Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Every Four Years

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I took that leap of faith and surrendered my drinking to my HP --- 8 1/2 years ago

that I have so much in common with many of my friends.  We also have big differences.  But whatever those differences may be, we get along because we have a program of recovery from alcoholism.  It shows me how to be an individual amongst my fellow men.  It shows me how to live my life as a sober man.  And it helps me to live on a level playing field with the normal world (whatever that is).

that it's so much fun to be of service to others; my alternative would be to isolate.  Now I understand why they told me that isolating is one of the most selfish acts there is.

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

another sober day

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

another day of waking up totally sober.  I rarely got hangovers during my 33-year drinking career.  I usually jumped out of bed at 5 or 6am, ready for the new day.  But I certainly wasn't sober, had I been given a blood/alcohol test.  It amazes me that I often drove van-loads of employees to and from airports, hotels and port calls when I was not sober.  I never even gave it a thought that it might not be the smartest thing to be doing.

that one of my bestest recovery buddies had an amazing past 2 weeks.  He got to work on the most important parts of his 9th step (with family) and also be present for his dad's illness.  At dinner last night I got to see the amazement he is experiencing.  I recognized it because I was there too. 

damn!  I love being sober!!

There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth
- not going all the way and not starting.
- The Buddha

Monday, February 27, 2012


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I was told to change people, places and things when I was first getting sober.
... people.  check
... places.  check
... things.  what the hell are things?

that I often get to do things my way.  Then I pay the consequences.

that I do my best to always stay positive.  Things can always be worse.

Far better is it to dare mighty things,
to win glorious triumphs,
even though chequered by failure,
than to take rank with those poor spirits
who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory or defeat.
- Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, February 26, 2012



by Mary Anne Radmacher

Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes Courage Is The Quiet Voice
at the end of the day saying,
"I will try again tomorrow."

Long ago I picked up the notion that courage involved grand gestures and was rather loud. The deafening roar of a blazing fire orchestrating the courage of the fire professional who runs in to burning buildings instead of out as every impulse
in my body would dictate.
A lion. That earth trembling roar that announces, “Here is the king.” Maybe the movies. Or a soldier. Or the deafening whoosh of an Olympic competitor rising from a fall.
I began seeing courage in different terms… with the volume turned down.
Over twenty years ago a good friend came to me in tears. The requirements on her as an adoptive mom were overwhelming. The needs that her precious daughter brought with her from another country were a puzzle to her. A puzzle written in a language she did not speak with many pieces missing. I wrote a poem for her that began, “Sometimes there aren't any trumpets…just lots of dragons.” The piece of comfort for my friend, became, in time, the rewritten piece that forms this headline.
This aphorism has comforted me on some spectacularly discouraging days. Called me when I wavered close to giving up. I would hear, “courage doesn't always roar…” and it made me realize that my tomorrow gave me another opportunity. Sometimes just an insight, or seeing the truth, constitutes the real roar of courage. More than any other phrase I have written, this walks with me as my teacher and cheerleader. I have come to understand that is true for other people, as well.
Sometimes courage expresses itself by simply acting on instinct and reaching out to
someone. Not necessarily reaching through fire, but reaching nonetheless. An executive
who kept a small stash of my writings in her desk, “for special occasions” stepped into my store one day and shared an amazing account of this phrase with me -
A co worker had seemed out of sorts for the last few days. She wasn't close to him and
didn't feel comfortable asking if something was wrong. Before she left she followed an impulse. She put a little card with the courage quote in the center of his desk.
What she learned early the following Monday was stunning. He returned to the office Saturday morning to put his office in order. He planned to take his life later that day. The message in the middle of his desk prompted his call to a suicide hotline where he started in with help and healing. The following week, through the known habit that this woman had of sharing my writings with folks, he went to her and told her his story.
A small gesture. A few words. A quiet whisper, really.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Wisdom of Gandhi

Mohandas Gandhi (1869–1948), also known as Mahatma Gandhi, was the inspiring and unstoppable political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement. He advocated and practiced total non-violent mass civil disobedience, which led India to independence from the British and inspired civil rights movements around the world. He is officially honored in India as the Father of the Nation.

Gandhi said:

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

We must become the change we wish to see in the world.

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.

An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.

God has no religion. Each one prays to God according to his own light.

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.

Everyone who wills can hear the inner voice. It is within everyone.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.

I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.

If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.

It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.

Man lives freely only by his readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of his brother, never by killing him.

Nobody can hurt me without my permission.

Peace is its own reward.

The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.

