Today, I need to take my Program from theoretical to practical application to both my recovery and life. If I hear the motto, "Easy Does It," I cannot interpret it to mean that I have "permission" to neglect daily responsibilities and to do what must be done today and that it means, instead, take it easy in not expecting too much of either myself or another person. "Let Go and Let God" does not mean I can expect my Higher Power to take care of what is my responsibility and which is within my capability; instead, I must realize I am letting go of my own will for myself and letting God tell me what His will is for me. "One (drink) is one too many and never enough" tells me, simply, not to try to find out what is "never enough" and not to try the first one at all. "Making amends" isn't simply saying, "I'm sorry," but becoming willing to accept responsibility and consequences and working harder if some of those amends are rejected. "One Day at a Time" is simple: today is all I've got; yesterday can't be undone or redone, and tomorrow is no guarantee and, even if it is, I have to give today my best shot because it may well reverberate into tomorrow. Today, my Program moves from theory to the practical, and it's time to roll up the sleeves. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2013
AA Thought for the Day We should be free from alcohol for good. It's out of our hands and in the hands of God, so we don't need to worry about it or even think about it any more. But if we haven't done this honestly and fully, the chances are that it will become our problem again. Since we don't trust God to take care of the problem for us, we reach out and take the problem back to ourselves. Then it's our problem again and we're in the same old mess we were in before. We're helpless again and we drink.
Do I trust God to take care of the problem for me?
Meditation for the Day No work is of value without preparation. Every spiritual work must have behind it much spiritual preparation. Cut short times of prayer and times of spiritual preparation and many hours of work may be profitless. From the point of view of God, one poor tool working all the time but doing back work because of lack of preparation, is of small value compared with the sharp, keen, perfect instrument working for only a short time but which turns out perfect work because of long hours of spiritual preparation.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may spend more time alone with God. I pray that I may get more strength and joy from such times, so that they will add much to my work.
Reflection for the Day We're taught in The Program and the Twelve Steps that the chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear - mainly fear that we would lose something we already possessed or that we would fail to get something we demanded. Living on the basis of unsatisfied demands, we obviously were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration. Therefore, we are taught, no peace will be ours unless we find a means of reducing these demands.
Have I become entirely ready to have God remove all my defects of character?
Today I Pray May I make no unrealistic demands on life which, because of their grandiosity, cannot be met. May I place no excessive demands on others which, when they are not fulfilled, leave me disappointed and let down.
Today's thought from Hazelden is: Seeing the beauty We can see our Higher Power in so many beautiful things in this world: the reflection of light in the running brook, the spectrum of colors in the oil spot on the street, the stubbly grass peeking out of the snow like morning whiskers, hail popping like kernels of corn, the music of rain, the face of a child, the face of an elder.
Some of us see our Higher Power most clearly in the light of another's eyes or in acts of unselfish kindness and know ourselves to be part of it. With clean, sober eyes we can see this beauty.
Can I see the beauty all around me?
Higher Power, help me to see the beauty all around me today and to realize that I, too, am beautiful in your eyes.
Today, even if I am sober without attending meetings, I will consider the possibility that the quality of my sobriety might be enhanced if I resume regular meeting attendance - and participation. In neglecting meetings even if I am practicing the Program's Steps, I could be denying myself fresh perspectives that could lift me over some of the bumps on Sobriety Road. Adversely, I may be denying a newcomer or someone in relapse my own experience, strength and hope or anything else that might help them in their own journey. And if my lack of attendance at meetings is because of some rift within my home group, we have the freedom to "shop" for the meeting that we feel is best suited for our needs. But, in the end, neglecting meetings may well risk my own sobriety if for no other reason than I am not receiving someone else's experience, strength and hope and I am not fully Twelfth-Stepping by not sharing my own. Today, if I am only IN the Program, I will get WITH it. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2013
AA Thought for the Day When we came into AA, the first thing we did was to admit that we couldn't do anything about our drinking. We admitted that alcohol had us licked and that we were helpless against it. We never could decide whether or not to take a drink. We always took the drink. And since we couldn't do anything about it ourselves, we put our whole drink problem into the hands of God. We turned the whole thing over to that Power greater than ourselves. And we have nothing more to do about it, except to trust God to take care of the problem for us.
