myself?

Meditation For The Day

In improving our personal lives, we have Unseen help.   We were not made so that we could see God. That would be too easy for us and there would be no merit in obeying Him. It takes an act of faith, a venture of belief, to realize the Unseen Power. Yet, we have much evidence of God’s existence in the strength that many people have received from the act of faith, the venture of belief. We are in a box of space and time and we can see neither our souls nor God. God and the human spirit are both outside the limitations of space and time. Yet our Unseen help is effective here and now. That has been proved in thousands of changed lives.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may make the great venture of belief.  I pray that my vision may not be blocked by intellectual pride.

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As Bill Sees It
September 21, 2014
Fear And Faith, p.263

The achievement of freedom from fear is a lifetime undertaking, one that can never be wholly completed.

When under heavy attack, acute illness, or in other conditions of serious insecurity, we shall all react to this emotion–well or badly, as the case may be. Only the self-deceived will claim perfect freedom from fear.

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

We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up. Sometimes we had to search persistently, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us.

1. Grapevine, January 1962
2. Alcoholics Anonymous, p.55

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Keep It Simple
September 21, 2014

Love doesn’t make the world go around. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
—Franklin Jones

Before recovery, anger, self-pity, and sadness often filled our hearts. The world went on. We came to hate the ride.

In recovery, love fills our hearts. We begin to love life. Love is really caring about what happens to other people. Love is what makes the ride worth it

We find much love in our program. People really mater to us. We really matter to others. For many of us, we learn how to love in our meetings. The program teaches love because the program is love.

Prayer for the Day: I pray that I’ll welcome love into my heart and others into my life. Love brings me closer to my Higher Power.

Action for the Day: I’ll list all the people I love and why they matter to me.

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 21, 2014

Praise and an attitude of gratitude are unbeatable stimulators . . . we increase whatever we extol.
—Sylvia Stitt Edwards

What outlook are we carrying forth into the day ahead? Are we feeling fearful about the circumstances confronting us? Do we dread a planned meeting? Are we worried about the welfare of a friend or lover? Whatever our present outlook, its power over the outcome of our day is profound. Our attitude in regard to any situation attracting our attention influences the outcome. Sometimes to our favor, often to our disfavor if our attitude is negative.

Thankfulness toward life guarantees the rewards we desire, the rewards we seek too often from an ungrateful stance. The feeling of gratitude is foreign to many of us. We came to this program feeling worthless, sometimes rejected, frequently depressed. It seemed life had heaped problems in our laps, and so it had. The more we lamented what life “gave us,” the more reasons we were given to lament. We got just what we expected. We still get just what we expect. The difference is that the program has offered us the key to higher expectations. Gratitude for the good in our lives increases the good.

I have the personal power to influence my day; I will make it a good one.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
September 21, 2014
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.

The meeting consisted perhaps eight or nine alcoholics and seven or eight wives. It was different from the meetings now held. The big A.A. book had not been written, and there was no literature except various religious pamphlets. The program was carried on entirely by word of mouth.

p. 262

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 21, 2014

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

“So spoke the group conscience. The group was right and I was wrong; the voice on the subway was not the voice of God. Here was the true voice, welling up out of my friends. I listened, and – thank God – I obeyed.”

p. 138

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Xtra Thoughts
September 21, 2014

Four steps to achievement:

Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.
–William A. Ward

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.
–Anne Lamott

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
–Martin Luther King Jr.

Forget mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it. Today is your lucky day.
–Will Durant

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 21, 2014
ACTION

“I shall pass through this world but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do, let me do it now; let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
– Etienne de Grellet

Today I know that God requires me to be involved in my recovery and sobriety. God has always wanted me to be sober but the miracle took place when I wanted it, too. His hands were always extended towards me, the miracle happened when I chose to embrace Him. My sobriety involves me.

Today I understand that sobriety is more than “not picking up the first drink”; it involves quiet acts of kindness to myself and others. God works through me — through my hands, my smile, my voice, my love and my acceptance. When an opportunity arises for me to be ordinarily kind, I intend to give it; God knows I have needed such kindnesses from others in the past.

May I never avoid an opportunity for shared healing.

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Bible Scriptures
September 21, 2014

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in His word I put my hope.
Psalm 130 : 5

“Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”
2 John 1:3

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Daily Inspiration
September 21, 2014

Spend less time on the dreams of life and more time on the joys of living. Lord, help me to view my troubles as smaller than they are until together we make them disappear.

We are judged by our actions, not by our intentions. Lord, may I show my love for You through charity and goodness toward others.

