Saturday, 30 June 2018

Joe & Charlie Study Guide


Larry A. - Recovery Speaker


Daily Dose OF Emmet Fox



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Daily Reflections


SACRIFICE = UNITY = SURVIVAL


The unity, the effectiveness, and even the survival of A. A. will always depend upon our continued willingness to give up some of our personal ambitions and desires for the common safety and welfare. Just as sacrifice means survival for the individual alcoholic, so does sacrifice means unity and survival for the group and for A. A.’s entire Fellowship.

-AS BILL SEES IT, p. 220

I have learned that I must sacrifice some of my personality traits for the good of A. A. and, as a result, I have been rewarded with many gifts. False pride can be inflated through prestige but, by living Tradition Six, I receive the gift of humility instead. Cooperation without affiliation is often deceiving. If I remain unrelated to outside interest, I am free to keep A. A. autonomous. Then the Fellowship will be here, healthy and strong for generations to come.
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Just For Today



Maintaining the foundation

“Our newly found faith serves as a firm foundation for courage in the future.”

Basic Text, p. 96

––––=––––

The foundation of our lives is what the rest of our lives is built upon. When we were using, that foundation affected everything we did. When we decided that recovery was important, that’s where we began to put our energy. As a result, our whole lives changed. In order to maintain those new lives, we must maintain the foundation of those lives: our recovery program.

As we stay clean and our lifestyles change, our priorities will also change. Work and school may become important because they improve the quality of our lives. And new relationships may bring excitement and mutual support. But we need to remember that our recovery program is the foundation upon which our new lives are built. Each day, we must renew our commitment to recovery, maintaining that as our top priority.

––––=––––

Just for today: I want to continue enjoying the life I’ve found in recovery. Today, I will take steps to maintain my foundation.


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Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

Alcoholics are unable or unwilling, during their addiction to alcohol, to live in the present. The result is that they live in a constant state of remorse and fear because of their unholy past and its morbid attraction, or the uncertain future and its vague foreboding. So the only real hope for the alcoholic is to face the present. Now is the time. Now is ours. The past is beyond recall. The future is as uncertain as life itself. Only the now belongs to us. Am I living in the now?

Meditation For The Day

I must forget the past as much as possible. The past is over and gone forever. Nothing can be done about the past, except to make what restitution I can. I must not carry the burden of my past failures. I must go on in faith. The clouds will clear and the way will lighten. The path will become less stony with every forward step I take. God has no reproach for anything that He has healed. I can be made whole and free, even though I have wrecked my life in the past. Remember the saying: “Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.”

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not carry the burden of the past. I pray that I may cast it off and press on in faith.
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As Bill Sees It


Imaginary Perfection, p. 181

When we early A.A.’s got our first glimmer of how spiritually prideful we could be, we coined this expression: “Don’t try to be a saint by Thursday!”

That old-time admonition may look like another of those handy alibis that can excuse us from trying for our best. Yet a closer view reveals just the contrary. This is our A.A. way of warning against pride-blindness, and the imaginary perfections that we do not possess.

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

Only Step One, where we made the 100 per cent admission that we were powerless over alcohol, can be practiced with absolute perfection. The remaining eleven Steps state perfect ideals. They are goals toward which we look, and the measuring sticks by which we estimate our progress.

1. Grapevine, June 1961

2. 12 & 12, p. 68

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Walk In Dry Places


Making all things new
Releasing the Past


A 12 Step program should give us a new way of life, our friends often say. We should have new attitudes, new experiences, new opportunities.

If we’re to grasp this new way of life, we must let go of the old habits of the past. No alcoholic can recover, for example, by choosing to remain in the old drinking environment. We must also “recover” from other relationships and patterns that were destructive or kept us from our highest good.

“Behold, I make all things new,” is the ancient promise. As our thoughts and beliefs change, the old patterns drop away and the new life reveals itself to us.

Today I’ll drop the negative or outworn relics from the past and press on to find the things that are for my greatest good.
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Keep It Simple



If you don’t know where you are going, You’ll probably end up somewhere else.

—Lawrence J. Peter

The Twelve Steps are our plan of living. We must have a plan. Without one, we waste our energy.

We react instead of think. This is what we did as an addict. We lived our lives as out-of-control people. This caused a lot of pain for us and those around us.

Recovery brings us the Twelve Steps, and each Step gives us direction and wisdom. Each Step builds on the progress we made from the Step before it. Sometimes we follow the plan well. Sometimes we think we can do better on our own. Do I believe the Twelve Steps are a good plan of living?

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, You have shown me a new way of life, a plan for living. Thank you for leading me to the Twelve Steps. Help me follow them.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll take time out to read the Twelve Steps. Then I’ll list three reasons why the Steps are a good plan for living. 
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation


HUMOR

“The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken seriously.”

–Nicholas Murray Butler

For years I used to take myself too seriously. I thought that everything depended upon my thoughts, actions and decisions. Life was a series of agendas that had to be met; life was too serious to be joked about. I knew that I was not God, but I took responsibility for the whole universe. I had opinions on everything and everybody and I was, of course, always right.

As the years passed it grew painful being so responsible — my control produced stress, tension and loneliness. Then a friend said to me, “Let go and let God.” I began to detach and laugh at my insane behavior. I laughed more as I began to accept my humanness. I discovered spirituality in the joke. God must have a sense of humor — after all, He made me.

Help me to laugh at myself in my search for the Kingdom.
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A Day At A Time


Reflection For The Day

I’ve learned in The Program that the trick, for me, is not stopping drinking, but staying stopped and learning how not to start again.  It was always relatively easy to stop, if only by sheer incapacity alone;  God knows, I stopped literally thousands of times.  To stay stopped, I’ve had to develop a positive program of action.  I’ve had to learn to live sober, cultivating new habit patterns, new interests and new attitudes.  Am I remaining flexible in my new life?  Am I exercising my freedom to abandon limited objectives?

