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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – November 12

Just For Today

November 12
Our Own Story

“When we honestly tell our own story, someone else may identify with us.”
Basic Text p. 95

Many of us have heard truly captivating speakers at Narcotics Anonymous conventions. We remember the audience alternating between tears of identification and joyous hilarity. “Someday,” we may think, “I’m going to be a main speaker at a convention, too.”

Well, for many of us, that day has yet to arrive. Once in awhile we may be asked to speak at a meeting near where we live. We might speak at a small convention workshop. But after all this time, we’re still not “hot” convention speakers – and that’s okay. We’ve learned that we, too, have a special message to share, even if it’s only at a local meeting with fifteen or twenty addicts in attendance.

Each of us has only our own story to tell; that’s it. We can’t tell anyone else’s story. Every time we get up to speak, many of us find all the clever lines and funny stories seem to disappear from our minds. But we do have something to offer. We carry the message of hope we can and do recover from our addiction. And that’s enough.

Just for today: I will remember that my honest story is what I share the best. Today, that’s enough.

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Daily Reflections
November 12
MORNING THOUGHTS

Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 164

For many years I pondered over God’s will for me, believing that perhaps a great destiny had been ordained for my life. After all, having been born into a specific faith, hadn’t I been told early that I was “chosen”? It finally occurred to me, as I considered the above passage, that God’s will for me was simply that I practice Step Twelve on a daily basis. Furthermore, I realized I should do this to the best of my ability. I soon learned that the practice aids me in keeping my life in the context of the day at hand.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 12
A.A. Thought For The Day

I am less critical of other people, inside and outside of A.A. I used to run people down all the time. I realize now that it was because I wanted unconsciously to build myself up. I was envious of people who lived normal lives. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t be like them. And so I ran them down. I called them sissies or hypocrites.  I was always looking for faults in the other person. I loved to tear down what I called “a stuff shirt” or “a snob.” I have found that I can never make a person any better by criticism. A.A. has taught me this. Am I less critical of people?

Meditation For The Day

You must admit your helplessness before your prayer for help will be heard by God.  Your own need must be recognized before you can ask God for the strength to meet that need. But once that need is recognized, your prayer is heard above all the music of heaven. It is not theological arguments that solve the problems of the questing soul, but the sincere cry of that soul to God for strength and the certainty of that soul that the cry will be heard and answered.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may send my voiceless cry for help out into the void. I pray that I may feel certain that it will be heard somewhere, somehow.

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As Bill Sees It
November 12
High and Low, p. 314

When our membership was small, we dealt with “low-bottom cases” only. Many less desperate alcoholics tried A.A., but did not succeed because they could not make the admission of their hopelessness.

In the following years, this changed. Alcoholics who still had their health, their families, their jobs, and even two cars in the garage, began to recognize their alcoholism. As this trend grew, they were joined by young people who were scarcely more than potential alcoholics. How could people such as these take the First Step?

By going back in our own drinking histories, we showed them that years before we realized it we were out of control, that our drinking even then was no mere habit, that it was indeed the beginning of a fatal progression.

12 & 12, p. 23

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Walk In Dry Places
November 12
The importance of maintenance.
Fortitude

In praising their success with AA, people sometimes overlook the importance of maintenance. AA not only helps us achieve sobriety, but it can also help us maintain our sobriety for a lifetime.

Members often touch on this matter when they admit that they were able to sober up hundreds of times, but didn’t know how to stay sober. It is staying sober that makes all the difference between life and death for us.

Our tools for staying sober___ for maintaining our sobriety___ are the simple ones that put us back on our feet in the first place. We continue to admit that we’re alcoholics and need the help of fellow members and our Higher Power. We also continue to attend meetings and to carry the message. We remind ourselves that we’re never out of the woods permanently, no matter how much our lives improve.

I’ll take the routine steps today that are needed for the maintenance of my sobriety. Doing this will help protect me from the terrible consequences of returning to drinking.

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Keep It Simple
November 12

It may be those who do most, dream most.
—Stephen Leacock

Daydreaming gives us hope. It makes our world bigger. Daydreaming can be part of doing Step Eleven. As we meditate, we daydream. Through our daydreaming, we get to know ourselves, our spirit, and our Higher Power. What special work can we do? Our dreams can tell us.

There is time to work and time to dream. Daydreaming helps us find the work our Higher Power wants us to do.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, please speak to me through my daydreams.

Action for the Day: I’ll set aside time to daydream. I will look into a candle flame, at picture, or out a window, and let my mind wander.

