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5/25/18 9:47 A

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

Nature is the Art of God.
--Sir Thomas Browne

The most relaxing activities may be the ones in which we do absolutely nothing. And if we can do nothing amid the sounds of nature - birds chirping, water bubbling in a brook, the wind rustling in the trees - so much the better. During these moments, away from the noise and chaos of our fast-paced, stress-filled lives, we commune most directly with nature and our Higher Power. Without distraction, our bodies can totally relax; there is no danger, no need to be ready to respond to anything. All we have to do is be.

If we live in the city, we can take refuge in its parks, a quiet room, or the library. We can listen to the sounds of nature on records or cassette tapes. The point is to slow down, to smell and taste the rain, to hear the chirping of crickets and the rustling of leaves and our own thoughts. When we remember nature, we remember - our bodies remember - that we are a part of nature, part of something greater than ourselves.

Today help me hear the sounds of nature and let them comfort and heal me.

Let's walk!


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5/25/18 9:47 A

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

The Land of Tears

I've lived for years in the land of tears-and there's no escape from the sadness.

By day, I retreat, pushing other people away, and I roam the dark house every night. I cry, I pull myself together, and I crawl back into bed. I get up, I fall down, and I try not to drown. I can't eat. I eat too much. I eat away at the fears and worries that are eating away at me. I slap on a smile, I force out a laugh, even on days when I don't make my bed and don't take a bath. I build up a wall, I knock it back down. My love and loyalty get kicked all around. I pretend to be strong. I pretend not to hurt. I try to believe things are going to get better, but too often I don't believe they will. I suffer in silence; I feel so alone.

I've lived for years in the land of tears-and there's no escape from the sadness.

It is such a secret place, the land of tears.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Let's walk!


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5/25/18 9:46 A

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

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

Having someone to bestow our love on - a child, friend, or lover, perhaps a pet - will provide us with a time each day for intimacy, a time for sharing affection, a time, which assures us our presence is counted on.

But having someone to love is not all we need for happiness. We must have dreams for the future, reasons for getting out of bed in the present, and the well-earned glow that accompanies past achievements. Dreams lose their glamour if that's all we have. If the reasons for rising don't excite us any longer, or the achievements ring hollow, we'll not come to know the happiness for which we've been created.

Happiness is our birthright so long as we live fully and love truly.

Let's walk!


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5/22/18 8:47 A

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

We can practice forgiveness each day.

Resentments have a way of creeping back into my psyche even after I have let go of them. I know that holding a grudge is harmful to my emotional health and can threaten my abstinence, but what can I do when I keep feeling anger toward someone?

In the interest of recovery, in my own best interest, I can continue to forgive each day. I may not be able to forgive the person once and for all, but I can do it right now, just for today. With practice, who knows? Perhaps the resentment will disappear.

When I remember that my own track record is far from perfect, I realize I could use some daily forgiveness too, both from others and from myself.

Just for now, I can let go of resentments and forgive. If resentments come back, I can forgive again.

Let's walk!


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5/21/18 11:26 P

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

Reflection for the Day

I know today that getting active means trying to live the suggested Steps of the Program to the best of my ability. It means striving for some degree of honesty, first with myself, then with others. It means activity directed inward, to enable me to see myself and my relationship with my Higher Power more clearly. As I get active, outside and inside myself, so shall I grow in the Program. Do I let others do all the work at meetings? Do I carry my share?

Today I Pray

May I realize that "letting go and letting God" does not mean that I do not have to put any effort into the Program. It is up to me to work the Twelve Steps, to learn what may be an entirely new thing with me - honesty. May I differentiate between activity for activity's sake - busy-work to keep me from thinking - and the thoughtful activity, which helps me to grow.

Today I Will Remember

"Letting God" means letting God show us how.

Let's walk!


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5/20/18 9:22 A

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

Treat your friends as you would a bank account - refrain from drawing too heavily on either.
--Samuel Johnson

"You know," somebody admitted, "I've never really allowed myself to have good friends.

"I always put myself in two extreme roles. Either I think it's my duty to 'save' everyone, or I think it's someone else's function to 'save' me. I set myself up for very dissatisfactory relationships that way. I don't grow very much nor do the people I'm involved with grow much. We get locked into Parent-Child, Teacher-Student, and Counselor-Client kinds of roles.

"I'm tired of empty and lopsided friendships. I want good friends, not parasites or Messiahs running my life. I want friends I can just be me with and not worry whether I'm one-up or one-down on them. I want friends who will accept me as I am and not expect me to have all the answers for all the questions all the time."

TODAY I will examine what I expect of myself and my friendships. As a friend, do I expect myself to give all the advice and have all the answers? Do I expect my friends to take care of me, and give me all the answers? If my friendships are not satisfactory, I will work on enlarging my concept of what a friend is. I will also work on improving the quality of my own friendship.

Let's walk!


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5/19/18 12:27 P

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

The gifts we receive are meant to be shared.

Thanks to the progress I am making in recovery, I like to think I am more loving, more open, more spontaneous, more confident. I believe these gifts have come to me through my Higher Power, the Twelve Steps, and the friends who have helped me grow.

If I am to keep the gifts, I must share them. They are mine as long as I give them away. To do that I need to realize we're all working toward a similar goal: that of developing our potential and becoming who we are meant to be. We help each other toward this goal by sharing our experience, strength, and hope.

Close, warm, loving contacts with my family and friends are what feed my heart and spirit and fill the inner emptiness. When I am willing to share the gifts I have received, I always have enough, because what I give comes back to me.

I will take advantage of today's opportunities for caring and sharing, remembering that my recovery depends not on what I have but on what I give.

Let's walk!


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5/18/18 8:45 A

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

A man is what he thinks about all day long.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is true for women too. We sure learned that about our disease as well. It kept us thinking about alcohol or drugs all day every day until we could think of little else. Finally we became addicts, gobbled up by our all-consuming thoughts and cravings.

Now in recovery, we can be something else. We are becoming free of our addiction, and our minds can think about other things. What do we want to think about? What do we want to be?

It's easy to let the noise around us tell us what to think about. At the end of the day, we can end up feeling out of touch with who we are. We've been giving our minds to whatever is on the radio, television, or the gossip grapevine at work or school. That's why it's good to spend part of each day thinking about things we truly think are important and worthwhile.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, help me understand that what I do with my mind and my time is important. What I do with my mind is my inner life. What I do with my time is my outer life. Together they define who I am.

Today's Action

I will think about the way I use my mind and my time today. What feels good and fits for me? Is there anything I want to do differently tomorrow?

Let's walk!


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5/17/18 8:37 A

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

"The secret, kid," said the seal, bending toward him and speaking behind his flipper, "is to have a good compass and a following wind."
--Will Watkins – Sid Seal, Houseman

The secret, for us, is to never let our recovery become "dead in the water." We keep a good compass by working the Steps. Working the Steps tells us what we need to be doing and where we need to go in our recovery. Our sponsor helps us with this and helps us stay on course.

We also need the energy behind us to keep us from getting stalled out. We keep this energy – this "tailwind" – by making our program a way of life. The more we put ourselves in its path, the more the recovery wind keeps us moving. We stay in the path of this wind by going to meetings at least once a week and by using recovery tools as a matter of habit every day.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, help me remember that my spirituality has a lot to do with the way I use my life energy.

Today's Action

Are there days when I'd like to skip my reading, my prayer, my meetings, my conscious contact with my Higher Power? I will talk with my sponsor about a plan to get through this kind of day next time it comes up.

Let's walk!


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5/16/18 8:43 A

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

When they take your smile away they might just as well shoot you.
--Violet Hensley

Violet is one big smile. And it's not the result of having an easy life. On the contrary, she has worked doubly hard all her life to support her family. However, she has a joyful attitude, and it has made the difference in her life. Now in old age, she still works hard making fiddles for sale and performing music; but she loves every minute of life, and when you're with her, you love it too.

Why aren't we more like Violet? The answer always rests within us. We have decided how to respond to life's trials. We were never forced to dread, hate, or appreciate our experiences. We were, and still are, solely responsible for our interpretation. The Violets of the world opted to have more fun.

How do we begin having more fun? The first step is deciding to leave the past behind. No matter what our experiences were last year or in our childhood or even this morning, they don't have to determine what our experiences will be in this next hour. Having more fun is clearly a decision that is coupled with action. Any one of us can do it as well as we want to.

Smiling at myself in the mirror is good practice. Offering one to the first person I encounter strengthens my desire to offer more.

