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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – December 7, 2013

NA Just For Today
December 7
Surviving Our Emotions

“We use the tools available to us and develop the ability to survive our emotions.”
Basic Text pg. 30

“Survive my emotions?” some of us say. “You’ve got to be kidding!” When we were using, we never gave ourselves the chance to learn how to survive them. You don’t survive your feelings, we thought-you drug them. The problem was, that “cure” for our unsurvivable emotions was killing us. That’s when we came to Narcotics Anonymous, started working the Twelve Steps and, as a result, began to mature emotionally.

Many of us found emotional relief right from the start. We were tired of pretending that our addiction and our lives were under control; it actually felt good to finally admit they weren’t. After sharing our inventory with our sponsor, we began to feel like we didn’t have to deny who we were or what we felt in order to be accepted. When we’d finished making our amends, we knew we didn’t have to suffer with guilt; we could own up to it and it wouldn’t kill us. The more we worked the NA program, the better we felt about living life as it came to us.

The program works today as well as it ever did. By taking stock of our day, getting honest about our part in it, and surrendering to reality, we can survive the feelings life throws our way. By using the tools available to us, we’ve developed the ability to survive our emotions.

Just for today: I will not deny my feelings. I will practice honesty and surrender to life as it is. I will use the tools of this program to survive my emotions.

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Daily Reflections
December 7
TRUE AMBITION

True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 124-25

During my drinking years, my one and only concern was to have my fellow man think highly of me. My ambition in everything I did was to have the power to be at the top. My inner self kept telling me something else but I couldn’t accept it. I didn’t even allow myself to realize that I wore a mask continually. Finally, when the mask came off and I cried out to the only God I could conceive, the Fellowship of A.A., my group and the Twelve Steps were there. I learned how to change resentments into acceptance, fear into hope and anger into love. I have learned also, through loving without undue expectations, through sharing my concerns and caring for my fellow man, that each day can be joyous and fruitful. I begin and end my day with thanks to God, who has so generously shed His grace on me.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 7
A.A. Thought For The Day

When people come back to A.A. after having a slip, the temptation is strong to say nothing about it. No other A.A. member should force them to declare themselves. It is entirely up to them. If they are well-grounded in A.A., they will realize that it’s up to them to speak up at the next meeting and tell about their slip. There is no possible evasion of this duty, if they are thoroughly honest and really desirous of living the A.A. way again. When they have done it, their old confidence returns. They are home again.  Their slip should not be mentioned again by others. They are again a good member of A.A. Am I tolerant of other peoples’ mistakes?

Meditation For The Day

It is in the union of a soul with God that strength, new life and spiritual power come. Bread sustains the body but we cannot live by bread alone. To try to do God’s will is the meat and support of true living. We feed on that spiritual food. Soul starvation comes from failing to do so. The world talks about bodies that are undernourished.  What of the souls that are undernourished? Strength and peace come from partaking of spiritual food.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not try to live by bread alone.  I pray that my spirit may live by trying to do the will of God as I understand it.

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As Bill Sees It
December 7
Foundation For Life, p. 33

We discover that we receive guidance for our lives to just about the extent that we stop making demands upon God to give it to us on order and on our terms.

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

In praying, we ask simply that throughout the day God place in us the best understanding of His will that we can have for that day, and that we be given the grace by which we may carry it out.

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

There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life.

12 & 12
1. p. 104
2. p. 102
3. p. 98

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Walk In Dry Places
December 7
What rather than who
Principles before Personalities.

We’re sometimes led to do something because a persuasive or important person recommends it. This is, in fact, the strategy behind endorsement advertising.

We learn in AA that it’s more important to ask what is right that who is offering a course of action. If a course of action is right, it matters not who recommends it. If it is wrong, a dozen important poeole cannot make it right by endorsing it.

There are, indeed, many important people whom we can know and trust. But we should always remember that every human being will turn out to have clay feet if he or she is set up as a god. Our trust must always be in our Higher Power and in principles that never fail.

I’ll not be unduly impressed today by persuasive, charismatic people. I’ll follow their ideas only if I believe them to be right. Principles have a precedence over personality.

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Keep It Simple
December 7

We are here to add what we can to, not to get what we can get from, Life.
–Sir William Osler

Service is a word we hear in our recovery program. Service means work we do for others. It’s the backbone of our program. The reason is simple. Service to our Higher Power and to others breaks down our wanting to be self-centered. Service brings us back into the world. We really are part of the group when we pitch in to make coffee, set up chairs, or talk in meetings. We really feel like part of the family when we run errands and help with meals and housework. We really connect with our Higher Power when we pray, “Use me today to help others.” Service breaks down the feeling of being alone that being self -centered brings.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to be of service to You and others. Show me what is needed.

