Thursday, March 31, 2011
The hard part like we said is execution. How do we get the right actions down. One way is having a higher power in your life. His will and not ours is what we strive for. God's will is not to live angry and resentful. We ask for help and it is provided. We write on this blog a lot about the "other people" in our life today. These people can look at our thoughts from an objective point of view and help us to see the correct path to take. A bad feeling is when we shoot our mouths off, even when we're right, and then are told we should go back to those people and make amends.
The easiest way to get our actions aligned correctly is to think this "I'd rather be happy than be right"
I am grateful for my loving attitude. Today I will show a loving attitude to all I meet. I pray I maintain my loving attitude.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The only way we can get a hold of the self-will run riot is to surrender. Some may feel that surrender makes us less than but that’s not true. When we surrender we realize that we cannot run our own show anymore. We MUST give up. If we do not give up we will not be successful in the fellowships.
I am grateful for my new ability to face criticism. Today I will not react to criticism. I pray that I may face criticism in a healthy manner.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
One of the lines in the book "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" is the following,"It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed no matter what the cause there is something wrong with us"
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Does it mean that we caused all the problems that are going on in our life? The answer is no. The real meaning of that phrase has something to do with the actions we take when we are disturbed. There is something wrong. It is not neccesarily the action, it is the reaction that makes us feel the way we do. Most of the problems that we encounter are just events in life. Our thought process of how to handle the event can become the real issue. What should we do? The answer is simple. If we have wronged someone, we go to that person or people and admit it, and we don't do that again. We also should use God. Go back to the third step and remember that we want to do God's will and not our own. So many of us have relied on ourselves to walk through this life. Self reliance didn't really ever work for people like us. We are natarually afraid of things. With the help of a sponsor, our other friends in the rooms, and God we have nothing to fear. This takes practice like all the other steps before it. The steps seem to make sense in hindsight and the tenth step is no different.
I am grateful that my thoughts and actions have been restored. Today I will think and act properly towards others. I pray for the strength and courage to think and act properly.
Monday, March 28, 2011
What has worked for them for the past 30 years? How did they change their lives? How are they so happy? We envied them. We wanted to be like them but we didn’t know how.
We kept going to meetings, we got a sponsor and we started working the 12 Steps and we began to understand. We realized that no matter how much time we have in the program, the work never changes. These things are what work whether you’re a newcomer or have 30 years sober. These people we see in the rooms with decades of sobriety is because they go to meetings, work the Steps and help others.
Recovery is timeless. It is something we as alcoholics and addicts must do no matter our time in the program. Whether we have 90 days or 20 years, if we stop working the program, we will not be successful.
In order to change our lives for the better, our commitment to the program must stay solid for the rest of our lives. If it does, we will be successful every day of our lives.
I am grateful for the guidance and support I have in my life. Today I will seek guidance in the handling of my affairs. I pray that I continue to rely on the guidance and support of others.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thank God that this tradition was written. The only thing that we have to have is a desire to stop drinking and nothing else. When some of us come into the rooms we see the steps on the wall and think that God is a must to be in AA/NA. With the tradition written that is not the case. Many people in recovery had an issue with the God aspect of the program. With years and years of drinking most of us didn't think about a higher power too much. Then we learn that through the steps of the program we will achieve some degree of belief.
It doesn't matter if we're white or black, male or female, lawyer or homeless. We all have the right to be in the rooms as long as we have the desire to stop drinking. What a blessing.
I am grateful that my slips are behind me. Today I will do the things that protect me from a slip. I pray that I do the right things to remain sober.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
The eighth step of the program calls for some action as well. The word made is a verb which means that we have some more writing to do. The list that we are about to compile is the people that have been affected by our drinking, but even more by our attitudes and actions. The main idea to grasp is that we are trying to clean up the wreckage of our past and to clean our side of the street. To a large degree the list has already been made in our fourth step. We need to make sure that everyone is on the list.
