Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dec. 2, 2010 - Just for Today

Just for Today
Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010

" ...Step Ten ...suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear ...We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 6 ("Into Action"), p 84.

Just for today, if it is true that a slip or relapse are preceded by thoughts that are mostly subconscious, a more diligent practice of Step 10 might be a refuge from a return to drinking. The 10th Step, the logical "maintenance" of the Fourth, could alert us to problems in our physical, emotional and spiritual conditions, and those conditions may well have been those that led us to drinking in the first place. The importance of the 10th cannot be under-estimated; it compels us to continue taking the Fourth Step on a daily basis, and do it honestly and diligently. With that honesty and diligence, we may find in the 10th some of the defects we acknowledged in our Fourth Step. By recognizing them before they reach the surface, we might be able to fight off the potential slip or relapse. At the same time, if we make conscious those thoughts that are otherwise subconscious but cave in to temptation or craving anyway, we most likely have not fully embraced the very First Step - "Admitted we were powerless ..." Today, I choose not to neglect my 10th Step. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2010

Dec. 2, 2010 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Developing ourselves
We must realize in our hearts that we are becoming better people. We do this by using our highest standards and making our best efforts. We do this, in part, by turning our lives over to God, who will guide us if we sincerely ask.

As we develop, we find we're offering much more to life than just avoiding mood-altering drugs. We are coming to love others and to help them by thinking, feeling, and behaving maturely in all situations.

Am I developing into a better person?

Higher Power, help me realize that my new life is not just about changing my past but about developing my future as well.

From the book:
Day by Day - Second Edition by Anonymous

Dec. 2, 2010 - AA Thought for the Day

AA Thought for the Day
(courtesy AAOnline.net)

Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010

Merry-go-round
I began to feel like a clown juggling too many balls.
Each ball represented a problem I was keeping up in the air.
My arms were weary and I knew I couldn't keep on much longer,
but I was not about to give up. My pride and ego wouldn't let me.
Bosses, judges, co-workers, lawyers, car notes, bar tabs, loan sharks,
utility payments, landlords, my girlfriend, people I had double-crossed --
I looked to all these as the source of my problems,
while overlooking the most basic problem: my drinking and myself.
I'd known for a long time that I desperately wanted off this merry-go-round,
but I had no idea how to do it.
- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 506

Thought to Ponder ...
The solution is simple. The solution is spiritual.

AA-related 'Alconym' ...
H O W = Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness

Dec. 2, 2010 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010

AA Thought for the Day
The thoughts that come before having a slip seem to be partly subconscious. And yet it is likely that at least part of these thoughts get into our consciousness. An idle thought connected with drinking casually pops into our mind. That is the crucial moment. Will I harbor that thought even for one minute or will I banish it from my mind at once? If I let it stay, it may develop into a daydream. I may begin to see a cool glass of beer or a Manhattan cocktail in my mind's eye. If I allow the daydream to stay in my mind, it may lead to a decision, however unconscious, to take a drink. Then I am headed for a slip.

Do I let myself daydream?

Meditation for the Day
Many of us have a sort of vision of the kind of person God wants us to be. We must be true to that vision, whatever it is, and we must try to live up to it, by living the way we believe we should live. We can all believe that God has a vision of what he wants us to be like. In all people there is the good person which God sees in us, the person we could be and that God would like us to be. But many a person fails to fulfill that promise and God's disappointments must be many.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may strive to be the kind of a person that God would have me be. I pray that I may try to fulfill God's vision of what I could be.

Hazelden Foundation

Dec. 2, 2010 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010

Reflection for the Day
Once at a meeting held in a church, I saw a stained glass window on which was written, "God Is Love." For some reason, my mind transposed the words into, "Love Is God." Either way is correct and true, I realized, looking about me and becoming even more conscious of the spirit of love and Power in the small meeting room. I'll continue to seek out that love and Power, following The Program as if my life depended upon it - as indeed it does.

Does life to me today mean living - in the active sense - joyously and comfortably?

Today I Pray
May I feel the spirit of love that gives our prayers their energy. May I feel the oneness in this room, the concentration of love that gives the group its power. May I feel the exemplary love of a Higher Power, which our love echoes.

Today I Will Remember
Love is God.

Hazelden Foundation

Dec. 2, 2010 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010

Fires, floods and epidemics are nobody's business - they are everybody's business. Alcoholism is equally devastating and just as much a community catastrophe.

We in AA are unique in that we are trained veterans in the art of combating this disease. Its prevalence demands the complete cooperation of every qualified man or woman, and we are guilty of dereliction of duty and lacking in gratitude to the Grace of God that saved us, if we do anything less than our utmost.

Hazelden Foundation

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dec. 1, 2010 - Just for Today

Just for Today
Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010

"Pity me the heart that is slow to learn
What the quick mind sees at every turn." - Edna St. Vincent Millay

"For a while ...we can endure the intellect's being ahead of the emotions, which is the import of Millay's couplet. But as the years go by, the stretch becomes unbearable; and the man with the grown-up brain and the childish emotions - vanity, self-interest, false pride, jealousy, longing for social approval - becomes a prime candidate for alcohol. ...(T)hat is a definition of alcoholism: a state of being in which the emotions have failed to grow to the stature of the intellect." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, "They Lost Nearly All," Ch 11 ("He Who Loses His Life"), pp 534-35.

Just for today, let me consider that my alcoholism should not and cannot be sent into remission by intellectual strategies and that I must measure - honestly measure - my emotional condition. Without a reservoir of healthy emotions, the quality of my sobriety will likely be little more than my being a dry drunk. Accepting that alcohol is "but a symptom" of our underlying condition, as founders of the Program write, we are compelled to seek sobriety by doing more than abstaining. If today the number of 24 Hours since my last drink totals months or even years, a measure of the quality of my sobriety may be in asking if I still harbor the emotions that I felt when I was drinking. If so, I probably need to review refine my Program. Sobriety is more than not drinking. It promises physical, spiritual and emotional recovery, and the 12 Steps give us a road map to recovery. Today, I need to look honestly at my emotional affairs. I've already tried the intellectual route. It got me nowhere. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2010

Dec. 1, 2010 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

There is an end to grief if we have the courage to accept our personal goodness and our ongoing right to happiness.
-- Justin Langley

Making peace with our losses takes time and trust. In the past, we may have acted in ways that were heartbreaking to ourselves and others. But now we have a new choice; we can walk the road of self-forgiveness and stop punishing ourselves for past deeds, or we can decide that we don't deserve to feel good, that clinging to our pain, guilt, and self-loathing will somehow make up for some of the damage.

Believing our wrongs are too great to be righted leaves us in a perpetual state of mourning. It's a risk, but we can choose to believe that change is possible, not all at once but slowly, one day at a time.

Believing that God loves us and wants us to be happy gives us the courage to make amends and face our past head on. When we take the leap of faith necessary to grieve and let go of the past, we take back our best selves, and the lives we were meant to live.