Today I Pray

I pray that my new life will be filled with new patterns, new friends, new activities, new ways of looking at things.  I need God’s help to overhaul my lifestyle to include all the newness it must hold.  I also need a few ideas of my own.  May my independence from chemicals or compulsive behavior help me make my choices with an open mind and a clear; appraising eye.

Today I Will Remember

Stopping is starting. 
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One Day At A Time


PROCRASTINATION


“How does a project get to be a year behind schedule? One day at a time.”

–Fred Brooks

I have been given many talents, and I count them as gifts from my Maker. Throughout life I have discovered that there was virtually nothing that I could not make, bake, say or do with the help of my Higher Power. At the age of three years I learned to crochet and read. I learned to draw, paint, write poetry and quilt. The fact that I was not afraid of failing had a great influence on my ability to tackle any task.

Surprisingly, when I felt that I was “grown” and needed to leave home and start a life of my own, I found that finishing anything was almost impossible. I could start anything — but I seemed to complete nothing. Much to my dismay I had developed the art of procrastination. Just waiting to finish anything tomorrow puts me one day behind. Day by day, the project gets put on the back burner and forgotten. One day at a time I eventually find that I am years into finishing some things.

Thanks to this program and its wonderful steps and tools, I have found that by working “one day at a time” I can be — and am — a person who starts and finishes things. This is who God created me to be…not the person who continually puts things off. It took a lot of reading and prayer and meditating on God’s Word for me to get where I am today…a person who takes action on the tasks before me. I am far from perfect, but I am making progress.

One day at a time …

Just for today I will take action and not put off until tomorrow what I can do today.

~ Annie K.
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Today’s Gift


Cultivate your garden. Let it take root in you until your thousand eyes open like violets to morning light.
—Nancy Paddock

In our imaginations we can mix images and ideas from all over the world-imagine the thousand eyes of a peacock growing among the purple violets, or babies that grow on trees! In our imaginations we can also nurture feelings of love, affection, self-esteem.

All of us-not just writers-can learn to see the images in our own minds. We can do this by breathing slowly, relaxing, and looking at the movie in our minds. We may see a field of wildflowers, or find ourselves wading across a stream in the mountains. We might see happiness as wildflowers and grass coming up through the sidewalk, breaking the concrete into chunks and sand, growing so slowly yet with such great power. It may help us appreciate our growth today to look at it this way.

Can I visualize my happiness right now? What does it look like? 
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The Eye Opener


We are very apt to travel in the direction we are headed. Even the brightest of sunshiny days appears overcast if we wear black glasses. If we enter a restaurant by the rear door, we will undoubtedly find garbage cans, smoked and grimy walls and hear the discord of pots and pans. If you enter by the front door, you will find cleanliness and order.

Let us enter each new day by the front door.

Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao / 181 - AXLE


The mind is in spinning wheels at the

Navel, heart, throat, head.

The connecting shaft is emptiness.

Without an unobstructed route,

Energy cannot flow.



People search for the sacred and are told it is within themselves. It is sometimes difficult to see how literally the sages mean that. They see the mind as existing in other areas of the body in addition to the brain. These centers, nominally functional in the average person, are called chakras or wheels by those who follow Tao. Through meditation, one becomes acquainted with each of them and learns how to release power so profound that one is literally divine.

The concept of void is central to many philosophies including that of Tao. However, it seems so abstract at times. Here void has a functional role. The pathway connecting the energy centers of the mind is like a long shaft beginning from the perineum and ending at the top of the head. If not for emptiness, or hollowness of this shaft, the sacred energy of the body could not be conducted.

All the diversity of our lives is merely a manifestation of our minds, expressed through the turning of the various wheels within ourselves. The more they turn, the more complex circumstances and thinking become. However, if we want simplicity and tranquility, we need only go to the center of the spinning mind where it is empty and still. Thus it is said that diversity comes from the revolving of the wheels and origins come from the central void.
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Daily Zen



Wherever and whenever
The mind is found
Attached to anything,
Make haste to detach
Yourself from it.
When you tarry for
Any length of time
It will turn again into
Your old home town.

– Daito Kokushi (1282-1334)
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Friday, 29 June 2018

Lynn W. - Recovery Speaker


Daily Dose Of Emmet Fox


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Daily Reflections


A RIPPLING EFFECT

Having learned to live so happily, we’d show everyone else how. Yes, we of A.A. did dream those dreams. How natural that was, since most alcoholics are bankrupt idealists. So why shouldn’t we share our way of life with everyone?

-TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 156

The great discovery of sobriety led me to feel the need to spread the “good news” to the world around me. The grandiose thoughts of my drinking days returned. Later, I learned that concentrating on my own recovery was a full-time process. As I became a sober citizen in this world, I observed a rippling effect which, without any conscious effort on my part, reached any “related facility or outside enterprise,” without diverting me from my primary purpose of staying sober and helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

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Just for Today


Keeping recovery fresh

“Complacency is the enemy of members with substantial clean time. If we remain complacent for long, the recovery process ceases.”

Basic Text, p. 84

––––=––––

After the first couple of years in recovery, most of us start to feel like there are no more big deals. If we’ve been diligent in working the steps, the past is largely resolved and we have a solid foundation on which to build our future. We’ve learned to take life pretty much as it comes. Familiarity with the steps allows us to resolve problems almost as quickly as they arise.

Once we discover this level of comfort, we may tend to treat it as a “rest stop” on the recovery path. Doing so, however, discounts the nature of our disease. Addiction is patient, subtle, progressive, and incurable. It’s also fatal—we can die from this disease, unless we continue to treat it. And the treatment for addiction is a vital, ongoing program of recovery.

The Twelve Steps are a process, a path we take to stay a step ahead of our disease. Meetings, sponsorship, service, and the steps always remain essential to ongoing recovery. Though we may practice our program somewhat differently with five years clean than with five months, this doesn’t mean the program has changed or become less important, only that our practical understanding has changed and grown. To keep our recovery fresh and vital, we need to stay alert for opportunities to practice our program.

