DR – January 15, 2019

Daily Recovery Readings
January 15, 2019

Daily Reflection

AN UNSUSPECTED INNER RESOURCE

With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 567-68

From my first days in A.A., as I struggled for sobriety, I found hope in these words from our founders. I often pondered the phrase: “they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource.” How, I asked myself, can I find the Power within myself, since I am so powerless? In time, as the founders promised, it came to me: I have always had the choice between goodness and evil, between unselfishness and selfishness, between serenity and fear. That Power greater than myself is an original gift that I did not recognize until I achieved daily sobriety through living A.A.’s Twelve Steps.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Big Book Quote

“Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God’s help.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, How It Works, pg. 62

24 Hours a Day – The Little Black Book

Thought for the Day

The A.A. program is a way of life. It’s a way of living and we have to learn to live the program if we’re going to stay sober. The twelve steps in the book are like guide-posts. They point the direction in which we have to go. But all members of the group have to find their own best way to live the program. We don’t all do it exactly alike. Whether by quiet times in the morning, meetings, working with others, or spreading the word, we have to learn to live the program. Has the A.A. way become my regular, natural way of living?

Meditation for the Day

I will relax and not get tense. I will have no fear, because everything will work out in the end. I will learn soul-balance and poise in a vacillating, changing world. I will claim God’s power and use it because if I do not use it, it will be withdrawn. As long as I get back to God and replenish my strength after each task, no work can be too much.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may relax and that God’s strength will be given to me. I pray that I may subject my will to God’s will and be free from all tenseness.

The Language of Letting Go – CoDependency

Standing Up for Ourselves

We learn some behaviors have self-defeating consequences, while others have beneficial consequences. We learn we have choices.
—Beyond Codependency

It is so easy to come to the defense of others. How clear it is when others are being used, controlled, manipulated, or abused. It is so easy to fight their battles, become righteously indignant, rally to their aid, and spur them on to victory.

“You have rights,” we tell them. “And those rights are being violated. Stand up for yourself, without guilt.”

Why is it so hard, then, for us to rally to our own behalf? Why can’t we see when we are being used, victimized, lied to, manipulated, or otherwise violated? Why is it so difficult for us to stand up for ourselves?

There are times in life when we can walk a gentle, loving path. There are times, however, when we need to stand up for ourselves – when walking the gentle, loving path puts us deeper into the hands of those who could mistreat us.

Some days, the lesson we’re to be learning and practicing is one of setting boundaries. Some days, the lesson we’re learning is that of fighting for our own rights and ourselves.

Sometimes, the lesson won’t stop until we do.

Today, I will rally to my own cause. I will remember that it is okay to stand up for myself when that action is appropriate. Help me, God, to let go of my need to be victimized. Help me appropriately, and with confidence, stand up for myself.

Touchstone – Men’s Meditation

Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box.
—Italian proverb

Much of our time has been spent saying, “I’m not good enough for that job,” “She’s too good for me,” or “I don’t deserve that compliment.” Sometimes we have been very status conscious because underneath we felt unworthy. Many of us have taken either superior or inferior roles with everyone we’ve dealt with. We ended up with no one who could be our peer or our friend.

True humility occurs when we stop shaming or inflating ourselves and begin accepting ourselves as no worse and no better than anyone else. Then all people are our peers. At our meetings, our powerlessness puts us all in the same box. In the sight of God we are all equal – and status games, which have seemed so important are ultimately silly.

Today, I will remember we are all brothers and sisters in the sight of God.

Elder’s Meditation

“It’s all spirit and it’s all connected.”  –Grandfather William Commanda, ALGONQUIN

If everything is connected, we cannot disconnect. To disconnect is not a real choice. This is why we are always spiritual no matter what we do. Every alcoholic is spiritual. All our brothers and sisters are spiritual. We may not be behaving correctly, but nevertheless, we are spiritual. Our choice is to live out of harmony with spiritual ways or in harmony with spiritual ways. Everything is spiritual.

