Friday, January 31, 2014

Jan. 31, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 
Today, I will live just for today. I cannot nor do I want to forget yesterday for it has lessons to carry into tomorrow; nor do I want to be so preoccupied with tomorrow that I neglect today for I may miss some unintended good that someone or something has to offer. I can plan for tomorrow going to church and doing whatever routine chore needs done, but I cannot fret over tomorrow and dread what demons or challenges my yesterdays programmed me to expect. But that programming from my yesterdays was dictated by a whiskey bottle and, God granting, there is no whiskey bottle in my today. I therefore cannot fear that what I do today will poison my tomorrow. My life, my sobriety, my hopes, my dreams, my fears, my recovery - all are today. Today is all I have, and I must not be lax in strengthening it to make tomorrow's today the promise of something good. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Jan. 31, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Friday, Jan. 31, 2014
AA Thought for the Day
Drinking cuts you off from God. No matter how you were brought up, no matter what your religion is, no matter if you say you believe in God, nevertheless you build up a wall between you and God by your drinking. You know you're not living the way God wants you to live. As a result, you have that terrible remorse. When you come into AA, you begin to get right with other people and with God. A sober life is a happy life because, by giving up drinking, we've got rid of our loneliness and remorse.
Do I have real fellowship with other people and with God? 
Meditation for the Day
I believe that all sacrifice and all suffering is of value to me. When I am in pain, I am being tested. Can I trust God, no matter how low I feel? Can I say, "Thy will be done," no matter how much I am defeated? If I can, my faith is real and practical. It works in bad times as well as in good times. The Divine Will is working in a way that is beyond my finite mind to understand, but I can still trust in it. 
Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may take my suffering in my stride. I pray that I may accept pain and defeat as part of God's plan for my spiritual growth.
Hazelden Foundation

Jan. 31, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 
Reflection for the Day
One of the most constructive things I can do is to learn to listen to myself and get in touch with my true feelings. For years, I tuned myself out, going along, instead, with what others felt and said. Even today, it sometimes seems that they have it all together, while I'm still stumbling about. Thankfully, I'm beginning to understand that people-pleasing takes many forms. Slowly but steadily, I've also begun to realize that it's possible for me to change my old patterns.
Will I encourage myself to tune in to the real me? Will I listen carefully to my own inner voice with the expectation that I'll hear some wonderful things?
Today I Pray
I pray that I may respect myself enough to listen to my real feelings, those emotions which for so long I refused to hear or name or own, which festered in me like a poison. May I know that I need to stop often, look at my feelings, listen to the inner me.
Today I Will Remember
I will own my feelings. 
Hazelden Foundation

Jan. 31, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

The Eye Opener
Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 
Nothing great was ever achieved without overcoming great obstacles, and no hero of history deserves more acclaim than those who were triumphant over self. But do not let us swell up too much with pride. If we are honest, we know that with our character-weakened souls, with our "fogbound" brains, we could accomplish nothing of ourselves. It was only when we, in our desperate surrender, threw our lives and our wills into His keeping that He, in His mercy, removed the obstacle. Unknown, even to ourselves, there must have slept in us that Faith of a mustard seed, that can remove mountains. 
Hazelden Foundation

Jan. 31, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Friday, Jan. 31, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:
Perfection is expressing God's will enthusiastically.
Sponsors tell us that this is a simple program we are prone to complicate. Reflecting on our lives, we probably would agree. Because we doubt that God will tell us how to handle the circumstances facing us, we aggressively move ahead, making decisions that are often not in sync with God's will and certainly not in our long-term best interests. We complicate our lives unnecessarily.
Before we came into the Twelve Step program, most of us wanted to be perfect. We worked hard and oftentimes were overachievers because we needed the praises of others. Sadly, because we too often relied solely on ourselves, we missed the mark. Now we are learning to let God direct us. Each time we fulfill God's will, we'll experience the perfection and the praises we'd sought for so long. This is a much simpler way to live.
Today I will use the Third Step every time I have a question about my life.

