"Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others." Buddha

In life we too often rely on others to "fix" our problems. Our spouses, our therapists, parents, co-workers, etc...How often I have heard "I am going to stay sober for such and such..." or "I go to Church because my parents want me to." Is this really what we want? Do we want what we do on a day to day basis, or do we rely on others for our motivation. The only way one can truly change is to really want it. Not to do it because someone else wants it. Now, if someone came into the program for someone else and stays for themselves, that is beautiful. If someone goes to church for someone else and finds their Higher Power on their own and stays for that, then it is awesome.

Their is a story I heard about a young boy who wanted to earn his allowance. His Mom told him that if he cleaned the windows really good, with no spots, he could have his allowance. He went outside and started to clean the windows, and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. He stayed out for so long his Mom came out. He said he was sorry but no matter how hard he cleaned, their were still spots on the window. His Mom smiled and told him that the spots were on the inside of the window and he needed to clean inside too.

This is like us, no matter how hard we clean the outside appearance, our inside must be clean to see no spots.

Like the program says...Clean House, Trust God, and Help Others. All will be well....

Today I am grateful for:
  • Meeting today.
  • Church and the message it brought to be committed to my Higher Power.
  • My wife and her patience with our wonderful daughter in these wonderful times of a two year old!!!!
  • My commitment to the program and my Higher Power growing everyday.
  • Saying Thank You tonight. Thank you I didn't pick up today.


Keeping my side of the street clean...

This week there were a lot of trials for me to remember to stay on my side of the street, and to keep it clean. Some of the tests I passed, others I failed. However, in all of these instances, I remembered what I needed to do, I just didn't do it!!! The reality in life is that we all want to feel more than..more special than we are, more unique than we are, more important than someone else..etc...the reality is as long as my house is clean, I can invite other people over. I am not going to throw a Superbowl party and then ask you to clean my bathroom as you leave, am I? Expecting others to keep our streets or house clean is a joke. People will not, and frankly cannot, help us with our shortcomings, or insecurities. It comes from within, and from whatever Higher Power we have. Mine is God, and this week he worked with me, and is teaching me what I need to stay sober for today.

Today I am grateful for:
  • My favorite meeting and getting a hug from an old sponsor that let me know everything was ok between him and I.
  • Watching my daughter in her first gymnastics class, if I was not sober, I am not sure I would be allowed to do that, or be able to do that.
  • Looking forward to another meeting tonight and tomorrow, I have some make-ups to do in my 90 in 90.
  • God on my mind....
  • .....and I am on His....



"Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear." Lao-Tzu

I stole this from another blog I read. I LOVE IT! The more we sit in a situation, or our lives and are calm. The clearer answers become. Have you noticed that when there is chaos reigning around you the calmer you remain, the calmer the situation becomes. Either that or the chaos leaves where the calmness is....I just love this quote and there are so many interpretations. What is yours?

Today I am grateful for:
  • Clear head and heart for today.
  • Treating my disease.
  • Working with others and beating my disease for today.
  • God and His changing of my obsessions...


Today I just want to be grateful...no special feelings, actually feeling tired, but in a good way.

Today I am grateful for:
  • The beauty of the sunset over the ocean as I picked my daughter up.
  • Sound mind today.
  • Hearing the State of the Union with a clear head, I think I was not in a good place last year.
  • My love for my family.
  • God doing for me...


Brutal Honesty...Nature of my situation

"I am an alcoholic. If I drink I will die. My, what power, energy, and emotion this simple statement generates in me! But it's really all I need to know for today. Am I willing to stay alive today? Am I willing to stay sober today? Am I willing to ask for help and am I willing to be a help to another suffering alcoholic today? Have I discovered the fatal nature of my situation? WHat must I do, today, to stay sober?" Daily Reflections, January 26th pg. 34

My disease is progressive and terminal. Today I know this. I have no power over the second drink. My only defense comes before taking that second drink. I am breathing a sigh of relief that I don't have to drink anymore, I am relieved at this, not angry.

Today I am grateful:
  • To keep finding good meetings.
  • To keep fighting the fight.
  • Work picking up.....
  • Loving myself even more each day.



