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1/15/18 8:29 A

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Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

We all carry it within us; supreme strength, the fullness of wisdom, unquenchable joy. It is never thwarted and cannot be destroyed. But it is hidden deep, which is what makes life a problem.
--Huston Smith

How does one lose touch with his strength, his wisdom, and his joy? Perhaps it is in the nature of humanity. Our most profound qualities are hidden deep. They never go away, but we cannot always find them. There may be nothing wrong with us when we lose touch. It doesn't have to mean that we are "bad" for getting depressed or for feeling inadequate. Who doesn't have that problem? It is the nature of life that we sometimes feel this way. This program helps us unearth the resources hidden within us.

When we cannot find those reassuring feelings of strength and wisdom and joy, we may think they are gone forever. We even doubt we ever had them or could have them again. But they are still there. They cannot be destroyed. And when we regain contact we know they have been with us all along.

I will have faith that the innermost places in me can never be destroyed.

Let's walk!


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1/14/18 8:40 A

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

Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
-- Step Two of Al-Anon

We come to believe in a better life through the powerful gift of other people - hearing them, seeing them, and watching the gift of recovery at work in their lives. There is a Power greater than us. There is real hope now that things can and will be different and better for our life and us.

We are not in a "do it ourselves" program. We do not have to exert willpower to change. We do not have to force our recovery to happen. We do not have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps just so we believe that there is a Power greater than ourselves - one who will get the job done in our life. This Power will do for us what our greatest and most diligent efforts could not accomplish.

Our Higher Power will restore us to a sane and beneficial life. All we do is believe.

Look. Watch. See the people around you. See the healing they have found. Then discover your own faith, your own belief, your own healing.

Today, regardless of my circumstances, I will believe to the best of my ability that a Power greater than myself can and will restore me to a peaceful, sane way of living.

Let's walk!


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1/13/18 9:19 A

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

Although the act of nurturing another's spiritual growth has the effect of nurturing one's own, a major characteristic of genuine love is that the distinction between oneself and the other is always maintained and preserved.
--M. Scott Peck. M.D.

Those we love must be free to love us in return, or leave us. The honest evidence of our love is our commitment to encouraging another's full development. We are interdependent personalities who need one another's presence in order to fulfill our destiny. And yet, we are also separate individuals. We must come to terms with our struggles alone.

One gift of life available to each of us is security, the sense that accompanies the recognition of our spiritual center. Helping someone else discover their spiritual gifts strengthens our own. Nothing is too difficult when we act in unison as separate entities, relying on the spiritual core that strengthens us to meet any situation.

My own spiritual center will be strengthened if I help someone.

Let's walk!


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1/12/18 7:31 A

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

Feels Like War

In the contours of his man-face, I still see my own son. The jaw, the nose, the spacing of his eyes. But I know not to be fooled by the familiar fašade: I already know there's somebody else who's living inside. I've been doing battle with this invisible stranger, trying to fight the beast that has wriggled itself underneath my son's skin, but I am so very weary because it often feels like I'm battling against him. And sometimes when looking into the face of my child, I'm swayed into feeling like I'm on the wrong side.

I want my son to know whom I'm fighting for.

I want my son to know whom I'm fighting against.

And I want my son to know why.

I want my son to know that I want him to win. I want him to live. I want him to come on home. I want my son to know that even though I'm so very weary from this fight, I won't give up. For him.

My child has no idea how hard it is for me to constantly wage war against an invisible enemy-a disease-in what feels like a war against him. He has no idea the toll it takes, hating the addict and loving the son.

Let's walk!


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1/11/18 8:46 A

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Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Live big!
--Brady Michaels

Sometimes, that's the best advice we can hear. Win or lose succeed or fail, go for it, and go all the way. As my flight instructor told me on the first day of flying lessons, "Keep one hand on the throttle and one hand on the yoke." "Aahhhhh!" I would say during my early lessons as the plane lifted into the air, but I kept the throttle pushed all the way in.

There are times when it's wise to be cautious. And there are times when the best thing we can do - the only thing we can do - is go for it by living big. Ask her out. Request the raise. Say no - and mean it. Learn to drive a racecar or climb a tall hill. Learn to snorkel or surf. Dreams remain dreams until you act upon them. Then they become real life.

Will you throw a few coins into the beggar's cup, or will you bring him a hamburger and fries from the local fast-food place? Will you do an average job at work, or will you look for ways to go big - really give it your best - in the everyday areas of your job? Will you put your all - your heart and emotions - into the relationship with the people you love? Will you wait for another, more convenient time to pray, or will you start genuinely trusting God?

You don't have to get a life. You've already got one. Live it, and live big.

God, help me let go of my fear and timidity, and learn to live big.

Let's walk!


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1/10/18 8:27 A

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

To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves.
--Will Durant

Sometimes we say bad things about others. When we do this, it makes us look bad too. Our friends worry what we might say about them behind their backs. They're afraid to trust us. We become known as gossips.

The things we say about other people tell a lot about us. We are kind or unkind. We gossip or we don't. This doesn't mean we have to say everyone is wonderful all the time. As we work our program to see ourselves better, we begin to see other people more clearly too. We see their strong points and their weak points. But we can know these things without gossiping about them.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, help me see others clearly, and in their best light. Let me bring out the good in others.

Action for the Day

Today, I'll list the people I'm closest to at work, school, and home. I'll think of how I talk about them to others. Am I kind?

