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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – September 29

 Just For Today
September 29
Just For Today

“When we stop living in the here and now, our problems become magnified unreasonably.”
Basic Text, p.96

“Just for today” – it’s a comforting thought. If we try to live in the past, we may find ourselves torn by painful, disquieting memories. The lessons of our using are not the teachers we seek for recovery. Living in tomorrow means moving in with fear.

We cannot see the shape of the secret future, and uncertainty brings worry. Our lives look overwhelming when we lose the focus of today.

Living in the moment offers freedom. In this moment, we know that we are safe. We are not using, and we have everything we need. What’s more, life is happening in the here and now. The past is gone and the future has yet to arrive; our worrying won’t change any of it. Today, we can enjoy our recovery, this very minute.

Just for today: I will stay in the here and now. Today – this moment – I am free.

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Daily Reflections
September 29
EXACTLY ALIKE

Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 89

A man came to the meeting drunk, interrupted the speakers, stood up and took his shirt off, staggered loudly back and forth for coffee, demanded to talk, and eventually called the group’s secretary an unquotable name and walked out. I was glad he was there–once again I saw what I still could be. I don’t have to be drunk to want to be the exception and the center of attention. I have often felt abused and responded abusively when I was simply being treated as a garden variety human being. The more the man tried to insist he was different, the more I realized that he and I were exactly alike.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 29
A.A. Thought For The Day

Having got this far, shall we pause and ask ourselves some searching questions? We need to check up on ourselves periodically. Just how good an A.A. am I? Am I attending meetings regularly? Am I doing my share to carry the load?  When there is something to be done, do I volunteer? Do I speak at meetings when asked, no matter how nervous I am?  Do I accept each opportunity to do twelfth-step work as a challenge? Do I give freely of my time and money? Am I trying to spread A.A. wherever I go? Is my daily life a demonstration of A.A. principles? Am I a good A.A.?

Meditation For The Day

How do I get strength to be effective and to accept responsibility? By asking the Higher Power for the strength I need each day. It has been proved in countless lives that for every day I live the necessary power shall be given me.  I must face each challenge that comes to me during the day, sure that God will give me the strength to face it. For every task that is given me, there is also given me all the power necessary for the performance of that task. I do not need to hold back.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may accept every task as a challenge.  I know I cannot wholly fail if God is with me.

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As Bill Sees It
September 29
A.A. In Two Words, p.271

“All A.A. progress can be reckoned in terms of just two words: humility and responsibility. Our whole spiritual development can be accurately measured by our degree of adherence to these magnificent standards.

“Ever deepening humility, accompanied by an ever greater willingness to accept and to act upon clear-cut obligations–these are truly our touchstones for all growth in the life of the spirit. They hold up to us the very essence of right being and right doing. It is by them that we are enabled to find and to do God’s will.”  Talk, 1965 (Printed In Grapevine, January 1966)

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Walk In Dry Places
September 29
When should I be Grateful?
Gratitude

One spiritual writer believed that our only reason for gratitude should be that we are part of God’s universe. Others point out that gratitude helps us, not God or the other people to whom we are grateful.

Their point is that it’s not very uplifting simply to tie our gratitude to certain gifts or benefits. Such gratitude is fairly shallow and is almost no more than good manners. As recovering alcoholics, we need more than that.

The best reason for gratitude is the outlook it creates as we cultivate it within ourselves. We will actually feel mentally and physically uplifted if we know true gratitude. This is the true spiritual outlook alcoholics seek in the bottle but can find only in the new way of life.

I’ll find ways to practice gratitude today without letting others know what I’m doing.

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Keep It Simple
September 29

Al didn’t smile for forty years. You’ve got to admire a man like that.
–From the TV show, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”

Remember how we used to live? We were always trying to cover up some lie or mistake.

We were all like Al. Our energy was going into our illness, not into living.

Gratitude is the key word in the program. Gratitude is being thankful for the getting to know our Higher Power. Remember what it was like to not smile for all those years?

Recovery has given us back our smiles. What a relief! We can relax and enjoy our new life.