Action for the Day: Today will be a service day. I’ll see how valued I am. I’ll give to others, knowing that I, too, will receive.

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 7

Promises that you make to yourself are often like the Japanese plum tree–they bear no fruit.
–Frances Marion

The resolve to fulfill commitments we make to ourselves and others may be lacking until we learn to rely on the wisdom and strength offered by our higher power–strength that will make us confident in any situation; wisdom that will insure our right actions. What is difficult alone is always eased in partnership.

We promise ourselves changed behavior, new habits, perhaps, or a positive attitude. But then we proceed to focus on our liabilities, giving them even more power, a greater hold over us. We can practice our assets, and they’ll foster the promises we want to keep.

No longer need we shame ourselves about unfulfilled promises. Whatever our desires, whatever our commitments, if for the good of others and ourselves, they will come to fruition. We can ask for direction. We can ask for resolve, and each worthy hope and unrealized promise will become reality.

My assets, when strengthened through use, pave the way for God’s help. Any promise can bear fruit when I make it in partnership with God.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 7
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.

Max hadn’t gotten that way because I didn’t care. Indeed, it seemed that I cared too much. I had sent her to four consecutive psychiatrists, and not one of them had gotten me sober. I also sent my kids to psychiatrists. I remember, one time, even the dog had a psychiatric diagnosis. I yelled at Max, “What do you mean, ‘The dog needs more love’? You tell that dumb cat-and-dog doctor he’s not a Beverly Hills psychiatrist. All I want to know is, why does that dog wet in my lap every time I hold him?” (That dog hasn’t wet my pants once since I joined A.A., and neither have I!)

p. 408

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 7

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

Alcoholics are certainly all-or-nothing people. Our reactions to money prove this. As A.A. emerged from its infancy into adolescence, we swung from the idea that we needed vast sums of money to the notion that A.A. shouldn’t have any. On every lip were the words “You can’t mix A.A. and money. We shall have to separate the spiritual from the material.” We took this violent new tack because here and there members had tried to make money out of their A.A. connections, and we feared we’d be exploited. Now and then, grateful benefactors had endowed clubhouses, and as a result there was sometimes outside interference in our affairs. We had been presented with a hospital, and almost immediately the donor’s son became its principal patient and would-be manager. One A.A. group was given five thousand dollars to do with what it would. The hassle over that chunk of money played havoc for years. Frightened by these complications, some groups refused to have a cent in their treasuries.

p. 161

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Xtra Thoughts
December 7

The heart is wiser than the intellect.
–Josiah Holland (1819-1881)

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
–Kahlil Gibran

The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.
–Ethel Percy Andrus

One of the great gifts of sobriety is learning to see beauty in things not always with the eyes, but with the feeling of the heart.
–Shelley

“When you get in a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
–Harriet Beecher Stowe

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
–Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 7
REALITY

“Man is a complex being: he makes deserts bloom and lakes die.”
— Gil Stern

I am a mixture of good and bad. When I was drinking I could be cruel, sarcastic and violent and at other times loving, sensitive and thoughtful. Today in my recovery I know I can be honest, humble and creative, but I also carry within me a dark and destructive side that often hurts, lies and seeks negative power. What a mixture I was and what a mixture I still am! From all my many conversations with a variety of people I have discovered that this is what it is to be human.

Today I am able to accept this and develop my spiritual life. I am not perfect, but I try to improve my attitude and behavior. I am not God, but I can aspire to be the best that I can be.

Today I own the sickness in my life, but I also accept the responsibility for recovery.

With my feet in the dirt, I look to the stars.

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Xtra Thoughts
December 7

“To you, O lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: ‘What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help.’ You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.”
Psalms 30: 8-12

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”
Psalm 51:10

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Daily Inspiration
December 7

For everyone there is a way to serve and honor God in this life on earth. Lord, let me seize every opportunity, no matter how small, to glorify You, make you better known and always bring myself and others closer to You.

Part with what you cherish if it separates you or leads you away from God. Lord, help me place my heart in the right place so that I am not distracted in my journey to Eternal Life.

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A Day At A Time
December 7

Reflection For The Day

As long as I stubbornly hang on to the conviction that I can live solely by my individual strength and intelligence, for just that long a working faith in my Higher Power is impossible. This is true no matter how strongly I believe that God exists. My religious beliefs — no matter how sincere — will remain forever lifeless if I continue trying to play God myself. What it comes down to, we find, is that as long as we place self-reliance first, true reliance upon a Higher Power is out of the question. How strong is my desire to seek and do God’s will?

