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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 12

Just For Today
December 12
Fear Of Change

“By working the steps, we come to accept a Higher Power’s will…. We lose our fear of the unknown. We are set free.”
Basic Text pg. 16

Life is a series of changes, both large and small. Although we may know and accept this fact intellectually, chances are that our initial emotional reaction to change is fear. For some reason, we assume that each and every change is going to hurt, causing us to be miserable.

If we look back on the changes that have happened in our lives, we’ll find that most of them have been for the best. We were probably very frightened at the prospect of life without drugs, yet it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us. Perhaps we’ve lost a job that we thought we’d die without, but later on we found greater challenge and personal fulfillment in a new career. As we venture forth in our recovery, we’re likely to experience more changes. We will outgrow old situations and become ready for new ones.

With all sorts of changes taking place, it’s only natural to grab hold of something, anything familiar and try to hold on. Solace can be found in a Power greater than ourselves. The more we allow changes to happen at the direction of our Higher Power, the more we’ll trust that those changes are for the best. Faith will replace fear, and we’ll know in our hearts that all will be well.

Just for today: When I am afraid of a change in my life, I will take comfort from knowing that God’s will for me is good.

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Daily Reflections
December 12
A COMMON SOLUTION

The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 17

The most far-reaching Twelfth Step work was the publication of our Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous. Few can equal that book for carrying the message. My idea is to get out of myself and simply do what I can. Even if I haven’t been asked to sponsor and my phone rarely rings, I am still able to do Twelfth Step work. I get involved in “brotherly and harmonious action.” At meetings I show up early to greet people and to help set up, and to share my experience, strength and hope. I also do what I can with service work. My Higher Power gives me exactly what He wants me to do at any given point in my recovery and, if I let Him, my willingness will bring Twelfth Step work automatically.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 12
A.A. Thought For The Day

Clergymen speak of the spiritual fellowship of the church. This is much closer to the A.A. way than mere group therapy. Such a fellowship is based on a common belief in God and a common effort to live a spiritual life. We try to do this in A.A. We also try to get down to the real problems in each others’ lives. We try to open up to each other. We have a real desire to be of service to each other. We try to go deep down into the personal lives of our members. Do I appreciate the deep personal fellowship of A.A.?

Meditation For The Day

Love and fear cannot dwell together. By their very natures, they cannot exist side by side. Fear is a very strong force. And therefore a weak and vacillating love can soon be routed by fear. But a strong love, a love that trusts in God, is sure eventually to conquer fear. The only sure way to dispel fear is to have the love of God more and more in your heart and soul.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that love will drive out the fear in my life. I pray that my fear will flee before the power of the love of God.

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As Bill Sees It
December 12
Going It Alone, p. 274

Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times have we heard well-intentioned people claim the guidance of God when it was plain that they were mistaken? Lacking both practice and humility, they deluded themselves and were so able to justify the most arrant nonsense on the ground that this was what God had told them.

People of very high spiritual development almost always insist on checking with friends or spiritual advisers the guidance they feel they have received from God. Surely, then, a novice ought not lay himself open to the chance of making foolish, perhaps tragic, blunders. While the comment or advice of others may not be infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves.

12 & 12, p. 60

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Walk In Dry Places
December 12
Demanding credit
Approval.

The struggle for recognition sometimes takes an ugly form in AA. Even the pioneers of AA had disputes about who deserved credit for the fellowship’s success.

Demanding credit and recognition is a loser’s game for people who are seeking growth in sobriety. It is an indication that we still need applause and approval of the sort that drove us while we were drinking. It is a way of saying that we still don’t believe good work should be done for its own sake, but rather for the applause that goes with it.

The real kicker is that people who demand recognition never get enough of it. Ironically, if we don’t try to obtain credit for our actions, it sometimes comes anyway, without effort on our part.

I’ll watch myself for any tendency to demand credit for the things I do in the program. My healthy growth in sobriety should be reward enough.

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Keep It Simple
December 12

God gave us memory that we might have roses in December.
–James M. Barrie.

