Sunday, August 31, 2014

Aug. 31, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

The Serenity Prayer
Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Differences
. . . with no hidden cutting edge.


The respect and dignity a couple shows each other set the table from which they are nourished for all other activities in their lives. Any feeling can be expressed in respectful or disrespectful ways. Anger is one of the most difficult to express respectfully. Everyone feels frustrated and angry at times. The crucial thing to learn is how to be angry and still be respectful – how to deal with our impatience without blame or put-downs. Many of us have to learn how to love without being possessive, how to be playful in a lighthearted way with no hidden cutting edge. When we treat our partner with disrespect, we pour poison into our own well. It may feel satisfying at first, but the long-term consequences are not good to live with.

When we are committed to respect in our relationship, we continue to learn at even deeper levels what respect truly means. We find that simply listening to each other – and letting in our differences – is a form of respect that nourishes us.

Name a difference between you and your mate that you respect.
From the book:
The More We Find in Each Other by Merle Fossum and Mavis Fossum. © 1992 by Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 31, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer

Aug. 31, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
"Call on new prospects while they are still jittery. They may be more receptive when depressed. See them alone if possible. Tell them enough about your drinking habits and experiences to encourage them to speak of themselves. If they wish to talk, let them do so. If they are not communicative, talk about the troubles liquor has caused you, being careful not to moralize or lecture. When they see you know all about the drinking game, commence to describe yourself as an alcoholic and tell them how you learned you were sick."

Am I ready to talk about myself to new prospects?

Meditation for the Day
Try not to give way to criticism, blame, scorn or judgment of others, when you are trying to help them. Effectiveness in helping others depends on controlling yourself. You may be swept away by a temporary natural urge to criticize or blame, unless you keep a tight rein on your emotions. You should have a firm foundation of spiritual living which makes you truly humble, if you are going to really help other people. Go easy on them and be hard on yourself. That is the way you can be used most to uplift a despairing spirit. And seek no personal recognition for what you are used by God to accomplish.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may try to avoid judgment and criticism. I pray that I may always try to build up others instead of tearing them down.

Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 31, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014
Reflection for the Day
From time to time, I begin to think I know what God's will is for other people. I say to myself, "This person ought to be cured of his terminal illness," or, "That one ought to be freed from the torment she's going through," and I begin to pray for those specific things. My heart is in the right place when I pray in such fashion, but those prayers are based on the supposition that I know God's will for the person for whom I pray. The Program teaches me, instead, that I ought to pray that God's will - whatever it is - be done for others as well as for myself.

Will I remember that God is ready to befriend me, but only to the degree that I trust Him?

Today I Pray
I praise God for the chance to help others. I thank God also for making me want to help others, for taking me out of my tower of self so that I can meet and share with and care about people. Teach me to pray that "Thy will be done" in the spirit of love, which God inspires in me.

Today I Will Remember
I will put my trust in the will of God.

Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 31, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014

It is a constant source of amazement to some of the Old-Timers to answer a call for help from some alcoholic and to find that the person in trouble is a neighbor, relative, friend or fellow employee or a member of AA.

It sometimes happens that the new man preferred it that way as he would rather discuss the matter with a stranger than someone near him.

It is also true that some of us are not quick to grasp the opportunities to pass the Message along. If you see a man is beyond his depth and can't swim, why should you wait for him to yell for help? He might be deaf and dumb.

Hazelden Foundation

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Aug. 30, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

The Serenity Prayer
Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Defeat may serve as well as victory
To shake the soul and let the glory out.

 -- Edwin Markham


So life has given us some dents. So what? Dents are necessary, besides being unavoidable and painful. Each dent is a part of the process that enables us to embrace life as a creative experience and to see the world in a new way, a way of compassion and understanding. Recovery is not a matter of escaping further blows or of disguising the dents we already have. It's a matter of understanding what the dents mean and how we can work with them.

Dents are neither soft spots in our characters that should make us ashamed nor saber scars that should make us proud. They are simply evidence that we have been alive for a while. Recovery offers us the chance to learn from our dents, to accept them as new spaces for growth. When we decide to see our dents as opportunities gained rather than opportunities lost, we stand much taller in our own eyes and in the eyes of others.

Today, I will look on my difficult life experiences in a new light. Today, I will plant some seeds.
From the book:
Days of Healing, Days of Joy by Earnie Larsen and Carol Larsen Hegarty. © 1987, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 30, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014
TodayI take Step 10 for the first time or retake it because it is one of the Program's most integral maintenance Steps: "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." The 10th is the logical extension of the Fourth in which we "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." We cannot and should not believe that our personal inventory and admission of our wrongs is a one-time exercise: not only can those wrongs be resurrected in recovery and even after we've asked our Higher Power to remove them, but "new" defects can and do evolve in recovery. But why should we look in the mirror even long after our last drink or use? Failing to do so risks old character defects to rise again, possibly undetected, and a fearless honesty will likely tell us that our active addiction was fueled by those defects. And a relapse, even a so-called "slip," is too high a price to pay for neglecting our maintenance of the progress we achieve in the Fourth Step. Today, I have to muster the honesty required of a continued personal inventory - my recovery is too precious a gift to risk. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Aug. 30, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
"Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as extensive work with other alcoholics. Carry the message to other alcoholics. You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Life will take on a new meaning for you. To watch people recover, to see them help others in turn, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow about you, to have a host of friends, this is an experience you must not miss."

