Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Monday, March 31, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. -- Marcel Proust
How have we felt when we return to our hometowns, childhood homes, old playgrounds, or high schools after years of absence? Suddenly each place isn't as it once seemed because we're looking through the eyes of someone older and changed. Where we once saw our high school through the eyes of students, we now look at it through the eyes of adults - in a much different way.

So it is with all areas of our lives: our jobs, homes, families, friends, or partners. Many of these people and places haven't changed for a long time. Yet, we change every day. Instead of seeing our job as the same old job or our home as the same old home, we can start to look at them differently.

Tonight we don't need to change things on the outside to feel better on the inside. We can change how we look at things from the inside out. We can start to see who and what are outside of us as if we were looking at them for the first time. Tonight the ho-hums in our lives can turn into ah-has just by changing the way we see them.

There may be many things in my life that haven't changed, but I'm not one of them. Tonight I can see them all with new eyes.
From the book:
Night Light by Amy E. Dean. © 1986, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation

March 31, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Monday, March 31, 2014 
Today, I will not allow self-pity to shake the foundation of my recovery Program regardless if my recovery began 24 months or 24 hours ago. Self-pity may be the sharpest in the anti-Higher Power's battery of poisons that can undo, in the blink of an eye, any progress I have made. But my Higher Power, and the support I have tapped in those also in recovery, have a stronger cache of tools. Self-pity is giving up my belief and total surrender to my Higher Power, and self-pity is the epitome of selfishness. If there is adversity in this day, I will face it with the courage, strength, hope and dignity with which my Program has endowed me, and I've already been empowered with courage, strength, hope and dignity merely by committing myself to recovery. Nor will I whine, "Why me?" And if I say no to self-pity today, I have no reason or excuse to drink, to use - and this day, then, will be good. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

March 31, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, March 31, 2014 
AA Thought for the Day
Since I've been in AA, have I made a start towards being more unselfish? Do I no longer want my own way in everything? When things go wrong and I can't have what I want, do I no longer sulk? Am I trying not to waste money on myself? And does it make me happy to see my family and my home have enough attention from me? 
Am I trying not to be all get and no give? 
Meditation for the Day
Each day is a day of progress, steady progress forward, if you make it so. You may not see it, but God does. God does not judge by outward appearance. He judges by the heart. Let Him see in your heart a simple desire always to do His will. Though you may feel that your work has been spoiled or tarnished, God sees it as an offering for Him. When climbing a steep hill, a person is often more conscious of the weakness of his stumbling feet than of the view, the grandeur or even of the upward progress. 
Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may persevere in all good things. I pray that I may advance each day in spite of my stumbling feet. 
Hazelden Foundation

March 31, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Monday, March 31, 2014 
Reflection for the Day
My illness is unlike most other illnesses in that denial that I am sick is a primary symptom that I am sick. Like such other incurable illnesses as diabetes and arthritis, however, my illness is characterized by relapses. In The Program, we call such relapses "slips." The one thing I know for certain is that I alone can cause myself to slip. 
Will I remember at all times that the thought precedes the action? Will I try to avoid "stinking thinking?" 
Today I Pray
May God give me the power to resist temptations. May the responsibility for giving in, for having a "slip," be on my shoulders and mine only. May I see beforehand if I am setting myself up for a slip by blame-shifting, shirking my responsibility to myself, becoming the world's poor puppet once again. My return to those old attitudes can be as much of a slip as the act of losing my sobriety. 
Today I Will Remember
Nobody's slip-proof. 
Hazelden Foundation

March 31, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Monday, March 31, 2014 
We as alcoholics are so used to getting by with a minimum of effort on our part that we sometimes fail to appreciate that only those things earned have any real lasting value. 
We allowed our families to cover up for us and support us, we panhandled, we were experts in the game of something for nothing. 
Nothing free is worth having. AA has no initiation fees or dues, but it also costs a lot if you want to get a lot. You can procure a two-bit brand of AA, but we don't guarantee it will work. 
Hazelden Foundation

Sunday, March 30, 2014

UK bishop says gay priests should marry despite church ban

First photos of gay couples marrying in England after country's same-sex marriage ban struck down

The New Civil Rights Movement: March 30, 2014 - Photos: First Same-Sex Couples To Marry In England And Wales!