Let's walk!


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5/15/18 8:38 A

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

Reflection for the Day

I can attain real dignity, importance and individuality only by a dependence on a Power, which is great and good, beyond anything I can imagine or understand. I will try my utmost to use this Power in making all my decisions. Even though my human mind cannot forecast what the outcome will be, I will try to be confident that whatever comes will be for my ultimate good. Just for today, will I try to live this day only, and not tackle my whole life problem at once?

Today I Pray

May I make no decision; engineer no change in the course of my life stream, without calling upon my Higher Power. May I have faith that God's plan for me is better than any scheme I could devise for myself.

Today I Will Remember

God is the architect. I am the builder.



Let's walk!


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5/14/18 8:47 A

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

Doing our best

Perhaps we are saving our best effort for the "big break." When such and such happens, then I'll give it my best shot. What we don't realize, however, is that success comes from doing a lot of little things well. Learning to live means learning to manage all our daily responsibilities.

If we can't keep our clothes clean, take out the garbage, or get up on time, how can we expect to handle promotions, marriages, and crises? Daily effort may seem inconsequential, but our big break is the result of all our todays well lived.

Higher Power, help me take care of each thing as it comes along.

Let's walk!


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5/13/18 9:34 A

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

Using today's tools

Are we becoming stuck in the "if onlys"? "If only I had more money." "If only I were more attractive." "If only my parents had listened to Dr. Spock." The "if onlys" will get us nowhere. We would do better to think about what we have to work with today.

Do we remember that we are fortunate just to be alive? Are we grateful that, one day at a time, we are clean and sober? Do we keep in mind that we have at our disposal the Twelve Step program and all its tools? When we dwell in the "if onlys," we get stuck in yesterday. But what we have to work with today are "today's tools," and if we use them well, we'll have no need for the "if onlys."

Am I using the tools I have today?

God, help me to recognize today's tools and to become willing to use them.

Let's walk!


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5/12/18 9:30 A

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

He has served who now and then
Has helped along his fellowmen.
--Edgar A. Guest

It's hard to be interested in something that seems too remote. Sure, we're sorry for starving people in faraway places. And the TV news story about whole villages disappearing in an earthquake makes us feel terrible - until the next news story comes on. It doesn't mean we're bad people when we don't respond much to such tragedies. It only means they're not personal - and only the personal is real.

We care most about what we're involved in directly. If we're not personally involved, we're not very enthusiastic either. If we are the ones starting a new [12 Step] meeting, setting up the chairs, making the coffee, the success of that meeting means a lot to us. If our children are on drugs, we're not bored by city council meetings where new drug programs are discussed. It's our stake in something that makes it important.

The world doesn't need any more spectators. To feel more alive, we must be more alive. Caring is life and involvement is growth.

Today, I will not sit on the sidelines. I will act on behalf of a good cause that deserves my support.

Let's walk!


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5/11/18 8:33 A

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

"You silly thing," said Fritz, my eldest son, sharply, "don't you know that we must not settle what God is to do for us? We must have patience and wait His time."
--Johann R. Wyss

The story of the shipwrecked Robinson family is a lesson in patience. It was years before their rescue. They didn't know what their fate would be on the unfamiliar island. Yet they survived every day by working together and keeping strong faith in a Power greater than themselves.

We are certainly far from the adversities faced by that family. But at times we may feel our lives would be better if our Higher Power would do what we wanted. How many times have we prayed as hard as we could for something we felt we needed?

Today might have been one of those days where we felt our prayers weren't answered. But we need to remember our prayers are heard. Now it is up to us to Let Go and Let God.

Have I tried to be in control of my Higher Power today? How can I Let Go and Let God?

Let's walk!


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5/10/18 12:41 P

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

Patience is needed with everyone, but first of all with ourselves.
--Saint Francis De Sales

One night Sandra was having trouble putting a puzzle together. Angrily, she pushed all the pieces into a huge pile.

"I can't do this," she said. She got up and walked over to the couch and plopped down.

"Let me tell you a story," said her dad, as he sat down next to her. "There was a daughter who helped her dad take care of her baby sister. Again and again, she helped her baby sister stand and try to walk. One day the daughter tried to put a puzzle together but gave up after only a few tries. She had forgotten how many times she had helped her baby sister."

We are all like Sandra, sometimes. We forget to allow ourselves to fail, even though our growth up to now has been a series of failures that we've learned from. With patience, we allow ourselves to take chances we might not otherwise explore, and we widen our world of possibilities. Life has been patient with us so far, now it's our turn.

What have I failed at that I can try again today?

Let's walk!


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5/9/18 8:42 A

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

. . . we have some unfinished business between us.

When we respond to the small signals that something is amiss, we prevent bigger problems. When we feel fear in our relationship, it signals that we have some unfinished business between us. When we ask the questions we have been avoiding, we create new possibilities for resolution. Our fear is a signal that something does not feel safe. If we tell ourselves that our fear is illogical and discount it, or if we overreact by totally pulling out of the situation, we miss opportunities to change it.

What a relief we feel as we make sense out of our fear and begin to talk with each other. We let go of secrets between us and work toward mutual understanding. As we communicate, the knot in our stomach loosens and light reappears in our relationship.

Name the signals your body gives you to indicate that something in your relationship needs attention.

Let's walk!


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5/9/18 8:42 A

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

The crisis of our time . . . is a crisis not of the hands but of the hearts.
--Archibald MacLeish

We singlemindedly search for love, for belonging, for affirmation from others that will wipe out the torment of alienation that haunts our wakefulness and our dreams. "Does he truly care?" we wonder. "Did she try to call as she said?" Our fears, coupled with our loneliness, turn us inward and the seduction of isolation tightens its hold.

Our hearts plead, sometimes silently, other times hysterically, for comfort. And paradoxically, another's crisis can end our own. If we can hear the call from another's heart today, our own hearts will discover the comfort we crave.

If we look closely and with love toward the people so carefully placed in our midst, we'll discover many hearts, like our own, searching for acceptance.

Let's relieve our haunting alienation and extend a hand in love to a lonely friend today.

Let's walk!


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5/9/18 8:41 A

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Presence

"C'mon. Hurry. Let's go," my friend said, shifting nervously from one foot to the other.

I looked around. Another friend, Michael, had just walked into the room. I hadn't seen him for a while. I felt compelled to go over and talk to him, even though I didn't have anything important to say.

"Please, let's go," my friend said again. I started to leave with him, then changed my mind.

"Give me just a few minutes," I said, walking away from my friend and moving toward Michael. We didn't talk about much, Michael and I. But I'll never forget that conversation. He was killed in an accident two weeks later.

Some people suggest that our biggest regret when we die will be that we didn't work less and spend more time with the people we love. That may be true, but for me, I think it will be that I wasn't more completely present for each person, task, and moment in my life.

Action: Do you remember the "stop, look, and, listen" slogan from when you were a child? Every so often, even for a few minutes each day, try to remember to practice it.

Slow down or stop - depending on how fast you're going.

Look - see where you are, whom you're with, what you're doing. Give whatever you're doing your attention.

Listen - as much as possible, quell your anxiety, cease your mental chatter, and just listen to nature, to other people, to God, and to yourself.

Let's walk!


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5/6/18 10:25 A

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

Growing

We all perform on two stages: one public, one private. The Public stage is what we do and say. The Private stage is what we think and what we rehearse in our minds to do on the Public stage. Even though we may never perform it, what we rehearse in our minds helps mold our character and guide our actions.

Are we rehearsing anger, fights, and what we're going to tell that SOB next time? Are we rehearsing drug use, the old ways of living? If so, we are risking the recovery we have achieved.

To keep growing and to keep building character, we need to rehearse kindness, patience, and love. We need to practice awareness of our Higher Power in our lives.

Am I growing?

May I practice kindness, patience, and love in all my affairs today.

Let's walk!


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5/5/18 9:34 A

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

Don't take storms personally.

Somewhere out in the Pacific, a storm brewed and swirled and thrashed and died without ever touching the land. Three days, later, under a clear blue sky, the storm surge reached the California coast near Los Angeles. The sea threw rocks at my house, and the waves stacked up and crashed down against the pilings of the foundation. Farther up the street, the ocean ate the back porch of two houses. All night the shoreline trembled and shook from the power of the sea.

The next morning the tide pulled back, the swells calmed, and the sky stayed blue. I walked down the beach, impressed at the way the ocean had littered it with huge chunks of driftwood and rocks. Then I walked back upstairs and drank my morning coffee.

