Sunday, November 30, 2014

South Carolina Unitarian church welcomes gay marriage to state with day of free weddings

Photo by Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg/Facebook - See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/south-carolina-church-celebrates-gay-marriage-coming-state-day-free-weddings301114#sthash.oovsUEXO.dpuf
Gay Star News: Nov. 30, 2014 - South Carolina church celebrates gay marriage coming to state with day of free weddings | Gay Star News

Study: Same-sex marriage would pump $24 million into Arkansas economy

Associated Press: Nov. 30, 2014 - Study: Same-sex marriages could have million impact on Arkansas economy – LGBTQ Nation

When heroin takes over a house - and mom

Laurie Sperring at Rikers Island jail complex. CreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times
New York Times: Nov. 30, 2014 - Heroin Takes Over a House, and Mom - NYTimes.com

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

The Serenity Prayer
Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

An inspiring book, a caring friend, a moment of silence - all can offer the guidance we seek

We are learning to seek guidance on how to handle the serious circumstances of our lives. We used to feel we had to figure out everything for ourselves. What a gift it is to seek suggestions from friends we can trust. And hearing others tell how a line in a book gave them a needed answer has become a valuable tool too.

Relying on the silence for our answers, we are less certain at first. We can't always tell if it's our ego directing us rather than our Higher Power. The important thing is that we are looking for help. We are no longer blocked by our need to be self-reliant in all matters.

Guidance is always available. We simply have to know where to look and be willing to hear.

I will look at my problems today as opportunities for intimacy with other people. Problems will free me from isolation.
From the book:
A Life of My Own by Karen Casey. © 1993 by Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 30, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014

Today, understanding that a "substitute" chemical to replace alcohol that alters my perception of reality is not working toward recovery from an addictive personality, may I also understand that "mind- and mood-altering chemicals" may not necessarily include prescribed medications. If depression continues to be a condition even in sobriety, for example, let me listen to reasons why anti-depressants may not compromise my sobriety but may even improve its quality. The debate in AA and other 12-step groups that any substance which alters mood is as old as the program itself. But the program admits that it is not a medical one, and that tells me it is my responsibility to seek out the knowledge from sources that are more qualified than me to determine if my sobriety is at risk. Today, understanding that the substances I ingested are not the same as prescribed medications, let me also consider the possibility that acting as my own physician may be writing my own relapse somewhere down the road. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

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

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
We have slips in AA. It has been said these are not slips but premeditated drunks, because we have to think about taking a drink before we actually take one. The thought always comes before the act. It is suggested that people should always get in touch with an AA before taking that first drink. The failure to do so makes it probable that they had decided to take the drink anyway. And yet the thoughts that come before taking a drink are often largely subconscious. People usually don't know consciously what made them do it. Therefore, the common practice is to call these things slips.

Am I on guard against wrong thinking?

Meditation for the Day
"The eternal God is thy refuge." He is a sanctuary, a refuge from the cares of life. You can get away from the misunderstanding of others by retiring into your own place of meditation. But from yourself, from your sense of failure, your weakness, your shortcomings, whither can you flee? Only to the eternal God, your refuge, until the immensity of His spirit envelopes your spirit and it loses its smallness and weakness and comes into harmony again with His.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may lose my limitations in the immensity of God's love. I pray that my spirit may be in harmony with His spirit.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 30, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014

Reflection for the Day
If you're a negative thinker and are not yet ready to do an about-face, here are some guidelines that can keep you miserable for just as long as you wish to remain so. First, don't go to meetings of The Program, especially discussion groups. If you somehow find yourself at a meeting, keep your mouth shut, your hands in your pockets and your mind closed. Don't try to solve any of your problems, never laugh at yourself and don't trust the other people in The Program. Above all, under no conditions should you try to live in the Now.

Am I aware that negative thinking means taking myself deadly serious at all times, leaving no time for laughter - and for living?

Today I Pray
If I am feeling negative, may I check myself in the mirror that is the group for any symptoms of a closed mind; tight lips, forced smile, set jaw, straight-ahead glance - and not a glimmer of humor. God, grant me the ability to laugh at myself - often - for I need that laughter to cope with the everyday commotion of living.

Today I Will Remember
To laugh at myself.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 30, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014

Many who are active in AA work come to feel that they just can't carry on any longer. There is so much to do; so little time can be spared to do it; so few to do the work. There is a limit to their endurance. After all, a guy has just so much health, strength and patience.

When the burdens get too heavy and too numerous, take it up with the Big Boss, tell Him you like to do His work but that it is more than you can handle - ask Him for more help - and you'll get it.