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1/9/18 9:09 A

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

The best thing that can come with success is the knowledge that it is nothing to long for.
--Liv Ullmann

Success may be defined in many ways. In our youth, we may have measured success in terms of having a million dollars, two cars, a swimming pool. But we are coming to believe that success means staying clean and sober, living an honest life, and relying daily on our Higher Power.

Material success provides momentary pleasures but doesn't leave us with lasting happiness. We've all experienced the rush to buy another "toy," certain an inner void would be filled. Soon, we were tired of it and looking for another distraction.

We are now learning how to fill those voids with genuine sustenance; our daily commitment to the program and our relationship with God.

I will measure my success today by the quality of my sobriety and relationship with God.

Let's walk!


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1/8/18 8:35 A

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

He who helps a friend in woe is like a fur coat in the snow.
--Russian Proverb

We came in from a very hard life when we came into recovery, kind of like coming in from a blizzard in Siberia! The old life was dangerous, cold, and lonely, and it forced us to use all our energy just to survive. Sooner or later it would have killed us. We were definitely in woe.

Someone - a family member, a friend, a boss, a probation officer - offered us a chance to get sober. That person saved our life, as surely as if he or she walked out into a blizzard and wrapped around us like a fur coat. Thanks to our Higher Power, we accepted the help this time.

In the future we will have the chance to help others who are still out there freezing in the blizzard of addiction. We can offer them the kind of help that saved our life. We can't make them accept our help though. We just keep it handy, like a fur coat, in case they reach out to accept it.

Prayer For The Day

Higher Power I am willing to help another addict. I will be ready when You put someone in front of me.

Today's Action

Is there an alcoholic or an addict in my life I wish I could help? I realize that my example is the best way to show them recovery. I will talk with my sponsor about this person and how I am best able to help him or her today.



Let's walk!


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1/7/18 9:00 A

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

Success can only be measured in terms of distance traveled.
--Mavis Gallant

We are forever moving from one experience to another, one challenge to another, and one relationship to another. Our ability to handle confidently all encounters is a gift of the program, and one that accompanies us throughout every day, providing we humbly express gratitude for it. Success is ours when we are grateful.

We are not standing still. No matter how uneventful our lives may seem, we are traveling toward our destiny, and all the thrills and tears, joys and sorrows, are contributing to the success of our trip. Every day, every step, we are succeeding.

We can reflect on yesterday, better yet, on last week or even last year. What were our problems? It's doubtful we can even remember them. We have put distance between them and us. They were handled in some manner. We have succeeded in getting free of them. We have succeeded in moving beyond them.

How far we have come! And we will keep right on traveling forward. As long as we rely on the program, we are assured of success.

I can do whatever I need to do today, with success, when I humbly accept the program's gifts.

Let's walk!


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1/7/18 9:00 A

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

A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something.
--Wilson Mizner

A good salesperson is usually a good listener. Being a good listener also helps in being a good parent or spouse, neighbor or friend. When we are truly able to hear what others are trying to say, we are better able to enter their world, and let them into ours.

Listening to the collective wisdom of others helps us gain understanding and perspective on the world around us. When it comes to recovery from a life-threatening illness like addiction, listening to others who are in recovery is like receiving a gift of ideas.

It is not always easy to listen, because it's often our nature to want to be the center of attention. But listening is an art worth developing. It enriches our lives, improves our relationships, and helps us feel better about ourselves.

Today may I enrich my spiritual life by listening to others.



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1/5/18 8:37 A

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

Judged

My child became an addict in his teens, lured to drugs and alcohol by a culture that glorifies substance use-the same culture that now, so ignorantly and harshly, passes judgment on him. And me.

I am judged for helping, fixing, and pushing (or not helping, fixing, or pushing enough) this sick child of mine who won't be helped or fixed or pushed. I am judged for over-reacting and under-reacting, enabling and letting go. Most hurtful of all, I am judged to be a mother whose love must be somehow flawed.

When my child became an addict, I became the mom of an addict-a role I wasn't prepared for and certainly didn't want. It's a role the whole world seems to have an opinion about, whether they know anything about addiction or not. Whatever I do (or don't do), I am judged to be wrong, but I no longer pay attention to that. I just keep doing what I'm doing, with love.

Judge tenderly, if you must. There is usually a side you have not heard, a story you know nothing about, and a battle waged that you are not having to fight.
Traci Lea LaRussa



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1/4/18 8:41 A

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

A.A. Thought for the Day

Do we have any hard feelings about other group members or for any other AA group? Are we critical of the way a group member thinks or acts? Do we feel that another group is operating in the wrong way and do we broadcast it? Or do we realize that all AA members, no matter what their limitations, have something to offer and some good, however little, that they can do for AA? Am I tolerant of people and groups?

Meditation for the Day

All my movements, my goings and comings can be guided by the unseen Spirit. Every visit to help another, every unselfish effort to assist, can be blessed by that unseen Spirit. Every meeting of a need may not be a chance meeting but may have been planned by the unseen Spirit.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may be led by the spirit of God.

Let's walk!


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1/3/18 8:35 A

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

A Year To Grow

This new year can be a time of growth in sobriety. While we have no crystal ball that tells us what luck and fortune the year will bring, we do have a program that gives us the power to make the best of this year, to grow in sobriety. We can make progress in overcoming resentment and selfishness, we can help others in their search for happy sobriety, and we can make better use of our talents and opportunities.

