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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 15

Just For Today 
December 15
The Joy Of Sharing

“There is a spiritual principle of giving away what we have been given in Narcotics Anonymous in order to keep it. By helping others to stay clean, we enjoy the benefit of the spiritual wealth that we have found.”
Basic Text pg. 47

Time and again in our recovery, others have freely shared with us what was freely shared with them. Perhaps we were the recipients of a Twelfth Step call. Maybe someone picked us up and took us to our first meeting. It could be that someone bought us dinner when we were new. All of us have been given time, attention, and love by our fellow members. We may have asked someone, “What can I do to repay you?” And the answer we received was probably a suggestion that we do the same for a newer member when we were able.

As we maintain our clean time and recovery, we find ourselves wanting to do for others the things that someone did for us, and happy that we can. If we heard the message while in a hospital or institution, we can join our local H&I subcommittee. Perhaps we can volunteer on the NA help line. Or we can give of our time, attention, and love to a newcomer we are trying to help.

We’ve been given much in our recovery. One of the greatest of these gifts is the privilege of sharing with others what’s been shared with us, with no expectation of reward. It’s a joy to find we have something that can be of use to others, and that joy is multiplied when we share it. Today we can do so, freely and gratefully.

Just for today: I have been given much in my recovery, and I am deeply grateful for it. I will take joy in being able to share it with others as freely as it was shared with me.

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Daily Reflections
December 15
DOING ANYTHING TO HELP

Offer him [the alcoholic] friendship and fellowship. Tell him that if he wants to get well you will do anything to help.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 95

I remember how attracted I was to the two men from A.A. who Twelfth-Stepped me. They said I could have what they had, with no conditions attached, that all I had to do was make my own decision to join them on the pathway to recovery. When I start convincing a newcomer to do things my way, I forget how helpful those two men were to me in their open-minded generosity.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 15
A.A. Thought For The Day

Service to others makes the world a good place. Civilization would cease if all of us were always and only for ourselves. We alcoholics have a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the well-being of the world. We have a common problem. We find a common answer. We are uniquely equipped to help others with the same problem. What a wonderful world it would be if everybody took their own greatest problem and found the answer to it and spent the rest of their lives helping others with the same problem, in their spare time. Soon we would have the right kind of a world. Do I appreciate my unique opportunity to be of service?

Meditation For The Day

Today can be lived in the consciousness of God’s contact, upholding you in all good thoughts, words and deeds. If sometimes there seems to be a shadow on your life and you feel out of sorts, remember that this is not the withdrawal of God’s presence, but only your own temporary unwillingness to realize it. The quiet gray days are the days for doing what you must do, but know that the consciousness of God’s nearness will return and be with you again, when the gray days are past.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may face the dull days with courage. I pray that I may have faith that the bright days will return.

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As Bill Sees It
December 15
A.A. In Two Words, p.271

“All A.A. progress can be reckoned in terms of just two words: humility and responsibility. Our whole spiritual development can be accurately measured by our degree of adherence to these magnificent standards.

“Ever deepening humility, accompanied by an ever greater willingness to accept and to act upon clear-cut obligations–these are  truly our touchstones for all growth in the life of the spirit. They hold up to us the very essence of right being and right doing. It is by them that we are enabled to find and to do God’s will.”
Talk, 1965 (Printed In Grapevine, January 1966)

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Walk In Dry Places
December 15
Watching our boundaries.
Personal relationships

Setting boundaries in personal relationships is how we manage actions that could otherwise get out of control. One firm boundary in AA, for example, is maintaining other members’ anonymity, as well as our own. We are always overstepping boundaries if we disclose another’s AA membership without permission.

It’s wise, too, not to expect the easy familiarity of the meetings to carry over into all other activities. One member who was employed by another AA member apparently wondered why his boss was so easygoing and cordial at AA meetings and so remote and businesslike in the factory. It made perfect sense, however; their relationship in the plant was different from their AA relationship and required another set of boundaries.

We can protect ourselves and others by being careful to establish proper boundaries for all relationships. This means that what’s appropriate for one setting may not be for another.

I’ll check to be sure that I’m observing proper boundaries, for myself and others. I must not violate others’ rights any more than I want my own violated.

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Keep It Simple
December 15

As ass is beautiful to an ass, and a pig to a pig.
— English proverb.

