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Daily Recovery Readings - November 24, 2013

Just For Today

November 24
Gratefully Recovering

“We entertained the thought that staying clean was not paying off and the old thinking stirred up self-pity, resentment, and anger.”
Basic Text pg. 98

There are days when some of us wallow in self-pity. It’s easy to do. We may have expectations about how our lives should be in recovery, expectations that aren’t always met. Maybe we’ve tried unsuccessfully to control someone, or we think our circumstances should be different. Perhaps we’ve compared ourselves with other recovering addicts and found ourselves lacking. The more we try to make our life conform to our expectations, the more uncomfortable we feel. Self-pity can arise from living in our expectations instead of in the world as it actually is.

When the world doesn’t measure up to our expectations, it’s often our expectations that need adjusting, not the world. We can start by comparing our lives today with the way they used to be, developing gratitude for our recovery. We can extend this exercise in gratitude by counting the good things in our lives, becoming thankful that the world does not conform to our expectations but exceeds them. And if we continue working the Twelve Steps, further cultivating gratitude and acceptance, what we can expect in the future is more growth, more happiness, and more peace of mind.

We’ve been given much in recovery; staying clean has paid off. Acceptance of our lives, just for today, frees us from our self-pity.

Just for today: I will accept my life, gratefully, just as it is.

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

Daily Reflections
November 24
A UNIVERSAL SEARCH

Be quick to see where religious people are right.  Make use of what they offer.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 87

I do not claim to have all the answers in spiritual matters, any more than I claim to have all the answers about alcoholism. There are others who are also engaged in a spiritual search. If I keep an open mind about what others have to say, I have much to gain. My sobriety is greatly enriched, and my practice of the Eleventh Step more fruitful, when I use both the literature and practices of my Judeo-Christian tradition, and the resources of other religions. Thus, I receive support from many sources in staying away from the first drink.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 24
A.A. Thought For The Day

Instead of being pretended perfectionists, in A.A. we are content if we are making progress. The main thing is to be growing. We realize that perfectionism is only a result of false pride and an excuse to save our faces. In A.A. we are willing to make mistakes and to stumble, provided we are always stumbling forward. We are not so interested in what we are as in what we are becoming. We are on the way, not at the goal. And we will be on the way as long as we live. No A.A. has ever “arrived.” But we are getting better. Am I making progress?

Meditation For The Day

Each new day brings an opportunity to do some little thing that will help to make a better world, that will  bring God’s kingdom a little nearer to being realized on earth. Take each day’s happenings as opportunities for something you can do for God. In that spirit, a blessing will attend all that you do. Offering this day’s service to God, you are sharing in His work. You do not have to do great things.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that today I may do the next thing, the unselfish thing, the loving thing. I pray that I may be content with doing small things as long as they are right.

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As Bill Sees It
November 24
Welcome Criticism, p. 326

“Thanks much for your letter of criticism: I’m certain that had it not been for its strong critics, A.A. would have made slower progress.

“For myself, I have come to set a high value on the people who have criticized me, whether they have seemed reasonable critics or unreasonable ones. Both have often restrained me from doing much worse than I actually have done. The unreasonable ones have taught me, I hope, a little patience. But the reasonable ones have always done a great job for all of A.A. and have taught me many a valuable lesson.”

Letter, 1955

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Walk In Dry Places
November 24
Are there better paths to sobriety?
Self-honesty

Now that alcoholism recovery has been well established, alternatives to the AA program are being developed. These are designed to appeal to those who either will not or cannot accept AA.

Nobody in AA should feel threatened by these new programs. We should, in fact, be delighted if ways are found to reach those whom we are unable to help. The need is so great that we should welcome anything that helps alcoholics.

The only real test for any program is that it works. More important, it must work for us. No program is useful to us if we cannot apply it in our own lives.

If we have found sobriety in AA, we have no need to look further. If AA was able to help us in our hour of desperate need, it can help us as the days unfold into the future.

I’ll be thankful today for the sobriety AA has given me. I’ll also remember that my need for help in maintaining sobriety will never end.

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

Keep It Simple
November 24

Freedom is not enough.
—Lyndon B. Johnson

We are free of alcohol and other drugs. We’ve been given a second chance or third chance.

For that, we thank our Higher Power. We’ve started a new life. But to keep this life, we need to change. We need new friends. We need to let a Higher Power guide our hearts, minds, and bodies. We need new friends. We need to let a Higher Power guide our hearts, and bodies. We need to learn new values and how to stand up for them. We need to learn how to give and receive.

