In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 14

Just For Today
December 14
Addiction, Drugs, And Recovery

“Addiction is a physical, mental, and spiritual disease that affects every area of our lives.”
Basic Text pg. 20

Before we started using, most of us had a stereotype, a mental image of what addicts were supposed to look like. Some of us pictured a junkie robbing convenience markets for drug money. Others imagined a paranoid recluse peering at life from behind perpetually drawn drapes and locked doors. As long as we didn’t fit any of the stereotypes, we thought, we couldn’t be addicts.

As our using progressed, we discarded those misconceptions about addiction, only to come up with another: the idea that addiction was about drugs. We may have thought addiction meant a physical habit, believing any drug that didn’t produce physical habituation was not “addictive.” Or we thought the drugs we took were causing all our problems. We thought that merely getting rid of the drugs would restore sanity to our lives.

One of the most important lessons we learn in Narcotics Anonymous is that addiction is much more than the drugs we used. Addiction is a part of us; it’s an illness that involves every area of our lives, with or without drugs. We can see its effects on our thoughts, our feelings, and our behavior, even after we stop using. Because of this, we need a solution that works to repair every area of our lives: the Twelve Steps.

Just for today: Addiction is not a simple disease, but it has a simple solution. Today, I will live in that solution: the Twelve Steps of recovery.


Daily Reflections
December 14

Never talk down to an alcoholic from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked with you.

When I come into contact with a newcomer, do I have a tendency to look at him from my perceived angle of success in A.A.? Do I compare him with the large number of acquaintances I have made in the Fellowship? Do I point out to him in a magisterial way the voice of A.A.? What is my real attitude toward him? I must examine myself whenever I meet a newcomer to make sure that I am carrying the message with simplicity, humility and generosity. The one who still suffers from the terrible disease of alcoholism must find in me a friend who will allow him to get to know the A.A. way, because I had such a friend when I arrived in A.A. Today it is my turn to hold out my hand, with love, to my sister or brother alcoholic, and to show her or him the way to happiness.


Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 14
A.A. Thought For The Day

The way of A.A. is the way of service. Without that, it would not work. We have been “on the wagon” and hated it. We have taken the pledge and waited for the time to be up with impatience. We have tried in all manner of ways to help ourselves. But not until we begin to help other people do we get full relief. It is an axiom that the A.A. program has to be given away in order to be kept. A river flows into the Dead Sea and stops. A river flows into a clear pool and flows out again. We get and then we give. If we do not give, we do not keep. Have I given up all ideas of holding A.A. for myself alone?

Meditation For The Day

Try to see the life of the spirit as a calm place, shut away from the turmoil of the world. Think of your spiritual home as a place full of peace, serenity, and contentment. Go to this quiet, meditative place for the strength to carry you through today’s duties and problems. Keep coming back here for refreshment when you are weary of the hubbub of the outside world. From this quietness and communion comes our strength.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may keep this resting place where I can commune with God. I pray that I may find refreshment in meditation on the Eternal.


As Bill Sees It
December 14
After the “Honeymoon”, p. 216

“For most of us, the first years of A.A. are something like a honeymoon. There is a new and potent reason to stay alive, joyful activity aplenty. For a time, we are diverted from the main life problems. That is all to the good.

“But when the honeymoon has worn off, we are obliged to takeour lumps, like other people. This is where the testing starts.  Maybe the group has pushed us onto the side lines. Maybe difficulties have intensified at home, or in the world outside. Then the old behavior patterns reappear. How well we recognize and deal with them reveals the extent of our progress.”

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

The wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching becomes a regular habit, until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong.

1. Letter, 1954
2. 12 & 12, p. 88


Walk In Dry Places
December 14
The best of the Past
Living today.

We’re told that we should forget the past when we come into AA. Since we can’t change it, we should not waste time and energy reliving it.

Let’s be careful, however, not to take this advice too literally. There was much in our past that was good, even when we were drinking. We have a right and a need to treasure these important things.

The real dangers of living in the past come either from brooding about its mistakes or from thinking that our best days are already behind us. We can think of the past as a foundation for the good we expect today and in all the days ahead.

I’ll preserve the best in my memories of the past, knowing that these helped bring me to my present state of recovery.


Keep It Simple
December 14

Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is broken winged bird that cannot fly.
–Langston Hughes

Many of our dreams died as our addiction got worse. We felt the loss but couldn’t speak it. With recovery, we regain our ability to dream. Dreams of sharing our lives with family and friends return. They push out thoughts of getting high. Dreams of pride and self-respect reappear. They replace the awful feeling of shame. Like the quote above says, “Hold fast to dreams….” Our dreams are our wishes for the future.

