March 31, 2013 – Step by Step

Step by Step

Sunday, March 31, 2013 

Today, I will not allow self-pity to shake the foundation of my recovery Program regardless if my recovery began 24 months or 24 hours ago. Self-pity may be the sharpest in the anti-Higher Power‘s battery of poisons that can undo, in the blink of an eye, any progress I have made. But my Higher Power, and the support I have tapped in those also in recovery, have a stronger cache of tools. Self-pity is giving up my belief and total surrender to my Higher Power, and self-pity is the epitome of selfishness. If there is adversity in this day, I will face it with the courage, strength, hope and dignity with which my Program has endowed me, and I’ve already been empowered with courage, strength, hope and dignity merely by committing myself to recovery. Nor will I whine, “Why me?” And if I say no to self-pity today, I have no reason or excuse to drink, to use – and this day, then, will be good. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2013



March 31, 2013 – Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Sunday, March 31, 2013

AA Thought for the Day

Since I’ve been in AA, have I made a start towards being more unselfish? Do I no longer want my own way in everything? When things go wrong and I can’t have what I want, do I no longer sulk? Am I trying not to waste money on myself? And does it make me happy to see my family and my home have enough attention from me?

Am I trying not to be all get and no give?

Meditation for the Day

Each day is a day of progress, steady progress forward, if you make it so. You may not see it, but God does. God does not judge by outward appearance. He judges by the heart. Let Him see in your heart a simple desire always to do His will. Though you may feel that your work has been spoiled or tarnished, God sees it as an offering for Him. When climbing a steep hill, a person is often more conscious of the weakness of his stumbling feet than of the view, the grandeur or even of the upward progress.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may persevere in all good things. I pray that I may advance each day in spite of my stumbling feet.

Hazelden Foundation


March 31, 2013 – A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Reflection for the Day

My illness is unlike most other illnesses in that denial that I am sick is a primary symptom that I am sick. Like such other incurable illnesses as diabetes and arthritis, however, my illness is characterized by relapses. In The Program, we call such relapses “slips.” The one thing I know for certain is that I alone can cause myself to slip.

Will I remember at all times that the thought precedes the action? Will I try to avoid “stinking thinking?”

Today I Pray

May God give me the power to resist temptations. May the responsibility for giving in, for having a “slip,” be on my shoulders and mine only. May I see beforehand if I am setting myself up for a slip by blame-shifting, shirking my responsibility to myself, becoming the world’s poor puppet once again. My return to those old attitudes can be as much of a slip as the act of losing my sobriety.

Today I Will Remember

Nobody’s slip-proof.

Hazelden Foundation


March 31, 2013 – The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener

Sunday, March 31, 2013

We as alcoholics are so used to getting by with a minimum of effort on our part that we sometimes fail to appreciate that only those things earned have any real lasting value.

We allowed our families to cover up for us and support us, we panhandled, we were experts in the game of something for nothing.

Nothing free is worth having. AA has no initiation fees or dues, but it also costs a lot if you want to get a lot. You can procure a two-bit brand of AA, but we don’t guarantee it will work.

Hazelden Foundation


March 31, 2013 – Today’s Gift from Hazelden

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Today’s thought from Hazelden is:

Nothing happens to any man that he is not formed by nature to bear. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Reflecting on the past reveals that indeed we do find the strength and the ability to cope with whatever experience ripples our calm. Moreover, we have come to accept that these tides of turmoil wash in new awarenesses, heightened perceptions, and measurable calm.

Tragedies are guaranteed to trigger first pain, then perceptible growth, and finally, tranquility. Over and over again we pass through these stages that are designed to nurture our fuller development as healthy human beings. Over and over we see that the tough times teach us what we’re ready to learn.

We can look to the day ahead fully expecting to be strengthened enough to handle whatever we’ve been readied to experience. Nothing will present itself that can’t be coped with.

Today I can be certain of growing. I will meet the challenges in unison with my inner strength.

From the book:

The Promise of a New Day by Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburg


The Promise of a New Day by Karen Casey & Martha Vanceburg. © 1983, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.


The Good Men Project: Five ways to improve addiction treatment in men

By Dan Griffin

Treatments will be more effective when we treat men as men.

How much can really be done to improve men’s treatment for addiction? The myth is that men have a hard time engaging in treatment. The truth is that we have a hard time truly engaging men in treatment – meeting them where they are at, speaking to them in their language, and listening to everything they don’t – and cannot – say. The field of addiction treatment has not spent a lot of time creating a true framework for treatment that speaks to men’s unique issues and needs – treatment for men, created by men, with men in mind.

