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cmmacneil's Blog


Nov. 21, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

If a reasonable estimate could be made of the fatalities resulting from excessive drinking, the figures would be appalling. This loss, however, is only a small part of the price that Bacchus exacts.

The wasted man-hours of work, the homes broken up, the wealth of talent that was never developed, and the loss of moral character are also a part of the bill.

You definitely can't drink moderately. Can you afford to drink to excess?

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 21, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

Reflection for the Day
Adversity introduces man to himself, a poet once said. For me, the same is true of even imagined adversity. If I expect another person to react in a certain way in a given situation - and he or she fails to meet my expectation - well, then I hardly have the right to be disappointed or angry. Yet I occasionally still experience feelings of frustration when people don't act or react as I think they should. Through such imagined - or, better yet, self-inflicted - adversity, I come face to face again with my old self - the one who wanted to run the whole show.

Is it time for me to finally stop expecting and to start accepting?

Today I Pray
May I stop putting words in people's mouths, programming them - in my own mind - to react as I expect them to. Expectations have fooled me before; I expected unbounded love and protection from those close to me, perfection from myself, undivided attention from casual acquaintances. On the adverse side, I expected failure from myself, and rejection from others. May I stop borrowing trouble - or triumph either - from the future.

Today I Will Remember
Accept. Don't expect.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 21, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
I no longer waste money, but try to put it to good use. Like all of us, when I was drunk, I threw money around like I really had it. It gave me a feeling of importance - a millionaire for a day. But the morning after, with an empty wallet and perhaps also some undecipherable checks, was a sad awakening. How could I have been such a fool? How will I ever make it up? Thoughts like these get you down. When we are sober, we spend our hard-earned money as it should be spent. Although perhaps some of us could be more generous in our AA giving, at least we do not throw it away.

Am I making good use of my money?

Meditation for the Day
You were meant to be at home and comfortable in the world. Yet some people live a life of quiet desperation. This is the opposite of being at home and at peace in the world. Let your peace of mind be evident to those around you. Let others see that you are comfortable and, seeing it, know that it springs from your trust in a Higher Power. The dull, hard way of resignation is not God's way. Faith takes the sting out of the winds of adversity and brings peace even in the midst of struggle.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may be more comfortable in my way of living. I pray that I may feel more at home and at peace within myself.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 21, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

"Here was - power! ...(T)o live to the end of any given day, power to have the courage to face the next day, power to have friends, power to help people, power to be sane, power to stay sober. That was seven years ago - and many AA meetings ago - and I haven't had a drink during those seven years. ...What is this power? With my AA friends, all I can say is that it's a power greater than myself." -Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, "They Stopped in Time," Ch 16 ("Me An Alcoholic?"), pp 436-37.

Today, we are told in the First Step that we are powerless over alcohol - not powerless over everything. In surrendering in Step One, I have begun to reclaim the power to take back what my powerlessness over alcohol has taken. I can assert my power not to be controlled by alcohol simply by not drinking. I can take back the power to face the new day with full remembrance of the day and night before, and I can work for the power to overcome powerlessness, helplessness and hopelessness. The power that is at my command is in the choices I make, and the benefit to have choices is a gift - graced on me by whatever power is greater than myself. Today, while I must acknowledge that over which I am powerless, let me understand the power I do possess. God grant that I use it wisely. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Nov. 20, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014

Man has within him something that is higher than man, and we can lift ourselves beyond our physical and human status in becoming absorbed by the highest instincts in ourselves.

Man is mortal, it is true, but you surpass man when you live in strict accordance with the God-like characteristics you possess.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 20, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014

Reflection for the Day
I've come to measure success in a whole new way. My success today isn't limited by social or economic benchmarks. Success is mine today, no matter what the undertaking, when I tap the power of God within me and allow myself to be an open channel for the expression of His good. The spirit of success works through me as increased vision and understanding, as creative ideas and useful service - as efficient use of my time and energy, and as cooperative effort with others.

Will I try to keep my mind centered in the realization that within me is the God-implanted power to succeed?

Today I Pray
May I develop a new concept of success, based on measurements of the good qualities which come from God's treasure-filled bank of good. To draw from that bank, all I have to do is look within myself. May I know that God's riches are the only kind that are fully insurable, because they are infinite. May I look in God's bank for my security.

Today I Will Remember
Spiritual "success" is my security.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 20, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
I no longer try to escape life through alcoholism. Drinking built up an unreal world for me and I tried to live in it. But in the morning light, the real life was back again, and facing it was harder than ever because I had less resources with which to meet it. Each attempt at escape weakened my personality by the very attempt. Everyone knows that alcohol, by relaxing inhibitions, permits a flight from reality. Alcohol deadens the brain cells that preside over our highest faculties and we are off to the unreal world of drunkenness. AA taught me not to run away, but to face reality.

