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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – November 21

Just For Today
November 21
Letting Our Defects Go

“If [character defects] contributed to our health and happiness, we would not have come to such a state of desperation.”
Basic Text pg. 34

Getting started on the Sixth and Seventh Steps isn’t always easy. We may feel as though we have so much wrong with us that we are totally defective. We might feel like hiding under a rock. Under no circumstance would we want our fellow addicts to know about our inadequacies.

We will probably go through a time of examining everything we say and do in order to identify our character defects and make sure we suppress them. We may look back at one particular day, cringing at what we’re certain is the most embarrassing thing we’ve ever said. We become determined to be rid of these horrible traits at all costs. But nowhere in the Sixth or Seventh Steps does it say we can learn to control our defects of character. In fact, the more attention we focus on them, the more firmly entrenched they will become in our lives. It takes humility to recognize that we can’t control our defects any more than we can control our addiction. We can’t remove our own defects; we can only ask a loving God to remove them.

Letting go of something painful can be as difficult as letting go of something pleasant. But let’s face it – holding on is a lot of work. When we really think about what we’re holding onto, the effort just isn’t worthwhile. It’s time to let go of our character defects and ask God to remove them.

Just for today: I’m ready to have my defects removed. I will let go and allow a loving Higher Power to care for me.

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Daily Reflections
November 21
A CLASSIC PRAYER

Lord, make me a channel for thy peace – that where there is hatred, I may bring love – that where there is wrong. I may bring the spirit of forgiveness – that where there is discord, I may bring harmony – that where there is error, I may bring truth – that where there is doubt, I may bring faith – that where there is despair, I may bring hope – that where there are shadows, I may bring light – that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.  Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted – to understand, than to be understood – to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.
Amen.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 99

No matter where I am in my spiritual growth, the St. Francis prayer helps me improve my conscious contact with the God of my understanding. I think that one of the great advantages of my faith in God is that I do not understand Him, or Her, or It. It may be that my relationship with my Higher Power is so fruitful that I do not have to understand.   All that I am certain of is that if I work the Eleventh Step regularly, as best I can, I will continue to improve my conscious contact, I will know His will for me, and I will have the power to carry it out.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 21
A.A. Thought For The Day

I no longer waste money, but try to put it to good use. Like all of us, when I was drunk, I threw money around “like a drunken sailor.” It gave me a feeling of importance–a millionaire for a day. But the morning after, with an empty wallet and perhaps some undecipherable checks to boot, was a sad awakening.  One of the hardest things to face is the fact of wasted money. How could I have been such a fool? How will I ever make it up? Thoughts like these get you down. When we are sober, we spend our hard earned money as it should be spent. Although some of us could be more generous in our A.A. giving, at least we do not throw it away. Am I making good use of my money?

Meditation For The Day

You were meant to be at home and comfortable in the world. Yet some people live a life of quiet desperation. This is the opposite of being at home and at peace with the world. Let your peace of mind be evident to those around you. Men should see that you are comfortable, and seeing it, know that it springs from your trust in a higher power. The dull, hard way of resignation is not God’s way. Faith takes the sting out of the winds of adversity and brings peace even in the midst of struggle.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be more comfortable in my way of living. I pray that I may feel more at home and at peace with myself.

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As Bill Sees It
November 21
Groping Toward God, p. 323

“More than most people, I think, alcoholics want to know who they are, what this life is about, whether they have a divine origin and an appointed destiny, and whether there is a system of cosmic justice and love.

“It is the experience of many of us in the early stages of drinking to feel that we have had glimpses of the Absolute and a heightened feeling of identification with the cosmos. While these glimpses and feelings doubtless have a validity, they are deformed and finally swept away in the chemical, spiritual, and emotional damage wrought by the alcohol itself.

“In A.A., and in many religious approaches, alcoholics find a great deal more of what they merely glimpse and felt while trying to grope their way toward God in alcohol.”

Letter, 1960

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Walk In Dry Places
November 21
Alcoholism in the workplace
Employment

Most of the personal stories in AA include troubles in the workplace. This is not surprising, because the disease itself almost guarantees that an active alcoholic is likely to make more mistakes, have higher absenteeism, and get into trouble with bosses and/or fellow employees. Who really wants a practicing alcoholic on the payroll? Who would want such a person as a manager or employer? Who wants to be treated by a doctor who is drunk or badly hung over.

If our alcoholism created problems in the workplace, we have no moral right to blame others who held us accountable for this. Far from blaming others who were critical of us, we owe personal amends for any harm we caused employers or fellow workers.

The good news is that recovery makes it possible for us to perform up to acceptable standards at work and carry out our responsibilities. In sobriety, we can write a new chapter and establish a good work history.

In my work today, I’ll keep in mind the wonderful advantages I have as a result of knowing and practicing the AA principles. As a recovering alcoholic, I can be a positive force in an organization.