––––=––––

Just for today: As I keep growing in my recovery, I will search for new ways to practice my program.


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Twenty-Four Hours A Day


A.A. Thought For The Day

The program of Alcoholics Anonymous involves a continuous striving for improvement. There can be no long resting period. We must try to work at it all the time. We must continually keep in mind that it is a program not to be measured in years, because we never fully reach our goals nor are we ever cured. Our alcoholism is only kept in abeyance by daily living of the program. It is a timeless program in every sense. We live it day by day, or more precisely, moment by moment – now. Am I always striving for improvement?

Meditation For The Day

Life is all a preparation for something better to come. God has a plan for your life and it will work out, if you try to do His will. God has things planned for you, far beyond what you can imagine now. But you must prepare yourself so that you will be ready for the better things to come. Now is the time for discipline and prayer. The time of expression will come later. Life can be flooded through and through with joy and gladness. So prepare yourself for those better things to come.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may prepare myself for better things that God has in store for me. I pray that I may trust God for the future.
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As Bill Sees It


Community Problem, p. 180

The answer to the problem of alcoholism seems to be in education–education in schoolrooms, in medical colleges, among clergymen and employers, in families, and in the public at large. From cradle to grave, the drunk and the potential alcoholic will have to be completely surrounded by a true and deep understanding and by a continuous barrage of information.

This means factual education, properly presented. Heretofore, much of this education has attacked the immortality of drinking rather than the illness of alcoholism.

Now who is going to do all this education? Obviously, it is both a community job and a job for specialists. Individually, we A.A.’s can help, but A.A. as such cannot, and should not, get directly into this field. Therefore, we must rely on other agencies, on outside friends and their willingness to supply great amounts of money and effort.

Grapevine, March 1958
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Willingness is the Key
Strong Desire


Although willpower alone does not work in overcoming alcoholism, there is a place for the will, or willingness, in the search for a happy sobriety. Things can happen if we are willing to let them happen. More important, progress often depends on our willingness to give up what stands in our way. It also requires our willingness to take the actions necessary for success.

This same willingness, so vital to finding sobriety, is also applicable in other areas of our lives. The pioneers of AA suggested that getting sober required being willing to go to any lengths. This is the key to other achievements and to the overcoming of problems besides alcohol.

We often have to put up with unpleasant conditions simply because we do not want to change them badly enough. For example, we may dislike the unpleasant coughing and risks of smoking, but lack the willingness to quit. We may brood over lost opportunities, but be unwilling to take advantage of the opportunities we have now.

The key to constructive change in our lives is willingness, and that applies to other matters as well as to alcohol. I’ll try to be honest today about what I really want. I will remind myself that if I want something badly enough, willingness is the key to action and to success.
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Keep It Simple



I don’t believe in the life afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear.

—Woody Allen

Most of us have many questions about a Higher Power. Sometimes we have more questions than answers. No matter how much we believe about God, there are always questions. Why do bad things happen if God is good? Does God punish people?

Is God called Jesus, Buddha, the Great Spirit? Perhaps we’ve chosen a name for our Higher Power, or maybe we haven’t. Yet, we know there is some Power great than ourselves that’s helping us in recovery.

We know what we need to know about God for today. We know how to ask for help, and how to accept help.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to know You more clearly. There’s much I’m not sure about. For now, I will act as if the help I get comes from You.

Action for the Day: I’ll think of three ways my Higher Power has done just the right thing for me. 
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation


RISK

“We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it.”

–Mark Twain

I need to risk in life. I need to try again. I need to face life and not run from it. Early in my sobriety I was scared to try new things because I was afraid I might get hurt. I was afraid to express my feelings. I hid in the idea of simply “not drinking”.

Spirituality is about being willing to reach out into new areas, engage in new and different relationships, enjoy the richness of God’s world. As I grow in sobriety I develop the capacity to react differently to painful situations and overcome them. I learn that mistakes can make for new conquests. That lasting joys and achievements are born in the risk.

Teach me to overcome yesterday’s sorrows with today’s optimism.
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A Day at a Time


Reflection for the Day

Over and over, I see that those who make the best and steadiest progress in The Program are those who readily accept the help of a Higher Power. Once they can do that, it’s easier for them to get out of their own way. Their problems then seem to resolve themselves in a way that is beyond human understanding.

Do I realize that the effectiveness with which I use the consciousness of God in my daily life depends not on Him, but on me?

Today I Pray

May I know that my recovery and growth depend on my being in touch with my Higher Power, not just once in a while, but always. It means turning to that Power several times a day to ask for strength and knowledge of His will. When I understand that my own life is part of a Higher Plan, I will be less apt to trip and fall, head off in the wrong direction, or just to sit tight and let life pass me by.

Today I Will Remember

To be God-conscious.

Hazelden Foundation
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A Day At A Time


Reflection For The Day
Once we surrendered and came to The Program, many of us wondered what we could do with all the time on our hands. All the hours we’d previously spent planning, hiding, alibiing, getting loaded, coming down, getting “well,” juggling our accounts — and all the rest — threatened to turn into empty chunks of time that somehow had to be filled. We needed new energy previously absorbed by our addictions. We soon realized that substituting a new and different activity is far easier than just stopping the old activity and putting nothing in its place. Am I redirecting my mind and energy?

Today I Pray

I pray that, once free of the encumbrance of my addiction. I may turn to my Higher Power to discover for me how to fill my time constructively and creatively. May that same Power that makes human paths cross and links certain people to specific situations, lead me along good new roads into good new places.

