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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 10

Just For Today
December 10
Winners

“I started to imitate some of the things the winners were doing. I got caught up in NA. I felt good … ”
—Basic Text pg. 223

We often hear it said in meetings that we should “stick with the winners.” Who are the winners in Narcotics Anonymous? Winners are easily identified. They work an active program of recovery, living in the solution and staying out of the problem. Winners are always ready to reach their hands out to the newcomer. They have sponsors and work with those sponsors. Winners stay clean, just for today.

Winners are recovering addicts who keep a positive frame of mind. They may be going through troubled times, but they still attend meetings and share openly about it. Winners know in their hearts that, with the help of a Higher Power, nothing will come along that is too much to handle.

Winners strive for unity in their service efforts. Winners practice putting “principles before personalities.” Winners remember the principle of anonymity, doing the principled action no matter who is involved. Winners keep a sense of humor. Winners have the ability to laugh at themselves. And when winners laugh, they laugh with you, not at you.

Who are the winners in Narcotics Anonymous? Any one of us can be considered a winner. All of us exhibit some of the traits of the winner; sometimes we come very close to the ideal, sometimes we don’t. If we are clean today and working our program to the best of our ability, we are winners!

Just for today: I will strive to fulfill my ideals. I will be a winner.

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Daily Reflections
December 10
CARRYING THE MESSAGE

“Now, what about the rest of the Twelfth Step? The wonderful energy it releases and the eager action by which it carries our message to the next suffering alcoholic and which finally translates the Twelve Steps into action upon all our affairs is the payoff, the magnificent reality, of Alcoholics Anonymous.”
—TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 109

To renounce the alcoholic world is not to abandon it, but to act upon principles I have come to love and cherish, and to restore in others who still suffer the serenity I have come to know. When I am truly committed to this purpose, it matters little what clothes I wear or how I make a living. My task is to carry the message, and to lead by example, not design.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 10
A.A. Thought For The Day

Our drinking fellowship was a substitute one, for lack of something better. At the time, we did not realize what real fellowship could be. Drinking fellowship has a fatal fault. It is not based on a firm foundation. Most of it is on the surface. It is based mostly on the desire to use your companions for your own pleasure and using others is a false foundation. Drinking fellowship has been praised in song and story. The “cup that cheers” has become famous as a means of companionship. But we realize that the higher centers of our brains are dulled by alcohol and such fellowship cannot be on the highest plane. It is at best only a substitute. Do I see my drinking fellowship in its proper light?

Meditation For The Day

Set for yourself the task of growing daily more and more into the consciousness of a Higher Power. We must keep trying to improve our conscious contact with God. This is done by prayer, quiet times, and communion. Often all you need to do is sit silent before God and let Him speak to you through your thought. Try to think God’s thoughts after Him. When the guidance comes, you must not hesitate, but go out and follow that guidance in your daily work, doing what you believe to be the right thing.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be still and know God is with me. I pray that I may open my mind to the leading of Divine Mind.

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As Bill Sees It
December 10
True Tolerance, p. 203

Gradually we began to be able to accept the other fellow’s sins as well as his virtues. We coined the potent and meaningful expression “Let us always love the best in others–and never fear their worst.”

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Finally, we begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong. When this happens, we approach true tolerance and we see what real love for our fellows actually means.

1. Grapevine, January 1962
2. 12 & 12, p. 92 12 & 12, p. 65

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Walk In Dry Places
December 10
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?
Good judgment.

All of our lives, many of us had to deal with “tempests in a teapot.” These were minor problems that we somehow magnified until they became disasters.

Some of us also took refuge in the bottle when faced with problems. Remembering this with some guilt, we may feel a responsibility today to deal with every problem efficiently and promptly. This feeling might also create unnecessary anxiety. We can easily get to the heart of such matters by asking ourselves, “How Important is it?” We might be making something far more important than it really is.

The importance of problems is revealed by our inability to remember what was upsetting us a week ago. Asking, “How important is it?” can be a useful test to avoid excessive worrying about any problem.

I’ll take a responsibility attitude today, but I’ll watch myself for a tendency to go to pieces over things that really aren’t important in the long run.

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Keep It Simple
December 10

“Kindness in giving creates love.”
—Lao-tzu

In our illness, we are takers. Now, we’ve changed this around. We are now givers. Giving is a big part of recovery. Our word for it is service. Our program is based on care, respect, and service. Our program tells us to “practice these principles in all our affairs.” No matter if it’s getting to our meeting early to put on the coffee, or going on a Twelfth Step call, we are giving of ourselves. We give so that we know we can make a difference. We give so that we can know how to love better. The healing power of recovery is love. As we give love and kindness to others, we heal. Why? Because people grow by giving kindness and love to others.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power with Your help I’ll be a kind and loving giver. I’ll look for way to share Your kindness.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list five ways I can be of service to others. I’ll put at least one of these ways into action today.