Have I done this honestly and fully?
Meditation for the Day This is the time for my spirit to touch the spirit of God. I know that the feeling of the spirit-touch is more important than all the sensation of material things. I must seek a silence of spirit-touching with God. Just a moment's contact and all the fever of life leaves me. Then I am well, whole, calm and able to rise and minister to others. God's touch is a potent healer. I must feel that touch and sense God's presence.
Prayer for the Day I pray that the fever of resentment, worry and fear may melt into nothingness. I pray that health, joy, peace and serenity may take its place.
Reflection for the Day If I live just one day at a time, I won't so quickly entertain fears of what might happen tomorrow. As long as I'm concentrating on today's activities, there won't be room in my mind for worrying. I'll try to fill every minute of this day with something good - seen, heard, accomplished. Then, when the day is ended, I'll be able to look back on it with satisfaction, serenity and gratitude.
Do I sometimes cherish bad feelings so that I can feel sorry for myself?
Today I Pray That I will get out of the self-pity act and live for today. May I notice the good things from dawn to nightfall, learn to talk about them and thank God for them. May I catch myself if I seem to be relishing my moans and complaints more often than appreciating the goodness of my life.
We know from past experiences that we actually invited all our troubles to enter our lives. We left the door wide open for them. Getting sober does not necessarily mean we have closed all the doors, for some of us have only closed the front door and left the back door wide open.
The chances are that you are not only vulnerable through the door marked Alcohol. As you advance to the front, watch well both flanks and the rear.
We are unique and wonderful people. We have weaknesses, yes, and we also have strengths beyond our imagining.
Perhaps we needed a crutch at one time. We got used to it, and even though it was in our way and slowed us down, we were afraid to venture forth without it. Gradually, the crutch began to control our movements and take over our life. We became its slave.
Then we were invited to consider the possibility of a Higher Power that would eliminate our need for a crutch. Intrigued, we began to practice relying on this Higher Power in concrete ways on a daily basis.
We are learning how to walk again. Scary sometimes, without the old props, but Step by Step we're on our way to recovery.
Just for today, I will put away the crutches I no longer need and rely on my Higher Power.
Today, I must understand that I cannot take Step Seven of asking my Higher Power to "remove (my) shortcomings" without first surrendering completely to the Sixth Step of being "entirely ready" to be free of those shortcomings. And if I am clinging onto some character defect such as fear, resentment, anger, self-pity or remorse, I probably have not been thoroughly honest in my Fourth Step of "a searching and fearless moral inventory ..." Some - if not all - of those character defects likely triggered my drinking, at first abusively and eventually addictively, and holding onto them even with an honest desire to let go of them may threaten the quality of my sobriety - maybe my sobriety itself. An "honest desire" to surrender my defects, then, is not sufficient; because the Program is one of action, I must be active in releasing my defects and not taking them back. My thoughts, feelings and actions of yesterday influenced my subsequent tomorrows; thus, what I do today may well impact tomorrow, and my history of carrying from yesterday into tomorrow is one of self-destruction. Today, if I am mired in defects that I know contributed to my drinking, I must review my Fourth to see if it wasn't as "searching and fearless" as I had hoped. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2013
AA Thought for the Day When we came into AA, we came to believe in a Power greater than ourselves. We came to believe in that Divine Principle in the universe which we call God, and to which we can turn for help. Each morning we have a quiet time. We ask God for the power to stay sober for the next 24 hours. And each night we thank Him for helping us to keep sober that day.
Do I believe that each man or woman I see in AA is a demonstration of the power of God to change a human being from a drunkard to a sober person?