Today I Will Remember

Happenstance may be more than chance.
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One Day At A Time


RESENTMENT



”When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

–Catherine Ponder

I once had a situation in which someone I was acquainted with said unkind things about my weight and verbally attacked my spouse in front of my daughter. I worried and revisited the situation over and over for many years until the anger turned to resentment and became a major, entrenched grudge. Because so many of my eating issues stem from emotional ones, this would drive me to eat in an effort to dull, numb and forget my anger. That didn’t work ~ the eating didn’t stop that anger from turning into resentment.

When I would complain about this situation to a friend, she told me that I had to stop allowing that person to “rent space in my mind.” I came to realize that I had allowed — and even nurtured — a negative energetic link to that person and situation. I couldn’t let go of resentment until I was willing to take the needed steps in program and to forgive. Forgiving doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything from the situation, and I haven’t forgotten the unkind words. But I learned that I needed to be more cautious in my dealings with this type of individual. I learned I can’t surround myself with people who are overly-negative and say poisonous things without accepting any accountability for their actions. I have learned that I can be accountable for mine, and that I no longer have to allow myself to be bound by an emotional link to the situation.

One day at a time …
I will ask my Higher Power to help me to learn to forgive and forget. With the help of my Higher Power, I will let go of unnecessary baggage that causes resentment.

~ Deb B.
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day



“We forget so we consider ourselves superior. But we are, after all, a mere part of the creation and we must consider to understand where we are and we stand somewhere between the mountain and the Ant. Somewhere and only there is a part and parcel of the creation.”

–Chief Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA

Every human being gathers information from the center of a circle. If we are not careful, we soon think we are the center of all things. Therefore, it is easy to become self centered. Once we become self centered we start to think we are above all things and therefore superior. But we are really only one part of a great whole.

The universe is all connected. Each part is here to do something special and according to its design. We are here to honor and respect the job of each part. We are neither above nor below anything. We need not be ruler over anything, we need only to live in honor and harmony with the system.

My Creator, help me to view and conduct myself in a manner of respect, dignity and honor to all creation. Let me see You in all things.
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Today’s Gift


Let us open our natures, throw wide the doors of our hearts and let in the sunshine of good will and kindness.

—O. S. Marden


Kindness is among the gifts we can most easily spread among others. The more we give of kind words and deeds, the more we discover that kindness is like a burning candle which lights many other candles without losing a trace of its own brightness. Our kindnesses are assets, which return unexpected dividends when we invest them in the happiness of others. Kindness is the very basis of love. It softens the most severe anger and gladdens the hardest hearts.

No kindness is too small to win and hold the affection of others because it is made up of gentleness, love, generosity, unselfishness, and caring.

What kindness do I have to offer today?
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The Eye Opener



To pity distress is a natural human characteristic, except in the case of the poor drunk. The hospitals want no part of him. He brought it on himself and, besides, they need their beds for really sick people. Many doctors won’t make a house call if they suspect the patient has been drinking and, when they do, their medication consists for the most part of something to knock him out and keep him quiet. People who spend hours raising funds for the tubercular and the cancerous call a cop when they see a drunk.

God knows the drunk and He also knows human nature, and so He invented AA.

Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao / 180 - FORCE



A sword is never sheathed
Until it has tasted blood.
A good swordsman
Is seldom seen with a sword.

Many centuries ago, there was a wanderer who was constantly chased by assassins. He was the best swordsman in the country. His challengers wanted to overcome him and thereby establish their own fame. Although the swordsman had long ago repented his killing and had renounced his status, he was still considered the best.
Over and over, his enemies came for him, and just as many times he defeated them using things at hand -- umbrella, fan, sticks. He did not draw a real sword for he knew he was far too lethal when armed.

So it is that the wise remain humble so that others are not aroused against them. They avoid conflict whenever possible. If trouble comes to seek them, they use only the bare amount of force in return. To go further is to fall into excess. 
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Daily Zen

THE FOUR RELIANCES

In Buddhism we establish whether a teacher is authentic by whether or not the guidance he or she is giving accords with the teachings of the Buddha. It cannot be stressed too often that it is truth of the teaching which is all-important, and never the personality of the teacher. This is why Buddha reminded us in the "Four reliances":

Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality;

Rely on the meaning, not just on the words;

Rely on the real meaning, not just the provisional one;

Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgmental mind.




So it is important to remember that the true teacher, as we shall see, is the spokesman of the truth: its compassionate "wisdom display." All the buddhas, masters, and prophets, in fact are the emanation of this truth, appearing in countless skillful, compassionate guises in order to guide us through their teaching, back to our true nature. At first then, more important than finding the teacher is through making a connection with the truth of the teaching, for it is through making a connection with the truth of the teaching that you will discover your living connection with a master.

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Thursday, 28 June 2018

One Day At A Time


SELF-RESPECT
“In his private heart … no man much respects himself.”


-Mark Twain
I had no confidence or satisfaction in myself. I covered my lack of self-respect with absurd and harmful behaviors. I shielded myself from the respect and love of others by using these behaviors. I wanted to hide from the truth I knew – that I was behaving badly and dishonestly.
Having begun this program which restores us to sanity, we have stepped into a new realm of learning to love and respect ourselves. We have come to realize that we gain self-respect by working the Steps, surrendering ego, doing service for others, and relying on a Higher Power. Our lives become useful, our hearts are healed, and we are filled with respect for who we have become.
One day at a time …
May I come to realize I am worthy of self-respect because I am doing the right things for the right reasons … and giving credit to my Higher Power.
~ Judy N.
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Marie E. - Recovery Speaker


Daily Dose Of Emmet Fox


The Fourth Man

When Nebuchadnezzar sent out his decree that everyone in his kingdom should bow down and worship the golden image which he had erected, there were three men who refused to obey his edict. These were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. They were officials in the providence of Babylon, and had much to lose by their refusal.

Nebuchadnezzar called them before him, and they bluntly told the king that their God would deliver them form the fiery furnace to which they would be consigned, but that even if God did no deliver them, they would still serve him and Him alone.


