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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 11

NA Just For Today
December 11
Misery Is Optional

“No one is forcing us to give up our misery.”
Basic Text pg. 29

It’s funny to remember how reluctant we once were to surrender to recovery. We seemed to think we had wonderful, fulfilling lives as using addicts and that giving up our drugs would be worse than serving a life sentence at hard labor. In reality, the opposite was true: Our lives were miserable, but we were afraid to trade that familiar misery for the uncertainties of recovery.

It’s possible to be miserable in recovery, too, though it’s not necessary. No one will force us to work the steps, go to meetings, or work with a sponsor. There is no NA militia that will force us to do the things that will free us from pain. But we do have a choice. We’ve already chosen to give up the misery of active addiction for the sanity of recovery. Now, if we’re ready to exchange today’s misery for even greater peace, we have a means to do just that – if we really want to.

Just for today: I don’t have to be miserable unless I really want to be. Today, I will trade in my misery for the benefits of recovery.

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Daily Reflections
December 11
A GENUINE HUMILITY

. . . . we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This is to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 192

Experience has taught me that my alcoholic personality tends to be grandiose. While having seemingly good intentions, I can go off on tangents in pursuit of my “causes.” My ego takes over and I lose sight of my primary purpose. I may even take credit for God’s handiwork in my life. Such an overstated feeling of my own importance is dangerous to my sobriety and could cause great harm to A.A. as a whole. My safeguard, the Twelfth Tradition, serves to keep me humble. I realize, both as an individual and as a member of the Fellowship, that I cannot boast of my accomplishments, and that “God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 11
A.A. Thought For The Day

Doctors think of the A.A. fellowship as group therapy. This is a very narrow conception of the depth of the A.A. fellowship. Looking at it purely as a means of acquiring and holding sobriety, it is right as far as it goes. But it doesn’t go far enough. Group therapy is directed toward the help that the individual receives from it. It is essentially selfish. It is using the companionship of other alcoholics only in order to stay sober ourselves. But this is only the beginning of real A.A. fellowship. Do I deeply feel the true A.A. fellowship?

Meditation For The Day

Most of us have had to live through the dark part of our lives, the time of failure, the nighttime of our lives, when we were full of struggle and care, worry and remorse, when we felt deeply the tragedy of life. But with our daily surrender to a Higher Power, comes a peace and joy that makes all things new. We can now take each day as a joyous sunrise-gift from God to use for Him and for other fellow people. The night of the past is gone, this day is ours.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may take this day as a gift from God. I pray that I may thank God for this day and be glad in it.

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As Bill Sees It
December 11
We Need Outside Help, p.248

It was evident that a solitary self-appraisal, and the admission of our defects based upon that alone, wouldn’t be nearly enough.  We’d have to have outside help if we were surely to know and admit the truth about ourselves–the help of God and of another human being.

Only by discussing ourselves, holding back nothing, only by being willing to take advice and accept direction could we set foot on the road to straight thinking, solid honesty, and genuine humility.

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If we are fooling ourselves, a competent adviser can see this quickly.  And, as he skillfully guides us away from our fantasies, we are surprised to find that we have few of the usual urges to defend ourselves against unpleasant truths. In no other way can fear, pride, and ignorance be so readily melted. After a time, we realize that we are standing firm on a brand-new foundation for integrity, and we gratefully credit our sponsors, whose advice pointed the way.

1. 12 & 12, p.59
2. Grapevine, August 1961

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Walk In Dry Places
December 11
Keep the Focus on Personal Responsibility
Responsible attitudes.

Alcoholics often try to shift responsibility to others. We once thought it was possible to blame others for our drinking, and we had sneaky ways of manipulating family members so they would feel guilty and comply with our demands.

In sober living, we must not allow ourselves to slip back into this mode of thinking. Keeping the focus on personal responsibility is our best way of approaching all problems. “What is my responsibility in this?” is a good question to ask in evaluating our part in situations.

We are always responsible for our own sobriety. Beyond that, we’re also responsible for maintaining good attitudes and making sure that our own anger and pride do not make any situation worse than it already is.

I’ll be responsible today for my own thoughts, feelings, and actions. If any stressful issue or situation arises, I’ll keep my focus on personal responsibility.

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Keep It Simple
December 11

When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.
–Tuli Keupferberg.

Recovery has happened to us. We stopped drinking or using other drugs and, like magic, a new world appeared. Being sober sure shakes up a person’s life! It’s good to shake up our world every now and then. This way, we see there’s not just one “world”, but many. We grow each time we step into a new world and learn new things. Of course, the addict’s world was new and exciting to us at one time. But we got trapped and couldn’t find our way out. Our Higher Power had to free us. We need to try new worlds, but we always need to take our Higher Power with us–into worlds where there’s honesty, love, and trust.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, lead me to new worlds where I’ll learn more about living fully.

