Last night, while a few of us dedicated Judo students were working on the mat after the instruction was over, I got tossed on the floor in just the right (wrong) way with just enough force to separate my shoulder. I spent the night in pain and under ice. This morning, at the doctor’s office, I received the diagnosis along with orders not to use the shoulder for such things as cushioning landings of any kind or lifting people off their feet, so no Judo for a while. I will meet with an orthopedic specialist in the near future and we will see just how much this will affect my exercise regimen. It has already affected my nerves. But you try shaving left-handed!

Today, I was reminded of how grateful I am for those who have come before me on this road of recovery. Sometimes, when I open a recovery meeting, I ask for a moment of silence to reflect with gratitude on those who paved the way before us. I think of those in the fellowship who have shared their own recovery with me, my sponsor, my first sponsor, those ladies in that first room I sheepishly entered, Rosanne and the guys from G.A. who got her started, and those who authored the Big Book of A.A., including Bill W. and Doctor Bob. Each one of them has helped me get the recovery I have today, and will continue to work for one day at a time, God willing, tomorrow. This morning, when I read verse 17 of today’s chapter of Proverbs, I recalled that it is thanks to their willingness to follow a path of discipline and mark the trail for me to find, that I am enjoying this new life. The rest of the verse reminds me that I have an obligation to remain true to it for those who will benefit from my 12th Step work. “He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” (Proverbs 10:17)

The other verse that summed up a lesson in mercy I got this morning could be applied also to the “poor and needy” of “those who still suffer.” “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” (Deuteronomy 15:11) There is no reason for me to keep any good thing I have all to myself. My commitment to help someone and harm no one should keep all my resources, from my income to my encouragement, in my front pocket, ready to hand to someone in need.

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