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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – November 18, 2013

Just For Today
November 18
Self-discovery

“The Tenth Step can help us correct our living problems and prevent their recurrence.”
Basic Text p. 41

Our identities, how we think and feel, have been shaped by our experiences. Some of our experiences have made us better people; others have caused us shame or embarrassment; all of them have influenced who we are today. We can take advantage of the knowledge gained in examining our mistakes, using this wisdom to guide the decisions we’ll make today.

Acceptance of ourselves means accepting all aspects of ourselves – our assets, our defects, our successes, and our failures. Shame and guilt left unaddressed can paralyze us, preventing us from moving forward in our lives. Some of the most meaningful amends we can make for the mistakes of our past are made simply by acting differently today. We strive for improvement and measure our success by comparing who we used to be with who we are now.

Being human, we will continue making mistakes; however, we need not make the same ones over and over again. By looking over our past and realizing that we have changed and grown, we’ll find hope for the future. The best is yet to come.

Just for today: I will do the best I can with what I have today. Each day I’ll learn something new that will help me tomorrow.

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Daily Reflections
November 18
A SAFETY NET

Occasionally. . . We are seized with a rebellion so sickening that we simply won’t pray. When these things happen we should not think too ill of ourselves. We should simply resume prayer as soon as we can, doing what we know to be good for us.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 105

Sometimes I scream, stomp my feet, and turn my back on my Higher Power. Then my disease tells me that I am a failure, and that if I stay angry I’ll surely get drunk. In those moments of self-will it’s as if I’ve slipped over a cliff and am hanging by one hand. The above passage is my safety net, in that it urges me to try some new behavior, such as being kind and patient with myself. It assures me that my Higher Power will wait until I am willing once again to risk letting go, to land in the net, and to pray.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 18
A.A. Thought For The Day

I have got over my procrastination. I was always putting things off till tomorrow and as a result that never got done. “There is always another day” was my motto instead of “Do it now.” Under the influence of alcohol, I had grandiose plans. When I was sober I was too busy getting over my drunk to start anything. “Some day I’ll do that” — but I never did it. In A.A. I have learned it’s better to make a mistake once in a while than to never do anything at all. We learn by trial and error. But we must act now and not put it off until tomorrow. Have I learned to do it now?

Meditation For The Day

“Do not hide your light under a bushel. Arise and shine, for the light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen in thee.” The glory of the Lord shines in the beauty of a man’s character. It is risen in you, even though you can realize it only in part. “Now you see as in a glass darkly, but later you will see face to face.” The glory of the Lord is too dazzling for mortals to see fully on earth. But some of this glory is risen in you when you try to reflect that light in your life.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may try to be a reflection of the Divine Light.  I pray that some of its rays may shine in my life.

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As Bill Sees It
November 18
Running The Whole Show, p. 320

Most people try to live by self-propulsion. Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show and is forever trying to arrange the lights, the scenery, and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great.

What usually happens? The show doesn’t come off very well.  Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying.

Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be useful? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well?

Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 60-61

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Walk In Dry Places
November 18
The old friends who dropped us.
Personal relations.

As our drinking progressed, most of us lost old friends. Sometimes it was our behavior that drove them away; at other times, it was because they didn’t want to associate with “losers.”

In sobriety, some of our old friendships have been restored. These are real friendships based on trust and true affection.

But sobriety can also give us a deeper and finer understanding of friendships. We may acquire a new set of values on this subject. We may find that some of those whom we considered friends were only fair-weather drinking acquaintances.

Drinking acquaintances will probably ease away from us if we really means business in staying sober. This need not bother us if we’re thinking rightly.

The great news in all of this is that in the fellowship, we’ll be making some of the best friends we can ever have. We’ll also learn how to be great friends with ourselves.

In my thinking about friendship today, I’ll seek people I trust and like, not people I can use.

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Keep It Simple
November 18

Life is short: live it up.
–Nikita

We won’t stay sober long unless it’s more fun than using chemicals.  The truth is, using chemicals wasn’t fun anymore. It was work. We just told ourselves it was still fun.

So live it up! Try new things. Meet new friends. Try new foods. Taking risks and having adventures are a basic human need. So go for it.  Sobriety is fun. Living a spiritual life is fun. Get out there and live!

Prayer for the day: Higher Power ,teach me to play. Teach me to have fun. Teach me to live!

Action for the day: Today is for fun. I’ll try something new. I’ll see how many people I can get to smile. And I’ll celebrate the fact that I’m sober.

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 18

Do not compare yourself with others, for you are a unique and wonderful creation. Make your own beautiful footprints in the snow.
–Barbara Kimball

Comparisons we make of ourselves to other women do destruction far greater than our conscious minds are aware of. Positioning ourselves or her on the “beloved pedestal” prevents the equality of sisterhood that offers each woman the freedom to be solely herself.

