From the BlogMeet Ron

CHUCK D.

This above all, to refuse to be a victim. Unless I can do that I can do nothing.
–Margaret Atwood

We have often become victims by seeing themselves as saviors. We forgot that we have needs too. We thought if we gave enough, our needs would eventually be met. In the process we became great controllers, not for the sake of power, but to make everything okay. We turn ourselves inside out to make our mates happy or to please our children or friends. But being a savior is a disrespectful role to play. When people became angry with us for it, we absorbed their anger and felt misunderstood.

No relationship is healthy for either person if one is victim. We must do our loved ones the favor of letting them see our strength–let them bump up against it–even when that means we say a loud and strong no! After we have said no, our yes is much more believable.

Today. I will take responsibility for my own life and try not to be a savior for others. I won’t undermine my relationships by being a victim.
==================================

Trusting Ourselves
 
Trust can be one of the most confusing concepts in recovery. Who do we trust? For what?
 
The most important trust issue we face is learning to trust ourselves. The most detrimental thing that’s happened to us is that we came to believe we couldn’t trust ourselves.
 
There will be some who tell us we cannot trust ourselves, we are off base and out of whack. There are those who would benefit by our mistrusting ourselves.
 
Fear and doubt are our enemies. Panic is our enemy. Confusion is our opposition. Self-trust is a healing gift we can give ourselves. How do we acquire it? We learn it. What do we do about our mistakes, about those times we thought we could trust ourselves but were wrong? We accept them, and trust ourselves anyway.
 
We know what is best for us. We know what is right for us. If we are wrong, if we need to change our mind, we will be guided into that–but only by trusting where we are today.
 
We can look for others for support and reinforcement, but trust in ourselves is essential.
 
Do not trust fear. Do not trust panic. We can trust ourselves, stand in our own truth, stand in our own light. We have it now. Already. We have all the light we need for today. And tomorrow’s light shall be given to us then.
 
Trust ourselves, and we will know whom to trust. Trust ourselves, and we will know what to do. When we feel we absolutely cannot trust ourselves, trust that God will guide us into truth.
 
God, help me to let go of fear, doubt, and confusion–the enemies of self-trust. Help me go forward in peace and confidence. Help me grow in trust for myself and You, one day at a time, one experience at a time.

==================================Learn something new about yourself

 
Wildfires scorch large chunks of the Western United States every summer. It’s part of the natural cycle of things. After a while, nature decides that it’s time to start over and a patch of the woods goes up in smoke.
 
This year, one fire burned near Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado. I read the news wires with interest, hoping that the archeological sites there wouldn’t be destroyed. The crews worked on the fires, and though there was damage in the area, the main ruins were left unharmed. While the fires had burned thousands of acres around the park, they had also done something else– they had burned away the undergrowth that had sprung up around twelve perviously undiscovered sites.
 
Sometimes life sends fires raging through our lives, too. Those fires are also part of the natural cycle of things. Life, nature, our Higher Power says it’s time to start over again.
 
Use misfortune as an opportunity. Who knows? That fire rampaging through your life just might clear away the brush of the past. Keep your heart open and stay aware. You might learn something new and previously undiscovered about yourself.

God, help me stay alert to the lessons of today.

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

CHUCK D.

Victory is won not in miles but in inches.
Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more. 
–Louis L’Amour
 
How much fuller each day feels when we can be patient and accept the inches we have progressed. Yet, we are aware of large problems which require miles of progress. We may want others in our lives to change quickly, we may be impatient with a work situation, or we may feel angry about an addiction.
 
Perhaps the spiritual message to us is we need to surrender to time. We are on the road moving in the direction of recovery. The forces of progress are at work. Our growth now may come in learning patience and trusting this process. Looking back we might see a mile of progress. It was made an inch at a time.
 
Today, I will accept my progress. There are many rewards already.
=================================================

Clarity and Direction
 
In spite of our best efforts to work our programs and lean on Gods guidance, we sometimes don’t understand what’s going on in our life. We trust, wait, pray, listen to people, listen to ourselves, and the answer still does not come.
 
During those times, we need to understand that we are right where we need to be, even though that place may feel awkward and uncomfortable. Our life does have purpose and direction.
 
We are being changed, healed, and transformed at levels deeper than we can imagine. Good things, beyond our capacity to imagine, are being prepared and brought to us. We are being led and guided.
 
We can become peaceful. We do not have to act in haste or urgency just to relieve our discomfort, just to get an answer. We can wait until our mind is peaceful. We can wait for clear direction. Clarity will come.
 
The answer will come, and it will be good for us and those around us.
 
Today, God, help me know I am being guided into what’s good about life, especially when I feel confused and without direction. Help me trust enough to wait until my mind and vision are clear and consistent. Help me know that clarity will come.

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

Say whatever when it’s out of your hands
 
We cannot control everything that happens to us. But we can control our response to those things. We cannot control the feelings of others– their fear, their power trips, their issues. All that we can choose is how we want to respond.
 
Maybe you have been wronged. Maybe you have had a dream taken from you due to the actions of another. What are you going to do about it? You can give up and give in, or you can make the best of the situation, move on if you can, or make a life where you are.
 
Say whatever.
 
Learn to live and let live.
 
You can start over, again and again, if necessary.
 
God, give me the strength to stand up when the actions or thoughts of others drag me down. Help me practice right thought and right action. Help me walk the path that is set before me, no matter what it may bring.
 =================================================

Chuck’s Corner

Heaven ne’er helps the men who will not act. 
–Sophocles
 
Growing into wholeness is a journey into greater responsibility for our lives. We have choices to make every day. Taking responsibility means choosing between the options we have and then accepting the consequences. Sometimes both choices are undesirable, but we have to choose anyway. Do I expect to be perfect in my choices? Do I demand that someone else take responsibility for me? Do I defiantly refuse to accept the options I have?
 
This program seems like a paradox- the First Step asks us to accept our powerlessness, then we are expected to go on and stop being passive in our lives. The Serenity Prayer speaks to us about this dilemma. We ask for the serenity to accept what we cannot change and the courage to change what we can. Fully admitting our powerlessness sheds a burden and frees us to go on from there, actively doing what we can.
 
If something is awaiting my action today, may I have the courage to move forward with it. Even small movement is progress.
================================================

Allow for differences
 
He’s rational. He wants examples of the problem and wants to focus on and find a solution.
 
She wants to talk about how she feels.
 
He wants to sit in front of the television and click the remote control.
 
She wants to cuddle on the couch and look into his eyes.
 
He deals with his stress by playing basketball with his friends, tinkering with the car or going for a hike.
 
