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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – November 9

Just For Today
November 9
The Best-Laid Plans

“It is our actions that are important. We leave the results to our Higher Power.”
Basic Text p. 88

There’s an old saying we sometimes hear in our meetings: “If you want to make God laugh, make plans.” When we hear this we usually laugh, too, but there’s a nervous edge to our laughter. We wonder if all of our carefully laid plans are doomed to fail. If we’re planning a big event – a wedding, a return to school, or perhaps a career change – we begin to wonder if our plans are the same as our Higher Power’s plans. We are capable of working ourselves into such a frenzy of worry over this question that we refuse to make any plans at all.

But the simple fact is that we really don’t know whether our Higher Power’s plans for our lives are carved in stone or not. Most of us have opinions about fate and destiny but, whether we believe in such theories or not, we still have a responsibility to live our lives and make plans for the future. If we refuse to accept responsibility for our lives, we’re still making plans – plans for a shallow, boring existence.

What we make in recovery are plans, not results. We’ll never know whether the marriage, the education, or the new job is going to work out until we try it. We simply exercise our best judgment, check with our sponsor, pray, use all the information at hand, and make the most reasonable plans we can. For the rest, we trust in the loving care of the God of our understanding, knowing that we’ve acted responsibly.

Just for today: I will make plans, but I will not plan the result & I will trust in my Higher Power’s loving care.

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Daily Reflections
November 9
STEPPING INTO THE SUNLIGHT

But first of all we shall want sunlight; nothing much can grow in the dark. Meditation is our step out into the sun.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 10

Sometimes I think I don’t have time for prayer and meditation, forgetting that I always found the time to drink. It is possible to make time for anything I want to do if I want it badly enough. When I start the routine of prayer and meditation, it’s a good idea to plan to devote a small amount of time to it. I read a page from our Fellowship’s books in the morning, and say “Thank You, God.” when I go to bed at night. As prayer becomes a habit, I will increase the time spent on it, without even noticing the foray it makes into my busy day. If I have trouble praying, I just repeat the Lord’s Prayer because it really covers everything.

Then I think of what I can be grateful for and say a word of thanks. I don’t need to shut myself in a closet to pray. It can be done even in a room full of people. I just remove myself mentally for an instant. As the practice of prayer continues, I will find I don’t need words, for God can, and does, hear my thoughts through silence.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
November 9
A.A. Thought For The Day

I have learned to be less negative and more positive.  I used to take a negative view of almost everything.  Most people, in my estimation, were bluffing. There seemed to be very little good in the world, but lots of hypocrisy and sham. People could not be trusted.  They would “take you ” if they could. All church-goers were partly hypocrites. It seemed I should take everything “with a grain of salt.” That was my general attitude toward life. Now I am more positive. I believe in people and in their capabilities. There is much love and truth and honesty in the world. I try not to run people down. Life now seems worthwhile and it is good to live. Am I less negative and more positive?

Meditation For The Day

Think of God as a Great Friend and try to realize the wonder of that friendship. When you give God not only worship, obedience, and allegiance, but also close companionship, then He can feel that He and you are working together. He can do things for you and you can do things for Him. Your prayers become more real to you when you feel that God counts on your friendship and you count on His.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may think of God as my Friend.  I pray that I may feel that I am working for Him and with Him.

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As Bill Sees It
November 9
Telling the Worst, p. 311

Though the variations were many, my main theme was always “How godawful I am !” Just as I often exaggerated my modest attainments by pride, so I exaggerated my defects through guilt. I would race about, confessing all (and a great deal more) to whoever would listen.  Believe it or not, I took this widespread exposure of my sins to be great humility on my part, and considered it a great spiritual asset and consolation!

But later on I realized at depth that the great harms I had done others were not truly regretted. These episodes were merely the basis for storytelling and exhibitionism. With this realization came the beginning of a certain amount of humility.

Grapevine, June 1961

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Walk In Dry Places
November 9
Compliance isn’t acceptance
Honesty

We are sometimes mystified when people come into AA program, respond to its message for months or years, and then disappear, seemingly without a trace. Later, we may be shocked to learn that they’re drinking again.

While we have no way of knowing the real reason, on possible explanation is that they were practicing compliance without really accepting the program. The danger of compliance is that it may simply be an outward show of working the program while leaving one’s real thoughts and feelings unchanged.

At the same time, we often urge people to practice what is really only a form of compliance. We tell them, for example, to “bring the body” to meetings in the belief that the heart will follow. This does little good if one’s heart does not follow!

The only solution is to continue the difficult but rewarding search for honesty in all things. When we examine ourselves honestly, we will recognize when we are truly accepting and when we are merely complying.

