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cmmacneil's Blog


Sept. 19, 2014 - Step by Step

 Step by Step
Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

“The mental twists that led up to my drinking began many years before I ever took a drink for I am one of those whose history proves conclusively that my drinking was ‘a symptom of a deeper trouble.’
“Through my efforts to get down to ’causes and conditions,’ I stand convinced that my emotional illness has been present from my earliest recollection. I never did react normally to any emotional situation.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Lost Nearly All,” Ch 12 (“Freedom From Bondage”), p 544.

Today, knowing and accepting that my emotional and spiritual sickness preceded my alcoholism, I must also accept that abstaining from drinking is not enough in my recovery. Drinking was, for me, but a symptom of a “deeper trouble,” and the Steps of AA have to be worked and climbed one by one to cure that symptom. Without tending to the “deeper trouble,” my recovery will be less sober and more like a dry drunk. Whatever my pre-drinking “deeper trouble” was – fear, anger, shame, loneliness, low or inflated self-esteem, resentment, depression or a diagnosed psychiatric condition – I need to confront and either come to terms with it or let it go. Then, and only then, can I move on with the business of sobriety and serenity. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2014


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

 Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
Let us continue with Steps Two, Three and Eleven. We must turn to a Higher Power for help, because we are helpless ourselves. When we put our drink problem in God’s hands and leave it there, we have made the most important decision of our lives. From then on, we trust God for the strength to keep sober. This takes us off the center of the universe and allows us to transfer our problems to a Power outside ourselves. By prayer and meditation, we seek to improve our conscious contact with God. We try to live each day the way we believe God wants us to live.

Am I trusting God for the strength to stay sober?

Meditation for the Day
“These things have I spoken unto you, that your joy may be full.” Even a partial realization of the spiritual life brings much joy. You feel at home in the world when you are in touch with the Divine Spirit of the universe. Spiritual experience brings a definite satisfaction. Search for the real meaning of life by following spiritual laws. God wants you to have spiritual success and He intends that you have it. If you live your life as much as possible according to spiritual laws, you can expect your share of joy and peace, satisfaction and success.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I will find happiness in doing the right thing. I pray that I will find satisfaction in obeying spiritual laws.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 19, 2014 - A Day at a Time

 A Day at a Time
Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

Reflection for the Day
It’s still not exactly a “piece of cake” for me to accept today’s occasional pain and anxiety with any great degree of serenity, but I’m increasingly able to be thankful for a certain amount of pain. In The Program, we find the willingness to do this by going over the lessons learned from past sufferings – lessons which have led to the blessings we now enjoy. We can remember how the agonies of addiction – and the pain of rebellion and bruised pride – have often led us to God’s grace, and thus to new freedom.

Have I thanked my Higher Power for the miracle of my life this day?

Today I Pray
When I was helpless, I asked God for help. When I was hopeless, I reached out for His hope. When I was powerless over my addiction, I asked to share His power. Now I can honestly thank God that I was helpless, hopeless and powerless, because I have seen a miracle.

Today I Will Remember
From powerless highs to a Higher Power.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 19, 2014 - The Eye Opener

 The Eye Opener
Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

The cry of the single word “Help” will bring more people to your rescue than a long and eloquent oration of your needs. If the God of your understanding is a personal God, one who has all Godly attributes in infinite quantities, then He knows your needs before your sluggish human intelligence is capable of realizing them. The secret of prayer is not long or frequent appeals in Biblical phraseology but an humble, contrite heart, a hope that expects its plea to be heard. A recognition of the Infinite Love that we acknowledge will do all those things which He, in His wisdom, knows are best for us.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 18, 2014 - Step by Step

 Step by Step
Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

“I’ve been benefited from a dictionary definition I found that reads: ‘rationalization is giving a socially acceptable reason for socially unacceptable behavior, and socially unacceptable behavior is a form of insanity’.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Lost Nearly All,” Ch 12 (“Freedom From Bondage”), p 551.

Today, getting drunk every night and waking every morning to a shot of whiskey instead a cup of coffee can’t be rationalized with, “Everyone drinks.” Even if that were true, not everyone gets drunk every day or has blackouts, and giving a “socially acceptable reason” for an unacceptable behavior is part of the insanity of alcoholism. And alcoholic drinking is not a socially accepted behavior. Today, in my Program of recovery, the definition of insanity is expanded beyond continuing behavior that always leads to the same outcome to include rationalizing my unacceptable conduct with an acceptable reason. May it serve me well. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2014


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

 Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
Step Two is, “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Step Three is, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” Step Eleven is, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” The fundamental basis of AA is a belief in some power greater than ourselves. Let us not take this lightly. We cannot fully get the program without this venture of belief.

Have I made the venture of belief in a Power greater than my own?

