Jan. 22, 2018 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Monday, Jan. 22, 2018

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” – Step 10

Today, Step 10, the extension of the Fourth, is a reminder that the self-inventory isn’t a one-time shot. Just as the car needs an occasional tune-up, so it goes with our moral fiber. Neglect of the 10th Step risks progress in recovery and consigning us to stagnation. While the Fourth challenges us with self-inventory, we’re commanded in the 10th to “promptly admit” when we are wrong. In doing that, we could be sparing ourselves pent-up anger, resentments, fears, frustrations and thoughts of “revenge,” none of which has a part in recovery. Today, when I am wrong in anything, I’ll admit it and let it go. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2018

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Jan. 16, 2018 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” – Step Four

Todaythe Fourth Step, if not one of the most intimidating of the 12 Steps, one of the most gut-wrenching. In even hoping to take this one on productively and honestly, I must be certain  that I have exercised Steps One, Two and Three to the best of my ability because, if I haven’t, the consequences of taking the Fourth could be devastating. In beginning my moral inventory, may I have the wisdom to ask my higher power for the courage, strength, honesty and objectivity to be as searching as I can. And let me remember that the Fourth asks for a moral accounting, not an immoral one, and of myself and not of another person. And making it objective is the reason I should take it with a sponsor or, at least, someone I trust unconditionally. Today, my inventory will be “searching” and, however intimidating, “fearless.” And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2018

Jan. 15, 2018 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 

“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”  Step Three

Today, for the alcoholic stumbling out of the fog of an extended drunk, there could be a problem with the use of the word “God” with a capital “G” and the reference to Him with a capital “H.” “God” and “Him” smack of religious connotations, a potential turnoff to the person new to the program. But recovery is a spiritual, not religious process, and the God referenced here could be the “power” evoked in Step Two – and that power stronger than ourselves could be something as simple as our awakening to the reality that we could not sober up on our own. But Step Three requires another action – surrendering to something unseen but which, by sheer faith, is stronger than us. Step Three leads us to the admission that we are powerless over what we cannot control and have come to believe in a power greater than ourselves – and then entrusting ourselves to the care of that stronger power. Today, my decision is to turn my will and my life over to that force that I trust – on sheer faith – will handle me better than I ever could. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2018

Jan. 14, 2018 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 

“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” – Step Two

Today, I tried it my way, and it didn’t work – frequently. But what “power” if not me? If I cannot believe in either a religious or secular “god,” can I believe that the greater power is as simple as my own self-awakening to the powerlessness that I have admitted in Step One? If I can, I must accept that the phrase “restore us to sanity” implies I am insane. Am I? If I define insanity as expecting or hoping for a better outcome of repeat behavior that has always led to the same outcome, then, yes, I am insane. Today, the power greater than myself can be as simple as my own awakening to my powerlessness, and I can hope that same power can pull me from the insanity of the myth of a better outcome of conduct that has always led to disastrous results. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2018

Jan. 13, 2018 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.” – Step One

Today, every journey has a starting point, and the road to recovery begins with Step One. Today, I have no doubt that I am powerless over alcohol and that it makes my life unmanageable. If I find even a small grain of reluctance to fully admit my powerlessness over alcohol, I wonder if I am willing to lose more to drinking or if I refuse to lose any more. If I answer that I could risk not losing anything more, I have not given Step One the gut-level honesty it requires. If I answer I cannot or will not give up anything more to alcohol, I have taken a productive First Step. Today, I admit I am powerless over alcohol and, in surrendering, my life can begin to become manageable. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2018

Jan. 12, 2018 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Friday, Jan. 12, 2018

Today, in the throes of all the demands at work and in my personal life, I strengthen my resolve to my recovery by remembering how I got here – and why. I must ask myself honestly if I have experienced the fundamental change in emotion and psyche that is required in recovery. I must not permit any of those destructive influences of my yesterdays to sabotage today and, hopefully, tomorrow. I must acknowledge any subconscious seed that might be planting a slip or relapse. And if that seed exists, I know I’m in trouble with the first three step. Those steps – of total admission, surrender and submission of all I cannot control – are the building blocks of my recovery. I must be on guard if I feel a crack in any of them. Today, I am an alcoholic, and I cannot drink – nor do I want to. Sweet and simple. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2018

Jan. 11, 2018 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 

“The last three years of my drinking, I drank on my job. The amount of will power exercised to control my drinking during working hours, diverted into a constructive channel, would have made me President, and the thing that made the will power possible was the knowledge that as soon as my day was finished I could drink myself into oblivion. Inside, though, I was scared to death, for I knew that the time was coming (and it couldn’t be too remote) when I would be unable to hold that job. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to hold any job, or maybe (and this was my greatest fear) I wouldn’t care whether I had a job or not. I knew it didn’t make any difference where I started, the inevitable end would be skid row. The only reality I was able to face had been forced upon me by its very repetition – I had to drink; and I didn’t know there was anything in the world that could be done about it.”- Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Lost Nearly All,” Ch 12 (“Freedom From Bondage”), p 548. 

Today, remembering when I drank on the job, then fear that I would be “caught” and lose it and, ultimately, not caring if I did. And I remember the thought that got me through those long working days – I could go home and drink myself into literal oblivion. And I could do it all over the next day. I need to remember so I don’t forget the helpless, hopeless and pathetic creature I had become and that my early time in the program required some tough, tough work not only to sober up but also to care again. Today, the power of a drink holds no power anymore, only disdain and disgust that it will plunge me back into that yesterday if I allow it. Today, I won’t allow it. The harsh and painful memories of my yesterday serve me well today. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2018