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 10

“The forgiving state of mind is a magnetic power for attracting good. No good thing can be withheld from the forgiving state of mind.”
—Catherine Ponder

Forgiveness fosters humility, which invites gratitude. And gratitude blesses us; it makes manifest greater happiness. The more grateful we feel for all aspects of our lives, the greater will be our rewards. We don’t recognize the goodness of our lives until we practice gratitude. And gratitude comes easiest when we’re in a forgiving state of mind.

Forgiveness should be an ongoing process. Attention to it daily will ease our relationships with others and encourage greater self-love. First on our list for forgiveness should be ourselves. Daily, we heap recriminations upon ourselves. And our lack of self-love hinders our ability to love others, which in turn affects our treatment of them. We’ve come full circle–and forgiveness is in order. It can free us. It will change our perceptions of life’s events, and it promises greater happiness.

The forgiving heart is magical. My whole life will undergo a dynamic change when I develop a forgiving heart.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 10
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.

I drank my way through schools and always got honors. And as I went through pharmacy school, graduate school, medical school, internship, residency, and specialty training, and finally, went into practice, my drinking kept increasing. But I thought it was because my responsibilities were increasing. “If you had my responsibilities, if you needed to sleep like I do, you’d drink too.”

p. 409

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 10

Tradition Seven — “Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.”

“To my surprise, the response of the groups was slow. I got mighty sore about it. Looking at this avalanche of mail one morning at the office, I paced up and down ranting how irresponsible and tightwad my fellow members were. Just then an old acquaintance stuck a tousled and aching head in the door. He was our prize slippee. I could see he had an awful hangover. Remembering some of my own, my heart filled with pit. I motioned him to my inside cubicle and produced a five-dollar bill. As my total income was thirty dollars a week at the time, this was a fairly large donation. Lois really needed the money for groceries, but that didn’t stop me. The intense relief on my friend’s face warmed my heart. I felt especially virtuous as I thought of all the ex-drunks who wouldn’t even send the Foundation a dollar apiece, and here I was gladly making a five-dollar investment to fix a hangover.

pp. 162-163

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Xtra Thoughts
December 10

“If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours”.
—SHASEC

“God, help me remember that when I admit and accept the truth, I’ll be given the power and guidance to change.”
—Melody Beattie

“Keep your sobriety first, to make it last.”
—Unknown

“Today, I will focus on what’s right about me. I will give myself some of the caring I’ve extended to the world.”
—Melody Beattie

“Learn to Let Go. That is the key to happiness.”
—Buddha

“Worry is like a rocking chair—it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
—Unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 10
SERVICE

“There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.”
—Albert Schweitzer

I enjoy doing things for other people. I enjoy seeing other people happy, seeing gratitude in their eyes and experiencing their hug of thankfulness.

Some people need to restrict how much they do for others and begin doing more for themselves but I am happy and pleased with my service towards others. Why?  Because I used to be a “taker”. For years I would walk away with all that you could give me and only thank you because I wanted to return for more!

In sobriety I am beginning to change this. Now I am giving and I am enjoying it.

Lord, the gift of service is a precious gift.

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Bible Scriptures
December 10

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Matthew 5:6

“I honor and love your commands. I meditate on your principles. Remember your promise to me, for it is my only hope. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.”
Psalm 119:48-50

“Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.”
1 Chronicles 16:9-11

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Daily Inspiration
December 10

A blessing is an explosion of joy from God that ripples through your heart and fills your mind with God’s light and hope. Lord, help me speak the words of blessing when they are needed by someone who is lonely, or who is dying or who is depressed.

As you draw closer and closer to God, you won’t have to tell anyone because it will show in your face. Lord, teach me Your ways as I am ready and let Your love and peace flow through me even in my difficult moments.

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A Day At A Time
December 10

Reflection For The Day

Have i ever stopped to think that the impulse to “blow off steam” and say something unkind or even vicious will, if followed through, hurt me far more seriously than the person to whom the insult is directed? I must try constantly to quiet my mind before I act with impatience or hostility, for my mind can be — in that very real way — an enemy as great as any I’ve ever known. Will I look before I leap, think before I speak — and try to avoid self-will to the greatest extent possible?