She wants to go to a movie, preferably one that makes her cry.
 
I spent much of my life thinking that men and women– and generally all people– should just be the same. It took me a long time to realize that while we have much in common with other people, we’re each unique.
 
It took me even longer to realize that the practical application of this meant I had to learn to allow for differences between the people I loved and myself.
 
Just because we have something in common with someone, and might even think we’re in love, doesn’t mean that each person is going to respond and be the same.
 
So often in our relationships, we try to get the other person to behave the way we want. This forcing of our will on them will ultimately become a great strain. It can also block love. When we’re trying to change someone else, we overlook his or her gifts. We don’t value the parts of the person that are different from us, because we’re too busy trying to change the person into someone else.
 
Allow for differences, but don’t just allow. Appreciate the differences. Value what each person has to offer and the gifts each person can bring.
 
Learn to say whatever, with a spark of amusement and curiosity, when someone isn’t the same as you. Try getting a kick out of the unique way each person approaches life.
 
God, help me understand the rich gifts that letting go of control will bring to my life.
================================================ 

Don’t take storms personally
 
Somewhere out in the Pacific, a storm brewed and swirled and thrashed and died without ever touching the land. Three days later, under a clear blue sky, the storm surge reached the California coast near Los Angeles. The sea threw rocks at my house, and the waves stacked up and crashed down against the pilings of the foundation. Farther up the street, the ocean ate the back porch of two houses. All night the shoreline trembled and shook from the power of the sea.
 
The next morning the tide pulled back, the swells calmed, and the sky stayed blue. I walked down the beach, impressed at the way the ocean had littered it with huge chunks of driftwood and rocks. Then I walked back upstairs and drank my morning coffee.
 
Sometimes, storms aren’t about us.
 
Sometimes, friends or loved ones will attack us for no apparent reason. They’ll fuss, fume, and snap at us. When we ask them why, they’ll say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I had a bad day at work.”
 
But we still feel hurt and upset.
 
Hold people accountable for their behavior. Don’t let people treat you badly. But don’t take the storms in their lives personally. These storms may have nothing to do with you.
 
Seek shelter if necessary. Get away from curt friends until they have time to calm down; then approach when it’s safe. If the storm isn’t about you, there’s nothing you need to do. Would you stop the ocean waves by standing in the surf with your arms outstretched?
 
Say whatever. Let the storms blow through.
 
God, help me not to take the storms in the lives of my friends and loved ones too personally.
================================================

Chuck D

All of my life I been like a doubled up fist… poundin’, smashin’, drivin’ – now I’m going to loosen these doubled up hands and touch things easy with them. 
–Tennessee Williams
 
Every person has many sides. Some sides are highly developed and other sides aren’t at all. We need not fear turning to a new side and exploring it. This recovery program has enabled us to pursue sides of ourselves that were closed before. When we were lost in our narrow world of codependency and addiction, we had fewer options. Now we have far greater access to our strength and our self-esteem, and we find new parts of ourselves.
Many of us have found relationships, which were never possible before, job choices we would never have had, and the pleasure of greater involvement in life. It is reassuring to see that we don’t always have to give up one side of ourselves to add new ones.
 
Thanks to God for the many options opening up to me in this renewed life.

============================================
Letting Go of Denial


We are slow to believe that which if believed would hurt our feelings.

–Ovid

Most of us in recovery have engaged in denial from time to time. Some of us relied on this tool.

We may have denied events or feelings from our past. We may have denied other people’s problems; we may have denied our own problems/ feelings, thoughts, wants, or needs. We denied the truth.
Denial means we didn’t let ourselves face reality, usually because facing that particular reality would hurt. It would be a loss of something: trust, love, family, perhaps a marriage, a friendship, or a dream. And it hurts to lose something or someone. ‘
Denial is a protective device, a shock absorber for the soul It prevents us from acknowledging reality until we feel prepared to cope with that particular reality People can shout and scream the truth at us, but we will not see or hear it until we are ready.
We are sturdy yet fragile beings. Sometimes, we need time to get prepared, time to ready ourselves to cope. We do not let go of our need to deny by beating ourselves into acceptance; we let go of our need to deny by allowing ourselves to become safe and strong enough to cope with the truth
We will do this, when the time is right. We do not need to punish ourselves for having denied reality; we need only love ourselves into safety and strength so that each day we are better equipped to face and deal with the truth. We will face and deal with reality – on our own time schedule, when we are ready, and in our Higher Power’s timing. We do not have to accept chastisement from anyone, including ourselves, for this schedule.
We will know what we need to know, when it’s time to know it.
 
Today, I will concentrate on making myself feel safe and confident. I will let myself have my awarenesses on my own time schedule.

============================================
Experience life for yourself

 We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way.
–John Holt
 
“I’m an armchair adventurer,” I’ve heard more than one person say. This means that they never actually go out and do anything. They let others take all the risk. Through books, they’ve climbed Mount Everest, sailed around the world, hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, and snowshoed to the South Pole. They were even able to tell me all about how to fly a plane before my first lesson.
 
It’s one thing to spend our time reading books or listening to lectures about how to do this or that – how to have a successful relationship, how to build a business, how to live life more fully, whatever comes after how to. The trick is to finally put the books down, walk away from the lecture, and do it. Getting information, support, and encouragement is helpful. Necessary,too. But life was meant to be lived, not studied. The only way that you’ll have a successful career, relationship, or hobby is to go out and get one for yourself.
 
God, help me take the risk of actually doing something I want to learn to do.

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

Hereeeeeeers Chuck D.

Stop throwing that blame around
 
“There are two kinds of people in the world,” a friend explained to me one day.
“There are the ones who blame other people for everything that happens.
And there are the ones who blame themselves.”
 
Have you ever watched a movie where one of the actors used a flamethrower?
In a movie I watched one day, they called this instead a “blame thrower.”
It’s a lit torch of fiery rage that we throw at either others or ourselves when
situations don’t work out the way we planned.
 
Blaming can be a healthy stage of grieving or letting go. But staying too long
in this stage can be unproductive. It can keep us from taking constructive action.
Blaming ourselves too long can turn into self-contempt;
blaming others can keep us heavy and dark with resentments, and fuel the victim within.
 
If you’re going through a loss, or if life has twisted on you, pick up your blame thrower– in
the privacy of your own journal. Give yourself ten or twenty minutes to blame without censorship.
Get it out. Write out everything you want to say, whether you’re throwing blame at someone else or at yourself.
 
It may take longer if the loss is larger, but the point is to give yourself a limited amount
of time for a blame-throwing session, then cease fire. Stop.
Move on to the next stage in living, which is letting go, accepting,
and taking responsibility for yourself.
 