Great Spirit, give me the knowledge to be in harmony with the spirit today.

Daily Horoscope – Cancer

The more complex the challenge or multifaceted the situation, the more tightly it holds your attention in its grip today. Tuning out distractions is not a problem when you’re totally absorbed in what you’re doing. Of course, there may be those that don’t understand your behavior and are loud in voicing their skepticism. Shake those doubting vibes from your aura and keep churning out results. The proof is in the pudding.

DR – January 14, 2019

Daily Recovery Readings
January 14, 2019

Daily Reflection

NO REGRETS

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 83

Once I became sober, I began to see how wasteful my life had been and I experienced overwhelming guilt and feelings of regret. The program’s Fourth and Fifth Steps assisted me enormously in healing those troubling regrets. I learned that my self-centeredness and dishonesty stemmed largely from my drinking and that I drank because I was an alcoholic. Now I see how even my most distasteful past experiences can turn to gold because, as a sober alcoholic, I can share them to help my fellow alcoholics, particularly newcomers. Sober for several years in A.A., I no longer regret the past; I am simply grateful to be conscious of God’s love and of the help I can give to others in the Fellowship.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Big Book Quote

“Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Into Action, pg. 75

24 Hours a Day – The Little Black Book

Thought for the Day

When we first came into A.A., a sober life seemed strange. We wondered what life could possibly be like without ever taking a drink. At first, a sober life seemed unnatural. But the longer we’re in A.A., the more natural this way of life seems. And now we know that the life we’re living in A.A., the sobriety, the fellowship, the faith in God, and the trying to help each other, is the most natural way we could possibly live. Do I believe it’s the way God wants me to live?

Meditation for the Day

I will learn to overcome myself, because every blow to selfishness is used to shape the real, eternal, unperishable me. As I overcome myself, I gain that power which God releases in my soul. And I too will be victorious. It is not the difficulties of life that I have to conquer, so much as my own selfishness.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may obey God and walk with Him and listen to Him. I pray that I may strive to overcome my own selfishness.

The Language of Letting Go – CoDependency

Accepting Anger

Anger is one of the many profound effects life has on us. It’s one of our emotions. And we’re going to feel it when it comes our way – or else repress it.
—Codependent No More

If I were working a good program, I wouldn’t get angry…. If I were a good Christian, I wouldn’t feel angry…. If I were really using my affirmations about how happy I am, I wouldn’t be angry…. Those are old messages that seduce us into not feeling again. Anger is part of life. We need not dwell in it or seek it out, but we can’t afford to ignore it.

In recovery, we learn we can shamelessly feel all our feelings, including anger, and still take responsibility for what we do when we feel angry. We don’t have to let anger control us, but it surely will if we prevent ourselves from feeling it.

Being grateful, being positive, being healthy, does not mean we never feel angry. Being grateful, positive, and healthy means we feel angry when we need to.

Today, I will let myself be angry, if I need to. I can feel and release my emotions, including anger, constructively. I will be grateful for my anger and the things it is trying to show me. I can feel and accept all my emotions without shame, and I can take responsibility for my actions.

Touchstone – Men’s Meditation

If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?
—Hillel

Some of us were treated badly as young boys and never learned how to live for ourselves. We can see only two choices: either be submissive and caretaking or be abusive and demanding. Many of us have so much guilt and shame that we feel we don’t deserve to stand up for ourselves. This program demands that in recovery we be for ourselves. If we don’t know how, we learn. If we are unsure, we must experiment. When we make mistakes, we must admit them and know we have a right to be imperfect learners. And we can’t be only for ourselves, because that keeps us small and turns us back to where we came from.

As we accept ourselves and come to know our imperfections and weaknesses, we can understand others better. We are stronger in giving to others and more effective because we have a place to stand.

Today, even if I don’t feel good about myself, I will stand up for my dignity as a man.