Freedom from dependence is not enough. We also want to be happy, and to do something with our lives. So each day we keep learning, we keep growing. Each day without alcohol or other drugs is a gift, a gift from God.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, You set me free. Now teach me to stay free. Guide me, for keeping my freedom is a big task

Action for the Day: I will meditate on my freedom. I will take time to list all the ways I am now free.

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

Each Day a New Beginning
November 24

“If onlys” are lonely.
–Morgan Jennings

The circumstances of our lives seldom live up to our expectations or desires. However, in each circumstance we are offered an opportunity for growth or change, a chance for greater understanding of life’s heights and pitfalls. Each time we choose to lament what isn’t, we close the door on the invitation to a better existence.

We simply don’t know just what’s best for us. Our vision is limited. Less so today than yesterday, but limited still. The experiences we are offered will fail to satisfy our expectations because we expect so much less than God has planned for us in the days ahead.

We get what we need, in the way of relationships, adventures, joys and sorrows, today and every day. Celebrating what we get and knowing there is good in it eases whatever trial we are undergoing. We are cared for, right now. We need not lament what we think we need. We do have what we need. We will always get what we need, when we need it.

I will breathe deeply and relax. At this moment my every need is being attended to. My life is unfolding exactly as it should.

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

Alcoholics Anonymous
November 24
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

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

A couple of weeks later the large company I was with, which had relocated me and my family at their expense, had a large staff cutback, and I was cut back–fired. I thought I was fire-proof. I was in a very important position, doing important work. I was the chief of researcher in developing a new product; I was sitting in on strategic planning meetings. I was very upset. After all, I was better now and back to being a good employee and team player again, but to no avail.

p. 403

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 24

Tradition Six – “An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.”

Here are some of the things we dreamed. Hospitals didn’t like alcoholics, so we thought we’d build a hospital chain of our own. People needed to be told what alcoholism was, so we’d educate the public, even rewrite school and medical textbooks. We’d gather up derelicts from skid rows, sort out those who could get well, and make it possible for the rest to earn their livelihood in a kind of quarantined confinement. Maybe these places would make large sums of money to carry on our other good works. We seriously thought of rewriting the laws of the land, and having it declared that alcoholics are sick people. No more would they be jailed; judges would parole them in our custody. We’d spill A.A. into the dark regions of dope addiction and criminality. We’d form groups of depressive and paranoid folks; the deeper the neurosis, the better we’d like it. It stood to reason that if alcoholism could be licked, so could any problem.

pp. 155-156

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Xtra Thoughts
November 24

You cannot do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late.
–Cited in The Best of BITS & PIECES

A light heart lives long.
–Irish Proverb

People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.
–Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness.
–Marguerite Gardiner Blessington

Seven days without a meeting makes one weak.
–unknown

It takes only a moment to be kind, but the result can last a lifetime.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 24
SHAME

“If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it.”
— Marcus Tullius Cicero

I was afraid to tell you what I was thinking. I was afraid to speak or be noticed. I sat for hours silent and at times I wished I could vanish into the furniture. I was afraid of my shadow.

This reveals not only my lack of confidence but my low self-esteem. I did not think I  had anything to say, anything to offer, anything that might be considered interesting.  I would laugh at stupid things to please people.

Today I speak out. I do not hide what I am thinking. I believe I have something to offer in the celebration of life. And it feels good. My spiritual growth is proportionate to my willingness to let you know who I am and what I think.

I celebrate my joy in living by sharing it.

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Bible Scriptures
November 24

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…
I Corinthians 13

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
Psalm 100:5

“Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us.”
Ephesians 5:2

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Daily Inspiration
November 24

Much time is spent fearing that which isn’t really there in the first place. Lord, help me conquer my fears and overcome my difficulties as they happen rather than giving up and letting my difficulties overcome me.

Our thoughts have a powerful effect on our bodies. Lord, may my thoughts be wholesome and loving and bear good results on me and my life.

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

A Day At A Time
November 24

Reflection For The Day

Although we came into The Program to deal with a specific problem, we soon became aware that we would find not only freedom from addiction, but freedom to live in the real world without fear and frustration.  We learned that the solutions are within ourselves.  With the help of my Higher Power, I can enrich my life with comfort, enjoyment and deep-down serenity.  Am I changing from my own worst enemy to my own best friends?

Today I Pray

May I praise my Higher Power for my freedoms — from addiction, from spiritual bankruptcy, from loneliness, from fear, from delusions, from shallowness, from doom.  I give thanks for the way of life that has given me these freedoms and replace the empty spaces with extra goodness and peace of mind.