Hazelden Foundation

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The importance of being Alan Turing

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in 'The Imitation Game'
Advocate: Nov. 29, 2014 - The Importance Of Being Alan | Advocate.com

After speaking up for gay marriage, Kluwe goes from NFL to stay-at-home dad

25 life lessons one man learned from an abusive childhood

The Good Men Project: Nov. 29, 2014 - 25 Life Lessons I Learned From an Abusive Childhood -

A son commits suicide after gay conversion therapy, and a mother with a dire message

Saying goodbye ... Linda Robertson kisses the cheek of her eldest son, Ryan, days before he died of a drug overdose. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied
News.com.au: Nov. 29, 2014 - Linda Robertson: ‘Gay conversion therapy killed my son, Ryan’

Movie review, 'The Imitation Game:' Cumberbatch excels gay gay wartime codebreaker Alan Turing

Associated Press: Nov. 29, 2014 - Review: Cumberbatch shines as gay wartime codebreaker Alan Turing – LGBTQ Nation

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

The Serenity Prayer
Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Fill up your life

One of the good things about the blues is their power to make me feel better. No matter how bad it gets in my little world, I can be pretty sure that B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, or Stevie Ray Vaughn has seen worse. Sometimes, it just feels good to vocalize all those bad feelings.

Bad things happen in life. Sometimes they are small annoyances; sometimes they are the major grief mongers. What matters is not what happens to us, but how we react to it. He left you. That is a fact. Now after you get done with the quart of rocky road that you are drowning your sorrows in, what are you going to do about it? You can sit around and complain to your friends about how unfair life is, or you can get up, put the empty bowl in the dishwasher, and go fill up your life.

Feelings are one of the blessings of being human. All of them. Sometimes we feel good; sometimes we feel bad. Take some time. Take some energy and be upset. Be aware of the feeling of being upset. But then get up, go out, and make positive use of your life.

God, help me put to positive use all of the feelings in my life.
From the book:
More Language of Letting Go © 2000 by Melody Beattie

Nov. 29, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014

Today, if my candle is burning at both ends with responsibilities, obligations and expectations I've been given since sobering up,  I will not complain or seek adulation and, instead, will practice gratitude and humility that I now am trusted and can carry out what is asked and expected of me. But if I feel overwhelmed at times, I can fall back on the an edict: First Things First" The first thing is sobriety. Without it, there is nothing; with it, there is everything. The benefits sobriety bring to me include service to the sufferer who needs and wants to hear AA's message, and I should not shirk or complain about being in service. Not only does what I contribute to another soul strengthen my own against a possible slip or relapse, I need only to remember the days when I was drunk literally 24/7 and ask if those days were better than now. Today, my yesterdays are nowhere better than today, and today is where I will stay without complaining, without seeking recognition and instead ask in humility for His will for me and the power to carry it out. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

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

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
The AA way is the way of sobriety, and yet there are slips. Why do these slips occur? Why don't we all accept AA and stay sober from then on? There are many reasons, but it has been proved without exception that once we have become alcoholics, we can never drink successfully again. This has never been disproved by any case we know of. Many alcoholics have tried drinking after a period of sobriety from a few days to a few years, and no one that we know of has been successful in becoming a normal drinker.
Could I be the only exception to this rule?

Meditation for the Day
"We are gathered together in Thy name." First, we are gathered together, bound by a common loyalty to God and to each other. Then, when this condition has been fulfilled, God is present with us. Then, when God is there and one with us, we voice a common prayer. Then it follows that our prayer will be answered according to God's will. Then, when our prayer is answered, we are bound together in a lasting fellowship of the spirit.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may be loyal to God and to others. I pray that my life today may be lived close to His and to theirs.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 29, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014

Reflection for the Day
Contrary to what some people think, our slogan "Let Go and Let God" isn't an expression of apathy, an attitude of defeatism or an unwillingness to accept responsibility. Those who turn their backs on their problems are not "letting go and letting God" but, instead, are abandoning their commitment to act on God's inspiration and guidance. They neither ask for nor expect help; they want God to do it all.

In seeking God's guidance, do I realize that the ultimate responsibility is mine?

Today I Pray
May I not allow myself to be lazy just because I think God is going to do everything anyway. (Such apathy reminds me of my old powerless self, the one that moaned that the world was going up in smoke, civilization was going down the drain and there wasn't a thing I could do about it.) Neither may I use "letting God" do it as an excuse for shrugging off my problems without even trying. May God be my inspiration; may I be an instrument of God.

Today I Will Remember
God guides those who help themselves.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 29, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014

We find in life exactly what we are looking for. In your drinking days, you courted trouble constantly and you probably found more than your share of it.

Today we are looking for a better way of life and this, too, we find at every turn.

We get what we want if we put forth sufficient effort to look for it, if we have the ability to recognize it when we see it, and the tenacity to hold on to it when once we grasp it.

