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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings - November 23

Just For Today
November 23
God’s Will

“The relief of ‘letting go and letting God’ helps us develop a life that is worth living.”
Basic Text pg. 26

In our addiction, we were afraid of what might happen if we didn’t control everything around us. Many of us made up elaborate lies to protect our use of drugs. Some of us manipulated everyone around us in a frenzied attempt to get something from them so we could use more drugs. A few of us went to great lengths to keep two people from talking to each other and perhaps discovering our trail of lies. We took pains to maintain an illusion of control over our addiction and our lives. In the process, we kept ourselves from experiencing the serenity that comes with surrender to a Higher Power’s will.

In our recovery, it is important to release our illusion of control and surrender to a Higher Power, whose will for us is better than anything we can con, manipulate, or devise for ourselves. If we realize that we are trying to control outcomes and are feeling afraid of the future, there is action we can take to reverse that trend. We go to our Second and Third Steps and look at what we have come to believe about a Higher Power. Do we truly believe that this Power can care for us and restore us to sanity? If so, we can live with all of life’s ups and downs – its disappointments, its sorrows, its wonders, and its joys.

Just for today: I will surrender and let a Higher Power’s will happen in my life. I will accept the gift of serenity this surrender brings.

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Daily Reflections
November 23
HOLD YOUR FACE TO THE LIGHT

Believe more deeply. Hold your face up to the Light, even though for the moment you do not see.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 3

One Sunday in October, during my morning meditation, I glanced out the window at the ash tree in our front yard. At once I was overwhelmed by its magnificent, golden color! As I stared in awe at God’s work of art, the leaves began to fall and, within minutes, the branches were bare. Sadness came over me as I thought of the winter months ahead, but just as I was reflecting on autumn’s annual process, God’s message came through. Like the trees, stripped of their leaves in the fall, sprout new blossoms in the spring, I had had my compulsive, selfish ways removed by God in order for me to blossom into a sober, joyful member of A.A. Thank you, God, for the changing seasons and for my ever-changing life.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 23
A.A. Thought For The Day

I no longer refuse to do anything because I cannot do it to perfection. Many of us alcoholics use the excuse of not being able to do something perfectly to enable us to do nothing at all. We pretend to be perfectionists. We are good at telling people how a thing should be done, but when we come to the effort of doing it ourselves, we balk. We say to ourselves:  I might make a mistake, so I’d better let the whole thing slide. In A.A. we set our goals high, but that does not prevent us from trying. The mere fact that we will never fully reach these goals does not prevent us from doing the best we can. Have I stopped hiding behind the smoke-screen of perfectionism?

Meditation For The Day

“In the world ye shall have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” Keep an undaunted spirit. Keep your spirit free and unconquered.  You can be undefeated and untouched by failure and all its power, by letting your spirit overcome the world; rise above the earth’s turmoil into the secret chamber of perfect peace and confidence. When a challenge comes to you, remember that you have God’s help and nothing can wholly defeat you.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may have confidence and be of good cheer.  I pray that I may not fear the power of failure.

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As Bill Sees It
November 23
Humility Brings Hope, p. 325

Now that we no longer patronize bars and bordellos, now that we bring home the pay checks, now that we are so very active in A.A., and now that people congratulate us on these signs of progress–well, we naturally proceed to congratulate ourselves. Of course, we are not yet within hailing distance of humility.

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

We ought to be willing to try humility in seeking the removal of our other shortcomings, just as we did when we admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, and came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

If humility could enable us to find the grace by which the deadly alcohol obsession could be banished, then there must be hope of the same result respecting any other problem we can possibly have.

1. Grapevine, June 1961
2. 12 & 12, p. 76

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Walk In Dry Places
November 23
The only reason to drink
Staying sober

“There’s only one real reason I can ever have for taking a drink, and that’s because I want to.”

This remark at a meeting sums up AA’s position on why we drink. We never really drink because of pressures and troubles. We drink because we want to, because we feel like taking a drink.

It’s true that a serious crisis, like going into bankruptcy, may make us conscious of an urger to drink. But we know that we’re also likely to have such urges in the face of good fortune. The alcoholic who would drink over a bankruptcy would also probably get drunk if he or she won the lottery.

