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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – November 4

Just For Today
November 4
Exchanging Love

“… we give love because it was given so freely to us. New frontiers are open to us as we learn how to love. Love can be the flow of life energy from one person to another.”
Basic Text pp. 100-101

Love given, and love received, is the essence of life itself. It is the universal common denominator, connecting us to those around us. Addiction deprived us of that connection, locking us within ourselves.

The love we find in the NA program reopens the world to us. It unlocks the cage of addiction which once imprisoned us. By receiving love from other NA members, we find out—perhaps for the first time—what love is and what it can do. We hear fellow members talk about the sharing of love, and we sense the substance it lends to their lives.

We begin to suspect that, if giving and receiving love means so much to others, maybe it can give meaning to our lives, too. We sense that we are on the verge of a great discovery, yet we also sense that we won’t fully understand the meaning of love unless we give ours away. We try it, and discover the missing connection between ourselves and the world.

Today, we realize that what they said was true: “We keep what we have only by giving it away.”

Just for today: Life is a new frontier for me, and the vehicle I will use to explore it is love. I will give freely the love I have received.

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Daily Reflections
November 4
A DAILY DISCIPLINE

” … when they [self-examination, meditation, and prayer] are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life.”
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 98

The last three Steps of the program invoke God’s loving discipline upon my willful nature.  If I devote just a few moments every night to a review of the highlights of my day, along with an acknowledgment of those aspects that didn’t please me so much, I gain a personal history of myself, one that is essential to my growth, or lack of it, and to ask in prayerful meditation to be relieved of those continuing shortcomings that cause me pain. Meditation and prayer also teach me the art of focusing and listening. I find that the turmoil of the day gets tuned out as I pray for His will and guidance. The practice of asking Him to help me in my strivings for perfection puts a new slant on the tedium of any day, because I know there is honor in any job done well. The daily discipline of prayer and meditation will keep me in fit spiritual condition, able to face whatever the day brings – without the thought of a drink.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 4
A.A. Thought For The Day

I can do things that I never did before. Liquor took away my initiative and my ambition. I couldn’t get up the steam to start anything. I let things slide. When I was drunk, I was too inert to even comb my hair. Now I can sit down and do something. I can write letters that need to be written, I can make telephone calls that should be made. I can work in my garden. I can pursue my hobbies. I have the urge to create something, that creative urge that was completely stifled by alcohol. Have I recovered my initiative?

Meditation For The Day

“In Thy presence is fullness of joy. At Thy right hand are pleasures forever.” We cannot find true happiness by looking for it. Seeking pleasure does not bring happiness in the long run, only disillusionment. Do not seek to have this fullness of joy by seeking pleasure. It cannot be done that way. Happiness is a by-product of living the right kind of life. True happiness comes as a result of living, in all respects, the way you believe God wants you to live, with regard to yourself and to other people.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not always seek pleasure as a goal. I pray that I may be content with the happiness that comes when I do the right thing.

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As Bill Sees It
November 4
Is Happiness The Goal?, p. 306

“I don’t think happiness or unhappiness is the point. How do we meet the problems we face? How do we best learn from them and transmit what we have learned to others, if they would receive the knowledge?

On my view, we of this world are pupils in a great school of life. It is intended that we try to grow, and that we try to help our fellow travelers to grow in the kind of love that makes no demands. In short, we try to move toward the image and likeness of God as we understand Him.

When pain comes, we are expected to learn from it willingly and help others to learn. When happiness comes, we accept it as a gift and thank God for it.”

Letter, 1950

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Walk In Dry Places
November 4
The Gift of Sensitivity
Facing reality

Some of us complain about being too sensitive, or others may tell us so. This sets us up for all kinds of hurts, both real and imaginary.

In drinking, we actually dulled any sensitivity, though we thought we were expressing more feelings. This dulling of our sensitive nature blinded us to the damage we were doing.

In sobriety, we are learning that sensitivity is a gift that we can channel wisely. It can make us more aware of the feelings and needs of others. It can help us become a part of the group.

Like all gifts, sensitivity has its downside. It can make us vulnerable to problems that do not belong to us, and it can lead us into the trap of worrying about things we can do nothing about. But sensitivity is generally good, and in sobriety we can become better people because of it.

I’ll take great satisfaction today in the full use of my senses, including that part of me that perceives and expresses deep feelings.

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Keep It Simple
November 4

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

How full life can be! We can untie the ribbons on this gift by keeping our spirits open.

