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Daily Recovery Readings - November 22, 2013

Just For Today
November 22
Foundation First

“As we begin to function in society, our creative freedom helps us sort our priorities and do the basic things first.”
Basic Text pg. 83

No sooner do we get clean than some of us begin putting other priorities ahead of our recovery. Careers, families, relationships—all these are a part of the life we find once we’ve laid the foundation of our recovery. But we can’t build a stable life for ourselves before we do the hard, basic work of laying our recovery foundation. Like a house built on sand, such a life will be shaky, at best.

Before we begin putting all our attention to rebuilding the detailed framework of our lives, we need to lay our foundation. We acknowledge, first, that we don’t yet have a foundation, that our addiction has made our lives utterly unmanageable. Then, with the help of our sponsor and our home group, we find faith in a Power strong enough to help us prepare the ground of our new lives. We clear the wreckage from the site upon which we will build our future. Finally, we develop a deep, working familiarity with the principles we will practice in our continuing affairs: honest self-examination, reliance upon our Higher Power’s guidance and strength, and service to others.

Once our foundation is prepared, then we can go full steam ahead to put our new lives together. But first we must ask ourselves if our foundation is secure, for without our foundation, nothing we build can stand for long.

Just for today: I will take care to lay a secure foundation for my recovery. Upon such a foundation, I can build for a lifetime in recovery.

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

Daily Reflections
November 22
ONLY TWO SINS

” … there are only two sins; the first is to interfere with the growth of another human being, and the second is to interfere with one’s own growth.”
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 542

Happiness is such an elusive state. How often do my “prayers” for others involve “hidden” prayers for my own agenda? How often is my search for happiness a boulder in the path of growth for another, or even myself? Seeking growth through humility and acceptance brings things that appear to be anything but good, wholesome and vital. Yet in looking back, I can see that pain, struggles and setbacks have all contributed eventually to serenity through growth in the program.  I ask my Higher Power to help me not cause another’s lack of growth today—or my own.

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

Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 22
A.A. Thought For The Day

I have gotten rid of most of my boredom. One of the hardest things that a new member of A.A. has to understand is how he can stay sober and not be bored.  Drinking was always the answer to all kinds of boring people and boring situations. But once you have taken up the interest of A.A., once you have given it your time and enthusiasm, boredom should not be a problem to you. A new life opens up before you that can be always interesting. Sobriety should give you so many new interests in life that you shouldn’t have time to be bored. Have I got rid of the fear of being bored?

Meditation For The Day

“If I have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.” Charity means to care enough about your fellow man to really want to do something for him. A smile, a word of encouragement, a word of love, goes winged on its way, simple enough it may seem, while the mighty words of an orator fall on deaf ears.  Use up the odd moments of your day in trying to do some little thing to cheer up your fellow man.  Boredom comes from thinking too much about yourself.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that my day may be brightened by some little act of charity. I pray that I may try today to overcome the self-centeredness that makes me bored.

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

As Bill Sees It
November 22
Spirituality and Money, p. 324

Some of us still ask, “Just what is this Third Legacy business anyhow?  And just how much territory does ‘service’ take in?”

Let’s begin with my own sponsor, Ebby. When Ebby heard how serious my drinking was, he resolved to visit me. He was in New York; I was in Brooklyn. His resolve was not enough; he had to take action and he had to spend money.

He called me on the phone and then got into the subway; total cost, ten cents. At the level of the telephone booth and subway turnstile, spirituality and money began to mix. One without the other would have amounted to nothing at all.

Right then and there, Ebby established the principle that A.A. in action calls for the sacrifice of much time and a little money.

A.A. Comes Of Age, pp. 140-141

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

Walk In Dry Places
November 22
Too smart to stay sober
Humility

“I’ve never seen anybody who’s too dumb to stay sober. But I’ve met a few people who were too smart.” These wise words by an older member sum up what we sometimes see … people who feel turned off by the program because it seems too simple and involves so many people of ordinary education and backgrounds.

Alcoholism is much like other diseases in the way it strikes all people. Diabetes, for example, victimizes people of all intelligence and education levels. We could never believe that being smart would give us an advantage in dealing with such an illness.

In the same way, the very smart person, has no edge over others in gaining sobriety. In fact, pride in such gifts can be a stumbling block. It can be a barrier to the simple acceptance and surrender needed for success in the 12 Step Program.

