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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – November 17

Just For Today
November 17
Walking Through The Pain

“We never have to use again, no matter how we feel. All feelings will eventually pass.”
Basic Text p. 79

It hurts like never before. You get out of bed after a sleepless night, talk to God, and still don’t feel any better. “It will pass;” a little voice tells you. “When?” you wonder, as you pace and mutter and get on with your day.

You sob in your car and turn the radio all the way up so you can’t hear your own thoughts. But you go straight to work, and don’t even think about using drugs.

Your insides feel as though they’ve been torched. Just when the pain becomes unbearable, you go numb and silent. You go to a meeting and wish you were as happy as other members seem to be. But you don’t relapse.

You cry some more and call your sponsor. You drive to a friend’s house and don’t even notice the beautiful scenery because your inner landscape is so bleak. You may not feel any better after visiting your friend-but at least you didn’t visit the connection instead.

You listen to a Fifth Step. You share at a meeting. You look at the calendar and realize you’ve gotten through another day clean.

Then one day you wake up, look outside, and realize it’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining. The sky is blue. You take a deep breath, smile again, and know that it really does pass.

Just for today: No matter how I feel today, I’ll go on with my recovery.

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Daily Reflections
November 17
OVERCOMING LONELINESS

Almost without exception, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness. Even before our drinking got bad and people began to cut us off, nearly all of us suffered the feeling that we didn’t quite belong.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 90

The agonies and the void that I often felt inside occur less and less frequently in my life today. I have learned to cope with solitude. It is only when I am alone and calm that I am able to communicate with God, for He cannot reach me when I am in turmoil. It is good to maintain contact with God at all times, but it is absolutely essential that, when everything seems to go wrong, I maintain that contact through prayer and meditation.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 17
A.A. Thought For The Day

Everyone has two personalities, a good and a bad. We are all dual personalities to some extent. When we were drinking, the bad personality was in control. We did things when we were drunk that we would never do when we were sober. When we sober up, we are different people.  Then we wonder how we could have done the things we did.  But we drink again, and again our bad side comes out.  So we are back and forth, always in conflict with our other selves, always in a stew. This division of ourselves is not good; we must somehow become unified. We do this by giving ourselves wholeheartedly to A.A. and to sobriety. Have I become unified?

Meditation For The Day

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of Thy Lord.” These words are for many ordinary people whom the world may pass by, unrecognizing. Not to the world-famed, the proud, the wealthy, are these words spoken, but to the quiet followers who serve God unobtrusively yet faithfully, who bear their crosses bravely and put a smiling face to the world. “Enter into the joy of Thy Lord.” Pass into that fuller spiritual life, which is a life of joy and peace.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not desire the world’s applause.  I pray that I may not seek rewards for doing what I believe is right.

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As Bill Sees It
November 17
Two Authorities, p. 319

Many people wonder how A.A. can function under a seeming anarchy.  Other societies have to have law and force and sanction and punishment, administered by authorized people. Happily for us, we found that we need no human authority whatever. We have two authorities which are far more effective. One is benign, the other malign.

There is God, our Father, who very simply says, “I am waiting for you to do my will.” The other authority is named John Barleycorn, and he says, “You had better do God’s will or I will kill you.”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The A.A. Traditions are neither rules, regulations, nor laws. We obey them willingly because we ought to and because we want to. Perhaps the secret of their power lies in the fact that these life-giving communications spring out of living experience and are rooted in love.

1. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 105
2. A.A. Today, p. 11

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Walk In Dry Places
November 17
Are we doing well enough?
Success

Sometimes we can get off the track by mixing AA with the world’s ideas of success.

In AA, success means staying sober while using the AA principles in our daily affairs. We can be successful people in all walks of life.

We should never think that a person is unsuccessful merely because he or she holds a low-paying job or has not regained any business or professional stature that has been lost. One of our members, for example, had once been the senior member of a lucrative law partnership before drinking himself into the gutter. In his sober years, he found great satisfaction in a relatively low- paying judgeship. In worldly terms, he could be seen as less successful. In AA terms, however, this period was the truly successful part of his life.

Our Higher Power will show us where our place in life should be. That should be success enough for any of us.

I’ll do my best today in whatever job I have, grateful for the sobriety that helps me stay self-supporting and happy.

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Keep It Simple
November 17

Mishaps are like knives that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.
—Herman Melville

We have hung on in hard times. We made it through our addiction. Some of us have lived through abuse. We’ve felt like our hearts were broken. But we’ve proven we are survivors. Now we’re learning that we can heal.

