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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 26

NA Just For Today
December 26
Never-Failing Power

“As we learn to trust this Power, we begin to overcome our fear of life.”
Basic Text pg. 24

We are people accustomed to placing all our eggs in one basket. Many of us had one particular drug of choice that was our favorite. We relied on it to get us through each day and make life bearable. We were faithful to that drug; in fact, we committed ourselves to it without reservation. And then it turned on us. We had been betrayed by the only thing we had ever depended on, and the betrayal left us floundering.

Now that we’ve stumbled into the rooms of recovery, we may be tempted to rely on another human being to meet our needs. We may expect this from our sponsor, our lover, or our best friend. But dependence on human beings is risky. They fall short of perfection. They may be on vacation, sleeping, or in a bad mood when we need them.

Our dependence must rest on a Power greater than ourselves. No human force can restore our sanity, care for our will and our lives, or be unconditionally available and loving whenever we are in need. We place our trust in the God of our understanding, for only that Power will never fail us.

Just for today: I will place my trust in a Power greater than myself, for only that Power will never let me down.

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Daily Reflections
December 26
ACCEPTING SUCCESS OR FAILURE

Furthermore, how shall we come to terms with seeming failure or success? Can we now accept and adjust to either without despair or pride? Can we accept poverty, sickness, loneliness, and bereavement with courage and serenity? Can we steadfastly content ourselves with the humbler, yet sometimes more durable, satisfactions when the brighter, more glittering achievements are denied us?
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 112

After I found A.A. and stopped drinking, it took a while before I understood why the First Step contained two parts: my powerlessness over alcohol and my life’s unmanageability. In the same way, I believed for a long time that, in order to be in tune with the Twelve Steps, it was enough for me “to carry this message to alcoholics.” That was rushing things. I was forgetting that there were a total of Twelve Steps and that the Twelfth Step also had more than one part. Eventually I learned that it was necessary for me to “practice these principles” in all areas of my life. In working all the Steps thoroughly, I not only stay sober and help someone else to achieve sobriety, but also I transform my difficulty with living into a joy of living.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 26
A.A. Thought For The Day

I am glad to be a part of A.A., of that great fellowship that is spreading over the United States and all over the world. I am only one of the many A.A.’s, but I am one. I am grateful to be living at this time, when I can help A.A. to grow, when it needs me to put my shoulder to the wheel and help keep the movement going. I am glad to be able to be useful, to have a reason for living, a purpose in life. I want to lose my life in this great cause and so find it again. Am I grateful to be an A.A.?

Meditation For The Day

These meditations can teach us how to relax. We can be of service to other people in a small way at least. And we can be happy while doing it. We should not worry too much about people we cannot help. We can make it a habit to leave the outcome of the things we do to the Higher Power.  We can go along through life doing the best we can, but without a feeling of urgency or strain. We can enjoy all the good things and the beauty of life, but at the same time depend deeply on God.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may give my life to this worthwhile cause. I pray that I may enjoy the satisfaction that comes from good work well done.

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As Bill Sees It
December 26
Accepting God’s Gifts, p. 168

“Though many theologians hold that sudden spiritual experiences amount to a special distinction, if not a divine appointment of some sort, I question this view. Every human being, no matter what his attributes for good or evil, is a part of the divine spiritual economy. Therefore, each of us has his place, and I cannot see that God intends to exalt one another.

“So it is necessary for all of us to accept whatever positive gifts we receive with a deep humility, always bearing in mind that our negative attitudes were first necessary as a means of reducing us to such a state of that we would be ready for a gift of the positive ones via the conversion experience. Your own alcoholism and the immense deflation that finally resulted are indeed the foundation upon which your spiritual experience rests.”

Letter, 1964

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Walk In Dry Places
December 26
Humility: Teachable and Honest
Open to growth.

Humility& is often used in the context of being honest enough to admit one’s faults, but it also means being teachable. The truly humble person realizes there’s always more to learn and is open to such learning.

If we think we have humility, we usually don’t. However, we can look back and recognize times when we made wonderful progress while being deeply humble. This was particularly true when we recognized our alcoholism and achieved sobriety. In this one action, we changed our lives.

If we continue to practice the honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness that helped get us sober, these traits will be apparent in other areas of our lives. Though humility isn’t generally sought as a way of life, it’s the right way for recovering people.

I’ll be open today to ideas from any direction. I can learn something from every person.

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Keep It Simple
December 26

To be emotionally committed to somebody is very difficult, but to be alone is impossible.
–Stephen Sondheim.