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A Day At A Time
September 21, 2014

Reflection For The Day

I’ve heard it said that when God closes a door, He opens a window.  Since I started working the Twelve Steps, much of the fear and pain that haunted my life is gone.  Some of my defects have been lifted from me, though I’m still wrestling with others.  I believe that if I continue to work the Twelve Steps over and over again, my life will continue to improve — physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Am I more willing and better able to help others by working the Steps myself?

Today I Pray

I give thanks to God for showing me that the Twelve Steps are a stairway to a saner life.  As I re-work them conscientiously, my life does get better, healthier and nearer to my Higher Power.  As I continue to live them, may I feel the same gratitude and exaltation of spirit as those who are just now discovering them.

Today I Will Remember

Step by Step, day by day.

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One More Day
September 21, 2014

….Summer coming to an end.  So we all try to keep it awake and stretch it out by squeezing in all the boating, picnicking, swimming.  Sun, I crave all year.
–  Sister Mary Kraemer

As the days begin to shorten and become cooler, we may suddenly be struck by the realization that the summer is over.  With that thought might come the need to fill the last warm days with many activities we postponed or, perhaps, forgot.  At times like these, we may sense the need to hang on a little longer to the summer.

We do the same thing in other areas of our lives.  At the moment we realize we are about to lose something very precious, that is when we value it most.  Just before a dear friend moves away, we try to fill our days with togetherness.  Knowing this can help us use our time more wisely and remind us to see the value in everyone and everything around us.

I will let others know I value them, and why.

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One Day At A Time
September 21, 2014
~ New Worlds ~

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
–Anais Nin

Most of us are so compulsive at almost everything we do, that allowing people in to know our garbage of the past and present is unheard of.

You go to a meeting, find a new recovery friend and that friend opens a new door. You and that friend step through and WOW … the world in that room looks great! Later at another meeting, you meet another recovery friend and another door is opened. You and your two new friends step through and you find an even better world view. This continues to happen meeting after meeting, step after step, room after room and your personal lives begins to look much brighter and more beautiful, like there really is hope.

Funny how it’s still the same world but friends, recovery and Higher Power make it a much better worldly view.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will never end this beautiful cycle of finding new worlds as long as I never lose sight of my Higher Power, my recovery friends and my recovery program.

~ Jeanette ~

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Journey To The Heart
September 21, 2014
Appreciate Your Sensuality

Learn to appreciate and enjoy your sensuality.

Caress the petals of a gentle magnolia blossom. Inhale its scent. Touch the stem of a rose and carefully feel its thorns. Put our finger on a cactus. Sit down and feel the grass. Touch a tree, put your hand on the craggy rough bark and hold it there for a while. Cradle a rock in your hands, hold it close until you feel its temperature, its texture. Then place the rock next to your cheek and see what it feels like there. Feel the difference between a cotton sheet and a soft woolen blanket. Feel how water feels on your skin, or how the warm night air caresses your face. Touch a baby’s foot.

Learn to appreciate your sensuality. It will open you up to the energy of the world around you. It will open you to the life, passion, creativity, and textures within yourself.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 21

“everything is laid out for you. Your path is straight ahead of you. Sometimes it’s invisible but it’s there. You may not know where it’s going, but still you have to follow that path. It’s the path to the Creator. That’s the only path there is.”
–Leon Shenandoah, ONONDAGA

Everything on the earth has a purpose and a reason for its existence. Every human being is a warrior and every warrior has a song written in his/her heart and that song must be sung or the soul forever remains restless. This song is always about serving the Great Spirit and helping the people. This song is always sung for the people. Many times I need to learn much about the difficulties of life. I need to know this, so I must experience it. Then I can be of use to the people. Because I am experiencing difficulty does not mean I have left the path or that I have done something wrong. It means I’m doing the will of the Great Spirit during these times of testing. I need to pray constantly to keep a good attitude.

Great Spirit, this I know – You will never leave me, only my doubting makes it seem like You do. This I know – Your love is always dependable, only my doubting makes it seem like You do. Today remove the doubts from my belief system and allow me to stand straight and see You with straight eyes.

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Today’s Gift
September 21, 2014

Silently one by one in the infinite meadows of heaven Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of angels.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tales told about the stars reflect a lot about the people who tell them. The constellation now called Orion was once called Hippolyta. Hippolyta was one of the Amazon queens. The Amazons were women warriors who had four leaders instead of one: two older women and two younger women. Everyone could benefit from the experience and wisdom of the older and the strength and vigor of the younger.

After Hippolyta died, they named this constellation for her to honor her and remind themselves of her wisdom and bravery.