By refusing to accept all of these alleged “reasons” for drinking, AA simplified our problem so we can deal with it. We either want to drink or we don’t want to drink, period. Even if we want to drink… and some members do.. AA can show us how to stay sober and eventually lose such desires.

Nothing has the power to make me drink today. It is only my own willingness that can destroy my sobriety.

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Keep It Simple
November 23

Let me listen to me and not to them.
—Gertrude Stein

Often we try to please everyone around us. But this may not make us happy, and so we get angry.  We feel taken advantage of.

We may be kind to others, but first we must love ourselves. How? By learning to listen to ourselves. To our dreams. To our higher power. By doing this we’ll be more happy. And those around us will probably be more happy too.  As our AA medallions say, “To Thine Own Self Be True.”

Prayer for the Day: I pray that I’ll listen to that gentle, loving voice inside me. Higher Power, help me make me make my “conscious contact” with You better.

Action for the Day: I will write down why I need to be true to myself.

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 23

When you send out real love, real love will return to you.
–Florence Scovel Shinn

Real love is selfless love. It expects nothing in return. It is not conditional. It doesn’t keep score. It is too seldom given. Many of us came into the program hurting, feeling unloved, looking desperately for love, unable to love selflessly. But we are learning.

We are climbing the same mountain, all of us. Our particular paths will cross the paths of many others before reaching the top, where we will find full enlightenment. And any path we cross has a special contribution to make to our own progress. We can be grateful for all intersecting paths, no matter how adverse they seem at the time. We can offer all our fellow-travelers real love, and our own trip will benefit manyfold.

We need not be ashamed of our desire for love. Nor need we feel shame that we’ve bargained for it. But we do need to understand that the kind of love we seek can only be gained when we quit searching for it and simply offer it to all the people in our midst.

I will look into the hearts of all the people I encounter today and offer them love. I’ll receive that which I give.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
November 23
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

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

I saw the counselor once a week, and I went to this men’s meeting once a week, and everything was getting better. Once I saw somebody get a ninety-day pin. I decided not to get one. Even though I couldn’t see it from where I was sitting, I wasn’t going to wear an A.A. sign. One day somebody got a ninety-day pocket piece that he could rub for luck, and I decided to get one of those. After my three months were up, I went to the literature guy and bought one. He said it would be nice if it was presented to me in front of everybody. I wasn’t too keen on getting up in front of everyone. He said it would be good for the newcomers; it would show them that the program worked. So I told him okay and asked the leader of the First Step table to give it to me. They were paying him to run the meeting, or so I thought at the time. (Later, I found out that they were reimbursing him for the snacks.) So the following week I got my pocket piece and thanked everybody for giving me the power over alcohol. Now I was more powerful than alcohol because for the first time in a long time I could choose not to use it.

p. 403

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 23

Tradition Six – “An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.”

THE moment we saw that we had an answer for alcoholism, it was reasonable (or so it seemed at the time) for us to feel that we might have the answer to a lot of other things. The A.A. groups, many thought, could go into business, might finance any enterprise whatever in the total field of alcoholism. In fact, we felt duty-bound to throw the whole weight of the A.A. name behind any meritorious cause.

p. 155

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Xtra Thoughts
November 23

Silence is also a form of speech.
–West Africa Proverb

Each day comes bearing its own gifts.  Untie the ribbons.
–Ruth Ann Schabacker

Gratitude is our most direct line to God and the angels. If we take the time, no matter how crazy and troubled we feel, we can find something to be thankful for. The more we seek gratitude, the more reason the angels will give us for gratitude and joy to exist in our lives.
–Terry Lynn Taylor

“Our personal dispositions are as windowpanes through which we see the world either as rosy or dull. The way we color the glasses we wear is the way the world seems to us.”
–Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”
–Brian Tracy

You will get nothing out of life unless you make the decision to go after it. Persistence is the key to winning.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 23
MEMORIES

“History is the seed bed of the future.”
— Leo Booth

I talk about my drinking history, remembering the incidents and losses, because I believe “there is no gain without pain.” To enjoy my sobriety I must share, on a daily basis, the reality of my disease. My pain is rooted in my history. I must live with my disease on a daily basis. I need to be aware of the disease process in my life.

