Thursday, 23 May 2019

Father Leo’s Daily Meditation


EFFORT

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Because we are not perfect, we need only do our best. Because our recovery from addiction is an on-going process, we will discover that our best is improving on a daily basis. It is so easy to beat ourselves up emotionally by thinking that our best is not good enough. Even after years of recovery we still hear the old tapes: “People do not want to listen to you.” “Is that all that you can do?”

We need to remember that the disease of addiction still lives in our recovery. However, our honest attempts at dealing with a problem or helping another with a problem – provided they are honest attempts – will usually be more than sufficient.

Today I accept my best attempts with gratitude and I am not too proud to seek the advice of another.

God, accept the best that I can offer as an instrument of Your peace.
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A Day At A Time

Reflection For The Day

When newcomers to The Program experience the first startling feeling that they’re truly among friends, they also wonder — with almost a sense of terror — if the feeling is real.  Will it last?  Those of us who’ve been in The Program a few years can assure any newcomer at a meeting that it is very real indeed, and that it does last.  It’s not just another false start, not just a temporary burst of gladness to be followed, inevitably, by shattering disappointment.  Am I convinced that I can have a genuine and enduring recovery from the loneliness of my addiction?

Today I Pray

Please, God, let me not be held back by my fear of recurring loneliness.  May I know that the openness which warms me in this group will not suddenly close up and leave me out.  May I be patient with my fear, which is swollen with past disappointments and losses.  may I know that the fellowship of the group will, in time, convince me that loneliness is never incurable.

Today I Will Remember

Loneliness is curable
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One Day At A Time


OPPORTUNITY

“In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.”

–Albert Einstein


Pain, struggle, and difficulty can be catalysts for changes in me. If I am having so much difficulty living the way I do, then surely my current means of coping and survival are not working. The insanity of it all was that in spite of all the proof I saw that those methods did not work, I continued to live the same way — and suffer the same difficulties and struggles — for many years. Then opportunity for change knocked on my door. I found TRG online.


The Recovery Group program has shown me that there are much better ways to deal with life than to stuff myself with food, fear, resentments, and anger. The methods and tools I have been given here work. My defects still rear their ugly heads, but I no longer live focused on — or living in — those defects. Now I direct my thinking to program material, prayer and program works. What a gift that has been! Joy is mine for today ~ for the taking!

When I find that what I am doing today is not working, what do I need to do? As a COE with no recovery I would have kept doing what wasn’t working. That made no sense, but that’s what I did. Now when I struggle with the food, I look at my thinking, ’cause thinking affects how I feel and feelings impact my compulsions. When the thinking starts to spiral downward I know I need to act. I need to read program material, contact a program person, pray and meditate, and/or do program service. I need to use the tools to get me focused back on recovery.


One day at a time …

I will be mindful of my thinking, and when negative or self-pitying thoughts arise, I will remember that I have the opportunity now to redirect and refocus anew on recovery.

~ Karen A. 
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day


“To me, if you’re Indian, you’re Indian. You don’t have to put on your buckskin, beads, and feathers, and stuff like that.”
–Cecilia Mitchell, MOHAWK


The most important thing that determines who we are is on our insides, not our outsides. If we are Indian inside, that’s all that matters. Being Indian means to think right, to be spiritual, and to pray. Feathers and beads don’t make us Indian. Being Indian means to have a good heart and a good mind.

Great Spirit, today, let me think Indian.
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Today’s Gift


The prayer of the chicken hawk does not get him the chicken.

—Swahili Proverb

Imagine flying high over the grassy plains searching with piercing eyes for dinner down below. The sun is warm on our backs as we catch the heated updrafts and rest, always watching, always praying, that dinner will be provided for the little ones back in the nest.

Dinner will be provided, of that the hawk is sure. It has faith. But the faith and the prayer will not put the chicken in its talons. It is going to have to keep looking, and, when it spots the prey, its wings will fold back, and its sleek body will plummet out of the sky. It will brake quickly with broad wings and clasp the unsuspecting supper on the fly.

Like the hawk, once we have prayed, we must get to work. Our goal isn’t going to be done for us. We can pray for the strength and wisdom we will need to get it done, and that prayer will be answered. But, as the hawk knows, it’s up to us to do the work.

What is my goal today, and my first step toward it? 
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The Eye Opener



“God created the world and God saw everything He had made and, behold, it was very good.” He gave man dominion over the world and we have badly fouled it up.

This world, with all its wars, crimes, sins and sorrows, is truly our world – not the one God made.

Alcoholics and non-alcoholics alike must get out of the driver’s seat, admit we are powerless over our baser instincts and let God take over.

Then our world will become His world again and it will be very good, indeed.

Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao / 143 - INTUITION


Hawk doesn't think during the hunt.
It does not care for theory or ethics.
All that it does is natural.


Animals live simple lives close to Tao. They do not need to think or reason : They never doubt themselves. When they are hungry, they eat. When they are tired, they sleep. They respond to the cycles of the day according to their intuition. They mate at the proper season, and they nurture their young according to their own understanding. When they die, they fall under the teeth of predators or the dispassionate turning of the seasons.

By contrast, we as human beings depart from the natural norm, and worry about ethical action. Extremes of behavior have become more varied running the gamut from the sadistic to the moralistic. Tao considers all this artificial and unnatural. Why divorce ourselves from nature?

The follower of Tao prefers to live completely in concert with Tao, avoiding the interference of theory and excessive thought. Though one must first learn skill and ethics thoroughly, one must come to embody them so completely that they become subconscious. Reacting to a situation by asking what is right and wrong is already too slow. One must intuitively do what is correct. There should be no foreshadowing of an act, nor doubt about oneself.
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Daily Zen

There is really nothing you must be and there is nothing you must do. There is really nothing you must have and there is nothing you must know. There is really nothing you must become. However, it helps to understand that fire burns, and when it rains, the earth gets wet.

