Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 30, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden

The Serenity Prayer
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Doing nothing, that hurts you.
 -- John Arnold


Doing nothing as a steady diet would wear thin after a while, but doing nothing once in a while is good therapy. We need to let our minds and bodies rest. Being always booked for an activity gives us too little time for reflection about our lives. We have come a long way. Taking the time to appreciate that during our quiet spaces will enhance our self-perception.

Not a one of us has had an unsuccessful life. We may not have accomplished every goal we've set for ourselves but we can believe that we did what really needed to be done by us. There has been a divine plan at work even though we were unaware of it. The same continues to be true. We will be nudged to pursue hobbies or volunteer activities or jobs if that's the plan for us. This certainly takes the guesswork out of our lives. It makes us know we are pretty special, too.

I'll do whatever calls to me today. As long as it's not something that will hurt another person, it will be right.
You are reading from the book:
Keepers of the Wisdom © 1996 by Karen Casey

June 30, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out." - Step Eleven

"As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day, 'Thy will be done.' We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 6 ("Into Action"), pp 87-8.

Today, the 11th Step is the logical extension of Step Three - "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." In handing off to my Higher Power my self-will, it is then proper that I begin each day and take on any problem by asking through prayer and meditation what His will is for me instead of plunging into the habit of doing it my way. My way generated anger, fear, worry and self-pity, and a host of other destructive feelings. Today, I can do without them, and an "easier, softer way" is to let a Higher Power who is stronger and wiser than me call the shots. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2015

June 30, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

AA Thought for the Day
Alcoholics are unable or unwilling, during their addiction to alcohol, to live in the present. The result is that they live in a constant state of remorse and fear because of their unholy past and its morbid attraction, or the uncertain future and its vague forebodings. So the only real hope for the alcoholic is to face the present. Now is the time. Now is ours. The past is beyond recall. The future is as uncertain as life itself. Only the now belongs to us.

Am I living in the now?

Meditation for the Day
I must forget the past as much as possible. The past is over and gone forever. Nothing can be done about the past, except to make what restitution I can. I must not carry the burden of my past failures. I must go on in faith. The clouds will clear and the way will lighten. The path will become less stony with every forward step I take. God has no reproach for anything that He has healed. I can be made whole and free, even though I have wrecked my life in the past. Remember the saying, "Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more."

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may not carry the burden of the past. I pray that I may cast it off and press on in faith.

Hazelden Foundation

June 30, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Reflection for the Day
I've learned in The Program that the trick, for me, is not stopping drinking but staying stopped and learning how not to start again. It was always relatively easy to stop, if only by sheer incapacity alone; God knows, I stopped literally thousands of times. To stay stopped, I've had to develop a positive program of action. I've had to learn to live sober, cultivating new habit patterns, new interests and new attitudes.

Am I remaining flexible in my new life? Am I exercising my freedom to abandon limited objectives?

Today I Pray
I pray that my new life will be filled with new patterns, new friends, new activities, new ways of looking at things. I need God's help to overhaul my lifestyle to include all the newness it must hold. I also need a few ideas of my own. May my independence from chemicals or compulsive behavior help me make my choices with an open mind and a clear, appraising eye.

Today I Will Remember
Stopping is starting.

Hazelden Foundation

June 30, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
We are very apt to travel in the direction we are headed. Even the brightest of sunshiny days appears overcast if we wear black glasses. If we enter a restaurant by the rear door, we will undoubtedly find garbage cans, smoked and grimy walls and hear the discord of pots and pans. If you enter by the front door, you will find cleanliness and order.
Let us enter each new day by the front door.
Hazelden Foundation

June 30, 2015 - Rise 'n shine and greet what's going to be a Tremendous Tuesday, folks!


Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015 - Bomer reflects on early role as male hooker and killer on defunct soap 'Guiding Light'

Gay Star News: June 29, 2015 - Matt Bomer recalls his days playing a male prostitute and a killer on daytime soap | Gay Star News

June 29, 2015 - Lutheran minister cites justices' religion to 'blame' Jews for gay marriage ruling

Gay Star News: June 29, 2015 - Pastor blames Jews for US gay marriage ruling | Gay Star News

June 29, 2015 - North Carolina man's anger at marriage equality ruling lands him in jail

Advocate: June 29, 2015 - Man Angry About Marriage Equality Decision Arrested For Assaulting LGBT Bar Owner | Advocate.com

June 29, 2015 - How did CNN mistake a dildo-decorated Pride flag for an ISIS flag?