Today I Pray

I pray that I may not place my self-reliance above reliance of God. May I know that there is no conflict between taking responsibility for my own actions, which I have been taught is the essence of maturit7y, and looking to God for guidance. May I remember that if I stick to the “do-it-myself” rule, it is like refusing to ask for a road map from a tourist information bureau — and wandering around forever lost.

Today I Will Remember

Maturity is knowing where to go for help.

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One More Day
December 7

Man adjusts to what he should not;  he is unable to adjust to what he should
–Jean Toomer

Most teenagers love French fries, pop, and candy bars.   We know  that most fast-food and sugar is bad for us — and  so do teenagers — but many of us continue to munch on junk food.

Now that we have an adult’s perspective, one would think that adjusting to new things or getting rid of bad habits would become easier.  No so!  Adjusting to change is not easy, particularly when it involves our health.

One of the most difficult problems is maintaining a balance between dealing with the chronic problem and wanting to live without it.  We learn, despite our resistance to change, that we can have an illness and can adjust — we can remain strong and happy.

I am confident of my ability to deal with my illness, and live a good life.

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One Day At A Time
December 7
~ CHANGE ~

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we are not really living.
–Gail Sheehy

Throughout my life, I have been terrified of change. To me, change meant abandoning one set of experiences which, although adverse, were at least familiar. I thought I’d be replacing them with another set of experiences which would surely be at least as bad, and which had the additional disadvantage of being unknown.

In this program, I was appalled to see a whole room of people who spoke enthusiastically, joyfully, about the changes that the program was bringing to their lives –not just in terms of released weight, but in so many areas of day-to-day living. Panic-stricken at the idea that I, too, would change, I talked about it after the first meeting with a dear friend.

“Hey,” she smiled. “No one’s forcing you. If changing gets too scary, you can always decide you want to stay put.”

Armed with that slight reassurance, I decided I would go with the program until it got too scary.

In the course of the next weeks, as I maintained strict abstinence and began to work the Steps, strange things began to happen, imperceptibly at first. I found myself looking forward to getting up in the morning and adding all kinds of things to my morning ritual: body lotion, foot care, cosmetics. Amazingly, my life-long habit of nail-biting disappeared, and my nails are not only well-tended, but polished!

On the professional level, I started keeping a list of projects due, instead of relying on my sketchy memory. I hired someone to answer phones and to help keep my eternally messy desk more or less clear. Most important, I have started an honest reassessment of my relationship with my life partner, and have decided that it’s not enough that this is the first relationship of my life that is free of physical abuse; I deserve to be loved and desired, and to have that love and desire expressed.

At a face-to-face program meeting this week, I read the Promises. I was amazed to hear a strong, confident voice–mine–saying “Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change,” and I realized that I was changing. I love it!

One Day at a Time . . .
I will welcome change, for change is growth, and I will know that, now that I have placed my life in the hands of my Higher Power, any change will be for the better.

Sharon N.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 7

“A man should rely on his own resources; the one who so trains himself is ready for any emergency.”
–Oral Tradition, OMAHA

Man is designed to function independently and to rely on the Creator for his resources. If we build our relationship with the Great Spirit, we are ready when emergencies occur. We need to build a trusting relationship with the Creator. We do this by constantly talking with the Creator. It’s good to talk to Him many times a day. Then we will realize, even though we can’t see Him, that He is always with us and He is ready to respond to our requests.

Creator, let me remember to talk to You many times today.

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Journey To The Heart
December 7
Let Go of Feeling Overwhelmed

So often the simple tasks of life can seem overwhelming. But feeling overwhelmed is only a reaction to them.

Many things need to be done–laundry, housekeeping, car maintenance, bills, taxes, appointments, work– the everyday responsibilities of our lives. The task of quietly beginning, doing the first step of the first task can help us find our way through. Once we begin, we see that things aren’t overwhelming. The simple act of setting to the task simplifies it. Our sense of peace reappears in the magic of the present moment.

Magic and power don’t come from contemplating all that lies ahead, how much needs to be done, all that might go wrong, whether we’ll get through. That’s fear. We don’t find the magic and power by denying, escaping, or ignoring our feelings, even feelings of being overwhelmed. Feel what you need to feel. Release it. Go forward in love, one moment at a time.

We will be given the power to do all we need to do. Take the simple steps that lie before you. Take one step at a time. You’ll find the way again.

