In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 16

NA Just For Today
December 16
Where There’s Smoke …

“Complacency is the enemy of members with substantial clean time. If we remain complacent for long, the recovery process ceases.”
Basic Text pg. 80

Recognizing complacency in our recovery is like seeing smoke in a room. The “smoke” thickens when our meeting attendance drops, contact with newcomers decreases, or relations with our sponsor aren’t maintained. With continued complacency; we won’t be able to see through the smoke to find our way out. Only our immediate response will prevent an inferno.

We must learn to recognize the smoke of complacency. In NA, we have all the help we need to do that. We need to spend time with other recovering addicts because they may detect our complacency before we do. Newcomers will remind us of how painful active addiction can be. Our sponsor will help us remain focused, and recovery literature kept in easy reach can be used to extinguish the small flare-ups that happen from time to time. Regular participation in our recovery will surely enable us to see that wisp of smoke long before it becomes a major inferno.

Just for today: I will participate in the full range of my recovery. My commitment to NA is just as strong today as it was in the beginning of my recovery.


Daily Reflections
December 16

” … nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics … Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power, and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!”

Doing the right things for the right reasons—this is my way of controlling my selfishness and self-centeredness. I realize that my dependency on a Higher Power clears the way for peace of mind, happiness and sobriety. I pray each day that I will avoid my previous actions, so that I will be helpful to others.


Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 16
A.A. Thought For The Day

The way of A.A. is the way of faith. We don’t get the full benefit of the program until we surrender our lives to some Power greater than ourselves and trust that Power to give us the strength we need. There is no better way for us. We can get sober without it. We can stay sober for some time without it. But if we are going to truly live, we must take the way of faith in God. That is the path for us. We must follow it. Have I taken the way of faith?

Meditation For The Day

Life is not a search for happiness. Happiness is a by-product of living the right kind of a life, of doing the right thing. Do not search for happiness, search for right living and happiness will be your reward. Life is sometimes a march of duty during dull, dark days. But happiness will come again, as God’s smile of recognition of your faithfulness. True happiness is always the by-product of a life well lived.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not seek happiness but seek to do right. I pray that I may not seek pleasure so much as the things that bring true happiness.


As Bill Sees It
December 16
Two Roads for the Oldtimer, p. 138

The founders of many groups ultimately divide into two classes known in A.A. slang as “elder statesmen” and “bleeding deacons.”

The elder statesman sees the wisdom of the group’s decision to run itself and holds no resentment over his reduced status. His judgment, fortified by considerable experience, is sound; he is willing to sit quietly on the sidelines patiently awaiting developments.

The bleeding deacon is just as surely convinced that the group cannot get along without him. He constantly connives for re-election to office and continues to be consumed with self-pity. Nearly every oldtimer in our Society has gone through this process in some degree.  Happily, most of them survive and live to become elder statesmen.  They become the real and permanent leadership of A.A.

12 & 12, p. 135


Walk In Dry Places
December 16
Others must not define us.

The thoughtless practice of lumping people into categories can be destructive. Some of us still seethe with resentment over the roles we were given in our families while growing up. We realize that this way of being defined was a put-down.

As adults living sober, we must now make sure that we define ourselves in ways that contribute to our success and happiness. If others attempt to attach labels to us, we must not accept this … at least not in our own minds.

If others are attempting to define us in this way, we must always ask whether we’ve invited such labeling. Did your behavior somehow give them this impression? Did we mask our true feelings to present an image with which we don’t really want to live? Whatever the answer, we must take charge of defining who we are and what we want to be.

If I don’t like the way people have been viewing me, I’ll change the signals I’ve been sending out. Any signals I send should fit the way I really want to be known.


Keep It Simple
December 16

“Charity sees the need, not the cause.”
—German proverb

Charity is not just giving money to good causes. Charity is having a heart that’s ready to give. Charity is helping a friend at two in the morning. Charity is going early to the meeting to put on coffee without being asked.

Service is how Twelve Step programs refer to “Charity.” Service and charity are a lifestyle. We see a need, so we try to help. Our values and our heart will guide us in how we help. Service is a big part of our program. Service helps us think of others, not just of ourselves. We stop asking, “What’s in it for me?” The act of helping others is what’s in it for us. Sobriety is what’s in it for us. Serenity is what’s in it for us.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, You have given me many talents. Help me see how my talents can make the world a better place. Giving of myself is believing in You and myself.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list my talents and I’ll think of ways I can use them to help others.