We can live sober, and we also can find happiness and true self-esteem in sobriety. In our drinking, a desperate search for happiness and self-esteem compelled us to drink, but we could never find our happy destiny in the bottle. No matter what came to us, things had a way of turning sour as we continued to drink and to take other harmful substances.

In our new life, we have good reason to feel confident and optimistic. We have friends who understand us; we have sponsors who will share with us their own experience and hope. We have a Higher Power who is, as the poet Tennyson said, ". . .closer to us than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet." We face nothing alone, and in the new year all experiences can help us grow.

I face this day with confidence, courage, and optimism. I will know that my Higher Power is present in every person and situation.

Let's walk!


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1/2/18 8:31 A

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

The new is but the old come true; each sunrise sees a new year born.
--Helen Hunt Jackson

We know that a totally new life can begin on any day of a year, at any hour of the day, or at any moment of an hour. That new life began the moment we decided to surrender and admit to powerlessness over a substance or an impulse. It began when we accepted the fact that we needed help and could receive it simply by asking.

Many of us used to choose New Year's Day as a time for making good resolutions and swearing off bad habits. When we failed, we simply shrugged and said, "Maybe I can start tomorrow, next week - or next New Year's Day." We were always going to "turn over a new leaf."

Now, in recovery, we no longer depend on doing it all alone. We know we can stay abstinent only by sharing with fellow members.

Let me remember, each day in recovery is another milestone. I no longer have to use a calendar.



Let's walk!


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1/1/18 9:22 A

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

Living today

The beginning of the New Year will often bring back sad memories. This has been the big day for hangovers, coming down, remorse, guilt, and shame. But if we stay with our new purpose - staying clean and staying close to our Higher Power - we don't have to fear the New Year. God has forgiven our past mistakes and tomorrow is not yet here. If we do what we know is right today, all else will be taken care of.

It's not always easy to do what is necessary today, but it's impossible to change yesterday or to guarantee what tomorrow will bring. Our year will unfold better by living each day as it comes instead of regretting the past or anticipating the future.

Am I learning to live one day at a time?

I pray for the willingness to deal with today, instead of being obsessed with the past or the future.

Let's walk!


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12/31/17 8:43 A

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

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Past New Year's Eves may have meant times of excessive chemical use. We may have embarrassed ourselves in many ways. We may have chosen New Year's Eve as a time to analyze our past behaviors and write long lists of how that was going to change.

Yet tonight is like any other night. We don't have to feel as though we aren't having a good time unless we're at a party or a bar. We can celebrate the new year tomorrow with those closest to us by doing something we enjoy. The past is gone - the future has not arrived. The present is all we have, here and now.

Look to ourselves and what we want to do, not at what we think we should be doing. We can share our feelings at a meeting; spend quality time with our families and loved ones. We need to focus on ourselves and what we need to do for us, and not be diverted by the craziness around us.

Tonight is an ending; tonight is a beginning. Help me stay in the moment to bid farewell to the old and welcome in the new in my own way.

Let's walk!


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12/30/17 8:47 A

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

A.A. Thought for the Day

When we came into Alcoholics Anonymous, were we desperate? Were we so sick of ourselves and our way of living that we couldn't stand looking at ourselves in a mirror? Were we ready to try anything that would help us to get sober and to get over our soul-sickness? Should I ever forget the condition I was in?

Meditation for the Day

In the new year, I will live one day at a time. I will make each day one of preparation for better things ahead. I will not dwell on the past or the future, only on the present. I will bury every fear of the future.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that God will guide me one day at a time in the new year. I pray that for each day, God will supply the wisdom and the strength that I need.

Let's walk!


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12/29/17 8:55 A

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

Be Patient with Everyone
--from writings by St. Francis de Sales

Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself . . . do not be disappointed by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage.

How are you to be patient in dealing with your neighbor's faults if you are impatient in dealing with your own?

They who are worried by their own shortcomings will not correct them.

All positive progress comes from a calm and peaceful mind.

Let's walk!


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12/28/17 8:58 A

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

It took me a long time to realize that when I hate somebody it doesn't hurt them. Only me.

*****

Call your sponsor before, not after, you take your first drink.

*****

Nothing is so bad that relapse won't make it worse.

*****

I can't handle it, God. You take over.

*****

You cannot think your way into right actions.
You have to act your way into right thinking.

Let's walk!


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12/27/17 8:50 A

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

It only takes one person to change your life - you.
--Ruth Casey

Change is not easy, but it's absolutely unavoidable. Doors will close. Barriers will surface. Frustrations will mount. Nothing stays the same forever, and it's such folly to wish otherwise. Growth accompanies positive change; determining to risk the outcome resulting from a changed behavior or attitude will enhance our self-perceptions. We will have moved forward; in every instance, our lives will be influenced by making a change that only each of us can make.

We have all dreaded the changes we knew we had to make. Perhaps even now we fear some impending changes. Where might they take us? It's difficult accepting that the outcome is not ours to control. Only the effort is ours. The solace is that positive changes, which we know are right for us and other people in our lives, are never going to take us astray. In fact, they are necessary for the smooth path just beyond this stumbling block.

When we are troubled by circumstances in our lives, a change is called for, a change that we must initiate. When we reflect on our recent as well as distant past, we will remember that the changes we most dreaded again and again have positively influenced our lives in untold ways.