Today I Pray

May I remember that my blow-ups and explosions, when they are torrents of accusations or insults, hurt me just as much as the other person. May I try not to let my anger get to the blow-up stage, simply be recognizing it as I go along and stating it as a fact.

Today I Will Remember

Keep a loose lid on the teapot.

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One More Day
December 10

“In these times one must write with one’s life.  This is the challenge to all of us.”
—Antoine de St. Exupery

When we were younger, many of us had a prescribed course of life—first school, a job, marriage, and then children.  we never realized, and luckily so, that we would be dealt cards in a game we wouldn’t want to play.

With the illness, sorrows, and pain have come joy, delight, and happiness. We would not have wanted to see into the future, but now that we are here, we all want to live life as well as we are able.  The need to deal as best we can with our burdens advances us toward positive actions and thoughts.  What good or bad things happen to us do  not determine a life’s story as much as the choices we make.  We can choose to be challenged.  We can choose our directions.

Changes or improvements can begin today with the decision I make.

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One Day At A Time
December 10
FAULT FINDING

“When You Look For The Bad In Mankind Expecting To Find It, You Surely Will.”
—Abraham Lincoln

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, “To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got.” It seemed as though I spent half a lifetime discovering the faults in others. I used this information as a tool or weapon against them when the need would arise, or if I needed a victory to feel superior when I was feeling low. How very sick. It took me a long time to learn that all of us have weaknesses; it’s part of being an imperfect human being. We also have strengths and talents, sometimes waiting to be discovered. My job now is to search for the good in others, to overlook the pettiness, to understand that they are still growing and becoming. I am also to practice ongoing forgiveness, for them as well as for myself, to remember that God is still spiritually creating us all in His image.

One Day at a Time …
Have I quit fault finding others? Myself? God?

Jeremiah

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 10

“Come forward and join hands with us in this great work for the Creator.”
—Traditional Circle of Elders, NORTHERN CHEYENNE

The Elders have spent years learning to pray and communicate with the Great Spirit. Their job is to pass this knowledge onto the young people. The Elders have told us we are now in a great time of healing. The Creator is guiding them to help the young people figure this out. We must get involved and participate. We should pray and see what it is the Great Spirit wants us to do. We need to sacrifice our time to help the people and to be of maximum use to the Creator. Every person is needed to accomplish this great healing.

Creator, whisper what You want me to do.

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Journey To The Heart
December 10
Heal from Past Betrayals

Healing from betrayal is connected to healing and opening the heart.

Many of us have become quite skillful at denying feelings of betrayal, ignoring those situations when we not only feel betrayed, we truly have been betrayed.

Life happens. Sometimes people do things that hurt us. People may have let us down, not protected us. People may have deceived us. We live in a world with people who have a lot of issues. We live in a world that moves fast and isn’t always kind, just, or fair.

We may be moving so fast that we gloss over situations where we have been betrayed. Things just weren’t right. The numbers don’t add up.

If we haven’t dealt with past betrayals, if we haven’t cleansed and healed those break lines on the heart, we won’t be able to deal with the betrayals going on right now. The part of our hearts that’s sensitive to betrayal has been numbed, sometimes damaged, because it hasn’t been allowed to heal. We may stay in situations much longer than is good for us to do. We may not speak up when we need to. We may quietly stand there saying, That’s just how people are. And so our hearts break a little more and we go a little more numb. And that beautiful, precious part of ourselves, our heart, closes– not just to the person betraying us, but to all the beauty in life.

Yes, sometimes, that’s just the way life is. But we don’t need to stand there and keep letting life do that. We can open our hearts by healing those break lines. We can keep it open by being vulnerable and safe enough to feel, express, and take whatever actions our heart leads us to when betrayal occurs.

The head is connected to the heart. This connection is important. Healing betrayal will help keep that connection clear.

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The Language of Letting Go
December 10
Empowerment

You can think. You can make good decisions. You can make choices that are right for you.

Yes, we all make mistakes from time to time. But we are not mistakes.

We can make a new decision that takes new information into account.

We can change our mind from time to time. That’s our right too.

We don’t have to be intellectuals to make good choices. In recovery, we have a gift and a goal available to each of us. The gift is called wisdom.

Other people can think too. And that means we no longer have to feel responsible for other people’s decisions.

That also means we are responsible for our choices.

We can reach out to others for feedback. We can ask for information. We can take opinions into account. But it is our task to make our own decisions. It is our pleasure and right to have our own opinions.

We are each free to embrace and enjoy the treasure of our own mind, intellect, and wisdom.