Let’s face it, relationships are hard to work! But we are lucky! Recovery is about relationships. We learn how to set limits. We learn how to listen to and talk to others. In Step One, we begin a new relationship with ourselves. In Step Two and Three, we begin a relationship with our Higher Power. In later Steps, we mend our relationships with family and friends. In our relationship with our sponsor, we learn about being friends. And our past relationships with alcohol and other drugs is being replaced by people and our Higher Power.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, thank-you for all the new relationships. Thank-you for teaching me how to feel human again.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll make a list of all the new relationships I have now, due to my sobriety.

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 26

It is only framed in space that beauty blooms; only in space are events, and objects and people unique and significant and therefore beautiful.
–Anne Morrow Lindbergh

We must look closely; focus intently on the subjects of our attention. Within these subjects is the explanation of life’s mysteries. To observe anything closely means we must pull it aside with our minds and fondle it, perhaps. We must let the richness of the object, the person, the event, wash over us and savor its memory.

Many of us only now are able to look around ourselves slowly, with care, noting the detail, the brilliant color of life. Each day is an opportunity to observe and absorb the beauty while it blooms.

I will look for beauty today, in myself, and in a friend, and I will find it.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 26
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.

I had already given up all the narcotics, most of the pills, and some of the alcohol when I first came to A.A. By early July I had tapered off alcohol completely, and I got off all pills in the ensuing few months. When the compulsion to drink left, it was relatively easy to stay off alcohol. But for some time, it was difficult to keep from taking a pill when I had an appropriate symptom, such as a cough, pain, anxiety, insomnia, a muscle spasm, or an upset stomach. It has gotten progressively easier. Today I feel I have used up my right to chemical peace of mind.

p. 416

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 26

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

No individuals have been more buffeted by such emotional gusts than those A.A.’s bold enough to accept employment with outside agencies dealing with the alcohol problem. A university wanted an A.A. member to educate the public on alcoholism. A corporation wanted a personnel man familiar with the subject. A state drunk farm wanted a manager who could really handle inebriates. A city wanted an experienced social worker who understood what alcohol could do to a family. A state alcohol commission wanted a paid researcher. These are only a few of the jobs which A.A. members as individuals have been asked to fill. Now and then, A.A. members have bought farms or rest homes where badly beat-up topers could find needed care. The question was–and sometimes still is–are such activities to be branded as professionalism under A.A. tradition?

pp. 169-170

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Xtra Thoughts
December 26

The paradox of control is simple. The more we try to control life, the less control we have.
–Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.

A person who possesses true peace is not one whose life is without problems and turmoil but is rather a person who has peace in spite of it.
–unknown

If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always be where you’ve always been.
–unknown

A B C = Acceptance, Belief, Change.

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 26
APATHY

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
— Edmund Burke

I read about the Holocaust and I am ashamed. I am ashamed to belong to the human race that allowed, by an overwhelming silence, the slaughter of millions. The ultimate in people-pleasing is to do nothing. The fear of being an outcast or traitor allows the addiction to Power to develop. Power is an addiction that is rarely discussed in society. And yet evil needs people and politics to function alone it is but a word.

With this new day I seek to be involved in the good life. Today I am not afraid to stand alone for what I believe to be the principles of a God-given spirituality. I know evil because I know myself. I know tyranny and injustice because for years I perpetrated negativity in my life. Now I choose to say “no”. Today I seek to make amends for past wrongs by being rigorously honest in all my affairs. Because I know what it is to hate, I seek to love. I wish to be responsible in God’s world.

Teach me not only to learn from past mistakes but translate this knowledge into action.

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Bible Scriptures
December 26

“Nothing will be impossible with God.”
Luke 1:37

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.
Psalm 145:3

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
Deuteronomy 6:5

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

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Daily Inspiration
December 26

If you think success and really believe it will happen, you will perform in a manner that leads to success. Lord, may I always avoid negative thoughts and visualize myself in the manner that You intended for me.

We are powerless to change our past, but we can change how we look at it. Lord, help me to realize that my past has made me a stronger person and show me that these experiences have taught me valuable life lessons.

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A Day At A Time
December 26

Reflection For The Day

None of us can claim to know God in all His fullness. None of us can really claim to understand our Higher Power to any extent. But this I do know: there is a Power beyond my human will which can do wonderful, loving things for me that I can’t do for myself. I see this glorious power at work in my own being, and I see the miraculous results of this same power in the lives of thousands upon thousands of other recovering people who are my friends in The Program. Do I need the grace of God and the loving understanding of my friends in The Program any less now than when I began my recovery?

