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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – November 3

Just For Today
November 3
No Matter What

“We eventually have to stand on our own feet and face life on its own terms, so why not from the start.”
Basic Text p.85

Some of us feel that we should protect newcomers by telling them that, while everything used to be horrible, now that we’re in recovery it’s all wonderful. We feel that we might scare someone away if we speak of pain or difficulties, broken marriages, being robbed, and the like. In a sincere and well-intentioned desire to carry the message, we tend to talk glowingly only about what’s going well in our lives.

But most newcomers already suspect the truth, even if they’ve only been clean for a few days. Chances are that the “life on life’s terms” the average newcomer is experiencing is quite a bit more stressful than what the average old-timer deals with each day. If we do manage to convince a newcomer that everything becomes rosy in recovery, we had better make sure we are there to support that newcomer when something goes wrong in his or her life.

Perhaps we simply need to share realistically about how we use the resources of Narcotics Anonymous to accept “life on life’s terms,” whatever those terms may be on any given day. Recovery, and life itself, contain equal parts of pain and joy. It is important to share both so the newcomer can know that we stay clean no matter what.

Just for today: I will be honest with the newcomers I share with and let them know that, no matter what life brings, we never have to use drugs again.

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Daily Reflections
November 3
FOCUSING AND LISTENING

“There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit.”
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 98

If I do my self-examination first, then surely, I’ll have enough humility to pray and meditate—because I’ll see and feel my need for them. Some wish to begin and end with prayer, leaving the self-examination and meditation to take place in between, whereas others start with meditation, listening for advice from God about their still hidden or unacknowledged defects. Still others engage in written and verbal work on their defects, ending with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. These three—self-examination, meditation and prayer—form a circle, without a beginning or an end. No matter where, or how, I start, I eventually arrive at my destination: a better life.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 3
A.A. Thought For The Day

I have charity, another word for love. That right kind of love which is not selfish passion but an unselfish, outgoing desire to help other people. To do what is best for the other person, to put what is best for him or her above my own desires. To put God first, the other person second, and myself last. Charity is gentle, kind, understanding, long-suffering, and full of desire to serve. A.A. has given me this. What I do for myself is lost; what I do for others may be written somewhere in eternity. Have I charity?

Meditation For The Day

“Ask what you will and it shall be done unto you.” God has unlimited power. There is no limit to what His power can do in human hearts. But we must will to have God’s power, and we must ask God for it. God’s power is blocked off from us by our indifference to it. We can go along our own selfish way without calling on God’s help and we get no power. But when we trust in God, we can will to have the power we need. When we sincerely ask God for it, we get it abundantly.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may will to have God’s power. I pray that I may keep praying for the strength I need.

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As Bill Sees It
November 3
From The Taproot, p. 305

The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole Society has sprung and flowered.

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

Every newcomer is told, and soon realizes for himself, that his humble admission of powerlessness over alcohol is his first step toward liberation from its paralyzing grip.

So it is that we first see humility as a necessity. But this is the barest beginning. To get completely away from our aversion to the idea of being humble, to gain a vision of humility as the avenue to true freedom of the human spirit, to be willing to work for humility as something to be desired for itself, takes most of us a long, long time.  A whole lifetime geared to self-centeredness cannot be set in reverse all at once.

12 & 12
1. pp. 21-22
2. pp. 72-73

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Walk In Dry Places
November 3
Living with impossible dreams
Hope and false hope.

No matter how badly we managed our lives while drinking, many of us survived by holding on to the hope that some great stroke of luck would rescue us. Either we would find a windfall to pay off our debts, or a kind benefactor would appear to set things right.

These are impossible dreams, but they helped sustain us in the miserable half-world of alcoholism. We could not see that drinking was the real problem.

But we did have our great stroke of luck in finding AA. This helped us face our debts. At the same time, we found benefactors i the form of sponsors and other friends. We also found a Higher Power.

Even in sobriety, we have to guard against the impossible dreams we nourished while drinking. Again and again, we must remind ourselves that sober living is based on reality. Even reality, however, can have its miracles.

I’ll keep my dreams alive today, but I’ll make sure that they have a good foundation in reality.

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Keep It Simple
November 3

“Words are the voice of the heart.”
—Confucius

What does my heart have to say today? Am I happy ? Or am I troubled? We will find this out if we slow down and listen to our words. We can also hear our spirit in the tone of our words.

We are to meditate. Meditation is about slowing down so we can hear what our spirit is trying to tell us. Meditation is listening. Our spirit is but a quiet whisper inside us. To hear we must quiet ourselves.