Sometimes storms aren't about us.

Sometimes, friends or loved ones will attack us for no apparent reason. They'll fuss, fume, and snap at us. When we ask them why, they'll say, "Oh I'm sorry. I had a bad day at work." But we still feel hurt and upset.

Hold people accountable for their behavior. Don't let people treat you badly. But don't take the storms in their lives personally. These storms may have nothing to do with you.

Seek shelter if necessary. Get away from hurt friends until they have time to calm down; then approach when it's safe. If the storm isn't about you, there's nothing you need to do. Would you try to stop the ocean waves by standing in the surf with your arms outstretched?

God, help me not to take the storms in the lives of my friends and loved ones too personally.

Let's walk!


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5/4/18 8:41 A

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

People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind.
-- W. B. Yeats

It's a bitter pill to swallow, but our intelligence only gets in the way when we're dealing with things that really count -- our feelings and how we express them.

Love is the be all and end all. If we are capable of loving, we have nothing to worry about. If we're having trouble expressing our loving nature, our priority must be to remove the barriers. One of those barriers is our belief in the overriding importance of our intelligence.

Intelligence is like good looks; they are both unearned. And we can be sure that our Creator does not evaluate us on the basis of how intelligent we are. If we ask, God will help us overcome our reliance on our intelligence and all other handicaps that keep us from expressing love.

The best part of my mind links me to others, and to God.

Let's walk!


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5/3/18 8:46 A

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Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

The most wasted day is that in which we have not laughed.
--Chamfort

When we are adrift in our addiction, we take ourselves very seriously and often lose contact with reality. We become lost in fantasy and obsession. Life becomes joyless because we can't see beyond our addiction, and we find no real satisfaction there. We lose touch with the joy and humor of life, and we find that everything around us and inside us is grim and dark.

One of the many positive signs of our return to health and sanity is our recovery of the gift of laughter. Each day as we gain more energy and zest of life, we move in to the world and find many things that are humorous, in ourselves and in other people. We laugh and find we are no longer alone.

Laughter is the mark of a healthy, happy human being. Laughter shows that we are truly a part of the human community. It is a sign that we are alive and on the way to recovery.

I am glad that I can laugh again and feel in touch with myself and others.

Let's walk!


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5/2/18 8:38 A

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

Reflection for the Day

The experiences of thousands upon thousands of people have proven that acceptance and faith are capable of producing freedom from dependence on chemicals. When we apply the same principles of acceptance and faith to our emotional problems, however, we discover that only relative results are possible. Obviously, for example, nobody can ever become completely free from fear, anger or pride. None of us will ever achieve perfect love, harmony or serenity. We'll have to settle for very gradual progress, punctuated occasionally by very heavy setbacks. Have I begun to abandon my old attitude of "all or nothing"?

Today I Pray

May God grant me the patience to apply those same principles of faith and acceptance, which are keys to my recovery to the whole of my emotional being. May I learn to recognize the festering of my own human anger, my hurt, my frustration, and my sadness. With the help of God, may I find appropriate ways to deal with these feelings without doing harm to others or myself.

Today I Will Remember

Feelings are facts.

Let's walk!


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5/1/18 8:34 A

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

We have our time together

Sometimes we feel bad because we cannot afford all the things we need or want. Whether or not we have all we want, we can get lost in the quest for material possessions and the happiness we think they will bring.

These thoughts can carry us toward a narrow and cold view of life. But we can return to the spontaneous life that surrounds us. Squirrels still chase each other through the grass. Children still engage in fanciful conversations. The joy of music can still enrich our lives. We have our time together and our imagination. When we take the time to enjoy our connection and express our love, we discover riches of far greater value than material items.

Take this moment to look around you to notice the simple things that give you pleasure.

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4/30/18 8:32 A

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Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

What is obvious to me is that we did not create ourselves... life is something inside of you. You did not create it. Once you understand that, you are in a spiritual realm.
--Virginia Satir

We do not belong to ourselves, but to the universe. No one planned to come into existence; we just happened to find ourselves here. We are the expressions of a life force whose beginnings are in the forgotten past. What does this mean on a practical level for how we will live today? For one thing, maybe we don't need to take ourselves so seriously. And we certainly are not to judge our existence. We have a right to be here, just as everyone does.

We can live this day fully and not hold ourselves back. We may work hard, play, and enjoy it. We need not rein in or attempt to control this force which so far exceeds our individual powers. Rather, today we can learn to flow with the current.

Today, may I remember my Higher Power is within every cell of my being, whether I notice it or not.

Let's walk!


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4/29/18 9:24 A

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

Angels Are Everywhere

I never believed in angels. Now I do. I think of angels as people who do nice things for us without expecting much in return. They give for the love of giving. They seek out opportunities to help, even when it seems inconvenient. They don't always look like we expect them to look or smell like we think they should. Their beliefs aren't always aligned with ours. But when we need them, they are there.

One of the first times I really understood their concept was when I drove to New York from Las Vegas in 1982. There I was, thrust into a big world I had never known except in geography schoolbooks. I was terrified but willing to make the drive. This cross-country trip was to become a metaphor for the bigger journey in my life.

Angels were everywhere. I met them in gas stations and rest stops, on the highway, in hotels, at restaurants, and at every meeting place I stopped along the way. From Flagstaff, Arizona to Albuquerque, New Mexico; from Joplin, Missouri to Chicago, Illinois and then on to New York. Their support was unfailing. Because of them, I got from one city to another. Because of them, I completed my journey. My job was simply to show up; they did the rest.

When was the last time you recognized an angel? Perhaps they let your car pass into the next lane without giving you a dirty look. Perhaps they offered to assist you when you were overloaded with bags. Perhaps they gave you their seat on the subway or the bus. Maybe they gave you a gift they knew you'd like. Perhaps they loaned you some money, bought clothes or toys for your kids when you couldn't, or just lent a helping hand in whatever way they could. Or maybe it was a friend who just stopped in the middle of a busy workday to take your call or meet with you for coffee or lunch. An angel can be someone you know or someone you meet in passing. Angels enhance your life, if even for a moment.

You're invited to recognize and acknowledge the angels in your life, people who have contributed to your life in big and small ways.

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4/28/18 9:27 A

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

Why go to meetings?

The first time we hear that Al-Anon is not about getting people clean and sober, we question the point of going. But what we soon learn is that the program is for us, not for the addict or alcoholic. We learn that we deserve peace.

We'll think with greater clarity because Step One will help us give up our obsession with the alcoholic. From Steps Two and Three we'll develop a trust in a Higher Power and thus give up our fear. We'll finally give up a burden we've carried far too long when we come to believe it's not our job to get anyone sober. Our job is to find happiness and offer love to others. Nothing can better us more than this.

Time spent at meetings is never wasted. My happiness will be strengthened each time I use some part of the program.

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4/27/18 8:43 A

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

Without discipline, there's no life at all.
--Katharine Hepburn

We all have deadlines we must meet. We have bills to pay, responsibilities at work, children with school projects - all the innumerable small markers that push life forward.

When we realize we're procrastinating, we need to be committed to not shaming ourselves. Procrastination is not an indication that we have failed. How realistic would it be if we looked forward to doing unpleasant things? It's human to avoid what we'd rather not do.

As we free ourselves from the burden of perfectionism, we're free to better accept our responsibilities. Meeting deadlines as well as we can, one at a time, pays off in serenity and a manageable life. When we are crisis ridden, we are forced to live by other peoples' demands, rather than by our choices. In the face of procrastination, resentment, or perfectionism, we can turn to Step Ten for an inventory. We can forgive ourselves, try to laugh at ourselves, live in the present, and keep going. Today can be better than yesterday.

I may as well admit it - there's probably something I'm avoiding. Is today the day to do it?

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4/26/18 8:44 A

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

I believe that every single event in life happens as an opportunity to choose love over fear.
--Oprah Winfrey

When our past is strewn with tragic and abusive experiences, it's not easy to recall events as opportunities to love. Yet today we are safe, and we have come to believe a Higher Power has been watching over us every moment. Through the principles of this program, we are learning to forgive and to trust that we will always be cared for.

We cannot change the past. What happened and how we responded helped carry us to this point in our journey. We can cultivate love, now, for the present. The people who care for us will support us. The experiences designed for our progress will come to us. Our Higher Power will never leave our side. We can be free of fear today, if that's our wish.

I will not fear the events in my life today. I am ready for them. They need my involvement.

Let's walk!