They hold a picture of who we want to be. In our dreams, we let our spirits soar. Often, we fell close to God, others and ourselves. Thanks God, we can dream again.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, thanks to you, my wings have been mended. Guide me as I fly.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll take time out to dream and share my dream with those I love.


Each Day a New Beginning
December 14

A theme may seem to have been put aside, but it keeps returning–the same thing modulated, somewhat changed in form.
–Muriel Rukeyser

No struggle we have is really new. It’s another shade of the struggle that plagued us last week or perhaps last year. And we’ll stumble again and again until we learn to quit struggling. The trying situations at work, or the personality type that irritates us, will always exist. But when we’ve come to accept as good and growth-enhancing all situations and all persons, we’ll sense the subtle absence of struggle. We’ll realize that the person we couldn’t tolerate has become a friend. The situation we couldn’t handle is resolved, forever.

The lessons we need to learn keep presenting themselves, until we’ve finished the homework. If we sense a struggle today, we can look at it as an assignment, one that is meant for our growth. We can remember that our struggles represent our opportunities to grow. Fortunately, the program has given us a tutor. We have a willing teacher to help us. We need to move on, to be open to other assignments. No problem will be too much for us to handle.

I will enjoy my role as student today. I will be grateful for all opportunities to grow. They make possible my very special contribution in this life.


Alcoholics Anonymous
December 14

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

For the leveling-off process, I just loved intravenous Demerol, but I found it hard to practice good medicine while shooting morphine. Following an injection, I would have to keep one hand busy scratching my constantly itching nose and would also have sudden uncontrollable urges to vomit. I never got much effect out of codeine and Percodan and the tranquilizers. However, for a period of time I was injecting Pentothal intravenously to put myself to sleep. That’s the stuff used when the oral surgeon puts the needle in your vein and says, “Count to ten,” and before you get to two you’re asleep. Instant blackout was what it was, and it seemed delightful. I didn’t feel I could lie in bed and squirt the stuff in my veins while my kids and wife stood around watching me, so I kept the drug in my bag and bag in the car and the car in the garage. Luckily, the garage was attached to the house. In the garage I would put the needle in my vein and then try to figure out exactly how much medication to inject to overcome the pep pills while adding to the sleeping pills while ignoring the tranquilizers. in order to get just enough to be able to pull the needle, jerk the tourniquet, throw it the car, slam the car door shut, run down the hall, and fall in bed before I fell sleep.

pp. 410-411


Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 14

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

There is another story about money. One night in 1948, the trustees of the Foundation were having their quarterly meeting. The agenda discussion included a very important question. A certain lady had died. When her will was read, it was discovered she had left Alcoholics Anonymous in trust with the Alcoholic Foundation a sum of ten thousand dollars. The question was: Should A.A. take the gift?

pp. 163-164


Xtra Thoughts
December 14

In order to keep a true perspective of one’s importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him.
–Dereke Bruce

“Life is short, and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh, be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”
–Henri Frederic Amiel

“The human spirit rings with hope at the sound of an encouraging word.

“Many a good man has failed because he had his wishbone where his backbone should have been.”

The first step identifies the problem, the remaining eleven steps are the solution.  The first tradition identifies the problem, the remaining eleven traditions are how we do that.

“Every situation can be a positive situation if you look upon it as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement. ”
–Brian Tracy

“Step into a new you each day. Reach out to greater health, happiness, fitness, friendship, love and greater pride in yourself.”
–Mark Victor Hansen

Every recovery from alcoholism began with one sober hour.

Life didn’t end when I got sober — it started.

H E A L = Helping Every Alcoholic Live.

Take a walk with God. He will meet you at the Steps.


Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 14

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”
— Jesus (Matthew 27:46)

In my sickness I was often angry at God. Angry that He did not do what I wanted Him to do when I wanted Him to do it. I was a spoiled child. I refused to understand that suffering could be an important part of my spiritual growth. Today I know this to be true.

The biggest part of my suffering, then and today, is the feeling of isolation. Not knowing for certain that He hears me. Not understanding completely what His will is for me. Not getting clear answers to my daily confusion.

The doubt is part of the faith. The “not knowing” is the answer.

Lord, may the daily doubts lead to a creative faith.


Bible Scriptures
December 14

“All things work together for good to them that love God.”
Romans 8:28

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

“Seek the LORD and live.”
Amos 5:6a


Daily Inspiration
December 14

Laughter is a speedy way to bring people together, build friendships and reduce stresses. Lord, help me participate in the many opportunities to feel the calming effect of laughter.

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.


