Monday, July 31, 2017

July 31, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Founation

Monday, July 31, 2017
Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Attitudes and Limitations

To a large extent, the way we think determines who we are and what happens to us.

We cannot harbor poisonous thoughts without their effects visibly showing in our lives. If we dwell on our inadequacy and ineffectiveness, for example, circumstances will prove us correct because we will invite self-defeating events to us.

On the other hand, replacing destructive thoughts with hope-filled, optimistic ones brings peaceful and confidence-producing circumstances to us. We will radiate competence and joy.

We would be wise, therefore, to take the advice of twentieth century author Orison Swett Marden: "Stoutly determine not to harbor anything in the mind which you do not wish to become real in your life. Shun poisoned thoughts, ideas which depress and make you unhappy, as instinctively as you avoid physical danger of any find – replace all these with cheerful, hopeful, optimistic thoughts."

Today I will make it a habit to continually replace pessimistic thoughts with optimistic ones. I will dwell on what is uplifting so that I may increase my courage and confidence as well as better my circumstances.
You are reading from the book:
The Reflecting Pond by Liane Cordes. © 1981 by Hazelden Foundation

July 31, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Monday, July 31, 2017

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

Today, honesty to accept I have a problem if drinking is my answer to any desperation I feel - be it for a situation I desperately want not to face, or the talk with my spouse, partner or employer, the constantly ringing telephone that I will not answer because someone might be calling about my drinking or some problem it has caused. If drinking is my solution to any problem in my life, let me hear the voices of experience that my solution has become a crisis bigger than the problem I'm avoiding. And if I have not drank for any significant number of 24 Hours, chances are I now cannot remember the problem I drank to avoid. But, in so doing, I and I alone created one of the most critical crises that was far worse than any problem I faced sober. Today, alcohol will not be my solution to any problem that I may encounter. My answer is the Twelve Steps. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2017

July 31, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, July 31, 2017

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

Am I living one day at a time?

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

July 31, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Monday, July 31, 2017

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

Am I living in the problem rather than the answer?

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

July 31, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Monday, July 31, 2017

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

July 31, 2017 - Rise 'n shine for a Monday of renewed faith, hope, strength and courage


Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 30, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Sunday, July 30, 2017
Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.
 -- Proverbs 23:7


How we view our circumstances directly affects how we feel about them. Being in debt can cause us to cast dark shadows over our world - shadows that create a sense of doom and gloom. I can't get out from under it; I can't go on vacation; I can't get my hair cut, buy a shirt, go out to dinner, get season tickets. I would go to school but ...

Most of us were told as children not to say can't and to never say never. We rephrase our negative thoughts and statements in the positive and in the present, as if the positive already exists. Our outlook and, amazingly, our circumstances brighten considerably. Ideas about how to move forward pop into our head, replacing excuses with a powerful energy - an energy that moves us toward accomplishing our goals.
Today I will ask myself whether I see the glass as half empty or half full.
You are reading from the book:
Letting Go of Debt © 2000 by Hazelden Foundation

July 30, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Sunday, July 30, 2017
  
Today, I realize the character defects identified in my Fourth Step probably existed before my drinking days and that alcohol simply developed them to their destructive zenith. My Sixth and Seventh steps of first admitting to God and then asking that He remove my defects assume paramount honesty in my recovery because I am likely to be challenged to release defects that have had a lifetime to take root - more so than those that those that were born of my drinking days. And if my defects are lifelong, simply not drinking will not give me the recovery and quality of sobriety for which I strive. Today, I am an alcoholic, and abstaining from drinking is not enough. I consider myself a part of AA and, today, as I talk the talk, I will walk the walk. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2017

July 30, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, July 30, 2017
AA Thought for the Day
The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow, with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise, and perhaps its poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow's sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn.

Do I still worry too much about tomorrow?

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

July 30, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Sunday, July 30, 2017

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

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

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

Today I Will Remember
Turn self-involvement into involvement.

Hazelden Foundation

July 30, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Sunday, July 30, 2017

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

July 30, 2017 - Good morning to a serene Sunday of renewed faith, hope, strength and courage


Saturday, July 29, 2017

July 29, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Saturday, July 29, 2017
Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
 -- Abraham Maslow


When we can take a long view of our problems, we can sometimes see that we're using inappropriate tools to try to solve them. What's necessary for us to do is to move away, to detach. That may show us a whole new context into which our problem fits, and in which it may not even be a problem.

Detachment is hard to achieve when we're deeply hooked into a situation. When we send ourselves drastic messages like "now or never!" we're pressing our noses right up against the problem - a position in which it's difficult to maintain a balanced view. To stop and say, "If not now, then perhaps some other time," unhooks us and lets us remember that life is richer and more varied than we thought when we were hooked.

Crisis thinking can be like a hammer - it flattens everything. This can be our way of trying to control the outcome of our individual struggle. But when we remember that we make up only small parts of one grand and beautiful design. We can surrender our problems to it.