Now, so long as you believe in God only and worship Him for His own sake, you can expect to be delivered from the ills and miseries that beset humankind. Of course, every Christian will say, "Naturally, I believe in God only. I do not worship idols or golden images. So this does not affect me." However, if you give power to sin, sickness, or evil of any kind, by believing in it, or if you think an advantage can be gained by distorting the truth, then you have made idols of these things, and in that sense, worship them.

Well, Nebuchadnezzar had the three men thrust into the fiery furnace, and the hat was so intense that it slew the guards that threw them in. And, as he looked, Nebuchadnezzar was astonished to find a fourth man walking in the flames with the other three, and he knew that this one was like unto the Son of god. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego walked out of the fiery furnace without blemish or scar.

So it is when we hold steadfastly to God, and give all power to Him. He sends his messenger, the Christ truth, to heal us and deliver us from our furnace of fear and frustration. Then do we know that nothing shall by any means hurt us.

Blessed be God...Who hath sent his angel, and delivered His servants that trusted in Him (Daniel 3:28).

Fox, Emmet (2010-09-07). Stake Your Claim: Exploring the Gold Mine Within (pp. 31-32). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
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Daily Reflections


THE DETERMINATION OF OUR FOUNDERS

A year and six months later these three had succeeded with seven more.


-ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 159

If it had not been for the fierce determination of our founders, A.A. would have quickly faded like so many other so-called good causes. I look at the hundreds of meetings weekly in the city where I live and I know A.A. is available twenty-four hours a day. If I had had to hang on with nothing but hope and a desire not to drink, experiencing rejection wherever I went, I would have sought the easier, softer way and returned to my previous way of life.
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Group conscience

“Working with others is only the beginning of service work.”


Basic Text, p. 59

––––=––––

Service work calls for a selfless devotion to carrying the message to the still-suffering addict. But our attitude of service cannot stop there. Service also requires that we look at ourselves and our motives. Our efforts at service make us highly visible to the fellowship. In NA, it is easy to become a “big fish in a little pond.” Our controlling attitude can easily drive away the newcomer.

Group conscience is one of the most important principles in service. It is vital to remember that the group conscience is what counts, not just our individual beliefs and desires. We lend our thoughts and beliefs to the development of a group conscience. Then when that conscience arises, we accept its guidance. The key is working with others, not against them. If we remember that we strive together to develop a collective conscience, we will see that all sides have equal merit. When all the discussions are over, all sides will come back together to carry a unified message.

It is often tempting to think that we know what is best for the group. If we remember that it doesn’t matter if we get our way, then it is easier to allow service to be the vehicle it is intended to be—a way to carry the message to the addict who still suffers.

––––=––––

Just for today: I will take part in the development of group conscience. I will remember that the world won’t end just because I don’t get my way. I will think about our primary purpose in all my service efforts. I will reach out to a newcomer.


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Twenty-Four Hours A Day


A.A. Thought For The Day

You can prove to yourself that life is basically and fundamentally an inner attitude. Just try to remember what troubled you most a week ago. You probably will find it difficult to remember. Why then should you unduly worry or fret over the problems that arise today? Your attitude toward them can be changed by putting yourself and your problems in God’s hands and trusting Him to see that everything will turn out all right, provided you are trying to do the right thing. Your changed mental attitude toward your problems relieves you of their burden and you can face them without fear. Has my mental attitude changed?

Meditation For The Day

You cannot see the future. It’s a blessing that you cannot. You could not bear to know all the future. That is why God only reveals it to you day by day. The first step is to lay your will before God as an offering, ready for God to do what is best for you. Be sure that, if you trust God, what He does for you will be for the best. The second step is to be confident that God is powerful enough to do anything He wills, and that no miracle in human lives is impossible with Him. Then leave the future to God.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may gladly leave my future in God’s hands. I pray that I may be confident that good things will happen, as long as I am on the right path.
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As Bill Sees It


Coping With Anger, p. 17

Few people have been more victimized by resentments than have we alcoholics. A burst of temper could spoil a day, and a well-nursed grudge could make us miserably ineffective. Nor were we ever skillful in separating justified from unjustified anger. As we saw it, our wrath was always justified. Anger, that occasional luxury of more balanced people, could keep us on an emotional jag indefinitely. These “dry benders’ often led straight to the bottle.

<< << << >> >> >>

Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen. We must avoid quick-tempered criticism, furious power-driven argument, sulking, and silent scorn. These are emotional booby traps baited with pride and vengefulness. When we are tempted by the bait, we should train ourselves to step back and think. We can neither think nor act to good purpose until the habit of self-restraint has become automatic.
12 & 12
1. p. 90
2. p. 91 
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Walk In Dry Places


Why it works.
Confidence.


Twelve Step meetings often begin with a reading from a famous Fifth chapter, “How it works.” We know that the program does work, but why? Is there a secret or magic to it?

The real reason the program works is neither secret nor magic. The program actually relies on ancient principles that always amaze people when they are employed: Help Others, and you help yourself. Clean up your own house. Put your trust in God, not frail human beings or shaky institutions. Remove false gods, such as alcohol and other drugs.

There may be additional reasons for the program’s success, but these are enough for a start. The Twelve Step program does work.

I’ll take comfort today in knowing that I’m walking in a way that has been tested and proven. The program works if I let it work.

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Keep It Simple


The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form.

–Stanley J. Randall


Trying to be perfect get us into trouble. Trying to be perfect means we’re trying to control things.

We may be trying to cover up something. Maybe we aren’t facing our pain. Maybe we’ve hurt someone and we need to make amends.

We need to practice being human. Humans aren’t perfect. In Steps Six and Seven, we face our human limits and our shortcomings. We then start the lifelong job of letting them go. To accept our human limits leads us to our Higher Power. We see how we need a guide in life. Our Higher Power makes a perfect guide.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me accept that I can’t be perfect. Help me be a good human being.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list my shortcoming. I’ll talk with a friend about them. I’ll ask my friend to tell me what my good qualities are.
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation


WINE

“One of the disadvantages of wine is that it makes a man mistake words for thoughts.”