A Day At A Time
December 14

Reflection For The Day

Some of us in The Program are inclined to make the mistake of thinking that the few moments we spend in prayer and meditation — in “talking to God” — are all that count. The truth is that the attitude we maintain throughou7t the entire day is just as important. If we place ourselves in God’s hands in the morning, and throughout the day hold ourselves ready to accept His will as it is made known through the events of our daily life, our attitude of acceptance becomes a constant prayer. Can I try to cultivate an attitude of total acceptance each day?

Today I Pray

May I maintain contact with my Higher Power all through my day, not just check in for a prayer now and then. May my communion with God never become merely a casual aside. May I come to know that every time I do something that is in accord with God’s will I am living a prayer.

Today I Will Remember

Prayer is an attitude.


One More Day
December 14

I am just a heartbeat away from loneliness.
– Laura Palmer

The holiday season can be difficult for anyone who has had a major life change. A person who has been widowed, has moved, or has had to deal with new physical limitations may become lonesome when each holiday, birthday, or anniversary rolls around.

We sometimes cause ourselves pain by isolating ourselves. We may feel that no one wants to share the holiday with us or that we don’t wish to impose the inconvenience of illness upodn friends.

By reminding ourselves of the meaning of these special days, we often find that we can move out of our isolation. Holidays and other occasions reaffirm the value of tradition, love, and family. These days compel us to remember our place within a welcoming circle of friends and family.

I can choose to reach out during the holidays — or any day.


One Day At A Time
December 14

To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
–Helen Keller

As far back as I can remember, I have always been fearful of change. I preferred to stay in my comfort zone, even when it became uncomfortable or painful. I suppose that was why I stayed in the disease for so long; it was what I knew. It was safe and predictable and I didn’t have to deal with painful emotions such as loss and rejection. This was also why I stayed so long in a bad marriage; I was terrified of what was outside the walls of my dysfunctional relationship. In truth, I didn’t really live, because fear of change prevented me from forming new relationships and doing new and exciting things. Even the move from one city to another was totally traumatic, because the old and familiar was what I knew, not because it was better. Even then, I spent so long looking at the closed door behind me that I failed to see the open door in front of me.

I know now that even when I fear change, I need only put one foot in front of the other, and do what is before me. Because I now have faith that my Higher Power will be with me every step of the way, I need only ask for help, and the help comes. Even though it still is not easy, I am aware of how many changes I have been able to make with the help of my Higher Power. In the past, I spent so much time obsessing about the outcome that I talked myself out of the change I was thinking of making. The biggest change that has happened for me is my newfound faith which enables me to take that leap into the unknown.

There have been other miraculous changes too. Now I have a more open and honest relationship with my children and others because I am able to take more risks and set boundaries, which I had never been able to do before. I have changed careers, undertaken flying overseas on my own, and in general am not the scared person I used to be. I also have a whole new family of wonderful friends in this fellowship who understand me and love me always.

One Day at a Time . . .
I continue to grow and change as God wills me to do, and I will not be afraid because I know that He will always be there to guide and help me.

Sharon S.


Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 14

“Male and female is fundamental to life; partners in work to be done.”
–Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman, Traditional Circle of Elders

The Great Spirit created a system which would allow us to reproduce, to have companionship, to love, to laugh, to cry and be happy. Man and Woman each have gifts the other doesn’t have. But, together they have these gifts to share with each other. The Great Spirit made it this way. So let us treat each other with respect. Let us look upon each other in a sacred way.

Grandfather, Grandmother, bring the spirits to teach us.


Journey To The Heart
December 14
Open Your Heart to Universal Love

We live in a magical, living, vital, and personal universe, a world where universal love is real.

We don’t just live in it, we’re part of it, visibly and tangibly connected to it. The phone call that comes at the right time. A book that teaches us what we need to know. A movie that has the message we need to guide us and open our hearts. An opportunity that arises, at just the right moment. An idea triggered by something someone says or an object we didn’t notice before.

The more we open to universal love, the more it will be there for us, embracing, loving, holding, guiding us. The more we learn to see it, the more it will be there– until we wonder why we never saw it before.

Open your heart to universal love. It’s more than merely there. It’s there for you. Jump into the arms of a living, magical world and you leap into the arms of universal love. See how real it can be.


The Language of Letting Go
December 14
Clear Thinking

Strive for clear thinking. Many of us have had our thinking clouded by denial. Some of us have even lost faith in ourselves because we’ve spent a degree of time in denial. But losing faith in our thinking isn’t going to help us. What we need to lose faith in is denial.

We didn’t resort to denial – either of someone else’s problem or our own – because we were deficient. Denial, the shock absorber for the soul, protects us until we are equipped to cope with reality.