Each Day a New Beginning
December 16

“To have someone who brings out the colors of life and whose very presence offers tranquility and contentment enriches my being and makes me grateful for the opportunity to share.”
—Kathleen Tierney Crilly

Loneliness and isolation are familiar states to most of us. We often protected our insecurities by hiding out, believing that we’d survive if others didn’t know who we really were. But we discovered that our insecurities multiplied. The remedy is people—talking to people, exposing our insecurities to them, risking, risking, risking.

Sharing our mutual vulnerabilities helps us see how fully alike we are. Our most hated shortcoming is not unique, and that brings relief. It’s so easy to feel utterly shamed in isolation. Hearing another woman say “I understand. I struggle with jealousy, too,” lifts the shame, the dread, the burden of silence. The program has taught us that secrets make us sick, and the longer we protect them, the greater are our struggles.

The program promises fulfillment, serenity, achievement when we willingly share our lives. Each day we can lighten our burdens and help another lighten hers, too.

I will be alert today to the needs of others. I will risk sharing. I will be a purveyor of tranquility.


Alcoholics Anonymous
December 16

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

Today, I find I can’t work my A.A. program while taking pills, nor may I even have them around for dire emergencies only. I can’t say, “Thy will be done,” and take a pill. I can’t say, “I’m powerless over alcohol, but solid alcohol is okay.” I can’t say, “God could restore me to sanity, but until He does, I’ll control myself—with pills.” Giving up alcohol alone was not enough for me; I’ve had to give up all mood- and mind-affecting chemicals in order to stay sober and comfortable.

p. 411


Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 16

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

Then came the opposition. They pointed out that the Foundation board already knew of a total of half a million dollars set aside for A.A. in the wills of people still alive. Heaven only knew how much there was we hadn’t heard about. If outside donations weren’t declined, absolutely cut off, then the Foundation would one day become rich. Moreover, at the slightest intimation to the general public from our trustees that we needed money, we could become immensely rich. Compared to this prospect, the ten thousand dollars under consideration wasn’t much, but like the alcoholic’s first drink it would, if taken, inevitably set up a disastrous chain reaction. Where would that land us? Whoever pays the piper is apt to call the tune, and if the A.A. Foundation obtained money from outside sources, its trustees might be tempted to run things without reference to the wishes of A.A. as a while. Relieved of responsibility, every alcoholic would shrug and say, “Oh, the Foundation is wealthy—why should I bother?” The pressue of that fat treasury would surely tempt the board to invent all kinds of schemes to do good with such funds, and so divert A.A. from its primary purpose. The moment that happened, our Fellowship’s confidence would be shaken. The board would be isolated, and would fall under heavy attack of criticism from both A.A. and the public. These were the possibilities, pro and con.

pp. 164-165


Xtra Thoughts
December 16

“The secret of what life’s all about, was answered by the sages: Life’s about one day at a time, No matter what your age is.”
—Robert Half

“In discussing an approach to bringing about positive changes within oneself, learning is only the first step. There are other factors as well: conviction, determination, action and effort.”
—Dalai Lama

“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.”
—Morris West

“It is a defining moment when someone in authority finally reaches the conclusion that leadership is not about using people—it’s about serving them.”
—Neil Eskelin

“Until you have learned to be tolerant with those who do not always agree with you; until you have cultivated the habit of saying some kind word of those whom you do not admire; until you have formed the habit of looking for the good instead of the bad there is in others, you will be neither successful nor happy.”
—Napoleon Hill

“Everyone Smiles in the same language.”

“Pain comes like the weather, but joy is a choice.”
—Rodney Crowell, Singer, Songwriter

“God can bring showers of blessing out of storms of adversity.”


Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 16

“Liberty is the one thing you can’t have unless you give it to others.”
—William Allen White

Spirituality is rooted in a respect for self that demands an equal respect for others. I can expect to be treated with dignity if I afford dignity to others. In the one is the key to the many.

For years I lived a compulsive life that only made me self-centered and spoiled, and it didn’t work! I was unhappy, lonely and resentful. Today I find that the more I give to others the more I receive. Less is more.

In this sense it is much easier to be good than bad because “goodness” works!