Advocate: June 29, 2015 - CNN Mistakes Dildo-Decorated London Pride Parade Flag for ISIS Flag | Advocate.com

June 29, 2015 - With marriage equality decision, evangelical churches address a new reality

New York Times: June 29, 2015 - With Same-Sex Decision, Evangelical Churches Address New Reality - The New York Times

June 29, 2015 - Jubilant marchers at gay pride parades celebrate Supreme Court ruling

New York Times: June 29, 2015 - Jubilant Marchers at Gay Pride Parades Celebrate Supreme Court Ruling - The New York Times

June 29, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden

The Serenity Prayer
Monday, June 29, 2015
Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Money may not buy happiness, but it can buy the type of misery you can live with.
 -- Ziggy

We think to ourselves, "Wouldn't it be nice not to have to worry about the washer breaking down?" "Wouldn't it be nice to drive a reliable car?" "Wouldn't it be nice to take a Caribbean vacation every year?" "Wouldn't it be nice not to have to work?" If we had money, we think, at least we wouldn't have to worry so much and could live comfortably.

True. Money buys external comfort - plush couches and chairs, luxury cars, beautiful environments. Money buys what comforts and soothes us on the outside. And, if we're going to be miserable anyway, why not do it in comfort?

We remember that regardless of our surroundings, misery is misery. Unless we have the right attitude, we'll find something wrong with whatever we have or don't have. When we work on improving our inner world - on alleviating the real cause of our misery - we know true comfort. We know serenity.

Today I know that the better I get, the richer I become.
You are reading from the book:
Letting Go of Debt © 2000 by Hazelden Foundation

June 29, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Monday, June 29, 2015

"Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." - Step Two

" ...(W)e believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help. This we did because we honestly wanted to, and were willing to make the effort." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 2 ("There Is a Solution"), pp 25-6.

Today, if I am skeptical about a Higher Power, let me accept that the one entity I trusted to run my life - myself - didn't worked. If I am in "the region from which there is no return," may I at least want and be willing to accept the possibility that a power stronger than my self-will exists. If I am still caught up in the myth that the spiritual entity is religious, maybe I have already set myself as being unwilling to find my own Higher Power. In holding onto unwillingness and not opening myself to the possibility, the recovery I seek probably is not in the cards, especially if I continue to do it my way although it has shown me time after time after time and time and time again that I simply cannot do it on my own. Today, enough is enough, and I take the step to at least consider the possibility that something better, stronger and wiser than myself can help me do it. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2015

June 29, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, June 29, 2015

AA Thought for the Day
The program of Alcoholics Anonymous involves a continuous striving for improvement. There can be no long resting period. We must try to work at it all the time. We must continually keep in mind that it is a program not to be measured in years because we never fully reach our goals nor are we ever cured. Our alcoholism is only kept in abeyance by daily living of the program. It is a timeless program in every sense. We live it day by day or, more precisely, moment by moment - now.

Am I always striving for improvement?

Meditation for the Day
Life is all a preparation for something better to come. God has a plan for your life, and it will work out if you try to do His will. God has things planned for you far beyond what you can imagine now. But you must prepare yourself so that you will be ready for the better things to come. Now is the time for discipline and prayer. The time of expression will come later. Life can be flooded through and through with joy and gladness. So prepare yourself for those better things to come.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may prepare myself for better things which God has in store for me. I pray that I may trust God for the future.

Hazelden Foundation

June 29, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Monday, June 29, 2015

Reflection for the Day
Once we surrendered and came to The Program, many of us wondered what we would do with all that time on our hands. All the hours we'd previously spent planning, hiding, alibiing, getting loaded, coming down, getting "well," juggling our accounts - and all the rest - threatened to turn into empty chunks of time that somehow had to be filled. We needed new energy previously absorbed by our addictions. We soon realized that substituting a new and different activity is far easier than just stopping the old activity and putting nothing in its place.

Am I redirecting my mind and energy?