From the book:
A Life of My Own by Karen Casey. © 1993 by Hazelden Foundation

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jan. 30, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 
Today, I will work for progress instead of perfection. And, in recognizing the difference, I might learn patience over impatience not only with others, but with myself. Progress requires that I focus on just this day while perfection forces me to look to the unrealistic and unattainable goals beyond today. And by preoccupying myself with tomorrow, I am likely to neglect something today - and that failure will likely sabotage any tomorrow I might have. Tomorrow will hold nothing good if I neglect today. Today, then, will be focused on one thing at a time and first things first. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Jan. 24, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014
 
AA Thought for the Day
A drinking life isn't a happy life. Drinking cuts you off from other people and from God. One of the worst things about drinking is the loneliness. And one of the best things about AA is the fellowship. Drinking cuts you off from other people, at least from the people who really matter to you, your family, your co-workers and your real friends. No matter how much you love them, you build up a wall between you and them by your drinking. You're cut off from any real companionship with them. As a result, you're terribly lonely.

Have I got rid of my loneliness?

Meditation for the Day
I will sometimes go aside into a quiet place of retreat with God. In that place, I will find restoration and healing and power. I will plan quiet times now and then, times when I will commune with God and arise rested and refreshed to carry on the work which God has given me to do. I know that God will never give me a load greater than I can bear. It is in serenity and peace that all true success lies.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may strengthen my inner life, so that I may find serenity. I pray that my soul may be restored in quietness and peace.

Hazelden Foundation

Jan. 30, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

A Day at a Time
Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014
 
Reflection for the Day
Have I gained freedom simply because one day I was weak and the next day I became suddenly strong? Have I changed from the helpless and hopeless person I once seemed to be simply by resolving, "from now on, things will be different ...?" Is the fact that I am more comfortable today than ever before the result of my own willpower? Can I take credit for pulling myself up by my own bootstraps? I know better, for I sought refuge in a Power greater than myself - a Power which is still beyond my ability to visualize.

Do I consider the change in my life a miracle far beyond the workings of any human power?

Today I Pray
As the days of sobriety lengthen, and the moment of decision becomes farther behind me, may I never lose sight of the Power that changed my life. May I remember that my sobriety is an ongoing miracle, not just a once-in-a-lifetime transformation.

Today I Will Remember
Life is an ongoing miracle.

Hazelden Foundation

Jan. 30, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014
 
After several years on the Program, we still have to guard against rationalizing. When it comes to selling ourselves a bill of goods, we are tops. Our drinking was most always occasioned by a "good reason," or so we thought; the real reason - the fact that we were alcoholics and therefore compulsive drinkers - never occurred to us. A good reason can always be found for our actions, but the real reason is frequently obscure. Lord, teach us to know the difference.

Hazelden Foundation

Jan. 30, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014
Today's thoughts from Hazelden are:
Expectations
Higher Power, help me stop expecting so much from myself.
I set unrealistic standards, and when they are not met, unhappiness follows.
Help me be true to myself and only expect what I am capable of doing. As I grow in recovery and do my assignments every day, I am able to do more.
Your will provides realistic goals. Your will provides what I need to succeed.
From the book:
The 12 Step Prayer Book Volume 2 by Bill P. and Lisa D. © 2007 by Hazelden Foundation

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jan. 29, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 
Today, I will harness the gifts of the Program - courage, strength, hope, wisdom of my Higher Power, compassion, passion - and work them for another person's whose needs are far more urgent and desperate than mine. I will not accept that other person's intellect or any others barriers as an excuse to permit his voice from being heard. Today, MY voice will be HIS, and his desperate struggle for help will no longer be his silent and lonely fight. And in helping this person who cannot help himself, I am driven by the knowledge that my Higher Power has sent this person to me and He will give me the knowledge to carry out His will. And, in the end, if I am effective in helping this someone else, I will NOT accept outside congratulations save my ego being fueled beyond acceptable boundaries. And, in advocating for someone else today, I won't have the time, I'll have no reason or excuse, to use or drink. I will be too busy carrying out the commandment of the Program. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Jan. 29, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014
 
AA Thought for the Day
What a load wasting money puts on your shoulders! They say that members of AA have paid the highest initiation fee of any club members in the world, because we've wasted so much money on liquor. We'll never be able to figure out how much it was. We not only wasted our own money, but also the money we should have spent on our families. When you come into AA, that terrible load of wasted money falls off your shoulders. We alcoholics were getting round-shouldered from carrying all those loads that drinking put on our shoulders. But when we come into AA, we get a wonderful feeling of release and freedom.