Today I Will Remember

To give thanks for all my freedoms.

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One Day At A Time
November 24
~ Gratitude ~

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “Thank you,” that would suffice.
–Meister Eckhart

I spent most of my life blaming my circumstances and those around me for the way I felt, for my eating problem and for my terrible life in general. There was nothing good in my life at all and I viewed everything through a dark cloud of negativity. I couldn’t see anything good in my life, and life became totally unbearable. Poor me, I thought. It really wasn’t fair that I had been made to suffer the way I had, and I felt awash with self pity. The more sorry I felt for myself, the more I ate, and the more I ate, the worse I felt; it became a vicious circle.

When I was brought to my knees by this disease and came into the fellowship, I was forced to take stock and look honestly at my life. For the first time ever I considered the losses and difficult situations in my life that I had perceived as unfair and negative. In each case there had been amazing gains. For example, the car accident I’d been in hadn’t been my fault at all. In fact, it became the catalyst that enabled me to change careers. One of the bereavements that I had brought a wonderful and special friend into my life. And so it went. Before, I had bemoaned my fate as a compulsive overeater. Now, I am actually grateful to be a compulsive overeater, because without my disease I never would have a wonderful program that helps me to live my life sanely and serenely, nor would I have all the very special people who love and support me through thick and thin.

One Day at a Time . . .
I am grateful for all the wonderful miracles that have happened in my life as a result of this program … may I never forget to thank my Higher Power for all these wonderful blessings.

~ Sharon S. ~

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Journey to the Heart
November 24
The Power of Gratitude Never Wanes

The haunting music of “Amazing Grace” followed me throughout my travels. I heard it first in the rustic cabin I rented in Arizona. The music from a distant flute wound through the air, filling it like incense, filling me with peace.

The next time I heard the music was at an old Montana hotel. The notes were clearer this time, as the soothing melody drifted across the courtyard.

Then, near the forest in Washington. I heard the hymn once more, again played on a flute. The notes rang out. The melody filled the air, gratitude flooded my soul.

“Amazing Grace” is following me, I thought. I thought again. No, grace wasn’t following me; grace had found me.

The power of gratitude never wanes. Say it when you feel and believe it. Say it when you don’t. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Soon you will hear the music,too. This song of grace will touch you with its haunting melody.

Amazing, amazing grace.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 24

“Things would go well for us if we would think positively about everything.”
–Mary Hayes, CLAOQUOT

Each of our thoughts are like individual seeds.  These thoughts will plant our life garden.  Whatever our thoughts, they grow in our gardens.

Each day we will process about 50,000 thoughts or thought seeds. Positive thoughts will produce positive results. Have you ever been aware of what you are thinking about during the day? Of the possible 50,000 thoughts in one day – if the positive thoughts were flowers and the negative thoughts were weeds – how would your garden look at the end of the day?

Great Spirit, let me plant positive seeds.

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

Today’s Gift
November 24

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible day.
—Judith Viorst

Some days, for all our good intentions, seem to go sour from the start. Maybe we’re tired or feeling ill or preoccupied with a problem that seems insurmountable. Maybe we just got up on the wrong side of the bed.

Living one day at a time means getting the most we can out of today. It also means we know today does not have to doom or dictate tomorrow. If we have a bad day today, that’s all it is – a bad day. It does not mean we’re bad or that the world is against us or that we might as well give in to our worst attitudes and behaviors since nothing is going right anyway. And it does not mean tomorrow will be a bad day, too.

When we have a bad day – and everyone does – there are a few things we can do while we wait it out. We can slow down. We can be quiet. We can pray. And we can let go. How else will we be able to recognize a wonderful day?

Am I living today – good or bad – and not tomorrow or yesterday?

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

The Language of Letting Go
November 24
Surrender

Surrender means saying, “Okay, God. I’ll do whatever You want.” Faith in the God of our recovery means we trust that, eventually, we’ll like doing that.

Today, I will surrender to my Higher Power. I’ll trust that God’s plan for me will be good, even if it is different than I hoped for or expected.

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

More Language Of Letting Go
November 24
Move from your center

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.
–Ecclesiastes 9:10

Move from your center.

It’s a lesson I learned in aikido. But it’s more than a lesson about martial arts, it’s an ancient lesson about how we’re to live.