Have I given up trying to escape life?

Meditation for the Day
In these times of quiet meditation, try more and more to set your hopes on the grace of God. Know that whatever the future may hold, it will hold more and more of good. Do not set all your hopes and desires on material things. There is weariness in an abundance of things. Set your hopes on spiritual things so that you may grow spiritually. Learn to rely on God's power more and more and, in that reliance, you will have an insight into the greater value of the things of the spirit.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may not be overwhelmed by material things. I pray that I may realize the higher value of spiritual things.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 20, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014

" ...(T)he man with the grown-up brain and the childish emotions - vanity, self-interest,  false pride,  jealousy,  longing for social approval,  to name a few - become a prime candidate for alcohol. ...(T)hat is the definition of alcoholism: a state of being in which the emotions have failed to grow to the stature of the intellect. ...(T)here are some alcoholics who seem terribly, terribly grown-up, but ...they are trying to make themselves think they are grown-up, and the strain of their effort is what is causing them to drink - a sense of inadequacy, a childish vanity to be the most popular, the most sought after, the mostest of the most. And all this, of course, is, in the popular modern jargon, 'compensation' for immaturity'." - Alcoholics Anonymous, "They Lost Nearly All," Ch 11 ("He Who Loses His Life"), pp 534-35.

Today: " ...emotions have failed to grow to the stature of the intellect." Somewhere along the line, something impeded my emotional development that lent itself vulnerable to a false "stimulus" - alcohol. Accepting that my alcoholism is partly an emotional disease, I also must accept that abstinence by itself is not enough to obtain sobriety. And this is when I must look to the First and Second Steps - to accept my powerlessness and open myself to the possibility of a higher power that might show me the way. Such is the basis of recovery; without surrender to these two basic but essential steps, the emotions that contributed to my flawed character likely will not heal. Today, I pray for the healing to begin. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Nov. 19, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014

A large segment of humanity, stumbling in alcoholic darkness, resigned to a belief that nothing can possibly be done about the situation, has at long last caught a gleam of light and presses on to that beacon of Hope.

Alcoholics Anonymous is that light shining forth in the night of despair, and your hand holds the torch. Be sure you hold it high, that all suffering alcoholics may see it, and direct their faltering steps over the proven pathway that you trod.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 19, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014

Reflection for the Day
I no longer argue with people who believe that satisfaction of our natural desires is the primary purpose of life. It's not our business in The Program to knock material achievement. When we stop and think about it, in fact, no group of people ever made a worse mess of trying to live by that "la doulce vita" formula than we did. We always insisted on more than our share - in all areas. And even when we seemed to be succeeding, we fueled our addictions so that we could dream of still greater successes.

Am I learning that material satisfactions are simply by-products and not the chief aim of life? Am I gaining the perspective to see that character-building and spiritual values must come first?

Today I Pray
May I recognize that I never did handle excesses very well, based on my past experience. I have been apt to "want more" of whatever it is I have - love, money, property, things, chemicals, foods, winnings. May The Program teach me that I must concentrate on my spiritual, rather than my material bounty.

Today I Will Remember
It's okay to be spiritually greedy.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 19, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014


AA Thought for the Day
In AA, we do not speak much of sex. And yet putting sex in its proper place in our lives is one of the rewards that has come to us as a result of our new way of living. The Big Book says that many of us needed an overhauling there. It also says that we subjected each sex relation to this test - was it selfish or not? "We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly nor selfishly, nor to be despised or loathed." We can ask God to mold our ideals and to help us to live up to them. We can act accordingly.

Have I got my sex life under proper control?

Meditation for the Day
"I will lift up my eyes unto the heights whence cometh my help." Try to raise your thoughts from the depths of the sordid and mean and impure things of the earth to the heights of goodness and decency and beauty. Train your insight by trying to take the higher view. Train it more and more until distant heights become more familiar. The heights of the Lord, whence cometh your help, will become nearer and dearer and the false values of the earth will seem farther away.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may not keep my eyes forever downcast. I pray that I may set my sights on higher things.

Hazelden Foundation


Nov. 19, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014

" ...(T)he main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body. If you ask him why he started on that last bender, the chance are he will offer you any one of a hundred alibis. Sometimes these excuses have a certain plausibility, but none of them really makes sense in the light of the havoc an alcoholic's drinking bout creates. They sound like the philosophy of the man who, having a headache, beats himself on the head with a hammer so that he can't feel the ache." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 2 ("There Is a Solution"), p 23.