Many of the twelve steps have two parts. The eighth step does too. "Became willing to make amends to them all" is the second part. We can ask God for willingness. We can humble ourselves to the truth that although some of these people on our list have done us wrong, we were also at fault. We are not concerned about the wrongs they did us. Remember, "clean up our side of the street." Unless we become willing to make amends to people, we can't actually make the amends in a sincere way that it asks in step 9. Let's not get ahead of ourselves though. We are still in step eight.
I am grateful for having correct motives for my actions. Today I will guard against incorrect motives and act properly toward others. I pray that I live by correct motives and actions.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
When we had to address our shortcomings some of us apprehensively approached the issue. We were overcome by fear and anxiety but we knew in the bottom of our hearts that if we wanted to get better we needed to attend to our shortcomings. If you would have asked us what our shortcomings were as we were using we would have never admitted of having any. It was always easier to place the blame on others rather than take a look at ourselves. The Steps help us face this fear and anxiety.
We realized when we came to the 4th and 5th Steps that we had to fearlessly tackle our faults, our defects of character; we had many. It was miraculous that once we worked through them we felt a sense of freedom. We were freed from the bondage of self.
Now that we have faced our shortcomings and gotten rid of them, we have such valuable experience for ourselves and to share with others. Make no mistake, we are human and therefore our imperfection will cause for a defect of character to arise here and there. The difference is, we now know how to recognize and deal with our shortcomings. We are fortunate enough to have the tools to remove these defects as they pop up and that is thanks to the fellowship and the 12 Steps.
I am grateful for the Creator who is all power and love. Today I will attempt to feel my Creator's power and love. I pray that I always believe in a power greater than myself.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
That's why we talk about the fellowship of AA. The people that make up AA are a vital part of our sobriety. When we go to a drug and alcohol rehab like Clearbrook, the fellowship starts there. We now have finally found some people who know what our problems are. At first the problem is what we use for a solution. That solution is our alcohol and drugs. The real problem lies within us. The way we think and then act on those thoughts is the problem. Booze and drugs were our only answer to our problems. WE HAVE A NEW WAY OUT, THANK GOD.
How has the fellowship of AA/NA pulled you up and out to a productive life?
I am grateful for the pain that brought me to my knees. Today I will remember the pain brought on by alcohol and drugs. I pray that I treasure the result of my pain.
Monday, March 21, 2011
The Big Book says …”we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” (pg. 64)
This disease of Alcoholism/Drug addiction has clouded our ability to see spirituality as a tool for living and a way to better ourselves. Some of us were nervous about the idea of spirituality in general when we first walked into the rooms of A.A./N.A. It wasn’t until we took a look at ourselves that we realized that spirituality was an integral part of our recovery. Thus we surrendered and took steps toward a spiritual life.
The four steps to help us move forward into spiritual living:
1. Stop fighting – We surrender to our disease and we stop trying to play God.
2. Trust God – We realize that our life is in God’s hands. It’s God’s will, not ours!
3. Clean House – We take an inventory of ourselves, we identify resentments and character defects and work to remove them thus changing the way we think and act.
4. Help Others – We constantly take the opportunity to help people in and out of the rooms. Giving back is one of the greatest gifts of the 12 Step programs and it impacts us mentally and spiritually in immensely positive ways.
I am grateful for the sun-filled, bright, clear day. Today I will cherish the warm, alive feelings that fill my being. I pray for awareness of the brightness in my life.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
“The goal is to keep these chemical substances out of the hands of those who would abuse them,” said Rep. Jerry Stern.
“There is nothing we can do against bath salts unless they become illegal to sell and possess,” said an undercover detective.
In hopes that the rest of the United States will follow their lead, the previously mentioned states are proactively proposing legislation that will ban bath salts.
US Senate bill 409, authored by Senator Charles Schumer, NY would add ingredients in bath salts to the list of controlled substances. The problem with this is that there are 20 million known compounds out there that cannot all be investigated or banned. Designers of the drugs simply change the molecular structure and thus a new chemical is developed.
Is there a way to stay ahead of the curve in combating bath salt abuse?
