“The old (drinking) pattern reasserted itself, but it was no longer once every six months. The intervals grew shorter. The binges were longer. They were harder to get off. … “That type of drinking is not pleasant. It is no longer enjoyable. You no longer get the kicks. It is desperation drinking. I was drinking to keep away the shakes …I was drinking to try to hold on to a job, to try and hold on to my home, to try to hold on to my wife, to try to hold on to my sanity.” - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Part III (“They Lost Nearly All”), Ch 8 (“Desperation Drinking”), p 514.
Today, I muster the honesty to accept the possibility that I have a problem if drinking is my answer to any desperation I feel, be it for a situation I desperately want not to face, or the talk with my spouse, partner or employer, the constantly ringing telephone that I will not answer because someone might be calling about my drinking or some problem it has caused. If drinking is my solution to any problem in my life, let me hear the voices of experience that my solution has become a crisis bigger than the problem I’m avoiding by drinking. And if I have not drank for any significant number of 24 Hours, chances are I now cannot remember the problem I drank to avoid. But, in so doing, I and I alone created one of the most critical crises that was far worse than any problem I faced sober. Today, alcohol will not be my solution to any problem that I may encounter; my answer is in the Twelve Steps. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M.,2013
AA Thought for the Day This leaves only one day – today. Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burden of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time.
Am I living one day at a time?
Meditation for the Day Give God the gift of a thankful heart. Try to see causes of thankfulness in your everyday life. When life seems hard and troubles crowd, then look for some reasons for thankfulness. There is nearly always something you can be thankful for. The offering of thanksgiving is indeed a sweet incense going up to God throughout a busy day. Seek diligently for something to be glad and thankful about. You will acquire in time the habit of blessings. Each new day some new cause for joy and gratitude will spring to your mind and you will thank God sincerely.
Prayer for the Day I pray for a truly thankful heart. I pray that I may be constantly reminded of causes for sincere gratitude.
Reflection for the Day One of the most serious consequences of the me-me-me syndrome is that we lose touch with practically everyone around us – not to mention reality itself. The essence of self-pity is total self-absorption, and it feeds on itself. Rather than ignore such an emotional state – or deny that we’re in it – we need to pull out of our self-absorption, stand back, and take a good honest look at ourselves. Once we recognize self-pity for what it is, we can begin to do something about it.
Am I living in the problem rather than the answer?
Today I Pray I pray that my preoccupation with self, which is wound up tight as a Maypole, may unwind itself and let its streamers fly again for others to catch and hold. May the thin, familiar wail of me-me-me become a chorus of us-us-us, as we in the fellowship pick apart our self-fullness and look at it together.
Today I Will Remember Change me-me-me to us-us-us.
In our drinking days, we were ready to take a poke at anyone who suggested we couldn’t handle our “likker.” It was a very sore spot with us, as we all kidded ourselves into believing that our over-indulgence was a well-guarded secret when, actually, we knew it was not.
Upon our entrance in AA, we soon made a public confession of our alcoholism and, to our surprise, we lost some of the sense of stigma and we could learn to laugh at our affliction and at ourselves. Our sense of guilt was lessened by our acknowledgment of its existence.
Indeed life is much like a game – both a deadly serious one and one that demands laughter, relaxation, and the ability to play. Either way, life demands attention.
There is much of life that is truly exciting and fascinating – are we watching for it? There is hilarity and humor – do we see it? There is that in life which is touching and full of heroism – are we open to seeing it?
All these are not only present in some general, nebulous way about life, but about our lives! Right here where we live, in our lives today, there will be the hero and the goat, there will be disappointment and reason for wild celebration, there will be the beautiful and the horrible. The soap opera is not out there; it is right here with us, in us, all around us. The task is to be present in our own lives, to get our heads out of others’ reality, and to find the enormous meaning and vitality of our own.
Life is precious. Today, I will not take my life for granted.
Today, I must realize that the character defects I identified in my Fourth Step probably existed before my drinking days and that alcohol simply developed them to their destructive zenith. My Sixth and Seventh Steps of first admitting to God and then asking that He remove my defects assume paramount honesty in my recovery program for I am likely to be challenged to release defects that have had a lifetime to take root more than those that those that developed in my drinking days. And if my defects are lifelong, simply stopping drinking will not give me the recovery and quality of sobriety for which I am thirsty. Today, I am an alcoholic and abstaining from drinking is not enough. I consider myself a part of the AA program; today, as I talk the talk, I will walk the walk. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2013
Twenty-Four Hours a Day Tuesday, July 30, 2013 AA Thought for the Day The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow, with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise, and perhaps its poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn.