God, help me search myself to see if I’m holding on to blame for myself or someone else.
If I am, help me get it out in the open, then help me let it go.

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

Solving Problems
 
I ask that You might help me work through all my problems,
to Your Glory and Honor.
–Alcoholics Anonymous
 
Many of us lived in situations where it wasn’t okay to identify,
have, or talk about problems. 
 
Denial became a way of life our way of dealing with problems.
 
In recovery, many of us still fear problems.
We may spend more time reacting to a problem than we do to solving it.
 
We miss the point; we miss the lesson;
we miss the gift Problems are a part of life. 
 
So are solutions.
 
A problem doesn’t mean life is negative or horrible.
Having a problem doesn’t mean a person is deficient.
All people have problems to work through.
 
In recovery, we learn to focus on solving our problems.
First, we make certain the problem is our problem.
If it isn’t, our problem is establishing boundaries.
Then we seek the best solution. This may mean setting a goal,
asking for help, gathering more information, taking an action, or letting go.
 
Recovery does not mean immunity or exemption from problems;
recovery means learning to face and solve problems,
knowing they will appear regularly. We can trust our ability to solve problems,
and know we’re not doing it alone.
Having problems does not mean our Higher Power is picking on us.
Some problems are part of life; others are ours to solve, and we’ll grow in necessary ways in the process.
 
Face and solve today’s problems. Don’t worry needlessly about tomorrow’s problems,
because when they appear, we’ll have the resources necessary to solve them.
 
Facing and solving problems working through problems with help from a
Higher Power means we’re living and growing and reaping benefits.
 
 
God, help me face and solve my problems today.
Help me do my part and let the rest go. I can learn to be a problem solver.

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

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare;
it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. 
–Seneca
 
When we reach a stressful time in our lives, our vision gets narrow.
We fail to see the options and possibilities we have.
If we give ourselves over to our worries and fears, our sight closes down even further.
Finally, we reach the point of blindness to reality and to all the support around us.
In our fearful blindness we say with conviction, “This is too difficult!
There is nothing I can do.”
The spiritual man strives to keep one eye on the horizon, even in a worrisome situation.
He breaths deeply so he does not tighten up or closes off his exchange with the world.
He returns to the relationship he has with his Higher Power, trusting the process to carry
him through, and he opens his eyes to quietly take in the possibilities before him.
 
Close to my Higher Power, I have a place of calm in the midst of difficulty
and see the possibilities and dare to act upon them.

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

Some more from Chuck D.

The readiness is all.
–William Shakespeare

Our concept of control was flawed. This program leads us into a New World. Here we meet the fact that we are powerless to change some aspects of ourselves. But we can become ready to be changed. That makes all the difference. When we accept this truth, we are already changed and we are more in line with nature and the universe.
We can’t make ourselves less perfectionistic, but we can become ready to let go of our demand for perfection. We can’t force family harmony into our lives, but we can become more ready to be harmonious. We can’t make a lasting love appear for us on command – we can become ready for such a relationship when the opportunities appear. Do we yearn for some change? How might we ready ourselves to receive it?

Today, I will try to become ready for the help and change I most need in my life.
=================================
Living in the Present

The present moment is all we have. Yes, we have plans and goals, a vision for tomorrow. But now is the only time we possess. And it is enough.
We can clear our mind of the residue of yesterday. We can clear our mind of fears of tomorrow. We can be present, now. We can make ourselves available to this moment, this day. It is by being fully present now that we reach the fullness of tomorrow.
Have no fear, child, a voice whispers. Have no regrets. Relinquish your resentments. Let Me take your pain. All you have is the present moment. Be still. Be here. Trust. All you have is now. It is enough.

Today, I will affirm that all is well around me, when all is well within.
=================================
Say woohoo wherever you are

I walked into the beach house after a day of work to find my friendly tormentors, Chip and Andy, standing by the window that drops down to the beach. Actually, Chip was standing next to the window; Andy was outside, hanging by a climbing harness. The rope led into the house and was tied off around one of the support beams.
I didn’t ask what they were doing. I just grabbed the climbing harness that was lying on the floor at Chip’s feet and asked if I could try,too.
Rappelling from the house down to the beach is not my ordinary activity. But sometimes, even the smallest, most ridiculous things can be a chance for a mini-woohoo. That night, I learned to rappel in the moonlight on the beach from the living room of my house.
Be open to new experience in your life. If it isn’t life-threatening, maybe it’s okay, even if it is a little odd. Don’t be afraid to be ridiculous, look a little uncool, and even let out an aaah now and then.
Have you had a woohoo lately? Have you got one on your list? Or maybe in your garage? Put on some Rollerblades, buy a surfboard, get out your sled. Order something new off the menu. Take a different road. Find the woohoo; then carry it with you into your ordinary world and let it lighten your spirit.
Woohoos are the moments we’ll remember all our lives.

God, help me lighten my spirit by putting a little woohoo into my daily life.
=================================

Chuck D contributor

That’s what happens when you’re angry at people. You make them part of your life.
–Garrison Keillor
 
Our problems with anger and our problems in relationships go hand in hand. Some of us have held back our anger, which led to resentment of our loved ones. Some of us have indulged our anger and become abusive. Some of us have been so frightened of anger that we closed off the dialogue in our relationships when angry feelings came out.
 
Some of us have wasted our energy by focusing anger on people who weren’t really important to us. Do we truly want them to become so important? Yet, perhaps the important relationships got frozen because we weren’t open and respectful with our anger. It isn’t possible to be close to someone without being angry at times. We let our loved ones be part of our lives by feeling our anger when it is there and expressing it openly, directly, and respectfully to them – or by hearing them when they are angry. Then, with dialogue, we can let it go.
 
I will be aware of those people I am making important in my life and will grow in dealing with my anger.
————————————————————

Editorial: On the 5th Step
AA Grapevine – March 1945  
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
 
This is a tough step and takes courage to do. It is, however, a step that can be done if you make sufficient effort.
 
It is not new. The Catholic Church uses it in their confessional and the Psychiatrist uses it.
 
Drinking is caused by inner conflicts and the only way to get rid of these conflicts is to bring them out in the open and destroy them. Wrongs cause conflicts, hence the necessity of this step.
 
Take the first phrase, “Admitted to God.” How do you do this? First learn humility so that you can ask help in a humble manner. If you have difficulty in admitting the actuality of a supreme power, work on the premise that there might be one. Once you get your mind in tune with the infinite it is not difficult to realize that you have no secrets from God.
 