I have been learning to be patient. In sobriety and life...I want to have 10 years of clarity of sobriety and NOT be patient to move through the process. Same in my business. I want things to happen NOW and not when they should or need to happen. The worst is that I want my Higher Power to do what I want NOW, when I want it and not when I know he KNOWS it is good for me.

I pray everyday for patience. With my wife, daughter, events, actions, people, places and things! The more patient we are in life, the better action we produce...!!!!

Today I am grateful for:
  • The work phone call that I waited for, and the good outcome.
  • Clearly waking up this morning.
  • My daughter and her smile.
  • The anxious feeling of the other shoe dropping slowly slowly leaving!



Taking direction has always been hard for me, in and out of recovery. Even before I started drinking, there was something in me that did not want to listen. Today, I feel like I am starting to turn my will over to a Higher Power, and in truth all that means is taking direction. Whether it be from my sponsor, another alcoholic, my boss, a friend, my wife, my Higher Power or whomever, I feel that I keep an open mind and heart. That is really what this life is about. Keeping our Heart open and honest.

It makes sense to me that if our Heart is hurting emotionally, then we are not doing well. Think about it, if someone stabs you in the heart with a knife, if you don't get help ASAP you will die. Emotional hurt does the same thing to our spirit and soul. We need to heal this as soon as it happens. I do this by letting resentment go, helping others, and praying and speaking to my Higher Power. All of us, alcoholic or not, need to understand that we should take direction from others, and from our Higher Power. People who have been thru what we have understand better how to get to the other end. Sometimes if we just listen and follow direction our lives will be so much better....resisting this only makes it worse for us in the end.

Today I am grateful for:
  • My sponsor.
  • Being a little less anxious everyday.
  • My daughter, and her reaction to watching the Ocean this morning.
  • Being able to go look at the Ocean this morning, not everyone gets to do that. It is an experience of peace that nothing else can bring.
  • My Higher Power directing me and showing me Love.



"...who have walked the A.A. path out of Hell by packaging their lives, with out alcohol, into twenty-four hour segments, during which they practice a few principles to the best of their individual abilities. And then I know again that, while it isn't always easy, if I keep it simple, it works." Daily Reflections, January 22nd.

Sometimes in life we want to over complicate things. Make things bigger and harder than they are. We do that in all walks of life and relationships. We make marriage harder, work harder and worship harder. The reality of everything is that there are simple principles to follow and our lives will not be so complicated and hard. Love yourself and treat people like you want to be treated. Is that so hard? Sometimes YES! All kidding aside, these simple principles in life, and in the program, can help us accomplish our greatest, and hardest tasks.

For me it is not hard. Do not drink or use NO MATTER WHAT! IF I can separate my life into one day at a time, I can make that easy. If I see myself and Love myself as my Higher Power does, then it is easier to treat other people with love and respect. This is my program, and no matter how simple it sounds, it is really hard for me! Keep is simple, and it will be simply amazing.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Friday.
  • Getting a bit more organized.
  • Finding meetings that I love.
  • Being of service to another alcoholic, I really needed that this week.
  • Knowing that no matter what it is, it will change!



I just wanted to post today how grateful I am in this journey of recovery. Last night, I was able to sit on a panel and speak to some people in a lock down detox unit. We were able to bring a meeting to them and to see where I could be if I let this disease ruin me and my life. These people had little hope in their hearts and I hope some of my words, as well as the words of my fellow panel members, touched one of these people and they can make better choices when they get out.

I learned again last night that no matter the person, alcohol is the great equalizer. We, as alcoholics, must realize this and treat our disease accordingly.

Today I am grateful:
  • That I am not in a hospital or detox unit, as I could just as easily be there as here..
  • That my wife is supportive of my recovery efforts and we try to spend as much time together as possible..
  • That my daughter is liking her pre-school more and more.
  • That God is helping me everyday..



The dictionary defines Sane as such:

free from mental derangement; having a sound, healthy mind: a sane person.
having or showing reason, sound judgment, or good sense: sane advice.
sound; healthy.

In step 2 of our program we are promised that our Higher Power can restore us to sanity. It is true that most people in this program were at one point insane. Maybe not clinically or legally insane, however our actions and thoughts were insane.

