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Daily Recovery Readings – November 30, 2012

Just For Today
November 30, 2012
Sharing The Real Me

“Sharing with others keeps us from feeling isolated and alone.”
Basic Text pg. 81

Intimacy is the sharing of our innermost thoughts and feelings with another human being. Many of us long for the warmth and companionship intimacy brings, but those things don’t come without effort. In our addiction, we learned to guard ourselves from others lest they threaten our using. In recovery, we learn how to trust others. Intimacy requires us to lower our defenses. To feel the closeness intimacy brings, we must allow others to get close to us – the real us.

If we are to share our innermost selves with others, we must first have an idea of what those innermost selves are truly like. We regularly examine our lives to find out who we really are, what we really want, and how we really feel. Then, based on our regular inventories of ourselves, we must be as completely and consistently honest with our friends as we can be.

Intimacy is a part of life, and therefore a part of living clean – and intimacy, like everything in recovery, has its price. The painstaking self-scrutiny intimacy calls for can be hard work. And the total honesty of intimacy often brings its own complications. But the freedom from isolation and loneliness that intimacy brings is well worth the effort.

Just for today: I seek the freedom from isolation and loneliness that intimacy brings. Today, I will get to know “the real me” by taking a personal inventory, and I will practice being completely honest with another person.

*************************************

Daily Reflections
November 30, 2012
PROTECTION FOR ALL

At the personal level, anonymity provides protection for all members from identification as alcoholics, a safeguard often of special importance to newcomers. At the level of press, radio, TV, and films, anonymity stresses the equality in the Fellowship of all members by putting the brake on those who might otherwise exploit their A.A. affiliation to achieve recognition, power, or personal gain.
“UNDERSTANDING ANONYMITY,” p. 5

Attraction is the main force in the Fellowship of A.A. The miracle of continuous sobriety of alcoholics within A.A. confirms this fact every day. It would be harmful if the Fellowship promoted itself by publicizing, through the media of radio and TV, the sobriety of well-known public personalities who became members of A.A. If these personalities happened to have slips, outsiders would think our movement is not strong and they might question the veracity of the miracle of the century. Alcoholics Anonymous is not anonymous, but its members should be.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 30, 2012
A.A. Thought For The Day

We have slips in A.A. It has been said these are not slips but premeditated drunks, because we have to think about taking a drink before we actually take one. The thought always comes before the act. It has been suggested that people should always get in touch with an A.A. before taking that first drink. The failure to do so makes it probable that they decided to take the drink anyway. And yet the thoughts that come before taking a drink are often largely subconscious. People usually don’t know consciously what made them do it. Therefore, the common practice is to call these things slips. Am I on guard against wrong thinking?

Meditation For The Day

“The eternal God is thy refuge.” He is a sanctuary, a refuge from the cares of life. You can get away from the misunderstanding of others by retiring into your own place of meditation. But from yourself, from your sense of failure, your weakness, your shortcomings, whither can you flee? Only to the eternal God, your refuge, until the immensity of His spirit envelopes your spirit and it loses its smallness and weakness and comes into harmony again with His.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may lose my limitations in the immensity of God’s love. I pray that my spirit may be in harmony with His spirit.

*************************************

As Bill Sees It
November 30, 2012
I Am Responsible . . ., p. 332

When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there.

And for that: I am responsible.
–Declaration of 30th Anniversary International Convention, 1965

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Walk In Dry Places
November 30, 2012
Spiritual pride
Seeking humility

Those of us who have found a Higher Power in our lives can feel truly blessed. We know we’re on the right path by witnessing the wonderful changes that continue to come into our lives.

One pitfall in this, however, is the risk of becoming “spiritually proud.” We sometimes feel that our beliefs are so superior that others should accept them as well. We even become critical of the beliefs of others.

If this happens, we actually will be severing our own conscious contact with our higher power. False pride is a new form will be back in charge. Others will sense this too, and may withdraw from us.

Our best safeguard against this trap of spiritual pride is a reminder that we don’t have all the answers. We can share our understanding with others, but we should never imply that we know what’s best for them. Spiritual growth should being humility, not more of the pride that was destroying us.

I can leave all outcomes in God’s hands today, knowing that everything is being controlled in a spiritual way.

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Keep It Simple
November 30, 2012

The purpose of freedom is to create it for others.
—Bernard Malamud

Sobriety is freedom. With this freedom, we have a responsibility to help other addicts who still suffer. The program tells us this in Step Twelve. We do this by telling our stories and offering hope.

We must be ready to care, to give ourselves. This is what spirituality is about. When we help others, we prepare the road for those who enter the program after us.

