Monday, December 31, 2007

Last list of the year

this yeAAr i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for another 365 days of sobriety and almost as many days of serenity

for all the recovering alkies who celebrated another birthday this year

for Lambda Center and everything it offers me

for this blog and yours -- our way of keeping in touch

for another year without being arrested for DUI, P.I. or a felony of any description

that I had no car accidents, house fires, hospitalization or sick pets in 2007

that I've been lucky enough to eat many types of food in Nigeria, The Congo, Mauritania, Senegal, Morocco, South Africa and Gabon. Actually, I feel lucky because I'm still breathing!

that new recovery bloggers have joined our little community --- drop by and visit In God's Hands, whom I only discovered yesterday

for a new topic on SOBRIETY SOCIETY

Some pursue happiness, others create it.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Having Enough

The only difference between needing more and having enough is your attitude. At any time, in any circumstance, you always have the option of deciding that you are enough, and that you already have enough for the moment you're in.
Always longing for more will eventually wear you down into a painful, frustrating and overwhelming sense of disillusionment. Having enough, on the other hand, puts you into a peaceful, positive and productive state of mind.
Just imagine how completely satisfying it would be to suddenly have everything you need. You can know that satisfaction right now, in this very moment, just by allowing yourself to have enough.

It costs you nothing to decide that you have enough. For having enough does not preclude you from creating more abundance in your life.
In fact, having enough sets your creativity free and allows your effectiveness to soar to new heights. When you get away from the stifling mindset of lack and limitation, truly magnificent things will happen.
By having enough, your struggles disappear and are replaced with countless opportunities for real joy. See right now that you have enough, and delight in the warm and genuine richness it brings.

~Ralph Marston

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Now hear this ...

water tower located in north Houston

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

tomorrow night is Birthday Night @ Lambda Center where about 25 folks will celebrate another year of being sober

for the power of Honesty, Open-Mindedness & Willingness

that my behavior is sooooo much better than before getting sober, but I still have the potential for endless progress

that we're getting ready to start another even-numbered year -- I like those much better

Every time we open our mouths, men look into our minds.

Thursday, December 27, 2007



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my attempts to practice Step 12 keeps me pretty much in line and in tune

for my anxiety medication

that I'll never be a teenager again

you know I mentioned yesterday that I had some money left over after Christmas? Well, I had to replace my home A/C & Heating unit yesterday. We had gone 2 nights without any heat. Anybody spare a quarter?

Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.
-Dodie Smith

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the gifts of sobriety, which are much greater than any gifts I have ever had under a Christmas tree

that I got to sleep late yesterday - woke up at 8:30am (that's a miracle, folks!)

for a well-chaired Christmas Day AA meeting by the inimitable Bob S, followed by a pot luck dinner at Lambda Center

that we went to a party at the home of a non-alcoholic -- hardly anyone was drinking alcohol and I thought that was very strange. I never went to those kinds of parties when I was a drinker.

Children are natural mimics--they act like their parents in spite of every effort to teach them good manners.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Read this, so yule know

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I am sober and happy, something that until 2003, I would never have imagined possible

that I attended a midnight mass last night -- my first -- I am not religous at all but did enjoy it

that I realized yesterday (whilst praying) that many of my character defects (that I associate with my relationship with Hayden) have become dormant

that Hayden and I will spend time today with the fellowship at Lambda

that I'm a big boy and can handle big boy responsibilities

that most likely (if you're in recovery and reading this) you are sober today too

that there may actually be some money left over after this week

If it were not for the last minute, nothing would get done.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas Poem

'Twas the night before Christmas,
we were all in the club,
enjoying a meeting,
instead of a pub.

The ashtrays were clean,
the coffee was made,
the Big Books were out
and we all had prayed.

When out in the lot,
there arose such a clatter,
we all jumped up to see
what was the matter.

The Chair with his Big Book,
and I with my smokes,
headed outside
to find these two blokes.

They came inside
and sat at a table
and said that they'd chair,
as soon as they're able.

To start with, they said,
"It's more than not drinking,
It's doing your best
to fix your sick thinking."

"Think, Think, Think!"
and the slogans we used,
help keep the newcomer
from getting confused.

Step 1 is a start,
they said we should know,
but after Step 2,
we'll be all aglow.

We made a decision
when we got to Step 3;
Step 4 was real tough,
we all could agree.

Step 5 is the one
where we let it all out,
and after Step 6 and 7,
we are left with no doubt.

When we got to Step 8,
We made our list;
and then with Step 9,
we have to persist.