Slowing down allows us to find our center. As we find our center we find our spirit and our Higher Power. Do I take the time needed to slow myself down? Do I take the time to listen—to listen to my heart?

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, teach me to slow down. Teach me to hear Your whisper as well as Your yells.

Action for the Day: Today, I will take a half hour to slow down and listen. I will find a place to relax and listen to my heart and my words.

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 3

“It is the calm after the storm. I feel a rainbow where there once were clouds, and while my Spirit dances in gratitude, my mind speculates on the next disaster. Duality.”
—Mary Casey

Our growth as women is contingent on our ability to flow with the dualities, the contradictions inherent in one’s lifetime, not only to flow with them but to capitalize on them.

We are not offered a painless existence, but we are offered opportunities for gathering perspective from the painful moments. And our perspectives are cushioned by the principles of the program. The rough edges of life, the storms that whip our very being, are gifts in disguise. We see life anew, when the storm has subsided.

We can enjoy the calm, if that surrounds us today. We deserve the resting periods. They give us a chance to contemplate and make fully our own that which the recent storm brought so forcefully to our attention. We are powerless over the storm’s onslaught. But we can gain from it and be assured that the storm gives all the meaning there is in the calm.

I will be glad today for the clouds or the rainbows. Both are meant for my good. And without both, neither has meaning.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
November 3
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.

The hardest thing I had to deal with in sobriety was my own anger and the violence I lived through in my childhood. I had forgiven those involved as best I could, but the mind seems never to forget. I had gratefully received years of outside help because I was told that my drinking was only the symptom of deeper troubles. Yet despite the help of many professionals, I know I would never have recovered from violence and alcoholism without A.A.’s Twelve Steps, which are uniquely tailored for people like me.

p. 397

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 3

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

In a neighboring state, Ed had holed up in a cheap hotel. After all his pleas for help had been rebuffed, these words rang in his fevered mind. “They have deserted me. I have been deserted by my own kind. This is the end … Nothing is left.” As he tossed on his bed, his hand brushed the bureau near by, touching a book. Opening the book, he read. It was a Gideon Bible. Ed never confided any more of what he saw and felt in that hotel room. It was the year 1938. He hasn’t had a drink since.

pp. 144-145

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Xtra Thoughts
November 3

“Lay hold of today’s task, and you will not depend so much on tomorrow’s.”
—Seneca

“The secret of life is not to do what you like, but to like what you do.”
—American Proverb

“A saddened heart is not made happier with a change of place.”
—Capt. Michael Hobson

“Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.”
—Ruth Ann Schabaker

“God’s compass will lead me and give me direction.”
—Shelley

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 3
CHOICES

“Another good reducing exercise consists in placing both hands against the table edge and pushing back.”
—Robert Quillen

I am an alcoholic and today I choose not to drink. When alcohol is offered, I say “no.” I do not go into “wet places,” spend time with drinkers or put myself in awkward situations. I assist my abstinence by the choices I make.

The recovering gambler avoids Las Vegas. The drug addict avoids sick relationships.  The compulsive overeater must exercise the spiritual power of choice around food.  “No” must involve both hands! For the recovering addict, talk must be accompanied by action. Some people, places and things must be avoided.

Spirituality is making my talk a visible reality.

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Bible Scriptures
November 3

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation.”
Psalm 25:4-5

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
I Peter 5:7

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Daily Inspiration
November 3

Be able to do more today by expanding your vision of what you can accomplish. Lord, help me realize that my limits are beyond what I think and fill me with motivation to reach higher.

When you have faith in yourself and God, you will know that you are loved and safe and never alone. Lord, I am these things because You are always with me.

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Journey to the Heart
November 3
You Haven’t Lost Your Place

Sometimes when life shifts and changes, it can feel like we’ve lost our place.

During those times when our lives are changing, we may feel out of tune, out of rhythm, out of balance. Out of step. Maybe an old feeling is surfacing, clearing, so that we can learn something new and move forward to a new place. Maybe our attention is being diverted to a new focus so we can find and experience another lesson. Sometimes the form or shape of our life is changing dramatically. The old picture is being erased so a new one can be drawn. Familiar people are leaving; new people are entering. We may ache, feel irritable, and doubt the course of our entire journey. We may doubt whether the magical way we were living was even real and whether the magic will ever return.

Let the changes happen. Take extra loving care of yourself. Be attentive to what you need. The magic isn’t gone; it hasn’t disappeared. You’re just going through a shift. That means things are moving, and movement is good.