Today, I will not waste time asking why I set out on the pattern of drinking that led me to where I am today. The answer is simple and obvious: I am an alcoholic. And if a gnawing question persists why I am an alcoholic, the answer probably lies in my Fourth Step. How many mornings, days and nights did I beat myself on the head with a hammer so I couldn't feel the ache of physical, emotional and spiritual agony? In the program, I am armed with an arsenal to counter that agony, to focus not so much on how to live without alcohol but to recover in sobriety. Why did I set off that pattern of drinking that got me here, in this program? I am alcoholic. That simple. Today, I can deal with it. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

Nov. 18, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014

Money is a medium of exchange and is as good as the things you can get with it.

If you have enough money in your pocket when you fall overboard, it can drown you.

Love of money can make you the most despised of men, but love of mankind can make your money a blessing to you and to them.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 18, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014

Reflection for the Day
"Nothing is enough to the man for whom enough is too little," wrote the Greek philosopher Epicurus. Now that we're free from addiction, rebuilding our self-respect and winning back the esteem of family and friends, we have to avoid becoming smug about our new-found success. For most of us, success has always been a heady brew; even in our new life, it's still possible to fall into the dangerous trap of "big-shot-itis." As insurance, we ought to remember that we're free today only by the grace of God.

Will I remember that any success I may be having is far more His success than mine?

Today I Pray
May I keep a constant string-on-the-finger reminder that I have found freedom through the grace of God - just so I don't let my pride try to convince me I did it all myself. May I learn to cope with success by ascribing it to a Higher Power, not to my own questionable superiority.

Today I Will Remember
Learn to deal with success.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 18, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
I have got over my procrastination. I was always putting things off till tomorrow and as a result they never got done. "There is always another day" was my motto instead of, "Do it now." Under the influence of alcohol, I had grandiose plans. When I was sober, I was too busy getting over my drunk to start anything. "Some day I'll do that" - but I never did it. In AA, I have learned that it's better to make a mistake once in a while than to never do anything at all. We learn by trial and error. But we must act now and not put it off until tomorrow.

Have I learned to do it now?

Meditation for the Day
"Do not hide your light under a bushel. Arise and shine, for the light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen in thee." The glory of the Lord shines in the beauty of your character. It is risen in you, even though you can realize it only in part. "Now you see as in a glass darkly, but later you will see face to face." The glory of the Lord is too dazzling for mortals to see fully on earth. But some of this glory is risen in you when you try to reflect that light in your life.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may try to be a reflection of the Divine Light. I pray that some of its rays may shine in my life.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 18, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014

"We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. ...We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 6 ("Into Action"), p 75.

Today, if I have approached the all-important Fourth Step with reluctance and even fear because I see it as a laundry list of all my wrongs, let me understand that it also has a selfish and cathartic benefit. If I have hidden my wrongs, fears and dread in a dark and locked closet and I can muster the courage and honesty to unlock the door and confront them, I have given voice and identity to those defects. And in doing that, I can see what remedy needs to be done. With faith and determination in doing what has to be done, I might even have enthusiasm to do whatever it takes. With that, I can give myself permission not to fear the wrongs of my life any longer, and that fear might be rendered powerless. And in overcoming my fear to face myself, both then and now, I might understand for the first time what spiritual experience means. Today, I can begin the job of beginning. And our common journey continues. Step by step. -Chris M., 2014

Nov. 17, 2014 - The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Monday, Nov. 17, 2014

All forward steps in the progress of civilization have been the results of great ideas. All advances in the field of science were first ideas, many of which were conceived years before they became realities. Their creators were thinking far in advance of their times.

Alcoholics Anonymous is not a new system of ideas, but it is rather a new application of old ideas whose time has come.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 17, 2014 - A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Monday, Nov. 17, 2014

Reflection for the Day
Many of us in The Program stubbornly cling to false ideas and positions simply because we fear we'd be left defenseless if we admitted having been wrong. The thought of "backing down" still seems distasteful to some of us. But we come to learn that our self-esteem soars when we're able to push pride into the background and truly face the facts. Chances are that people with true humility have more genuine self-esteem than those of us who are repeatedly victimized by pride.

Does pride deviously keep me from thorough and continuing attention to the Tenth Step?

Today I Pray
May pride stay out of my way, now that I've found a road to follow. May I avoid that familiar, destructive cycle of pride - the ego that balloons up out of all proportion and then deflates with a fizzle. May I learn the value of "backing down."

