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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – November 13

Just For Today
November 13
Not Perfect

“We are not going to be perfect. If we were perfect, we would not be human.”
—Basic Text p. 30

All of us had expectations about life in recovery. Some of us thought recovery would suddenly make us employable or able to do anything in the world we wanted to do. Or maybe we imagined perfect ease in our interactions with others. When we stop and think, we realize that we expected recovery would make us perfect. We didn’t expect to continue making many mistakes. But we do. That’s not the addict side of us showing through; that’s being human.

In Narcotics Anonymous we strive for recovery, not perfection. The only promise we are given is freedom from active addiction. Perfection is not an attainable state for human beings; it’s not a realistic goal. What we often seek in perfection is freedom from the discomfort of making mistakes. In return for that freedom from discomfort, we trade our curiosity, our flexibility, and the room to grow.

We can consider the trade: Do we want to live the rest of our lives in our well-defined little world, safe but perhaps stifled? Or do we wish to venture out into the unknown, take a risk, and reach for everything life has to offer?

Just for today: I want all that life has to offer me and all that recovery can provide. Today, I will take a risk, try something new, and grow.

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Daily Reflections
November 13
LOOKING OUTWARD

“We ask especially for freedom from self-will and are careful to make no requests for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends.”
—ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 87

As an active alcoholic, I allowed selfishness to run rampant in my life. I was so attached to my drinking and other selfish habits that people and moral principles came second.  Now, when I pray for the good of others rather than my “own selfish ends,” I practice a discipline in letting go of selfish attachments, caring for my fellows and preparing for the day when I will be required to let go of all earthly attachments.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 13
A.A. Thought For The Day

Who am I to judge other people? Have I proved by my great success in life that I know all the answers? Exactly the opposite. Until I came into A.A., my life could be called a failure. I made all the mistakes a man could make. I took all the wrong roads there were to take. On the basis of my record, am I a fit person to be a judge of my fellow men? Hardly. In A.A. I have learned not to judge people. I am so often wrong. Let the results of what they do judge them. It’s not up to me. Am I less harsh in my judgment of people?

Meditation For The Day

In our time of meditation, we again seem to hear: “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Again and again we seem to hear God saying this to us. “Come unto me” for the solution of every problem, for the overcoming of every temptation, for the calming of every fear, for all our need, physical, mental or spiritual, but mostly “come unto me” for the strength we need to live with peace of mind and the power to be useful and effective.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may go to God today for those things which I need to help me live. I pray that I may find real peace of mind.

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As Bill Sees It
November 13
Greater Than Ourselves, p. 315

If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago.  But we found that such code and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried. We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the power needed for change wasn’t there. Our human resources, as marshaled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly.

Lack of power: That was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live—and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves.

Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 44-45

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Walk In Dry Places
November 13
The Boredom battle
Acceptance and Patience.

All of us have times when we don’t enjoy our sobriety as much as we feel we should. Though we’re still grateful, we sometimes feel bored and depressed.

What we have to remember at such times is our bleak history of using alcohol as a quick fix for boredom. However ruinous and false it proved to be, alcohol did temporarily bring the miraculous change we sought.

We thought of alcohol as a means of uplifting our mood. We were very surprised to learn that it’s really a depressant. Maybe it lifted us up by depressing our self-doubt and self-criticism.

Whatever the nature of our drinking, we need to stay sober while fighting our battles with boredom. We can do that by accepting a bit of boredom without succumbing to it. Meanwhile, we can look for ways of easing boredom that don’t get us into trouble or lead back to the bottle.

I’ll not feel guilty or unworthy if boredom strikes me now and then. Today I’ll help manage my long-term boredom tendencies by practicing acceptance and patience for twenty-four hours.

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Keep It Simple
November 13

“Write down the advice of him who loves you, though you like it not at present.”
—Anonymous

We addicts often learn things the hard way. In the past, we found it very hard to take advice from anyone. It’s still hard to take advice, but it’s getting easier every day. We know now that we can’t handle everything in life by ourselves. We’ve come to believe there is help for us. And we’re learning to ask for help and advice.

Sometimes we don’t like the advice we get. We don’t have to use it. But if it comes from people who love and understand us, we can try to listen. Write it down. Think about it. It may make sense another day.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, please work through people who love me. I need your advice. Help me listen to it.

