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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – November 11

Just For Today
November 11
From Surrender To Acceptance

“We surrender quietly and let the God of our understanding take care of us.”
Basic Text p. 26

Surrender and acceptance are like infatuation and love. Infatuation begins when we encounter someone special. Infatuation requires nothing but the acknowledgement of the object of our infatuation. For infatuation to become love, however, requires a great deal of effort. That initial connection must be slowly, patiently nurtured into a lasting, durable bond.

It’s the same with surrender and acceptance. We surrender when we acknowledge our powerlessness. Slowly, we come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can give us the care we need. Surrender turns to acceptance when we let this Power into our lives. We examine ourselves and let our God see us as we are. Having allowed the God of our understanding access to the depths of ourselves, we accept more of God’s care. We ask this Power to relieve us of our shortcomings and help us amend the wrongs we’ve done. Then, we embark on a new way of life, improving our conscious contact and accepting our Higher Power’s continuing care, guidance, and strength.

Surrender, like infatuation, can be the beginning of a lifelong relationship. To turn surrender into acceptance, however, we must let the God of our understanding take care of us each day.

Just for today: My recovery is more than infatuation. I have surrendered. Today, I will nurture my conscious contact with my Higher Power and accept that Power’s continuing care for me.

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Daily Reflections
November 11
SELF-ACCEPTANCE

“We know that God lovingly watches over us. We know that when we turn to Him, all will be well with us, here and hereafter.”
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 105

I pray for the willingness to remember that I am a child of God, a divine soul in human form, and that my most basic and urgent life-task is to accept, know, love and nurture myself. As I accept myself, I am accepting God’s will. As I know and love myself, I am knowing and loving God. As I nurture myself I am acting on God’s guidance. I pray for the willingness to let go of my arrogant self-criticism and to praise God by humbly accepting and caring for myself.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 11
A.A. Thought For The Day

When I think of all who have gone before me, I realize that I am only one, not very important, person. What happens to me is not so very important after all. And A.A. has taught me to be more outgoing, to seek friendship by going at least half way; to have a sincere desire to help. I have more self-respect now that I have less sensitiveness. I have found that the only way to live comfortably with myself is to take a real interest in others. Do I realize that I am not so important after all?

Meditation For The Day

As you look back over your life, it is not too difficult to believe that what you went through was for a purpose, to prepare you for some valuable work in life. Everything in your way may well have been planned by God to make you of some use in the world. Each person’s life is like the pattern of a mosaic. Each thing that happened to you is like one tiny stone in the mosaic, and each tiny stone fits into the perfected pattern of the mosaic of your life, which has been designed by God.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not need to see the whole design of my life. I pray that I may trust the Designer.

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As Bill Sees It
November 11
In The Sunlight At Last, p. 313

When the thought was expressed that there might be a God personal to me, I didn’t like the idea. So my friend Ebby made what then seemed a novel suggestion. He said, “Why don’t you choose your own conception of God?”

That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last.

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

It may be possible to find explanations of spiritual experiences such as ours, but I have often tried to explain my own and have succeeded only in giving the story of it. I know the feeling it gave me and the results it has brought, but I realize I may never fully understand its deeper why and now.

1. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 12
2. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 45

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Walk In Dry Places
November 11
The rewards of truth
Seeking the truth

“The punishment of the liar is that he cannot believe anyone else,” wrote one shrewd philosopher. This is another way of saying that we reap what we sow, or that we tend to judge others by our own actions.

But when we decide to be completely truthful, we are not immediately given the ability to discern whether others are lying or not. It’s more important for us to realize that others’ lies don’t have the power to hurt us permanently if we persevere in the program.

Some people would argue with this, pointing to lies that have hurt innocent people in the past. But having no way of knowing all the facts of these cases, we cannot be the judge.

In our own experience, we’ll find that God alone is the source of all truth and will give us the protection and care we need if we seek truthfulness in everything we do. Any fear of being victimized by lying, we’ll learn, will melt away as we follow this conviction.

I’ll be as discreet as possible today, but I’ll also be truthful. I’ll find that this alone will lessen any fear of being victimized by a liar.

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Keep It Simple
November 11

“Have the courage to live; anyone can die.”
—Robert Cody

Living means facing all of life. Life is joy and sorrow. We used to be people who wanted the joy without the sorrow. But we can learn from hard times, maybe more than we do in easy times. Often, getting through hard times helps us grow. When things get tough, maybe we want to turn and run. Then, a gentle voice from within us says, “I am with you. You have friends who will help.” If we listen, we’ll hear our Higher Power. This is what is meant by “conscious contact” in Step 11. As this conscious contact grows, our courage grows. And we find the strength to face hard times.