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4/25/18 8:44 A

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

A man of courage is also full of faith.
-- Cicero

Faith and courage walk hand in hand. Courage empowers us to act in favor of what we believe, but cannot know. Courage is animated by the vision of faith. It doesn't take any faith to perform an action that doesn't require a risk. Only when the outcome is uncertain, and the effort itself a feat of daring, must faith and courage come on the scene together to get the job done.

To reach out to another, if we have known frequent rejection, is to act courageously in spite of an uncertain outcome. To stand firm in a decision, if we have always given in and given up, is to back our faith in a most daring and courageous way.

Many recovering people, who never think of themselves as spiritual, are excellent models of faith because they continually reach out for what is not common in their lives. Because they believe, they're willing and able to take the risk.

Today, I can do what I believe I can do.

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4/24/18 8:42 A

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

Slow Down and Live

Many of us rush through our days as well as rush through our meals. Often we let ourselves get so busy that we do not enjoy what we are doing or what we are eating. We swallow life in great gulps instead of savoring it moment by moment.

Hurry and busyness are forms of self-will. Deluded by an exaggerated sense of our own importance, we deem it crucial to perform all tasks and activities according to our personal schedule. Impatient with traffic tie-ups, other people's slowness, or unavoidable delays, we make ourselves tense and miserable by our refusal to accept life as it comes.

Time spent each day in quiet meditation can give us glimpses of God's timelessness. We see that our schedule is not that important after all, when measured against eternity. As the presence of God seeps into our consciousness, we relax into the fullness and peace of each moment. Trusting our Higher Power to order our lives, we can slow down and enjoy God's gifts.

May I exchange hurry and busyness for Your peace.

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4/23/18 8:41 A

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

When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
--Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Newcomer

Initially, I was excited about recovery. I felt better for a while. I hate to say it, but now that I'm not at the beginning any more, everything seems worse. I feel more cynical than ever.

Sponsor

What you're experiencing is part of the process of recovery. Many of us go through a "honeymoon" phase in early recovery. Our craving may feel miraculously lifted. Change feels easy, and hope replaces despair.

Then, life feels difficult again. We may perceive ourselves as having gotten worse, but that's not accurate. What's really happening is that, though our addictive craving has been treated, we still have our old problems, habits, and states of mind. We may be getting through the day, showing up for our work responsibilities, attending meetings, but not having much fun. We may wonder if what we've heard is really true -- that "our worst day in recovery is better than our best day of active addiction." We may wonder whether recovery really is the answer after all.

Our doubt makes clear to us that we have to do something. Staying where we are is too uncomfortable. We can attend a Step meeting and read program literature to begin to familiarize ourselves with our next Step. For spirits in need of healing, Step work leads to the next phase of recovery.

Today, I have the courage to move forward in my journey of recovery.



Let's walk!


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4/22/18 10:23 A

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

Misery is optional.

We may have learned to be miserable, but we can choose to unlearn it. Though we can't control what happens to us, we can determine how we will interpret and react to what happens. We can moan about the things we don't like, using them as excuses for self-pity ("poor me"), or we can implement the Serenity Prayer, accepting what we can't change and changing what we can.

In the past, we often made ourselves miserable by over-doing things. Now, how often do we continue to invite misery by thinking we ought to be able to control other people? What part do unrealistic expectations play in the creation and continuation of our misery?

When we're hurting, we need to do something about it. A physical hurt may require a doctor; an emotional pain may call for a therapist or friend, and spiritual distress may indicate the need for more prayer and meditation, closer contact with a Higher Power. We can accept responsibility for our feelings, become willing to go to any lengths to get well, and choose not to be miserable.

Responding with misery is not on my list of options for today.

Let's walk!


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4/21/18 9:03 A

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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.

Let's walk!


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4/20/18 8:46 A

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

Taking Care of Ourselves

It's healthy, wise, and loving to be considerate and responsive to the feelings and needs of others. That's different from caretaking. Caretaking is a self-defeating and, certainly, a relationship defeating behavior - a behavior that backfires and can cause us to feel resentful and victimized - because ultimately, what we feel, want, and need will come to the surface.

Some people seem to invite emotional caretaking. We can learn to refuse the invitation. We can be concerned; we can be loving, when possible; but we can place value on our own needs and feelings too. Part of recovery means learning to pay attention to, and place importance on, what we feel, want, and need, because we begin to see that there are clear, predictable, and usually undesirable consequences when we don't.

Be patient and gentle with yourself as you learn to do this. Be understanding with yourself when you slip back into the old behavior of emotional caretaking and self-neglect.

But stop the cycle today. We do not have to feel responsible for others. We do not have to feel guilty about not feeling responsible for others. We can even learn to let ourselves feel good about taking responsibility for our needs and feelings.

Today, I will evaluate whether I've slipped into my old behavior of taking responsibility for another's feelings and needs, while neglecting my own. I will own my power, right, and responsibility to place value on myself.

Let's walk!


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4/19/18 8:41 A

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

Worry and Stress

"Make plans but don't plan results." This is a simple phrase cautioning us against unnecessary worry and stress.

If our plans involve other people, we would be wise to work joyfully toward realizing our dreams, but we should not expect or worry if others do not want the same goals. Nor should we worry if others are not as enthused about our ideas as we are. We know, by applying the Serenity Prayer, that we can only change ourselves; we cannot force changes in others.

Another cause of unnecessary stress in planning results comes from our ingrained habit of regarding ourselves as inadequate. All too often, those of us who make plans give up on ourselves when we predict the outcome of our dreams on the basis of our past experiences. We falsely conclude that because we failed or felt empty in the past, we'll most certainly not succeed in the future; thus, we quit too soon and rationalize our resignation with a "Why bother to try?" attitude.

TODAY I will make plans but not plan results. I will work out my plan, one day at a time, knowing that my past performance is NOT an infallible indicator of my present or future success. I will look forward with hope, not despair.

Let's walk!


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4/18/18 8:41 A

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

The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water and breeds reptiles of the mind.
-- William Blake

We seek the answer. Sometimes we think we have found a central truth and later learn that beneath it is another truth. Or what seemed so crucial as a guiding principle for our lives last year is still true but not as crucial. It is like trying to take a snapshot of a changing world while the camera itself is changing.

Some of us in our hunger for security grab for "absolute" truths, which are not absolute. We must continue forever to be eager learners. In stepping across a stream from one floating log to another, we must resist the temptation to become overcommitted to staying in an especially secure looking place, or we will never reach the opposite shore. Even the Twelve Steps of this program are given to us as a "suggested" program of recovery. It is a program that works because it takes us out of our rigid ways. We are continually made new. That is the vitality of the spiritual life.

God, help me to be open to new opinions - to things I had never thought of on my own.



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4/17/18 8:38 A

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

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.
--Doug Larson

Life is never just one thing. It is quite possible to feel optimistic and happy even when some things are not right with us. An optimistic outlook gives us energy to handle the harder things that we have to deal with. Research shows that people who have a positive attitude have a stronger immune system, are healthier, live longer, and are even more likely to recover from serious illness.

To believe in hopeful outcomes is largely a matter of choice. Many of us have experienced big disappointments and defeats in life. But having come this far, we can look back and see that somehow we had the capacity to deal with it. The Second Step guides us to believe in hopeful possibilities. We can't say that things will always turn out just the way we hope, but that we can cope with whatever happens.

Today I choose to believe that a power greater than myself can help me deal with life, and I have reason to be optimistic.

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4/17/18 8:38 A

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

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
--Antoine de St. Exupery

A tuning fork is a small tool that is used to tune musical instruments. It is tapped softly and then set down. As it vibrates, it gives off a musical tone. When its vibrations perfectly match the vibrations of the note played on the instrument, the instrument is in tune. When the note matches the tuning fork, this can be both felt and heard.

Our hearts work like a tuning fork. When the heart feels completely in tune with a decision or thought or action in our lives, then we know it is the right one for us. We can actually feel the harmony inside our bodies.

Sometimes what we know deep in our hearts gets clouded over by doubts and questions and other people's opinions and judgments. We need to clear away such clouds and listen to our hearts, for our hearts carry the wisdom of God.

Am I in tune with my heart today?

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4/14/18 8:54 A

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

I feel we have picked each other from the crowd as fellow travelers, for neither of us is to the other's personality the end-all and the be-all.
-- Joanna Field

It's not mere chance that we gravitate toward those who become our friends. Nor is it only happenstance that we are picked by others. We are, in fact, on a journey and have much to learn. From our friends and even more so from those not so friendly, we are destined to learn what our souls yearn for. The journey is the process of enlightenment for which we all have gathered. From one another we are receiving that which we're ready to learn. All of us students. Each of us a teacher.

