From the BlogMeet Ron

Some good ones from Chuck D.

If I were to begin life again, I should want it as it was. I would only open my eyes a little more.
–Jules Renard

Spiritual and emotional growth is a process of raising our awareness. Reflecting on our growth as people, before this program and after, we see different levels of consciousness. Some of us might say we weren’t at all conscious of what it meant to be a mature person by the time we entered the adult world.

Now we are forming an awareness of mankind. We see ourselves more as recovering, caring, strong, vulnerable men in relationships with others. We have an increased sense that our actions make a difference as sons, as parents, as spouses, lovers, and friends. Our increased understanding of ourselves makes it possible to fulfill our potentials for growth. It is not idle fantasy to imagine beginning life again because, in a sense, we have. In recovery, it seems we have begun life again, only with our eyes a little more open.
Help me live this day with all of my awareness.
===========================

Do not seek death. Death will find you.
–Dag Hammarskjold
When we accept deep within ourselves the fact that we will die, that our days are numbered as certainly as those of each thriving, bustling generation before us, then we become more fully alive and vital people. Facing this raises grief over our loss, and we wish to avoid it. Yet, death keeps us honest. It highlights the folly of our questions about whether we should live or die and confronts us with the self-destructive behaviors we have used. Some of us have nearly killed ourselves by our extreme behaviors.

Since death is certain, the real question is. How shall we live? By pursuing recovery and spiritual growth we have chosen to live more fully and to use our energies well. We live with commitment to our highest values. We stay in tune with our inner voice to help us make choices. We play, we love, and we celebrate the miracle of life every day, not because there is no grief, but because life is precious and time is limited.Today, I will accept my grief over the limits of life. I will celebrate its wonder.
===========================
I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
–Walt Whitman 

How foreign the thought is to many of us that we might make progress by loafing. Yet we probably have experienced it. We have felt more in tune with ourselves after taking a break. After an especially relaxing weekend we feel more alive or clearer about ourselves. At those times we have invited our soul and have been rejuvenated.

Centuries of spiritual practice from different ideologies have taught the need for quiet relaxation in some form to invite the soul. Some have practiced a Sabbath day each week, others a time of prayer every day – even several times a day – others have practiced a daily period of deep meditation. Simply a period of loafing, with no particular goal in mind, may invite conscious contact with our Higher Power.

I pray for the ability to set aside my busy pace of life,
my worrying and fretting, my “take charge” attitude
for a period of time today.
===========================

+MORE FROM CHUCK D.

If you keep on saying things are going to be bad, you have a good chance of being a prophet. 
–Isaac Bashevis Singer
Many of us have the habit of taking a negative outlook on whatever comes along.
We don’t believe things will work out for us; we don’t think we will have a good day;
we can’t accept our friends’ warm feelings. To follow this gloomy path is a strange distortion of faith –
it is faith in the negative. Any forecast, whether hopeful or pessimistic, is a step into the unknown.
So why do we choose the dark one?
We get a payoff for our pessimism, which keeps us hooked. It creates misery, but serves our demand for control.
There is more risk in being open to something positive because we cannot force positive things to occur.
We can only be open to them and believe in the possibility. But when we predict the negative and expect only bad things,
we squelch many good things or overlook them. Then we say, “I knew it would be this way,”
and in our misery we satisfy our self-centered craving to be in charge. When we surrender our need to be in control,
we are more open and welcoming of the good things that come our way.
Today. I will be open to the good that is around me.

=====================================

He was shut out from all family affairs.
No one told him anything.
The children, alone with their mother,
told her all about the day’s happenings, everything….
But as soon as the father came in, everything stopped.
–D. H. Lawrence
Many of us folks are on the outer edge of our family circles.
The closeness between our children and our spouses often seems more comfortable,
more intimate than our relationships with them.
Perhaps it’s similar to the closeness we had with our mother while our father was outside.
It is painful to us and probably not entirely our own fault. We were taught that our main
job was outside the home – supporting our family by earning a living.
But it is up to us to change the situation.Many of us learned from our own father that grown
men stay aloof from emotional relationships, but this has hurt our relationships and alienated
us from the people we most care for. Learning to know our feelings and how to express them
helps us move into the family circle of intimacy.
Today, I will let go of my aloofness with my family so they can know me better.