For now it may feel like you can’t find your place, but that’s because your place is changing.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 3

“A sundance woman is like the morning star, filled with spiritual beauty, wisdom and knowledge.  Men and women are the most powerful of the polarities.  We walk beside men as equal partners.  It takes men and women who have respect and love for one another to live within the embrace of Father Sky and Mother Earth.”
—Dr. Henrietta Mann, SOUTHERN CHEYENNE

Our ceremonies bring out the best in us. It’s in the ceremony that we find the place of honor and respect for each other. The place where the men honor the women and the women honor the men. We dance for each other. The ceremony helps us remember our responsibility toward each other. Men and women need to be strong, to love one another and be faithful. Only by doing this can we give our children knowledge of good relationships.

Great Spirit, today I will notice the power of the women; today I will notice the power of the men.

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A Day At A Time
November 3

Reflection For The Day

The Program’s Twelve Steps comprise a body of living spiritual wisdom.  To the degree that we continue to study The Steps and apply them to our daily lives, our knowledge and understanding expands without limitation.  As we say in The Program, “It gets better … and better … and better.”  The Eleventh Step speaks of prayer and meditation, urging us to apply our minds quietly to the contemplation of spiritual truth.  By its nature, the Eleventh Step illuminates for us the purpose and value of the other Steps.  As we seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, the remaining Steps become ever more useful in our new way of life.  Do I take the time each day to pray and meditation?

Today I Pray

May I seek—as the Eleventh Step says—to know God better through prayer and meditation, talking to and listening for God.  As my life becomes more full of the realities of Earth—may I always keep aside a time for communion with God.  May this communion define my life and give it purpose.

Today I Will Remember

Take time out for God.

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One More Day
November 3

“It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give when unasked through understanding.”
—Kahlil Gibran

Some of us wonder how we will live the rest of our lives with the problems we are currently carrying. The days loom long, with no specific goals in sight; so it is up to us to formulate new plans and goals for ourselves.

These plans—social, spiritual, academic, or volunteer—are good for us if they revolve around other people, many of whom have even greater problems than ours. Sharing our hope, faith, and varied experiences with others who also suffer is a caring gesture and an opportunity to see ourselves and our problems more clearly within the total human picture.

Today, I will choose some way to help myself and others. Sharing my experiences and skills keeps me in touch with my humanness.

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One Day At A Time
November 3
~ INNER STRENGTH ~

“Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.”
—H. W. Beecher

I often wondered why so much seemed to happen to me. Why was it that no sooner had I picked myself up from some trauma or tragedy than another one came along. Most people had never had car accidents, but I’d had two, one almost life-threatening. I’d been through an unpleasant divorce; I lost a brother and a stepson, both dying unnatural deaths at an early age, and could not understand why these kinds of things were always happening to me. I used to be so angry with God. “Why me?” I’d ask. It just seemed so unfair. Everybody else appeared to have lives that were so much better and free of all this trauma. For a long time I retreated into depression and food to cope with what seemed to be a miserable life.

But God must have had other plans for me. I truly believe I must have been guided to my first meeting so that I would not only find a way to live free of my compulsive eating, but would also be able to learn some lessons from my seemingly tough life. I have been very blessed in that, because of all my experiences, and the fact that I was literally brought to my knees and had to seek God out, I have learned the meaning of true spirituality. I have also learned some valuable lessons from all these experiences that have made me a much stronger person. I have so much more to offer than I would have had my life been the nice easy one I always wanted. Because of what I have learned as a result of my many struggles and difficult times, I am now able to pass on that wisdom to others on this journey of recovery.

One Day at a Time …
I will try to remember that when God sends me difficulties, I must view them as lessons. He wants me to learn so I can become a better and more useful person.

~ Sharon S. ~

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Today’s Gift
November 3

“Here’s Sulky Sue
What shall we do?
Turn her face to the wall …”
—Mother Goose

When she put her Sulky Sue up against the wall, was this mother a wise or silly goose? If Sue was confused, could she talk sense with a wall? If she was angry, would the wall ever know why? If she was sad, would the wall wipe her tears away? If she was lonely, would the wall take her by the hand? Some walls are built for support, others to keep people away. To sulk is to look for support, someone strong to hold us up, not a silly goose who will turn us away.

Sulking is not the best way to look for help, and when we sulk, we are likely to end up isolating ourselves in some corner of our own making. And on the other hand, when we see another sulking, how much better it is to offer support instead of isolation!

