IF THE ONLY PRAYER YOU SAID IN YOUR LIFE WAS "THANK YOU", THAT WOULD SUFFICE. ~Meister Eckhart

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How can I feel more gratitude?

Q: Is there a way to cultivate gratitude while in recovery from addiction
A: Yes. In fact, a daily practice of gratitude can change your life.

Recent studies indicate that people who frequently feel grateful have increased energy, more optimism, more stable social connections, and are happier than people who don't. Cultivating gratitude should be an ongoing task, a cycle that brings short and long-term benefit. 

People in recovery are not always aware of the specific actions needed on a daily basis to develop gratitude. But many times, even placing your hands on your heart or singing a favorite song may boost your positive emotions and provide you with good vibrations for the entire day. 

So, are you interested in more aspects of how to cultivate gratitude in recovery? Take a look at this infographic for a step-by-step guide.  Then, share your ideas, thoughts, and questions with us at the end. Your feedback may not just improve our work, but it can help someone else, too. 

The truth is that there is no right or wrong way you need to take in order to feel grateful in recovery. The final outcome is what counts.

Learn more here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012



Nine years ago today I woke from a lifetime of slumber to a surrender that only a Higher Power could have given me. Without consciously knowing I had given up my old life...it just happened. I didn't even give it a second thought. It was my psychic change. The previous night I was in a blackout binge that had gone on for five days. Gone were all the old thoughts that were only concerned with alcohol, they had been replaced with peace and serenity. Today I am grateful to continue down this path with all its collected gifts. I am grateful to give back what I have been so freely given. I am grateful to be leading a life, not having a life being led by drink. I have ridden past the hideous Four Horsemen, my former constant companions. I am grateful for an understanding of Who I Am and Why I Am Here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

11.18.11

The most auspicious moment of your life is when you make the commitment to know the truth, a commitment so firm there is no turning back. ~Swami Chidvilasananda

Number8

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thursday, November 18, 2010

11.18.2010

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Today I celebrate seven years of continuous sobriety.

I received a congratulatory email with the following prayer. It says it all.

Dear Higher Power,
Thank you for the strength and conviction to continue with the task you have entrusted to me. Thank you for guiding me through the many obstacles in my path and for keeping me resolute when all seemed hopeless. Thank you for your protection and the many signs along the way. Thank you for any good I may have done along the way. Thank you for the friends I have made, please watch over them as you watched over me. Thank you for allowing me Serenity, giving me Courage and granting me Wisdom. I will go to my rest in peace knowing I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith.
love,
Scott

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Share Your Gratitude

If someone has been kind, thank him or her today. Yes, we can wait and buy that person dinner next week. but how about writing an e-mail this afternoon or leaving a message on a telephone answering machine telling how much you appreciate the kind words or deeds?

We cannot show gratitude without sharing it with someone. When we show our gratitude, it's a way of sharing our joy with that person. Even when we do something as simple as burning a candle to show gratitude to God, it shares our joy with everyone who sees the flame of the candle. It strengthens their faith and reminds them to show their gratitude, too.

Make showing and sharing your gratitude a part of your life. If someone does something nice for you, share your happiness with that person. Send a card or make a phone call. If you believe that a prayer has been answered by God, share your gratitude with God. Tell someone, or thank God publicly at your worship service. If you have had a victory in your recovery, show your gratitude by sharing it with others in your group. Then share your gratitude with them for the help they've given,too.

Demonstrate gratitude in your actions every day. Gratitude is more than just a thought process and more than just a Sunday-morning church activity. Demonstrate your gratitude through your compassion, and your tolerance. Gratitude strengthens and supports our relationships with God and with other people. Make a commitment to show your gratitude by sharing it with others whenever you have the opportunity.

We can show our gratitude for life in even our smallest actions. Find a way to demonstrate your gratitude to the universe. Feed the birds! Action gives life to ideas. When we start to look for ways to show our gratitude, we will find more and more to be grateful for.

Gratitude is a form of self-expression that must be shared. We cannot have an attitude of gratitude without having an object of that gratitude. ~More Language of Letting Go

Thursday, August 12, 2010

08.12.10

When I look back at the life I had when I was drinking and using, it was not a pretty picture. There were the repeated failures, the letting people down, the lies, the time in jail and hospitals. None of these things made my addiction pretty. Sure there were the good times; but when I look back honestly, I wonder how I ever could have wanted this life. I know now that it was not the life I truly wanted. I just wanted a good time.

But I am different. I cannot process alcohol or drugs in my system the same way other people do. I know people that drink normally, and I did not drink like they do. In the program of AA I have learned that nothing I could do could change the way I respond to alcohol or drugs. Physically, psychologically and emotionally I respond differently and negatively to my drugs of choice. I am an addict, and I now have a choice to make. ~Wisdom for Today

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

07.06.10

The method of conducting interventions is considered an effective way of confronting alcoholics and drug addicts.  Interventions are done with the hope that this confrontation will "raise the bottom," and that the addict will face the condition before there's further anguish.
However effective interventions may be, they're not part of the 12 Step program. Our work is based on attraction, not the admitted coercion that's part of intervention.
If we take part in interventions, this separation should be clearly understood.  The person who still suffers should know that the 12 Step program depends on attraction, not any of the other methods that might be available.
It's important to make this point clear, because the intervention may fail. Whether it does or not, the individual must not be left with the idea that intervention is a 12 Step activity. At any stage, the fellowship is always available to him or her.
I'll probably see lots of people today who need help in facing their addiction. I'll know that their recovery comes in God's good time. ~Walk in Dry Places

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

06.30.10

As Bill Sees It

Community Problem, p. 180

The answer to the problem of alcoholism seems to be in education--education in schoolrooms, in medical colleges, among clergymen and employers, in families, and in the public at large. From cradle to grave, the drunk and the potential alcoholic will have to be completely surrounded by a true and deep understanding and by a continuous barrage of information.