Open to life. Open to how much our Higher Power love us.

Who knows what  gifts the day may bring? Maybe it brings a solution to a problem.

Maybe it brings the smile of a child. Maybe we’ll find a new friend. Whatever gifts the day brings, we must be able to receive them. How do we do this? We keep our spirit open and lively through prayer and meditation. Then we’ll be awake to see the beauty and the wonders life holds for us.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, remind me to pray to You often. Remind me to stop and listen to You. Remind me that You love me very much.

Action for the Day: At the end of the day, I’ll take time to list the gifts I’ve been given today. This will be first on my list: I am sober.

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 4

“Beginnings are apt to be shadowy.”
—Rachel Carson

When we embark on a new career, open an unfamiliar door, begin a loving relationship, we can seldom see nor can we even anticipate where the experience may take us. At best we can see only what this day brings. We can trust with certainty that we will be safely led through the “shadows.”

To make gains in this life we must venture forth to new places, contact new people, chance new experiences. Even though we may be fearful of the new, we must go forward. It’s comforting to remember that we never take any step alone. It is our destiny to experience many new beginnings. And a dimension of the growth process is to develop trust that each of these experiences will in time comfort us and offer us the knowledge our inner self awaits. Without the new beginnings we are unable to fulfill the purpose for which we’ve been created.

No new beginning is more than we can handle. Every new beginning is needed by our developing selves, and we are ready for whatever comes.

I will look to my new beginnings gladly. They are special to the growth I am now ready for.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
November 4
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.

Just as importantly, I believe that I recovered through the grace of a Higher Power, despite the fact that I was very angry and wanted nothing to do with God when I arrived at Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, I did not need to find God. I only needed an open mind, and the spirit found me.

p. 397

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 4

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

Nowadays, when oldtimers who know Ed foregather, they exclaim, “What if we had actually succeeded in throwing Ed out for blasphemy? What would have happened to him and all the others he later helped?”

So the hand of Providence early gave us a sign that any alcoholic is a member of our Society when he says so.

p. 145

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Xtra Thoughts
November 4

“You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.”
¯Oliver Goldsmith

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
—Mother Teresa

“May I love myself, as God loves me. May I love others, as God loves them.”
—Shelley

“As you walk through life, you are building your own reference material. This material is called a memory. Make the most of yours by making them mean something.”
—Unknown

“Silence is the great revelation.”
—Lao Tzu

“We need to build downtime into our lives, so that we can have solitude without feeling overcome with guilt.”
—Melody Beattie

“This is a great day to be sober, patient, tolerant, kindly and loving.”
—Unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 4
TEACHING

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
—Chinese Proverb

I suppose the best way to learn a thing is to do it, practice it, demonstrate it, make it real in our lives. Spirituality needs to be experienced, not talked about. You cannot learn spirituality, get spirituality from a famous guru, read and acquire spirituality from a book—spirituality needs to be discovered in our lives. It needs to be found in body, sexuality, sweat, anger, morning exercise and kneeling in prayer and gratitude at the end of the day.

God, may You be real in my life.

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Bible Scriptures
November 4

“Proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
1 Peter 2:9

“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Psalm 16

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
James 1:17

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Daily Inspiration
November 4

Be creative in what you have to do today to bring enjoyment to this moment and your work will feel less like work. Lord, help me become inspirational in my ordinary responsibilities so that I am able to make my place more interesting and exciting.

Those that least deserve your love are the ones that need it the most. Lord, may I have the humbleness of spirit to reach out even when my feelings may be hurt.

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A Day At A Time
November 4

Reflection For The Day

We’re taught in The Program that debate has no place in meditation.  In a quiet place and time of our own choosing, we simply dwell on spiritual matters to the best of our capability, seeking only to experience and learn.  We strive for a state of being which, hopefully, deepens our conscious contact with God.  We pray not for things, but essentially for knowledge and power.  

If you knew what God wanted you to do, you would be happy.  You are doing what God wants you to do, so be happy.

Today I Pray

May I find my own best way to God, my own best technique of meditation—whether I use the oriental mantra, substitute the name of Jesus Christ, or just allow the spirit of God, as I understand Him, to settle into me and give me peace.  By whatever means I discover my God, may I learn to know Him well and feel His presence—not only at these quiet times, but in everything I do.

Today I Will Remember

Meditation is opening myself to the spirit of God.

