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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – September 4, 2014

Just For Today
September 4, 2014
Cluttered Spirits

“We try to remember that when we make amends we are doing it for ourselves.”
Basic Text p.40

As long as we still owe amends, our spirits are cluttered with things we don’t need. We’re carrying the extra load of an apology owed, a resentment held, or unexpressed remorse. It’s like having a messy house. We could leave so we don’t have to see the mess, or maybe just step over the piles of debris and pretend they aren’t there. But ignoring the disorder won’t make it disappear. In the end, the dirty dishes, the crumb-filled carpet, and the overflowing wastebaskets are still there, waiting to be cleaned up.

A cluttered spirit is just as hard to live with as a messy home. We always seem to be tripping over yesterday’s leavings. Every time we turn around and try to go somewhere, there is something blocking our path. The more we neglect our responsibility to make amends, the more cluttered our spirits become. And we can’t even hire someone to clean up. We have to do the work ourselves.

We gain a deep sense of satisfaction from making our own amends. Just as we would feel after we’ve cleaned our homes and have time to enjoy a bit of sunshine through sparkling windows, so will our spirits rejoice at our freedom to truly enjoy our recovery. And once the big mess is cleaned up, all we have to do is pick up after ourselves as we go along.

Just for today: I will clear away what’s cluttering my spirit by making the amends I owe.

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Daily Reflections
September 4, 2014
RECONSTRUCTION

Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. . . . .
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS , p. 83

The reconstruction of my life is the prime goal in my recovery as I avoid taking that first drink, one day at a time. The task is most successfully accomplished by working the Steps of our Fellowship. The spiritual life is not a theory; it works, but I have to live it. Step Two started me on my journey to develop a spiritual life; Step Nine allows me to move into the final phase of the initial Steps which taught me how to live a spiritual life. Without the guidance and strength of a Higher Power, it would be impossible to proceed through the various stages of reconstruction. I realize that God works for me and through me. Proof comes to me when I realize that God did for me what I could not do for myself, by removing that gnawing compulsion to drink. I must continue daily to seek God’s guidance. He grants me a daily reprieve and will provide the power I need for reconstruction.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 4, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

“We must be careful never to show intolerance or hatred of drinking as an institution. Experience shows that such an attitude is no help to anyone. We are not fanatics or intolerant of people who can drink normally. Every prospect is relieved when he finds we are not witch burners. Temperate drinking is O.K., but we alcoholics can’t get away with it. And no alcoholic likes to be told about alcohol by anyone who hates it. We shall be of little use if our attitude is one of bitterness or hostility.” Do I have a tolerance for those who can drink normally?

Meditation For The Day

Do not become encumbered by petty annoyances. Never respond to emotional upsets by emotional upset. Try to keep calm in all circumstances. Try not to fight back. Call on the grace of God when you feel like retaliating. Look to God for the inner strength to drop these resentments that drag you down. If you are burdened by annoyances, you will lose your inward peace and the spirit of God will be shut out. Try to keep peaceful within.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may do the things that make for peace. I pray that I may have a mission of conciliation.

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As Bill Sees It
September 4, 2014
Instinct To Live, p.246

When men and women pour so much alcohol into themselves that they destroy their lives, they commit a most unnatural act. Defying their instinctive desire for self-preservation, they seem bent upon self-destruction. They work against their own deepest instinct.

As they are progressively humbled by the terrific beating administered by alcohol, the grace of God can enter them and expel their obsession. Here their powerful instinct to live can cooperate fully with their Creator’s desire to give them new life.

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

“The central characteristic of the spiritual experience is that it gives the recipient a new and better motivation out of all proportion to any process of discipline, belief, or faith.

“These experiences cannot make us whole at once; they are a rebirth to a fresh and certain opportunity.”

1. 12 & 12, p.64
2. Letter, 1965

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Walk In Dry Places
September 4, 2014
What do We Deserve?
Good Expectations

We hear about people who snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Some of us do that even in sobriety, experiencing failure just as success seems imminent.