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Keep It Simple
November 21

To love others, we must first learn to love ourselves.
—Anonymous

Sometimes we think our life would be fine if that dream person showed up. But loving someone isn’t easy. Our bad habits cause problems. We have to change. Sometimes we aren’t ready to have on especial person. We have to have a group of people—our recovery group—to love and help us get healthy. We must learn to trust, to be honest, to give help, and to love others. The truth is, no one person can make our life wonderful—except us. We hold happiness inside of us. It’s in our spirit. Look no further.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me love myself

Action for the Day: I’ll list five ways I will love myself today.

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 21

Continuous effort–not strength or intelligence–is the key to unlocking our potential.
–Liane Cordes

Perseverance may well be our greatest asset. As we forge ahead on a project, it loses its power over us. Our confidence and abilities grow in concert with our progress on the project, preparing us to tackle the next one too.

We have something special, uniquely our own to offer in this life. And we also have the potential to offer it successfully. However, we don’t always realize our potential. Many of us stifled our development with fears of failure, low self-worth, assumed inadequacies. The past need plague us no longer.

Help is readily available for us to discover our capacities for success. Abilities stand ready to be tapped, goals and projects await our recognition. Any commitment we make to a task that draws our interest will be reinforced by God’s commitment to our efforts. We have a partner. Our efforts are always doubled when we make them–truly make them.

I will not back away from a project today. I will persevere and find completion. I’ll feel completed.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
November 21
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

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

After that I drank what I could, when I could, where I could. Not much, not often, not as a ten-year-old. At that First Step table we figured out, or they did anyhow, that that was alcoholic drinking–having one and going back for a second right away. I know now I never had just one drink, ever.

p. 402

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 21

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

“Then, hesitantly, I ventured to talk about the spiritual side of our program. What a freeze that drunk gave me! I’d no sooner got the word `spiritual’ out of my mouth than he pounced. `Oh!’ he said. `Now I get it! You’re proselytizing for some **** religious sect or other. Where do you get that “no angle” stuff? I belong to a great church that means everything to me. You’ve got a nerve to come in here talking religion!”

pp. 152-153

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Xtra Thoughts
November 21

Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.
–Annette Funicello

Happiness is an inside job.
–unknown

“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.”
–Joseph Fort Newton

AA is not something you join, it’s a way of life.
–unknown

I trust God’s plan for me today.  I know that I am being guided at all times.  I know all I need to know in any given moment.
–Ruth Fishel

Don’t stare at the steps of success – step up the stairs.
–American Proverb

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 21
HEROES

“Self-trust is the essence of heroism.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

In my recovery I have become my hero. It sounds egotistical but it is part of my program of self-love. I have many other heroes but today I respect myself. Today I believe that God is involved in my life; an aspect of divinity exists within me. I trus me with my life, and I am proud of the daily choices I make for my sobriety.

Spirituality allows me to be my hero today because it is with my respect of self that I can truly respect others; the awareness of my dignity affords dignity to others; my personal healing brings healing to others.

Today I am the center of my universe.

Thank You for the awareness of the achievements and successes in my life; today I am my own winner.

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Bible Scriptures
November 21

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Psalm 103:12

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
2 John 1:6

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:17-18

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
John 14:21

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
1 John 4:9

For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
Deuteronomy 30:16

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Daily Inspiration
November 21

Don’t spoil what you already have by using up your time wanting what you don’t have. Lord, may I live with gratitude and take back my life because my life is not and never will be in the hands of fate.

When you feel anger, allow yourself no more than 5 minutes because after that, anger is self-indulging and turns quickly to hatred and rage. Lord, You are a forgiving God. Heal my hurts.

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A Day At A Time
November 21

Reflection For The Day

Adversity introduces man to himself, a poet once said.  For me, the same is true of even imagined adversity.  If I expect another person to react in a certain way in a given situation — and he or she fails to meet my expectation — well, then I hardly have the right to be disappointed or angry.  Yet I occasionally still experience feelings of frustration when people don’t act or react as I think they should.  Through such imagined — or, better yet, self-inflicted — adversity, I come to face to face again with my old self — the one who wanted to run the whole show.  Is it time for me to finally stop expecting and to start accepting?

Today I Pray

May I stop putting words in people’s mouths, programming them — in my own mind — to react as I expect them to.  Expectations have fooled me before;  I expect unbounded love and protection from those close to me, perfection from myself, undivided attention from casual acquaintances.  On the adverse side, I expected failure from myself, and rejection from others.  May I stop borrowing trouble — or triumph either — from the future.

Today I Will Remember

Accept.  Don’t expect.

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One More Day
November 21

To most of us the real life is the life we do not lead.
–Oscar Wilde

We don’t enjoy feeling envious, but there are times when we find ourselves wishing we had what others do. “I wish my body could do what hers does.” “I wish I didn’t have to take all this medicine. He doesn’t have to.”