Today I Pray
I pray that, once free of the encumbrance of my addiction, I may turn to my Higher Power to discover for me how to fill my time constructively and creatively. May that same Power that makes human paths cross and links certain people to specific situations, lead me along good new roads into good new places.

Today I Will Remember
Happenstance may be more than chance.

Hazelden Foundation

June 29, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Monday, June 29, 2015
To pity distress is a natural human characteristic, except in the case of the poor drunk. The hospitals want no part of him. He brought it on himself and, besides, they need their beds for really sick people. Many doctors won't make a house call if they suspect the patient has been drinking and, when they do, their medication consists for the most part of something to knock him out and keep him quiet. People who spend hours raising funds for the tubercular and the cancerous call a cop when they see a drunk.
God knows the drunk and He also knows human nature, and so He invented AA.
Hazelden Foundation

June 29, 2015 - Rise 'n shine to a Marvelous Monday and a greater new week, folks!


Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 28, 2015 - Ten days that transformer the nation

The New Yorker: June 28, 2015 - Ten Days in June - The New Yorker

June 28, 2015 - What the sports world is Tweeting about marriage equality decision

Outsports: June 28, 2015 - What the sports world is tweeting about same-sex marriage ruling - Outsports

June 28, 2015 - How decades of battles converged on a momentous decision for LGBT equality

Washington Post: June 28, 2015 - Decades of battles converged for momentous decision | The Washington Post

June 28, 2015 - Photos: Six messages to people who don't support marriage equality

The Good Men Project: June 28, 2015 - 6 Messages to People Who Still Don’t Support Marriage Equality -

June 28, 2015 - A gay father on how future LGBT's will perceive the fight for marriage equality

The Good Men Project: June 28, 2015 - A Gay Dad Imagines What Future Kids Will Think About the Struggle for Marriage Equality -

June 28, 2015 - How gun control in the U.S. compares to the rest of the world

The Good Men Project: June 28, 2015 - How US Gun Control Compares to the Rest of the World -

June 28, 2015 - The next fight for LGBT equality: Bias in jobs and housing

New York Times: June 28, 2015 - Next Fight for Gay Rights: Bias in Jobs and Housing - The New York Times

June 28, 2015 - Video: Many see marriage equality as a victory for children, too

New York Times: June 28, 2015 - Video: Many See a Victory for Children, Too - Video - NYTimes.com

June 28, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden

The Serenity Prayer
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

One has to grow up with good talk in order to form the habit of it.
 -- Helen Hayes


Our habits, whatever they may be, were greatly influenced, if not wholly formed, during childhood. We learned our behavior through imitation - imitation of our parents, our siblings, and our peer group. But we need not be stuck in habits that are unhealthy. The choice to create new patterns of behavior is ours to make - every moment, every hour, every day. However, parting with the old pattern in order to make way for the new takes prayer, commitment, and determination.

All of us who share these Steps have broken away from old patterns. We have chosen to leave liquor and pills alone. We may have chosen to leave unhealthy relationships. And we are daily choosing to move beyond our shortcomings. But not every day is a successful one. Our shortcomings have become ingrained. Years of pouting, or lying, or feeling fearful, or overeating, or procrastinating beckon to us; the habit invites itself.

We can find strength from the program and one another to let go of the behavior that stands in the way of today's happiness. And we can find in one another a better, healthier behavior to imitate.

The program is helping me to know there is a better way, every day, to move ahead. I am growing up again amidst the good habits of others and myself.
You are reading from the book:
Each Day a New Beginning by Karen Casey. © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation

June 28, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Sunday, June 28, 2015

Today ..."having had a spiritual awakening." Today, I ask seriously and honestly what "spiritual awakening" means. If I talk the Program's talk but don't walk the walk, I am little more than a dry drunk and have missed one of recovery's most elusive and cherished accomplishments - a fundamental change emotionally and spiritually. If I talk of adherence to service to the Program and other alcoholics who still suffer but beg off because I am too busy to give someone a ride to a meeting, my talk about being in service is little more than self-righteous, self-serving, sanctimonious ego-blowing. Today, I need to ask if I have truly undergone the basic requirement of a spiritual awakening - a fundamental change in attitude, perspective and spirituality. And if I conclude that I have not, it's back to the basics of the Program. Today if I only talk the talk, let me walk the walk with my Higher Power. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2015

June 28, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, June 28, 2015

AA Thought for the Day
You can prove to yourself that life is basically and fundamentally an inner attitude. Just try to remember what troubled you most a week ago. You probably will find it difficult to remember. Why then, should you unduly worry or fret over the problems that arise today? Your attitude toward them can be changed by putting yourself and your problems in God's hands and trusting Him to see that everything will turn out all right, provided you are trying to do the right thing. Your changed mental attitude toward your problems relieves you of their burden and you can face them without fear.