=====================================

LIVE and let live
EASY does it
BUT for the grace of God
THINK think think
FIRST things first
When put in this order five of our sayings produce
a sixth saying by taking the first word of each one t
o make the sixth: LIVE EASY BUT THINK FIRST.
–unknown

=====================================

Those who are mentally and emotionally healthy are those who have learned when to say yes, when to say no, and when to say whoopee!
–Willard S. Krabill
We humans have fallen into many difficulties because of poorly defined personal boundaries. Some of us never learned to say no to our mothers and felt invaded or ruled by them. Or we never truly said no to our parents – never went through a teenage rebellion to establish ourselves as adults. Others have gotten stuck saying no and have never learned to yield and say yes.
Boundary problems have been part of the difficulty in many areas of our lives. We’ve told ourselves we have no right to our yes or no, or we’ve said we’re strong enough to sacrifice for someone else, or we’ve welcomed the escape from ourselves in discarding our choice. Not saying no when we needed to or not saying yes when we wanted to has led many of us into doctors’ offices, courts, jails, lost jobs, divorces, and bad marriages. Now the inner voice of our Higher Power is showing us our limits and encouraging us to stand up for them.
I am learning to know myself by defining my boundaries and choosing when and when not to cross them.

=====================================

Is the inventor of the ear unable to hear? Is the creator of the eye unable to see? 
–Psalms 94:9
The way we have been restored to our spiritual path is partly a mystery. Our willingness to accept mystery in our lives has taught us we are part of a larger whole. There is more at work in the world than we can know. Acceptance of the larger whole restores us to health.
We are not just separate beings with a private world. Our existence is part of a larger process. We came into being with no control and no forethought on our own part. We arise from a past that no one remembers.
It was when we didn’t see our place – as part of creation – that we were in the greatest pain and difficulty. Now each day, each hour, when we remember we are not in charge, and our will is not in control, we are restored again.
I am thankful for the mystery of recovery.
I accept this mystery as part of all the mysteries beyond my control

=====================================

Willingness 
At different meetings, I’ve heard and used that statement about claw marks being all over things that I’ve given up, which is really meant to say that I (and we) have all had a hard time letting go of (fill in the blank), hence the claw marks comment. 
I think it’s pretty honest and real. But, as the meditation continues, the important thing is that we did let go (and let God) and that we became willing. If I’m not willing, then I’m shutting down all the possibilities. 
   Willingness leads to openness which leads to
Awareness which leads to
Understanding which leads to
Compassion which leads to
Non-judgment which leads to
Acceptance which leads to
Forgiveness which leads to
Peace which leads to
Loving-kindness which leads to
Gratitude which leads to
Humility which leads to
a sense of Oneness and Unity with Spirit and all of creation. 
And it’s Willingness that opens the door. 
I pray that I become and remain willing to go where Spirit leads me and do what it takes.

=====================================

We shall describe conditions of the soul that words can only hint at. We shall have to use logic to try to corner perspectives that laugh at our attempt. 
–Huston Smith
As we live the spiritual life, we find words and logic are only capable of pointing in the direction of some truths. Words do not contain the entire truth our experience may be teaching us. This is like the difference between hearing about fishing versus actually being on the water, smelling the misty air, and feeling the fish tug on our line.
Spiritual development is a form of education. We are developing the part of us that learns by experience, that has a feeling without exactly knowing why, that understands stories better than statistics. Gradually, we accept more experiences in our lives as mysteries, as not fitting into any specific categories. Many experiences will have more meaning than cold facts could ever express. As this side of us develops, we don’t discard reason and judgment; we become deeper human beings.
Today, I will give my intuition more freedom. That will help my spiritual self grow.

Chuck D.

HE STILL HAD TIME BY Larry R.
 