How comforting to know that the pain of a particular experience, or the confusion over a set of circumstances, will become understandable with the passage of time. All experience plays its part. All of our acquaintances share destinies overlapping our own. There is security in knowing that our journeys are necessary and right for us.

I'll not discount the value of any person or any experience that circumstances offer today.

Let's walk!


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4/13/18 9:23 A

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

Life is like a library owned by an author. In it are a few books, which he wrote himself, but most of them were written for him.
--Harry Emerson Fosdick

In our minds there are multitudes of stored memories, knowledge, and skills. Some of these are the results of living and learning, but most are information given to us by others. Our family, friends, co-workers, teachers, and children are the greatest sources for our storehouses of information.

Most of our learning comes from others. Teachers give us much in the way of facts. Our family instructs us in morals. Friends show us different personalities and lifestyles. Our children reflect what we've taught them and give us their views of the world.

All the information we have is valuable to our growth and maturity - every person we meet, each place we visit, and everything we try contribute to our library of knowledge and experience. At times we may borrow from what is on our shelves, but we must keep our shelves stocked with fresh material. Each night we can write a new volume based on the day's experiences.

I have more valuable contributions to make to my library of knowledge and experience.



Let's walk!


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4/12/18 6:24 P

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

The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey

A man and his son headed to market with their donkey. A man on a horse passed them and asked, "Why aren't you riding your donkey?"

The man placed his son on the donkey, and they continued on their way. They passed by a family working in their fields. A young girl said. "Look at that lazy boy riding while his father is walking."

The man told his son to get off the donkey, and he climbed on. They passed a group of women and one said, "What a selfish man, making his son walk while he rides."

The man asked his son to climb up on the donkey with him. They passed a traveler on the road, who said, "That poor donkey is carrying too much weight."

Not knowing what to do, the man and his son began to carry the donkey. But the donkey kicked so violently they released their hold and the donkey ran away.

The Moral of the story: In striving to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.

Striving to be a people-pleaser can make you feel as if what you are doing is never right, and you lose your ability to make your own decision.

I will choose to do what is right for me.

Let's walk!


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4/11/18 8:33 A

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

What would it be like if you lived each day, each breath, as a work of art in progress? Imagine that you are a masterpiece unfolding, every second of every day, a work of art taking form with every breath.
-- Thomas Crum

So many of us avoid living in the present moment. We worry about the future.

Daydreaming and pondering are necessary in moderation, but we try to stay in the present moment for most of the day. To do this, we return to the most basic element - our breath. We concentrate on taking deep breaths. Barring a respiratory disorder, breathing is simple. When we return to the simplicity of breathing, we automatically simplify our life by focusing only on what's happening to one part of our body in one moment in time.

Today, when I have trouble living in the present, I will concentrate on my breathing.



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4/10/18 8:39 A

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

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
--Eric Hoffer

When we're not honest with others, we're not being honest with ourselves. In recovery, we're taught how to heal our hearts. We admit we're wrong, and we do it quickly. We let our spirit speak out. We listen to our spirit. We let our spirit have the loudest voice. This way, lies lose power over us. We find a way to be true to our spirit.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, You have a soft, quiet voice inside of me. Help me, through meditation, to hear You better. Yours is the voice I want to follow.

Action for the Day

I'll listen to my Higher Power. I'll list any lies I've been telling myself and others lately. Then I'll find someone I trust and tell that person what I've lied about.



Let's walk!


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4/9/18 2:58 P

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

In the long run, it's easier to carry out our Higher Power's will than our own.

The good news of the Twelve Step program is that we don't have to continue trying to make self-will work. Attempting to make the rest of the world conform to what we think we want is a little like trying to push water uphill. It's not only frustrating - it's exhausting.

Getting in touch with a Higher Power frees us from the trap of self-will. We can move with the rhythm of reality instead of being stuck in fantasy. We can discover how we can be useful and what it is we do best.

How can I be sure I'm doing my Higher Power's will? There is, of course, no certain way to know, but what I rely on is an inner sense of lightness and rightness. I pray for guidance, I ask for answers, I listen to my inner voice, and I talk to people whose opinion I respect. I also believe if what I'm doing is not my Higher Power's will for me, I'll find out, since it won't work.

I ask to know my Higher Power's will for me today and/or the ability to carry it out.

Let's walk!


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4/8/18 9:13 A

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

Anyone can get sober . . .
The trick is to stay and to live sober.
--Living Sober

Newcomer

At one meeting someone mentioned having had a slip. He had been back in recovery for three days. No one criticized him; in fact, everyone applauded. To be honest, it makes me think about seeing what it would be like to have a few drinks or a drug again, just for a day or a weekend.

Sponsor

Over the years, I've watched people come and go in recovery. I've been grateful to the people who relapsed and were lucky enough to come back and share their experience. They taught me a lot by talking about how their disease had continued progressing even when they weren't active in it, and about how much more quickly their misery had returned this time. I'm grateful to them for having had the slip for me; now I don't have to risk it. There's a danger in going back out to experiment with controlled using; few who leave ever make it back. This is a life threatening disease. People like us, who depend on using an addictive substance, can die from it. We understand the seriousness of our addictions and have no need to test recovery by trying to use "safely."

Today, I want life - all of it. I embrace my recovery; I stick close to those who know how to stay stopped.

Let's walk!


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4/7/18 5:15 P

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Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

There is nothing permanent except change.
--Heraclitus

Most of us don't like change very much. Getting sober is like stepping into a rushing river of change that will take us to new places in our lives. We sense that. We are learning to trust it more each day. But even though life keeps getting better for us, we still keep some of that fear inside us about what will happen if we keep working our recovery program and life keeps changing for us.

Maybe we get a good job, and we are afraid we will louse it up. Maybe we make new friends, and we are afraid they will find out what a jerk we really are. Maybe our kids are speaking to us again and want to have a better relationship, and we are afraid of the responsibility.

You know what? It'll be okay. It's okay to have good things happen. It's okay to trust ourselves to handle responsibility. Nobody knows how to do life perfectly - that's why we need our Higher Power to guide us.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, Help me listen for Your directions today as I walk through a new day in sobriety. Together we can handle any surprises and changes the day may bring.

Today's Action

Today I will write down three ways fear of change is holding me back, and I will talk with my sponsor about these things. What do I need to do to be ready for these changes?

Let's walk!


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4/7/18 5:15 P

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

Even though I can't solve your problems, I will be there as your sounding board whenever you need me.
--Sandra K. Lamberson

The prize we each have been given is our ability to offer full and interested attention to people seeking our counsel. And seldom does a day pass that we aren't given the opportunity to listen, to nurture, to offer hope where it's been dashed.

We are not separate, one from another. Interdependence is our blessing; however, we fail to recognize it at our crucial crossroads. Alone we ponder. Around us, others, too, are often suffering in silence. These Steps that guide our lives push us to break the silence. The secrets we keep, keep us from the health we deserve.

Our emotional well-being is enhanced each time we share ourselves - our stories or our attentive ears. We need to be a part of someone else's pain and growth in order to make use of the pain that we have grown beyond. Pain has its purpose in our lives. And in the lives of our friends, too. It's our connection to one another, the bridge that closes the gap.

We dread our pain. We hate the suffering our friends must withstand. But each of us gains when we accept these challenges as our invitations for growth and closeness to others.

Secrets keep us sick. I will listen and share and be well.

Let's walk!


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4/7/18 5:14 P

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

Keep your recovery First to make it Last.
--Anonymous

We all encounter places, people, and times of the year which trigger memories of our old lifestyle, pleasant or painful events. Holidays and family gatherings may be especially stressful times for us.

There have always been a lot of expectations associated with holidays. Many of us may feel pressured to fulfill those expectations. We need to remember that it is a naturally stressful time and we may feel more nervous than usual. We can avoid forcing moods or events on ourselves or those around us.

In recovery, we are given tips that have helped many members during the holidays. We plan extra Program activities and keep our phone list handy. We skip any slippery occasions that make us uneasy. We attend special Program events. We take a fellow member with us to a possibly slippery party if we feel uncomfortable going alone.

When I keep my recovery Number One in my mind, the holidays, with the help of my friends, will be enjoyable and less stressful.

Let's walk!