Today give me the strength and the courage to grieve my losses.

From the book:
Body, Mind, and Spirit by Anonymous

Dec. 1. 2010 - AA Thought for the Day

AA Thought for the Day
(courtesy AAOnline.net)

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010

Step Twelve
When the Twelfth Step is seen in its full implication,
it is really talking about the kind of love that has no price tag on it.
- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 106

Thought to Ponder ...
Life will take on new meaning.

AA-related 'Alconym' ...
H O P E = Help Open People's Eyes.

Dec. 1, 2010 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010

AA Thought for the Day
The thoughts that come before having a slip are often largely subconscious. It is a question whether or not our subconscious minds ever become entirely free from alcoholic thoughts as long as we live. For instance, some of us dream about being drunk when we are asleep, even after several years of sobriety in AA. During the period of our drinking days, our subconscious minds have been thoroughly conditioned by our alcoholic way of thinking and it is doubtful if they ever become entirely free of such thoughts during our lifetime. But when our conscious minds are fully conditioned against drinking, we can stay sober and our subconscious minds do not often bother us.

Am I still conditioning my conscious mind?

Meditation for the Day
Having sympathy and compassion for all who are in temptation, a condition which we are sometimes in, we have a responsibility towards them. Sympathy always includes responsibility. Pity is useless because it does not have a remedy for the need. But wherever our sympathy goes, our responsibility goes, too. When we are moved with compassion, we should go to the one in need and bind up his wounds as best we can.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may have sympathy for those in temptation. I pray that I may have compassion for others' trials.

Hazelden Foundation

Dec. 1, 2010 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010

Reflection for the Day
It has truly been said that, "We become what we do." It's emphasized to us over and over in The Program that our thoughts and actions toward others color and shape our spiritual lives. Words and acts of kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness and forgiveness serve to strengthen those qualities within us that heighten our consciousness of God's love.

In asking God to direct and guide my life, am I also asking love to take over and lead me where it will?

Today I Pray
May I make a resolute attempt at acting out the way I want to be - loving, forgiving, kind, thoughtful. May I be aware that each small, attentive act carries with it an echo of God's all-caring. For God so loved the world; may we make His love our example.

Today I Will Remember
We become what we do.

Hazelden Foundation

Dec. 1, 2010 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010

There will always be a difference of opinion as long as people have different interests, different prejudices and different mental capacities.

To expect people to disagree with you is only sensible and reasonable. If everybody agreed with you, everybody would be as smart as you and you wouldn't like that for a minute. The chances are you are both wrong anyhow, or you would not be required to defend your opinions. The right can defend itself without your help.

Hazelden Foundation

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nov. 30, 2010 - Just for Today

Just for Today
Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010

Just for today, understanding that a "substitute" chemical to replace alcohol that alters my perception of reality is not working toward recovery from an addictive personality, grant me the wisdom to also understand that "mind- and mood-altering chemicals" may not necessarily include prescribed medications. If depression continues to be a condition even in sobriety, for example, let me listen to reasons why anti-depressants may not compromise my sobriety but may even improve its quality. The debate in AA and other 12-Step groups that any substance which affects my mood is as old as the Program itself. But the Program admits that it is not a medical one, and that tells me it is my responsibility to seek out the knowledge from sources that may be more qualified than me to determine if my sobriety is at risk. Today, understanding that the substances I ingested are not the same as prescribed medications, let me also consider the possibility that acting as my own physican may be my writing my own relapse somewhere down the road. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2010

Nov. 30, 2010 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

An inspiring book, a caring friend, a moment of silence - all can offer the guidance we seek.

We are learning to seek guidance on how to handle the serious circumstances of our lives. We used to feel we had to figure out everything for ourselves. What a gift it is to seek suggestions from friends we can trust. And hearing others tell how a line in a book gave them a needed answer has become a valuable tool too.

Relying on the silence for our answers, we are less certain at first. We can't always tell if it's our ego directing us rather than our Higher Power. The important thing is that we are looking for help. We are no longer blocked by our need to be self-reliant in all matters.

Guidance is always available. We simply have to know where to look and be willing to hear.

I will look at my problems today as opportunities for intimacy with other people. Problems will free me from isolation.

From the book:
A Life of My Own by Karen Casey

Nov. 30, 2010 - AA Thought for the Day

AA Thought for the Day
(courtesy AAOnline.net)

Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010

Evidence
My abuse of alcohol was the exterior manifestation of a disease
much more complex and consuming than simple drunkenness, and similarly,
my abstinence is the exterior manifestation of a wellness
much more rewarding than simple sobriety.
The most convincing evidence I have today that I'm an alcoholic
is not how much or how long I drank, nor how drunk I got;
the most convincing evidence I have is that AA is working for me.
- Thank You For Sharing, p. 181

Thought to Ponder ...
If you think you are an alcoholic, chances are you are.

AA-related 'Alconym' ...
T H I N K = Thank Heavens I Now Know.

Nov. 30, 2010 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010

AA Thought for the Day
We have slips in AA. It has been said these are not slips but premeditated drunks, because we have to think about taking a drink before we actually take one. The thought always comes before the act. It is suggested that people should always get in touch with an AA before taking that first drink. The failure to do so makes it probable that they had decided to take the drink anyway. And yet the thoughts that come before taking a drink are often largely subconscious. People usually don't know consciously what made them do it. Therefore, the common practice is to call these things slips.

Am I on guard against wrong thinking?

Meditation for the Day
"The eternal God is thy refuge." He is a sanctuary, a refuge from the cares of life. You can get away from the misunderstanding of others by retiring into your own place of meditation. But from yourself, from your sense of failure, your weakness, your shortcomings, whither can you flee? Only to the eternal God, your refuge, until the immensity of His spirit envelopes your spirit and it loses its smallness and weakness and comes into harmony again with His.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may lose my limitations in the immensity of God's love. I pray that my spirit may be in harmony with His spirit.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 30, 2010 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010

Reflection for the Day
If you're a negative thinker and are not yet ready to do an about-face, here are some guidelines that can keep you miserable for just as long as you wish to remain so. First, don't go to meetings of The Program, especially discussion groups. If you somehow find yourself at a meeting, keep your mouth shut, your hands in your pockets and your mind closed. Don't try to solve any of your problems, never laugh at yourself and don't trust the other people in The Program. Above all, under no conditions should you try to live in the Now.

Am I aware that negative thinking means taking myself deadly serious at all times, leaving no time for laughter - and for living?

Today I Pray
If I am feeling negative, may I check myself in the mirror that is the group for any symptoms of a closed mind; tight lips, forced smile, set jaw, straight-ahead glance - and not a glimmer of humor. God, grant me the ability to laugh at myself - often - for I need that laughter to cope with the everyday commotion of living.

Today I Will Remember
To laugh at myself.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 30, 2010 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010

Many who are active in AA work come to feel that they just can't carry on any longer. There is so much to do; so little time can be spared to do it; so few to do the work. There is a limit to their endurance. After all, a guy has just so much health, strength and patience.

