Sunday, June 30, 2019

June 30, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Sunday, June 30, 2019
Today’s Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

For this is wisdom: to live,
To take what fate, or the Gods, may give. — Laurence Hope

We can’t control the events of our lives, but we do have mastery over our attitudes. The chances will be many, today, to react negatively or positively to circumstances we find ourselves in. We can consider that each circumstance has something special in it for us.

Positive expectations regarding the planned as well as spontaneous activities of the day will influence the activity’s flow, our involvement with it, and our interactions with the other people involved. A positive attitude seems to breed positive experiences. In other words, we attract into our lives that which we expect. How often do we get up angry, feeling behind when the day has only begun, short-tempered with our children, “ready” for a tough one at work? And we generally find it.

The Serenity Prayer offers us all the knowledge, all the wisdom we’ll ever need. We can accept what has to be, change what we can, and not get confused between the two. We can inventory our attitude. Are we taking charge of it? Our attitude is something we can change.

I won’t get trapped today by a negative attitude. I will accept the challenge of turning my day around.

Hazelden Foundation

June 30, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Sunday, June 30, 2019

"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 and actions. 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., 2019

June 30, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, June 30, 2019

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, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Sunday, June 30, 2019

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, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Sunday, June 30, 2019

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, 2019 - Good morning to a relaxing and take-it-easy Sunday


Saturday, June 29, 2019

June 29, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Saturday, June 29, 2019
Today’s Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Learning to trust again

Many of us have trust issues.

Some of us tried long and hard to trust untrustworthy people. Over and again, we believed lies and promises never to be kept. Some of us tried to trust people for the impossible; for instance, trusting a practicing alcoholic not to drink again.

Some of us trusted our Higher Power inappropriately. We trusted God to make other people do what we wanted, then felt betrayed when that didn’t work out.

Some of us were taught that life couldn’t be trusted, that we had to control and manipulate our way through.

Most of us were taught, inappropriately, that we couldn’t trust ourselves.

In recovery, we’re healing from our trust issues. We’re learning to trust again. The first lesson in trust is this: We can learn to trust ourselves. We can be trusted. If others have taught us we cannot trust ourselves, they were lying. Addictions and dysfunctional systems make people lie.

We can learn to appropriately trust our Higher Power—not to make people do what we wanted them to, but to help us take care of ourselves, and to bring about the best possible circumstances, at the best possible times, in our life.

We can trust the process—of life and recovery. We do not have to control, obsess, or become hyper vigilant. . We may not always understand where we are going, or what’s being worked out in us, but we can trust that something good is happening.

When we learn to do this, we are ready to learn to trust other people. When we trust our Higher Power and when we trust ourselves, we will know who to trust and what to trust that person for.

Perhaps we always did. We just didn’t listen closely enough to ourselves or trust what we heard.

Today, I will affirm that I can learn to trust appropriately. I can trust Higher Power, my recovery, and myself. I can learn to appropriately trust others too.

Hazelden Foundation

June 29, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Saturday, June 29, 2019

"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., 2019

June 29, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Saturday, June 29, 2019

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, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Saturday, June 29, 2019

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, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Saturday, June 29, 2019

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, 2019 - Rise 'n shine for a rousing Saturday and weekend


Friday, June 28, 2019

June 28, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Friday, June 28, 2019
Today’s Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Dependency is the inability to experience wholeness or to function adequately without the certainty that one is being actively cared for by another. — M. Scott Peck

No matter what we may think, overdependence on another can be very unloving because it drains others of any chance for personal growth. Those of us who have been dependent on other people are so busy acquiring love that we ourselves have no energy left to truly give love. It’s as if we’re starving, and scrambling for every little bit of love we can find, with no thought to offering it to others. No wonder they often quickly get tired of us.

We can’t force or expect others to do things with us, talk to us, or love us. The way to be surely loved is to be worthy of it. We can work at being worthy by exercising our freedom to feel and do things without others’ permission, and to allow them the same opportunity.

What can I do on my own today?

Hazelden Foundation

June 28, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Friday, June 28, 2019

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, my talk 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., 2019

June 28, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Friday, June 28, 2019

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, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Friday, June 28, 2019

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, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Friday, June 28, 2019

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, 2019 - Good morning to the toe-tappin' Happy Dance Friday


Thursday, June 27, 2019

June 27, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Thursday, June 27, 2019
Today’s Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Without solitude there can be no real people… The measure of your solitude is the measure of your capacity for communion. — John Eudes

If we listen in those moments when we hear a message from ourselves, we become true men—real human beings. The message comes in our solitude, when our defenses against truth are set aside. It comes popping out without our planning it. Our solitude is a relationship with ourselves, and it might occur in silent meditation, or driving down the street, or during a dinner conversation. The message might be a painful truth like, “You just acted like a small child,” or a frightening fact like, “You are deeply loved by another person.”

