In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings - December 5, 2013

Just For Today
December 5
Those Who Want To Recover

“We have seen the program work for any addict who honestly and sincerely wants to stop [using drugs]”
—Basic Text pg. 10

How do we know when someone honestly and sincerely wants to stop using drugs? The truth is that we don’t know! Because we cannot read minds or know another’s motives and desires, we simply have to hope for the best. We may talk to a newcomer at a meeting and think we’ll never see them again, only to find them several years later doing well in their recovery. We may be tempted to give up on someone who keeps relapsing or doesn’t get clean right away, but we must not. No matter how unwilling someone may seem, a simple fact remains—the addict is at a meeting.

We may never know the results of our Twelfth Step work; it is not up to us to gauge the willingness of a newcomer. The message we carry is a part of us. We carry it everywhere and share it freely, leaving the results to a Power greater than ourselves.

Just for today: I will share my recovery with any addict, anywhere, anytime, and under any circumstances. I will leave the results to my Higher Power.


Daily Reflections
December 5.2013

“He has been granted a gift which amounts to a new state of consciousness and being.”

Many of us in A.A. puzzle over what a spiritual awakening is. I tended to look for a miracle, something dramatic and earth shattering. But what usually happens is that a sense of well-being, a feeling of peace, transforms us into a new level of awareness.  That’s what happened to me. My insanity and inner turmoil disappeared and I entered into a new dimension of hope, love and peace. I think the degree to which I continue to experience this new dimension is in direct proportion to the sincerity, depth and devotion with which I practice the Twelve Steps of A.A.


Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 5.2013
A.A. Thought For The Day

In spite of all we have learned in A.A., our old way of thinking comes back on us, sometimes with overwhelming force, and occasionally some of us have slips. We forget or refuse to call on the Higher Power for help. We seem to deliberately make our minds a blank so far as A.A. training goes, and we take a drink. We eventually get drunk. We are temporarily right back where we started from. Those who have had slips say unanimously that they were no fun. They say A.A. had taken all the pleasure out of drinking. They knew they were doing the wrong thing. The old mental conflict was back in full force. They were disgusted with themselves. Am I convinced that I can never get anything more out of drinking?

Meditation For The Day

Give something to those who are having trouble, to those whose thoughts are confused, something of your sympathy, your prayers, your time, your love, your thought, your self.  Then give of your own confidence, as you have had it given to you by the grace of God.  Give of yourself and of your loving sympathy. Give your best to those who need it and will accept it. Give according to need, never according to deserts. Remember that the giving of advice can never take the place of giving of your self.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that as I have received, so may I give. I pray that I may have the right answer to those who are confused.


As Bill Sees It
December 5.2013
Relapses—and the Group, p. 154

An early fear was that of slips or relapses. At first nearly every alcoholic we approached began to slip, if indeed he sobered up at all.  Others would stay dry six months or maybe a year and then take a skid. This was always a genuine catastrophe. We would all look at each other and say, “Who next?”

Today, though slips are a very serious difficulty, as a group we take them in stride. Fear has evaporated. Alcohol always threatens the individual, but we know that it cannot destroy the common welfare.

<< << << >> >> >>

“It does not seem to pay to argue with ‘slippers’ about the proper method of getting dry. After all, why should people who are drinking tell people who are dry how it should be done?

“Just kid the boys along—ask them if they are having fun. If they are too noisy or troublesome, amiably keep out of their way.”

1. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 97
2. Letter, 1942


Walk In Dry Places
December 5.2013
Holding hands and hugging

The custom of holding hands while saying the Lord’s Prayer has been adopted by many AA groups. We have also seen more hugging than in the past, even between the most unlikely members.

Are these new practices good or bad? In accordance with AA tradition, we have to leave such questions to the group conscience.

One thought, however, is that such physical actions do not necessarily mean that any true spiritual bonding has taken place. The old-timers who never held hands or hugged still had a great closeness in spirit and in feeling.

We must also consider that we may be violating the privacy of the person who doesn’t wish to hold hands or hug. If such a person chooses to stand outside the hand-holding circle, he or she maybe cast in the role of dissenter. Would that be fair?

Hand-holding and hugging may be here to stay, but let’s not make them out to be more than mere physical expressions. The program of the heart is still first.

I’ll remember today that true bonding is spiritual, not physical.


