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5/24/16 10:54 A

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5/24/16 8:45 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

I walked out the bakery door holding my crescent and coffee. I looked down. On the sidewalk lay a large dog. He was on his back, motionless. A crowd of people was gathering around and staring.

"Oh my God," I said. A man walked up to me. "What's the matter?" he asked. "Haven't you ever seen a dead dog before?"

I was horrified. Then I saw the glimmer of a smile on the man's face. I looked more closely. This is Los Angeles. Even dogs want to be actors. He had told the dog to play dead instead of sit while he was in the bakery. I chuckled and then walked to my car.

I first learned about the value of laughter the year after I got out of treatment. I began working for a law firm in a small town. I was so frightened - of life, of myself, of whether I could stay sober. I was all bound up inside of myself. I worked alongside a woman in her later twenties, a paralegal in the firm. Often our tasks consisted of rather repetitive, unexciting chores. This was in the old days, before computers. Wills had to be typed perfectly; we couldn't use correction fluid or erasers. It wasn't uncommon to get to the last line of the page and make a mistake.

What I remember most about working with this woman was her ability to laugh at herself, at her tasks, at the sometimes gruesome and boring nature of life. To this day, I don't think she knows how much she affected me and how much she taught me. She taught me to laugh.

Laughter takes the pressure off and lightens the load. We can actually feel our body and our chemistry change when the corners of the mouth turn upward toward the heavens in a smile.

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5/24/16 5:45 A

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5/23/16 11:13 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Be aware of yourself and validate your experience. Pay attention to your world, to what's happening, and why. . . . Feel your strength. Value it, and use it.
--Alexandra G. Kaplan

To truly exist in the here and now, we need to feel ourselves in the present. We need to enter each moment without the excess baggage of the past, nor the anticipation of the future.

How do we think or feel in the present? Take away thoughts of other times and we may feel lost and confused. It takes time to learn to live in the present and to trust it. We need to learn that, for as long as we're in the present, we exist. We are.

Imagine the moment as a brand new car. All we need to do is open the door, hop in, and drive away. For that moment, our thoughts will not be focused on cars we used to own or on those we're going to buy in the future. Instead, for that moment, we are in the here and now. That's how each of our moments can be: fresh and clean and exciting.

I can sit in the driver's seat and experience each moment as it occurs. Therein lies my strength.

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5/22/16 9:27 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

The Dark Side

Have you ever gone outside at night and looked closely at the new moon? Or looked through a telescope at the moon when it was crescent shaped? Although what we see is a bright slice, we know there's more. Even when the moon is full and lights the night sky, there's a dark side to the moon.

There's a dark side to us too. We all experience jealousy, envy, bitterness, resentment. How about neediness? Ugh. Who wants to shine a light on that?

What about all those fears? Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of intimacy, fear of going broke, fear of the unknown, fear of growing old, fear of being alone, fear of being with someone, fear of losing control.

Then there are other parts of us that we would prefer to keep darkened and out of sight, parts such as greed, dishonesty, intolerance, disgust, hatred. Although some people have no problem showing anger, others of us prefer to keep that out of sight too. And what about our manipulative part? Who wants anyone to see that?

Some of us may even consider the dark side of ourselves forbidden. We may refuse to acknowledge it exists because we believe it's wrong. Not acknowledging our dark side doesn't wish it out of existence, any more than not seeing the dark side of the moon makes it disappear.

Most sane people agree that they don't want to be controlled by their dark side. We don't want parts of ourselves - jealousy, neediness, and greed - to control our behaviors. But when we don't acknowledge these emotions and traits, they can gain control. The more we try to repress something, the more it fights for its life.

Don't be afraid. Shine a light on that dark part. At least look at it briefly. Acknowledge it's there. Take some of the pressure off. Let yourself be well rounded, instead of one-dimensional. We don't just have a light side, a bright side. Nobody is always loving, always kind, always generous, and always thoughtful.

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5/21/16 9:09 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Vulnerable Honesty

There's a fine line between being vulnerably honest and just being honest. Has a friend ever called early in the morning, right when you were waking up? Can you remember how you talked then, before your defenses were up?

When we're vulnerably honest, our defenses are down. We're gentler, kinder, more open about ourselves. When people preface whatever they're going to say with "I'm just being honest," they're usually going to tell us what they think. Vulnerability doesn't need a preface or an introduction. It comes from the heart, and it speaks for itself.

A man was complaining about something I'd said in one of my books. "Don't you know people will read that and interpret it as encouragement to do anything they want, maybe have an affair and cheat on their husband?" he said. "Or if they're recovering, they'll think it's okay to get high again?"

I started to respond by being defensive. Then I took a deep breath and went into my heart. I explained that was never my intention. I wondered whether he had possibly misinterpreted it? Then I took an even deeper breath and took a chance. "Are you in a lot of pain?" I asked.