Letting another person know what messages we are getting in solitude helps us deal with the messages. As we accept our imperfections and make peace with ourselves, we increase our sense of solitude. We become real men, full partners in relationships and in our communities.

Today, I will welcome solitude. When the messages from myself are painful or frightening, I will be gentle with myself.

Hazelden Foundation

June 27, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Thursday, June 27, 2019

"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 clear the wreckage. If I do not understand all this, the Fourth I took yesterday may have been premature and 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., 2019

June 27, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, June 27, 2019

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, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Thursday, June 27, 2019

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, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Thursday, June 27, 2019

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, 2019 - Rise 'n shine with faith that it's a marvelous Thursday


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

June 26, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Today’s Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

AA Thought for the Day
Gossip about or criticism of personalities has no place in an AA clubroom. Every man in AA is a brother and every woman is a sister, as long as he or she is a member of AA. We ought not to gossip about the relationships of any man or woman in the group. And if we say about another member, “I think she or he is taking a few drinks on the side,” it’s the worst thing we could do to that person. If a woman or a man is not living up to AA principles or has a slip, it’s up to her or him to stand up in a meeting and say so. If they don’t do that, they are only hurting themselves.

Do I talk about other members behind their backs?

Meditation for the Day
To God, a miracle of change in a person’s life is only a natural happening. But it is a natural happening operated by spiritual forces. There is no miracle in personalities too marvelous to be an everyday happening. But miracles happen only to those who are fully guided and strengthened by God. Marvelous changes in people’s natures happen so simply, and yet they are free from all other agencies than the grace of God. But these miracles have been prepared for by days and months of longing for something better. They are always accompanied by a real desire to conquer self and to surrender one’s life to God.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may expect miracles in the lives of people. I pray that I may be used to help people change.

Hazelden Foundation

June 26, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

"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., 2019

June 26, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

AA Thought for the Day
We must know the nature of our weakness before we can determine how to deal with it. When we are honest about its presence, we may discover that it is imaginary and can be overcome by a change of thinking. We admit that we are alcoholics and we would be foolish if we refused to accept our handicap and do something about it. So by honestly facing our weakness and keeping ever present the knowledge that for us alcoholism is a disease with which we are afflicted, we can take the necessary steps to arrest it.

Have I fully accepted my handicap?

Meditation for the Day
There is a proper time for everything. I must learn not to do things at the wrong time, that is, before I am ready or before conditions are right. It is always a temptation to do something at once, instead of waiting until the proper time. Timing is important. I must learn, in the little daily situations of life, to delay action until I am sure that I am doing the right thing at the right time. So many lives lack balance and timing. In the momentous decisions and crises of life, they may ask God's guidance, but into the small situations of life, they rush alone.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may delay action until I feel that I am doing the right thing. I pray that I may not rush in alone.

Hazelden Foundation

June 26, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Reflection for the Day
How many of us would presume to announce, "Well, I'm sober and I'm happy. What more can I want, or do? I'm fine just the way I am." Experience has taught us that the price of such smug complacency - or, more politely, self-satisfaction - is an inevitable backslide, punctuated sooner or later by a very rude awakening. We have to grow, or else we deteriorate. For us, the status quo can only be for today, never for tomorrow. Change we must; we can't stand still.

Am I sometimes tempted to rest on my laurels?

Today I Pray
May I look around me and see that all living things are either growing or deteriorating; nothing that is alive is static, life flows on. May I be carried along on that life-flow, unafraid of change, disengaging myself from the snags along the way which hold me back and interrupt my progress.

Today I Will Remember
Living is changing.

Hazelden Foundation

June 26, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Our sobriety is dead-serious. It has to be, to work at all. With it we can retain all we now have, and the limits to which we can add to it are circumscribed only by our initiative and our ability. Without sobriety we are in danger of losing that which we already have.

Sobriety is life itself to us and without it life would again become a living death. To unnecessarily subject ourselves to temptations is another variation of playing "Russian Roulette."

Hazelden Foundation