Prayer for the Day: I pray for the strength and courage to live. I pray that I’ll never have to face hard time alone again.

Action for the Day: I’ll list two examples of “conscious contact” in my life.

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 11

“Life has got to be lived—that’s all there is to it. At 70, I would say the advantage is that you take life more calmly. You know that, ‘This, too, shall pass!'”
—Eleanor Roosevelt

Wisdom comes with age, but also with maturity. It is knowing that all is well in the midst of a storm. And as our faith grows, as we trust more that there is a power greater than ourselves which will see us through, we can relax, secure that a better time awaits us.

We will come to understand the part a difficult circumstance has played in our lives. Hindsight makes so much clear. The broken marriage, the lost job, the loneliness have all contributed to who we are becoming. The joy of the wisdom we are acquiring is that hindsight comes more quickly. We can, on occasion, begin to accept a difficult situation’s contribution to our wholeness while caught in the turmoil.

How far we have come! So seldom do we stay caught, really trapped, in the fear of misunderstanding. Life must teach us all we need to know. We can make the way easier by stretching our trust—by knowing fully that the pain of the present will open the way to the serenity of the future.

I know that this too shall pass.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
November 11
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

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

So my wife and I found a psychiatric social worker at the local Jewish Family Services agency. She saw us as a couple, then individually, then together, and so it went. When we were together, we worked on our interpersonal problems. When I saw her by myself, she would talk about drinking. I don’t know why she kept bringing it up. I drank, but not that much. I never even mentioned my drinking except maybe to say, “Yes, I do drink,” when she asked. It wasn’t the problem—the other things were. One day she read me some questions from a pamphlet, which I answered honestly. She concluded that maybe I drank too much, and we talked about that for several sessions.

p. 399

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 11

Tradition Four — “Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.”

But alas, this bright scene was not long in darkening. Confusion replaced serenity. It was found that some drunks yearned for education, but doubted if they were alcoholics. The personality defects of others could be cured maybe with a loan. Some were club-minded, but it was just a question of taking care of the lonely heart. Sometimes the swarming applicants would go for all three floors. Some would start at the top and come through to the bottom, becoming club members; others started in the club, pitched a binge, were hospitalized, then graduated to education on the third floor. It was a beehive of activity, all right, but unlike a beehive, it was confusion compounded. An A.A. group, as such, simply couldn’t handle this sort of project. All too late that was discovered. Then came the inevitable explosion—something like that day the boiler burst in Wombley’s Clapboard Factory. A chill chokedamp of fear and frustration fell over the group.

pp. 148-149

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Xtra Thoughts
November 11

“I can’t have a better tomorrow if I am thinking about yesterday all the time.”
—unknown

“You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest, that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.”
—Jan Glidewell

“Jesus is a friend who walks in when the world has walked out.”
—unknown

“When God leads, He provides.”
—unknown

“The times that are the most difficult for me are when God’s answer is ‘wait’ (rather than ‘yes’ or ‘no’). I can even take His ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ or ‘You want WHAT??????’ easier than ‘wait.'”
—unknown

“You can choose to worry about something or you can realize that there are actually very few circumstances in life you can control, and just let things be. This is not an ‘I don’t care’ attitude, this is simply accepting what is.”
—unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 11
PEACE

“Peace without justice is tyranny.”
—William Allen White

Peace at any price! Not for me today. For years I sought a peace that was based upon the “no-talk” principle remaining quiet, rather than causing upset or risking embarrassment. Such a peace was unjust. It only fed the disease and helped to keep me sick.

Today I seek a peace that involves discussing or confronting painful situations, often making me and others uncomfortable. Serenity is a peace that is arrived at after periods of pain but a necessary pain.

In my life today I have the courage to speak out and make choices that are good for me; God is alive in my choice.

May I forever search for the “peace” that is real. May I find “peace” in the justice of my lifestyle.

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Bible Scriptures
November 11

“O Lord I say to you ‘You are my God.’ Hear, O Lord, my cry for mercy.”
Psalm 140:6

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
James 1:22

“Jesus said, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'”
Matthew 11:28

“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life.”
Proverbs 15:4

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Daily Inspiration
November 11

Choose the direction of your day and then make a point of enjoying your choices. Lord, help me to do what I can when I can, but also, help me to know when doing nothing is the better choice.

Take care of yourself so that you may give care to others. Lord, may I never totally ignore myself and my feelings for the sake of others and fit in time daily to refresh my spirit.

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A Day At A Time
November 11, 2011

Reflection For The Day

What, exactly, is humility?  Does it mean that we are to be submissive, accepting everything that comes our way, no matter how humiliating?  Does it mean surrender to ugliness and a destructive way of life?  To the contrary.  The basic ingredient of all humility is simply a desire to seek and do God’s will.  Am I coming to understanding that an attitude of true humility confers dignity and grace on me, strengthening me to take intelligent spiritual action in solving my problems?