–Samuel Johnson

Alcohol produced problems in my life. I was unable to control my drinking and the result was catastrophe. I hurt people. I endangered my health. I ruin my productivity. I became lonely. I felt isolated. I was forever getting into arguments. The police were often involved. People who loved me had to walk away from me for their own sanity. Alcohol made my life a mess!

Today I can see this and I am glad I made the spiritual decision to refuse the first drink. Today I am getting my life together. I am becoming a productive citizen. I have friends and relationships again. But I need to remember what I must never forget:

Alcohol + Me = Problems.

Lord, alcohol is a gift I can refuse.

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One Day At A Time


ISOLATION

”Solitude vivifies; isolation kills.”

-Joseph Roux

As an introvert and an agoraphobic I relate to both sides of this quote. From an introverted point of view, I need solitude to regroup, renew, and refresh. It’s part of my process in life to have quiet time alone in order to “get it together”. When I’m alone and I read my OA literature and meditate on what I’m reading and learning, I’m able to gain new insight and a renewed sense of direction in my program.

From an agoraphobic point of view, isolation kills my ability to stick to my program. When my social anxiety cycles and it becomes difficult to get to meetings or make phone calls, I hide from the world ~ and from my friends and other OA members who can help me maintain my abstinence.

Solitude and Isolation are both active decisions. Both require some forethought. If solitude is what I need to in order to regroup, I have to make time for it. I have to take a walk, read a book, putter around my house. On the flip side, if I’m having a hard time with Program and my social anxiety is becoming unmanageable, I can either isolate and spiral down, or I can choose to take action and get to a meeting, make a phone call, or ask my sponsor to meet me for coffee. I don’t have to be alone in this program.

One day at a time …

I remember that I have control over my actions. Although I need solitude to heal, I don’t have to be alone in my disease.

~ Deb B.
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day



“Whenever you take anything from the Earth, remember to leave an offering.”

–Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE

We need to look at nature and its inhabitants as our brothers and sisters. Whenever we pick plants or herbs, we should leave an offering of tobacco. We should talk to the plants and ask their permission to use them. The plants will feel honored to be of service for each of them knows they are here to serve. Each of them knows they carry a special medicine and this medicine is about continuing the cycle of life. We need always to be grateful to our brothers and sisters.

Creator, I thank you for the opportunity of life.

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Today’s Gift



It’s the deepest channel that runs most true.

—Kate Wolf

The greatest rivers spread themselves out wide and lazy over the earth. They roll over on themselves like great turtles turning in the warm sun. A river flows, drawn to the oceans, carving ever-deepening channels, nestling snug in the earth’s welcoming lap. The current is strongest in the deepest channel. Boat navigators know that finding that channel means finding the swiftest current and the safest voyage home.

When we look at a river, or at another person, we see only the surface. What keeps our attention is usually some movement or activity on the surface. But there is more than meets the eye, especially to people. When we overlook someone because that person is quiet or simple, we may be robbing ourselves of an eye-opening discovery.

Which deeper things can I look for in my day? 
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The Eye Opener




Exactly what is AA worth to you? Have you ever figured that out? Make a written list sometime of the benefits you have derived from your sobriety. Try hard to make an honest evaluation of what it would be worth to you in dollars and cents. How much have you benefited mentally, spiritually, physically, financially, socially?

Then make another list – how much has AA benefited by your membership? Are you trying to give as much as you have received? If not, you are getting something for nothing and that isn’t honest. You can never square the debt, but you can probably give it a little better try than you have been doing.

Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao /179 - WAR





Weapons are tools of ill omen

Wielded by the ignorant.

If their use is unavoidable,

The wise act with restraint.

The greatest sorrow is to be a veteran,

Witness to the atrocities of humanity.





If you hold a real weapon in your hand, you will feel its character strongly. It begs to be used. It is fearsome. Its only purpose is death, and its power is not just in the material from which it is made but also from the intention of its makers.

It is regrettable that weapons must sometimes be used, but occasionally, survival demands it. The wise go forth with weapons only as a last resort. They never rejoice in the skill of weapons, nor do they glorify war.




When death, pain, and destruction are visited upon what you hold to be most sacred, the spiritual price is devastating. What hurts more than one's own suffering is bearing witness to the suffering of others. The regret of seeing human beings at their worst and the sheer pain of not being able to help the victims can never be redeemed. If you go personally to war, you cross the line yourself. You sacrifice ideals for survival and the fury of killing. That alters you forever. That is why no one rushes to be a veteran. Think before you want to change so unalterably. The stakes are not merely one's life, but one's very humanity.




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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Wayne M - Recovery Speaker


Robert H. - Recovery Speaker


Daily Reflections


CONFORMING TO THE A.A. WAY

We obey A.A.’s Steps and Traditions because we really want them for ourselves. It is no longer a question of good or evil; we conform because we genuinely want to conform. Such is our process of growth in unity and function. Such is the evidence of God’s grace and love among us.

-A.A. COMES OF AGE, p. 106

It is fun to watch myself grow in A.A. I fought conformity to A.A. principles from the moment I entered, but I learned from the pain of my belligerence that, in choosing to live the A.A. way of life, I opened myself to God’s grace and love. Then I began to know the full meaning of being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. 
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Just for today


Change and growth

“When someone points out a shortcoming, our first reaction may be defensive. There will always be room for growth.”

Basic Text, p. 36

––––=––––

Recovery is a process that brings about change in our lives. We need that change if we are to continue our growth toward freedom. It’s important that we remain open-minded when others point out our shortcomings, for they are bringing to light opportunities for us to change and grow. Reacting defensively limits our ability to receive the help they are offering us; letting go of our defenses opens the door to change, growth, and new freedom.

Each day in the recovery process will bring an opportunity for further change and growth. The more we learn to greet change with an open mind and heart, the more we will grow and the more comfortable we will become with our recovery.