On looking back he had to think, how could he be so dumb
He never had to pause or fear, he’s only having fun
He told himself he’s like the rest, they drink just like I do
So why was he the only one can’t stop with just a few
 
He still had time, he told himself, it’s just what young folks do
For sure some day he’d slow it down, but was that really true
Why stop or even slow it down, he has mountains yet to climb
One drink can’t hurt, might even help, he knew he still had time
 
And then one day he had to face how bad he really felt
His head did ache, his stomach sick, a friend said that he smelt
Yet this was just a passing thing, he still was in his prime
Tomorrow would be good enough, he knew he still had time
 
But time crept on and so did he, new thoughts began to grow
Perhaps this thing had gone too far and he began to know
That those old friends he partied with had moved on and had grown
And that was when he realized that he was now alone
 
So what to do, he had a choice, to live the same old way
Or face the truth, his life’s a wreck, seek help and start to pray
To any higher power, if one really did exist
Relieve him of his misery, the urge to drink dismissed
 
What happened next, to his surprise, he could not have believed
A friend appeared to tell a tale of what he had achieved
This friend had also been way down, along this dead end street
He had all but given up, when new folks he did meet
 
These folks he met had found a way, no more to have to drink
Join us they said, a better life that saved us from the brink
We know of others just like you and how their lives had changed
A bunch of drunks, all sober now, rearranged
 
He heard the works, but in his state, he could not comprehend
How meeting up with other drunks could help his soul to mend
But if there really was a chance, a way for him to climb
Out of this dark and lonely place, dear God he hoped there’s time
 
 
This friend said he would lead the way to where he had gone straight
A place where many folks had gone before it was too late
He went along but was confused, strange sayings on the walls
Twelve steps where only number one had mentioned alcohol
 
He heard his story told outloud, and he began to muse
These others had been just as bad, yet they had found the clues
To stop and turn their life around, and live a better way
By joining in a fellowship, a thing they called AA.
 
Some time has passed and he reflectes on how it could have been
A lonely life of misery, where death was sure to win
But sober now for quite a while, out of the dirt and grime
His AA friends to show the way and that he DID HAVE TIME
=============================

  Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist but also in the ability to start over.
–F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sitting in a stalled car on the railroad tracks with a train approaching, one needs to let go and start over. A person who persists in that situation will die. Many situations require fierce persistence, but in others we need to start over. Early in recovery, most of us haven’t had a good way of knowing the difference. Perhaps with every challenge we tried harder and held on tighter. Our codependent relationships and our addictions had been our escapes.
Often we long for some clear directions from God to tell us, “Now is the time to let go,” or “Now is the time to persist.” That is not how we hear from our Higher Power. We can practice being less automatic in rising to every challenge. We can learn to see the wisdom and vitality in starting over. Certainly our recovery is a good example. Gradually we develop our contact with our Higher Power to help discern the difference. As we do, we develop more options for leading healthier lives.
Today, I will not automatically persist with a challenge.
I will notice when I have an opportunity to let go.
=============================

Freedom means the right to be different, the right to be oneself. 
–Ira Eisenstein
Each of us is a unique creature and has special gifts to contribute to the world. We were not free in the past because we were slaves to addictions and codependency. We know that freedom is precious. Compulsions and pressures for conformity stifle our creativity and erode our dignity. As we grow in our relationship to our Higher Power, we get stronger and more balanced in our unique qualities. Some of us have a talent for empathizing with others, some for writing and art, others for sports and physical activities.
There is no recipe that prescribes exactly what kind of person we should be. Because we’re free, it is our creative task to discover what it means to be honest,  contributing folks within our particular circumstances. We don’t get a list of directions for each day, only guidelines for progress. Through groups and friendships, we develop in our own ways and learn to respect each other’s freedom.
I am grateful for the freedom to be uniquely and fully myself.