“Admitted to ourselves:” This can only be done when we are honest with ourselves. In this program it is folly to try to kid yourself. Be ruthless in your soul searching and come clean.
 
Great care should be taken in choosing “another human being.” It must be someone you can trust. Your lawyer, your doctor, your priest or minister, another A.A., or a friend; someone who will act as a sounding board and keep your confidence.
 
Once you take this step you will be astounded at the relief you feel. The burden of despair will be lifted from your back and you will be free.
 
It is essential for every A.A. to realize the importance of taking this 5th step. By so 
————————————————————

Setting Our Own Course
 
We are powerless over other people’s expectations of us. We cannot control what others want, what they expect, or what they want us to do and be.
We can control how we respond to other people’s expectations.
During the course of any day, people may make demands on our time, talents, energy, money, and emotions. We do not have to say yes to every request. We do not have to feel guilty if we say no. And we do not have to allow the barrage of demands to control the course of our life.
We do not have to spend our life reacting to others and to the course they would prefer we took with our life.
We can set boundaries, firm limits on how far we shall go with others. We can trust and listen to ourselves. We can set goals and direction for our life. We can place value on ourselves.
We can own our power with people.
Buy some time. Think about what you want. Consider how responding to another’s needs will affect the course of your life. We live or own life by not letting other people, their expectations, and their demands control the course of our life. We can let them have their demands and expectations; we can allow them to have their feelings. We can own our power to choose the path that is right for us.
 
Today, God, help me own my power by detaching, and peacefully choosing the course of action that is right for me. Help me know I can detach from the expectations and wants of others. Help me stop pleasing other people and start pleasing myself.

————————————————————

Take a side road
 
Adventures don’t begin until you get into the forest. That first step in an act of faith.
–Micky Hart
 
We were driving along highway 166 in central California on another road trip. The trip had been a long one, started on the spur of the moment, as they usually are, and now we were anxious to get back home. Then we– Andy, Chip, and I– all saw it: a small road leading up into the mountains behind an open gate. It wasn’t on the atlas. The road turned to dirt. Cows lounged on the path and we had to wait for them to move out of the way. The GPS (Global Positioning System) got lost. The path degraded. We hit a patch of black mud and the truck struggled for a moment. Chipster gunned the motor and we leapt ahead.
“Think we should turn around?” he asked.
“No, this road must go somewhere,” said Andy.
“Aaaah,” I said.
We came to a small lake in the middle of the path.
“You can make it,” said Andy, rolling up his window.
“Aaaah,” I said.
Chip switched into four-wheel drive and gunned the motor. Muddy water poured in through the open sunroof.
Much later– after we moved rocks out of the way, splashed through more puddles, saw stunning views from a high ridge-line, and drove far too close to the edge of the cliff– we came across an old man pushing a bicycle up the road.
We asked, “How much further is it to get out of here?”
“Well,” he replied, “how far in have you come?”
“We didn’t come in this way.”
A puzzled look crossed his face. “How did you get here then?”
“We drove over the ridge.”
He shook his head in disbelief and walked on.
Ten miles later we came to another gate. The cell phone started to work again.
The GPS decided that we were still on the planet after all.
Sometimes, we find the biggest adventures when we deviate from the map and drive through the gate into new territory just to see where it goes.

God, help me remember that I don’t have to follow the map all the time. Give me the spirit of adventure. Bring a little woohoo into my life.
————————————————————

CHUCK D.

We cannot merely pray to You, 0 God, to end war;
For we know that You have made the world in a way
That man must find his own path to peace
Within himself and with his neighbor.
–Jack Riemer
 
Our conscious contact with God can be called prayer. There are many forms of prayer for a man in this program. For some of us it may take the form of talking to God; for others it may be silent meditation, observing nature, listening to music, or writing in a journal.
   We have experienced the healing effect of this relationship. It has allowed us to move out of our willfulness. But we need to take action where we can make a difference. We cannot blame God for every bad thing that happens – or simply wait for God to provide all the good we want. Do we see the power we do have to influence our lives? Can we give up our resentments against God for bad things that have happened?
    I am grateful for what God has given me and more aware of what I can do.
============================

Owning Our Power
 
We need to make a distinction between powerlessness and owning our power.
   The first step in recovery is accepting powerlessness. There are some things we can’t do, no matter how long or hard we try. These things include changing other people, solving their problems, and controlling their behavior. Sometimes, we feel powerless over ourselves – what we feel or believe, or the effects of a particular situation or person on us.
   It’s important to surrender to powerlessness, but it’s equally important to own our power. We aren’t trapped. We aren’t helpless. Sometimes it may feel like we are, but we aren’t. We each have the God given power, and the right, to take care of ourselves in any circumstance, and with any person. The middle ground of self-care lies between the two extremes of controlling others and allowing them to control us. We can walk that ground gently or assertively, but in confidence that it is our right and responsibility.
   Let the power come to walk that path.
  Today, I will remember that I can take care of myself. I have choices, and. I can exercise the options I choose without guilt.
====================================
Replace dread by saying woohoo

Let go of dread.
Treat it like a feeling. Identify it. Accept and acknowledge it. Then release it. Do whatever you have to, to get it out of your system. Because dread is more than just a feeling– it’s really a curse.
We throw this dark gray blanket of dread over our lives for hours, sometimes days, months, and sometimes years. We convince ourselves that certain situations will be terrible. Then what we’ve predicted comes true.
Dread is not living in the present moment. It’s living the future before we get there, and living it without any joy. There’s a lot of good about the future that you don’t know. There’s your power to flow. There’s the creative power that exists in the void. There’s your abillity to intuitively handle what comes up. And there’s a lesson, a pulsing potential in the experience that you can’t see yet. There may be a delightful consequence or outcome from this experience on which you haven’t planned. Or it may simply be something you need to get through to experience growth.
If you’re feeling cursed because you’re living in dread, take the curse off yourself.

God, help me open my heart to the full potential of every moment in my life.
====================================

Bill W., 75, Dies; Jan. 27, 1971 – New York Times News Service Cofounder Of Alcoholics Anonymous

Bill W., 75, Dies; Cofounder Of Alcoholics Anonymous

Jan. 27, 1971 – New York Times News Service

NEW YORK — William Griffith Wilson died late Sunday night January 24, 1971 and, with the announcement of his death, was revealed to have been the Bill W. who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous in l935. He was 75.

The retired Wall Street securities analyst had expected to die or to go insane as a hopeless drunk 36 years ago but – after what he called a dramatic spiritual experience – sobered up and stayed sober.