As we work this program, and really change our lives, we start to make decisions that most rational and sane people would, not what we would do in our old lives.

I still find myself going to that "insane" place sometimes, and I have to breathe, remember how I am getting better and turn my thoughts over to my Higher Power. That is the way that I can free myself from the insanity of my own thoughts.

Today I am grateful for:
  • NOT being sick anymore. I really do take my health for granted.
  • Being sober today.
  • Being able to speak in a panel tonight to other alcoholics who suffer, starting my service journey.
  • God slowly changing me.


Letting resentment go....

Today at my meeting the speaker shared of finally being able to rid herself of a resentment after 7 years. That seems like a long time, however, if you heard the story you would think that it was 100 years too soon...She told us it became like an infection that would not go away, hurting her body day after day after day. I marveled how she let it go, and how many people have to do that in this program.

What it taught me was that our healing REQUIRES us to forgive. If we don't there is not a way in the world we can heal ourselves. The goal of this program is to be happy, joyous and free. There is no way to do this if we hold on to our past, our resentments. I see people in the rooms that are bitter and hurt. They never seem to have that peace or contentment in the world around them. There is a certain air of unhappiness around them and their demeanor. On the contrary, the people who have taken inventory, forgiven and realized their part are calm, happy, joyous and free. You can sense it as you hear them share and speak to them. In and out of the rooms of AA, we all need to forgive. IT is SO hard sometimes, but most of the time we forgive for OUR souls not for another person. That is up to our Higher Power.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Being able to get our groceries...with all this moving and expenses it has been tight.
  • My daughter not throwing up anymore, I felt so bad for her.
  • My clear head today, knowing the next right move.
  • God healing my heart.



As I try to retreat from my own insanity, I am noticing more and more that most people in the world want control things. As I learn how to let GO I see more and more people not letting go and getting so frustrated over things that they cannot change or make happen. I work with some people like this and the one thing I have learned in my program is dealing with them is almost like working a twelve step on them! I am NOT able to control their thoughts, feelings, or actions, and frankly I have stopped trying. It is remarkable to me to see the change that occurs in me when I give it up to my higher power. The world is a much calmer and safer place for me. My focus becomes a bit more "laser" as you will and I get a little happier.

Growing up around people who like to control and an environment that made me try to control everything, it is hard to break this pattern. To truly understand that I am NOT going to make things happen by my will...is the real blessing and a tangible blessing of this program.

Today I am grateful for:
  • A problem working itself out at work.
  • Having success this year at being more calm.
  • Learning how to live in my moment and not in the future or past.
  • Meetings and the people I meet there.



At a meeting today the topic was "being in a funk" Within sobriety, and life frankly, we all get down, depressed, glum, sluggish and generally in a funk. The leader asked for sharing on how to get out of this funk. Sometimes when we are in recovery and ALL we do is AA or recovery work, it can drive us insane!!! The best thing to do, for me, when I am in a funk is to help someone else, or talk to someone else. This gets us out of our head, and gets us unfocused on what is wrong with us, we get to feel how someone else is doing. Getting involved with helping someone else gets us out of our VERY SELFISH mode and our funk.

Today was rough for me, I am not sure why, but without pain there is no change. I am changing and I am feeling good about it...

Today I am grateful for:
  • Some pain to get some gain...
  • God helping my family and myself..
  • Honesty coming out in my life.....


Character defects...

I have heard that we work on whichever character defect is killing us at the moment. For me it is patience and trusting God. It is hard sometimes to "Let go and Let God" or 'Be Calm God takes care of it" when things seem to be so giant at the time. There is no greater problem at the moment and there is no solution in the future it seems. How can I possibly be calm or quiet when every part of me wants to scream and try and control the situation. This is not possible. This is not going to do anything, to interject and always try and get MY WILL forced. I have heard someone way that no matter how good or BAD a situation is, it will change. In my alcoholic experience, I have been the one to change the situation, however, the reality is I did very little. I probably hurt the situation and did not help it.

My problems, as great as they seem to me, are not as great as some. If I have patience and trust that I will be taken care of, it shall be so. Even if it is not, a drink will not take care of it for me! Although, I used to think it would!!!