Though we may know Him by a thousand names, He is one and the same to us all.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Payoff ......

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm sober today and plan to stay that way.  The payoff is worth it.

that it takes so little effort to be nice.  The payoff is always worth it.

that my HP seems to do just fine as long as I stay out of the way.  The payoff is worth it.

that I'm a pretty good organizer.  The payoff is worth it.

I could go on and on and on, but I won't.  The payoff will be worth it.

To bear defeat with dignity,
to accept criticism with poise,
to receive honors with humility -
these are marks of maturity and graciousness.
- William Arthur Ward

Thursday, February 23, 2012

under new management

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I don't have to try to stay sober all by myself.  I know (for a fact) that I couldn't stop drinking without the intervention of my HP.  Now in my 9th year of continuous sobriety, my HP keeps evolving into a concept entirely different from a few years ago.  This seems to happen because of the AA meetings I attend and because of my other experiences in sobriety.  The fellowship and service I get involed with plays a huge part.  But take those away and it will always be my HP that keeps me sober.  I know this.  I can't ever afford to let that relationship stagnate.

Thanks for being a part of my recovery.

Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all --
the apathy of human beings.
- Helen Keller

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Imagine Life Without Faith!

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for feelings of desperation which forced me to become open-minded enough to allow the concept of a Higher Power to enter my conscious thinking.  The Wright Brothers had faith, as described on pages 52 and 53 of the Big Book. 

that I have progressed enough to totally believe that things will always work out how they should.  This does not mean that I'll like the way they turn out.  Damnit.

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are
something to do,
something to love,
and something to hope for.
- Joseph Addison

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I have some tools to help me handle life as it happens.  While I was still drinking, I acted and reacted to life in such different ways than I do today.  This morning, I had to let go of a potential resentment.  In my morning contact with my HP, I had to do a quick 4th step and it helped tremendously.  I remembered MY part in the situation.  My anger subsided and with this writing, I think I can just let it go. 

That's SO cool, me thinques.

That's all I got today.  Y'all be careful out there, now.

Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance you must keep moving.

- Albert Einstein

Monday, February 20, 2012

Yo! It's Monday ........

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that there is so much I don't know

that there is so much I can learn

to all the people (from so many different backgrounds) who have become part of my recovery from my wrong thinking

that I lived through a 2 hour Board meeting last night at my recovery center.  I'm the secretary so I (a)  had to take minutes  (b) couldn't just get up and leave.

At times our own light goes out
and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
- Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, February 19, 2012

This, above all ...

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
- William Shakespeare
If Bill were around today, I think he would appreciate hearing the flight attendant say, "Put on your own oxygen mask first." Before any of us can be of service to others, or provide valuable council, we must empower our own lives. Only as happy, fully self-expressed individuals who set an example of living a great life, can we presume to suggest to others how they might improve the quality of their own lives. We are most powerful when we set an example.

Consider a parent who says, "Look at the sacrifices I'm making so you can have a better life." Contrast that with another parent who demonstrates living a great life every day. Self-sacrifice is not a virtue. Living a great life and sharing that life with others is the noble way to live.

Here are 5 ways to make a difference in the world by being true to yourself:

1. Set an example for your children and others. Live a life you hope your children will emulate.

2. Aspire to a successful career. You can't contribute money or material goods to any worthwhile cause if you don't have any. You best set an example by being successful AND generous.

3. Generate your own happiness and radiate that happiness into the world. People enjoy being around happy people, and they become happy themselves as a result.

4. Set boundaries. When you reach the limit of what you can contribute while still maintaining your inner peace and serenity, say NO to additional requests for your time and energy. Whenever you let urgency compromise your happiness, you lose your ability to set an example by leading a great life - as well as losing your own happiness.

5. Think for yourself - don't blindly follow tradition or the conventions of your family, community, or religion. Making your own choices gives you the opportunity to live a life you love, and to set an example of open-minded thinking and compassion.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tips on Journaling

Try Daily Journaling - 7 Hints for Beginning a Rewarding Journaling Practice
If you have never experienced the practice of daily journaling, give it a try. I* highly recommend it. When I say "journaling," I am not referring to a diary in which to record the events of your life, I am talking about a place to record your feelings - a friend with whom to share your troubles, fears, hopes, and dreams.

To get the most out of journaling, consider these suggestions:

1. Begin today. Like most everything that is life-enhancing, but optional, the practice of journaling is easy to put off. If you don't start today, you are less likely to begin tomorrow, and by the next day, you will have lost the inspiration forever.

