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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings — December 8

NA Just For Today
December 8
Calling A Defect A Defect

“When we see how our defects exist in our lives and accept them, we can let go of them and get on with our new life.”
Basic Text pg. 33-34

Sometimes our readiness to have our character defects removed depends on what we call them. If misnaming our defects makes them seem less “defective” we may be unable to see the damage they cause. And if they seem to be causing no harm, why would we ever ask our Higher Power to remove them from our lives?

Take “people pleasing” for example. Doesn’t really sound all that bad, does it? It just means we’re nice to people, right? Not quite. To put it bluntly, it means we’re dishonest and manipulative. We lie about our feelings, our beliefs, and our needs, trying to soothe others into compliance with our wishes.

Or perhaps we think we’re “easygoing.” But does “easygoing” mean we ignore our housework, avoid confrontations, and stay put in a comfortable rut? Then a better name for it would be “laziness” or “procrastination” or “fear.”

Many of us have trouble identifying our character defects. If this is the case for us, we can talk with our sponsor or our NA friends. We clearly and honestly describe our behavior to them and ask for their help in identifying our defects. As time passes, we’ll become progressively better able to identify our own character defects, calling them by their true names.

Just for today: I will call my defects by their true names. If I have trouble doing this, I will ask my sponsor for help.

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Daily Reflections
December 8
SERVICE

Life will take on a new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you. to have a host of friends – this is an experience you must not miss. . . . Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 89

It is through service that the greatest rewards are to be found. But to be in a position of offering true, useful and effective service to others, I must first work on myself. This means that I have to abandon myself to God, admitting my faults and clearing away the wreckage of my past. Work on myself has taught me how to find the necessary peace and serenity to successfully merge inspiration and experience. I have learned how to be, in the truest sense, an open channel of sobriety.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 8
A.A. Thought For The Day

The length of time of our sobriety is not as important as the quality of it. A person who has been in A.A. for a number of years may not be in as good mental condition as a person who has only been in a few months. It is a great satisfaction to have been an A.A. member for a long time and we often mention it. It may sometimes help the newer members, because they may say to themselves, if they can do it I can do it. And yet the older members must realize that as long as they live they are only one drink away from a drunk. What is the quality of my sobriety?

Meditation For The Day

“And greater works than this shall ye do.” We can do greater works when we have more experience of the new way of life. We can have all the power we need from the Unseen God. We can have His grace, His spirit, to make us effective as we go along each day. Opportunities for a better world are all around us. Greater works can we do. But we do not work alone. The power of God is behind all good works.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may find my rightful place in the world.  I pray that my works may be made more effective by the grace of God.

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As Bill Sees It
December 8
Two-Way Tolerance, p. 73

“Your point of view was once mine. Fortunately, A.A. is constructed so that we need not debate the existence of God; but for best results, most of us must depend upon a Higher Power, and no right-minded A.A. would challenge your privilege to believe precisely that way.  We should all be glad that good recoveries can be made even on this limited basis.

“But turnabout is fair play. If you would expect tolerance for your point of view, I am sure you would be willing to reciprocate. I try tremember that, down through the centuries, lots of brighter people than I have been found on both sides of this debate about belief. For myself, of late years, I am finding it much easier to believe that God made man, than that man made God.”

Letter, 1966

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Walk In Dry Places
December 8
A new frame of mind
Mood Control

Long after AA was started, the term mood-altering drug came into vogue. Though this originally was applied to hard drugs, it is also true of alcohol.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to alter one’s mood. None of us really wants to be depressed, anxious, or fearful. We’re all looking for ways to stay happy and high-spirited.

The problem with all mood-altering drugs, alcohol included, is that they provide temporary highs while bringing on long-term destruction and enslavement. We would love to have those highs if they did not carry such a terrible price.

But we can seek a new frame of mind in sober living that will give us better moods without destroying us. This is “the peace that passes all understanding,” and it comes only from living the right way and listening to our Higher Power. This is the only mood control that really works.

I want to be in a good mood today, but it must be as a result of having a healthy frame of mind. I have no desire for the false highs that were killing me.

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Keep It Simple
December 8

“When I was about 12, I used to think I must be a genius, but nobody’s noticed.”
—John Lennon.

