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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – November 20

Just For Today
November 20
Finding Fulfillment

“We weren’t oriented toward fulfillment; we focused on the emptiness and worthlessness of it all.”
Basic Text p. 86

There were probably hundreds of times in our active addiction when we wished we could become someone else. We may have wished we could trade places with someone who owned a nice car or had a larger home, a better job, a more attractive mate – anything but what we had. So severe was our despair that we could hardly imagine anyone being in worse shape than ourselves.

In recovery, we may find we are experiencing a different sort of envy. We may continue to compare our insides with others’ outsides and feel as though we still don’t have enough of anything. We may think everyone, from the newest member to the oldest old-timer, sounds better at meetings than we do. We may think that everyone else must be working a better program because they have a better car, a larger home, more money, and so on.

The recovery process experienced through our Twelve Steps will take us from an attitude of envy and low self-esteem to a place of spiritual fulfillment and deep appreciation for what we do have. We find that we would never willingly trade places with another, for what we have discovered within ourselves is priceless.

Just for today: There is much to be grateful for in my life. I will cherish the spiritual fulfillment I have found in recovery.

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Daily Reflections
November 20
“THY WILL, NOT MINE”

. . . when making specific requests, it will be well to add to each one of them this qualification. .” . . . if it be Thy will.”
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 102-03

I ask simply that throughout the day God place in me the best understanding of His will that I can have for that day, and that I be given the grace by which I may carry it out. As the day goes on, I can pause when facing situations that must be met and decisions that must be made, and renew the simple request: “Thy will, not mine, be done.” I must always keep in mind that in every situation I am responsible for the effort and God is responsible for the outcome. I can “Let Go and Let God” by humbly repeating: “Thy will, not mine, be done.”  Patience and persistence in seeking His will for me will free me from the pain of selfish expectations.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 20
A.A. Thought For The Day

I no longer try to escape life through alcoholism. Drinking built up an unreal world for me and I tried to live in it.  But in the morning light the real world was back again and facing it was harder than ever, because I had less resources with which to meet it. Each attempt at escape weakened my personality by the very attempt. Everyone knows that alcohol, by relaxing inhibitions, permits a flight from reality.  Alcohol deadens the brain cells that preside over our highest faculties and we are off to the unreal world of drunkenness.  A.A. taught me not to run away, but to face reality. Have I given up trying to escape life?

Meditation For The Day

In these times of quiet meditation, try more and more to set your hopes on the grace of God. Know that whatever the future may hold, it will hold more and more of good. Do not set all your hopes and desires on material things. There is weariness in an abundance of things. Set your hopes on spiritual things so that you may grow spiritually. Learn to rely on God’s power more and more and in that reliance you will have an insight into the greater value of things of the spirit.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not be overwhelmed by material things.  I pray that I may realize the higher value of spiritual things.

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As Bill Sees It
November 20
Easy Does It–But Do It, p. 322

Procrastination is really sloth in five syllables.

“My observation is that some people can get by with a certain amount of postponement, but few can live with outright rebellion.”

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

“We have succeeded in confronting many a problem drinker with that awful alternative, ‘This we A.A.’s do, or we die.’ Once this much is firmly in his mind, more drinking only turns the coil tighter.

“As many an alcoholic has said, ‘I came to the place where it was either into A.A. or out the window. So here I am!”

1. 12 & 12, p. 67
2. Letter, 1952

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Walk In Dry Places
November 20
Estrangements
Amends

A number of alcoholics become estranged from members of their family. Sometimes these estrangements continue into sobriety and fester as a source of resentment.

Where estrangements have occurred, we are always responsible for any wrongs on our part. We need to check carefully to make sure that pride and bitterness on our part aren’t prolonging the estrangement.

But some of these estrangements have been chosen by others. We need to accept them if we’ve done everything possible to correct the problem.

Honesty will be our guide as we look carefully at any estrangements in our lives. All that’s ever necessary is that we use our best principles in dealing with any estrangements.

If I find today that an estrangement is bothering me or others in the program, I’ll examine it carefully with the thought that either making amends or acceptance might be required.