Keep It Simple
December 5.2013

“Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength, and hope.”
—Alcoholics Anonymous

All over the world, recovering men and women use the same Twelve Steps to live their lives.

Our fellowship keeps growing. The bigger it gets, the faster it grows. Why? Because the program brings our spirits back to life. All over the world, many of us were dying, and now we’re full of life and love. We are bringing our world back to life. As we share our experience, strength, and hope, we help others join us in coming back to life.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me stay sober today. Guide me and all others who are doing Your will today.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll think of three things I can do to help spread the message of AA and NA.


Each Day a New Beginning
December 5.2013

“It is a long baptism into the seas of humankind, my daughter. Better immersion than to live untouched.”
—Tillie Olsen

We have each had days when we preferred hiding under the covers, avoiding life at all costs. And in times gone by, we did just that, sometimes too frequently. What we didn’t always know, and what we still forget on occasion, is that we have a ready and willing partner who will join us in every pursuit.

The more fully we commit ourselves to one another and to all our experience, the closer we will come to the very serenity we long for. Serenity accompanies our increasing understanding of life’s many mysteries. It’s easy to cheat ourselves out of the prizes any day offers us. Fear fosters inertia, leaving us separate, alone, even more afraid. But we have an appointment with life. And our appointment will bring us to the place of full understanding, the place where we’ll be certain, forever after, that all is well. And that life is good.

Today’s appointments are part of the bigger plan for my life. I will face them, enjoy them, and reap their rewards.


Alcoholics Anonymous
December 5.2013

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

My major problems were marital. “If you had my wife, you’d drink too.” Max and I had been married for twenty-eight years when I ended up in A.A. It started out as a good marriage, but it deteriorated over the years as she progressed through various stages of qualifying for Al-Anon. At first, she would say, “You don’t love me. Why don’t you admit it?” Later, she would say, “You don’t like me. Why don’t you admit it?” And as her disease was reaching its terminal stages, she was screaming, “You hate me! You hate me! Why don’t you admit you hate me?” So I admitted it.

p. 407


Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 5.2013

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

Probably no A.A. Tradition had the labor pains this one did. In early times, we were all broke. When you add to this the habitual supposition that people ought to give money to alcoholics trying to stay sober, it can be understood why we thought we deserved a pile of folding money. What great things A.A. would be able to do with it! But oddly enough, people who had money thought otherwise. They figured that it was high time we now—sober—paid our own way. So our Fellowship stayed poor because it had to.

p. 160


Xtra Thoughts
December 5.2013

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”
—William James

“Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.”
—Henry David Thoreau

“If you want to accomplish the goals of your life, you have to begin with the Spirit.”
—Oprah Winfrey

“The steps did for me the very thing I kept hoping alcohol would do for me—they gave me the peace and serenity I had been looking for in a bottle.”

“Today is full of miracles!”
—Ruth Fishel

“The principles you live by create the world you live in; if you change the principles you live by, you will change your world.”
—Blaine Lee

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”
—John Lubbock

“The ultimate lesson all of us have is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.”
—Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 5

“Not every woman in old slippers can manage to look like Cinderella.”
—Don Marquis

Beauty is not what you wear or look like; beauty is within. We begin to love ourselves when we see the beauty that God has given to each and every one of us forever. God’s image and beauty is expressed through our attitudes and feelings, how we greet and listen to each other and the gentle dignity we afford to another human being.

For years I saw myself as ugly, boring, useless and stupid. This message came from parents who forever compared me with others and for years I believed their message. I hid through my teenage years and quietly tried to escape in food, alcohol and drugs.

Then after a crisis, I met people who had felt the same but were now feeling different.  They loved me until I could begin to love myself. Now I like me. Now I can love me.  Today I can like and love you.

Help me to see the beauty in the wrinkle; the power in the pain.


Bible Scriptures
December 5.2013

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
—Psalm 91:1

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.”
—I John 3:18-19

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.'”
—John 8:12


Daily Inspiration
December 5.2013

Imagine joy and you will find it. Lord, I thank You for the people that need me and love me, for the ability to hope and especially for the ability to love.

One of life’s greatest rewards is not what we get, but what we become. Lord, give me the courage to be all that I can.


A Day At A Time
December 5

Reflection For The Day

“It is of low benefit to give me something. It is of high benefit to enable me to do something for myself.”