“We all have secret ideas about ourselves. How often we have said to ourselves, If only They knew…But if we watch others, we see that many of their ideas are not so secret. We can often guess how they see themselves by the way they act. We all act out our secrets. Faith means trusting our Higher Power with our secrets. Faith in others means trusting them with our secret feelings. Why share these secrets? When we were using alcohol or other drugs we lived too much in a secret world. We need to give up the secrets that keep us from others. We need others in our lives. Our spirits need to be close to others.

Prayer for the Day: God, help me to live in ways I’m not ashamed to tell others. Allow me to meet you and others, free of shame.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll share one of my secrets with a loving friend.”

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 8

I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring.
–Dodie Smith

Repeatedly, today and every day, we will be in new situations, new settings with old friends, and old settings and situations with new friends. Each instance is fresh, unlike all the times before. And inspiration can accompany each moment, if we but recognize how special it is.

“We will not pass this way again,” so the song says, which heightens the meaning of each encounter, every experience. Acknowledging that something can be gained each step along the way invites inspiration.

Inspiration moves us to new heights. We will be called to step beyond our present boundaries. Maybe today. Whenever the inspiration catches our attention, we can trust its invitation; we are ready for the challenge it offers. We need not let our narrow, personal expectations of an experience, a new situation perhaps, prevent us from being open to all the dynamic possibilities it offers.

I must be willing to let my whole self be moved, inspired. I must be willing to let each moment I experience be the only moment getting my attention.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 8
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.

The harder I worked with Max, the sicker she got. So, when it ended up at a psycho ward, I wasn’t at all that surprised. But then, when that steel door slammed shut, and she was the one that went home, I truly was amazed.

p. 408

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 8

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

Despite these misgivings, we had to recognize the fact that A.A. had to function. Meeting places cost something. To save whole areas from turmoil, small offices had to be set up, telephones installed, and a few full-time secretaries hired. Over many protests, these things were accomplished. We saw that if they weren’t, the man coming in the door couldn’t get a break. These simple services would require small sums of money which we could and would pay ourselves. At last the pendulum stopped swinging and pointed straight at Tradition Seven as it reads today.

pp. 161-162

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Xtra Thoughts
December 8

A truly great person is the one who gives you a chance.
–Paul Duffy

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
–Frederick Keonig

The surest way to drive out the darkness is to bring in the light.
–unknown

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
–Walt Disney

“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

Serenity isn’t freedom from the storm; it is peace within the storm.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 8
ENJOYMENT

“All animals, except man, know that the ultimate of life is to enjoy it.”
— Samuel Butler

Today I choose to enjoy my life. Regardless of the problem and difficulties that this day will bring, I have an inner joy that comes with my recovery from addiction. With a clear head and body free from drugs and chemicals I can face today and look forward to tomorrow. My life is to be enjoyed not endured. My worst days today are better than my best days as an addict. Spiritually I am free because I have begun to discover me. God can now be perceived in His world because I have sobriety.

Lord of all play, I dance before You in my world and I can stop to smell the roses.

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Bible Scriptures
December 8

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.”
Psalm 95:1

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Romans 8:28

“God is able to do far more than we would dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”
Ephesians 3:20

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Daily Inspiration
December 8

If you are able to accept the hand of love that God extends to you, you will be able to free yourself of fears and show the full beauty of your inner spirit. Lord, we all suffer from weaknesses of one kind or another, so in our moments of strength, we ask that we may offer help, not judgment, to those who need it.

Take less for granted and you will become very busy enjoying all that you have. Lord, thank you for my blessings and for all those that I am able to share them with.

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A Day At A Time
December 8

Reflection For The Day

We often see people in The Program — devoutly and with seeming sincerity — ask for God’s guidance on matters ranging from major crises to such insignificant things as what to serve at a dinner party. Though they may be well-intentioned, such people tend to force their wills into all sorts of situations — with the comfortable assurance that they’re following God’s specific directions. In reality, this sort of prayer is nothing more than a self0serving demand of God for “replies;” it has little to do with The Program’s suggested Eleventh Step. Do I strive regularly to study each of the Steps, and to practice them in all my affairs?

