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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 25

NA Just For Today
December 25
Anonymity And Self-Will

“The drive for personal gain… which brought so much pain in the past falls by the wayside if we adhere to the principle of anonymity.”
Basic Text pg. 73

The word anonymity itself means namelessness, but there’s a larger principle at work in the anonymity of the NA program: the principle of selflessness. When we admit our powerlessness to manage our own lives, we take our first step away from self-will and our first step toward selflessness. The less we try to run our lives on self-will, the more we find the power and direction once so sorely lacking in our lives.

But the principle of selflessness does a lot more than just make us feel better-it helps us live better. Our ideas of how the world should be run begin to lose their importance, and we stop trying to impose our will on everyone and everything around us. And when we abandon our “know-it-all” pretensions and start recognizing the value of other peoples’ experience, we start treating them with respect. The interests of others become as important to us as our own; we start to think about what’s best for the group, rather than just what’s best for us. We start living a life that’s bigger than we are, that’s more than just us, our name, ourselves – we start living the principle of anonymity.

Just for today: God, please free me from self-will. Help me understand the principle of anonymity; help me to live selflessly.

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Daily Reflections
December 25
AT PEACE WITH LIFE

Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee – Thy will (not mine) be done.”
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 85

I read this passage each morning, to start off my day, because it is a continual reminder to “practice these principles in all my affairs.” When I keep God’s will at the forefront of my mind, I am able to do what I should be doing, and that puts me at peace with life, with myself and with God.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 25
A.A. Thought For The Day

Many alcoholics will be saying today: “This is a good Christmas for me.” They will be looking back over the past Christmases which were not like this one. They will be thanking God for their sobriety and their new found life. They will be thinking about how their lives have changed when they came into A.A. They will be thinking that perhaps God let them live through all the hazards of their drinking careers, when they were perhaps often close to death, in order that they may be used by Him in the great work of A.A. Is this a happy Christmas for me?

Meditation For The Day

The kingdom of heaven is also for the lowly, the sinners, the repentant. “And they presented unto him gifts–gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Bring your gifts of gold–your money and material possessions. Bring your frankincense–the consecration of your life to a worthy cause. Bring your myrrh–your sympathy and understanding and help. Lay them all at the feet of God and let Him have full use of them.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be truly thankful on this Christmas day.  I pray that I may bring my gifts and lay them on the altar.

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As Bill Sees It
December 25
“Fearless and Searching”, p.261

My self-analysis has frequently been faulty. Sometimes I’ve failed to share my defects with the right people; at other times, I’ve confessed their defects, rather than my own; and still other times, my confession of defects has been more in the nature of loud complaints about my circumstances and my problems.

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When A.A. suggests a fearless moral inventory, it must seem to every newcomer that more is being asked of him than he can do.  Every time he tries to look within himself, Pride says, “You need not pass this way,” and Fear says, “You dare not look!”

But pride and fear of this sort turn out to be bogymen, nothing else. Once we have a complete willingness to take inventory, and exert ourselves to do the job thoroughly, a wonderful light falls upon this foggy scene. As we persist, a brand-new kind of confidence is born, and the sense of relief at finally facing ourselves is indescribable.

1. Grapevine, June 1958
2. 12 & 12, pp.49-50

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Walk In Dry Places
December 25
Liking Ourselves
Self-esteem.

It’s maybe unsettling to learn that we need to like ourselves more, especially when we’ve often been accused of being conceited.

Being conceited does not mean liking oneself; it’s really a matter of being smug and contemptuous in our dealing with others. This attitude is easily recognized by others, and it causes them to dislike us.

However, if we like ourselves in the right way, others sense this too, and they will be drawn to us. We will truly like ourselves more as we learn to practice the principles of AA. We will like the kind of life we are trying to live. We will like ourselves for practicing fairness and honesty. We will also like ourselves for letting people see us as we are and feel comfortable doing so. In liking ourselves, we feel no need to impress or dazzle others.

I’ll remember today that I have a right to be in the world. I will do my best to be fair toward others, but I will like myself regardless of their reactions.

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Keep It Simple
December 25

To love is to place our happiness in the happiness of another.
–Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz.

Not that we’re getting well. We feel the need for love more than ever. We tried to avoid love by using chemicals to feel good. But it didn’t work. Addiction cut us off even more from people. How do we fill our needs for love? We can think about this fact: People give us love all the time. Only we just haven’t seen it. Every time someone comes to a meeting to get well with us, that is love. Love isn’t all-or-nothing.

Little gems of love are all over. Watch them. Enjoy them. Give them to others.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, love comes from You. Help me see it, and give it.