Meditation for the Day
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Dwell for a moment each day in a secret place, the place of communion with God, apart from the world, and thence receive strength to face the world. Material things cannot intrude because it is outside the realm of material things. When you abide in this secret place, you are under the shadow of the Almighty. God is close to you in this quiet place of communion. Each day, dwell for a while in this secret place.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may renew my strength in quietness. I pray that I may find rest in quiet communion with God.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 18, 2014 - A Day at a Time

 A Day at a Time
Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

Reflection for the Day
In every story we hear from others in The Program, pain has been the price of admission into a new life. But our admission price purchased far more than we expected. It led us to a degree of humility, which we soon discovered to be a healer of pain. And, in time, we began to fear pain less – and desire humility more than ever.

Am I learning to “sit loosely in the saddle” – making the most of what comes and the least of what goes?

Today I Pray
If God’s plan for us is spiritual growth, a closer alliance with His principles of what is good and what is true, then may I believe that all my experiences have added up to a new and improved me. May I not fear the lessons of pain. May I know that I must continue to grow through pain, as well as joy.

Today I Will Remember
I hurt; therefore, I am.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 18, 2014 - The Eye Opener

 The Eye Opener
Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

A deep stab wound must heal from within outward, or fresh tissue would grow over the lip of the wound and prevent the necessary drainage from beneath. Blood poisoning would set in and the poison would circulate through the entire body.

Human improvement works the same way. If it is only a surface cure, the poison remains in the heart and mind, affecting our entire life, and unless oral surgery is resorted to, our characters become infected.

The AA Program is moral surgery, wherein we remove sick and diseased thoughts and actions from deep within ourselves and thus become entirely healed.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 17, 2014 - Step by Step

 Step by Step
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

Today, first things first, one thing at a time, one step at a time, one feeling at a time if one day at a time is too daunting a challenge. Today, I will quiet the noise in my mind for the wisdom of the Program’s Steps to take me from the character defects that degrade sobriety into dry drunkenness if not a wet one. If and when the responsibilities to sobriety seem too heavy, I will look to the Steps and live in the answer of sobriety instead of the problem of trying not to drink. And, in the end, the problem is not living with the struggle not to relapse; the answer is living in the Program. Today, I have the choice to live in sobriety instead of struggling to fight off what threatens it. Today, I can live in the answer, not the problem. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2014


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

 Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
Step One is, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.” This step states the membership requirement of AA. We must admit that our lives are disturbed. We must accept the fact that we are helpless before the power of alcohol. We must admit that we are licked as far as drinking is concerned and that we need help. We must be willing to accept the bitter fact that we cannot drink like normal people. And we must make, as gracefully as possible, a surrender to the inevitable fact that we must stop drinking.

Is it difficult for me to admit that I am different from normal drinkers?

Meditation for the Day
“Show us the way, O Lord, and let us walk in Thy paths.” There seems to be a right way to live and a wrong way. You can make a practical test. When you live the right way, things seem to work out well for you. When you live the wrong way, things seem to work out badly for you. You seem to take out of life about what you put into it. If you disobey the laws of nature, the chances are that you will be unhealthy. If you disobey the spiritual and moral laws, the chances are that you will be unhappy. By following the laws of nature and the spiritual laws of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love, you can expect to be reasonably healthy and happy.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may try to live the right way. I pray that I may follow the path that leads to a better life.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 17, 2014 - A Day at a Time

 A Day at a Time
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

Reflection for the Day
In a letter to a friend, AA co-founder Bill W. wrote, “I don’t think happiness or unhappiness is the point. How do we meet the problems we face? How do we best learn from them and transmit what we have learned to others, if they would receive the knowledge? In my view, we of this world are pupils in a great school of life. It is intended that we try to grow, and that we try to help our fellow travelers to grow in the kind of love that makes no demands …When pain comes, we are expected to learn from it willingly, and help others to learn. When happiness comes, we accept it as a gift, and thank God for it.”

Can I accept both pain and happiness willingly?

Today I Pray
God, please help me remember that everything that happens to me has its worth, including the misery of addiction. May I believe that even my dependency was part of God’s Grand Scheme to bring me to Him.

Today I Will Remember
All that I am is all that has happened to me.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 17, 2014 - The Eye Opener

 The Eye Opener
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

Many people in AA take too literally the statement they hear to the effect “we have no initiation fee or dues.”

Alcoholics Anonymous is not free – it costs a whale of a lot. It takes your time, your money, your thoughts, your prayers. It will give you a lot every day of your life, but it also requires a lot of your everyday living.

If you are stingy with AA, you are cheating yourself.