We do have many very smart people in AA. They are also wise enough to know that nobody can outsmart John Barleycorn.

We can feel grateful for mental abilities and education that help us get along in the world. Our sobriety, however, is a separate type of gift that we did not create.

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

Keep It Simple
November 22

“We are healed of a suffering only be experiencing it in full.”
—Marcel Proust

We must never forget our past. We need to remember the power that our illness has over us. Why? So we can remember how our recovery began. So we can remember we’re not cured. So we can tell our stories.

We must remember how we acted. Why? So we don’t act and think like addicts. Most of us had a poor relationships with friends, family, and ourselves. We need to remember how lonely we felt. That way, we’ll make recovery grow stronger One Day at a Time.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me always remember how my illness almost destroyed me. Help me face the pain of these memories.

Action for the Day: I will talk about my past life with those who support my recovery. I will tell them what it is that I must remember about my past.

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

Each Day a New Beginning
November 22

” … as awareness increases, the need for personal secrecy almost proportionately decreases.”
—Charlotte Painter

We hang onto secrets when we’re unsure of ourselves and the role we’re asked to play—secrets about our inner thoughts, our dreams and aspirations, our feared inadequacies.

Because we strive for perfection, assume it’s achievable, and settle for no less in all our activities, we are haunted by our secret fears of not measuring up. The more committed we become to this program, the greater is our understanding of the fallacy of this way of thinking. And as our awareness increases, the more accepting we become of our human frailty, and the less need we have to cover it up. Our mental health is measurable by the openness we offer to the world. Secrets belie good health and heighten the barriers to it.

The program’s Fourth and Fifth Steps are the antidotes to being stuck in an unhealthy state of mind. They push us to let go of our secrets, freeing us from the power they wield. Practicing the principles of the program offers the remedy we need for the happiness we deserve.

I will share a secret today and be free of its power over my life.

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

Alcoholics Anonymous
November 22
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

The more he listened at meetings, the more he came to know about his own drinking history.

One night they were talking about how much they drank, and one guy said he had so many beers, the next guy talked about shots, one about mixed drinks I never heard of, another about so many pints, and on it went around the table. When my turn came, I said I didn’t know. “Wow, that much,” they said. “No,” I said. I meant I didn’t know the amount. I drank mostly at home and poured some in a tall glass and drank that and did it several times. “Well, how many times did you refill?” “I don’t know.”

Somebody asked it another way. He wanted to know, how many did I buy? “Well,” I said, “I stopped in the package store every day and bought one.” “Oh,” he said. “How many did you have left at the end of the week?” Well, he had me there. “None,” I said. He said, “a bottle-a-day man.” I never got to say another word—it was settled over my objections.

p. 402-403

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

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 22

Tradition Five — “Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry it’s message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

“Thank heaven I came up with the right answer for that one. It was based foursquare on the single purpose of A.A. ‘You have faith,’ I said. ‘Perhaps far deeper faith than mine. No doubt you’re better taught in religious matters than I. So I can’t tell you anything about religion. I don’t even want to try. I’ll bet, too, that you could give me a letter-perfect definition of humility. But from what you’ve told me about yourself and your problems and how you propose to lick them, I think I know what’s wrong.’

‘Okay,’ he said. ‘Give me the business.’

‘Well,’ I said, ‘I think you’re just a conceited Irishman who thinks he can run the whole show.’

This really rocked him. But as he calmed down, he began to listen while I tried to show him that humility was the main key to sobriety. Finally, he saw that I wasn’t attempting to change his religious views, that I wanted him to find the grace in his own religion that would aid his recovery. From there on we got along fine.

‘Now,’ concludes the oldtimer, ‘suppose I’d been obliged to talk to this man on religious grounds? Suppose my answer had to be that A.A. needed a lot of money; that A.A. went in for education, hospital, and rehabilitation? Suppose I’d suggested that I’d take a hand in his domestic and business affairs? Where would we have wound up? No place, of course.’

