Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 31, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

The Serenity Prayer
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Without discipline, there's no life at all.
 -- Katharine Hepburn


We all have deadlines we must meet. We have bills to pay, responsibilities at work, children with school projects - all the innumerable small markers that push life forward.

When we realize we're procrastinating, we need to be committed to not shaming ourselves. Procrastination is not an indication that we have failed. How realistic would it be if we looked forward to doing unpleasant things? It's human to avoid what we'd rather not do.

As we free ourselves from the burden of perfectionism, we're free to better accept our responsibilities. Meeting deadlines as well as we can, one at a time, pays off in serenity and a manageable life. When we are crisis ridden, we are forced to live by other peoples' demands, rather than by our choices. In the face of procrastination, resentment, or perfectionism, we can turn to Step Ten for an inventory. We can forgive ourselves, try to laugh at ourselves, live in the present, and keep going. Today can be better than yesterday.

I may as well admit it - there's probably something I'm avoiding. Is today the day to do it?
From the book:
Answers in the Heart © 1989 by P. Williamson and S. Kiser

July 31, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Thursday, July 31, 2014
 
"The old (drinking) pattern reasserted itself, but it was no longer once every six months. The intervals grew shorter. The binges were longer. They were harder to get off. ...
"That type of drinking is not pleasant. It is no longer enjoyable. You no longer get the kicks. It is desperation drinking. I was drinking to keep away the shakes ...I was drinking to try to hold on to a job, to try and hold on to my home, to try to hold on to my wife, to try to hold on to my sanity." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Part III ("They Lost Nearly All"), Ch 8 ("Desperation Drinking"), p 514.

Today, I muster the honesty to accept the possibility that I have a problem if drinking is my answer to any desperation I feel, be it for a situation I desperately want not to face, or the talk with my spouse, partner or employer, the constantly ringing telephone that I will not answer because someone might be calling about my drinking or some problem it has caused. If drinking is my solution to any problem in my life, let me hear the voices of experience that my solution has become a crisis bigger than the problem I'm avoiding by drinking. And if I have not drank for any significant number of 24 Hours, chances are I now cannot remember the problem I drank to avoid. But, in so doing, I and I alone created one of the most critical crises that was far worse than any problem I faced sober. Today, alcohol will not be my solution to any problem that I may encounter; my answer is in the Twelve Steps. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M.,2014

July 31, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, July 31, 2014
 
AA Thought for the Day
This leaves only one day - today. Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burden of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time.

Am I living one day at a time?

Meditation for the Day
Give God the gift of a thankful heart. Try to see causes of thankfulness in your everyday life. When life seems hard and troubles crowd, then look for some reasons for thankfulness. There is nearly always something you can be thankful for. The offering of thanksgiving is indeed a sweet incense going up to God throughout a busy day. Seek diligently for something to be glad and thankful about. You will acquire in time the habit of blessings. Each new day some new cause for joy and gratitude will spring to your mind and you will thank God sincerely.

Prayer for the Day
I pray for a truly thankful heart. I pray that I may be constantly reminded of causes for sincere gratitude.

Hazelden Foundation

July 31, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Thursday, July 31, 2014
 
Reflection for the Day
One of the most serious consequences of the me-me-me syndrome is that we lose touch with practically everyone around us - not to mention reality itself. The essence of self-pity is total self-absorption, and it feeds on itself. Rather than ignore such an emotional state - or deny that we're in it - we need to pull out of our self-absorption, stand back, and take a good honest look at ourselves. Once we recognize self-pity for what it is, we can begin to do something about it.

Am I living in the problem rather than the answer?

Today I Pray
I pray that my preoccupation with self, which is wound up tight as a Maypole, may unwind itself and let its streamers fly again for others to catch and hold. May the thin, familiar wail of me-me-me become a chorus of us-us-us, as we in the fellowship pick apart our self-fullness and look at it together.

Today I Will Remember
Change me-me-me to us-us-us.