=============================

The Coffee Cup 
I observed many standing around the coffee pot, the hallmark of the Fellowship. I was too nauseated to even consider a cup of coffee, let alone smell it. I came back the next day and was still holding onto my chair to stop my shaking. The coffee drinkers said “keep coming back” and “It gets better.” God I hope so cause I feel like I’m coming out of my skin. Day by day I returned to the smell of brewing coffee and sober people that seemed happy. I wanted to keep coming back because I had never seen this type of happiness. There must be something in the coffee.
  One day a lady handed me a half cup of this magic hot brew and I took it. For a brief moment the partially full cup puzzled me. As I embraced it with trembling hands, I realized the love and incredible understanding behind this silent gesture. I felt the warmth of it between my palms and held onto it instead of the chair that day. I waited until the meeting was well underway until I dare navigate the cup with both hands to my lips. I took a sip of this now medium-warm brown liquid and somehow felt a part of. That day I learned to drink coffee black and like it. As you can imagine, there came a day when I could pour myself a full cup of coffee and not spill a drop. I heard an old-timer remark “It takes a steady hand to hold a full cup.”
   This has proven to be an analogy of my life. So many times I had been given the opportunities of a full cup. But, because of my drinking, I spilled it every time and many times broke the cup it came in. I entered the rooms of AA and was given an appropriate amount in my cup at just the right time. I became steady enough to hold a full cup. I worked the steps and learned how to clean up the coffee I had spilled in my previous life. I was given tools to repair the broken cups, some even better than new. I learned how to keep my cup full and to keep the pot I poured from clean. But the most important thing, the most joyous thing, the most incredible thing has been to hand a newcomer a half cup of coffee at the appropriate time with the same gentle love and understanding I received.

=============================

Fair play is primarily not blaming others for anything that is wrong with us. 
–Eric Hoffer
As adults, we accept responsibility for our feelings and our circumstances. We haven’t chosen our own troubles, but we have the job of dealing with them. If a person falls and breaks a leg, they might say to someone, “It’s your fault, and I’ll make you pay for this!” But that won’t fix their leg. The healing still has to come from within.
Our impulse to blame others is an attempt to escape our responsibilities. We become overcritical. We want someone else to take the rap for our pain and our misdeeds, but this only delays our wholeness as humans. There is no point in blaming ourselves either. When we first confront our discomfort directly and accept responsibility for dealing with it, we feel an inner urge to escape again. If we stay with the discomfort a while, a new stage begins – the healing and acceptance stage. A feeling of wholeness comes, a feeling of being a real person, of having reached our full size.
May I not indulge in blame today – toward myself or anyone else. Instead, may I be a strong, responsible person.
============================= 

Some posts from Chuck D.

The only intrinsic evil is lack of love. 
–John Robinson
When we have feelings of guilt or self-hate, we have spiritual problems. It is a time to turn to our program for help. In the early stages of recovery we may, at times, feel more shameful than we ever did before, simply because we are becoming honest about how we feel. We may even become ashamed of our guilty feelings, and then the problem escalates.
Lack of love for ourselves is at the heart of our problem. We cannot become self-loving by force of will, but we can stop being so willful by simply yielding to the care of a loving God. At those moments we do not feel deserving of love, but we can stop fending it off. Perhaps God’s love is coming to us in the concern of a friend or partner. Maybe it comes in the warm sunshine or in the smile of a child. As we yield to it, we take a spiritual leap into a world we don’t control and we didn’t create, but we can be healed by it.
Today, I will surrender to the love which comes from the world around me and let it teach me how to love myself.
===============================

“If a man does not know what port he is steering for,
no wind is favorable to him.”
 
It’s surprising how easy it can be to just let life send us careening this way and that, as if our boat has lost its rudder. We complain every step of the way, of course, about how bad our luck is, how nothing is turning out the way we want.
   How can we be disappointed about where we land when we didn’t know where we going in the first place?
 
If I want my life to make sense, I need to start with a mental map of what direction I want to go.
===============================

Thought to Ponder
A “shortcoming” is like a flat tire.
A “character defect” is driving on it.

===============================

A good indignation brings out all one’s powers.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
Anger is a human emotion that gets us in touch with our energy and our vitality. But like any good thing, it can also be used in hurtful ways. When we examine the role anger has played in our lives, some of us can see where we used it to intimidate and dominate others. Maybe we can recall being terrified by someone else’s anger or even by our own. Some of us denied our anger and covered it with excessive helpfulness.
Examining the place anger has had in our lives Is one of the doorways we must pass through to regain our full spirit. We learn to set aside the anger we used to cover fear or hurt. We express it respectfully and honestly when we feel it in a relationship. Expressing anger does not have to be abusive or rejecting. It can mean we care enough to be fully involved and we will not leave after we express it. We can learn to hear others in their anger rather than an attempt to control or evade their message. In the process we are invigorated and feel healthier because we are claiming a larger part of ourselves.
 