Change ushers in glad, not bad, tidings.

Let's walk!


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12/26/17 8:50 A

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

The best things in life are appreciated most after they have been lost.
--Roy L. Smith

Humankind has made such great technological progress, developing marvelous tools and instruments to make our life easier, that it is hard to imagine the struggles our ancestors endured. We are so used to these protective and labor-saving devices that we take them for granted. We fail to appreciate them.

So it is with our loved ones, our fellow workers, our friends, and acquaintances. We are so used to the help, the cooperation, the moral support, and the love we get from them that we may take them for granted. And then we wonder why our relationships don't always go smoothly. What if we were to show them a little appreciation? What if we were to ask God to bless them?

Today I will give thanks to my Higher Power for the people around me and tell them, one by one, how much I appreciate them.

Let's walk!


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12/25/17 9:15 A

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

Celebration is a forgetting in order to remember. A forgetting of ego, of problems, of difficulties. A letting go.
--Matthew Fox

A holiday presents us with an opportunity to practice the letting go of this program. This is a special day to set aside our work and our routines, to put our problems and burdens on the shelf. Let us join with others who are also letting go on this day and celebrate. Maybe we can learn from them how they do it.

We may have been too compulsive on past holidays to celebrate. Or perhaps our holidays are clouded with painful memories. We might miss loved ones or we may recall disappointments for the chaos of earlier holidays. There is no need for perfection in our celebration. We can have some tension, or pain, and yet set it aside as we join with others for a special day.

Today, I will set my ego aside and let go of the usual things in my life in order to reach out to others and participate in celebration.

Let's walk!


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12/24/17 9:11 A

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

That life is a fragile shell on the beach I have thought of before. This Christmas I am thinking big basic wonders as if I were just born.
--Naomi Shihab Nye

The big basic wonders about our origin, and that of the stars, must still occur to us all, even though we're grown up and knowledgeable about astronomy and human reproduction. The germination of a seed is still much more wonderful, in a strict sense, than the mere electronic marvel of a calculator that makes twelve thousand computations in a second.

Do we ever let ourselves simply wonder? Do we still open ourselves to the awe that filled us once, when we first realized the vast intricacies of the solar system or of human physiology?

Every great ritual surrounds a story that is wonderful: the presence of a god; the deliverance of a people; the transformation of life or death. It's appropriate that we should respond to them with a thrill of wonder. Wonder is a gift; it contains the germs of reverence and of knowledge.

Life is frail and intricate, and it contains everything I need for fulfillment.

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12/23/17 8:32 A

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

To him, it was not the gift that mattered, but the giver.
--Walter de La Mare

In our material world today, we often get off track. We forget that what we really need in our lives is love and close friendships. It's too easy to take our relationships for granted. It's also too easy to take our sobriety for granted - the big gift of another chance at life.

For Christians, today marks the birth of Christ, the child who came to bring love and forgiveness to all. Whether we are Christian or not, as recovering people, we know that love and forgiveness do open the gates to new life. When we live in the light of our Higher Power - whether we call that power Jesus, Yahweh, Muhammad, Buddha, or Creator - we find ourselves living that new life.

Let each of us, in the name of our own Higher Power; spend this day in celebration of the new life we have been given.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, thanks for delivering new light into my life and giving me another chance. Teach me to live in the light of love and forgiveness. What a gift.

Today's Action

What gifts of love and forgiveness can I deliver to others today? What can I give from my heart that will bring someone light and joy? A smile and a hug? A phone call? An afternoon of conversation and play? I will remember to contact my sponsor today.

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12/22/17 8:40 A

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

Acceptance

When we have given our lives back to our Higher Power, we gradually learn to accept what happens to us as part of the plan. Most of us made a mess of trying to run our own lives. We are amazed at how much better things go when we acknowledge that the Power greater than ourselves is in control.

Every experience, the bad one as well as the good one, becomes an opportunity to learn and to serve. We may not like what it is that we are given to do or to feel on a particular day, but we learn to accept it as necessary for our growth. We can look back and see that we have learned even more from our failures than from our successes.

When we accept our lives and ourselves as part of God's creation, we are open to the work of God's spirit and love. Then positive change and growth become possible.

Teach me to accept Your will.

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12/21/17 8:42 A

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

Nice guys finish last.
--Leo Durocher

Some of us are habitually victims, doormats, and "poor things." No matter what, we never say no. The more we practice being nice guys the less able we are to cope creatively. We place the blame, along with the responsibility, elsewhere.

Darlene modeled this for all of us at a recent meeting. She is well past fifty and has been divorced for twenty years. Yet she is still seeking sympathy for what her husband - and God -did to her. Twenty-five years ago she inherited fifty thousand dollars from her parents' estate. Bit by bit, as she said, her alcoholic husband spent it all. It wasn't that she gave it to him or failed to manage it herself, she explained. What happened was that he "just spent it all up. How could he do that?" The obvious, healthier question never occurred to her: How could she allow a sick person to eat up a small fortune?

The moral of the story is that being "too nice" isn't our problem.

Today, I will search my conscience for evidence of irresponsibility that I may have been filing under other names.

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12/20/17 8:39 A

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

Listening well

Learning to really listen to another human being - beyond just his or her words - is critical to good communication. Valuable exchanges between human beings can occur only when each listens carefully to the other and tries sincerely to understand the other person's meaning. Much anger and frustration with others could be avoided if we truly understood one another.