-Zen Quote
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Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Big Book Chapter 4 We Agnostics (pg 44 - top 45)

In the preceding chapters you have learned something of alcoholism. We hope we have made clear the distinction between the alcoholic and the non-alcoholic. If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer. To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic such an experience seems impossible, but to continue as he is means disaster, especially if he is an alcoholic of the hopeless variety. To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face. But it isn't so difficult. About half our original fellowship were of exactly that type. At first some of us tried to avoid the issue, hoping against hope we were not true alcoholics. But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life-or else. Perhaps it is going to be that way with you. But cheer up, something like half of us thought we were atheists or agnostics. Our experience shows that you need not be disconcerted. If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago. But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried. We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn't there. Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly.  Big Book Chapter 4 We Agnostics (pg 44 - top 45)
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Daily Dose OF Emmet Fox #essentialsofrecovery

“Realizing God as Truth will save you hours of work in research in any field. You will be led to the right book or the right place or the right person without loss of time, or the necessary information will come to you in some other way.”
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Daily Reflections


STEP ONE

We …. (The first word of the First Step)

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 21


When I was drinking all I could ever think about was “I, I, I,” or “Me, Me, Me.” Such painful obsessions of self, such soul sickness, such spiritual selfishness bound me to the bottle for more than half my life. The journey to find God and to do His will one day at a time began with the first word of the First Step … “We.” There was power in numbers, there was strength in numbers, there was safety in numbers, and for an alcoholic like me, there was life in numbers, If I had tried to recover alone I probably would have died. With God and another alcoholic I have a divine purpose in my life … I have become a channel for God’s healing love.
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Just For Today



Symptoms of a spiritual awakening



“The steps lead to an awakening of a spiritual nature. This awakening is evidenced by changes in our lives.”

Basic Text, p. 49


––––=––––

We know how to recognize the disease of addiction. Its symptoms are indisputable. Besides an uncontrollable appetite for drugs, those suffering exhibit self-centered, self-seeking behavior. When our addiction was at its peak of activity, we were obviously in a great deal of pain. We relentlessly judged ourselves and others, and spent most of our time worrying or trying to control outcomes.

Just as the disease of addiction is evidenced by definite symptoms, so is a spiritual awakening made manifest by certain obvious signs in a recovering addict. We may observe a tendency to think and act spontaneously, a loss of interest in judging or interpreting the actions of anyone else, an unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment, and frequent attacks of smiling.

If we see someone exhibiting symptoms of a spiritual awakening, we should be aware that such awakenings are contagious. Our best course of action is to get close to these people. As we begin having frequent, overwhelming episodes of gratitude, an increased receptiveness to the love extended by our fellow members, and an uncontrollable urge to return this love, we’ll realize that we, too, have had a spiritual awakening.

––––=––––

Just for today: My strongest desire is to have a spiritual awakening. I will watch for its symptoms and rejoice when I discover them.
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day


A.A. Thought For The Day

What impresses us most at an A.A. meeting is the willingness to share, without holding anything back. And pretty soon we find ourselves sharing also. We start telling our own experiences and by so doing we help the other person. And when we’ve got these things off our chest, we feel a lot better. It does us a lot of good to share with some other poor unfortunate person who’s in the same box that we were in. And the more we share, the more we have left for ourselves. Do I know that the more I share, the better chance I’ll have to stay sober?

Meditations For Today

Constantly claim God’s strength. Once convinced of the right of a course of action, once reasonably sure of God’s guidance, claim that strength now. You can claim all the strength you need to meet any situation. You can claim a new supply when your own supply is exhausted. You have a right to claim it and you should use your right. A beggar supplicates, a child appropriates. When you supplicate, you are often kept waiting, but when you appropriate God’s strength in a good cause, you have it at once.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may claim God’s strength whenever I need it. I pray that I may try to live as a child of God.
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As Bill Sees It


God-Given Instincts, p. 142

Creation gave us instincts for a purpose. Without them we wouldn’t be complete human beings. If men and women didn’t exert themselves to be secure in their persons, made no effort to harvest food or construct shelter, there would be no survival. If they didn’t reproduce, the earth wouldn’t be populated. If there were no social instinct, there would be no society.

Yet these instincts, so necessary for our existence, often far exceed their proper functions. Powerfully, blindly, many times subtly, they drive us, dominate us, and insist upon ruling our lives.

**************************************

We tried to shape a sane ideal for our future sex life. We subjected each relation to this test: Was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them. We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.

1. 12 & 12, p. 42
2. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 69 
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Walk in Dry Places #essentialsofrecovery


Emotional sobriety may be elusive

Serenity


It is easy to know when one is maintaining sobriety as far as alcohol is concerned. Emotional sobriety is more difficult to measure, because is it usually gauged by our behavior and feelings in response to people and situations.

If we lack emotional sobriety, we are likely to end up in “dry drunks”. This means we lose emotional control under pressure or when threatened. We may think we have this control, yet find ourselves falling apart when seemingly small problems come up.


Maybe we have to accept that we will never have all the emotional control that we admire in others. This emotional sensitivity may even be part of our alcoholism. Most important, we must ensure that emotional binges do not become binges involving real booze.

Nor should wed judge ourselves too harshly when we undergo another emotional binge, or “dry drunk.” Such judgmental attitudes, even toward ourselves, may be a form of false pride.

Today I’ll seek all the serenity I can find. If I lose my cool temporarily, I’ll accept it as part of my general problem and get back to orderly thinking as quickly as possible.
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Keep It Simple


Showing up is 80 percent of life.
-Woody Allen


Life is full of things we don’t want to do. Yet when all parts of us( mind, body, spirit) show up, things go okay. By being there, we can learn about ourselves and help others.

Showing up means we care about our program. It means we speak up at meetings. It means we care about our family, our friends, the world. It means we listen when a friend has a bad day. It means seeing ourselves in others. It means we talk to someone who bothers us. Showing up means we laugh when something seems funny. It means we cry when we feel sad. We’re important, and we need to bring our mind, body, and spirit with us—wherever we go. Have I learned to show up, all of me?


Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me show up for my life. Help me show up to do my part in Your plan today.