Action for the Day: I will make notes to myself, writing down things that seem important. I will read them once in a while.

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 13
My Declaration of Self-Esteem:

“I am me. In all the world there is no one else exactly like me. There are persons who have some parts like me, but no one adds up exactly like me. Therefore, everything that comes out of me is authentically mine because I alone chose it.”
—Virginia Satir

Feeling special, feeling worthy and unique in the contribution we make to our surroundings is perhaps not a very familiar feeling to many of us in this recovery program. We may have recognized our differences from others, but not in a positive way. We may well have figured that to be our problem. “If only I were more like her … ” To celebrate our specialness, the unique contribution we make to every situation we experience, is one of the gifts of recovery.

It’s spiritually moving to realize the truth of our authenticity. To realize that no other choice will ever be just like our choice—to realize that no other contribution will be just like our contribution. Our gift to life is ourselves. Life’s gift to us is the opportunity to realize our value.

Today, I will be aware of my gifts, I will offer them and receive them thankfully.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
November 13
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

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

Then I hit on a clever solution. I have several academic degrees, and someone as smart as I was could solve this problem. The idea was to put off the first drink as long as possible and go to bed after the last drink. That worked out okay, and I told the counselor I was able to keep it to five a day with little or no problem. But she said if you had to control something, it was out of control.

p. 400

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 13

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

Thus it was that under Tradition Four an A.A. group had exercised its right to be wrong. Moreover, it had performed a great service for Alcoholics Anonymous, because it had been humbly willing to apply the lessons it learned. It had picked itself up with a laugh and gone on to better things. Even the chief architect, standing in the ruins of his dream, could laugh at himself – and that is the very acme of humility.

p. 149

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Xtra Thoughts
November 13

“Friendship is like a bank account. You can’t continue to draw on it without making deposits.”
—Cited in The Best of BITS & PIECES

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.”
—Etty Hillesum

“You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go.”
—Jeanette Rankin

“There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.”
—Richard Bach

“Don’t mess up an amends with an excuse.”
—unknown

S T E P S = Solutions To Every Problem in Sobriety.

“Spirituality is an individual matter. I can tell you what it means to me, but it might be different for you.”
—Jake T.

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 13
MONEY

“Money doesn’t always bring happiness. People with ten million dollars are no happier than people with nine million dollars.”
—Hobart Brown

Today I understand that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with money. Wealth is not good or bad in itself it is what we do with it. As a famous comedian once said, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor and rich is better!”

But in what sense is rich better? I suppose in the freedom that it affords us, not only to travel and buy comfortable “things” but also in the way we can help and contribute to the lives and well-being of others. But to hoard money, be “stingy” with yourself and others, make a “god” of possessions or become compulsive about the “making of money” produces the same pain as any other addiction.

Money is to be used. It is usually one of the benefits of sobriety, part of what it means to say “it gets better.” Why? Because we are more responsible and creative as sober people and this brings its rewards.

Help me to be a responsible steward of the possessions You entrusted to me.

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Bible Scriptures
November 13

“I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.”
Psalm 120:1

“My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. So no one can take them from me. The Father and I are one.”
John 10:27-30

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: Mt. 23.5 otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”
St. Matthew 6: 1

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head.”
1 Cor.

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Daily Inspiration
November 13

Refuse to be one of the many who go through life never knowing the limits of their abilities. Lord, You have blessed me with all that I need, but also with the ability to achieve all that I want. Help me to continue to strive and become all that I can.

Forget the useless and unhealthy things of your past that clutter your mind so that you can live a life that is alive and vibrant. Lord, help me to discard all that clouds my day so that I am able to live the life that You intend me to live.

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A Day At A Time
November 13

Reflection For The Day

We hear it said that all progress in The Program can be boiled down and measured by just two words:  humility and responsibility.  It’s also said that our entire spiritual development can be precisely measured by our degree of adherence to those standards.  As AA co-founder Bill W. once put it, “Ever deepening humility, accompanied by and ever greater willingness to accept and to act upon clear-cut obligations—these are truly our touchstones for all growth in the life of the spirit.”  Am I responsible?

Today I Pray

I pray that of all the good words and catch phrases and wisps of inspiration that come to me, I will remember these two above all:  humility and responsibility.  these may be the hardest to come by—humility because it means shooing away my pride, responsibility because I am in the habit of using my addiction as a thin excuse for getting out of obligations.  I pray that I may break these old patterns.