Constant thoughts running through our minds is a form of talking, and we can't listen to another (including our Higher Power) if we are still talking.

Do I really listen?

Higher Power, help me be quiet enough within to listen to others today. By trying to understand another, let me learn something about myself.

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12/19/17 8:28 A

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

Reflection for the Day

There is no advantage, no profit and certainly no growth when I deceive myself merely to escape the consequences of my own mistakes. When I realize this, I know I'll be making progress. "We must be true inside, true to ourselves, before we can know a truth that is outside us," wrote Thomas Merton in No Man Is an Island. "But we make ourselves true inside by manifesting the truth as we see it." Am I true to myself?

Today I Pray

May I count on my Higher Power to help me carry out the truth as I see it. May I never duck a consequence again. Consequence ducking became a parlor game for chemically addictive persons like me, until we lost all sense of relationship between action and outcome. Now that I am healing, please God, restore my balance.

Today I Will Remember

Match the act with the consequence.

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12/18/17 8:32 A

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

How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.
--Marcus Aurelius

Anger shatters our calm. Some of us show it in loud bursts; others just quietly stew. Sometimes we feel angry inside but we still want to look kind and unperturbed, so our anger comes out sideways, hurting someone indirectly or in sneaky ways. We all have felt the pangs of regret after we said or did something in anger. We wish we could magically turn back the clock and undo the moment, gather up the pieces, and put them back together again.

No one can simply banish the basic human emotion of anger from his life. To be responsible, we must accept our anger. It arises from within us and handling it is our own responsibility, even when we are perfectly justified in feeling angry. We choose our way to express it. It is never responsible to say, "You made me angry, so it's your fault that I blew up."

After accepting our anger we strive to develop a space between the feeling and our actions. We learn to notice our feelings before they reach the explosion point. In that mental space we choose how to express them.

Today I will notice and accept my anger, than choose respectful ways to express it.

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12/17/17 9:05 A

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

Our awesome responsibility to ourselves, to our children, and to the future is to create ourselves in the image of goodness, because the future depends on the nobility of our imaginings.
--Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

The world we live in depends on the responsible contributions each of us makes. And this world is just as good as are the many talents we commit ourselves to developing and offering. None of us is without obligation to offer our best to our family, friends, or strangers, if our hope is to live in a good world. The world can only be as good as each of us makes it.

Individually and collectively our power to mold the outer circumstances of our lives is profound. Our personal responses to one another and our reactions to events that touch us combine with the actions of others to create a changed environment that affects us. No action, no thought goes unnoticed, unfelt, in this interdependent system of humanity. We share this universe. We are the force behind all that the universe offers.

Whether I acknowledge the depth of my contribution is irrelevant. It is still profound and making an impact every moment and eternally.

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12/16/17 9:03 A

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

What if?

I was talking to a friend one day about something I planned to do. Actually, I was worrying about how one particular person might react to what I intended to do.

"What if he doesn't handle it very well?" I asked.

"Then," my friend replied, "you're going to have to handle it well."

What ifs can make us crazy. They put control over our life in someone else's hands. What ifs are a sign that we have reverted to thinking that people have to react in a particular way for us to continue on our course.

What ifs are also a clue that we may be wondering whether we can trust ourselves and our Higher Power to do what's best for us. These are shreds of codependent ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving, and they signal fear.

The reactions, feelings, likes or dislikes of others don't have to control our behaviors, feelings, and direction. We don't need to control how others react to our choices. We can trust ourselves, with help from a Higher Power, to handle any outcome - even the most uncomfortable. And, my friend, we can trust ourselves to handle it well.

Today, I will not worry about other people's reactions or events outside of my control. Instead, I will focus on my reactions. I will handle my life well today and trust that, tomorrow, I can do the same.

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12/15/17 8:46 A

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

Say when it's time to do that difficult thing.

Sometimes, true windows of opportunity open in our lives. We get a chance to make that amend. The perfect time to end or resolve that relationship arises. It's like a gift from God when that window opens up. All we need to do is gently step through. But sometimes, we need to help God open the window - especially when we're working up the courage to do a difficult thing.

Maybe we're waiting for just the right moment to end a relationship. Maybe we're looking for an opportunity to make amends, tell someone we're sorry about something we've done that's caused that person pain. Maybe we have a new project we'd like to begin. Sometimes, we can passively wait, and wait, and that window just seems painted shut and stuck.

Ask God to help open the window, but do your part, too. Make a decision that you're going to do it - whatever it is. Then let go, but not too long. Remember your decision. Remember your commitment to opening that window. Don't force it, but focus your attention. You may begin to feel the slightest crack in the energy, that opening you need. Or you may have to wiggle the window frame, push on it just the slightest bit, to crack it open yourself. Then you'll see it. You'll feel it move. There. It's open.

Help God open that window in your life by deciding to do it.

God, help me remember that the time doesn't always feel right. Help me honor my deepest urges to do what I must to take care of myself.

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12/14/17 8:31 A

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

You are the hero of your life.

Each of us plays the starring role in the drama that is our life. We co-create the script, along with our Higher Power. Sometimes we forget our lines, and so we improvise as best we can. We are heroes, each of us, as we move through the events of the day, refining our character and using our gifts to shape the action of every scene.

