In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 19

NA Just For Today
December 19
Walking The Way We Talk

“Words mean nothing until we put them into action.”
Basic Text pg. 56

The Twelfth Step reminds us “to practice these principles in all our affairs.” In NA, we see living examples of this suggestion all around us. The more experienced members, who seem to have an aura of peace surrounding them, demonstrate the rewards of applying this bit of wisdom in their lives.

To receive the rewards of the Twelfth Step, it is vital that we practice the spiritual principles of recovery even when no one is looking. If we talk about recovery at meetings but continue to live as we did in active addiction, our fellow members may suspect that we are doing nothing more than quoting bumper stickers.

What we pass on to newer members comes more from how we live than what we say. If we advise someone to “turn it over” without having experienced the miracle of the Third Step, chances are the message will fail to reach the ears of the newcomer for whom it’s intended. On the other hand, if we “walk what we talk” and share our genuine experience in recovery, the message will surely be evident to all.

Just for today: I will practice the principles of recovery, even when I’m the only one who knows.


Daily Reflections
December 19

When dealing with an alcoholic, there may be a natural annoyance that a man could be so weak, stupid and irresponsible. Even when you understand the malady better, you may feel this feeling rising.

Having suffered from alcoholism, I should understand the illness, but sometimes I feel annoyance, even contempt, toward a person who cannot make it in A.A. When I feel that way, I am satisfying my false sense of superiority and I must remember, but for the grace of God, there go I.


Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 19
A.A. Thought For The Day

The skeptic and the agnostic say it is impossible for us to find the answer to life. Many have tried and failed. But many have put aside intellectual pride and have said to themselves: Who am I to say there is no God? Who am I to say there is no purpose in life? The atheist makes a declaration: “The world originated in a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere.” Others live for the moment and do not even think about why they are here or where they are going. They might as well be clams on the bottom of the ocean, protected by their hard shells of indifference. They do not care. Do I care where I am going?

Meditation For The Day

We may consider the material world as the clay which the artist works with, to make of it something beautiful or ugly. We need not fear material things, which are neither good nor bad in the moral sense. There seems to be no active force for evil–outside of human beings themselves. Humans alone can have either evil intentions–resentments, malevolence, hate and revenge–or good intentions–love and good will. They can make something ugly or something beautiful out of the clay of their lives.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may make something beautiful out of my life. I pray that I may be a good artisan of the materials which I have been given to use.


As Bill Sees It
December 19
Behind Our Excuses, p.267

As excuse-makers and rationalizers, we drunks are champions. It is the business of the psychiatrist to find the deeper causes for our conduct. Though uninstructed in psychiatry, we can, after a little time in A.A., see that our motives have not been what we thought they were, and that we have been motivated by forces previously unknown to us. Therefore we ought to look, with the deepest respect, interest, and profit, upon the example set us by psychiatry.


“Spiritual growth through the practice of A.A.’s Twelve Steps, plus the aid of a good sponsor, can usually reveal most of the deeper reasons for our character defects, at least to a degree that meets our practical needs. Nevertheless, we should be grateful that our friends in psychiatry have so strongly emphasized the necessity to search for false and often unconscious motivations.”

1. A.A. Comes Of Age, p.236
2. Letter, 1966


Walk In Dry Places
December 19
Facing delays

The procrastination of our drinking years caused some of us to become compulsive and fearful about meeting deadlines. We fret and stew if we’re unable to get things done when we think they should be completed.

Without being careless or irresponsible, we should remember that we’re really living in a spiritual world on a spiritual basis. There are times when a delay even turns out to be beneficial because additional information or assistance turns up later on to ensure the success of a project.

It is part of mature living to keep promises and to meet the proper deadlines. Let’s be sure, however, that we’re not simply meeting unrealistic deadlines of our own making. We don’t have to do this to atone for any failures of the past.

I’ll look over my plans today to make sure that I haven’t set any unrealistic deadlines for myself. I may be trying too much, too soon.

Keep It Simple
December 19

The truth is more important than the facts.
–Frank Lloyd Wright.

Before recovery, we relied on false facts about addiction. We said things like, “I can quit anytime I want.” “If you had my family, you’d drink too.” The truth is, we were out of control. We couldn’t manage our lives. We were sick. We were scared. When others pointed out this truth to us, we denied it. Honesty, the backbone of our program, is about truth. We even start our meetings with the truth about who we are. “Hi, my name is ___________, and I’m an alcoholic,” or “Hi, my name is _______________, and I’m a drug addict.” The truth frees us from our addiction. The truth heals us and gives us comfort. It’s like a blanket on a cold winter night.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me be an honest person. I pray for the strength to face the truth and speak it.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list 3 ways I have used facts in a dishonest way.