Action for the Day: I’ll list 3 ways I can step into a new world today. For example, I could read something new, go to a museum, or eat a new food.

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 11

Occupation is essential.
–Virginia Woolf

Having desires, setting goals, and achieving them are necessary to our fulfillment. There is purpose to our lives, even when we can’t clearly see our direction; even when we doubt our abilities to contribute. Let us continue to respond to our opportunities.

Many of us experienced the clouds of inaction in earlier periods waiting, waiting, waiting, hoping our circumstances would change, even praying they would, but taking no responsibility for changing what was in our power. Inaction caged us. Stripped of power, life held little or no meaning. However, we’ve been given another chance. The program has changed our lives. We have a reason for living, each day, even the days we feel hopeless and worthless.

Maybe we are without a goal at this time. Perhaps the guidance is not catching our attention. We can become quiet with ourselves and let our daydreams act as indicators. We have something essential to do, and we are being given all the chances we’ll need to fulfill our purpose. We can trust in our worth, our necessity to others.

I will remember, the program came to me. I must have a part to play. I will look and listen for my opportunities today.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 11
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.

My drinking took place after work hours. I remember finding myself in the middle of the night in the doctors’ parking lot at the hospital with one foot in the car and one foot on the ground, not knowing which was the lead foot; finding myself hanging up the telephone–then realizing I had gotten out of bed, answered the phone, turned on the light, and carried on a conversation with a patient. I didn’t know whether I had told him to rush to the hospital and I’d meet him there, or to take two aspirin and call me in the morning. With a problem like that, I couldn’t go back to sleep. So I’d sit up, watch old Wallace Beery movies on all-night TV, and drink.

p. 409

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 11

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

“The meeting that night was at New York’s old 24th Street Clubhouse. During the intermission, the treasurer gave a timid talk on how broke the club was. (That was in the period when you couldn’t mix money and A.A.) But finally he said it–the landlord would put us out if we didn’t pay up. He concluded his remarks by saying, “Now boys, please go heavier on the hat tonight, will you?”

p. 163

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Xtra Thoughts
December 11

Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.
–Horace

“Ask for what you want. Ask for help, ask for input, ask for advice and ideas — butnever be afraid to ask.”
–Brian Tracy

“Material success may result in the accumulation of possessions; but only spiritual success will enable you to enjoy them.”
–Nido Qubein

“The act of taking the first step is what separates the winners from the losers.”
–Brian Tracy

Life is very beautiful, you know. It is a gift given to us by God. Don’t ignore its beauty. Don’t ignore its joy. Don’t ignore its love. Embrace it, cherish it, and live it with all of your heart. Make the life you live as beautiful and wonderful as the life God has given you. Whether you are rich or poor, young or old, healthy or sick always remember that life is beautiful and so are you.
–Joseph J. Mazzella

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 11
TODAY

“The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.”
— Mignon McLaughlin

I do not have to have courage for a lifetime, just for the moment. I am helped by the philosophy that teaches me to live one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time. It is too awesome to try to live my tomorrows today. Life is a process to be lived not a future to be anticipated.

For years I tried to anticipate what life had to throw at me, and I always came away confused, surprised and exhausted. I missed the joy of the moment by worrying about the future. What was he going to do? What happens if the police get involved? Will my mother telephone next week? Will my niece grow up to be alcoholic? Am I to blame? I had a thousand questions that I could not answer; nobody can answer for the future today.

I can only take responsibility for my life a day at a time. I developed the courage to face the moment and I became a winner.

May I avoid the temptation to seek the fantasy of tomorrow for the reality of today.

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Bible Scriptures
December 11

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…’
1 Thessalonians 5:9

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
I Timothy 2:1-5

“He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.”
Proverbs 17:9

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Daily Inspiration
December 11

Use Jesus’ as your example on how to live. Lord, You will guide and advise us and then You will leave it to us to decide our own future. Give us wisdom in our choices.

God gives abundantly to those who pass His gifts on to others. Lord, let Your blessings flow in to me and then out from me. I will neither be selfish nor let my gifts stagnate.

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A Day At A Time
December 11

Reflection For The Day

Before I came to The Program — in fact, before I knew of The Program’s existence — I drifted from crisis to crisis. Occasionally, I tried to use my will to chart a new course; however, like a rudderless ship, I inevitably foundered once again on the rocks of my own despair. Today, in contrast, I receive guidance from my Higher Power. Sometimes, the only answer is a sense of peace or an assurance that all is well. Even though there may be a time of waiting before I see results, or before any direct guidance comes, will I try to remain confident that things are working out in ways that will be for the greatest good of everyone concerned?

