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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 3, 2013

Just For Today
December 3
Vision Without Limits

“Perhaps for the first time, we see a vision of our new life.”
Basic Text pg. 34

In our addiction, our vision of ourselves was very limited. Each day, we went through the same routine: getting, using, and finding ways and means to get more. And that’s all we could reasonably expect for the duration of our lives. Our potential was limited.

Today, our prospects are changed. Recovery has given us a new vision of ourselves and our lives. We are no longer trapped in the endlessly gray routine of addiction. We are free to stretch ourselves in new ways, trying out new ideas and new activities. In doing so, we come to see ourselves in a new way. Our potential is limited only by the strength of the Higher Power that cares for us – and that strength has no limits.

In recovery, life and everything in it appears open to us. Guided by our spiritual principles, driven by the power given us by the God of our understanding, our horizons are limitless.

Just for today: I will open my eyes to the possibilities before me. My potential is as limitless and as powerful as the God of my understanding. Today, I will act on that potential.

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Daily Reflections
December 3
IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS

. . . . we tried to carry this message to alcoholics,
and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 106

I find that carrying the message of recovery to other alcoholics is easy because it helps me to stay sober and it provides me with a sense of well-being about my own recovery. The hard part is practicing these principles in all my affairs. It is important that I share the benefits I receive from A.A., especially at home. Doesn’t my family deserve the same patience, tolerance and understanding I so readily give to the alcoholic? When reviewing my day I try to ask, “Did I have a chance to be a friend today and miss it?” ” Did I have a chance to rise above a nasty situation and avoid it?” “Did I have a chance to say ‘I’m sorry,’ and refuse to?” Just as I ask God for help with my alcoholism each day, I ask for help in extending my recovery to include all situations and all people!

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 3
A.A. Thought For The Day

There is some alcoholic thought, conscious or unconscious, that comes before every slip. As long as we live, we must be on the lookout for such thoughts and guard against them. In fact, our A.A. training is mostly to prepare us, to make us ready to recognize such thoughts at once and to reject them at once. The slip comes when we allow such thoughts to remain in our minds, even before we go through the motions of lifting the glass to our lips. The A.A. program is largely one of mental training. How well is my mind prepared?

Meditation For The Day

Fret not your mind with puzzles you cannot solve. The solutions may never be shown to you until you have left this life. The loss of dear ones, the inequality of life, the deformed and the maimed, and many other puzzling things may not be known to you until you reach the life beyond. “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot hear them now.” Only step by step, stage by stage, can you proceed in your journey into greater knowledge and understanding.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be content that things which I now see darkly will some day be made clear. I pray that I may have faith that someday I will see face to face.

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As Bill Sees It
December 3
The “Slipper” Needs Understanding, p. 99

“Slips can often be charged to rebellion; some of us are more rebellious than others. Slips may be due to the illusion that one can be ‘cured’ of alcoholism. Slips can also be charged to carelessness and complacency. Many of us fail to ride out these periods sober. Things go fine for two or three years–then the member is seen no more. Some of us suffer extreme guilt because of vices or practices that we can’t or won’t let go of. Too little self-forgiveness and too little prayer–well, this combination adds up to slips.

“Then some of us are far more alcohol-damaged than others. Still others encounter a series of calamities and cannot seem to find the spiritual resources to meet them. There are those of us who are physically ill. Others are subject to more or less continuous exhaustion, anxiety, and depression. These conditions often play a part in slips–sometimes they are utterly controlling.”

Talk, 1960

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Walk In Dry Places
December 3
Raising the frustration threshold
Achievement

What happens when we hit snags in our lives? In drinking, it was a common practice to chuck everything and just get drunk. This always made things worse, sometimes so much so that we forgot about the problem that triggered our frustrations.

Dealing with frustration is another part of growing up emotionally. Self-understanding in sobriety will help us detect surges of anger and irritation when things aren’t going as planned. We’ll recognize these feelings as being the same emotions that plagued us in our drinking days.

In sobriety, however, we are given choices. We actually do have the choice of pausing, letting the anger drain away, and then taking charge of the situation by knowing that God is working along with us. By doing this, we can eventually raise our threshold of frustration.

If some task or issue makes me angry today, I’ll back off and place the outcome in God’s hands. I’ll know this is working when I have a change in feeling about it.

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Keep It Simple
December 3

And to practice these principles in all our affairs.
–Third part of Step Twelve.

This is a statement about us. We are now people of values. These values reflect our spiritual growth. We know how to help others. We know how to admit our wrongs.

We know how to look at ourselves and change our defects. We know how to live an honest life.