Spirit of generosity, may I always reflect the gratitude that gives.


Bible Scriptures
December 16

“I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.”
—Psalm 52:8

“The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.”
—Psalm 116:6

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content”
—1 Timothy 6:6-8

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
—1 Peter 2:9


Daily Inspiration
December 16

Do that which is right and learn to do it for the right reason. Lord, give us strength as we stand up to temptation and spiritual power as we resist the pressures and stresses that bear down on us.

You cannot ask too much if you use your blessings ceaselessly. Lord, help me to reflect on and live in Your spirit.


A Day At A Time
December 16

Reflection For The Day

Sometimes, on those bad days we all have from time to time, it almost seems that God doesn’t want us to be happy here on earth and, for those of us who believe in an afterlife, that He demands pain and suffering in this life as the price of happiness in the next. The Program teaches me that just the opposite is the case. God wants me to be happy right here on earth—right now. When I allow Him to, He will even point out the way. Do I sometimes stubbornly refuse to look where God is pointing?

Today I Pray

I pray that I am not playing the perennial sufferer, dragging around in the boots of tragedy and acting as if suffering is the only ticket to heaven. May I look around, at the goodness and greenery of earth, which is testimony enough that our life here is meant to be more than just one pitfall after another. Man no misconception of God as a master trapper, waiting in every thicket to snare us, distort my relationship with a loving, forgiving Higher Power.

Today I Will Remember

There is more to life than suffering.


One More Day
December 16

“It is well that there is no one without a fault, for he would not have a friend in the world.”
–William Hazlitt

As youngsters we may have had doubts, just as we do now, about making new friends. We imposed unwritten rules upon ourselves as we sought out new friends. Will they like me? How do I approach them? Will we have enough to talk about?

These questions are again in our minds as we approach old and new relationships. We might worry that since we aren’t always feeling happy and well, our friends is not usually true, but it may take us a little while to pull away from fear and self-doubt and to make real efforts at making and maintaining our friendships.

Today, I will let my friends know just how important they are to me.


One Day At A Time
December 16

“Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.”
—Raymond Linquist (For many years, the pastor at the Hollywood Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, California)

A sponsor once asked me what I had against feeling good. I had no answer. I now see that in my sickness and ignorance I hung onto the familiar, what I perceived to be truth. Fear kept me from trying something new until I hurt bad enough to beg God for the courage to try a different way. I am amazed at how long I put up with a miserable existence, not even recognizing my fear of change. I understand now that, although physically full-grown, I am spiritually still growing and becoming.

One Day at a Time …
Do I have the courage to change? To even look at change?



Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 16

“If you have one hundred people who live together, and if each one cares for the rest, there is One Mind.”
—Shining Arrows, CROW

One of the principles of Community is Unity. The alignment of thoughts in groups of people will cause One Mind to form. One Mind is Unity. Each individual in the community must align their thoughts with what other members are thinking. If all the people think of helping one another, then the community will be service oriented and powerful results will be enjoyed. Having our thoughts aligned within a group will cause our children to experience a positive environment. When they have children, the grandchildren will automatically experience these results also.

My Creator, help me to contribute to positive group thought.


Journey To The Heart
December 16
Be an Angel

I often imagine that we keep the angels very busy. They tell us to turn here or there, warn us of dangers, say Listen! and Look! They tell us things will be okay, and they’re sorry we hurt. Angels in our lives encourage us to hope, dream, dare, and trust. They point out beautiful sights. They shine a light on our path, so we know where to step next.

Most of us are not as sure of ourselves as we’d like others to think. We need guidance, faith, and hope. We need to know we’re on track and that someone cares. We need the angels to help us.

The angels in our lives give us a kind word, share a kind thought, offer a helping hand and a warm smile. Their words empower and comfort us. Their touch heals, their loving looks warm our hearts. They radiate love and faith.

“I’ve learned it’s easy to be loving,” one man said. “What takes work is to be kind.”

Make it easier for the angels, and easier for others. Practice being loving and kind. Be an angel,too.


The Language of Letting Go
December 16
Taking Care of Ourselves Emotionally

What does it mean to take care of myself emotionally? I recognize when I’m feeling angry, and I accept that feeling without shame or blame.

I recognize when I’m feeling hurt, and I accept those feelings without attempting to punish the source of my pain. I recognize and feel fear when that emotion presents itself.