Do I still worry too much about tomorrow?
Meditation for the Day “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is not seeing, but believing. Down through the ages, there have always been those who obeyed the heavenly vision, not seeing but believing in God. And their faith was rewarded. So shall it be to you. Good things will happen to you. You cannot see God, but you can see the results of faith in human lives, changing them from defeat to victory. God’s grace is available to all who have faith – not seeing, but believing. With faith, life can be victorious and happy.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may have faith enough to believe without seeing. I pray that I may be content with the results of my faith.
Reflection for the Day When we first come to The Program, the most common variety of self-pity begins: “Poor me! Why can’t I (fill in your own addiction) like everybody else? Why me?” Such bemoaning, if allowed to persist, is a surefire invitation for a long walk off a short pier – right back to the mess we were in before we came to The Program. When we stick around The Program for a while, we discover that it’s not just “me” at all; we become involved with people, from all walks of life, who are in exactly the same boat.
Am I losing interest in my comfortably familiar “pity pot?”
Today I Pray When self-pity has me droopy and inert, may I look up, look around and perk up. Self-pity, Godwills, vanishes in the light of other people’s shared troubles. May I always wish for friends honest enough to confront me if they see me digging my way back down into my old pity pit.
Today I Will Remember Turn self-involvement into involvement.
No pleasures of our drinking days even compensated for those horrible nights of wakeful tossing. The interminable pacing the floor; those night sweats; the endless hours when we couldn’t sleep and at the same time dreaded falling asleep. The hours that seemed to stretch into eternity as we lay in bed with remorse as a bedfellow. Then the Hell of the goof-balls that made our nights better and our days worse.
The physical pain we might have endured for many more years, but the anguish of the heart and soul was unendurable.
More is not necessarily the answer. We often think that if a little is good, more will be better, or that if we are not happy, it must be because we don’t have enough of something.
Wanting and craving. The desire for what we don’t have prevents us from appreciating and enjoying what we do have – right now, this moment. We often sell ourselves continual dissatisfaction by focusing on what we appear to lack.
So how much is enough? Can we learn to savor the blessings we have now, today? Do we really need more, or do we need to fully experience the gifts of the present?
I can always want more, but today I will concentrate on what I have right now.
“I never knew which came first, the thinking or the drinking. If I could only stop thinking, I wouldn’t drink. If I could only stop drinking, maybe I wouldn’t think. But they were all mixed up together, and I was all mixed up inside. And yet I had to have that drink. You know the deteriorating effects, the disintegrating effects of chronic wine-drinking. I cared nothing about my personal appearance. I didn’t care what I looked like. I didn’t care what I did. To me, taking a bath was just being in a place with a bottle where I could drink in privacy. I had to have it with me at night, in case I woke up and needed that drink.” - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Part II (“They Stopped in Time”), Ch 4 (“The Housewife Who Drank at Home”), p 337.
Today, I won’t care which came first, the delusional and irrational thinking or the drinking, because it doesn’t matter. Whether some deluded thinking misled me to alcohol for a clearer perspective or if excess drinking fueled a thinking problem is moot because, now, the two are intertwined. Thus, my thinking now cannot be that I can resume responsible drinking if I get my thinking in a logical sync, nor can I believe that I would drink responsibly. Neither is possible. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Does it matter? The chicken’s polluted; whatever comes out of him is also polluted. Today, I don’t care where my drinking thinking or thinking drinking came from. I want both corrected, and I’m where I need to be to get both. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2013
AA Thought for the Day There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept from fear and apprehension. One of these days is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone beyond recall.
Do I still worry about what happened yesterday?
Meditation for the Day “God will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able, but with the temptation He will also find a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” If you have enough faith and trust in God, He will give you all the strength you need to face every temptation and to overcome it. Nothing will prove too hard for you to bear. You can face any situation. “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” You can overcome any temptation with God’s help. So fear nothing.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may face every situation without fear. I pray that nothing will prove too hard for me to bear.
Reflection for the Day The feeling of self-pity, which we’ve all suffered at one time or another, is one of the ugliest emotions we can experience. We don’t even relish the thought of admitting to others that we’re awash in self-pity. We hate being told that it shows; we quickly argue that we’re feeling anotheremotion instead; we go so far as to “cleverly” hide from ourselves the fact that we’re going through a siege of “poor-me-ism.” By the same token, in a split-second, we can easily find several dozen “valid” reasons for feeling sorry for ourselves.