Step Twelve tells us. “Go use these tools for better living. Go be all you can be. Enjoy life and live a life you can be proud of.” Step Twelve also tells us about how to have loving relationships. By the time we complete Step Twelve, we make or regain many relationships. The most important one is with our Higher Power. As we grow in the program, we realize all our relationships are spiritual gifts.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I now have one face instead of many masks. Help me be a person who will stand before You with pride, not shame.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll talk with a friend and talk about my new values. I will talk about how much my life has changed.

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 3

Sometimes, sisters have the same journey in their hearts. One may help the other or betray her. Will they cross over? Will the ship sail without them?
–Louise Bernikow

Other women share our struggle. When we treat our women friends as sisters and fellow pilgrims, we find great joy in our mutual help. We pray for the wisdom to let go our feelings of insecurity and rivalry with other women.

Rivalry is not good for us. It leads us to forget our own unique qualities. We each are the best person in the world at one thing: being ourselves. When we compete, we need to retain a balanced perspective and to think well of ourselves whether we win or lose. We run the best race we can; therefore, let us not regard other women as rivals. They are our sisters, and they, too, are doing the best they can.

Today, I will pray for the serenity that will let me see when my sisters have the same journey in their hearts as I.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 3
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

– The more he listened at meetings, the more he came to know about his own drinking history.

Everything has turned around. I found a new job, which I then decided to leave. I opened my own business. I was able to put my two sons through college at large universities. My oldest son’s great passion was to go on road trips to get away from home when it was time to come home on school breaks; now he comes home regularly and brings friends. The younger son comes home often and calls regularly.
My marriage is no longer on the brink and is better than ever. And the best is yet to come. All this and more I owe to the Fellowship in the rooms and the program in the book.

p. 406

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 3

Tradition Six – “An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.”

The minute we saw this compromising fact for what it was, we asked the prospective publicity director how he felt about it. “Great guns!” he said. “Of course I can’t take the job. The ink wouldn’t be dry on the first ad before an awful shriek would go up from the dry camp. They’d be out with lanterns looking for an honest A.A. to plump for their brand of education. A.A. would land exactly in the middle of the wet-dry controversy. Half the people in this country would think we’d signed up with the drys, the other half would think we’d joined the wets. What a mess!”
“Nevertheless,” we pointed out, “you still have a legal right to take this job.”
“I know that,” he said. “But this is no time for legalities. Alcoholics Anonymous saved my life, and it comes first. I certainly won’t be the guy to land A.A. in big-time trouble, and this would really do it!”
Concerning endorsements, our friend had said it all. We saw as never before that we could not lend the A.A. name to any cause other than our own.

pp. 158-159

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Xtra Thoughts
December 3

Joy increases as you give it, and diminishes as you try to keep it for yourself. In giving it, you will accumulate a deposit of joy greater than you ever believed possible.
–Norman Vincent Peale

A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.
–English Proverb

“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”
–B. C. Forbes

“Spend unbroken chunks of time with the most important people in your life.”
–Brian Tracy

“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.”
–William Durant

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 3
WONDER

“Wonder rather than doubt is the root of knowledge.”
— Abraham Heschel

Living with paradox is part of my sobriety. Things are never quite what they seem.  When I think I have something figured out, I am made to be confused again especially around my life, relationships, people, events and the universe. Life is both simple and incomprehensible. God seems to demand an agnostic faith! There is so much I do not know or understand.

But all of this leads to a creative and exciting sobriety. It makes life an adventure. It feeds that artistic part of me that is reborn in my sobriety. Things I used to dislike when I drank, I now enjoy. People and writers that once bored me now fascinate me; even modern art has a spiritual message!

O God, let the feelings of amazement always be a part of my faith.

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Bible Scriptures
December 3

“For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.”
Ephesians 5:8

“Wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”
Romans 15:7

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16

“God has given gifts to each of you from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.”
1 Peter 4:10

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Daily Inspiration
December 3

Allow your mind to become quiet and less judgmental and you will feel improvements in all areas of your life. Lord, help my mind avoid twisting the words I hear and misjudging the intentions of others in order to justify my own righteousness. Help me to spread Your peace.

There is not one moment that we are separated from God’s care unless we choose to be. Lord, You provide for my daily needs and deliver me from evil. You are my refuge.

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A Day At A Time
December 3

Reflection For The Day

Our ancient enemy, self-will, wears a mask, confronting me with this sort of rationalization: “Why do I have to lean on God? Hasn’t He already given me the intelligence to think for myself?” I have to pause when such thoughts creep into my mind, remembering that I’ve never really been able to bring about the results I wanted simply by relying on my own devices. I’m not self-sufficient, nor do I know all the answers; bitter experience alone teaches me that. Do I know that I need God’s guidance? Am I willing to accept it?