Should more thought be given to a multi-faceted strategy which includes educating, not only the general public, but specifically adolescents and young adults about the extreme dangers of bath salts?
Friday, March 18, 2011
Designers of these synthetic drugs are changing the molecular composition so they stay just one step ahead of the law because that’s all they have to do under current laws.
Who understands the system better, synthetic drug designers or Legislators?
Who is going to stand up and prevent these deaths?
Overdose leaves Minn. teen dead, 10 hospitalized (click link below)
1. Defiance – Open disobedience
2. Denial – Refusal to see that which is true
3. Compliance – Goes along with, but doesn’t believe
4. Admission – Required for real progress, truth begins to be seen and felt
5. Acceptance – Open to information about oneself and accepts help from the outside
6. Surrender – It is felt inside and out. You give up the battle and stop fighting anyone or anything
I am grateful for my reliance and trust in God. Today I will practice trusting and relying on God for direction. I pray that I remember the source of all my strength.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The question we ask is, "Don't I have to plan for things?" The answer is yes, but the solution is to leave the results to God or your higher power. In order to do this we have to have faith. When our plans don't go the way we wanted them to, having faith that things are exactly the way they are supposed to be is the easiest way of dealing with them. When we talk to sober people, they tell us that when we put expectations on things, we are running the show again. The book "Alcoholics Anonymous" talks about this. They compare it to the actor who is running the whole production. He is in charge of everything. His motives and intentions are good. He wants the show to come off perfectly. What happens? Things happen. Things that are totally out of our control happen. Sometimes we exert ourselves even more to make it happen. Then people get upset with us and we get upset at them. We get resentful at life. There is no more dangerous concoction for someone getting sober to be resentful at life and the world we live in. The reason is we are "spring loaded" to solving our problems with alcohol and drugs. This almost killed us. We are lucky it didn't.
Talk about it. Don't live in it. God and AA can figure out any problem we have. Of ourselves we are nothing.
I am grateful for the feeling of being useful. Today I will work at being of service to my fellow men and women. I pray that I remember the pain of selfish pursuits.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Faith is often spoken about in recovery. We know that it can be difficult when faced with life. To know that other people have trudged the road we are on cuts the thoughts in half. People in recovery want to help. They want to show the newcomer that at one time in their own lives they thought just like we do. They then show us the way out. They show us the right way of living. The relief that comes to us when we honestly know that we aren't unique is what we've really been looking for our whole life.
Do you sometimes feel different? What do you do to come out on the other side?
I am grateful to be free of resentment. Today I will guard against resentful feelings. I pray that my life is no longer tormented by resentment.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The twelve steps take work on our part. It is nothing like the work we had to do in active addiction. The work will pay off!!!!
I am grateful for the ability to detach from people, places, and circumstances. Today I will allow people. places, and circumstances to be as they are. I pray that I do not attempt to control others.
Monday, March 14, 2011
In both cases, the men who consumed the Bath Salts experienced extreme hallucinations, paranoia and psychosis. Bath Salts contain methylenedioxprovalerone (MDPV), which causes these symptoms. From these symptoms came extreme violence in both cases.
The first case was in Mississippi where a man took a skinning knife and slit his face and stomach multiple times. The man survived but later commented that he had tried every kind of drug from cocaine to heroin and that he has never experienced such terrifying hallucinations.
The second case was in Scranton, PA where a young man broke into a monastery and attacked a priest. He was having such terrible hallucinations and became so paranoid that it led to a horrifying attack. To read more about this case, click on the link below…
Bath Salts are still legal in many states but the dangers of them are quickly being recognized and some state governments are in the process of introducing laws that would ban them. Not only are the effects dangerous but they are also more accessible than other drugs which is beyond frightening fact considering the violence it is causing.
Priest attacked by man high on bath salts | The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre & Scranton PA
Thursday, March 10, 2011
We all struggle. We all have our ups and downs. Some days everything just seems to go our way. Then there are the other days that it seems like the world is against us. When I think about those sentences the phrase that relieves me is "nothing in God's world happens by mistake".