I’ll remember today that the real success of AA is not in the number of people who show up at meetings, but in how we truly accept the program.

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Keep It Simple
November 9

He who can take advice is sometimes superior to he who can give it.
—Karl von Knebel

In recovery, we learn that we don’t know everything. We had stopped listening. Most of us had been asked by family, friends, doctors, and employers to stop drinking and using other drugs. But, we didn’t listen. If we had listened, we would’ve been in this program long ago. Addiction did something to how we listen. We heard only what we wanted to hear. Do I still hear only what I want?

In recovery, we learn to listen. We listen to our groups. We listen to our sponsor. We listen as we read. The better we listen, the better our recovery.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, open my ears and eyes to this new way of life. Allow me to hear Your wisdom in the Twelve Steps. Allow me to be someone who takes advice, not just gives it.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll try to listen. Today I’ll seek the advice to others. I’ll ask my sponsor how I may better my program.

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Each Day a New Beginning
November 9

On any journey, we must find out where we are before we can plan the first step.
–Kathy Boevink

Our lives in all aspects are a journey toward a destination, one fitting to our purpose, our special gifts, our particular needs as women. Each day contributes to our journey, carrying us closer to our destination. However, we often take a circuitous route. We get stranded or waylaid by our selfish desires, by the intrusion of our controlling ego.

We can reflect on the progress we’ve made toward our destination, the steps we’ve taken that have unknowingly contributed to our journey. Our easiest steps have been the ones we took in partnership with God. It’s in God’s mind that our path is well marked.

We are just where we need to be today. The experiences that we meet are like points on the map of our journey. Some of them are rest stops. Others resemble high-speed straight-aways. The journey to our destination is not always smooth, but the more we let God sit in the driver’s seat, the easier will be our ride.

I will plan my journey today with God’s help, and my ride will be smooth.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
November 9
A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

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

Also, I was having trouble getting technicians to work for me. In the past I had had my pick because I was good to work for and the projects were fun, with interesting new ideas. I always had a quick temper, but now things were getting out of hand. I would do things like beat up my desk with my chair.

p. 399

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
November 9

Tradition Four – “Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.”

There were, though, a few conservative dissenters among the alcoholics. the wrote the Foundation*, A.A.’s headquarters in New York, wanting to know about this sort of streamlining. They understood that the elders, just to nail things down good, were about to apply to the Foundation for a charter. These few were disturbed and skeptical.

*In 1954, The name of the Alcoholic Foundation, Inc. was changed to the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc. and the Foundation office is now the General Service Office.

p. 148

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Xtra Thoughts
November 9

Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.

We all make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes.

“When everything has to be right, something isn’t.”
–Stanislaw Lec

“Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.”
–Erica Jong

“To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is, a dissatisfaction with self.”
–Joan Didion

“As a moth gnaws a garment, so doeth envy consume a man.”
–St. John Chrysostom

A person’s worth is contingent upon who he is, not upon what he does, or how much he has. The worth of a person, or a thing, or an idea, is in being, not in doing, not in having.
–Alice Mary Hilton

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
November 9
ACCEPTANCE

“Adversity is the trial of principle. Without it a man hardly knows whether he is honest or not.”
— Henry Fielding

The acceptance of my disease has brought me into recovery. If I had not known and confronted the disease of addiction in my life, I would not know the joys of sobriety and serenity. Spirituality involves facing my disease.

Today I believe that had I not seen my dishonesty, I could not fully appreciate honesty. If I had not recognized the lies and games in my life, I could never have appreciated the “openness” and freedom of sobriety. Owning my violence brought me to peace and tolerance. Facing my hell gave me a glimpse of paradise.

The disease was not only my prison but when accepted, became the key to recovery. Spirituality, finding God in our lives, requires a “rigorous honesty” that uses the past pain to experience today’s gratitude.

God, it is through the acceptance of my failings that I can love the world.

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Bible Scriptures
November 9

“You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
Nehemiah 9:17

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

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Daily Inspiration
November 9

Everything in life is not logical, but we can enjoy the moment anyway. Lord, help me become spontaneous to the dreams that pass by.

Rise above the little things. Lord,may I overlook pettiness and jealousies and be secure in myself and my actions.

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A Day At A Time
November 9

Reflection For The Day

As time passes, daily communion with God is becoming as essential to me as breathing in and out.  I don’t need a special place to pray, because God always hears my call.  I don’t need special words with which to pray, because God already knows my thoughts and my needs.  I have only to turn my attention to God, aware that his attention is always turned to me.  Do I know that only good can come to me if I trust God completely?

Today I Pray

May my communion with God become a regular part of my life, as natural as a heartbeat.  May I find, as I grow accustomed to the attitude of prayer, that it becomes less important to find a corner of a room, a bedside, a church pew, or even a special time of day, for prayer.  May my thoughts turn to God automatically and often, whenever there is a lull in my day or a need for direction.