Try this exercise. Walk across the room wishing you were someplace else– in your chair, in your car, or with your friend. Then do an activity for five minutes, like washing dishes, concentrating the entire time on something else you’d rather be doing, or something you’re worrying about. Then, walk back to where you started.

Now, walk across the room conscious of each step, fully present in each move. Pay attention to where you’re at and how each step feels. And be willing and intending to be right where you are. Wash the dishes, present for the feel of the hot water, the smell of the soap, and for how the floor feels under your feet. Be conscious and aware. Be intending to wash those dishes. Be right there, in that moment in time. Be aware of washing until the dishes are clean and rinsing until they’re clear. Be happy and grateful for the task. Give that task your all.

That’s moving from your center. It means right there, completely present, focused, and aware. We’re not wishing we were someplace else. And we place great value on what we’re doing, no matter what the size of the task. How much richer our lives become when we put all into all that we do. The colors are brighter, the success sweeter, the loss sharper, and the lessons more true.

Move from your center in all that you do, even the ordinary tasks and moments of life. Pour all of your heart into your relationships. Give your best ideas at work. Don’t worry, the universe has more where those came from. Stop the car on the side of the road and watch the sunset.

Whatsoever you find to do, do it with all your might.

God, remind me to live my life fully every day.

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

Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 24

Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.
—Abraham Heschel

Most of us have struggled with our self-esteem. We believed if we felt better about ourselves we could change some of our behavior. In recovery we found the reverse to be true. First our behavior changed, then our self-esteem improved.

Only after we stop doing things we don’t respect can we hear and accept the goodwill of others around us. Then we see our value as men because we are upholding strong self-images by our actions. This is not easy to do. As we learn, we continue to say no to weak behaviors, and we are released to feel greater dignity.

Saying no to my negative behavior today will improve my self-respect.

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

Daily TAO
November 24
PRESENCE

Lightning rod at the pinnacle
Attracts power by its mere presence.
In the same way, we must work
For substance and height.

If we want communion with heavenly powers, we need only attain the proper spiritual height. Then heaven will come to meet us as surely as lightning is attracted to a lightning rod. The effort is only in the becoming, in the purification of our characters, in the reaching upward. Once the situation is correct, union is inevitable.

Some people say, “Who cares about heaven?” Some people say, “Why strain for refinement?” Of course, no one is required to make an effort in life. We can all go the easy way. But then we are still lightning rods. Only the forces we attract are not the powers of heaven, but the powers of demons, misfortune, and predators.

No, there is no true reason why anyone should want to purify for spiritual reasons. The fact is, no matter what kind of person you are, you will attract something to yourself. One of the major ways to control what comes to you is to refine your substance.

Daily Recovery Quotes – November 24, 2013

November 24

AA ‘Big Book’ – Quote

Suppose now you are making your second visit to a man. He has read this volume and says he is prepared to go through with the Twelve Steps of the program of recovery. Having had the experience yourself, you can give him much practical advice. Let him know you are available if he wishes to make a decision and tell his story, but do not insist upon it if he prefers to consult someone else. – Pg. 96 – Working With Others

Hour To Hour – Book – Quote

‘Living life on life’s terms, just what does this mean to us? It doesn’t mean we will get a brownie button for every day we stay abstinent. It simply means life can be tough and we can still stay sober if we chose to live by principle.

Help me live life on life’s terms by accepting the good along with bad realizing that ‘realities’ are not good excuses to use mind-affecting chemicals.

Dreaming Dreams

Today, I will dream dreams. There is nothing wrong with having a couple of dreams for myself if they are realistic and don’t remove me from life too much. To work toward a dream can be a constructive use of my talents and energies. It can give me a positive focus. If my dreams are wild and I am not willing to do the work necessary to realize them, they will only frustrate me and lower my self-esteem. If, however, I am able to dream what makes sense for me and work to put it within my reach, it can be a real process of growth and challenge. My energy and enthusiasm can help me move through blocks, and my commitment can show me that love and effort can be their own reward.

I can stretch myself.

– Tian Dayton PhD

Pocket Sponsor – Book – Quote

There are no magic wands or burning bushes in our program. Just footwork and faith.

As I feed my faith, my doubts will starve to death.

“Walk Softly and Carry a Big Book” – Book

The Steps keep us from suicide; the Traditions, from homicide.

Time for Joy – Book – Quote

I immediately release everything I am struggling with today. I release everything to my Higher Power, knowing that I am getting all the help that I need today.

Alkiespeak – Book – Quote

I’m the type of alcoholic that when I stop drinking, for all practical purposes, that’s where my alcoholism begins. – Bob D.