Elder’s Meditation

“It is a native tradition to sit in a circle and talk-to share what is in your heart.”–John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG

The talking circle is also a listening circle. The talking circle allows one person to talk at a time for as long as they need to talk. So much can be gained by listening. Is it a coincidence that the Creator gave us one mouth and two ears? The power of the circle allows the heart to be shared with each other. What we share with each other also heals each other. When we talk about our pain in the circle, it is distributed to the circle, and we are free of the pain. The talking circle works because when the people form a circle, the Great Mystery is in the center.

My Creator, give me the courage to share, and the courage to listen.

Daily Horoscope – Cancer

There could be multiple reasons why it’s a good idea to hop outside your comfort zone today, even if only briefly. Maybe you need a breath of fresh air because it’s getting too hot and you want to cool down, or you’re already shivery and crave a few moments in the Sun. Whatever the specifics, a wee tiptoe into a realm beyond the strictly familiar can be extremely revitalizing now. Bring those refreshing, inspiring, or just plain different vibes with you when you resume your daily routine. Adventure beckons and your curiosity is awakened.

DR – January 13, 2019

Daily Recovery Readings
January 13, 2019

Daily Reflection

IT DOESN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT

We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 85

The most common alcoholic fantasy seems to be: “If I just don’t drink, everything will be all right.” Once the fog cleared for me, I saw—for the first time—the mess my life had become. I had family, work, financial and legal problems; I was hung up on old religious ideas; there were sides of my character to which I was inclined to stay blind because they easily could have convinced me that I was hopeless and pushed me toward escape again. The Big Book guided me in resolving all of my problems. But it didn’t happen overnight—and certainly not automatically—with no effort on my part. I need always to recognize God’s mercy and blessings that shine through any problem I have to face.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Big Book Quote

“…with us, to drink is to die.”

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, How It Works, pg. 66~

The Language of Letting Go – CoDependency

Good Feelings

When we talk about feelings in recovery, we often focus on the troublesome trio – pain, fear, and anger. But there are other feelings available in the emotional realm – happiness, joy, peace, contentment, love, closeness, and excitement.

It’s okay to let ourselves feel pleasurable feelings too.

We don’t have to worry when we experience good feelings; we don’t have to scare ourselves out of them; we don’t have to sabotage our happiness. We do that, sometimes, to get to the more familiar, less joyous terrain.

It’s okay to feel good. We don’t have to analyze, judge, or justify. We don’t have to bring ourselves down, or let others bring us down, by injecting negativity.

We can let ourselves feel good.

Today, I will remind myself that it is my right to feel as good as I can. I can have many moments of feeling good; I can find a balanced place of feeling content, peaceful, and good.

Touchstone – Men’s Meditation

The perfection of innocence, indeed, is madness.

—Arthur Miller

We’ve all said, “I didn’t do anything. Don’t blame me; I didn’t mean any harm.” Overdevelopment of innocence contradicts our spiritual growth. The painful truth is, we do have an impact on other people. Many times we have cultivated innocence as a style, and it has stood in our way of being accountable.

We cannot be in a relationship without sometimes hurting the ones we love. Spiritual growth requires us to take action and to take responsibility for what we do. It is painful to acknowledge we made a mistake and hurt someone. But giving up our innocent style is constructive pain. It opens the possibility to correct our ways, make repairs, and be forgiven. Then we are in the mainstream of a hearty spiritual life.

May I nave the grace to let go of my innocence by taking action and admitting my mistakes.

Elder’s Meditation

“When you remove love and try to replace it with monetary things, you’ve got nothing … get him to understand that he has to love himself before he can love anything else.”

–John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG

It is said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” That’s the trouble, most of us do.

Great Spirit, You are love; You are spirit. Spirit and love are interconnected. I am spiritual. Let me realize what I am really made of.