Do I sometimes enjoy rubbing salt into my own wounds?
Today I Pray May I recognize the emotions I am feeling for what they are. If I am unable to point them out to myself, may I count on others who know what it’s like to be a feelings-sufferer. May I stay in touch with my feelings by staying in touch with my Higher Power and with the others in my group.
Humility has been the hardest of all the virtues to acquire for many of us. Few of us know what it actually is. Many have it and think they don’t; many don’t have it and think they do. Many admit they don’t understand the word and forget it, leaving to the world to judge whether they have it or not.
The best way to acquire Humility is to constantly remind yourself how much lower than a snake’s belly you would be but for the Grace of God. You made a horrible mess of running your life and failed completely, but that Grace could and did make you what you are today.
Today’s thought from Hazelden is: Fair play is primarily not blaming others for anything that is wrong with us. – Eric Hoffer
As adults, we accept responsibility for our feelings and our circumstances. We haven’t chosen our own troubles, but we have the job of dealing with them. If a man falls and breaks a leg, he might say to someone, “It’s your fault, and I’ll make you pay for this!” But that won’t fix his leg. The healing still has to come from within.
Our impulse to blame others is an attempt to escape our responsibilities. We become overcritical. We want someone else to take the rap for our pain and our misdeeds, but this only delays our wholeness. There is no point in blaming ourselves either. When we first confront our discomfort directly and accept responsibility for dealing with it, we feel an inner urge to escape again. If we stay with the discomfort a while, a new stage begins — the healing and acceptance stage. A feeling of wholeness comes, a feeling of being a real person, of having reached our full size.
May I not indulge in blame today – toward myself or anyone else. Instead, may I be strong and responsible.
Today, we remind ourselves why abstaining from drinking is not enough in recovery. Addiction in general and alcoholism specifically are three-level diseases – physical, emotional, and spiritual. While not drinking is most certainly the beginning, it is not the end because abstaining will improve the physical ravages of drinking but will not treat the psychological and spiritual damage drinking inflicts. It is for treatment of the emotional and spiritual that we have AA; there, we are given the tools to undo the damage we have done and, when repair isn’t possible, how to accept our mistakes, forgive ourselves even when no one else does and move ahead toward sobriety. Without that treatment and when we depend solely on abstinence, we are less sober and more like a dry drunk. Today, I accept that not drinking is not sufficient to attain the sobriety and quality of the life I seek. Today, I pick up and begin to use the Program’s Steps of recovery. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M.,2013
AAThought for the Day To continue the paraphrase of the psalm: “The judgments of the twelve steps are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than whiskey, yea, than much fine whiskey, sweeter also than wine. Moreover, by them are alcoholics warned and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand our alcoholism? Cleanse us from secret faults. Keep us from presumptuous resentments. Let them not have dominion over us. Then shall we be upright and free of the great transgression.”
Am I resolved that liquor will never again have dominion over me?
Meditation for the Day God can be your shield. Then no problems of the world can harm you. Between you and all scorn and indignity from others is your trust in God, like a shining shield. Nothing can then have the power to spoil your inward peace. With this shield, you can attain this inward peace quickly, in your surroundings as well as in your heart. With this inward peace, you do not need to resent the person who troubles you. Instead, you can overcome the resentment in your own mind which may have been aroused by that person.
Prayer for the Day I pray that I may strive for inward peace. I pray that I may not be seriously upset, no matter what happens around me.
Reflection for the Day We learn the value of meditation in The Program. As the beginning of the Eleventh Step suggests, we seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him. One of the great values of meditation is that it clears the mind. And as the mind becomes clearer, it becomes more capable and willing to acknowledge the truth. Less pain is required to force honest recognition of defects and their results. The real needs of the whole person are revealed.
Are prayer and meditation a regular part of my daily living?
Today I Pray May God’s truths be revealed to me through meditation and these small prayers, through contact with my group which keeps me mindful of my need to clear my mind with daily meditation. For only an uncluttered mind can receive God; only a mind cleansed of self-interest can acknowledge the truth.
Today I Will Remember Meditation is a mind-cleanser.
In AA, we must of necessity make the best use of our time. The hours must be allocated to our various affairs in proportion to their importance. We now have so many responsibilities we did not have in our drinking days.
If we wisely divide our time between our duties to our families, our jobs, our community, our Godand getting our own lives in order, we will find little time left for worry, fear, self-pity or envy.