I allow myself to feel happiness, joy, and love when those emotions are available. Taking care of myself means I’ve made a decision that it’s okay to feel.

Taking care of my emotions means I allow myself to stay with the feeling until it’s time to release it and go on to the next one.

I recognize that sometimes my feelings can help point me toward reality, but sometimes my feelings are deceptive. They are important, but I do not have to let them control me. I can feel, and think too.

I talk to people about my feelings when that’s appropriate and safe.

I reach out for help or guidance if I get stuck in a particular emotion.

I’m open to the lessons my emotions may be trying to teach me. After I feel, accept, and release the feeling, I ask myself what it is I want or need to do to take care of myself.

Taking care of myself emotionally means I value, treasure, explore, and cherish the emotional part of myself.

Today, I will take care of myself emotionally. I will be open to, and accepting of, the emotional part of myself and other people. I will strive for balance by combining emotions with reason, but I will not allow intellect to push the emotional part of myself away.


More Language Of Letting Go
December 16
Now is a powerful time

“The entire skydive is great,” a friend said to me. “But one of my favorite moments is when we open the door, and I can see the whole sky spread out in front of me.”

I remember that feeling the day I was given the choice to recover from chemical dependency or go to jail, the day I got my frist writing job, the day my daughter gave birth to her first child. It’s that split second when now freezes and stretches out into infinity. For just a moment all that has been and all that might be crown into a single arc in time and the power of the universe rushes through us.

Get a little of that feeling every day just to remind yourself of the power and potential of now.

Sure, we can envision our rosy future after the big project pays off, or when we’ve got fifteen years of sobriety, or after we reach retirement. But what about that moment when the minister pronounces you husband and wife, or the moment after you tell your parents you’re gay, or the day you walk out on someone, or the day someone walks out on you?

The power isn’t out there somewhere in the distant horizon. Feel the rush of the moment. It really is your life. You have all the power you need, right now.

God, help me tap into the rush of power available to me right here and right now.


Today’s Gift
December 16

“Because you’re not what I would have you be, I blind myself to who, in truth, you are.”
—Madeleine L’Engle

Sometimes we expect far too much of the people around us, and because no one can ever live up to those expectations, we are almost always disappointed. But wouldn’t it be better if we just let go, and let people be who they are? Then we’d be able to see them as they are—with all their beauty and goodness in which we take joy, and with all their faults, which we can also see in ourselves.

When we have put someone up on a pedestal, sculpturing them to fit our needs and desires by smoothing out the rough edges and creating new curves here and there, we cannot see the real person underneath our work. All we see is the illusion we have created. That is denying the person’s real identity and is disrespectful. It’s much better for our friends and for ourselves if we drop our expectations and illusions, and accept them all just the way they are.

What unfair expectations do I have of others?


Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 16

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart  And try to love the questions themselves.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke

Patience with ourselves may be the first step toward patience with others. In getting to know ourselves, we don’t find what we have expected. If we did, we would only be proving what we already knew. Sometimes growth comes in surprising ways. It may be in acceptance and learning to love what is unsettled or unclear within. Some of us men want to rush through our learning and push our growth too fast. Others of us want to have a strong sense of confidence in our relationships with others but always feel vulnerable. Some wonder why their fears suddenly rise without warning. Another longs to know why certain things happened to him in his youth. Our growth is not our invention. When answers come, they are gifts, and we do not control them.

In part, self-acceptance is to say, “Yes, I am a person with this question, this unsettled feeling. Being alive is to be actively engaged in knowing and loving my questions even when I find no answer.”

God, grant me the peace that comes with loving the unfinished part of me.


Daily TAO
December 16

Life is like an hourglass.
Consciousness is the sand.
Imagine an hourglass.

Its shape is like the symbol for infinity. Its form recalls the double helix of DNA. Its two sections represent polarity. The material on one side, the immaterial on the other. The male on one side, and the female on the other. Hot and cold, positive and negative, or any other duality.

The sand runs in a stream, the same stream as the course of energy that runs up your spine, the same stream that is the road of life.

The movement of that sand is what we call Tao. Our consciousness alternates between the various states represented by the hourglass. It is as difficult to grasp as a stream of sand. Therefore, it is foolish to examine things minutely. It is unwise to focus on the material. It is wisdom to understand the movement.

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