The twelve steps when practiced and lived thoroughly, allow us to take life as it comes at us. The common mistake that I make is that just because I got sober that life shouldn't throw curve balls. When those days come, and they do, I must practice what has been taught to me. I have so many different things that I can do before I act on my thoughts. The first thing I can do is call the people that have gotten me this far and ask them for help. That practice never, ever fails me. It is truly a miracle that a meeting or a talk with another alcoholic can distract me, sometimes just enough, to persuade me that everything is not as impossible as I thought.
My friends, or my new family as I call them, have brought me to God. I trust in God. My ego does not. My ego tells me that I have to handle everything. I alone have never been able to handle much. The greatest thing my friends in AA have taught me is to humbly ask God to help me. I talk to God today. I ask for direction in my successes and my failures.
The life the twelve steps grants us is "a design for living that really works". There is nothing too overwhelming that the twelve steps cannot handle. We have found a power greater than ourselves that can solve our problem. The problem is me and the solution is AA/NA and the principles they teach us.
I am grateful for being a member of a recovery group. Today I will work on being the best member I can be. I pray that I see the need to be an active member of my home group.
Recovery is a journey that we must continue throughout our entire lives. We know that in our addiction our character defects hurt our chances of getting sober and living a better. When we came into the rooms of A.A./N.A. we realized that we could take away these character defects by doing the work and asking for help.
For learning purposes we can look at the problems/defects that were foremost in the midst of our addiction. Some problems include expectations, wanting to control everything, self-centeredness and selfishness, obsessive thoughts, impatience, intolerance and ego.
With these problems we quickly found that there was a solution and that we can come to a solution through a bridge of resources. Some resources include other people, a sponsor, A.A. meetings, the 12 Steps, sharing with others, writing in a daily journal, reading program literature, listening to speaker tapes and 12 Step calls. All of these resources are at our fingertips as we take the journey on the road to recovery.
Some solutions we reach through the resources are willingness, acceptance, surrender, a Higher Power and we become selfless. These gifts/solutions are given to us when we use the resources in front of us. If we do not use them we can slip right back into the problem.
I am grateful for knowing my human limitations. Today I will work to accomplish what I am able. I pray to be free of my unrealistic expectations.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The last sentence in the twelfth step tells us that everything that we have done so far, should be carried out in all areas of our life. Our problem was us, and our solution for so long was alcohol and drugs. That solution didn't work. It brought all kinds of problems and irrational thinking and actions.
After we have worked the steps, we have a new way of living. These steps are designed to be lived on a daily basis and when practiced our lives are completely different. We are reborn. When we practice the twelve steps in our daily lives we stay away from fighting everyone and everything. What a life that can bring. To not be in collision with everything, to accept things on life's terms, is so much easier than the life we were used to.
God makes all of this possible. When we are unsure of the path to take, we now have a higher power, of our understanding that we can turn to for help. God will not let you down if you earnestly seek his will.
I am grateful to know the only power I possess is in changing my faults. Today I will work on changing my faults while allowing others to be the way they must be. I pray for courage and strength to change my faults.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
A spiritual experience gives us such clarity and vision. This experience can come in many ways and we cannot tell you how it will come because everyone is different. It is something that you will recognize when it happens. There is a definite change in us. There is a difference in the way we think, feel and act. This spiritual experience brings gifts such as abstinence, change, truth, reality and open-mindedness.
We have a new willingness to take direction like never before. We have a feeling of wanting to know more about ourselves than ever before. We feel a new power to think, act and live. We have a new appreciation for ourselves and the things in our lives. To keep this experience fresh in our minds and hearts we must continue to work the program and share this with others.
I am grateful for the longstanding friendships in the fellowship of A.A. Today I will work at appreciating my true friends. I pray for lasting, true friendships.