Today I Pray

I pray that, as I become stronger in my conviction and in my sobriety, I will not begin to shrug off my dependence on a Higher Power. May I continue to pray for guidance, even when things seem to be going along smoothly. May I know that I need my Higher Power as much in times of triumph as in times of trauma.

Today I Will Remember

Self-sufficiency is a godless myth.

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One More Day
December 3

Happiness is not being pained in body nor troubled in mind.
—  Thomas Jefferson

Teenagers say it all the time: “Hey!  Mellow Out!   Hype down!”  These words may be alien to us, but we can listen to these somewhat flippant admonitions.

Perhaps we do get too tense at times during certain phases of our lives.  Pain, anxiety, or stress can cause us to tighten our muscles, to brace our bodies against the impact of our medical problems.  The tighter our bodies become, the less patient and kind we are to those we love.

To help ourselves “mellow out” we first have to identify the feelings  associated with tenseness.  We can calm down by taking deep, slow, cleansing breaths.  Let’s do ourselves a favor and learn to relax, to mellow out.

By learning to let my body rest and relax, I can concentrate on keeping my mind free and untroubled.

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One Day At A Time
December 3
INTUITION

Don’t listen to friends when the Friend inside you says, “Do this!”
–Mahatma Gandhi

The Oxford dictionary describes intuition as “immediate apprehension by the mind without reasoning.” Well, I certainly never acted on intuition for most of my life because, in order for me to make any decision, it had to be based on cold hard logic. I would literally make a scientific “if – then hypothesis” based on all the possible consequences of any action I was contemplating, and by the time I’d looked into all the possible negative outcomes, I’d more than likely have talked myself out of it. Part of the problem was fear that if it didn’t turn out well, I would not be taken care of. How could I trust that my Higher Power would take care of me, seeing I had for a long time been angry at God and believed that He was definitely not there for me?

One of the miracles of the program has been my returning belief in a Higher Power who is always there for me when I need Him. I am slowly learning that I just need to turn my will and my life over to Him on a daily basis as it tells me in Step Three, and amazing things are beginning to happen. Because I wasn’t able to do this for many years, I had blocked my intuition, which we are told is the way in which we are in direct contact with our Higher Power. Slowly, the intuitive thoughts are returning as I work on a daily relationship with my Higher Power, and I am now more able to act on them, knowing that I will always be taken care of.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will continue to turn my will and my life over to my Higher Power knowing that my connection with Him, my intuition, is getting stronger each day, and that I am more able to do God’s will for today.

~ Sharon S.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 3

“Listen to the howl of our spiritual brother, the wolf, for how it goes with him, so it goes for the natural world.”
–Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman, Traditional Circle of Elders

If we watch nature, we can tell a lot about what is going on in the world. The animals and the plants are great teachers. Some time ago, crops were sprayed with a poison to kill the insects. Other animals ate the insects. The small animals were eaten by the Eagles and the Wolves. We live in an interconnected system. What we do to one, we do to all. If our spiritual brothers are living in balance, chances are we humans are also living in balance.

Great Spirit, let me listen to my Earth teachers, the plants and the animals.

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Journey To The Heart
December 3
Let Go of Leftover Guilt

Why do you feel guilty when you’re doing what you’ve been led to do?

That nagging, gnawing feeling of guilt is leftovers– leftovers from another period when we didn’t love ourselves. It’s left over from another time when we didn’t trust ourselves. Left over from another place when we didn’t know life could be fun, easy, natural, and joy could be ours.

Feeling guilty and anxious about that new thing you’re doing, that new place you’re going, that new adventure you’re on is part of your resistance to the lesson. Part of your shying back from the idea that you can truly, absolutely, and fundamentally love yourself and enjoy all parts of your life.

Soon you will see that you’ve been led to the very place you’re at right now. The very thing you are feeling guilty and anxious about is the very thing you’ve been led to do to take you on your next adventure.

Life is abundant. We can bask in self-love and the healing resources around us. Our movements, our activities, our days and hours and nights can flow easily. Naturally. And we can do the things we’re led to do without feeling guilty.

Recognize the guilt and anxiety of resistance as just that: resistance. Then let yourself go on your journey of love without spoiling it with guilt.

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The Language of Letting Go
December 3
Developing Healthy Tolerance

Many of us are skilled at denying and discounting what hurts us. We may endure a particular situation, telling ourselves repeatedly it’s not that bad; we shouldn’t be so demanding; it’ll change any day; we should be able to live with it; it doesn’t annoy us; the other person didn’t really mean it; it doesn’t hurt; maybe it’s just us.