It didn't take him long to respond. "Yes, I am in pain. Thank you for asking," he said. "I just discovered my wife had an affair, and I don't know what to do."

When we get those defenses down and come from the heart, it doesn't just help us. It helps other people open up too.

Let's walk!


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5/20/16 8:49 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Letting Go of Worry

What if we knew for certain that everything we're worried about today will work out fine?

What if . . . we had a guarantee that the problem bothering us would be worked out in the most perfect way, and at the best possible time? Furthermore, what if we knew that three years from now we'd be grateful for that problem, and its solution?

What if . . . we knew that even our worst fear would work out for the best?

What if . . . we had a guarantee that everything that's happening, and has happened, in our life was meant to be, planned just for us, and in our best interest?

What if . . . we had a guarantee that the people we love are experiencing exactly what they need in order to become who they're intended to become? Further, what if we had a guarantee that others can be responsible for themselves, and we don't have to control or take responsibility for them?

What if . . . we knew the future was going to be good, and we would have an abundance of resources and guidance to handle whatever comes our way?

What if . . . we knew everything was okay, and we didn't have to worry about a thing? What would we do then?

We'd be free to let go and enjoy life.

Today, I will know that I don't have to worry about anything. If I do worry, I will do it with the understanding that I am choosing to worry, and it is not necessary.

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5/19/16 1:50 P

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Today's thoughts from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation are:

Don't sweat the small stuff, and remember, it's all small stuff.

*****

Drinking didn't cause my problems, living did.

*****

The practicing alcoholic is the only person in the world who can lie in the gutter and still look down on others.

*****

AA meetings are the jumper cables God uses to get love flowing from one alcoholic to another.

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5/18/16 11:50 P

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Trust that good will come.

It was a slow, boring January day. We had just moved in to our new home. Construction wasn't complete. The house was a mess. All we had was a plan and a dream. There wasn't any furniture yet. We were lying around on the floor. It was too cold and rainy to be outdoors.

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

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

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

Across the entire picture, in big letters, he wrote the word "Woohoo!" On the bottom of the wall I wrote, "The future is only limited by what we can see now." He grabbed a marker, crossed out only, and changed it to never. "There," he said, "it's done."

Thank God, the future is never limited by what we can see right now.

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

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

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5/17/16 8:37 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Learning to trust is one of life's most difficult tasks.
-- Isaac Watts

We marry for better or for worse, we expect some ups and downs, but once we feel we've been betrayed, we are lost.

If we've been lied to so many times we can no longer think straight, if we've been fooled into thinking we are at fault for an impossible financial situation because we don't work, don't earn enough, or because we spend too much, or if we've been manipulated into believing that by co-signing a loan all our problems would disappear, we've been betrayed. The person we thought we were supposed to trust and to turn to for emotional support is not being trustworthy or supportive.

Getting through betrayal is a long process, one that both parties must be willing to commit to in the most profound way. If one party is unwilling to be consistently trustworthy and the other is unwilling to forgive, the cracked foundation only crumbles further.

Today I will understand that trust is a core component of any successful relationship, and I will know that I deserve a trustworthy partner.

Let's walk!


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5/16/16 8:48 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

I don't do what I do just so people will think kindly of me. I like doing what I do.
--Janice Clark

We're lucky if we like everything that we do. But many of us have to develop a willingness to like many of the activities we're involved in. Is that unusual? Probably not. Nor does it matter. Acting as if we enjoy a menial task or an unusual pursuit offers us a different perspective on it. Just looking at it through more willing eyes changes not just how we see it, but how we feel about it. Often we discover that we can enjoy that which we dreaded before.

Because we wanted to be liked, and it's human nature to want that, we often volunteered for committees, for jobs, for assignments of all kinds that we didn't want to do. There's no shame in that. But at long last, we can dare to be more selective about what we'll do.

We are needed. That's why we're still alive. And while not everybody likes us, those currently in our circle of acquaintances need us and we need them. The work that is yet to be done relies on all of us. Pitching in begins to feel good when we have the right attitude.

I don't have to like everything I need to do today, but I'll feel more open to all the tasks if I remember they need my input.

Let's walk!


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5/15/16 9:02 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Speak when you're angry and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret.
--Lawrence J. Peter

When we used alcohol or other drugs, most of us were hotheads. We thought we were right. If we were proven wrong, we may have made life hell for everyone. People knew enough to stay away from us.

In recovery, things will still go badly at times. We'll get hurt. And we'll get angry. But now, our anger no longer controls us. We also turn over our anger to our Higher Power. In our groups, we talk about what makes us angry. Then we leave the anger behind when the meeting is over. We find that being at peace is now more important than getting even.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, when I'm angry, help me slow down. Help me remember it's okay to be angry, but it's not okay to abuse people.

Action for the Day

I will remember a time when I turned anger into rage and hurt someone. I will also remember a time I was angry in a respectful way.