Each Day a New Beginning
December 19

My singing is very therapeutic. For three hours I have no troubles–I know how it’s all going to come out.
–Beverly Sills

Have we each found an activity that takes us outside of ourselves? An activity that gives us a place to focus our attention? Being self-centered and focused on ourselves accompanies the illness we’re struggling to recover from. The decision to quit preoccupying on ourselves, our own struggles with life, is not easy to maintain. But when we have an activity that excites us, on which we periodically concentrate our attention, we are strengthened. And the more we get outside of ourselves, the more aware we become that “all is well.”

It seems our struggles are intensified as women. So often we face difficult situations at work and with children, alone. The preoccupation with our problems exaggerates them. And the vicious cycle entraps us. However, we don’t have to stay trapped. We can pursue a hobby. We can take a class, join a health club. We can dare to follow whatever our desire–to try something new. We need to experience freedom from the inner turmoil in order to know that we deserve even more freedom.

Emotional health is just around the corner. I will turn my attention to the world outside myself.


Alcoholics Anonymous
December 19

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

When we got home, I got a bottle of Scotch and went to bed. The next day, Max called the neurologist and told him about the Mayo psychiatrist’s opinion. He arranged for me to see a local psychiatrist, who quickly decided I should be in the mental-health unit of our local hospital. The people there insisted on putting me in a ward, when Max and I both knew I ought to have a private room. Finally, she asked, “Do you realize he’s on the staff of this hospital?” And I got my private room.

p. 413


Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 19

Tradition Eight – “Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.”

Alcoholics simply will not listen to a paid twelfth-stepper. Almost from the beginning, we have been positive that face-to-face work with the alcoholic who suffers could be based only on the desire to help and be helped. When an A.A. talks for money, whether at a meeting or to a single newcomer, it can have a very bad effect on him, too. The money motive compromises him and everything he says and does for his prospect. This has always been so obvious that only a very few A.A.’s have ever worked the Twelfth Step for a fee.

p. 166


Xtra Thoughts
December 19

“Keep your head and your heart going in the right direction and you will not have to worry about your feet.”

Reputation is what you are in the light; character is what you are in the dark.
–American Proverb

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.
–Charles Dickens

The mere sense of living is joy enough.
–Emily Dickinson

Learn to get in touch with silence within yourself, And know that everything in this life has purpose. There are no mistakes, No coincidences, All events are blessings given to us to learn from.
–Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 19

“The People, though we think a great entity when we use the word, means nothing more than so many — millions of individual men (and women).”
–James Bryce

I am an individual. I am unique. I am special. Today I am able to enjoy my difference. I do not need to hide in alcohol, food or drugs. I do not have to put energy into being the same as friends or neighbors. I do not need to please people in order to feel good about myself. Today I am my own person.

God made us varied and different in so many ways, and yet so many of us spend our time trying to be the same. The effort exerted to achieve the lowest common denominator is exactly that: the lowest. My spiritual program demands that I be honest with who I am and what I feel. My self-worth is rooted in my individuality. In my difference is my soul.

May I always remain true to my individuality.


Bible Scriptures
December 19

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.
Hebrews 4:10

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6


Daily Inspiration
December 19

Through the power of God within me, I am stronger than any of my circumstances. Lord, I seek, I knock and I ask and You are always there and ready to give me the miracles that I need.

The first and most powerful commandment is love. Through love we unite ourselves together with God and with each other and bring ourselves closer to our desired goal. Lord, I love You with all my heart and soul and mind.


A Day At A Time
December 19

Reflection For The Day

The Program teaches me to work for progress, not perfection. That simple admonition gives me great comfort, for it represents a primary way in which my life today is so different than it used to be. In my former life, perfection — for all its impossibility — was so often my number one goal. Today I can believe that if I sometimes fail, I’m not a failure — and if I sometimes make a mistake, I’m not a mistake. And I can apply those same beliefs to The Program’s Twelve Steps as well as to my entire life. Do I believe that only Step One can be practiced with perfection, and that the remaining Steps represent perfect ideals?

Today I Pray

God, teach me to abandon my erstwhile goal of superhuman perfection in everything I did or said. I know that I was actually bent on failure, because I could never attain those impossible heights I had established for myself. Now that I understand this pattern, may I no longer program my own failures.

Today I Will Remember

I may strive to be a super person, but not a super person.