Comparisons in which we are the losers darken the moment, cut us off from the actual rhythms of that moment. The consequences can be grave. Within any moment might be the opportunity we’ve awaited, the opportunity to achieve a particular dream. We must not miss our opportunities.

Each life is symbolized by a particular set of footprints in the snow. How wonderful and how freeing to know that we each offer something uniquely our own. We need never compete to be noticed. Each of us is guaranteed recognition for what we contribute, because it is offered by us alone.

Envy eats at us; it interferes with all of our interactions. It possesses all of our thoughts, caging us, denying us the freedom to achieve that can be ours.

I will look with love on my sisters. I will free them and myself to be all we are capable of becoming.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
November 18
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

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

During the meeting, somebody mentioned spending too much time at discussion tables when we should have been spending more time at First Step tables for newcomers. So I went to the First Step table the following week. The discussion was very interesting. I didn’t think I was “powerless over alcohol,” but I knew “my life was unmanageable.”

p. 401

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 18

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

Highlighting the wisdom of A.A.’s single purpose, a member tells this story:  “Restless one day, I felt I’d better do some Twelfth Step work. Maybe I should take out some insurance against a slip. But first I’d have to find a drunk to work on.  “So I hopped the subway to Towns Hospital, where I asked Dr. Silkworth if he had a prospect. `Nothing too promising,’ the little doc said. `There’s just one chap on the third floor who might be a possibility. But he’s an awfully tough Irishman. I never saw a man so obstinate. He shouts that if his partner would treat him better, and his wife would leave him alone, he’d soon solve his alcohol problem. He’s had a bad case of D.T.’s, he’s pretty foggy, and he’s very suspicious of everybody. Doesn’t sound too good, does it? But working with him may do something for you, so why don’t you have a go at it?’

pp. 151-152

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Xtra Thoughts
November 18

“What makes humility so desirable is the marvelous thing it does to us; it creates in us a capacity for the closest possible intimacy with God.”
–Monica Baldwin

What you are is God’s gift to you, What you do with yourself is your gift to God.
–White Buffalo Calf Woman

Remember that your children are not your own, but are lent to you by the Creator.
–Native American Proverb

A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.
–Carl Sandburg

Honesty is the best way to gain the trust of others. By being honest, feelings may or may not be hurt. Whichever the case you will end up respecting yourself more for it.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 18
STRENGTH

“All cruelty springs from weakness.”
— Seneca

My spiritual recovery means that I confront my disease and remember sick attitudes and behavior patterns. I would rather not talk about my disease because it is embarrassing and shameful particularly my cruelty to people and animals. My alcoholism made me lash out at the weak; yes, my weakness inflicted pain and cruelty on others.

I remember this only to rejoice in today’s strength that allows vulnerability. My past weaknesses made me act strong. Today my strength allows me to be weak.

God, the recognition of my past cruelties enables me to forgive and understand others.

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Bible Scriptures
November 18

Set a guard over my mouth ,O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalm 141:3

“You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it.
Isaiah 45:8

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.
Proverbs 19:18

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Daily Inspiration
November 18

Your life is yours to live as you choose with the results that you want. Lord, help me to be full of life, full of energy and greet my opportunities with a peaceful smile and a gentle gratitude.

Faith grows by speaking daily with God. Lord, You teach me Your promises when times are good so that I will be able to trust in You when times are hard.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 18

“Power is not manifested in the human being.  True power is in the Creator.”
–Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA

The Old Ones say the only true power is spiritual power.  Sometimes our egos tell us we have power but really we don’t.  Great Spirit power is called by other names such as love, forgiveness, intelligence, life, principles, and laws.

When the Creator uses this power to make the human being powerful, we must stay humble. We should constantly acknowledge that we are who we are.  We do what we do because of the power of the Great One.

Great One, guide me to use Your power well. I will use it only to serve the people.

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Journey to the Heart
November 18
Live with Unsolved Problems

Sometimes we need to live for a while with a particular behavior, problem, or situation before we’re ready to change it.

Sometimes we have to live with it so long– conscious that it’s a problem but unable yet to solve or change it– that we can hardly bear it. We’re fully aware that we want and need something different, but the situation still hasn’t changed. The answer has not yet arrived. We worry that the situation will continue eternally and the problem will never be solved. During those times of living with a problem and the desire to solve it, we may long for the old days, those days when our denial system was intact and we didn’t know what we were doing.

If you can’t solve it yet, if you can’t change it yet, it’s okay to live with it, just as it is. Something is happening. The situation is changing. You’re on your way to change.