Today I Will Remember

First humility, then responsibility.

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One More Day
November 13

“Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end.”
–Krishnamurti

There is a current trend to reading meditation books, which we’re familiar with. We tend to use meditations as enlarging our thoughts for the day. Some of us begin our days with a meditation; others of us use them as a final thought before bed.

Meditation encourages deep and comforting thoughts. How we meditate has little importance, for customs are different across the cultures. What does matter is that we are turning to rich spiritual resources, so that each day we can give some serious time to our most pertinent thoughts and to improve ourselves.

When I meditate I have a special thought to carry with me throughout the day. I know that I am doing something important for myself.

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One Day At A Time
November 13
GRATITUDE

“It is good to say thank you to the Lord, to sing praises to the God who is above all gods … He is my shelter. There is nothing but goodness in Him!”
—The Bible, Book of Psalms

Since I first walked into these rooms, I was welcomed with open arms. Everyone said, “Welcome home.” In my gut I felt welcomed into the fellowship, but only now, after years of accepting it, do I finally get it.

Who is this God everyone is saying cares about us? I felt God was too busy creating and managing the universe to concentrate on any one individual, let alone each and every one of us. Now, I don’t know how anyone else acted while in the clutches of their disease, but I do know how I reacted. I was not a very nice person to be around. If you said the sky was blue, I would say it was black. Nothing was right in my world and I refused to trust anyone or anything; I was rebellious. That is how I treated God! I dared God to fix me, to take away my desire for food, to come into my life so I would know it.

Well, people told me God meets you where you are. I learned the hard way that God does reveal Himself to you in whatever way works for you. For me that has been by learning to listen to people share in meetings and verbally state what God has been trying to get through my thick skull. When I read program literature, I hear little voices of recovering people speak of how God is doing for them what they couldn’t do for themselves. I watch people in recovery living a new kind of life, in which they are participants. I learn from them how to live rather then bouncing off the walls because I only reacted to life. I am beginning to see all the little things that I have been given from God through my interactions with fellow compulsive overeaters. My soul feels welcomed in this fellowship. I feel I have a new family in which to heal my wounds from my family of origin. I am filled with immense gratitude to a God that cares enough about each and everyone of us.

One day at a time …
I will stop and take inventory of all the blessings I receive, each and every day, from a loving, supportive fellowship and a God of my understanding who loves me enough to put up with all my baggage.

A fellow traveler

Judith

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 13

“My Grandfather survived on this earth without using anything that did not go back into the earth. The whole world could learn from that.”
—Floyd Westerman, SIOUX

Our grandfathers knew how to live in harmony.  They did not create poisons or technologies that destroyed things. They did not make their decisions based on greed or for selfish reasons.  They did not take more then they used.  Their thoughts and actions were about respect.  The Elders conducted themselves in a respectful way.  We need to consider our actions around respect for Mother Earth.

My Creator, have the grandfathers teach us today about the old ways.

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Journey to the Heart
November 13
You’re Almost Home

I only had a few hundred miles to go, but the stretch ahead seemed endless. I was tired and near the end of this adventure. I remembered the meditative words of a friend, words that had helped me several years ago, words that helped me again now.

“The life force is a force within you. You have the power to fire it, stoke it, expand its energy throughout your body. Don’t clench up, tighten up. That limits the life force within you. Stop cramping your muscles and telling yourself you can’t. If you say it long and loud enough, you’ll begin to believe it. Relax. Relax your arms, your legs, your neck, your body. You’ve come so far. Look back at all the miles you’ve traveled. What lies ahead is a small portion, such a small portion of fear.

Breathe deeply. When you become afraid or tired, your breathing becomes shallow. That inhibits the fire. It keeps the life force from reaching your muscles, your vital organs, your brain. Breathe deeply. Stoke the fire within.

Take a moment now to picture the core of light within you. See it in your solar plexus just inches below your navel. Picture it as a glowing coal, a candle, a flame. With each breath you take, picture the flame getting stronger, glowing more brightly, until you feel the vital life force begin to surge through you.

Feel yourself being filled with healing, life-giving energy with each breath you take. Feel the flame burn more brightly within you. Inhale deeply. Exhale deeply. Feel your power spread through your body. Feel the power of the universe come in through your breath. Feel the power connect with and flame the burning coal of energy that is within you.”