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The Language of Letting Go
December 7
When the Time is Right

There are times when we simply do not know what to do, or where to go, next. Sometimes these periods are brief, sometimes lingering.

We can get through these times. We can rely on our program and the disciplines of recovery. We can cope by using our faith, other people, and our resources.

Accept uncertainty. We do not always have to know what to do or where to go next. We do not always have clear direction. Refusing to accept the inaction and limbo makes things worse.

It is okay to temporarily be without direction. Say, “I don’t know,” and be comfortable with that. We do not have to try to force wisdom, knowledge, or clarity when there is none.

While waiting for direction, we do not have to put our life on hold. Let go of anxiety and enjoy life. Relax. Do something fun. Enjoy the love and beauty in your life. Accomplish small tasks. They may have nothing to do with solving the problem, or finding direction, but this is what we can do in the interim.

Clarity will come. The next step will present itself. Indecision, inactivity, and lack of direction will not last forever.

Today, I will accept my circumstances even if I lack direction and insight. I will remember to do things that make myself and others feel good during those times. I will trust that clarity will come of its own accord.

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 7
Enjoy your successes

Eventually, if you put enough effort into something, it gets finished. The house is built, the picture is painted, the report is completed. Let yourself rest and relax in those moments. Take a moment to enjoy the feeling of completeness. That moment will be a fleeting one. There are many more ideas and tasks waiting around the bend.

Gaining experience and learning lessons from failed efforts is an important part of our path. But success feels good,too, and it’s meant to be enjoyed.

If you’ve had a recent accomplishment in your life, take some time off. Celebrate it. Celebrate those smaller moments of victory,too. Sit back, look at what you’ve done and say, “It is good.” Take yourself out to dinner, take a vacation, or even a short trip to the beach.

Reflect on your past successes. Forget about your failures and the things that went wrong. Think about all that you’ve done right in your life, the things that have worked out, the answered prayers. Don’t just stare at your problems and everything that’s gone wrong. Look at what’s right about your life,too.

Sit back and rest for a moment. Then say, How sweet it is.

God, thank you for all my victories, for all the challenges you’ve helped me meet. Thanks for all those times you answered my prayers and met my needs. Help me rest and celebrate the good in my life.

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Today’s Gift
December 7

Only people who have joyfully accepted themselves can take all the risks and responsibilities of being themselves.
—John Powell

If we have ever gone to school with a black eye, we know how embarrassing it can be. We feel self-conscious and ill at ease. Friends come up to us one after another to ask how we got it. We may want to stay away from people until the eye is better. All of us have things about ourselves we have a hard time accepting. It doesn’t have to be as unusual as a black eye. We may think we’re too big, too little, too slow, not good readers, not good looking enough, or not popular enough.

We may need to talk about these things with someone else, so these bits of ourselves we don’t accept won’t limit our freedom to grow. By talking to another, we may find those traits aren’t noticed by anyone but ourselves. We may also find that what we once thought of as weak points can be turned to strengths.

What weakness can I turn to a strength today?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 7

Seldom, or perhaps never, does a marriage develop into an individual relationship smoothly and without crises; there is no coming to consciousness without pain.
—Carl Jung

We don’t seek perfect relationships in marriage or in other places in our lives. What we seek instead are real and honest connections. Perfection has a picture-book form, but it has no depth and no personality. This means that sometimes we will get upset with others, or they will get upset with us. We need a basic commitment to stay in the relationship dialogue, to continue returning to it as long as both people are willing to work on it. Working through crises is how a relationship grows from simply being an idea to having its unique reality.

We will be frightened by the rough spots. We will wonder if there is something wrong with us or with the other person, or the relationship. We cannot escape such questions. To run from the difficulties cuts off the possibilities for growth. It is a frightening thing to become real, to come into consciousness.

Today, I pray for courage to remain honest and faithful to real relationships through the crises.

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Daily TAO
December 7
SIMPLICITY

“Be aware of Tao.”
Isn’t that simple?
No — let’s reduce more :
“Be Tao.”

Why go through all this rigmarole? Why endlessly examine scriptures and debate obscure actions of long-dead saints and equally dead words?  We need to affirm experience over words, individuality over dogma.

After all this study of Tao, there should only be this simple conclusion : There is only us and Tao.

No, more simple still is to be Tao itself. Then everything that is Tao is us.

Those who follow Tao reduce everything in complexity until they reach the final irreducible conclusion : You are Tao. When you can be that without any contradictions, then you have truly achieved sublime simplicity.

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