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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 6, 2013

NA Just For Today
December 6
Romance And Recovery

“Relationships can be a terribly painful area.”
Basic Text pg. 78

Love is like an elixir for some of us. The excitement of a new lover, the intrigue of exploring intimacy, the sense of release we get from allowing ourselves to become vulnerable – these are all powerful emotions. But we can’t forget that we have only a daily reprieve from our addiction. Holding onto this daily reprieve must be the top priority in any recovering addict’s life.

We can become too involved in our relationship. We can neglect old friends and our sponsor in the process. Then, when things get difficult, we often feel that we can no longer reach out to those who helped us prior to our romantic involvement. This belief can lay the groundwork for a relapse. By consistently working our program and attending meetings, we ensure that we have a network of recovery, even when we’re deep in a romance.

Our desire to be romantically involved is natural. But we mustn’t forget that, without our program, even the healthiest relationship will not guard us against the strength of our addiction.

Just for today: In my desire for romance, I will not ignore my recovery.

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Daily Reflections
December 6
WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN

When we developed still more, we discovered the best possible source of emotional stability to be God Himself. We found that dependence upon His perfect justice, forgiveness, and love was healthy, and that it would work where nothing else would. If we really depended upon God, we couldn’t very well play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 116

It has been my experience that, when all human resources appear to have failed, there is always One who will never desert me.  Moreover, He is always there to share my joy, to steer me down the right path, and to confide in when no one else will do. While my well-being and happiness can be added to, or diminished, by human efforts, only God can provide the loving nourishment upon which I depend for my daily spiritual health.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 6
A.A. Thought For The Day

People who had a slip are ashamed of themselves–sometimes so ashamed that they fear to go back to A.A. They develop the old inferiority complex and tell themselves that they are no good, that they are hopeless, and that they can never make it. This state of mind is perhaps worse than it was originally. They have probably been somewhat weakened by their slip. But their A.A. training cannot ever be entirely lost. They always know they can go back if they want to. They know there is still God’s help for them if they will again ask for it. Do I believe that I can never entirely lose what I have learned in A.A.?

Meditation For The Day

Nobody entirely escapes temptation. You must expect it and be ready for it when it comes. None of us is entirely safe. You must try to keep your defenses up by daily thought and prayer. That is why we have these daily meditations. You must be able to recognize temptation when it comes. The first step toward conquering temptation always is to see it clearly as temptation and not to harbor it in your mind. Dissociate yourself from it, put it out of your mind as soon as it appears. Do not think of excuses for yielding to it. Turn at once to the Higher Power for help.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be prepared for whatever temptation may come to me. I pray that I may see it clearly and avoid it with the help of God.

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As Bill Sees It
December 6
The Way Of Strength, p. 129

We need not apologize to anyone for depending upon the Creator.  We have good reason to disbelieve those who think spirituality is the way of weakness. For us, it is the way of strength.

The verdict of the ages is that men of faith seldom lack courage.  They trust their God. So we never apologize for our belief in Him.  Instead, we try to let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 68

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Walk In Dry Places
December 6
Alcoholism: Disease or Bad Habit?
Understanding my problem..

While AA has always considered alcoholism a disease, controversy still simmers over its definition. In the past, alcoholism has been considered a sin, a sickness, or just a very bad habit. More recently, there has been a suggestion that some “problem drinkers” might not be alcoholics at all and can very possibly bring their drinking under control.

This controversy will undoubtedly continue, but it is important that recovering people understand the NATURE of alcoholism. It is deadly, it is compulsive, and it is progressive. While there are occasional reports of alcoholics who claim to have become controlled drinkers, few of us have any firsthand evidence of such changes. Much more often, we hear stories of alcoholics who try to drink again, only to find themselves headed down a rocky road.

It is not necessary that we define alcoholism perfectly or precisely. What’s more important is that we remember we’re powerless over alcohol and cannot safely pick up a drink. No definition will change that reality for an alcoholic who has had an unmanageable life.

I’m fortunate AA gave me an understanding of my problem that I can live with—one that will help me continue living. Others can worry about defining alcoholism. I’ll focus on staying sober myself.

