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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – November 2

Just For Today
November 2
Living With Unresolved Problems

“It makes a difference to have friends who care if we hurt.”
Basic Text p.54

For most of our problems, the solution is simple. We call our sponsor, pray, work the steps, or go to a meeting. But what about those situations where the burden is ongoing and there’s no end in sight?

Most of us know what it’s like to live with a painful situation—a problem that just isn’t going to disappear. For some of us, the problem is an incurable, life-threatening illness. Some of us have incorrigible children. Some of us find that our earnings simply don’t cover our living expenses. Some of us care for a chronically ill friend or family member.

Those of us who have ever had to live with an unresolved problem know the relief that comes from just talking about our problem with our recovering friends. We may get some comic relief. Our friends may commiserate or cry in sympathy. Whatever they do, they ease our burden. They may not be able to solve our problem for us or take away our painful feelings, but just knowing that we are loved and cared about makes our problems bearable. We never have to be alone with our pain again.

Just for today: Those problems I can’t resolve can be made bearable by talking to a friend. Today, I will call someone who cares.

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Daily Reflections
November 2
KEEPING OPTIMISM AFLOAT

“The other Steps can keep most of us sober and somehow functioning. But Step Eleven can keep us growing …”
THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEART, p. 240

A sober alcoholic finds it much easier to be optimistic about life. Optimism is the natural result of my finding myself gradually able to make the best, rather than the worst, of each situation. As my physical sobriety continues, I come out of the fog, gain a clearer perspective and am better able to determine what courses of action to take. As vital as physical sobriety is, I can achieve a greater potential for myself by developing an ever-increasing willingness to avail myself of the guidance and direction of a Higher Power. My ability to do so comes from my learning—and practicing—the principles of the A.A. program. The melding of my physical and spiritual sobriety produces the substance of a more positive life.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 2
A.A. Thought For The Day

I have faith. That thing that makes the world seem right. That thing that makes sense at last. That awareness of the Divine Principle in the universe which holds it all together and gives it unity and purpose and goodness and meaning. Life is no longer ashes in my mouth or bitter to the taste. It is all one glorious whole, because God is holding it together. Faith—that leap into the unknown, the venture into what lies beyond our ken, that which brings untold rewards of peace and serenity. Have I faith?

Meditation For The Day

Keep yourself like an empty vessel for God to fill. Keep pouring out yourself to help others so that God can keep filling you up with His spirit. The more you give, the more you will have for yourself. God will see that you are kept filled as long as you are giving to others. But if you selfishly try to keep all for yourself, you are soon blocked off from God, your source of supply, and you will become stagnant. To be clear, a lake must have an inflow and an outflow.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may keep pouring out what I receive. I pray that I may keep the stream clear and flowing.

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As Bill Sees It
November 2
Single Purpose, p. 304

There are those who predict that A.A. may well become a new spearhead for a spiritual awakening throughout the world. When our friends say these things, they are both generous and sincere. But we of A.A. must reflect that such a tribute and such a prophecy could well prove to be a heady drink for most of us—that is, if we really came to believe this to be the real purpose of A.A., and if we commenced to behave accordingly.

Our Society, therefore, will prudently cleave to its single purpose: The carrying of the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. Let us resist the proud assumption that since God has enabled us to do well in one area we are destined to be a channel of saving grace for everybody.

A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 232

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Walk In Dry Places
November 2
God’s will and My will.
False Gods

It is always risky to announce with certainty what we believe God’s will to be, even for ourselves. It is rarely helpful to use one’s material success as an example of God’s grace. “Isn’t God a millionaire?” a spiritual leader who quoted as saying in defense of his luxurious lifestyle.

It is reasonable to believe that God will guide us to the right career and business opportunities that fit our needs. We can even believe that universal prosperity is part of God’s plan, though we’re far short of it now. We need not envy wealthy people, nor should we want to take what they have.

The real danger of equating prosperity with God’s will is that the material quickly becomes dominant. We might also fall into the trap of gauging spiritual progress by our bank balance. This can lead to selfishness and arrogance, which immediately drive out spiritual power. We already had the bitter experience of making a false god out of alcohol. We must not make new false gods out of material success.

