Oct. 17, 2014 – After the Tears

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The Serenity Prayer

After the Tears
Friday, Oct. 17, 2014

Today, let me not feel any regrets, grief or loss or be bitter from the sweet of what I must leave behind in my new and continuing journey toward recovery and sobriety. Some people and places that were a significant, even enabling part of my life in my drinking days may no longer have a place in my new life in recovery, and I must be prepared that I may have to cut some losses in order to attain greater gains. If I am reluctant to move on without someone or something that was an influential part of my life as a drinking alcoholic, may I be able to remove myself from the emotional and use the logic to ask if maintaining old ties is worth the risk to my recovery. If so, I have no choice but to move on although I will never be alone. Today, if my sobriety requires it, I may have to make the tough choices between what once was seemingly precious to me and moving toward something even more precious. And our common journey continues. After the tears. – Chris M., 2014


Oct. 16, 2014 – After the Tears

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The Serenity Prayer

After the Tears
Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014

“The less people tolerated (alcoholics), the more we withdrew from society, from life itself. As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval. Momentarily we did – then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen – Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 11 (“A Vision for You”), p 151.

Today, neither must I forget nor live again in my days of the “hideous Four Horsemen,” remembering that they once again will overwhelm me – if I allow them. I must not let either time or the distance from my last drink dim the desperation of the “chilling vapor that is loneliness” and the “sordid places” I sought for approval, acceptance or simple companionship. Nor must I forget the shattered quiet morning after when self-loathing, desperation and physical and emotional emptiness fueled the cycle to do it all over again and face another night of that “chilling vapor” of loneliness and another shattered quiet morning after. My life in sobriety is a day-by-day reprieve from that desperate drinking, and I must not take for granted today that sobriety is guaranteed to me tomorrow. And our common journey continues. After the tears. – Chris M., 2014

Oct. 15, 2014 – After the Tears

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The Serenity Prayer

After the Tears
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014

Today, I will quiet the noise in my mind and stop the traffic of racing thoughts to simply do it just for today. I will not mourn or lament the losses that my drinking entailed and instead will be grateful that the losses weren’t more. I will not cling to regrets for amends that I can never make and instead believe that being sober is my strongest and sincerest amend. I will not shield myself behind that wall of self-imposed isolation and instead take a chance that I have something to offer to someone else and that they have something I can learn. I will not live in the problem of fighting not to drink and instead will live in the solution living sober, and I will not expect more of myself and anyone else than can be reasonably expected. I will not judge anyone or anything lest their judgments condemn me, and I will not waste valuable time on taking anyone else’s moral inventory and focus on my own. Today, I will simply be and not resist the good that is yet to come. And our common journey continues. After the tears. – Chris M., 2014

Oct. 14, 2014 – After the Tears

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The Serenity Prayer

After the Tears
Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014

“My alcoholic problem began long before I drank. My personality, from the time I can remember anything, was the perfect set-up for an alcoholic career. I was always at odds with the entire world, not to say the universe. I was out of step with life, with my family, with people in general. I tried to compensate with impossible dreams and ambitions, which were simply early forms of escape. Even when I was old enough to know better, I dreamed about being as beautiful as Venus, as pure as the Madonna and as brilliant as the president of the United States is supposed to be. I had writing ambitions, and nothing would do but that I’d write like Shakespeare. …Inside, I went right on being a mass of unlovely self-pity, queasy anxiety and sickening self-debasement. Naturally, I succeeded at nothing.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Stopped in Time,” Ch 13 (“Stars Don’t Fall”), p 400.

