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cmmacneil's Blog


Aug. 20, 2014 - Step by Step

 Step by Step
Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

“We watch the alcoholic performing in a position of responsibility and we know that because he is drinking heavily and daily he has cut his capacities by 50 percent, and still he seems able to do a satisfactory job. And we wonder how much further this man could go if his alcoholic problem could be removed and he could throw 100 percent of his abilities into action. But, of course …eventually the alcoholic loses all of his capacities as his disease gets progressively worse, and this is a tragedy that is painful to watch; the disintegration of a sound mind and body.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three, Ch 12 (“The Keys of the Kingdom”), p 308.

Today, as a sober alcoholic, can I remember or even acknowledge the gradual and steady disintegration of myself as a drinking alcoholic? If I cannot, I must remember to appreciate and even treasure that the Program and recovery have moved me forward and beyond that abyss of irrevocable physical, emotional and spiritual hopelessness and self-destruction. And in comparing then to now, I can rely on my Higher Power to strengthen me should temptation or a potential relapse arise. Today, despite or in spite of any problems I face, I must be grateful that I am not making them worse by drinking or using. I prefer whatever challenges I face sober instead of those I had drunk. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2014


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

 Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
“When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith. When we see others solve their problems by simple reliance upon some spirit of the universe, we have to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work, but the God-idea does. Deep down in every man, woman, and child is the fundamental idea of God. Faith in a Power greater than ourselves and miraculous demonstrations of that power in our lives are facts as old as the human race.”

Am I willing to rely on the Spirit of the universe?

Meditation for the Day
You should not dwell too much on the mistakes, faults, and failures of the past. Be done with shame and remorse and contempt for yourself. With God’s help, develop a new self-respect. Unless you respect yourself, others will not respect you. You ran a race, you stumbled and fell, you have risen again, and now you press on toward the goal of a better life. Do not stay to examine the spot where you fell, only feel sorry for the delay, the short-sightedness that prevented you from seeing the real goal sooner.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may not look back. I pray that I may keep picking myself up and making a fresh start each day.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 20, 2014 - A Day at a Time

 A Day at a Time
Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

Reflection for the Day
All of The Program’s Twelve Steps ask us to go contrary to our natural inclinations and desires: they puncture, squeeze, and finally deflate our egos. When it comes to ego-deflation, few Steps are harder to take than the Fifth, which suggests that we “admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Few Steps are harder to take, yes, but scarcely any Step is more necessary to long-term freedom from addiction and peace of mind.

Have I quit living by myself with the tormenting ghosts of yesterday?

Today I Pray
May God give me strength to face that great ego-pincher – Step Five. May I not hesitate to call a trusted hearer of Fifth Steps, set up a meeting and share it. By accepting responsibility for my behavior, and then sharing my account of it with God and one other, I am actually unburdening myself.

Today I Will Remember
My Fifth Step pain is also my liberation.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 20, 2014 - The Eye Opener

 The Eye Opener
Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

Some time ago, I felt it necessary to make a record of the various sums of money owed me for my occasional handouts for a flop, or to get clothes out of hock, or to replace the false teeth lost or broken on the last binge. The total amount began to grow to staggering proportions and I became very unhappy – so unhappy, in fact, I tore the record up and now I am happy again.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 19, 2014 - Step by Step

 Step by Step
Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

“There are many things worse than dying, but is there any death worse than the progressive, self-induced slow suicide of the practicing alcoholic? The alcoholic suffers death many times over. Alcohol wrings the guts out of life, eats into the brain in such a way as to make the alcoholic blind to the truth. I served 12 years in prison, never suspecting that without alcohol I would not have been in prison at all. Had it not been for AA in prison …I’ll never know, but my educated guess is that I would not be alive today.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Lost Nearly All,” Ch 1 (“A Five-Time Loser Wins”), p 457.