This awareness requires a “rigorously honest” inventory of my past attitudes and behaviors; ignorance is bliss for the disease of addiction! The acceptance and awareness of my past is my treatment for today. The more I understand about my yesterdays the better my recovery will be today. My life has a history and my spiritual program demands that I understand it.

Teach me to face my past so that I can realistically live in my today.

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Bible Scriptures
November 23

“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.”
Lamentations 3:25

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Colossians 3:17

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.
Romans 8:26 -27

Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others. A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted. An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies. Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed. Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!
Proverbs 12:15-20

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Daily Inspiration
November 23

One of life’s greatest pleasures is meeting and conquering our most difficult moments. Lord, teach me to trust myself and trust that You will never abandon me or my needs.

See opportunity in your difficulties, not difficulty in your opportunities. Lord, I will focus on the goodness today brings to me and look for the many reasons I have to feel joy.

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A Day At A Time
November 23

Reflection For The Day

Before I came to The Program, I was like an actor who insisted on writing the script, running the whole show.  I had to do it my way, forever trying to arrange and re-arrange the lights, lines, sets and, most of all, the other players’ performances.  If only my arrangements would stay put, and people would behave as I wished, the show would be fantastic.  My self-delusion led me to believe that if they all would just shape up, everything would be fine.  Of course, it never worked out that way.  Isn’t it amazing how others seem to be “shaping up” now that I’ve stopped trying to manage everything and everybody?

Today I Pray

May I talk myself out of that old urge to control everything and everybody.  Time was, if I couldn’t manage directly, I would do it indirectly, through manipulation, secret conferences and asides.  May I know that if I am the one who is always pulling the strings on the marionettes, then I am also the one who feels the frustration when they collapse or slip off the stage.

Today I Will Remember

I can only “shape up” myself.

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One More Day
November 23

What’s a man’s first duty? The answer is brief: To be himself.
– Henrik Ibsen

We may tend to neglect ourselves, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. We are generally aware of what we’re doing when we don’t eat right or get enough sleep, but we often are blind to our neglect of inner needs. Each of us needs privacy, to think, to plan, to be away from the everyday clamor of our lives.

We can take time for ourselves, even if it’s just a brief moment now and then. So we can assess our life. So we can relax, alone. So we can pray. So we can be ourselves.

I will not hide from myself under the guise of being too busy. I can take time, just for myself, to be aware of my personal needs.

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One Day At A Time
November 23
Successful Recovery

I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: ‘Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.’ I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have.
–Harry S. Truman

No matter what their drug of choice, compulsives all have one thing in common. If we don’t practice our program, we run the risk of relapsing back into the disease.

What separates those who find recovery and those who don’t is this: those who don’t find recovery slip and fall, and don’t get up again. They figure, “I’ve already relapsed, so why not just continue using my drug of choice? Why not wallow in my disease?”

Those who recover are like Jack Williams…they do their damnedest. They continue to read program literature, they continue to do service, they continue to reach out to others and to their Higher Power. The winners in this program don’t wallow…they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep on keeping on.

One day at a time… 
I will do my damnedest. I will work my program to the best of my ability, and if I fall, I won’t stay down.

Jeff

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day
November 23

“We’re sitting on our blessed Mother Earth from which we get our strength and determination, love and humility, all the beautiful attributes that we’ve been given.  So turn to one another; love one another; respect one another; respect Mother Earth; respect the waters-because that’s life itself!”
–Phil Lane, Sr. YANKTON SIOUX

Our entire point of view can be altered by making one change to align with the principles of the Great Spirit.

Let’s say we decide to become respectful. As we become respectful, our attitude will change. We will automatically draw into our lives knowledge about the other principles of the Great Spirit such as love, appreciation, trust, beauty, and peace of mind.

By focusing on these principles, we will let go of selfishness, self centeredness, self pity, dishonesty, and fear.  You focus on respect, you get respect; you focus on love, you get love; you focus on the Red Road, you get peace of mind.

Great Spirit, let me learn the lessons of respect.

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Journey to the Heart
November 23
Discover the Power of You Heart

Much of the journey has held lessons about power. Many of us have experimented with different kinds of power. At times we may have used force, brute strength. Certainly most of us have experimented with power plays– only to find that they aren’t the answer either. Along the way, some of us may have gotten hard, cold, rigid, even angry– thinking that was a way to own our power.