I’ll accept any material success with gratitude, knowing that my real trust must be in God.

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Keep It Simple
November 2

“Sought through pray and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him …”
First half of Step Eleven

Through Step Eleven, we develop a lasting, loving relationship with our Higher Power. Conscious contact means knowing and sensing God in our lives throughout the day.

God is not just an idea. We talk with our Higher Power through prayer. As we meditate, we sense God’s love for us, and we get answers to our questions. When we pray and meditate, we become aware that God is always with us. Our Higher Power becomes our best friend. Our Higher Power is there for advice, support, celebration, comfort.

Prayer for the Day: Dear Higher Power, I pray that our relationship grows stronger every day. I accept the friendship You offer me.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll seek out God through prayer and meditation.

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 2

“Love and the hope of it are not things one can learn; they are a part of life’s heritage.”
—Maria Montessori

Love is a gift we’ve been given by our Creator. The fact of our existence guarantees that we deserve it. As our recognition of this grows, so does our self-love and our ability to love others.

High self-esteem, stable self-worth were not our legacies before finding this program. We sought both through means which led nowhere. These Steps and our present relationships are providing the substance and direction needed in our lives to discover our worthiness.

Had we understood that we were loved, in all the years of our youth, perhaps we’d not have struggled so in the pain of alienation. We were always at the right hand of God, never apart, loved and watched over. But we didn’t recognize the signs. The signs are everywhere present now. Each Step is a constant reminder. Every human contact is a message from God. Any desire we are eager to make manifest is a beckoning from God for growth.

I will look for the signs of my benefactor today. They’re present everywhere.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
November 2
THE PERPETUAL QUEST

This lawyer tried psychiatrists, biofeedback, relaxation exercises, and a host of other techniques to control her drinking. She finally found a solution, uniquely tailored, in the Twelve Steps.

Many years later, although alcohol is not a part of my life and I no longer have the compulsion to drink, it can still occur to me what a good drink tastes like and what it can do for me, from my stand-at-attention alcoholic taste buds down to my stretched out tingling toes. As my sponsor used to point out, such thoughts are like red flags, telling me that something is not right, that I am stretched beyond my sober limit. It’s time to get back to basic A.A. and see what needs changing. That special relationship with alcohol will always be there, waiting to seduce me again. I can stay protected by continuing to be an active member of A.A.

pp. 396-397

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 2

Tradition Three—”The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

About two weeks later, Ed stole by night into an A.A. member’s house, and unknown to the family, went to bed. Daylight found the master of the house and another friend drinking their morning coffee. A noise was heard on the stairs. To their consternation, Ed appeared. A quizzical smile on his lips, he said, “Have you fellows had your morning meditation?” They quickly sensed that he was quite in earnest. In fragments, his story came out.

p. 144

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Xtra Thoughts
November 2

“Life has a practice of living you if you don’t live it.”
—Philip Larkin

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
—Marcel Proust

GOOD DEEDS
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
—John Wesley

“It takes only a smile to make a bad day seem better.” Think about this and smile at someone today.
—unknown

“Teach me, my God and King,
In all things thee to see,
And what I do in anything,
To do it as for thee.”
—George Herbert

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
—unknown

“If you pray for God to move a mountain, be prepared to wake up next to a shovel.”
—unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 2
SOLITUDE

“In solitude, be a multiple of thyself.”
—Tibullus

When I am alone and still, I get in touch with that side of me that is “the many.”  There are so many sides to me; the crazy and the sane; the extrovert and the introvert; the demanding and the submissive; the bigot and the compassionate; the religious and the skeptic; the happy and the sad; the comic and the tragedian; the child and the adult; the sick and the recovering.

Today in the silence of solitude I experience the many sides of me that I must live with. This is my spiritual reality.

May I always use my multiple experiences to relate and understand others.

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Bible Scriptures
November 2

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.”
Isaiah 64:8

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore.”
1 Chronicle 16:11

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Daily Inspiration
November 2

Being overly critical of ourselves sabotages our ability to complete our tasks. Lord, bless me with the ability to see how capable I am.