Today’s Action: As I go through my day, I’ll think about how I’m showing up for my life. I’ll be proud of myself for doing my part.
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation


EARTH

“This could be such a beautiful world.”

–Rosalind Welcher

The beauty that I see in the world also reveals a sadness – a sadness in knowing that it could be a much more loving and accepting place for everybody. If only we would get together in our difference instead of demanding sameness.

We destroy so much God–given beauty by our desire to control, understand and arrogantly pursue a philosophy of selfishness – and we all lose.

But my spiritual hope for tomorrow comes in the creative choices I make today.

Let me be a good steward in Your world because it is Your gift to me.
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A Day At A Time


Reflection For The Day


When I first listened to people in The Program talking freely and honestly about themselves, I was stunned. Their stories of their own addictive escapades, of their own secret fears, and of their own gnawing loneliness were literally mind-blowing for me. I discovered — and hardly dared believe it at first — that I’m not alone. I’m not all that different from everybody else and, in fact, we’re all very much the same. I began to sense that I do belong somewhere, and my loneliness began to leave me. Do I try to give to others what has been given freely to me?

Today I Pray

May I begin to see, as the life stories of my friends in The Program unfold for me, that our similarities are far more startling than our differences. As I listen to their accounts of addition and recovery, may I experience often that small shock of recognition, a “hey-that’s-me!” feeling that is quick to chase away my separateness.  May I become a wholehearted member of the group, giving and taking in equal parts.

Today I Will Remember


Sameness, not Differences.
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One Day At A Time

~ FAITH ~


The inability of the materialistic mind to grasp the idea of the Life Eternal is no proof of the non-existence of that life.

-Abdu’l-Baha

I grew up in a family where there was no belief in the existence of God, although we were told that it was up to us to decide where to put our faith.

I struggled through various addictions and disorders, but never forgot that one special time as a child, where I spontaneously went down on my knees one night to pray to God, who for a few moments had suddenly become very real.

As an adult, my belief in a Higher Power came and went like the breeze, so that some days I was an atheist, others an agnostic, and at other times filled with an awareness that God is in all things.

I am grateful that my addiction to overeating has brought me to this Twelve Step program. Every day I come to believe that a Power greater than myself can restore my sense of balance, and I make sure that I put in effort to maintain my conscious connection with God.

One Day at a Time …

I pray that my spiritual faculties and aspirations will daily increase, and that I will never allow the material senses to veil my eyes from the light of my Higher Power.

~ John M. ~
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day



“The earth was created by the assistance of the sun, and it should be left as it was… The country was made without lines of demarcation, and it is no man’s business to divide it … ”


–Chief Joseph, NEZ PERCE


There is danger when we start to draw lines and boundaries. This is true whether outside ourselves or inside ourselves. The danger is losing sight of the interconnectedness. When we lose sight of interconnectedness, separation, possessiveness (this is mine, I can do what I want) and infighting results. Even at an individual level, if we don’t believe we are connected to all things we get self-centered and have self-seeking motives. We must think in harmony, balance and integrity. We must see our relationship to the great whole and conduct ourselves accordingly.

Great Spirit, today, let me think beyond boundaries.
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Today’s Gift


If it’s sanity you’re after, there’s no recipe like laughter.

—Henry Rutherford Elliot

A smile is the earliest form of communication. A human infant smiles in the first few weeks of life. As the child grows, it learns how to turn the smile into a laugh – a joyous response reflecting pleasure.

A sense of humor, a feeling of fun, and an ability to laugh are all signs of emotional maturity. Healthy laughter frees us; it is the sunshine that makes life’s shadows interesting. When we develop the ability to see the humor in a situation, we gain the ability to handle it.

We were born with smiles. They are as much a part of us as our teeth and hair. Polished and cared for, our smiles can grow into a sense of humor that will help us through the painful times.

How can I turn troubles into smiles today? 
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Eye Opener


We veterans of the Alcoholic Wars that raged within ourselves can bear testimony to the fact that it was only when we called upon the God of our understanding that peace was restored to our lives.

World wars are but the extension of the conflicts existing in the souls of men on a worldwide basis. They, too, have as their foundation fear, suspicion, envy, intolerance and national egotism.

There will never be a permanent peace until the Prince of Peace is admitted into the hearts of men in high places and is allowed to preside over their Conference Tables.


Hazelden Foundation
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Daily Tao / 142 - LEISURE

Birds chirp, vanguard for coming rain,

Dog bark skitters through twilight village.

Smoke raises a column through the pines,

Contented families dine in golden windows.



Life's pulse is gauged in the hollows, the intervals between events. If you want to see Tao, you must discern these spaces. This requires leisure, the chance to sit and contemplate, and the opportunity to respond to inner urgings.

If you can find a place to retreat, you can make a life where Tao will flood into you. Out in the woods, or in the mountains, or even in small villages where the times are slow paced and the people sensitive to nature, there is the possibility of knowing the deep and the profound. Only when you have the time to accumulate an unshakable belief and faith can you glimpse the Tao in which there is restfulness and a natural sense of what is right.
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Daily Zen #essentialsofrecovery

If you don't disturb yourself, like a broken gong does not vibrate, then you have achieved nirvana. Irritability no longer exists for you. 
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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Big Book - Alcoholics Anonymous - Chapter 6 Into Action (pg 84 & top 85)

This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code. And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone-even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality—safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition. ~ Chapter 6 Into Action (pg 84 & top 85)
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Daily Dose OF Emmet Fox


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Emmet Fox - The Lords Prayer

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Daily Reflections

A LIST OF BLESSINGS One exercise that I practice is to try for a full inventory of my blessings …
-AS BILL SEES IT, p. 37
What did I have to be grateful for? I shut myself up and started listing the blessings for which I was in no way responsible, beginning with having been born of sound mind and body. I went through seventy-four years of living right up to the present moment. The list ran to two pages, and took two hours to compile; I included health, family, money, A.A.– the whole gamut. Every day in my prayers, I ask God to help me remember my list, and to be grateful for it throughout the day. When I remember my gratitude list, it’s very hard to conclude that God is picking on me.
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Just For Today


Keep coming back!