––––=––––

Just for today: I will greet each opportunity for growth with an open mind.
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day


A.A. Thought For The Day

If you can take your troubles as they come, if you can maintain your calm and composure amid pressing duties and unending engagements, if you can rise above the distressing and disturbing circumstances in which you are set down, you have discovered a priceless secret of daily living. Even if you are forced to go through life weighed down by some unescapable misfortune or handicap and yet live each day as it comes with poise and peace of mind, you have succeeded where most people have failed. You have wrought a greater achievement than a person who rules a nation. Have I achieved poise and peace of mind?

Meditation For The Day

Take a blessing with you wherever you go. You have been blessed, so bless others. Such stores of blessings are awaiting you in the months and years that lie ahead. Pass on your blessings. Blessing can and does go around the world, passed on from one person to another. Shed a little blessing in the heart of one person. That person is cheered to pass it on, and so, God’s vitalizing, joy-giving message travels on. Be a transmitter of God’s blessings.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may pass on my blessings. I pray that they may flow into the lives of others.
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Walk In Dry Places


Have I ever been helped?
Unselfishness.

Sometimes we hear hard luck stories by people who claim they never “had a single helping hand.” Everybody was against them.

It’s true that certain people have had more than their share of abuse and abandonment. But it’s hard to believe that helping hands haven’t been extended … acts of kindness, often made by selfless but ordinary people.

Our problem has been in recognizing such helping hands. Lost in self-pity, we could hardly have recognized help when it was given. Nor were we capable of giving constructive assistance to others.

Furthermore, if people were against us, we may have provoked it. Our task is to change our thinking about the past and to be grateful for the people who were kind to us.

I realize that there are kind and decent people who have helped me. There are many such people in the world, and I want to be one of them. 
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Keep It Simple



Hell is not to love anymore.

—George Bernanos

Someone in an AA group said, “From the first day I started this program, I felt like I had died and gone to heaven.” This person had walked into a room full of love. In recovery, we are spiritual people because we believe in love. We have faith in love.

Love is respect. Love is truth with kindness. Love is being willing to forgive and help others.

Love is thinking about how our Higher Power wants us to act. Love is what we do best. We have turned our will and our life over to love.

Prayer for the Day: I pray that I may love all parts of life. Higher Power, help me seek out love, not material things.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll think about what I love about recovery. I will share this with a couple of friends and my Higher Power.
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation


HYPOCRISY

“The devil can cite scripture for his purpose.”

–William Shakespeare

This quotation reminds me that the disease of alcoholism is “cunning, baffling and powerful”. I am aware of the need to walk like I talk, to make the action fit the word, to live my program today rather than talk about it for tomorrow. Why? Because the disease can talk program! I have caught myself saying things that I do not practice in my life. I catch myself saying things to others that I do not live out in my own life. Today I am aware of my hypocrisy. Today I am aware of the disease in my life.

I need to be aware of this aspect of the disease because I am such a good talker, such a convincing talker, such a practiced manipulator! Today I know that I am not perfect, but that should never be an excuse to avoid dealing with my character defects. I must not “con” myself into staying sick!

I pray that I may strive to live the message.
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation


MOTIVES

“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.”

–Michelangelo

I must always “think big”, not in an egotistical sense but as an adventure in spirituality. When I had a small God, I always remained a small person, with small aspirations and dreams. Today I have an all-embracing inclusive God that fills the universe. Today I have hope in my dreams.

As an alcoholic I missed so much. I observed very little about myself and God’s world, people and friends became inconsequential; nothing really mattered except the desire to drink. My spiritual potential was lost in my alcoholism.

Today I am realizing my potential and I can risk in sobriety. My motto has become “go for it”. Behind my dreams is my growth. I have a sense of so much joy in the world that I wish to enthusiastically experience my life.

God, I am so grateful to be alive.
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One Day At A Time


EFFICIENCY AND FUNCTION


“In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is.”

–Bill W., Letter of 1942


I have spent a lot of time cultivating perfectionism in the vain attempt to make up for being a “failure” — or what I have now come to understand is compulsive eating and an illness. I was trying to make up with efficiency for that feeling of not being good enough ~ and that feeling seems to be a hallmark of our illness.

By my past behaviors, I wanted you to notice how efficient and functional I was despite my obese body that belied I had a problem. If I could somehow convince you that I was “normal” and “ok,” I would not have to admit my powerlessness. This is the single greatest obsession of every compulsive eater: that we are “normal” eaters. But we are not!

I built a lifetime around efficiency and function trying to show you how normal I was. Thank God I was brought to my compulsive eating knees time and time again until I could finally make that admission of failure as a normal eater and admit that I was powerless. The humility brought about by that admission afforded me an open-mindedness and willingness I had hitherto not known. I became teachable.

One day at a time …

I pray to remain teachable.

~ Lanaya
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A Day At A Time


Reflection For The Day

Little by little, I’m getting over my tendency to procrastinate. I always used to put things off till tomorrow, and, of course, they never got done. Instead of “Do it now,” my motto was “Tomorrow’s another day.” When I was loaded, I had grandiose plans; when I came down, I was too busy getting “well” to start anything. I’ve learned in The Program that it’s far better to never do anything at all. Am I learning to do it now?

Today I Pray

May God help me cure my habitual tardiness and “get me to the church on time.” May I free myself of the self-imposed chaos of life-long procrastination; library books overdue, appointments half missed, assignments turned in late, schedules unmet, meals half-cooked. May I be sure if I , as an addict, led a disordered life, I, as a recovering addict, need order. May God give me the serenity I need to restore order and organization to my daily living.

Today I Will Remember

I will not be put off by my tendency to put off.
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day



“What could be greater than to be Wakan- Tanka’s mind, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, arms, hands, legs, and feet here on earth?”