After Step 9,
the promises ring true;
we didn't just make that up,
right out of the blue.

After that,
it's on with the rest;
the things we must do,
to be our best.

They put on their coats
and got ready to leave;
a pretty good end,
for this Christmas Eve.

As to their names,
we only could guess;
must have been Bill W.
and Dr. Bob S.

The two men hopped
into a '35 Ford,
and as they pulled out,
one of them roared:

"We leave this message,
for our sisters & brothers:
trust God, clean house,
and be of service to others.

And for all of you people,
I just want to say:
have a nice holiday,
but don't drink today!"

~ Unknown

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for everything.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Worrying Makes You Cross the Bridge Before You Come to It
by Harvey Mackay

Recently I saw a survey that says 40 percent of the things we worry about never happen, 30 percent are in the past and can't be helped, 12 percent concern the affairs of others that aren't our business, 10 percent are about sickness--either real or imagined-- and 8 percent are worth worrying about. I would submit that even the 8 percent aren't really worth the energy of worry.

Did you know that the English word worry is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word that means to strangle or to choke? That's easy to believe. People do literally worry themselves to death. . . or heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcers, nervous disorders and all sorts of other nasty conditions. Is it worth it?

Some folks seem to think this is a '90s phenomenon, but I've got news for you: advice about worry goes back as far as the Bible. We didn't invent it. We just need to find a way to keep it from ruling our lives.

I've been spending a lot of time in bookstores lately, in the middle of a 35-city book tour. From one coast to the other, north to south, some of the most popular self-help books concern worry, stress, and simplifying your life. I have a couple of favorite books to recommend.

First, an oldie. Dale Carnegie's "How To Stop Worrying and Start Living." It was first published in 1948, but the advice is just as fresh and valuable as it was then and is right-on for the new millennium. Being a chronic list maker, I found two sections that really knocked my socks off. Both were about business people trying to solve problems without the added burden of worrying. Carnegie credits Willis H. Carrier, whose name appears on most of our air conditioners, with these silver bullets:

Analyze the situation honestly and figure out what is the worst possible thing that could happen.
Prepare yourself mentally to accept the worst, if necessary.
Then calmly try to improve upon the worst, which you have already agreed mentally to accept.
Bingo! You can handle anything now. You know what you have to do; it's just a matter of doing it. Without worrying.

Another approach I like is a system put into practice at a large publishing company by an executive, named Leon. He was sick and tired of boring and unproductive meetings marked by excessive hand-wringing. He enforced a rule that everyone who wished to present a problem to him first had to submit a memo answering these four questions:
1. What's the problem?

2. What's the cause of the problem?

3. What are all possible solutions to the problem?

4. Which solution do you suggest?

Leon rarely has to deal with problems anymore, and he doesn't worry about them. He's found that his associates have used the system to find workable solutions without tying up hours in useless meetings. He estimates that he has eliminated three-fourths of his meeting time and has improved his productivity, health and happiness. Is he just passing the buck? Of course not! He's paying those folks to do their jobs, and he's giving them great training at decision-making.

The point is you can't saw sawdust. A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work. People get so busy worrying about yesterday or tomorrow, they forget about today. And today is what you have to work with. I remember the story of the fighter who, after taking the full count in a late round of a brawl, finally came to in the dressing room. As his head cleared and he realized what had happened, he said to his manager: "Boy, did I have him worried. He thought he killed me."

Now that's putting the worry where it belongs.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Living in Alaska

Tom had been in the liquor business for 25 years.
Finally sick of the stress he quits his job and buys 50 acres of land in Alaska as far from humanity as possible. He sees the postman once a week and gets groceries once a month. Otherwise it's total peace and quiet.

After six months or so of almost total isolation, someone knocks on his door. He opens it and a huge, bearded man is standing there. ''Name's Lars, your neighbour from forty miles up the road. Having a Christmas party Friday night. Thought you might like to come. About 5:00."
"Great", says Tom, "After six months out here I'm ready to meet some local folks. Thank you."

As Lars is leaving, he stops. "Gotta warn you, be some drinkin'."
"Not a problem," says Tom. "After 25 years in the business, I can drink with the best of 'em." Again, the big man starts to leave and stops. "More'n' likely gonna be some fightin' too." "Well, I get along with people, I'll be all right. I'll be there. Thanks again.""More'n likely be some wild sex, too," "Now that's really not a problem," says Tom, warming to the idea. "I've been all alone for six months! I'll definitely be there. By the way, what should I wear?"

"Don't much matter. Just gonna be the two of us."