Do you remember what it was like to not have sobriety? Remember the shame? Remember the loneliness? Remember lying and wishing you could stop? Remember the powerlessness? Do you remember, also, how it felt when you began to believe you had an illness? Your shame was lifted. Remember what it was like to look around at your meeting and know you belonged? Your loneliness was lifted. Remember when you family started to trust you again? Your dishonesty had been lifted. Sobriety gives us many roses. Our memory will help to keep them fresh.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, never let me forget what it was like. Why? Because I’m only one drink or pill away from losing You.

Action for the Day: I’ll find a friend I trust. I’ll tell that person what my life was like before sobriety. I’ll also talk about how I got sober.

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 12

If I am to be remembered, I hope it is for the honesty I try to demonstrate, the patience I try to live by, and the compassion I feel for others.
–JoAnn Reed

Each of us hopes we are leaving a lasting, positive impression on those we befriend and maybe even those we encounter by chance. Having others speak well of us provides the strokes that are often necessary to our “keeping on” when difficulties surface. What we sometimes forget is that we are responsible for whatever lasting impression we leave.

Our behavior does influence what another person carries away from our mutual experience.

We may have left unfavorable impressions during our using days. On occasion, we do yet. However, it’s progress, not perfection, we’re after. And each day we begin anew, with a clear slate and fresh opportunities to spread good cheer, to treat others with love and respect, to face head-on and with full honesty all situations drawing our attention and participation.

As I look forward to the hours ahead, I will remember that I control my actions toward others. If I want to be remembered fondly, I must treat each person so.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 12
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.

The longer the drinking continued, the shorter the time the alcohol would keep me asleep; I would have to drink myself back to sleep again and again throughout the night. But I never became a morning drinker. Instead, I had a 5:00 a.m. shutoff time. If it was one minute before five, I’d drink myself back to sleep. If it was one minute after, I’d stay up and act like a martyr all day. It became progressively harder to get up in the morning, until one day I asked myself what I would do for a patient who felt this rotten. The answer came right back: I ‘d give him something to pep him up.

p. 409-410

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 12

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

“I heard all this quite plainly, as I was piously trying to convert a newcomer who sat next to me. The hat came in my direction, and I reached into my pocket. Still working on my prospect, I fumbled and came up with a fifty-cent piece. Somehow it looked like a very big coin. Hastily, I dropped it back and fished out a dime, which clinked thinly as I dropped it in the hat. Hats never got folding money in those days.

p. 163

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Xtra Thoughts
December 12

Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you the best way they know how.
–Unknown

Smiles are contagious. See if you can infect someone today.
–unknown

I can’t do His will my way.
–unknown

“It is a sign of strength, not of weakness, to admit that you don’t know all the answers.”
–John P. Loughrane

Miracles are not just extraordinary occurrences. They are also small simple things that are often overlooked. Take the time today to notice one.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 12
PRINCIPLES

“At the back of every noble life are the principles that have fashioned it.”
— George Lorimer

God is to be found in the principles of life. The suggested patterns of behavior that lead to happiness, freedom and unity in the world. God is not just a “good idea”, an intellectual philosophy or other worldly entity. God is practical goodness that can be demonstrated and seen in the world. Principles lead to action; principles produce change in attitude and behavior; principles must have a practical result.

Sometimes you hear the phrase “walk the talk”, implying that the principles we talk about should be evident in our daily lives. Also principles should be seen in the small things of life being courteous, giving a smile to a stranger, offering a hug to a friend in pain. God is alive in the principles of life.

Help me to practice the principles I believe in.

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Bible Scriptures
  December 12

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”
Philippians 3:12-16

“Your life will be brighter than the noonday….And you will have confidence, because there is hope.”
Job 11:17-18

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Daily Inspiration
December 12

Reach higher than you think possible for all that you want and you find that often you attain even more. Lord, I rely on Your promises made to each of us and especially on Your love.

Be patient with others, but mostly be patient with yourself. Lord, help me to keep a smile on my face and to realize my goodness and refuse to dwell on my imperfections.

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A Day At A Time
December 12

Reflection For The Day

These days, if I go though an experience that is new and demanding, I can do so in a spirit of confidence and trust. Thanks to The Program and Twelve Steps, I’ve come to know that God is with me in all places and in all endeavors. His Spirit is in me as well as in the people around me. As a result, I feel comfortable even in new situations and at home even among strangers. Will I continue to flow along and grow along with The Program, trusting in the power and love of God at work in me and in my life?