Action for the Day: I’ll look three persons in the eye today and send them love in my smile.

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 25

What we suffer, what we endure . . is done by us, as individuals, in private.
–Louise Bogan

Empathy we can give. Empathy we can find, and it comforts. But our pain, the depth of it, can never be wholly shared, fully understood, actually realized by anyone other than ourselves. Alone, each of us comes to terms with our grief, our despair, even our guilt.

Knowing that we are not alone in what we suffer, makes the difficulties each of us must face easier. We haven’t been singled out, of that we’re certain. Remembering that our challenges offer us the lessons we need in the school of life makes them more acceptable. In time, as our recovery progresses, we’ll even look eagerly to our challenges as the real exciting opportunities for which we’ve been created.

Suffering prompts the changes necessary for spiritual growth. It pushes us like no other experience to God–for understanding, for relief, for unwavering security. It’s not easy to look upon suffering as a gift. And we need not fully understand it; however, in time, its value in our lives will become clear.

I will not be wary of the challenges today. I will celebrate their part of my growth.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 25
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 seemed that all they talked about at meetings was drinking, drinking, drinking. It made me thirsty. I wanted to talk about my many big problems; drinking seemed a small one. And I knew that giving up “one drink for one day” wouldn’t really do any good. Finally, after seven months, I decided to try it. To this day, I am amazed at how many of my problems–most of which had nothing to do with drinking, I believed–have become manageable or have simply disappeared since I quit drinking.

pp. 415-416

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 25

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

Perhaps the fear will always lurk in every A.A. heart that one day our name will be exploited by somebody for real cash. Even the suggestion of such a thing never fails to whip up a hurricane, and we have discovered that hurricanes have a way of mauling with equal severity both the just and the unjust. They are always unreasonable.

p. 169

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Xtra Thoughts
December 25

Every day is a gift.  That is why we call it the present.
–unknown

“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.”
–Brian Tracy

“The duty of helping one’s self in the highest sense involves the helping of one’s neighbors.”
–Samuel Smiles

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.'”
–unknown

Life’s lessons are not taught in classrooms.
–unknown

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost, that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.”
–Henry David Thoreau

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 25
GENEROSITY

“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.”
— John (1:14)

There is a beautiful fairy tale about a land where everybody had an abundance of “warm fuzzies” that they exchanged with each other and shared with each other. Everything in this land was wonderful because all the people were generously giving and receiving “warm fuzzies”.

Then a rumor began that there was to be a shortage of “warm fuzzies,” and people began to hoard and selfishly protect their supply of “warm fuzzies.” At this point, “cold pricklies” were introduced into the land. Sadness, pain, tension and persecution developed in the land, and the growth of the “cold pricklies” kept people separated, fearful and alone.

The tragedy of this tale is that the rumor was not true! As long as people generously share their “warm fuzzies”, they will never disappear. The “warm fuzzies” only disappear when they are not shared. The more we give, the more we receive. Abundance rests in giving, never hoarding!

Master, may I always be generous with all that You have given me.

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Bible Scriptures
December 25

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Luke 2:11

“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have
believed.'” John 20:29

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Daily Inspiration
December 25

Enthusiasm keeps the mind young and the spirit growing. Lord, may I always see wonder in the ordinary happenings of my day.

No detail is too insignificant for God’s attention. Lord, You encourage me daily as You guide my humblest moments.

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A Day At A Time
December 25

Reflection For The Day

Today is a special day in more ways than one. It’s a day that God has made, and I’m alive in God’s world. I know that all things in my life this day are an expression of God’s love — the fact that I’m alive, that I’m recovering, and that I’m able to feel the way I feel at this very instant. For me, this will be a day of gratitude. Am I deeply thankful for being a part of this special day, and for all my blessings?

Today I Pray

On this day of remembering God’s gift, may I understand that giving and receiving are the same. Each is part of each. If I give, I receive the happiness of giving. If I receive, I give someone else that same happiness of giving. I pray that I may give my self — my love and my strengths — generously. May I also receive graciously the love and strength of others’ selves. May God be our example.

Today I Will Remember

The magnitude of God’s giving.

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One More Day
December 25

All living souls welcome whatsoever they are ready to cope with…..
– George Santayana

So often, a problem would be overwhelming if we had to solve it all at once. We can allow ourselves to dwell only on small pieces of the problem at one time. Then, when we’ve come to terms with one part, another portion can be dealt with. Whether we are facing the death of a loved one or having to cope with other personal problems, our minds help us sort out the order in which we can best handle our pain.