Years later, this tough Irish customer liked to say, ‘my sponsor sold me one idea, and that was sobriety. At the time, I couldn’t have bought anything else.'”

pp. 153-154

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

Xtra Thoughts
November 22

“A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work.”
—Cited in The Best of BITS & PIECES

“We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.”
—Stevie Wonder

“Forgive yourself for your faults and your mistakes and move on.”
—Les Brown

“It is in the silence of the heart that God speaks.”
—Mother Teresa

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
—Marcel Proust

“Gratitude is the heart’s memory.”
—French proverb

“Real thanksgiving is thanks-living.”
—unknown

“We don’t need more to be thankful for, we need to be more thankful.”
—unknown

“Life’s little duties should never come before love. Make time for those you care about.”
—unknown

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

Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 22
OBESITY

“Obesity is really widespread.”
—Joseph O. Kern II

To be fat is to be lost. It is a self-imposed isolation that keeps people sad. The fat is the result of an addiction to a series of chemicals in food that society finds acceptable; the disease of bulimia is widespread.

But it can be changed. People can and do get well from a compulsion around food by surrendering to the reality of their compulsion. The people-pleasing must be seen.  The mask must be removed. The pain in the family must be talked about. Feelings that have been buried behind the food for years should be expressed. Feelings are to be felt!

We need not remain fat, and recovery begins when we begin to have hope; we begin to love ourselves; we begin to believe in ourselves.

O Lord, You hear the prayer of all Your children help me to hear my prayers, too!

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

Bible Scriptures
November 22

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart.”
Psalm 9:1

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to him and bless his name.”
Psalm 100:4

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”
2 Thessalonians 3:5

“One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 9:13

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

Daily Inspiration
November 22

Make it your goal to be someone that you would like to spend the rest of your life with. Lord, help me approach my day interested in everything that happens so that my life will truly be an adventure.

Through the power of God within me, I am stronger than any of my circumstances. Lord, I seek, I knock and I ask and You are always there and ready to give me the miracles that I need.

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

A Day At A Time
November 22

Reflection For The Day

“We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess,” wrote de Tocqueville, “but we excel in those which can also make use of our defects.”  We learn in The Program that our defects do have value—to the extent that we use them as the starting point for change and the pathway to better things.  Fear can be a stepping stone to prudence, for example, as well as to respect for others.  Fear can also help us turn away from hate and toward understanding. In the same way, pride can lead us toward the road of humility.  Am I aware of my direction today?  Do I care where I’m going?

Today I Pray

I pray that my Higher Power will show me how to use my defects in a positive way, because nothing—not even fear or selfishness or greed—is all bad.  May I trust that every quality that leads me into trouble has a reverse side that can lead me out.  Pride, for instance, can’t puff itself up unduly without bursting and demonstrating that it is, in essence, only hot air.  May I learn from my weaknesses.

Today I Will Remember

Good news out of bad.

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

One More Day
November 22

“Just pray for a thick skin and a tender heart.”
–Ruth Graham

There are times when we become angry or hurt or disappointed by the words or actions of our friends. When we react in any of these ways, we are focusing on them instead of us. “He hurt my feelings,” we might say, or “she made me angry.” These statements point out the error in our reasoning. No one can “make” us feel a certain way.

Our lives are happier and our emotions more even when we realize we are choosing our reactions. “I let myself be angry (or hurt or disappointed).” Knowing this, gives us a choice in how we let others affect us. We can be less sensitive to real or imagined wrongs. Instead, we can use our sensitivity to understand the pain of others.

I will be more loving towards my friends by overlooking their flaws and underlining their strengths.

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

One Day At A Time
November 22
FAMILY

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:  Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”
—Jane Howard (from the book “The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude” by Sarah Ban Breathnach)

As an only child of parents who immigrated and left their own families behind, I have always felt that I was missing out on the great wealth of sharing and caring that I saw other people have in their families. That was before recovery.

Today, I have an extended family—not only by marriage—but by the simple fact that my Higher Power led me to the great wealth of caring and sharing that I have found in perhaps the strangest place of all—cyberspace—in the form of online recovery loops.

Being prone to isolation, my disease first led me to seek out others who have struggled with compulsive overeating, and that, in turn, led me to my new “family.” As someone so wonderfully expressed it to me recently, it’s a “family of choice.” What a concept! My family of choice not only has sisters and brothers, it also is filled with mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles—more than I could ever have dreamed of before, and each brings into my life more experience, strength and hope than I could ever have imagined.

