Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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

The Serenity Prayer
Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

There is no such thing as "best" in the world of individuals.
 -- Hosea Bellou

We live in a society driven by the concept of competition. "We are Number One" is drummed in our ears daily via advertising and sporting events. The message is that we must be or must have something "better than" if we have any sense of pride at all. Failure is the only other option.

But human behavior can't be judged according to this kind of rating system. How could we ever determine who is the best listener, the most insightful or compassionate? At any given moment, the best for us may not be the best for someone else. If it goes right to the heart, a simple word spoken at a meeting is the best word. If someone we hardly know nods and smiles from across the room, that smile is the best smile for us, here and now. The extended hand, the brief word of encouragement, will never be proclaimed "Number One" on television, never be memorialized in record books as better than the support someone else got, but for us, it's the best.

I am surrounded by a multitude of blessings. I need look no further for what I need.
From the book:
Days of Healing, Days of Joy by Earnie Larsen and Carol Larsen Hegarty. © 1987, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 30, 2014 - After the Tears

The Serenity Prayer
After the Tears
Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

"11. - Our relations with the general public should be characterized by personal anonymity. We think AA ought to avoid sensational advertising. Our names and pictures as AA members ought not be broadcast, filmed or publicly printed. Our public relations should be guided by the principle of attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Appendices, "The Twelve Traditions" (long form), p 567.

Today, the 11th Tradition reminds and compels us not to "praise" ourselves inasmuch as my drinking is concerned, be it years of sobriety or a decision to attend our first meeting tonight. While it is appropriate to give a quick pat on the back for working toward recovery, the overwhelming "credit" belongs to the Program and its Steps without which we have no lifeline to grab and hold onto. If I should boast about my sobriety as my own achievement, if I become complacent in sobriety or if I neglect to do what the Program requires I do daily, I have probably neglected my responsibility to be one of its "success" stories anonymously. Today, I will be stingy in claiming my sobriety as my own accomplishment and instead remember that it's largely the product of AA. And our common journey continues. After the tears. - Chris M., 2014

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

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014


AA Thought for the Day
There are no leaders in AA, except as they volunteer to accept responsibility. The work of carrying on AA - leading group meetings, serving on committees, speaking before other groups, doing twelfth-step work, spreading AA among the alcoholics of the community - all these things are done on a volunteer basis. If I don't volunteer to do something concrete for AA, the movement is that much less effective. I must do my fair share to carry the load. AA depends on all its members to keep it alive and to keep it growing.

Am I doing my share for AA?

Meditation for the Day
When you look to God for strength to face responsibility and are quiet before Him, His healing touch causes the Divine Quiet to flow into your very being. When in weakness you cry to God, His touch brings healing, the renewal of your courage and the power to meet every situation and be victorious. When you faint by the way or are distracted by feelings of inferiority, then rely on the touch of God's spirit to support you on your way. Then arise and go forth with confidence.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may lay myself open today to the healing touch of God. I pray that I may not falter or faint by the wayside, but renew my courage through prayer.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 30, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

Reflection for the Day
No matter what other people do or don't do, we have to remain sober and free from other addictions for ourselves. When our program of recovery becomes contingent on the actions or inactions of another person - especially someone with whom we're emotionally involved - the results are invariably disastrous. We need to also remember that intense dislike is as much an emotional involvement as newfound romantic love. In short, we have to cool any risky emotional involvements in the first few months of our recovery, trying to accept the fact that our feelings could change quickly and dramatically. Our watchword must be "First Things First," concentrating on our number one problem before anything else.

Am I building a firm foundation while steering clear of slippery emotional areas?

Today I Pray
May I always remember that healthy relationships with people are necessary for my recovery. But - that substituting an obsession with either a love or hate object is as dangerous to my sell-being as any other addiction.

Today I Will Remember
A dependency is a dependency is a dependency.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 30, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

Our AA philosophy is an idealistic philosophy. It has to be in order to be a happy philosophy. Some may declare that it is too much so, that we ignore more materialistic facts. Let us take from our philosophy all the good and the joy it promises. Let us give our gold no acid test.

If our philosophy is unreal and foolish in the eyes of the more materialistic world, then what of it? It enables us to be happier than those that have good sense.

Hazelden Foundation

Monday, September 29, 2014

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

The Serenity Prayer
Monday, Sept. 29, 2014
Today's thoughts from Hazelden are:

One day at a time.
*****
You've got to give time, time.