When we see someone drunk and out of control, can we see the beautiful person inside them?

If we can’t, who will? Step Twelve reminds us that we have to help the alcoholic or other drug addict who suffers. This task has been given to us because we, most of all, should be able to look past the drunkenness and see the person. We were there. We know what it’s like to be trapped in a world without meaning. If these memories have faded, we may need to go back over Step One. We may find ourselves angry with the practicing drunk or other drug addict. This is a sign that we have gotten too far from our past. Remember, “But for the grace of God…”

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, Help me remember my past and what it’s like now. This helps me care about the person who still suffers.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll respect my illness. I’ll look for the beauty inside every drunk and other drug addict.

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 15

Happiness is a form of freedom, and of all people I should be the freest. I’ve earned this happiness and this freedom.
–Angela L. Wozniak

Life is a process, and we are progressing beautifully. We are no longer abusing our bodies and minds with drugs. We are taking special time, daily, to look for guidance. We are working the Steps of the program, better and better as the abstinent days add up. We are free from past behaviors. And we can be free from our negative attitudes too.

Making a decision to look for the good in our experiences and in our friends and acquaintances frees us from so much frustration. It ushers in happiness, no only for us but for the others we are treating agreeably. Happiness is a byproduct of living the right kind of life.

We can take a moment today, each time an action is called for, to consider our response. The one that squares with our inner selves and feels good, is the right one. Happiness will accompany it.

Happiness is always within my power. My attitude is at the helm.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 15
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.

It was hard to judge the right amount. One night I had to put myself back to sleep three times, and then I finally decided to give it up. But to do so, I had to get all the stuff out of the house and out of my possession. In the end I had to do the same with alcohol and all pills. I wasn’t able to quit chemicals as long as they were in the house. If they were around, I always found a need for them–especially the pills. I never in my life took a tranquilizer, sedative, or pep pill because I was a pill head. I always took it because I had the symptom that only that pill would relieve. Therefore, every pill was medically indicated at the time it was taken. For me, pills don’t produce the desire to swallow a pill; they produce the symptoms that require that the pill be taken for relief. As a physician and pharmacist who had grown up in a drugstore-home, I had a pill for every ill, and I was sick a lot.

p. 411

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 15

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

What a debate we had on that one! The Foundation was really hard up just then; the groups weren’t sending in enough for the support of the office; we had been tossing in all the book income and even that hadn’t been enough. The reserve was melting like snow in springtime. We needed that ten thousand dollars. “Maybe,” some said, “the groups will never fully support the office. We can’t let it shut down; it’s far too vital. Yes, let’s take the money. Let’s take all such donations in the future. We’re going to need them.”

p. 164

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Xtra Thoughts
December 15

Too often we under estimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
–Leo Buscaglia

He who speaks sows, and he who listens harvests.
–Argentinean Proverb

God is my compass, may I follow direction.
–Shelley

“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.”
–Denis Waitley

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.”
–Theodore Rubin

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 15
POVERTY

“The poor you always have with you.”
— Jesus (John 12:8)

Whoever said that life was going to be easy? A great number of people are placed in circumstances that are beyond their control and they die in helpless poverty. The poor are always with us. I cannot understand this dilemma and I have few answers for most of the world’s suffering. However, I have a faith in God’s love being realized beyond the grave for everyone.

But many of “the poor” are spiritually destitute by their own making. They choose to live lives that are consistently destructive and they refuse to change. Alcoholics and drug addicts are committing suicide by their lifestyle! I know because for years I was one. This produces a spiritual poverty that need not remain. This is a poverty that can be overcome. Recovery is finding the hidden treasure that is within.

Let me find Your treasure in the loving care I give myself.

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Bible Scriptures
December 15

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
I Corinthians 10:13

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Daily Inspiration
December 15

Add excitement to the day by meeting everything as though it is your very first time. Lord, give me the ability to change the ordinary into something special, to do more than just slide through the moments of the day and take time to notice that my life really is terrific most of the time.

We have two ends; one for sitting and one for thinking. My success depends on which one I use more. Lord, grant me the determination and the necessary energy that I need to accomplish my goals for today and for my future.