Kyrgyzstan in Asia considering anti-gay law similar to Russia’s gay ‘propaganda’ ban

March 30, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Sunday, March 30, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:
In the long run, it's easier to carry out our Higher Power's will than our own
The good news of the Twelve Step program is that we don't have to continue trying to make self-will work. Attempting to make the rest of the world conform to what we think we want is a little like trying to push water uphill. It's not only frustrating - it's exhausting.

Getting in touch with a Higher Power frees us from the trap of self-will. We can move with the rhythm of reality instead of being stuck in fantasy. We can discover how we can be useful and what it is we do best.

How can I be sure I'm doing my Higher Power's will? There is, of course, no certain way to know, but what I rely on is an inner sense of lightness and rightness. I pray for guidance, I ask for answers, I listen to my inner voice, and I talk to people whose opinion I respect. I also believe if what I'm doing is not my Higher Power's will for me, I'll find out, since it won't work.

I ask to know my Higher Power's will for me today and/or the ability to carry it out.
From the book:
Inner Harvest by Elisabeth L. © 1990 by Hazelden Foundation

March 30, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Sunday, March 30, 2014
 
Today, I cannot crumble to a micro-second of temptation even if I think I do not feel tempted to try "just one" drink. Regardless of how many 24 Hours of sobriety any AA disciple has, none of us is immune from the thought, however fleeting, that maybe one drink won't do any damage. It will, of course, as we know from bitter experience. If temptation is a human foible, it is one that none of us in recovery can afford; for us, temptation, rather, is our failure to integrate into the deepest of our souls the Program's first four words - "Admitted we were powerless ..." Temptation is also our own will run riot and rejection of the humility to surrender our will to our Higher Power. Still, if temptation sneaks in, may I have fully imprinted in my conscience that outcome of all those times in the past when I did give into temptation - and the memory of that outcome, God granting, is too costly and painful to give in another time to the myth that temptation creates. Today, I hope I am not tempted, but I will not take for granted that I won't so that, if I am, I am strong and honest enough in my Program. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

March 30, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, March 30, 2014 
AA Thought for the Day
Before I met AA, I was very unloving. From the time I went away to school, I paid very little attention to my mother and father. I was on my own and didn't even bother to keep in touch with them. After I got married, I was very unappreciative of my spouse. Many a time I would go out all by myself to have a good time. I paid too little attention to our children and didn't try to understand them or show them affection. My few friends were only drinking companions, not real friends. 
Have I gotten over loving nobody but myself? 
Meditation for the Day
Be calm, be true, be quiet. Do not get emotionally upset by anything that happens around you. Feel a deep, inner security in the goodness and purpose in the universe. Be true to your highest ideals. Do not let yourself slip back into the old ways of reacting. Stick to your spiritual guns. Be calm always. Do not talk back or defend yourself too much against accusation, whether false or true. Accept abuse as well as you accept praise. Only God can judge the real you. 
Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may not be upset by the judgment of others. I pray that I may let God be the judge of the real me. 
Hazelden Foundation

March 30, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Sunday, March 30, 2014 
Reflection for the Day
"When I meditate upon such a vision," Bill W. continued, "I need not be dismayed because I shall never attain it, nor need I swell with presumption that one of these days its virtues shall all be mine. I only need to dwell on the vision itself, letting it grow and ever more fill my heart ...Then I get a sane and healthy idea of where I stand on the highway to humility. I see that my journey towards God has scarcely begun. As I thus get down to my right size and stature, my self-concern and importance become amusing." 
Do I take myself too seriously? 
Today I Pray
May the grandiosity which is a symptom of my chemical addiction be brought back into proportion by the simple comparison of my powerlessness with the power of God. May I think of the meaning of Higher Power as it relates to my human frailty. May it bring my ego back down to scale and help me shed my defenses of pomp or bluster or secret ideas of self-importance. 
Today I Will Remember
He is great. I am small. 
Hazelden Foundation

March 30, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Sunday, March 30, 2014 
The truly great man can afford to be humble, for hundreds of others are exalting him. You have only one horn to blow and other people can't toot it if you are eternally tooting it yourself. 
The proud man is aggressive in his own interest; the humble man is aggressive in the ideals he believes in. Humility is not passive resignation; it is, rather, subjecting self for lofty purposes. 
Hazelden Foundation

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Americans view gays more favorably than evangelical Christians

The New Civil Rights Movement: March 29, 2014 - Americans View Gay People More Favorably Than Evangelical Christians: Poll

Catholic school under fire for teaching masturbation, poor parenting make children gay

Mississippi Senate sends anti-gay religious freedom bill back to House as deadline looms

Groups defend Florida’s same-sex marriage ban, want lawsuit dismissed

March 29, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Saturday, March 29, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Do I trigger gossip?