Hazelden Foundation

July 31, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Thursday, July 31, 2014
 
In our drinking days, we were ready to take a poke at anyone who suggested we couldn't handle our "likker." It was a very sore spot with us, as we all kidded ourselves into believing that our over-indulgence was a well-guarded secret when, actually, we knew it was not.

Upon our entrance in AA, we soon made a public confession of our alcoholism and, to our surprise, we lost some of the sense of stigma and we could learn to laugh at our affliction and at ourselves. Our sense of guilt was lessened by our acknowledgment of its existence.

Hazelden Foundation

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014 - Today's Gift from hazelden

The Serenity Prayer
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

The winds of grace are blowing all the time.
You have only to raise your sail.

 -- Sri Ramakrishna


If God seems far away, who moved?

At the center of our being a fullness of life exists that wants to flow through us as vitality, love, harmony, happiness, and success. Why, then, are we not more in touch with it?

Consider the following image: You are standing outside on a bright, cloudless day complaining that you cannot see the sun, when you notice that you have been standing under an umbrella. If as little a thing as an umbrella can block out the magnificence of the sun, how easy it is for our fears, doubts, and feelings of unworthiness to block the connection to our source. But just as the sun continues to shine even behind the appearance of clouds, our inner-knowing is ready to communicate with us in the midst of our despair.

How do we reopen the channels and allow the flow to reenter our lives? First, we must truly desire to communicate with our center and set aside a time each day to do so. Then, get quiet and begin to listen. Soon you will hear that still small voice within.

Your divine self is patiently waiting for you to acknowledge it. It quietly, but persistently, knocks on the door of your consciousness. Open that door and a presence of love and joy will fill your being.
From the book:
Listening to Your Inner Voice © 1991, by Douglas Bloch

July 30, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
  
Today, I must realize that the character defects I identified in my Fourth Step probably existed before my drinking days and that alcohol simply developed them to their destructive zenith. My Sixth and Seventh Steps of first admitting to God and then asking that He remove my defects assume paramount honesty in my recovery program for I am likely to be challenged to release defects that have had a lifetime to take root - more so than those that those that were born of my drinking days. And if my defects are lifelong, simply stopping to drink will not give me the recovery and quality of sobriety for which I strive. Today, I am an alcoholic and abstaining from drinking is not enough. I consider myself a part of the AA program; today, as I talk the talk, I will walk the walk. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

July 30, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
 
AA Thought for the Day
The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow, with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise, and perhaps its poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow's sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn.

Do I still worry too much about tomorrow?

Meditation for the Day
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is not seeing, but believing. Down through the ages, there have always been those who obeyed the heavenly vision, not seeing but believing in God. And their faith was rewarded. So shall it be to you. Good things will happen to you. You cannot see God, but you can see the results of faith in human lives, changing them from defeat to victory. God's grace is available to all who have faith - not seeing, but believing. With faith, life can be victorious and happy.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may have faith enough to believe without seeing. I pray that I may be content with the results of my faith.

Hazelden Foundation

July 30, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
 
Reflection for the Day
When we first come to The Program, the most common variety of self-pity begins: "Poor me! Why can't I (fill in your own addiction) like everybody else? Why me?" Such bemoaning, if allowed to persist, is a surefire invitation for a long walk off a short pier - right back to the mess we were in before we came to The Program. When we stick around The Program for a while, we discover that it's not just "me" at all; we become involved with people, from all walks of life, who are in exactly the same boat.

Am I losing interest in my comfortably familiar "pity pot?"

Today I Pray
When self-pity has me droopy and inert, may I look up, look around and perk up. Self-pity, God wills, vanishes in the light of other people's shared troubles. May I always wish for friends honest enough to confront me if they see me digging my way back down into my old pity pit.

Today I Will Remember
Turn self-involvement into involvement.