For years now there has been an expectation that addiction counselors need specialized training to work most effectively with women. Despite the fact that 70% of the people going through treatment are men and 70% of the people working in treatment are women, there has never been any such expectation when it comes to men’s treatment and working with men. Until now.

Here are five critical elements for making men’s treatment services more effective:

1Men’s Socialization Should Be the Context. Given how contrary being in recovery is to “The Rules of Being a Man” that dichotomy and the tension between the two should be a constant context for the conversations we have with men. When we embed this awareness throughout the treatment experience we give men a language for talking about the dissonance they are often experiencing without making it about them. There is nothing wrong with them – they are simply trying to rectify how they have spent their whole lives trying to be certain kinds of men and a core part of who they think they are with the expectations of being in recovery that can often feel quite “unmanly.”

How many men are constantly fighting against the stranglehold that The Rules have over them as they attempt to apply the principles of recovery to their lives? Just look at some men in the recovery community with five, ten, fifteen or more years of sobriety who struggle to be close to someone, share what is really going on with them, struggle with violence and abusiveness, and/or are paralyzed by codependent behaviors? Guaranteed, The Rules are at the heart of so much of this suffering.

Finally, look at any man’s relapse and we guarantee that a major factor was one or multiple Rules that kept him isolated and disconnected from himself and others. When you talk to a man about his relapse in the context of The Rules you help to take away the shame and any belief the man may have about being unable to achieve sobriety because of who he is.

2. Safety First.  You need to be focused on safety because the men will not likely talk about it but it is on their minds, in their gut. No matter how a man acts when he first comes into your treatment program – apathetic, belligerent, sarcastic, or overly enthusiastic – you should be thinking in terms of safety. If you were to do this then everything would change. The lens through which you view his behavior would lead you to respond to him differently. Your environment could not help but change as everyone, including staff, in the organization would begin to feel safer. This is a critical element in becoming trauma-informed when providing men’s treatment.

3. Small Groups. If you want men to open up, put them in small groups. And we mean small groups, as in breaking the men out into sets of threes. The effect is transformative. Men who normally would fly under the radar or simply present as though they are less emotionally engaged will show up in a completely different way. The number three is important – two is too easily turned into a conversation and four can split into twos or even lose someone. But three, well there is something almost magical about it.

4. Let’s Talk About Sex.  Let’s not just talk about sex but talk about sexuality – the whole thing. What percentage of men’s relapses are directly related to sex? Close to, if not 100%! Not feeling comfortable with engaging in sex while sober, fear of sex, discomfort with themselves sexually, pain from sexual trauma, body image, and many others. Let’s not even talk about men’s use of pornography while they are in treatment programs – let alone once they get out. Let’s definitely not talk about the unhealthy use of porn amongst all of the male counselors out there working with men! Add to that our growing awareness of sex and love addiction and its impact on men and all of our relationships.

Therefore, the real question is: How can we not put a major focus on helping men develop a healthy sense of their sexuality? That is a primary question that everyone who works with men’s treatment services should be asking themselves.

5. Homophobia.  How many men’s treatment programs  incorporate homophobia into their treatment regimen? Very few. Of course, an addiction counselor can’t simply say to men, “Okay guys, let’s talk about homophobia.” It’s more complicated and requires a high degree of finesse. When we talk about homophobia it goes far beyond a fear or hatred of homosexuals, especially gay men – for us it means men’s fear of men – our fear of getting close to other men and having any kind of intimate connection with them.


If these five elements become incorporated in men’s treatment plans, you will see marked differences – if not a complete transformation – in how men respond to their treatment experience and how effective clinicians feel working with men.


March 30, 2013 – Step by Step

Step by Step
Saturday, March 30, 2013

Today, I cannot crumble to a micro-second of temptation even if I think I do not feel tempted to try “just one” drink. Regardless of how many 24 Hours of sobriety any AA disciple has, none of us is immune from the thought, however fleeting, that maybe one drink won’t do any damage. It will, of course, as we know from bitter experience. If temptation is a human foible, it is one that none of us in recovery can afford; for us, temptation, rather, is our failure to integrate into the deepest of our souls the Program’s first four words – “Admitted we were powerless …” Temptation is also our own will run riot and rejection of the humility to surrender our will to our Higher Power. Still, if temptation sneaks in, may I have fully imprinted in my conscience that outcome of all those times in the past when I did give into temptation – and the memory of that outcome, God granting, is too costly and painful to give in another time to the myth that temptation creates. Today, I hope I am not tempted, but I will not take for granted that I won’t so that, if I am, I am strong and honest enough in my Program. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2013