Tradition Five of the Twelve Traditions says, “Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” It means we get better by helping others.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me create more freedom. Bring me to where I’m needed. Help me carry the message well.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll think of ways I can help the addict who still suffers. Then I’ll chose one way I can be of help. I’ll talk with my sponsor about it, and I’ll follow through with my plan.

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 30, 2012

Doubt indulged soon becomes doubt realized.
–Frances Ridley Havergal

We are powerless over our addictions, whether liquor, pills, people, food. We are powerless over the outcome of all events involving us. And we are powerless over the lives of our friends and family members. We are not powerless, however, over our own attitudes, our own behavior, our own self-image, our own determination, our own commitment to life and this simple program.

Power aplenty we have, but we must exercise it in order to understand its breadth. We’ll find all the day’s activities, interactions, plans decidedly more exciting when we exercise control over our responses. We don’t have to feel or respond except in the way that pleases us. We have total control and we’ll find this realization exhilarating.

Our recovery is strengthened each time we determine the proper behavior, choose an action that feels right, take responsibility where it is clearly ours to take. The benefits will startle us and bring us joy.

I will take charge of my life today.

*************************************

Alcoholics Anonymous
November 30, 2012

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

Well, that worked for me. I have stayed in the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous long enough to find the program in the Big Book and to practice all its principles in all my affairs on a daily basis.

pp. 405-406

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 30, 2012

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.”

In one of their trade associations, the question arose of just how this campaign should be handled. Of course, they would use the resources of radio, press, and films to make their point. But what kind of person should head the job? They immediately thought of Alcoholics Anonymous. If they could find a good public relations man in our ranks, why wouldn’t he be ideal? He’d certainly know the problem. His connection with A.A. would be valuable, because the Fellowship stood high in public favor and hadn’t an enemy in the world.

p. 157

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Xtra Thoughts
November 30, 2012

A loving heart is the truest wisdom.
–Charles Dickens

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
–unknown

He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has.
–Henry Ward Beecher

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”
–Victor Hugo

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 30, 2012
FATE

“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”
— William E. Henley

Things do not just happen, we make them happen. For years I thought that my getting well was dependent upon my family getting well. I rooted my recovery in the recovery of others. I was the typical co-dependent.

Then somebody said, “Why don’t you start taking responsibility for your own life?” I thought about that remark for weeks. I spent nights dwelling on the implications of those words. I am sure that I had heard similar sentiments a hundred times but that night, that special night, I was ready to hear them. A spiritual moment.

Today I believe that such spiritual moments produce a spiritual process that I must keep alive. I am the deciding factor in what happens to me and what I can achieve. God has created me to be involved in my recovery.

May I always steer my life in the direction of truth and love.

*************************************

Bible Scriptures
November 30, 2012

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Matthew 26:41

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

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Daily Inspiration
November 30, 2012

You cannot really listen to someone and do something else at the same time. Lord, teach me to truly pay attention when someone speaks to me because it is in listening that I will gain wisdom.

God doesn’t always end the storm, but He will calm your spirit and give you the courage you need. Lord, I have come to know and believe in the love You have for me.

*************************************

A Day At A Time
November 30, 2012

Reflection For The Day

If you’re a negative thinker and are not yet ready to do an about-face, here are some guidelines that can keep you miserable for just as long as you wish to remain so.  First, don’t go to meetings of The Program, especially discussion groups.  If you somehow find yourself at a meeting, keep your mouth shut, your hands in your pockets, and your mind closed.  Don’t try to solve an of your problems, never laugh at yourself, and don’t trust the other people in The Program.  Above all, under no conditions should you try to live in the Now.  Am I   aware that  negative thinking means taking myself deadly serious at all times, leaving no time for laughter — and for living.

Today I Pray

If I am feeling negative, may I check myself in the mirror that is the group for my symptoms of a closed mind; tight lips, forced smile, set law, straight-ahead glance — and not a glimmer of humor.  God, grant me the ability to laugh at myself — often — for I need that laughter to cope with the everyday commotion of living.

Today I Will Remember

To laugh at myself.

*************************************

One More Day
November 30, 2012

It is in vain to say human beings outright to be satisfied with tranquility:  they must have action;  and they will make it if they cannot find it.
–Charolotte Bronte

Tranquil:  free from agitation;  calm, peaceful.  This we understand; this we desire.  We surely want to have tranquil lives.  Before chronic illness, we may have taken peace and  tranquility for granted, for we were actively involved with the pursuit of life.  Happiness and contentment came automatically along with the rest, with no conscious thought about it.

Before long we began to understand that if we wished to be tranquil, our minds and our bodies needed activity.  Tranquility, that inner sense of calm, comes from contentment with how we are living our lives — and how actively we are living.

Tranquility will increase with my activity.