There is a saying that listening to gossip is gossip. How true! If there were no listeners, there would never be any gossip.

Some of us who pride ourselves in refraining from gossip may still have a problem with it. It's possible we still keep ears open for any juicy gossip that could fall our way. We might also shake the tree if we believe another person has some gossip to share with us. This is done in seemingly innocent ways, sometimes just by mentioning the name of a person to another who may have strong opinions to express.

The harm of gossip lies in what we do to ourselves when we engage in it. There is no way we can continue to have spiritual growth if we practice gossip, even as passive listeners. Spiritual growth takes place within us, and it needs an environment completely free of any ill will.

Let's beware of any tendency to say things that induce others to gossip. At the same time, let's tune out gossip that seems to occur spontaneously. Gossip is the enemy of the growth we desire.

It is a real relief to know that today I have no desire to spread gossip or listen to it. This includes things I might read in magazines or newspapers.
From the book:
Walk in Dry Places by Mel B. © 1996 by Hazelden Foundation

March 29, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Saturday, March 29, 2014
 
Today, if I start out dreading what the day may bring or with the hope of just getting through it, I probably need to do a 10th Step at least or re-do my entire Fourth at most. Clearly something is wrong and I have not yet reaped benefits of sobriety or, worse, I am little more than a dry drunk. The Serenity Prayer tells me that I have no control over what this new day might serve up, but it also tells me what I can change is me. The Program gives me the tools to do it, from the first four words of the Program - "Admitted (I am) powerless" - to the 12th Step's promise of a new me through a spiritual awakening and its command to practice all the Steps "in all (my) affairs." And if I take the attitude that the day ahead is something to just get through, I will likely make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Today, I will admit that I am powerless over whatever this new day has in store, but that my attitude toward it can make or break the peace of mind that recovery promises - and that faith in my Higher Power will give me the courage to change me. Sobriety and, for that matter, life are not things to endure or to just get through. Today, I will live, not just endure or just get through. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

March 29, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Saturday, March 29, 2014 
AA Thought for the Day
Before I met AA, I was very dishonest. I lied to my spouse constantly about where I had been and what I'd been doing. I took time off from my work and pretended I'd been sick or gave some other dishonest excuse. I was dishonest with myself, as well as with other people. I would never face myself as I really was or admit when I was wrong. I pretended to myself that I was as good as the next person, although I suspected I wasn't. 
Am I now really honest? 
Meditation for the Day
I must live in the world and yet live apart with God. I can go forth from my secret times of communion with God to the work of the world. To get the spiritual strength I need, my inner life must be lived apart from the world. I must wear the world as a loose garment. Nothing in the world should seriously upset me, as long as my inner life is lived with God. All successful living arises from this inner life. 
Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may live my inner life with God. I pray that nothing shall invade or destroy that secret place of peace. 
Hazelden Foundation

March 29, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Saturday, March 29, 2014 
Reflection for the Day
What is the definition of humility? "Absolute humility," said AA co-founder Bill W., "would consist of a state of complete freedom from myself, freedom from all the claims that my defects of character now lay so heavily upon me. Perfect humility would be a full willingness, in all times and places, to find and to do the will of God." 
Am I striving for humility? 
Today I Pray
May God expand my interpretation of humility beyond abject subservience or awe at the greatness of others. May humility also mean freedom from myself, a freedom which can come only through turning my being over to God's will. May I sense the omnipotence of God, which is simultaneously humbling and exhilarating. May I be willing to carry out His will. 
Today I Will Remember
Humility is freedom. 
Hazelden Foundation

March 29, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Do you want to be happy? Then go buy that strange kid on the corner a bag of candy. It may help cause his teeth to decay, but what's a tooth between two glad hearts?
Hazelden Foundation

Friday, March 28, 2014

Actor Christopher Meloni not surprised by his gay fan base

Inspired by NFL prospect Michael Sam, Swedish player comes out as gay

Actress Sally Field, mother of gay son, goes to bat for Human Rights Campaign

Anglican leader says church will no longer resist gay marriage

Mozilla employees ask new CEO to step down over Prop 8 support

The New Civil Rights Movement: March 28, 2014 - Mozilla Employees Ask New CEO To ‘Step Down’ Over Prop 8 Support

Michigan lawmakers ask Holder to recognize state's same-sex newlyweds

Prosecutor says mom killed 4-year-old son she perceived to be gay – LGBTQ Nation

Missouri lawmaker introduces bill to repeal state’s ban on same-sex marriage

Same-sex couples finding uneven access to health insurance

March 28, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Friday, March 28, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Changing destructive habits is what changes lives

People grow accustomed to habits even when they are self-destructive. We who have sought the help of Twelve Step programs were often caught in patterns of behavior that injured us or other people. We want help to change these habits or we wouldn't be here now.