Today I Pray

May I not make the common mistake of listing my own solutions for God and then asking for a stamp of Divine approval. May I catch myself if I am not really opening my mind to Gods guidance, but merely laying out my own answers with a “what do You think of these?” attitude.

Today I Will Remember

Am I looking for Gods rubber stamp?

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One More Day
December 8

There are some remedies worse than the disease.
—  Publilius Syrus

Sometimes the very medicines prescribed to help us return to a more stable health situation can cause side effects which can be nearly intolerable.  How ludicrous that a drug intended to help us shake off the exhaustion caused by a chronic health condition can cause fatigue.  What a joke on us that a pill taken for arthritics, for example, can cause other potential medical problems.

Despite these side effects, we should not stop following dosage instructions until we talk with our doctors, who can help minimize the side effects.  In this way we will gain one more foothold in the process of learning to live with our problems.

I ‘ll try to keep communication lines open with my doctor to make it as easy as possible upon myself.

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One Day At A Time
December 8
~ ENOUGH ~

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
–The Bible, Book of Psalms

As a practicing compulsive overeater, I was obsessed with getting my “fair share” and stockpiling everything from food to friends. I was afraid there wouldn’t be “enough” in the future. One of the Promises of the program states that “Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.” But just how can I calm down when the thought comes that there isn’t enough, or that there won’t be enough in the future?

At a recent meeting, the speaker said that when he began to worry about his finances, he would ask himself, “Do I have enough money between now and the time I go to bed?” Since we’re only alive in the moment, that’s really the appropriate time frame. To me, that sounds like the best example of “One Day At A Time” thinking I’ve heard so far! Additionally, this could be applied to anything else I might worry about: “Do I have enough FOOD between now and bedtime?… enough LOVE?” You-fill-in-the-blank, because it isn’t always just economic insecurity that haunts us!

One Day at a Time . . .
I’m learning to trust my Higher Power, which always supplies my needs. Whenever I start to worry, I can ask myself if I have enough to last between now and the time I go to bed, and cultivate trust and appreciation for the gifts I receive daily.

Marilyn

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 8

“We as men should not fear our mates; we should listen to their counsel.”
–Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman, Traditional Circle of Elders

The Elders say the men should look at women in a sacred way. The men should never put women down or shame them in any way. When we have problems, we should seek their counsel. We should share with them openly. A woman has intuitive thought. She has access to another system of knowledge that few men develop. She can help us understand. We must treat her in a good way.

Great Spirit, let me look upon the woman in a good way.

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Journey To The Heart
December 8
Don’t Pick Up Energy That’s Not Yours

I walked into the small-town diner and sat down at the counter. I was the only customer, but the waitress ignored me. I waited while she sat in a booth, reading the paper. Finally, she lowered the paper. “Is there something you want?” she barked from across the room.

By the time I left the restaurant, I felt as crabby as the waitress appeared. It took a while to figure out what happened, what had changed my mood. Then I realized I had picked up her negative energy– feelings that had nothing to do with me. It was like someone had splashed my windshield with mud.

Most of us have crabby days and an adundance of our own feelings to deal with. We don’t need to let others splash their negative energy on us. We don’t need to pick it up and carry it around. If someone splashes your windshield with mud while you’re driving down the road, what do you do? You wash it off and go on your way.

Learn to tell when what you’re feeling is your emotions, and your business. Learn to tell when someone has splashed on you. You don’t have to take responsibility for what’s not yours. Be done with it as quickly as possible.

Thoughts are energy. Crabby thoughts and crabby emotions can be like mud. If someone splashes on you, wash off your windshield, send them a blessing, and go on down the road.

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The Language of Letting Go
December 8
Valuing Our Needs

When we don’t ask for what we want and need, we discount ourselves. We deserve better.

Maybe others taught us it wasn’t polite or appropriate to speak up for ourselves. The truth is, if we don’t, our unmet wants and needs may ultimately come back to haunt our relationships. We may end up feeling angry or resentful, or we may begin to punish someone else for not guessing what we need. We may end the relationship because it doesn’t meet our needs.

Intimacy and closeness are only possible in a relationship when both people can say what they want and need. Sustained intimacy demands this.

Sometimes, we may even have to demand what we want. That’s called setting a boundary. We do this not to control another person, but to gain control of our life.

