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Daily Recovery Readings — December 20

Just For Today
December 20
Overcoming Self-Obsession

“In living the steps, we begin to let go of our self-obsession.”
—Basic Text p.94

Many of us came to the program convinced that our feelings, our wants, and our needs were of the utmost importance to everyone. We had practiced a lifetime of self-seeking, self-centered behavior and believed it was the only way to live.

That self-centeredness doesn’t cease just because we stop using drugs. Perhaps we attend our first NA function and are positive that everyone in the room is watching us, judging us, and condemning us. We may demand that our sponsor be on call to listen to us whenever we want—and they, in turn, may gently suggest that the world does not revolve around us. The more we insist on being the center of the universe, the less satisfied we will be with our friends, our sponsor, and everything else.

Freedom from self-obsession can be found through concentrating more on the needs of others and less on our own. When others have problems, we can offer help. When newcomers need rides to meetings, we can pick them up. When friends are lonely, we can spend time with them. When we find ourselves feeling unloved or ignored, we can offer the love and attention we need to someone else. In giving, we receive much more in return—and that’s a promise we can trust.

Just for today: I will share the world with others, knowing they are just as important as I am. I will nourish my spirit by giving of myself.

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Daily Reflections
December 20
THE REWARDS OF GIVING

“This is, indeed, the kind of giving that actually demands nothing. He does not expect his brother sufferer to pay him, or even to love him. And then he discovers that by the divine paradox of this kind of giving he has found his own reward, whether his brother has yet received anything or not.”
—TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 109

Through experience with Twelfth Step work, I came to understand the rewards of giving that demands nothing in return. At first I expected recovery in others, but I soon learned that this did not happen. Once I acquired the humility to accept the fact that every Twelfth Step call was not going to result in a success, then I was open to receive the rewards of selfless giving.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 20
A.A. Thought For The Day

Our faith should control the whole of our life. We alcoholics were living a divided life. We had to find a way to make it whole. When we were drinking, our lives were made up of a lot of scattered and unrelated pieces. We must pick up our lives and put them back together again. We do it by recovering a faith in a Divine Principle in the universe which holds us together and holds the whole universe together and gives it meaning and purpose. We surrender our disorganized lives to that Power, we get into harmony with the Divine Spirit, and our lives are made whole again. Is my life whole again?

Meditation For The Day

Avoid fear as you would a plague. Fear, even the smallest fear, is a hacking at the cords of faith that bind you to God. However small the fraying, in time those cords will wear thin, and then one disappointment or shock will make them snap. But for the little fears, the cords of faith would have held firm. Avoid depression, which is allied to fear. Remember that all fear is disloyalty to God. It is a denial of His care and protection.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may have such trust in God today that I will not fear anything too greatly. I pray that I may have assurance that God will take care of me in the long run.

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As Bill Sees It
December 20
Give Thanks, p.266

Though I still find it difficult to accept today’s pain and anxiety with any great degree of serenity—as those more advanced in the spiritual life seem able to do—I can give thanks for present pain nevertheless.

I find the willingness to do this by contemplating the lessons learned from past suffering—lessons which have led to the blessings I now enjoy. I can remember how the agonies of alcoholism, the pain of rebellion and thwarted pride, have often led me to God’s grace, and so to a new freedom.

Grapevine, March 1962

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Walk In Dry Places
December 20
Returning to Basics
Continuing.

Now and then, an AA discussion focuses on the theme of “returning to the basics.” This is a good time to shake out the excessive concerns that might be cluttering up our lives.

No matter how long we’ve been living in sobriety, we can never afford to dismiss the basic reasons we came to AA in the first place. We had made a mess of our lives, and no human power could relieve our alcoholism. By accepting and admitting this, we were able to find a new way of life.

This was also our admission ticket to the larger society, where people are concerned about many things. We sometimes become too caught up in all these concerns even to the extent of forgetting our own needs. It’s good, occasionally, to focus a meeting on AA basics. they are as essential today as they were when we first knew that we needed them.

I’ll remind myself today that the basics give me a firm foundation on which to stand.

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Keep It Simple
December 20

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
—Edith Wharton

Our Higher Power is the candle. And our hearts, like a mirror, reflect a warm, loving glow.

But when we used alcohol and other drugs, we tired to be the candle. We wanted to have control. Many of us acted like this to hide how out of control we felt. We never thought we could be happy by admitting we were out of control.

In recovery, we accept that it’s okay to be the mirror. We accept that our Higher Power is the candle that guides us. We want to be the mirror that reflects how much our Higher Power loves us.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, thank you for the light and warmth You give me.

