Thursday, October 31, 2019

Oct. 31, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019
Today’s Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

If the only prayer you say in your whole life is “thank you,” that would suffice. — Meister Eckhart

“An attitude of gratitude,” we sometimes hear, will help us on our path. There certainly are enough things for us to worry about, grieve over, and complain about. They have their place. But as we mature and no longer use addictive escapes, we learn that joy can exist side by side with grief. Gratitude is a tonic for our self-pity. Saying “thank you” actually opens us to receive more of life’s blessings, which sit there waiting for us to notice.

In a pleasant moment we can look around and say, “Aren’t we lucky!” That’s a kind of prayer, and it connects us with our Higher Power. No matter how painful or worrisome a day may be, we can be thankful for our growth. Gratitude is so simple we sometimes dismiss it while looking for a more complicated answer in our lives. We can say “thank you” for all the simple things like trees, cool air, food, and love between people. It is a risk to be so grateful. Who will be in control? Perhaps God.

God, thank you for all that comes to me without my efforts.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 31, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019

"I spend a great deal of time passing on what I learned to others who want and need it badly. I do it for four reasons:
1. Sense of duty.
2. It is a pleasure.
3. Because in so doing I am paying my debt to the man who took time to pass it on to me.
4. Because every time I do it I take out a little more insurance for myself against a possible slip." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, "Personal Stories, Pioneers of AA", Ch 1 ("Doctor Bob's Nightmare"), pp 180-81.

Today, admitting that my motive to quit drinking was self-serving and hardly altruistic, I require myself now to be responsible to my sobriety. That responsibility is no clearer in any other than the 12th Step, the one that gives us our marching orders to carry the message to people who need and want it. The gift of sobriety that we have earned through blood, sweat and tears brings with it a responsibility, and we appreciate and treasure that gift when we share it with someone else, and when it works as well for them. As a drinking alcoholic, I blamed my problems on anyone and anything but myself, and it overwhelmed me. Sober now, I share it and, hopefully, sobriety will become even stronger. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2019

Oct. 31, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019

AA Thought for the Day
I have more peace and contentment. Life has fallen into place. The pieces of the jigsaw puzzle have found their correct position. Life is whole, all of one piece. I am not cast hither and yon on every wind of circumstance or fancy. I am no longer a dry leaf cast up and away by the breeze. I have found my place of rest, my place where I belong. I am content. I do not vainly wish for things I cannot have. I have "the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference."

Have I found contentment in AA?

Meditation for the Day
In all of us there is an inner consciousness that tells of God, an inner voice that speaks to our hearts. It is a voice that speaks to us intimately, personally, in a time of quiet meditation. It is like a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We can reach out into the darkness and figuratively touch the hand of God. As the Big Book puts it: "Deep down in every man, woman and child is the fundamental idea of God. We can find the Great Reality deep down within us. And when we find it, it changes our whole attitude toward life."

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may follow the leading of the inner voice. I pray that I may not turn a deaf ear to the urging of my conscience.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 31, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019

Reflection for the Day
If I'm to continue growing in The Program, I must literally "get wise to myself." I must remember that for most of my life I've been terribly self-deceived. The sin of pride has been at the root of most of my self-deception, usually masquerading under the guise of some virtue. I must work continually to uncover pride in all its subtle forms, lest it stop me in my tracks and push me backward once again to the brink of disaster.

When it comes to pride, do I believe, in Emerson's words, that "it is impossible for a man to be cheated by anyone but himself ...?"

Today I Pray
May I know that button-popping pride is inappropriate for me as a recovering addict. It hides my faults from me. It turns people off and gets in the way of my helping others. It halts my progress because it makes me think I've done enough self-searching and I'm "cured." I pray to my Higher Power that I may be realistic enough to accept my success in The Program without giving in to pride.

Today I Will Remember
Pride halts progress.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 31, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019

The Founders of AA acted wisely when they fixed it so there would be no Big Shots in our fellowship. We are not the best people in the world when it comes to bearing heavy responsibilities. It has proven to be poison to many a good man.

After all, it is not necessary for your fame to spread around the world - there are more drunks on your own street than you can help.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 31, 2019 - Good morning to a Halloween Thursday and day before Friday


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

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

Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019
Today’s Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

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

Have I got rid of the fear of being bored?

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

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

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 30, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019

"Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks - drinking which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change, there is very little hope of his recovery." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, "The Doctor's Opinion," pp xxvi-vii.