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5/14/16 8:49 A

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Today's thoughts from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation are:

Some people grumble because the roses have thorns instead of being grateful that the thorns have roses.

*****

We must learn from the mistakes of others because we won't live long enough to make them all ourselves.

*****

Don't look down on another person unless you are leaning over to help them up.

*****

What a different world this would be if people would magnify their blessings the way they do their troubles.

*****

The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.

*****

Winners - people who tell you what they did and not people who tell you what they think you ought to do.

Let's walk!


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5/13/16 8:50 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

When the well threatens to run dry, it's time to rest and refill.

We can't always be doing and giving and producing. There comes a time when we run out of steam, and that's when we need to know how to replenish our supply of energy and enthusiasm.

Some of us get recharged by being with other people. Some of us need to be quiet and alone. All of us can profit from an inspirational uplift, whether it comes from music, something we read, a conversation with a friend, savoring the beauty of nature, or a period of meditation.

Vacations can be wonderful, but we're not always able to take them when we need them. What we can do is learn how to create for ourselves islands of recreation -- re-creation -- which may be inserted into our busy, everyday schedule. We can learn to stop and refill the well before it runs dry, so we do not drive ourselves into the kind of exhaustion that threatens recovery.

I will build an island of re-creation into today's schedule.

Let's walk!


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5/12/16 10:32 P

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5/12/16 8:38 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

The goal isn't to do a successful inventory. The goal is to dig to the deepest levels of self-honesty.
--Anonymous

The Fourth Step is the hardest one for many newcomers in the Program. It is so difficult, in fact, that some of us still waiting to do it are no longer newcomers.

It's so hard to be honest with ourselves, that some of us never accomplish it. The consequence of this is low self-esteem, which draws us toward failure.

Help is available, though. God, who knows all about us, is willing to help us get honest with ourselves. We only need to ask. Until we become honest with ourselves, we can't grow spiritually.

Today I pledge to be honest.

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5/12/16 3:34 A

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5/11/16 8:47 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

I took the portion that was given to me and gave it to him.
--The Babylonian Talmud

Newcomer

Are there any rules about how to find a sponsor?

Sponsor

Some meetings have interim sponsorship programs. An interim sponsor works with a newcomer temporarily - a few weeks to a few months - while he or she looks for a regular tong-term sponsor. Sometimes, an interim sponsor becomes the newcomer's regular sponsor, if they both agree to it.

Long-term sponsorship is a relationship of trust, one that's likely to have a significant impact on the process of recovery. It's not a good idea to choose impulsively. When we attend meetings, we listen closely as people qualify or share. We'll hear people who have the serenity and sober experience we ourselves want. If we hear someone we think we'd like to ask to be our sponsor, we try phoning or going out for coffee with him or her first. We soon know whether or not we have the willingness to share and to listen. We sense whether this is someone whose guidance we can trust.

Sponsors should have a minimum of one year of recovery. It's suggested that a sponsor's gender not be that of his or her sponsee's sexual preference, for example, a heterosexual woman generally shouldn't choose a heterosexual male sponsor. It's a suggestion, not a rule, meant to keep the way clear, so that the sponsors and sponsees don't get distracted from their goal. The goal is continued, quality recovery - for both the sponsor and the sponsee.

Today, I welcome a sponsor-sponsee relationship that encourages and supports my recovery.

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5/10/16 10:42 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Go with the flow

Let go of fear and your need to control. Relinquish anxiety. Let it slip away, as you dive into the river of the present moment, the river of your life, your place in the universe.

Stop trying to force the direction. Try not to swim against the current, unless it is necessary for your survival. If you've been clinging to a branch at the riverside, let go.

Let yourself move forward. Let yourself be moved forward.

Avoid the rapids when possible. If you can't, stay relaxed. Staying relaxed can take you safely through fierce currents. If you go under for a moment, allow yourself to surface naturally. You will.

Appreciate the beauty of the scenery as it is. See things with freshness, with newness. You shall never pass by today's scenery again!

Don't think too hard about things. The flow is meant to be experienced. Within it, care for yourself. You are part of the flow, an important part. Work with the flow. Work within the flow. Thrashing about isn't necessary. Let the flow help you care for yourself. Let it help you set boundaries, make decisions, and get you where you need to be when it is time. You can trust the flow, and your part in it.

Today, I will go with the flow.

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5/10/16 3:51 A

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5/9/16 10:42 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Ordinary moments

Saving a time for quiet appreciation...

An aesthetic life, in the broad sense, is a spiritual life. Couples can strengthen their partnership and enrich their lives by making aesthetic experiences daily events. Saving time for quiet appreciation of the good things in our lives - communicating with each other and with friends, playing and relaxing, reading to children, cooking and eating tasty, nourishing food - these are some ways to bring beauty into each day. We can also put attractive pictures and interesting things in our home to make it a place that comforts and pleases us; we can read interesting books, notice a striped caterpillar on a milkweed or the splash of stars in the night sky, relish the sensuous pleasure of a warm soapy bath, see a good movie, listen to music, grow plants.