Can I throw back my shoulders and look the whole world in the face again?

Meditation for the Day
I believe that the future is in the hands of God. He knows better than I what the future holds for me. I am not at the mercy of fate or buffeted about by life. I am being led in a very definite way, as I try to rebuild my life. I am the builder, but God is the architect. It is mine to build as best I can, under His guidance.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may depend on God, since He has planned my life. I pray that I may live my life as I believe God wants me to live it.

Hazelden Foundation

Jan. 29, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014
 
Reflection for the Day
I used to imagine my life as a grotesque abstract painting; a montage of crises framed by end-upon-end catastrophies. My days all were grey and my thoughts grayer still. I was haunted by dread and nameless fears. I was filled with self-loathing. I had no idea who I was, what I was or why I was. I miss none of those feelings. Today, step by step, I am discovering myself and learning that I can be free to be me.

Am I grateful for my new life? Have I taken the time to thank God today for the fact that I am clean and sober - and alive?

Today I Pray
May calm come to me after the turmoil and nightmares of the past. As my fears and self-hatred dissipate, may the things of the spirit replace them. For in the spiritual world, as in the material world, there is no empty space. May I be filled with the spirit of my Higher Power.

Today I Will Remember
Morning scatters nightmares.

Hazelden Foundation

Jan. 29, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014
 
On that awful day when the world had toppled about us, when all hope had departed and only wild desperation remained, then was the night darkest and nearest was the dawn. At this darkest hour, we "hit our bottom." There was no way to go but UP.

As dawn follows darkness in Nature's scheme, so darkness follows again in its turn. All things, save God, are transitory and what one day can bring, another day can take away. Let us not feel too secure in our sobriety, for darkness will come in the regular course of events, and we must be sure we have provided ourselves with the Light which will enable us to keep our footing on the slippery paths ahead.

Hazelden Foundation

Jan. 29, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:
Although the act of nurturing another's spiritual growth has the effect of nurturing one's own, a major characteristic of genuine love is that the distinction between oneself and the other is always maintained and preserved.
 -- M. Scott Peck. M.D.

Those we love must be free to love us in return, or leave us. The honest evidence of our love is our commitment to encouraging another's full development. We are interdependent personalities who need one another's presence in order to fulfill our destiny. And yet, we are also separate individuals. We must come to terms with our struggles alone.

One gift of life available to each of us is security, the sense that accompanies the recognition of our spiritual center. Helping someone else discover their spiritual gifts strengthens our own. Nothing is too difficult when we act in unison as separate entities, relying on the spiritual core that strengthens us to meet any situation.

My own spiritual center will be strengthened if I help someone.
From the book:
The Promise of a New Day by Karen Casey & Martha Vanceburg. © 1983, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jan. 28, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 
Today, at day's end, I will look back on this day and know by the grace of God that I did the best I could in all my affairs. If, in prayer and meditation, I find that I have not fully surrendered to my Higher Power some problem or character defect, I will know I have asked my HP for the wisdom and humility to surrender it once and for all and that, if there is a tomorrow for me, I may be one day closer to that total surrender. I will not have reason, at day's end, to regret some communication with someone else because I was either cruel or indifferent to their needs or feelings. I will be grateful that, throughout this day, I will not have had a "temptation" to take the first drink that always leads to disaster, and I will go to sleep tonight with the comfort that my Higher Power on this day blessed me with the words, "Well done, my child." And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Jan. 28, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014
 
AA Thought for the Day
What a load hangovers put on your shoulders! What terrible physical punishment we've all been through. The pounding headaches and jumpy nerves, the shakes and the jitters, the hot and cold sweats! When you come into AA and stop drinking, that terrible load of hangovers falls off your shoulders. What a load remorse puts on your shoulders! That terrible mental punishment we've all been through. Ashamed of the things you've said and done. Afraid to face people because of what they might think of you. Afraid of the consequences of what you did when you were drunk. What an awful beating the mind takes! When you come into AA, that terrible load of remorse falls off your shoulders.

Have I got rid of these loads of hangovers and remorse?

Meditation for the Day
When you seek to follow the way of the spirit, it frequently means a complete reversal of the way of the world which you had previously followed. But it is a reversal that leads to happiness and peace. Do the aims and ambitions that a person usually strives for bring peace? Do the world's awards bring heart-rest and happiness? Or do they turn to ashes in the mouth?