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4/7/18 5:14 P

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

There is no such thing as "best" in the world of individuals.
--Hosea Bellou

We live in a society driven by the concept of competition. "We are Number One" is drummed in our ears daily via advertising and sporting events. The message is that we must be or must have something "better than" if we have any sense of pride at all. Failure is the only other option.

But human behavior can't be judged according to this kind of rating system. How could we ever determine who is the best listener, the most insightful or compassionate? At any given moment, the best for us may not be the best for someone else. If it goes right to the heart, a simple word spoken at a meeting is the best word. If someone we hardly know nods and smiles from across the room, that smile is the best smile for us, here and now. The extended hand, the brief word of encouragement, will never be proclaimed "Number One" on television, never be memorialized in record books as better than the support someone else got, but for us, it's the best.

I am surrounded by a multitude of blessings. I need look no further for what I need.

Let's walk!


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4/7/18 5:13 P

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

Music drives the devil away.
--Martin Luther

How many times have we seen a movie and liked the music so much we went out and bought the sound track? It may have been classical music in the background, or country, western, jazz, or even rock music. Perhaps the music was soothing, or fun and spirited. It made us want to sing or dance. It was so good to listen to it made us feel good all over!

Music of many kinds can enrich the spirit, drive away our worries, and soothe tension. It's a gift we all can have as long as we can hear. And many who are hearing-impaired may still benefit from the rhythmic vibrations of music that are felt more than heard, but which can still be soothing.

When we take some time each day to stop and listen to music, we contribute to our physical well-being and our spiritual health. And we appreciate it when those who have the gift of making music share that gift with others. We may even find a music-making gift in ourselves that we can share and enjoy.

Today help me take time from the hectic part of my day and allow music to heal and refresh me.

Let's walk!


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4/2/18 8:26 A

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

We're not here to lose our sense of humor.
--Richie Berlin

Being too serious is habit forming. However, many aspects of our lives are serious and need to be addressed. Our disease, for one, is very serious. Working the Twelve Step program to the best of our ability is serious too. So are being honest and loving with friends, taking responsibility for all of our behavior, and being willing to change. But we can get in the habit of being too serious in many areas of our lives where a lighter touch is called for.

Cultivating laughter, so it too can become habit forming, benefits us immeasurably; however, this may not be easy. Our family of origin taught us that some things were funny and other things weren't. If we were laughed at rather than encouraged to see the humor in situations affecting us, we may find it hard to be comfortable with anyone's laughter. But we can work on this. We can begin by spending time with people who laugh and see the humor in situations that affect them. Our families were our earliest teachers; we can pick some new teachers now.

The more often I laugh today, the lighter my spirit will feel and the healthier my emotional life will become.

Let's walk!


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4/1/18 10:31 A

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

Our teachers surround us.

When we were young, our parents and siblings served as our teachers, but they weren't always good ones. We may have learned habits that haunt us still. Shame and guilt may still trouble us because of the messages our parents and siblings gave us. We can't undo the past teachings, but we can come to believe those teachers did their best. They passed on to us what they had been taught. Fortunately, the Twelve Step program can help us discard behaviors that serve us no more and cultivate ones that do.

We're students of life and we'll encounter many teachers. From some, we will learn patience; from others, tolerance and acceptance. A few will make us laugh. All will change us in some way. We may be apt to pass judgment on the interactions we have with others, but those with more wisdom than ourselves remind us that we can learn. In fact, we are privileged to learn something of value in absolutely every interaction. Our teachers are all around us.

I will accept that every person is my teacher today. I may be in for many surprising lessons!

Let's walk!


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3/31/18 8:48 A

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

Self-Respect

When my kids used to say, “Mom yelled at me,” what they meant was that I had told them to clean their rooms, or to say "please" and "thank you," or to obey some other parental directive they didn't like. To them, this was yelling because we just weren't a yelly household. So I don't know how my child became comfortable with yelling and swearing at me once he became an addict, but he did.

And I let him.

I used to be strong. I had self-respect. I would never have let anyone walk all over me. But with my addicted son, I pretty much rolled out the red carpet. He sneered at me and called me names; he was rude, insulting, and mean. He manipulated me, used me, and abused my love and trust. When he said he hated me, didn't call back, or didn't show up, I pretended it didn't hurt. Instead, I groveled. I was desperate, determined to hang on to the last imaginary thread of our relationship-even if it was abusive.

This is not love-not of the self. Not of anyone.

Unconditional love doesn't mean you have to unconditionally accept bad behaviors.
Anonymous

Let's walk!


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3/30/18 8:33 A

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

In order to arrive at possessing everything, desire to possess nothing.
- St. John of the Cross

Expectations can cause havoc in our daily living. We all have a basic right to be treated with dignity and respect, but that doesn't mean life will always go our way. The twists and turns of life often carry us up rivers of disappointment to shores we never chose to visit.

Facing life as fully involved travelers, without expectations about outcomes, is perhaps the brightest way to travel. Making plans without setting up for certain outcomes makes us flexible people who learn to go with the flow. It has been said that there is a direct proportion between our level of expectation and the amount of stress we have in our lives. Trusting the results to a larger plan allows us to relax and enjoy the adventure of the journey.

As we grow closer to our Higher Power, we find we can let go. We are more peaceful and confident, less frantic and controlling. Trusting that our Higher Power will protect us, no matter what we encounter on our journey, helps us face the future with a calm and loving heart.

Today let me relax into life and let go of my expectations.

Let's walk!


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3/29/18 8:40 A

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

Life guarantees a chance - not a fair shake.
--Bernie Y.

Life is not fair. Most of us know that, but few of us accept it. Something in us often clings to the idea that ultimately, the gifts will all be evenly divided. Mostly we want to be paid back for the injustices of the past. Many of us expect - no, demand - redress from fate. We think life should "make it up" to us somehow. That's why it's so hard for us to go on discovering, again and again, what we already know: Life is not fair.

The good job that should have been ours, the accident that crippled a loved one, unwanted childlessness - these things are not fair. But life is like soil, not like seed. The chance of a harvest is there, but only if we plant the seed. And even then we may not get the harvest we expected or wished for - not on our own timetable. It is an act of faith, and of great courage, to keep on sowing seeds when we don't know what we're going to get. But it's the only chance we have. We need to stop expecting the soil to provide the seed.

Today, I will be grateful to be alive. This day offers a chance for a fuller life, and I will accept what comes of my efforts.

Let's walk!


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3/28/18 8:36 A

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

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

The stories we hear in meetings often shock us. It seems hard to believe that some members could have harmed themselves in such ways. We hear about arrests, bankruptcies, loss of family and home, lost jobs, violence, jail, physical injury – the list goes on. Most of us said to ourselves, "I never was that bad. Maybe I don't really belong here."

Our sponsors and fellow members quickly straightened us out. We were comparing our histories with other members. We were told to identify with the stories, not compare. Some of us had been lucky that worse things hadn't happened to us while we were using. We were reminded those things hadn't happened to us "yet." If we relapsed, the "yets" were waiting.

Today I'll remember to identify, not compare. I don't want to relapse and go through THE YETS.

Let's walk!


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3/27/18 8:44 A

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

How can I believe in a Higher Power? I was taught that God is just an idea that weak people use as a crutch.
--Alcoholics Anonymous member

After we admit how serious our addiction is, we have to face our fear and sadness. Without the help of a Higher Power, we are hopeless. That's why we each must find a Higher Power that can give us the help we need.

Some of us don't like Step Two because we think it asks us to believe in somebody else's idea of God. It doesn't. It doesn't even ask us to believe in our own idea of God. The most important thing is to find a Higher Power – not necessarily the Highest Power – to help us stay sober, one that can teach us to succeed in sobriety and one that we trust.

We don't have to understand this Higher Power. We just have to believe that it works.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, I ask You to come into my life and show me how to trust and understand You.

Today's Action

Today I will make a list of three people or things that know more about recovery than I do. I will circle the one I trust the most.

Let's walk!


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3/26/18 8:30 A

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

When I came in, they told me, "Let us love you until you can learn to love yourself."
--Anonymous

It takes a long time to learn to love ourselves. So many things we've done seem hard to forgive. We might be trying to dig out from under tons of negative garbage, negative images. Fortunately, our friends in this program do love us. That will sustain us as we try to get the picture of ourselves back into proper focus.

The thing we must get locked firmly in our mind is that it's all right to be who we have been and who we are now. We know how to repair the damage now. Our program shows us the way to recovery, the way back to genuine esteem in ourselves as God's creations. God made us, and always loves us just the way we are.