Our attitude toward our needs is important too. We must value them and take them seriously if we expect others to take us seriously. When we begin to place value and importance on our needs we’ll see a remarkable change. Our wants and needs will begin to get met.

Today, I will respect the wants and needs of others and myself. I will tell others, my Higher Power, and myself what I want and need. I will listen to what they want and need too.

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 8
Enjoy the ordinary

Days before, there had been a tremendous storm out in the Pacific Ocean. Now the swells from the storm were smashing against the shore in California. The tide rose and rose. The house shook with each wave as the breaking water slammed into the pilings under the house.

I went to bed but couldn’t sleep. I got up and walked outside to check on the kayak. It was still there, but the water was far up under the house, threatneing to grab the boat. I went back to bed and eventually drifted off to sleep in spite of the noisy, angry sea.

The next day, the sea returned to normal. That night when I went to bed, the gentle rolling of the sea lulled me to sleep. Soon, I forgot about the storm, how loud and angry the waves had been. I once again began to take the gentle soothing sound of the surf for granted.

It’s easy to take many things in our life for granted: health, the presence of a loved one in our life, friends, food, even sobriety and recovery. When life proceeds smoothly, it’s easy to take the ordinary for granted.

Look at the ordinary in your life. How would you feel if it was taken away? Don’t just be grateful for successes. Be grateful for and celebrate the ordinary in your world.

God, help me to not take anything for granted. Teach me to recognize, appreciate, and celebrate the ordinary in this world. Help me see how beautiful and meaningful the ordinary really is.

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Today’s Gift
December 8

If you must love your neighbor as yourself, it is at least as fair to love yourself as your neighbor.
—Nicholas De Chamfort

We sometimes find it difficult to accept a compliment. We may feel we don’t deserve such attention, and point out reasons why the compliment is untrue. When we act this way, we show a lack of love for ourselves.

God teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Yet, before we can love anyone, we must believe we are worthy of the same love. No creature is undeserving of love, God reminds us of that. We can stop hiding behind feelings of unworthiness. There’s nothing stopping us but ourselves. Sometimes it takes courage to say thank you when we get a compliment. Let’s exercise that courage, and each time we do, we’ll find our self-love growing.

When I thank people today, will I have the courage to smile, too?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 8

There are two equally dangerous extremes – to shut reason out, and to let nothing else in.
—Pascal

Some of the greatest scientific thinkers deeply respect the nonrational, and they aren’t afraid to say so. Perhaps it is part of their genius. The nonrational inspires fun, creativity, a connection with others, and a feeling of reverence. Trying to contain our thoughts within reasonableness squeezes the life out of them. The simple beauty of color and form in a stone; the graceful, synchronized movement of a flock of birds; the miracle of understanding and loyalty in a friendship – these are truths beyond our ownership. We can feel these truths. We can be moved and inspired by them. We can never fully know their mysteries.

Our addictive natures have led us men to overemphasize reason and the control it promises. We’ve become reasonable while discarding the less controlled, creative, humorous, mysterious, and personal aspects of our lives. At this very moment we may be so focused on figuring out the reasonable answer to a problem that we are blocking the gut message, which is also here for us.

I can appreciate rather than understand the mystery of life.

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Daily TAO
December 8
MANIFESTATION

Watching a performance of warriors, I was told,
“This fighter’s tradition is six hundred years old.”
And I saw a performance so mired in ritual —
As if nothing valid had happened in six hundred years.
We must honor the classical without being irrelevant.

Followers of Tao place great value on ancient traditions. A living and valid tradition is like a river with a long course : It brings freshness, richness, and fertility. Just as a drought-ridden place cannot bring forth sweet fruit, those without tradition have less support for their endeavors.

What makes a tradition alive? The adherents must be fully capable of manifesting the greatness of their tradition in contemporary settings.  If someone says that they are expert in traditional medicine, then they must be able to heal others today. If someone says that they are capable in traditional calligraphy, then they must be able to write beautiful words today. If someone says that they have mastered esoteric spiritual traditions, Then they must be able to manifest the power of that spirit today.

We should not ape the habits and theories of a long dead people and time in the name of tradition. We must be ruthless in this respect. Unless the force of tradition allows us to manifest a unique greatness, there is no reason to keep it.

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