At times, we may just be suffering from a bad situation that is all around us. But if we do seem to be having one bad break after another, we should look more carefully within ourselves for causes. We may be punishing ourselves, or pushing away our good simply because we do not feel worth of it.

If we discover that this process is working in our lives, we must begin changing these false patterns immediately. Having forgiven ourselves and others, and having made amends, we need no punishment. We will work to succeed in all of our activities, with a reasonable expectation of success most of the time. We will expect and deserve the best.

I’ll carry with me today a belief that I deserve to succeed and will take all necessary action to earn my success.

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Keep It Simple
September 4, 2014

In my view, we of this world are pupils in great school of life.
Bill W.

Our addiction has taught me much. It has taught us how far we can get from ourselves, our Higher Power, and those who love us.. Hopefully, we’ve learned we can’t go it alone. Do I allow myself to learn from the bad things that happened?

Recovery has much to teach us too. We need to be students of life. We need to be open to learning. Our spirits can grow if we’re willing to do three things: First, we listen. Second, we think about what we’ve learned. Third, we turn what we’ve learned into action. Listening, combined with thought and action, will help us learn life’s best lessons.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, You’ll test me so I can learn. Help me accept the tasks You give me. And help me learn from them.

Action for the Day: I will view today as a class. I will do three things—listen, think, act.

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 4, 2014

For all the sadness of closure, there is a new and joyful unfolding in the process of becoming.
—Mary Casey

We must let go of people, places, memories, and move on to new experiences. The doors of the past must be closed before we can enter those that are opening to us today. However, no experience is gone forever. All of our experiences are threaded together, each one contributing to the events that claim our attention now.

Recovery has offered us a chance to be aware of our process of becoming. With each day, each experience, each new understanding, we are advancing along the path of personal growth. Let us remember that each of us has a particular path, like no other. Thus, our experiences are ours alone. We need not envy what comes to someone else.

Life is unfolding for us. The pain of the present may be necessary for the pleasure of tomorrow. We can accept the unfolding. Our inner selves have a goal; experiences of the past must be left in the past; experiences at hand will lead us to our destination today.

I am moving and changing and growing, at the right pace. The process can be trusted. What is right for me will come to me. I will let the joy of becoming warm me.

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Alcoholics Anonymous

WINNER TAKES ALL – Legally blind but no longer alone, she found a way to stay sober, raise a family, and turn her life over to the care of God.

Several years later alcohol had control over my life. I had a tee shirt that I just loved; it said, “I used to hate myself in the morning. Now I sleep till noon.” That described my feelings totally.

p. 377

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Step Twelve – “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

After we come into A.A., if we go on growing, our attitudes and actions toward security–emotional security and financial security–commence to change profoundly. Our demand for emotional security, for our own way, had constantly thrown us into unworkable relations with other people. Though we were sometimes quite unconscious of this, the result always had been the same. Either we had tried to play God and dominate those about us, or we had insisted on being overdependent upon them. Where people had temporarily let us run their lives as though they were still children, we had felt very happy and secure ourselves. But when they finally resisted or ran away, we were bitterly hurt and disappointed. We blamed them, being quite unable to see that our unreasonable demands had been the cause.

p. 115

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Xtra Thoughts
September 4, 2014

Today is the blocks with which we build.
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

All of the animals except man know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.
–Samuel Butler

Today I am letting go of all judgments. I am releasing all negative emotions. I am quietly going within and trusting my inner spirit and I will know what is right for me.
–Ruth Fishel

” Let us continue to search our own minds for the hidden places where we still deny love. Perhaps we learned loveless attitudes from our parents, or from experiences in the past. Wherever we picked up judgmental attitudes, they do not serve us now. They do not serve God or the creation of a new world, and serving God is our only goal.  To serve God is to think with love. In prayerful request, let us give up all thoughts that are not of love. ”
–Marianne Williamson

Someone once wrote: “Happiness is always a by-product. You don’t make yourself happy by chasing happiness. You make yourself happy by being a good person.” The happiest people I know are people who don’t even think about being happy. They just think about being good neighbors, good people. And then happiness sort of sneaks in the back window while they’re busy doing good.
–Rabbi Harold Kushner

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 4, 2014
HUMILITY

“Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self.”
– Charles Haddon Spurgeon

To see yourself as a good person is part of the program of humility.  To see your gifts and recognize your achievements is what it is to be a humble person. “God does not make junk.” Therefore, we should not act or behave towards ourselves in a way that would indicate anything other than that we are “special”.