To be a competent worker, I will seek out the tools that are best suited to my task.
You are reading from the book:
The Promise of a New Day by Karen Casey & Martha Vanceburg. © 1983, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation

July 29, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Saturday, July 29, 2017

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

Today, I don't care which came first, the delusional and irrational thinking or the drinking, because it doesn't matter. Whether some deluded thinking led me to alcohol or if excess drinking fueled a thinking problem is moot because, now, the two are intertwined. My thinking now cannot be that I can start drinking responsibly if I get my thinking in a logical sync. Nor can I believe that I can drink responsibly. Neither is possible. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Does it matter? The chicken's polluted. Today, I don't care where my drinking thinking or thinking drinking came from. I need both corrected, and I'm where I need to be to get both. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2017

July 29, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Saturday, July 29, 2017

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

Do I still worry about what happened yesterday?

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

July 29, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Saturday, July 29, 2017

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

Do I sometimes enjoy rubbing salt into my own wounds?

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

Today I Will Remember
Stay in touch.

Hazelden Foundation

July 29, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Saturday, July 29, 2017

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

July 29, 2017 - Rise 'n shine for a super Saturday of renewed hope, faith and courage


Friday, July 28, 2017

July 28, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Friday, July 28, 2017
Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

I find it awfully hard to give myself a break. I don't know where that attitude comes from.
--Walker I.


"I can't. I shouldn't. It's my fault." These self-abasing and self-defeating thoughts are expressions of shame. Because repeated thoughts turn into beliefs and long-held beliefs turn into actions, thoughts rooted in shame can lead to tragedy.

People who live in shame come to believe that it is not okay to make a mistake. They imagine they should know what to do without having to learn it. They think their wrong judgments mean they themselves are wrong.

But it is human to make mistakes. If we acknowledge we are human, we are defining ourselves as people who always have something to learn (Thomas Edison failed to perfect the light bulb until his ten-thousandth try). We are saying we have to keep going if our plans don't work out right away (Walt Disney went bankrupt seven times before he met with success).

"Thou shalt not be human" is the command of shame. What rubbish! How can we be anything else? Why would we want to be?

I pray I will live comfortably with human limitations. I will try to accept from myself what I accept from others.
You are reading from the book:
Days of Healing, Days of Joy by Earnie Larsen and Carol Larsen Hegarty. © 1987, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation

July 28, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Friday, July 28, 2017

Today, abstaining from drinking is not enough in recovery. Alcoholism is a three-level disease - physical, emotional, and spiritual. While not drinking is certainly a beginning, it is not the end. Not drinking will improve the physical ravages only but not the psychological and spiritual damage. It is for treatment of the emotional and spiritual that we have AA. Here, we are given the tools to undo the damage we have done and, when repair isn't possible, how to accept our mistakes, forgive ourselves even when no one else does and move toward sobriety. Without that treatment we are less sober and more like a dry drunk. Today, I accept that not drinking by itself is not enough to attain the sobriety and quality of the life I seek. Today, I pick up and begin to use the program's steps of recovery. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2017

July 28, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Friday, July 28, 2017

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

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

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

July 28, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Friday, July 28, 2017

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

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

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

Today I Will Remember
Meditation is a mind-cleanser.

Hazelden Foundation

July 28, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Friday, July 28, 2017

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

July 28, 2017 - Rise 'n shine to a beautiful Friday of renewed hope, faith and strength


Thursday, July 27, 2017

July 27, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Thursday, July 27, 2017
Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

. . . what we want more deeply than winning.

When our relationship is in conflict, we may think that our partner always has the last word. We think it would feel good, just once, to come out on top. If our relationship is like a poker game, the winner takes all. We scramble to be the winner at almost any cost. If our partner wins, we feel like the loser. If we score a point, then our partner feels like the loser. In the end, if either one has lost, what have we won? Certainly not serenity.

What do we really want in our relationships? Do we want to stay in the fight until we score the final knockout? No. We want companionship and connection. To get beyond the game, one partner must stand up and say what she or he wants more deeply than winning. When we stand in favor of communication, our relationship improves.

Name what you really want in your relationship.
You are reading from the book:
The More We Find in Each Other by Merle Fossum and Mavis Fossum. © 1992 by Hazelden Foundation

July 27, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Thursday, July 27, 2017

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

Today, how many more voices of experience must I hear until I simply consider the possibility of a higher power if I am still struggling with the concept? If I continue to listen skeptically to the many voices of those who have recovered by giving their will to a higher power, maybe I can simply trust the AA command to "Keep It Simple" - simply take a leap of nothing but blind faith that something as good can exist if something as evil as alcohol can bring me to my knees. But if I still resist those voices of experience, hopefully I can muster the honesty to see that doing things my way hasn't worked and that maybe something outside myself can do a better job. Today, I seek if nothing else the blind faith to trust the voices of experience or, at least, my own history of not doing such a great job on my own. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2017

July 27, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, July 27, 2017

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

Have I any doubt about the power of liquor?

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

July 27, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Thursday, July 27, 2017

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

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

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

Today I Will Remember
To be God-conscious.

Hazelden Foundation