Today I am grateful for:
  • Not being hungover.
  • The time I get in the morning with my daughter.
  • A new meeting tonight, and hoping I LOVE IT.
  • The trust in God that a situation will work out as it must, there is no other way!



Which side of the fence are we on? Where does our commitment lie in life? Are we not committed, partially committed or FULLY committed. As an alcoholic I have lived my life as partially committed, to sobriety, work or anything else. I was FULLY committed to alcohol and finding the drink. I would find any means possible to get my fix, and that was INSANITY! I find today that being half in recovery and half out, means that we are FULLY out! There is no partial anymore with me, my commitment to to be happy joyous and FREE! The only way to do that is to be a PART of AA and to fully commit to my Higher Power, whom I call GOD.

It is hard for me to write about myself being a top notch Bullshit artist. Everyone who knows me, knows this is true. This skill has really been useful to me in sales and my career. However, it has also been an absolute nightmare to use when I try to manipulate and influence things in the negative way. I used to really try to avoid realizing this character defect. Saying "No not me, I don't Bullshit, I am a man of my word" That was a bunch of malarkey. Today I am striving to be a man of my word. I hope to regain the trust of those who have no confidence in me, and I know if I stay with my program, each day I can get some back. Only in living today!

Today I am grateful for:
  • My meeting last night and the new sponsor I have.
  • Getting up early today and meeting a goal I set for myself.
  • The fun I have with my daughter in the morning.
  • God taking some of my worries today, just living in today!

Restraint of tongue (and pen)

I heard a little saying today. Each of us has in our hands a bucket of water and a bucket of gas. When an event or something flares up, i.e. confrontation, worries, someone/something bothering us, we can either use our bucket of gas to fuel this fire or our bucket of water to help to stop the fire. This is so important in life and in sobriety. When we come across an event or person or thing that starts to flame up, or starts a fire with us, WE are free to choose what tool to use. To be calm and to help the situation with our water is what is going to help us be better people, and live better lives. I have heard that God stands next to us with His arm over our shoulder and His hand over our mouth! How true this is.

This practice is easier when we are confronted in life by someone/thing in person, but what about an email or letter or something else? In this day and age, it is easy to lash out with our keyboard or "pen". To respond quicker and not even think about what we are saying or writing. In a meeting yesterday I heard a man say that his sponsor told him not to write any e mails after 5 oclock! It was something that helped him to think more after a hard stressful day. With me, I often try and wait 24 hours before I respond to an e-mail I find flaring, if I have that long, if not I really try and type how I would calmly speak to the person in front of me. I am not even close to perfect in this, however, I really can hold my "pen" the longer I wait to respond. In this age of texting, e mailing, blackberry PIN, and instant message, we need to guard our words in electronic form, just as close as those that come out of our mouths!

Today I am grateful for:
  • Renewing a commitment I made with myself.
  • Hearing a message about God this morning that I really needed to hear.
  • Knowing that I can pause and think before responding, and that is my best tool in my belt today!
  • God doing for me, as long as I try and listen!!!


Self...most important being of all..

To be fair, alcoholics are selfish, which is why when we act out while drinking the only person that matters is ME ME ME. It doesn't matter if you are related, not related, nice, mean or whomever, we will RUN OVER YOU to get what we want. Lie, cheat, steal, manipulate and portray whatever we can to get what we want. I did all these things, and struggle on a daily basis to quench the fires that this Demon starts.
However, as I heard today at a meeting, healing self is the most important aspect of our sobriety. The funny thing is as we release our selfish ways, we tend to love ourselves more, to see what we really can be and what we love about ourselves. A woman today at the meeting talked about learning to love herself in the beginning of sobriety. She would carry a picture of her as a little girl and when she wanted to self deprecate or hate she would look at that picture, of that child, she would think of how she would treat that child. The love that she would have for that child, and how others would love that child. That really was interesting to me. In sobriety we must put our self first, but not in a selfish or hurtful way. We need to understand the difference, loving ourself is very different from being selfish and just trying to get what we want. I hope to learn to love myself, and put myself first, but in a good and healthy way.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Returning to my favorite meeting and taking a commitment to help out. This helps me maintain my sobriety.
  • The great big hug my daughter gave me this morning.
  • Finding another alcoholic to talk to, and to take me thru the steps.
  • Letting God take care of a problem I have, and KNOWING it will work out.


