Today, I will live just for today. I cannot nor do I want to forget yesterday for it has lessons to carry into tomorrow; nor do I want to be so preoccupied with tomorrow that I neglect today for I may miss some unintended good that someone or something has to offer. I can plan for tomorrow going to church and doing whatever routine chore needs done, but I cannot fret over tomorrow and dread what demons or challenges my yesterdays programmed me to expect. But that programming from my yesterdays was dictated by a whiskey bottle and, God granting, there is no whiskey bottle in my today. I therefore cannot fear that what I do today will poison my tomorrow. My life, my sobriety, my hopes, my dreams, my fears, my recovery - all are today. Today is all I have, and I must not be lax in strengthening it to make tomorrow's today the promise of something good. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2013
AA Thought for the Day Drinking cuts you off from God. No matter how you were brought up, no matter what your religion is, no matter if you say you believe in God, nevertheless you build up a wall between you and God by your drinking. You know you're not living the way God wants you to live. As a result, you have that terrible remorse. When you come into AA, you begin to get right with other people and with God. A sober life is a happy life because, by giving up drinking, we've got rid of our loneliness and remorse.
Do I have real fellowship with other people and with God?
Meditation for the Day I believe that all sacrifice and all suffering is of value to me. When I am in pain, I am being tested. Can I trust God, no matter how low I feel? Can I say, "Thy will be done," no matter how much I am defeated? If I can, my faith is real and practical. It works in bad times as well as in good times. The Divine Will is working in a way that is beyond my finite mind to understand, but I can still trust in it.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may take my suffering in my stride. I pray that I may accept pain and defeat as part of God's plan for my spiritual growth.
Reflection for the Day One of the most constructive things I can do is to learn to listen to myself and get in touch with my true feelings. For years, I tuned myself out, going along, instead, with what others felt and said. Even today, it sometimes seems that they have it all together, while I'm still stumbling about. Thankfully, I'm beginning to understand that people-pleasing takes many forms. Slowly but steadily, I've also begun to realize that it's possible for me to change my old patterns.
Will I encourage myself to tune in to the real me? Will I listen carefully to my own inner voice with the expectation that I'll hear some wonderful things?
Today I Pray I pray that I may respect myself enough to listen to my real feelings, those emotions which for so long I refused to hear or name or own, which festered in me like a poison. May I know that I need to stop often, look at my feelings, listen to the inner me.
Nothing great was ever achieved without overcoming great obstacles, and no hero of history deserves more acclaim than those who were triumphant over self. But do not let us swell up too much with pride. If we are honest, we know that with our character-weakened souls, with our "fogbound" brains, we could accomplish nothing of ourselves. It was only when we, in our desperate surrender, threw our lives and our wills into His keeping that He, in His mercy, removed the obstacle. Unknown, even to ourselves, there must have slept in us that Faith of a mustard seed, that can remove mountains.
You have three choices: keep on fighting, ignore each other, or make up and be friends.-- John Knoblauch
Once there were four sixth-graders - two boys and two girls - who started to fight even though they'd been friends for years. One morning at the bus stop, the boys started playing keep-away with the girls' shoes and wouldn't give them back. One of the mothers called the school.
Later that day, the counselor called them in and asked them what the fight was all about. They said they didn't really know.
"Well," said the counselor, "it doesn't really matter why you started fighting. Right now, you've got three choices: keep on fighting, ignore each other, or make up."
The group chose to ignore each other after discussing it among themselves. They were happy to be able to stop fighting. About the time of winter vacation, they decided to be friends again.