Prayer for the Day: I pray that I’ll always remember what is was like when I was using. I pray that I’ll not take my recovery for granted. I prayer for gratitude.

Action For the Day: I will list all the things the program and recovery have given me. I will smile about them today.

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 29

Female friendships that work are relationships in which women help each other to belong to themselves.
—Louise Bernikow

To have anything worth giving to a friend, we must belong to ourselves. Are we someone we like? Does our behavior agree with our beliefs? Do our friends share our values, and when we are together do we support one another?

If we don’t like our own company, we will try to hide our real selves. The more we hide, the further we are running from wholeness and health. We can assess ourselves, calmly and lovingly, so that we can keep on becoming the women we want to be. The more congruent are our behavior and our beliefs, the more we belong to ourselves. The better we like ourselves, the better friends we can be.

The love and sympathy of my women friends can help me in my spiritual journey toward serenity, and I can help theirs. Today, I will accompany others on their journey, and thus find company for my own.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
September 29
He Sold Himself Short

Needless to say, it was a year or more before they did contact me. On my trips back to Akron to get my spirits recharged and to work with other alcoholics, I would ask Dr. Bob about this delay and wonder just what was wrong with me. He would invariably reply, “When you are right and the time is right, Providence will provide. You must always be willing and continue to make contacts.”

p. 264

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 29

Tradition Three – “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

A newcomer appeared at one of these groups, knocked on the door and asked to be let in. He talked frankly with that group’s oldest member. He soon proved that his was a desperate case, and that above all he wanted to get well. “But,” he asked, “will you let me join your group? Since I am the victim of another addiction even worse stigmatized than alcoholism, you may not want me among you. Or will you?”
There was the dilemma. What should the group do? The oldest member summoned two others, and in confidence laid the explosive facts in their laps. Said he, “Well, what about it? If we turn this man away, he’ll soon die. If we allow him in, only god knows what trouble he’ll brew. What shall the answer be – yes or no?”

pp. 141-142

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Xtra Thoughts
September 29

Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.
–Hyman Judah Schactel

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
–Mother Theresa

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
–Abraham Lincoln

“Being rich isn’t about money. Being rich is a state of mind. Some of us, no matter how much money we have, will never be free enough to take time to stop and eat the heart of the watermelon. And some of us will be rich without ever being more than a paycheck ahead of the game.”
–Harvey B. Mackay

“If your eyes are blinded with your worries, you cannot see the beauty of the sunset.”
–Krishnamurti

“Sometimes you have to get to rock bottom in order to see the right way back up.”
–Kate Bell

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 29
BLACKOUTS

“It is human nature to think wisely and act foolishly.”
– Anatole France

I experienced blackouts in my drinking. Often I would wake up and not know where I had been, what I had said or what I had done. I would awake to peer through windows searching for my car. I would telephone to find out what time I had left the party and if anything had happened. Often as I bathed I would discover bruises or bleeding from an unremembered incident.

There were other times I knew what I had done, knew what I had said, remembered how I behaved — and yet still I went back for more. I drank alcoholically for years because my pride would not allow me to be alcoholic. I created the wisest excuses for staying sick!

Today my sobriety requires a wisdom that is based on reality.

Lord of action, teach me to place my feet alongside my best thinking.

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Bible Scriptures
September 29

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Luke 9:23

A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger.
Proverbs 16:1

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Daily Inspiration
September 29

Start something you’ve been putting off or finish something you’ve started so that you can remove the frustration that comes with procrastination. Lord, help me in my little way to do my little part to make this day a little better.

With our blessings come responsibilities. Much is required of those to whom much has been given. Lord, may I use my blessings to be a blessing to others.

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A Day At A Time
September 29

Reflection For The Day

In our first weeks or months in The Program, our shaky emotional condition sometimes affects our feelings toward old friends and family.  For many of us, these relationships heal quickly in the initial stages of our recovery.  For others, a time of “touchiness” seems to persist;  now that we’re no longer drinking or using other chemicals, we have to sort out our feelings about spouse, children, relatives, employer, fellow workers, and even neighbors.  Experience in The Program over the years has taught that we should avoid making important decisions early in our recovery — especially emotion-charged decisions about people.  Am I becoming better equipped to relate maturely to other people?