When the burdens get too heavy and too numerous, take it up with the Big Boss, tell Him you like to do His work but that it is more than you can handle - ask Him for more help - and you'll get it.

Hazelden Foundation

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nov. 29, 2010 - Just for Today

Just for Today
Monday, Nov. 29, 2010

Just for today, if my candle is burning at both ends with responsibilities, obligations and expections that have been entrusted to me since I started following the Program, I will not complain or seek adulation and, instead, will seek gratitude and humility that I now am trusted and can carry out what is asked and expected of me. But if I feel overwhelmed at times, I can fall back on the Program's edicts to prioritize and take "First Things First." The first thing is sobriety and, without it, there is literally nothing. With it, there is literally everything. The benefits sobriety bring to me include service to the sufferer who needs to hear the Program's message, and I should not shirk or complain about being in service. Not only does what I contribute to another soul strengthen my own against a possible slip or relapse, I need only to remember the days when I was drunk literally 24/7 and ask if those days were better than now when I have been given the gift to be of some greater good. Today, my yesterdays are nowhere better than now, and now is where I will stay without complaining, without seeking recognition and instead asking in humility what His will is for me and the power to carry it out. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2010

Nov. 29, 2010 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Monday, Nov. 29, 2010
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Fill up your life.

One of the good things about the blues is their power to make me feel better. No matter how bad it gets in my little world, I can be pretty sure that B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, or Stevie Ray Vaughn has seen worse. Sometimes, it just feels good to vocalize all those bad feelings.

Bad things happen in life. Sometimes they are small annoyances; sometimes they are the major grief mongers. What matters is not what happens to us, but how we react to it. He left you. That is a fact. Now after you get done with the quart of rocky road that you are drowning your sorrows in, what are you going to do about it? You can sit around and complain to your friends about how unfair life is, or you can get up, put the empty bowl in the dishwasher, and go fill up your life.

Feelings are one of the blessings of being human. All of them. Sometimes we feel good; sometimes we feel bad. Take some time. Take some energy and be upset. Be aware of the feeling of being upset. But then get up, go out, and make positive use of your life.

God, help me put to positive use all of the feelings in my life.

From the book:
More Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

Nov. 29, 2010 - AA Thought for the Day

AA Thought for the Day
(courtesy AAOnline.net)

Monday, Nov. 29, 2010

Contact
Almost any experienced AA will tell how his affairs have taken remarkable
and unexpected turns for the better
as he tried to improve his conscious contact with God.
He will also report that out of every season of grief or suffering,
when the hand of God seemed heavy or unjust,
new lessons for living were learned, new resources for courage were uncovered,
and that finally, inescapably, the conviction
that God does "move in a mysterious way His wonders to perform."
- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pp. 104-105

Thought to Ponder ...
God enters us through our wounds.

AA-related 'Alconym' ...
G I F T = God Is Forever There.

Nov. 29, 2010 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, Nov. 29, 2010

AA Thought for the Day
The AA way is the way of sobriety, and yet there are slips. Why do these slips occur? Why don't we all accept AA and stay sober from then on? There are many reasons, but it has been proved without exception that once we have become alcoholics, we can never drink successfully again. This has never been disproved by any case we know of. Many alcoholics have tried drinking after a period of sobriety from a few days to a few years, and no one that we know of has been successful in becoming a normal drinker.

Meditation for the Day
"We are gathered together in Thy name." First, we are gathered together, bound by a common loyalty to God and to each other. Then, when this condition has been fulfilled, God is present with us. Then, when God is there and one with us, we voice a common prayer. Then it follows that our prayer will be answered according to God's will. Then, when our prayer is answered, we are bound together in a lasting fellowship of the spirit.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may be loyal to God and to others. I pray that my life today may be lived close to His and to theirs.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 29, 2010 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Monday, Nov. 29, 2010

Reflection for the Day
Contrary to what some people think, our slogan "Let Go and Let God" isn't an expression of apathy, an attitude of defeatism or an unwillingness to accept responsibility. Those who turn their backs on their problems are not "letting go and letting God" but, instead, are abandoning their commitment to act on God's inspiration and guidance. They neither ask for nor expect help; they want God to do it all.

In seeking God's guidance, do I realize that the ultimate responsibility is mine?

Today I Pray
May I not allow myself to be lazy just because I think God is going to do everything anyway. (Such apathy reminds me of my old powerless self, the one that moaned that the world was going up in smoke, civilization was going down the drain and there wasn't a thing I could do about it.) Neither may I use "letting God" do it as an excuse for shrugging off my problems without even trying. May God be my inspiration; may I be an instrument of God.

Today I Will Remember
God guides those who help themselves.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 29, 2010 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Monday, Nov. 29, 2010

We find in life exactly what we are looking for. In your drinking days, you courted trouble constantly and you probably found more than your share of it.

Today we are looking for a better way of life and this, too, we find at every turn.

We get what we want if we put forth sufficient effort to look for it, if we have the ability to recognize it when we see it, and the tenacity to hold on to it when once we grasp it.

Hazelden Foundation

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nov. 28, 2010 - Just for Today

Just for Today
Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010

" ...(W)e launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.
"Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory. This was Step Four." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, Ch 5 ("How It Works"), pp 64-5.

Just for today, the "vigorous action" of the Fourth Step cannot and should not be associated with a vigorous schedule, that is, we should not expect a thoroughly honest moral inventory to be done in one sitting. In our impatience or zeal to get to the Promises of the Program, we risk skirting the depth of some Steps, and the Fourth is vulnerable. But without depth and absolute honesty, and neglecting to come to terms with some issues identified in the Fourth Step, the integrity and effectiveness of subsequent Steps may be less than what they could and should be. I am required to submit to Step Fourth, yes, and honestly assess both my character defects and moral attributes. But I should not expect that I can honestly compile a thorough list in one sitting, particularly when identifying the "causes and conditions" of which alcohol was "but a symptom." After all, those defects will likely still be there tomorrow if I need a break today from the "vigorous action" that the Fourth requires. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2010

Nov. 28, 2010 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.
--Mother Teresa

Our spiritual nature must be nurtured. Prayer and meditation lovingly kindle the flame that guides us from within. Because we're human, we often let the flame flicker and perhaps go out. And then we sense the dreaded aloneness. Fortunately, some time away, perhaps even a few moments in quiet communion with God, rekindles the flame.

For most of us, the flame burned low, or not at all, for many years. The flickering we may feel today, or tomorrow, or felt yesterday, will not last, so we may put away our fears. We can listen to the voice of our higher power in others. We can listen, too, as we carry the message. Prayer surrounds us every moment. We can fuel our inner flame with the messages received from others. We can let our spirit spring forth; let it warm our hearts and the hearts of others.

We each have a friend whose flame may be flickering today. I will help my friend and thus myself. A steady flame can rekindle one that's flickering.