Action for the Day: Tonight, I’ll light a candle and place it in front of a mirror. I’ll study how they work together to light the room.

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 20

“Somewhere along the line of development we discover what we really are, and then we make our real decision for which we are responsible. Make that decision primarily for yourself because you can never really live anyone else’s life, not even your own child’s. The influence you exert is through your own life and what you become yourself.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt

Taking full responsibility for who we are, choosing friends, making plans for personal achievement, consciously deciding day by day where we want to go with our lives, ushers in adventure such as we’ve never known. For many of us, months and years were wasted while we passively hid from life in alcohol, drugs, food, and other people. But we are breathing new life today.

Recovery offers us, daily, the opportunity to participate in the adventure of life. It offers us the opportunity to share our talents, our special gifts with those with whom we share moments of time.

We are becoming, every moment of time. As are our friends. Discovering who and what we really are, alone and with one another within our experiences is worthy of celebration.

I will congratulate others and myself today.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 20
ACCEPTANCE WAS THE ANSWER

The physician wasn’t hooked, he thought—he just prescribed drugs medically indicated for his many ailments. Acceptance was his key to liberation.

Time went by very, very slowly on my second nut ward. I never could quite get the knack of it and kept asking myself, “What’s a nice guy like me doing in a place like this?” They wanted me to make leather belts, of all things! Had I gone to school all those years just to sit and make leather belts? Besides, I couldn’t understand the instructions. The girl had explained them to me four times, and I was too embarrassed to ask her again. (I am pleased to state, however, that I had gone to only a few A.A. meetings before I was able to make a really beautiful pair of moccasins—and half of a wallet. I wore those moccasins every night for the next seven years, until they wore out. For my seventh A.A. birthday, my program-oriented, Al-Anon wife had my moccasins bronzed. Now I own perhaps the most costly pair of moccasins anyone has ever seen, and they help me remember where I’ve been.)

p. 413

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 20

Tradition Eight — “Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.”

Despite this certainty, it is nevertheless true that few subjects have been the cause of more contention within our Fellowship than professionalism. Caretakers who swept floors, cooks who fried hamburgers, secretaries in offices, authors writing books—all these we have seen hotly assailed because they were, as their critics angrily remarked, “making money out of A.A.” Ignoring the fact that these labors were not Twelfth Step jobs at all, the critics attacked as A.A. professionals these workers of ours who were often doing thankless tasks that no one else could or would do. Even greater furors were provoked when A.A. members began to run rest homes and farms for alcoholics, when some hired out to corporations as personnel men in charge of the alcoholic wards, when others entered the field of alcohol education. In all these instances, and more, it was claimed that A.A. knowledge and experience were being sold for money, hence these people, too, were professionals.

pp. 166-167

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Xtra Thoughts
December 20

“Our struggle to be perfect at every stage of life is a common element of the human conditions. What comes with age and wisdom is acceptance of our imperfections.”
—Karen Casey & Martha Vanceburg

“Don’t think there are no crocodiles because the water’s calm.”
—Malaysian Proverb

“One thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows slowly endures.”
—J. G. Hubbard

“Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene.”
—Arthur Christopher Benson

“For it is in giving that we receive.”
—Saint Francis of Assisi

“My spiritual home is one of peace, serenity, and contentment.”
—Shelley

“I can go to a quiet spiritual place, one with God, and feel this busy world around me, is refreshed in beauty, love, and serenity.”
—Shelley

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 20
PESSIMISM

“Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.”
—Oscar Wilde

Today I am able to see how I was always looking on the “gloomy” side of life. The glass was always half empty! I can remember thinking that nothing good was ever going to happen, life was to be endured, everybody had a price and people were all selfishly out for themselves.

I projected onto others my own sickness, my own despair, my own pessimism. It was a suicidal existence. Today I choose to be a positive and creative person who refuses to be surrounded by negativism. My attitude in life makes all the difference to my enjoyment of life. Today my glass is more than half full and I am happy.

In the gift of choice, I recognize my potential joy.

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Bible Scriptures
December 20

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
—Psalm 4:8

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
—Philippians 4:6-7

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”
—Proverbs 16:9

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”
—John 6:63

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Daily Inspiration
December 20

Thoughts are powerful, so pay close attention to what you think about. Lord, help me to think thoughts of love, peace and abundance so that this becomes my experience.

There is a time for everything. Take time to pray, to sing, to laugh, to work and to touch the hearts of others. Lord, help me be aware that today will never return so that I will not misuse my time or waste it unwisely.