Trust that the waiting part of change is necessary. Trust that your desire for change is the beginning of change. Trust that each moment you are moving closer to the change you desire.

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A Day At A Time
November 18

Reflection For The Day

“Nothing is enough to the man for whom enough is too little,” wrote the Greek philosopher Epicurus.  Now that we’re free from addiction, rebuilding our self-respect and winning back the esteem of family and friends, we have to avoid becoming smug about our new-found success.  For most of us, success has always been a heady brew;  even in our new life, it’s still possible to fall into the dangerous trap of “big-shot-itis.”  As insurance, we ought to remember that we’re free today only by the grace of God.  Will I remember that any success i may be having is far more His success than mine?

Today I Pray

May I keep constant string-on-the-finger reminder that I have found freedom through the grace of God — just so I don’t let my pride try to convince me I did it all myself.  May I learn to cope with success by ascribing it to a Higher Power, not to my own questionable superiority.

Today I Will Remember

Learn to deal with success.

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One More Day
November 18

Life is not a static thing.
— Everet M. Dirkson

Sometimes change occurs so slowly within us that we don’t notice it. We accept it and may even welcome it when it happens gradually, but we’re less likely to accept those changes that arrive suddenly. Abrupt change doesn’t fit what we expect and can cause chaos in our lives.

When we finally realize we can’t prevent changes from happening, but can only alter our reactions to these changes, they become easier to accept. We can’t stop our declining health either, but we can certainly understand the influence a positive attitude can have on our lives.

I will accept the things I cannot change.

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One Day At A Time
November 18
HONESTY

You never find yourself until you face the truth.
–Pearl Bailey

I was brought up to be scrupulously honest, or so I thought. I still remember how my father would go back into a shop if he’d been given too much change, a practice that I adopted too. I found it hard to tell a lie, even a white lie, and I would never contemplate cheating on a test. But when it came to food, I only realized later, I was totally dishonest. I was even dishonest when it came to telling people how I felt, or for that matter who I really was. The person who did these things was a totally different person to the upright person I liked people to see.

I know now that all the things I’d hidden around food were obviously what I felt ashamed about. I wanted people to see only the “good” side of me and not the person who did all these devious things in secret. I kept thinking that I was a bad person and the shame stopped me from being totally honest about what I had been doing.

It has taken time, and the love and acceptance I have found in the fellowship, to be able to get totally honest with myself. It has taken time to look at all the things about me that I felt ashamed of. In the housecleaning necessary in the Steps, I have been able to face my shame. I learned that I am human, and that I have a disease. Some of the soul searching has been very painful, but at the same time it has been totally enlightening. I am amazed how I am beginning to know a new me, with faults and all, but a loveable me nevertheless. As I peel off more layers of the onion that represents the sum total of what makes me unique and truly one of God’s creatures, I am actually beginning to like the new me. I know now that I am not a bad person trying to get good, merely a sick person trying to get well.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will keep being honest about who I am, what I eat and how I am behaving in my relationships, so I can learn more about me. Even when I don’t like what I see, I know I am still a loveable person and a child of God, created in His image.

~ Sharon S. ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 18

“Power is not manifested in the human being.
True power is in the Creator.”
–Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA

The Old Ones say the only true power is spiritual power.  Sometimes our egos tell us we have power but really we don’t.  Great Spirit power is called by other names such as love, forgiveness, intelligence, life, principles, and laws.

When the Creator uses this power to make the human being powerful, we must stay humble. We should constantly acknowledge that we are who we are.  We do what we do because of the power of the Great One.

Great One, guide me to use Your power well. I will use it only to serve the people.

*************************************

Journey to the Heart
November 18
Live with Unsolved Problems

Sometimes we need to live for a while with a particular behavior, problem, or situation before we’re ready to change it.

Sometimes we have to live with it so long– conscious that it’s a problem but unable yet to solve or change it– that we can hardly bear it. We’re fully aware that we want and need something different, but the situation still hasn’t changed. The answer has not yet arrived. We worry that the situation will continue eternally and the problem will never be solved. During those times of living with a problem and the desire to solve it,we may long for the old days, those days when our denial system was intact and we didn’t know what we were doing.

If you don’t solve it yet, if you can’t change it yet, it’s okay to live with it, just as it is. Something is happening. The situation is changing. You’re on your way to change.

Trust that the waiting part of change is necessary. Trust that your desire for change is the beginning of change. Trust that each moment you are moving closer to the change you desire.

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Today’s Gift
November 18

One comes in the end to realize that there is no permanent pure relationship and there should not be.
—Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Whether we are teenagers in love for the first time, or parents who have been married for twenty years, relationships can turn into obsessions if we’re not careful.