If you want a horse to work for you, you must feed him.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 16, 2014 - Step by Step

 Step by Step
Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014

“In two ways I may be a little different from other alcoholics. First, we all hear at AA meetings about those who have lost everything, those who have been in jail, those who have been in prison, those who have lost their families, those who have lost their income. I never lost any of it. I never was on skid row. I made more money the last year of my drinking than I ever made before in my whole life. My wife never hinted that she would leave me. Everything that I touched from grammar school on was successful. I was president of my grammar school student body. I was president of all of my classes in high school and in my last year I was president of that student body. I was president of each class in the University, and president of that student body. I was voted the man most likely to succeed. The same thing occurred in medical school. I belong to more medical societies and honor societies than men 10 to 20 years my senior.
“Mine was the skid row of success. The physical skid row in any city is miserable. The skid row of success is just as miserable.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Stopped in Time,” Ch 6 (“Physician, Heal Thyself!”), p 345.

Today, let me not take egoistic pride in successes or acquisitions of things in my life for they are no refuge from alcoholism: skid row is just as miserable in my own home as it is under a bridge or in a homeless shelter. Responsibility comes with success and material gain as it does with irresponsible choices, and alcoholic drinking is not the responsible response to my life when it is good any more than it is when my life is in the gutter. If I choose to “reward” my successes and material gains with irresponsible drinking, I risk turning my living room into skid row. Today, I must understand and respect responsibility to my sober life just as I am responsible for the consequences of my drinking. What I have today is not promised me tomorrow. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2014


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

 Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
Today, let us begin a short study of The Twelve Suggested Steps of AA. These Twelve Suggested Steps seem to embody five principles. The first step is the membership requirement step. The second, third and eleventh steps are the spiritual steps of the program. The fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and tenth steps are the personal inventory steps. The eighth and ninth steps are the restitution steps. The twelfth step is the passing on of the program, or helping others, step. So the five principles are membership requirement, spiritual basis, personal inventory, restitution and helping others.

Have I made all these steps a part of me?

Meditation for the Day
We seem to live not only in time but also in eternity. If we abide with God and He abides with us, we may bring forth spiritual fruit which will last for eternity. If we live with God, our lives can flow as some calm river through the dry land of earth. It can cause the trees and flowers of the spiritual life – love and service – to spring forth and yield abundantly. Spiritual work may be done for eternity, not just for now. Even here on earth we can live as though our real lives were eternal.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may try to make my life a cool river in a thirsty land. I pray that I may give freely to all who ask my help.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 16, 2014 - A Day at a Time

 A Day at a Time
Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014

Reflection for the Day
We learn from others in The Program that the best way to deal with painful situations is to meet them head-on, to deal with them honestly and realistically and to try to learn from them and use them as springboards for growth. Through The Program and our contact with a Higher Power, we can find the courage to use pain for triumphant growth.

Will I believe that whatever pain I experience is a small price to pay for the joy of becoming the person I was always meant to be?

Today I Pray
May my Higher Power give me the courage I need to stop running away from painful situations. The chemical was my escape hatch, the trap door I counted on to swallow me when life became too monstrous or villainous to bear. Now that I have locked that door, may I face pain and learn from it.

Today I Will Remember
My compulsion: a trap-door – and a trap.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 16, 2014 - The Eye Opener

 The Eye Opener
Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014

The main objective in talking is to say something, not just anything. Words give a truer picture of a man than does a photograph, for words are reflections of the inner man, beyond the range of the finest camera.

Most of us alcoholics have been hurt more by our own words than we have by the words of others. Let us screen our words through our minds and give expression only to those words that are products of a sober and thinking intellect.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 15, 2014 - Step by Step

 Step by Step
Monday, Sept. 15, 2014

” …I can only say that whatever growth or understanding has come to me, I have no wish to graduate. Very rarely do I miss the meetings of my neighborhood AA group, and my average has never been less than two meetings a week. I have served on only one committee in the past nine years,  for I feel that I had my chance the first few years and that newer members should fill the jobs. They are far more alert and progressive than we floundering fathers were, and the future of our fellowship is in their hands.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three,” Ch 6 (“The Vicious Cycle”), pp 249-50.

Todaythe words of this early AA member serve not only to instill the Program as a lifelong exercise but compel us into service. After all, “the future of our fellowship is in (our) hands.” But if I remain reluctant for whatever reason to propel myself into visible service, my own continued sobriety and emotional and spiritual growth can serve the newcomer by witnessing my own example that the Program works. And, hopefully, with continued growth and nurturing, I may some day be able – even eager – to serve in a visible capacity such as a lead speaker, moderator at a meeting or giving a ride to a meeting to someone who needs it. Today, I strengthen my sobriety with more than gratitude by respecting it because, in the end, my own recovery and the recovery of everyone else may well determine “the future of our fellowship.” And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2014


Sept. 15, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

 Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, Sept. 15, 2014

AA Thought for the Day
“We all realize that we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to all of us. Ask Him in your morning meditations what you can do today for the person who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. See to it that your relationship with God is right and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. Give freely of what you find in AA. But, obviously, you cannot transmit something which you haven’t got. Some make a life-study of AA.”