We can each be a hero in the drama of recovery. To the casual observer, what we do and say may not appear to be at all heroic. But we - as insiders who are only too well acquainted with our individual limitations - can appreciate and applaud a difficult decision or action.

When we accept our role in life, when we pledge to use our energies to do the best we can, and when we rely on our Higher Power for guidance and support, we will be well on our way toward recovering.

I can be a hero today, even if it doesn't show.



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12/14/17 8:31 A

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

How will you dream if you don't sleep?
How will you hear yourself?
--Michael Dorris

Sleep is a wonderful gift in our lives. For eight hours, we rest our bodies. We let the thoughts, feelings, and events of our lives tumble through our sleeping minds as they sort themselves through our dreams.

But dreams are not always happy. Some of us are afraid to sleep. Our dreams scare us. We may dream about using again or about bad things that happened. But we shouldn't let our dreams fool us. They are not reality. They are just feelings, thoughts, and memories working themselves out. In early recovery, there are a lot of things to sort out.

We create the reality of our lives by the choices we make when we are awake: how much we trust in our Higher Power, how we care of ourselves, how we treat others, how we work our program.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, help me listen to the messages of my dreams. Help me understand that my dreams will get better as my life gets better.

Today's Action

I will listen to my dreams. What is my mind working out in my sleep? If I remember my dreams, I will talk about them with my friends.

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12/12/17 8:44 A

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

Pity is the deadliest feeling that can be offered to a woman.
--Vicki Baum

We must move forward with confidence, trusting that the strength we need will be given us, having faith in our visions to guide us. Problems need not daunt us. Rather, they can spur us on to more creative activity. They challenge our capabilities. They insist that we not stand still.

Pity from others fosters inaction, and passivity invites death of the soul. Instead, our will to live is quickened through others' encouragement. All else dampens the will. Pity feeds the self-pity that rings the death knell.

We can give strokes wherever we are today and know that we are helping someone live. And each time we reach out to encourage another, we are breathing new life into ourselves, new life that holds at bay the self-pity that may appear at any moment.

We can serve one another best, never by commiserating with sadnesses, but by celebrating life's challenges. They offer the opportunities necessary to our continued growth.

Someone needs a word of encouragement from me. I will brighten their vision of the future.

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12/11/17 8:23 A

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

It is important that we plan for the future, imperative that we accept an outcome unplanned.
-- Molly McDonald

We sometimes feel confused over how to live just one day at a time while making strategic plans for the future. It seems contradictory to try to do both. Yet that is what a healthy recovery means.

Goals help direct our attention. They give us needed focus. They give us enthusiasm for making the most of our recovery. But just as we need goals to strengthen our resolve to move forward, we need willingness to let God be involved in our effort and, even more important, in charge of the outcome. God's role and ours, though related, are in fact quite separate. In our rush to move forward we sometimes forget to turn over the reins when our part is done.

We are learning the joys of living one day at a time. We are letting God be responsible for the outcomes of our endeavors. Each day in recovery gives us more time to practice doing only what we need to do and leaving the rest in God's hands.

I must let God take charge of the outcomes of my efforts today. If I do, I will be cared for in the most loving fashion.

Let's walk!


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12/10/17 8:56 A

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

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.
--George Bernard Shaw

It's easy to let circumstances determine how we think and behave. While it's true that some events seem devastating, our relationship with a Higher Power can help us accept and even grow from experiences that seem impossible to cope with.

We all have known men and women who've handled grave upsets far more easily than we have. How did they do it? They have no magic. Rather, they may be more comfortable letting their Higher Power help them accept and understand unfortunate circumstances. Once we accept our anger or disappointment, we're free to move on to better feelings. We begin to realize we have choices in how we look at problems.

We are never given more than we can handle. We can develop acceptance of any circumstances, but our success in doing so comes mainly through our reliance on God to show us the way.

God will help me handle the uncontrollable events of today. Through acceptance, I can change my feelings at any moment - even right now.

Let's walk!


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12/9/17 10:33 A

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Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Optimism

What I think about surrounds me. What I allow to be entertained in my mind becomes a reality. If I think negatively, I will attract negativity in my life. On the other hand, if I concentrate on developing positive thoughts, I will attract positive people and events to my life. My potential will be increased.

I cannot control what thoughts come into my mind, but I can control my perception and reaction to them.

I pray that I may be filled with positive thoughts today; I deserve the resulting rewards.

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12/8/17 8:41 A

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

The cut worm forgives the plow.
--William Blake

Would anyone believe that rain abuses grass, or accuse roots, hungry for a better hold on life, of digging too far into earth's flesh? Look closely at the small world of busy life overturned in the garden each spring. No ant there curses another bug, and no worm curses itself. Though they can neither speak nor think, even small creatures know enough to accept their pain as a natural part of life.

Why, then, should we waste time blaming others, or ourselves, for the natural sensations of life?

In the process of new growth, can we expect no pain?

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12/7/17 11:22 A

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

The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.
--Mortimer Adler

In some areas of our lives we are right on target. Our level of maturity is exactly as it should be, and we are going through the stages that people of our age ought to be going through. In other areas, this is not so. We are complex people, irregular, uneven. In all of us there are areas fixated in some emotional ice age, areas that have not felt the freeing warmth of the sun.