Today, I will work for progress instead of perfection. And, in recognizing the difference, I might learn patience over impatience not only with others, but with myself. Progress requires that I focus on just this day while perfection forces me to look to the unrealistic and unattainable goals beyond today. But by preoccupying myself with tomorrow, I am likely to neglect something today - and that failure will likely sabotage any tomorrow I might have. Tomorrow will hold nothing good if I neglect today. Today, then, will be focused on one day at a time, first things first and one thing at a time. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2013
AA Thought for the Day A drinking life isn't a happy life. Drinking cuts you off from other people and from God. One of the worst things about drinking is the loneliness. And one of the best things about AA is the fellowship. Drinking cuts you off from other people, at least from the people who really matter to you, your family, your co-workers and your real friends. No matter how much you love them, you build up a wall between you and them by your drinking. You're cut off from any real companionship with them. As a result, you're terribly lonely.
Have I got rid of my loneliness?
Meditation for the Day I will sometimes go aside into a quiet place of retreat with God. In that place, I will find restoration and healing and power. I will plan quiet times now and then, times when I will commune with God and arise rested and refreshed to carry on the work which God has given me to do. I know that God will never give me a load greater than I can bear. It is in serenity and peace that all true success lies.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may strengthen my inner life, so that I may find serenity. I pray that my soul may be restored in quietness and peace.
Reflection for the Day Have I gained freedom simply because one day I was weak and the next day I became suddenly strong? Have I changed from the helpless and hopeless person I once seemed to be simply by resolving, "from now on, things will be different ...?" Is the fact that I am more comfortable today than ever before the result of my own willpower? Can I take credit for pulling myself up by my own bootstraps? I know better, for I sought refuge in a Power greater than myself - a Power which is still beyond my ability to visualize.
Do I consider the change in my life a miracle far beyond the workings of any human power?
Today I Pray As the days of sobriety lenghten, and the moment of decision becomes farther behind me, may I never lose sight of the Power that changed my life. May I remember that my sobriety is an ongoing miracle, not just a once-in-a-lifetime transformation.
After several years on the Program, we still have to guard against rationalizing. When it comes to selling ourselves a bill of goods, we are tops. Our drinking was most always occasioned by a "good reason," or so we thought; the real reason - the fact that we were alcoholics and therefore compulsive drinkers - never occurred to us. A good reason can always be found for our actions, but the real reason is frequently obscure. Lord, teach us to know the difference.
Miracles are instantaneous. They cannot be summoned, but come of themselves, usually at unlikely moments to those who least expect them. -- Katherine Anne Porter
Nobody can force us to be in recovery or twist our arm to make us work our program. There might have been times when we wanted someone to, especially in the beginning, but those times pass. The longer we live in recovery, the more committed we become. We can be grateful that we've stayed with it One Day at a Time. Through times of joy and sadness, through slips, tears, struggling with difficult problems and during moments of peaceful fellowship with new friends, we can truly say that recovery is never boring.
Many of us came to the program because we had no place else to go. Through the mystery of our choices and God's grace, time goes by and we change. It is then we realize that the promises of recovery are coming true. As the Big Book states, the promises of recovery are being "fulfilled among us -- sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them."
My gratitude and joy for the miracle of recovery are boundless.
Today, I will harness the gifts of the Program - courage, strength, hope, wisdom to ask the will of my Higher Power, compassion, passion - and work them for another person's whose needs are far more urgent and desperate than mine. I will not accept that other person's intellectual or any others barriers as an excuse to permit his voice from being heard. Today, MY voice will be HIS, and his desperate struggle for help will no longer be his silent and lonely fight. And in helping this person who cannot help himself, I am driven by the knowledge that my Higher Power has sent this person to me and He will give me the knowledge to carry out His will. And, in the end, if I am effective in helping this someone else, I will NOT accept outside bravados save my ego being fueled beyond acceptable boundaries. And, in advocating for someone else today, I won't have the time, I'll have no reason or excuse, to use or drink. I will be too busy carrying out the commandment of the Program. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2013
AA Thought for the Day What a load wasting money puts on your shoulders! They say that members of AA have paid the highest initiation fee of any club members in the world, because we've wasted so much money on liquor. We'll never be able to figure out how much it was. We not only wasted our own money, but also the money we should have spent on our families. When you come into AA, that terrible load of wasted money falls off your shoulders. We alcoholics were getting round-shouldered from carrying all those loads that drinking put on our shoulders. But when we come into AA, we get a wonderful feeling of release and freedom.