One More Day
December 19

Life is not merely living but living in health.
– Martial

Living in health may seem impossible for the chronically ill. After all, we reason, it’s difficult to live in health if we are sick.

In fact, living in health is an old fashioned tier, almost like a benediction. These days we want to experience the wellness that goes beyond physical health by emphasizing emotional and spiritual health. For the first time we can allow ourselves the right to wellness despite physical illness.

Even with an on-going illness, most of us don’t have constant pain or discomfort. there are many times we enjoy ourselves. Playing cards, gardening, going for a walk, praying, meditation — these activities exercise all of our being — physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I will consider my wellness, not illness, my life goal.


One Day At A Time
December 19

“The way to do is to be.”
–Lao Tzu
(or ‘Old Sage’ — born Li Erh)
Sixth century B.C. philosopher who began the philosophy of Taoism

It is not until we can let ourselves be who we really are that we can recognize who we REALLY are!

In recovery I have learned it is by embracing myself as I am today that I will become increasingly aware of my true identity. It is not by denial or pretended “goodness” that the Truth is revealed, but by acceptance and humility. This is one of the many gifts of recovery … we no longer have to “wait until.”

This program tells us we can be happy and free now. HERE AND NOW! But, my ego-mind gives me a different message. It says, “You can be happy, joyous and free when you lose the weight, get your health back, get that job, marry that prince, receive the next degree, and on and on. In other words, “You must wait and wait and wait, and maybe someday you’ll be good enough. Then you can be happy.” Our ego keeps us in pursuit of the elusive happiness it promises.

One Day at a Time . . .
I choose to be happy; I choose joy.



Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 19

“Flexible strength is better than inflexible. Let the storm flow over you, and then pop back up.”
–Michael Kabotie, HOPI

Flexibility is taught by nature. You will see the trees bend in the wind. You will see that tree branches are flexible. To be rigid is to break. When we have life problems it is good for us to be flexible. Sometimes we need to flow with what is going on. If we resist, it becomes more painful. We need to be on the path of least resistance. Water flows down the mountain through the path of least resistance. Electricity flows through the path of least resistance. Power flows through the path of least resistance. As Indian people our strength has always been our flexibility.

Creator, I will be flexible today because I know You are with me.


Journey To The Heart
December 19
Look for the Deeper Picture

The two men were sitting in a restaurant booth, staring intently at the Magic Eye pictures on the wall. “I’ve tried for years to see the picture hidden inside, but I can’t,” said one. “Everyone says it’s there though, so I’ll just have to trust that it is.”

Magic Eye pictures have been popular for some time. At first, the picture looks like a print; it’s often a repetitive pattern of the sort you see on wallpaper or a tablecloth. It’s pretty to look at, but it’s not really a picture. But another picture, a 3-D picture is hidden within the print or pattern– one you can see only if you relax your vision and look in a special way. Then the real picture, the deeper picture, appears.

I have always thought these pictures contain a lesson. They remind us to look past the daily superficial events of our lives and trust that there is meaning, that there is a deeper picture, one that can be seen only with the eyes of your soul.

As we go through our days, weeks, and months, what we’re experiencing doesn’t always make a lot of sense. Sometimes it causes downright distress. We’re uncomfortable. We feel out of place. We wonder if what we see is all there. Those are the times to stop staring so hard, relax our vision, and let the deeper picture, the real picture, come to us.

Life goes on, with all its troubles, stresses, changes, and disappointments. But it isn’t a disconnected series of random events. It’s our punishment. And it’s not without meaning. Something important is being worked out in your life and in your soul.

Learn to relax. Look for the reflection of something else in the picture of your life. Learn to look more deeply. Learn to look and see with the eyes of the soul.

And sometimes, like the man in the restaurant, if we can’t see the picture or the real meaning , we just have to relax and trust that it’s here.


The Language of Letting Go
December 19
Work Roles

How easy it is to dive into roles at work. How easy it is to place other people in roles. Sometimes, this is necessary, appropriate, and expedient.

But we can also let our self-shine through our role.

There is joy in giving our gift of skill at work, at giving ourselves to the task at hand so thoroughly that we experience an intimate relationship with our work. There is joy when we create or accomplish a task and can say, “Well done!”

There is also joy when we are our self at work, and when we discover and appreciate those around us.

The most unpleasant, mundane task can be breezed through when we stop thinking of ourselves as a robot and allow ourselves to be a person.

Those around us will respond warmly when we treat them as individuals and not job defined roles.

This does not mean we need to become inappropriately entangled with others. It means that, whether we are an employer or an employee, when people are allowed to be people who perform tasks instead of task performers, we are happier and more content people.