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Keep It Simple
December 6

The strongest of all warriors are these two–Time and Patience.
Leo Tolstay

One of the first things we learn about in recovery is time. Before, we may have tried to control time by Pushing it along. We tried to hurry everything and everybody. We wanted our “quick fix.” But the

program tells us to slow down. Easy Does It.

We probably couldn’t picture ourselves staying sober for the rest of our life. So we were told to just work at staying sober today. We learned to work our program One Day at a Time. We were thought that time can be our friend. Times is our Higher Power’s way of not having everything happen at once.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, you are my teacher. You are in charge of the lesson. Help me accept this. Teach me how to use my time wisely.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list five ways I use my time in ways that aren’t helpful to me. I’ll work at making time my friend.

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 6

Each day provides its own gifts.
–Ruth P. Freedman

We are guaranteed experiences that are absolutely right for us today. We are progressing on schedule. Even when our personal hopes are unmet, we are given the necessary opportunities for achieving those goals that complement our unique destinies.

Today is full of special surprises, and we will be the recipient of the ones which are sent to help us grow–in all the ways necessary for our continued recovery. We might not consider every experience a gift at this time. But hindsight will offer the clarity lacking at the moment, just as it has done in many instances that have gone before.

We are only offered part of our personal drama each day. But we can trust our lives to have many scenes, many acts, points of climax, and a conclusion. Each of us tells a story with our lives, one different from all other stories and yet necessary to the telling of many other stories too. The days ahead will help us tell our story. Our interactions with others will influence our outcomes and theirs. We can trust the drama and give fully to our roles.

Every day is a gift exchange. I give, and I will receive.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 6
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 remember very well saying, “There’s only one person in the world whose guts I hate worse than yours, and those are my own.” She cried a bit and went to bed; that was the only answer to problems that she had left. I cried a bit and then fixed myself another drink. (Today, we don’t have to live like that any more.)

p. 408

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 6

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

There was another reason for our collective poverty. It was soon apparent that while alcoholics would spend lavishly on Twelfth Step cases, they had a terrific aversion to dropping money into a meeting-place hat for group purposes. We were astounded to find that we were as tight as the bark on a tree. So A.A., the movement, started and stayed broke, while its individual members waxed prosperous.

pp. 160-161

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Xtra Thoughts
December 6

If you are seeking to live a joyful life, add music and dance to each day!
–Gary Barnes

“Fear less, hope more;
Whine less, breathe more;
Talk less, say more;
Hate less, love more;
And all good things are yours.”
–Swedish Proverb

It has been said that our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
–Martin Luther King Jr.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
–Helen Keller

The best gifts to give:
To your friend – loyalty;
To your enemy – forgiveness;
To your boss – service;
To a child – a good example;
To your parents – gratitude and devotion;
To your mate – love and faithfulness;
To all men and women – love;
To God – your life.
–unknown

People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 6
FAILURE

“There are two kinds of failures:
those who thought and never
did, and those who did and
never –thought.”
Laurence J. Peter

In my life I know that I am guilty of both these failures. I remember making sand castles in the air without realizing that I could attempt to build one in my life. I would see somebody I wanted to talk with and imagine a conversation, rather than going over and risking possible rejection. Today I am able to risk and I am now the possessor of a thousand memories that actually happened.

I am also aware of how thoughtless I was in my addiction. I would react rather than respond; create hostility as a wall to keep people out. Today I am able to think through a problem and apologize when I am wrong.

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Bible Scriptures
December 6

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are.”
1 John 3:1

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
John 16:24

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Daily Inspiration
December 6

No matter who you are, it is your right to have peace. Lord, help me stay on my own path to peace and to turn my back on the distractions that are so intent on keeping me from it.

To have courage, think courageous, act courageous, and pray to God for courage. Lord, You are full of love for all who come to You.

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A Day At A Time
December 6

Reflection For The Day

When I finally convince myself to let go of a problem that’s been tearing me apart — when I take the action to set aside my will and let God handle the problem — my torment subsides immediately. If I continue to stay out of my own way, then solutions begin to unfold and reveal themselves. More and more, I’m coming to accept the limitations of my human understanding and power. More and more, I’m learning to let go and trust my Higher Power for the answers and the help. Do I keep in the forefront of my mind the fact that only God is all-wise and all-powerful?