2. Journal every day, preferably at the same time. Habits, whether healthy repetitions or unhealthy addictions, are the backbone of our lives. Support your journaling habit by reenforcing it daily.

3. Write longhand. There is nothing friendly about a computer keyboard. Let the movements of your pen be an extension of your being.

4. Honor yourself with a bound journal book and a smooth-writing pen. Neither has to be expensive, but they should feel good to your touch and inspire you to feel good about yourself and your connection with your words.

5. Just let the words flow. Don't pause, don't edit your thoughts, don't mind your spelling or your grammar, don't re-read what you have written. This is a time to release emotions. While there is value in reading your journal at a later time, the greatest value of journaling is in the writing. I am not recommending that you burn your journal book, but if you did, you would still receive vast benefit from the practice.

6. Fully express your emotions. Everywhere else in life, we censor our feelings. It becomes a habit to pretend that we are not really angry, not really regretful, not really hurt, not really afraid. Your journal is the one friend with whom you can truly share the depth of your emotion. Go ahead and say, "I'm afraid." Go ahead and tell your journal, "I'm panicked," or even "I'm terrified," if that is your feeling at this moment.

7. Write until you are drained. At first, it will seem that you have an endless stream of complaints, but you will be surprised to suddenly reach a moment when you find that you have named every trouble, and you feel drained. That is the moment when an unfamiliar peace descends, and the world appears as an empty canvas rather than as a hostile bully.
* I don't know who wrote this.  It wasn't me, so I can't take the credit nor blame. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy birthday MOM!

My mother in 1958, age 35

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for my mother, Patricia.  She was a wonderful teacher throughout my life, although for many of my (drinking) years I did my best to NOT pay attention.  She was totally understanding and a very compassionate woman.  Her christian beliefs were her foundation. 
She suffered major strokes, in 2001 and 2005.  She never was able to recover from the last one and died 3 years later.  During those 3 years we formed a bond that we had never had before.  My sister and I were her caretakers although she had to live in a home with comprehensive nursing (24 hours/day).

Due to her illness, I learned the importance of leaning on my Higher Power.  Every day before spending time with her, I said a short prayer to my HP to help me be of utmost service to her.  Thsi was something entirely new for me.  It really changed me and brought me closer to God as I understand Him.

Had she lived, today Mom would be 89.  But she was ready to go at the age of 85, having lived a full and complete life.  We talk (well, I talk and she listens) occasionally and I know she's watching over me as I continue to trudge the road.

Happy birthday Mom.

Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself.
You will then find out how easy it is to get along.

- Paramahansa Yogananda

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happiness is Free!

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm alive and sober and in recovery
that I'm almost always happy, joyous and free
that I have a life partner
that I have more friends than sticks to shake at them
for my 3 cats
that I have a wonderful home
that I have enough income to be spoiled (but not rotten)

The best things in life are free.
- Anonymous

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for constant reminders of what it was like.  If you're not in recovery, you probably don't understand what this means.  If you are an alcoholic-in-recovery, you most certainly know what I'm referring to. 
I drank for 33 years; the first 32 were pretty darn good times.  Very few negative consequences (that I knew about).  But my last year of drinking were the worst days of my life.  And they just kept getting worse until I was able to find a Higher Power that took away my obsession to stay drunk.

These constant reminders are given to me mostly in the AA meetings I attend.  Whether it's someone struggling to get sober or stay sober or maybe the topic of a meeting, I get these reminders. 

I do know this -- I do not regret the past nor do I wish to shut the door on it.  It all stays in my memory for a reason.

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.
- Soren Kierkegaard

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Growing up

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air station wagon

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm accountable.  Mainly to myself, but I feel a responsibility to my partner, my sponsor and to everyone I know.  Getting sober at age 49 and then "growing up in public" in my 50's is an experience you must not miss.  LOL

that I have enough courage to do what it takes.  To stay sober and to do my very best to live the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Maturity is the ability to do a job
whether or not you are supervised,
to carry money without spending it,
and to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.

- Ann Landers

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
- e. e. cummings

You have to do your own growing
no matter how tall your grandfather was.

- Abraham Lincoln

Monday, February 13, 2012

Back to work (LOL)

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that the happiness that I'm experiencing lately comes totally from within me.  I don't know how this has happened, but I hope it continues.

that I tend to make a lot of correct choices as compared to "the good old days"

to be reminded of freedom.  It comes in an infinite number of forms.

for the 20+ years we had to enjoy the talent of Whitney Houston

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.
The most certain way to succeed
is always to try just one more time.
- Thomas A. Edison

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy birthday Abe

Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809.