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One More Day
November 4

“You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.”
—Albert Camus

Who among us hasn’t wanted to play with or read to a pleading child? Who hasn’t thought of volunteering some time so others—and we—could have happier and richer lives? We may have put off or refused these opportunities because we felt overwhelmed by the limitations of a chronic illness. Perhaps we felt like victims who had lost an essential power to control our lives.

Our days are increasingly better when we understand that all experience, good and bad, isn’t orchestrated by us—and it never was. Yet this doesn’t mean we are helpless. We now see choices and chances to let our actions be positive life-affirming statements. We see opportunities for sharing, for joining in, and for reaching out. And we take them.

I will concentrate on making good choices, not just easy choices.

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One Day At A Time
November 4
~ SERVICE ~

“When people are serving, life is no longer meaningless.”
—John Gardner

I used to always think that I was kind and helpful, and that I was always there for other people. Well, of course I was. I was a people-pleaser, and the payoff was to be liked. That never happened, or at least I didn’t think so, and I became more resentful and full of self-pity. The truth was that I was so self-absorbed and self-seeking that I didn’t know how to really be there for other people, not even my own children. I’m sure that for a long period, even though I was always doing things for them, I was emotionally absent and unavailable when they really needed me. The focus was on me and how fat I looked, or how nobody fulfilled my needs, instead of looking outside of myself to what I could REALLY do for others.

This recovery program has taught me, first and foremost, how to love myself so that I am able to love others, especially my children. I was spiritually and emotionally empty before, but now I am being constantly filled and nurtured spiritually. Now I am able to give back what has freely been given to me. I am learning for the first time the pleasure of giving of myself, of my time and my experience, strength and hope, that others may walk this beautiful road to recovery as I have. In giving what I have, I am strengthening my program and my own recovery. What a joy that has been!

One Day at a Time …
I remember that when I do service and give away what I have, I will experience the promises of the program on a daily basis.

~ Sharon S. ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 4

“The honor of the people lies in the moccasin tracks of the woman. Walk the good road … Be dutiful, respectful, gentle, and modest my daughter … Be strong with the warm, strong heart of the earth.  No people goes down until their women are weak and dishonored, or dead upon the ground. Be strong and sing the strength of the Great Powers within you, all around you.”
—Village Wise Man, SIOUX

The Elders say the Native American women will lead the healing among the tribes.  We need to especially pray for our women, and ask the Creator to bless them and give them strength. Inside them are the powers of love and strength given by the Moon and the Earth.

When everyone else gives up, it is the women who sings the songs of strength. She is the backbone of the people. So, to our women we say, sing your songs of strength; pray for your special powers; keep our people strong; be respectful, gentle, and modest.

Oh, Great One, bless our women. Make them strong today.

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Journey to the Heart
November 4
Move On To Joy

Are you willing to be here in constant, abject pain one minute longer? I’m not. Are you willing to be here suffering endlessly and needlessly through distressing situations—worrying, fussing, fretting about things you can do nothing about? I’m not. And we don’t have to be.

We’re here to feel joy and absorb all of life’s beauty we can. If pain comes, let it pass quickly through. Then move on to joy.

It’s a conscious choice.

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Today’s Gift
November 4

“Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.”
—Sigmund Freud

The truth is our friend. It is a rough and humble kind of friend—but a friend nonetheless. Each of us will need to learn to spend time with this friend because it is one that is not easy to escape. It is always turning up when we least expect it. The truth about ourselves is hard to avoid. It seems to knock at our door until we let it in.

Perhaps we have played the game of hide and seek sometime in our lives. Sometimes we tell little lies about ourselves to impress others, or we act in ways that, deep down, we know are not really the way we want to be. We can never be comfortable this way. We know what it is like to hide and try to keep from being found. The truth about us is an expert player. It seeks us out until we put our arms around it and welcome it.

Is there something I am hiding from today?

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The Language of Letting Go
November 4
Anger

Feeling angry—and, sometimes, the act of blaming—is a natural and necessary part of accepting loss and change—of grieving. We can allow ourselves and others to become angry as we move from denial toward acceptance.

As we come to terms with loss and change, we may blame our higher Power, others, or ourselves. The person may be connected to the loss, or he or she may be an innocent bystander. We may hear ourselves say: “If only he would have done that … If I wouldn’t have done that … Why didn’t God do it differently?” We know that blame doesn’t help. In recovery, the watchwords are self-responsibility and personal accountability, not blame. Ultimately, surrender and self-responsibility are the only concepts that can move us forward, but to get there we may need to allow ourselves to feel angry and to occasionally indulge in some blaming.