*****
Insanity:
Doing exactly the same thing over and over,
expecting different results.
*****
The Serenity Prayer is the handrail to grab
until you can work the Steps.
From the book:
My Mind is Out to Get Me by Dr. Ron B. © 1994 by Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 29, 2014 - After the Tears

The Serenity Prayer
After the Tears
Monday, Sept. 29, 2014

"12. - ...(W)e of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Appendices, "The Twelve Traditions" (long form), pp 567-68.

Today, I consider the last of our Program's 12 Traditions, that anonymity of all those in the Program is a principle rather than a courtesy. If we can understand that a principle is an ethic that governs our Program, any personal differences we have may become insignificant and futile in the goal of our individual recoveries and the effectiveness of the Program as a whole. As the 12th Tradition also promises, anonymity has the spiritual power for us to be hungry for "genuine humility." And what is humility? As defined earlier in the Big Book, humility is our desire to know and carry out the will of our Higher Power - as we understand Him - and not our own will. Today, I renew my commitment to respect the 12th Tradition, and all others, as an ethical code and not as a courtesy to other members. In the process, God granting, may I know the humility of the principle of anonymity and, maybe more, develop a higher sense of responsibility to sobriety with which the Program has entrusted me. And our common journey continues. After the tears. - Chris M., 2014

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

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, Sept. 29, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
Having got this far, shall we pause and ask ourselves some searching questions? We need to check up on ourselves periodically. Just how good an AA am I? Am I attending meetings regularly? Am I doing my share to carry the load? When there is something to be done, do I volunteer? Do I speak at meetings when asked, no matter how nervous I am? Do I accept each opportunity to do twelfth-step work as a challenge? Do I give freely of my time and money? Am I trying to spread AA wherever I go? Is my daily life a demonstration of AA principles?

Am I a good AA?

Meditation for the Day
How do I get strength to be effective and to accept responsibility? By asking the Higher Power for the strength I need each day. It has been proved in countless lives that for every day I live, the necessary power shall be given me. I must face each challenge that comes to me during the day, sure that God will give me the strength to face it. For every task that is given me, there is also given me all the power necessary for the performance of that task. I do not need to hold back.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may accept every task as a challenge. I know I cannot wholly fail if God is with me.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 29, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Monday, Sept. 29, 2014

Reflection for the Day
In our first weeks or months in The Program, our shaky emotional condition sometimes affects our feelings toward old friends and family. For many of us, these relationships heal quickly in the initial stages of our recovery. For others, a time of "touchiness" seems to persist; now that we're no longer drinking or using other chemicals, we have to sort out our feelings about spouse, children, relatives, employer, fellow workers and even neighbors. Experience in the Program over the years has taught that we should avoid making important decisions early in our recovery - especially emotion-charged decisions about people.

Am I becoming better equipped to relate maturely to other people?

Today I Pray
May God help me through the edginess, the confusion of re-feeling and re-thinking my relationships, the "getting-it-all-together" stages of my recovery. May I not rush into new relationships or new situations that demand an investment of my emotions - not yet.

Today I Will Remember
No entangling alliances too soon.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 29, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Monday, Sept. 29, 2014

We members of AA have a tremendous responsibility. We must in our work discuss the most personal matters with the new guy or gal. This information is given us under desperate circumstances and should be treated as most confidential. Carelessness in this respect can and does do a lot of harm at times. Let us confine our conversations with each other to only that part of the new man's problem that pertains to his actual drinking, because that is the only phase of the problem that we can efficiently advise him on, anyway. These personal matters are matters of trust, and they deserve the same confidential treatment as a church confessional.

Hazelden Foundation

Sunday, September 28, 2014

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

The Serenity Prayer
Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

All the arts we practice are apprenticeship. The big art is our life.
 -- M. C. Richards

What you do for a living is not who you are. You are more, much more, than that.

It's easy to get so caught up in what we do that we're only identifying ourselves through our daily tasks. I am a mechanic. I am a parking lot attendant. I am a doctor. I am a dishwasher. When we link ourselves too closely to our jobs, we deny ourselves the chance to ever be anything else.

God gave us the power to change. You're more than what you do. You're a vital vibrant soul that came here to experience, grow, and change. Make a masterpiece out of your life.

God, help me realize the glory of my soul. Thank you for my mortality and for the ability to learn and grow.
From the book:
More Language of Letting Go © 2000 by Melody Beattie

Sept. 28, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014

"1. - Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. AA must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward." - The First Tradition (long form), Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Appendices, "The Twelve Traditions," p 565.