We can draw a good lesson from the value the Amazons placed on the contribution each one could make, no matter how young or old. When we remain alert to the possibility of learning from people we hadn’t seriously considered as teachers, we are reminded of our often forgotten value to others.

What can I offer in wisdom or strength to others today?

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The Language of Letting Go
September 21, 2014
Letting Go of Urgency

One thing at a time.

That’s all we have to do. Not two things at once, but one thing done in peace.

One task at a time. One feeling at a time. One day at a time. One problem at a time. One step at a time.

One pleasure at a time.

Relax. Let go of urgency. Begin calmly now. Take one thing at a time.

See how everything works out?

Today, I will peacefully approach one thing at a time. When in doubt, I will take first things first.

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More Language Of Letting Go
September 21, 2014
Revere your connection

Things derive their being and nature from mutual dependence and are nothing by themselves.
–Nagarjuna

We are dependent on much around us, not just for our survival, but for our joy. We need food, water, and the comapny of our fellow travelers on this great journey.

We can be self-sufficient in our attitude to take care of ourselves, yet we need the world around us in order to live and to be fully alive.

We are one part of a whole. We are a complete part, but nonetheless, a part. We need the other parts. The other parts need us.

Just as we’re influenced and impacted by those who touch us, we influence and impact them with our thoughts, words, and behaviors. We cannot control others. Look at the difference in our relationships when we speak gently and lovingly, and when we scream.

While it is great to revel in the blessing of existence, the world becomes more interesting and alive when we recognize everyone and everything else in it,too. This body cannot be without the sustenance of food, and our soul’s experience here would be greatly reduced were it not for the company of other spirits we have met.

While we do not need to live up to anyone’s expectations of us, we need to remember that our actions will impact those around us. Yes, we have the liberty to think, feel, and behave however we choose. But what we do will touch the lives of others.

We are not responsible for other people. But we have responsibilities to them.

Revel in your freedom. But revere and honor your connection to the world around you. Take responsibility for how you touch and connect with everything and everyone in your life today.

Live reverently, compassionately, and respectfully toward yourself and all else in the world.

God, give me reverence and respect for all life.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 21, 2014

He underwent a nine and a half hour operation. On the eighth day his wife picked him up from the hospital and said, “You want to go home?” to which he replied, “No, I want to go to the office.”
—Herb Goldberg

What is it that drives us men to such extremes in our work? Are we afraid of the intimacy we could develop with those who love us and whom we love? Are we driven to prove over and over that some old painful self-doubt is untrue? Is this how we feel masculine? Or are we trying to control our addictive problems by constant work? Perhaps we still have more to learn about surrender and powerlessness.

It is especially common to recovering men that the excesses of work unconsciously replace the excesses of addiction and codependency. This too is an unhealthy escape. We must confront our relationship to work if we are to continue on our path of spiritual awakening. It is good to have some unplanned, unstructured time in each day.

Today, help me remember that being good at my work is only one of my qualities

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Daily TAO
September 21, 2014
NONINTERFERENCE

I love this lake,
Basin of heavenly tears,
Tilted from lunar pull
Jostling its shore.
I love these mountains,
Stark rock outcroppings,
Sculpted by the oceans,
Lifted at some unknown time,
Isolated in a field of vetch,
Cleaved by silver falls.
A sentinel owl regards me unblinkingly,
And beyond, alpine forests form a cadence
To a distant moon.

The earth is overrun by investigators and engineers. The wilderness is made vulgar with the noise of tourists. We don’t need their thermometers and saws. We don’t need bridges and monuments. In the context of Tao, this is to violate the earth with human ambition and to crawl over the landscape like flies over fresh fruit. Instead we should simply walk through this mysterious world without being a burden to it.

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Daily Zen
September 21, 2014

This is work that is alive,
Effervescent, free, liberated,
Gloriously enlightened, true,
And great.
Do you think it can be attained
By people who shut the door
And sit quietly with blank minds?

– Liu I-Ming

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Food For Thought
September 21, 2014
Trusting Gut Reactions

Since we could not trust ourselves where food was concerned, we had trouble trusting ourselves in all aspects of life. We became divided internally and unsure of what we thought or how we felt or how we should act. We may have depended on other people to tell us what we liked, what to do, and how to do it.

It is with a great sense of joy that we become aware of our own individuality and preferences. If we experience a negative gut reaction to a certain person or activity, then we need to examine our reasons for continuing the relationship or activity. We do not have to like everyone, nor do we have to do everything. The sooner we become selective, the more we develop as individuals and the more integrity we possess. If we continually force ourselves to do things, which violate our inner integrity, then we are frustrated and growth is slow.