Today I Will Remember
Pride is the arch-enemy of self-esteem.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 17, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, Nov. 17, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
Everyone has two personalities, a good and a bad. We are all dual personalities to some extent. When we were drinking, the bad personality was in control. We did things when we were drunk that we would never do when we were sober. When we sober up, we are different people. Then we wonder how we could have done the things we did. But we drink again, and again our bad side comes out. So we are back and forth, always in conflict with our other selves, always in a stew. This division of our selves is not good; we must somehow become unified. We do this by giving ourselves wholeheartedly to AA and to sobriety.

Have I become unified?

Meditation for the Day
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of Thy Lord." These words are for many ordinary people whom the world may pass by, unrecognizing. Not to the world-famed, the proud, the wealthy, are these words spoken, but to the quiet followers who serve God unobtrusively yet faithfully, who bear their crosses bravely and put a smiling face to the world. "Enter into the joy of Thy Lord." Pass into that fuller spiritual life, which is a life of joy and peace.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may not desire the world's applause. I pray that I may not seek rewards for doing what I believe is right.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 17, 2014 - Step by Step

Step by Step
Monday, Nov. 17, 2014

Today, I seek understanding that not drinking or using, by themselves, do not equal sobriety or recovery. Addiction is a three-tiered malady of the physical, spiritual and emotional; while abstaining treats the first, by itself it neglects the spiritual and emotional. My self-imposed wounds to the spiritual and mental, not to mention to other people, can be treated only by a basic change within myself. My Fourth Step, if thorough and honest, may show that many of the feelings, perceptions and attitudes toward myself, other people and the world were developed in an alcohol- or drug-induced haze. Removing the haze, then, by itself, does not alter those feelings, perceptions and attitudes. Let me understand that the reason for the 12 steps is required for more than staying off alcohol and any other substance and that they target the spiritual and emotional for treatment. Today, while swearing off alcohol or other substances is a giant step forward, God grant me the knowledge that I must work for recovery and sobriety beyond abstinence alone. On this day, I choose sobriety over dry. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2014

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Previous Posts
Nov. 21, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted November 21st, 2014
Nov. 21, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted November 21st, 2014
Nov. 21, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 21st, 2014
Nov. 21, 2014 - Step by Step, posted November 21st, 2014
Nov. 20, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted November 20th, 2014
Nov. 20, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted November 20th, 2014
Nov. 20, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 20th, 2014
Nov. 20, 2014 - Step by Step, posted November 20th, 2014
Nov. 19, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted November 19th, 2014
Nov. 19, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted November 19th, 2014
Nov. 19, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 19th, 2014
Nov. 19, 2014 - Step by Step, posted November 19th, 2014
Nov. 18, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted November 18th, 2014
Nov. 18, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted November 18th, 2014
Nov. 18, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 18th, 2014
Nov. 18, 2014 - Step by Step, posted November 18th, 2014
Nov. 17, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted November 17th, 2014
Nov. 17, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted November 17th, 2014
Nov. 17, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 17th, 2014
Nov. 17, 2014 - Step by Step, posted November 17th, 2014
Nov. 16, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted November 16th, 2014
Nov. 16, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted November 16th, 2014
Nov. 16, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 16th, 2014
Nov. 16, 2014 - Step by Step, posted November 16th, 2014
Nov. 15, 2014 - Step by Step, posted November 15th, 2014
Nov. 15, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 15th, 2014
Nov. 15, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted November 15th, 2014
Nov. 15, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted November 15th, 2014
Nov. 14, 2014 - Step by Step, posted November 14th, 2014
Nov. 14, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 14th, 2014
Nov. 14, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted November 14th, 2014
Nov. 14, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted November 14th, 2014
Nov. 13, 2014 - Step by Step, posted November 13th, 2014
Nov. 13, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 13th, 2014
Nov. 13, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted November 13th, 2014
Nov. 13, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted November 13th, 2014
Nov. 12, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted November 12th, 2014
Nov. 12, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted November 12th, 2014
Nov. 12, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 12th, 2014
Nov. 12, 2014 - Step by Step, posted November 12th, 2014
Nov. 11, 2014 - Step by Step, posted November 11th, 2014
Nov. 11, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 11th, 2014
Nov. 11, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted November 11th, 2014
Nov. 11, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted November 11th, 2014
Nov. 10, 2014 - After the Tears, posted November 10th, 2014
Nov. 10, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 10th, 2014
Nov. 10, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted November 10th, 2014
Nov. 10, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted November 10th, 2014
Nov. 9, 2014 - After the Tears, posted November 9th, 2014
Nov. 9, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted November 9th, 2014
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