Today I Will Remember

Let prayer become a habit.

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One More Day
November 9

Faith is a living and unshakable confidence, a belief in the grace of God so assured that a man would die a thousand deaths for its sake.
— Martin Luther

When a crisis occurs — a death in the family or perhaps a chronic illness — many of us pass through the “Why me?” phase. We may become confused and feel we have been personally selected for bad times. Our faith may be shaken. It can take us a while to recognize that we still have abiding faith in our Higher Power. time passes and as life gains some semblance of normalcy again, we understand there are no easy answers, but our faith has carried us through a difficult time.

Eventually, our belief in a Power greater than ourselves takes hold, rather firmly, until we feel an even stronger sense of faith and purpose than before.

As I gain my own strengths I am more able to extend my beliefs to include my Higher Power once again.

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One Day At A Time
November 9
HOPE

Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanant.
–Jean Kerr

I pray for hope today, and I am receiving hope today. Hope is something that comes more and more readily to me as I stay abstinent and continue working my program of recovery.

In the past, many of my feelings of hope were centered around the next diet or the next fix for my bingeing. However, now that I am abstaining and practicing the Twelve Steps, I have been freed to hope for bigger things. There is now space in my head where the food and diet obsession used to be!

One Day at a Time . . .
I will abstain. One day at a time I will direct my attention to the Steps when I am in need of a solution.

~ Christine ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 9

“Language is a vehicle for carrying spirit, life, and family.  Language, religion, and land base are three things that characterize culture.”
–Edmund Ladd, ZUNI PUEBLO

The Elders say we need to know the answers to three questions in order for us to be connected; the Earth, the Sky, the East, the West, the South, and the North.
The three questions are:
1. Why are we?
2. Who are we?
3. Where are we going?
If we know the language, if we have our spirituality, and if we can pray on sacred spots, then we are able to seek the answer to the questions. We must protect the language, religion, and land so our future generations can stay connected.

Great Spirit, help us maintain our language, spirit, family, religion and our Mother Earth.

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Journey to the Heart
November 9
A Meditative Journey

Go deeper into the forest.

Walk among the trees, down the winding dirt path strewn with rocks and wood chips. See the salamander dart across your path. Listen to the birds chirp. Hear the rustling in the bushes. Walk down the path until you come to the quiet pond. Sit for a while and rest.

When you are ready, walk to the edge of the pond. Look down into the still waters. What do you see? At first, just water. Then gradually, a reflection emerges. It is you. It is your life. Gaze peacefully into the water, into the reflection of your life. See that it has been just as it should be, a lifetime of events causing ripples of love, peace, and healing in the universe.

See that it is now as it should be. The people who are gathering around you are there for a reason. The places you have visited were not without purpose. The lessons you have learned are yours forever. You are right where you need to be. Gaze into your reflection in the quiet, deep mirror of the pond until you see that, know that, feel that. Gaze long enough to see truth, peace, contentment, Divine order.

Sit down and again, look around the forest. Take in its beauty, its wonder, its shimmering emerald leaves, the tiny white wildflowers cropping up everywhere, delicate surprises that bring joy. Inhale the smells, the fresh growth, the musk, the smell of cedar and pine. Inhale, breathe deeply, until the breath of life fills you with wonder. Let it flow throughout you; let it saturate every cell. Peace. Contentment. Divine order.

You are safe. The forest is your friend. It tells you that all is well. Look around. See the tallest tree. See that it has weathered every storm, and millimeter by millimeter, ring by ring, continued its growth over centuries. Know that you have grown that way,too.

Rise slowly when it’s time. Find your path. Feel the earth beneath your feet, supporting you, giving you strength, filling you with grounded energy. Walk down the winding path through the glimmers of sunlight until you reach the edge of the forest.

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Today’s Gift
November 9

Love is something if you give away, you end up having more.
—Malvina Reynolds

The other side of giving is taking. Many of us were brought up to believe that it’s not okay to take, so we diminish admiration that people give us. “Oh, this old rag, I got it at a garage sale for next to nothing.” This response to a compliment can take away the joy of giving it from the person who admired the way we looked.

Giving needs taking to complete it. We can keep the cycle of generosity going by taking gracefully. A world without those who take would be unbalanced. When someone gives us love, appreciation, or a gift, we can show our real pleasure with a simple thank you, and stop thinking we don’t deserve it.

Can I accept what’s given to me today in the spirit it’s offered?

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The Language of Letting Go
November 9
Accepting Love

Many of us have worked too hard to make relationships work; sometimes those relationships didn’t have a chance because the other person was unavailable or refused to participate.