Today I Pray

May I not expect instant, verbal communication with my Higher Power, like directions on a stamped, self-addressed post-card. May I have patience, and listen, and sense that God is present. May I accept my new feelings of radiant warmth and serenity as God’s way of assuring me that I am, finally, making some good choices.

Today I Will Remember

Patience: God’s message will come.

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One More Day
December 11

I’ve heard He works with broken people, I am sick, hurting, broken. I am waiting and willing now….
– Flora E. Meredith

Sometimes life can feel so hopeless. Pain, anxiety about health, and fear can plague our thoughts. Admitting things are out of our control can be so hard. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to admit that we need help. Giving ourselves over to the care of our Higher Power is frightening when we have become used to taking care of our own needs.

The hardest job is ours, though, for we must be willing to let go of that part of ourselves that is troubled, in order to become whole once again. We must be willing to let go in order to be helped.

I have made the hardest move and placed myself into the care of my Higher Power. Now I must wait.

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One Day At A Time
December 11
REAL LIVING

“A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.” Tara Morice as Fran,
(From Baz Luhrmann’s film “Strictly Ballroom”)

When I first saw this movie in 1993, it spoke volumes to my life and to my recovery. I had spent my life afraid, afraid of everything and everybody. If I crossed you, I feared your wrath. If I disappointed you, I dreaded the loss of your love. If things were going well, I wondered, often aloud, when the other shoe was going to drop. I had nowhere to go, no one to trust, nothing I could believe in, because I knew it would be taken away from me. The only safe haven I had was in the food, but I was afraid of the consequences. The biggest thing that kept me in my disease was the fear of what might be on the other side.

The bravest thing I ever did was walk through the doors of my first program meeting. I had been shamed into it by a therapist, but once I got there I sensed that my fears would be vanquished. I saw people who had been there, done that, and designed the t-shirt of fear that I was wearing. They showed me, through the Steps and Traditions, that there was more to life.

The program of recovery has taught me that a life of fear indeed is a life half-lived. Living in fear, I only succeeded in quashing the joy, the adventure, the zest for life that was naturally planted in me. It also eliminated the biggest fear … that of a Higher Power. It has given me faith, the diametric opposite of fear. Faith shined its light on the darkness of my life, and allowed me to live a fuller existence that cannot be taken from me, save for retreat into fearful despair. I am so immensely grateful for what I have been given: life, instead of mere existence.

One Day at a Time . . .
Faith in a Power greater than myself is a powerful antidote to a fearful, half-lived life. I pray to keep the light of faith shining brightly in my life.

Mark

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 11

“Peace… comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
–Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) OGLALA SIOUXIf

we are to know peace we must look within ourselves. In order to do this, we must learn to be still. We must quiet the mind. We must learn to meditate. Meditation helps us locate and find the center that is within ourselves. The center is where the Great One resides. When we start to look for peace, we need to realize where it is within ourselves. When we experience conflict we need to pause for a moment and ask the Power within ourselves, “How do you want me to handle this? What would you suggest I do in this situation?” By asking the High Power for help we find peace.

Creator, help me to find peace.

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Journey To The Heart
December 11
Make Time to Play

Go play. Yes, take a break and go play. When your head starts to pound and your back starts to ache, stop. Do something you want to do. Something that feels good, feels fun. Leave your worries behind. Put them in a box, then close it, and go play.

We make sure that our children take time for recess every day. But we forget that we need recess,too. The lingering threads of work and worry can tie us to tasks done and undone. They can block our connection to joy, creativity, and the vital life-giving force that courses through us all.

We no longer need to slump with tension and fatigue. It isn’t necessary and it doesn’t help a thing. Most often, it hurts. Your fatigue may be from lack of play as much as lack of sleep. You might begin to see that you don’t need a rest, a nap, or more vitamin C. You need to play.

Play as much as you can. Find time– take time– to play. It may give you the energy you need.

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The Language of Letting Go
December 11
Affirmations

One of our choices in recovery is choosing what we want to think – using our mental energy positively.

Positive mental energy, positive thinking, does not mean we think unrealistically or revert to denial. If we don’t like something, we respect our own opinion. If we spot a problem, we’re honest about it. if something isn’t working out, we accept reality. But we don’t dwell on the negative parts of our experience.

Whatever we give energy to, we empower.