Has my mental attitude changed?

Meditation for the Day
You cannot see the future. It's a blessing that you cannot. You could not bear to know all the future. That is why God only reveals it to you day by day. The first step each day is to lay your will before God as an offering, ready for God to do what is best for you. Be sure that, if you trust God, what He does for you will be for the best. The second step is to be confident that God is powerful enough to do anything He wills, and that no miracle in human lives is impossible with Him. Then leave the future to God.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may gladly leave my future in God's hands. I pray that I may be confident that good things will happen, as long as I am on the right path.

Hazelden Foundation

June 28, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Sunday, June 28, 2015

Reflection for the Day
Almost daily, I hear of seemingly mysterious coincidences in the lives of my friends in The Program. From time to time, I've experienced such "coincidences" myself: showing up at the right place at exactly the right time; phoning a friend who, unbeknownst to me, desperately needed that particular phone call at that precise moment; hearing "my story" at an unfamiliar meeting in a strange town. These days, I choose to believe that many of life's so-called "coincidences" are actually small miracles of God, who prefers to remain anonymous.

Am I continuingly grateful for the miracle of my recovery?

Today I Pray
May my awareness of a Higher Power working in our lives grow in sensitivity as I learn, each day, of "coincidences" that defy statistics, illnesses that reverse their prognoses, hair-breadth escapes that defy death, chance meetings that change the course of a life. When the un-understandable happens, may I perceive it as just another of God's frequent miracles. My own death-defying miracle is witness enough for me.

Today I Will Remember
My life is a miracle.

Hazelden Foundation

June 28, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Exactly what is AA worth to you? Have you ever figured that out? Make a written list sometime of the benefits you have derived from your sobriety. Try hard to make an honest evaluation of what it would be worth to you in dollars and cents. How much have you benefited mentally, spiritually, physically, financially, socially?
Then make another list - how much has AA benefited by your membership? Are you trying to give as much as you have received? If not, you are getting something for nothing and that isn't honest. You can never square the debt, but you can probably give it a little better try than you have been doing.
Hazelden Foundation

June 28, 2015 - Good morning and welcome to what will be a Super Sunday, folks!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 27, 2015 - Former pastor reneges on threat to set himself on fire if gay marriage approved

Huffington Post: June 27, 2015 - Ex-Pastor Says He Wasn't Going To Set Self On Fire Over Gay Marriage

June 27, 2015 - Why the four dissenting Supreme Court justices rejected marriage equality

Advocate: June 27, 2015 - Why These Four Justices Rejected Marriage Equality | Advocate.com

June 27, 2015 - Kennedy emerges as judicial champion of LGBT rights

Washington Post: June 27, 2015 - Kennedy emerges as judicial champion of gay rights - The Washington Post

June 27, 2015 - Texas minister sets himself ablaze and dies to inspire justice for blacks and gays

Washington Post: June 27, 2015 - A Texas minister set himself on fire and died to ‘inspire’ justice - The Washington Post

June 27, 2015 - Here's how justices went in making marriage equality a federal right

New York Times: June 27, 2015 - Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide - The New York Times

June 27, 2015 - Gay culture's outsider element fades as right to marriage becomes law

New York Times: June 27, 2015 - Gay Culture’s Outsider Element Fades as Marriage Rights Arrive - The New York Times

June 27, 2015 - Conservative lawmakers and faith groups seek exemptions after marriage equality ruling

New York Times: June 27, 2015 - Conservative Lawmakers and Faith Groups Seek Exemptions After Same-Sex Ruling - The New York Times

June 27, 2015 - Jubilation and weddings, but also confusion, delay and denunciation