Being recovery doesn’t mean things will be easy. But we have a Higher Power to help us. We have friends who listen to us, care for us, and help us through the pain. Because of our recovery program, we’re able to keep hope and love in our lives—One Day at a Time.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me through the hard times. Help me trust in Your love and care.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll plan ahead with my sponsor. What will I do now so that I’ll have strong support when hard times come?

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 17

I think happiness is like the effect on an audience (when acting), if you think of it all the time you will not get it, you must get lost in the part, lost in your purposes and let the effect be the criterion of your success.
–Joanna Field

Happiness is a gift that accompanies every instance of our lives if we approach each situation with gratitude, knowing that what’s offered to us is special to our particular needs. The experiences we meet day to day are honing our Spirit, tempering our hard edges. For these we should offer gratitude.

Our well-being is the gift. Deciding what will make us happy, in fact, what we must have to be happy, prevents us from grasping the unexpected pleasure of the “chance” events of the moment. When we intently look for what we think we need, we may well be blind to more beneficial opportunities God has chosen for us.

Our self-centeredness hinders every breath we take. It prejudices every encounter. It stifles our creative potential. And most of all, it blocks any chance for a spontaneous reaction to the moment. Spontaneity is the breeding ground for creative living. And happiness is the byproduct.

Happiness is my decision, every moment.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
November 17
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

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

The meeting went okay. We talked about somebody’s problem with an anonymity break at his doctor’s office. The people at the meeting were telling him stuff that made no sense to me, like “Live and Let Live,” “Easy Does It,” “One Day at a Time,” “use the Serenity Prayer,” “talk to your sponsor,” and as we went around the table it came my turn. Since they were all saying they were alcoholics, it wasn’t too hard for me to say my name and, “Hi, I’m an alcoholic,” and suggest that the man should go to another doctor. He thanked me very much, and after the meeting he said to be sure and come back next week.

p. 401

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 17

Tradition Five – “Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry it’s message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

There is another reason for this singleness of purpose. It is the great paradox of A.A. that we know we can seldom keep the precious gift of sobriety unless we give it away. If a group of doctors possessed a cancer cure, they might be conscience-stricken if they failed their mission through self-seeking. Yet such a failure wouldn’t jeopardize their personal survival. for us, if we neglect those who are still sick, there is unremitting danger to our own lives and sanity. Under these compulsions of self-preservation, duty, and love, it is not strange that our Society has concluded that it has but one high mission – to carry the A.A. message to those who don’t know there is a way out.

p. 151

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Xtra Thoughts
November 17

I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.
–Agatha Christie

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
–W.T. Purkiser

The source of love is deep in us, and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.
–Thich Nhat Hanh

Never let the word “impossible” stop you from pursuing what your heart and spirit urge you to do. Impossible things come true every day.
–Robert K. Cooper

Nothing is impossible to the willing heart.
–Thomas Heywood

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 17
EXPERIENCE

“Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.”
— Aldous Huxley

Today I experience the joy of sobriety. Today I experience God in my world. Today I experience the peace and serenity that for years eluded me.

Experience is the key. It locates all that is in my life. Experience allows me to appreciate what living is all about.

Love is to be felt. Forgiveness is to be experienced. Humility is to be lived in action.  Hope is to be recognized in the brightness of the eye.

Life is to be experienced. That is spirituality.

May the God that I experience be reflected in daily life.

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Bible Scriptures
November 17

“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 7:17

“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.”
Psalm 40:1

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth
in Thee.
Isaiah 26:3

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving,
considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
James 3:17

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.
Psalm 119:1-2

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:13-16

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Daily Inspiration
November 17

You will not create a new life by simply forgetting the old one. Lord, help me create new values and new goals so that I will become a peaceful spirit which will bring newness and freshness to my life and allow me to greet the day with enthusiasm.

Never underestimate the power of your presence nor your ability to comfort and encourage. Lord, thank You for my opportunities to do Your work.

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A Day At A Time
November 17

Reflection For The Day

Many of us in The Program stubbornly cling to false ideas and positions simply because we fear we’d be left defenseless if we admitted having been wrong.  The thought of “backing down” still seems distasteful to some of us.  But we come to learn that our self-esteem soars when we’re able to push pride into the background and truly face the facts.   Chances are that people with true humility have more genuine self-esteem than those of us who are repeatedly victimized by pride.  Does pride deviously keep me from thorough and continuing attention to the Tenth Step?

Today I Pray

May pride stay out of my way, now that I’ve found a road to follow.  May I avoid that familiar, destructive cycle of pride — the ego that balloons up out of all proportion and then deflates with a fizzle.  May I learn the value of “backing down.”