“Meetings keep us in touch with where we’ve been, but more importantly, with where we could go in our recovery.”


Basic Text, p. 56

––––=––––

In many ways, addicts are different. When we came to Narcotics Anonymous we found others like ourselves, people who understood us and whom we could understand. No longer did we feel like aliens, strangers wherever we went. We were at home in NA meetings, among friends.

We don’t stop being addicts after we’ve been clean awhile. We still need to identify with other addicts. We continue coming to NA meetings to keep in touch with who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. Every meeting reminds us that we can never use drugs successfully. Every meeting reminds us that we’ll never be cured, but that by practicing the principles of the program we can recover. And every meeting offers us the experience and example of other addicts in ongoing recovery.

At meetings, we see how different people work their program, and the results are apparent in their lives. If we want the lives we see others living, we can find out what they’ve done to get where they are. Narcotics Anonymous meetings offer us identification with where we’ve been and where we can go—identification we can’t do without and can’t get anywhere else. That keeps us coming back.

––––=––––

Just for today: I will attend an NA meeting to remind myself of who I am, where I’ve come from, and where I can go in my recovery.


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Twenty-Four Hours A Day


A.A. Thought For The Day

In A.A. we have three things: fellowship, faith, and service. Fellowship is wonderful, but its wonder lasts just so long. Then some gossip, disillusionment, and boredom may come in. Worry and fear come back at times and we find that fellowship is not the whole story. Then we need faith. When we’re alone, with nobody to pat us on the back, we must turn to God for help. Can I say “Thy will be done” – and mean it?

Meditation For The Day

There is beauty in a God-guided life. There is wonder in the feeling of being led by God. Try to realize God’s bounty and goodness more and more. God is planning for you. Wonderful are His ways – they are beyond your knowledge. But God’s leading will enter your consciousness more and more and bring you ever more peace and joy. Your life is being planned and blessed by God. You may count all material things as losses if they prevent your winning your way to the consciousness of God’s guidance.

Prayer For The Day
I pray that I may earn the rewards of God’s power and peace. I pray that I may develop the feeling of being led by God.
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As Bill Sees It


“Restore Us to Sanity”, p. 141

Few indeed are the practicing alcoholics who have any idea how irrational they are, or, seeing their irrationality, can bear to face it.  For example, some will be willing to term themselves “problem drinkers,” but cannot endure the suggestion that they are in fact mentally ill.

They are abetted in this blindness by a world which does not understand the difference between sane drinking and alcoholism.  “Sanity” is defined as “soundness of mind.” Yet no alcoholic, soberly analyzing his destructive behavior, whether the destruction fell on the dining-room furniture or his own moral fiber, can claim “soundness of mind” for himself.

12 & 12, pp. 32-33 
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery


A.A. Thought For The Day

One of the finest things about A.A. is the sharing. Sharing is a wonderful thing because the more you share the more you have. in our old drinking days, we didn’t do much sharing. We used to keep things to ourselves, partly because we were ashamed, but mostly because we were selfish. And we were very lonely because we didn’t share. When we came into A.A., the first thing we found was sharing. We heard other alcoholics frankly sharing their experiences with hospitals, jails, and all the usual mess that goes with drinking. Am I sharing?

Meditation For The Day

Character is developed by the daily discipline of duties done. Be obedient to the heavenly vision and take the straight way. Do not fall into the error of calling “Lord, Lord,” and doing not the things that should be done. You need a life of prayer and meditation, but you must still do your work in the busy ways of life. The busy person is wise to rest and wait patiently for God’s guidance. If you are obedient to the heavenly vision, you can be at peace.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be obedient to the heavenly vision. I pray if I fall, I will pick myself up and go on. 
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Walk In Dry Places


What is a disappointment?
Handling My Outlook

Try as we will for success and achievement, we still must face a number of disappointments in our lives. We may be disappointed by a sales presentation that failed, a repair project that became a nightmare, or a vacation plan that turned sour. How can we handle such disappointments in the spirit of the Twelve Step program?

We must remember not to be too hard on ourselves when disappointments occur. Disappoints are part of the human experience, not misfortunes that come only to certain individuals. If we’ve done our best in any situation, we are not responsible if it did not work out.

Even more important, we should use every disappointment as a learning experience. It’s always possible that one disappointment will provide kernels of truth that will help us succeed in our next effort. Many people point to specific disappointments or setbacks as times when they are able to find new direction.

There are even times when disappointment in a lesser enterprise clears the way for success in a larger one. Whatever the outcome, no disappointment need be final—- nor should we take it as proof that we’re somehow inadequate and unworthy.

I will be positive in my outlook, expecting every effort to be effective and successful. If disappointment comes, however, I will take it in stride, knowing that it’s only a temporary detour in my successful life. 
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Keep It Simple


Be not afraid of growing slowing, be afraid only of standing still.

-Chinese proverb

All of us are a little afraid of growth. We wonder how growth will change our lives. Who will we be? Will our friend still love us? Can’t we grow up and get in over with? Why does it take so long?

All of us have a need to keep growing. There is no age when we’re “all grown up” and all done learning. But we don’t need to rush our growth. Like a child on a too-big bicycle, at times we’ll find ourselves out of control. We’ll tip over. We can grow at our own pace, but we must grow. We must make changes. Or else, like an athlete on a too-small bicycle, we won’t get far. We’ll tip over too! 
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation


ART

“Art flourishes where there is a sense of adventure.”

–A. N. Whitehead

Today I enjoy and am sustained by the adventure of life. The adventure of living. The adventure of living my life. For years I spent my time avoiding situations, avoiding people, avoiding me. Now in my daily recovery I need to participate and experience my spiritual energy. I want to meet new people. I want to travel. I want to work productively and earn money. I want to add something to this beautiful world.

I am discovering in my recovery that experiencing my creative spirituality makes me an artist. God is found in the hugs I give and the early morning “hellos” I shout to strangers. Today I am not afraid anymore. Today I am alive.