Today, I will first be honest with myself about angry feelings. Then I will find respectful ways to express them.

=============================== 

Here’s some more from Chuck D.

THE PARENTS WHO DRUGGED US. 
The other day I was in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and someone asked me a rhetorical question, ‘Why didn’t we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?’

 I replied that I had a drug problem when I was young: I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals. I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather.

 I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults. I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the priest, or if I didn’t put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.
 I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profanity. I was drug out to pull weeds in mom’s garden and flower beds. I was drug to the homes of neighbors to help mow the yard, repair the clothesline, and if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, my dad would have drug me back to the woodshed.

 Those drugs are still in my veins and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, or think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin: and if today’s children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place.
===============================
The ONLY reason to drink
Staying Sober

There’s only one real reason I can ever have for taking a drink, ant that’s because I want to.

This remark at a meeting sums up AA’s position on why we drink. We never really drink because of pressures and troubles. We drink because we want to, because we feel like taking a drink.

It’s true that a serious crisis, like going into bankruptcy may make us conscious of an urge to drink. But we know that we’re also likely to have such urges in the face of good fortune. The alcoholic who would drink over a bankruptcy would also probably get drunk if he or she won the lottery.

By refusing to accept all of these alleged reasons for drinking, AA simplified our problem so we can deal with it. We either want to drink or we don’t want to drink, period. Even if we want to drink….. and some members do…. AA can show us how to stay sober and eventually lose such desires.
Nothing has the power to make me drink today. It is only my own willfulness that can destroy my sobriety.
==================================
He who conceals his disease cannot expect to be cured.
–Ethiopian proverb

Concealment and secrecy have been second nature to some of us. We may have felt that our femininity/masculinity kept us loners. Perhaps we said we were covering the truth for someone else’s good. Maybe we could not bear to expose the truth because we feared the consequences. For some of us a lie came more automatically than the truth. Now we are learning to be open with our friends, and we are finding the healing effect of fresh air for our secrets.

Although it’s frightening to stop tampering with the truth, it’s also exciting to feel the power of honesty and to deal with the consequences of uncovering it. Perhaps we still have some secrets that erode our wellbeing. If so, we need to bring them into the open so we can live completely honest lives. When we let others know us as we really are, we are casting our lot with good health and recovery.Today, I will make progress in my recovery by letting myself be fully known.
==================================

Heressssss more Chuck D.

“Wait till next year!” is the favorite cry of baseball fans,
football fans, hockey fans, and gardeners.
–Robert Orben

 

Hope was a casualty for many of us in our life of chaos and extremes. Some of us said to ourselves, “Life is just drab, I’d better get used to it.” We may have slowly changed our definition of normal to mean a hopeless existence. Others of us held onto some shred of hope that said “Better times are just around the comer,” but it only kept us from confronting how disastrous our lives had become. We are siblings in that we truly have been people on a dead-end path.

Our new lives have seen the dawning of true hope that has a solid base upon reality. We have the reality of friendships with our brothers and sisters. They provide comfort and support which are reliable and durable. We have the reality of our clearer thinking and our amended lives. We may not have everything we could desire, but we are actually on the road and progressing in directions we wish to go. We are engaged in the adventure of increasing our conscious contact with God. Our hope is founded in what we already feel in our lives.

Today, nothing is perfect, but hope underlies everything.
With the return of hope, I have my life back again.
=========================

I would like to highly recommend reading the story in the July Grapevine “Something to Behold” written by a member who got sober in 1955. It shows what our meetings were like, focused on the new comer and not drinking “today” . Not a form of group therapy where not drinking is replaced with relationships, no work, finances, car broke down I could go on and on, God
forbid we talk solutions.  As a side note I spoke at a large meeting in La Jolla, Ca. couple of weeks ago (approx. 200) it was June 10th and less than 25 people knew it was the Anniversary of our Fellowship. They meet in a Beautiful Church with large signs ask “NO SMOKING” about 80 were standing outside before the meeting and at the break smoking. The meeting was in the Church Sanctuary and a girl with 4 year was the 5 min. speaker and in that short time ever other word was F— and S— and no one made a comment. ( I DID ) They call this the norm now. So SAD.