I will try to love myself, remembering that God and other people love me as I am.

Let's walk!


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3/25/18 9:04 A

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Today's thoughts from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation are:

If you want to change who you are, change what you do.

***

The Big Book is like a cookbook - you can read it all day long and starve. You have to take the action.

***

If you stay humble, you will not stumble.

***

Our neighbor's window looks much cleaner if we first wash our own.

***

Yesterday is a canceled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, today is cash in hand, spend it wisely.

Let's walk!


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3/24/18 8:53 A

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

The most important thing we are doing right now is thinking nice thoughts.
--Jim and Marie Burns

Just thinking nice thoughts sounds so simplistic, doesn't it! Surely there is more in life to contemplate than that. But the power of nice thoughts, the impact just such a simple decision can have on our lives and the lives of everyone around us, is awesome.

Having nice thoughts and only nice thoughts is a significant departure for most of us. Far more commonly we quietly or vocally judged every man, woman, and child in our presence. Stopping ourselves from judging, in fact, stopping a judgment in its tracks, will reveal how swamped our thinking has been by the critical, mean-spirited side of us.

Seldom do we cultivate a quiet, peaceful mind. Seemingly out of control, our minds race from one idea, one judgment, and one negative opinion to another one of equal harm to ourselves and the entire human community. Perhaps we didn't realize that every thought we harbor has an impact, whether it's voiced aloud or not. We can't lay the blame for this violent, mean world solely on others. We've had a part in it, too. Every time we favor a nasty thought rather than a nice thought, we add to the turmoil around us. The good news is that we can choose between the two at will.

I will add to the tenor of the world today by my thoughts. I pray that I may choose them carefully.

Let's walk!


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3/23/18 8:41 A

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

Make yourself at home.

It was night, only a few months after I'd begun my skydiving adventure. It was too cold to stay in my tent; I had rented a cabin near the drop zone. Now I'd come back to hang out for a while, before retiring for the night.

One of the skydivers I'd met recently was sitting in a lawn chair, under the tarped area between the rows of trailers that had been turned into team rooms and student training areas. The evening lights had been turned on. He was wrapped up in a sleeping bag, reading a book under the hazy glow. He was one of the full-time skydivers, who had been attracted to the gypsy lifestyle of the skydiving community as much as the sport itself.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I'm in my living room, reading a book," he replied. "Do you like the view of the backyard?" he asked, making a gesture toward the rolling hills that cascaded gently in the background. "That's my patio," he said, pointing to a small area just around the corner. "The morning sun hits there. It's a warm place to sit and eat breakfast. Sometimes I sleep in that tent," he said, pointing off to the side." And sometimes I take my sleeping bag and curl up under the stars in the landing area, over there."

I looked around, almost envious of his freedom.

Sometimes, we get so busy and involved creating a "home" for ourselves that we create a structure that's too safe, limiting, and confined. We forget about our real home, the planet earth. It's good to sleep indoors. It's nice to make ourselves comfortable in our home. But don't let your cozy nest become a locked, confining box.

Stretch your arms, Push the lid off the box. Get out into the world. Walk around. Move about. See the hills, the lakes, the forests, the mountains peaks, the valleys, the rivers.

See how big your world can be. See how connected everything is. See how connected you are, too – to all that is. Make yourself comfortable, wherever you are. Make yourself a home and be at home in the world.

God, help me relax and make myself at home in your bountiful world.

Let's walk!


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3/22/18 8:58 A

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

In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on.
-- Robert Frost

If we've ever dug in a garden and unearthed an ants' nest, we can recall their first reaction to our unintended destruction: they do everything possible to save their lives and supplies. The ants scurry around, moving the larvae to an underground room. Exposed contents are then relocated to unseen passages. In a matter of minutes, the ants are again safely underground and ready to resume their daily routines.

How do we react when some catastrophe or unplanned event occurs? Do we want to crawl under a rock or are we as resilient as the ants? Instead of moaning over postponed plans or the loss of something in our lives, we can try to be like the ants and learn how to best work with circumstances that come our way.

Life doesn't stop for us to lick wounds or add fuel to grievances. Hours pass, we grow older, nature continues. Every event is part of life's cycle. We can't run away from anything. We must meet life head-on and adjust to its ebb and flow.

I can look at an unplanned event in my life as part of life's cycle. I need to trust that life will go on.

Let's walk!


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3/21/18 8:42 A

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

Change Me
--Ruth C.'s Prayer

Change me, God,

Please change me.

Though I cringe,

Kick,

Resist and resent.

Pay no attention to me whatsoever.

When I run to hide

Drag me out of my safe little shelter.

Change me totally.

Whatever it takes.

However long You must work at the job.

Change me – and save me

From spiritual self-destruction.

Let's walk!


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3/20/18 8:43 A

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

Grief may be a pathway to our deepest connections.

People often say, "I don't want to burden you with my troubles, you have enough to worry about." Yet sharing our troubles with our partner or close friends lightens our burden and restores our balance. Telling someone our experiences and how we feel about them helps us find and create the meaning that lurks behind them, even though they at first seem only crazy and random. Sharing with others pulls us out of isolation and brings our friends and mate into the circle of our lives.

We may be surprised to feel the knots in our stomachs loosen when we tell our stories and recount our worries or grief. Grief may make us feel more alone than anything. But it may also be a pathway for our deepest connection with each other. When we reach out and talk with our friends or mate, we break down the wall of isolation and build bridges that connect us.

Tell your partner about any grief you carry today.

Let's walk!


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3/19/18 8:24 A

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

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Most of us make trouble for ourselves by over-reacting to what others say or do. We have conditioned ourselves to see everyone else as "the enemy" rather than look within ourselves for the real cause of our distress.

If we can pause long enough to uncover our own hidden discomfort and distorted attitudes before we react with harsh criticism or vindictive silence, we can change our destructive first impulses into a loving interchange between individuals.

Today let me not be quick to criticize or condemn another. I will look at others as friends, not as foes, on my journey toward self-discovery.v

Let's walk!


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3/18/18 8:58 A

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Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
-- Seneca

When we reach a stressful time in our lives, our vision gets narrow. We fail to see the options and possibilities we have. If we give ourselves over to our worries and fears, our sight closes down even further. Finally, we reach the point of blindness to reality and to all the support around us. In our fearful blindness we say with conviction, "This is too difficult! There is nothing I can do."

Spiritual people strive to keep one eye on the horizon, even in a worrisome situation. They breathe deeply so they do not tighten up or close off their exchange with the world. They return to the relationship they have with their Higher Power, trusting the process to carry them through - and they open their eyes to quietly take in the possibilities before them.

Close to my Higher Power, I have a place of calm in the midst of difficulty and see the possibilities and dare to act upon them.

Let's walk!


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3/17/18 8:52 A

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

A.A. Thought for the Day

People often ask what makes the AA program work. One of the answers is that AA works because it gets us away from ourselves as the center of the universe. And it teaches us to rely more on the fellowship of others and on strength from God. Are these things keeping me sober?

Meditation for the Day

God is the great interpreter of one human personality to another. Each personality is so different. God alone understands perfectly the language of each and can interpret between the two. Here I find the miracles of change and the true interpretation of life.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may be in the right relationship to God.

Let's walk!


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3/16/18 8:39 A

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

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly....
--Antoine de Saint Exupery

If we look at the world through suspicious or angry eyes, we'll find a world that mirrors our expectations - a world where tension will mount, arguments will abound, strife will be present where none need be. However, our experiences in some manner bless us, and we'll recognize that if we'll look upon them with gratitude. Everything in our path is meant for our good and we'll see the good when our hearts act as the eyes for our minds.

When we see with our hearts, our responses to the turmoil around us, the fighting children, the traffic snarls, the angry lovers, will be soft acceptance. When our hearts guide the action we can accept those things we cannot change, and change those we can. And the heart, as the seat of all wisdom, will always know the difference.

Let's walk!


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3/15/18 8:41 A

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

Opening Ourselves to Love

Open ourselves to the love that is available to us.

We do not have to limit our sources of love. God and the Universe have an unlimited supply of what we need, including love.

When we are open to receiving love, we will begin to receive it. It may come from the most surprising places, including from within ourselves.

We will be open to and aware of the love that is and has been there for us all along. We will feel and appreciate the love from friends. We will notice and enjoy the love that comes to us from family.

We will be ready to receive love in our special love relationships too. We do not have to accept love from unsafe people - people who will exploit us or with whom we don't want to have relationships.