After feeling envious, we need to return to our own lives with enthusiasm. While we may not be able to do what others do or have what others have, our lives are filled with experiences that can make us rich and able people. Regardless of who we are, what we own, or how we live, each of us is living a very important life — complete with pain, memories, and pleasure.

I respect myself and this life I am living. Today, I will concentrate on it’s joys and treasures.

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One Day At A Time
November 21, 2011
WILLINGNESS

If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it then you are ready to take certain steps.
–Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Willingness was one of the hardest concepts to get through my disease thinking. I was only willing to have my disease cured so I could continue indulging in my allergic substances of choice. According to the dictionary, the definition of will is “the power of choosing what one will do” and “willing, favorably inclined; ready.” My disease was in control and chose for me.

I didn’t want to stay stuck in the food. Then I found this program. Still, I had trouble with the concept of willingness. Then I relapsed, but the food didn’t cure anything. This program, like the Big Book says, had ruined it for me. So, when I found some online recovery loops I found renewed hope. Hope led me to learning about willingness from others’ sharing. Then I figured, ok God, I don’t want to give up the allergic substances, they are too strongly imbedded in my fibers, but I am willing to ask You to grant me the willingness to let go of those substances that aren’t healthy for me.

I kept up this prayer for weeks. One day I discovered that it had been a week since I had thought about or eaten one of those allergic substances. I figured this must be what was meant by God doing for me what I can’t do for myself. So I changed my prayer and asked God to keep making me willing, just for today, to go without those foods. It is working, not because of me, but because I was finally ready to ask for willingness. As the saying goes, “Try it, you’ll like it!” I tried it and I liked the results… A God-given abstinence. Now, as I go about my day, it’s becoming easier to be willing to turn more and more of my will over to the God of my understanding.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will go to the God of my understanding and ask for the willingness to live according to His will for me; so that I may have a life, and not self-will run riot.

Judy

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day November 21

“In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred, everything is for sale.”
–Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA

The Elders often say that when something is sacred it has spiritual value. You’ll hear, on the Earth there are sacred spots. You’ll hear, our ceremonies are sacred, our children are sacred, marriage is sacred.

When something is sacred it means it’s so holy you can’t attach a value to it. Therefore, it’s not for sale. It’s an insult to suggest buying something sacred.  On the other hand, if we look at it differently, as there is no sacred land, ceremonies are not sacred, our children are not sacred, etc., then everything is for sale.

Sacredness creates spiritual space.

Sacredness makes things holy.

Sacredness shows respect for Spirit.

Great Spirit, let me honor things that are sacred.

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Journey to the Heart
November 21
Cherish Moments of Solitude

The clerk at the lodge guided me to my cabin, a small secluded house a mile away from the main lodge on the northern California coast. “Will you be okay here?” he asked. “All by yourself?” I answered yes. And meant it.

My ability to be at peace with solitude has taken a lifetime of cultivation. Peaceful solitude is different from isolation, being forced to be alone. It’s different from forced seclusion, where we grasp frantically for some kind of connection, something to make us feel not alone, then finally sink fearfully and unwillingly into isolation.

On our adventures, we are called to face many fears. The universe won’t let us hide from our fears, at least not for long. One of the fears we may be called to face is fear of being alone.

We may need to face it, feel it, heal fom it– or we will be grasping, settling for, surrounding ourselves with anything or anybody so we don’t have to be alone. If we don’t face it, solitude will become, instead, solitary confinement.

Cultivate moments of solitude. Learn to cherish your privacy, your quiet time. Learn to be comfortable being alone with yourself.

The more content you can become in moments of solitude, the more joy and love you’ll discover in times with others. Cultivate solitude. It will help you cultivate love.

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Today’s Gift
November 21

We decided that it was no good asking what is the meaning of life, because life isn’t an answer, life is the question, and you, yourself, are the answer.
—Ursula K. LeGuin

How many times have we felt like we were drifting aimlessly, constantly searching for meaning in a world that seems so mixed up, seeking direction but getting nowhere? But looked at differently, “nowhere” becomes “now here.” When we take things apart, stand back, and examine them from a different angle, we often find we held the answer from the beginning. Sometimes, when we’re convinced we are the problem, we discover we were the solution all along.

When we look for true understanding, we can be sure it exists in this moment, and that we can find it within ourselves, with God’s help.

What question do I seek an answer to today?

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The Language of Letting Go
November 21
Financial Fears

I sat in the car, looking at the sign on the door of the food shelf office: “Closed until Friday.” It was Wednesday. I had two hungry children and myself; I had no money.

I laid my head on the steering wheel. I couldn’t take it anymore.