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One Day At A Time
November 30, 2012
BOUNDARIES

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

When I was growing up I remember always being lonely and I never had many friends. In order to protect myself from the pain of rejection, or perhaps because I didn’t have self-esteem or believe in myself, I gave the impression that I didn’t need people. I was probably thought of as a snob. I thought that people didn’t like me because I was shy and introverted, but I had built up around myself an impenetrable protective wall which didn’t invite anyone in. It was small wonder that I spent many lonely nights buried in a book or food or any other solitary pursuit for that matter.

In my adult years I became a people-pleaser in the hopes that people would like me more. That even spilled over to include my children as well, which meant that I wasn’t able to say no to them or anyone else unless they stopped loving me. I would say yes when I really meant no, and consequently I was always filled with resentment and felt even lonelier than ever. I didn’t know how to set boundaries and was terrified that if I said no, people wouldn’t love me anymore.

I now know that when I set boundaries, it is an affirmation of my worth, and in most cases I am respected and liked by those people who are really my true friends. My children, too, have benefitted from my having set boundaries with them, and they have more respect for me than before. I am beginning to realize that it is just fine to do what is right for me, and that it doesn’t have to jeopardize any of my relationships.

One day at a time . . .
I am learning that it is right for me to define my boundaries with those that I love, knowing that I set these boundaries in love and friendship, rather than hostility, and that I am still a lovable person.

Sharon S.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 30

“Someone must speak for them. I do not see a delegation for the four footed. I see no seat for eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior, but we are after all a mere part of the Creation.”
–Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA

Whenever we make decisions, we need to look around to see who would be affected. If we change the course of a river, who, what will be affected? If we put poison on the gardens, who, what will be affected? If wee cut the trees and too many are cut, who, what will be affected? We need to become aware of the consequences of our actions. We need to pay attention to our thoughts. We are accountable to our children to leave the Earth in good shape.

My Creator, help me make right decisions

 

*************************************

Journey to the Heart
November 30, 2012
Trust Each Moment

Trust. Trust. Trust. Again and again, that’s the issue. See how much of your pain, your anguish, your tension arises simply from not trusting the absolute perfection of the present moment. I’ve lost my way. I’m off track. I’m somehow wrong– in the wrong place at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing. Where I’m going is a dead end. Oh, dear…

You are not off track. You haven’t lost your way. You’re going somewhere worth going. Somewhere magnificent beyond the ability of your mind to comprehend. By trusting the perfection of each moment, you give yourself a gift: permission to enjoy the journey.

Don’t just take the trip. Let yourself enjoy the ride.

*************************************

Today’s Gift
November 30, 2012

I’ve never sung anything that I wasn’t ready to sing.
—Claudia Schmidt

Most of us are curious about the “olden days” before we were born. We ask our parents what life was like when they were kids, what they did, what they looked like, and what they thought about. But most of us, even those who are parents ourselves, have probably never asked our parents, “Were you ready to go to school, to grow up, to get married, to get a job, to have me?”

So often we are afraid to take even a small new step, afraid of change. We feel so alone in our uncertainty. From our point of view, if often looks as though everybody’s ready except us.

Perhaps another way to look at it is that, for most of our lives, readiness really isn’t much of an issue. Were we ready to be born? Were we ready to walk, to read, to sing? Maybe we were; maybe not. What’s important is what we did, not what we were ready to do. For life is mostly a matter of jumping in feet first shouting, “Here I come, ready or not!”

What am I going to do today, ready or not?

*************************************

The Language of Letting Go
November 30, 2012
Detachment

One day, my son brought a gerbil home to live with us. We put it in a cage. Some time later, the gerbil escaped. For the next six months, the animal ran frightened and wild through the house. So did we – chasing it.

“There it is. Get it!” we’d scream, each time someone spotted the gerbil. I, or my son, would throw down whatever we were working on, race across the house, and lunge at the animal hoping to catch it.

I worried about it, even when we didn’t see it. “This isn’t right,” I’d think. “I can’t have a gerbil running loose in the house. We’ve got to catch it. We’ve got to do something.”

A small animal, the size of a mouse had the entire household in a tizzy.

One day, while sitting in the living room, I watched the animal scurry across the hallway. In frenzy, I started to lunge at it, as I usually did, then I stopped myself.

No, I said, I’m all done. If that animal wants to live in the nooks and crannies of this house, I’m going to let it. I’m done worrying about it. I’m done chasing it. It’s an irregular circumstance, but that’s just the way it’s going to have to be.

I let the gerbil run past without reacting. I felt slightly uncomfortable with my new reaction – not reacting – but I stuck to it anyway.