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Keep It Simple
November 20

A man is too apt to forget that in this world he cannot have everything. A choice is all that is left him.
—H. Mathews.

Sobriety is about choice. Each day we choose to stay sober, we teach ourselves how to make better choices.

Life is about choice. To be spiritual people, we must make spiritual choices. Honesty is a spiritual choice. And working the Steps is a spiritual choice.

Our life is the sum total of our choices. We owe it to ourselves to choose wisely. We can do that now, thanks to the program.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me choose a spiritual way of life. Help me to see choice as my way to a better relationship with you.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll be aware of the many choices I make. At the end of the day, I’ll think about all the choices I’ve made. Am I proud of my choices?

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 20

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.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
November 20
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

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

When I was about ten years old, we all came back from my cousin’s bar mitzvah services to celebrate at my grandmother’s house. All the adults went over to the table for a schnapps. There were all these little tiny glasses in front of various liquor bottles and everybody was having one, so I had one too. It was good. It was smooth and warm and wonderful. I liked it and went back for another one. This one wasn’t smooth–it was hot going down, not as wonderful.

p. 402

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 20

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

“His next question: `What are you getting out of it?’ “Of course, my answer was `My own sobriety and a mighty happy life.’ “Still dubious, he demanded, `Do you really mean the only reason you are here is to try and help me and to help yourself?’
“`Yes,’ I said. `That’s absolutely all there is to it. There’s no angle.’

p. 152

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Xtra Thoughts
November 20

“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.”
–Margaret Mitchell

“Faith is the only known cure for fear.”
–Lena K. Sadler

The more anger towards the past you carry in your heart, the less capable you are of loving in the present.
–Barbara De Angelis

Love is the master key which opens the gates of happiness.
–Oliver Wendell Holmes

Sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings.
–unknown

The right word spoken at the right time sometimes achieves miracles.
–unknown

Love is the only thing you get more of by giving it away.
–Tom Wilson

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 20
YESTERDAYS

“When I want to understand what is happening today or try to decide what will happen tomorrow, I look back.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The writing is on the wall! My writing is on my wall and it is to be found in my life.  My history of my life teaches me about my alcoholism. Alcoholism is a personal disease; it affects others through self.

Sometimes I am tempted to forget the past. Why live in yesterday? Because the events of my yesterdays affect my today. The future is forged from the recognition of my past. My disease grew strong in my denial. My recovery began with the acceptance of reality my reality.

Today does not exist in a vacuum and my tomorrows are determined by the decisions I make today. I also know and believe that my recovering life demands a true recognition of my yesterdays.

Thank You for the historical progressiveness of my recovery.

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Bible Scriptures
November 20

He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.
Proverbs 13:3

“This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7

We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.
1 John 4:13-15

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
Luke 6:27-28

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Daily Inspiration
November 20

Time is yours to use or lose. Lord, teach me to avoid all upsetting thoughts and create a heart that glories in my time as a peaceful gift from You.

Begin each day with the certainty that today is the best day of your life and watch what happens. Lord, I celebrate my life and give thanks for everything because for everything there is a reason.

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A Day At A Time
November 20

Reflection For The Day

I’ve come to measure success in a whole new way.  My success today isn’t limited by social or economic benchmarks.  Success is mine today, no matter what the undertaking, when I tap the power of god within me and allow myself to be an open channel for the expression of His good.  The spirit of success works through me as creative ideas and useful service — as efficient use of my time and energy, and as cooperative effort with others.  Will I try to keep my mind centered in the realization that within me is the God -implanted power to succeed?

Today I Pray

May I develop a new concept of success, based on measurements of the good qualities which come from God’s treasure-filled bank of good.  To draw from that bank, all I have to do is look within myself.  May I know that God’s riches are the only kind that are fully insurable, because they are infinite.  May I look in God’s bank for my security.

Today I Will Remember

Spiritual “success” is my security.

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One More Day
November 20

There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.
– Baruch Spinoza

Most of us are frightened each time we go through a major life change, for we fear what we do not know. We thought we had our lived planned. Because a crisis occurs unexpectedly, there is no way to prepare for a burglary, a broken leg, or a loss of a loved one. these events can throw us and our lives into a tailspin.