From the book:
Each Day a New Beginning by Karen Casey

Nov. 28, 2010 - AA Thought for the Day

AA Thought for the Day
(courtesy AAOnline.net

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010

Singleness of Purpose
. . . our Society has concluded that it has but one high mission
-- to carry the AA message to those who don't know there's a way out.
- As Bill Sees It, p. 160

Thought to Ponder ...
Our primary purpose is to stay sober
and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

AA-related 'Alconym' ...
H E A R T = Healing, Enjoying, And Recovering Together.

Nov. 28, 2010 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010

AA Thought for the Day
The AA way is the way of sobriety. AA is known everywhere as a method that has been successful with alcoholics. Doctors, psychiatrists and clergymen have had some success. Some men and women have got sober all by themselves. We believe that AA is the most successful and happiest way to sobriety. And yet AA is, of course, not wholly successful. Some are unable to achieve sobriety and some slip back into alcoholism after they have had some measure of sobriety.

Am I deeply grateful to have found AA?

Meditation for the Day
Gratitude to God is the theme of Thanksgiving Day. The pilgrims gathered to give thanks to God for their harvest which was pitifully small. When we look around at all the things we have today, how can we help being grateful to God? Our families, our homes, our friends, our AA fellowship: all these things are free gifts of God to us. "But for the grace of God," we would not have them.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may be very grateful today, I pray that I may not forget where I might be but for the grace of God.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 28, 2010 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010

Reflection for the Day
Our faith in God's power - at work in us and in our lives - doesn't relieve us of responsibility. Instead, our faith strengthens our efforts, makes us confident and assured, and enables us to act decisively and wisely. We're no longer afraid to make decisions; we're not afraid to take the steps that seem called for in the proper handling of giving situations.

Do I believe that God is at work beyond my human efforts, and that my faith and trust in Him will bring forth results far exceeding my expectations?

Today I Pray
May my trust in my Higher Power never falter. May my faith in that Power continue to shore up my optimism, my confidence, my belief in my own decision-making. May I never shut my eyes to the wonder of God's work or discount the wisdom of His solutions.

Today I Will Remember
Our hope in ages past, our help for years to come.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 28, 2010 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010

Knowledge is of great value, and nothing of value is acquired without price. Wisdom is even more to be desired than knowledge, which can be but an accumulation of facts. Humility is greater than wisdom for there is no real wisdom without humility. The wise are humbled by the knowledge of the limitations of their knowledge.

No man is born with these characteristics, they are born of the vicissitudes of life. Sorrow, despair and failure are their breeding grounds.

Hazelden Foundation

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nov. 27, 2010 - Just for Today

Just for Today
Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010

"There may be some wrongs we can never fully right. We don't worry about them if we can honestly say to ourselves that we would right them if we could. Some people cannot be seen - we send them an honest letter. And there may be a valid reason for postponement in some cases. But we don't delay if it can be avoided. We should be sensible, tactful, considerate and humble without being servile or scraping." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 6 ("Into Action"), p 83.

Just for today, I cannot nor should worry or take on guilt if I determine in absolute honesty that making an amend to someone I have hurt will further injure them or anyone else. This is a vital qualifier of the Ninth Step - that we make amends directly "except when to do so would injure them or others." This qualification does not excuse me from making amends or accepting responsibility, however. It may be possible that making an amend needs to be postponed if an immediate amend would inflict harm. It is just as possible that I can never make amends to someone if that person cannot be found or is no longer available. In either case, if for no one than myself, I can make "indirect" amends by admitting my wrong in writing, in a private journal even if no one else will ever read it. In doing that, I am at least giving voice to a silent wrong. The benefit could be that the guilt or fear of being "caught" are disempowered because I have acknowledged my culpability and responsibility. If today I take the Ninth Step, I must temper my "confession" with the qualification that an act of atonement now could do what the Ninth warns against - inflicting further hurt. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2010

Nov. 27, 2010 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you.
--Madeline Bridges

Sometimes we feel lazy or bored, and then we don't do our best work. Perhaps we are daydreaming instead of listening closely to what a friend is trying to tell us. When we are not really paying attention to our activities or the people around us, we'll likely miss out on something important because we do receive in equal measure what we give. And this truth works in every aspect of our lives.

When we treat our friends, our families, even people we don't know well with kindness, we'll experience kindness in return. Our own actions and attitudes toward others are what we can expect from others as well.

From the book:
Today's Gift by Anonymous

Nov. 27, 2010 - AA Thought for the Day

AA Thought for the Day
(courtesy AAOnline.net)

Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010

Living Sober
Somewhat to our surprise, staying sober turns out not to be the grim,
wet-blanket experience we had expected!
While we were drinking, a life without alcohol seemed like no life at all.
But for most members of AA, living sober is really living -- a joyous experience.
We much prefer it to the troubles we had with drinking.
One more note: anyone can get sober. We have done it lots of times.
The trick is to stay and live sober.
- Living Sober, Preface

Thought to Ponder ...
The joy is in the journey, so enjoy the ride.

AA-related 'Alconym' ...
A A = Always Alive.

Nov. 27, 2010 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010

AA Thought for the Day
The way of AA is the way of sobriety, fellowship, service and faith. Let us take up each one of these things and see if our feet are truly on the way. The first and greatest to us is sobriety. The others are built on sobriety as a foundation. We could not have the others if we did not have sobriety. We all come to AA to get sober, and we stay to help others get sober. We are looking for sobriety first, last and all the time. We cannot build any decent kind of a life unless we stay sober.

Am I on the AA way?

Meditation for the Day
To truly desire to do God's will, therein lies happiness for a human being. We start out wanting our own way. We want our wills to be satisfied. We take and we do not give. Gradually we find that we are not happy when we are selfish, so we begin to make allowances for other peoples' wills. But this again does not give us full happiness, and we begin to see that the only way to be truly happy is to try to do God's will. In these times of meditation, we seek to get guidance so that we can find God's will for us.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may subordinate my will to the will of God. I pray that I may be guided today to find His will for me.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 27, 2010 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010

Reflection for the Day
The Program shows us how to transform the pipe-dream of our pasts into reality and a true sense of purpose, together with a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives. It's alright to keep our head in the clouds with Him, we're taught, but our feet should remain firmly planted here on earth. Here's where other people are; here's where our work must be accomplished.

Do I see anything incompatible between spirituality and a useful life in the here and now?

Today I Pray
May my new "reality" include not only the nuts and bolts and pots and pans of daily living, but also my spiritual reality, my growing knowledge of the presence of God. May this new reality have room, too, for my dreams - not the drug-induced, mind-drifting fantasies of the past or the remnants of my delusions - but the products of a healthy imagination. May I respect these dreams, anchor them in earth's possibilities and turn them into useful creativity.

Today I Will Remember
Heaven has a place in the here-and-now.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 27, 2010 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010

Sorrow and happiness are mental states, but the effect they have upon our nervous system and our blood pressure is a recognized fact.

The "Atmosphere" of a hospital and its staff can lengthen or shorten the duration of an illness.