New York Times: June 27, 2015 - Jubilation and Weddings, but Also Confusion, Delay and Denunciation - The New York Times

June 27, 2015 - Republican presidential candidates assail marriage equality ruling

New York Times: June 27, 2015 - G.O.P. Hopefuls Denounce Marriage Equality Ruling - The New York Times

June 27, 2015 - Editorial: A profound ruling delivers justice for marriage equality

New York Times: June 27, 2015 - Editorial: A Profound Ruling Delivers Justice on Gay Marriage - The New York Times

June 27, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden

Saturday, June 27, 2015
Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Separateness
... put our efforts where we can succeed.

The appeal of a "fix" tempts us. One day we dream, "If only I had a different job my life would be happy, or if only I had a different house." Perhaps we even dream of having a different partner. When we waste so much precious energy on trying to change something or someone outside ourselves, we usually end up alone, unhappy, or exhausted. It takes great effort and a long time to develop what we truly seek: love, self-acceptance, honesty, and peace of mind.

Fixing or changing our partner might appeal on the surface, but why not put our efforts where we can succeed? What can we change? Ourselves - by becoming less critical we build our honesty and self-worth.
Do I block my own growth when I focus on someone else's action?
You are reading from the book:
The More We Find in Each Other by Merle Fossum and Mavis Fossum. © 1992 by Hazelden Foundation

June 27, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." - Step Four

"If we have been thorough about our personal inventory, we have written down a lot. We have listed and analyzed our resentments. We have begun to comprehend their futility and their fatality. We have commenced to see their terrible destructiveness. We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies ...We have listed the people we have hurt by our conduct, and are willing to straighten out the past if we can." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 5 ("How It Works"), p 70.

Today, if the Fourth I took yesterday is not "a lot," chances are I have not been thorough. More likely, I have been dishonest by not accepting responsibility for damage I inflicted or by seeing myself as I hope instead of how I am. But putting to paper our misdeeds and injury to others is not sufficient; we are asked to perceive our defects as futile and fatal and begin to understand their damage. Further, we are compelled to begin learning "tolerance, patience and good will toward all men ..." and become willing to undo the damage. If I not been moved to understand all this, the Fourth I took yesterday may have been premature or dishonest. Today, I seek the courage and understanding to do Step Four as it is intended. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2015

June 27, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Saturday, June 27, 2015

AA Thought for the Day
If you can take your troubles as they come, if you can maintain your calm and composure amid pressing duties and unending engagements, if you can rise above the distressing and disturbing circumstances in which you are set down, you have discovered a priceless secret of daily living. Even if you are forced to go through life weighed down by some inescapable misfortune or handicap and yet live each day as it comes with poise and peace of mind, you have succeeded where most people have failed. You have wrought a greater achievement than a person who rules a nation.

Have I achieved poise and peace of mind?

Meditation for the Day
Take a blessing with you wherever you go. You have been blessed, so bless others. Such stores of blessings are awaiting you in the months and years that lie ahead. Pass on your blessings. Blessing can and does go around the world, passed on from one person to another. Shed a little blessing in the heart of one person. That person is cheered to pass it on, and so, God's vitalizing, joy-giving message travels on. Be a transmitter of God's blessings.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may pass on my blessings. I pray that they may flow into the lives of others.

Hazelden Foundation

June 27, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Saturday, June 27, 2015

Reflection for the Day
Little by little, I'm getting over my tendency to procrastinate. I always used to put things off till tomorrow and, of course, they never got done. Instead of, "Do it now," my motto was, "Tomorrow's another day." When I was loaded, I had grandiose plans; when I came down, I was too busy getting "well" to start anything. I've learned in The Program that it's far better to make a mistake once in a while than to never do anything at all.

Am I learning to do it now?

Today I Pray
May God help me cure my habitual tardiness and "get me to the church on time." May I free myself of the self-imposed chaos of life-long procrastination; library books overdue, appointments half-missed, assignments turned in late, schedules unmet, meals half-cooked. May I be sure if I, as an addict, led a disordered life, I, as a recovering addict, need order. May God give me the serenity to restore order and organization to my daily living.

Today I Will Remember
I will not be put off by my tendency to put off.

Hazelden Foundation