Hazelden Foundation

July 30, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
 
No pleasures of our drinking days even compensated for those horrible nights of wakeful tossing. The interminable pacing the floor; those night sweats; the endless hours when we couldn't sleep and at the same time dreaded falling asleep. The hours that seemed to stretch into eternity as we lay in bed with remorse as a bedfellow. Then the Hell of the goof-balls that made our nights better and our days worse.

The physical pain we might have endured for many more years, but the anguish of the heart and soul was unendurable.

Hazelden Foundation

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 29, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Other people's actions need not affect us

Our program friends are showing us how to detach from other people and their problems. We have learned we aren't the cause of a family member's alcoholism or the never-ending trauma in a friend's life, though our family and friends may try to blame us for their difficulties. The program teaches us that we don't have the power to make others go against their will. But when others cast blame our way, it's been our nature to absorb it. Now we are learning how to refuse the blame.

Part of the problem is our desire to be liked. The anger or criticism that's directed at us hurts. Few people are wholly immune to barbs from others. Even strangers can trigger reactions in us. But we can change - we can learn detachment. Our program friends are good role models. Daily we can work at letting whatever someone else says or does roll off us. In time, detachment will become our nature.

I will ask my sponsor for help if I let someone get to me today.
From the book:
A Life of My Own by Karen Casey. © 1993 by Hazelden Foundation

July 29, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
 
"I never knew which came first, the thinking or the drinking. If I could only stop thinking, I wouldn't drink. If I could only stop drinking, maybe I wouldn't think. But they were all mixed up together, and I was all mixed up inside. And yet I had to have that drink. You know the deteriorating effects, the disintegrating effects of chronic wine-drinking. I cared nothing about my personal appearance. I didn't care what I looked like. I didn't care what I did. To me, taking a bath was just being in a place with a bottle where I could drink in privacy. I had to have it with me at night, in case I woke up and needed that drink." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Part II ("They Stopped in Time"), Ch 4 ("The Housewife Who Drank at Home"), p 337.

Today, I don't care which came first, the delusional and irrational thinking or the drinking, because it doesn't matter. Whether some deluded thinking misled me to alcohol for a clearer perspective or if excess drinking fueled a thinking problem is moot because, now, the two are intertwined. Thus, my thinking now cannot be that I can resume responsible drinking if I get my thinking in a logical sync. Nor can I believe that I could drink responsibly. Neither is possible. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Does it matter? The chicken's polluted; whatever comes out of him is also polluted. Today, I don't care where my drinking thinking or thinking drinking came from. I need both corrected, and I'm where I need to be to get both. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

July 29, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
 
AA Thought for the Day
There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept from fear and apprehension. One of these days is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone beyond recall.

Do I still worry about what happened yesterday?

Meditation for the Day
"God will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able, but with the temptation He will also find a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." If you have enough faith and trust in God, He will give you all the strength you need to face every temptation and to overcome it. Nothing will prove too hard for you to bear. You can face any situation. "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." You can overcome any temptation with God's help. So fear nothing.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may face every situation without fear. I pray that nothing will prove too hard for me to bear.

Hazelden Foundation

July 29, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
 
Reflection for the Day
The feeling of self-pity, which we've all suffered at one time or another, is one of the ugliest emotions we can experience. We don't even relish the thought of admitting to others that we're awash in self-pity. We hate being told that it shows; we quickly argue that we're feeling another emotion instead; we go so far as to "cleverly" hide from ourselves the fact that we're going through a siege of "poor-me-ism." By the same token, in a split-second, we can easily find several dozen "valid" reasons for feeling sorry for ourselves.

Do I sometimes enjoy rubbing salt into my own wounds?

Today I Pray
May I recognize the emotions I am feeling for what they are. If I am unable to point them out to myself, may I count on others who know what it's like to be a feelings-sufferer. May I stay in touch with my feelings by staying in touch with my Higher Power and with the others in my group.

Today I Will Remember
Stay in touch.