You’ve come so far. You’ve almost mastered that lesson, accomplished that task, unveiled that insight, the one you’ve been struggling with. Of course you’re tired. You’ve been working hard. Take a moment now to light the fire within you. Let it give you the energy you need.

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Today’s Gift
November 13

“The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he could never be found out.”
—Thomas Macaulay

Remember the tale about the poor, tired shoemaker who cut out his last bit of leather and awoke to find a beautiful pair of shoes sewn for him? Night after night two little elves secretly worked from midnight to dawn sewing shoes to help the old craftsman. Helping the shoemaker without his knowing who they were made the elves very happy, and they danced and sang as they worked away. These elves knew their reward was in the doing of the good deed, not in the discovery of them doing it.

What secret gift of kindness can I give today?

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The Language of Letting Go
November 13
Taking Care of Ourselves

We do not have to wait for others to come to our aid. We are not victims. We are not helpless.

Letting go of faulty thinking means we realize there are no knights on white horses, no magical grandmothers in the sky watching, waiting to rescue us.

Teachers may come our way, but they will not rescue. They will teach. People who care will come, but they will not rescue. They will care. Help will come, but help is not rescuing.

We are our own rescuers.

Our relationships will improve dramatically when we stop rescuing others and stop expecting them to rescue us.

Today, I will let go of the fears and self doubt that block me from taking assertive action in my best interest. I can take care of myself and let others do the same for themselves.

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More Language Of Letting Go
November 13
Set the switches yourself

One day, when I was getting ready to do a coached skydive, my coach sat me down. He gave me an exercise to do.

“When I skydive,” he said, “I go into my switch room, and I set the switches where I want them to be.” He explained how he set his alertness and awareness switch at about eight. If he put it any higher, all the way up to ten, he said he became too tense, hyper vigilant.

For many years, we’ve let a lot of people push our buttons. Why don’t we try setting these switches ourselves instead?

Create a switch panel for yourself. Let the switches indicate the issues you’d like to work on. You might create one switch for fear. Don’t turn it all the way off. You need some fear to help be your guide. Maybe set the fear switch at two, or a level you’re comfortable with. Then go to the switch that says humble confidence. Maybe set that one at eight. Then go to the having fun and playing switch. How about cranking that one up to ten?

Create switches for any attribute in your life that you’d like to turn up or turn down. Then, from time to time, go in there and make sure the switches are still set and your circuit breaker is turned on.

God, help me own my power.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 13

“All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.”
—James Thurber

We are getting to know ourselves each day. We have learned some very important things about ourselves since the day we started our recovery. Most of us began learning by admitting our addiction or codependency. We saw how loyal we had become to a substance or a behavior. What seemed normal to us was actually distorted and unhealthy living. We didn’t understand why we felt so confused and upset. Perhaps we didn’t know what we were running to, or from.

Until we were faced with our powerlessness we couldn’t know ourselves. We could not feel our void or pain until we had relinquished our old ways. We now can see our motives more clearly. When we have come face to face with ourselves, surrendered and stopped running, nothing else ever need be so frightening again.

I will let myself know where I am going today.

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Daily TAO
November 13
SWIMMER

Though life is a dream,
Act as if it isn’t.
Act with no weight.

You may understand that life is but a dream, but that doesn’t free you from the responsibility to act. This dream may not be of your own making, but you must still engage it and operate within the parameters of the fantasy. You must become the producer, director, and actor of a phantasmic stage play. Otherwise, you are aimlessly adrift.

Meditating is to wake up. Few of us have acquired the skill to be in constant meditation. Therefore, we awake and dream, awake and dream. The moments of enlightenment are like the times when swimmers come up for air. They gain a breath of life, but they must submerge once again. We are all swimmers on the sea of sorrow, bobbing up and down until our final liberation.

The initial difficulty of spirituality is a schizophrenia between true understanding and the sorrow of everyday life. Our enlightenment clashes with the outer impurities. That is why some novitiates withdraw into isolation. Once people gain true spiritual insight, they dispense with this split. They can live in this world and yet not be stained by it. They are the strongest and most serene swimmers of all. They act, and yet they barely disturb the water. Their actions are outwardly no different from ordinary actions, but they leave no wake.

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