–Fools Crow, LAKOTA


In order for the Creator to do His work on this earth, He needs the human being to do it. How He guides us is through our eyes, ears, hands, nose, mouth, arms legs and feet.

We are instruments of the Creator. We are His keepers of the earth. We are the keepers of our brothers. We are to teach His children. We are to respect the things He has made. We are to take care of ourselves and treat our bodies and our minds with respect.

We are to do respectful things. We are to walk the Sacred Path. We should have good thoughts. We should do only things that we think the Creator would have us do. What an honor to be a human being. What an honor that He would talk to us and guide us to perform His wonders.

Oh Great Spirit, let me appreciate the role you have given me. Let my sense be sharp to hear Your voice. Keep my mind clean so I can do the things You would have me do.
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Today’s Gift


When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

—Helen Keller

In the game of musical chairs, everyone walks around a circle of chairs. When the music stops, they scramble for the nearest open chair. If we were playing this game and found the nearest chairs taken, wouldn’t we quickly look around for the next open one? To remain immobilized, angry that the chair we wanted was taken, would undoubtedly lose our place in the game.

Sometimes in life, we set our sights on a particular chair. Perhaps there is an award we want to win, or we want to be the high scorer on our team. Perhaps there is a promotion or a job we would like to get. When we do not get what we want, it is easy to keep looking at what we didn’t get instead of seeing all we have.

It is important to be grateful for what we have – for the open doors and empty chairs waiting and inviting our attention. Loss and disappointment are a part of life – but the music will play again and our lives can move on.

What is available to me today?
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The Eye Opener



AA is not fundamentally a philosophy, but it is rather a program of active living. To commit the Big Book to memory, to listen attentively to all the group speakers will not guarantee continued sobriety.

The knowledge gained thereby, put into your everyday living, will make drinking practically impossible and certainly unenjoyable. If we fail to make the Program an integral part of our everyday living, we are almost sure to have some rough times ahead.

Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao / 178 - CHILDHOOD


No. No. No.

This ruins a child.



Children are one of the most precious aspects of life, and yet they often are mistreated and abused. If you are a parent, your most important task is to raise your child with as little trauma as possible. Firmness, consistency, and patience are essential. There will undoubtedly be times when you have to correct a child to prevent mistakes and bad habits. However, when it comes to a child's curiosity, individuality, or initiative, there should never be any discouragement. In that sense, it is wrong to say no.

There is a legend about a thief who stole into heaven and took the peaches that gave immortality. He returned to earth and was about to eat them when he chanced upon two little boys. Taken with their intelligence, he asked them riddle after riddle about the deepest meanings of life and they answered with laughing ease. The thief decided to share his peaches with the boys, and they all became immortal.


If the boys had had their curiosity killed early in life, could they have answered well? If a thief could be kind to children, can't the rest of us be too? And if the children never had an opportunity, could they have become immortals?
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Daily Zen


The Flower Ornament Scripture says:

“I now see all sentient beings everywhere

fully possess the wisdom and virtues

of the enlightened ones,

but because of false conceptions

and attachments they do not realize it.”

– Buddha
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Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Ray O' K - Recovery Speaker


Daily Reflections



A GIFT THAT GROWS WITH TIME


For most normal folks, drinking means conviviality, companionship and colorful imagination. It means release from care, boredom and worry. It is joyous intimacy with friends and a feeling that life is good.
-ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 151

The longer I chased these elusive feelings with alcohol, the more out of reach they were. However, by applying this passage to my sobriety, I found that it described the magnificent new life made available to me by the A.A. program. It “truly does get better” one day at a time. The warmth, the love and the joy so simply expressed in these words grow in breadth and depth each time I read it. Sobriety is a gift that grows with time.


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Just for today


Surrendering self-will

“Our fears are lessened and faith begins to grow as we learn the true meaning of surrender. We are no longer fighting fear, anger, guilt, self-pity, or depression.”

Basic Text, p. 27

––––=––––

Surrender is the beginning of a new way of life. When driven primarily by self-will, we constantly wondered whether we’d covered all the bases, whether we’d manipulated that person in just the right way to achieve our ends, whether we’d missed a critical detail in our efforts to control and manage the world. We either felt afraid, fearing our schemes would fail; angry or self-pitying when they fell through; or guilty when we pulled them off. It was hard, living on self-will, but we didn’t know any other way.

Not that surrender is always easy. On the contrary, surrender can be difficult, especially in the beginning. Still, it’s easier to trust God, a Power capable of managing our lives, than to trust only ourselves, whose lives are unmanageable. And the more we surrender, the easier it gets.

When we turn our will and our lives over to the care of our Higher Power, all we have to do is our part, as responsibly and conscientiously as we can. Then we can leave the results up to our Higher Power. By surrendering, acting on faith, and living our lives according to the simple spiritual principles of this program, we can stop worrying and start living.

––––=––––

Just for today: I will surrender self-will. I will seek knowledge of God’s will for me and the power to carry it out. I will leave the results in my Higher Power’s hands.


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Twenty-Four Hours A Day


A.A. Thought For The Day

We must know the nature of our weakness before we can determine how to deal with it. When we are honest about its presence, we may discover that it is imaginary and can be overcome by a change of thinking. We admit that we are alcoholics and we would be foolish if we refused to accept our handicap and do something about it. So by honestly facing our weakness and keeping ever present the knowledge that for us alcoholism is a disease with which we are afflicted, we can take the necessary steps to arrest it. Have I fully accepted my handicap?

Meditation For The Day

There is a proper time for everything. I must learn not to do things at the wrong time, that is, before I am ready or before conditions are right. It is always a temptation to do something at once, instead of waiting until the proper time. Timing is important. I must learn, in the little daily situations of life, to delay action until I am sure that I am doing the right thing at the right time. So many lives lack balance and timing. In the momentous decisions and crises of life, they may ask God’s guidance, but into the small situations of life, they rush alone.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may delay action until I feel that I am doing the right thing. I pray that I may not rush in alone.
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