One Day at a Time …
I thank God that I have found this huge, loving family that constantly offers me hope, inspiration, understanding … and most of all love.

Lorraine

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

Elder’s Meditation of the Day November 22

“It’s the most precious thing … to know absolutely where you belong.  There’s a whole emotional wrapping-around-of-you here. You see the same rock, tree, road, clouds, sun—you develop a nice kind of intimacy with the world around you. To be intimate is to grow, to learn … is absolutely fulfilling.  Intimacy, that’s my magic word for why I live here.”
–Tessie Maranjo, SANTA CLARA PUEBLO

Every human being, to be mentally healthy, must have the feeling of belonging. When we have a sense of belonging we can be intimate.  We can feel. We can connect.  If we cannot develop this feeling of belonging, then we will feel lost of disconnected. To be disconnected from life is like walking around during the day not knowing the Sun exists.  To have the feelings of intimacy is warm, glowy, joyful, loving, and connected. The feeling this Elder is talking about is available to everyone.

Great Spirit, let me be intimate.

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

Journey to the Heart
November 22, 2011
Open Up to Who You Are

Stop criticizing yourself. Stop telling yourself everything you think, feel, want and do is wrong. Or at least not quite right. You’ve been holding back, censoring yourself for too long. Your creativity, your intuition, the voice of your soul is the very voice you’ve been silencing.

For many reasons, we learn to criticize and censor ourselves. We may have grown up with people who stifled our inner voice, our wisdom, our knowledge of truth. Our sense of the truth may have caused them to feel uneasy. So they told us to hush. It met their needs to keep us quiet. So we learned to hush ourselves. It was how we survived.

No longer do we need to meet other people’s needs, not that way. We don’t have to be afraid of ourselves or what we will find if we look inside. We don’t need to run from ourselves. We don’t need to hide or hush ourselves. We are creative, loving, purposeful beings.

It’s time to open up to yourself, to your grandest dreams and aspirations, your real inclinations and desires, your wisdom and knowledge about what is true and what is real. Open up to who you are. Listen to yourself. Express yourself. Enjoy who you are, and you will find others enjoying you,too.

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

Today’s Gift
November 22

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.”
—Martha Washington

We all have friends who seem happy even though they run into lots of bad luck. And we all know other people who seem grumpy all the time. Nothing makes them very happy. It’s puzzling, but some people have decided, maybe without even knowing it, that life is fun and should be enjoyed. No bit of bad luck has to make us miserable unless we let it.

A broken bike, a lost math assignment, a rained-out picnic are things that might make us miserable. But, we can decide they won’t. Feeling happy can be a habit—just like brushing teeth before bedtime.

Will I stop and think today before I let things make me unhappy?

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

The Language of Letting Go
November 22
The Magic of Gratitude and Acceptance

Gratitude and acceptance are two magic tricks available to us in recovery. No matter who we are, where we are, or what we have, gratitude and acceptance work.

We may eventually become so happy that we realize our present circumstances are good. Or we master our present circumstances and then move forward into the next set of circumstances.

If we become stuck, miserable, feeling trapped and hopeless, try gratitude and acceptance. If we have tried unsuccessfully to alter our present circumstances and have begun to feel like we’re beating our head against a brick wall, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we feel like all is dark and the night will never end, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we feel scared and uncertain, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we’ve tried everything else and nothing seems to work, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we’ve been fighting something, try gratitude and acceptance.

When all else fails, go back to the basics.

Gratitude and acceptance work.

Today, God, help me let go of my resistance. Help me know the pain of a circumstance will stop hurting so much if I accept it. I will practice the basics of gratitude and acceptance in my life, and for all my present circumstances.

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

More Language Of Letting Go
November 22
Practice the basics

“Not being codependent? That’s a decision I need to make each day.”
—Anonymous

Remember to practice the basics.

There’s a saying floating around that people talk about a lot: Lessons won’t go away until they’re learned. We can move, duck, hide, run, or escape by doing something else, but that lesson will still follow us around.

There’s another saying,too, one that’s not talked about as much. But it’s an important lesson to remember as we go through our daily lives: Just because the lesson has been learned doesn’t mean it will go away. Sometimes it appears in different shapes and forms.

I used to believe that once a lesson was learned, I had it under my belt. The pain from that lesson would stop once I realized what it was. Then I could just go on with my life and put that graduation certificate in a drawer.