This means factual education, properly presented. Heretofore, much of this education has attacked the immortality of drinking rather than the illness of alcoholism.

Now who is going to do all this education? Obviously, it is both a community job and a job for specialists. Individually, we A.A.s can help, but A.A. as such cannot, and should not, get directly into this field. Therefore, we must rely on other agencies, on outside friends and their willingness to supply great amounts of money and effort.

Grapevine, March 1958

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

06.29.10

Sometimes the literature says it so succinctly:

Alcoholics are unable or unwilling, during their addiction to alcohol, to live in the present. The result is that they live in a constant state of remorse and fear because of their unholy past and its morbid attraction, or the uncertain future and its vague foreboding. So the only real hope for the alcoholic is to face the present. Now is the time. Now is ours. The past is beyond recall. The future is as uncertain as life itself. Only the now belongs to us. ~Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Monday, May 31, 2010

Step 3 Anyone?

All the problems you face today are going to go away, unless you worry them to stay.

Problems like worry.  Worry is a magnet for them.  If you just "let it be," the current worrisome condition will not even be part of your life a short time from now.

If you worry enough about it, however, you can be sure it will stick around.  So, just do your best around all this...then turn it over to God. Yes? ~I Believe God Wants You to Know

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spiritual Discipline

Discipline of yourself is absolutely necessary before the power of God is given to you. When you see others manifesting the power of God, you probably have not seen the discipline that went before. They made themselves ready. All your life is a preparation for more good to be accomplished when God knows that you are ready for it. So keep disciplining yourself in the spiritual life every day. Learn so much of the spiritual laws that your life cannot again be a failure. Others will see the outward manifestation of the inward discipline in your daily living. ~Twenty-Four Hours a Day

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Monday, May 24, 2010

05/24/10 B

From time to time there will be a reading or a picture I want to share so I will post randomly and you can stop by whenever you feel like it. I am not returning to full-time blogging, but the reading I found today inspired me and I felt the urge to share it.

05/24/10

I should help others all I can. Every troubled soul that God puts in my path is the one for me to help. As I sincerely try to help, a supply of strength will flow into me from God. My circle of helpfulness will widen more and more. God hands out the spiritual food to me and I pass it on to others. I must never say that I have only enough strength for my own need. The more I give away, the more I will keep.That which I keep to myself, I will lose in the end. ~Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Things Change

I am taking a break from blogging. This is something I have done regularly for over five years, come here and share my gratitude. It has been an integral part of my sobriety. I have been feeling more and more that I need a little distance from it because it has been really hard lately to exercise restraint of tongue and pen (keyboard). More than likely I will return, but in the long run it is not about me. I just need to figure out what it really is about.

 

 

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A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don't know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox's or bear's, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there. ~Meister Eckhart

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

02.24.10

Thoughts--just mere thoughts--are as powerful as electric batteries--as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. ~Frances Hodgson Burnett

Today I am grateful…

  • that my BFF turns 3 today
  • for the privilege of listening to someone’s third step
  • for mute buttons that keep my TV from being trash in the yard
  • that prayers concerning being more loving and compassionate REALLY work
  • to have so much creativity in a holding pattern in my brain. Sometimes, though, it gets bottle-necked trying to get out.

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We don't always have to be strong to be strong. Sometimes, our strength is expressed in being vulnerable. Sometimes, we need to fall apart to regroup and stay on track.
We all have days when we cannot push any harder, cannot hold back self doubt, cannot stop focusing on fear, cannot be strong.
There are days when we cannot focus on being responsible. Occasionally we don't want to get out of our pajamas. Sometimes, we cry in front of people. We expose our tiredness, irritability, or anger.
Those days are okay. They are just okay.
Part of taking care of ourselves means we give ourselves permission to "fall apart" when we need to. We do not have to be perpetual towers of strength. We are strong. We have proven that. Our strength will continue if we allow ourselves the courage to feel scared, weak, and vulnerable when we need to experience those feelings. ~The Language of Letting Go

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

02.23.10


Hitch your wagon to a star. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today I am grateful…

  • to have been able to share about the first step when I saw an acquaintance enter the room for the first time, then the welling of tears in my eyes as he took a desire chip
  • that the CPA got my taxes finished and I am actually getting a small refund
  • for the ability to set aside my plans and be spontaneous. This is SO different from the old days.
  • to get this gigantic commission painting installed at the client’s today
  • to realize for many, many days I owe everything my life is today to my sobriety (last night’s topic)

RecoveryFirst


All of us are influenced by somebody. Not to be influenced is to remain an ignorant person. Most of us hinder our thinking, particularly around spiritual things, because of pride. We don't like change. We find it hard to accept attitudes and opinions that differ from our own. Pride keeps us deaf and often stupid. However, the daily program of a lived spirituality encourages a variety of opinions and attitudes. We can learn from different customs, lifestyles and religions. We can be helped in our understanding of life by the stranger. ~Fr Leo

Monday, February 22, 2010

02.22.10

And I cannot say what has happened to me, except…I am not the same, I am not the same, I am not the same… ~GM

Today I am grateful…

  • for smile exchanges
  • to guard my serenity only second to my sobriety
  • that I can be in the middle of a small prayer and not even realize I am praying
  • for practice. Many things have changed due to practice.
  • for the dream this morning that gave me comfort about change

babar moghal beneath the underworld_inset

Our concept of control was flawed. This program leads us into a New World. Here we meet the fact that we are powerless to change some aspects of ourselves. But we can become ready to be changed. That makes all the difference. When we accept this truth, we are already changed and we are more in line with nature and the universe. ~Touchstones