All addicts and alcoholics need to accept this because for years we had felt guilty, lonely and ashamed. These attitudes helped to keep us sick.

Sobriety and serenity is recognizing our God-given uniqueness that makes us “special”. We can achieve great things as long as we continue to believe in ourselves.

Thank You for loving me enough to become a part of me.

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Bible Scriptures
September 4, 2014

And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:105

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Daily Inspiration
September 4, 2014

Believe in miracles because they do happen. Lord, I give You praise for the wonders that You are doing in my life.

Give yourself more exercise than jumping to conclusions. Lord, grant me sincerity and wisdom in my daily life.

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One Day At A Time
September 4, 2014
ACTION

“Men at some time are the masters of their fates.”
–William Shakespeare

When I first approached Step Four I did so with fear. To make “a searching and fearless moral inventory” of myself seemed like an impossible task. I had so many resentments and fears I did not know where to start. I felt very overwhelmed. When I shared this with my sponsor, she sat down with me and I took a pen and paper and we started. Just seeing something down on paper gave me the courage to go on. I took the inventory person-by-person for my resentments and sex conduct, and fear-by-fear for my fear inventory. At first it was hard to see my part. I wanted to be a victim. But with the help of my sponsor I began to see my part. I began to take action.

No longer was I the victim, but I became the master of my fate for the purposes of my recovery. I chose to make a searching and fearless moral inventory. No, it wasn’t easy, but step-by-step, I completed it. It wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as I thought it would be. Step Four requires much action, and I must choose to take it.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will choose to take action in my recovery and be fearless and thorough no matter where I am on my journey.

~ Carolyn

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 4

“the Elders say that if you want something good, you have to suffer for it.”
–Chuck Ross, LAKOTA

People sometimes have a misconception of sacrifice.  This is a strong word for Indian people.  On the other side of sacrifice is another whole world.  During sacrifice, our beliefs are tested.  We may all have good beliefs but if you test a good belief, then you get real beliefs.  Real beliefs make new people; real beliefs make new self images.  Real beliefs allow determination and desires and faith to come true.  Good is always available to us but we often can’t bring it within until we let go of the old ways. We let go of the old ways by suffering.   Suffering is only letting go of things that don’t work anymore.  On the other side of suffering is a new world.

Creator, help me to let go of old ways.  Let my old thoughts and beliefs be abandoned.  Every change is preceded by struggle.  Help me go through the struggle today.

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Journey To The Heart
September 4, 2014
Stay Connected to Yourself

The woman was describing her reaction to an area she had visited, a place poisoned by toxic chemicals, a piece of earth maimed and harmed by humankind. “It’s not that I didn’t feel connected there,” she said thoughtfully. “I felt connected, but feeling connected meant feeling connected to pain.”

The woman was describing more than a piece of land. She was describing a place many of us visit at times on our journey. We feel connected, but we’re connected to pain and sadness. We may be reacting to an incident from our past or to something taking place right now.

We don’t have to run anymore. We don’t have to hide. We don’t have to leave our bodies, or wonder what’s wrong. We simply need to feel what’s there, even if it hurts for a bit. Sometimes we’re healing from our toxic beliefs, feelings, and attitudes we’ve accumulated. Sometimes there’s a message, a lesson to learn, an action to take. That will follow naturally if we’re connected.

Open up to your connection. The price of being connected may mean that we occasionally feel pain, but the reward for staying connected will be consciousness, guided action, and an open heart.

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Today’s Gift
September 4, 2014

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
—Abraham Lincoln

Our negative thoughts can be like pebbles rolling down the mountainside. One pebble bumps into another one. The second begins rolling and slams into a third. On and on it goes until thousands of pebbles, rocks, and even giant boulders are hurtling down the mountain.