We live spiritually when we make a place for beauty and when we slow down to enjoy the beauty that already surrounds us. We may wonder what good that may do us. The answer is that these spiritual gestures add meaning to all the other parts of our lives.

Take a few minutes now to appreciate something beautiful. Make a plan to bring some beauty into this day.

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5/8/16 11:32 P

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5/8/16 9:16 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening, we shall hear the right word.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perhaps it was only yesterday or the day before that we doubted our value to society, or to our family or friends. We often lose our direction. That's normal and consistent with the human condition. However, the length of time we spend floundering, uncertain of ourselves, is proportionate to the time it takes us to acknowledge the guide within. We need not be lost or full of doubt for long.

Going within ourselves may not be a spontaneous reaction for many of us, but we can learn to respond in this way. And when we're open to the inner urging and willing to follow it, we'll discover the benefits. All that's asked of us is the decision to listen.

I can quiet my thoughts today, long enough to sense the necessary direction to take. I can be certain the guidance is right.

Let's walk!


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5/7/16 9:12 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

He who knows himself, knows others.
--Charles C. Colton

There are many gifts that can come from disappointments if we are open to them.

One such gift is the ability to help others. Having felt anger, guilt, and sorrow, we are better able to identify the same feelings in others. We can be more tolerant of others and have compassion for those with similar hurts. And, if we overcome the pain of our own disappointments, we can share the attitudes and actions that helped us grow from those hurts.

Another gift is forgiveness. When we do not deny our pain - and make a concerted effort to work through our feelings of anger, rejection, and guilt - we gain a better perspective of ourselves and a better understanding of others. We become aware of our deepest desires and needs, our deepest insecurities and fears, our weaknesses and our strengths. When we can accept and understand our imperfect natures, we can accept the imperfections and growing pains of others.

Today I will use my disappointments as gifts to better understand myself as well as others. I will try to help others overcome their hurts by sharing my struggles and victories with them.

Let's walk!


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5/7/16 3:34 A

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5/6/16 11:04 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Always think of what you have to do as easy and it will become so.
--Emile Corie

How we think about the activities before us is very important. If we think cleaning the garage is hard, dirty, and no chance for fun, that's just how it will feel. We'll be tired before we even begin. However, if we approach it like a treasure hunt, expecting to rediscover some long-forgotten treasures, we'll enjoy the task. In fact, it will feel like a game.

The thoughts we carry in our minds determine whether our tasks are fun or not. What good fortune it is that we can control those thoughts. If we approach an assignment for school or a job believing that we're able to do it, that it's not too hard for us, we'll finish with ease. Our thoughts determine our successes. In this way, our lives are in our own hands.

How much better can I make my life today?

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5/5/16 3:18 P

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

To be alive is power,
Existing in itself,
Without a further function,
Omnipotence enough.
--Emily Dickinson

Being a person in this world is an amazing gift. A spiritual awakening promised by this program is open to us. But today, not all of us feel powerful and alive. We may feel weak, inadequate to our task, perplexed, or stymied. Is this a day in which we are filled with exuberance for the gift of life? Or is this a day when we're feeling subdued by life's burdens?

Perhaps we need to evaluate our perspective. Are we trying to control something or someone? Are we acting as if the world should be as we want rather than as it is? Have our individual wills exceeded their natural bounds and spoiled the simple joy of being "without a further function"?

May I find the pleasure and exuberance today that come with being alive. The simple power to be a person is "omnipotence enough."

Let's walk!


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5/4/16 1:48 P

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5/4/16 11:33 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

A.A. Thought for the Day

Strength comes from the fellowship we find when we come into AA. Just being with people who have found the way out gives us a feeling of security. We listen to the speakers and we absorb the atmosphere of confidence and hope that we find in the place. Am I receiving strength from the fellowship with other AA members?

Meditation for the Day

God is with me, to bless and help me. His spirit is all around me. All power is God's. I say that to myself often and steadily. I say that until my heart sings with joy for the safety and personal power that it means to me.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that with strength from God I may lead an abundant life.

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5/3/16 11:41 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Returning to Basics

Now and then, an AA discussion focuses on the theme of "returning to the basics." This is a good time to shake out the excessive concerns that might be cluttering up our lives.

No matter how long we've been living in sobriety, we can never afford to dismiss the basic reasons we came to AA in the first place. We had made a mess of our lives, and no human power could relieve our alcoholism. By accepting and admitting this, we were able to find a new way of life.

This was also our admission ticket to the larger society, where people are concerned about many things. We sometimes become too caught up in all these concerns, even to the extent of forgetting our own needs. It's good, occasionally, to focus a meeting on AA basics. They are as essential today as they were when we first knew that we needed them.