Today I Pray

May God help me through the edginess, the confusion of re-feeling and re-thinking my relationships, the “getting-it-all-together” stages of my recovery.  May I not rush into new relationships or new situations that demand and investment of my emotions — not yet.

Today I Will Remember

No entangling alliances too soon.

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One More Day
September 29

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
–  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our culture encourages a quest for outer beauty, even though we know it is more important to have inner beauty.  This is the beauty truly valued by others.  We can live joyfully;  we can delight in discovering and enjoying beauty.  We are surrounded with loveliness in nature an din people’s thoughts, words, and deeds.  To accept that beauty, we must carry within ourselves a sensitivity, an appreciation for what is offered, and that sensitivity is a large part of the beauty we carry within us.

Life is full of beauty.  I will keep my eyes open to the beauty that is in others, in nature, and in myself.

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One Day At A Time
September 29
Togetherness

“Take my hand, and no matter how dark the night, the light of day will come, and we will share the tomorrow.”
–Ken Grant

When we first walk into our recovery rooms, we are all afraid: afraid of more rejection, afraid of more failure, and afraid of more loneliness. Once we sit and listen, we realize that we are not much different than the other people there. We ease up, start sharing, begin trusting our Higher Power and ourselves more.

Our darkness of the past is drawn out by our sharing with other addicts. We realize our deep, dark secrets are not as bad as we thought.

We are not alone! Then hand-in-hand, we begin climbing the ladder of recovery and the light of day begins to shine brighter and brighter.

One Day at a Time . . .
When we let our guard down and let Higher Power and other people in, we learn that at the end of a dark day is the light of our next today. We learn that together we can do what we can never do alone.

~ Jeanette

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 29

“So I prayed, but I had to pray from my heart. All of my concentration and thoughts went from my head to my heart. All of my senses – hearing, smell, taste, and feeling – were connected to my heart.”
–Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

The heart is the gateway to the Unseen World, to the Spirit World. It takes real concentration to do this. To connect to our own heart is also a mental state. It starts in the head and transitions to the heart. This mental state is our inner stillness. Be still and know. This place of the heart is very joyous and peaceful. It is this place that we become one with God, our Creator.

Great Spirit, teach me to be a heart warrior.

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Today’s Gift
September 29

When people envy me I think, Oh God, don’t envy me, I have my own pains.
—Barbra Streisand

A forest is full of many different kinds of trees–they are all sizes and shapes and shades of color. It is hard to imagine a pine tree wishing it was an oak. Or a fir tree envying the birch its white bark. Instead, each tree catches raindrops and reflects the sunshine in its own way.

We often find ourselves envying someone else. We think they have more money or more friends. We see them as better looking or luckier in some way than we are.

It is so easy to overlook our own gifts when we do this. We get fooled by what looks good and forget that all human beings have some weaknesses and pain, just like we do. Like the trees in the forest, we each have our own unique beauty and talents to offer. If we believe in ourselves, rather than envy those around us, we will grow green and tall in our own way.

What qualities do I have that someone might envy?

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The Language of Letting Go
September 29
The Importance of Money

We cannot afford to allow our focus in life to be money. That will not lead us into the abundance we’re seeking. Usually, it will not even lead to financial stability.

Money is important. We deserve to be paid what we’re worth. We will be paid what we’re worth when we believe we deserve to be. But often your plans fail when our primary consideration is money.

What do we really want to do? What do we feel led to do? What are our instincts telling us? What do we feel guided to do? What are we excited about doing? Seek to find a way to do that, without worrying about the money.

Consider the financial aspects. Set boundaries about what you need to be paid. Be reasonable. Expect to start at the bottom, and work up. But if you feel led toward a job, go for it.

Is there something we truly don’t want to do, something that goes against our grain, but we are trying to force ourselves into it “for the money?” Usually, that’s a behavior that backfires. It doesn’t work. We make ourselves miserable, and the money usually goes wrong too.

I have learned that when I am true to myself about work and what I need to be doing, the money will follow. Sometimes it’s not as much as I want; sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised, and it’s more. But I’m content, and I have enough.