He leaves a program of recovery as a legacy to 47,000 acknowledged alcoholics in 15,000 A.A. groups throughout the United States and in 18 other countries.

Wife Aided Work

Mr. Wilson, whose twangy voice and economy of words reflected his New England origin, died of pneumonia and cardiac complication a few hours after he had been flown by private plane to the Miami Heart Institute in Miami Beach from his home in Bedford Hills, NY.

At his bedside was his wife, Lois, who had remained by him during his years as a “falling down” drunk and who later had worked at his side to aid other alcoholics. She is a founder of the Al-Anon and Alateen groups, which deal with the fears and insecurity suffered by spouses and children of problem drinkers.

Mr. Wilson last spoke publicly last July 5 in a three minute talk he delivered after struggling from a wheelchair to the lectern at the closing session of A.A.’s 35th anniversary international convention in Miami, attended by 11,000 persons. He had been admitted three days earlier to the Miami Heart Institute, his emphysema complicated by pneumonia.

Last Oct. 10, he was under hospital care for acute emphysema and was unable for the first time to attend the A.A. banquet at which his “last-drink anniversary” has been celebrated annually. His greetings were delivered by his wife to the 2,200 A.A. members and guests at the New York Hilton.

Mr. Wilson gave permission to break his A.A. anonymity upon his death in a signed statement in 1966. The role of Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith as the other founder of the worldwide fellowship was disclosed publicly when the Akron Ohio, surgeon died of cancer in 1950.

As Bill W., Mr. Wilson shared what be termed his “experience, strength and hope” in hundreds of talks and writings, but in turn – mindful that he himself was “just another guy named Bill who can’t handle booze” – he heeded the counsel of fellow alcoholics, and declined a salary for his work in behalf of the fellowship.

He supported himself, and later his wife, on royalties from four A.A. books — “Alcoholics Anonymous,” “The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,” “Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age” and “The A.A. Way of Life.”

Explained Anonymity

In fathering the doctrine that members should not reveal their A.A. affiliation at the public level, Bill W. had explained that “anonymity isn’t just something to save us from alcoholic shame and stigma; its deeper purpose is to keep those fool egos of ours from running hog wild after money and fame at A.A,’s expense.”

He cited the example of a nationally known radio personality who wrote an autobiography. disclosing his A.A membership and then spent the royalties crawling the pubs on West 52nd Street.”

Frankness Impressed

In the program’s early years, Mrs. Wilson worked in a department store to augment the family income.

Over the years, the gaunt, 6-foot co-founder’s wavy brown hair turned wispy white, and his step slowed. In 1962 he retired from active administration of A.A. affairs and returned to part-time activity in Wall Street. He continued to speak in New York at dinner meeting celebrating the anniversaries of his recovery.

Mr. Wilson shunned oratory and euphemisms and impressed listeners with the simplicity and frankness of his A.A. “story”:

In his native East Dorset, VT., where he was born Nov. 26,1895, and where be attended a two-room elementary school, he recalled, “I was tall and gawky and I felt pretty bad about it because the smarter kids could push me around. I remember being very depressed for a year or more, then I developed a fierce resolve to win – to be a No. 1 man.”

Strength Limited

Bill, whose physical strength and coordination were limited, was goaded by a deep sense of inferiority, yet became captain of his high school baseball team. He learned to play the violin well enough to lead the school orchestra.

He majored in engineering at Norwich University for three years, then enrolled in officers training school when the United States entered World War I. He married Lois Burnham, a Brooklyn physician’s daughter he had met on vacation in Manchester, Vt.

At Army camp In New Bedford, Mass,, 2nd Lt. Wilson of the 66th Coast Artillery and fellow officers were entertained by patriotic hostesses, and Bill W. was handed his first drink, a Bronx cocktail. Gone, soon, was his sense of inferiority.

Wife Concerned

“In those Roaring Twenties,” he remembered, “I was drinking to dream great dreams of greater power.” His wife became increasingly concerned, but he assured her that “men of genius conceive their best projects when drunk.”

In the crash of 1929, Mr. Wilson’s funds melted away, but his self-confidence failed to drop. “When men were leaping to their deaths from the towers of high finance,” he noted, “I was disgusted and refused to jump. I went back to the bar. I said, and I believed, ‘that I can build this up once more.’ But I didn’t. My alcoholic obsession had already condemned me. I became a hanger-on in Wall Street.”

Numbing doses of bathtub gin, bootleg whisky and New Jersey applejack became Bill W.’s panacea for all his problems.

Visited by Companion

Late in 1934, he was visited by an old barroom companion, Ebby T., who disclosed that he had attained freedom from a drinking compulsion with help from the First Century Christian Fellowship (now Moral Rearmament); a movement founded in England by the late Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman and often called the Oxford Group. Bill W. was deeply impressed and was desperate, but he said he had not yet reached that level of degradation below which he was unwilling to descend. He felt he had one more prolonged drunk left in him.

Sick, depressed and clutching a bottle of beer, Bill W. staggered a month later into Towns Hospital, an upper Manhattan institution for treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction. Dr William Duncan Silkworth, his friend, put him to bed.

Mr. Wilson recalled then what. Ebby T. had told him: “You admit you are licked; you get honest with yourself… you pray to whatever God you think there is, even as an experiment.” Bill W. found himself crying out:

“If there is a God, let him show himself, I am ready to do anything, anything!”

“Suddenly,” he related. “the room lit up with a great white light. I was caught up into an ecstasy which there are no words to describe. It seemed that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me that I was a free man.”

Recovering slowly and fired with enthusiasm, Mr. Wilson envisioned a chain reaction among drunks, one carrying the message of recovery to the next. Emphasizing at first his spiritual regeneration, and working closely with Oxford Groupers, he struggled for months to “sober up the world,” but got almost nowhere.

“Look Bill,” Dr. Silkworth cautioned, “you are preaching at those alkies. You are talking about the Oxford precepts of absolute honesty, purity, unselfishness and love. Give them the medical business, and give it to ‘em hard, about the obsession that condemns them to drink. That – coming from one alcoholic to another – may crack those tough egos deep down.”

Mr. Wilson thereafter concentrated on the basic philosophy that alcoholism is a physical allergy coupled with a mental obsession – an incurable though arrestable – illness of body., mind and spirit. Much later, the disease concept of alcoholism was accepted by a committee of the American Medical Association and by the World Health Organization.

Still dry six months after emerging from the hospital, Mr. Wilson went to Akron to participate in a stock proxy fight. He lost, and was about to lose another bout as he paced outside a bar in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel. Panicky, he groped for inner strength and remembered that. he had thus far stayed sober trying to help other alcoholics.