Today, like a prison inmate, I experienced the multiple deaths of a drinking alcoholic in the form of losses of family, friends, jobs and milestone experiences like a son’s or daughter’s wedding or birth of my own child, people and experiences that cannot be reclaimed. And, like an inmate, I may not even yet realize that I may never have suffered those losses because of alcohol. But, today, I am sober and in recovery, and the Program has taught me to think now in terms of life because, in surrendering in Step One, I chose life over death. Now I must surrender the regrets and pain from those losses and anticipate whatever new life is yet to come. And whatever life has planned for me, I can do it now because I am sober – because I chose life. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2014


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

 Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
“People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about. There is a wide variation in the way each one of us approaches and conceives of the Power greater than ourself (sic). Whether we agree with a particular approach or conception seems to make little difference. These are questions for each of us to settle for ourselves. But in each case the belief in a Higher Power has accomplished the miraculous, the humanly impossible. There has come a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking.”

Has there been a revolutionary change in me?

Meditation for the Day
Worship is consciousness of God’s divine majesty. As you pause to worship, God will help you to raise your humanity to His divinity. The earth is a material temple to enclose God’s divinity. God brings to those who worship Him a divine power, a divine love and a divine healing. You only have to open your mind to Him and try to absorb some of His divine spirit. Pausing quietly in the spirit of worship, turn your inward thoughts upward and realize that His divine power may be yours, that you can experience His love and healing.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may worship God by sensing the eternal Spirit. I pray that I may experience a new power in my life.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 19, 2014 - A Day at a Time

 A Day at a Time
Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

Reflection for the Day
“How does The Program work?” newcomers sometimes ask. The two answers I most often hear are “very well” and “slowly.” I’m appreciative of both answers, facetious as they may first sound, because my self-analyzing tends to be faulty. Sometimes I’ve failed to share my defects with the right people; other times, I’ve confessed their defects, rather than my own; at still other times, my sharing of defects has been more in the nature of shrill complaints about my problems. The fact is that none of us likes the self-searching, the leveling of our comings which The Steps require. But we eventually see that The Program really works.

Have I picked up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at my feet?

Today I Pray
May God keep me from laying out my defects by comparing them to someone else’s. We are, by nature, relativists and comparers, who think in terms of “worse than …,” “not quite as bad as …,” or “better than …” May I know that my faults are faults, whether or not they are “better than …” others’.

Today I Will Remember
Bad is bad, even when it is “better than.”

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 19, 2014 - The Eye Opener

 The Eye Opener
Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

The newspapers announced that Doctor Bob died on November 19th, 1950, but we of AA know different. He lives today in the grateful hearts of three hundred and fifty thousand alcoholics and probably three times that number of dependents of alcoholics. He will live forever for he was the founder of something Good, and Good is eternal.

His name would be out of place in cold, hard stone, but it is engraved forever in the hearts of a grateful and growing multitude.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 18, 2014 - Step by Step

 Step by Step
Monday, Aug. 18, 2014

“I had to hide, as a great many people in AA have had to do. I did my hiding in the hampers and in my dresser drawers. When we begin to do things like that with alcohol, something’s gone wrong. I needed it, and I knew I was drinking too much, but I wasn’t conscious of the fact that I should stop. I kept on. My home …was a place to mill around in. I wandered from room to room, thinking, drinking, drinking, thinking. …(A)nd after supper, I’d finish the job up and knock myself out.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Stopped In Time,” Ch 4 (“The Housewife Who Drank at Home”), pp 336-7.

Today, I remember what it was like, hiding full and half-empty whiskey bottles under the mattress, in a suitcase that hadn’t been used in years, in seldom opened dresser drawers and, as I discovered later when I stopped drinking, in places I didn’t know existed. All the hiding – even though I lived alone. It wasn’t until I quit drinking and found bottles I forgot I had hidden that I realized that “something’s gone wrong.” There is no humor in the craziness of hiding booze in a house where no one but me lived, only a statement of the pathetic drunk I had become. Today I have nothing to hide, and it’s only by the grace of God and AA that I no longer have a reason to hide. Today, I will not do anything that has to be hidden; hiding just takes too much time and energy. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2014


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

 Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, Aug. 18, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
“We of agnostic temperament have found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which we call God. As soon as you can say that you do believe or are willing to believe, you are on your way. Upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.”