Money is a consideration, but it cannot be our primary consideration if we are seeking spiritual security and peace of mind.

Today, I will make money a consideration, but I will not allow it to become my primary consideration. God, help me be true to myself and trust that the money will follow.

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More Language Of Letting Go
September 29
Remember to take care of yourself

Jenna started dating a new man. Like many women, she was a little frustrated will all the losers that had come along before. She thought she’d put this one to the test. She wanted to see how good he’s be to her.

So when he called her up and asked her what she wanted to do, she told him she thought he should take her on a little trip.

“Hawaii would be nice,” she said. “You get us the tickets. And find someplace nice for us to stay when we get there. I don’t want to be in a cheesy hotel.”

He had enough money in the bank. The trip, she thought, would be exquisite and luxurious. She envisioned the first-class travel, the limos, and the home he’d rent complete with maid service and cook.

When the day of the trip arrived, they took a taxi, not a limo, to the airport. And when she boarded the airplane, he led her back to coach. When the flight attendant came around asking if people wanted to rent movies, her boyfriend shook his head and went back to reading his book. She had to dig out the four dollars to pay for the movie.

She sat scrunched up in her seat, all the way to Hawaii. When they got there, he took her to a time-share condo. Then he drove her in the rental car to the grocery store and said, “Pick out what you want to cook.”

Throughout the vacation she spent a lot of time stewing in her head, but when they got home, she decided to give him one more chance.

So when he called her up and asked her what she wanted to do Friday night, she said she thought a movie would be nice. She hung up the phone, then dessed up and did her hair. She thought maybe he’d take her to a nice theater.

He picked her up, then drove to the nearest Blockbuster. “Go in and pick out whatever video you’d like to rent,” he said. “Do you want to watch it at your place or mine?”

The moral of this story is twofold and simple. The first lesson is if you know exactly what you want, you need to spell it out clearly. The second is that it’s better not to expect people to take care of us. Even if they agree to do it, we might not like how they do the job.

While it’s nice to have people love us and do things for us, it’s better to plan on taking care of ourselves.

God, help me remember that it’s my job to take care of myself.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 29

Life without idealism is empty indeed. We must have hope or starve to death.
—Pearl Buck

Our ideals, the principles that order our lives, are essential to a healing life. Some of us have lived a pattern in which we did not know what we believed. If someone we liked stated a viewpoint, we might wear it for a while like a new shirt – but with no personal commitment. Others of us have indulged in negativism and hopelessness. Life is more fulfilling when we assert our beliefs and give ourselves to them. As human beings, we are unable to perfectly live out our beliefs, but we become whole men by giving our energies to the attempt.

Is beauty in music, art, and nature a worthwhile ideal for us? Are fairness and justice for all people what we value? Are love and brotherhood ideals we hold dear? When we dare assert these values in our lives, they are life giving to us. They mature us. Reaching for what is worthwhile, rather than cursing what is not, gives us a design for making all our choices, and we have hope.

I will dare to meet my negativism with my ideals. My spiritual health will give me life.

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Daily TAO
September 29
DETERMINATION

Lady butterfly,
I saw you a week ago.
Now you are back,
With your lover,
In tandem flights
And helical tangents:
How many times
You return gladly!

In the legends there is the story of the butterfly lovers. They loved each other so much that even in death, their hearts were fixed faithfully upon one another. In honor of their devotion to each other, the gods changed them into butterflies and let them come back together in reincarnation after reincarnation.

Would that all of us could manifest such determination and faith to what we loved!

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Daily Zen
September 29

After realizing the Dharma body,
There is not a thing;
Original self-nature is the innate Buddha
The five skandhas-the empty comings
And goings of floating clouds;
The three poisons- the vacant appearing
And disappearing of water bubbles.

– Yung Chia Hsuan Chueh

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Food For Thought
September 29
The Satisfaction of Work

Using our God-given talents and abilities to do the work He assigns us brings deep satisfaction. Many of us used to eat a lot of “idle bread” which we did not need. Now that we are eating less, we find that we derive satisfaction from working more.