Todayif I cannot forget "the effect" of alcohol as I grew progressively drunker, let me never forget the morning after with its consequences, none of which I care to be responsible for anymore. If I can remember the morning-after costs and that they were my "bottom," may they be potent enough to remove any desire to drink again because, should I drink again, there likely will be no a deeper bottom - if I survive. I abused that "firm resolution" not to drink again when I was hung over, or standing in front of a judge with my latest DUI or after I broke every promise I'd made to family and friends. A "firm resolution" is so easy then. It can be just as easy if I apply it to being sober - if I remember the consequence instead of "the effect." Today, I don't need or want to remember the effect: the consequences are enough. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2019

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

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019

AA Thought for the Day
I have real friends, where I had none before. My drinking companions could hardly be called my real friends though, when drunk, we seemed to have the closest kind of friendship. My idea of friendship has changed. Friends are no longer people whom I can use for my own pleasure or profit. Friends are now people who understand me and I them, whom I can help and who can help me to live a better life. I have learned not to hold back and wait for friends to come to me, but to go halfway and to be met halfway, openly and freely.

Does friendship have a new meaning for me now?

Meditation for the Day
There is a time for everything. We should learn to wait patiently until the right time comes. Easy does it. We waste our energies in trying to get things before we are ready to have them, before we have earned the right to receive them. A great lesson we have to learn is how to wait with patience. We can believe that all our life is a preparation for something better to come when we have earned the right to it. We can believe that God has a plan for our lives and that this plan will work out in the fullness of time.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may learn the lesson of waiting patiently. I pray that I may not expect things until I have earned the right to have them.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 30, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019

Reflection for the Day
When I'm motivated by pride - by bondage of self - I become partly or even wholly blind to my liabilities and shortcomings. At that point, the last thing I need is comfort. Instead, I need an understanding friend in The Program - one who knows "where I'm at" - a friend who'll unhesitatingly chop a hole through the wall my ego has built so that the light of reason can once again shine through.

Do I take time to review my progress, to spot-check myself on a daily basis, and to promptly try to remedy my wrongs?

Today I Pray
God, I pray that the group - or just one friend - will be honest enough to see my slippery manifestations of pride and brave enough to tell me about them. My self-esteem was starved for so long, that with my first successes in The Program, it may swell to the gross proportions of self-satisfaction. May a view from outside myself give me a true picture of how I am handling the triumph of my sobriety - with humility or with pride.

Today I Will Remember
Self-esteem or self-satisfaction?

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 30, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019

Each and every one of us have what we have only by the Grace of God. Even if we acquired all our possessions through our own industry and intelligence, still you must admit that you gave yourself none of these attributes that made your acquisition possible.

These were not necessarily inherited traits, for geniuses have had morons for children. You have what you have because God so willed it, so use them as God would will it.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 30, 2019 - Good morning to an awesome and blowout Wednesday


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019
Today’s Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

When you send out real love, real love will return to you. — Florence Scovel Shinn

Real love is selfless love. It expects nothing in return. It is not conditional. It doesn’t keep score. It is too seldom given. Many of us came into the program hurting, feeling unloved, looking desperately for love, unable to love selflessly. But we are learning.

We are climbing the same mountain, all of us. Our particular paths will cross the paths of many others before reaching the top, where we will find full enlightenment. And any path we cross has a special contribution to make to our own progress. We can be grateful for all intersecting paths, no matter how adverse they seem at the time. We can offer all our fellow-travelers real love, and our own trip will benefit manyfold.

We need not be ashamed of our desire for love. Nor need we feel shame that we’ve bargained for it. But we do need to understand that the kind of love we seek can only be gained when we quit searching for it and simply offer it to all the people in our midst.

I will look into the hearts of all the people I encounter today and offer them love. I’ll receive that which I give.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 29, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019

" ...(A) terrible thing happened. I ran out of people! Even my family didn't have much use for me. When they saw me coming, they locked up the silverware and everything else of value. I felt very lonely and hurt, because nobody understood me. I felt very sorry for myself and attempted suicide on many occasions, making sure there was always somebody within reaching distance to see that I didn't finish the job. Any time I tried to kill myself, I was either drunk or pilled up or both ..." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, "They Lost Nearly All," Ch 4 ("Belle of the Bar"), pp 478-79.

Today: " I ran out of people, " ...nobody understood me," "I felt very sorry for myself." What once was my prescription for life now sounds pathetic. I refused or couldn't understand anyone else because I was too self-absorbed. I felt sorry for myself because I had nothing to give or even offer anyone else. And I ran out of people because I drove them away with my expectations that they make my wants and needs their total focus. As we sober up, we recover. As we recover, we see what we allowed our addictions to do to us and, in the end, what they did was to make us pathetic souls. In sobriety, I have no use, no excuse, no need and don't want to be that pathetic creature who expects to be the focus of everyone else's attention and, when I'm not, lash out in self-righteous indignation. I am not perfect in sobriety, but I don't have to be. And I'm grateful to say I'm not the pathetic self-seeker I once was. So it goes for progress in recovery. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2019

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

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019

AA Thought for the Day
My relationships with my children have greatly improved. Those children who saw me drunk and were ashamed, those children who turned away in fear and even loathing have seen me sober and like me, have turned to me in confidence and trust and have forgotten the past as best they could. They have given me a chance for companionship that I had completely missed. I am their father or their mother now. Not just "that person that Mom or Dad married and God knows why." I am a part of my home now.