Am I willing to depend on a Power that I cannot fully define or comprehend?

Meditation for the Day
We seek God’s presence and “they who seek shall find.” It is not a question of searching so much as an inner consciousness of the Divine spirit in your heart. To realize God’s presence, you must surrender to His will in the small as well as in the big things of life. This makes God’s guidance possible. Some things separate you from God – a false word, a fear-inspired failure, a harsh criticism, a stubborn resentment. These are the things that put a distance between your mind and God. A word of love, a selfless reconciliation, a kind act of helpfulness – these bring God closer.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may think and say and do the things that bring God closer to me. I pray that I may find Him in a sincere prayer, a kind word, or an unselfish deed.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 18, 2014 - A Day at a Time

 A Day at a Time
Monday, Aug. 18, 2014

Reflection for the Day
As addictive persons, self-delusion was intricately woven through almost all our thoughts and actions. We became experts at convincing ourselves, when necessary, that black was white, that wrong was right, or even that day was night. Now that we’re in The Program, our need for self-delusion is fading. If I’m fooling myself these days, my sponsor can spot it quickly. And, as he skillfully steers me away from my fantasies, I find that I’m less and less likely to defend myself against reality and unpleasant truths about myself. Gradually, in the process, my pride, fear and ignorance are losing their destructive power.

Do I firmly believe that a solitary self-appraisal wouldn’t be nearly enough?

Today I Pray
May I understand that not only must I look to my Higher Power, but that I need to trust my fellow members of the group in this Step of self-evaluation. For we mirror each other in all of our delusions and fantasies, and with these facing mirrors, we produce a depth of perspective that we could never come by alone.

Today I Will Remember
To see myself all around, I need a three-way mirror – with reflections from God, my friends and me.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 18, 2014 - The Eye Opener

 The Eye Opener
Monday, Aug. 18, 2014

Filth and dirt were the things we were trying to avoid when we climbed out of the gutter. To get physically out of the slime and still leave your mind wallowing in it will inevitably lead to trouble. You have only succeeded in getting your body on the sidewalk if your head is still in the gutter. You should get your feet with your head in God’s clean air to insure sobriety.

To do something about your habits without cleaning up your thinking is like taking a bath and neglecting to wash your dirty feet.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 17, 2014 - Step by Step

 Step by Step
Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014

“A lot of lost dreams, empty futures and crazy things of the past went through my mind. One night, I was struck with the memory of a line Alan Ladd used in ‘Shane,’ a movie that I’d worked on. He told a villain, ‘The trouble is, old man, you’ve lived too long.’ How that line echoed through my mind! I knew why I identified. It was MY line, the story of MY life. I’d lived too long and become a loser, dependent on booze. Well, at least I could drink myself to death. Real soon. Then everyone would be sorry for me.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Stopped in Time,” Ch 3 (“Those Golden Years”), p 333.

Today, let me not ask if I have lived too long or too briefly but if I am predestined to “drink myself to death” and exit the world with everyone feeling “sorry” for me. Is this the legacy for which I have lived my entire life? If I want and expect better, and whether I am sober or drinking today, AA has given me the tools to build the legacy that will remain after I am gone. And the Program promises better than being remembered as the “poor soul” who wasted a lifetime and died an alcoholic’s death. Through AA, I can craft my legacy to be someone who rose from an alcoholic’s gutter and re-crafted himself as a person who sobered up and sought to help the person who became helpless and hopeless. But I cannot think in terms of my memory after the day I am no longer here; my memory is built 24 Hours at a time. Today, I focus on what my legacy is now. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2014


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

 Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
“To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic, a spiritual experience seems impossible, but to continue as he is means disaster. To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face. But we have to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life – or else. Lack of power is our dilemma. We have to find a power by which we can live, and it has to be a power greater than ourselves.”

Have I found that power by which I can live?

