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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – November 19

November 19
Daily Reflections
“I WAS SLIPPING FAST”

We A.A.’s are active folk, enjoying the satisfactions of dealing with the realities of life, . . . . So it isn’t surprising that we often tend to slight serious meditation and prayer as something not really necessary.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 96

I had been slipping away from the program for some time, but it took a death threat from a terminal disease to bring me back, and particularly to the practice of the Eleventh Step of our blessed Fellowship. Although I had fifteen years of sobriety and was still very active in the program, I knew that the quality of my sobriety had slipped badly. Eighteen months later, a checkup revealed a malignant tumor and a prognosis of certain death within six months. Despair settled in when I enrolled in a rehab program, after which I suffered two small strokes which revealed two large brain tumors. As I kept hitting new bottoms I had to ask myself why this was happening to me. God allowed me to recognize my dishonesty and to become teachable again. Miracles began to happen. But primarily I relearned the whole meaning of the Eleventh
Step. My physical condition has improved dramatically, but my illness is minor compared to what I almost lost completely.

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

In A.A. we do not speak much of sex. And yet putting sex in its proper place in our lives is one of the rewards that has come to us as a result of our new way of living. The big book says that many of us needed an overhauling there. It also says that we subjected each sex relation to this test — was it selfish or not? “We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly, nor to be despised or loathed.” We can ask God to mold our ideals and to help us to live up to them. We can act accordingly. Have I got my sex life under proper control?

Meditation For The Day

“I will lift up my eyes unto the heights whence cometh my help.” Try to raise your thoughts from the depths of the sordid and mean and impure things of the earth to the heights of goodness and decency and beauty. Train your insight by trying to take the higher view. Train it more and more until distant heights become more familiar. The heights of the Lord, whence cometh your help, will become nearer and dearer and the false values of the earth will seem farther away.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not keep my eyes forever downcast.
I pray that I may set my sights on higher things.

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As Bill Sees It
Results of Prayer, p. 321

As the doubter tries the process of prayer, he should begin to add up the results. If he persists, he will most surely find more serenity, more tolerance, less fear, and less anger. He will acquire a quiet courage, the kind that isn’t tension-ridden. He can look at “failure” and “success” for what these really are. Problems and calamity will begin to mean his instruction, instead of his destruction. He will feel freer and saner.

The idea that he may have been hypnotizing himself by auto suggestion will become laughable. His sense of purpose and of direction will increase. His anxieties will commence to fade. His physical health will be likely to improve. Wonderful and unaccountable things will start to happen. Twisted relations in his family and on the outside will improve surprisingly.

Grapevine, June 1958

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Walk In Dry Places

Is there bondage in attending meetings?
Sharing
A few critics have noted scornfully that AA members can be as enslaved by the need for meetings as we were by the bottle. are we compulsively addicted to meetings.
When we hear such remarks, we must remember that our survival insobriety is always the main issue. We might be going to more meetings that seems necessary , but we are the judges of our own needs.
In addition, meeting attendance is a constructive activity, while drinking was destructive… at least for us. If we’re gong to overdo something, at least it’s an activity that helps us.
We should never consider meeting attendance a form of bondage. There are many activities in life that are required for our peace and freedom. Meeting attendance is one of these things. We can be grateful for the opportunities meetings provide for sharing our personal experiences. No criticism should be allowed to intrude on this.
I’ll not let outside criticism interfere with any AA activity that is benefiting me and maintaining my sobriety.

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Keep It Simple

What we don’t live, we cannot teach others.—Day By Day

Remember – we don’t carry the message to others until we get to Step
Twelve. We must first learn to live in a sober way. Sobriety takes time.
We have to stop using alcohol and other drugs, but this is only the start.
Just as it takes time to build a home, it takes time to build a new way of
life. We talk with friends and sponsors about the Steps. We try using them in out lives. Then we talk about how the Steps work for us. We talk about where we get stuck with the Steps.
All this takes time. We aren’t in a hurry. We have a lifetime ahead of us.
Remember-the better we live our program, the better we help others.
Prayer for the day: Higher Power, You’ll let me know when I’m to carry the message. Until then, be with me as I build a new way of life, a spiritual way of life.
Action for the day: I’ll take time to think over where I’m with my program. I’ll talk about it with a friend.

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Each Day a New Beginning

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 – Fourth Edition
Chapter 9 – The Family Afterward

So we think cheerfulness and laughter make for usefulness. Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we bust into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why shouldn’t we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.

p. 132

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Alcoholics Anonymous – Fourth Edition Stories
Because I’m An Alcoholic

This drinker finally found the answer to her nagging question, “Why?”