God, may I seek and find You in the small and mundane things of life; let me find You where I am. 
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A Day At A Time

Reflection For The Day

“The language of friendship is not words, but meanings,” wrote Thoreau.  Life indeed takes on new meanings, as well as new meaning in The Program.  To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends — this is an experience not to be missed.  Can I recall my initial reactions when I came to The Program?  Do I believe that I’ve finally come home?

Today I Pray

As The Program has given life new meanings for me, may I pass along to others that same chance to re-evaluate their lives in the light of sobriety, common purpose, friendships and spiritual expansion.  Praise God for my new vision of human life.  Praise Him for restoring for me the value and purpose of living.

Today I Will Remember

I value my Life.
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One Day At A Time

THOUGHTS

“The universe is transformation; our lives are what our thoughts make it.”

–Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

The power of our thoughts is astounding, and my negative thoughts kept me in chains for many years. I was constantly thinking of what was not right, what I didn’t do right, what needs of mine went unmet. My life was miserable by my own making. My own thoughts kept me in a prison of negativity. The only person who had the key was me. For many years I stayed locked in, not knowing the key was in my possession..

When I came to the program I learned that I had responsibility for my “side of the street.” I finally came to understand that I was able to change my thinking, one day at a time. It was a slow process. It took a life-time to learn negative thinking patterns, and it took years to learn positive thinking patterns. Using the tools of the program was the key to re-educating my mind. At meetings I heard positive statements that others made about themselves and me. Reading program literature was always a positive experience. As I chose nurturing, loving sponsors, they affirmed me and my baby steps toward wholeness and healing. All of these, and other tools, worked slowly to bring about an awareness that I held the key to my own prison door and gave me the courage to take the key and free myself from negativity..

One day at a time …
I will choose positive thoughts and actions that bring me freedom.

~ Carolyn H
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Today’s Gift #essentialsofrecovery


Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.


—Erich Fromm

A robin comes alive by breaking out of its shell. The small bird struggles to break out of the safety of the blue egg. Once out, it struggles to grow, slowly learning how to eat, walk, and fly.

We, too, struggle as we grow. There is brokenness in all of our lives – broken hearts and broken dreams. Yet these experiences open our way to a world of growing. We find comfort in the presence of a Power greater than ourselves in the same way a baby bird finds warmth near the body of its mother. We, too, can grow stronger every day, learning to take in nourishment and trying out our new wings.

What struggles have made me as strong as I am today?
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The Eye Opener


 Your life, like mine, has probably been a long series of wrongs committed against you. They probably number a thousand or more. How many still bother you? Only those you still remember. For your own happiness and peace of mind, forget them.

Hazelden Foundation 
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Daily Tao / 141 - WRINKLES

Lines on the face, tattoos of aging.

Life is proved upon the body

Like needle-jabs from a blind machine.





The older one gets, the more one is conscious of aging. We can barely remember childhood innocence and exuberance. We are surprised by the youthful vitality and unmarked face when we see earlier photos of ourselves. When we look in the mirror, we reluctantly acknowledge the aging mask. It seems that there is no escaping the marks of life.

Every experience that we have, everything that we do and think is registered upon us as surely as the steady embroidery of a tattoo artist. But to a large degree, the pattern and picture that will emerge is up to us. If we go to a tattoo artist, it is we who select the picture. In life, it is we who select what we will become by the actions we perform. There is no reason to go through life thoughtlessly, to let accident shape us. That is like allowing oneself to be tattooed by a blind man. How can you help but turn out old and ugly?

Whether we emerge beautiful or ugly is our sole responsibility.
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Daily Zen

Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself. Your body and mind will become clear and you will realize the unity of all things.

The Buddha meditated for six years, Bodhidharma for nine. The practice of meditation is not a method for the attainment of realization—it is enlightenment itself.



-Zen Master Dogen, "The Practice of Meditation"
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Monday, 20 May 2019

Daily Dose Of Emmet Fox

“Realizing God as Truth will save you hours of work in research in any field. You will be led to the right book or the right place or the right person without loss of time, or the necessary information will come to you in some other way.” ~ Emmet Fox
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Daily Reflection


ONE DAY AT A TIME
Above all, take it one day at a time.


-AS BILL SEES IT, p.11

Why do I kid myself that I must stay away from a drink for only one day, when I know perfectly well I must never drink again as long as I live? I am not kidding myself because one day at a time is probably the only way I can reach the long-range objective of staying sober. If I determine that I shall never drink again as long as I live, I set myself up. How can I be sure I won’t drink when I have no idea what the future may hold? On a day-at-a-time basis, I am confident I can stay away from a drink for one day. So I set out with confidence. At the end of the day, I have the reward of achievement. Achievement feels good and that makes me want more!
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Just For Today


Coming out of isolation


“We find ourselves doing and enjoying things that we never thought we would be doing.”


Basic Text, p. 102


––––=––––

Active addiction kept us isolated for many reasons. In the beginning, we avoided family and friends so they wouldn’t find out we were using. Some of us avoided all nonaddicts, fearing moral backlash and legal repercussions. We belittled people who had “normal” lives with families and hobbies; we called them “uncool,” believing we could never enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Eventually, we even avoided other addicts because we didn’t want to share our drugs. Our lives narrowed, and our concerns were confined to the daily maintenance of our disease.

Today, our lives are much fuller. We enjoy activities with other recovering addicts. We have time for our families. And we’ve discovered many other pursuits that give us pleasure. What a change from the past! We can live life just as fully as the “normal” people we once scorned. Enjoyment has returned to our lives, a gift of recovery.

––––=––––

Just for today: I can find pleasure in the simple routines of daily living.
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

If we get up in a meeting and tell something about ourselves in order to help the other person, we feel a whole lot better. It’s the old law of the more you give the more you get. Witnessing and confession are part of keeping sober. You never know when you may help somebody. Helping others is one of the best ways to stay sober yourself. And the satisfaction you get out of helping a fellow human being is one of the finest experiences you can have. Am I helping others?