Today I Pray

May I never forget that my spiritual needs are as great today as they were when I came into The Program. It is so easy to look at others, newer to the recovery process, and regard them as the needy ones. As I think of myself as increasingly independent, may I never overlook my dependence on my Higher Power.

Today I will Remember

I will never outgrow my need for God.

 

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One More Day
December 26

Never let life’s hardships disturb you. After all, no one can avoid problems, not even saints or sages.
– Nichiren Daishonen

A worry-free life. Wouldn’t that be the ticket? It’s hard to even imagine what life would be like with no problems. Once in a while a person will say, “If only I’d known…I never would have.” Or, “If I had understood, I should have…”

We can’t life life always regretting past mistakes, and we shouldn’t fear furture ones either. The key to survival is not maintaining a stiff upper lip, as we hae been told, but to express our vulnerability. Stoicism gets nothing but more stress, so we’re learning to acknowledge our hardships as they come along. We’re not complaining or whining. We’re just bonding ourselves to the rest of the human race.

I can face new problems, not because I’m so strong, but because I can honestly admit my weaknesses.

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One Day At A Time
December 26, 2011
~VISION~

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
–Antoine De Saint-Exupery

It never ceases to amaze me how the disease of compulsive overeating distorts the vision. Some compulsive overeaters can look into a mirror and see a fat person where there is none. Others can look into the same mirror and not see the weight that is there.

Recovery brings new eyes to the compulsive overeater. It lets us to see what’s really there in the mirror. Recovery allows each of us to see the cathedral we really are, rather than the pile of rubble we think we see. Recovery corrects our vision.

One Day at a Time . . .
As I work my recovery program, I will see myself as I really am, rather than seeing what the disease shows me.

Jeff

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 26

“The way of knowledge.is like our old way of hunting. You begin with a mere trail — a footprint. If you follow that faithfully, it may lead you to a clearer train-a track- a road. Later on there will be many tracks, crossing and diverging one from the other. Then you must be careful, for success lies in the choice of the right road.”
–Many Lightenings Eastman, SANTEE SIOUX

An entire apple tree is initially contained in the seed. Visions are initially contained in the idea. If you trace the path of a blooming flower backwards, it goes from the blooming flower back to a bud, back to a stem, back to a seed. So it is in the way of knowledge. Often we will experience a hunch or a feeling that we are supposed to do something. At first it may not make any sense. This is the seed stage. Once we start to investigate, more gets revealed. As more is revealed, the more knowledge we get. This is the way the Great Spirit guides us.

Great Spirit, help me to choose the right choices.

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Journey To The Heart
December 26
Take Time to Be with People You Love

I left Colorado driving toward the canyons of southern Utah. I had a lot of places left to visit on my journey, a lot of work left to do. But something, rather someone, was pulling on me. My daughter, Nichole.

She was in college in Arizona. When she finished exams, she planned to head to Minnesota to spend the summer there. We had talked about meeting somewhere midway. Now it didn’t look like that would work out. It might be months before we saw each other again. From where I was in Colorado, she was a hard day’s drive away. Besides, I had already been through Arizona, and it would take another day to get back to where I was now. I continued on my way.

The pull from Nichole continued,too. Finally, I turned the car around and headed toward my daughter. When I arrived at her dorm about ten that night, I called her room. She asked where I was now on my journey. I told her I was downstairs in the lobby of her dorm. She flew down the steps. We hugged and kissed. And we spent the next three days at a nearby hotel. She studied and wrote her term paper. We visited. Watched movies. Ate food. Laughed. Cried. And shared memories. It was one of the nicest times we’d had together in years.

When it came time to leave, Nichole packed her car and headed for Minnesota. I headed back toward Utah, stopping to enjoy the scenery of the Grand Canyon, scenery I had missed along my way. I felt renewed and refreshed. I hadn’t lost any time. I had gained the gifts of the heart.

We search for sacred spaces, spiritual experiences, and truths. But the holiest places are often found when we spend time with people we love.

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The Language of Letting Go
December 26
Growth

Just as when we were children and grew out of favorite toys and clothes, we sometimes grow out of things as adults – people, jobs, and homes. This can be confusing. We may wonder why someone or something that was so special and important to us last year doesn’t fit the same way in our life today. We may wonder why our feelings have changed.