=========================
In the life of the Indian there is only one inevitable duty – the duty of prayer – the daily recognition of the Unseen and Eternal. He sees no need for setting apart one day in seven as a holy day, since to him all days are God’s.
–Ohiyesa, Santee Dakota

Some of our past troubles came from our naive arrogance. We failed to acknowledge anything beyond ourselves. Whatever was unseen or eternal remained invisible to us. We were skeptical, scientific, task-oriented, self-centered, and unreflective. It’s like we had been racing down a country highway at top speed, hardly tuned in to the rich vitality of life that surrounded us. When we stopped the car and explored the road banks, we could suddenly smell the grasses, hear birds singing, perhaps see a whole community in an anthill, or watch a darting squirrel.

Coming to believe in a Power greater than ourselves is not something we create on our own. It is largely a matter of shifting our attention, of being open to the spiritual. We don’t need to force it. We need only be willing to quiet ourselves and notice. Ultimately, every moment is sacred.
Today, may I live from moment to moment.
========================= 

hERE ARE SOME MORE GOODIES FROM CHUCK D.

Choice of attention – to pay attention to this and ignore that – is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences. 
–W. H. Auden
 
Many of us have said, “I can’t help myself!” when we tried to stop our constant thinking about other people or their behavior. “I know it’s not good for me, but what can I do when they keep acting that way?”
Let us think of ourselves as living in a house with many windows. At each window is a different view, and within each view are many things to catch our attention. Perhaps there are some people, some traffic, some buildings, a horizon, and some trees. If we always go to the same window and focus on the same object, we are not using all our choices. We may have overlooked some things in our lives that need attention. There are many things we are totally powerless over. Our power exists in changing the focus of our attention.
   Today, I will notice where I am choosing to pay attention.
I pray for guidance in being aware of my options
.
========================

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. 
–Helen Keller
 
When we look at our life and at the lives of others, it is clear that pain is part of life. We cannot escape this tragic truth; our growth and our wholeness must include it because our recovery stresses honesty. In our old way of living, we may have been bitter. Many of us felt sorry for ourselves. Some of us cursed God and wasted time in our self-centeredness, thinking life was especially unfair to us. Life is not fair; it just is. It is left to us to choose how we will respond.
People’s responses to life inspire us. We not only acknowledge the pain, but we see the heroic lives of others around us. They met their limitations and went forward with a willing spirit and faith. Today we can be grateful for the progress we have made in overcoming our suffering. We have friends who give us the joy of human contact. We have choices and possibilities where we never saw them before. We have a growing self-respect.
I accept the reality of life, and I will respond
with faith in the choices I make today.

========================
Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love. It is reached when a man deliberately turns his back on all help from anyone else in order to taste the rotten luxury of knowing himself to be lost.
–Thomas Merton
 
The surest way to unhappiness is to concentrate only on ourselves. Nothing will bring on despair quicker than thinking only of our own concerns. Extreme self-centeredness brings alienation from God, from our friends, and loved ones.
 
The surest remedy is to pray, not for our own comfort, but for God to bless someone else. If self-centeredness is contributing to our unhappiness, focusing some attention on others is the way out. We always get help for the blues by offering a hand to another or accepting a hand ourselves.
I can avoid despair by looking beyond myself. 

========================

THANKS CHUCK D.

It’s not hard. When I’m not hittin’, I don’t hit nobody.
But when I’m hittin’, I hit anybody!
–Willie Mays

It seems like some days everything goes our way. Everything falls together in a way that makes life easier for us. Other days are just the opposite; on a bad day we seem to be all thumbs. In our spiritual practice we know we don’t control all that goes on around us.
We all are vulnerable to accidents, random misfortune, and illness. Yet, when we don’t fight against the events of our lives, somehow things go better for us. We can remember that as difficult as a day may be, we are never alone because nothing can separate us from our Higher Power. When we accept the bad things that come, even though they are unfair, we give them less power in our lives. Then we are free to go forward and leave more room for the good things.Today, I’ll accept the problems I must confront and leave room for the good things.
========================
The loneliness each man feels is his hunger for life itself….
It is the yearning that makes fulfillment possible.
–Ross Mooney

Many different journeys have been taken by the folks who finally entered this program in search of hope. Most of us have known our own brand of desperation, but we have one thing in common – the loneliness we felt. Some of us felt left out of our families and other groups. We were appalled by what was happening in our lives, alone with our secrets, as if no one truly knew us. Some of us even romanticized our loneliness as a form of heroism.

