Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sept. 19, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017
Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:
One deceit needs many others, and so the whole house is built in the air and must soon come crashing down. 
 -- Baltasar Gracian
If we are honest about our addiction, we know how it can drive us into secrecy. At first came the little lie - about missing an appointment or coming home late. Then the lie to cover the lie, and then the lies to try to escape from the web of lies that entangled us within our deceit. We couldn't look our loved one in the eye, we couldn't risk the truth, and so we lied again and again. Finally the sad day came when we grew comfortable in our little isolated world of fantasy and deception.
Our life became a house of cards, a pack of lies. We couldn't make an honest, open move for fear of bringing the whole thing tumbling down around our ears. And usually we were not the only ones to get hurt; our spouses, lovers, children, friends, and colleagues suffered too.
We have begun to change all this, but it takes time. We need to continue to take inventory and be fearless and honest with ourselves. Each time we are honest, the lies lose their power, and finally truth comes through.
I'm tired of the web of lies I've spun around my addiction. I want to break through into honesty and truth.
You are reading from the book:
Answers in the Heart © 1989 by P. Williamson and S. Kiser

Sept. 19, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017

"The mental twists that led up to my drinking began many years before I ever took a drink for I am one of those whose history proves conclusively that my drinking was 'a symptom of a deeper trouble.'
'Through my efforts to get down to 'causes and conditions,' I stand convinced that my  emotional illness has been present from my earliest recollection. I never did react normally to any emotional situation." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, "They Lost Nearly All," Ch 12 ("Freedom From Bondage"), p 544.

Today, knowing that my emotional and spiritual sickness preceded my alcoholism, I also know that abstaining from drinking is not enough in my recovery. Drinking was, for me, but a symptom of a "deeper trouble," and AA has to be worked and climbed step by step to cure that symptom. Without tending to the "deeper trouble," my recovery will be less sober and more like a dry drunk. Whatever my pre-drinking "deeper trouble" was - fear, anger, shame, loneliness, low or inflated self-esteem, resentment, depression or a diagnosed psychiatric condition - I need to confront and either come to terms with it or let it go. Then, and only then, can I move on with the business of sobriety and serenity. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2017

Sept. 19, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017

AA Thought for the Day
Let us continue with Steps Two, Three and Eleven. We must turn to a Higher Power for help, because we are helpless ourselves. When we put our drink problem in God's hands and leave it there, we have made the most important decision of our lives. From then on, we trust God for the strength to keep sober. This takes us off the center of the universe and allows us to transfer our problems to a Power outside ourselves. By prayer and meditation, we seek to improve our conscious contact with God. We try to live each day the way we believe God wants us to live.

Am I trusting God for the strength to stay sober?

Meditation for the Day
"These things have I spoken unto you, that your joy may be full." Even a partial realization of the spiritual life brings much joy. You feel at home in the world when you are in touch with the Divine Spirit of the universe. Spiritual experience brings a definite satisfaction. Search for the real meaning of life by following spiritual laws. God wants you to have spiritual success and He intends that you have it. If you live your life as much as possible according to spiritual laws, you can expect your share of joy and peace, satisfaction and success.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I will find happiness in doing the right thing. I pray that I will find satisfaction in obeying spiritual laws.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 19, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017

Reflection for the Day
It's still not exactly a "piece of cake" for me to accept today's occasional pain and anxiety with any great degree of serenity, but I'm increasingly able to be thankful for a certain amount of pain. In The Program, we find the willingness to do this by going over the lessons learned from past sufferings - lessons which have led to the blessings we now enjoy. We can remember how the agonies of addiction - and the pain of rebellion and bruised pride - have often led us to God's grace, and thus to new freedom.

Have I thanked my Higher Power for the miracle of my life this day?

Today I Pray
When I was helpless, I asked God for help. When I was hopeless, I reached out for His hope. When I was powerless over my addiction, I asked to share His power. Now I can honestly thank God that I was helpless, hopeless and powerless, because I have seen a miracle.

Today I Will Remember
From powerless highs to a Higher Power.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 19, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017

The cry of the single word "Help" will bring more people to your rescue than a long and eloquent oration of your needs. If the God of your understanding is a personal God, one who has all Godly attributes in infinite quantities, then He knows your needs before your sluggish human intelligence is capable of realizing them. The secret of prayer is not long or frequent appeals in Biblical phraseology but an humble, contrite heart, a hope that expects its plea to be heard. A recognition of the Infinite Love that we acknowledge will do all those things which He, in His wisdom, knows are best for us.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 19, 2017 - Rise 'n shine for a beautiful Tuesday of renewed faith, courage, strength and hope


Monday, September 18, 2017

Sept. 18, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Monday, Sept.  18, 2017
Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Give us to go blithely on our business this day, bring us to our resting beds weary and content and undishonored, and grant us in the end the gift of sleep.
 -- Robert Louis Stevenson


Tonight, our reward for the day is sleep. To make sleep peaceful and relaxing, and filled with pleasant thoughts, we can spend time gently closing our minds to the day's events.