If the event is short-lived, like a bad case of the flu or a minor injury, we forget it quickly. If, however, the effects are long-lasting, we work to incorporate them into our daily living. Adapting in this way forces us to look for the positive parts of the day. We get into the habit of remembering good times and hope — even expect — better times to come.

I can see that positive action and thought is needed. I will find good people and events in this day.

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One Day At A Time
November 20
PATIENCE

Patience is the key to paradise.
–Turkish proverb

I used to be the queen of the “quick fix.” Anything I wanted done had to be done today, if not yesterday. I’d even do a job myself because I couldn’t wait for someone else to do it in their time. I ended up chasing my tail most days, and trying to run the show myself, simply because I couldn’t wait. Even all the many diets that I went on had to get results fast or they weren’t worth their salt. Small wonder, being the compulsive person that I was, that when I wanted to eat, there was no such thing in my vocabulary as delayed gratification. When I wanted it, I had to have it right then.

Imagine my horror at coming into the program and seeing that people who had been in the fellowship for years were still there. Surely they should have gotten it right by now and graduated from this program. But I soon learned that this is not something we graduate from. Recovery and abstinence happen in God’s time, not mine. I’ve had to learn that this a journey. Progress can sometimes be painfully slow, but the rewards for those who wait for the miracle is a gift I wouldn’t want to be without. Not only am I offered freedom from compulsive eating, but also sanity and serenity to live my life the way I was intended to do.

One Day at a Time . . .
Even when progress seems slow, I will keep coming back and working the program to the best of my ability, knowing that recovery will come to me if I wait.

~ Sharon S. ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 20

“Money cannot buy affection.”
–Mangas Coloradas, APACHE

In these modern times we put too much emphasis on material things and on money. We believe that money is power. If we have money, people will respect us. If we have money, people will admire us. If we have money, we can have anything we want.

Maybe we can purchase anything in the material world, but we cannot purchase anything in the Unseen World. The Unseen World is not for sale. It can only be given away. Love, affection, admiration, trust, respect, commitment — these must be earned or given away. If we use these things from the Unseen World, we are using real power.

My Creator, let me demonstrate Your power today. Let me be loving to all I meet.

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Journey to the Heart
November 20, 2011
Let Yourself Play

How long has it been since you played? How long has it been since you played at your life, had fun with it?

Our imaginations are so delightful when we’re young. Watch a child sit in the middle of the floor and build castles with blocks. Watch a child play– any object can be anything, and anything can be fun. Life can pound that out of us if we let it.

Breathe life back into your imagination. Come back to life. Let yourself see dragons in clouds and leprechauns in trees and velvet in a rose. Imagine what it would be like to grab a handful of cloud. Then touch the tree. And put the rose in your cheek.

Let your imagination come alive. Play the game of “What if?” What if anything could be anything. What if life could be fun?

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Today’s Gift
November 20

Without solitude, there can be no real people.
—John Euder

We all need some time alone. It’s a good idea to set aside a few minutes every day to be alone with ourselves. This is a very special time that is all our own. It’s a time to relax and refresh ourselves.

This goes for every member of the family, and it’s important that we allow others some time for themselves. It shows them we respect, love, and care about them. Without that solitude, they cannot be truly themselves – and neither can we.

Nature teaches us that each thing, even the earth itself, needs a retreat. Bears hibernate; cats crawl off out of sight, even the plants disappear for the winter. It is this time that refreshes life for the Spring to come. If we want to have healthy, fulfilling relationships with each other, we all need time to ourselves every day. Without being “real people”–truly ourselves – how can we be full members of our family?

How can I better spend my time alone today?

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The Language of Letting Go
November 20
Wants and Needs

So many of us have been brainwashed to think that we can’t have what we want in life. That is the belief of the martyr. It is born of deprivation and fear.

Identifying what we want and need, then writing it down, sets in motion a powerful chain of events. It indicates that we are taking responsibility for ourselves, giving God and the Universe permission to supply our wants and needs.

The belief that we deserve to have a change in character, a relationship, a new dimension to an existing relationship, a possession, a certain level of health, living, loving, or success, is a powerful force in bringing that desire to pass.