Can I throw back my shoulders and look the whole world in the face again?
Meditation for the Day I believe that the future is in the hands of God. He knows better than I what the future holds for me. I am not at the mercy of fate or buffeted about by life. I am being led in a very definite way, as I try to rebuild my life. I am the builder, but God is the architect. It is mine to build as best I can, under His guidance.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may depend on God, since He has planned my life. I pray that I may live my life as I believe God wants me to live it.
Reflection for the Day I used to imagine my life as a grotesque abstract painting; a montage of crises framed by end-upon-end catastrophies. My days all were grey and my thoughts grayer still. I was haunted by dread and nameless fears. I was filled with self-loathing. I had no idea who I was, what I was or why I was. I miss none of those feelings. Today, step by step, I am discovering myself and learning that I can be free to be me.
Am I grateful for my new life? Have I taken the time to thank God today for the fact that I am clean and sober - and alive?
Today I Pray May calm come to me after the turmoil and nightmares of the past. As my fears and self-hatred dissipate, may the things of the spirit replace them. For in the spiritual world, as in the material world, there is no empty space. May I be filled with the spirit of my Higher Power.
Today I Will Remember Morning scatters nightmares.
On that awful day when the world had toppled about us, when all hope had departed and only wild desperation remained, then was the night darkest and nearest was the dawn. At this darkest hour, we "hit our bottom." There was no way to go but UP.
As dawn follows darkness in Nature's scheme, so darkness follows again in its turn. All things, save God, are transitory and what one day can bring, another day can take away. Let us not feel too secure in our sobriety, for darkness will come in the regular course of events, and we must be sure we have provided ourselves with the Light which will enable us to keep our footing on the slippery paths ahead.
Today's thought from Hazelden is: You can't let adversity get you down. Keep smiling. -- Violet Hensley
Violet's smiles certainly fit this category. She lights up rooms with her joy and energy, her fiddle playing and storytelling. We don't all smile quite so easily. Why is that? Some naively assume one's easy; individual circumstances determine the willingness to smile. A few hours with a soul like Violet convinces us otherwise. The work we've done, the environment we inhabit, the struggles we've had or have been free of do not determine our happiness, thus the frequency of our smiles. That's good fortune, in fact.
Smiling is first an attitude and then an action. We don't have to be bubbling over with inner happiness to smile. On the contrary, if something is bothering us, we may discover it will not loom so large if we focus our energy on smiling at a friend or even a stranger. Some would label it miraculous how changed a problem seems when we decide to put our energy into smiling at the passersby in our lives.
The separation we feel from others is what often gives rise to our problems, regardless of their details. Giving a smile and getting one in return diminishes our sense of separation. Problems diminish, too.
How do I feel today? Even a few smiles will lift my spirits.
Today, at day's end, I will look back on this day and know by the grace of God that I did the best I could in all my affairs. If, in prayer and meditation, I found that I have not fully surrendered to my Higher Power some problem or character defect, I will know I have asked my HP for the wisdom and humility to surrender it once and for all and that, if there is a tomorrow for me, I may be one day closer to that total surrender. I will not have reason, at day's end, to regret some communication with someone else because I was either cruel or indifferent to their needs or feelings. I will be grateful that, throughout this day, I will not have had a "temptation" to take the first drink that always leads to disaster, and I will go to sleep tonight with the comfort that my Higher Power on this day will bless me with the words, "Well done, my child." And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2013
AA Thought for the Day What a load hangovers put on your shoulders! What terrible physical punishment we've all been through. The pounding headaches and jumpy nerves, the shakes and the jitters, the hot and cold sweats! When you come into AA and stop drinking, that terrible load of hangovers falls off your shoulders. What a load remorse puts on your shoulders! That terrible mental punishment we've all been through. Ashamed of the things you've said and done. Afraid to face people because of what they might think of you. Afraid of the consequences of what you did when you were drunk. What an awful beating the mind takes! When you come into AA, that terrible load of remorse falls off your shoulders.