Hazelden Foundation

July 29, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
 
Humility has been the hardest of all the virtues to acquire for many of us. Few of us know what it actually is. Many have it and think they don't; many don't have it and think they do. Many admit they don't understand the word and forget it, leaving to the world to judge whether they have it or not.

The best way to acquire Humility is to constantly remind yourself how much lower than a snake's belly you would be but for the Grace of God. You made a horrible mess of running your life and failed completely, but that Grace could and did make you what you are today.

Hazelden Foundation

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Monday, July 28, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Nobody's family can hang out the sign, "Nothing's the matter here."
 -- Chinese Proverb


None of us come from a perfect family, but if we have any family at all, it's worth the effort to see what there is to enjoy about it. Sometimes it's difficult or impossible, because there's been so much damage. If there's really nothing left, we have to look for family in the fellowship of other sober people.

A family is not always people who are blood related. A family can be people who are so committed to the growth of each other and the relationship that they've become brothers and sisters of a sort. A family is two or more people who care deeply for one another and who are comfortable with each other. We can choose to surround ourselves with others who we feel this way about.

Today let me recognize something good in my family and work at building a relationship.
From the book:
Our Best Days by Nancy Hull-Mast. © 1990 by Hazelden Foundation

July 28, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Monday, July 28, 2014
 
Today, we remind ourselves why abstaining from drinking is not enough in recovery. Addiction in general and alcoholism specifically are three-level diseases - physical, emotional, and spiritual. While not drinking is most certainly the beginning, it is not the end because abstaining will improve the physical ravages of drinking only but not the psychological and spiritual damage drinking inflicts. It is for treatment of the emotional and spiritual that we have AA; here, we are given the tools to undo the damage we have done and, when repair isn't possible, how to accept our mistakes, forgive ourselves even when no one else does and move ahead toward sobriety. Without that treatment and when we depend solely on abstinence, we are less sober and more like a dry drunk. Today, I accept that not drinking by itself is not sufficient to attain the sobriety and quality of the life I seek. Today, I pick up and begin to use the Program's Steps of recovery. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

July 28, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, July 28, 2014
 
AA Thought for the Day
To continue the paraphrase of the psalm: "The judgments of the twelve steps are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than whiskey, yea, than much fine whiskey, sweeter also than wine. Moreover, by them are alcoholics warned and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand our alcoholism? Cleanse us from secret faults. Keep us from presumptuous resentments. Let them not have dominion over us. Then shall we be upright and free of the great transgression."

Am I resolved that liquor will never again have dominion over me?

Meditation for the Day
God can be your shield. Then no problems of the world can harm you. Between you and all scorn and indignity from others is your trust in God, like a shining shield. Nothing can then have the power to spoil your inward peace. With this shield, you can attain this inward peace quickly, in your surroundings as well as in your heart. With this inward peace, you do not need to resent the person who troubles you. Instead, you can overcome the resentment in your own mind which may have been aroused by that person.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may strive for inward peace. I pray that I may not be seriously upset, no matter what happens around me.

Hazelden Foundation

July 28, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Monday, July 28, 2014
 
Reflection for the Day
We learn the value of meditation in The Program. As the beginning of the Eleventh Step suggests, we seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him. One of the great values of meditation is that it clears the mind. And as the mind becomes clearer, it becomes more capable and willing to acknowledge the truth. Less pain is required to force honest recognition of defects and their results. The real needs of the whole person are revealed.

Are prayer and meditation a regular part of my daily living?

Today I Pray
May God's truths be revealed to me through meditation and these small prayers, through contact with my group which keeps me mindful of my need to clear my mind with daily meditation. For only an uncluttered mind can receive God; only a mind cleansed of self-interest can acknowledge the truth.

Today I Will Remember
Meditation is a mind-cleanser.

Hazelden Foundation

July 28, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Monday, July 28, 2014
 
In AA, we must of necessity make the best use of our time. The hours must be allocated to our various affairs in proportion to their importance. We now have so many responsibilities we did not have in our drinking days.