Meditation For The Day

Without God, no real victory is ever won. All the military victories of great conquerors have passed into history. The world might be better off without military conquerors. The real victories are won in the spiritual realm. “He that conquers himself is greater than he who conquers a city.” The real victories are victories over sin and temptation, leading to a victorious and abundant life. Therefore, keep a brave and trusting heart. Face all your difficulties in the spirit of conquest. Remember that where God is, there is the true victory.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that the forces of evil in my life will flee before God’s presence. I pray that with God I will win the real victory over myself.
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As Bill Sees It

Defects and Repairs, p. 140

More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it.

****************************************

Guilt is really the reverse side of the coin of pride. Guilt aims at self-destruction, and pride aims at the destruction of others.

****************************************

“The moral inventory is a cool examination of the damages that occurred to us during life and a sincere effort to look at them in a true perspective. This has the effect of taking the ground glass out of us, the emotional substance that still cuts and inhibits.”

1. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 73

2. Grapevine, June 1961

3. Letter, 1957
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Walk in Dry Places


Gratitude is not natural.

Gratitude



“Nobody ever gave me a helping hand,” a young alcoholic complained, having handed in prison. “My life has been one bad break after another.”


While this person indeed had bad breaks, it’s doubtful that he’d never been given a helping hand by somebody. If we have no gratitude, it’s likely that we don’t ever recognize a helping hand when it is extended. We may have believed any assistance we took was our right, even resenting our benefactors.


The remedy for such immature thinking is a conscious effort to cultivate gratitude. IF we’re not aware of feeling it, we can at least act as if we have it. Thank people for any favor, no matter how small. Express appreciation for the wonderful people around you. Give people praise at every opportunity.


This will help start a current of gratitude that can be amplified in time. You’ll come to recognize many helping hands.


Today I’ll be grateful and appreciative of everything in my life. I’ll let gratitude build up in my life until I can feel it and others can sense that I have it.
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Keep It Simple



And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

-Matt. 15:14

The Twelve Step programs are sometime called self-help programs. But they’re not really, because we all help each other. We don’t stay sober by ourselves. Sometimes we call Twelve Step programs peer programs. And they are. All of us equal. No one is an expert. But we need to be careful who we choose for a sponsor. We each need to find someone who has been sober longer than us. Someone who understands the Steps. Someone who lives by them. Some we want to be like. We need to stick with the winners.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I know I’m like a blind person who is just beginning to see. Help me follow the path of those who see better than I do.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list the people in my program I go to for help. Am I sticking with the winners? 
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation


RELIGION

“You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.”

–Viscount John Morley

I need to remember that you cannot force a person into faith. You cannot make a person believe. You cannot bribe a person into prayer.  So much of my early religion was “a deal”: you do this and you will get this. If you do this for God and His church you will be happy and successful. There always seemed to be a “payoff” with God, or that was how it seemed.

I think many of the silent majority sense the same kind of thing; God has got lost in “the business” of religion. Spirituality accepts the pain, confusion and anger of this silent majority and says, “find a God as you understand Him.” Discover your power in your life – and then God will be perceived.

Lord, in my silence is the “shout” heard. 
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A Day At A Time

Reflection For The Day

When we take the Ninth Step, we must be willing to be absolutely honest.  Obviously, though, indiscriminate “absolute honesty” would blow the roof off many a house and entirely destroy some relationships.  We must hold nothing back through deceit and pride;  we may need to hold something back by discretion and consideration of others.  Just when and how we tell the truth — or keep silent — can often reveal the difference between genuine integrity and none at all.  Am I grateful for the products of truth which, through the grace of God, I have been privileged to receive?

Today I Pray

May I have the wisdom to know the fine-line difference between tact and dishonesty.  In my eagerness to make restitution, may I not be the charmer, the flatterer or the crawler who insists, “You’re so good, and I’m so bad.”  All are forms of dishonesty and hark back to the role-playing days of my active addiction.  May I recognize them.

Today I Will Remember

Tact is honest selectivity. 
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One Day At A Time


AVOIDANCE

”Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

–Aldous Huxley

Step 1 has a basic principle behind it which is truth. For me that truth is, just as I use tools for recovery, there are tools that my willful mind uses to keep me rooted in my disease. One of the strongest is avoidance.

Recovery can bring up a lot of painful issues and have me recall situations in which I feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I find that these old feelings have a way of creeping into my psyche. Suddenly some old behavior comes rushing back and I find myself using avoidance as a means to protect myself. Other times, I find myself acting very willfully by deliberately putting things off like going to the gym even when I know that it is good for me, I enjoy myself and am always happy for having gone..

My avoidance can take the form of rebellion against a person, chore, or situation.

Recovery has taught me to face situations. Once the situation has been faced, I often feel a sense of immediate relief. I know that the deed is done, my fears whether they be realistic or not, usually fall away, and sometimes I even feel a little silly for having avoided the situation in the first place.

One day at a time …

I will fact the situations that I encounter today with action.

~ Marilyn S
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day



” … the sacred ceremonies given to us by the Creator are the Heart of our existence. These ceremonies are our first duty.”

–Traditional Circle of Elders. NORTHERN CHEYENNE

Hidden in the ceremonies are many truths, many principles, many guidelines for living our access to the Unseen World, healing and visions. Because the Indian People didn’t have schools or books, the Great Spirit gave us Ceremonies. The ceremonies are handed down from generation to generation to learn their meaning. Today, many Indian People live in cities or urban areas where it’s hard to learn the ceremonies. We need to go to the Elders and learn the ceremonies so we can pass them on to our children.

Great Spirit, teach me the Secrets of the Ceremonies. 
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Today's Gift


For nothing can be sole or whole that has not been rent.

—W. B. Yeats

The maple out front is young and healthy, but it grows in the shape of a Y. Neighborhood tree experts have warned that as it grows, it will split in half as the weight of the two main branches pull down against each other. One of these two beautiful branches, already lush with new leaves, must be cut. But once pruned, the remaining branch will straighten as it reaches for the sun. It will grow faster, and the whole tree will live many years longer – all by cutting it back today.