Have I got rid of these loads of hangovers and remorse?
Meditation for the Day When you seek to follow the way of the spirit, it frequently means a complete reversal of the way of the world which you had previously followed. But it is a reversal that leads to happiness and peace. Do the aims and ambitions that a person usually strives for bring peace? Do the world's awards bring heart-rest and happiness? Or do they turn to ashes in the mouth?
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may not be weary, disillusioned or disappointed. I pray that I may not put my trust in the ways of the world, but in the way of the Spirit.
Reflection for the Day Now that I am in The Program, I am no longer enslaved by alcohol and other drugs. Free, free at last from the morning-after tremors, the dry heaves, the three-day beard, the misplaced eyelashes. Free, free at last from working out the alibis and hoping they won't unravel; free from blackouts; free from watching the clock so that I can somehow get that desperately needed "first one."
Do I treasure my freedom from chemical enslavement?
Today I Pray Praise God that I am free of chemicals. This is my first freedom, from which other freedoms will develop - freedom to appraise my behavior sanely and constructively, freedom to grow as a person, freedom to maintain relationships with others on a sound basis. I will never cease to thank my Higher Power for leading me away from enslavement.
Man was created in the image of God. We are told that the heart of man is the Temple of the Holy Ghost. A realization of this fact makes the desecration of the body as sacrilegious as the desecration of any church.
We alcoholics have a lot of mess to clean up in our Temples in order to make them a fit place for communion with the God in us.
If we really want God to work in and through us in the rehabilitation of other alcoholics, we must provide Him at least a clean workshop.
At first, drugs or booze turned us on; later they turned on us. We couldn't find any peace anywhere. We began turning into the kind of person we didn't want to be, but we didn't know what was happening to us or how to change.
When we came to believe that our lives could and would turn around if we quit drinking or using; things began to get better.
Do I believe I can change?
Higher Power, help me to be open minded and humble enough to believe that what has worked to change the lives of others will work to change mine.
Today, I treat with respect that the Program's credo "Let Go and Let God" does not absolve me from responsibility for my condition as an alcoholic and from active participation in my redemption from the damage and pain to others of my drinking days. "Let Go and Let God" commands that I turn my will over to the Higher Power of my understanding to gain the knowledge of HIS will for me and "the power to carry (it) out." It does not give me the easy out by expecting God to do it for me. In accepting an active role in my participation instead of thinking it will come to me by reading the Big Book and going to meetings, I understand that sobriety is a two-level process; on the surface, I cannot drink; on a deeper level, I cannot expect a fundamental change in spiritual and emotional conditions that come solely by not drinking. I am responsible for my condition as an alcoholic; likewise, I am responsible for my recovery. "Let Go and Let God" does not dismiss me from either responsibility. Today, I "Let Go and Let God" by surrendering MY self-will and listening for God to show me HIS will and how I am to carry it out. And our common journey continues. Step by step. -Chris M., 2013
AA Thought for the Day Alcoholics carry an awful load around with them. What a load lying puts on your shoulders! Drinking makes liars out of all of us alcoholics. In order to get the liquor we want, we have to lie all the time. We have to lie about where we've been and what we've been doing. When you are lying, you are only half alive because of the fear of being found out. When you come into AA and get honest with yourself and with other people, that terrible load of lying falls off your shoulders.
Have I got rid of that load of lying?
Meditation for the Day I believe that in the spiritual world, as in the material world, there is no empty space. As fears and worries and resentments depart out of my life, the things of the spirit come in to take their places. Calm comes after a storm. As soon as I am rid of fears and hates and selfishness, God's love and peace and calm can come in.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may rid myself of all fears and resentments, so that peace and serenity may take their place. I pray that I may sweep my life clean of evil, so that good may come in.