Today I Will Remember

Pride is the arch-enemy of self-esteem.

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One More Day
November 17

The People plan and God laughs.
–Yiddish Proverb

Through the ages our ancestors have recognized that sometimes what happens is due to a purely random selection. Natural disasters occur, accidents happen, and people are in the wrong places at the wrong times.

But what about being in the right place at the right time? It’s not very often that we hear those stories. We hear about trade dies and real triumphs. What we don’t hear are stories about people like us, who struggle along, doing the best they can, hoping for a break. We have learned there are times to let go of unrealistic plans and to let our Higher Power have a hand in our lives. By letting go we create our own well-being.

I make my plans and hope for success, knowing there is a Power greater than me who has the final word.

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One Day At A Time
November 17
Aging

Those who love deeply never grow old;  they may die of old age, but they die young.
–Benjamin Franklin

I used to be afraid of getting older. I was also afraid to become friends with older people, because I would come to love them and then they would die. I could not handle unpleasant feelings (other than if I overate to stop feeling them) because the feeling of unpleasantness would totally devastate me.

In working the Twelve Step program, my Higher Power has brought me great recovery in this area … I am now able to handle the grief and sorrow that come up when I allow myself to get to know and love older people and then they die. I am now free in this area! I get to enjoy the wisdom and beauty that they have to share, from all their life experiences, and from the beautiful people they are!

Another beautiful gift from my Higher Power came when I started relating to older people again. When the first one died, it really threw me, and I was very sad. But I got up the next day and had a great spiritual awakening: this person was missing and that was sad, but I looked around and saw all the other wonderful people still there in my life, with whom I got to share another day! Life suddenly became much more precious to me … to have one more day to be with and share with someone who touches my soul!

One Day at a Time . . .
I enjoy myself as I become older. I allow myself to enjoy friendships with those who are older than me. I thank my Higher Power for every day and every moment of precious life!

~ Lynne ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 17

“Humbleness means peace and honesty — both mean Hopi.

True, honest, perfect words — that’s what we call Hopi words.  In all languages, not just in Hopi. We strive to be Hopi.  We call ourselves Hopi because maybe one or two of us will become Hopi. Each person must look into their heart and make changes so that you may become Hopi when you reach your destination.”
–Percy Lomaquahu, HOPI

The Creator has made available to us all the laws, principles and values which we need to know to live in harmony.  The Creator also designed each human being to learn and grow by trial and error. We have tools to help us live the right way. We have prayers, visions, nature, teachers, Elders, and we have the Great Spirit to talk to and ask for help when we have problems. We also have choice. To walk the Red Road takes courage and a lot of prayer.

Creator, give me courage to walk the Red Road.

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Journey to the Heart
November 17
Discover the Power of Loving Yourself

Sometimes it’s hard to trust life with all its sudden twists, turns, and storms. When something unexpected or painful happens, when we become blocked or frustrated, when life takes a different course than we hoped it would, it’s easy to stop trusting the flow of our lives. I didn’t ask for this. It’s not fair. I don’t want this, we think. This road isn’t leading anywhere, at least nowhere I want to go. Often, when we feel life has turned on us, we respond by turning on ourselves. But turning on ourselves doesn’t help. In fact, it can compound the situation. It can prevent us from hearing and acting on the very guidance that will lead us through, get us through, and take us to the next place. It can prevent us from hearing our heart.

Keep loving yourself, and taking care of yourself, no matter what– through the storms,the twists, the turns, and the blocks. Take a moment, breathe deep, restore yourself to that sacred place of self-love and self-responsibility. Feel all your feelings. Then let them go. Love yourself until you can hear your heart and what it tells you to do. Love yourself until you find the courage to act on that guidance.

Loving yourself is a powerful tool, a powerful force for change. It can reconnect you to creativity, to universal love, to the best possible flow of events within your life. It can and will reconnect you to life’s magic.

There is a trustworthy road through whatever life brings. Loving yourself will help you find it.

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Today’s Gift
November 17

Down in a green and shady bed
A modest violet grew;
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head,
As if to hide from view.
—Jane Taylor

Shyness can be painful. Those of us who are shy do not choose to be this way. There are no quick and easy solutions to shyness, but it isn’t the worst thing that could happen to us. And there are some things we can do about it. We can be willing to talk about it with someone we trust. We can exercise to build strength and self-confidence, and we can avoid dwelling on the problem. Most of all, we should not let shyness keep us from doing things. We may be a little uncomfortable, but that doesn’t have to stop us from doing the task at hand to the best of our ability.