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 12

Fantasies are more than substitutes for unpleasant reality; they are also dress rehearsals, plans. All acts performed in the world begin in the imagination.
–Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

Our minds mold who we become. Our thoughts not only contribute to our achievements, they determine the posture of our lives. How very powerful they are. Fortunately, we have the power to think the thoughts we choose, which means our lives will unfold much as we expect.

The seeds we plant in our minds indicate the directions we’ll explore in our development. And we won’t explore areas we’ve never given attention to in our reflective moments. We must dare to dream extravagant, improbable dreams if we intend to find a new direction, and the steps necessary to it.

We will not achieve, we will not master that which goes unplanned in our dream world. We imagine first, and then we conceive the execution of a plan. Our minds prepare us for success. They can also prepare us for failure if we let our thoughts become negative.

I can succeed with my fondest hopes. But I must believe in my potential for success. I will ponder the positive today.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
November 12
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

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

One day she asked if I could limit myself to five drinks in a day. I said, “Sure.” Was I surprised when I found that I couldn’t. That should have been my first clue that she might be right, but it didn’t occur to me.

p. 399

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 12

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

When that lifted, a wonderful thing had happened. The head promoter wrote the Foundation office. He said he wished he’d paid some attention to A.A. experience. Then he did something else that was to become an A.A. classic. It all went on a little card about golf-score size. The cover read: “Middleton Group #1. Rule #62.” Once the card was unfolded, a single pungent sentence leaped to the eye: “Don’t take yourself too dam* seriously.”

p. 149

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Xtra Thoughts
November 12

Apprehend God in all things, For God is in all things. Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God! If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature–even a caterpillar — I would never have to prepare a sermon, so full of God is every creature.
–Meister Eckhart

“There is only one meaning of life: the act of living itself.”
–Erich Fromm

“A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work.”
–John Lubbock

“When shall we live if not now?”
–M. F. K. Fisher

“With each sunrise, we start anew.”
–Anonymous

“You never know what you can do till you try.”
–William Cobbett

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 12
RELIGION

“It is the test of a good religion if you can joke about it.”
— G. K. Chesterton

Today I am able to joke with God and about God. I am able to laugh at me swinging incense at a candlestick and then swinging the incense at the Bishop! I smile at the determined seriousness of choirboys who receive communion while at the same time sticking chewing gum under the arm rail. I chuckle at the embarrassment of the baptism family when the baby pulls the plug out of the font and the holy water drains away.

Today I am able to laugh at God and His Church it joyously reflects man’s imperfection but at the same time reminds him of his glory.

God, I contemplate You laughing at our pompous piety.

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Bible Scriptures
November 12

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Matthew 6:8

Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him — for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work — this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

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Daily Inspiration
November 12

Write down who you think you are and then write down who you want to be. Lord, help me realize that with little effort I can be who I want to be and give me the determination and will power to blossom.

Prayer is the best preparation for the day. Lord, although I don’t know all that I will need for today, give me clarity and wisdom and remove from my path that which I am yet not strong enough to bear.

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A Day At A Time
November 12

Reflection For The Day

There are few “absolutes” in The Program’s Twelve Steps.  We’re free to start at any point we can, or will.  God, as we understand Him, may be defined as simply a “Power greater”;  for many of us in The Program, the group itself was the first “Power greater.”  And this acknowledgment is relatively easy to make if a newcomer knows that most of the members are sober and otherwise chemically-free and he isn’t.  This admission is the beginning of humility.  Perhaps for the first time, the newcomer is at least willing to disclaim that he himself — or sh3e herself — is God.  Is my behavior more convincing to newcomers than my words?

Today I Pray

May I define and discover my own Higher Power.  As that definition becomes clearer and closer to me, may I remember not to insist that my interpretation is right.  For each much find his or her own Higher Power.  If a newcomer is feeling godless and alone, the power of the group may be enough for now.  May I never discredit the power of the group.

Today I Will Remember

Group power can be a Higher Power.

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One More Day
November 12

Life is the enjoyment of Emotion, derived from the past and aimed at the future.
– Alfred, Lord Whitehead

Life sails by much more quickly than we expect it to. When our children were young, it seemed as if endless years stretched ahead for us to nurture and teach them; suddenly they are in college, or married with children of there own.

Each day must be lived to its fullest, for we shall never be able to recapture it again. The memories we create today can enrich the present, and even the future years. Making good memories serves us well.

It is our wish to fully enjoy life and if we can’t, to attempt to correct those problems which keep us from fully enjoying what we do have. Than we can once again look to a full and wonderful future.

I will work to deal with those facts of my life which cause me pain.

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One Day At A Time
November 12
Hitting Bottom

My life closed twice before its close.
–Emily Dickinson

Doesn’t every addict, sooner or later, face some kind of incomprehensible end to something they hold dear, all because of their addiction?