We may fight and argue with ourselves about the reality and validity of our pain – our right to feel it and do something about it.

Often we will tolerate too much or so much that we become furious and refuse to tolerate any more.

We can learn to develop healthy tolerance.

We do that by setting healthy boundaries and trusting ourselves to own our power with people. We can lessen our pain and suffering by validating and paying attention to ourselves. We can work at shortening the time between identifying a need to set a boundary, and taking clear, direct action.

We aren’t crazy. Some behaviors really do bug us. Some behaviors really are inappropriate, annoying, hurtful, or abusive.

We don’t have to feel guilty about taking care of ourselves once we identify a boundary that needs to be set. Look at the experience as an experiment in owning our power, in establishing new, healthy boundaries and limits for ourselves.

We don’t have to feel guilty or apologize or explain ourselves after we’ve set a boundary. We can learn to accept the awkwardness and discomfort of setting boundaries with people. We can establish our rights to have these limits. We can give the other person room to have and explore his or her feelings; we can give ourselves room to have our feelings – as we struggle to own our power and create good, working relationships.

Once we can trust our ability to take care of ourselves, we will develop healthy reasonable tolerance of others.

God, help me begin striving for healthy boundaries and healthy tolerance for others and myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 3
Enjoy the void

We begin to walk down a path– recovery, a new job, a new relationship. We’re busy, even overwhelmed, with everything that lies before us. We work and work and walk our path and grow. Then one day the relationship changes. The job changes. Or we’re far anough along to look past the next minute of sobriety and when we look, we can’t see anything.

We get scared. Nothingness can be frightening. There’s no way to plan for the future. We can’t make the right move. We’re surrounded with decisions, and none of them feel like the right ones.

Relax. Savor this moment,too. Stop trying to fill it up. You’re in the void, that magical place from which all creation arises. Breathe the air, look at the flowers, feel the sun. Or build a fire to keep you warm. There’s no need to be frightened of this place; there’s nothing you need to do. Keep walking your path, and the creative way will become clear to you soon.

God, help me to let go of worry when I’m in the in-between places in my life. Help me to walk in peace and let the universe show me the path that I am to follow. Help me relax in this space and garner energy for the journey ahead.

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Today’s Gift
December 3

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields that it kisses them so gently.
—Lewis Carroll

In different times and places, clouds can produce snowflakes, raindrops, or even hailstones. Each one seems to have its own purpose and mood as it falls from the sky. The snowflake is the lightest of these, and so it falls slowly and softly. Rainfall can be soft or hard. It sometimes feels angry, almost cleansing.

No matter how thick the snowfall is, it is still soft. We can rarely hear it land. It covers the world in a peaceful white. If we look closely, we can see that each small snowflake is unique.

Like the snowflakes, each of us has a unique design. Perhaps what we can learn from the snowflakes is how to gently touch the lives and growing things around us. Times of anger and rain are necessary, but a soft snowfall brings peace to all humanity.

How can I show my gentle side today?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 3

Sometimes I go about pitying myself, and all the time I am being carried, on great winds across the sky.
—Ojibway

“Ah, poor me,” we sometimes say, “I have to work so hard!” “I have so much stress!” “If only my problem with money would get better, then I could be content!” “I just don’t understand women!” “Why can’t my family have fewer troubles?” This attitude of self-pity is as ancient as humanity. The Ojibway recognized blindness to the spiritual path. Every man has problems and challenges, and life often is not fair. Self-pity becomes a stumbling block when we get so narrowly focused upon our problems. We forget we are a part of a whole throng of fellow pilgrims on this path. It helps to notice others beside ourselves who are seeking courage to live their lives.

Sometimes we reawaken our awareness of our Higher Power by seeing that we are “carried on great winds across the sky.” We have many blessings; we are not alone. Often within problems we discover our greatest blessings.

God, help me find the spiritual path in the choices I make today. Help me turn away from self-pity.

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Daily TAO
December 3
MODERATION

Alternate between the solitary and the social.
Whether alone or with others, keep serenity.

Some people argue that Tao can be known only through bitter asceticism. Others prefer massive congregations. But those who follow Tao are neither too solitary nor too gregarious. They have regular times of privacy. And they equally enjoy being with others.

Privacy is good. But an overly monastic life can lead to unhappiness, delusion, and even insanity. In the same way, relationships are good. But too much social intercourse can lead to conformity, conflict, and stress. Therefore, the way of Tao aims to maximize the good and minimize the bad.

We should have regular times to be alone, meditate alone, even sleep alone. This gives us clarity. Then we can bring this understanding to our relationships. Friendships will be all the more wonderful. Once we understand moderation, we move between the solitary and the social without any mistake.

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