Daily Horoscope – Cancer

Do your best to wrap your mind around a commitment. There are some responsibilities that go with the program, whether in love, business, or family. If you’re clear about what you hope for from yourself and of another, you can open a discussion with greater confidence. It’s impossible to follow rules or live up to expectations if you don’t know what they are now. Fortunately, stress is reduced when each partner or participant is on the same page. Spelling it out isn’t confining when it’s necessary to the process.

We Just Have Today

What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent
on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.

~p.85, Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

We hear this quoted at meetings all the time.  But what does it really mean?  As an addict when I wanted something, I did anything to get it and I wanted it two weeks ago.  It didn’t matter who I manipulated to get it, who I hurt in the process and if it took long I went somewhere else to get it. In recovery, we learn to slow down, “One Day at a Time.” Therefore, what must I do on a daily basis to stay sober?

My daily routine can be lengthy but it works for me.  First, when I wake up I thank my Higher Power I’m alive and sober.  Second, I ask for my Higher Power to guide me throughout the day to stay sober.  Afterward, I immediately do Step Three:

“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over
to the care of God as we understood Him.”

This is very important to me.  It’s been my experience when I try to control anything, it tends to always fall apart.  I give up control to my Higher Power, knowing whatever happens today, my Higher Power is there to help me through any situation. All I have to do is ask.  To stay in this positive influence I turn music on.  Something soothing, like meditation music on Pandora, Spotify or other various tracks I have on my external drive.  This sets me up for today.

Once the coffee is on my desk, headphones in, I start to post the Daily Reading on this blog.  It’s various readings which bring meaning to me.  For instance, today’s readings as a whole reminds me of tolerance and humility.  As I read and post them I make it a point to try to practice whatever actions they inspire me to do today.

My present circumstances allow me to attend usually two meetings per day. Typically I attend “the Nooner” and an evening meeting.  I have a few coffee commitments during the week.  Recently, I’ve been asked to chair meetings despite my early recovery.  I attend business meetings for two home groups and I recently attended a District Meeting for our area.

Lastly, I am currently working with a Sponsor through the Steps.  This Sponsor is giving me a new perspective on recovery.  Instead of just going through the Steps, as my last Sponsor did (which wasn’t a bad thing at all), my current Sponsor and I have read the Big Book for the very first page.  He also references Joe and Charlie’s Big Book Study , which is another resource I was never aware of in my previous sobriety.  Now knowing the totality of the program, its progression throughout the 80+ years, has strengthened my commitment.  If those people back then, with everything they experienced in their lives, can do it then there is absolutely NO reason I should EVER have to pick up a drink!  They bring me inspiration to stay sober one day at a time.

However & But . . .

I do have to remind myself on a daily basis of a few things.

First, I am grateful to be in a program where I’m able to have the support and the opportunity to strengthen the foundation of my sobriety.  I do not take this for granted!  There are those who are not able to get into such programs and they have to work much harder to keep sober one day at a time.  I’m not saying I don’t struggle some days.  But for those who are getting sober, working and who have families, my hats off to them.  Honestly, I don’t know if I could do it.

Second, old timers consistently remind us (those who are in a halfway house/supportive living program) the real test in our sobriety is when we get out into the real world.  It does scare me simply because I’m not there yet.  I’m working with someone to make sure I make the right decisions and go down the right path consistent with my sobriety goals.  However, today I’m right where I’m suppose to be.

Lastly, to be aware.  This is something new to me.  I’m more aware of my own actions:  how I talk to people, how I react, what I do in certain situations, etc.  I don’t want pride and ego to resurface like it has in the past.  Yes, I did have ten years of sobriety; the knowledge is still there.  But I relapsed.  I need to concentrate on myself (keep pride and ego at bay) and work on my codependency issues because those two reasons help led me to my relapse.

I believe in the 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I know that it works, if you put the required effort to work the steps and follow the suggestions.  I’ve seen it in myself and others.  However, I only have today.  Yesterday is already written, it can’t be changed.  Tomorrow isn’t here yet, so who knows what will happen.  Today, I embrace my sobriety and do those things required of me to keep me sober.