If we wisely divide our time between our duties to our families, our jobs, our community, our God and getting our own lives in order, we will find little time left for worry, fear, self-pity or envy.

Hazelden Foundation

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 27, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Sunday, July 27, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

There are as many ways to live and grow, as there are people. Our own ways are the only ways that should matter to us.
 -- Evelyn Mandel

Wanting to control other people, to make them live as we'd have them live, makes the attainment of serenity impossible. And serenity is the goal we are seeking in this recovery program, in this life.

We are each powerless over others, which relieves us of a great burden. Controlling our own behavior is a big enough job. Learning to behave responsibly takes practice. Most of us in this recovery program have behaved irresponsibly for much of our lives. Emotional immaturity is slow to depart, but every responsible action we take gives us the courage for another - and then another. Our own fulfillment is the by-product of the accumulation of our own responsible actions. Others' actions need not concern us.

Today, I will weigh my behavior carefully. Responsible behavior builds gladness of heart.
From the book:
Each Day a New Beginning by Karen Casey. © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation

July 27, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Sunday, July 27, 2014
 
"What is this power that AA possesses? This curative power? I don't know what it is. I suppose the doctor might say, 'This is psychosomatic medicine.' I suppose the psychiatrist might say, 'This is benevolent interpersonal relations.' I suppose others would say, 'This is group psychotherapy.'
To me, it is God." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Part II ("They Stopped in Time"), Ch 6 ("Physician, Heal Thyself!"), p 352.

Today, I wonder how many more voices of experience I must hear until I simply consider the possibility of a Higher Power if I am still struggling with the concept. And if I continue to listen skeptically to the many voices of those who have recovered in AA by giving their will to a Higher Power in which they did not believe, maybe I can simply trust the AA command to "Keep It Simple" - simply take a leap of nothing but blind faith that something as good can exist if something as evil as alcohol can bring me to my knees. But if I still resist those voices of experience, hopefully I can muster the honesty to see that doing things my way hasn't worked for the most part and maybe something outside myself can do a better job. Today, I seek if nothing else the blind faith to trust the voices of experience or, at least, my own history of not doing such a great job on my own. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

July 27, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, July 27, 2014
 
AA Thought for the Day
To paraphrase the psalm: "We alcoholics declare the power of liquor and drunkenness showeth its handiwork. Day unto day uttereth hangovers and night unto night showeth suffering. The law of AA is perfect, converting the drunk. The testimony of AA is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of AA are right, rejoicing the heart. The program of AA is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the first drink is clean, enduring forever."

Have I any doubt about the power of liquor?

Meditation for the Day
"Walk humbly with thy Lord." Walking with God means practicing the presence of God in your daily affairs. It means asking God for strength to face each new day. It means turning to Him often during the day in prayer for yourself and for other people. It means thanking Him at night for the blessings you have received during the day. Nothing can seriously upset you if you are "walking with God." You can believe that He is beside you in spirit, to help you and to guide you on your way.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may try to walk humbly with God. I pray that I may turn to Him often as to a close friend.

Hazelden Foundation

July 27, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Sunday, July 27, 2014
 
Reflection for the Day
Over and over, I see that those who make the best and steadiest progress in The Program are those who readily accept the help of a Higher Power. Once they can do that, it's easier for them to get out of their own way. Their problems then seem to resolve themselves in a way that is beyond human understanding.

Do I realize that the effectiveness with which I use the consciousness of God in my daily life depends not on Him, but on me?

Today I Pray
May I know that my recovery and growth depend on my being in touch with my Higher Power, not just once in a while, but always. It means turning to that Power several times a day to ask for strength and knowledge of His will. When I understand that my own life is part of a Higher Plan, I will be less apt to trip and fall, head off in the wrong direction, or just to sit tight and let life pass me by.

Today I Will Remember
To be God-conscious.

Hazelden Foundation