When we were children, we may have tried to fit an outgrown article of clothing on to our body. Now, as adults, we may go through a time of trying to force fit attitudes that we have outgrown. We may need to do this to give ourselves time to realize the truth. What worked last year, what was so important and special to us in times past, doesn’t work anymore because we’ve changed. We’ve grown.

We can accept this as a valid and important part of recovery. We can let ourselves go through experimentation and grief as we struggle to make something fit, trying to figure out if indeed it no longer fits, and why. We can explore our feelings and thoughts around what has happened.

Then, we can put last year’s toys away and make room for the new.

Today, I will let last year’s toys be what they were: last year’s toys. I will remember them with fondness for the part they played in my life. Then, I will put them away and make room for the new.

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 26
The magic is in you

Sometimes, we play a little trick on ourselves.

We may get so close to someone, we think, I don’t have to let go. Or we may become so successful at manifesting events in our lives, we think, I don’t have to let go. When I want something, it just appears.

Anytime we forget to let go, life will jog us back into remembering. There is nothing that we can cling to in this world. Ultimately, all that we hold dear will require us to let go, in some shape or form. That child will grow up and leave home. That love relationship that’s going so wonderfully? A new cycle will come, in its time. That friendship will change. That job you thought you’d always have? Oops, the company merged. Your position is changed.

Although long-term relationships and secure employment and living in that house feels good, remember, that’s not where your security lies.

Let yourself bond. Get close to that woman, or man. Let yourself enjoy being friends with the best friend you’ve ever had. Be a loving parent, 100 percent. Throw yourself into that job with all your heart and soul.

But your security and joy are not in that other person or job. The magic is in you.

Don’t get angry when the time comes in your life to let go. Open your heart to that person, place, or thing, and say, “Thanks for teaching me to love and helping me to grow.”

Then let him or her go, without resentment in your heart. Because even though that time has come to an end, love can’t be lost. Even if it means an end to the best time you’ve had yet in your life. Look around at where you are now. Don’t forget to enjoy it,too.

This will be the next best time you’ll have.

Remember, love is a gift from God.

God, help me keep my head up, my heart open, and know I’ll always be guided along the path.

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Today’s Gift
December 26

I take it that what all men are really after is some form of, perhaps only some formula of, peace.
—James Conrad

When snow drifts quietly down on a winter evening, the hush of nature brings a great sense of peace. Each of us has known times like this. Many of these times did not depend on conditions like snow, or soft music. When we are able to keep a quiet center within ourselves, we are truly in tune with the spirit. Peace of the heart comes from a Power greater than ourselves, and from the faith that all of us, and all that happens to us, are part of a great plan.

Just as the snow falls softly, without fear, without regard for whether it will land on a tree bough or in the street, we, too, can live our lives with peaceful acceptance of whatever comes along, knowing it comes to us naturally and from God.

Am I prepared to accept wherever I will land today?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 26

He who knows how to be poor knows everything.
—Jules Michelet

Letting go is one of the simple yet profound spiritual tasks taught by many of the world’s religions. Knowing how to be poor means knowing how to have a full and rich life without a dependent relationship with material wealth, food, chemicals, or sex. It means not relying on the props in life like expensive clothes, a prestigious job, or a sporty car, but relying only on the basics. Knowing how to be poor is knowing we are not in control and not wasting our serenity in trying. It means being completely honest in all things. It means knowing life is neither easy nor free of pain.

Learning how to be poor is learning how to let go of all the essentials and appreciating the simplicity that endures. We don’t automatically know how to do that, but we can learn.

I don’t expect to know everything, but my Higher Power can guide me and show me how to let go.

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Daily TAO
December 26
ENDING

A shadow edge is never on the edge.
The time to contemplate the ending is before the ending.

Five days left to this year. There will be an ending. And there will be a new beginning. That is Tao.

If you look at a vase by a window and examine what makes it appear round, you will see a shadow on it. That is the shadow edge. It is the darkest shadow on that face. It is never on the edge : The main lightsource strikes the vase on one side, and reflected light comes from the other.

In the same way that the shadow edge, which establishes the roundness of an object to our eyes, is never at the edge, so too should we consider limits and endings before we reach them. We cannot do without limits and endings. They bring definition to our endeavors. But if we are to use them to our advantage, we have to plan how to meet them. For those who follow Tao, those who can accommodate endings gracefully are among the most admired.

In the past, emperors, scholars, holy people, or others who were fully in touch with themselves could know the moment of their deaths.  While they were still vital, they wrote farewell poems. Such people knew how to consider endings before they reached them. Therefore, there were no regrets or lingering ramifications once they passed. The purity of the next cycle was ensured.

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