We alcoholics spent years driving nails into our coffins; let us spend today drawing those nails out.

Hazelden Foundation

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nov. 26, 2010 - Just for Today

Just for Today
Friday, Nov. 26, 2010

"Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be. It may mean the loss of many nights' sleep, great interference with your pleasures, interruptions to your business. It may mean sharing your money and your home, counseling frantic (spouses) and relatives, innumerable trips to police courts, sanitariums, hospitals, jails and asylums. Your telephone may jangle at any time of the day or night. ...A drunk may smash the furniture in your home, or burn a mattress. You may have to fight with him if he is violent. Sometimes you will have to call a doctor and administer sedatives under his direction." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 7 ("Working With Others"), p 97.

Just for today, just as I was responsible for the consequences of my drinking, so I am also responsible to the benefits of my sobriety and recovery. Both sobriety and recovery are a gift, and both require nurturing and work to grow. "(T)he foundation stone of ...recovery" is helping others, that is 12th-stepping by carrying the message and hope of sobriety to others who need to receive it. But in our 12th Step work, we must understand that we are also required to stress individual obligation to the gift that we receive in the Program, that the gift is neither a right nor given without responsibility to it. The work of the truly effective and committed 12th-stepper is seldom limited to just talking to someone who reaches out for help. But the work to carry the message and in the process holding onto it ourselves is nowhere near the work needed to get and stay drunk. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2010

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 26, 2010 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Friday, Nov. 26, 2010
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

You start preparing when you're thirty for the person you'll be at eighty.
--Janice Clark

We can't get away from ourselves, at least not entirely. Who we were at ten and twenty and forty and fifty remain as threads in our tapestries. Many of us shudder because some details of our personal panorama weren't so very pretty. But that's the way life is. We are what we are. And yet, we have examples of favorable changes, too. How we were never kept us from becoming who we wanted to be. This truth continues to reign in our lives.

We all know women and men who continue to be enthused about even the tiny happenings in the passing of a day. A bird's flight from the porch to a nearby tree to feed its young, the laughter of children passing the house on their way home from school, the family reunions, large or small, bring smiles and memories that comfort. Probably we envy those folks, unless we happen to be them already. In either case, imitating others or serving as their role models helps to strengthen our positive responses to life's details. No matter how old we are, there is still joy to be felt. And there is still time to change and grow.

There is no rule that says I have to be and think and act the same way my whole life. Today is a clean slate. I can be who I want to be.

From the book:
Keepers of the Wisdom by Karen Casey

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 26, 2010 - AA Thought for the Day

AA Thought for the Day
(courtesy AAOnline.net)

Friday, Nov. 26, 2010

Metaphor
I remember when I bought my first Big Book,
I was told by an old timer that "meetings are the icing on the cake,
but the Big Book is the meat in the sandwich."
The AA's who were standing around the literature table that night
all nodded knowingly at this metaphor.
I realize now just how true those words are.
- Thank You For Sharing, p. 193

Thought to Ponder ...
Walk softly and carry a Big Book.

AA-related 'Alconym' ...
B I G B O O K = Believing In God Beats Our Old Knowledge.

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 26, 2010 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Friday, Nov. 26, 2010

AA Thought for the Day
Continuing our thoughts about the rewards that have come to us as a result of our new way of living, we have found we have got rid of many of our fears, resentments, inferiority complexes, negative points of view, self-centeredness, criticism of others, over-sensitiveness, inner conflicts, the habits of procrastination, undisciplined sex, wasting money, boredom, false perfectionism, jealousy and envy of others. We are glad to be rid of our drinking, and we are also very glad to be rid of these other things. We can now go forward in the new way of life, as shown us by AA.

Am I ready to go forward in the new life?

Meditation for the Day
"He that has eyes to see, let him see." To the seeing eye, the world is good. Pray for a seeing eye, to see the purpose of God in everything good. Pray for enough faith to see God's care in His dealings with you. Try to see how He has brought you safely through your past life so that now you can be of use in the world. With the eyes of faith, you can see God's care and purpose everywhere.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may have a seeing eye. I pray that with the eye of faith I may see God's purpose everywhere.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Nov. 26, 2010 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Friday, Nov. 26, 2010

Reflection for the Day
During our first days in The Program, we got rid of alcohol and pills. We had to get rid of our chemicals, for we knew they surely would have killed us. We got rid of the addictive substances, but we couldn't get rid of our addictions until we took further actions. So we also had to learn to toss self-pity, self-justifications, self-righteousness and self-will straight out the window. We had to get off the rickety ladder that supposedly led to money, property and prestige. And we had to take personal responsibility. To gain enough humility and self-respect to stay alive at all, we had to give up our most valued possessions - our ambition and our pride.

Am I well rid of the weights and chains that once bound me?

Today I Pray
May I give credit to my Higher Power not only for removing my addiction, but for teaching me to remove my old demanding, pushy "self" from all my spiritual and earthly relationships. For all the things I have learned and unlearned, for my own faith and for the grace of God, I am fully and heartily thankful.

Today I Will Remember
Gratitude for the grace of God.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Nov. 26, 2010 - The Eye Opener

A Day at a Time
Friday, Nov. 26, 2010

In our drinking days, fear of everything and everybody was our constant companion. These fears continued until we finally, in desperate necessity, found the courage to surrender - to quit unconditionally. Then we found AA and a ray of Hope. Hope became desire, desire became determination. With necessity as our charger and with determination as our lance, we were adequately armed to overcome our despair.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nov. 25, 2010 - Just for Today

Just for Today
Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010

Just for today, when we are taught by tradition to be thankful, let me know that simply voicing gratitude is not sufficient but, additionally, that the measure and extent of that gratitude is reflected in my actions. Today, then, let me not be content with merely saying I am grateful and show me how to express it in my action and behavior as well, that is, to walk the walk while I talk the talk. If today someone for whom I say I am grateful is in need of my time or if I am called upon to make some sacrifice such as missing part of a football game or giving up the holiday dinner dessert, let me be willing to do so without reservation. We are compelled in the 12th Step to put our Program into action by being in service to others even if it might inconvenience us. If today I am called upon to do something that slows or impedes my schedule and I refuse the call, I will fail as an effective 12th-stepper and, later, I will probably regret not answering the call. Today, when we are asked to be thankful, let me go a step further and express my gratitude in more than mere words. And, today, that I am clean and sober in the current 24 Hours is literally everything. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2010

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 25, 2010 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Gratitude
Sometimes in life, things happen too fast. We barely solve one problem when two new problems surface. We're feeling great in the morning, but we're submerged in misery by nightfall.

Every day we face interruptions, delays, changes, and challenges. We face personality conflicts and disappointments. Often when we're feeling overwhelmed, we can't see the lessons in these experiences.

One simple concept can get us through the most stressful of times. It's called gratitude. We learn to say thank you for these problems and feelings. Thank you for the way things are. I don't like this experience, but thank you anyway.