Often, when we realize that we want something, that feeling is God preparing us to receive it!

Listen. Trust. Empower the good in your life by paying attention to what you want and need. Write it down. Affirm it mentally. Pray about it. Then, let it go. Give it to God, and see what happens.

The results may be better than you think.

Today, I will pay attention to what I want and need. I will take time to write it down, and then I will let it go. I will begin to believe I deserve the best.

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More Language Of Letting Go
November 20
Be prepared

Did you ever have a teacher in school who warned you at the beginning of the year that he would give tests without previous notice, so be prepared? We might not have liked it, but we appreciated being warned. We knew in that class that we needed to do our homework in a timely manner if we wanted a good grade. We kept our awareness up. We knew we couldn’t slide by.

When that test came, we were either prepared for it or at the very least, aware. We had been warned. We knew the test was coming.

When I decided to stop using alcohol and drugs and live a life of abstinence and recovery, I was tested many times. People put drugs and alcohol in my hand. Once, in the early months, soon after my decision, I failed the test and felt awful. Then I learned that important lesson, life would challenge my decision from time to time. I had to be prepared not only to make the choice to be sober, but to stand behind that decision each day.

When I decided to become a writer, things moved along well for the first few years, then I began hitting some walls. I hit a dry spell. No words came out. The results weren’t as I had planned. It was time to decide if I wanted to stand behind my decision or fold.

We will be given tests without notice, on almost every decision we make and boundary we set. Each time we say I can, we will be tested. And drawing from personal experience, the test is never one we would have chosen. It’s often ugly, inconvenient, and hits us at our weakest spot.

Don’t feel victimized or tortured when out test comes. Be prepared. Let it teach you more about yourself, what you want, and how badly you want it. Use it as resistance, the kind we can push against to become clearer about who we are and what we want. Sometimes we don’t really want what we thought we did. Other times we do. We aren’t in school anymore, at least not grade school. The test isn’t for the teacher’s benefit. It’s for our benefit– to teach us how much we’ve learned.

Don’t worry. I’ve been told we’ll never be given a test we can’t pass.

So get ready. You’ve been warned.

Be aware.

The test could come at any time.

God, help me let go of my resistance to the little tests life throws my way. Instead, help me use these tests as a chance to get to know myself and you better. Help me do my best.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 20

The most important function of art and science is to awaken the cosmic religious feeling and keep it alive.
—Albert Einstein

There is no need to be concerned about a conflict between science and the spiritual life. People have turned to the spiritual in many ways since the beginning of humanity. Some are tribal and primitive, some very emotional, some focused on ideas and philosophy, some centered on tradition. Perhaps in the very center of our humanness is a spiritual compass. When we disown that orientation, do we lose some of our humanness? This program did not invent the spiritual outlook. It only tells us recovery will come through awakening of the spiritual within us.

We are on an exploration. We give ourselves over to it and only discover where our awakening will lead as it unfolds. The Steps tell us to engage with the God of our understanding, to develop a relationship of trust, total openness and humility, and to improve the contact. As the center of our humanness is restored, we come alive and our daily tasks take on new meaning.

May I be awakened again to that cosmic feeling we all inherit.

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Daily TAO
November 20
MOSAIC

Tiles of carnelian, lapis, and jade,
The muralist sets his picture
One centimeter at a time.
Every piece alone is precious;
Together they make a priceless whole.

Not far from where I grew up, there was a muralist whose specialty was mosaic. He accepted commissions from all over the world and also collaborated with a number of famous artists on their murals and sculptures. He had bins and buckets full of all sorts of fascinating tiles. Some were red, blue, and yellow glass. Others were elaborately glazed ceramic. A few were stones like lapis, turquoise, malachite, and obsidian. Some were even mirrored with gold and silver, and these would shine out first whenever he would wash away the grout.

God may be in the details, but it is also important to know the big picture.

That is where the muralist is such a great example. He knew what the big picture had to be, and yet he had enough concentration to piece together enormous tableaus out of tiny square centimeters. That is knowing both the small and the big. Follow his example and you will never be petty; yet you will not lose sight of the relationship between the microcosmic and the macrocosmic.

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