I'll remind myself today that the basics give me a firm foundation on which to stand.

Let's walk!


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5/2/16 1:29 P

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5/2/16 8:47 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have.
--Leonard Nimoy

Look around you at the happiest people you know. They are also the most generous and giving people. A generous spirit creates its own environment. In recovery we talk a lot about gratitude - and we have a lot to be grateful for. This feeling of gratitude inspires us to be generous toward others in many different ways. Most sharing is not of material things but a sharing of our spirit, our forgiveness, and our respect for others.

We can cultivate a generous spirit by reminding ourselves that we have enough. We have enough to live well, we are surrounded by love, we have been forgiven for many wrongs that we committed, and life is filled with interesting adventure. When we share from this sense of abundance, our feeling of well-being only grows.

Today I will be generous and sharing toward the other people I come into contact with.

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5/1/16 9:23 A

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Today's thought for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Most of all, let love guide your life . . .
--Colossians 3:14

Envy of another's good fortune puts distance between us. We forget fortune visits us all, though it's frequently disguised in experiences we dread. Resentments over forgotten appointments or misplaced mementos also result in distances that discourage the growth we deserve.

How different the days will unfold when we greet each person, every experience with a warm heart, the gesture of friendship, and a calm spirit.

With feelings of love guiding our thoughts and grooming our actions, we're certain of finding pleasure in all the tiny crevices of life.

Let's walk!


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4/30/16 9:17 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.
--Fyodor Dostoevsky

The primary requirement for our recovery is honesty. In order to grow in honesty we first needed to see how we had lied to others and to ourselves. This was not as easy as it first appeared. Our lies to ourselves kept us so fully in the dark that we did not know we were lying. We sometimes told "sincere" lies because we honestly did not distinguish the truth within ourselves. For so long we had preferred dishonest rationalizations, and we had come to believe them.

The spiritual life of this program is based upon experience. What we feel, what we see and hear, is what we know. When we simplify our lives and base the truth upon our experiences, we slowly cleanse ourselves of the lies we told ourselves. With this kind of honesty comes an inner peace with ourselves in which we can say, "I know myself."

Today, I will accept my experience as a simple message of truth.

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4/29/16 1:41 P

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4/29/16 11:03 A

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Moving fast is not necessarily the same thing as going somewhere.

*****

If you are waiting for your ship to come in - you may have already missed the boat.

*****

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.

*****

Faith is our greatest gift. Sharing it with others is our greatest responsibility.

*****

The first step in overcoming mistakes is to admit to them.

*****

The best way to multiply happiness is to divide it.

*****

Try the program for 90 days. If not satisfied we will be glad to refund your misery.

Let's walk!


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4/28/16 1:07 P

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

You can feel only your own feelings, not another person's.

Having empathy for those we love, and being able to share their joys and sorrows, is part of our nature as warm, caring human beings. Taken to an extreme, however, too much empathy can mean that we lose our boundaries as emotionally separate individuals. When that happens, nobody wins.

We're responsible for our own feelings. If we're too deeply involved in another person's emotional state, we may not be truly aware of our own feelings. If we take on someone else's response to a situation, we lose our own in the process.

In any situation, particularly one that is highly charged with negative emotions, we need to maintain a sense of self. If we allow ourselves to be swept up in the anger, fear, grief, or despair of someone close to us, we become less capable of giving help and support. Emotional maturity is one of the goals of recovery. We progress toward it as we differentiate how we feel from how another person appears to feel.

I can respect the feelings of others without making them my own.

Let's walk!


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4/28/16 2:04 A

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4/27/16 8:35 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

The person who is bored in the modern world shows that he is in no full sense a member of it.
--Brand Blanshard

Enthusiasm doesn't just happen to us. It's an attitude that is either fostered or hindered by our decisions about what we'll bring to our experiences from the most mundane to the momentous. This is true either throughout the day at hand or throughout our life. Deciding to be enthusiastic for a project comes easily when we've made up our mind to simply enjoy being alive.

Gratitude for the many blessings that recovery has brought even further heightens our enthusiasm for living. We all know people who are bored with their jobs, who withdraw from social involvement. Most of these people have lost touch with their fundamental sense of gratitude for what life has given them.

The power to enjoy life fully, to bring enthusiasm to whatever we do, is within our grasp. In fact, it's within our own mind.

I'll be as enthusiastic as I am grateful today.

Let's walk!


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4/26/16 11:10 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

I want to change things. I want to see things happen. I don't want just to talk about them.
--John Kenneth Galbraith

Newcomer

I feel as if I should be doing so much more than just staying in recovery and going to meetings. And yet, when I have free time, I'm not accomplishing much these days. I go to a meeting and then to coffee "the meeting after the meeting," I've heard it called and I get home and feel too tired to do any more. When I have a big block of time, I don't know how to use it. I feel confused and discouraged.