Today I Pray

May I discover that humility is not bowing and scraping, kowtowing or letting people walk all over me — all of which have built-in expectations of some sort of personal reward, like approval or sympathy.  Real humility is awareness of the vast love and unending might of God,  It is the perspective that tells me how I, ass a human being, relate to that Divine Power.

Today I Will Remember

Humility is awareness of God.

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One More Day
November 11

“Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for.”
—Dag Hammarskjold

The first time we go through a festive season without our spouse or a dear friend or beloved child, we may wonder if we can get through it. Pity overwhelms us as we think, “Surely no one has felt as bad as I do right now.” Pain increases our loneliness, and we feel crushed by the holiday preparations the rest of the world seems to be making.

We can struggle out of this self-imposed misery by using the strategies that have helped us cope with our chronic illnesses. Patience tells us that this too shall pass. Selflessness shows us others who need compassion more than we do. Spirituality reminds us that our pain and sadness can be entrusted to the loving care of our Higher Power.

I know the holidays can be difficult, and if I take them one day at a time, I will do just fine.

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One Day At A Time
November 11
Humor

“Don’t take yourself too damned seriously.”
—Rule #62, AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

In the years of my existence, before I got into recovery, I would run from one self-important crisis to another. Everything was so important, so heavy! What laughter there was ended up directed derisively at others. I treated my life with self-importance and pomposity.

It took sitting in the rooms, day after day and night after night, listening to how recovering people were able to laugh at themselves. Oh, they were deadly serious when it came to working the Steps and the traditions. After all, if not for them, they’d be dead or crazy. But as they would share things where they had shown the heavy-does-it attitude, they would see the folly of their ways and start a good belly laugh that would cascade through the room and have us all wiping our eyes.

As I work my program, I realize that there are some things that need more prayer and meditation than others. Then there are those things in my life that, under the light of my recovery, are just plain flat-out silly. My Higher Power gives me the ability to cry and grieve where appropriate. My Higher Power also has taught me that laughter, indeed, is often the best medicine.

One day at a time …
I learn that healthy laughter is just as important to my recovery as are the healthy tears.

~ Mark Y.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 11

“If you don’t know the language, you’ll only see the surface of the culture … the language is the heart of the culture and you cannot separate it.”
—Elaine Ramos, TLINGIT

The Creator gave to every person their own special way to communicate and understand.  Indians understand connectedness, balance, harmony, spirituality, and the relationship to Mother Earth.  The understanding of these things is expressed in the language. The true understanding of culture is expressed in the language. The language is the heart of the people.  If we have not learned the language, we need to find a teacher.

Great Spirit, help me to learn the culture. Let me pray and sing to You in my language.

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Journey to the Heart
November 11
You’re Not a Victim Anymore

Sometimes people have problems that make it extremely draining to be around them, problems like alcoholism, other addictions, other issues. No matter where we go, who we are, how long we’ve been working on ourselves, a lot of people have these problems. That hasn’t changed.

What has changed is us.

We’ve learned our lessons. We can’t control the addictions, the problems of others. They may be the very problems they came here to solve. We’ve also learned and learned well, that we don’t have to stand and absorb the energy from these problems, energy that isn’t ours, that no longer holds lessons or payoffs. We no longer need the payoffs of the past—that we’re victims and can’t take care of ourselves.

We’re free to walk away with compassion and love.

But most of all, we’re free.

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Today’s Gift
November 11

We shall not cease from exploration,
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive from where we started
And know the place for the first time.
—T. S. Eliot

We spend much of our lives looking forward to milestones we hope will mark our passage into wisdom – that time and place when once and for all we will know all there is to know.

When I am 13, I’ll be grown up, we say. When I am 16, 18, 21, drive a car, graduate, marry, write a book, own a house, find a job, or retire; then I’ll be grown up.

When we seek complete transformation, mere insight is disappointing. We find we don’t know all there is to know – not at thirteen or 35 or 80. We are still growing up.

The baby, the child, the younger person each of us was yesterday is still with us; we continue to love, hate, hurt, grieve, startle, delight, feel.

There is no magic moment of lasting enlightenment; simply a series of fleeting moments lived one at a time each day. They bring us home to who we’ve always been.

What small thing have I learned today?

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The Language of Letting Go
November 11
Discipline

Children need discipline to feel secure; so do adults.

Discipline means understanding there are logical consequences to our behavior. Discipline means taking responsibility for our behavior and the consequences.

Discipline means learning to wait for what we want.