We cannot expect ourselves to move forward all at once. Not only is it okay to move slowly - it's often the only way it can be. Confusion, conflict, or pain may have caused us to let our memories or feelings be frozen safely away. This has been a long process, and we can allow ourselves more time to heal. The task now is not to deny or hide from these changes, but to have confidence that the healing warmth of the program will reflect on all areas of our lives and help make us whole.

I am thankful I am given both time and patience in which to continue my growth.

Let's walk!


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12/6/17 8:34 A

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

Being true

We believe we can become beautiful people, free of addiction. With belief in a Power greater than ourselves, our Twelve Step program, and the fellowship, we don't have to stay where we were. Our purpose in life is to stay sober and clean.

Our Higher Power knows our true purpose in life and will help us. Our Higher Power knows what we are capable of becoming, although others may misjudge us.

Am I staying true to my purpose?

I pray that I may see the good within me and remain true to my purpose.



Let's walk!


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12/5/17 8:43 A

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

To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
--Confucius

Some of us were raised to decline generosity - to argue over who pays the restaurant bill, not to accept money for helping someone out, not to accept food or drink at someone's home. Some of these beliefs have strong cultural ties. Others are just a fear of imposing. We don't want to be a bother.

Generosity is a two-way street. It's just as important for someone to be generous as it is to accept the offerings. Most of us like to be generous. When we're being genuine, from the heart, with no strings attached, being generous makes us feel good -- it makes us feel great. We have no reason to deny others that feeling (unless, of course, there are strings attached). In fact, our own generosity is probably just coming back to us.

Today I will allow others the opportunity to be generous.

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12/4/17 8:38 A

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

No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.
--Charles P. Steinmetz

We often pass up the chance to ask a question of someone because we don't want to feel stupid. In the past, we kept very busy trying to look like we were in control; trying to seem as though we already knew what we needed to know. Now, in our new awareness that we can't live life alone, there is much we need to ask. We can learn a lot from children in this area. They are so wonderfully free of inhibitions when it comes to asking questions, and as a result, they learn. Their world expands.

We understand ourselves and others better when we ask questions, when we seek out new knowledge. We haven't experienced, studied, read about, or heard everything there is to know, so we have many questions, especially in the area of recovery. Now we know we can go ahead and ask, that it's okay, that the answer may help improve the quality of our lives. The more we search, the more we will learn, and the more serenity we will find. Like children, our minds are hungry for knowledge.

Today help me ask questions, without worrying about looking foolish, and respond to questions in the most helpful way I can.

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12/3/17 9:00 A

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

The handwriting on the wall may be a forgery.
--Ralph Hodgson

Too often we are superstitious and interpret signs in negative or hostile ways. Because we don't believe in ourselves, we tend to think that fate is against us.

But life isn't for us or against us. If we are attentive, we will see many signs of promise during each day. Signs of promise, signs of goodness, signs of beauty. And if we trust ourselves and our Higher Power, we will know how to interpret the world and use it to do good.

Sometimes we may be unsure of our next step or even our general direction. If we are patient and alert to the world around us, we will pick up hints and clues that will help us on our way -- a friend's telephone call, a warm hug, a chance encounter, a job offer, a word of advice from a loved one. When we are ready, we'll know how to respond and what to do.

One thing we are learning to be sure of -- in this world of signs, we are not alone.

I don't want to believe in a hostile fate. The world is good and I am finding my way in it by being patient and learning to read the signs.

Let's walk!


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12/2/17 8:44 A

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

Self-esteem comes from doing esteemable acts.

I once had a beautiful plant. It sat on my dining room table for three weeks as I waited for it to blossom. Each week, I waited for something to happen. By week three, instead of a luscious blooming bush, what revealed itself was a dry, shriveled piece of nothing.

I stormed angrily into the florist's shop and demanded an explanation for why my plant had died. Puzzled, yet relatively calm, the florist asked, "Did you do everything, I told you to do?"

"Absolutely! I waited for three weeks just like you said. I just waited, and now my plant is dead."

Scratching his head in wonderment, he asked, "Did you also water the plant every three days? Did you feed it the plant food I gave you? Did you keep it out of direct sunlight? Tell me, what did you do?"

"I didn't water it, because it didn't look like it needed it. I lost the food you gave me, and I didn't have time to get more. And I thought you said to keep it in direct sunlight. I waited for three weeks before calling you because I figured it would be okay, I thought if I let go and let God, the plant would eventually bloom."

How easy it is to mistakenly believe that "let go and let God," means to sit back and do nothing. Our words may not speak it, but our behavior says, "If we just wait, God will provide and good things will happen without our having to do anything."

When we're disrespectful of others, it is easy to think that our behavior is an indication of power and self-esteem. On the contrary, it suggests that we care little about ourselves, because we care little about others, For years, I had many excuses for bad behavior: My behavior at the florist's shop was inappropriate. That was no way to speak to anyone. Eventually I went back and made amends for how I spoke to the florist. Self-esteem comes from doing esteemable acts.

Let's walk!


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12/1/17 8:44 A

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

Do not cut down the tree that gives you shade.
--Arabian proverb

We need to remember what got us well. The Twelve Steps heal us. The meetings we attend heal us. Reading and listening to program tapes heal us. Talking with our sponsor heals us. The time we spend with program friends heals us.