Then I began to heal emotionally, to experience feelings that had long been so deeply buried they had atrophied. For a time I floated on that pink cloud. Then I cried for a year, raged for another year. My feelings returned and then began to settle down to reasonable size.

pp. 345-346

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Step Twelve – “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

Practically every A.A. member declares that no satisfaction has been deeper and no joy greater than in a Twelfth Step job well done. To watch the eyes of men and women open with wonder as they move from darkness into light, to see their lives quickly fill with new purpose and meaning, to see whole families reassembled, to see the alcoholic outcast received back into his community in full citizenship, and above all to watch these people awaken to the presence of a loving God in their lives–these things are the substance of what we receive as we carry A.A.’s message to the next alcoholic.

p. 110

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Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
–Helen Keller

I believe in God — this is a fine, praiseworthy thing to say, but to acknowledge God
wherever and however he manifest Himself, that in truth is heavenly bliss on earth.
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Maximize your productive time by focusing on positive outcomes.
–unknown

Perseverance can tip the scales from failure to success.
–unknown

If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always be where you’ve always been.
–unknown

H O W = Honest, Open, Willing

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
FORGIVING

“He that cannot forgive others
breaks the bridge over which he
must pass himself. For every
man has need to be forgiven.”
— Thomas Fuller

My failings as an alcoholic help me to live with others today. The fact that I made and make mistakes helps me to have creative relationships today. Because I know what it is to fail, I can understand the failings of others. My weaknesses are a bridge to understanding my fellow man.

By contrast when I was drinking, I thought I was perfect, always right and this led to judgments, arguments and a self-imposed alienation.

Alcohol fed my arrogance and pride; sobriety helps develop humility and understanding.

God, I understand that even my failings can be made to work for me in sobriety.

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“The measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
Luke 6:38

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you
will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Matthew 7:1-2

In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.
Psalm 118:5

Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose
heart.”
Galatians 6:9

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with
wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not grow faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

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Daily Inspiration

Listen to hear and learn. Lord, help me to practice listening without judgment and interruption so that I fully benefit and truly comprehend the nature of what is being shared with me.

Learn to be peaceful in all situations and trust that through all stages of our lives, God has a plan. Lord, may I have the wisdom to be able to turn my stumbling blocks into building blocks.

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NA Just For Today 
The Language Of Empathy

“… the addict would find from the start as much identification as each needed to convince himself that he could stay clean, by the example of others who had recovered for many years.”
Basic Text p. 85

Many of us attended our first meeting and, not being entirely sure that NA was for us, found much to criticize. Either we felt as though no one had suffered like we had or that we hadn’t suffered enough. But as we listened we started to hear something new, a wordless language with its roots in recognition, belief, and faith: the language of empathy. Desiring to belong, we kept listening.

We find all the identification we need as we learn to understand and speak the language of empathy. To understand this special language, we listen with our hearts. The language of empathy uses few words; it feels more than it speaks. It doesn’t preach or lecture – it listens. It can reach out and touch the spirit of another addict without a single spoken word.

Fluency in the language of empathy comes to us through practice. The more we use it with other addicts and our Higher Power, the more we understand this language. It keeps us coming back.

Just for today: I will listen with my heart. With each passing day, I will become more fluent in the language of empathy.

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Today’s Gift.
We all fear what we don’t know–it’s natural. –Leo Buscaglia
If we put a blindfold over our eyes and begin to walk around an open field, we would feel unsure with each step. We might be afraid of falling, afraid of walking over some unseen edge and hurting ourselves.
When any of us face something and we don’t know what the outcome will be, we often feel blindfolded. We fear we may get hurt. We fear we can’t do it. We have a hard time trusting ourselves. A blind person often finds help or guidance from others, or will gain confidence by walking on–slowly at first, finding trust and sureness with each step.
These same things help us when we are afraid. It is also helpful to remember there is no right or wrong way to explore what faces us–only our own way.
What new trust can I place in myself today?

Touchstones.

Archie Bunker: What’s wrong with revenge? That’s a perfect way to get even. –Norman Lear

When we are locked within negative, hostile thinking patterns, we go around in mental circles. What seems perfectly rational to us at the time looks misguided and blind when we look back. Carrying a grudge or a desire to get even with someone is a cancer inside us. It belittles us and holds back our spirit.
We break through our mental circles by revealing our anger to others. We talk with other recovering men and let them know the details of our resentments. We listen to their experiences and apply them in our program. As long as we keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves, we only recycle the same thinking system. When we take the risk and talk to friends, we build bridges that bring in new ideas.
I will not harbor my resentments within myself. I will talk with a trusted friend so I can learn to let them go.