Just for Today!

 

DR – January 12, 2019

Daily Recovery Readings
January 12, 2019

Daily Reflection

ACCEPTING OUR PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES

Our very first problem is to accept our present circumstances as they are, ourselves as we are, and the people about us as they are. This is to adopt a realistic humility without which no genuine advance can even begin. Again and again, we shall need to return to that unflattering point of departure. This is an exercise in acceptance that we can profitably practice every day of our lives.

Provided we strenuously avoid turning these realistic surveys of the facts of life into unrealistic alibis for apathy or defeatism, they can be the sure foundation upon which increased emotional health and therefore spiritual progress can be built.

— AS BILL SEES IT, p. 44

When I am having a difficult time accepting people, places or events, I turn to this passage and it relieves me of many an underlying fear regarding others, or situations life presents me. The thought allows me to be human and not perfect, and to regain my peace of mind.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Big Book Quote

“Most of us sense that real tolerance of other people´s shortcomings and viewpoints and a respect for their opinions are attitudes which make us more useful to others.”

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, There Is A Solution, pg. 19~

The Language of Letting Go – CoDependency

Finding Balance

The goal of recovery is balance – that precious middle ground.

Many of us have gone from one extreme to another: years of taking care of everyone but ourselves, followed by a time of refusing to focus on anyone’s needs but our own.

We may have spent years refusing to identify, feel, and deal with our feelings, followed by a period of absolute obsession with every trace of emotional energy that passes through our body.

We may succumb to powerlessness, helplessness, and victimization, then we swing to the other extreme by aggressively wielding power over those around us.

We can learn to give to others while taking responsibility for ourselves. We can learn to take care of our feelings, as well as our physical, mental, and spiritual needs. We can nurture the quiet confidence of owning our power as equals in our relationships with others.

The goal of recovery is balance, but sometimes we get there by going to extremes.

Today, I will be gentle with myself, understanding that sometimes to reach the middle ground of balance, I need to explore the peaks and valleys. Sometimes, the only way I can extricate myself from a valley is to jump high enough to land on a peak, and then slowly ease myself down.

Touchstone – Men’s Meditation

I should be content to look at a mountain for what it is and not as a comment on my life.

—David Ignatow

We have recognized our self-centeredness as addicts and codependents. On the other side is the feeling of peace and well being when we are released from it. Self-centeredness caused us to take everything personally. We were hypersensitive to our surroundings, to other people, and to how they reacted. Yet, so often these things had very little to do with us. God sends rain for the just and the unjust.

When we can look at a mountain and lose ourselves in the sight, we are refreshed spiritually. But no mountain is necessary for this experience. When we listen to a friend and simply hear his perspective, when we pet a dog and just enjoy this loving creature, when we look at a sunset and drink it in for what it is – then we are growing.

God, grant me release from the oppression of my ego.

Elder’s Meditation

“The first thing that we want you to understand is that spirit has no color or race to it. It doesn’t matter whether your skin is white, black, red, brown – whatever. No one out there is any better than you, and you are no better than anyone else out there.”

–John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG

We are all created to be of equal worth. We may be different sizes, different heights, different ages, different colors, we may have different beliefs and be of different cultures. In the unseen world, we are all spirit formed into different shapes and colors but we are all worthy. For example, you can have water, you can have steam, or you can have ice. Which of these is not made up of H2O?

My Creator, today, let me see equal worthiness in all people.

Daily Horoscope – Cancer

There are times when nothing but the best will do. Your sharp eye for quality and your sensitive palate are a winning combination. A boss, date, or client will appreciate the time, energy and thought that you put into every detail of a home-cooked meal or a special event. Your choices make a clear statement today. Ensure that whatever you do says, “I’m tasteful, perceptive, and I care.” It’s not so much about what things cost, but more about the sincere effort invested in them. Your intentions shine when you operate from your heart.