Hazelden Foundation

Friday, November 28, 2014

Why victory in Mississippi is the most crucial toward total marriage equality

Advocate: Nov. 28, 2014 - Why the Mississippi Marriage Win Is Our Most Important Yet | Advocate.com

Finland legalizes same-sex marriage in 105-92 vote

Gay Star News: Nov. 28, 2014 - Finland legalizes gay marriage | Gay Star News

Health officials warn of spread of HIV in Europe, Central Asia

Gay Star News: Nov. 28, 2014 - Health officials warn Europe and Central Asia on spread of HIV | Gay Star News

Slovakians to vote on same-sex marriage referendum in February

Associated Press: Nov. 28, 2014 - Slovakia president announces referendum on same-sex marriage – LGBTQ Nation

For Aussie men, 'Orange' is not the new bloke

The Good Men Project: Nov. 28, 2014 - For Aussie Men, “Orange” is Not the New Bloke -

Editorial: Gay men should be allowed to donate blood

New York Times: Nov. 28, 2014 - Editorial: Gay Men Should Be Allowed to Give Blood - NYTimes.com

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

The Serenity Prayer
Friday, Nov. 28, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.
 -- Mother Teresa


Our spiritual nature must be nurtured. Prayer and meditation lovingly kindle the flame that guides us from within. Because we're human, we often let the flame flicker and perhaps go out. And then we sense the dreaded aloneness. Fortunately, some time away, perhaps even a few moments in quiet communion with God, rekindles the flame.

For most of us, the flame burned low, or not at all, for many years. The flickering we may feel today, or tomorrow, or felt yesterday, will not last, so we may put away our fears. We can listen to the voice of our higher power in others. We can listen, too, as we carry the message. Prayer surrounds us every moment. We can fuel our inner flame with the messages received from others. We can let our spirit spring forth; let it warm our hearts and the hearts of others.

We each have a friend whose flame may be flickering today. I will help my friend and thus myself. A steady flame can rekindle one that's flickering.
From the book:
Each Day a New Beginning by Karen Casey. © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 28, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

" ...(W)e launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.
"Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory. This was Step Four." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, Ch 5 ("How It Works"), pp 64-5.

Today, the "vigorous action" of the Fourth Step cannot and should not be done in one sitting. In our impatience and zeal to get get sober, we risk skirting the depth of some steps, and the Fourth is vulnerable. Without depth and absolute honesty, and neglecting to come to terms with some issues identified in our Fourth, the benefit and effectiveness of subsequent steps may be less than what they could and should be. I am required to submit to Step Four and honestly assess both my character defects and attributes. But I should not expect that I can honestly compile a thorough list in one attempt, particularly when identifying the "causes and conditions" of which alcohol was "but a symptom." After all, those defects will likely still be there tomorrow if I need a break today from the "vigorous action" that the Fourth requires. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

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

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
The AA way is the way of sobriety. AA is known everywhere as a method that has been successful with alcoholics. Doctors, psychiatrists and clergymen have had some success. Some men and women have got sober all by themselves. We believe that AA is the most successful and happiest way to sobriety. And yet AA is, of course, not wholly successful. Some are unable to achieve sobriety and some slip back into alcoholism after they have had some measure of sobriety.

Am I deeply grateful to have found AA?

Meditation for the Day
Gratitude to God is the theme of Thanksgiving Day. The pilgrims gathered to give thanks to God for their harvest which was pitifully small. When we look around at all the things we have today, how can we help being grateful to God? Our families, our homes, our friends, our AA fellowship: all these things are free gifts of God to us. "But for the grace of God," we would not have them.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may be very grateful today, I pray that I may not forget where I might be but for the grace of God.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 28, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

Reflection for the Day
Our faith in God's power - at work in us and in our lives - doesn't relieve us of responsibility. Instead, our faith strengthens our efforts, makes us confident and assured, and enables us to act decisively and wisely. We're no longer afraid to make decisions; we're not afraid to take the steps that seem called for in the proper handling of giving situations.

Do I believe that God is at work beyond my human efforts, and that my faith and trust in Him will bring forth results far exceeding my expectations?

Today I Pray
May my trust in my Higher Power never falter. May my faith in that Power continue to shore up my optimism, my confidence, my belief in my own decision-making. May I never shut my eyes to the wonder of God's work or discount the wisdom of His solutions.

Today I Will Remember
Our hope in ages past, our help for years to come.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 28, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

Knowledge is of great value, and nothing of value is acquired without price. Wisdom is even more to be desired than knowledge, which can be but an accumulation of facts. Humility is greater than wisdom for there is no real wisdom without humility. The wise are humbled by the knowledge of the limitations of their knowledge.

No man is born with these characteristics, they are born of the vicissitudes of life. Sorrow, despair and failure are their breeding grounds.