Force gratitude until it becomes habitual. Gratitude helps us stop trying to control outcomes. It is the key that unlocks positive energy in our life. It is the alchemy that turns problems into blessings, and the unexpected into gifts.

Today, I will be grateful. I will start the process of turning today's pain into tomorrow's joy.

From the book:
The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 25, 2010 - AA Thought for the Day

AA Thought for the Day
(courtesy AAOnline.net)

Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010

Gratitude
I am very grateful that my Higher Power has given me
a second chance to live a worthwhile life.
Through AA, I have been restored to sanity.
The promises are being fulfilled in my life.
I am grateful to be free from the slavery of alcohol.
I am grateful for peace of mind and the opportunity to grow. . .
I need to put my gratitude into action today.
- Daily Reflections, p. 154

Thought to Ponder ...
I am grateful for this minute. My eternity may be in it.

AA-related 'Alconym' ...
H J F = Happy, Joyous, Free.

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 25, 2010 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010

AA Thought for the Day
I am not so envious of other people, nor am I so jealous of other people's possessions and talents. When I was drinking, I was secretly full of jealousy and envy of those people who could drink normally, who had the love and respect of their families, who lived a normal life and were accepted as equals by their friends. I pretended to myself that I was as good as they were, but I knew it wasn't so. Now I don't have to be envious any more. I try not to want what I don't deserve. I'm content with what I have earned by my efforts to live the right way. More power to those who have what I have not. At least, I'm trying.

Have I got rid of the poison of envy?

Meditation for the Day
"My soul is restless till it finds its rest in Thee." A river flows on, until it loses itself in the sea. Our spirits long for rest in the Spirit of God. We yearn to realize a peace, a rest, a satisfaction that we have never found in the world or its pursuits. Some are not conscious of their need and shut the doors of their spirits against the spirit of God. They are unable to have true peace.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may feel the divine unrest. I pray that my soul may find its rest in God.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Nov. 25, 2010 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010

Reflection for the Day
"What you have may seem small; you desire so much more. See children thrusting their hands into a narrow-necked jar, striving to pull out the sweets. If they fill the hand, they cannot pull it out and then they fall to tears. When they let go a few, they can draw out the rest. You, too, let your desire go; covet not too much ..." - Epictetus

Let me expect not too much of anyone, particularly myself. Let me learn to settle for less than I wish were possible, and be willing to accept it and appreciate it.

Do I accept gratefully and graciously the good that has already come to me in the Program?

Today I Pray
May I search my soul for those little hankerings of want which may keep me from delighting in all that I have. If I can just teach myself not to want too much, not to expect too much, then when those expectations are not satisfied, I will not be let down. May I accept with grace what the grace of God has provided.

Today I Will Remember
I, alone, can grant myself the "freedom from want."

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 25, 2010 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010

Probably the first permanent benefit we received in AA was received when we undertook a personal inventory of ourselves. Then for the first time our faults were dragged out into the open where we could meet them face to face and endeavor to do something about them.

Had we not recognized these defects, we would never have taken steps to eradicate them. It is dead certain that if we still had them in the same degree, we would not now be sober. It was a definite step toward getting wise to ourselves.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nov. 24, 2010 - Just for Today

Just for Today
Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010

Just for today, or any other day, I cannot place too much significance on how many 24 Hours of sobriety I have, whether it be a single 24 Hours or five years' worth. All of us who follow or practice an AA program have only a day-to-day reprieve from where we once were, and those with years of sobriety are no less protected from a slip or relapse than those whose last drink was yesterday. This is not to say there is no benefit to being sober in terms of months or years; the major benefit is that we may need that long simply to emerge from the alcoholic fog, from the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual damage that we self-inflicted. And this is no overnight journey. But once we emerge from the fog, we may be better equipped to grasp the vision of the Program and start to put it to work. Yet even when we move from being dry to sober and embark on the journey to recovery, we are not insulated from surrendering in one foolish and potentially deadly second to the temptation or craving, or to some emotion we don't want to feel. Today, I might take some limited pride in how many 24 Hours since my last drink. But I cannot risk the folly that it is promised tomorrow. That is why, today, we take everything one thing at a time, one day at a time. And our common journey continues. - Chris M., 2010

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 24, 2010 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

When I hear somebody sigh "Life is hard," I am always tempted to ask, compared to what?
--Sydney J. Harris

We've probably heard all the negative quotations about life. There was also probably a time when we believed them all. Based on the state of our lives at the time, it was probably no surprise that life was difficult and brutal.

Certainly there are many things in life that are harsh and cruel; we see such things in the paper every day. But there are some very wonderful things, too. It's just that we've been conditioned to believe the horrors instead of the wonders.

Today may have been a long, tiring, boring day. But that doesn't mean all days are long, tiring, and boring. There's much good in life that we can see if we let ourselves. We can get off our life-is-difficult soapbox and hear the humor, see the smiles, and feel the caring. Life may be difficult at times, but it is also quite fulfilling.

I need to feel that life is good. Tonight I will consider what event happened today that I can feel good about.

From the book:
Night Light by Amy E. Dean

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 24, 2010 - AA Thought for the Day

AA Thought for the Day
(courtesy AAOnline.net)

Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010

Selfishness
Selfishness -- self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.
Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity,
we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. . .
So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making.
They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example
of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.
Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness.
We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible.
- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 62

Thought to Ponder ...
The smallest package in the world is an alcoholic all wrapped up in himself.

AA-related 'Alconym' ...
B A T H = Behavior, Attitude, Thinking, Habits.

www,friendsofbill.net

Nov. 24, 2010 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010

AA Thought for the Day
Instead of pretending to be perfectionists, in AA we are content if we are making progress. The main thing is to be growing. We realize that perfectionism is only a result of false pride and an excuse to save our faces. In AA, we are willing to make mistakes and to stumble, provided we are always stumbling forward. We are not so interested in what we are as in what we are becoming. We are on the way, not at the goal. And we will be on the way as long as we live. No AA has ever "arrived." But we are getting better.

Am I making progress?

Meditation for the Day
Each new day brings an opportunity to do some little thing that will help to make a better world, that will bring God's kingdom a little nearer to being realized on earth. Take each day's happenings as opportunities for something you can do for God. In that spirit, a blessing will attend all that you do. Offering this day's service to God, you are sharing in His work. You do not have to do great things.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that today I may do the next thing, the unselfish thing, the loving thing. I pray that I may be content with doing small things as long as they are right.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Nov. 24, 2010 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010

Reflection for the Day
Although we came into The Program to deal with a specific problem, we soon became aware that we would find not only freedom from addiction, but feedom to live in the real world without fear and frustration. We learned that the solutions are within ourselves. With the help of my Higher Power, I can enrich my life with comfort, enjoyment and deep-down serenity.

Am I changing from my own worst enemy to my own best friend?