God’s blessings enable us to go far beyond our natural abilities. Lord, You have created me and then unceasingly bless me with the strength to soar high.

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A Day At A Time
November 2

Reflection For The Day

The more self-searching we do, the more we realize how often we react negatively because our “pride has been hurt.” Pride is at the root of most of my personal problems. When my pride is “hurt,” for example, I almost invariably experience resentment and anger – sometimes to the point where I’m unable to talk or think rationally. When I’m in that sort of emotional swamp, I must remind myself that my pride – and nothing but my pride – has been injured. I have to pause and try to cool off until such time as I can evaluate the problem realistically. When my pride is injured or threatened, will I pray for humility so that I can rise above myself?

Today I Pray

May I know that if my pride is hurt, the rest of me may not be injured at all. May I know that my pride can take a battering and still come back stronger than ever for more. May I know that every time my pride takes a blow, it is liable to get more defensive, nastier, more unreasonable, more feisty. May I learn to keep my upstart pride in another place, where it will not be so easily hurt – or so willing to take credit.

Today I Will Remember

Humility is the only authority over pride.

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One More Day
November 2

“Grace is the absence of everything that indicates pain or difficulty, hesitation or incongruity.”
—William Hazlitt

Grace is the power to look within ourselves and become stronger.  When we’re truly gracious, we try to put ourselves in another’s place so we can imagine how that person might feel.  This becomes an especially important issue when we are physically impaired, for those around us will take their cue from our behavior.

Trying to cope with the internal forces of health changes can be very lonely.  When we need to use assistance devices such as canes, walkers, or wheelchairs, other people may at first not know quite how to react.  We can help ease their discomfort and guide their reactions by our positive actions.

I will be gracious to others by being aware of their level of comfort when we are together.

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One Day At A Time
November 2
~ TODAY ~

Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

For a long time I went through therapy, dealing with the past. But working the Steps has helped me to focus on today. What happened is over. It is my choice how I allow it to affect my life now. When I cannot seem to let the past go, I have to remind myself that I need only to let God have the past. Yesterday is beyond my ability to change. Today is my charge.

Today I write before I eat compulsively. Today I give service to others in recovery. Today I choose to not eat compulsively and to seek all the support I can find to hold to that choice. I put aside yesterday, reflecting on the lessons learned. Like a hiker looking ahead to mark the next point on the trail, I look to the future that is stretching out before me. But it is today that I act. Today I do not worry about what I have not done, but rest in the knowledge that I have done what is before me to be done. Day after day will add up to recovery, to serenity, to living.

One Day at a Time …
is all the time I have within my control so I choose to live in the now.

~Tassy~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day November 2

“Praying is what has brought us old people through life. We’ve all gone through hard times. We’ve all done our share of bad things. But through our prayers and faith in the Creator we get together again and we try hard to live right.”

—Paula Weasel Head, BLOOD

As we go through life we find ourselves on track one day and off track the next day. We gain consistency through prayer. Prayer is our connection to the Great Spirit. Prayer is our channel for knowledge and wisdom. Prayer is how we keep our sanity. The Elders say we should walk in prayer.

Great Spirit, teach me to walk in prayer. Help keep my faith strong.

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Journey to the Heart
November 2
See How Much Easier Life can Be

The old way said do do, do. Push, push, push. Only when the work was done could we allow ourselves time to rest. But when the work was finished, we often forgot to reward ourselves. The old way won’t work anymore. We have learned too much, come too far. Our body won’t let us. Our heart will object.

Let the work be more fun. Don’t push yourself so hard. Let your actions be effortless – an easy result of learning to focus and learning to trust your inner timing. Learn to let your actions spring naturally and easily from there.

Let your inner voice and life guide you into breaks while you’re working, while you’re focusing on the task. Stop fearing it won’t get done. Stop worrying if you’re doing it well enough. Take breaks when you need to and really let go.

Take time at the end of the task,too. Take time to reward yourself, to feel pleasure in your accomplishment, to play at the end of the day.

See how balance occurs naturally when we trust our heart. See how much easier life can be when we live it from the heart.