Today, let me understand and respect the first Tradition of our Program, namely that I am not first and foremost and that my own sobriety and recovery contribute to the effectiveness of the Program as a whole, even if my own is but a small contribution. That said, the sobriety and recovery for which I have worked and am working are not solely mine but mirror our Fellowship's credibility - be it in the eyes of a newcomer or the public and various professional organizations. Because of that responsibility, may I also understand that the sobriety I have gained carries a responsibility to it. My responsibility to my sobriety, then, boils down to being in service to the Program as the First Tradition dictates. If I can effectively serve, then I may be contributing to my own welfare which, as the First Tradition also states, comes a close second. Today, my sobriety is not my own and must be part of everyone else's, and I am responsible to work for continued recovery. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

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

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
For the past two months we have been studying passages and steps from the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous. Now why not read the book itself again? It is essential that the AA program become part of us. We must have its essentials at our finger tips. We cannot study the Big Book too much or too often. The more we read it and study it, the better equipped we are to think AA, act AA and live AA. We cannot know too much about the program. The chances are that we will never know enough. But we can make as much of it our own as possible.

How much of the Big Book have I thoroughly mastered?

Meditation for the Day
We need to accept the difficulties and disciplines of life so as to fully share the common life of other people. Many things that we must accept in life are not to be taken so much as being necessary for us personally, as to be experienced in order that we may share in the sufferings and problems of humanity. We need sympathy and understanding. We must share many of the experiences of life, in order to understand and sympathize with others. Unless we have been through the same experiences, we cannot understand other people or their makeup well enough to be able to help them.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may accept everything that comes my way as a part of life. I pray that I may make use of it in helping other people.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 28, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014

Reflection for the Day
Now that we're free from our addictions, living life one day at a time, we can begin to stop making unreasonable demands upon those we love. We can show kindness where we had shown none; we can take the time and initiative to be thoughtful, considerate and compassionate. Even with the people we dislike, we can at least try to be courteous, at times literally going out of our way to understand and help them.

Just for today, will I try to understand rather than be understood, being courteous and respectful to all people with whom I'm in contact?

Today I Pray
May I never forget my old sponge-like self, who soaked up every drop of affection and attention my family or friends could give me, until they were sapped dry. May I learn to be a giver, rather than a constant taker. May I practice offering interest, kindness, consideration and compassion until sensitivity to others becomes second nature to me.

Today I Will Remember
Giving is part of being.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 28, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014

We have all had the pleasure of knowing intimately several men who might be classed as "Gentlemen of Leisure" and what a squirrel cage they were usually in. They labored all night long to get in jams that required a staff of lawyers all the next day to extricate them.

It takes a big man to make effective use of leisure.

Hazelden Foundation

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sept. 27, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

The Serenity Prayer
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
 -- Chinese Proverb

With all the negativity that surrounds us, it is easy to become overwhelmed. It is also tempting to fight against the negative or to declare war on it. Yet a master teacher offered a better way: "Resist not evil, but overcome evil with good."

Imagine you are in a dark room. Wanting the darkness to leave, you curse and fight against it. But no matter how much effort you make, the darkness remains. Turn on the light switch, however, and the night vanishes in an instant.

In a similar manner, when the light of truth is shed on a situation, fear and disharmony dissolve. When you send out a positive thought to another person or take a constructive action, an enormous amount of good is accomplished. Each good act begets another until a network of love and light is created.

The purpose of life is to reflect this light into places that are dark. Let your light shine and stay focused on the power of love. When enough of us have turned on our spiritual light switches, the earth will become as bright as a shining star. Where, then, could darkness dwell?
From the book:
Listening to Your Inner Voice © 1991, by Douglas Bloch

Sept. 27, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." - Herbert Spencer

" ...(A)ny alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience can recover, provided he does not close his mind to all spiritual concepts. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.
"We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. Willingness, honesty and open-mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Appendices, "Spiritual Experience," p 570.

Today, to close my mind to even a remote possibility of a Power greater than myself is equivalent to self-absorption and, as such, my recovery program predictably will serve no one but me. Not only does a program that focuses only on me trample the 12th Step, it is also guaranteed to fail; there is humility and gain in service to others, or 12th-Stepping. If for no other reason than the selfishness to absorb as much from the Program as I can, I must open myself to the possibility that a Higher Power - even God, should that be what I choose to call Him - can pull me from inside myself and maybe learn from the lessons of other alcoholics. In the process, I may be disciplined that what I think is the enormity of my problems is minuscule against the problems of others. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

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

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
Continuing the consideration of the term "spiritual experience:" "What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions, our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource when they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves. Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves the essence of spiritual experience. In any case, willingness, honesty and open-mindedness are the essentials of recovery."

Have I tapped that inner resource which can change my life?