Today I Pray
May I praise my Higher Power for my freedoms - from addiction, from spiritual bankruptcy, from loneliness, from fear, from the seesaw of pride, from despair, from delusions, from shallowness, from doom. I give thanks for the way of life that has given me these freedoms and replaced the empty spaces with extra goodness and peace of mind.

Today I Will Remember
To give thanks for all my freedoms.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Nov. 24, 2010 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010

Every practicing alcoholic is firmly convinced that the Devil has all the good tunes. It was the music we had wanted and the tunes to which we had attuned our ears. His music was louder, more catchy and, to our thinking, was prettier. We suspected, however, that it did not have the soul-satisfying qualities that make good music.

We must learn all over again to train our senses to appreciate those things which are really good and not cheap imitations.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nov. 23, 2010 - Just for Today

Just for Today
Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010

Just for today, may I embrace and respect the virtue of patience and loosen my grip on a character defect that can be as crippling as any other - impatience. Whether I am new to the Program or have worked it for countless 24 Hours, may I understand in expecting too much too soon that recovery requires growth - and growth is not a one-time "event" but an ever-changing dynamic. If today I am tempted or have an impulse to drink or shoot up, grant me the wisdom of patience. I have the 12 Steps at my disposal to overcome a potential relapse and my own history to know where impatience has taken me before. And let me know that the temptation to slip will pass, as all things do. But the temptation will not pass if I feed it. If people in my life do not live up to what I expect of them or in the time I think they should, let me use patience to ask myself if I am unfairly asking anything of someone else and, if not, grant me patience to "allow" others to do what needs to be done in their own time. If something looms for me three weeks in the future, let me not fret over it today or every other today for the next three weeks for I risk igniting other potentially crippling emotions, including anger, resentment and a possible blow-up like a pressure cooker left unattended. Today, let me recognize that impatience can be as deadly a character defect as any other that is "popular" in AA discussion and that I need to respect life evolving on its time schedule, not mine. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2010

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 23, 2010 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

There is no total answer.

Studying and reading are traditional methods of spiritual growth. With a lifelong routine of study each day, a person or couple grows under the guidance of the sages. Civilization exists because each generation builds upon the progress of the past. We do not have to reinvent the wheel.

After we learn from those who have gone before, we may even discover and create beyond the point where they left off. But if we are in a willful, defiant mood, we may say, "I have to find my own way. I don't feel like learning from anyone." Our individualism then becomes a half-truth, silently trapping us in problems that others have found answers to.

There is no total answer - no total freedom - only continued growth. Daily reading, openness to learn from others' encounters with life, and study of how they faced their most challenging spiritual questions will bring us progress.

From the book:
The More We Find In Each Other by Merle Fossum and Mavis Fossum

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 23, 2010 - AA Thought for the Day

AA Thought for the Day
(courtesy AAOnline.net)

Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010

Stopping
I remember telling a friend years ago that I didn't have a drinking problem,
I had a stopping problem. We laughed.
It was true, but there was something else going on,
something that never occurred to me until I came to AA.
I didn't just have a stopping problem. I had a starting problem too.
No matter how often I stopped, or for how long, I always started drinking again.
- Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 372-373

Thought to Ponder ...
I can't start doing what's right until I stop doing what's wrong.

AA-related 'Alconym' ...
S T O P = Start Thinking Of Positives.

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 23, 2010 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010

AA Thought for the Day
I no longer refuse to do anything because I cannot do it to perfection. Many of us alcoholics use the excuse of not being able to do something perfectly to enable us to do nothing at all. We pretend to be perfectionists. We are good at telling people how a thing should be done, but when we come to the effort of doing it ourselves, we balk. We say to ourselves: "I might make a mistake, so I'd better let the whole thing slide." In AA, we set our goals high, but that does not prevent us from trying. The mere fact that we will never fully reach these goals does not prevent us from doing the best we can.

Have I stopped hiding behind the smoke-screen of perfectionism?

Meditation for the Day
"In the world ye shall have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." Keep an undaunted spirit. Keep your spirit free and unconquered. You can be undefeated and untouched by failure and all its power, by letting your spirit overcome the world; rise above earth's turmoil into the secret chamber of perfect peace and confidence. When a challenge comes to you, remember you have God's help and nothing can wholly defeat you.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may have confidence and be of good cheer. I pray that I may not fear the power of failure.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Nov. 23, 2010 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010

Reflection for the Day
Before I came to The Program, I was like an actor who insisted on writing the script, producing, directing and, in short, running the whole show. I had to do it my way, forever trying to arrange and re-arrange the lights, lines, sets and, most of all, the other players' performances. If only my arrangements would stay put, and people would behave as I wished, the show would be fantastic. My self-delusion led me to believe that if they all would just shape up, everything would be fine. Of course, it never worked out that way.

Isn't it amazing how others seem to be "shaping up" now that I've stopped trying to manage everything and everybody?

Today I Pray
May I talk myself out of that old urge to control everything and everybody. Time was, if I couldn't manage directly, I would do it indirectly, through manipulation, secret conferences and asides. May I know that if I am the one who is always pulling the strongs on the marionettes, then I am also the one who feels the frustration when they collapse or slip off the stage.

Today I Will Remember
I can only "shape up" myself.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Nov. 23, 2010 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010

Isn't it strange to note the absence of a lot of our old pre-AA friends over the weekend? We have not offended them, surely, and we are just as good friends as we used to be but, somehow, they don't call on us with the same regularity. The answer is simple - the bar is closed.

Now home is what it should be, and the people who do call do so because they like us and not just to get a drink.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nov. 22, 2010 - Just for Today

Just for Today
Monday, Nov. 22, 2010

Just for today: choices. The ones I am making now can partly measure my progress in the Program and the quality of my sobriety. As a drinking alcoholic, many of my choices were dictated by lying, by fear, by anger, by loneliness, by resentment and by selfishness. As a recoverying alcoholic, the choices I make hopefully are based in truth, logic, without emotion and with a sense of the greater good instead of just my good. My choices then and now, while hopefully made from different perspectives, retain one constant: in the end, there are consequences of my choices and I alone am held responsible to those consequences. Unlike then, however, now I pray for the foresight to see the consequences and, if I see those consequences coming with a responsibility I do not want to be held to, sobriety gives me the freedom to choose wisely. Drinking denied me that freedom; choices then almost always produced consequences that are even now too costly. Today, being sober, I have the freedom of choice, and I pray for the Higher Power's knowledge to make the right choices. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2010

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 22, 2010 - AA Thought for the Day

AA Thought for the Day
(courtesy AAOnline.net)

Monday, Nov. 22, 2010

Security
I am facing the truth that there are no platforms of security in AA.
Because if one tarries on a platform, he leaves the living stream of AA life.
He becomes alone.
And I am remembering that when an alcoholic tries to stay sober alone,
he returns to drink. At least I always did.
- The Best of the Grapevine [Vol. 1], p. 34

Thought to Ponder ...
The alcoholic is in no greater peril than when he takes sobriety for granted.

AA-related 'Alconym' ...
A A = Always Aware.