Sunday, February 21, 2010

02.21.10

Only work which is the product of inner compulsion can have spiritual meaning. ~Walter Gropius
Today I am grateful…
  • that I have not be afraid to recognize my needs
  • to walk tall in my shoes instead of staring at the sidewalk, head hung in shame
  • that daily I get everything I need
  • I do because I can
  • to respond to change instead of trying to always change it

babar moghal 002_inset

When you know you are serving a greater cause, there is little room for fear and doubt. You know that what you do will benefit others, so there is no way the universe is not going to support your efforts - even if sometimes it may not look that way. Serving the greater cause allows you to live from the space of your greatness. When you know that what you do can serve a greater cause, you are aware of your power and ability to influence and create change in this world. ~Daily Om

Saturday, February 20, 2010

02.20.10

Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't, didn't already have. ~Dewey Bunnell

Today I am grateful…

  • that maybe that Cat Stevens brain worm I had for days is gone
  • that today is so far, so good
  • to not always know how to do it, but to keep trusting the process
  • to have an available solution
  • for the path of less resistance

woman eats bird

You are goodness and mercy and compassion and understanding. You are peace and joy and light. You are forgiveness and patience, strength and courage, a helper in time of need, a comforter in time of sorrow, a healer in time of injury, a teacher in times of confusion. You are the deepest wisdom and the highest truth; the greatest peace and the grandest love. You are these things. And in moments of your life you have known yourself as these things. Choose now to know yourself as these things always. ~Conversations with God

Friday, February 19, 2010

02.19.10

Show me which road to follow, where to go, and what to do. ~Journey to the Heart

Today I am grateful…

  • that I only have to do it today
  • that I did it yesterday and will do it again tomorrow
  • for my dream of life and how it has changed drastically since 11/18/03
  • for smiles that creep upon my face for no reason other than I am satisfied
  • for the blessings of this day and the love and grace that supports them and gives me their experience

shadowfigure2

When someone you know or love comes to mind, or even someone you don't-- perhaps someone in another part of the country or the world, perhaps someone going through a particular crisis-- and you're not certain what to do, send a love letter. Your loving thoughts will touch them and your blessings will all come back to you. ~Journey to the Heart

Thursday, February 18, 2010

02.18.10

We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing. ~Herbert Spencer

Today I am grateful…

  • while I strive to stay spiritually fit, I will never do it perfectly--in the striving I find everything I need
  • for all I have been given and all that is on its way to me
  • that daily I am shown, from inside, my Higher Power's will. I am given the power and the willingness to carry it out.
  • my sober days pass fairly quickly and smoothly. My drinking days passed slowly and painfully.
  • for days that end with "y"

winter wednesday 036

Taken with my iPhone

The feeling of attachment, of being related, of caring about someone, is what life is all about. Before recovery, we may have feared we could not love anyone. When we feel love, we may also feel cheated because our affections aren't returned, as we want them to be. Or we may think relationships are just too complicated and painful. It's true that relationships are difficult at times. The only thing more difficult is having none. ~Touchstones

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

02.17.10

. . . no one who learns to know himself remains just what he was before. ~Thomas Mann

Today I am grateful…

  • for the promise of warmer weather. This winter I cannot get used to the cold.
  • for one of the best first step meetings I have ever attended yesterday. Such humor and solution.
  • to watch newcomers hit milestones. I know I am being pushed ahead as I watch them.
  • for my DVR and recorded episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • that in all my life, I have never had as much as I have this day

Eggs 2007 Braldt Bralds

Eggs by Braldt Bralds

Deep inside, we all know that we're changing. It started when we took Step One. We learned and accepted something new about ourselves. That changed us, just a little. We no longer wanted to live as addicts. That meant we had to change and to learn to live sober. It's been nonstop ever since: learn about ourselves, change a little, learn about ourselves, change a little more, and so on. All we know is that each step of learning and changing makes life better. How long can it keep getting better? As long as we keep learning to know ourselves. ~Keep It Simple

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

02.16.10

When all is said and done, willingness is everything. ~Frank D

Today I am grateful…

  • for two excellent meetings yesterday and fellowship after each
  • that as much as I don’t want to, I will contact my dentist today to see about this crown that broke off. I am a tad perturbed as I addressed this tooth with her a year ago; it was easy to rock back and forth. It was crowned so long ago I didn’t realize it was not an original tooth and I cannot help but think this might have been avoided. Maybe, maybe not. Anyway, I am a wuss son of a dentist.
  • that the past got me to where I am today
  • to have heard once, “Not even God can change the past.”

dog-time-perception-1

[T]he man with the grown-up brain and the childish emotions - vanity, self-interest, false pride, jealousy, longing for social approval, to name a few - becomes a prime candidate for alcohol. To my way of thinking, that is a definition of alcoholism; a state of being in which the emotions have failed to grow to the stature of the intellect. ~Experience, Strength & Hope, pg. 411

Monday, February 15, 2010

02.15.10

The walls we build around us to keep out the sadness also keep out the joy. ~Jim Rohn

Today I am grateful…

  • for the anti-Valentines Day dinner/movie night with fellows
  • to have thought about Mom a lot yesterday. Valentines was her favorite holiday.
  • to get back to healthier eating today. I sorta had a food relapse over the weekend. Ugh.
  • that back in May of 2001 if you told me I would be sober as long as I have been, that I love my life, I would have thought you a crackpot.
  • for art thoughts

office in a small city

Office in a Small City by Edward Hopper

When you don't need anything, then you truly have everything. When you know that you already have enough, that you already are enough, that everything is as it should be, then your life will be rich indeed. Get past the need to possess and you'll discover that the whole world is yours. Abandon the need to be right and you'll find real truth. ~Ralph Marston