Poor in spirit...

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven." Some of the most famous words that Jesus said. What does that mean for us? Should we be "poor spirited" or glum? Should we spend our days with our head down? This is not even close to what Jesus meant when he uttered these words. The Poor in Spirit have emptied themselves of all desires to exercise self will. This is what Jesus meant, to follow God's will and not ours.

This is such an important part of my program. To quench my desires and wants, even if I feel that they are just or deserved. To be meek, or poor in spirit, is to be humble. To know that the path I am headed down CANNOT be done on my own, that my will is never going to get me closer to God or His plan for me. Have you ever noticed that the more you try to control outcomes or events in our lives, the opposite things seem to happen? When we TRUST, when we work our program, whatever that might be, things flow smoother and happier for us.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Early morning waking up and being clear in my head.
  • A good nights sleep.
  • Closer to this weekend.
  • Finding an inner peace daily, something that I have been searching for a lot lately...


Quiet Desperation...

At a meeting this evening, a man shared that after his upteenth DUI, he walked out of jail and didn't have an answer. He was leading a life of "quiet desperation". Most all, wait, all alcoholics lead these types of lives. Walking thru life desperately trying to find something, someone that will change how we feel inside. Alcohol works best, its like an instant change of our feelings. Everyone is our friend and we are amazingly charming and witty and WOW! Yet all the while, we silently know that it will NEVER change, and it will never help us feel what we really need to feel. We need to feel ourself...we need to not live this desperate life, seeking, searching for whatever gives us our "high".

It really comes down to one thing. Are we desperate enough to change....to make real progress in our lives and really make that change for the ages. Each of us, whether alcoholic or not, has something we want to change. Being desperate is the only way to do that, desperate for change...

Today I am grateful for:
  • My desperation to change.
  • Having a job in this economy.
  • Finding new meetings in my area, and knowing if I don't like one, there are a million others!
  • Trudging the road of happy destiny and finding some of you on the same path!


Free Will.....or is it?

I am reading an amazing book right now. It is called "Sermon on the Mount" by Emmet Fox. It basically breaks down the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus into "..keys to success in life." There is an interesting thought process that Emmet shares. "All day long the thoughts that occupy your mind, your Secret Place, as Jesus calls it, are moulding your destiny for good or evil; in fact, the truth is that the whole of our life's experience is but the outer expression of our inner thought." He continues with this quote: "We have free will, but our free will lies in our choice of thought."

This simple concept is one that has been lost on me for a long time. The more we think about, or obsess on something, the more likely it is that we will gravitate towards that thought. If I think about drinking 24/7 at some point I am going to pick up the drink. Whatever it is that we think about that is where our actions lie. If we fill our hearts and mind with gratitude and service that is what our life will reflect. I found it amazingly freeing to understand that as long as I direct my thoughts, my actions will follow. Easier said than done, but a great start to a day!

Today I am grateful for:
  • Finally having a bed to sleep on!
  • Being 98% done with our move.
  • My old landlord, who is in the program, who is helping us out when we need it the most.
  • Learning that I don't have to not drink ever again, just today, that is all I have. Today.


From the Ashes rises....

....A Phoenix...

Its nice to have a restart button for the New Year. It is the fourth of January and I am finally "home". With the insanity of the holidays, as well as moving into a new home, I finally feel I can start some of the projects and goals for 2010. Although I am not a fan of resolutions, I am a fan of resolve. Meaning, I don't want to outline a project or idea I have and call it a resolution, I just want to be more resolute about my resolve. I have moved into a new area and with that have found some new meetings and places to go to help me retreat from my insanity. I am grateful that wherever I find myself, I can find people who think like me, and who know of my struggles. Change happens from within, whether its the 1st of the year or the first hour of the day.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Becoming closer to my family.
  • Becoming closer to my wife.
  • Becoming closer to myself.
  • Becoming closer with God.
  • Trusting...when every ounce of my being wants me to run...