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Today’s Gift
November 2

“For no actual process happens twice; only we meet the same sort of occasion again.”
—Suzanne K. Langer

Today is not going to be like yesterday. Nor will it resemble tomorrow. Each day is special and promises us many new ideas—perhaps the chance to make a friend or to learn something interesting from a teacher or a book. Some activities today will be familiar, just like playing a game for the second, third, or tenth time is familiar. And yet, the way each player moves the pieces around the board will be different. The excitement about today is that it is full of surprises. Every thing we do, every conversation we have, will not be repeated in just the same way again, and this reminds us how special each of us is.

What new discovery will I make today?

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The Language of Letting Go
November 2
The Grief Process

To let ourselves wholly grieve our losses is how we surrender to the process of life and recovery. Some experts, like Patrick Carnes, call the Twelve Steps “a program for dealing with our losses, a program for dealing with our grief.”

How do we grieve?

Awkwardly. Imperfectly. Usually with a great deal of resistance. Often with anger and attempts to negotiate. Ultimately, by surrendering to the pain.

The grief process, says Elisabeth Kubler Ross, is a five stage process: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and, finally, acceptance. That’s how we grieve; that’s how we accept; that’s how we forgive; that’s how we respond to the many changes life throws our way.

Although this five-step process looks tidy on paper, it is not tidy in life. We do not move through it in a compartmentalized manner. We usually flounder through, kicking and screaming, with much back and forth movement—until we reach that peaceful state called acceptance.

When we talk about “unfinished business” from our past, we are usually referring to losses about which we have not completed grieving. We’re talking about being stuck somewhere in the grief process. Usually, for adult children and codependents, the place where we become stuck is denial. Passing through denial is the first and most dangerous stage of grieving, but it is also the first step toward acceptance.

We can learn to understand the grief process and how it applies to recovery. Even good changes in recovery can bring loss and, consequently, grief. We can learn to help others and ourselves by understanding and becoming familiar with this process. We can learn to fully grieve our losses, feel our pain, accept, and forgive, so we can feel joy and love.

Today, God, help me open myself to the process of grieving my losses. Help me allow myself to flow through the grief process, accepting all the stages so I might achieve peace and acceptance in my life. Help me learn to be gentle with others and myself while we go through this very human process of healing.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 2

Honesty is stronger medicine than sympathy, which may console but often conceals.
—Gretel Ehrlich

We owe our brothers and sisters in this program our honest feedback. And we need the same honesty from them. There are times in meetings when it would be easiest to give someone sympathy and privately mutter to ourselves, “He isn’t facing the bitter truth.” That sympathy avoids a confrontation, but it doesn’t give the healing medicine of honesty. In the same way, we may long, at times, for someone to give us warm strokes, and what they give instead is a bitter pill.

The most important thing we have to give one another is the truth of what we see and hear. We don’t have to tell them what to do. We don’t have to have all the right answers. But we do have the obligation to speak up about how things look to us. And we need to listen without defensiveness when others are honest with us.

Today, I will say what I see and hear. I will listen to other people’s honesty with me.

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Daily TAO
November 2
TRIUMPH

Crawl to begin.
Triumph to complete.
Renounce to leave.

What is the anatomy of any phase of life? First comes a learning stage full of awkward struggle for mastery. Then comes a phase of testing yourself in competition. Finally, there is gracious retirement from the field, for constant competition is not a lasting way of life.

Competition is always a thorny problem. True, it challenges you to be your very best. Cultivating skill without using it is like learning a foreign language and never leaving your house. If we think of winning in the narrow sense of vanquishing others, we fall into a dangerous egotism. Winning can be thought of as attainment. For example, if you learn to swim, that is winning over your own ignorance and sloth. If you enter into a meet and win, then that is winning not over others, but achieving your personal best. The other competitors are secondary; it is more important that you know where you stand, that you consolidate your position, and that you look for further achievement. That is true triumph.

Triumph in the right amounts is the greatest tonic to the soul.  Triumph carried to extremes corrodes the soul. Once you have had your share of triumphs, know when to get out. Once you have gained the top, renounce competition. Then start over. That is the secret of moving from phase to phase in life.

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