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Faith

faith
18" x 14", acrylic on canvas board

02.13.10

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light I have. ~Abraham Lincoln

Today I am grateful…

  • that I rolled with the punches yesterday
  • for the outrageous cupcake from Crave handed to me in the back seat last night
  • that you can make up a story about that last bullet point! But will you share it?
  • for another sober weekend
  • for the newcomer text yesterday telling me they were overwhelmed with gratitude and that I could relate

g1

Chair Car by Edward Hopper, 1965

As our integrity grows, our emphasis changes. It is not crucial that we always be right, only that we be honest. We do not have to be winners or high achievers so much as we have to be real human beings. Conquest is not as important as connection. We do not always have to compare ourselves and be better than the next guy. We can exchange and appreciate the communication. ~Touchstones

Friday, February 12, 2010

02.12.10

We are always the same age inside. ~Gertrude Stein

Today I am grateful…

  • for maintenance of my spiritual condition by attending a meditation program last night
  • that I am welcome to as much joy or as much sorrow as I want today. They are both free for the taking. Thinking I will choose the joy part.
  • that any worry I have today is rooted in fear, thus in reality, false
  • to keep enough free space in my mind so that anything new has a chance to settle in
  • that I don't understand everything--what good would that do?

hopper.sun-empty-room

Sun, Empty Room by Edward Hopper

Deep inside, we each have a child's spirit. We still have many of the feelings we had when we were young. Some of us have a hurting child inside. There's sadness, fear, or anger that hasn't gone away. We're still lonely, no matter how many people care about us. Our inner child needs special help to heal. We can be good parents to our inner child. We do this by being gentle and caring with ourselves. In time, this child can be a happy center in our hearts. ~Keep It Simple

Thursday, February 11, 2010

02.11.10

To the untrained, casual eye, each wave looks the same. It is not. No two are the same. And each one washes away the old, and washes in the new.

Today I am grateful…

  • for the uber comfortableness of a home group
  • for silly ‘getting the giggles like I was a kid in church’ moments in last nights meeting
  • that a while back I added the gratitude for teaching me to be more compassionate to my daily prayers. It’s paying off.
  • that when I am not thinking about myself my mind is in a more comfortable place
  • that I don’t think I have ever been President of the United States

shadowfigure2

There's no way to prepare for deep grief, for the pain that shatters a heart and a life when a loved one leaves.
No one can coach us on it. Those who could, who knew exactly how it felt, who could describe it in detail, wouldn't do it, would not presume to encroach on this most intimate part of our relationship with a loved one. Those who casually say, "Aren't you over that yet?" don't understand.
This much I will tell you about grief: If there was ever a second, or a moment, when you suspected or knew you had been betrayed at the deepest level by someone you adored, and a splintering pain began to shred your heart, turn your world grimly unbearable to the point where you would consciously choose denial and ignorance about the betrayal rather than feel this way, that is one-millionth of what it feels like to grieve.
Grief is not an abnormal condition, nor is it something to be treated with words. It is a universe, a world, unto itself. If you are called to enter this world, there is no turning back. We are not allowed to refuse that call. Grief is like nothing else, with the possible exception of the pounding waves of the ocean. To the untrained, casual eye, each wave looks the same. It is not. No two are the same. And each one washes away the old, and washes in the new.
Gradually, almost imperceptibly, whether we believe it or not, we are being transformed. ~The Language of Letting Go 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

02.10.10

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. ~Henry James

Today I am grateful…

  • that I attended Art Critique Houston last night and was asked to join. A small group of artists meet quarterly or so and four artists bring their work for critique. I was comfortable and chatty and was able to contribute to the discussion. This is a total reversal from my old, isolation days.
  • for the thirty seconds every day where I go through all the Click to Give websites. Just by clicking you can help feed an animal, provide literacy for children and more. Please bookmark and visit daily. It’s so simple and easy.
  • that I am outta time. I forgot we are meeting a client early and I gotta scoot.

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Life doesn't promise us anything, except a chance. We have a chance to live any way we like. No matter how we choose to live, we'll have pain and we'll have joy. And we can learn from both.
Because of our recovery program, we can have life's biggest wonder---love. We share it in a smile, a touch, a phone call, or a note. We share it with our friends, our partners, our family. Life didn't promise to be wonderful, but it sure is full of little wonders! And we only have to open up and see them, feel them, and let them happen. ~Keep It Simple

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

02.09.10

You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was. ~Irish Proverb

Today I am grateful…

  • that little gifts can bring huge smiles and hugs
  • to be convinced I have what it takes for today
  • for recovery blogs—what a great connection we have
  • to be reminded of how people see me, because sometimes I have the fun house mirror reflection
  • for the sharing from the heart in the Beginners meeting

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Lou invited us to post a picture that makes us smile.

Sometimes I feel sad or depressed and think I'm doing something wrong. With all the work I'm doing to change my life, shouldn't I feel happy all the time?