We can lose our sense of self and only feel complete when we’re with the other person. We can become totally attached and dependent on the primary person in our lives for all our needs.

We need to remember that we can be a good partner in a relationship only if we feel complete within ourselves. Keeping ourselves open to change in our surroundings, our loved ones, and especially ourselves helps us stay whole.

We learn, first, to be ourselves, to make independent choices. We dare to do things on our own. Things as simple as going for a walk by ourselves and smelling the scents of nature. Being ourselves means bringing our own world to meet the world of our loved ones, rather than depending on them to make our world.

Am I making my own happiness so I may share it with others?

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The Language of Letting Go
November 18
Allowing Ourselves to be Nurtured

Let yourself be nurtured and loved. Let people be there for you. Allow yourself to be held when it would feel good. Let someone listen to you, support and encourage you when you need that. Receive comfort from someone’s physical presence when you need that. Allow yourself to be supported emotionally and cared about.

For too long, we’ve stood in the background, attending to the needs of others and claiming we have no needs of our own. We’ve shut off, for to long, the part of us that longs to be nurtured.

It is time, now, to claim those needs, to identify them, and to understand that we deserve to have them met.

What are our needs? What would feel good? What kinds of ways would we like others to nurture and support us? The clearer we can be about our needs, the greater the possibility they will be met.

Hugs. A listening ear. Support. Encouragement. The physical and emotional presence of people who care about us. Doesn’t that sound good? Tempting?

Someone once said to me, “The eighties have been a ‘me’ decade. Now, maybe the nineties can be a ‘you’ decade.”

My reply was immediate. “Let’s make the nineties a ‘me’ and ‘you’ decade.”

No matter how long we’ve been recovering, we never outgrow our need for nurturing and love.

Today, I will open to recognizing my needs for nurturing. I will be open to the needs of those around me too. I can begin taking a nurturing, loving attitude toward myself and by taking responsibility for my needs in relationships.

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More Language Of Letting Go
November 18
Improvise

Do not fear mistakes; there are none.
–Miles Davis

Life is a jazz tune. Sometimes it’s raucous, sometimes blue, but always full of unexpected twists and turns, and here and there a delightful new sound emerges. Viewed from a staunch classical viewpoint we might be tempted to call the new note or harmonization a mistake, but in the free flowing world of jazz, it becomes just another piece of the melodic whole.

So we took the wrong job, chose a career based on what others expected of you rather that what you expected of yourself. Was it a mistake? Only if you spent all your time there dwelling on the fact that you would rather be someplace else and missed the chance to learn something about yourself.

Admit your mistakes. Say sorry when you’re wrong.

But don’t feel trapped by the mistakes of your past and don’t trap yourself now by the possibility of future mistakes. Sure, we’ll continue to screw up. But, we just might invent a new note or two along the way.

God, help me learn from my mistakes and to turn my blunders into successes.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 18

I always entertain great hopes.
—Robert Frost

In our honest journey, we must admit life is often difficult and painful. But these facts do not describe all of life, and they do not determine how we respond. The sun rises warm and bright after a cold and dark night. The open, generous smile of a small child reaches into the soft part of us all. To be strong and hardy men on this spiritual path, we must be truthful about the pain and unfairness in life while holding firmly to a belief in all the generous possibilities.

Surrendering to despair, we trade the uncertainty of options for the certainty of gloom. Then we might say, “At least I’m never disappointed this way.” Life isn’t filled only with difficulty and pain. It is also filled with people whose dignity and spirit rise above their circumstances. There are situations when great sacrifice or love and wisdom turn a problem into an opportunity and strength. If we look at what has happened in our own lives and in those of others, we have ample reason to hope.

My own experience in recovery gives me great hope in what can be.

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Daily TAO
November 18
DECADENCE

Powdered concubine dressed in rich silks —
Feet bound, body soft, lips slack —
Views lotuses through binoculars.
A dragonfly alights on her motionless fan.

How do you know when your own life verges on decadence?

Certainly when the force of form becomes more important that the force of substance. When etiquette and morals become more important that understanding and righteousness. When procedure becomes more important than creativity. When gratifying your lust becomes more important than giving to others. When patriotism becomes more important than measured governing and enlightened treatment of other nations. When the act of eating becomes more important than considerations of nutrition. When the opera becomes more important than helping the poor and homeless. When one’s own comfort becomes more important than the suffering of loves ones. When ambition becomes more important than benevolence. When prestige becomes more important than charity. When the academy becomes more important than the streets. When loud expression becomes more important than listening to others. When outrageousness becomes more important than communication. When connoisseurship becomes more important than simple acts. When style becomes more important than function. When books become more important than teachers. When expediency becomes more important than the elderly.

When you smell these things happening, you are not far from decadence.

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