Today, I will treasure the gift of my mind. I will do my own thinking, make my own choices, and value my opinions. I will be open to what others think, but I will take responsibility for myself. I will ask for and trust that the Divine Wisdom is guiding me.

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 10
Become amazed at what you see

We were on a trip through the Southwest when we turned around a bend in New Mexico. Lake Albiquiu, the sign said. The campground was seated on a bluff overlooking a large man-made lake. We decided it was so beautiful we’d camp there for the night. We selected just the right spot to give us the best view of the sun rising in the morning. We wanted to see the light hit the red rock cliffs in the distance.

Hiking around the edge of the bluff, we found a tiny cactus bursting with bright red flowers sitting in the shade of a windblown tree. We sat for a while then scrambled down to the water and sat on a big rock that jutted out into the lake. We swam. The water was cold, but refreshing, and the early summer sun felt good on our skin.

Later we cooked supper on the little gas stove. “Should we set up the tent?” I asked, eager to see the new tent set up in the wilderness.

“The weather is nice,” my friend said. “Let’s just throw our bags on the ground and sleep out.”

That was an idea! I had never slept under the stars before. We lay there in the gathering darkness and watched as one by one the stars softly glowed into view. I closed my eyes and dozed.

Moments later, a bird sang a goodnight song from a nearby tree, and I opened my eyes to see a blanket of stars overhead. The Milky Way cut a path through the night sky, and there were so many unfamiliar stars that I could hardly distinguish the constellations I knew. I didn’t want to close my eyes, I didn’t want to miss a moment of this incredible sight.

Camping in a state park may not count to some of the hard-core wilderness folks. But we each have different levels of freedom in our lives. Freedom means tasting new things, having new experiences, and pursuing our dreams no matter how small they might be. Recapture the magic of a time in your life when everything was new and amazing. Discover what’s possible for you. Then be amazed at what you see.

God, give me a sense of the possible in my life. Then help me be amazed at just how beautiful life can be.

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Today’s Gift
December 10

“She must learn to speak starting with ‘I.’ Starting with ‘We,’ starting as the infant does with her own true hunger and pleasure and rage.”
—Marge Piercy

Once there was a writer who was writing a book for children. He decided to ask his son for ideas. “What would you like to tell other children?” he asked. He thought the boy would say something like, “Everybody love everybody.” But instead the boy said, “Number one, ignore what your parents say about nutritious food. Number two, don’t go to school.”

The father laughed and thanked the boy for his ideas, even though they weren’t what he expected. He loved his son for being able to feel and express his desires so strongly.

We all have a child within us, no matter how old we are. When we honor that child, we also honor who we have become, and we free ourselves to express our truest feelings.

What does the child within me want to do today?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 10

“If you can just observe what you are and move with it, then you will find that it is possible to go infinitely far.”
—J. Krishnamurti

“Boys don’t cry” is bad training for males. Worse than that were ideas like, “Don’t pass up a dare,” “Nice guys finish last,” “Be a good provider,” “Be aggressive.” Some of these ideas have some value, but problems came from adopting them as the only way to be. We thought we had to work at being the strongest, the best, the least vulnerable. Now we are learning how weak and fragile such thinking actually makes men. It sets us up to go to the extremes we found in our addictions and codependency.

Weakness isn’t the alternative to this thinking. Developing our spiritual side, we see that we don’t have to work at being what we already are. A man can be strong enough to show his vulnerability. He can choose the opportunity to advance a relationship with his child over the opportunity to advance his career. He can choose to pass by a challenge without shame because he doesn’t wish to spend his energy there.

I will be stronger today by simply allowing myself to be true to my feelings.

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Daily TAO
December 10
UNINHIBITED

The drunk falls from the cart but is not hurt.
You throw hesitation aside but look stupid.
To be truly uninhibited is a rare grace.

Don’t be inhibited. If you hold back from achieving your heart’s desires, you will become bitter and frustrated. If you hold back from expressing yourself, your creativity will stagnate. If you hold back from taking action, you will become impotent with timidity. Don’t stop anything. Let your uniqueness flow freely.

In the beginning, one must adhere to a structure—artificial though it may be—until one attains that proper understanding to behave with uninhibited spontaneity. If people attempt to be uninhibited without actually being uninhibited, then they only look like crass clowns. Thus one must spend a certain amount of time studying structure until there is no need for structure. By that time, one will have thoroughly absorbed the secret of moderation and one will be able to act with correctness and spontaneity. True uninhibitedness must come as a by-product of sure, fresh, and creative actions.

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