Today I Pray

If I come across a stumbling-block, may I learn to step out of the way and let God remove it. May I realize my human limitations at problem-solving, since I can never begin to predict God’s solutions until I see them happening. May I know that whatever answer I come to, God may have a better one.

Today I Will Remember

God has a better answer.

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One More Day
December 6

A leader is a dealer in hope.
–Napoleon Bonaparte

A good leader doesn’t always have the firmest hand or the most knowledge about a subject, but instead has the ability to develop hope and enthusiasm for success in others.  Leading others often means being a role model;  it means confidently marching forward, not pushing others from behind.

We all are leaders at one time or another.  Raising children or working with others or nurturing relationships — all require leadership at times.   Our health care also requires our leadership, and we find the most success when we lead with a hopeful spirit.  That hope is reflected in our cooperation with the medical community, and it is also shown in our eagerness to live life fully and joyfully.

My hope, enthusiasm, and growth help me and others deal with chronic illness.

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One Day At A Time
December 6
~ FORGIVENESS ~

We realized that the people who wronged us were spiritually sick. When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.”
–Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

This has been one of the most important paragraphs for me in recovery. I have used it for any type of hurt I have in reaction to another person. Besides my asking God to save me from anger, I ask God to heal all feelings I have toward that person that block me from having a closer relationship with the God of my understanding. For me, this has meant I have had to learn to forgive everyone who my thinking told me had injured me in some way. I was unable to do this no matter how hard I tried. I prayed to the God of my understanding to teach me how to forgive those others and to work with my heart to create that forgiveness. It involved a long process of discovering my part and the other’s part; separating acts from people.

Once I had done this work and knew in my heart that God had given me the miracle to forgive these people, an interesting thing happened. During Step Four and Five work, my sponsor told me I also had to forgive myself. I discovered, by going through this process, that working through the anger and pain, I ended up also having forgiven myself. For me, it wasn’t enough to tell another person all my Fourth Step. I had to feel the feelings in my heart and give them to God to heal. Then, after I truly forgave others I could forgive myself. I wasn’t able to forgive myself until I gave it away to others.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will remember that God will help me in anything I ask, the answer just may be different than I expected. When the miracle occurs I will be able to see God’s hand in it.

Judy A..

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 6

“And that, I guess, is what it all boils down to-do the right thing, everything goes fine; do the wrong thing, everything’s a mess.”
–Robert Spott, YUROK

The Elders say every person is born with free will and every person has a specific purpose to accomplish during their life time. When our life is relatively free from obstacles we are walking the path of God’s will. If our life is full of obstacles, we are not doing the will of God. Often, the Great Spirit guides us through a system of coincidences. We need to pay attention to coincidences. If we are aware of these, we often can recognize the path which God is showing us. We need to pray and ask Him to show us the path in terms we can understand.

Oh, Great Mystery, let me recognize the coincidences.

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Journey To The Heart
December 6
Discover True Power

Much of our journey involves learning about power. We learn about the powers we don’t have– the power to control others, sometimes ourselves, and fate. We discover our true power– the power to take an endless journey into freedom and love.

We talk about, experience, and experiment with many kinds of power along the way. The power of authority. The power of money. The power of prestige. The power of control. The power of rage, anger, intimidation. We see many kinds of negative powers– manipulation, deceit, fraud. We see people trying to steal power from others. We see people letting others take their power away, crawling into shells, hiding, and being dragged along by others.

We see that many forms of power are illusions. Money goes just so far. Prestige is fleeting. Popularity holds no immunity from life’s experiences. Control is only momentary, we turn our backs and the situation reverts.

We trudge the road searching for power, learning about our own. Somewhere on the journey, we begin to see the truth. It awakens quietly within us, shaking our soul, transforming our vision, teaching us what we knew all along. The power that lasts, the power that stays is the power of the heart.

Stillness. Faith. Gentleness. Kindness. Compassion. Joy. Forgiveness. Comfort. Vulnerability. Honesty. Courage. And love. Now we’re talking about power.

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The Language Of Letting Go
December 6
Letting Go of Shame

Many of us were victimized, sometimes more than once. We may have been physically abused, dually abused, or exploited by the addictions of another.