Often, these attempts don’t signal power. They signal fear. True, for many of us, learning to experience, express, and release our anger has been an important milestone on our path to power. But the power we’re seeking is different from force, coldness, hardness, or power plays. We aren’t learning to flex our muscles that way.

Open to a new kind of power– the power of the heart. Clarity. Compassion. Gentleness. Love. Understanding. Comfort. Forgiveness. Faith. Security with acceptance of ourselves, and all our emotions. Trust. Commitment to loving ourselves, and to an open heart. That’s the power we’re seeking. That’s true power, power that lasts, power that creates the life and love we want. In those situations that call for power, we can trust that brute stength, coldness, or rage won’t get us what we want.

Relax. Stop flexing your muscles. Instead, open your heart. Let power come gently. Let a new strength flow through you. Defend yourself when necessary, but avoid any actions that take you away from peace and joy. Whatever your situation, relax your body, relax your mind, and trust your soul.

Your heart will lead the way, not just to love, but also to power. Let it come gently. Let it come freely. Then the power you receive will be true.

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Today’s Gift
November 23

All of the fantasies in your life will never match those I once tried to attain. Now older, it’s more important reaching the more realistic goals, and having them come true.
—Deidra Sarault

Simply knowing that we are important creatures of the universe offers too little security for most of us. We do have a role to play; our talents are special and unique to each of us. Using them in a well-planned manner will benefit us emotionally and spiritually. Others will profit from our talents as well.

Fantasies have their place in our lives, too. They often tempt us to even greater heights. We can’t always collar our fantasies, but we can take the necessary steps to realize the goals that our fantasies have birthed.

Recovery is freeing us to achieve those goals we’d only dreamed of or perhaps feared tackling in the past. The defects that we hid behind before are, with patience, giving way to positive behavior. We can accomplish our heart’s pure desires. We need not let the fear of failure trap us again as it did so many of us for so long.

I will set my sights high and trust the program to coach my progress. My goals are attainable. It only takes one small step at a time.

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The Language of Letting Go
November 23
Healthy Sexuality

Many areas of our life need healing.

One important part of our life is our sexuality. Our feelings and beliefs about our sexuality, our ability to nurture, cherish, and enjoy our sexuality, our ability to respect ourselves sexually, our ability to let go of sexual shame and confusion, may all be impaired or confused by our codependency.

Our sexual energy may be blocked. Or for some of us, sex may be the only way we learned to connect with people. Our sexuality may not be connected to the rest of us; sex may not be connected to love – for others or ourselves.

Some of us were sexually abused as children. Some of us may have gotten involved in sexuality addictive behaviors – compulsive sexual behaviors that got out of control and produced shame.

Some of us may have gotten involved in sexual codependency: not paying attention to what we wanted, or didn’t want, sexually; allowing ourselves to get involved sexually because it was what the other person wanted; shutting off our sexuality along with our other feelings; denying ourselves healthy enjoyment of ourselves as sexual beings.

Our sexuality is a part of ourselves that deserves healing attention and energy. It is a part of us that we can allow to become connected to the whole of us; it is a part of us that we can stop being ashamed of.

It is okay and healthy to allow our sexual energy to open up and become healed. It is connected to our creativity and to our heart. We do not have to allow our sexual energy to control our relationships or us. We can establish and maintain healthy, appropriate boundaries around our sexuality. We can discover what that means in our life.

We can enjoy the gift of being human beings who have been given the gift of sexual energy, without abusing or discounting that gift.

Today, I will begin to integrate my sexuality into the rest of my personality. God, help me let go of my fears and shame around my sexuality. Show me the issues I need to face concerning my sexuality. Help me open myself to healing in that area of my life.

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More Language Of Letting Go
November 23
Show that you mean what you say

Kevin was unhappy. He had stopped doing what he wanted to do in his life and found himself in a dull, boring routine at work. His job had turned on him. In the past, he and others had considered him brilliant, an asset. Opportunities, one after another, had just been handed to him. Now, no new opportunities were coming his way.

He wondered, “What happened? What went wrong? Why aren’t things coming my way?”