We can walk down a pleasant, nature-filled path in our minds. With each step we can move farther away from the day's activities and the many tasks we did or left undone. Look around us. We can see lakes and mountains and hear the soothing sounds of a speeding stream. Nothing is important now except peace of mind and the hours ahead in which our minds will be at peace.

Before we shut off the light we can spend a few minutes visualizing our pleasant nature walks. We can think "Let Go and Let God" and feel the day's tensions and pressures fall from our shoulders. Today has been good. We can then close our eyes and let the reward of sleep drift over us.
You are reading from the book:
Night Light by Amy E. Dean. © 1986, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 18, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Monday, Sept. 18, 2017

"I've been benefited from a dictionary definition I found that reads: 'rationalization is giving a socially acceptable reason for socially unacceptable behavior, and socially unacceptable behavior is a form of insanity'." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, "They Lost Nearly All," Ch 12 ("Freedom From Bondage"), p 551.

Today, getting drunk every night and waking every morning to shakes, dry heaves and a shot of whiskey instead a cup of coffee can't be rationalized with, "Everyone drinks." Not everyone gets drunk every day or has blackouts, and giving a "socially acceptable reason" for an unacceptable behavior is part of the insanity of alcoholism. And alcoholic drinking is not a socially accepted behavior. Today, in my recovery, the definition of insanity is expanded beyond continuing behavior that always leads to the same outcome to include rationalizing my unacceptable conduct with an acceptable reason. May it serve me well. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2017

Sept. 18, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, Sept. 18, 2017

AA Thought for the Day
Step Two is, "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." Step Three is, "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." Step Eleven is, "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." The fundamental basis of AA is a belief in some power greater than ourselves. Let us not take this lightly. We cannot fully get the program without this venture of belief.

Have I made the venture of belief in a Power greater than my own?

Meditation for the Day
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Dwell for a moment each day in a secret place, the place of communion with God, apart from the world, and thence receive strength to face the world. Material things cannot intrude because it is outside the realm of material things. When you abide in this secret place, you are under the shadow of the Almighty. God is close to you in this quiet place of communion. Each day, dwell for a while in this secret place.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may renew my strength in quietness. I pray that I may find rest in quiet communion with God.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 18, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Monday, Sept. 18, 2017

Reflection for the Day
In every story we hear from others in The Program, pain has been the price of admission into a new life. But our admission price purchased far more than we expected. It led us to a degree of humility, which we soon discovered to be a healer of pain. And, in time, we began to fear pain less - and desire humility more than ever.

Am I learning to "sit loosely in the saddle" - making the most of what comes and the least of what goes?

Today I Pray
If God's plan for us is spiritual growth, a closer alliance with His principles of what is good and what is true, then may I believe that all my experiences have added up to a new and improved me. May I not fear the lessons of pain. May I know that I must continue to grow through pain, as well as joy.

Today I Will Remember
I hurt; therefore, I am.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 18, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Monday, Sept. 18, 2017

A deep stab wound must heal from within outward, or fresh tissue would grow over the lip of the wound and prevent the necessary drainage from beneath. Blood poisoning would set in and the poison would circulate through the entire body.

Human improvement works the same way. If it is only a surface cure, the poison remains in the heart and mind, affecting our entire life, and unless oral surgery is resorted to, our characters become infected.

The AA Program is moral surgery, wherein we remove sick and diseased thoughts and actions from deep within ourselves and thus become entirely healed.

Hazelden Foundation

Sept. 18, 2017 - Rise 'n shine for a magnificent Monday and greater new week of faith and gratitude


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sept. 17, 2017 - When the caregiver is a man -- and the aftermath