Work is an opportunity to give away the gifts we are given. It is sharing which requires effort and discipline. If we do not work up to our maximum level of ability, our satisfaction is reduced. As we give away our gifts, we are given more.

Maintaining abstinence improves the quality of our work and increases our output. Instead of doing just enough to get by, we are challenged to give the best that we have. Abstaining from compulsive overeating can give us the courage and confidence to change jobs when necessary.

When we are emotionally upset, turning to a task, which absorbs us physically or mentally, or both can have a healing effect. Rather than a curse, work can be a blessing, especially when we realize that ultimately we are working with and for our Higher Power.

We give thanks for the satisfaction of work.

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Faiths Checkbook
September 29
To Glorify Christ Jesus

He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
(John 16:14)

The Holy Ghost Himself cannot better glorify the Lord Jesus than by showing to us Christ’s own things. Jesus is His own best commendation. There is no adorning Him except with his own gold.

The Comforter shows us that which He has received of our Lord Jesus. We never see anything aright till He reveals it. He has a way of opening our minds and of opening the Scriptures, and by this double process He sets forth our Lord to us. There is much art in setting forth a matter, and that art belongs in the highest degree to the Spirit of truth. He shows us the things themselves. This is a great privilege, as those know who have enjoyed the hallowed vision.

Let us seek the illumination of the Spirit; not to gratify our curiosity, nor even to bring us personal comfort, so much as to glorify the Lord Jesus. Oh, to have worthy ideas of Him! Groveling notions dishonor our precious Lord. Oh, to have such vivid impressions of His person, and work, and glory that we may with heart and soul cry out to His praise! Where there is a heart enriched by the Holy Ghost’s teaching there will be a Savior glorified beyond expression. Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly light, and show us Jesus our Lord!

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This Mornings Reading
September 29

“Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague.”
—Leviticus 13:13.

STRANGE enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This morning it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy, but when sin is seen and felt it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are “nothing else but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth, and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment—it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What comfort does the text afford to those under a deep sense of sin! Sin mourned and confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out from the Lord Jesus. Whosoever cometh unto Him, He will in no wise cast out. Though dishonest as the thief, though unchaste as the woman who was a sinner, though fierce as Saul of Tarsus, though cruel as Manasseh, though rebellious as the prodigal, the great heart of love will look upon the man who feels himself to have no soundness in him, and will pronounce him clean, when he trusts in Jesus crucified. Come to Him, then, poor heavy-laden sinner,

Come needy, come guilty, come loathsome and bare; You can’t come too filthy—come just as you are.

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This Evenings Reading
September 29

“I found Him whom my soul loveth: I held Him, and would not let Him go.”
—Song of Solomon 3:4.

DOES Christ receive us when we come to Him, notwithstanding all our past sinfulness? Does He never chide us for having tried all other refuges first? And is there none on earth like Him? Is He the best of all the good, the fairest of all the fair? Oh, then let us praise Him! Daughters of Jerusalem, extol Him with timbrel and harp! Down with your idols, up with the Lord Jesus. Now let the standards of pomp and pride be trampled under foot, but let the cross of Jesus, which the world frowns and scoffs at, be lifted on high. O for a throne of ivory for our King Solomon! let Him be set on high for ever, and let my soul sit at His footstool, and kiss His feet, and wash them with my tears. Oh, how precious is Christ! How can it be that I have thought so little of Him? How is it I can go abroad for joy or comfort when He is so full, so rich, so satisfying. Fellow believer, make a covenant with thine heart that thou wilt never depart from Him, and ask thy Lord to ratify it. Bid Him set thee as a signet upon His finger, and as a bracelet upon His arm. Ask Him to bind thee about Him, as the bride decketh herself with ornaments, and as the bridegroom putteth on his jewels. I would live in Christ’s heart; in the clefts of that rock my soul would eternally abide. The sparrow hath made a house, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God; and so too would I make my nest, my home, in Thee, and never from Thee may the soul of Thy turtle dove go forth again, but may I nestle close to Thee, O Jesus, my true and only rest.

“When my precious Lord I find,
All my ardent passions glow;
Him with cords of love I bind,
Hold and will not let Him go.”

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