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may not be weary, disillusioned or disappointed. I pray that I may not put my trust in the ways of the world, but in the way of the Spirit.

Hazelden Foundation

Jan. 28, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014
 
Reflection for the Day
Now that I am in The Program, I am no longer enslaved by alcohol and other drugs. Free, free at last from the morning-after tremors, the dry heaves, the three-day beard, the misplaced eyelashes. Free, free at last from working out the alibis and hoping they won't unravel; free from blackouts; free from watching the clock so that I can somehow get that desperately needed "first one."

Do I treasure my freedom from chemical enslavement?

Today I Pray
Praise God that I am free of chemicals. This is my first freedom, from which other freedoms will develop - freedom to appraise my behavior sanely and constructively, freedom to grow as a person, freedom to maintain relationships with others on a sound basis. I will never cease to thank my Higher Power for leading me away from enslavement.

Today I Will Remember
Praise God for my freedom.

Hazelden Foundation

Jan. 28, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014
 
Man was created in the image of God. We are told that the heart of man is the Temple of the Holy Ghost. A realization of this fact makes the desecration of the body as sacrilegious as the desecration of any church.

We alcoholics have a lot of mess to clean up in our Temples in order to make them a fit place for communion with the God in us.

If we really want God to work in and through us in the rehabilitation of other alcoholics, we must provide Him at least a clean workshop.

Hazelden Foundation

Jan. 28, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:
A spiritual life is natural


Conscious Contact. Coming into what is clearly a spiritual program, we may have been fearful that our own unworthiness would hold us back. We may have believed that a spiritual life and a "conscious contact" with God are reserved for a few people with saintly qualities.

What we must know is that the spiritual life is every person's right. It includes the human qualities that have brought our greatest progress. "The spirit of the thing" is an ordinary phrase, but it expresses the presence of a Higher Power in our lives.

What's most useful to know is that we can contact our Higher Power at any time, in any place. This can be extremely important when we are in very bad situations. We always have a Higher Power to pull us through and to set things right in our lives. That's our birthright as human beings.

I'll turn to my Higher Power frequently throughout the day, if only for a few moments each time. This will keep me on the right path.
From the book:
Walk in Dry Places by Mel B. © 1996 by Hazelden Foundation

Monday, January 27, 2014

Jan. 27, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Monday, Jan. 27, 2014

Today, I treat with respect that the Program's credo "Let Go and Let God" does not absolve me from responsibility for my condition as an alcoholic and from active participation in my redemption from the damage and pain to others of my drinking days. "Let Go and Let God" commands that I turn my will over to the Higher Power of my understanding to gain the knowledge of HIS will for me and "the power to carry (it) out." It does not give me the easy out by expecting God to do it for me. In accepting an active role in my recovery instead of thinking it will come to me by reading the Big Book and going to meetings, I understand that sobriety is a two-level process; on the surface, I cannot drink; on a deeper level, I cannot expect a fundamental change in spiritual and emotional conditions that comes solely by not drinking. I am responsible for my condition as an alcoholic; likewise, I am responsible for my recovery. "Let Go and Let God" does not dismiss me from either responsibility. Today, I "Let Go and Let God" by surrendering MY self-will and listening for God to show me HIS will and how to carry it out. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Jan. 27, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, Jan. 27, 2014
 
AA Thought for the Day
Alcoholics carry an awful load around with them. What a load lying puts on your shoulders! Drinking makes liars out of all of us alcoholics. In order to get the liquor we want, we have to lie all the time. We have to lie about where we've been and what we've been doing. When you are lying, you are only half alive because of the fear of being found out. When you come into AA and get honest with yourself and with other people, that terrible load of lying falls off your shoulders.

Have I got rid of that load of lying?

Meditation for the Day
I believe that in the spiritual world, as in the material world, there is no empty space. As fears and worries and resentments depart out of my life, the things of the spirit come in to take their places. Calm comes after a storm. As soon as I am rid of fears and hates and selfishness, God's love and peace and calm can come in.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may rid myself of all fears and resentments, so that peace and serenity may take their place. I pray that I may sweep my life clean of evil, so that good may come in.

Hazelden Foundation