No. Sadness is just as much a part of life as happiness. Just as all the seasons are part of nature, all my feelings are part of me. Would I awaken on a rainy day and refuse to let it rain? Would I claim that I'm going to do everything I can to stop the rain? No. When it rains, it rains. ~Hazelden Thought for the Day

Monday, February 8, 2010

02+08=10

Nobody can cause more needless grief than a power-driver who thinks he has got it straight from God. ~Bill W

Today I am grateful…

  • the love and race from a Higher Power that fills my life, gets down into the nooks and crannies
  • that I was shown the way through to the other side of my addiction
  • for the loving program of AA and how a profound affect it has had on my life
  • to truly not regret the past. Carrying the past is a heavy burden. Today I can use it for reference, keep my side of the street clean and have room to grow.
  • for 2,274 days of alcohol free living

apple line

Spirituality involves our attitudes and perceptions as well as our prayers. Spirituality requires a realistic awareness of what we need and what we have been given. Spirituality sees beyond the problems into the solution.
Hope is a feeling that is based on a spiritual perception of life that shuns apathy and negativity. Everything can be used for good if it is perceived realistically; destructive experiences, painful moments and failed relationships can all be used to create a new tomorrow.
The hope that stems from our ability to change requires a realistic understanding of what has happened. No aspect of life should be wasted because it can point to a glorious tomorrow. ~Fr Leo

Sunday, February 7, 2010

02.07.10

It is the weak who are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong. ~Leo Rosten

smile

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Third Step

the third step
18" x 14" (canvas size), acrylic on canvas board

02.06.10

Behind an able man there are always other able men. ~Chinese proverb

Today I am grateful…

  • for sober friends who face life’s difficulties head on
  • for boundaries
  • that tonight is an art night. Gallery openings and then the Art for IAC auction at Lambda Center. IAC (International Advisory Council) is the recognized GLBT arm of AA.
  • that I don’t have to be right and I don’t have to be wrong. Sometimes, often times, it just is what it is.
  • that I can be a trusted friend that can be called at 4:15AM

postcard_contented

Most of us have had a strong desire in our lives to "do it ourselves." We have had the idea that strength and independence meant we should not rely on or receive help from others. Now, in recovery, we are learning a far more mature and time-honored principle. We find strength to develop to our fullest as members of a community. Maybe we never learned how to ask for help. Perhaps we haven't learned yet how to accept it. It may still be difficult to express our gratitude for the help that brought us where we are today.
In recovery, we get many lessons about these things. If we are actively growing, we will get help from others and give it too. The rewards of recovery give us ample reasons and opportunities to express our gratitude. We are no longer loners. Now we have a network of friends who truly enjoy and enhance each other's strength. ~Touchstones

Friday, February 5, 2010

02 x 05 = 10

Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got. ~Janis Joplin

Today I am grateful…

  • for the creative spirit of mankind. It’s hard to imagine what we have eked out of science in such a short time.
  • to not have to drive on the clogged freeways around here. There are too many people in this world.
  • for this day at my disposal. I plan to be creative, attend a meeting, take some paintings to be photographed and have dinner with old friends tonight.
  • that my Higher Power is more generous, more inventive and more sustaining than I ever imagined
  • that, baby, you’ve got what it takes!

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One of recovery's greatest gifts is discovering we can make decisions that represent us, our inner selves, and those decisions please us. We all are familiar with the tiny tug of shame that locates itself in our solar plexus. When we "go along," when we "give in" on a personally important issue, we pay a consequence. We lose a bit of ourselves. Over the years we've lost many bits. ~Each Day a New Beginning

Thursday, February 4, 2010

02.04.10

Honesty makes us comfortable rather than pained, relaxed rather than anxious, and decisive rather than confused. ~Walk in Dry Places

Today I am grateful…

  • to have watched my fellowship pop up around me
  • for the reduced-to-tears laughter at dinner with friends last night
  • that I love Michelle Obama but her new hairdo isn’t working for me
  • that I love myself and my hairdo IS working for me
  • to have no valid complaints today. I could complain but it wouldn’t do any good.
  • for the day ahead and whatever it holds

inspiration

It's the moment that's important. Each moment holds choice. Our spirits grow through working our program moment to moment. Moments lead to days, days to years, and years to a life of honest recovery.
It will be the moments of choice that we remember. The moment we call a friend instead of being alone.
The moment we decide to go for a walk instead of arguing with our partner. The moment we decide to go to an extra meeting instead of drinking or using other drugs. The moments lead us to our Higher Power.
These moments teach us that we're human, that we  need others. At these moments, we know others care about us--our joys, and our struggles.~Keep It Simple

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

02.03.10

Shame is a spell others put on us to control us, to keep us playing our part in dysfunctional systems. It is a spell many of us have learned to put on ourselves. ~The Language of Letting Go

Today I am grateful…

  • for yesterday’s gratitude meeting. It’s my favorite topic.
  • for this mornings rustling of the wind and the soft tinkle of wind chimes
  • for all the fears that have fallen to the wayside since I got into a program of recovery. I used to hold them so close to my chest I couldn’t even see them anymore, but the effects were drastic.
  • for the art of Norman Rockwell. Today is the anniversary of his birth. He was a meticulous American illustrator, whom I am convinced saw the world through the eyes of the ordinary man.
  • that I am allowed my own human-ness

rockwel

Learning to reject shame can change the quality of our life. It's okay to be who we are. We are good enough. Our feelings are okay. Our past is okay. It's okay to have problems, make mistakes, and struggle to find our path. It's okay to be human and cherish our humanness.
Accepting ourselves is the first step toward recovery. Letting go of shame about who we are is the next important step.
Today, I will watch for signs that I have fallen into shame's trap. If I get hooked into shame, I will get myself out by accepting myself and affirming that it's okay to be who I am. ~LOLG

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

02.02.10

You are what you are and where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind. ~Zig Ziglar

Today I am grateful…

  • to have been asked to chair next Monday nights Beginners meeting
  • the healing of an alcoholic extends far past himself
  • for being shown the difference in struggling and letting go
  • I do not have to agree with everyone, in fact I can't
  • the truth is revealed to me in small doses so I can comprehend it

Contentment

Forever is longer than you know. Eternal is longer than Forever. God is more than you imagine. God is the energy you call imagination. God is creation. God is first thought. And God is last experience. And God is everything in between. ~Conversations with God

Monday, February 1, 2010

02.01.10

A great many people think they are thinking when they are only rearranging their prejudices. ~William James

Today I am grateful…

  • for the 12 step calls God keeps handing me
  • for the freedom of being available
  • today I have enough
  • today I do not have to struggle with a desire to drink
  • I can carry gratitude in my heart today. Gratitude has been a major healing factor in my life of recovery.