Discipline means being willing to work for and toward what we want.

Discipline means learning and practicing new behaviors.

Discipline means being where we need to be, when we need to be there, despite our feelings.

Discipline is the day to day performing of tasks, whether these are recovery behaviors or washing the dishes.

Discipline involves trusting that our goals will be reached though we cannot see them.

Discipline can be grueling. We may feel afraid, confused, and uncertain. Later, we will see the purpose. But this clarity of sight usually does not come during the time of discipline. We may not even believe we’re moving forward.

But we are.

The task at hand during times of discipline is simple: listen, trust, and obey.

Higher Power, help me learn to surrender to discipline. Help me be grateful that You care enough about me to allow these times of discipline and learning in my life. Help me know that as a result of discipline and learning, something important will have been worked out in me.

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More Language Of Letting Go
November 11
Create a path with heart

“I’ve reached my career and family goals,” a successful woman in her thirties said. “Now, it’s time to start taking care of myself. I’m going to begin by resolving to spend one hour each week doing something I want to do.

One hour? What a small percentage of time to devote to doing what we want. Yet, how easy it is to fall into the trap of denying what we want to do. We may call it God’s will for our lives. We may legitimately be in a situation where our responsibilities, including our commitments to other people, consume much of our time. And sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do to accomplish the things we want.

The trap is when our entire life begins to shift over to the ‘should be doing” category. This is what I should be doing in my career; this is what I should be doing for my family; this is where I should live; and this is probably how I should spend my spare time. This is what I should be doing in my religion, or spirituality; this is what I should be doing with my money, time, and energy.

Who said?

Take a moment. Examine whose should’s are running your life. Are the things you tell yourself you need to be doing true expressions of your legitimate goals, responsibilities, and commitments? Or have you wandered so far away from yourself that your life is no longer a genuine expression of who you are, and what you want, in your heart?

How many times a week do you spend doing what you want to be doing or doing what you need to be doing to have what you want– whether that’s sobriety, a family, or the career that’s right for you? How many hours each week are spent doing what you think you should be doing, whether you need to or not?

Getting the things we want in life entails responsibility. We need to tend to our liberations– the career we want, the family life we want, and our avocations, as well. Tend to the things we’ve set free. But don’t forget to tend to the liberation of yourself,too. Maybe the things you’re grumbling about doing are part of doing what you want. If that’s the case, stop grumbling and thank God. Maybe you’ve forgotten that the things you’re doing are what you really want to do. But maybe when you assess your daily life, you’ll realize that some of the things you’re doing aren’t necessary, aren’t what you want, and won’t lead to where you want to go. You’re telling yourself you have to, but you don’t.

Start today by spending one hour doing something you want to do. In time, you may want to increase that to two hours a day. Eventually, you may get to that place where your should’s intersect with your wants. That’s when you’ve created and are walking a path with heart.

God, help me find a path with heart, help me walk the one I’m on with heart.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 11

“Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”
—Malcolm X

It does little good to complain about our wives or parents or lovers. We only accentuate our role as victims when we say, “I would be happier if she were different.” “If he would just get off my back, I would act better.” We each have a side, which is loyal to the victim within. Some of us take comfort in acting helpless and being taken care of; some of us relish the power of being catered to; some of us wallow in self-pity. These patterns of thought retard our recovery and put a drag on our relationships. When we decide that we aren’t willing to live this way any longer, we are ready to assert our independence.

Real emancipation can’t come at someone else’s initiative or as a gift. It can only begin from within, by saying, “I will take my independence.” Then we begin to be responsible men because we own it on the inside.

Today, I will not wait for others to set me free. I will do what is within my own power to be a free man.

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Daily TAO
November 11
JOY

Do your devotions make you happy?
Is your life a joyous song?

In all this talk about spiritual devotion, there is one simple fact.  You have to like it. It should make you happy. It is unfortunate that so much coercion, unhappiness, bitterness, guilt, and fear become wrapped up in spirituality. Why can’t we simply do things out of joy?

Practicing spirituality isn’t a matter of drudgery. It isn’t a matter of fear. It isn’t for fitting into a social group. It has nothing to do with status. Being devoted to holiness in your life is a matter of joy and celebration. When you sit down to meditate, a smile should come to your lips and a feeling of joy should permeate your body. When you go to consecrated ground to give thanks and celebrate, you should do so not because of the day of the week or out of the habit of ritual, but because this is the best way that you know how to adore your gods and express the wonder of being on this earth.

Yes, yes, there is much unhappiness in this existence. That unhappiness is part of the overall field of negativity. There are also positive things in life, and spirituality is foremost among them. So whenever we practice our spiritual devotions, let is be in gladness and joy.

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