I certainly did. In my late thirties, in the plum Ivy League job that was the envy of all those I’d gone to graduate school with, I was fired. The fact was, though I’d tried to put a good face on it, I was up to my eyebrows in my disease of compulsive overeating and was consequently seriously depressed. Or was I seriously depressed and consequently…?

No matter. I had been in a hole the width and depth of which I could not overcome. Day after day I would sit in my office with the door closed, work piled on my desk, unable to make headway. I had done this for over a year. Then the ax fell, and there I was, a depressed, overweight workaholic without work.

Fortunately for me, by this time I had already found program, and although I was a newcomer of only six months, I knew enough that I was lucky to have lost my job. Although I would never have quit it, it would have eventually led to the loss of my health and sanity, what was left of them. I was in that important and prestigious job for all the wrong reasons, but mainly as a balm to my tiny and broken self-esteem.

The fact was, the healing for my self-loathing wasn’t in a fancy title or professional honors. It was in the spiritual life and the recovery of mind, body, heart, and spirit that I found in program.

I learned for myself that hitting bottom is not the end. I let my Higher Power into my life, and it was the beginning of a more honest and worthy way of living.

One day at a time… . . .
I turn my life over to my Higher Power to make of it what She will. It makes every day a good day.

~ Roberta ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 12

“I don’t think that anybody anywhere can talk about the future of their people or of an organization without talking about education. Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future, the future of the Cherokee people, and of the Cherokee Nation.”
–Wilma P. Mankiller, CHEROKEE

The world has changed in the last 50 years. It will change even more in the next 50 years, and it will change even faster. We must educate ourselves to ensure our future generations will maintain the language and the culture of our people. We need to be concerned about our land because when our land goes away, so will our people. We need to be concerned about leadership, our families, and about alcoholism. We need to be concerned about what’s going on around the world. We can only do this by being educated. Then we can control our future.

Great Spirit, please guide our children; let me know how I can help.

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Journey to the Heart
November 12, 2011
Wash Old Pain Away

“I don’t know what’s going on,” a woman told me, “but lately memories of the past have been coursing through me like a river. I see scenes from my life, then the feelings appear– old pains, old hurts, old wounds. Nothing is triggering this that I can tell. It’s just happening spontaneously.”

We walk around with old wounds, old hurts– remnants of other times, ancient times, in our lives. We may be aware of these old feelings, fully conscious they’re there and why. Or we may only have partial awareness, a lingering sense that there’s some hurt within, without a clue as to its source. We may get a glimpse of it when we open our eyes in the morning and notice something deep inside aches, but we don’t know why. Or we may not be conscious of the pain or it’s connection to a particular event. The pain is hidden away, deep within our soul.

It has become time to cleanse the past.

Let the feelings come to the surface and pass through your consciousness. Let memories emerge as they will. You aren’t going back to your past. What’s happening is normal. Your heart is finding a way to heal.

Clear away the past. Let the river of life wash old pains away. Feel the feelings until the river runs clear.

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Today’s Gift
November 12

No life is so hard that you can’t make it easier by the way you take it.
—Ellen Glasgow

Jimmy and Karen were out catching insects for their science class. Jimmy had caught a gray moth and Karen a monarch butterfly.

“My moth sure isn’t very pretty,” Jimmy said as he looked at the two insects. “Now I’ll have to catch something else.”

“Oh, but it is,” said Karen. “See what a fat body your moth has compared to my butterfly, and it’s got fuzzies on its wings.”

“You’re right,” said Jimmy, beginning to smile at his moth. “I was almost going to let him go.”

How many times in the past have we taken just a quick look at something before rejecting it? Often, simply because a thing isn’t quite what we expected, we don’t give ourselves a chance to discover what it is that makes that thing beautiful. There is a secret beauty in everything, even ourselves. When we take the time to seek it out in other people and things, especially those that have disappointed us, that beauty is reflected in us, too.

Can I find the beauty in something common today?

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The Language of Letting Go
November 12
Timing

Wait until the time is right. It is self-defeating to postpone or procrastinate; it is also self-defeating to act too soon, before the time is right.

Sometimes, we panic and take action out of fear. Sometimes, we take untimely action for revenge or because we want to punish someone. We act or speak too soon as a way to control or force someone to action. Sometimes, we take action too soon to relieve feelings of discomfort or anxiety about how a situation will turn out.

An action taken too soon can be as ineffective as one taken too late. It can backfire and cause more problems than it solves. Usually, when we wait until the time is right – sometimes only a matter of minutes or hours – the discomfort dissolves, and we’re empowered to accomplish what we need to do.