Hazelden Foundation

Thursday, November 27, 2014

'Faking It' actor Michael J. Willett comes out of closet despite pressure to stay in

Actor Michael J. Willett
Gay Star News: Nov. 27, 2014 - Faking It star 'got a lot of pressure to stay in the closet' for career - he couldn't do it | Gay Star News

Eight things people who recover from depression do differently

The Good Men Project: Nov. 27, 2014 - 8 Things People Who Recover From Depression Do Differently -

An end to anti-transgender violence

 The Good Men Project: Nov. 28, 2014 An End to Anti-Transgender Violence -

Just 13 percent of young HIV-positive people are receiving treatment

HIV Equal: Nov. 27, 2014 - Only 13 Percent of Young HIV-Positive People are Receiving Treatment :: HIV Equal

Rejected: The struggle of dating with HIV

HIV Equal: Nov. 27, 2014 - Rejected: The Struggle of Dating with HIV :: HIV Equal

Largest HIV/AIDS coalition calls for a scale-up for PrEP

HIV Equal: Nov. 27, 2014 - Largest HIV/AIDS Coalition Calls for a Scale-Up for PrEP :: HIV Equal

Commentary: Grateful to be gay, otherwise I could be a horrible person

Author Mark Joseph Stern
Slate: Nov. 27, 2014 - Commentary: I’m grateful to be gay, because otherwise I might have been a horrible person.

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

The Serenity Prayer
Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Count Your Blessings

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

Count your many blessings, see what God has done!

-- from “Count Your Blessings” by Johnson Oatman Jr.
From the book:
The 12 Step Prayer Book Volume 2 by Bill P. and Lisa D. © 2007 by Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 27, 2014 - Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

"There may be some wrongs we can never fully right. We don't worry about them if we can honestly say to ourselves that we would right them if we could. Some people cannot be seen - we send them an honest letter. And there may be a valid reason for postponement in some cases. But we don't delay if it can be avoided. We should be sensible, tactful, considerate and humble without being servile or scraping." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 6 ("Into Action"), p 83.

Today, I can't worry or take on guilt if I determine in absolute honesty that making an amend to someone I have hurt will further injure them or someone else. This is a vital qualifier of the Ninth Step - that we make amends directly "except when to do so would injure them or others." But this isn't a pass from making amends or accepting responsibility. It is possible to postpone making an amend if an immediate one inflicts hurt. It is just as possible that I can never make amends to someone if that person cannot be found or is no longer available. In any case, if for no one other than myself, I can make "indirect" amends by admitting my wrong in writing, in a private journal even if no one else will read it. In doing that, I am at least giving voice to a silent wrong. The benefit could be that the guilt or fear of being "caught" is powerless because I have admitted my wrong and responsibility. If today I take the Ninth Step, I must temper my "confession" with the qualification that an act of atonement now could do what the Ninth warns against - inflicting further hurt. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

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

The Serenity Prayer
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
The way of AA is the way of sobriety, fellowship, service and faith. Let us take up each one of these things and see if our feet are truly on the way. The first and greatest to us is sobriety. The others are built on sobriety as a foundation. We could not have the others if we did not have sobriety. We all come to AA to get sober, and we stay to help others get sober. We are looking for sobriety first, last and all the time. We cannot build any decent kind of a life unless we stay sober.

Am I on the AA way?

Meditation for the Day
To truly desire to do God's will, therein lies happiness for a human being. We start out wanting our own way. We want our wills to be satisfied. We take and we do not give. Gradually we find that we are not happy when we are selfish, so we begin to make allowances for other peoples' wills. But this again does not give us full happiness, and we begin to see that the only way to be truly happy is to try to do God's will. In these times of meditation, we seek to get guidance so that we can find God's will for us.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may subordinate my will to the will of God. I pray that I may be guided today to find His will for me.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 27, 2014 - A Day at a Time

The Serenity Prayer
A Day at a Time
Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

Reflection for the Day
The Program shows us how to transform the pipe-dream of our pasts into reality and a true sense of purpose, together with a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives. It's alright to keep our head in the clouds with Him, we're taught, but our feet should remain firmly planted here on earth. Here's where other people are; here's where our work must be accomplished.

Do I see anything incompatible between spirituality and a useful life in the here and now?

Today I Pray
May my new "reality" include not only the nuts and bolts and pots and pans of daily living, but also my spiritual reality, my growing knowledge of the presence of God. May this new reality have room, too, for my dreams - not the drug-induced, mind-drifting fantasies of the past or the remnants of my delusions - but the products of a healthy imagination. May I respect these dreams, anchor them in earth's possibilities and turn them into useful creativity.

Today I Will Remember
Heaven has a place in the here-and-now.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 27, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Serenity Prayer
The Eye Opener
Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

Sorrow and happiness are mental states, but the effect they have upon our nervous system and our blood pressure is a recognized fact.

The "Atmosphere" of a hospital and its staff can lengthen or shorten the duration of an illness.

We alcoholics spent years driving nails into our coffins; let us spend today drawing those nails out.

Hazelden Foundation