Saturday, June 30, 2018

June 30, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Saturday, June 30, 2018
Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

The most important move is to begin

We begin weaving by stringing vertical threads on a loom to form the foundation of a new cloth. Then horizontal threads are interlaced back and forth, and we create a fabric. As the cloth begins to form, new possibilities open before us. After we weave in the first color we can then envision other colors that will work with it. The most important move is to begin.

Sometimes new possibilities occur to us only through action. If we take the risk of the first step and keep our eyes open, we will see the next step. Too much planning, too much carefulness and analysis, may block all action.

With our partner we might sometimes feel stuck in a pattern. We may even feel hopeless. Rather than thinking excessively, we could take action, do one thing that we know people in good relationships do. We might be able to take the risk of that first step with the help of our Higher Power. When we take one hopeful step at a time, each step produces information that leads to the next.

Name one interesting thing you can do today. You need not justify it or understand where it will lead. Just try it.

You are reading from the book:

The More We Find in Each Other by Merle Fossum and Mavis Fossum. © 1992 by Hazelden Foundation

June 30, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Saturday, June 30, 2018

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

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

Today, the 11th Step is the logical extension of Step Three - "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." In handing off to my Higher Power my self-will, it is proper that I begin each day and take on any problem by asking through prayer and meditation what His will is for me instead of plunging into the habit of doing it my way. My way generated anger, fear, worry and self-pity, and a host of other destructive feelings. Today, I can do without them, and an "easier, softer way" is to let a Higher Power who is stronger and greater than me call the shots. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2018

June 30, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Saturday, June 30, 2018

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

Am I living in the now?

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

June 30, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Saturday, June 30, 2018

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

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

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

Today I Will Remember
Stopping is starting.

Hazelden Foundation

June 30, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Saturday, June 30, 2018

We are very apt to travel in the direction we are headed. Even the brightest of sunshiny days appears overcast if we wear black glasses. If we enter a restaurant by the rear door, we will undoubtedly find garbage cans, smoked and grimy walls and hear the discord of pots and pans. If you enter by the front door, you will find cleanliness and order.

Let us enter each new day by the front door.

Hazelden Foundation

June 30, 2018 - Time to kick it in gear for a super Saturday and serene weekend, folks


Friday, June 29, 2018

June 29, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Friday, June 29, 2018
Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Overachieving may be symptomatic

Suffering from low self-esteem is common. Some of it may be blamed on growing up in families affected by alcohol or other drugs. Perhaps the criticism heaped on us at school or in a bad marriage triggered it. We may have thousands of reasons for lacking a sense of our worth. The bottom line is, we were insecure and full of doubt – good breeding ground for the superstar achiever.

The program is spiritually based, and in it we are introduced to a Higher Power. Many of us didn’t have a Higher Power before, at least not one we relied on, to help us feel better about ourselves. We are learning to turn to our Higher Power every day for peaceful assurance that we are loved, that we are being taken care of. In time we’ll grow to love ourselves, and then we’ll be free of the need to overachieve.

I will accept my worthiness today and trust that my Higher Power has something wonderful in store for me.

You are reading from the book:

A Life of My Own by Karen Casey. © 1993 by Hazelden Foundation

June 29, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Friday, June 29, 2018

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

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

Today, accept that the one entity I trusted to run my life - myself - didn't worked. If I am in "the region from which there is no return," may I want and be willing to accept the possibility that a power stronger than myself exists. If I am still caught up in the myth that the spiritual entity is religious, maybe I have already set myself as being unwilling to find my own Higher Power. In holding onto unwillingness and not opening myself to the possibility, the recovery I seek probably is not in the cards, especially if I continue to do it my way although it has shown me time after time after time and time and time again that I simply cannot do it on my own. Today, enough is enough, and I take the step to at least consider the possibility that something better, stronger and wiser than myself can help me do it. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2018

June 29, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Friday, June 29, 2018

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

Am I always striving for improvement?

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

June 29, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Friday, June 29, 2018

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

Am I redirecting my mind and energy?

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

Today I Will Remember
Happenstance may be more than chance.

Hazelden Foundation

June 29, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Friday, June 29, 2018

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

God knows the drunk and He also knows human nature, and so He invented AA.

Hazelden Foundation

June 29, 2018 - Let's get rockin' to the overdue fantastic and far-out Friday, folks


Thursday, June 28, 2018

June 28, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Thursday, June 28, 2018
Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Be careful with amends

Hurting someone thoughtlessly just to lift our own guilt is not a proper Step Nine. Amends are for rebuilding the burned bridges in our lives. But if amends will hurt someone, we must decide if it’s in that person’s best interest to be told now. Oftentimes it’s best left unsaid, but never denied to ourselves or to God.

Changing our behavior intentionally is one part of making amends, particularly to family members who may have heard us say “I’m sorry” far too many times. Repaying money, repairing damages, and making charitable contributions on behalf of the person we have harmed are all honest attempts to right our wrong. The point in every amends attempt is to take responsibility for what we did and express our regrets. Couple this with changed behavior, and our relationships will improve immediately.

I will not shy away from any amends I need to make today, but I’ll be careful not to hurt someone with information he or she doesn’t need to know.