Have I found something that I had lost?

Meditation for the Day
Our true measure of success in life is the measure of spiritual progress that we have revealed in our lives. Others should be able to see a demonstration of God's will in our lives. The measure of His will that those around us have seen worked out in our daily living is the measure of our true success. We can do our best to be a demonstration each day of the power of God in human lives, an example of the working out of the grace of God in the hearts of men and women.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may so live that others will see in me something of the working out of the will of God. I pray that my life may be a demonstration of what the grace of God can do.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 29, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019

Reflection for the Day
Virtually all of us suffered the defect of pride when we sought help through The Program, the Twelve Steps and the fellowship of those who truly understood what we felt and where we had been. We learned about our shortcomings - and of pride in particular - and began to replace self-satisfaction with gratitude for the miracle of our recovery, gratitude for the privilege of working with others, and gratitude for God's gift - which enabled us to turn catastrophe into good fortune.

Have I begun to realize that "pride is to character like the attic to the house - the highest part, and generally the most empty ...?"

Today I Pray
God, please tell me if I am banging my shins on my own pride. Luckily for me, The Program has its own built-in check for flaws like this - the clear-eyed vision of the group, which sees in me what I sometimes cannot see myself. May I know that any kind of success has always gone straight to my head, and be watching for it as I begin to reconstruct my confidence.

Today I Will Remember
"Success" can be a setback.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 29, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019

We human beings are more miraculous than the ape organically. We do not even have some powers possessed by brute creation - for example, we cannot change color at will as can some reptiles. We can't change our physical make-up as the tadpole does when it becomes a frog, or a caterpillar when it changes into a butterfly.

Yet we are the miracle of all miracles, for we alone have a soul, which enables us to transcend this planet and commune with God himself.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 29, 2019 - Good morning to a rip-roarin' terrific Tuesday


Monday, October 28, 2019

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

Monday, Oct. 28, 2019
Today’s Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Wants and needs

Identifying what we want and need, then writing it down, sets in motion a powerful chain of events. It indicates that we are taking responsibility for ourselves, giving God and the Universe permission to supply our wants and needs.

The belief that we deserve to have a change in character, a relationship, a new dimension to an existing relationship, a possession, a certain level of health, living, loving, or success, is a powerful force in bringing that desire to pass.

Often, when we realize that we want something, that feeling is God preparing us to receive it!

Listen. Trust. Empower the good in your life by paying attention to what you want and need. Write it down. Affirm it mentally. Pray about it. Then, let it go. Give it to God, and see what happens.

The results may be better than you think.

Today, I will pay attention to what I want and need. I will take time to write it down, and then I will let it go. I will begin to believe I deserve the best.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 28, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Monday, Oct. 28, 2019

Today, if I still hold onto emotions like resentment, anger, grief or bitterness and will not or cannot yet free myself of them, today I at least will not take on other feelings that I cannot handle. Recovery is partly about getting rid of the garbage and self-defeatism acquired before and during my drinking days; it is not about acquiring more of the same. In refusing to take on any more, I at least will have something less to work through and, in fact, might be able to take on what exists one feeling at a time. Today, my recovery will focus on getting rid of what needs to be gone and not on collecting more of what I do not need. All I need to remember is to "Let Go and Let God," and not take back that of which I let go. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2019

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

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, Oct. 28, 2019

AA Thought for the Day
What other rewards have come to me as a result of my new way of living? Each one of us can answer this question in many ways. My relationship with my husband or my wife is on an entirely new plane. The total selfishness is gone and more cooperation has taken its place. My home is a home again. Understanding has taken the place of misunderstanding, recriminations, bickering and resentment. A new companionship has developed which bodes well for the future. "There are homes where fires burn and there is bread, lamps are lit and prayers are said. Though people falter through the dark and nations grope, with God Himself back of these little homes, we still can hope."

Have I come home?

Meditation for the Day
We can bow to God's will in anticipation of the thing happening which will, in the long run, be the best for all concerned. It may not always seem the best thing at the present time, but we cannot see as far ahead as God can. We do not know how His plans are laid, we only need to believe that if we trust Him and accept whatever happens as His will in a spirit of faith, everything will work out for the best in the end.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may not ask to see the distant scene. I pray that one step may be enough for me.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 28, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Monday, Oct. 28, 2019

Reflection for the Day
"Pride, like a magnet, constantly points to one object, self; unlike the magnet, it has no attractive pole, but at all points repels." - Colton

When the earliest members of The Program discovered just how spiritually prideful they could be, they admonished one another to avoid "instant sainthood." That old-time warning could be taken as an alibi to excuse us from doing our best, but it's really The Program's way of warning against "prideful blindness" and the imaginary perfections we don't possess.