Today I Pray

May God’s comfort be with me in all situations, familiar or new. May He rebuild the sagging bridge of my confidence. May I acknowledge God in me and in others around me. May that mutual identity in God help me communicate with people on a plane of honesty. If I can learn to trust God, I can learn to trust the ones who share this earth with me.

Today I Will Remember

God teaches me how to trust.

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One More Day
December 12

Unreal is action without discipline, charity without sympathy, ritual without devotion.
Bhaqavadqita

It’s so easy to routinely go about our lives without examining our motives, without deciding why we do the things we do. We may have become so accustomed to reacting to what we think is expected of us that we rarely ponder what we expect of ourselves. At what point do we become willing to know ourselves?

Now may be the right moment to decide whether we act upon our own values, beliefs, and feelings, or whether we react to some vague sense of what others expect. By doing this, we might be surprised in discover that our charitable and spiritual actions do not change but they will become real because they are created by our inward sense of direction, discipline, love of others, and acceptance of self.

The things I say and do today will be directed by what I expect of myself, not by what I think others expect of me.

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One Day At A Time
December 12
~GOD IS ~

Open your eyes and the whole world is full of God.
–Jakob Bohme

When I was a child, my family never talked about God. I never knew the light of God, never felt His love or power, or recognized His presence in my life. When things were rough, I could only see the darkness. When I was lonely, I didn’t know He was with me all the time. When I was weak or scared, I thought I had to overcome and be strong, and not be afraid. I didn’t feel His presence with me, or believe that He was watching over me. Then, for twenty years I was married to a religious man who did talk about God. I tried so hard to believe as he did, but his words soon lost their meaning. The abuse began to overshadow the hope that things would change, and the belief that God would make everything okay, if only I believed like my husband. For years I have struggled with my faith, trying to believe in a God that was willing to light my way, love me, and protect me … not just in the good times, but in the painful times.

When I first came into recovery, I was still struggling, but I became “willing to believe” that God cared about me. I started watching for signs that He was there, ready to light my path when I could see only the darkness, ready to enfold me in His arms when I felt unloveable, and ready to protect me when I was scared. I became willing to recognize His presence in my day-to-day life.

Now that I am willing, I can find God’s love everywhere … in a friendly smile, in the kind words of a friend, in the beauty of a flower, and in a child’s eyes. Sometimes, when life gets rough, I have to look a little harder, but it’s there. I only have to remain open and willing to see it and accept it. Wherever I am, God is there with me, ready to love and protect me.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will be willing to see God’s presence in my life, and know that wherever I am, God is. I will let go, and let God be there.

Debbie K.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 12

“In order for our children to survive in the world, they need a firm understanding and belief in the basic principles of sharing freedom and respect of individuality.”
–Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders

There is a saying: Tell me, I’ll forget; Show me, I’ll remember; Engage me; I’ll understand. The adults need to determine what the younger generation is learning. The principle of sharing keeps the youth from being greedy and selfish. The principle of freedom teaches the youth about choices, decisions and consequences. The principle of respect keeps us from playing God and becoming a controller of all things. We need to learn these lessons so we may demonstrate them for our children.

Great Teacher, help me to understand Your principles.

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Journey To The Heart
December 12
Protect Your Energy

Just as we strive to protect and conserve earth’s energy resources, we can strive to protect and conserve our own. Become more aware of the impact of things, people, and activities on you and your energy. What feeds you, charges you? What drains and depletes you?

As you grow and become more sensitive to how things feel to you, you’ll naturally grow to dislike and be uncomfortable with whatever drains or negatively impacts your energy. Yes, some difficult, draining situations are inevitable. But we can learn to protect ourselves in those situations. Sometimes we need to let go of people, places, and behaviors that don’t work for us anymore, that drain, exhaust, and deplete us.

Pay attention to the impact of certain people, places, behaviors, and events on your energy. Pay attention to how you feel when you eat certain foods, drink certain beverages, go certain places. Learn to listen to your body, your emotions, and your heart. Be prepared to let go of some things and people along the way. Be gentle with yourself while you do.

