Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Today, ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are commonly called a design for living, and I totally agree with that.

for Step 3 -- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. This step plays a constant part in my every day life (usually). It automatically releases me of the heavy burden of controlling and running the world about me. All I have to do is participate.

for Step 10 -- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. Practicing this concept allows me to monitro my behavior throughout the day. I dislike needing to make amends and this step helps me to prevent my instinctively bad behavior.

that I'm gonna have a nice weekend and hope you do too!

If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax.
- Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Have a seat, please.

There. It's fixed.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the things I get enough of ...


We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The life.

There. It's fixed.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for The Doctor's Opinion in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Someone pointed out how important it is that it's at the beginning of the book instead of at the end. We continue into the book knowing that alcoholism is considered a disease. Very important.

that I got to have a nice conversation with a recovery friend who is moving to California this weekend. Five of my friends have moved there in the past few months. I'm staying in Houston, thank you.

for love and tolerance; a fine code to have!

to those who give tirelessly to organizations, not just recovery. I always avoided giving my time until I stopped drinking. Now, I have many examples and teachers.

Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is... The only problem in your life is your mind's resistance to life as it unfolds.
- Dan Millman

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The program.

There. It's fixed.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a lovely Monday. I had no plans and thus, no disappointments.

for Step 10 -- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. It works (when I work it).

for the power of sharing. It's even more powerful than keeping my garbage to myself.

that I've been so fortunate to visit and work in so many countries.

We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
- Charles R. Swindoll

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm NOT fixed yet

There. It's fixed.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that today is Monday and I don't have to go to a job

that I got to hear Kevin C. tell his story on Saturday. Kevin got sober here in Houston and now travels to AA Roundups and conferences to speak. His story is not unlike yours or mine, but the way he tells it is quite entertaining. But his messages are even better.

for patience. I put this on my list often, but it's one of the most spiritual tools I have acquired since getting sober. It really serves me well. When I'm not patient, I know there's something wrong.

that I do my best to follow life's rules -- the big ones and the little ones

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own.

- Henry Ford

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Character defects

One of the greatest challenges in ongoing sobriety is to repeatedly confront the same character defects over and over again. Or, more accurately, the consequences of those same character defects -- especially if you have really tried to address them via the tools offered in Alcoholics Anonymous.
It has been my experience (my painful, embarrassing, experience, actually) whenever I am in that place again, that my real problem is twofold:
The first is that I am looking at the result and not the process. In other words, it is easy to want to have money in the bank, but where I need to ask for HP's help is in spending differently. It is easy to want to get to work on time, but the focus should be on the willingness to go to sleep at a decent hour and get up at a realistic time to actually get ready and go. It's easy to want a different body, it's hard to be willing to eat differently or become disciplined about exercise.
My character defect is really not in the result, i.e. the bank balance, the tardiness or the numbers on the scale ... my character defect is to be found somewhere in the process.
The second thing -- and somehow I have found that although, logically, it doesn't appear related to the above, it actually is in powerful and unfathomable ways (cue spooky music) -- if I'm applying the principles and ideas from the 12 Steps to these things, the main point of the 7th Step (which, for the new kids, is "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.") is about humility -- not the shortcomings. Not the defects.
I need a constant reminder of this, since, in certain areas I keep trying to make it about the problem, and not about a spiritual solution -- which I reach via humility.
Frankly, on some days it seems like this whole thing would be a lot easier if we could just scrap this "humility" thing altogether.

But apparently, some people have tried that.

From what I understand, they can be found down at the bar.

NOTE: I did not write this. It's much too well-written and thought out for me to take credit.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for everything

to look back and see how different my life is today than it was 2786 days ago, when I stopped drinking. I know a new freedom and happiness. I certainly don't regret the past and often refer to it. I know what true serenity is versus the laid-back feeling of being stoned and drunk. I know that my experiences (during and after drinking) can benefit others when I relate them with honesty and humility. I never feel useless and don't feel self-pity as often as I used to. I am less selfish and have a keen interest in my friends' lives. My whole attitude about life has changed and I see life through different eyes. I no longer have a fear of people. I sometimes do have negative thoughts about my finances, but not really a serious fear. I'm better at handling some situations that used to confuse me but I still need to ask for guidance from others - often. Certainly, my HP looks after me and helps when I can't do something for myself.
But I know that I absolutely must participate in my life.

The spiritual life is not a theory. I have to live it!

Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thursday, April 21, 2011

doin' the deal

todAAy i AAM grAAteful & thAAnkful

for humor in recovery. I got to hear one of my favorite speakers yesterday at a speaker meeting. He is entertaining and informative. His story is not much different than mine or yours but he tells it in a way that makes me want to hear more.

that since my mother died in 2008, my partner is the only person who knows where my buttons are. And he pushes them often.

that this blog is my first attempt at service work on most days

for all of you who continue to do whatever it takes

You're standing on the threshold of success. Don't look down, it'll make you dizzy.
- Timothy Q. Mouse in the Walt Disney movie Dumbo

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

here, here

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my home group finished reading through the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous) for the 5th time in 7+ years. We read a few pages every Tuesday morning and then discuss what we've read.

that I don't "buy in to" so much of the rubbish I hear every day

but, I do keep an open mind to the opinions and thoughts of others

that my parents did the very best job they could do when raising my sister and I. I bet that most parents do the same.

Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

a few basics

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I never get tired of not drinking (or smoking)

for productive days - I'm doing lots of yard work these days. It's something I enjoy doing and can see immediate results.

that I have been painstaking about my sober development since day one; it takes constant participation for this alcoholic

that a couple of my tropical plants which suffered during the few freezing days in January are slowly coming back to life

To leave the world a bit better ... to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, April 18, 2011

beginning a new week ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a peaceful and happy weekend, albeit somewhat busy

for everything I have

that I have been able to form some really good habits since I got sober, especially my morning prayer time

for the fellowship I find in recovery. I know I mention this often here, but it's a daily part of my life and it often is the highlight of my day.

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011


The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Libya and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.”

The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.

Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France ‘s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbor” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is canceled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

– John Cleese – British writer, actor and tall person

Friday, April 15, 2011


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I go to 3 AA meetings today, before lunch

for insurance -- home, car, life, AA

that I was asked to listen to a fifth step yesterday by a non-sponsee. It's such an honor.

for acceptance and simplicity

A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else. - George Savile

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I can't think of a title.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for friends who tell me the truth

for friends

that I was very successful at practicing Step 3 yesteday which resulted in a very happy day

for that feeling I get when I go out of my way to try to make somone who is hurting feel better

He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.

- Socrates

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

all is in order

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that a completely unexpected spiritual experience resulted in my getting sober, 2777 days ago

that I was able to put myself in a position to have that experience

that I lived through 3+ decades of alcohol abuse

that I'm choosing to have a really good day today (but I have no particular plans)

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

- Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

round and round

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I get to be responsible and dependable to the degree that people trust me to be there for them, even at 5:30am (LOL)

for the lessons in willingness that can be developed as a result of working Step 8

for friends who give me baseball ticket$ with great! seats

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. - Anonymous

Monday, April 11, 2011

an apple a day ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a really, really wonderful meeting on Saturday morning wherein we discussed humor in sobriety. I think everyone who attended left that meeting with a smile on our faces.

for love and tolerance, something I want to be remembered by

for few expectations and lots of acceptance

that my Astros won a game (oh dear, they're 2-7 and it doesn't look like it's gonna be a pretty season)

A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.
- William Arthur Ward

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Red Skelton's Recipe

For those of you old enough to remember Red Skelton, I think you will enjoy this. For those of you not old enough you will see what you missed. Either way, his humor was always clean and he was a great entertainer. A rerun of great one liner's from the man who was known for his clean humor. I hope you get a chuckle or two reading them once more............


1. Two times a week we go to a nice restaurant, have a little beverage, good food and companionship. She goes on Tuesdays; I go on Fridays.

2. We also sleep in separate beds. Hers is in California , and mine is in Texas ..

3. I take my wife everywhere.... but she keeps finding her way back.

4. I asked my wife where she wanted to go for our anniversary. "Somewhere I haven't been in a long time!" she said. So I suggested the kitchen.

5. We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.

6. She has an electric blender, electric toaster and electric bread maker. She said "There are too many gadgets, and no place to sit down!" So I bought her an electric chair.

7. My wife told me the car wasn't running well because there was water in the carburetor. I asked where the car was. She told me, "In the lake."