I’ve been taught in The Program that I begin to use my will properly when I try to make it conform with God’s will. In the past, most of my problems resulted from the improper use of willpower. I’d always tried to use it, in sledgehammer fashion, as a way of solving my problems or changing the conditions of my life. Do I see that a primary purpose of the Twelve Steps is to help me channel my will into agreement with God’s intentions for me?

Today I Pray

May I direct my willpower into a channel where it can pick up the will of God. May I no longer use my willpower, which has not proved mighty in the past, as willfulness. May I think of my will only as an extension of God’s will, listening always for direction.

Today I Will Remember

To use my willpower as willingness, not willfulness.


One More Day
December 5

“Forgiveness is the answer to the child’s dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is again made clean.”
—Dag Hammarskjold

We all may feel a measure of guilt when relationships deteriorate or friends become angry with each other. Sometimes, it’s not the people around us who are to blame;  sometimes it really is our fault. We’ve misspoken or said harsh and unfeeling words to a friend.

We can’t undo our mistakes or take back our words, but we can ask for forgiveness and try to make amends. We can forgive others when they have hurt us, knowing that forgiveness keeps our relationships whole.

I don’t have to wait for forgiveness from others;  I can make my amends first.


One Day At A Time
December 5

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents, and I lay them both at His feet.”
—Mahatma Gandhi

I don’t know why I used to think that if something wasn’t done perfectly, it wasn’t worth doing. I was an all-time overachiever, and to fail at something was totally unacceptable. It was hardly surprising that I couldn’t like, let alone love, myself, since I set such impossibly high standards for myself. I was constantly pushing myself to excel at those things I was good at, and would beat up on myself if I failed to measure up to the high expectations I held. I was especially critical of my body and thought that if I had the perfect body, then my life would be perfect.

When I came into the program, I had to learn not to be so hard on myself. For the first time I began to realize that I was human and could still be loveable and worthy, even with all my imperfections and character defects. I am lovingly reminded by my sponsor and my friends in the fellowship to be more gentle on myself, and that I don’t even have to do the program perfectly. I just need to do the best I know how for that day; then I can see progress one day at a time. I don’t have to push myself to be perfect all the time in order to win approval or gain love. What a relief that is!

One day at a time …
I don’t have to be perfect all the time. I just need to to be the best me that I can for today, and that’s the way God intended me to be.

Sharon S.


Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 5

“I’ve had a long regard for generational things: pottery, cultural things, participation in dancing, extended family. Only in that way does culture survive; only in that way is culture active.

Culture teaches us how to live and it ensures that knowledge about life is handed down from generation to generation. Culture gives us the feeling of belonging. It helps us raise our family in a good way. It teaches us how to treat one another. Culture sets boundaries for societies. We need to develop our culture. If we have left our culture, then we need to come back to it. Culture leads us back to the Great Spirit. Sometimes in our lives, we leave what we know works and experiment with something else. Then we get into trouble. So we need to come back home. Indian people are lucky to have a culture to return to.

Creator, thank you for the culture. Let me live it today.


Journey To The Heart
December 5
Life Can Be Fun

How careful and guarded we’ve been with fun, with playing, with sheer enjoyment—whether we’re working, traveling, or wandering around town on a Saturday afternoon. Sometimes, we act as though there’s a limited amount, a scarce supply of fun available. We can’t take too much, or it’ll all be gone.

That’s how I was for a long time.

One Saturday afternoon my son, Shane, asked if he could spend the night at a friend’s house to play and have a sleepover.

“Why?” I asked.

“You just did something fun last night,” I reminded him.

He thought for a moment. “Who said you can’t have fun two days in a row?”

Have some fun—with life, with love, with work. Then go out and have some more.


The Language of Letting Go
December 5
Difficult People

Few things can make us feel crazier than expecting something from someone who has nothing to give. Few things can frustrate us more than trying to make a person someone he or she isn’t; we feel crazy when we try to pretend that person is someone he or she is not. We may have spent years negotiating with reality concerning particular people from our past and our present. We may have spent years trying to get someone to love us in a certain way, when that person cannot or will not.

It is time to let it go. It is time to let him or her go. That doesn’t mean we can’t love that person anymore. It means that we will feel the immense relief that comes when we stop denying reality and begin accepting. We release that person to be who he or she actually is. We stop trying to make that person be someone he or she is not. We deal with our feelings and walk away from the destructive system.

We learn to love and care differently in a way that takes reality into account.