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A Day At A Time
December 15

Reflection For The Day

Some people are such worriers that they worry about the fact that they have nothing to worry about. Newcomers in The Program sometimes feel, for example, “This is much too good to last.” Most of us, however, have plenty of real things to worry about — old standbys like money, health, death and taxes, to name just a few. But The Program tells us that the proven antidote to worry and fear is confidence — confidence not in ourselves, but in our Higher Power. Will I continue to believe that God can and will avert the calamity that I spend my days and nights dreading? Will I believe that if calamity does strike, God will enable me to see it through?

Today I Pray

May I realize that the worry habit — worry that grows out of broader, often unlabeled fears — will take more than time to conquer. Like many dependent people, I have lived with worry so long that it has become my constant, floor-pacing companion. May my Higher Power teach me that making a chum out of worry is a waste of my energy and fritters away my constructive hours.

Today I Will Remember

Kick the worry habit.

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One More Day
December 15

The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.
– Thomas Carlyle

We really know that we are not perfect. We are, like everyone else, beings capable of millions of behaviors. We can develop a humble self-awareness that takes all of our pluses and minuses into account. When we examine ourselves gently, but honestly, we find ourselves in a position where we can correct our own faults and become more tolerant and accepting of the faults of others.

The unconditional love we give ourselves — and everyone we care for — isn’t blind to imperfection; instead, it openly accepts strengths and weaknesses.

Today, my love of myself and others will be shown in my tolerance of imperfections

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One Day At A Time
December 15
~ACCOMPLISHMENT~

The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.
–Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The one thing that I am absolutely certain of today is that our Creator, God, lives in my heart and works miracles in my life daily. The biggest miracle, I believe, is having an awareness of Him, and knowing that He is in control of all that happens in my life. His power is infinite. If I were not aware of God, then I don’t believe I could work this program. It is the realization that God can accomplish anything that is helping me to work daily toward achieving my goal of continued abstinence and a changed attitude regarding food.

I cannot change what’s in my heart, but God can. I cannot, of myself, break lifelong habits, but God can motivate me to change. I cannot forgive myself all the pain I’ve inflicted on myself and others, while suffering from this disease, but God can soften my heart, and help me to forgive by letting me know that He forgives me. There is nothing that I can’t accomplish when I take God’s hand and let Him lead me.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will let God guide me into an ever-deepening relationship with Him so that I may accomplish the great feat of arresting my compulsion to overeat.

Joycelyn

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 15

“People are equal partners with the plants and animals, not their masters who exploit them.”
–Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders

As human beings, we are not above anything nor are we below anything. Because of being equal, we need to discuss a little about the value of respect. Not just respect when it comes to human beings, but respect when it comes to everything. We are not masters over things; we are caretakers for the Great Spirit. We need to treat all things with respect.

Great Spirit, let me accept and see all things as equal.

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Journey To The Heart
December 15
Awaken Your Life Force

The Chinese call it chi. The Japanese,ki. It refers to energy, the life force, the Divine spirit of life that permeates all that is. That permeates you.

Awaken your life force. Do things that stimulate it, bring it alive. Walk on the ground with your bare feet and let the earth’s energy surge through you. Reach your hands toward the heavens and let Divine energy come down to you. Move around. Release the blocks.Feel. Love. Sing. Shout.

Come alive. Discover what it means to become vital and fully alive. Feel the life force surge through you, up through your legs, your spine, your head. Feel it wash down upon you through your arms, your torso, down through your toes and into the ground, rooting you to this planet like a tree. Know you have roots. Know you have branches.

Fill yourself with chi. Fill yourself until you feel vital, alive. Feel it until you become happy and joyful, grateful to be alive on this planet. Feel it until you know you are one with God, one with life, one with love. Feel it until you see how connected you are with all that lives.

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The Language of Letting Go
December 15
Feelings

It’s okay to have and feel our feelings – all of them.

Years into recovery, we may still be battling with ourselves about this issue. Of all the prohibitions we’ve lived with, this one is potentially the most damaging and the most long-lived.

Many of us needed to shut down the emotional part of ourselves to survive certain situations. We shut down the part of us that feels anger, sadness, fear, joy, and love. We may have turned off our sexual or sensual feelings too. Many of us lived in systems with people who refused to tolerate our emotions. We were shamed or reprimanded for expressing feelings, usually by people who were taught to repress their own.