8. She got a mud pack, and looked great for two days. Then the mud fell off.

9. She ran after the garbage truck, yelling, "Am I too late for the garbage?" The driver said, "No, jump in!"

10. Remember: Marriage is the number one cause of divorce.

11. I married Miss Right. I just didn't know her first name was Always.

12. I haven't spoken to my wife in 18 months. I don't like to interrupt her.

13. The last fight was my fault though. My wife asked, "What's on the TV?" I said, "Dust!"

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Friday, April 08, 2011

Home Sweet Home

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my home group (A.A.) studies the traditions regularly. I heard early on that the 12 steps help keep us from killing ourselves and the 12 traditions help us to keep from killing each other. Thus, I think they're important.

for my past

for my future

"Pause when agitated" is one of the most useful of suggestions I've ever heard. I knew nohting about that concept before I came into recovery. I use it often and I use it well.

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot.

- Michael Althsuler

Thursday, April 07, 2011


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my friend Angela P. related part of her sober story yesterday. She's an amazing woman. At the age of 44, she has now been sober for 23 years.

that my acceptance level is at its highest point lately

that I'm really wanting to work on my involvement in the world of gossip. Such as, stop it!

Think about this one ........

"I've noticed that when I don't feel right, I'm just focusing on me."

When I am really honest, this is very true for me. The obvious solution is to help another alcoholic. Do I always do this? Hell, no. Sometime, it seems that I'd prefer to just wallow in my misery until it doesn't serve whatever dysfunctional purpose it's been serving. Then, and only then, do I change.

What's done is done.

- William Shakespeare

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I don't mind admitting when I'm wrong. It keeps me honest and sends a good message to others. I'm much less apt to admit when I'm right. I want to let the facts speak for themselves.

that forgiveness has a big place in my heart these days

to know I'm no better and no worse than my colleagues

This little tidbit has proven to be a lifesaver for me... I'd rather be happy -- than right.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

- Confucius

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Solutions and stuff

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for solutions to all my problems

that I don't share in AA meetings about the reason my problems are so bad; I try to share about the solutions I have found

that before I could stop drinking, I had to realize and admit that many of my problems were because of my drinking

** and here's another phrase I really identify with -- Try praying. Nothing pleases God more than to hear a strange voice.

If I feel depressed I will sing. If I feel sad I will laugh. If I feel ill I will double my labor. If I feel fear I will plunge ahead. If I feel inferior I will wear new garments. If I feel uncertain I will raise my voice. If I feel poverty I will think of wealth to come. If I feel incompetent I will think of past success. If I feel insignificant I will remember my goals. Today I will be the master of my emotions. - Og Mandino

Monday, April 04, 2011

Does it need to be said?

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I was on hand to hear Scott D. tell his AA story Saturday night. He's one of my favorite people and someone to whom I really look up to.

that I'm back just enjoying every minute of my life. I love it when this happens. Nothing seems to bother me. Even things that ordinarily bother just seem to slip away almost un-noticed.

for the great lines and mantras I've heard and learned in recovery. I'm going to share a few of them this week. One of my favorites is ...

Does it need to be said? Does it need to be said right now? Does it need to be said by me?

This has kept me out of arguments and helped prevent having to make future amends. Many times. Sometimes numerous times in a day. Try it. You'll like it.

Whoever is happy will make others happy too.

- Anne Frank

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Arrogance of Authority

A DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas and talked with an old rancher. He told the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs." The rancher said, "Okay, but don't go in that field over there.....", as he pointed out the location.

The DEA officer verbally exploded saying, "Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me!" Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher. "See this badge?! This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish.... On any land !! No questions asked or answers given!! Have I made myself you understand ?!!"

The rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up, and saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher's big Santa Gertrudis bull...... With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he'd sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified. The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs.....

(I just love this part....)

"Your badge, show him your BADGE........ ! !"

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Build a jeep

8 soldiers pull up on a main street in Halifax , Nova Scotia on some holiday. They're in a standard issue WWII type Willys Jeep. In the span of about 5 to 6 minutes they completely disassemble the vehicle and reassemble it and drive off in it, fully operable! The idea is to show the genius that went into the making of the jeep and its basic simplicity. Fantastic.

Friday, April 01, 2011

I am an April fool

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I got past the need to go to bars. It took about 9 months of sobriety, but it happened. Naturally. I just got tired of being sober around a bunch of drinking people. I know a lot of people in "recovery" who still frequent the bars. From time to time, I hear about one of them relapsing. It's never a surprise.

that doing things differently results in different things happening

that sometimes I even listen to my own advice!

that my Houston Astros begin their season today which will end at the end of September. This team is not likely to make any playoffs in October. But they're my team and I follow them in the bad times as well as the good.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.