Sponsor

This point in recovery is a time to be especially gentle with ourselves. When we look back at how we were feeling and what we were doing just before we entered recovery, we can see that "just staying in recovery and going to meetings" is a major change. To be free from our addictive behavior, to keep a commitment to a program of recovery this is nothing short of a total revolution in our lives. We have made a commitment to live, not to punish ourselves for not doing it faster and more perfectly.

"The meeting after the meeting" is not a waste of time. It's important to get to know our peers in recovery. We can learn from one another, support one another. The changes we're experiencing are mirrored back to us by others who are undergoing similar transformations. It gives us experience, too, at being with people without the "help" of our addictive substance or behavior.

We don't have to worry about wasting time in early recovery. It is a miracle that we can simply be.

Today, I let myself be.

Let's walk!


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4/25/16 10:14 P

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4/25/16 8:47 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Trust

An attitude of helpful expectancy can serve me very well today. My Higher Power has my day in His hands. Whatever happens, it will go most smoothly, and I will feel best about myself, if I am open to what the day brings, and at peace with whatever it holds for me.

I can give my best if I do not get bogged down in hurt, anger, and resentment. Instead, I'll try to trust in my Higher Power. I'll have faith that good will come my way.

Help me today to be flexible and willing in my work. . . Help me to learn trust in a new way.

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4/24/16 4:07 P

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4/24/16 9:12 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.
--Henry Ford

To be a friend involves risk. Friends confront each other when it's needed, but they do it out of love and with compassion. All of us need a friend who will tell us when we are acting out of line, when we are "not able to see the forest for the trees." Friends are there for us in the struggles rooting us on, maybe teasing us a bit, helping us get past the difficulties and eventually helping us find the gift embedded in them. Friends risk upsetting us, if it means we may become better people.

We need to be grateful for these people. Theirs is not always an easy job. Many of us have big egos; we don't want to be told that we are wrong. However, friends keep seeing the best in us, even when we aren't acting our best. Theirs will be the faces we see when we look back at our lives, especially at the times of crisis and challenge.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, help me be a friend, and help me be grateful for my friends.

Today's Action

Today I will work to bring out the best in those around me, even if that means saying the hard things. If I must confront someone, I will only do it if I can do it with love and compassion.

Let's walk!


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4/24/16 8:51 A

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4/23/16 9:01 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Each day is a new start. Each moment is a beginning.

We do not have to wait until Monday to get back on the program or clean a closet or tackle a difficult report. We do not have to wait until tomorrow morning, either. Now is the moment to stop, to make a phone call, to begin whatever project we have been putting off.

There is no way we can change what we did five minutes ago, nor can we predict what will happen half an hour from now. We can only deal with now.

By doing what needs to be done right now, we make the most of each present moment. As long as we are alive, we are always free to begin again. Instead of following an old, worn out habit, make a fresh start this moment on the rest of your life.

Give me grace, Lord, to begin again.


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4/22/16 10:22 P

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4/22/16 2:11 P

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4/22/16 9:14 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Possibilities and miracles are one and the same.
--Anonymous

Many of us have seen happiness as a goal we couldn't find. When we were children, we were taught that "life is a hard row to hoe." We carried that over into our adult lives.

Seize the day - We let too many of our days just slide by. None of those hours can be replaced. Why worry over past failures if there is a victory to win? Why keep thinking about our faults when we could be practicing virtues instead?

Seize the day - Hold each moment tight and look at each one with wide-open eyes and mind. They are our lives, special to each of us. The moments pass swiftly into memory. Let those memories be good ones, filled with joys large and small.

Yesterday's unhappiness can't be changed, but today's happiness is my own responsibility.

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4/21/16 1:30 P

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4/21/16 11:17 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Living new lives

If we thank our Higher Power each day for the problems in our lives, we will find that we can live and cope with them. And if it is our Higher Power's will, our problems will be transformed in ways we cannot comprehend. We don't fully understand our lives.

If we become willing to let our Higher Power handle each situation in its way, we will see that we are living ourselves into new ways of being. We will experience a freedom and joy that we could not have understood in our old ways of thinking and being.

We cannot think ourselves into a better life; we must live each day into better thinking.

Am I living myself into a new life?

Higher Power, I am grateful for the problems in my life; they help me change myself into a new being.

Let's walk!


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4/20/16 7:28 P

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4/20/16 11:36 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

What is strength without a double share of wisdom? Vast, unwieldy, burdensome proudly secure, yet liable to fall.
--John Milton

What do we mean when we say someone is strong? That they have big muscles? Can endure anything without getting tired, let alone giving up? Do strong people never bend? Never break?