Learn to conserve your energy. It is a precious, valuable resource.

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The Language Of Letting Go
December 12

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 12
Create an extraordinary life

I ran into my friend one day on the street. I asked him how he was. He said not very good. But if he won the lottery– and he showed me a few tickets– he’d be happy then. I asked him if business was slow. He said, yes, income was down and bills were up. He needed a big hit to balance the ledger sheet.

We talked for a while. I asked him what he made an hour. He said $100, but he was mostly getting appointments for half-hour sessions. He was a therapist, and business wasn’t very promising right now.

“Gee,” I said, counting up the hours in a week, “if you worked four half hours a day, that’s $1,000 dollars a week and $4,000 a month. Sounds like pretty good income, at least to me.”

“I never thought of it that way,” he said.

“Instead of trying to win the lottery or get that big break, why don’t you try to happily do just four half hours of work a day? Then you don’t have to win the lottery to break the bank. You’ll be pretty well off right now.”

It’s easy to want to win the big one or think of a windfall as the only solution to the problems we face. And the lottery we want to win might not be just in money. We can easily take that kind of thinking into our relationships or our work. Buy a chance to win the lottery, if that’s what you want to do. But maybe you could look at things a different way. What if you stopped going for the big one and tried to do a lot of little things well? You could work on being the best friend that you could be. Or maybe you could get closer to that person you are dating. Instead of waiting for the perfect soul mate to come along, just be the best boyfriend or girlfriend in the relationship you already have. Instead of waiting to win the lottery, make the most out of all the ordinary moments in your life today.

You’re richer than you think.

God, help me remember that many ordinary moments, when well-lived, add up to an extraordinary life.

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Today’s Gift
December 12

Patience is needed with everyone, but first of all with ourselves.
—Saint Francis De Sales

One night Sandra was having trouble putting a puzzle together. Angrily, she pushed all the pieces into a huge pile.

“I can’t do this,” she said. She got up and walked over to the couch and plopped down.

“Let me tell you a story,” said her dad, as he sat down next to her. “There was a daughter who helped her dad take care of her baby sister. Again and again, she helped her baby sister stand and try to walk. One day the daughter tried to put a puzzle together but gave up after only a few tries. She had forgotten how many times she had helped her baby sister.”

We are all like Sandra, sometimes. We forget to allow ourselves to fail, even though our growth up to now has been a series of failures that we learned from. With patience, we allow ourselves to take chances we might not otherwise explore, and we widen our world of possibilities. Life has been patient with us so far, now it’s our turn.

What have I failed at that I can try again today?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 12

I like a man with faults, especially when he knows it. To err is human – I’m uncomfortable around gods.
—Hugh Prather

We are more comfortable around a man who has faults and knows it. We respect such a man. So why do we have such a hard time admitting our own faults? This matter of honesty comes very gradually and only with hard work. We may have to force ourselves to admit a fault because we expect to feel unworthy. In fact, what we do feel after admitting a fault is peacefulness and self-respect. We may expect to be rejected and judged by friends, but usually friendships grow more solid when we admit our faults. A true friend does not need to trust that we will always be right, only that we will be honest.

At this moment are we being nagged by some fault? Is there something about the way we have talked to someone that doesn’t seem right? Have we been unfair or dishonest? This is a program of progress, not perfection. So, to make progress we admit our imperfections, and as we do, we become more fully human.

God, in this moment when I feel my human mistakes, help me to be open to your love.

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Daily TAO
December 12
PURPOSE

Suddenly, things snap into focus.
I’ve been pursuing unity all my life,
But could only glimpse the monstrous vision in fragments;
It has haunted me for years.
Each time I sighted it, I struggled to make it concrete.
At first, it seemed I only had a sculptor’s yard of unfinished
figures —
Then it slowly began to make sense,
Gathered from glimpses and inferences.
More and more, this mysterious life comes together.
It may take years more to reveal the whole.
That’s all right.
I’m prepared to go the distance.

One’s life’s destiny is not easily revealed. It’s too big. You may certainly set your sights early, but you will still have to make changes and adjustments as your true purpose is clarified. When it does begin to come together, there is a tremendous feeling of assurance.

Then with each step upon the path of Tao, your certainty rings from peak to peak.

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