Friday, December 21, 2007


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that Hayden made it home safe and sound

for a meeting about Tradition 4 -- I had huge, unexpected benefits from this tradition last year as it relates to Rule #62 (if you're not sure what I am referring to, look it up)

that I was able to stop smoking last year without any drugs to replace the nicotine

for the phrase of the year ...
"Don't taze me, bro!"

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."
-- Maria Robinson

Thursday, December 20, 2007

turning it over...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I remember the things I did last night and the people to whom I talked; it's been 1,567 days since I had a blackout

that my life will flow so much easier today as long as I remember to continue to practice Step 3

that I now average attending 13 meetings every week (down from 17) through my first 4+ years, which gives me plenty of insurance if I miss a meeting here and there

that there are a few people who actually understand me

that Hayden gets here today after a 2 1/2 month absence

that I have the love of my life to spend the holiday with (again)

that I was able to have my carpet steam-cleaned yesterday, hopefully picking up most of the dust and residue from months of reconstruction jobs

All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others.
-Michael Carr

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bright Lights

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that once again, I get to experience a sober Christmas as long as I follow the directions you guys give me

that my journey has taken me to so many places and allowed me to meet so many people of various cultures

that the rainbow usually comes after the rain

that this holiday season will be over in 2 weeks

for the humor of Marie on Everybody Loves Raymond

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing—that's why we recommend it daily.
-Zig Ziglar

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

on awakening ...

I stole the video from "Just David"

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a continuing hope that the second half of Step 2
will someday come true for this alcoholic

that I am no longer Higher Powerless as I was when I first entered the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous

that I have lost about 18 pounds since I began working out and changing my eating habits -- 6 months ago

that I know some words with more than 8 letters

The greatest carver does the least cutting.
-Tao Te Ching

Monday, December 17, 2007

'tis the season ...

i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful todAAy

for another weekend of peace and joy

for the fun and hilarious fellowship at our gift exchange night at Lambda on Saturday; there were at least 100 alcoholics in recovery participating

for reminders about living in the moment

that I have just about put my home back together after 3 1/2 months of remodelling and painting

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday stuff

click HERE for a great video of AA in the UK

Every day I receive inspirational phrases in my email.
Here's a collection for you to peruse for today...


"Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant."
-- Horace
"The abundant life does not come to those who have had a lot of obstacles removed from their path by others. It develops from within and is rooted in strong mental and moral fiber."
-- William Mather Lewis
"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."
-- Charlotte Bronte
"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow."
-- Maya Angelou

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bad Habits

Dump Those Negative Habits Now!
by Mark Victor Hansen

If you want to distance yourself from the masses and enjoy a rich and unique lifestyle, understand this - your habits will determine your future. The fact is, if you keep on doing things a certain way, you will get a predictable result. That's the simple law of Cause and Effect.

Successful habits create positive rewards.
Negative habits breed negative consequences.

If you want to enjoy longevity, you must have healthy habits. If you are in the habit of starving your most important relationships of time, energy and love, how can you expect a happy outcome? If you spend money on the fly or don't save any money, your bad habits will lead you to a never-ending cycle of work.

Shift yourself out of your bad habits. Fortunately, you can jump from this bad habits path anytime you want. It's a very simple process - it just takes some applied focus.

Here's the step-by-step process I recommend:
Clearly identify your bad or unproductive habits. Write them down.

a) Be specific.
b) Remember to consider the long-term consequences should you continue in this bad habit. As an example, a couple cigarettes a day may not seem like much, but after 10 years, the buildup of having smoked 7,300 cigarettes remains in your system.
c) Consider habits at home, in your communications and relations with others, at work, in your driving habits, in your free time, and in matters related to your physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Have a GREAT Saturday, guys!

Friday, December 14, 2007

by all means...

I'm finally ready to show you the final product of my bathroom remodelling. Pictures 1,2 and 3 are what is was like. Pictures 4 thru 16 are what happened over the past 2 months. Pictures 17 to 24 are what it is like now. My simple little camera can't do justice to the overall look.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that when I awoke this morning, I asked my HP to help keep me sober, to give me guidance throughout the day to know the next right thing to do and to be the best person I can be - just for today

for all the benefits I received from working my initial 4th step

that many of us from Lambda attended a fellow alkie's Christmas party yesterday in a magnificent setting for food and fellowship

that my Mom seems to be OK after a brief scare; she has a bad cold

that I have no need to be afraid of any law enforcement officials

that I can have mild compassion for Broncos fan(s)

"Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity."
-- Albert Einstein

Thursday, December 13, 2007

in a hurry today, but ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for Step 12 meetings and listening to the infinite number of ways that we can carry the message

that I can usually remember to keep things simple; in fact, I could write a book about it. This book would be 8 to 10 chapters and include pictures and quotes. I think 400 pages should do it. Yeah, that's the ticket.