Clear thinking and recovery don’t mean we will never resort to denial. Denial is the first step toward acceptance, and for most of our life, we will be striving to accept something.

Clear thinking means we don’t allow ourselves to become immersed in negativity or unrealistic expectations. We stay connected to other recovering people. We go to our meetings, where peace of mind and realistic support are available. We work the Steps, pray, and meditate.

We keep our thinking on track by asking our Higher Power to help us think clearly – not by expecting Him, or someone else, to do our thinking for us.

Today, I will strive for balanced, clear thought in all areas of my life.


More Language Of Letting Go
December 14
You’re not a survivor anymore

Many years ago, I asked a fellow therapist what the one thing was that hallmarked the unhappy state of being many of us have come to label as codependency.

“It’s the Karpman Drama Triangle,” he said. “People rescue someone by doing something they don’t want to do, or it’s not their business to do. Then they get angry and persecute the person. Then they walk away, feeling like a victim. Again.”

A light when on in that moment. Like a gerbil on a wheel, I could see myself spinning around this triangle. I was regularly rescuing somebody, then getting angry, and ultimately feeling victimized by it all.

I was creating the pain and the drama in my life.

Over the years, I stopped rescuing alcoholics. Many of us have gotten off that painful wheel. We know we can’t control another person’s chemical dependency, depression, problems, or life. But we may have stepped off that wheel and gotten ourselves into another more subtle drama spin.

A friend recently cleaned our his entire house– closets, garage, drawers. He had to hire a truck to come and take everything away.

“I can’t believe everything I collected and hung onto,” he said. “Most of it was junk that I didn’t want in the first place. I guess that came from being poor and going without for so long. I convinced myself that if it was free or cheap, I’d better grab it and take it home.”

Many of us were survivors at one time. We either genuinely didn’t have a choice or convinced ourselves we didn’t. So we clung to whoever and whatever came along our path.

You may have survived what you went through, but you’re not a survivor anymore. There is no need to desperately cling to whatever comes along. You’re living now. You’re living fully and freely.

Choose what you want.

God, help me give myself permission to walk a path with heart.


Today’s Gift
December 14

Each day comes bearing its gifts. Untie the ribbons.
—Ann Ruth Schabacker

Today will be filled with surprises, big ones and small ones, like the gifts at a birthday party. Maybe we’ll see a friend we haven’t seen for a while. Or we’ll find something we thought was lost. Whatever happens today will be special, and is meant to help us grow in just the right way.

Growing up doesn’t always feel easy. We’re expected to be more responsible and thoughtful of others. We’re expected to be honest about our feelings and needs. If we’re angry or scared, we need to tell someone. Sharing our secret about being afraid relieves us of the fear, and we feel lighter, happier, like after opening a special gift.

When I receive today’s gifts, will I stop to appreciate them?


Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 14

No matter how old you get, if you can keep the desire to be creative, you’re keeping the man-child alive.
—John Cassavetes

Creation is the work of God. It is not given to most of us to be famous artists. But the spiritual experience of being creative is open to us when we take on a creative attitude toward what we are doing. We might do this on the job when we determine to do more than just get the job done. We may decide to have fun while we do what needs to be done, or we may decide to put our best spirit into the work before us. Some men find creativity in working with wood, others in coaching sports with children, someone else in cooking, and another in community service.

Being creative moves us toward wholeness as people. As we create on the outside, we are being created on the inside. The way in which we live every aspect of our lives is a creative, growing process and a partnership with God.

As I approach this day, I will have an attitude of creativity that will nurture the wondering child within me.


Daily TAO
December 14

Tao is the road up your spine.
Tao is the road of your life.
Tao is the road of the cosmos.

People are often confused about Tao because there are references to it on so many different levels. After all, it permeates all existence.  Indeed it might be said that Tao is existence itself. It might seem odd that we can talk about Tao on a level so mundane as physical exercise and on a level as exalted as holiness itself. Those who follow Tao do not think of divinity as something “up there.” They think of it as everywhere.

Tao can be tangible when it wants and intangible when it wants too.  One tangible aspect of Tao is the road in the very center of our spines.  That is the path of Tao in us. It is the spirit road connecting the various power centers of our bodies.

On a philosophical level, Tao is the road through life. It is the change from one stage to another, the dealing with circumstances, the expression of your inner character against the background of nature and society. On a metaphysical level, it is the evolution and movement of the cosmos itself.

Now take these three levels — the movement of energy up the spine, the philosophical understanding of one’s own path in life, and the very progression of the universe — and meld them all into one combined concept. Then you will have a glimpse of the genius of Tao.

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