Some of us are afraid to show weakness of any kind. We take our supposed strength as the central fact of our lives. Over time, we may even come to think of ourselves as indestructible. We imagine that everything - people, places, and things - can be pounded into place if we come on with enough force. One man at a meeting shared that he had been confined to a hospital bed after a serious heart attack. Since he had been forbidden exertion of any kind, he said he made himself get out of bed, walk across the room, and pick up a scrap of paper from the floor. Just to prove that he could, he said.

Many of us are more like this man than we care to admit. May we, like him, become willing to accept our strength as our weakness, if that is the case.

Today, let me accept my very real and human limitations.

Let's walk!


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4/19/16 9:17 P

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4/19/16 11:04 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

We don't receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us...
--Marcel Proust

Many of us have known people new to recovery who enter a Twelve Step program only to encounter an enormous crisis or difficulty. It's tempting at that point to question the mercurial nature of life, which sometimes inflicts blows when someone is already down. Difficulties do serve a purpose, though. It's often in such moments of struggle that people become aware of the reality of their life and begin to make difficult choices. It's also then that the fellowship of our recovery group shines, offering its collective experience, strength and hope to the addict in need.

Many of us have known someone who refused or was unable to hear the message being offered at our meeting. It takes wisdom, patience, and detachment to know when to reach out to someone, and how far to go. The respect we feel for that person's recovery process as well as the faith we have in our Higher Power and the Twelve Step program can help us do our part and then let go.

Life is a learning experience. I can learn the lesson of my life, but not someone else's.

Let's walk!


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4/18/16 12:07 P

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4/18/16 8:40 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Watching a child acquire language, I realize, again, that naming things demystifies them.
--Mary Casey

Sharing with another our fears of starting a new job, ending a relationship, getting into therapy, or even joining a social club will help us keep the fear in perspective. Fears that go undiscussed have a way of growing and overtaking our lives. In time we find that because of our shame about being afraid, we have isolated ourselves from the very people who can help us.

All of us are afraid some of the time. Our fears, however, can be managed if we use the tools found in the fellowship. Sponsors, friends, and meetings are the channels for our release from fear. Naming the fear loosens its hold on us. And equally important, we discover that others understand our fear, for they have experienced something very similar. We are not unique. That knowledge makes it easier to reveal another fear, another time.

Perhaps the best gift I can give someone is talking about something I fear. Naming the fear will help me. Sharing it will help us both because of the bond we will feel.

Let's walk!


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4/17/16 9:35 P

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4/17/16 10:31 A

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4/17/16 9:31 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

I Am Who I Am

Sometimes we want to be someone else anyone but who we are. We want to be someone who feels more free and at peace. We want to be someone who doesn't have to take medications day after day. We want to be free of the pain and loneliness our illness has brought us.

But whether we get what we want or not, what we need is to accept ourselves, our illness, a desire to become well, and the guidance of our Higher Power.

Today, do I accept myself, my illness, and the guidance of my Higher Power? Do I commit myself to recovery?

Thought for the Day

When I look within, I will discover that accepting myself and being myself are far more fulfilling that expected.

Let's walk!


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4/17/16 2:32 A

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4/16/16 9:40 P

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Thank you.

How true, I've learned only in sobriety.

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4/16/16 9:20 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Asking for help is the first step to healthy living.

By admitting to our friends that we don't know what we should do about the many confusing, sometimes scary circumstances in our lives, we open the door for our Higher Power to reach us. That's often the way help comes to us. At times we'll open a book and an inspiring passage will jump out, or we'll wake up feeling as if God has answered us in our dreams. But more frequently and vividly, our help is in the gentle words of a friend.

Many of us postponed getting help because we dreaded asking for it. We thought that asking for help would make us look weak and uninteresting. We so wanted to be liked and admired that we pretended all was well, while in reality all was awful. It's a profound relief to share our burdens with other people. And the best part is, we'll get needed guidance.

I won't be afraid to cry "help" today. My Higher Power can help only if I'm open to it.

Let's walk!


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4/16/16 3:28 A

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4/15/16 11:09 P

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4/15/16 8:47 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Reflection for the Day

If I am troubled, worried, exasperated or frustrated, do I tend to rationalize the situation and lay the blame on someone else? When I am in such a state, is my conversation punctuated with, "He did." "She said." "They did."? Or can I honestly admit that perhaps I'm at fault. My peace of mind depends on overcoming my negative attitudes and tendency toward rationalization. Will I try, day by day, to be rigorously honest with myself?

Today I Pray

May I catch myself as I talk in the third person, "He did..." or "They promised..." or "She said she would..." and listen for the blaming that has become such a pattern for me and preserves delusion. May I do a turnabout and face myself instead.

Today I Will Remember

Honesty is the only policy.

Let's walk!


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4/15/16 3:50 A

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4/14/16 9:43 P

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4/14/16 8:52 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Self-esteem comes from honoring your healing journey

My life is not perfect. I make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes, I stumble and fall. I am a work in progress. And when I remember that simple fact, I am better for the experience.