You are unique. Just like everyone else.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

East meets West

Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, circa 1990.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that we're currently reading Chapter 7, "Working with Others" in the Tuesday morning Big Book Study at Eyes Wide Shut @ 6:30am

to keep in mind that my sobriety knows NO holidays and it pays to be extra vigilant this time of year

that I'll spend some time with Mom this morning, just being at her side

The right time to show your good character is when you are pestered by somebody weaker than you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I believe

a side street in Amsterdam

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I've never treated the rooms of AA as a revolving door

that I seem to attend a lot of Step 1 meetings; a great! topic to discuss

that no one can tell me I'm doing my AA program incorrectly; if they do, they are doing theirs incorrectly (comments??)

for meetings away from Lambda Center
(that's where I attend 99% of my meetings)

that I am finished with my gift purchases for this holiday season

for my friends who give me help when I need it

that my car got fixed quickly (less than 1 day) and the warranty covered all of it

If you are good, be better.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Daily Piglet posted pictures of this car.

I love old Plymouth's with Christmas trees on top.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that life is one thing after another

that when anyone says HI to me today, it's not a question

for sponsees that keep me straight (well, in a manner of speaking)

that I got to hear part of Don K's story once again Saturday night

that I didn't go apesh!t when my year-old car broke down on me; in fact, it seemed like no big deal as I made 2 phone calls and it was soon towed to the dealership for whatever repair may be necessary

Whatever you are, be a good one.
-Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, December 09, 2007

t-shirts for your friends

Check THIS site.
I stole this site info from

Welcome, you've got mail.

A reminder of what it was like with our computer technology just a few short years ago.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Clapper

World's Fastest Clapper (click)

... and now for a little Christmas joke --

Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.

"In honor of this holy season," Saint Peter said,"You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven."

The first man fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. "It represents a candle," he said. "You may pass through the pearly gates," Saint Peter said.

The second man reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, "They're bells." Saint Peter said, "You may pass through the pearly gates".

The third man started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties. St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, "And just what do those symbolize?" The man replied, "These are Carols."

Friday, December 07, 2007

A day that will live in infamy...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for lessons learned 66 years ago at Pearl Harbor

to realize that I fear more than fear itself

that my newest sponsee celebrates 30 days of sobriety today

that we had a wonderful and insightful meeting and discussion about Tradition 3

for THIS -- The Serenity Prayer website

that I have probably seen every episode of I Love Lucy and The Dick van Dyke Show

The best portion of a good man's life: his little, nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love.
-William Wordsworth

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More than I imagined

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the little smile on Mom's face as she lay in her hospital bed
(FYI -- for 2 years, she has been unable to speak or swallow and has now lost the ability to walk)

for the countless rewards of integrating the steps of AA into my life

to get to hear Kevn C. share some of his Experience, Strength and Hope yesterday; every time I hear him talk, I hear more about myself

that I am slowly learning to say NO (when necessary)

for the 3 years I have spent on the Board of Directors of Lambda Center

that today begins my 4th year of continuous blogging, almost every day; in fact, this is my 1,655th posting

Every man is the architect of his own fortune.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sometimes Slowly

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my Mom finally had her surgery and is recovering nicely

for all the kind words and prayers that you guys offered to her during the past week

that I get to witness miracles every day when I enter the rooms of AA
(hey, it rhymes!)

that my bathroom remodelling is pretty much done; just a few minor items to adjust

that THIS GUY has gone 11 days without smoking and could use your words of support in this effort

Whenever you see darkness, there is extraordinary opportunity for the light to burn brighter.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

With a smile on my face

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for more opportunities to carry the message

for new behavior that I've learned in the rooms

that my Mom should finally have her surgery this morning

that I have a nice, warm home to sleep in and running water to wash with

"Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity."
-- Albert Einstein

Monday, December 03, 2007


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I have constant growing pains

that I've learned to make a consistent effort to speak only for myself and not for others

that my Mom, weak as she is, has the inner strength to just keep on tickin'

that we may get to see Scott emerge today from his smart, Montrose-area studio, 4 days after his surgery

for a nice, quick Lambda Center Board meeting yesterday

for a very pleasant and peaceful weekend with no emergencies

The whole worth of a kind deed is in the love that inspires it.
-The Talmud

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Saturday, December 01, 2007