Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July 31, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Today’s thoughts from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation are:

When it seems we have no recourse, we can always pray.

Coming to believe that a Higher Power can help us and relieve us of our worry may take time if we have spent years trying to stop someone’s drinking or worrying about how to keep the family together. From others in this program we can learn the steps to take. Becoming willing to pray is the first one.

We’ll soon discover that the power of prayer is awesome. Here are six compelling reasons why:

(1) Prayer promises relief when we are anxious.
(2) Prayer connects us with our Higher Power when we feel isolated and full of fear.
(3) Prayer frees our minds from the obsession to plan other people’s lives.
(4) Prayer helps us take action when we feel compelled to change the circumstances of our lives.
(5) Prayer becomes a wonderful resource to draw on when living through our painful moments.
(6) And prayer gives us the willingness to accept God’s solution for every problem that plagues us.

I will utilize prayer today every time I wonder what I should do.

You are reading from the book:

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

July 31, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

"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., 2018

July 31, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

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

A Day at a Time
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

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, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

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, 2018 - Rise 'n shine for a terrific Tuesday with determination to do it good


Monday, July 30, 2018

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

Monday, July 30, 2018
Today’s thoughts from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation are:

The Bookshop has a thousand books,
All colors, hues, and tinges,
And every cover is a door
That turns on magic hinges.
 — Nancy Byrd Turner

When we start our day, we have a wealth of meditation books to help lead our focus to faith, strength, and hope. Throughout each day, we have pamphlets and books to enrich our minds and expand our understanding of the disease that affects our lives. We learn we are not alone in our struggles and triumphs; there are many before us, many now, and many to come who will ask the same questions, have the same struggles, find the same hope.

Our literature is written by those who, through the help of their Higher Power, can communicate their feelings and thoughts. By keeping a journal to record our thoughts, dreams, feelings, goals, and daily events, we can create our personal book to use for a better understanding of ourselves. This, combined with the literature of the program, will enrich our lives with valuable and inspiring words.

I can begin my record of growth and goals, plans and dreams, and all my feelings. I can be the author of the book of my life.

You are reading from the book:

Night Light by Amy E. Dean. © 1986, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation

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

Step by Step
Monday, July 30, 2018

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., 2018

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

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, July 30, 2018

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

A Day at a Time
Monday, July 30, 2018

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, 2018 - Readings in Recovery; The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Monday, July 30, 2018

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, 2018 - Let's make it a magnificent Monday and awesome new week with confidence


Sunday, July 29, 2018

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

Sunday, July 29, 2018
Today’s thoughts from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation are:

The Importance of money

We cannot afford to allow our focus in life to be money. That will not lead us into the abundance we’re seeking. Usually, it will not even lead to financial stability.

Money is important. We deserve to be paid what we’re worth. We will be paid what we’re worth when we believe we deserve to be. But often plans fail when our primary consideration is money.

What do we really want to do? What do we feel led to do? What are our instincts telling us? What do we feel guided to do? What are we excited about doing? Seek to find a way to do that, without worrying about the money.

Consider the financial aspects. Set boundaries about what you need to be paid. Be reasonable. Expect to start at the bottom and work up. But if you feel led toward a job, go for it.

Is there something we truly don’t want to do, something that goes against our grain, but we are trying to force ourselves into it “for the money”? Usually, that’s a behavior that backfires. It doesn’t work. We make ourselves miserable, and the money usually goes wrong too.

Money is a consideration, but it cannot be our primary consideration if we are seeking spiritual security and peace of mind.

Today, I will make money a consideration, but I will not allow it to become my primary consideration. God, help me be true to myself and trust that the money will follow.

You are reading from the book:

The Language of Letting Go © 1990 by Hazelden Foundation

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

Step by Step
Sunday, July 29, 2018

"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., 2018

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

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, July 29, 2018

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

A Day at a Time
Sunday, July 29, 2018

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, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Sunday, July 29, 2018

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, 2018 - Welcome to a drama- and trauma-free and relaxing Sunday, folks


Saturday, July 28, 2018

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

Saturday, July 28, 2018
Today’s thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Learning stamps you with its moments.
 — Eudora Welty

We never stop learning. We absorb information every waking moment. And while we sleep, we process what we encounter during the day. The conclusions we reach about these daily lessons will likely be based on the perception that dominates our lives. Do we perceive our experiences as for our good or for our undoing?

Since learning is ongoing, we are fortunate to have a more positive context within which to interpret our experiences. Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as other Twelve Step programs, offers us a set of guidelines to live by, which helps us interpret every moment.

We can anticipate what lies ahead, or we can dread it. What we learn from each experience reflects our attitude. Our commitment to the Twelve Steps determines it.

I will soak up the day like a sponge. My education is within my control. How lucky I am to have this program!

You are reading from the book:

A Woman’s Spirit by Karen Casey. © 1994 by Hazelden Foundation

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

Step by Step
Saturday, July 28, 2018

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., 2018

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

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Saturday, July 28, 2018

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

A Day at a Time
Saturday, July 28, 2018

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, 2018 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Saturday, July 28, 2018

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, 2018 - Time to get going on a super Saturday and awesome weekend with confidence


Friday, July 27, 2018

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

Friday, July 27, 2018
Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Let Go and Let God.
 — Twelve Step slogan

Some days we might ask ourselves, Is it worth it? We feel alone. No one seems to care. Life seems hard. Recovery seems hard.

This is when we need to slow down and take a look at what’s going on. We’re feeling this way because we’re off our recovery path. We may be back into wanting people to see things our way, or do things our way. We want control.

Remember, all problems are not our problems. All work is not our work. We can’t have everything the way we want it. But we can do our part and let go of the rest. Then we can feel better.

Prayer for the Day
Higher Power, help me remember my only work today is to do Your will for me. It is not my job to be You.

Action for the Day
I’ll talk with my sponsor or a program friend today. I’ll talk about how to deal with things that seem to pull me down.

You are reading from the book:

Keep It Simple © 1989 by Hazelden Foundation

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

Step by Step
Friday, July 27, 2018

"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., 2018