Meditation for the Day I should pray for faith as a thirsty person prays for water in a desert. Do I know what it means to feel sure that God will never fail me? Am I sure of this as I am sure that I still breathe? I should pray daily and most diligently that my faith may increase. There is nothing lacking in my life because, really, all I need is mine, only I lack the faith to know it. I am like a rich man's child who sits in rags when all around me are stores of all I could desire.
Prayer for the Day I pray for the realization that God has everything I need. I pray that I may know that His power is always available.
Reflection for the Day "What if ..." How often we hear these words from newcomers to The Program. How often, in fact, we tend to say them ourselves. "What if I lose my job ...," "What if my car breaks down ...," "What if I get sick and can't work ...," "What if my child gets hooked on drugs?" What if - anything our desperate imaginings can project. Only two small words, yet how heavy-laden they are with dread, fear and anxiety. The answer to, "What if ...," is, plainly and simply, "Don't project." We can only live with our problems as they arise, living one day at a time.
Am I keeping my thoughts positive?
Today I Pray May I grow spiritually, without being held back by anxieties. May projected fears not hobble my pursuits or keep me from making the most of today. May I turn out fear by faith. If I will only make a place for God within me, He will remove my fears.
Today I Will Remember I can only borrow trouble at high interest rates.
Frequently we are asked, "Why waste your money on that guy? He's a phony if ever I saw one." We have all heard this and often it was true but, after all, the monetary loss each month was way below our old whiskey bills. Every once in a while, the long shot does come in and the payoff is tremendous.
It is simply a case of betting on people instead of horses. These bets on people can't lose, for if the phony abuses your generosity, the fault is his, not yours, and he is debited and you are credited by the Great Bookkeeper who has charge of the Treasury where "neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal."
There is no shortcut to life. To the end of our days, life is a lesson imperfectly learned. -- Harrison E. Salisbury
There are no perfect days. We have struggled hard against this truth. In our demanding ways, we haven't wanted life to be a process; we have wanted to reach a secure point of arrival. We have struggled against the dialogue and learning process of experience. We've looked for a "fix" and for perfection.
Even now in recovery we long to "get it right." We continue to learn and to grow, but the lessons we learn are not the things we expected. We grieve the lateness of our learning, and then we go on to learn more.
As we grow in this program, we learn how to learn. We become more accepting of life as a process with no shortcut to the truth. We learn to engage in the process and accept that there usually is no right or wrong answer at the end of our search.
Today, may I accept the truth, which comes from the lessons of my experience -- and be tolerant of its incompleteness.
Today, I am forced to admit that I abused, misused, took for granted and literally threw away through my drinking and subsequent alcoholism all that I had been GIVEN unconditionally - love, respect, self-respect, integrity, friends, family, my innocence - and traded it for selfishness, insecurity, fear, regret, pain, agony, anguish, loss and time that will never be recovered. Now, I am forced to admit that I cannot expect to be given what I drank away that once was mine - nor should I be enabled in regaining what I lost - without working for it. And I have the tools to begin the rebuilding process, courtesy of the Program. So simple! But the work to apply those tools forces me to ask my Higher Power, on bended knees, for the strength, courage, honesty, discipline, integrity and selflessness to earn back - not demand nor expect them to be handed to me - what I have lost. And, if I do the job right, I may get back more than I lost. Today, I have the courage and strength to accept I must remake myself and, with the Program, I've got the tools to do it. All that remains is my choice to pick them up and put them to use. Today, I pick them up and begin the rebuilding process. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2013
AA Thought for the Day Some people find it hard to believe in a Power greater than themselves. But not to believe in such a Power forces us to atheism. It has been said that atheism is blind faith in the strange proposition that this universe originated in a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere. That's practically impossible to believe. I think we all can agree that alcohol is a power greater than ourselves. It certainly was in my case. I was helpless before the power of alcohol.
Do I remember the things that happened to me because of the power of alcohol?