Sometimes we are like this tree. We go in too many directions, and can’t seem to do any one thing well. When this happens, we need to give something up, to choose which direction we want and stick with it. The results will be well worth the price.

What is holding me back from growth? 
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The Eye Opener


Our lives today are a series of compromises. Legislators enact laws which are compromises to both contending factions. Juries bring in verdicts which they don’t even profess to be in accordance with the law and the evidence and excuse their verdicts on the grounds that it was a necessary compromise. Even the religions of the day are frequently adjusting their codes of do’s and don’t’s in order to effect a compromise with their more liberal elements. Our national and international relations are based upon political expediency rather than sound political principles of justice.

Where moral principles are involved, there is no such thing as compromise – it must be either morally right or morally wrong.

Hazelden Foundation
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Daily Tao /140 - DISSENT



Old man : Dissent is not disloyalty.
Be careful before you retaliate.
Your steel wrapped in cotton
May only be brittle bone wrapped in fat.

No one is a supreme authority. People seek leaders, priests, gurus, and hermits thinking that someone has a precise formula for living correctly. No one does. No one can know you as well as you can know yourself. All that you can gain from a wise person is the assurance of some initial guidance. You may even spend decades studying under such an extraordinary person, but you should never surrender your dignity, independence, and personality.
There is no single way to do things in life. There are valid paths, even though they may differ from the ways of respected elders. Diversity is good for tradition. Too often, elders confuse dissent with disloyalty and punish people for the crime of having a different view. They are no longer in touch with Tao but instead mouth self-serving convention. Perhaps the panic of their own impending death makes them clutch. When the leaders become repressive, it is a sign that their time is drawing to a close.

A saying about old masters was that they were like steel wrapped in cotton : They appeared soft on the outside but still held great power on the inside. We all hope for elders like that. But oftentimes, the old masters have lost their mandate of Tao. Then, when tested, they are merely brittle bone and fat. How can we respect such people? 
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Daily Zen

Having enjoyed a sweet delicious taste,
And having sometimes tasted what is bitter,
Do not greedily enjoy the sweet taste,
Do not feel aversion toward the bitter.

When touched by pleasant contact, do not be enthralled,
Do not tremble when touched by pain.
Look evenly on both the pleasant and painful,
Not drawn or repelled by anything.



-Buddha, "The Connected Discourses of the Buddha"
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Sunday, 19 May 2019

Daily Reflections

GIVING WITHOUT STRINGS

And he well knows that his own life has been made richer, as an extra dividend of giving to another without any demand for a return.

-AS BILL SEES IT, p. 69

The concept of giving without strings was hard to understand when I first came into the program. I was suspicious when others wanted to help me. I thought, “What do they want in return?” But I soon learned the joy of helping another alcoholic and I understood why they were there for me in the beginning. My attitudes changed and I wanted to help others. Sometimes I became anxious, as I wanted them to know the joys of sobriety, that life can be beautiful. When my life is full of a loving God of my understanding and I give that love to my fellow alcoholic, I feel a special richness that is hard to explain 
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Just For Today


A growth inventory


“We review our past performance and our present behavior to see what we want to keep and what we want to discard.”

Basic Text, p. 29

––––=––––

As each day winds to a close, many of us reflect on the past twenty-four hours and consider how we can live differently in the future. It’s easy for our thoughts to remain trapped in the mundane: change the oil in the car, keep the living room clean, or empty the litter box. Sometimes it takes a special effort to jog our thinking out of the daily rut and onto a higher track.

One simple question can put us on the high road: What do we think our Higher Power wants for us tomorrow? Maybe we need to improve our flagging conscious contact with the God of our understanding. Perhaps we’ve been uncomfortable in our job or our relationship, holding on only out of fear. We might be hiding some troubling defect of character, afraid to share it with our sponsor. The question is, in what parts of our lives do we really want to grow?

As each day ends, we find it beneficial to take some moments to spend time with our Higher Power. We can begin to reflect on what will benefit our program of spiritual growth most in the coming day. We think about the areas in which we have grown recently, and target areas that still require work. What more fitting way to end the day?

––––=––––

Just for today: I will set aside some time at the end of the day to commune with my Higher Power. I will review the past day, meditating on what stands between me and my Higher Power’s will for my life.
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day


A.A. Thought For The Day

Fellowship is a big part of staying sober. The doctors call it group therapy. We never go to an A.A. meeting without taking something out of it. Sometimes we don’t feel like going to a meeting and we think of excuses for not going. But we usually end up by going anyway and we always get some lift out of every meeting. Meetings are part of keeping sober. And we get more out of a meeting if we try to contribute something to it. Am I contributing my share at meetings?

Meditation For The Day

“He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.” The first part, “He brought me up out of a horrible pit,” means that by turning to God and putting my problems in His hands, I am able to overcome my sins and temptations. “He set my feet upon a rock” means that when I trust God in all things, I have true security. “He established my goings” means that if I honestly try to live the way God wants me to live, I will have God’s guidance in my daily living.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that my feet may be set upon a rock. I pray that I may rely on God to guide my comings and goings. 
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As Bill Sees It

Spot-Checking, p. 132

A spot-check inventory taken in the midst of disturbances can be of very great help in quieting stormy emotions. Today’s spot check finds its chief application to situations which arise in each day’s march. The consideration of long-standing difficulties had better be postponed, when possible, to times deliberately set aside for that purpose.

The quick inventory is aimed at our daily ups and downs, especially those where people or new events throw us off balance and tempt us to make mistakes.

12 & 12, pp. 90-91
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Walk in Dry Places


Principles are Enduring

Problem Solving


We often emphasize -Principles before personalities– in Twelve Step programs, sometimes without fully understanding what’s involved. The real message of this slogan is that we should treat people equality while following certain guidelines in our own actions.

While we are influenced by strong personalities, we cannot rely on them for complete guidance and direction. People can betray us or simply fail us through no fault of their own. Principles, on the other hand, are enduring and will be with us long after personal relationships wither away.