I had been so strong, so brave, so trusting for so long. I was a single parent with two children, recently divorced. I had worked so courageously at being grateful for what I had, while setting financial goals and working at believing I deserved the best.

I had put up with so much poverty, so much deprivation. Daily, I worked the Eleventh Step. I worked so hard at praying for knowledge of God’s will for me only, and the power to carry it through. I believed I was doing what I needed to do in my life. I wasn’t lollygagging. I was doing my best, working my hardest.

And there just wasn’t enough money. Life had been a struggle in many ways, but the financial struggle seemed endless.

Money isn’t everything, but it takes money to solve certain problems. I was sick of “letting go” and “letting go” and “letting go.” I was sick of “acting as if” I had enough money. I was tired of having to work so hard daily at letting go of the pain and fear about not having enough. I was tired of working so hard at being happy without having enough. Actually, most of the time I was happy. I had found my soul in poverty. But now that I had my soul and my self, I wanted some money too.

While I sat in the car trying to compose myself, I heard God speak to me in that silent, still voice that whispers gently to our souls.

“You don’t ever have to worry about money again, child. Not unless you want to. I told you that I would take care of you. And I will.”

Great, I thought. Thanks a lot. I believe you. I trust you. But look around. I have no money. I have no food. And the food shelf is closed. You’ve let me down.

Again I heard His voice in my soul: “You don’t have to worry about money again. You don’t have to be afraid. I promised to meet all your needs.

I went home, called a friend, and asked to borrow some money. I hated borrowing, but I had no choice. My breakdown in the car was a release, but it didn’t solve a thing – that day. There was no check in the mailbox.

But I got food for the day. And the next day. And the next. Within six months, my income doubled. Within nine months, it tripled. Since that day, I have had hard times, but I have never had to go without – not for more than a moment in time.

Now, I have enough. Sometimes I still worry about money because that seems to be habitual. But now I know I don’t have to, and I know I never did.

God, help me work hard at what I believe is right for me in my life today, and I’ll trust You for the rest. Help me let go of my fears about money. Help me turn that area over to You. God. Take away the blocks and barriers in my life to financial success.

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More Language Of Letting Go
November 21
You won’t get more than you can handle

… God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond that which ye are able, but with the temptation, will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
–The Bible

“I’m taking care of my roommate and worrying about three of my clients. People always say that you’ll never get more than you can handle. But that;s not true if you’re trying to handle other people’s stuff. that can be too much,” a therapist and friend of mine said.

Most of us have heard throughout our lives that we’ll never get more than we can handle or bear. The load will not be too heavy. If we’re given it, we can rise to the occasion and accomplish the task.

They didn’t say the load wouldn’t be heavy. They didn’t say the task could easily be done. And they didn’t say we’d be given the grace and strength to bear the load of burdens that weren’t ours.

Sometimes it feels like too much. I know how that feels.

It’s not.

You’re up to the task, whatever it is, whether it feels like you are or not.

God, please give me all I need today, including enough joy.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 21

For the trouble is that we are self-centered, and no effort of the self can remove the self from the centre of its own endeavor.
—William Temple

This quagmire of troubles we men were caught in came, in part, from our best efforts to be self-sufficient. The harder we worked to provide our own cures, to control others in our lives, or to control ourselves, the more we fixed our attention upon ourselves. We could not see that the answers we were using were actually part of the problem, not the solution. Even today we may be partially caught in the folly of this thinking. Whenever we think we see our problems and the answers clearly but don’t open our incomplete selves to the wisdom of others, we are in danger of intensifying our self-focus. When we have a pattern of telling our fellow members the completed stories of our pain only when our pain has passed, we are maintaining our self-centered system. We can’t lift ourselves out of our self-centeredness. We can only turn it over to our Higher Power and allow ourselves to be released. I am grateful for the healing, which comes when I stop being so self-centered in my efforts.

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Daily TAO
November 21
MATE

Passion is but a prelude to
Years of gradual unfolding.

Some people mate for life. Perhaps their love affair starts with infatuation, passion, and eroticism. Eventually it gives way to a more stable companionship. Not all couples pass this transition period intact, but those who do find a new mode of relating to one another.  Devoted lovers find that minor faults can be accepted. At the same time, they find acceptance in spite of their own inherent shortcomings and insecurities.

Mature love is patient, selfless, generous, and kind. The lover becomes more important that the self. In love, we find transcendence and a unity that is unattainable alone.

Many sages speak out against romantic love. Can it be that they have never felt it or that they have been bitterly disappointed themselves?  Individuals should know themselves well. If they are meant for love, they will know.

Ultimately, the other is divine and divinity dwells in the other.  Through love, one can come to know the beauty of unity and wholeness.  Without the female, the male element is static and sterile. Without the male element, the female is boundless potential without a catalyst.  Through unification, we find selflessness, purity, and divinity.

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