Am I always ready and willing to help other alcoholics?

Meditation for the Day
One secret of abundant living is the art of giving. The paradox of life is that the more you give, the more you have. If you lose your life in the service of others, you will save it. You can give abundantly and so live abundantly. You are rich in one respect - you have a spirit that is inexhaustible. Let no mean or selfish thought keep you from sharing this spirit. Of love, of help, of understanding and of sympathy, give and keep giving. Give your personal ease and comfort, your time, your money and most of all, yourself. And you will be living abundantly.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may live to give. I pray that I may learn this secret of abundant living.

Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 30, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

Reflection for the Day
I'll begin today with a prayer - prayer in my heart, prayer in my mind and words of prayer on my lips. Through prayer, I'll stay tuned to God today, reaching forward to become that to which I aspire. Prayer will redirect my mind, helping me rise in consciousness to the point where I realize that there's no separation between God and me. As I let the power of God flow through me, all limitations will fall away.

Do I know that nothing can overcome the power of God?

Today I Pray
Today may I offer to my Higher Power a constant prayer, not just a "once-in-the-morning-does-it" kind. May I think of my Higher Power at coffee breaks, lunch, tea time, during a quiet evening - and at all times in between. May my consciousness expand and erase the lines of separation, so that the Power is a part of me and I am a part of the Power.

Today I Will Remember
To live an all-day prayer.

Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 30, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

You can't swim like a fish, run like a deer, fight like a tiger or fly like a bird. Every one of your five senses is excelled by some member of the animal kingdom. Man, physically, has many superiors and would long since have been extinct but for the fact that he alone possess reasoning power.

With this advantage he can build ships to outswim the fish, motor cars to outrun the deer, perfect weapons to outfight the tiger and airplanes to outstrip the fastest of birds. With this reason he can visualize the reason behind all Nature and thus avail himself of a Power greater than himself and all the forces with which he has to contend.

Hazelden Foundation

Friday, August 29, 2014

Aug. 29, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

The Serenity Prayer
Friday, Aug. 29, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Love at first sight is easy to understand. It's when two people have been looking at each other for years that it becomes a miracle.
 -- Sam Levenson


True intimacy introduces us to ourselves. A loving relationship is the greatest therapy. When we first fall in love, we are filled with optimism and the greatest hopes for fulfillment of our dreams. We cling to all the best qualities of the person we fall in love with and we look past those things we don't like. But living in an intimate partnership takes us beyond the edge of what we have learned. It is truly an adult developmental challenge.

Most of us fall in love and soon find ourselves in over our heads. We haven't had experience as adults in sustaining the openness and vulnerability we have walked into. We may gradually begin to feel too vulnerable and exposed. The relationship tests our ability to trust someone who has this much access to our inner self. We are tempted to become cranky, edgy, or overly sensitive. We may test our partner's love by asking, If you love me, will you do such and such? We begin to try to control our partner so we don't feel so vulnerable. All these temptations are holdover behaviors from our less mature selves. So we must reach for our more mature selves, breathe deeply, and trust that we can survive while being so close and vulnerable.

Today I will turn to my Higher Power for guidance in going forward, in trust while being vulnerable.
From the book:
Wisdom to Know © 2005 by Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 29, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Friday, Aug. 29, 2014
TodayI must understand that serenity in recovery comes from within and not from people and things on the outside. I wasted too much time, emotion and energy in my drinking days searching and even clinging to outside things and people in whom I vested my sobriety. But now I must accept that my sobriety comes from within. I no longer can demand or hope that the world and other people can change to accommodate my recovery but that I must change myself to fit into the world and the people in it. AA gives me the road map to arrive at such a lofty destination, in Step Four: "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." Steps Five, Six and Seven, then, guide us through the admission to God, to ourselves and another human being the "exact nature" of the wrongs we find in Step Four and through asking God to remove our shortcomings. The Steps are dependent on action by me, not someone or something else. Today, I begin assuming responsibility for both my addiction and recovery. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Aug. 29, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
"We cannot get along without prayer and meditation. On awakening, let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking. Our thought lives will be placed on a much higher plane when we start the day with prayer and meditation. We conclude this period of meditation with a prayer that we will be shown through the day what our next step is to be. The basis of all our prayers is: Thy will be done in me and through me today."