One unfailing principle for living is to live each day remembering that God is guiding and directing all actions and outcomes. While we will be grateful for the assistance and cooperation of others, we will not hold them responsible for our successor failures.




I’ll live today with the belief that God’s good plan is working gin all people’s lives. I will not expect too much or too little of others, but rather will deal wit them fairly and decently.
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Keep It Simple


The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.

–Marcus Aurelius

The struggles of life teach us a lot. They challenge our beliefs. As we struggle, we come to believe that our friends, family, and Higher Power will be there for us in hard times. But we must do our part. We need to call and honestly let people know how we are doing. We need to pray and ask our Higher Power for help. If we do these things, we’ll come to respect and learn from hard times.

Prayer for the Day: I pray for the wisdom to see that struggles are part of live. Higher Power, I pray for Your help in not taking struggles too personally.

Action for the Day: I’ll list four times I’ve struggled and what I learned from each struggle. I’ll share this with a friend. 
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation


MONEY



“Money is the symbol of duty. It is the sacrament of having done for mankind that which mankind wanted.”


–Samuel Butler

St. Paul said, “The laborer is worthy of his hire.” In one sense money – how people pay us for the services we have performed – is symbolic of our value in the community. Of course, this is not always true and people can make money by dishonest and destructive methods.

However, in our society money is also a force behind much creativity and job satisfaction. The danger is to become a “snob”. Thinking that we are better than others because we earn more money.

Spirituality is about discovering the “oneness” of mankind and incorporating our creative “difference” – we can all learn from each other. Pretentiousness is indicative of insecurities that need to be dealt within our recovery program.

O Lord, let my gratitude be seen in my relationship with others.
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A Day At A Time



Refection For The Day

The Program teaches us that only one consideration should qualify our desire to completely disclose the damage we’ve done.  And that’s where a full revelation would seriously harm the one to whom we’re making amends.  Or, just as important, other people.  We can hardly unload a detailed account of extramarital misadventures, for example, on the shoulders of an unsuspecting wife or husband.  When we recklessly make the burdens of others wavier, such actions surely can’t lighten our own burden.  Sometimes, in that sense, “telling all” may be almost a self indulgence for us.  So in making amends, we should be tactful, sensible, considerate, and humble — without being servile.  As a child of God, do I stand on my feet and not crawl before anyone?

Today I Pray

May God show me that self-hatred has no role in making amends to others.  Neither has the play-acting of self-indulgence.  I ask most humbly for His guidance as I strive to maintain a mature balance in interpersonal relations, even in the most casual or fragile ones.

Today I Will Remember

Making amends is mending. 
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One Day At A Time


~ DENIAL ~

The ability to delude yourself may be an important survival tool.
–Jane Wagner

I had many delusions when I entered the Twelve Step program. One by one they have shattered, but only when I was able to handle the truth.

Still, I have looked back at the things I was in denial about during my sickness, and I blamed myself for not seeing the truth sooner, for not seeking recovery sooner. On the good days, which are becoming more and more common for me, I see that my denial was indeed a survival tool.

I spent 33 years with eating disorders without ever consciously knowing about them. Subconsciously, I was very interested in books and movies about anorexia and bulimia, and was fascinated to learn about compulsive overeating. I can only believe I was unknowingly preparing myself for the day when I would be able to face my addiction and still survive.

One day at a time …

I will remind myself that many things are in our lives for a reason,

even denial.



~ Rhonda H. ~
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day

“To be able to greet the sun with the sounds from all of Nature is a great blessing, and it helps us to remember Who is the real provider of all of our benefits.”
–Thomas Yellowtail, CROW



The Elders say we should pray to the East every morning. Just try it! Get up early in the morning, watch the sun and listen to the morning sounds, the birds, the winds; smell the air, feel the breeze and the warmth of the sun. Your mind will expand and you will experience oneness with the Great Spirit. You’ll realize who is really in charge. You’ll realize interconnectedness. You’ll realize how much the Creator loves you! Just try it!

Great Spirit, today, let me feel the Earth, the Father Sun and your presence.
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Today’s Gift


As we learn we always change, and so our perception. This changed perception then becomes a new Teacher inside each of us.

—Hyemeyohsts Storm

Hyemeyohsts Storm’s book, Seven Arrows, tells the stories of one of the Indian tribes in this country before most of its members were killed. They believed that change was important for growth. Change is sometimes frightening. We usually prefer the familiar, no matter how uncomfortable, over taking a chance on the unknown.

When fear gets in the way of making healthy changes, we talk to fear, inviting it along with us on our course of action. Getting to know fear allows us to ask it for a gift: the courage to walk with fear by our side and learn from it as we go. It allows us to learn which fear is blocking our progress and which fear is healthy – cautioning us against actions that might be harmful.

What fear might I make a friend of today?
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Daily Tao / 139 - MARRIAGE


Wall of flames, bridge of tears.

Snowflake on newly forged links.



For a marriage to last, a couple must go through great travails and hardships. It is like a process of forging steel links together. The iron must be heated to a high degree and then plunged into cold water. A marriage alternates between the heat of passion and love and the chilling times of tragedy, conflict, and adversity. An enduring marriage becomes like tempered steel.

It is difficult to go through life alone. We all need support and the sense of belonging that comes from working toward goals shared with another. For such a relationship to work, there must be a basic compatibility of values, outlook, and purpose. It is an inadequate cliché that husband and wife must be friends as well as lovers. Two mates can know a loyalty found in no other type of relationship. Yet even in the face of such strength, Tao reminds us of the need for moderation.

Ultimately, all relationships are temporary. False attachment to another can become an addiction, a voluntary bondage detrimental to clear perception. We should not bind another to ourselves, should not define ourselves by our marriage, should not force another to stay with us. But if chance allows us to walk together, who is anyone to challenge our choice of walking companions?

When it is time to part, then it is time to part. There should be no regrets. The beauty of marriage is like the fleeting perfection of a snowflake.
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