It's easy to start on a path of change and get so busy doing what we need to do that we forget to stop, breathe, and acknowledge the effort we've already made. We forget to honor our own healing journey.

There are times when I have to be reminded to do for myself what I do for others. The other day, a friend caught me denigrating the work I put into a project because it wasn't done perfectly. When she asked how it was coming along, I said, "I can't seem to get it down perfectly. It's horrible." I then spent ten minutes - which was as long as she could tolerate my ranting - downplaying the work I had put into the project so far. She couldn't believe she was listening to me. "You could be one of your own clients," she said. And how right she was. I needed to be coached at that moment in time. And after our conversation, I called my coach.

Healing is hard work. It takes great effort to stay on a path that leads to purposeful self-discovery. It takes energy - persistent energy - to be an active participant in the creation of our lives. A healing path requires having the courage to shine a light or allow a light to shine on parts of ourselves that we'd rather keep private. It means having the courage to see the work that still needs to be done. Honoring our healing journey invites us to appreciate the effort that has been made.

It's important to heal and to honor the work done.

Let's walk!


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4/13/16 2:14 P

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4/13/16 11:15 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

The world is a wheel always turning. Those who are high go down low, and those who've been low go up higher.
--Anzia Yezierska

Everything changes. Nothing stays the same. And letting go of the way things are, anticipating instead what they might become, frees us to live each moment more fully.

Time marches on, and our destiny marches with it. There is purpose in how our lives unfold; the ups and downs serve our growth. We must neither resent the doldrums nor savor too long the elation. Giving too much attention to either state interferes with our awareness of the present. And the present has come to teach us.

We must move with time. We must focus our attention on the moment and accept whatever feelings each experience elicits. Emotional maturity is accepting our feelings and letting them go and facing instead the next moment with fresh receptivity. Our lessons are many, and they accompany the lows as well as the highs. We can be grateful for both.

The program has taught us freedom from lingering lows. It has given us the tools to move confidently forward, trusting that all is well. Nothing lasts forever, and within each struggle is the opportunity for real growth.

The highs will pass away, just as will the lows. They visit us purposefully. I will give them their freedom and find mine as well.

Let's walk!


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4/12/16 11:49 P

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4/12/16 10:17 P

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4/12/16 11:27 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Reflection for the Day

The first psychiatrist to recognize the work of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Harry Tiebout, used many concepts of the Program in his own practice. Over many years, the doctor's study of the "conversion experience" led him to see, first, that it is the act of surrender which initiates the switch from negative to positive; second, that the positive phase is really a state of surrender which follows the act of surrender; and third, that the state of surrender, if maintained, supplies an emotional tone to all thinking and feeling that insures healthy adjustment. Am I living in a constant state of surrender?

Today I Pray

May I understand that I do not have to "unlearn" my respect for "self-reliance," that trait of character, which I heard praised so often from the time I was a tiny child. Only my understanding of the word must change. For as I come to know that "self" is part of God, that I am nothing except in God's Being, there is no quarrel between self-reliance and God-reliance. May I rely upon that self, which is God's.

Today I Will Remember

Not part-god, but part of God.

Let's walk!


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4/11/16 7:35 P

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Thanks very much.

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4/11/16 2:42 P

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4/11/16 8:45 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

It is the soul's duty to be loyal to its own desires.
--Rebecca West

Our soul's pure desires, those that harm no one else, are really invitations from God for us to try new activities, to perhaps move along unfamiliar corridors, or tackle challenges that will carry us closer to our destiny. Fulfilling our desires can expand our knowledge of life, but even more, it can strengthen our trust in our Higher Power.

Perhaps our primary goal is to trust more in our Higher Power's presence, loving guidance, and commitment to our growth. Our Higher Power is our most treasured friend and teacher, our most significant other. We'll never be led astray with the guidance offered us for fulfilling our purest desires.

I will ask God for direction and attune myself to my innermost desires today.

Let's walk!


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4/10/16 11:06 P

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4/10/16 4:39 P

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4/10/16 9:24 A

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Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Daily, we determine our priorities.

Priorities are not merely something we establish once a year, once a month, or even once a week. Our priorities are visible in the myriad decisions we make and actions we take each day.

Being closely in touch with our inner selves and our Higher Power helps assure that our priorities reflect our genuine needs and desires. When we are securely centered, we will not be unduly influenced by other people but will know what is truly important to us and necessary for our health and well being.

We set our priorities when we do our grocery shopping and plan our meals. We set them when we choose between playing tennis or reading a book or going to see a friend. We set them when we decide how to respond to a negative comment from a co-worker. Our daily priorities reflect who we are and determine what we are becoming. Let's set them with care.

Today, may I put first things first.

Let's walk!


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4/10/16 3:25 A

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4/9/16 4:54 P

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