You are reading from the book:

A Life of My Own by Karen Casey. © 1993 by Hazelden Foundation

June 28, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Thursday, June 28, 2018

Today ..."having had a spiritual awakening." Today, ask seriously and honestly what "spiritual awakening" means. If I talk the program's talk but don't walk the walk, I am little more than a dry drunk and have missed one of recovery's most elusive and cherished accomplishments - a fundamental change emotionally and spiritually. If I talk of adherence to service to the program and other alcoholics who still suffer but beg off because I am too busy to give someone a ride to a meeting, my talk about being in service is little more than self-righteous, self-serving, sanctimonious ego-blowing. Today, I need to ask if I have truly undergone the basic requirement of a spiritual awakening - a fundamental change in attitude, perspective and spirituality. And if I conclude that I have not, it's back to the basics. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2018

June 28, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, June 28, 2018

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

Has my mental attitude changed?

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

June 28, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Thursday, June 28, 2018

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

Am I continuingly grateful for the miracle of my recovery?

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

Today I Will Remember
My life is a miracle.

Hazelden Foundation

June 28, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Thursday, June 28, 2018

Exactly what is AA worth to you? Have you ever figured that out? Make a written list sometime of the benefits you have derived from your sobriety. Try hard to make an honest evaluation of what it would be worth to you in dollars and cents. How much have you benefited mentally, spiritually, physically, financially, socially?

Then make another list - how much has AA benefited by your membership? Are you trying to give as much as you have received? If not, you are getting something for nothing and that isn't honest. You can never square the debt, but you can probably give it a little better try than you have been doing.

Hazelden Foundation

June 28, 2018 - Rise 'n shine for a far-out and groovin' Thursday with hope and confidence


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

June 27, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Taking an honest look at ourselves is necessary if we want peace

Step Four asks us to admit our character defects. That’s not an easy assignment. How “defective” could we be? In truth, we do have many assets, and it will help us to admit our defects if we also own our assets.

The founders of the Twelve Steps were wise men who understood the value of self-assessment. None of us is without problems, many of which we cause ourselves because of behavior we need to change. But until we can stand back from ourselves and see our part in our troubles, we’ll not have the data we need to make a change in our lives. This program is designed to help us change. Its goal for us is greater peace, but we must do our part.

I will feel better today, and thus more peaceful, if I am willing to change a behavior that causes me trouble. I pray for willingness to admit my defects and own my assets.

You are reading from the book:

A Life of My Own by Karen Casey. © 1993 by Hazelden Foundation

June 27, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

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

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

Today, if the Fourth I took yesterday is not "a lot," chances are I have not been thorough. More likely, I have been dishonest by not accepting responsibility for damage I inflicted or by seeing myself as I hope instead of how I am. But putting to paper our misdeeds and injury to others is not sufficient. We are asked to perceive our defects as futile and fatal and begin to understand their damage. Further, we are compelled to begin learning "tolerance, patience and good will toward all men ..." and become willing to undo the damage. If I do not understand all this, the Fourth I took yesterday may have been premature or dishonest. Today, I seek the courage and understanding to do Step Four as it is intended. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2018

June 27, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

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

Have I achieved poise and peace of mind?

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

June 27, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

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

Am I learning to do it now?

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

June 27, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

AA is not fundamentally a philosophy, but it is rather a program of active living. To commit the Big Book to memory, to listen attentively to all the group speakers will not guarantee continued sobriety.

The knowledge gained thereby, put into your everyday living, will make drinking practically impossible and certainly unenjoyable. If we fail to make the Program an integral part of our everyday living, we are almost sure to have some rough times ahead.

Hazelden Foundation

June 27, 2018 - Let's gear it up for a far-out and fabulous Hump Day Wednesday, folks


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

June 26, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

I feel best about having helped others believe in themselves.
 — Bud Sherman

Encouragement is one of the greatest gifts we can give one another. Chances are we can all remember someone who encouraged us many years ago. Perhaps a teacher or an employer took a special interest in us, and we have never forgotten that person. It’s likely we are remembered in much the same way by someone else, too. It’s nice to savor these memories, isn’t it?

There is nothing stopping us from continuing to make memories for others. We will experience people and situations today that will benefit if we pass on encouragement and praise. We will benefit as well. It feels good to acknowledge another’s contributions to the world. It strengthens our own willingness to contribute.

No conversation is without purpose. Even those exchanges that seem meaningless offer us opportunities for bettering someone else’s opinion of themselves. What greater offerings have we to make than to be loving and helpful to someone traveling this path with us? If we haven’t given much attention to this part of our assignment before, let’s begin now. The homework will make all of us feel much better.

A few words of encouragement to another is all that’s asked of me today. I can handle that.

You are reading from the book:

Keepers of the Wisdom © 1996 by Karen Casey

June 26, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

"More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn't deserve it." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 6 ("Into Action"), p 73.

Today, if I take the Fifth Step and confess to another person "the exact nature of (my) wrongs," may I be given the strength and courage to be honest with my toughest prospect: myself. Like Jekyll and Hyde, I displayed two personalities in my drinking days - the party animal or the isolated, depressed lonely drinker as I drank toward oblivion and, the morning after, the physically and emotionally broken person for everyone to see. I must meld both characters into one to find the actual self on which to build recovery, and that effort will likely be nil if I am not honest with myself first before taking Step Five. Honesty begins with myself; without it, my Fifth - and my Fourth, for that matter - is based on illusion. In the end, so will my recovery be based on illusion. Today, let me understand the wisdom that honesty, before it is given to anyone else, has to begin with me. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2018