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A Day At A Time
December 20

Reflection For The Day

When we compulsively strive for perfection, we invariably injure ourselves. For one thing, we end up creating big problems from little ones. For another, we become frustrated and filled with despair when we’re unable to meet the impossible goals we’ve set for ourselves. And finally, we decrease our capability to deal with life and reality as it is. Can I learn to yield a little, here and there? Can I apply myself with a quiet mind only to what is possible and attainable?

Today I Pray

May I see that striving for an impossible accomplishment provides me with an ever-ready excuse for not making it. It is also an indication of my loss of reality-sense which ought to involve knowing what I can do and then doing it. With the help of the group and my Higher Power, may I learn to set “reasonable goals.” These may seem ridiculously small to me, after years of “thinking big.” But, by breaking down my projects into several smaller ones, may I find that I actually can accomplish some high goals.

Today I Will Remember

Break down large goals into smaller ones.

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One More Day
December 20

“Change does not change tradition. If strengthens it. Change is a challenge and an opportunity, not a threat.”
–Prince Philip

At holiday times and anniversaries and birthdays, we may lament, “I can’t entertain anymore. I just don’t have the room. I don’t have the strength either.” Is what we are telling ourselves really true? Are our friends and families so shallow that they come to our homes only for roast beef or turkey? Do we really have to give up the joy of having company?

Quickly we recognize the nonsense of such thoughts and cope with this situation in the same way we have with so many others—we change and we adapt. We can still welcome our loved ones into our homes. In the simpler meals and the casual atmosphere, our friends and family will find what they have come for—assurance that we still value their company.

I will serve my guest as always—with love and fellowship.

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One Day At A Time
December 20
~ SPIRITUALITY VS RELIGION ~

“Religion is a way for people to get to heaven, and Spirituality is a way for people to get out of hell.”
—Anonymous Twelve Stepper

I was raised in a home that was strongly religious. All of its standards and rules were based on religion, and on the standards of a rigid God Who is perfect, and Who calls His followers to be perfect. My mother is a person who seemed to find her mission in life by telling people how far they fell short of that perfection. I learned very early that I did not and would never measure up; that being part of religion meant accepting my inability to excel at its tenets.

But when I came into this program, I began to learn about spirtuality. I learned about God from people who were not perfect, and who could accept themselves as they are. I learned about mercy and forgiveness from people with different faiths than my own; I learned about trusting God from people who did not even believe in a Supreme Being. What I learned has put “flesh” on the words of the Scriptures that I learned as a child. It has put life into my faith, for the first time, and it has helped me learn that I am worthwhile and acceptable just as I am.

One Day at a Time …
I give my life into the keeping of the God of my understanding, and know that my best is the least, and the most, that He expects from me.

Donna

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 20

“My pottery is the handiwork of God.”
—Teresita Naranjo, SANTA CLARA PUEBLO

The Great One has given every human being at least one special talent and one special gift. We need to develop and practice these gifts because they are the handiwork of God. Maybe we are artists-when people look at our work it puts joy in their hearts; maybe we are singers- when people listen to our songs, their hearts are happy; maybe we are writers of song or poetry-when people hear or read our work, it may change their lives. We need to honor ourselves and our gifts. We need to thank the Creator for our talents and our gifts.”

My Creator, let me use my gifts to further Your work on the Earth.

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Journey To The Heart
December 20

[ … I am searching for this passage. To be updated.]

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The Language of Letting Go
December 20
Expectations of Others

It is our job to identify our needs, and then determine a balanced way of getting those needs met. We ultimately expect our Higher Power and the Universe—not one particular person—to be our source.

It is unreasonable to expect anyone to be able or willing to meet our every request. We are responsible for asking for what we want and need. It’s the other person’s responsibility to freely choose whether or not to respond to our request. If we try to coerce or force another to be there for us, that’s controlling.

There’s a difference between asking and demanding. We want love that is freely given.

It is unreasonable and unhealthy to expect one person to be the source for meeting all our needs. Ultimately, we will become angry and resentful, maybe even punishing, toward that person for not supporting us as we expected.

It is reasonable to have certain and well defined expectations of our spouse, children, and friends.

If a person cannot or will not be there for us, then we need to take responsibility for ourselves in that relationship. We may need to set a boundary, alter our expectations, or change the limits of the relationship to accommodate that person’s unavailability. We do this for ourselves.

It is reasonable to sprinkle our wants and needs around and to be realistic about how much we ask or expect of any particular person. We can trust ourselves to know what’s reasonable.

The issue of expectations goes back to knowing that we are responsible for identifying our needs, believing they deserve to get met, and discover an appropriate, satisfactory way to do that in our life.

Today, I will strive for reasonable expectations about getting my needs met in relationships.