To compensate for the other person’s unavailability, we worked too hard. We may have done all or most of the work. This may mask the situation for a while, but we usually get tired. Then, when we stop doing all the work, we notice there is no relationship, or we’re so tired we don’t care.

Doing all the work in a relationship is not loving, giving, or caring. It is self-defeating and relationship defeating. It creates the illusion of a relationship when in fact there may be no relationship. It enables the other person to be irresponsible for his or her share. Because that does not meet our needs, we ultimately feel victimized.

In our best relationships, we all have temporary periods where one person participates more than the other. This is normal. But as a permanent way of participating in relationships, it leaves us feeling tired, worn out, needy, and angry.’

We can learn to participate a reasonable amount, and then let the relationship find it’s own life. Are we doing all the calling? Are we doing all the initiating? Are we doing all the giving? Are we the one talking about feelings and striving for intimacy?

Are we doing all the waiting, the hoping, and the work?

We can let go. If the relationship is meant to be, it will be, and it will become what it is meant to be. We do not help that process by trying to control it. We do not help the other person, the relationship, or ourselves by trying to force it or by doing all the work.

Let it be. Wait and see. Stop worrying about making it happen. See what happens and strive to understand if that is what you want.

Today, I will stop doing all the work in my relationships. I will give myself and the other person the gift of requiring both people to participate. I will accept the natural level my relationships reach when I do my share and allow the other person to choose what his or her share will be. I can trust my relationships to reach their own level. I do not have to do all the work; I need only do my share.

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More Language Of Letting Go
November 9
Lighten up some more

On the last day of my retreat, I told the guestmaster that I didn’t think that I would be able to get back soon because I didn’t have the time. He came right back with “The problem isn’t TIME; the problem is HEAVINESS.” He turned and went downstairs returning with a little carpet. “Here take this. It is a magic carpet. If you sit on it and let go of your heaviness, you can go anywhere you want. It’s not a question of time.” I have come to know that this is true. People laugh at me when I tell them. Will you laugh too? All right. Then stay there.
–Theophane the Monk, Tales of a magic Monastery

Often, the problem in our lives isn’t time; it’s heaviness.

We aren’t too busy. In reality, we’re too worried, obsessed, doubtful, overly concerned, and afraid.

Release all that heaviness in your mind and heart. Let it sink away so you can stand free from its weight. When all that heaviness drops away, you can float through and above your ordinary life. You’ll decide how you want to live rather than letting the circumstances of the day control you.

Find the heaviness in your life, the overpowering worry that ties you down, and then let it go. Are you afraid that you will be laid off from your job? You either will or you won’t, but all the worry does is stifle your creative flow.

Find the heaviness, let it drop away. Then get on your magic carpet and sail through your day.

God, help me lighten my load by letting go of worry, doubt, and fear. Help me learn the power of quiet confidence. Teach me to say I can.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
November 9

Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together.
—Thomas Carlyle

Silence does not draw attention to itself. It is the ultimate in letting go and letting be. It is the opposite of the great dramatic event, so we easily forget silence is a basic means by which we grow. We live in a “can do” society that applauds a man of action who gets a job done. Perhaps we learned to think that being alone in silence is empty time with nothing happening.

In truth, some great things happen only by decisive action, but other great things happen only when we get ourselves out of the way and simply allow them to occur. It would be foolish to believe only in action and miss the benefits that come from quiet moments. When we withdraw from the hubbub of the world around us and quiet our minds, we are making room for great things to fashion themselves together.

Today, I will remember the importance of silence in my growth. I will set aside some of my busyness and be still.

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Daily TAO
November 9
CHAMELEON

If I don’t want to be known, I cannot be known.
The best actor can divide role from self.
The best liar can divide truth from falsity.

People think that they know you. Soon you begin to play the role that they place on you. Why should you act a certain way to please others? You should do things from your inner awareness and from your own feelings. If they do not accord with the herd, then so much the better.

You should change when it pleases you. Your life is flexible. If you let other people shape you, then you will never know independence.

The sages say that all life is illusory, and they usually lament this. The way of Tao is to use this fact and not let it oppress you. If you want to dodge others, then step behind one of the myriad illusions in this world. If you do not volunteer anything and you neither confirm nor deny, the opinions of others can never stick to you. Then you will be left in peace.

True sages never go by appearances. When it comes to introspection, they are not deceived by the appearances their own minds spew out. They know that if they want to get at the truth, then they must pierce to the very core.

So if you would hide from others, avail yourself of the false appearances of life. If you would know yourself, distinguish between the false appearances of life. Above all, do not be put off by the illusory nature of life. Use it. Everything in this life can be an advantage to the wise.

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