Am I always looking for ways of presenting the AA program?

Meditation for the Day
“In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Confidence means to have faith in something. We could not live without confidence in others. When you have confidence in God’s grace, you can face whatever comes. When you have confidence in God’s love, you can be serene and at peace. You can rest in the faith that God will take care of you. Try to rest in God’s presence until His life-power flows through you. Be still and in that stillness the still, small Voice will come. It speaks in quietness to the human mind that is attuned to its influence.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may find strength today in quietness. I pray that I may be content today that God will take care of me.

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 15, 2014 - A Day at a Time

 A Day at a Time
Monday, Sept. 15, 2014

Reflection for the Day
No one welcomes pain with open arms, but it does have its uses. Just as physical pain serves as a warning that we may be suffering a bodily illness, so can emotional pain be a useful sign that something is wrong – as well as a warning that we need to make a change. When we can meet pain without panic, we can learn to deal with the cause of the hurt, rather than running away as we did when we were actively addicted.

Can I bear some emotional discomfort? Am I less fragile than I once had believed?

Today I Pray
I pray I may be better able to face hurt or pain, now that I am getting to know reality – good and bad. I sincerely pray that the super-sensitivity of my addictive days will disappear, that people will not feel they must treat me like blown glass, which could shatter at a puff of criticism.

Today I Will Remember
Throw away my stamp: “Fragile Handle With Care.”

Hazelden Foundation


Sept. 15, 2014 - The Eye Opener

 The Eye Opener
Monday, Sept. 15, 2014

The greatest battles of life are won or lost without the sound of a single shot. Suppose Christ had lost His battle with Satan at the time of His temptation? Its repercussions would have been greater than all the battles of history.

Your greatest victory, your greatest display of courage in your fight against Alcohol was not accomplished amid flying banners and the flourish of trumpets but in the quiet of your own heart.

The most courageous thing a man can do when he has fought a good fight and realizes that he is up against unconquerable odds, is to admit that he is whipped. General Robert E. Lee’s reputation for courage suffered not one bit by his surrender at Appomattox.

Hazelden Foundation


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Previous Posts
Sept. 19, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 19th, 2014
Sept. 19, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 19th, 2014
Sept. 19, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted September 19th, 2014
Sept. 19, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted September 19th, 2014
Sept. 18, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 18th, 2014
Sept. 18, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 18th, 2014
Sept. 18, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted September 18th, 2014
Sept. 18, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted September 18th, 2014
Sept. 17, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 17th, 2014
Sept. 17, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 17th, 2014
Sept. 17, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted September 17th, 2014
Sept. 17, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted September 17th, 2014
Sept. 16, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 16th, 2014
Sept. 16, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 16th, 2014
Sept. 16, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted September 16th, 2014
Sept. 16, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted September 16th, 2014
Sept. 15, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 15th, 2014
Sept. 15, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 15th, 2014
Sept. 15, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted September 15th, 2014
Sept. 15, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted September 15th, 2014
Sept. 14, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 14th, 2014
Sept. 14, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 14th, 2014
Sept. 14, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted September 14th, 2014
Sept. 14, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted September 14th, 2014
Sept. 13, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 13th, 2014
Sept. 13, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 13th, 2014
Sept. 13, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted September 13th, 2014
Sept. 13, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted September 13th, 2014
Sept. 12, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 12th, 2014
Sept. 12, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 12th, 2014
Sept. 12, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted September 12th, 2014
Sept. 12, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted September 12th, 2014
Sept. 11, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 11th, 2014
Sept. 11, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 11th, 2014
Sept. 11, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted September 11th, 2014
Sept. 11, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted September 11th, 2014
Sept. 10, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 10th, 2014
Sept. 10, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 10th, 2014
Sept. 10, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted September 10th, 2014
Sept. 10, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted September 10th, 2014
Sept. 9, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 9th, 2014, 1 comment
Sept. 9, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 9th, 2014
Sept. 9, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted September 9th, 2014
Sept. 9, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted September 9th, 2014
Sept. 8, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 8th, 2014
Sept. 8, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 8th, 2014
Sept. 8, 2014 - A Day at a Time, posted September 8th, 2014
Sept. 8, 2014 - The Eye Opener, posted September 8th, 2014
Sept. 7, 2014 - Step by Step, posted September 7th, 2014
Sept. 7, 2014 - Twenty-Four Hours a Day, posted September 7th, 2014
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