Sometimes, we insist on tackling all of the problem, and we think ourselves into a kind of numbness. We’re unable to act. At those times, perhaps we can remind ourselves of how our minds work best. If we do, we can let go of the whole situation and, instead, take on only the small part we’re strong enough to handle.

Today, I will let go of all I’m trying to cope with. I will pick one or two small, positive things I can do. Then, I will do them.

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One Day At A Time
December 25
HOLIDAYS

May peace be more than a holiday; May love be more than a season; May the feelings deep inside transcend the calendar; And, instead, become a way of life.
–Anonymous

It is the time of Hanukkah … of Christmas … of Kwanzaa … and other holidays. It is the time when the world is at its best and the hearts of all seem to be brimming with love.

It is also the time of year that my very soul finds the most difficult. My physical and emotional recovery is compromised, and memories occupy every cell in my body, causing this vulnerable addict tremendous turmoil.

These holy days test the gifts of that enigma which is my Higher Power … the God Of My Understanding … and when these days are over and normality returns, I smile at having once again made it through the holidays intact.

One Day at a Time . . .
I acknowledge that in my Higher Power
I have a love that can never be fathomed,
A spiritual resource that can never be exhausted,
A peace that can never be understood,
A rest that can never be disturbed,
A joy that can never be diminished,
A hope that can never be disappointed,
A glory that can never be clouded,
A light that can never be darkened,
And a life that can never die …
Even on holidays.

~ Mari ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 25

“When you see a new trail, or a footprint that you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing.”
–Grandmother of Charles Eastman, SANTEE SIOUX

We never gain new knowledge or new experience unless we are willing to take risks. It’s good to be curious. Also, it pays to be cautious. Walk in balance. The path of the Warrior is filled with opportunities to seek new knowledge. As we travel down the Red Road, we will run into trails of opportunity. Down each of these trails are experiences from which we will learn. Experience plus action is the beginning of knowledge.”

Great Spirit, help me to make good choices in choosing only the trails You would have me take.

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Journey To The Heart
December 25
Experience the Thrill of the Climb

Don’t stop now. You’re almost there.

You’ve worked so hard to climb this mountain. In the beginning, you were excited. Exhilarated at the prospect of the mountain you were about to climb. Now, you are almost to the top. You’ve struggled, gotten weary, and kept going. Now, your goal is in sight.

Keep going. Guidance is still there to help you. The life force, the one that keeps you going, keeps you moving forward, is still there too, burning brightly within you, charging all that you do with its energy. It is more difficult for you to feel it, but that is only because you’re tired.

See the mountain climber as he climbs the mountain. There are dangers and precipices and challenges along the way. But the higher he climbs, the steeper it gets. The more tired he is, the more energy he has to put into the climb. Don’t tell yourself that the way you feel is an indication you should stop. The way you feel now is the way anyone would feel who was so deeply committed to life. It’s the way anyone would feel who had committed to climbing that mountain.

Don’t stop now. Relax as much as you can. Know that the rhythm of life is still there, moving you forward. Don’t look back. Focus intently on each step. Soon you will reach the top. Soon you will reach your goal. Soon you will experience the victory. Keep your eyes focused on the path, look straight ahead. Embrace the thrill of the climb.

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The Language Of Letting Go
December 25
Moving on and changing old habits

It is important to reflect on our habits and how we need to change some in order to break out of the patterns that have brought us unhappiness. I now realise that as hard as it is to know other people, that it is hardest of all to truly know ourselves. It is something which requires constant reflection.

Where we are in life has much less to do with other people and their actions towards us than it has to do with our own habits and choices. If we are making poor choices we need to improve our thought processes. We do not have to repeat mistakes we simply have to learn from them. We owe it to ourselves to learn from our mistakes and use the lessons to improve our lives. Spend time reflecting on what has gone wrong and what you could have done differently and take the lesson forward with you. What’s done is done, however with a lesson learned it doesn’t have to be repeated.

The people that we have in our life, other than our immediate family are there because we have attracted them to us. If there are toxic people in our lives we have to examine why they are there, why do we keep them in our lives? We don’t have to.

We are often strangers to ourselves, getting to know ourselves can be difficult and at times painful. Being truly honest to ourself about ourself can be grueling. Not laying blame on others, taking full responsibility for our lives. This doesnt mean that nobody has ever wronged us, everyone of us will be wronged in some way or ways in our lives, it means understanding our part in it, how did we let it occur, where we not living conciously, where we in denial, where we complacent, where we needy, where we lazy and handing the reins of our lives to others? did we put the responsibility for our happiness on to someone else?