Am I sincere in my desire to do God's will today?

Meditation for the Day
Breathe in the inspiration of goodness and truth. It is the spirit of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love. It is readily available if we are willing to accept it wholeheartedly. God has given us two things - His spirit and the power of choice - to accept or not, as we will. We have the gift of free will. When we choose the path of selfishness and greed and pride, we are refusing to accept God's spirit. When we choose the path of love and service, we accept God's spirit and it flows into us and makes all things new.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may choose the right way. I pray that I may try to follow it to the end.

Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 29, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

Reflection for the Day
Prayer can have many rewards. One of the greatest rewards is the sense of belonging it brings to me. No longer do I live as a stranger in a strange land, alien in a completely hostile world. No longer am I lost, frightened and purposeless. I belong. We find, in The Program, that the moment we catch a glimpse of God's will - the moment we begin to see truth, justice and love as the real and eternal things in life - we're no longer so deeply upset by all the seeming evidence to the contrary surrounding us in purely human affairs.

Do I believe that God lovingly watches over me?

Today I Pray
May I be grateful for the comfort and peace of belonging - to God the ultimately wise "parent" and to His family on earth. May I no longer need bumper stickers or boisterous gangs to give me my identity. Through prayer, I am God's.

Today I Will Remember
I find my identity through prayer.

Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 29, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

The relationship of hours to a lifetime is comparable to the relationship of bricks to a house. Every brick that is laid must be a separate and distinct operation, yet so tied to the preceding and the following brick that their positions are level and plumb. Each one is an entirety in itself, but all the bricks are either supporting or are supported by each other.

Our hours, lived one by one, are in no sense different. The beauty, strength and durability of our lives will be determined by the individual hours viewed collectively.

Hazelden Foundation

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Aug. 28, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

The Serenity Prayer
Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Success can only be measured in terms of distance traveled.
 -- Mavis Gallant

We are forever moving from one experience to another, one challenge to another, and one relationship to another. Our ability to handle confidently all encounters is a gift of the program, and one that accompanies us throughout every day, providing we humbly express gratitude for it. Success is ours when we are grateful.

We are not standing still. No matter how uneventful our lives may seem, we are traveling toward our destiny, and all the thrills and tears, joys and sorrows, are contributing to the success of our trip. Every day, every step, we are succeeding.

We can reflect on yesterday, better yet, on last week or even last year. What were our problems? It's doubtful we can even remember them. We have put distance between them and us. They were handled in some manner. We have succeeded in getting free of them. We have succeeded in moving beyond them.

How far we have come! And we will keep right on traveling forward. As long as we rely on the program, we are assured of success.

I can do whatever I need to do today, with success, when I humbly accept the program's gifts.
From the book:
Each Day a New Beginning by Karen Casey. © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 28, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

"I realize that all I'm guaranteed in life is today. The poorest person has no less and the wealthiest has no more - each of us has but one day. What we do with it is our own business; how we use it is up to us individually." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, "They Lost Nearly All," Ch 2 ("Promoted to Chronic"), p 473.

Today, let me fully understand and accept that all I have today is just that - today! Whether I have little to nothing, or all and more I can use materially, I am no less and no better than anyone because, in the end, all we take with us to our final chapters is ourselves. But, especially in recovery, I cannot foolishly look too far beyond the forest in my goal to achieve a landmark anniversary of sobriety or any other goal; one of the trees in the forest could cold-cock me. Grant me wisdom and prudence to see first what is in front of me instead of beyond and what must be done to get me intact to a long-term goal. Today, I do with what I have - today. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Aug. 28, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
"We must continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We should grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter; it should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We must not rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve, contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition."

Am I checking my spiritual condition daily?

Meditation for the Day
Happiness cannot be sought directly; it is a by-product of love and service. Service is a law of our being. With love in your heart, there is always some service to other people. A life of power and joy and satisfaction is built on love and service. Persons who hate or are selfish are going against the law of their own being. They are cutting themselves off from God and other people. Little acts of love and encouragement, of service and help, erase the rough places of life and help to make the path smooth. If we do these things, we cannot help having our share of happiness.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may give my share of love and service. I pray that I may not grow weary in my attempts to do the right thing.

Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 28, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

"Prayer does not change God," wrote Soren Kierkegaard, "but it changes him who prays." Those of us in The Program who've learned to make regular use of prayer would no more do without it than we'd turn down sunshine, fresh air or food - and for the same reason. Just as the body can wither and fail for lack of nourishment, so can the soul. We all need the light of God's reality, the nourishment of His strength, and the atmosphere of His grace.

Do I thank God for all that He has given me, for all that He has taken away from me, and for all He has left me?