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 22, 2010 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, Nov. 22, 2010

AA Thought for the Day
I have got rid of most of my boredom. One of the hardest things that a new member of AA has to understand is how to stay sober and not be bored. Drinking was always the answer to all kinds of boring people or boring situations. But once you have taken up the interest of AA, once you have given it your time and enthusiasm, boredom should not be a problem to you. A new life opens up before you that can be always interesting. Sobriety should give you so many new interests in life that you shouldn't have time to be bored.

Have I got rid of the fear of being bored?

Meditation for the Day
"If I have not charity, I am becoming as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal." Charity means to care enough about other people to really want to do something for them. A smile, a word of encouragement, a word of love, goes winged on its way, simple though it may seem, while the mighty words of an orator fall on deaf ears. Use up the odd moments of your day in trying to do some little thing to cheer up another person. Boredom comes from thinking too much about yourself.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that my day may be brightened by some little act of charity. I pray that I may try today to overcome the self-centeredness that makes me bored.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Nov. 22, 2010 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Monday, Nov. 22, 2010

Reflection for the Day
"We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess," wrote de Tocqueville, "but we excel in those which can also make use of our defects." We learn in The Program that our defects do have value - to the extent that we use them as the starting point for change and the pathway to better things. Fear can be a stepping stone to prudence, for example, as well as to respect for others. Fear can also help us turn away from hate and toward understanding. In the same way, pride can lead us toward the road of humility.

Am I aware of my direction today? Do I care where I'm going?

Today I Pray
I pray that my Higher Power will show me how to use my defects in a positive way, because nothing - not even fear or selfishness or greed - is all bad. May I trust that every quality that leads me into trouble has a reverse side that can lead me out. Pride, for instance, can't puff itself up unduly without bursting and demonstrating that it is, in essence, only hot air. May I learn from my weaknesses.

Today I Will Remember
Good news out of bad.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Nov. 21, 2010 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Monday, Nov. 22, 2010

Moderation is not an alcoholic's strong point. Few improve much after joining AA; they simply direct their energies to other activities but with the same amount of intemperance.

"Easy Does it" is a nice-sounding slogan, but seldom do we see any great display of it among the members. They usually jump into their jobs with increased enthusiasm or they find an outlet for their energies in AA work. It is probably for the best, however, for excessive activities are not as prone to make a man return to the bottle as too much inactivity.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nov. 21, 2010 - Just for Today

Just for Today
Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010

"Here was - power! ...(T)o live to the end of any given day, power to have the courage to face the next day, power to have friends, power to help people, power to be sane, power to stay sober. That was seven years ago - and many AA meetings ago - and I haven't had a drink during those seven years. ...What is this power? With my AA friends, all I can say is that it's a power greater than myself." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, "They Stopped in Time," Ch 16 ("Me An Alcoholic?"), pp 436-37.

Just for today, we are told in the First Step that we are powerless over alcohol - not powerless over everything. In surrendering in Step One, I have begun to reclaim the power to take back what my powerless over alcohol has taken. I can assert my power not to be controlled by alcohol simply by not drinking. I can take back the power to face the new day with full remembrance of the day and night before, and I can work for the power to overcome powerlessness, helplessness and hopelessness. The power that is at my command is in the choices I make, and the benefit to have choices is a gift - graced on me by whatever Power is greater than myself. Today, while I must acknowledge that over which I am powerless, let me understand the strength of the power that I DO possess. God grant that I use it wisely. And our common journey continues. Just for today. - Chris M., 2010

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 21, 2010 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Love involves a willingness to suffer and to be inconvenienced.
--Lewis F. Presnall

The act of loving another broadens our understanding of the human condition and often pinches our egos. Indeed, one of the greatest gifts, though not necessarily cherished, which is granted through loving another, is that we gain humility and thus healthier, smaller egos.

How often do we say the words, "I love you," and yet resent being detained by our loved ones? How frequently do we expect to get our own way when resolving a conflict? Is the silent treatment a manipulative ploy we commonly rely on when problem solving with a spouse or lover?

Love wears many faces and it means not always getting our own way, or never doubting the other's sincerity. We aren't guaranteed happiness forever after, even when we know we're loved. But what giving and receiving love does promise us is growth, periods of peacefulness, some poignantly painful times, and many chances to demonstrate that another's well being is a priority, which in turn assures us of our own well being.

From the book:
Worthy of Love by Karen Casey

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 21, 2010 - AA Thought for the Day

AA Thought for the Day
(courtesy AAOnline.net)

Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010

Decisions
My decisions had been based on fear, pride, or ego.
As a result, those decisions led me down a path of self-destruction.
Today I try to allow God to guide me on the road to sanity.
I am responsible for my action - or inaction -- whatever the consequences may be.
- Daily Reflections, p. 78

Thought to Ponder ...
Maturity is the ability to make a decision and follow through.

AA-related 'Alconym' ...
W O W = Willingness Over Willpower.

www.friendsofbill.net

Nov. 21, 2010 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010

AA Thought for the Day
I no longer waste money, but try to put it to good use. Like all of us, when I was drunk, I threw money around like I really had it. It gave me a feeling of importance - a millionaire for a day. But the morning after, with an empty wallet and perhaps also some undecipherable checks, was a sad awakening. How could I have been such a fool? How will I ever make it up? Thoughts like these get you down. When we are sober, we spend our hard-earned money as it should be spent. Although perhaps some of us could be more generous in our AA giving, at least we do not throw it away.

Am I making good use of my money?

Meditation for the Day
You were meant to be at home and comfortable in the world. Yet some people live a life of quiet desperation. This is the opposite of being at home and at peace in the world. Let your peace of mind be evident to those around you. Let others see that you are comfortable and, seeing it, know that it springs from your trust in a Higher Power. The dull, hard way of resignation is not God's way. Faith takes the sting out of the winds of adversity and brings peace even in the midst of struggle.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may be more comfortable in my way of living. I pray that I may feel more at home and at peace within myself.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/

Nov. 21, 2010 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Sunday, Nov. 21, 2009

Reflection for the Day
Adversity introduces man to himself, a poet once said. For me, the same is true of even imagined adversity. If I expect another person to react in a certain way in a given situation - and he or she fails to meet my expectation - well, then I hardly have the right to be disappointed or angry. Yet I occasionally still experience feelings of frustration when people don't act or react as I think they should. Through such imagined - or, better yet, self-inflicted - adversity, I come face to face again with my old self - the one who wanted to run the whole show.

Is it time for me to finally stop expecting and to start accepting?

Today I Pray
May I stop putting words in people's mouths, programming them - in my own mind - to react as I expect them to. Expectations have fooled me before; I expected unbounded love and protection from those close to me, perfection from myself, undivided attention from casual acquaintances. On the adverse side, I expected failure from myself, and rejection from others. May I stop borrowing trouble - or triumph either - from the future.

Today I Will Remember
Accept. Don't expect.

Hazelden Foundation
http://www.friendsofbill.net/