Each Day a New Beginning.

Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills. –Minna Antrim

It is not by chance but by design that the sorrows we experience throughout our lives are countered by equal servings of joy. One offsets the other. And we are strengthened by their combination.
Our longing for only life’s joys is human–also folly. Joy would become insipid if it were our steady diet. Joyful times serve us well as respites from the trying situations that push our growth and development as women.
Laughter softens the cutting edges of the lessons we seek or are cornered by. It offers perspective when the outlook is bleak. And for those of us who are recovering, wallowing in the bleaker times used to be acceptable behavior. But no more. The reality is that each day will present both occasions for anguish and ones inviting easy laughter. Both are valuable. Neither should dominate.
Joy and sorrow are analogous to the ebb and flow of the ocean tide. They are natural rhythms. And we are mellowed by their presence when we accept them as necessary to our very existence.
Any pain today guarantees an equal amount of pleasure, if I willingly accept them both.

The Language of Letting Go.
Accepting Our Feelings
Why do we struggle so with our feelings? Why do we work so hard to deny our emotions, especially concerning other people? They are only feelings!
In the course of a day, we may deny we feel frustrated in reaction to someone who is selling us a service.
We may deny that we feel frustrated, angry, or hurt in reaction to a friend.
We may deny feelings of fear, or anger, toward our children.
We may deny a whole range of feelings toward our spouse or the person with whom we’re in a love relationship.
We may deny feelings provoked by people we work for, or by people who work for us.
Sometimes the feelings are a direct reaction to others. Sometimes people trigger something deeper – an old sadness or frustration.
Regardless of the source of our feelings, they are still our feelings. We own them. And acceptance is often all that is necessary to make them go away.
We don’t have to let our feelings control our behavior. We don’t have to act on each feeling that passes through us. We do not need to indulge in inappropriate behavior.
It does help to talk about our feelings with someone we trust. Sometimes we need to bring our feelings to the person who is triggering them. That can breed intimacy and closeness. But the most important person we need to tell is ourselves. If we allow our feelings to pass through us, accept them, and release them, we shall know what to do next.
Today, I will remember that feelings are an important part of my life. I will be open to my feelings in family life, in friendships, in love, and at work. I will feel my feelings without judging myself.

I am so full of love and joy today. I see it everywhere I look, and feel it with every breath that I take. –Ruth Fishel

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Journey to the Heart
Awaken to the Storyteller Within

Each of us has a story to tell, a story to share with the world.

Artists and writers are in the storytelling business. Others have different ways of telling and sharing their stories. The tackle shop owner sells bait, hooks, and sinkers and tells people where to fish and about the big one that got away. The master carpenter tells his story by carving and hanging a wooden door so well crafted that it swings shut gently on its own. The quilter tells her story by commemorating important moments from her life in quilts that are colorful works of art.

Each of us has a story to tell and our own way of sharing it with the world. It comes out through our words, through our work, and through the simple actions of our daily life. Listen to the stories of the people around you. Listen to your soul. Learn to value without judging and listen with an open heart to the beauty of each story and the importance of the storyteller. Learn to value and appreciate the story you are living now.

Awaken to the storyteller within and share your story with the world. Tell it with joy and flair. Commit to telling it with love and passion. Tell it through living your life fully, doing your work well, and creating the best life you can. Be who you are and love being that.

Live your life from your heart. Share from your heart. And your story will touch and heal people’s souls.

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More Language Of Letting Go
Respect the powers that be

I watched the man out the window as he dragged his kayak out to sea. Just as he’d get ready to launch, a huge frothy wave would come barreling over the top of him. The kayak would fly off in one direction. Then I’d see a paddle emerge form the sea. He’d walk back to his boat, try again, only to have himself and the boat tossed around by the wave. Finally, the last wave took the boat and threw it all the way to shore. When the man, in his thirties, stood up, he looked up at the heavens and stretched out his arms.

It was the surrender position, that what can I do but resign myself to the powers that be stance that some of us know so well.

Yes, we’re learning to believe in ourselves. We’re learning to say I can. But an important part of self-confidence and self-esteem is learning humilty
and respect for the powers that be. Set your goals. Pursue your dreams. Say what you want and learn to say when. Hold your head up high, but learn to sublimate yourself,too.

Sometimes you’ve just got to throw your hands up in the air and surrender to the powers that be.

God, help me let go of arrogance and receive the blessings that humility brings.