Today I Pray
Dear H.P.: I want to thank you for spreading calm over my confusion, for making the jangled chords of my human relationships harmonize again, for putting together the shattered pieces of my Humpty Dumpty self, for giving me a sobriety present, a whole great expanded world of marvels and opportunities. May I remain truly Yours, Yours truly.

Today I Will Remember
Prayer, however simple, nourishes the soul.

Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 28, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

The subconscious aim of practically all men is to get the most and the best out of every day of their lives. It is a simple creed and if honestly followed, day by day, act by act, it cannot help but lead to greater heights.

Like AA, it is so simple it is incredible. Why not try it? It's what you honestly want anyway.

Hazelden Foundation

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Aug. 27, 2014 - Today's Gift from Hazelden

The Serenity Prayer
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.
 -- Anne Frank

Anne Frank had good reason to be unhappy, full of fear, and deeply discouraged. Years of her life were spent in a small apartment hiding from the Nazis who wanted to destroy her and her family.

Yet even in this little hiding place she had happiness. It was something she had inside which did not depend on what happened around her. She had riches of the heart. She had faith that kept her going. She had love and concern for her family and others, which made even a restricted life very rich with feelings. It is tempting to believe that we will be happy when we have something outside ourselves, which will make us happy. But happiness is not something we have to find outside; the seeds are in our hearts already.

What happiness can I find in my latest setback?
From the book:
Today's Gift © 1985, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 27, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

"I will never know all the people I hurt, all the friends I abused, the humiliation of my family, the worry of my business associates or how far-reaching it was. I continue to be surprised by the people I meet who say, 'You haven't had a drink for a long time, have you?' The surprise to me is the fact that I didn't know that they knew my drinking had gotten out of control. That is where we are really fooled. We think we can drink to excess without anyone knowing it. Everyone knows it. The only one we are fooling is ourselves. We rationalize and excuse our conduct beyond all reason." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, "They Stopped in Time," Ch 10 ("It Might Have Been Worse"), p 376.

Today, may the experiences about "hiding" that I have heard over and over in treatment centers and in meetings serve as a hint that I'm hiding nothing and fooling no one but myself about the extent of my drinking. If I am drinking today, let me give up the illusion that no one is paying attention and turn my energies that I expend on "hiding" to sobering up. And if I am not drinking, let me consider that I may have missed in my Eighth Step people to whom I owe amends because I may not know or remember who I have hurt. To them, my greatest amend may be continued abstinence. Today, if I am hiding, let me see that I am hiding in plain sight and, if I can't remember all the people who are owed amends, let me make them by continuing in sobriety. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Aug. 27, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
"We must be willing to make amends to all the people we have harmed. We must do the best we can to repair the damage done in the past. When we make amends, when we say: 'I'm sorry,' the person is sure at least to be impressed by our sincere desire to set right the wrong. Sometimes people we are making amends to admit their own faults, so feuds of long standing melt away. Our most ruthless creditors will sometimes surprise us. In general, we must be willing to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences may be for us."

Have I made a sincere effort to make amends to the people I have harmed?

Meditation for the Day
The grace of God cures disharmony and disorder in human relationships. Directly you put your affairs, with their confusion and their difficulties, into God's hands. He begins to effect a cure of all the disharmony and disorder. You can believe that He will cause you no more pain in the doing of it than a physician, who plans and knows that he can effect a cure, would cause his patient. You can have faith that God will do all that is necessary as painlessly as possible. But you must be willing to submit to His treatment, even if you cannot now see the meaning or purpose of it.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may willingly submit to whatever spiritual discipline is necessary. I pray that I may accept whatever it takes to live a better life.

Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 27, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

Reflection for the Day
Taking a long hard look at those defects I'm unwilling or reluctant to give up, I ought to rub out the rigid lines I've drawn. Perhaps, in some cases, I'll then be able to say, "Well, this one I can't give up yet ..." The one thing I shouldn't say: "This one I'll never give up." The minutes we say, "No, never," our minds close against the grace of God. Such rebelliousness, as we have seen in the experiences of others, may turn out to be fatal. Instead, we should abandon limited objectives and begin to move toward God's will for us.

Am I learning never to say "never ...?"

Today I Pray
May God remove any blocks of rebellion which make me balk at changing my undesirable qualities. Out of my delusion that I am "unique" and "special" and somehow safe from consequences, I confess to God that I have defied the natural laws of health and sanity, along with Divine laws of human kindness. May God drain away the defiance which is such a protected symptom of my addiction.

Today I Will Remember
Defiance is an offspring of delusion.

Hazelden Foundation

Aug. 27, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

Everyone agrees that excessive drinking is an evil. The alcoholic is convinced that for him it is a necessary evil. He thinks he would surely die if he didn't drink. We know now that it only appeared necessary while we were doing our thinking with our appetites.

No evil is necessary except in the sense that friction is. Without it, we couldn't get traction and without traction we could not move onward and upward.

Hazelden Foundation