Today, I will let myself shine through my task at work. I will try to see others and let them shine through too – instead of looking only at their tasks. God, help me be open to the beauty of others and myself at work. Help me maintain healthy relationships with people at work.


More Language Of Letting Go
December 19
Have the time of your life

Make every moment count.

The first time I heard the words, I was sitting in the movie theater with Shane. He was eleven at the time. There were only a few other people in the theater, we had snuck out to see a show together. It was one of our favorite mother-son things to do, especially on Sunday nights.

Until about a year before, I had been very goal oriented. I was always looking toward the future, moving toward the next level in my life. First there was getting through the poverty, then struggling to get beyond being an impoverished single parent. Then I began working toward the next level of success in my career. I was always trying to make my world and my children’s lives better.

As I sat in the theater staring at the screen, I had a flash of my own mortality– at least I thought it was mine. I won’t be here forever, I thought. Someday, this time in my life will have passed. It’ll just be a memory.

Shane put his feet up on the back of the seat in front of us. I started to nag him him about this, then I changed my mind. There was nobody sitting there. It wasn’t that big of a deal. I didn’t need to fuss about something that unimportant.

Make every moment count, were the words I heard in my heart.

It’s so easy to get hooked into the busyness of life. It’s easy to focus on the destination and tell ourselves we’ll be happy when we get there and forget to be happy and cherish the beauty of each moment of the trip. So often, we don’t even know that we’re living the best, most beautiful part of our lives right now.

I worried a lot as a struggling single parent, trying to write articles for the Gazette for $25 an article. How will I make ends meet? Am I writing well enough? Geez, I don’t have time to date. Am I being a good enough mother? God, there’s a lot to do raising these kids. In retrospect, it was one of the best times in my life.

No matter what emotions you’re feeling, no matter the nature of your problems, this moment is the best time in your life.

Stop waiting to win the lottery. Or maybe, don’t stop waiting. Buy your ticket. Then put it away and forget about it. Be happy now. Don’t wait until later when you look back at this time in your life.

Say how sweet it is right now. Make every moment count.

God, teach me to be happy now.


Today’s Gift
December 19

Open your mind and your heart to be still.
—Shawn Phillips

In this time of international conflict and mistrust it is easy to despair. At times we may even feel hopeless as we hear about wars and weapons. But there is hope! Change can grow from within each of us.

The world is like a tree – if the tree is diseased and the leaves brown and brittle; the gardener does not treat the branches, but tends to the roots. Our world is made up of nations, in which there are states containing communities of neighborhoods where individual people live. We are the roots of our world tree. As attitudes change; as we accept and love ourselves honestly and learn, in turn, to accept and love others regardless of our differences, slowly, the branches that extend from us and cover the world will grow strong. The peace we can make within ourselves can be reflected everywhere.

Will I find the peace within myself today?


Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 19

If I were given a change of life, I’d like to see how it would be to live as a mere six-footer.
—Wilt Chamberlain

It’s human nature for us to wonder what life would be like in another man’s shoes. No matter how good or bad we’ve had it; we like to consider those possibilities sometimes. While we were still in the trap of living with an addict or being one, some of us used a fantasy world as an escape from our circumstances. Perhaps it was the only option we knew.

Now we are in a program, which liberates us and gives us hope. It’s not an easy program, but it is simple. We’re learning that when we have a relationship with our Higher Power and become accountable, we gain more options and can have hope. We can do interesting and rewarding things in our lives now that were closed to us before. Sobriety makes it possible for us to go forward into reality and leave fantasy for play.

Today, I am grateful for life in the real world that recovery has given me.


Daily TAO
December 19

Visions better than drugs haven’t come.
Intelligence exceeding genius hasn’t come.
Titanic strength hasn’t come.
Beauty to attract lovers hasn’t come.
Visitations from gods haven’t come.
Freedom from weariness hasn’t come.
An end to vexing annoyances hasn’t come.
Great wealth hasn’t come.
Fame hasn’t come.
Unlimited understanding of others hasn’t come.
Supernatural powers haven’t come.
The skill to spontaneously heal hasn’t come.
The gift of prophecy hasn’t come.
None of these things have come,
Yet I would not forsake this spiritual path.

All sorts of things are promised to you as a seeker of spirituality. Yet when these things don’t come, does that mean that you should forsake your path? Spirituality is not a transaction with the universe. It is an endeavor that we take up because it is our ultimate mode of being. If we get nothing for it, we should not be bothered. Who cares about powers? They only lead to temptation. Those who follow Tao should care only for inner understanding.

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