Today, I must be honest and understand that my alcoholism was rooted long before my first drink. My “job” of being perfect in everything, whether I expected it of myself or it was expected by others, left no room for other than “self-pity, queasy anxiety and sickening self-debasement” when I failed to reach the highest of heights. And alcohol became my self-medication. Having come to AA, God grant that I understand now that I can attain something higher in sobriety but that perfection can never be attained and, when it isn’t, that I do not have to internalize a sense of failure. To do so will likely ignite that engine of “self-pity, queasy anxiety and sickening self-debasement” – and its fuel is alcohol. Today, I ask only for progress; perfection can wait another day. And our common journey continues. After the tears. – Chris M., 2014

Oct. 13, 2014 – After the Tears

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The Serenity Prayer

After the Tears
Monday, Oct. 13, 2014

A ‘spiritual experience’ to me meant attending meetings, seeing a group of people, all there for the purpose of helping each other; hearing the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions read at a meeting, and hearing the Lord’s Prayer, which in an AA meeting has such great meaning – ‘Thy will be done, not mine.’ A spiritual awakening soon came to mean trying each day to be a little more thoughtful, more considerate, a little more courteous to those with whom I came in contact.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, “They Stopped in Time,” Ch 10 (“It Might Have Been Worse”), p 381.

Today, if somewhere in AA I have become even “a little more courteous to those with whom I came in contact,” I may not yet realize I have experienced a spiritual awakening. And to experience such an awakening, maybe I can understand the spiritual component of the Program even if I still think I have no faith. To have a spiritual experience even if it is something as seemingly minor as being a little more courteous to other people, logically requires a spiritual belief – even if I cannot or will not acknowledge it. Today, if I can honestly see even a small change in myself for the better, I may be starting to see the possibility of a power greater than myself. If so, I’m on the right track toward recovery. And our common journey continues. After the tears. – Chris M., 2014

Oct. 12, 2014 – After the Tears

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The Serenity Prayer

After the Tears
Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014

” …(T)he best thing of all for me is to remember that my serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations. The higher my expectations …the lower is my serenity. I can watch my serenity level rise when I discard my expectations. But then my ‘rights’ try to move in, and they, too, can force my serenity level down. I have to discard my ‘rights,’ as well as my expectations, by asking myself, ‘How important is it, really? How important is it compared to my serenity, my emotional sobriety?’ And when I place more value on my serenity and sobriety than on anything else, I can maintain them at a higher level – at least for the time being.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Stopped in Time,” Ch 17 (“Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict”), p 452.

Today, I will treat sobriety with respect as a gift instead of a “right” that is the product of the Program. Sobriety is no more a right than being able to drink responsibly or irresponsibly; the former is a privilege I lost by abusing the latter. And in perceiving sobriety as a gift, may other of my expectations of recovery be realistically framed: that I not expect the right not to encounter the day-to-day challenges or problems that non-alcoholics have, that I not feel entitled to a “free ride” without bumps, turmoils, even tragedies. Sobriety must be respected as a gift and not a right, a gift that requires development, nurturing and the constant reminder that it can be taken away – if I neglect nurturing it with the Program’s 12 Steps and Traditions. Today, sobriety is a gift, sometimes fragile; I will handle it with care and respect. And our common journey continues. After the tears. – Chris M., 2014

Oct. 11, 2014 – After the Tears

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The Serenity Prayer

After the Tears
Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014

” …A body badly burned by alcohol does not often recover overnight nor do twisted thinking and depression vanish in a twinkling. We are convinced that a spiritual mode of living is a most powerful health restorative. We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health. …
“But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitate to take your health problems to such persons.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 9 (“The Family Afterward”), p 133.

Today, grant me understanding and patience that recovery from extended daily drinking will come in time and only if I allow it by total abstinence. It took a long time for my body, mind and spirit to become part of the alcoholic culture; it may take as long or longer to recover. In my zeal to recover, let me understand that my physical recovery may take weeks or months but that my spiritual and emotional recovery will take longer – perhaps a lifetime longer. And until my spiritual and emotional health is back on an even playing field although my body has recovered, I need to realize that the Twelve Steps are the way for me to recovery. But should I suspect a need for medical or psychological treatment, let me not be reluctant to seek them out, as the Big Book rightly and wisely advises. And our common journey continues. After the tears. – Chris M., 2014