Am I beginning to understand the difference between pride and humility?

Today I Pray
May God, who in His mercy has saved our lives, keep us from setting ourselves up as the saints and prophets of The Program. May we recognize the value of our experiences for others without getting smug about it. May we remember with humility and love the thousands of other "old hands" who are equally well-versed in its principles.

Today I Will Remember
I will avoid "instant sainthood."

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 28, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Monday, Oct. 28, 2019

Carrying your own troubles may be likened to a man trying to pick up a board that he is standing on. He has his own weight to contend with as well as the weight of the board.

It is much easier to carry the other man's burdens for we are standing away from the problem. We can view the problem impersonally and thoughtfully. We can show him where he is standing in his own way, direct him to take hold of his end of the problem and allow us to lift the other end. The weight, distributed between the two of us, will become relatively easy to handle.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 28, 2019 - How about a big smile for another Monday and new week?


Sunday, October 27, 2019

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

Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019
Today’s Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

We all fear what we don’t know—it’s natural.  Leo Buscagliat

If we put a blindfold over our eyes and begin to walk around an open field, we would feel unsure with each step. We might be afraid of falling, afraid of walking over some unseen edge and hurting ourselves.

When any of us face something and we don’t know what the outcome will be, we often feel blindfolded. We fear we may get hurt. We fear we can’t do it. We have a hard time trusting ourselves. A blind person often finds help or guidance from others, or will gain confidence by walking on—slowly at first, finding trust and sureness with each step.

These same things help us when we are afraid. It is also helpful to remember there is no right or wrong way to explore what faces us—only our own way.

What new trust can I place in myself today?

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 27, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019

Today, understand that recovery gives us the freedom not to live within the confines of alcoholism and, instead, to live in the boundless possibilities of sobriety. As a recovering alcoholic, I know - or at least, I better know - what I cannot do and, in trying to work toward or maintaining sobriety, I may be fighting what I cannot do - drink responsibly. But in recovery, I am not confined by what I cannot do in alcoholism and any other "ism" and do not have to fight sobriety. As such, I need to understand the distinction between fighting not to drink and simply letting sobriety beToday, I have the freedom to live not in the problem of alcoholism but to live in the solution of simply not drinking. Today, choose to live in the solution, not in the problem. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2019

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

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019

AA Thought for the Day
Seventh, I can help other alcoholics. I am of some use in the world. I have a purpose in my life. I am worth something at last. My life has a direction and a meaning. All that feeling of futility is gone. I can do something worthwhile. God has given me a new lease on life so that I can help other alcoholics. He has let me live through all the hazards of my alcoholic life to bring me at last to a place of real usefulness in the world. He has let me live for this. This is my opportunity and my destiny. I am worth something!

Will I give as much of my life as I can to AA?

Meditation for the Day
All of us have our own battle to win, the battle between the material view of life and the spiritual view. Something must guide our lives. Will it be wealth, pride, selfishness, greed or will it be faith, honesty, purity, unselfishness, love and service? Each one has a choice. We can choose good or evil. We cannot choose both. Are we going to keep striving until we win the battle? If we win the victory, we can believe that even God in His heaven will rejoice.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may choose the good and resist the evil. I pray that I will not be a loser in the battle for righteousness.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 27, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019

Reflection for the Day
The Program's Fourth Step suggests that we make a fearless moral inventory of ourselves. For so many of us, especially newcomers, the task seems impossible. Each time we take pencil in hand and try to look inward, Pride says scoffingly,"You don't have to bother to look." And Fear cautions, "You'd better not look." We find eventually that this sort of pride and fear are mere wisps of smoke, the cloudy strands from which were woven the mythology of our old ideas. When we push pride and fear aside and finally make a fearless inventory, we experience relief and a new sense of confidence beyond description.

Have I made an inventory? Have I shared its rewards so as to encourage others?

Today I Pray
May I not be stalled by my inhibitions when it comes to making a moral inventory of myself. May I not get to the Fourth Step and then screech to a stop because the task seems overwhelming. May I know that my inventory today, even though I try to make it "thorough" and honest, may not be as complete as it will be if I repeat it again, for the process of self-discovery goes on and on.

Today I Will Remember
Praise God for progress.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 27, 2019 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019

Gifts are usually given for favors already given or for favors expected. Even the sudden outburst of affection from friend-wife is frequently followed by a glowing description of a dress she saw downtown.

The gift of AA is one exception. We give AA away because it is the only way we can keep it ourselves.

Hazelden Foundation

Oct. 27, 2019 - Good morning to a relaxing and laid back serene Sunday