Contentment-Photographic-Print-C12201928

Who can render an account of all the miseries that once were ours, and who can estimate the release and joy that later years have brought to us? Who can possibly tell the vast consequences of what God's work through A.A. has already set in motion?

And who can penetrate the deeper mystery of our wholesale deliverance from slavery, a bondage to a most hopeless and fatal obsession which for centuries possessed the minds and bodies of men and women like ourselves? ~As Bill Sees It

Sunday, January 31, 2010

01.31.10

It's not a question of finding the right person, but becoming the right person. ~Anon.

Today I am grateful…

  • for the birthday celebrants last nigh with over 500 years collective sobriety
  • today I am not afraid of the silence
  • that the sirens I hear are not coming for me
  • for the incredible amount of talent in this world
  • that the only good thing about winter returning is that it won’t last forever

fullness

Friday night’s full moon

It's mainly a quiet battle. It's fought daily. We fight and win by acting in a spiritual way. We fight and win every time we help a friend, go to meetings, or read about how to improve our lives We move slowly but always forward. Rushing will only tire us out. Our battle will go on for life. We are quiet fighters, but we're strong, for we do not fight alone. And we know what waits for us if we lose. ~Keep It Simple

Saturday, January 30, 2010

01.30.10

Everyone has his own fingerprints. The white light streams down to be broken up by those human prisms into all the colors of the rainbow. Take your own color in the pattern and be just that. ~Charles R. Brow

Today I am grateful…

  • today I do not have to drink or use a drug to alter my feelings
  • for the chance to meet with my sponsor
  • last night I got a big dose of Armando’s Taco truck tacos, the art of Barkley Hendricks at the CAMH, got in half a meeting and fellowship afterwards. Great Friday night!
  • that when I was asked to share and since I got there late, I just apologized for being late, that the tacos at the Contemporary Art Museum were fantastic and that I was grateful to be in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and let someone who showed up on time share
  • tonight is birthday night at Lambda Center

tranquility and cap

Me, C. 1987

The Big Book clearly says that before I am halfway through making amends, I will begin to know a "new" freedom; not the old freedom of doing what I pleased, without regard to others, but the new freedom that allows fulfillment of the promises in my life. What a joy to be free! ~Daily Reflections

Friday, January 29, 2010

01.29.10

Be aware of the negative rain in your life. If even a stone can be worn down over time by constant falling rain. ~Language of Letting Go

Today I am grateful…

  • for this morning’s text from an unknown source that said, “I have an overwhelming feeling of joy and gratitude for life. I am glad you’re in my life and enjoy the person you are. Namaste” I found out who by thanking them and telling them I did not recognize the number. Isn’t that a sweet start to a day?
  • to have gone through my box of old photos. I culled out a bunch to trash and marveled at the memories. I also started to scan and Photoshop some of my favorites.
  • for the incredible rain and thunder last night which washed the Earth and brought cool temperatures
  • the truth gets eked out, sometimes in small amounts, sometimes in larger amounts
  • there are things I used to run from that I now run towards

gratitude1

To know that each newcomer with whom I share has the opportunity to experience the relief that I have found in this Fellowship fills me with joy and gratitude. I feel that all the things described in A.A. will come to pass for them, as they have for me, if they seize the opportunity and embrace the program fully. ~Daily Reflections

Thursday, January 28, 2010

01.28.10

Never assume you know who I am or what I'm doing, ask me a question instead. ~Carol Neilson

Today I am grateful…

  • for people who say, “I love you.”
  • that anything is possible
  • for all the luxuries in my little life
  • that I am here and you are there, that means we are in the places we are supposed to be, right now
  • that I do not miss drinking, smoking or overeating

30276840_b45d7b3557_o

Above from Rockwell Kent

Our progress today, and certainly our serenity, is enhanced by our willingness to accept all that we are blessed with today. Not only to accept, but to celebrate, trusting that these events are moving us toward our special destiny. -Each Day a New Beginning

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Occupied Dreams

occupied dreams
30" x 24", acrylic on canvas

01.27.10

Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear. ~Lao-tzu

Today I am grateful…

  • that I don't have to set the rules. I don't have to experiment. All I have to do is what you said worked for you.
  • to know when I am discontent I am just arguing with life
  • for the intelligence of alcoholics. I think we, as a whole, are the funniest people on Earth.
  • for the power to carry 'that' out
  • that occasionally my mind goes on field trips, but never strays too far from home

ombra

You can’t lose in this game. You can’t go wrong. It’s not part of the plan. There’s no way not to get where you are going. There’s no way to miss your destination. If God is your target, you’re in luck, because God is so big, you can’t miss. ~CwG

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

01.26.10

My Mother told me
If I was goody
That she would buy me
A rubber dolly
My Auntie told her
I'd kissed a soldier
Now she won’t buy me
A rubber dolly