When I do good, I feel good.
When I do bad, I feel bad.
That's my religion.
- Abraham Lincoln

If you look for the bad in people
expecting to find it, you surely will.
- Abraham Lincoln

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
- Abraham Lincoln

Die when I may, I want it said by those who knew me best
that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower
where I thought a flower would grow.
- Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, February 11, 2012


The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
- a fable by Aesop

A Town Mouse once visited a relative who lived in the country. For lunch the Country Mouse served wheat stalks, roots, and acorns, with a dash of cold water for drink. The Town Mouse ate very sparingly, nibbling a little of this and a little of that, and by her manner making it very plain that she ate the simple food only to be polite.

After the meal the friends had a long talk, or rather the Town Mouse talked about her life in the city while the Country Mouse listened. They then went to bed in a cozy nest in the hedgerow and slept in quiet and comfort until morning. In her sleep the Country Mouse dreamed she was a Town Mouse with all the luxuries and delights of city life that her friend had described for her. So the next day when the Town Mouse asked the Country Mouse to go home with her to the city, she gladly said yes.

When they reached the mansion in which the Town Mouse lived, they found on the table in the dining room the leavings of a very fine banquet. There were sweetmeats and jellies, pastries, delicious cheeses, indeed, the most tempting foods that a Mouse can imagine. But just as the Country Mouse was about to nibble a dainty bit of pastry, she heard a Cat mew loudly and scratch at the door. In great fear the Mice scurried to a hiding place, where they lay quite still for a long time, hardly daring to breathe. When at last they ventured back to the feast, the door opened suddenly and in came the servants to clear the table, followed by the House Dog.

The Country Mouse stopped in the Town Mouse's den only long enough to pick up her carpet bag and umbrella.

"You may have luxuries and dainties that I have not," she said as she hurried away, "but I prefer my plain food and simple life in the country with the peace and security that go with it."

Moral: Poverty with security is better than plenty in the midst of fear and uncertainty.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm just full of it today

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for 2 concepts that have saved the lives of countless numbers of alcoholics over the years.  These are (1) Tradition Three of AA's Twelve Traditions. -- "The only requirement for AA membership is the desire to stop drinking."  (2) the freedom to choose a Higher Power or God of my own understanding.

that, today, I have so much freedom to make good choices -- and bad choices.  At the end of my drinking days, the main choice I had every day was when to begin drinking this morning.

for awareness of my freedom

that I've made huge strides in the area of not comparing myself to others

Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating.
Youngsters need good models more than they need critics.
It's one of a parent's greatest responsibilities and opportunities.
- John Wooden

Thursday, February 09, 2012


In a rare departure from my normal format, I have posted this video today.  It is a bit over 8 minutes long.  I hope you can find the time to watch it in full.  If not now, then come back later to see it.  I am pretty damn sure you'll be glad you did.

Have a lovely day.  Full of gratitude.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Hump Day

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful
that I don't over-react to situations as much as I used to do.  As I mentioned yesterday, I'm more passive than ever before + I've learned to shutup and think first.  That's the important part.

for patience

for the ability to observe and learn

to visit with a friend who just returned from 30 days in rehab

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

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

3 is good

The Manning's.  Eli, Peyton and Archie. 

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm teachable and want to learn more. 
My friend Mary Christine gave me some food for thought on her blog (Being Sober) last night.  It concerns the anonymity issue in AA meetings.

that I only occasionally "stir things up" as compared to the way I used to be.  I prefer to be more passive in my daily behavior.  ie:  "I'd rather be happy than right."  "Do NOT engage!"

that I'm off to go get a new driver's license picture taken after my 6:30am meeting this morning.  I could renew my license with my old picture, but I want to update it.  That current picture was teken when I was 3 years sober and 52 years old.  I'm different today. Physically, mentally and emotionally.

To live is to choose. But to choose well,
you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.
- Kofi Annan

Monday, February 06, 2012

feeling rather complete

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that the happiness I feel this morning comes from within and is not dependent on another person

for the (possibly infinite) life lessons I get in recovery

for the progression of my maturity

for that exciting football game.  I really enjoyed it for what it was worth.  I really didn't care who won or lost.

Put some distance between yourself
and whatever is concerning you.
Distance in space or time
always creates a new perspective.

- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Sunday, February 05, 2012

5 Wishes

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last 3 to 12 weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

This post was originally published on Inspiration and Chai.
Bronnie Ware is a writer and songwriter from Australia who spent several years caring for dying people in their homes. She has recently released a full-length book titled 'The Top Five Regrets of the Dying - A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing'. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. For more information, please visit Bronnie's official website at or her blog at

Saturday, February 04, 2012


How to be Happy in Life by Breaking the Cycle of Self-Inflicted Suffering
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

While some people manage to retain their happiness, most of us become more unhappy than happy by the time we enter high school. What happened? We were taught three "facts" that set the stage for a lifetime of unhappiness: "Life is scary," "Life is less scary if you accumulate stuff." and "You and everyone else must follow the rules." Those who accept those "facts" without question embark on a lifetime of what I call "The Cycle of Self-Inflicted Suffering."

The Cycle of Self-Inflicted Suffering has four stages: a. Fear, Neediness, and a sense of Obligation. b. Demands. c. Disappointment. and d. Anger, Resentment and Blame. The Cycle then loops back to Fear/Neediness/Obligation and continues throughout an unhappy person's life unless the Cycle is broken.

Break the Cycle of Self-Inflicted Suffering and you regain your happiness. But how to break the cycle? The only way to break the cycle is to consciously reject one or more of the three false "facts" we were taught.

Here are four paths for breaking the Cycle of Self-Inflicted Suffering...

1. Confront Fear of the Unknown. Our greatest fear is the fear of the unknown. It could also be called fear of the future because the future is unknown. The way to begin to reduce fear of the unknown is to confront that fear. Acknowledge that you don't know what tomorrow may bring and that that causes fear. Once you have shown a light on fear of the unknown, you can address that fear with courage and, if you believe in a Higher Power, a faith and trust in ultimate goodness.

2. Question your Needs. It is human nature to want more "stuff" and to hoard for a "rainy day," but happiness doesn't come from houses, cars, electronic gadgets, or a bank account or retirement fund. Make a list of everything you don't have that you think you need. Make a list of everything that you do have that you think you couldn't live without. Now cross out everything on the first list and at least half the items on the second list. Not only do you not need those things, most of them create more unhappiness than happiness. Feeling needy is a big source of unhappiness that can be eliminated through conscious choice and a continued commitment to simplicity. Question your non-material needs as well. Joyful relationships are wonderful, but you don't need to be in relationship. If you are single, eliminate the thought that something is lacking, and just live each day joyfully.

3. Grant yourself Freedom. Most of us have spent a lifetime believing that we bear huge obligations. Our parents heaped obligations upon us, then our schools, our church, our community, our friends and family. Stop! There is almost nothing you actually need to do. You truly do have choices about what you do and what you don't do. Each time you begin a thought with "I need to..." or "I have to...," pause and ask yourself who is demanding that you do that thing and what the consequences would be if you did something else instead. Make the choices YOU want to make. Take actions from conscious choice and not from fear or unthinking habit.

4. Grant Freedom to others. This is the flip-side of #3. The sky never opened up with a great voice pronouncing how others should dress, speak, vote, worship, spend their leisure time, manage their money, or raise their kids. Your opinions of how others should behave are merely your opinions and having the expectation that others should conform to those opinions is a major cause of unhappiness.
Live and let live - you will be much happier for it.

Friday, February 03, 2012

The Basics

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

Open Mindedness

AA meetings
My Sponsor
The Big Book
Friends in Recovery

You never really understand a person
until you consider things from his point of view.
- Harper Lee

Thursday, February 02, 2012

just havin' fun

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my little bout with pinkeye seems to be over.  I can resume my normal rountine.

for fun in recovery.  Without it, I might as well be drinking again.  I've begun to realize that as I practice the steps (especially step 3) I enjoy life.  When I enjoy life I have fun.  If I'm not enjoying my life, it's pretty hard to have fun.  I can have fun being by myself or with a crowd of friends in recovery.  I can have fun being in an AA or Al Anon meeting.  I can have fun listening to good music.  I can even have fun walking through Walgreen's or a grocery store or a hardware store. 
It just depends on where my head is and my perspective.

The most dangerous phrase in the language is, "We've always done it this way."
- Grace Hopper

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm doing OK. I've been ill with Viral Conjunctivitus (aka - pinkeye) since Sunday night and have hardly left the house.  I can't go to meetings for another day or two becuase it's quite contagious.  But I'm doing fine and thank God for my sobriety insurance.    It consists of everything else I do besides just meetings.

for my regular life.  I'm not usually at home during the day until 2 or 3pm.  Television really sucks.  LOL

for peace

Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself.
- Robert Foster Bennett