Our happiness can only ever be our own responsibility. Ouf financial security is our own responsibility. We can handle these tasks, we just have to believe in ourselves. Other people can add to our happiness and even our wealth, but ultimately it is up to us to be happy and secure, and with belief and effort of course, we can do it.

It’s never beneficial to beat ourselves up and criticise ourselves, we simply need to observe and learn and move on. Negativity is not productive. If our thoughts begin to spiral downwards we need to reach down and pick them up again, redirect them. Learn the habit of positive thinking. Our thoughts are our lives. Keep them positive and that is what our lives shall be.

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 25
Point to the good

Identify three things you like.

I was talking to my daughter on the phone one day after I had visited her at her house. I took a moment during the conversation, and I listed the three things I most enjoyed and liked best about our visit that day.

She caught her breath. She knew I was being honest. “Really?” she asked.

“I mean it,” I said. “I meant every word I just said.

Do you want to spark that relationship with your friend, your child, your lover, employee, co-worker, or boss? Instead of criticizing everything you don’t like, say what you like best. Most people have their share of insecurities about themselves, their relationships, and how they do at performing a task. Instead of thinking you’re the only one who feels insecure, tell people something that will help them feel good about themselves and their relationship with you.

Three is a good number, don’t you think.

Look in your heart and find three things you genuinely like about someone. Then tell them clearly what those things are.

God, help me start looking at the good in the people I love.

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Today’s Gift
December 25

What is Christmas?  It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.
–Agnes M. Pahro

“A fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings.”  I couldn’t think of a better way to express what I see as the spirit behind Christmas.  To me, it always has been and always shall be about wishing good for others, about doing what we can to make their lives a bit more joyful, if only for a day or two or three.  And while we do tend to focus on the material aspects of giving, even the material gifts come with the message:  “I’ve thought of you, and I wanted to do something for you.”

It’s easy to get turned off by our commercial focus.  It’s easy for us to get caught up in the religious aspects of the holiday and neglect those who don’t share the belief that Jesus was more than just a man.  It’s easy to get so focused on what we want as gifts that we neglect to give much thought to what we give.  But as we spend this day here on this planet today, it’s a good time to concentrate on the wishes of prosperity and happiness and peace that we have for others.

I do wish you peace.  And I wish you a rich, full life with many, many blessings.  And I wish you the ability and the willingness to see those blessings, recognize them, and appreciate them, for only when we’re aware of them are blessings truly blessings.

This Christmas, let us be aware of the thoughts and hopes that we have for others of wonderful, plentiful blessings.  And while we can’t provide all those blessings ourselves–no matter how much we may want to–the positive thoughts that we have for others are blessings in themselves.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 25

In the sphere of material things, giving means being rich. Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.
—Erich Fromm

Material possessions have great significance in our world. Not only do we strive to own a special car, electronic gear, and far more clothes than we need, but we also think in terms of possessing a girlfriend, or our health, or happiness, or things that cannot be owned. Some of us have become addicted to buying and owning things. This gimme-gimme mentality affects us all and, rather than enriching us, it impoverishes us. Tangible things enrich us only when we use them and share them to improve our lives and the lives of others. We don’t need to be wealthy to share what we have with others. It is the sharing that nourishes us and builds bridges between us.

Wise people have known for thousands of years that a man’s spirituality is deeply affected by his relationship to his possessions. When we respect what we own as a gift from God and share it with others, we grow richer spiritually.

I will hold my possessions loosely and with respect so they can be used well and shared.

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Daily TAO
December 25
SANITY

You are demons.
You are darkness.
Your soul is at stake. Your soul is light.
Dissipation is the threat.
Don’t surrender the key. Just dissolve.

The problems of humanity are not metaphysical. They are personal.  Damnation is in you. So too is salvation. You are the prince of darkness. You are also the prince of light. Neither can be cast out of yourself. The valiant coping with that dichotomy is the poignancy of this existence.

The momentum is in favor of darkness. Glory is in favor of light. If you do nothing, you slip toward darkness. If you give the least bit of effort toward the light, you will be helped. Struggle for the light. For the price is dissipation — of the soul, of the mind, of the body, of  your very humanity.

The key to all of this is your sanity. You have to struggle to maintain it. It mediates between the light and the dark.

If you want an end to the duality, you must dissolve your sanity into the universal whole. Don’t do this until you are ready, for you cannot come back. There is a tremendous difference between the dissipation of making no effort, and the dissolution that one can accomplish as one’s crowning spiritual act.

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