We can be assured that the ability to succeed is within us, and keep in mind that, if we offer love to those around us, their answering love will help us overcome our shyness.

What am I no longer too shy to try today?

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The Language of Letting Go
November 17
Grief and Action

Trust in God and do something.
–Mary Lyon

It’s important to let ourselves grieve as a passage between yesterday and tomorrow. But we do not have to be controlled unduly by our grief, or our pain.

There are times when we have grieved, surrendered to the heaviness, tiredness, and weariness of a circumstance long enough. It becomes time to break out. It comes time to take action.

We will know when it’s time to break the routine of grieving. There will be signs within and around us. We will become tired of the heaviness. An idea will occur; an opportunity will present itself. We may think: No. Too much effort… Do it anyway. Try something. Reach out. Stretch. Do something unusual, something different, and something special.

A new activity may help trigger the transformation process. Stay up two hours later than usual! Make an appointment to do something for yourself that is different from what you usually do. Visit someone you haven’t seen in years. Do something to encourage and help the new energy coming your way.

We may not feel like breaking out of grief. It may feel safer, easier, to remain in our cocoon. Begin pushing out anyway.

Test the walls of your cocoon. Push. Push a little harder. It may be time to emerge.

Today, I will trust God and the process, but I will also take action to help myself feel better.

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More Language Of Letting Go
November 17
Undo your mistakes

“Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” This is the Tenth Step of the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step program. It’s also a step that many wise people not working a program practice,too.

Sometimes the mistakes we make are teeny, tiny ones. We say something that hurts another person. Or we behave in a way we know is inappropriate, and we feel badly about it. Sometimes the mistakes are bigger. We may have taken a job or gotten ourselves into a relationship thinking it was a good idea only to discover later that it wasn’t.

For whatever the reasons motivating us at the time, we made a mistake. We took a wrong turn on the path, and the direction we’re going isn’t where we meant to go and isn’t where we want to be. Or we’ve arrived at a dead end.

Step Ten is part of the program, one-twelfth of the program, because someone knew we were going to need it, maybe one-twelfth of the time. The words I’m sorry are in our language because we’ve developed a need for that phrase,too.

Not making amends can damage our relationships. When pride or shame prevent us from making amends, we close our hearts to God, ourselves, and the people we love.

Admit your mistake. Take any actions necessary to correct the situation for yourself and the people involved.

Just open your heart and say these five words: I’m sorry. I was wrong.

Then let it go and get one with your life. Have the courage to do what you need to do to get on track with your life.

God, help me admit to myself, you, and others when I’m wrong and have made a mistake– whether it’s a small one or a major wrong turn in my life. Then, help me to undo my actions and get back on track again.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 17

You cannot devalue the body and value the soul – or value anything else. The isolation of the body sets it into direct conflict with everything else in creation.
—Wendell Berry

Our bodies are part of creation as much as trees, lakes, mountains, flowers, and animals. Part of our growth into full manhood is treating ourselves respectfully. It is a spiritual practice to be fully accepting, active, and alive physically.

We can no longer be content to be only spectator sportsmen in front of the televisIon set. We need to get our own muscles moving. What we take in as food expresses the level of respect we feel for ourselves. Our sexual expressions reflect the value we feel for our own bodies and our partners’. Our spiritual feelings become part of all the basic details of our lives.

Today, I stand in God’s creation as a physical body. My spiritual experience includes all the ways I care for and accept my body.

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Daily TAO
November 17
SELF-SUFFICIENCY

Be self-sufficient but not isolated.
When the king of China closed the borders,
Centuries of stagnation and decadence began.

All the philosophy of Tao is intended to lead to self-sufficiency.  Whatever one needs to do in life, one should be able to do on one’s own.  Whether one is trapped in the wilderness or whether one is dealing with a social gathering requiring etiquette and grace, one should be able to cope with aplomb and ease.

Being self-sufficient is not the same as being isolated. This is a very important point. When the king of China closed the borders, the country was self-sufficient enough to enjoy the isolation very well. The entire nation withdrew into a magic contentment. But eventually an inbred society developed. Stagnation and decay set in.

The same problems can arise in people who are so self-sufficient that they fail to engage life fully. Either they will implode from the sheer weight of their own decadence and stagnation, or they will explode once the outside world confronts them with something they cannot comprehend.

Those who follow Tao roam the world. They may avail themselves of the temporary advantages of withdrawal and intense self-cultivation, but they do not become permanently isolated. They flow with the Tao, are with all things, and therefore avoid decadence.

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