Do I build walls of isolation, or walls of support?

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The Language of Letting Go
November 3
Denial

Denial is fertile breeding ground for the behaviors we call codependent: controlling, focusing on others, and neglecting ourselves. Illness and compulsive or addictive behaviors can emerge during denial.

Denial can be confusing because it resembles sleeping. We’re not really aware we’re doing it until we’re done doing it. Forcing ourselves—or anyone else—to face the truth usually doesn’t help. We won’t face the facts until we are ready. Neither, it seems, will anyone else. We may admit to the truth for a moment, but we won’t let ourselves know what we know until we feel safe, secure, and prepared enough to deal and cope with it.

Talking to friends who know, love, support, encourage, and affirm us helps.

Being gentle, loving, and affirming with ourselves helps. Asking ourselves, and our Higher Power, to guide us into and through change helps.

The first step toward acceptance is denial. The first step toward moving through denial is accepting that we may be in denial, and then gently allowing ourselves to move through.

God, help me feel safe and secure enough today to accept what I need to accept.

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More Language Of Letting Go
November 3
You’re learning something new

“‘What are we supposed to be looking for?’ Stanley asked him.
‘You’re not looking for anything. You’re digging to build character …’
[Stanley] glanced helplessly at his shovel. It wasn’t defective. He was defective.”
—Louis Sachar, Holes

Sometimes when faced with a difficult obstacle in life—a new job, new school, new anything—it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to start believing the worst about ourselves. Maybe we really don’t have what it takes after all, we think. Maybe we should just stay where we are—whether we like that place or not.

One of the wonderful things about being human is our ability to adapt to new situations. Another is our ability to change and grow.

What new situation is facing you? Whether it’s beginning a recovery process, starting a new job, going for your master’s degree, learning to be divorced, or learning to be a happy spouse, you’re up to whatever life is asking you to do.

It is important to start at the beginning of things, and often that means feeling ill prepared for the task ahead. That’s good. If you were completely comfortable with everything going on around you, then chances are you wouldn’t be growing and learning anything new.

Be aware of how you talk to yourself, whether you’re telling yourself I can or I can’t. Then let the words be filled with cheerful confidence. Recognize any feelings that prevent you from believing in yourself. Then let those feelings go. Let go of fear and feeling overwhelmed.

You can learn the new task. You can harmonize with your new boss. You can learn to take care of yourself. You can.You can. And you will. You can and will grow into this role.

You’re not defective. Neither is your shovel. Grab it, and dig in.

God, give me the strength and the confidence to grow, learn, and see the wonder of this world.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 3

“I, God, am your playmate! I will lead the child in you in wonderful ways for I have chosen you.”
—Mechtild of Magdeburg

Our relationship with our Higher Power is not all solemnness. Facing the pains and guilts and grief’s of our codependent relationships and our addictions might lead us to think recovery is only serious business. Not so!

This program liberates us from the heaviness by facing it. We are not meant to stay stuck there. Recovery teaches us to enjoy life. Our Creator has concocted a world of many pleasures and delights to play in. As we progress in our recovery we learn to let our hair down and play. Some of us have become more able to enjoy good-natured roughhousing with our children. Maybe we have become more free to joke and banter with friends. Our spiritual lives grow with good-natured fun.

I am grateful for the child who still lives in me. He keeps alive my delight in the world.

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Daily TAO
November 3
LILY

Dormant bulb, skin of tea-stained parchment,
Reaches into water with pubic tendrils—
It is the roots that make tall green shoots possible.

A lily bulb is the center of the future plant, containing all that is needed for growth. When it is set over water, it will first reach down with many white roots to drink deeply. Only then will it begin to split and put forth splendid green shoots. The same is true of life. We need to put deep roots down in order to bring forth beauty.

While most people can accept that anyone needs a strong foundation in life, we are speaking here of a more literal interpretation. Those who follow Tao believe in meditating upon all the centers of the body.  It would be wrong to think of spirituality as wholly brain-oriented.  Quite the contrary. One must establish a deep connection to one’s very energy, which arises in all parts of the body. One must come to terms with one’s sexual energy, which comes from the loins. One must become aware of one’s legs (what else holds you up all the time?) in order to become more stable. What is below is essential to what is above. What is below is the source of tremendous energy.

Therefore, when meditating, learn methods that focus on all parts of the body and mind. When moving, pay attention to the legs. When acting, make sure that you are well connected to others. When learning, master the fundamentals. If you do this, you will be able to fulfill your ultimate potential.

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