Understand that if another person has abused us, it is not cause for us to feel shame. The guilt for the act of abuse belongs to the perpetrator, not the victim.

Even if in recovery we fall prey to being victimized, that is not cause for shame.

The goal of recovery is learning self-care, learning to free ourselves from victimization, and not to blame ourselves for past experiences. The goal is to arm ourselves so we do not continue to be victimized due to the shame and unresolved feelings from the original victimization.

We each have our own work, our issues, and our recovery tasks. One of those tasks is to stop pointing our finger at the perpetrator, because it distracts us. Although we hold each person responsible and accountable for his or her behavior, we learn compassion for the perpetrator. We understand that many forces have come into play in that person’s life. At the same time, we do not hold on to shame.

We learn to understand the role we played in our victimization, how we fell into that role and did not rescue ourselves. But that is information to arm us so that it need not happen again.

Let go of victim shame. We have issues and tasks, but our issue is not to feel guilty and wrong because we have been victimized.

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 6
Celebrate

Look at your life. Look back at the path that you’ve walked this far and celebrate.

One of the joys of walking to the top of a mountain is looking back at how far you’ve come. It’s wonderful to stand on a high ridge and see the tiny footpath stretching off into the distance.

Celebrate with awe how far you’ve come in those first few steps of sobriety and in your faith and willingness to let go of your fears. Celebrate those first faltering moments of learning what it meant to take care of yourself. Even now, with each step you take, you are being transformed. Celebrate!

Turn around. Look. See how far you’ve come. Celebrate the journey that you’ve taken so far.

And look forward to the adventure that lies ahead.

God, help me celebrate all our triumphs. Thank you for walking with me, even when I felt I was walking alone.

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Today’s Gift
December 6

Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.
—William James

Before Orville and Wilbur Wright ever flew the first airplane at Kitty Hawk, they believed flight was possible. They had a picture of it in their minds. The first step in creating anything is to be able to picture it in our minds. If we can picture it as a possibility, we can work to make it happen.

When we were small, we dreamed a thousand dreams about what could happen in our lives. Anything, even magical things, seemed like they could happen, and our world was full of visions. That part of us that believes wonderful, magical things can happen is still in us. It may have been beaten down for a while, but it is still there waiting to help us seek the wonderful, lovely, and good things in life.

Which of my dreams can I work toward today?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 6

All real living is meeting.
—Martin Buber

Sharing coffee with a friend or playing a game of golf with him provides a little relaxation, a little fun, and a chance to catch up on each other’s lives. Such things are the meetings of life. Holding a small child on one’s lap, even walking the dog are meetings too. They are relationships with other lives based on sharing time with one another.

Meetings – this sharing of time – can be with the full range of our existence. A tree, a lake, a mountain, the stars meet with us in solitude and enlarge our lives. Meeting is more than driving by. We meet a neighbor, a woman walking down the sidewalk, a driver in the next car. Each meeting inspires different responses in us. With some, we may be open and receiving; with others, fearful; and yet with others, we want to exploit and use. If all life is meeting, perhaps I do not wish to meet in the way I have been. The way I meet others changes me. Maybe I am missing something. I can have more life by making more contact.

God, please guide my awareness in this day to each meeting as it occurs so that 1 can make contact more fully.

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Daily TAO
December 6
CONTEXT

Context. Connection. Engagement.
If we understand these words,
We do not need esoteric terms.

We can say that Tao is the context for everything, but we must go deeper than that.

All things are relative to their surroundings and to us. Strictly speaking, something that is one way to us will be another way to someone else. It might be very subtle, but there will be differences worth considering.

What do we do with this understanding? First, we have to reconsider that all things are connected. Although the angles of relationships shift and differ for each of us, we must be aware of the actual connections and even take advantage of them.

Secondly, we have to understand that relationships are transitory.  We must have constant awareness to fit ourselves into the changing constellations of life.

Thirdly, we have to understand the value of our own point of view.  Out of this mass of changing concordances, we must pick out the coordinates by which we act at any given moment.

We should take comfort in this situation. As long as we engage life fully, we need not fear being separated from the essential current of life.

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