DR – January 11, 2019

Daily Recovery Readings
January 11, 2019

Daily Reflection

THE 100% STEP

Only Step One, where we made the 100 percent admission we were powerless over alcohol, can be practiced with absolute perfection.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 68

Long before I was able to obtain sobriety in A.A., I knew without a doubt that alcohol was killing me, yet even with this knowledge, I was unable to stop drinking. So, when faced with Step One, I found it easy to admit that I lacked the power to not drink. But was my life unmanageable? Never! Five months after coming into A.A., I was drinking again and wondered why.

Later on, back in A.A. and smarting from my wounds, I learned that Step One is the only Step that can be taken 100%. And that the only way to take it 100% is to take 100% of the Step. That was many twenty-four hours ago and I haven’t had to take Step One again.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Big Book Quote

“When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.”

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, How It Works, Page 64~

The Language of Letting Go – CoDependency

Letting Go of Guilt

“There’s a good trick that people in dysfunctional relationships use,” said one recovering woman. “The other person does something inappropriate or wrong, then stands there until you feel guilty and end up apologizing.”

It’s imperative that we stop feeling so guilty.

Much of the time, the things we feel guilty about are not our issues. Another person behaves inappropriately or in some way violates our boundaries. We challenge the behavior, and the person gets angry and defensive. Then we feel guilty.

Guilt can prevent us from setting the boundaries that would be in our best interests, and in other people’s best interests. Guilt can stop us from taking healthy care of ourselves.

We don’t have to let others count on the fact that we’ll always feel guilty. We don’t have to allow ourselves to be controlled by guilt – earned or unearned! We can break through the barrier of guilt that holds us back from self care. Push. Push harder. We are not at fault, crazy, or wrong. We have a right to set boundaries and to insist on appropriate treatment. We can separate another’s issues from our issues, and let the person experience the consequences of his or her own behavior, including guilt. We can trust ourselves to know when our boundaries are being violated.

Today, I will let go of my big and little guilty feelings. Light and love are on my side.

Touchstone – Men’s Meditation

All truth is an achievement. If you would have truth at its full value, go win it.
—Munger

Truth can seem so elusive. Yet, at times it is so simple and obvious. In entering this program, many of us thought of ourselves as honest men. Some of us couldn’t bear the anguish of our dishonesty. As we repeatedly face ourselves, take our personal inventories, and hold ourselves accountable, we realize we have all grown in our honesty. What seemed honest before now looks like half-truth. It was the best we could do at the time. Our perception of truth has deepened by the grace of God and as a result of our hard work.

Truth is won when we have the courage to feel the pain of knowing it. Some of our pain has been the grief of realizing what we missed or lost in our insanity. Some has been the anguish of facing the harm we caused the ones we love, and some in admitting honestly how we ourselves were hurt.

Truth does make me free. The richness in my life is a generous reward for courage.

Elder’s Meditation

“Race and language makes no difference; the barriers are gone when persons can come together on high spiritual levels.”

–Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE

Not only are race and language barriers overcome by spirituality, but all things are overcome by spirituality. Inside every human being is the spirit. When we see people, we can choose to look at their outside or we can choose to look at their inside. Spirituality resides inside of others, we must be able to look at our own inside. If we see spirituality inside ourselves, we will see spirituality inside others. The saying is, “what you sees is what you gets.”

My Creator, let me see all my brothers and sisters through the spiritual eye.

Daily Horoscope – Cancer

People seem unusually prone to bringing their gripes or doubts to your door today. But there’s a big glare created by the attention-grabbing cosmic energy while a domineering Sun-Pluto hookup overpowers your 7th House of Others. If you’re not careful, you might make a commitment to take on a responsibility before you understand the consequences. Try not to be distracted when sorting through anyone’s messages or requests. Put on your psychic sunglasses, if that’s what it takes, to stay focused on the nitty-gritty.