Meditation for the Day
Sunshine is the laughter of nature. Live out in the sunshine. The sun and air are good medicine. Nature is a good nurse for tired bodies. Let her have her way with you. God’s grace is like the sunshine. Let your whole being be enwrapped in the Divine spirit. Faith is the soul’s breathing in of the Divine spirit. It makes glad the hearts of human beings. The Divine spirit heals and cures the mind. Let it have its way and all will be well.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may live in the sunshine of God’s spirit. I pray that my mind and soul may be energized by it.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 17, 2014 - A Day at a Time

 A Day at a Time
Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014

Reflection for the Day
The Fourth Step suggests we make a searching and fearless moral inventory – not an immoral inventory of ourselves. The Steps are guidelines to recovery, not whipping posts for self-flagellation. Taking my inventory doesn’t mean concentrating on my shortcomings until all the good is hidden from view. By the same token, recognizing the good need not be an act of pride or conceit. If I recognize my good qualities as God-given, I can take an inventory with true humility while experiencing satisfaction in what is pleasant, loving and generous in me.

Will I try to believe, in Walt Whitman’s words, that “I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness …”?

Today I Pray
When I find good things about myself, as I undertake this inner archaeological dig, may I give credit where it is due – to God, who is the giver of all good. May I appreciate whatever is good about me with humility, as a gift from God.

Today I Will Remember
Goodness is a gift from God.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 17, 2014 - The Eye Opener

 The Eye Opener
Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014

As startling as this may sound to some members, AA has no first-, second- or third-class memberships. A sober member is in good standing if he has been dry for twenty-four hours or twenty-four months.

Of course, no one means to discriminate, but some of us just naturally gravitate to a certain person or group of persons within the group. The “low-bottoms” are just as guilty as the “high-bottoms” in this respect. After all, we were all drunks and all of us smelled the same when we came in.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 16, 2014 - Step by Step

 Step by Step
Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014

“I came to AA simply because there were no other doors of help open to me. In AA, I have had to be torn down and then put back together differently. No one could live such an irresponsible, immature life as I had without consequences. AA made it possible for me to face the consequences of my past actions. After I came to AA, I was divorced by my wife; I lost my practice; I was legally restrained from seeing my children; I went broke …Only AA kept me from running away.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Stopped in Time,” Ch 14 (“Growing Up All Over Again”), p 420.

Today, I must understand that taking up an AA recovery program in and of itself does not excuse me from responsibility to the consequences of my drinking – nor should it. In facing those consequences, my life in early recovery may become even more difficult than it was when I was drinking because recovery may require complete reconstruction of my entire being. Part of that rebuilding may be to answer for my misconduct from my drinking days. If I am in the position of accountability although I am not drinking, the purpose of my AA program in part is to give me the tools to accept responsibility and consequences without a slip or relapse. And in taking responsibility and paying whatever dues I owe, I may be able to see myself grow into sobriety by clearing away the garbage of my drinking days. If today should be one of judgment for me, I will embrace it as an opportunity to be done with the bad once and for all and move forward by accepting whatever may be my just due. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2014


Aug. 16, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

 Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
“The alcoholic is absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. We must admit we can do nothing about it ourselves. Willpower and self-knowledge will never help in the strange mental blank spots when we are tempted to drink. An alcoholic mentally is in a very sick condition. The last flicker of conviction that we can do the job ourselves must be snuffed out. The spiritual answer and the program of action are the only hope. Only spiritual principles will solve our problems. We are completely helpless apart from Divine help. Our defense against drinking must come from a Higher Power.”

Have I accepted the spiritual answer and the program of action?