We learn at our first meeting that Twelve Step programs are both for the present day and for a lifetime. We are comforted and surprised by that. The comfort is in knowing help will always be available to us. The surprise is in having erroneously thought that we'd get "fixed" and not need the meetings forever.

It doesn't take us long to realize the benefits of utilizing Twelve Step recovery in our daily lives. For years we repeated the same behaviors, expecting different outcomes, but that didn't happen. Now we have a plan for living that includes Steps, slogans, friends, and support meetings - a host of new options for handling every detail of our journey. And we can see, even in a short time, that our lives are changing at last.

I can change my life if I have the willingness to use what the program is teaching me.
From the book:
A Life of My Own by Karen Casey. © 1993 by Hazelden Foundation

March 28, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Friday, March 28, 2014
 
Today, I will not romanticize or create a myth that any of my drinking days were "fun" or good if a newcomer to the Program or even a veteran talk about "the good old days." By embellishing drinking before "things went bad" and even constructing a vision that any of it was good, I am probably pining for days when I might have drank "safely" without being honest that those days never existed at all. And by longing for non-existent "good old days," I am vulnerable to a slip or relapse and denying the truth that I am now, and forever will be, "powerless over alcohol." More pointedly, if I try to re-do my last drunk into something that is not true, I have basically forgotten my last drunk. And as one of the Program's old sayings goes, if I can't remember my last drunk, I haven't had it yet. Today, I will remember with honesty how it was and that it has been, so far by the grace of God, my last drunk. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

March 28, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Friday, March 28, 2014
 
AA Thought for the Day
When you come into an AA meeting, you're not just coming into a meeting, you're coming into a new life. I'm always impressed by the change I see in people after they've been in AA for a while. I sometimes take an inventory of myself to see whether I have changed and, if so, in what way. Before I met AA, I was very selfish. I wanted my own way in everything. I don't believe I ever grew up. When things went wrong, I sulked like a spoiled child and often went out and got drunk.

Am I still all get and no give?

Meditation for the Day
There are two things that we must have if we are going to change our way of life. One is faith, the confidence in things unseen, the fundamental goodness and purpose in the universe. The other is obedience: that is, living according to our faith, living each day as we believe that God wants us to live, with gratitude, humility, honesty, purity, unselfishness and love. Faith and obedience, these two, will give us all the strength we need to overcome sin and temptation and to live a new and more abundant life.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may have more faith and obedience. I pray that I may live a more abundant life as a result of these things.

Hazelden Foundation

March 28, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Friday, March 28, 2014
 
Reflection for the Day
We must think deeply of all those sick persons still to come to The Program. As they try to make their return to faith and to life, we want them to find everything in The Program that we have found, yet more, if that be possible. No care, no vigilance, no effort to preserve The Program's constant effectiveness and spiritual strength will ever be too great to hold us in full readiness for the day of their homecoming.

How well do I respect the Traditions of The Program?

Today I Pray
God help me to carry out my part in making the group a lifeline for those who are still suffering from addictions, in maintaining the Steps and the Traditions which have made it work for me for those who are still to come. May The Program be a "homecoming" for those of us who share the disease of addiction. May we find common solutions to the common problems which that disease breeds.

Today I Will Remember
To do my part.

Hazelden Foundation

March 28, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Friday, March 28, 2014

 
Why is the world? Why are we here? What is our purpose? Why must we live and suffer and die? Without God, there would be no answer. We do not know the great extent of God's purpose, but we do know that we as individuals, each and every one, must somehow fit into that purpose.

We can only know God as He has revealed Himself to us. We know His principle attribute is goodness. Therefore, His purpose must be good, and we can best serve that purpose by aspiring to the highest standard of goodness that we can conceive.