As we gave up our controlling behaviors, false pride over-competitiveness, and striving for power, we made our weak spots and secrets more obvious. We became more accessible to friends. As we count the blessings of recovery, high on our list is that we are no longer lonely.

In part, what kept me going and led me to this program was my hunger for life.
I’m grateful for the friends who truly know me now, and still accept me.

===============================
A father is a thousand schoolmasters.
–Louis Nizer

We carry our fathers within us in ways we may not notice. When we do notice this in our thoughts and actions, we can use this relationship as a source of strength. When we hear a critical mental message saying we didn’t perform well enough, is it a father’s voice? When we feel a sense of strength and peace, are we in touch with our childhood knowledge of fatherly love? When we doubt our ability to get along with any woman, are we relying on what we learned in our childhood homes?

Perhaps we can recast our father-son relationship in adult terms. Were our fathers too removed from our lives for us to know them? Maybe we can see now that a father’s love was there but was overshadowed by the demands of survival or by a misguided life. If we are forever seeking our fathers’ approval, we may need to find the ways in which they are truly human and imperfect like us. Making peace with them – whether face to face or in the memory of a relationship – empowers us with their strengths and grants us the adulthood we deserve.

I will make peace with my father in my mind, and his strength and that of his father will be a well-spring, in my life.
=============================

SOME MORE FROM CHUCK D.

Come, Love! Sing On! Let me hear you sing this song – sing for joy and laugh, for I the creator am truly subject to all creatures. –Mechtild of Magdeburgm  

Recovery without joy and song and playfulness is incomplete. The beauty of music uplifts our spirits and shows us the face of our Creator. For many men, music is their means of meditation and conscious contact with their Higher Power. When we experience the creativity of a musical piece, as it speaks to us, we take a step beyond the practical world, into the profound level of creation.
Some people say, “How can you celebrate when there is so much suffering, so much to grieve about?” We have grieved; we continue to grieve alongside our joy. But we need not pour all our energies into the painful and sad. Life is also wonderful. Music and dance and the joy of good fellowship enrich our lives and strengthen us to go on.
Praise the spirit of our Creator for all that is given to us!
========================
Originality is unexplored territory. You get there by carrying a canoe – you can’t take a taxi.
–Alan Alda

   We are on an adventure trip in this program. Each of us is a wilderness that is only partly explored and mapped. We can’t know exactly what we will find along the way, but we can expect to find some great and moving beauty, some spectacular experiences, as well as awesome and frightening ones, and some soft, pleasant rest spots. Any day will have a mixture of various feelings.
This program is not a map of the uncharted territory. It is a guide for survival in the wilderness. It tells us how to orient ourselves when there are no familiar landmarks and how to learn and grow from the experience. The more time we spend in this wilderness, exploring the mystery of living, the more comfortable we become with it and the greater appreciation we have for its unique beauty.
   Today, I pray for the courage to explore the original person I was created to be.
========================
I believe our concept of romantic love is irrational, impossible to fulfill, and the cause of many broken homes. No human being can maintain that rarefied atmosphere of “true love.”
–Rita Mae Brown
   What the popular media teach us about marriage and love is poor preparation for the real thing. When we enter a relationship we may be filled with a feeling of magic and excitement of new love. But that is not a good basis for a lifelong commitment. Love at first sight is no reason for marriage. Many of us, upon meeting difficulties in our relationships, said to ourselves, “Maybe it wasn’t true love after all, because now I don’t feel in love with my mate anymore.”
   Honesty and learning how to resolve difficulties provide a solid foundation for durable love. Some relationships do not survive the honesty of recovery. Sometimes the development of honest love only begins with recovery. The love that endures, the love of real intimacy, comes when we know the real person. Loyalty to our loved ones may deepen as we deal more and more with reality.
  As I grow in this program, married or single, I become more able to have an enduring love.
========================