Through Oxford Group channels that night, he gained an introduction to Dr. Smith, a surgeon and fellow Vermonter who had vainly sought medical cures and religious help for his compulsive drinking.

Bill W. discussed with the doctor his former drinking pattern and his eventual release from compulsion.

“Bill was the first living human with whom I had ever talked who intelligently discussed my problem from actual experience,” Dr. Bob, as he became known, said later. “He talked my language.”

Here is some more from Chuck

The perfection of innocence, indeed, is madness. –Arthur Miller
 
We’ve all said, “I didn’t do anything. Don’t blame me; I didn’t mean any harm.” Overdevelopment of innocence contradicts our spiritual growth. The painful truth is, we do have an impact on other people. Many times we have cultivated innocence as a style, and it has stood in our way of being accountable.
We cannot be in a relationship without sometimes hurting the ones we love. Spiritual growth requires us to take action and to take responsibility for what we do. It is painful to acknowledge we made a mistake and hurt someone. But giving up our innocent style is constructive pain. It opens the possibility to correct our ways, make repairs, and be forgiven. Then we are in the mainstream of a hearty spiritual life.
 
May I nave the grace to let go of my innocence by taking action and admitting my mistakes.
=================================

Good Feelings
 
When we talk about feelings in recovery, we often focus on the troublesome trio – pain, fear, and anger. But there are other feelings available in the emotional realm – happiness, joy, peace, contentment, love, closeness, and excitement.
 
It’s okay to let ourselves feel pleasurable feelings too.
 
We don’t have to worry when we experience good feelings; we don’t have to scare ourselves out of them; we don’t have to sabotage our happiness. We do that, sometimes, to get to the more familiar, less joyous terrain.
 
It’s okay to feel good. We don’t have to analyze, judge, or justify. We don’t have to bring ourselves down, or let others bring us down, by injecting negativity.
 
We can let ourselves feel good.
 
Today, I will remind myself that it is my right to feel as good as I can. I can have many moments of feeling good; I can find a balanced place of feeling content, peaceful, and good.

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

Take care of yourself
 
For once a person begins on this path of knowledge they will only look inward, learning how to fix themselves, instead of trying to fix other people.  –Rav Brandwein
 
Letting go doesn’t mean we don’t care. Letting go doesn’t mean we shut down.
Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave. It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment. It means we stop trying to do the impossible– controlling that which we cannot– and instead, focus on what is possible– which usually means taking care of ourselves. And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.
 
Have you tricked yourself into believing there’s someone you can control? If you have, tell yourself the truth. Stop trying to have power where you truly have none. Instead, exercise your will in a way that will bring results. The one power you always have is the ability to let go and take care of yourself.
God, help me make letting go and taking care of myself a way of life.

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

 

CHUCK D.

“Instead of debating why so many old-timers are leaving, maybe our time would be better spent in taking more responsibility and letting the old-timers know how much AA wants and needs them … creating and maintaining environments and meetings that are attractive to their recovery.”
Vancouver, Wash., August 1992
“Rekindling the Fire”, The Home Group: Heartbeat of AA
=============================
The New Year

Make New Year’s goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come.

Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level.

Goals give our life direction.

What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?

What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life?

Remember, we aren’t controlling others with our goals – we are trying to give direction to our life.

What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career?

What would you like to see happen inside and around you?

Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down – as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go.

Certainly, things happen that are out of our control. Sometimes, these events are pleasant surprises; sometimes, they are of another nature. But they are all part of the chapter that will be this year in our life and will lead us forward in the story.

The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.

Today, I will remember that there is a powerful force motivated by writing down goals. I will do that now, for the year to come, and regularly as needed. I will do it not to control but to do my part in living my life.
=============================
Trust that good will come

It was a slow, bring January day at the Blue Sky Lodge. We had just moved in. The house was a mess. Construction hadn’t begun yet. All we had was a plan, and a dream. It was too cold and rainy to skydive or even be outdoors. There wasn’t any furniture yet. We were lying around on the floor.

I don’t know who got the idea first, him or me. But we both picked up Magic Markers about the same time. Then we started drawing on the wall.

“What do you want to happen in your life?” I asked. He drew pictures of seaplanes, and mountains, and boats leaving the shore. One picture was a video-camera man, jumping out of a plane. “I want adventure,” he said.

I drew pictures of a woman tromping around the world. She went to war-torn countries, then sat on a fence and watched. She visited the mountains and the oceans and many exciting places. Then I drew a heart around the entire picture, and she sat there in the middle of all the experiences on a big stack of books.

“I want stories,” I said, “ones with a lot of heart.”

Across the entire picture, in big letters, he wrote the word “Woohoo.”

As an afterthought, I drew a woman sky diver who had just jumped out of the plane. She was frightened and grimacing. Next to her I wrote the words “Just relax.”

On the bottom of the wall I wrote, “The future is only limited by what we can see now.” He grabbed a marker, crossed out “only,” and changed it to “never.”

“There,” he said, “it’s done.”

Eventually, the house got cleaned up and the construction finished. Furniture arrived. And yellow paint covered the pictures on the wall. We didn’t think much about that wall until months later Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, and sometimes in ways we’d least expect, each of the pictures we’d drawn on that wall began to materialize and manifest.

“It’s a magic wall,” I said.

Even if you can’t imagine what’s coming next, relax. The good pictures are still there. The wall will soon become covered with the story of your life. Thank God, the future is never limited by what we can see right now.

The wall isn’t magic.

The magic is in us and what we believe.

Before we start speaking the language of letting go, we need to understand what a powerful behavior letting go and letting God really is.

God, help me do my part. Then help me let go, and let you do yours.

Activity: Meditate for a moment on the year ahead. Make a list of things you’d like to see happen, attributes you’d like to gain, things you’d like to get and do, changes you’d like to occur. You don’t have to limit the list to this year. What do you want to happen in your life? Make a list of places you’d like to visit and things you’d like to see. Leave room for the unexpected, the unintended. But make room for the possibility of what you’d like,too– your intentions, wishes, dreams, hopes, and goals. Also, list what you’re ready to let go of,too– things, people, attitudes, and behaviors you’d like to release. If anything were possible, anything at all, what are the possibilities you’d like to experience and see.=============================

 

 

Chuck D.