~The Clapping Song

Today I am grateful…

  • for yes, yes, yes, yes, no, yes
  • that I was able to find relief that I did not have to drink again instead of anger that I could not
  • for the life outline I did years ago and how it changed my thinking
  • yesterday a friend from the past reached out with questions regarding a loved one’s drinking. Once again I was where I was supposed to be, at home with time. I texted a friend about it and his reply back was—God must really want you to stay sober, girl. That was just so bright and shiny to me.
  • gratitude rushes in where this fool once walked
  • that today is Bunny’s fourth birthday (see post below)

wallpaper_gratitude_p78de

Imagine walking up to the counter at the local fast-food restaurant and asking if they had your order ready. "What order?" the counterperson would ask. "Did you phone one in?" "No, but I thought you might have something for me behind the counter anyway."
It's absurd, you might say. How could I expect them to have food ready for me when I hadn't yet placed my order.
Exactly. And how can you expect the magic of the universe to start bringing you the things and experiences that you want for your life if you haven't named them yet.
Have you placed an order yet? Maybe you thought about it at the beginning of the year, but put it off until you had more time to think about it. And every day, you wake up and stand at the counter of life asking, "What do you have for me?"
If you haven't asked for anything, you may have to settle for whatever life hands your way. Why not take the time to ask? You don't have to be too specific, just ask for what you want. Want adventure? Put it on the list. Want love? Write it down. There is no guarantee that you'll get everything you request. Life may have other plans for you. But you'll never know whether you can get what you want unless you know what that is, and ask for it first. ~More Language of Letting Go

Happy Birthday, Bunny!

the buns

My little boy is FOUR today!

Monday, January 25, 2010

01.25.10

Keep doing what you're doing and you'll keep getting what you're getting. ~Anonymous

Today I am grateful…

  • that I finished the first layer of a large canvas for a client. I had to take it outside to work on it and the weather was gorgeous.
  • to have a week stretching out in front of me
  • for every tick of the clock I have a little more recovery under my belt
  • that I really, really, really do not understand why so many people want to know what Tiger Woods did/does/will do. I seriously do not care.
  • that I asked my HP this morning to redirect my thoughts

7079_mediumlarger

A newly recovering physician expressed his frustration. “I'm angry,” he said, “because everywhere around me people are drinking and having a good time, and I don't dare take a drink.” A doctor who was in his fifth year of sobriety responded, “When I found out that I couldn't drink anymore, it was a sense of relief. I don't have to fight that battle anymore.” It's pretty much how you look at it. You can resent it, or you can breathe a sigh of relief. Just think how much energy you can save, how your mind can be free of worry. ~Sober Thought for the Day 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

01.24.10

Don't try, don't force, don't make it happen. Let. Let it happen. ~Melody Beattie

Today I am grateful…

  • that things change over time. Many to my amazement. This morning I was really enjoying listening to a Timbaland album. I never thought…
  • for all the files in my brain just waiting to be pulled up and opened
  • for a trip to Galveston last night to see a friend’s art show, seafood dinner, laughter and fabulous 80s music remixes
  • for all the things I have left at my Higher Power’s feet over the years
  • a well polished tool kit gets me through tough spots

05-3393wp 

Norman V. Peale wrote that "God runs a beauty parlor," meaning that plain people with gracious thoughts tend to become more attractive as years wear on. We need not fear our own thoughts and feelings if we are continuing to work the program.  As the sober years stretch out, we will be improving our thoughts and feelings, and this will tell others what the program is doing for us and through us. ~Walk in Dry Places

Saturday, January 23, 2010

01.23.10

I woke up at 4:20 AM after an itchy, restless, discontented sleep.

Last night I got a call from a friend who is out of town with his family for an emergency. He answered a call from an alcoholic in trouble with a relapse. He asked me if I could drop everything and make a 12th step call. I said yes, then found out the person in need is someone from the rooms that I have had LOTS of trouble listening to as he spreads the disease through his self-centered shares. I was not hesitant to make the call, but my brain wanted to fester up a big resentment. I said a prayer and left for Lambda Center. A friend walked in right after me and he agreed to accompany me. I have been taught we do not make these calls alone.

We found our man in his robe not looking too bad for the wear, but he did seem disoriented. We didn’t ask a lot of questions of him. He wanted to go to the VA hospital. He gave me his house keys and the alarm codes and I noticed the cat had food and water. He got dressed and we drove him to the hospital. On the trip there I texted my out-of-town friend that we were on our way. I got one back, he was sitting in an AA meeting. I got this huge, overwhelming feeling we were all where we were supposed to be. Fairly quickly they got our man into an ER holding room. My accomplice and I sat in the waiting room, talked about the stuff you talk about in these situations and paid attention to our iPhones. I ended up giving the nurse my name and phone number so we could be on our way to dinner. Our man tried his best to be dramatic and convince me to feel sorry for him.

My accomplice and I had dinner at a really gay place. We laughed, he texted his sponsor about the call we had made. We discussed our programs and where we were with them. I dropped him at his car and came home. At 10:15, five hours after we dropped our man off at the VA, he called me and said they would not keep him. I texted my out-of-town friend and he told me to stay in touch with him as the event continued. I picked up our man. We got his prescription filled. He wanted a burger so we drove through Burger King and he wanted to pay for that dollar burger with a credit card. When I got him home the first thing he did was go to the kitchen and take the giant bottle of vodka out and turn it upside down in the sink. It emptied. I made sure he was okay and left.

I try not to talk on the phone when I am driving, but on the way home I needed to be in touch with my out-of-town friend. We marveled at how our program of AA works. He is where he is supposed to be and I was, too. It has been a long time since I made a 12th step call. It wasn’t nearly as awful as it could have been. The person we took care of has been trying to get and stay sober for untold years. Self-importance can take me down that same road. It did not matter that he is capable of making huge money, owns property, can speak eloquently…alcohol is no respecter of those things. It will slice and dice you until you cannot stand. I am truly grateful for the first step and the honesty it takes to practice it.

God could and would if He were sought.