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The Dance of Intimacy
Coming Back to Center in a Relationship by Madisyn Taylor

In a long-term relationship it is often necessary to get back to basics and come back to center with each other.

Anyone in a long-term relationship knows that the dance of intimacy involves coming together and moving apart. Early in a relationship, intense periods of closeness are important in order to establish the ground of a new union. Just as a sapling needs a lot more attention than a full-grown tree, budding relationships demand time and attention if they are to fully take root. Once they become more established, the individuals in the union begin to turn their attention outward again, to the other parts of their lives that matter, such as work, family, and friendships. This is natural and healthy. Yet, if a long-term relationship is to last, turning towards one another recurrently, with the same curiosity, attention, and nurturance of earlier times, is essential.

In a busy and demanding world full of obligations and opportunities, we sometimes lose track of our primary relationships, thinking they will tend to themselves. We may have the best intentions when we think about how nice it would be to surprise our partner with a gift or establish a weekly date night. Yet somehow, life gets in the way. We may think that our love is strong enough to survive without attention. Yet even mature trees need water and care if they are to thrive.

One of the best ways to nourish a relationship is through communication. If you feel that a distance has grown between you and your partner, you may be able to bridge the gap by sharing how you feel. Do your best to avoid blame and regret. Focus instead on the positive, which is the fact that you want to grow closer together. Sometimes, just acknowledging that there is distance between you has the effect of bringing the relationship into balance. In other cases, more intense effort and attention may be required. You may want to set aside time to talk and come up with solutions together. Remember to have compassion for each other. You’re in the same boat together and trying to maintain the right balance of space and togetherness to keep your relationship healthy and thriving. Express faith and confidence in each other, and enjoy the slow dance of intimacy that can resume between the two of you. Published with permission from Daily OM

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A Day At A Time
Reflection For The Day

I no longer argue with people who believe that satisfaction of our natural desires is the primary purpose of life. It’s not our business in The Program to knock material achievement. When we stop and think about it, in fact, no group of people ever made a worse mess of trying to live by that “la dolce vita” formula than we did. We always insisted on more than our share — in all areas. And even when we seemed to be succeeding, we fueled our addictions so that we could dream of still greater successes. Am I learning that material satisfactions are simply by-products and not the chief aim of life? Am I gaining the perspective to see that character-building and spiritual values must come first?

Today I Pray

May I recognize that I never did handle excesses very well, based on my past experience. I have been apt to “want more” of whatever it is I have — love, money, property, things, chemicals, foods, winnings. May The Program teach me that I must concentrate on my spiritual, rather than my material bounty.

Today I Will Remember

It’s okay to be spiritually greedy.

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One More Day

There is no formula for easy living. Anyone who says he has one is either joking or lying.
–Harold Russel

We all have, in our mind’s eye, a picture of what life would be like if we were healthy and wealthy and could do whatever we wanted with our days. If given the choice between health and sickness, wealth and poverty,, most people would choose the former of both. Yet, there are no assurances of easy living no matter how healthy or wealthy we are.

When our wish to “have it easy” becomes a preoccupation — our whole system can become stressed. We need to recognize that this wish for “having it easy” creates stress that we could avoid. Ironically, to escape this stress, we need to return to the reality of our own beautiful lives.

I have no guarantee for easy living, but I am guaranteed the chance to change and grow as often as I want to.

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One Day At A Time

THE PROMISES

“We will intuitively know how to handle situations
which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that
God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”
The Big Book

When I first came into program and heard these words I couldn’t grasp their meaning. Life baffled me. I had no idea who I was or what I was doing. I was completely in the grip of this disease. I felt like I was the disease. Why would God do anything for me?

Initially I thought these people were crazy and even worse off than I was. My opinion soon changed when I noticed wonderful differences between them and myself. They seemed calmer, verbalized their feelings more clearly, appeared to have their act together, and seemed to enjoy life. I was hooked! I wanted what they had. I finally wanted to want to live. I was drawn to those who demonstrated traits I wanted to have. I talked to them and listened when they shared. I asked them how to work the program and how to find my Higher Power. I started working the Steps. I began my search for a God I could relate to. I found online recovery loops and people who shared how they worked their program.

Then I had a crisis develop which almost overwhelmed me. Yet as I read the Big Book, I realized that the promises God had given to the other program people were given to me too. I had been so busy working this program that I needed to pause and examine all I had received. Yes, it does work when you work it. I proved it to myself by allowing God to prove it to me.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will remember that the promises really are for everyone and that they come into my life as I work my program to the best of my ability.
~ Judith A.

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