There is magic in empowering the good, because whatever we empower grows bigger. One way to empower the good is through affirmations: simple positive statements we make to ourselves: I love myself… I’m good enough… My life is good…I’m glad I’m alive today… What I want and need is coming to me… I can…

Our choice in recovery is not whether to use affirmations. We’ve been affirming thoughts and beliefs since we were old enough to speak. The choice in recovery is what we want to affirm.

Today, I will empower the good in myself, others, and life. I’m willing to release, or let go of, negative thought patterns and replace them with positive ones. I will choose what I want to affirm, and I will make it good.

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 11
Touch and taste your life

Tonight, the sun set like a red ball over the hill to the west of the house. There’s an eclipse coming in just a few days, and the ocean knows it. She can feel the moon. She rises high on her haunches, ready to pounce, then slowly rolls forward. The waves build and stretch until finally the lip crumbles and the back of the wave chases the front of the wave culminating in a massive waterfall. She smashes against the pilings, shaking the entire house. The sky is rose, lavender, and black. The house smells richly of the pasta and meat sauce in the pots on the stove. A cedar log burning in the fireplace warms the room.

This is my experience now. It’s an enchanted moment when the world rests but is still alive.

Experience is the privilege of being human. I can taste the spagetti. I can smell the salt of the ocean. I can feel the burning cedar taking the chill out of the air. I can love. I can hurt. What a sweet experience this is. And I thank God for every moment and feeling of each experience I’ve been given.

Do you taste your life? Or do you float through it unaware of the beauty that surrounds you each day? We weren’t meant to sleep all the time. Sometimes when we first become sober or begin recovering from codependency, we wonder what we’ll ever do with all this time and all the feelings that we’re left with now that the alcohol and drama have been taken away.

Revel in the experience you’re going through. Feel, touch, and taste each moment of your life. Then be aware of how exquisitely beautiful it is.

What’s you’re experience right now?

God, help me be aware of the beauty and power that flows through this universe. Help me remember how connected I am to that beauty and power through each experience I’ve been given.

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Today’s Gift
December 11

Feelings are everywhere – gentle.
—J. Masai

Throughout the day we experience many feelings. Losing something makes us angry. Fighting with a friend makes us sad. Perhaps we’re lonely because no one is home. Getting an unexpected treat makes us happy. Our feelings come and go just like the hours of our lives.

Letting our feelings be whatever they are is good. They’ll go away in time. We may not like all feelings; sadness or anger may be uncomfortable, but being human means we’ll have many different feelings each day. If we’re quiet with them, they’ll help us grow and understand others better, and then they will suddenly be gone, replaced perhaps by a feeling we like more.

Will I be able to accept my feelings today whether I like them or not?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 11

The art of living lies not in eliminating but in growing with troubles.
—Bernard M. Baruch

Naturally, we wish to avoid pain and difficulty, but life experience and a measure of reflection show us that most of what comes our way is beyond our control. We’ll never outwit all the possibilities for trouble, even if we live to be 100 years old. We have often failed to learn from trouble because we cast ourselves in the roles of passive men and victims. We pointed outside ourselves and said, “Look at what is happening to poor me!”

When we use trouble as our teacher, we develop the art of living. We are taking a spiritual approach, using our Higher Power as our guide. We can choose today to use our difficulties for our learning and growth. We might ask, “What can I learn from this experience about myself as a man? How can I use this to strengthen myself for the future?” Serenity develops, not by eliminating life’s difficulties, but by having a reliable relationship with our Higher Power in the midst of it all.

With God as my guide, I will use whatever comes my way as an opportunity for growth.

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Daily TAO
December 11
WORTHWHILE

Inside me, it was quiet all day :
I waited until midnight for a sound.
Outside me, it was noisy all day :
I waited all night for silence.
Tao’s power is sound.
Tao’s potential is silence.

It is said that even if one hears Tao before the day is over, then that day has been worthwhile. Even if one hears about Tao before one’s life is over, then one’s life has been worthwhile.

But sometimes it takes a long time to hear about Tao. There are some days when Tao does not manifest itself right away. It seems that the more you want to love, the more hatred tempts you. The more you want to be pure, the more negativity pursues you. The more you want serenity, the more chaos assaults you. The ordinary have common problems. Those who pursue Tao struggle against titanic forces. What can you do but accept it and persevere? If you fret about it, then you have not only spent the day away from Tao, but you have ruined that day with emotional too.

Sometimes Tao does not appear until the very end of the day. Maybe it’s just that you are more relaxed and have put aside all your cares.  Maybe Tao is capricious. It is hard to say. When Tao does come, it is as if you are just now hearing a true sound. When it does come, such a feeling of serenity overcomes you that it quiets all the noise of the day.

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