Hazelden Foundation

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Race fans react - strongly - to phony 'Jeff Gordon is gay' story

Michigan won't recognize 300+ same-sex marriages performed Saturday

Lawsuit challenges Puerto Rico ban on recognizing same-sex marriages

World Vision reverses decision to hire married gay Christians

Supreme Court hearing on religious exemptions ‘deeply worrisome’

Illinois advances bill to ban conversion therapy for gay youth

Obama lectures Russia on LGBT rights on eve of meeting with pope

Evangelist accuses gays of wanting to 'recruit' children through marriage, adoption

March 27, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

Thursday, March 27, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

The more I learn of others' problems, the more my own problems automatically dissolve.
 -- Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche

NewcomerThe second part of Step Eight says, "became willing to make amends to them all." I have to admit that this is a lot harder for me than simply recognizing that I've caused harm. I don't know if I'm ready to talk to certain people.

Sponsor
The willingness to make amends to everyone we've harmed, even those who may have harmed us, is something that we don't have to force or strive for. We become willing as part of yet another gradual process in recovery. We have begun to recognize that everything is interrelated, that whatever we've done to others, we've also done in some measure to ourselves. This is true not only of any harm that we've done, but also of the compassion that we've begun to feel. As we come to understand the impact of addiction on our lives, as we release our secrets and are met with gentleness and understanding, as we participate in the healing laughter at meetings, we replace old feelings of shame with compassion. Our new capacity to feel compassion for ourselves restores and revitalizes our understanding and care for others.

We become willing to make amends when we realize that in doing so, we are healing ourselves.

Today, I cultivate openness and compassion toward others.
From the book:
If You Want What We Have © 1998 by Joan Larkin

March 27, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Thursday, March 27, 2014
 
Today, if I am afraid, anxious, worried and uncertain about something in my life, I can draw strength from the mercy and blessing of my Higher Power that guided me through the darkness and fear of active alcoholism to face whatever challenges me now. If I believe that drinking was the darkest chapter of my life but that I survived with the strength of a Higher Power, I must have faith that the same strength can lead me through a lesser turmoil. The Second Step of coming to believe in a Higher Power greater than myself is my refuge from any storm I am weathering now, and the Third Step of yielding my will to that of a greater Power calms any fears or doubts with faith. Today, I can draw strength and hope from the yesterday when I had my last drink to believe that, with faith and strength in the Power that got me through those days, I can get through anything less - but only with unconditional faith and by seeking His will above mine. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

March 27, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, March 27, 2014
 
AA Thought for the Day
You get the power to overcome drinking through the fellowship of other alcoholics who have found the way out. You get power by honestly sharing your past experience by a personal witness. You get power by coming to believe in a Higher Power, the Divine Principle in the universe which can help you. You get power by working with other alcoholics. In these four ways, thousands of alcoholics have found all the power they needed to overcome drinking.

Am I ready and willing to accept this power and work for it?

Meditation for the Day
The power of God's spirit is the greatest power in the universe. Our conquest of each other, the great kings and conquerors, the conquest of wealth, the leaders of the money society, all amount to very little in the end. But he that conquers himself is greater than he who conquers a city. Material things have no permanence. But God's spirit is eternal. Everything really worthwhile in the world is the result of the power of God's spirit.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may open myself to the power of God's spirit. I pray that my relationships with others may be improved by this spirit.

Hazelden Foundation

March 27, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Thursday, March 27, 2014
 
Reflection for the Day
Storing up grievances is not only a waste of time, but a waste of life that could be lived to greater satisfaction. If I keep a ledger of "oppressions and indignities," I'm only restoring them to painful reality.

"The horror of that moment," the King said, "I shall never, never forget."
"You will, though," said the Queen,
"if you don't make a memorandum of it." - Lewis Carroll, "Through the Looking Glass"

Am I keeping a secret storehouse for the wreckage of my past?

Today I Pray
God keep me from harboring the sludge from the past - grievances, annoyances, grudges, oppressions, wrongs, injustices, put-downs, slights, hurts. They will nag at me and consume my time in rehashing what I "might have said" or done until I face each one, name the emotion it produced in me, settle it as best I can - and forget it. May I empty my storehouse of old grievances.

Today I Will Remember
Don't rattle old bones.

Hazelden Foundation

March 27, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Thursday, March 27, 2014
 
Many of us can recall being fired from jobs for drinking and at the same time being given a letter of recommendation that spoke in glowing terms about our ability, Of course, the former boss was trying to be kind in avoiding any mention of the drinking problem, but such letters are actually dishonest, and it was equally dishonest when we used them to procure new jobs.

How much better it would have been if they had tried to do something constructive about the problem rather than lowering us in our own esteem by making us a party to the deceit.

Hazelden Foundation