I got more comfortable with my new reaction – not reacting. Before long, I became downright peaceful with the situation. I had stopped fighting the gerbil. One afternoon, only weeks after I started practicing my new attitude, the gerbil ran by me, as it had so many times, and I barely glanced at it. The animal stopped in its tracks, turned around, and looked at me. I started to lunge at it. It started to run away. I relaxed.

“Fine,” I said. “Do what you want.” And I meant it.

One hour later, the gerbil came and stood by me, and waited. I gently picked it up and placed it in its cage, where it has lived happily ever since. The moral of the story? Don’t lunge at the gerbil. He’s already frightened, and chasing him just scares him more and makes us crazy.

Detachment works.

Today, I will be comfortable with my new reaction – not reacting. I will feel at peace.

*************************************

More Language Of Letting Go
November 30, 2012
Believe in the magic of life

Listen to the Never haves
Then listen close to me–
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.
–Shel Silverstein

All around us every day are those who would have us believe we can’t. They haven’t grown in their lives, so they tell us we can’t grow and change in ours. Belief systems are strong, but ideas are stronger. In 1899, the then chief of the U.S. patent office proposed closing it down. He said, “Everything that can be invented already has been.”

We look back on a statement like that today and laugh, but how often do we believe it in our own lives? I can’t go back to school because I’m nearly fifty. I shouldn’t change careers now; I’ll lose my retirement. Sure, a boat like that is nice, but I’ll never have one; I’m just not rich enough. Maybe he can stay sober, but I can’t change my life.

As children we’re filled with wonder at the world around us. Anything is possible, anything at all. But all too soon the weight of the shouldn’t’s, impossible’s, and won’t’s comes sneaking in around our shoulders tying us down to lowered expectations and limited beliefs.

The world is flat. If you sail to the edge, you will fall off. Everything that can be invented already has been. Man will never walk on the moon.

Believe in yourself. Believe in a wonderful God. Believe in the programs and support structures that help you every day. Say what it is you want, the lessons you want to learn, the goals you want to achieve, the relationships that you want to have, and then go out and allow the universe to manifest them in your life.

The never have’s sit on the sidelines and tell you about all that can’t be. Will you join them or will you quietly go about doing the impossible on your own?

Believe in the magic of I can. Tell the naysayers and never have’s I can, too. And so can you.

Today, why not go to a park, sit on a bench, and think back to when you were a child. What were your dreams, your hopes? Are they really that far out of reach? Remember, anything can happen and quite often, it does.

Thank you, God, for the glory of my journey so far. Be with me as I learn more about what I can accomplish through you.

*************************************

Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 30, 2012

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
—Mark Twain

It is hard for many of us to learn to admit the wrongs we do. We have followed lifestyles that led us away from recognizing our true feelings. Remnants of this blindness continue into our recovery. In this quiet time we can deepen and nourish a relationship with ourselves. Facing our disapproval and admitting it lead us to comfort and self-respect. Right now we can ask ourselves, “What messages do 1 receive from myself? What is my Higher Power telling me? Do I sense some gut feeling? Am I true to my relationships with loved ones? Have I been open to the feelings of my spouse. Of my friends? Of my boss? Do I owe anyone an apology which I can promptly make?”

Some of us indulge in worry, fear, and anger beyond a useful or meaningful point. What can we do about these excesses of feeling? First, we admit them to ourselves and to others. Then, we trust our Higher Power for the outcome, and they will fall away.

Today, I will nourish a relationship with myself by facing my own disapproval and growing toward greater comfort.

*************************************

Daily TAO
November 30, 2012
DIPPER

Bamboo dipper, granite basin.
Crust of ice over inky reservoir.
Moon shimmers in the dipper
Until fullness drains away.

Some people are like dippers. No matter what they try to gather up, it ends up flowing out again. For such people it is exceedingly difficult to accumulate anything in life.

If you are like the dipper, that is all the more reason to concentrate the resources that you have. Poverty of any kind need not be a deterrent if you know how to utilize the wealth you possess. You must embrace your fate, work with it, and take advantage of it.

Ultimately, we cannot truly grasp anything permanently in life. We are born naked, we die naked, and in point of fact we live naked. What we take to us — our clothes, our wealth, our relationships — are all external to us. They are easily taken away from us by bruising fate.

We try to internalize our experiences and our understanding. Even that can be taken away by stress, senility, poor memory, disorganized thinking, drugs, or shock. Truly, we are all dippers. The little that life offers us dribbles away.

Perhaps even the poorest of situations is rich, because all the futility of life leads us to embrace Tao. After all, it is bigger than all infinities and more subtle than the slightest wisp. To feel it requires great strength. To sense it requires a dragonfly’s delicacy.  When you tire of trying to hold on to life, you will find the means to enter Tao.

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