When we are reduced to our last extreme, there is no further evasion. The choice is a terrible one. It is made in the heart of darkness … when we who have been destroyed and seem to be in hell miraculously choose God!
–Thomas Merton

There are many ways we benefit from a life crisis. Perhaps none of us could achieve true adult maturity – or a relationship with God – without having the foundations of our lives shaken. One of our pathways to crisis was the willful pursuit of control in our codependent and addictive lives. Our lifestyles were extreme, the consequences were extreme, and our surrender had to be absolute.
Most of us are surprised by how our weaknesses can turn to strengths. When our defiant wills led us to the utter bottom of our despair, we finally turned to a Power greater than ourselves and found a new way to live. This spiritual story is told in endless variations in our meetings, and it is renewed in small ways every day in each of our lives.

God, lift my defiant willfulness from me and renew my day.
==========================
Laying the Foundation

The groundwork has been laid.
Do you not see that?
Don’t you understand that all you have gone through was for a purpose?
There was a reason, a good reason, for the waiting, the struggle, the pain, and finally the release.
You have been prepared. The same way a builder must first tear down and dig out the old to make way for the new, your Higher Power has been cleaning out the foundation in your life.

Have you ever watched a builder at construction? When he begins his work, it looks worse than before he began. What is old and decayed must be removed. What is insufficient or too weak to support the new structure must be removed, replaced, or reinforced. No builder who cares about his or her work would put a new surface over an insufficient support system. The foundation would give way. It would not last.

If the finished product is to be what is desired, the work must be done thoroughly from the bottom up. As the work progresses, it often appears to be an upheaval. Often, it does not seem to make sense. It may appear to be wasted time and effort, because we cannot see the final product yet.

But it is so important that the foundation be laid properly if the fun work, the finishing touches, is to be all that we want it to be.

This long, hard time in your life has been for laying of groundwork. It was not without purpose, although at times the purpose may not have been evident or apparent.

Now, the foundation has been laid. The structure is solid.

Now, it is time for the finishing touches, the completion.

It is time to move the furniture in and enjoy the fruits of the labor.

Congratulations. You have had the patience to endure the hard parts. You have trusted, surrendered, and allowed your Higher Power and the Universe to heal and prepare you.
Now, you shall enjoy the good that has been planned.
Now, you shall see the purpose.
Now, it shall all come together and make sense.

Enjoy.
Today, I will surrender to the laying of the foundation – the groundwork – in my life. If it is time to enjoy the placement of the finishing touches, I will surrender to that, and enjoy that too. I will remember to be grateful for a Higher Power that is a Master Builder and only has my best interests in mind, creating and constructing my life. I will be grateful for my Higher Power’s care and attention to details in laying the foundation – even though I become impatient at times. I will stand in awe at the beauty of God’s finished product.
==========================
Slow down and let go

On a road trip up the California coast a while back, I tried to call home only to find that the batteries in my cell phone had died. I worried. What if someone needed to get in touch with me? What if there was a problem with the house? What if my family couldn’t find me and got worried?

I passed the exit to the beach that I had always wanted to see.

I obsessed some more.

I stopped for breakfast at a restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I asked if they had a pay phone. They didn’t. I barely noticed the stunning view, the smell or the sound of the surf, and I can’t remember eating my eggs and toast.

I put off seeing things until another trip; I took the freeway and got home early.

When I got home, there were no messages. No one had needed me; no one had even been aware that I was gone. But I had missed out on the treasures of the trip. I had spent so much time obsessing, I could barely remember where I’d been.

Are you missing out on the wonder of your trip because you’re in too big of a hurry? Let go. Breathe deeply. As long as you’re taking the journey, you might as well relax and enjoy the ride.

God, help me enjoy where I am right now.
==========================

More Chuck D.

Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. 
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
After we get a new understanding about ourselves we think, “Now I will never have to make the same mistake again!” But our lessons are usually not that easily learned. We have to get them into our muscles and bones as well as our heads. Some of us have to learn how to be kind; others, how to be good listeners or how to stand up for ourselves in many different ways. Every new situation calls on a little different way of knowing, and perhaps we have to fall a few times in the learning.
The most important asset in our lives is the faith to get up again and continue. We must accept our imperfections. Each time we fall and with each mistake we make, we’re vulnerable to doubting and losing faith. By rising again, we make progress in our learning and continue to become better men.
    Today, I will have faith, even in the midst of my mistakes.
=================================

Let the adventure consume you
 
The spirit of adventure settles over us slowly sometimes. In the beginning, when those old winds of change blow, we turn our backs, fight, and resist. We just want things to stay the same. Gradually we let go of the need to control. We allow things to change and us to change with them.
 
We accept the change.
 
Then we round the corner and find a wonderful lesson there, and then another, and another. Soon we find ourselves looking forward to taking the next step, anxious to see what lies in front of us today. Where will my path lead? Who will I meet? What will I learn? What wonderful lesson is taking place right now?
 
And the adventure begins to consume us.
 
The steps that you have been taking have been slowly leading you down a path with more wonder and goodness at every turn of the road. You learned to tolerate change. Now learn to embrace it.
 
Adventure isn’t something you do. The adventure is your life. Recognize how sweet it is. Let those winds of change blow.
      God, help me cultivate a spirit of adventure in my life. 
=================================            

Moving On

Learn the art of acceptance. It’s a lot of grief.

–Sometimes, as part of taking care of ourselves, it becomes time to end certain relationships. Sometimes, it comes time to change the parameters of a particular relationship.

This is true in love, in friendships, with family, and on the job.

Endings and changes in relationships are not easy. But often, they are necessary.

Sometimes, we linger in relationships that are dead, out of fear of being alone or to postpone the inevitable grieving process that accompanies endings. Sometimes, we need to linger for a while, to prepare ourselves, to get strong and ready enough to handle the change.

If that is what we are doing, we can be gentle with ourselves. It is better to wait until that moment when it feels solid, clear, and consistent to act.

We will know. We will know. We can trust ourselves.

Knowing that a relationship is changing or is about to end is a difficult place to be in, especially when it is not yet time to act but we know the time is drawing near. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, as the lesson draws to a close. We may become impatient to put closure on it, but not yet feel empowered to do that. That’s okay. The time is not yet right. Something important is still happening. When the time is right, we can trust that it will happen. We will receive the power and the ability to do what we need to do.

Ending relationships or changing the boundaries of a particular relationship is not easy. It requires courage and faith. It requires a willingness on our part to take care of ourselves and, sometimes, to stand-alone for a while.

Let go of fear. Understand that change is an important part of recovery. Love yourself enough to do what you need to do to take care of yourself, and find enough confidence to believe that you will love again.

We are never starting over. In recovery, we are moving forward in a perfectly planned progression of lessons. We will find ourselves with certain people – in love, family, friendships, and work – when we need to be with them. When the lesson has been mastered, we will move on. We will find ourselves in a new place, learning new lessons, with new people.