It took me a while to realize that that wasn’t necessarily true. I was learning these lessons because I would need to use that skill, awakening, value, discipline, or practice as a tool for the rest of my life.

If you’ve got some important life lessons under your belt, congratulations. But don’t put that certificate away quite yet. Instead, why don’t you leave it out in plain sight?

When I first began skydiving, the first fifty jumps or so were dedicated to basic training. I was learning to save my life. After that, I began to add new skills to my repertoire. I was able to move my body around and have some fun in the air. I began to learn to fly. But each time I get to the door of the plane and get ready to jump, it’s important to remember everything I learned in the beginning—the basics—about how to save my life.

Practice the basics every day or as often as you need. Whether you’re in recovery, working at a craft, working on a relationship, or flying a plane, review your basics and remember to apply these principles each day in your life.

Spread your wings. Learn to fly. Have a ball with your life. Learn about all the mystery and magic the universe has to offer. See how good you can get. But don’t forget what you learned in the beginning.

Remember to save your own life.

God, help me remember to practice the basics of self-care every day of my life.

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

Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 22

“Without heroes, we are all plain people and don’t know how far we can go.”
—Bernard Malamud

It is useful for us to reflect on our heroes for a time. Who do we greatly admire? Are they men or women? Are they closely involved in our lives, or are they distant and beyond our ability to reach on a personal level? Can we feel hopeful and open enough about life to have heroes?

Our heroes inspire us to find the new edges of our growth. We see in another man or woman the qualities and values we admire. We find our own best parts, perhaps partly hidden or undeveloped, in the people we hold as heroes. For example, if we admire a television personality, we can learn about our own values by asking what we admire in him or her. If we admire a friend, we may see a trait we hold dear in ourselves. As we grow and change, our heroes are replaced by others who fit our maturing values.

As I think about people I admire, I learn about myself from them.

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

Daily TAO
November 22
MYSTICISM

All mystical traditions are one.
They are the seed of all religions.

Tao. Zen. Tantra. Yoga. Kabbalah. Sufi. Mystic Christianity.  Shamanism. And so many more secretly treasured by their adherents. These all share the same mystical sense of communion with the divine.  Meditation is not something peculiar to one culture.

All cultures know a mystical core that emphasizes continuing refinement, meditation, and unification with the greater cosmos. I call that greater order Tao. They call it by different names. What does it matter what people call it? When they discovered what was holy, they uttered different sounds according to their history and culture, but they all discovered the same thing. There is only one divine source in life.

For generations, mystics of all traditions have plunged into Tao.  When they meet on the unutterable levels, they know without words that they have reached the same core of spirituality. No matter where in the world you are, there are traditions with the purity to lead you to Tao.

Daily Recovery Quotes – November 22, 2013

November 22

AA ‘Big Book’ – Quote

Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt. – Pg. 62 – How It Works

Hour To Hour – Book – Quote

The natural anger, fear, and sadness that accompanies your life during early recovery can cause confusion, short temperedness, and a tendency to neglect your own needs. Allow yourself the luxury of leaning on family and friends, sponsors and counselors to make decisions, offer their advice, and give you gentle reminders of what needs to be done.

As I stay clean, may I learn to lean on family and friends, sponsors and counselors.

Friendship

Today, I make choices about my company and friends. Whom I choose to spend time with is very important to me, and the relationships that I begin I wish to respect and nurture. A handful of dear friends is far more meaningful to me than lots of acquaintances. I choose to share myself where I feel a return of good feeling. I want both to have a friend and to be a friend. One of the unusual gifts of growing up in a dysfunctional household was that I learned the value of friendship because I had to turn to my friends to meet very deep needs. I am grateful for my friends, and for what I learned and felt from them.

I value friendship.
– Tian Dayton PhD

Pocket Sponsor – Book – Quote

Reputation: what others are not thinking about you.

What others think about me is never as important as what I think about them.

“Walk Softly and Carry a Big Book” – Book

For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.

Time for Joy – Book – Quote

Today I refuse to allow the magnetic tape of self-pity to trap me. Today I avoid negative thinking and replace it as soon as I notice it is present in me.

Alkiespeak – Book – Quote

I was waking up with someone I didn’t like – and I was sleeping alone. – Anon.