Meditation for the Day The spiritual and moral will eventually overcome the material and unmoral. That is the purpose and destiny of the human race. Gradually the spiritual is overcoming the material in our minds. Gradually the moral is overcoming the unmoral. Faith, fellowship and service are cures for most of the ills of the world. There is nothing in the field of personal relationships that they cannot do.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may do my share in making a better world. I pray that I may be part of the cure for the ills of the world.
Reflection for the Day Before we came to The Program, fear ruled our lives. Tyrannized by our addictions and obsessions, we feared everything and everybody. We feared ourselves and, perhaps most of all, feared fear itself. These days, when I am able to accept the help of my Higher Power, it makes me feel capable of doing anything I am called upon to do. I am overcoming my fears and acquiring a comfortable new confidence.
Can I believe that "courage is fear that has said its prayers ...?"
Today I Pray God grant that through faith in Him I may overcome my obsessive fears. I have been running scared for so long it has become a habit. God help me to see that I may be purposely clinging to my fears to avoid making decisions, perhaps even to shirk the responsibility of success
Today I Will Remember Fear keeps me safe from risk-taking.
Few of us who are successfully working the AA Program have failed to notice the almost immediate influence our sobriety has brought about, not only in our homes and jobs but in the community as well.
Some of us who a short time ago stood before the judge and got the usual "$10 or 10 days" are now frequently closeted in the Judge's Chambers at his invitation to assist him in his handling of the alcoholic problem.
We know what we were, we know what we are, now let us be what we can be.
Today's thought from Hazelden is: Having hope makes every day easier, more gentle. From our first introduction to other men and women who have faced firsthand the illness of chemical dependency, we sense the spirit of hope in their words and in their faces. Some of us have had little or no hope for many years. It's no wonder we initially doubt that our lives can change. We're certain our struggles are different from the struggles that brought other people to this Twelve Step program. But we listen to their stories anyway. And slowly we learn that our paths are similar. Our problems are not unique, after all.
Having hope, we come to understand, is a decision. Other men and women have made this decision. We can too. In time we will also understand that hope makes it possible for us to expect more positive outcomes to our problems. It's so often true that what we expect is just what we get. Looking on the bright side of life can't make our struggles worse!
Having hope will open the door to my Higher Power today. Help is the by-product of hope.
Today, I will apply the Program to a wider use by remembering that it is developed not solely to guide us to sobriety but to acknowledge and correct the character flaws that made us drink ourselves into alcoholism. Being dry is all we can expect if the only action we take is to quit drinking; abstinence alone will not earn us the sobriety and peace that the Program promises if we do not uncover, admit and either give up or correct the dysfunctional dynamics of our spiritual and emotional characters. Being dry is a major step forward from our drinking days, but being dry without peace with ourselves and everyone else puts us at significant risk of relapse if we turn a blind eye to the defective parts of our character. And because simply being dry positions me on the edge of a relapse waiting to happen, my Program will be applied to more than abstaining from drinking and will include what and how I must deal with the defects in my mental, spiritual and emotional characters. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2013
AA Thought for the Day When we came to our first AA meeting, we looked up at the wall at the end of the room and saw the sign: "But for the Grace of God." We knew right then and there that we would have to call on the Grace of God in order to get sober and get over our soul-sickness. We heard speakers tell how they had come to depend on a Power greater than themselves. That made sense to us and we made up our minds to try it.
Am I depending on the Grace of God to help me stay sober?
Meditation for the Day Share your love, your joy, your happiness, your time, your food, your money gladly with all. Give out all the love you can with a glad, free heart and hand. Do all you can for others and back will come countless stores of blessings. Sharing draws others to you. Take all who come as sent by God and give them a royal welcome. You may never see the results of your sharing. Today they may not need you, but tomorrow may bring results from the sharing you did today.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may make each visitor desire to return. I pray that I may never make anyone feel repulsed or unwanted.