Today I am grateful…

  • if I seek God, if I stand close to God, if I do my best to follow God’s will I will be guaranteed to have a better experience of God. It seems there is no decision to it, like water has no conscious effort to find its level.
  • for this medium where I can list my gratitude
  • that I can and will return to my bed shortly
  • that I am not nursing a hangover on a Saturday morning
  • that tonight I am going to dinner and a friend’s gallery opening in Galveston

image002

Now we come to another kind of problem: the intellectually self-sufficient man or woman. To these, many A.A.s can say, "Yes, we were like you--far too smart for our own good. We loved to have people call us precocious. We used our education to blow ourselves up into prideful balloons, though we were careful to hide this from others. Secretly, we felt we could float above the rest of the folks on our brainpower alone. Scientific progress told us there was nothing man couldn't do. Knowledge was all-powerful. Intellect could conquer nature. Since we were brighter than most folks (so we thought), the spoils of victory would be ours for the thinking. The god of intellect displaced the God of our fathers. But again John Barleycorn had other ideas. We who had won so handsomely in a walk turned into all-time losers. We saw that we had to reconsider or die. We found many in A.A. who once thought as we did. They helped us to get down to our right size. By their example they showed us that humility and intellect could be compatible, provided we placed humility first. When we began to do that, we received the gift of faith, a faith which works. This faith is for you, too." ~ 12 & 12 

Friday, January 22, 2010

01.22.10

Silence is so accurate. ~Mark Rothko

Today I am grateful…

  • no matter what may happen today it won’t be as bad as one of my old drunk days
  • for the freedom to be happy
  • that I don’t need a whole lot to feel fulfilled, but sometimes a little concentration helps
  • for the comfort of "fitting in"
  • today I will try not to be quicker than God

calm

 

Your one and only true and great work in this lifetime is to paddle your own soul through the creative rivers and tributaries of experience home to the peaceful pool of infinity. When you arrive and awaken you will find that all it took was a deep breath. ~Lani Picard

Thursday, January 21, 2010

01.21.10

What is defeat?...Nothing but the first step to something better. ~Wendell Phillips

Today I am grateful…

  • yesterday all was well in my life but my mind was really convinced I needed to be fearful and angry. The mind didn’t win yesterday.
  • so much of life is mysterious and I don’t have to know all the working pieces, but I dreamed I was in a wheel chair because my left leg was bothering me. I woke with my left hip, knee and ankle achy.
  • that my life isn’t a Jackie Chan movie
  • to strive to follow the advise, "Don't let others rent space in your head" it's a hard one for me, often
  • I don't get lonely, my anger subsides fairly quickly, if I get tired I nap and my hunger only comes from watching my food intake

lora-768x1024

I just know that you are expected, at some point, to do more than carry the message of A.A. to other alcoholics. In A.A. we aim not only for sobriety--we try again to become citizens of the world that we rejected, and of the world that once rejected us. This is the ultimate demonstration toward which Twelfth Step work is the first but not the final step. ~Bill W

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

01.20.10

Service is really a beautiful word. Service means respect. When we serve others we're part of the human race. ~Keep It Simple

Today I am grateful…

  • to have attended the meeting last night where I got sober. The topic was helping others. A 12th step is what brought me back into the program. I am reminded of what it was like—often. I have to be reminded because my rememberer is broken.
  • for smart, loving, funny-as-hell friends
  • for vigilance. It’s so different not running into as many walls as I once did.
  • that I don’t always have to know why. Sometimes the answer is because.
  • to have answered ‘yes’ last night when my brain was screaming ‘NO!’ It was in answer to something that might help my painting career, the no came from fear.

tumblr_kul00yezws1qzx1e0o1_400

The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our encouragement, who will need our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. It's overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt.  --Leo Buscaglia

There is no such thing as complete acceptance. When you can remember a loss with a little distance and much less pain, you have accepted the loss and mourned it fully. You accept that life is different now and move on. ~David Viscott

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

01.19.10

Self-realization is not a matter of withdrawal from a corrupt world or narcissistic contemplation of oneself. An individual becomes a person by enjoying the world and contributing to it. ~Francine Klagsbrun

Today I am grateful…

  • for comment moderation. Some people have nothing better to do with their small lives than to leave their sick diatribe on other’s property. Other’s think by taking time to post their business promotion it will increase revenue? I have never clicked through to someone’s business website through any comment left on a blog. So, sorry the comment moderation thing is back in effect.
  • that someone told me they thanked the Baby Jesus for my friendship with their partner. That just tickled me.
  • for all the happy pups at the dog groomer’s yesterday. From the tiniest Chihuahua to the gigantic, gray dappled Great Dane. They were so happy and not much makes me happier than seeing happy pups.
  • that happiness can be as simple or complicated as I choose. Usually I choose the simple route.
  • for my life as it is, as it was and as it will be

gratitude-rainbowspiral1

Let go of the uncontrollable in your life. You're not a solitary being in this great universe, set to struggle against all of the forces, you're part of the whole. And the changes that come-- whether they're joyous or sad, easy or difficult-- are just a part of the growing process that each of us goes through.
Feel the pain when you have a loss. Feel the joy when you triumph. Then let go and continue to grow.
See how connected you are. ~The Language of Letting Go

Monday, January 18, 2010

01.18.10

The mind and its objects cannot be known simultaneously. ~Patanjali

Today I am grateful…

  • for an art productive Sunday
  • today will be another day of art-tivity
  • for Joan Rivers. I watched her on the New Year’s Eve Graham Norton Show and she is really, really smart and funny. She made me laugh over and over.
  • my fear of others has diminished greatly allowing healthy relationships to bloom; a by-product of which is feeling more at ease in my own skin
  • for all the blessings in my life, supported by love and grace

55879_extralarge

God loves you with the very air you breath, the very light that touches your skin, the very ground that supports you. Love is everywhere -- melt your barriers, and you will have love in abundance. ~CwG

You are the artist in your life

You create the images and colors on the canvas called your life. Are you creating the picture you want? Does your canvas convey a life of fulfillment and growth? Or does your canvas convey chaos and despair?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Etienne with Roses

etienne with roses
30" x 24", collage mounted on canvas
Art for IAC donation item