Sometimes we're pressed for time. As a result, we have to make choices about how to use our time. We may think we know enough about the program. We may feel like cutting down on meetings. These are danger signs. We only know how to stay sober One Day at a Time - by working the Steps. Let's not forget them as we grow in this program. It may seem like we've been recovering a long time, but we're all beginners.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, I've found You in the program. Help me find ways to stay a "beginner" in the program.

Action for the Day

Today, I'll take time to read the Twelve Steps. I'll meditate on how much these Steps have given me.

Let's walk!


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12/1/17 8:43 A

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

A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth.
--Lao-tzu

Imagine yourself with a pile of dirt in front of you and building plans for a one-story structure. It would be easy to think, "Oh, this is impossible - it will never get done."

But the architect hires people to help. A foundation is built, and then the frame. From there, step by step, the rest is filled in. We have all watched a building take shape and become a finished product.

Building plans are like the goals we all have. We want to be a better person or friend, a better artist or athlete. Reaching a goal is like putting up a building. Once we have a goal, we need a strong foundation to support us. All of us need the help of others to reach our goals.

Let's walk!


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11/29/17 8:33 A

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

Do I trigger gossip?

There is a saying that listening to gossip is gossip. How true! If there were no listeners, there would never be any gossip.

Some of us who pride ourselves in refraining from gossip may still have a problem with it. It's possible we still keep ears open for any juicy gossip that could fall our way. We might also shake the tree if we believe another person has some gossip to share with us. This is done in seemingly innocent ways, sometimes just by mentioning the name of a person to another who may have strong opinions to express.

The harm of gossip lies in what we do to ourselves when we engage in it. There is no way we can continue to have spiritual growth if we practice gossip, even as passive listeners. Spiritual growth takes place within us, and it needs an environment completely free of any ill will.

Let's beware of any tendency to say things that induce others to gossip. At the same time, let's tune out gossip that seems to occur spontaneously. Gossip is the enemy of the growth we desire.

It is a real relief to know that today I have no desire to spread gossip or listen to it. This includes things I might read in magazines or newspapers.

Let's walk!


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11/28/17 8:42 A

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

Reflection for the Day

I'll begin today with prayer - prayer in my heart, prayer in my mind, and words of prayer on my lips. Through prayer, I'll stay tuned to God today, reaching forward to become that to which I aspire. Prayer will redirect my mind, helping me rise in consciousness to the point where I realize that there's no separation between God and me. As I let the power of God flow through me, all limitations will fall away. Do I know that nothing can overcome the power of God?

Today I Pray

Today may I offer to my Higher Power a constant prayer, not just a "once-in-the-morning-does-it" kind. May I think of my Higher Power at coffee breaks, lunch, tea time, during a quiet evening - and at all times in between. May my consciousness expand and erase the lines of separation so that the Power is a part of me and I am a part of the Power.

Today I Will Remember

To live an all-day prayer.

Let's walk!


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11/27/17 8:33 A

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

There are as many ways to live and grow, as there are people. Our own ways are the only ways that should matter to us.
--Evelyn Mandel

Wanting to control other people, to make them live as we'd have them live, makes the attainment of serenity impossible. And serenity is the goal we are seeking in this recovery program, in this life.

We are each powerless over others, which relieves us of a great burden. Controlling our own behavior is a big enough job. Learning to behave responsibly takes practice. Most of us in this recovery program have behaved irresponsibly for much of our lives. Emotional immaturity is slow to depart, but every responsible action we take gives us the courage for another - and then another. Our own fulfillment is the by-product of the accumulation of our own responsible actions. Others' actions need not concern us.

Today, I will weigh my behavior carefully. Responsible behavior builds gladness of heart.

Let's walk!


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11/26/17 8:59 A

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

A controller doesn't trust his/her ability to live through the pain and chaos of life. There is no life without pain just as there is no art without submitting to chaos.
--Rita Mae Brown

It is very hard for most of us to see how controlling we are. We may feel uptight or careful, but we haven't seen it as controlling ourselves or controlling how people respond to us. We may be worried about a loved one's behavior or safety, but not realize our hovering over that person is a controlling activity. We may be keenly aware of other people's controlling behavior with us, but unaware we have equaled their control by monitoring them and trying to change their behavior.

What a moment of spiritual adventure it is to risk living through the pain! When we do not seek an escape or a quick fix but have patience with the process, new possibilities often do develop. We can only let go of our control - or turn it over to our Higher Power. And we will do it and forget, taking control back within minutes or within an hour. Then we let go again.

Today, I will submit to the insecurity of a changing universe and have faith that I can live through the process and grow.

Let's walk!


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11/25/17 8:11 A

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

Stolen from Me

My child has been stolen from me. He's even been stolen from himself-The Addict has whisked away my son's very essence. I don't know if I will ever get him back. I know what he's like, the monstrous fiend who took my son away. The Abductor is evil, heartless, selfish, and abusive, with a reputation for spreading anarchy, bondage, devastation, and death.

Thinking about the torture my child must endure each and every minute of every day, with every passing year, is torture for me. I try not to allow the images to fill my mind (because they kill me)-but they do. Because they slip right on in with the thoughts of my child that fill my mind each and every minute of every day, with every passing year, too.

The Abductor needs my child, my child's body, to survive and will fight to keep him all the way to the bitter end. There is no ransom I can pay. There's no SWAT team on the job. No yellow ribbon tied around a tree.

My child has been stolen from me. There is no end to this hell.

Imagine trying to live without air. Now imagine something worse.
Amy Reed



Let's walk!


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