No, the lessons are not all painful. We will arrive at that place where we can learn, not from pain, but from joy and love.

Our needs will get met.

Today, I will accept where I am in my relationships, even if that place is awkward and uncomfortable. If I am in the midst of endings, I will face and accept my grief. God, help me trust that the path I am on has been perfectly and lovingly planned for me. Help me believe that my relationships are teaching me important lessons. Help me accept and be grateful for middles, endings, and new beginnings.God, help me cultivate a spirit of adventure in my life.
===============================

Here are some more Chuck D. Contributions

Risk being alive“I know nothing is going to last forever,” Charlie said. “But the key to life and being happy is acting as though it is.”

Many of us have had our illusions about security and permanency shattered. The longer we’re alive, the more it gets beat into us: nothing is forever. We can plan on many things, but the only thing we can plan on with any certainty is change.

At some time in our lives, we may have convinced ourselves otherwise. We surrendered ourselves to that job, that project, or that relationship with all our hearts, only to have it crash to an end.
Some of us may have decided, after enough cycles of beginnings, middles, and endings, that the way to deal with this was never to fully give our hearts to any person or circumstance, never to let ourselves fully be present and enjoy the moment.

If I don’t get in completely, I won’t get hurt when it ends, we think. Maybe. But you won’t experience the pleasure and joy, the rich, sweet full taste of those moments, either.
Okay, so you’re wiser now. You know nothing lasts forever. You know the moment something happens, the ending has already been written,too. People are born. They die. A job or project begins. Then it ends. But there’s an entire luscious middle waiting, inviting you to jump in fully and see how sweet life can be. Besides, when the ending does come, you’ll also have been given enough wisdom, courage, and grace to deal with that,too.
What are you waiting for?
Go ahead. Stop holding back. Jump in.
Live your life.
God, give me enough faith and a well of letting go so I can live each moment fully.
==============================
Panic

Don’t panic!
If panic strikes, we do not have to allow it to control our behaviors. Behaviors controlled by panic tend to be self-defeating. No matter what the situation or circumstance, panic is usually not a good foundation. No matter what the situation or circumstance, we usually have at least a moment to breathe deeply and restore our serenity and peace.

We don’t have to do more than we can reasonably do – ever! We don’t have to do something we absolutely cannot do or cannot learn to do!

This program, this healthy way of life we are seeking, is built on a foundation of peace and quiet confidence – in ourselves, in our Higher Power, in the recovery process.

Do not panic. That takes us away from the path. Relax. Breathe deeply. Let peace flow through our body and mind. From this base, our Source shall supply the necessary resources.

Today, I will treat panic as a separate issue that needs immediate attention. I will refuse to allow panicky thoughts and feelings to motivate me. Instead, I will let peace and trust motivate my feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
==============================
He is a man whom it is impossible to please, because he is never pleased with himself.
–Goethe

Many of us grew up trying to please our fathers and feeling we never got the approval we needed. Perhaps our fathers couldn’t feel pleased with themselves. Now it is time to take stock of ourselves and ask whether we are perpetuating the pattern in our own lives. If we still feel unhappy with ourselves, we may never be satisfied with anyone else either. Spouses, children, bosses, even the parking lot attendant may receive the brunt of our self-disapproval. We don’t totally change these patterns in an instant. We change them one day at a time.
Today, we have before us a small piece of the future. We can begin by treating ourselves decently. Maybe we can’t feel a strong sense of personal approval yet, but we can give ourselves some basic respect. We can start by remembering we have the love of God. We can affirm at least one positive thing about ourselves. After some positive reflection, we will have more to give to others.
Today, I will give myself approval for at least one thing.
==============================

MORE CHUCK D.

Balance

Strive for balanced expectations of others. Strive for healthy tolerance.
In the past, we may have tolerated too much or too little. We may have expected too much or too little.
We may swing from tolerating abuse, mistreatment, and deception to refusing to tolerate normal, human, imperfect behaviors from people. Although it’s preferable not to remain in either extreme too long, that is how people change – real people who struggle imperfectly toward better lives, improved relationships, and more effective relationship behaviors.
But if we are open to ourselves and to the recovery process, we will, at some time, begin another transition: it becomes time to move away from extremes, toward balance.
We can trust ourselves and the recovery process to bring us to a balanced place of tolerance, giving, understanding, and expectations – of others and ourselves.
We can each find our own path to balance as we begin and continue recovery.

Today, I will practice acceptance with others and myself for the way we change. If I have had to swing to the other extreme of a behavior, I will accept that as appropriate, for a time. But I will make my goal one of balanced tolerance and expectations of others and myself.

Don’t be afraid of giving./Everything passes away except God.

Giving

Don’t be afraid of giving.
For a while, we may need to back off from giving as we learn to discern the difference between healthy giving and caretaking, which leave us feeling victimized and others feeling resentful.
This is a temporary spot.
To be healthy, to do our part in this spiritual way of life, to be part of the endless cycle of the Universe, guided by our Creator, we need to give and receive.
Both parts are important.
What is healthy giving?

This is a fine lined behavior each of us must seek to understand for ourselves. It is giving that feels good and does not leave us feeling victimized.

It is giving that holds the giver and the receiver in high esteem.

It is giving based on a desire to do it rather than from a sense of guilt, pity, shame, or obligation.

It is giving with no strings attached. Or it is giving based on a clean, direct contract.

Whether it is giving our time, efforts, energy, comfort, nurturing, money, or ourselves, it is giving that we can afford.

Giving is part of the chain of giving and receiving. We can learn to give in healthy ways; we can learn to give in love. We need to keep an eye on our giving, to make sure it has not crossed the line into caretaking. But we need to learn to give in ways that work for us and others.
Today, God, guide me in my giving. Help me give to others in healthy ways. Help me give what feels right, what feels good, what feels clean, and what I can afford.
====================================
Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes away except God.
–Saint Theresa

Learning to detach may be the most demanding and difficult part of this program. Detachment means being filled with closeness and love toward someone, yet knowing we cannot fix or protect that person. It means we can be in emotional contact but don’t have to react to someone else’s issues. We respond from our own center with what is fitting for us. Being detached means we allow others to be in the hands of God because we cannot live their lives for them. Detachment gives us an inner calm, an acceptance of our limits, and the freedom to live our own lives with integrity.
Detachment is a skill in living, and like other skills, we can practice it. Gradually, it becomes a natural response. True detachment takes root and grows within us over a period of time as we deepen our relationship with the Steps and with our Higher Power.

Today, I turn to God as my eternal rock for strength in learning to become detached.
====================================