In recovery, we are learning to be effective.

Our answers will come. Our guidance will come. Pray. Trust. Wait. Let go. We are being led. We are being guided.

Today, I will let go of my need to control by waiting until the time is right. When the time is right, I will take action.

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More Language Of Letting Go
November 12
Use your connections

As I glanced through the pages of a writer’s magazine one morning, I realized how important this magazine had been in my life. When I began writing back in the late seventies, I had no writer friends. I was on my own with a dream and a sketchy one at that. But by reading this monthly magazine aimed at aspiring writers, I knew I wasn’t alone. Other people had done what I wanted to do, they had started where I was at. This magazine was an important part of my believing I can.

From time to time, we all need connections to help us believe. If we’re beginning recovery from an issue like codependency or chemical dependency, our group meetings help us believe I can. If we’re learning a new skilll, like skydiving or flying a plane, sometimes talking to someone that can remember what it felt like to be unsure, awkward, and unskilled goes much further than talking to someone that can only remember being in mastery of the craft.

One day at the drop zone, I grabbed a man who had jumped out of an airplane over ten thousand times. “I’m so scared each time I jump,” I said. “Is it normal to be that afraid?” This skydiving professional– who was so assured and respected– looked at me and smiled. “I was so frightened my first one hundred jumps that I couldn’t even breathe!”

When you’re trying to believe you can, whether it’s believing you can stay sober for the next twenty-four hours, learning to take care of yourself, being a single parent, being in a good relationship, learning to write, learning to type, or learning to jump out of a plane, make good solid connections to people, places, and things that help you believe I can.

And if you run into someone who’s walking a path that you’ve already walked, remember and share how it felt in the beginning so they can come to believe,too.

God, thank you for sending me the connections I need. Let me be of service whenever possible by being honest and speaking from my heart so I can be a good connection, as well.

Activity: Make a list of your connections. What are the areas in your life where you want to believe you can do it? Examples might be sobriety, taking care of yourself, being a single parent, learning to write, learning to be in a relationship, going through a divorce, surviving the loss of a loved one, getting your finances in order, or learning to speak a new language. Once you have your list of I can’s, list in detail your present or potential connections for coming to believe. For instance, in recovery from chemical dependency, your connections might include your Twelve Step groups, the Big Book, a daily meditation book, a counselor, some recovering friends, and a medallion you received– whether it’s for one hour or one day. If you’re learning a new skill, such as writing, your connections might include a teacher, a friend, a book that’s particularly helpful and encouraging, a magazine, and a piece of writing you’ve already done that either has been published or received good responses from friends. This list is solely to help you believe you can. Once you have your connection lists written, use them whenever you need a big dose of I can.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 12

An ideal is a man’s portrait of his better self.
—Louis Binstock

When in training for athletics, we use a daily routine to reach a peak condition. We stretch; lift weights, run, and do special conditioning to develop our bodies and skills for that big day of competition. It’s hard work. Sometimes we hate it, but at other times we do it just because it feels so good. Then when the day of competition comes, we can depend on that practice. At a crucial moment there’s not time to think about how we will respond. We just do it the way we learned and use our physical ability to carry us through.

In this program we go to our meetings, we work the Steps on a personal level, we develop a relationship with our Higher Power, and we keep in touch with our sponsor. Some days we may wonder if it’s worthwhile, but most of the time the process is full and rewarding in itself. We make progress toward the ideal although we never achieve perfection. When the challenges or threats to our sobriety come, we have our conditioning within the program to carry us through.

In this day ahead I will remember that I am building myself to peak condition. I will be faithful to my “training program.”

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Daily TAO
November 12
REST

The year’s end is coming;
I feel great contentment.
Completion means rest.
Rest means renewal.
Renewal means new beginnings.

Perseverance is a great virtue, but perseverance cannot be cultivated without endings. Perseverance does not mean an endless engagement is Sisyphean tasks. It means beginnings, middles, and ends, and then starting over again. We are nearing the end of our year, but we could not contemplate this ending without having gone through the completions of all the days and months that have come before.

It’s good to look toward the end of things. Not only does it provide perspective, but it also provides the stepping-stone to our next endeavor. When things end, it should ideally mean the attainment of our goals. We should start everything with a definite goal in mind; otherwise our lives will lack purpose. Once we attain our goals, we should be glad and rest. We need the time for our psyches to absorb the significance of our acts. With rest comes renewal, and with renewal we can build the force of our characters and thereby stand stronger for our futures.

In the countryside farmers frequently nap in their carts of hay as their mules automatically take them back home. They know how to make achievements and rest at the same time!

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