It is helpful, in dealing with others, to remember that they, too, may need to go through their angry stage to achieve acceptance. To not allow others, or ourselves, to go through anger and blame may slow down the grief process.

Trust the grief process and ourselves. We won’t stay angry forever. But we may need to get mad for a while as we search over what could have been, to finally accept what is.

God, help me learn to accept my own and others’ anger as a normal part of achieving acceptance and peace. Within that framework, help me strive for personal accountability.

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More Language Of Letting Go
November 4
Let yourself be uncomfortable

“It seems as though everything you do for fun terrifies you,” my friend Andy said to me one day. “What’s that about?”

I thought about his question. It was true. Flying scared me. Jumping out of that plane for the first time was a terrifying prospect. I wasn’t comfortable at all. I started hyperventilating and thought I was having a heart attack, at first.

The first day I decided to be sober and clean and not use alcohol and drugs anymore, I was faced with changing my entire life. The prospect of starting this new life scared me to death.

The day my divorce from the children’s father was finalized, I was exhilarated for one moment, then I was terrified. I had an anxiety attack and called 911.

I was paralyzed with fear the first day I sat at my cubicle at the newspaper office staring at the blank screen while the deadline for the front-page story I’d been assigned was ony two hours away.

“It’s not that I’m an adrenaline junkie,” I said to my friend. “At least the issue isn’t entirely that. It’s that everything new and worthwhile I’ve ever done on my path has required me to be uncomfortable and sometimes downright scared for a while. I’ve had to walk through a wall of fear.”

I enjoyed creating a comfortable place to live with down-filled sofas and beds that make me feel like I’m sleeping in the clouds. Learning to relax and learning to identify what makes us comfortable is an important part of learning to take good care of ourselves.

But sometimes we need to leave that nice, comfy, cozy place.

“I can’t do this. I’m not comfortable,” I’d say time and time again to my flight instructor Rob as he insisted that I take the controls of the plane.

“Yes, you can,” he’d say, not feeding into my fear. “Just breathe. And relax.”

Sometimes fear is a good thing. It warns us of real dangers and imminent threats. It tells us “don’t do that” or “stay away.”

Sometimes afraid and uncomfortable is just how we’re feeling because we’re learning something new. Relax. Breathe deeply. Do it– whatever it is– anyway. You’re supposed to feel that way.

Is your fear based on an intuitive feeling of self-protection or something new and unknown? If your fear isn’t based on a legitimate intuitive threat, then get comfortable feeling uncomfortable.

Walk through your wall of fear.

Do the thing that scares you. Then check your fear and do it again.

God, teach me to overcome my fears. Help me mature by becoming comfortable with the discomfort of growth.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 4

“Much as I long to be out of here, I don’t believe a single day has been wasted. What will come out of my time here it is too early to say. But something is bound to come out of it.”
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

These words, written by a man imprisoned for standing up against the Nazis, speak to us today about our own lives. We too long for release, and we cannot see where things will lead us. His spirituality is heroic; it inspires us. We do not know just where our lives will lead or what the outcome will be. But we can know our lives are taking us in the right direction. We make our choices today and stand up with all our energy for the honesty and dignity, which this program provides.

We choose to trust life. In each tiny detail of this day we move forward, asserting our faith and seeking to know and do the will of a Power greater than ourselves.

I will open myself to the will of my Higher Power as I move forward on the path, living with my unrevealed future.

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Daily TAO
November 4
SOUL

The music stirred my soul.

Why do people think that talk of the soul is so abstruse? They say that the soul is hard to discern, and they believe that spirituality is difficult to know in ordinary life. But we do talk of the soul all the time : “The painting awakened something is my soul.” “It satisfied my soul.” “This place has a special soul.” “This person has a great deal of soul.” This shows that we sense, at least intuitively, that there is such a thing as soul.

Even people who do not particularly think of themselves as spiritually conscious have had experiences relating to the soul. We know it to be something subtle, special, transcendent, and apart from ordinary references of physical laws. We will leave for others what we should do with the soul, but think of the soul that you are talking about when you say something like “music stirs my very soul.”

Is that soul of yours subject to damnation or blessing or reincarnation? Or is that soul of yours just there? Isn’t it our deepest, most subtle humanity? Isn’t it a consciousness that can recognize, that can feel? That is gentle, not aggressive? That does not scheme, is not political, is not ambitious, and is not evil? Soul is part of our everyday life.

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