But there is plenty of good love available - love that heals our heart, meets our needs, and makes our spirit sing.

We have denied ourselves too long. We have been martyrs too long. We have given so much and allowed ourselves to receive too little. We have paid our dues. It is time to continue the chain of giving and receiving by allowing ourselves to receive.

Today, I will open myself to the love that is coming to me from the Universe. I will accept it and enjoy it when it comes.

Let's walk!


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3/14/18 8:47 A

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Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Fear is only an illusion. It is the illusion that creates the feeling of separateness - the false sense of isolation that exists only in your imagination.
--Jeraldine Sounders

We are only alone in our minds. In reality, we are each contributing necessary parts offering completion to the wholeness of the universe. Our very existence guarantees our equality, which, when fully understood, eases our fears. We have no reason to fear one another's presence, or to fear new situations when we realize that all of us are on equal footing. No one's talents are of greater value than our own, and each of us is talented in ways exactly appropriate to our circumstances.

Freedom from fear is a decision we can choose to make at any time. We can simply give it up and replace it with our understanding of equality with all persons. Taking responsibility for our fear, or our freedom from it, is the first step to a perspective promising healthier emotional development.

If I am fearful today, it's because I have forgotten the reality of my existence. I am equal to all the people in my world, and we are necessary to one another.

Let's walk!


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3/13/18 8:43 A

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

Before My Child Was an Addict

Before my son was an addict, he was a child. My child. But he could have been anyone's child. Before my son was an addict, he liked to joke around, give big hugs, and work hard and play harder. Sometimes, he also lied, or said things that were mean, sulked, or was crabby. In other words, my child was perfectly normal.

Even though he has done some bad things while being an addict, my son is not a bad person. He's a sick person. When addiction scooped up my child, it did so indiscriminately; my son, at his core, is one of the least "bad" people I know. Before my son was an addict, I used to judge the dusty addict on the corner very harshly. Now I know that being an addict isn't something anyone would choose.

I wish I hadn't waited for the worst to happen before I opened my eyes and heart. Before I looked beyond the addict's dust to the person he was meant to be. To the person my child could easily become . . . and did.

Addiction can happen to anyone.

Don't judge, just love.
Anonymous

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3/12/18 8:41 A

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

We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, "Why did this happen to me?" unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.
--Author unknown

A millionaire wanted his son to understand that the world was made up of those who had great happiness in the world because they never wanted for anything, and those who lived in unhappiness because their struggles were never-ending. He asked one of his lowest-paid workers if his son could stay for a weekend, and the employee agreed.

When the weekend was over, the millionaire picked up his son. On the way home he asked his son, "What did you learn about how others live?"

"A lot," the boy replied as he sat with his shoulders slumped, "We have a dog, but they have three dogs and a couple of cats. They even have chickens and ducks and a donkey. We have a swimming pool, but they have this great big lake. We have a deck, but they have a back yard that stretches for miles and miles. And at dinner, they all sit around a table and laugh and talk together."

The millionaire sat in silence, listening to his son.

"I guess the lesson I learned, Dad, is how poor we really are."

Rather than rue what I do not have, I will be happy for all that I have been given.

Let's walk!


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3/11/18 5:54 P

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

We learn as much from sorrow as from joy, as much from illness as from health, from handicap as from advantage - and indeed perhaps more.
--Pearl S. Buck

If we or a loved one is suffering with a chronic or terminal illness or laid up from an accident, we may be out of work either because we ourselves are sick or because we need to function as caretaker. In addition to losing income, we're confronted by a stream of medical bills not covered by insurance. We may already feel completely overwhelmed by the illness or tragedy. How do we face the debt, too?

If we're emotionally overwrought because of a tragedy, we remember that the medical bills will wait. We have a responsibility to deal with them somehow, but our first responsibility is toward ourselves and to whoever is ill. We can only handle so much at a time. We allow ourselves to deal with our relationships and our grief.

Today I will live one day at a time.

Let's walk!


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3/10/18 9:08 A

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

If there's a harder way of doing something, someone will find it.
-- Ralph E. Ross

When we used alcohol or other drugs, we did most things the hard way. We could turn a simple task into a day-long project. We could turn a simple problem into an argument. We were creative giants in doing things the hard way!

We need to change this. We deserve easier lives. It's okay to take the smooth road. In our program, we have slogans for this: Keep It Simple, Let Go and Let God, First Things First, and Easy Does It. These slogans remind us that it's okay to live with as little trouble as possible.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, show me how to live a simple life. I don't have to do everything the hard way if I listen better to You.

Action for the Day

I'll list three or four things I do that make my life harder than it needs to be. I'll share them with a friend.

Let's walk!


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3/9/18 8:50 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.

Let's walk!


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3/8/18 8:43 A

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

Anticipate the good so that you may enjoy it.
--Ethiopian Proverb

Newcomer

I'm getting closer to 90 days - I'm in the 80s now. I'm excited. It's a miracle that I've been able to stay in recovery without interruption for this long. But I feel worried, too - or maybe I'm scared. I don't know what I'm feeling!

Sponsor

"Anniversary anxiety" is something many of us experience in recovery. For the preceding days or weeks, we're aware of the upcoming anniversary and its implications. We may anticipate speaking at a meeting or celebrating with recovering friends. Will we measure up to their expectation? To our own?

Perhaps we've been sharing our day count and enjoying the applause. As we approach 90 days, we may be afraid we'll become "invisible" at meetings. Depending on local program and group customs, we may be eligible to chair meetings. Are we going to have to handle more responsibilities than we feel ready for? The day of the anniversary itself, and the days following it, may be a setup for feeling as if we've graduated or won an athletic event. We may be afraid that recovery will disappoint us, once the cheering dies down.

It helps to know that this phenomenon is a common one. If you're experiencing it, one of the best antidotes is to share your concerns, both at meetings and with a sponsor. We've been there.

Today, I use the same tools of recovery that worked in the very beginning: meetings, sharing, reading recovery literature, and prayer. They work.

Let's walk!


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3/7/18 8:43 A

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

As a child, I walked through the world with wonder and awe. Each day started with a question and ended with a question. I had the mind of a beginner.
--Anonymous

Did you ever notice that children ask the best questions? Why are things the way they are? How do they work? How did we get here? Who made us? Why?

These are the most important questions in life. Most of us never really get our questions answered. We just learn to stop asking people. We act like the things they tell us answer the questions, but they really don't.

Such questions are questions of the spirit. We can ask our Higher Power to help us learn the answers. We can talk with other people who are also interested in these questions and share our thoughts and ideas. Now that we are sober we can even read books that explore these questions. The truth is, we may never understand the answers because we are only human beings. But thinking about these things is good because it helps us be thankful for the mystery of life.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, I know I'll never understand everything, but will You please teach me something interesting today? Thank You.

Today's Action

What have I done lately to learn more about the mystery of life? What is one thing I can do today?

Let's walk!


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3/6/18 8:41 A

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

When you know a thing, to hold that you know it, and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it: this is knowledge.
-- Confucius

How is it we can hear so much better after we have worked our Steps? Does someone clean the wax out of our ears at night? We find ourselves able to listen to what people are actually saying, not just what we think they are saying. Our Program teaches us not to judge words before or after they are spoken. We leave judging to God. We try to learn from everybody, for each person we meet has knowledge.

Knowledge has become available to us as never before. We no longer fear new ideas and opinions which are not our own. Our recovery becomes deeper each moment we open our minds to new ideas.

Knowledge is freely offered. In turn, I keep myself growing and accepting the knowledge that comes my way.

When I don't know something, I admit it. Knowing that I don't know is also knowledge.

Let's walk!


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3/5/18 8:43 A

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

Defeat may serve as well as victory
To shake the soul and let the glory out.
--Edwin Markham

So life has given us some dents. So what? Dents are necessary, besides being unavoidable and painful. Each dent is a part of the process that enables us to embrace life as a creative experience and to see the world in a new way, a way of compassion and understanding. Recovery is not a matter of escaping further blows or of disguising the dents we already have. It's a matter of understanding what the dents mean and how we can work with them.

Dents are neither soft spots in our characters that should make us ashamed nor saber scars that should make us proud. They are simply evidence that we have been alive for a while. Recovery offers us the chance to learn from our dents, to accept them as new spaces for growth. When we decide to see our dents as opportunities gained rather than opportunities lost, we stand much taller in our own eyes and in the eyes of others.

Today, I will look on my difficult life experiences in a new light. Today, I will plant some seeds.

Let's walk!


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