Meditation for the Day
God's power in your life increases as your ability to understand His grace increases. The power of God's grace is only limited by the understanding and will of each individual. God's miracle-working power is only limited in each individual soul by the lack of spiritual vision of that soul. God respects free will, the right of each person to accept or reject His miracle-working power. Only the sincere desire of the soul gives Him the opportunity to bestow it.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may not limit God's power by my lack of vision. I pray that I may keep my mind open today to His influence.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 27, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014

Reflection for the Day
In times past, even as adults, many of us childishly insisted that people protect, defend and care for us. We acted as if the world owed us a living. And then, when the people we most love became fed up, pushing us aside or perhaps abandoning us completely, we were bewildered. We couldn't see that our over-dependence on people was unsuccessful because all human beings are fallible; even the best of them will sometimes let us down, especially when our demands are unreasonable. Today, in contrast, we rely upon God, counting on Him rather than on ourselves or other people.

Am I trying to do as I think God would have me do, trusting the outcome of His will for me?

Today I Pray
May I know, from the dependencies of my past, that I am a dependent person. I depended on alcohol, mood-altering chemicals, food or other addictive pursuits. I was inclined to "hang" on other people, depending on them for more than they could give. May I, at last, switch from these adolescent dependencies to a mature healthy dependency on my Higher Power.

Today I Will Remember
I have more than one dependency.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 27, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014

For us alcoholics, the First Step in life was the usual toddle of the infant. The Second Step, we learned to walk erect like a man; the Third Step, we started to run to keep up with the world; the Fourth Step, we were staggering; the Fifth Step was stumbling and falling; and the Twelfth Step found us erect again.

What happened between the Fifth Step when we fell and the Twelfth Step? Don't ask me, I'm an alcoholic, too. I had probably just blacked out. Watch your steps - they take you places.

Hazelden Foundation

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sept. 26, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

The Serenity Prayer
Friday, Sept. 26, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
 -- D. H. Lawrence

Sometimes when we feel sorry for ourselves we will sit alone in our bedroom. We may even feel so down in the dumps that we decide to stay there, indulging in self-pity, thinking about how the world is against us.

However, if we use our imagination to step outside our own point of view for a moment, we might think differently. If we were deer in the forest, we would be thinking about keeping safe from the wolves, and where our next meal would be coming from.

The animals have no time to feel sorry for themselves, they are too busy doing what has to be done to survive, and each thing that happens presents a new survival problem to be solved.

When we feel blue, it helps to keep this in mind. If we have the time to feel down, and can get physically comfortable while doing it, how bad can the problem really be?
From the book:
Today's Gift © 1985, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 26, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Friday, Sept. 26, 2014

"God willing, we members of AA may never again have to deal with drinking, but we have to deal with sobriety every day. How do we do it? By learning - through practicing the Twelve Steps and through sharing at meetings - how to cope with the problems that we looked to booze to solve, back in our drinking days." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, "They Lost Nearly All," Ch 13 ("AA Taught Him to Handle Sobriety"), p 560.

Today, my Higher Power's will and the 12 Steps will steer me from dealing with drinking again because my problem now is not drinking but living sober - living no longer in the problem but being a willing participant in the answer of living sober. In drinking, I experienced the answers that drinking had for me - fear, anger, disgust, regret, loneliness, pain, resentment. In sobriety, the answers aren't as clear because I either have lived too long in alcoholism or lived most of my life without sobriety. The key to living in the answer instead of the problem is, indeed, the 12 Steps. And if they sometimes may lead me to uncertain and even scary places because they are not familiar, I know they cannot be as frightening as the certainty of where drinking will take me again. Today, I choose - because now I have a choice - to live in the solution of sobriety and not in the problem of living just to fight off drinking. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Sept. 26, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Friday, Sept. 26, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
Continuing the consideration of the term "spiritual experience:" "The acquiring of an immediate and over-whelming God-consciousness, resulting in a dramatic transformation, though frequent, is by no means the rule. Most of our spiritual experiences are of the educational variety, and they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of newcomers are aware of the difference long before they are themselves. They finally realize that they have undergone a profound alteration in their reaction to life and that such a change could hardly have been brought about by themselves alone."

Is my outlook on life changing for the better?

Meditation for the Day
Look at the world as your Father's house. Think of all people you meet as guests in your Father's house, to be treated with love and consideration. Look at yourself as a servant in your Father's house, as a servant of all. Think of no work as beneath you. Be ever ready to do all you can for others who need your help. There is gladness in God's service. There is much satisfaction in serving the highest that you know. Express your love for God in service to all who are living with you in your Father's house.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may serve others out of gratitude to God. I pray that my work may be a small repayment for His grace so freely given me.

Hazelden Foundation