We enter into a relationship with that person on new terms—taking our needs and ourselves into account. If a person is addicted to alcohol, other drugs, misery, or other people, we let go of his or her addiction; we take our hands off it. We give his or her life back. And we, in the process, are given our life and freedom in return.

We stop letting what we are not getting from that person control us. We take responsibility for our life. We go ahead with the process of loving and taking care of ourselves.

We decide how we want to interact with that person, taking reality and our own best interests into account. We get angry, we feel hurt, but we land in a place of forgiveness. We set him or her free, and we become set free from bondage.

This is the heart of detaching in love.

Today, I will work at detaching in love from troublesome people in my life. I will strive to accept reality in my relationships. I will give myself permission to take care of myself in my relationships, with emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual freedom for both people as my goal.


More Language Of Letting Go
December 5
Be happy now

“Time is what keeps everything from happening at once,” the bumper sticker ahead of me read.

Maybe, I thought. I was racing back home from the computer store, busily doing my errands, trying to get things done. I noticed a restaurant and shopping center to my right, on the freeway. I’d been curious about this place for almost a year. Today, instead of driving by, I turned off the highway and pulled into the parking lot. I spent the next three hours browsing through the stores filled with antiques, trinkets, and gourmet foods. Then I enjoyed a leisurely dinner—a juicy hamburger and a chocolate malt—at the restaurant before returning home. The stores had always been there, I’d always driven past. Today I stopped, satisfied my curiosity, and enjoyed myself.

It’s easy to spend our lives working toward a goal, convinced that if we could only get there, we’d be truly happy then. Today is the only moment we have. If we wait until tomorrow to be happy, we’ll miss out on the beauty of today.

Have your plans. Set goals.

Let yourself be happy now.

God, help me be aware of the joy that’s in front of me now instead of waiting for tomorrow to bring me happiness.


Today’s Gift
December 5

“My true god is always with me.  I am learning to trust myself … ”
—Joan Parsons

Sometimes a book we read at a very young age stays with us our whole lives.

One girl loved Heidi more than any other book. She always thought about the grandfather’s hut. It was a special place in the world—with the fresh mountain air, the spring flowers, the winter fire on the hearth. But the part she carried with her to adulthood was the part about the grandfather pouring goat’s milk into a bowl and telling Heidi to drink it all up so she could grow to be healthy and happy.

Now that girl is a woman. Sometimes, when she wants to feel taken care of, she pours herself a bowl of milk. Then she sits down, picks up the bowl with two hands, and drinks out of it like Heidi. She feels comforted and connected to the universe.

The private rituals we discover in childhood can befriend us all our lives, if we let them.

What do I want when I want comfort?


Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 5

“[A relationship] takes time and deeds, and this involves trust, it involves making ourselves naked, to become sitting ducks for each other.”
—Eldridge Cleaver

When we were lost in our excesses, we were limited in our relationships. The history of our friendships and loves may be evidence of that. Many of us had a primary relationship with a substance or an addictive behavior, and people had only second place. Many of us were so lost in our codependency that our relationships were two-dimensional. We didn’t know how to be there with our whole selves. In recovery our ability to relate to others charges slowly. We learn how to love like everyone else learned—only we are learning a little later.

We have to be willing to be vulnerable. We also must be willing to be accountable—willing to say to our loved ones, “You can count on me to never leave without saying goodbye.” “You can count on me to be respectful of you.” “You can count on me to tell you how I feel, even when it hurts.” As we mature, with the help of the Steps, we also grow in our relationships with others.

Today, I will be true to my relationships.


Daily TAO
December 5

Learning is the fountain of youth.
No matter how old you are,
You mustn’t stop growing.

Don’t think that creativity is only for artists, writers, and musicians. Creativity is an essential element for everyone. Unlike the outer-directed creativity of making art, solving problems, or writing, the creativity that everyone can engage in is learning.

As long as we continue to learn, welcome new ideas and ways of doing things, and continually expand our understanding of ourselves and the world around us, then we are engaging in the ultimate creativity of the self.

If one looks carefully at those seniors who are ongoing and vital participants in life, one will see that a common habit is continuous learning and interest. These seniors are not the same as they were in their youth. They have found new ways of learning and acting.

As we enter each new phase of our lives, the parameters change. If we are sixty, we cannot do the same activities that we did as teenagers. Therefore, we need to revamp ourselves according to our situation. That continuing act of creativity keeps us young.

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