By Christopher M. MacNeil
Freelance blogger
His name was Gilbert but everyone called him Todd. In 2012, two years after a heart attack that was not considered major, Todd was diagnosed with Stage 4 congestive heart failure and given a one- to two-year life expectancy.
With that and other diagnoses of Type 2 diabetes and renal failure, Todd was prescribed a half-dozen medications and medical devices to monitor daily sugar, blood pressure and oxygen saturation levels. In time, Todd’s daily medications increased to 13 and the number of his medical conditions to 21.
What might have been an intellectual disability was an ironic comfort in that Todd did not understand the full extent of his condition. But it also prevented him from understanding how to take his daily medications and functional readings and to get to and from one or two weekly doctor appointments. Those gradually increased to three and four appointments weekly.
It fell to Todd’s male companion since 1988 to take on the role of caregiver, a job that comes with no training, long hours, sleepless nights, sometimes dirty working conditions and no pay. The caregiver soon learned that he had to educate himself about Todd’s condition and how medications could interact with each other and create further complications. He learned that doctors don’t always explain what patients and caregivers should know to carry out a higher quality of care.
The caregiver also learned about professional and personal sacrifices. Working fulltime and up to 60 hours a week when Todd was diagnosed, the caregiver’s employer told him he had to “work around” Todd’s care because he, the caregiver, was “here to serve” the employer. Instead, the employer got the caregiver’s two-week notice, a sacrifice the caregiver has not regretted to this day.
Some friends of the caregiver became ex-friends with comments about the caregiver having to “wait for someone to die” before he could accept an invitation to dinner or a “night out.” Like the caregiver’s job, friends were readily discarded if for no other reason than their lack of humanity and compassion for a dying person.
The “deadline” of two years of life that Todd was given in 2012 came and went in February 2014. For the next 3 ½ years, he and his caregiver moved on with the daily routine of medications and appointments with doctors that steadily expanded to include a general practitioner, a nephrologist, additional cardiologists and an internist. At the same time, as his body weakened, Todd suffered sacrifices of his own. Always active and socially involved, Todd became unable to hit the gym at his beloved Y and to attend social functions and gatherings that he treasured.
As the number of Todd’s weekly medical appointments steadily increased from one and two to four and five a week, getting him to them and back home became difficult for both Todd and his caregiver. Those out-of-home medical appointments came to an abrupt and unwanted end in July when Todd was taken by ambulance to a hospital after a fall in his home. A day later, Todd and his caregiver were given the prognosis of the hospital’s chief cardiologist and transplant specialist: “maybe six months, maybe a little more or a little less” to live. He was returned home after five days in the hospital with hospice services.
Todd’s caregiver is left now not used to giving up the daily routine of tending to Todd and an uncertainty of how to move forward.
Sept. 6, less than two months after being given “maybe six months” to live, Todd passed away suddenly but quietly in a hospital bed in his home. For Todd’s caregiver, comfort came in the assurances by multiple medical professionals that Todd suffered no pain based on the lack of tell-tale signs on his body. The deeper comfort came from the same professionals and attendants who removed him from the home: Todd, they told the caregiver seperately, was one of the most “peaceful” people they had seen.
Todd’s caregiver is left now not used to giving up the daily routine of tending to Todd and an uncertainty of how to move forward. Through the years and after Todd’s passing, well-meaning friends told the caregiver he now has his “freedom” and could “get (his) left back.” But the caregiver cannot remember the life he had before his role as caregiver, and he doesn’t care to remember.
The dynamic of one man as caregiver to another man was fodder for occasional murmurs by hospital personnel that Todd and his caregiver overheard during their long journey together. Most gossipers assumed the two men were gay lovers, explaining why Todd did not have a “woman taking care of him.” Neither Todd nor his caregiver were bothered by what anyone assumed: far more important issues were of paramount priority.
It wasn’t until after Todd’s passing, however, that the caregiver was informed by the hospice agency that it had a men’s support group consisting of male caregivers who had also lost the person for whom they cared. At present Todd’s caregiver has a call into the program’s chaplain to pursue invvolvement for group support and grief resolution.
On a deeper level, however, the caregiver has been given a treasured legacy that Todd left behind. Todd never complained that his health slowly stripped him of what had been an active professional and social life, and his example, courage and faith were inspiring enough that his caregiver does not regret or resent whatever it cost him to be a caregiver for 5 1/2 years. He instead tries to remember to be grateful that Todd survived 3 1/2 years beyond the time he was given in 2012.
Yes, male caregivers do exist and, yes, they need and deserve the support that female caregivers receive.
And yes, men do cry.

Sept. 17, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017
Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:
Flowers, Not Weeds
When addiction took hold of my son, it grew and spread like a thick, thorny vine, twisting and turning and choking him tight. But it didn't stop there. It kept right on creeping. It crept and crawled its way into my mind, making me sick too. In an Alice in Wonderland kind of way, my sickness is a distorted reflection of his sickness. How sick is that?
I faded, I weakened. I lost my sense of self. Blamed, judged, and berated, I became consumed by the guilt and negative thoughts heaped on me by both myself and others. My common sense and rational thought became warped.
The truth is, negative thoughts and negative people can't take root in my life if I don't let them. My life is like a garden--what grows here is in my control. Unwelcome seeds may drift in on the wind, and renegade runners may sneak in under the fence, but I can pull out the things I don't want in order to make room for the flowers.
Stop watering the weeds in your life and start watering the flowers.
Anonymous
You are reading from the book:
Tending Dandelions © 2017 by Sandra Swenson

Sept. 17, 2017 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017

Today, first things first, one thing at a time, one step at a time, one feeling at a time if one day at a time is too daunting a challenge. Today, I will quiet the noise in my mind for the program's wisdom to take me from the character defects that degrade sobriety into dry drunkenness - if not a wet one. If and when the responsibilities to sobriety seem too heavy, I will look to the steps and live in the answer of sobriety instead of the problem of trying not to drink. And, in the end, the problem is not living with the struggle not to relapse: the answer is living in the program. Today, I have the choice to live in sobriety instead of struggling to fight off what threatens it. Today, I can live in the answer, not the problem. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2017