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 20
It’s sweet right now

It was an odd friendship right from the start. I was in a local store, trying to buy some new rocks—a crystal, maybe some lapis—something beautiful to change the energy in my house. “Kyle can help you out,” the salesclerk said. “He knows all about our stones.”

Kyle talked to me for a while about what stones I might like. Then I left the store. A few days later, I wandered back in, and we talked a little more.

By the time the first year passed, we had become pretty good friends. At that time, neither of us had a romantic relationship in our lives. We just hung out, went to restaurants, saw movies together, and talked on the phone.

One year passed, then two, then three, then five. We started a bookstore together, and together we closed it down.

Now Kyle’s seeing someone romantically. I am, too. We’re still best friends, but the wheel of life has turned again. We were talking on the phone just the other day.

“For all our complaining and grumbling and carrying on, we sure had some good times,” I said. “Yes,” he agreed. “This is one of the best times in my life.”

The ordinary moments that we each live through, in retrospect, look so rich and full. Why don’t we take all that wisdom and all that poignant reminiscing and realize that we’re having the best time in our life right now?

God, this is the day you have made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

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Today’s Gift
December 20

“Give to the world all that you have, and the best will come back to you.”
—Mary Ainge De Vere

When we share something of our own with a friend, it gives both of us a special feeling. Generosity blesses the giver as much as the receiver. Sometimes we feel selfish, wanting to hoard all our treats or treasures. But when we secretly hide them away, we cheat even ourselves from enjoying them.

Giving love and friendship to others works in just the same way. When we express love and kindness to others, we feel more love toward ourselves. Though we may not understand just how it works, we can be certain it does. The more of anything we give away to others, the greater our own rewards will be.

How can I practice generosity today?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 20

“Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark.”
—Rabindranath Tagore

There may be many things in our lives that seem unsure or doubtful. Whatever our hope or personal need today, we are not given the knowledge that tells us how things will turn out. In the predawn darkness we don’t know how the day will unfold. Sometimes faith is simply a matter of continuing with our program in the midst of our doubt. Then we can be certain that whatever direction events take, whatever pain or trial we must deal with, we will still have ourselves because we have been faithful today.

Ultimately, it is when we have ourselves and our integrity that we are on the recovery path. It is our faith that keeps us there regardless of the setbacks and personal moments of darkness we each must meet.

I will be faithful to my program, even in the darkest moment of doubt or fear, and it will carry me through.

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Daily TAO
December 20
MANURE

Manure makes excellent fertilizer.
Life has ordure.

When you water your plants, you sometimes have to feed them. Manure is an excellent way to feed plants.

Isn’t that funny? Something that is so repellent when stuck to your shoe is so important to sustaining life.

In the fields, everything is saved. Night soil helps things grow. We grow vegetables, eat vegetables, excrete vegetables, and give the waste back to the soil so that vegetables can grow again. Truly, it is said : Everything is only borrowed.

The same is true of the misfortune, failures, and disappointments of life. If we understand the importance of manure, we understand that nothing is truly wasted. Everything can be useful if correctly applied. Therefore, even the bad things in life may become fertilizer that will help us grow and become strong.

Daily Recovery Quotes – December 20

December 20

AA ‘Big Book’ – Quote

In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. – Pg. 86 – Into Action

Hour To Hour – Book – Quote

Any of us who feel insecure, inferior, or unattractive may think we drink and take other drugs to counteract this. We do drugs compulsively BECAUSE we are addicted and not for other reasons; other reasons are only rationales.

May I understand that fixing the ‘rationales’ in my life will not stop my disease. Not picking up will stop alcoholism and other addictions.

The Power is in the Now

There is magic in this moment. All of the creative power in this radiant universe is in the present, in the here and now. The present is alive and vibrant. If I align myself with the present, if I allow myself to fully experience this moment, I will find all that I need in it. And I will be templating what I experience next. Quantum physics tells me that all is alive and issues from the same source. What I experience now, creates my future. I am part of God’s plan, part of the one, creative mind.

There is nothing like the present

– Tian Dayton PhD

Pocket Sponsor – Book – Quote

How long does it take to clear away the wreckage of our past? In the Northwest region of the U.S., Native Americans have a special saying, ‘How long does it take to clear a landslide? One rock at a time.’

I remove the landslide of my past, one rock at a time.

“Walk Softly and Carry a Big Book” – Book

Try to improve the wreckage of the present.

Time for Joy – Book – Quote

Today I know I am powerless over all the addictions, obsessions, compulsions and dependencies in my life. Today I am willing to let them go to a power greater than myself.

Alkiespeak – Book – Quote

Look to the sun and the shadows fall behind. – Anon.