Monday, March 7, 2011
I was a lost soul. From years of using and drinking I had lost, or should I say given away everything of value in my life. The material things were long gone, but more importantly, the people who I loved the most were gone too. I scared them away. They have told me that every one of them thought I was going to die.
One day, and I still can't understand why that day, it was over. I had no more drugs, no more booze, no more money. I was completely sick and tired of that life. I needed help though. I knew that without some kind of help, I was going to drink myself to death. A family member called Clearbrook and they said that they could help me. My life changed that day. It is almost like I am living a totally different life today. I have never felt, in four years, anything remotely close to the way I used to feel.
I went through detox and a 28 day inpatient program at Clearbrook. The staff there helped me to understand the disease of addiction. They also told me that any alcohol or drug, in any capacity, was going to kill me. I believed that then and I believe that today. They laid out my program of life for me. They told me that it was my job to carry out that program. Guess what??? It worked and it still works.
Today I am able to help others that suffer from this disease. My family is back in my life, and turns to me when they are having problems. I have a great job. I am going to be married to a wonderful girl who loves me for my past and the road that lead out of it. Most important is that I love the person that Clearbrook and the rooms of AA has made me. I am responsible, finally. This life is not something I would trade for anything. This miracle started at Clearbrook and I will always remain eternally grateful.---Anonymous
I am grateful that I am no longer violent. Today I will enjoy my new freedom. I pray that I never return to my violent behavior.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
There is no better way to keep our pasts from repeating themselves than hearing it from someone that is going through it. It allows us to be grateful for getting out and finding a new life. It allows us to see that we are no longer suffering from the pains of active addiction. Even better though, we now have a purpose. It is truly amazing and God given that someone that suffered for so long can now help someone going through the same thing. These are events, when presented, that we promise you don't want to miss. It is vital to our recovery.
I am grateful I no longer fear death or life. Today I walk with new faith as my partner. I pray that my new faith may grow.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Some of us drank every day. We would go to any length to get that next drink. If we take the same effort in staying sober, doing anything in order to stay that way, we will not fail.
I am grateful for the abundance in my life. Today I will count my many blessings. I pray to see my blessings with clear vision.
Friday, March 4, 2011
DON'T QUIT BEFORE THE MIRACLE!
I am grateful that I am dependent on God.
Today I will be mindful of God in my life.
I pray for God's presence throughout this day.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
When we first read or heard the A.A. Promises, some of us may have scoffed at them. We came into the rooms hopeless and feeling that nothing has gone right in our lives. So how then, could we believe that the Promises would happen for us?
It seems only time allows us to see the promises working and becoming real. There is no time frame for when good things really become noticeable and our perspective changes from negative to positive. But when this change happens, it is very real and very obvious. We easily see a Higher Power and the Promises working in our lives.
So, when we are at a meeting and we hear someone say the promises have and continue to happen in their life we may not realize it right away but it will eventually happen for us. This will happen if we always do the next right thing.
THE A.A. PROMISES
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
I am grateful for the love of God I possess and the peace of mind I receive. Today I will be mindful of God's gifts. I pray I will continue to know that love of God provides peace of mind.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
We have to be honest. Honesty was not something a lot of us practiced while we were still in the grips of active addiction. When we are trying to get help from others there is no way they can help us if we are not telling them the truth. Even more important, we have to tell ourselves the truth. Self delusion is an evil enemy that comes to us and tells us we are really OK.
Having an open mind can really help us with any issues we are having about believing in a higher power. If we can open our minds to the fact that AA/NA has helped so many people get better, we are on our way. If we can have an open mind, stop debating about God, we can come to believe in our own conception of God.
Willingness keeps us doing the things on a daily basis. Are we willing to do whatever it takes to get and stay sober. The action steps, steps 4-9 demand willingness. Sometimes we even have to pray for this trait. We can ask God to help us become willing to do the things our sponsors have asked us to do.
If we can practice these three things every day when we get up in the morning, our lives will go to places we never dreamed possible.
I am grateful to be free of procrastination. Today I will take action in a responsible way. I pray for the strength to do what is right.