When we find ourselves stuck in a rut thinking a negative thought, we can decide to stop and replace it with a positive thought. At first our single positive thought may not dislodge another one. We may have to think of several and start them rolling down the mountainside. If we practice, we will find it becomes easier for that first good thought to shake loose others. We will see our lives change when we begin to look at the positive side of things.

How can I begin to shape my outlook today?

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The Language of Letting Go
September 4, 2014
Finding Direction

I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction. Other people’s lives, problems, and wants set the course for my life. Once I realized it was okay for me to think about and identify what I wanted, remarkable things began to take place in my life.
–Anonymous

We each have a life to live, one that has purpose and meaning. We can help our Higher Power give direction and purpose to our life by setting goals.

We can set goals annually, monthly, or daily in times of crisis. Goals create direction and pace; goals help us achieve a manageable life that is directed in the course we choose for ourselves.

We can help give our lives direction by setting goals.

Today, I will pay attention to setting a course of action for my life, rather than letting others control my life and affairs.

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More Language Of Letting Go
September 4, 2014
Let go of low self-esteem

“Self-esteem is so illusive,” said Amanda. “I’ve been working on my self-esteem for years. The harder I work at it, the less I seem to have.”

I believe we can let go of low self-esteem. We can turn around lack of belief in ourselves. We can become willing to forgive ourselves. We can stop tolerating treatment that doesn’t feel good to us. We can look at the dangers of defining ourselves by money, power, or prestige, or by whom we know and what we have. Ultimately, we can become willing to take care of ourselves and nurture ourselves through whatever experiences life may bring.

Twelve Step programs offer two Steps that can help us build self-esteem, acceptance, and self-love. Step Six says we become entirely ready to have God take our defects of character. Step Seven says we humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings. The work isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile.

For now it’s enough to become willing to let go of our low self-esteem and all the ways that low self-esteem manifests in our lives.

God, please replace my low self-esteem with self-acceptance.

Activity: Sometimes, we can have healthy self-esteem functioning in one area of our lives, but not in another. For instance, we may feel good about our work skills, but we may feel poorly about our personal relationships. We may have great confidence in our athletic skills, but feel bad about our finances. Decide if there are areas where you may be manifesting low self-esteem. What areas do you feel good about? Also, look at dreams you have not pursued because of your lack of self-confidence.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 4, 2014

It is as important to cultivate your silence power, as it is your word power.
—William James

We bless ourselves with renewal and healing when we retreat from the world for a few private moments of silence. The power we cultivate in silence isn’t generated by us; that power comes to us. We can do this by deliberately withdrawing from all distractions. Then we quiet our inner selves by concentrating on deep relaxation, thinking about a brief reading, or by praying.

Most of us already have a personal island of renewal that we have turned to many times in the past for serenity and strength. We can use it and turn to it daily. This natural pattern is necessary for a strong and healthy life. It builds our relationship with our Higher Power and ourselves. In our problems with self-esteem, we often label as worthless the quiet, subtle things we do, but these very things are essential to build our strength and self esteem.

I will take time for silence to receive the power it gives in my life.

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Daily TAO
September 4, 2014
DOVE

A dove got caught in the rafters last night.
I had quite a time trying to get her out.
She hit her head several times in panic.
Only when she was stunned was I able to care for her.

In the paper there was this quote from a sage:
“Human nature was originally one and we were a whole,
And the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.”

It was late at night. Her flapping caught my attention. I looked up to see her perched in the rafters. The dove tried to fly out, but she was either hurt or disoriented. She skittered across the ceiling. Landing at the blue windows, she looked out, unable to pass through the invisible barrier.  I climbed up and tried to get her to fly out. She let me come very close but was unable to understand my language or actions.

She flew from me but quickly lost altitude and landed on the floor. I climbed down and urged her on. There was just a short distance to go, but she panicked and flew into a wall. She fell to my worktable, stunned, breathing hard, a feather lying loose at her side. Only then was I able to put her in a box and care for her.

She couldn’t understand my intentions and so was hurt. I was unable to help her without being frightening. Were all living beings once connected?  Perhaps so, but in this world, the pursuit of love and compassion is not without pain and confusion.

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