“Maybe you need to do something. Maybe you need to help create the opportunity you want,” his friend suggested.

Kevin’s first response was, “I can’t do that, I’ve never been a leader before. I’ve never had to take the initiative. I just sat back and good things came my way.”

“Maybe times are different now. Maybe you need to take some action on your behalf first,” his friend replied.

Kevin decided his friend was right. He began taking some steps to create the job he wanted with another company. The pay wasn’t great, but at least he’d be doing more of the work he wanted to do. He began taking more of a leadership role in his life.

It took a lot of work and effort on his part. He had to travel a lot. He had to make things happen. And he had to use some of his money to make what he wanted to happen occur. He wasn’t exactly where he wanted to be, but he was closer than he was before.

About three months after Kevin decided to take the initiative, he came home from work one night. There was a message on his machine. Some people that owned a business had an opening. They had heard about Kevin and wondered if he would be interested in interviewing with them, maybe becoming part of their organization.

The position was a leadership role, doing exactly what Kevin had hoped he could do. The pay and benefits were great. It took him only a moment to realize that this was the golden opportunity.

Sometimes it’s not just enough to say I can. You need to show yourself and the universe that you mean what you say. If good things aren’t coming your way, maybe you need to walk toward them. Once you take those first steps, the universe can guide you along the path.

Whether it’s writing that book, meeting a friend, moving, getting a sponsor, making a career switch, or acquiring a new skill, it may be time for you to show the universe that you mean what you say. Take those first steps, awkward and clumsy as they may be. Work with the raw materials of your life that you have on hand today– even if those materials aren’t ideal. Do your best. make an actual step toward fulfilling your dreams. Then let the universe and your Higher Power help guide you, once you’ve taken those first steps. Just because something isn’t being handed to you out of the blue doesn’t mean it can’t be yours.

Is there a dream, a vision, or a goal that you’ve been waiting to magically manifest in your life? Could it be that you need to take some first steps toward it, instead of waiting for it to come to you? Your first efforts may be just that, first efforts. But from those first steps, you’ll be guided into what you want to do.

Sometimes letting go means more than sitting back and passively waiting. Sometimes taking the initiative is an important part of the work you need to do. Showing the universe and yourself that you mean business is part of how you learn to manifest your power.

God, show me the steps I can take today, and help me start walking so you can guide me along my path.

Activity: Take out your goal list today. Is there a dream, a vision, or a goal that you’ve been waiting to magically manifest in your life? Could it be that you need to take some first steps? Today, take the initiative. Start to use the power of I can in your life.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 23

We shall not cease from exploration.
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time
—T. S. Eliot

Our spiritual path is like a search leading home. We carry within us a yearning for the ideal, the perfect acceptance and love from our fathers and mothers. We long for fulfillment of our dreams, we long to feel strong and capable, and we want to understand, to truly come into our own.

As we peel back the layers of our defenses, we find what we knew all along. On a deep level, we knew no man could be totally self-sufficient. Now we are coming back to it as if it’s brand new. The best images of our parents’ love and acceptance of us are what we return to as models for how we can be. It is true we can never go home again. Yet our spiritual journey mysteriously leads us back to explore what we knew deeply all along.

I will make peace with my past and explore the deeper knowledge I’ve always held within me.

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Daily TAO
November 23
COLORLESS

What’s the difference between the erotic and spiritual?
Temples and lovers are equally gaudy.

What’s the difference between eroticism and spirituality? Both refer to ecstasy. Both lead to transcendence of the self. Both lead to unification with a larger order. Both are vulnerable to the excesses of perversion, lust, sadism, obsession, and madness. Eroticism and spirituality — the two deepest endeavors of humanity are twins.

Both eroticism and spirituality mean intense involvement in the diversity and color of the world. But there is a higher order, a state where one is holiness itself. Then nothing of the world of color matters to you anymore. The pleasures of the couch will mean nothing. Neither will the glories of the ascetic’s efforts mean anything. Only by entering the colorless state of pure, blinding light can there be freedom from the twins.

Meditation changes your consciousness. The type of consciousness that emerges depends on the meditation. Your consciousness in turn colors your perceptions of the world around you. There is no such thing as objective reality. You color everything. If you want the highest state of being, aim for consciousness without color.

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