Meditation for the Day
Rest now until life, eternal life, flowing through your veins and heart and mind, bids you to bestir yourself. Then glad work will follow. Tired work is never effective. The strength of God’s spirit is always available to the tired mind and body. He is your physician and your healer. Look to these quiet times of communion with God for rest, for peace, for cure. Then rise refreshed in spirit and go out to work, knowing that your strength is able to meet any problems because it is reinforced by God’s power.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that the peace I have found will make me effective. I pray that I may be relieved of all strain during this day.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 16, 2014 - A Day at a Time

 A Day at a Time
Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014

Reflection for the Day
Inventory-taking isn’t always done in red ink. It’s a rare day when we haven’t done something right. As I uncover and face my shortcomings, my many good qualities will be revealed to me also, reminding me that they have the same reality as my faults. Even when we’ve tried hard and failed, for instance, we can chalk that up as one of the greatest credits of all. I’ll try to appreciate my good qualities, because they not only offset the faults, but give me a foundation on which to grow. It’s just as self-deceptive to discount what’s good in us as to justify what is not.

Can I take comfort in my positive qualities, accepting myself as a friend?

Today I Pray
If I find only defects when I look in that Fourth Step mirror, may I be sure that I am missing something – namely my good points. Although my ultra-modesty may be approved socially, may I learn that it is just as dishonest as rationalizing away my faults. Even an out-and-out failure, if examined from all sides, may turn up a plus along with the obvious minuses.

Today I Will Remember
To give myself, if not an A for effort, at least an average B minus.

Hazelden Foundation


Aug. 16, 2014 - The Eye Opener

 The Eye Opener
Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014

The older some of us get in AA, the more we notice a tendency on our part to become a little bit less tolerant, a little less understanding in our relationship with the man still having trouble. We have been so long removed from the actual suffering that we are losing some of our understanding.

This is a good time to pick out the messiest case we can find and get back in the groove again. We can’t afford to forget that we, too, are alcoholics and, but for the Grace of God, we would be in just as bad shape.

We may be years away from our last drunk, but we are only one drink away from our next one. Don’t lose the common touch.

Hazelden Foundation


1-20 of thousands of Blogs   

Previous Posts
Aug. 20, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 20th, 2014
Aug. 20, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 20th, 2014
Aug. 20, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted August 20th, 2014
Aug. 20, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted August 20th, 2014
Aug. 19, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 19th, 2014
Aug. 19, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 19th, 2014
Aug. 19, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted August 19th, 2014
Aug. 19, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted August 19th, 2014
Aug. 18, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 18th, 2014
Aug. 18, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 18th, 2014
Aug. 18, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted August 18th, 2014
Aug. 18, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted August 18th, 2014
Aug. 17, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 17th, 2014
Aug. 17, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 17th, 2014
Aug. 17, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted August 17th, 2014
Aug. 17, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted August 17th, 2014
Aug. 16, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 16th, 2014
Aug. 16, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 16th, 2014
Aug. 16, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted August 16th, 2014
Aug. 16, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted August 16th, 2014
Aug. 15, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 15th, 2014
Aug. 15, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 15th, 2014
Aug. 15, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted August 15th, 2014
Aug. 15, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted August 15th, 2014
Aug. 14, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 14th, 2014
Aug. 14, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 14th, 2014
Aug. 14, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted August 14th, 2014
Aug. 14, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted August 14th, 2014
Aug. 13, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 13th, 2014
Aug. 13, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 13th, 2014
Aug. 13, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted August 13th, 2014
Aug. 13, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted August 13th, 2014
Aug. 12,, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 12th, 2014
Aug. 12, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 12th, 2014
Aug. 12, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted August 12th, 2014
Aug. 12, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted August 12th, 2014
Aug. 11, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 11th, 2014
Aug. 11, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 11th, 2014
Aug. 11, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted August 11th, 2014
Aug. 11, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted August 11th, 2014
Aug. 10, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 10th, 2014
Aug. 10, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 10th, 2014
Aug. 10, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted August 10th, 2014
Aug. 10, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted August 10th, 2014
Aug. 9, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 9th, 2014
Aug. 9, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 9th, 2014
Aug. 9, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted August 9th, 2014
Aug. 9, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted August 9th, 2014
Aug. 8, 2014 - Step by Step, posted August 8th, 2014
Aug. 8, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted August 8th, 2014
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