But times have changed. It is okay now for us to acknowledge and accept our emotions. We don’t need to allow our emotions to control us; neither do we need to allow our emotions to control us; neither do we need to rigidly repress our feelings. Our emotional center is a valuable part of us. It’s connected to our physical well being, our thinking, and our spirituality.

Our feelings are also connected to that great gift, instinct. They enable us to give and receive love.

We are neither weak nor deficient for indulging in our feelings. It means we’re becoming healthy and whole.

Today, I will allow myself to recognize and accept whatever feelings pass through me. Without shame, I will tune in to the emotional part of myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 15
Fall in love with life

I was sitting in the chair at the beauty shop getting my hair cut one day and listening to my beautician chatter away. She showed me a picture of one of her friends, a woman who had gotten married and recently had a baby girl.

“She’s been so in love since that child was born,” she said, showing me a picture of the new mother’s smiling face.

“In love with her husband?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “Well, that,too. I mean in love with life.”

Have you ever been in love, had your heart best fast when you anticipated the call of your lover, felt the way the sun felt warmer on your face, the sky appeared bluer, the clouds more fluffy, and the sunset more grand?

What if you could fall in love with your life and feel that way each day? I’m not saying romantic relationships are bad. They’re not. They’re part of being human and getting our needs met. But what if we could take all that passion and focus it into falling in love with life?

Maybe that is what is meant by universal love. Maybe that’s the part we give back.

Fall in love with your life today.

God, help me feel passionate about my life and all the possibilities that stretch out before me.

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Today’s Gift
December 15

Great symphonies begin with just one note.
—Priscilla Young Pratt

Sometimes it’s really hard to get going. We put off things we don’t want to do, or are afraid to try. We occasionally feel overwhelmed by the size of a job to be done like cleaning out the cellar or reading a long book for a class.

But think a minute. If Beethoven had thought about how complicated it was to write his Ninth Symphony, with all those instruments and voices and notes to blend together, do we really think he would ever have started? But he didn’t get overwhelmed. He sat down and wrote just one small note, and then another, and a third. It took him months, but writing one note led to a second, and, one note at a time, he completed it.

We begin the same way with whatever tasks we have ahead of us. Each tiny bit of progress helps us go on to the next part. We begin by reading one page of that book, or taking one box of junk from the cellar. That’s all we have to do. The rest will follow almost on its own. The trick is to begin.

What needs to be done today, and how do I start?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 15

My mother was dead for five years before I knew that I loved her very much.
—Lillian Hellman

Each day it helps us to remember that we are always changing. Whatever is most clear to us today or is most prominent in our feelings – the difficulties we may be having with parents, wives or lovers, the worries we have about our children – is a part of an unfolding of events we cannot foresee. Just when we think we know exactly the direction things are going, they surprise us with change. Relationships continue to evolve and mature as we do. Even when separated from loved ones, our relationships may improve because we continue to grow.

Our task for this day is to be honest with ourselves, to be respectful to others, and to stay open to our Higher Power. Continuing to go forward, we put one foot in front of the other. We are changing internally, and circumstances around us are changing too. We remain hopeful for the future because outcomes are in the hands of God.

I cannot predict the direction of my growth. I will simply remain true to myself today and stay open for surprises.

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Daily TAO
December 15
WATER

Drops.
Water cleanses,
Gathers in the earth.
Tender. Invasive. Subtle.
Emerges a shining river.
When small, it is weak.
When great, it tumbles mountains,
Rendering great cliffs
Sand.

Classic wisdom says that there is nothing weaker than water, yet when united, it can become a titanic force. Like a tidal wave. Or a river that cuts through gorges. This is called the yielding overcoming the hard.

Let’s look at it another way. Water does not overcome because it yields. It overcomes because it is relentless. It perseveres and does not give up. It is constant. Rock can block water. Rock can even hold water in a lake for thousands of years. Why can’t the yielding overcome the hard then? Because it cannot move. It cannot work its magic of being relentless.

Just as water must be able to express its true nature in a relentless way, so too must we simultaneously and relentlessly express our true natures if we are to be successful in life. Otherwise, we will find ourselves hemmed in by the hard walls of reality, and we will never be able to break through.

But how do we acquire such perseverance? We start small. As drops.

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