Gut reactions need to be examined calmly and intelligently. They are there to tell us something about ourselves.

Give me a healthy respect for my gut reactions.

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Faiths Checkbook
September 21, 2014
Let Trials Bless

Knowing that tribulation worketh patience.
(Romans 5:3)

This is a promise in essence if not in form. We have need of patience, and here we see the way of getting it. It is only by enduring that we learn to endure, even as by swimming men learn to swim. You could not learn that art on dry land, nor learn patience without trouble. Is it not worth while to suffer tribulation for the sake of gaining that beautiful equanimity of mind which quietly acquiesces in all the will of God?

Yet our text sets forth a singular fact, which is not according to nature but is supernatural. Tribulation in and of itself worketh petulance, unbelief, and rebellion. It is only by the sacred alchemy of grace that it is made to work in us patience. We do not thresh the wheat to lay the dust: yet the Rail of tribulation does this upon God’s floor. We do not toss a man about in order to give him rest, and yet so the Lord dealeth with His children. Truly this is not the manner of man but greatly redounds to the glory of our all-wise God.

Oh, for grace to let my trials bless me! Why should I wish to stay their gracious operation? Lord, I ask Thee to remove my affliction, but I beseech Thee ten times more to remove my impatience. Precious Lord Jesus, with Thy cross engrave the image of Thy patience on my heart.

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This Mornings Reading
September 21, 2014

“I will rejoice over them to do them good.”
—Jeremiah 32:41.

HOW heart-cheering to the believer is the delight which God has in His saints! We cannot see any reason in ourselves why the Lord should take pleasure in us; we cannot take delight in ourselves, for we often have to groan, being burdened; conscious of our sinfulness, and deploring our unfaithfulness; and we fear that God’s people cannot take much delight in us, for they must perceive so much of our imperfections and our follies, that they may rather lament our infirmities than admire our graces. But we love to dwell upon this transcendent truth, this glorious mystery: that as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so does the Lord rejoice over us. We do not read anywhere that God delighteth in the cloud-capped mountains, or the sparkling stars, but we do read that He delighteth in the habitable parts of the earth, and that His delights are with the sons of men. We do not find it written that even angels give His soul delight; nor doth He say, concerning cherubim and seraphim, “Thou shalt be called Hephzibah, for the Lord delighteth in thee”; but He does say all that to poor fallen creatures like ourselves, debased and depraved by sin, but saved, exalted, and glorified by His grace. In what strong language He expresses His delight in His people! Who could have conceived of the eternal One as bursting forth into a song? Yet it is written, “He will rejoice over thee with joy, He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” As He looked upon the world He had made, He said, “It is very good”; but when He beheld those who are the purchase of Jesus’ blood, His own chosen ones, it seemed as if the great heart of the Infinite could restrain itself no longer, but overflowed in divine exclamations of joy. Should not we utter our grateful response to such a marvellous declaration of His love, and sing, “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation?”

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This Evenings Reading
September 21, 2014

“Gather not my soul with sinners.”
—Psalm 26:9.

FEAR made David pray thus, for something whispered, “Perhaps, after all, thou mayst be gathered with the wicked.” That fear, although marred by unbelief, springs, in the main, from holy anxiety, arising from the recollection of past sin. Even the pardoned man will enquire, “What if at the end my sins should be remembered, and I should be left out of the catalogue of the saved?” He recollects his present unfruitfulness—so little grace, so little love, so little holiness, and looking forward to the future, he considers his weakness and the many temptations which beset him, and he fears that he may fall, and become a prey to the enemy. A sense of sin and present evil, and his prevailing corruptions, compel him to pray, in fear and trembling, “Gather not my soul with sinners.” Reader, if you have prayed this prayer, and if your character be rightly described in the Psalm from which it is taken, you need not be afraid that you shall be gathered with sinners. Have you the two virtues which David had—the outward walking in integrity, and the inward trusting in the Lord? Are you resting upon Christ’s sacrifice, and can you compass the altar of God with humble hope? If so, rest assured, with the wicked you never shall be gathered, for that calamity is impossible. The gathering at the judgment is like to like. “Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” If, then, thou art like God’s people, thou shalt be with God’s people. You cannot be gathered with the wicked, for you are too dearly bought. Redeemed by the blood of Christ, you are His for ever, and where He is, there must His people be. You are loved too much to be cast away with reprobates. Shall one dear to Christ perish? Impossible! Hell cannot hold thee! Heaven claims thee! Trust in thy Surety and fear not!

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