Changing the Future

“I can’t keep thoughts from coming into my head, but I have a choice about whether or not to entertain those thoughts for the next hour.”~Courage to Change

I woke up thinking about my daughter. She is worried about not getting into a great college and playing D1 softball. Laying in bed I felt bad for her pain. I know things will work out, but right now she doesn’t. In speaking to my wife we agreed that letting go of our future potential “bad” outcomes is something we must actively practice if we are to have peace in the moment. And we will strive to share that with our little girl. Today I will let go of all the “bad” that may happen and focus on all the “wonderful” that may happen instead. In this way, I’ll open the doors for abundance. ILML!

- JamesQ

A 100% Guarantee

“I need courage to change my attitude and behavior.” – Alateen – a day at a time

Let’s face it. It’s much easier to find faults in people, places & things for our disappointments & unhappiness. But it’s also a 100% guarantee of continued resentment & self-pity. It does take courage to stop looking at what’s wrong around us and instead take positive action to change what’s going on inside of us.

By seeking the spiritual solution, focusing on gratitude, and being of service, we are released from the bondage of blame and once again invited into the world of abundance and joy. Today I’ll be aware if I slip into a funk and use recovery tools to get back to feeling good. ILML!

- JamesQ

Spread Happiness

“Happiness is contagious.” – Attitudes of Gratitude in Love

When we are around someone who is upset, it’s hard to be happy. The same applies if those around us are distraught, frustrated, in self-pity or detached. The lesson today isn’t about trying to change or get away from them, it’s about the powerful effect we can have on others. I’ve learned that how I feel (when I’m around others) can either make them feel better or worse. When I am spiritually fit, happy, joyous and free, a full on lover of life, grateful and optimistic, I spread happiness – and that’s a GREAT thing. Today I’ll take spiritual care of myself so that I can be a conduit of wonderful loving energy. ILML!

- JamesQ

Finding a Personal Higher Power

“… saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger…” Alcoholics Anonymous p.88

I’ve read that danger is one letter away from anger. When I read this passage from the Big Book, it reminded me that it’s hard to be in anger when I’m truly connected and seeking God’s will. But for many, believing in God, let alone knowing God’s will, was impossible, as it used to be for me. What is God? What is God’s will?

I think this is where the exercise I was given for step 2 came in handy. It was suggested to me that I write down on paper what I would like my personal God to be. For some this could be easy , particularly if they already have a clear concept: a Mountain, Jesus, Buddha, etc. But for me, who really didn’t believe in God, this was a challenge. Here were (and still are) some of the things on my list:

Believes in me
Full of wisdom
100% always there for me
Wants the very best for me
Helps me work on my defects
Complimentary – builds me up
Light and easy, not uptight
But of all, mostly Loving

Today, because the one word that describes my personal understanding of God more than any other is Love, it’s easy to know what God’s will for me is: to be loving. Period. If I’m loving, I’m plugged into God and the solution. And when I’m not acting in a loving manner, I’m disconnected.

Being loving applies to both others and me. At first knowing how to do this was difficult. If I’m too concerned with being loving towards myself, at their expense, I may be go overboard and be selfish. If I’m too loving towards them, at my expense, I may feel like a martyr and be resentful.

Today, because of Al-Anon, I’m beginning to understand that it’s ok to say no to someone’s request if I’m uncomfortable doing it or it’s something they are quite capable of doing for themselves. It’s also ok if they are not happy with me, because today I’m ok with or without their approval. Alternatively, I also understand that I’m more likely to be selfish when I’m not plugged in, asking to do God’s will regularly (be loving). Often this comes as a result of getting away from one or more of the basic consistent and regular actions of my program:

Calling my sponsor
Reaching out to sponsees
Working on my steps
Writing daily inventory & gratitude list
Reading program/recovery literature
Taking physical exercise
Eating healthy
Getting sleep
Keeping my house, car & life organized

So to sum it up, saying “Thy will be done.” throughout the day is a reminder for myself to be loving. It helps me remember to love myself and others. It’s also what has enabled me to come to a place where I believe in my core, feel in my heart and know in my mind that I LOVE MY LIFE!

- JamesQ

What do I Expect Today?

“Identify your expectations.” – Until Today

Doing this one thing has saved me thousands of hours of misery, anger, frustration and self-pity. Before program I never even thought to do this. Because I journal almost every day I’ve honed the habit by repetition. What do I expect today?… Everyone to be nice? Money to be ok? My car to start? No tooth ache? By recognizing and writing down my expectations, one by one, I can switch them to hopes but release the outcome. I can say “ok, that would be great, but if it doesn’t happen my life will be great anyway”. In this way I’m choosing my feelings ahead of time, rather than reacting to events. This allows me to roll with the punches and stay happy no matter what happens today. When I take the time to recognize my expectations, I give myself the gift of being ok when they are not met. What expectations do you have which might upset you if not met today? When I go from awareness to acceptance, ILML!

- JamesQ

Be in the Solution

“… some of our defects… feel just a little superior… greed masquerade as ambition… gossip barbed with anger… envy… procrastination…” 12&12

I still get sucked into all these things after years in recovery. What does that mean? I’m perfectly imperfect. I make lots of mistakes. The amazing, wonderful and hopeful news is that I’m getting better every day. These days I often find myself in humility, giving to others, speaking kind words about people, being grateful for the gifts in my life, and taking care of business – being responsible. Recognizing the problem but choosing to be in the solution guides me to do the next right thing. ILML!

- JamesQ

Play Well with Others

“… the secret to their happiness is that they have found a way to truly appreciate the quirks in another’s personalities rather than being driven crazy by them.” Attitudes of Gratitude in Love

Are they slow or just easygoing? Reclusive or just comfortable in their own company? Loud and testy or exciting and spicy? Confrontational or passionate? My perception, judgement, and reaction is skewed by my past experiences and attitude. By lightening up and adopting a positive attitude, I can have more acceptance. Today I want to play well with others, and I’m working my program right now in order to do that. ILML!

- JamesQ

Grateful I am Me

“… my assets are the foundation upon which my new, healthier life is being built.” – Courage to Change

So often in program the focus is on eradicating unhealthy behavior or defects and learning new tools. That’s really important. But equally important is learning to really, accept, love and believe in ourselves. Looking in the mirror I don’t just say “I love you James”. Rather, I’ve learned to also list off all the things I do love about myself. In this way I remember each day to be grateful I am me, a really cool guy who is a hard worker, great dad, husband, man, friend and lover of life. It’s a beautiful day in sunny Santa Monica and ILML!

- JamesQ

For the Love of It

“We give it away freely with no expectation of compensation, and we are nonetheless richly rewarded by receiving even more love and recovery than we give away.” – Hope For Today

This simple idea is sums up a principle instruction I had never known until I came into the program: That when I help others for the love of it rather than money, I am rewarded beyond my wildest dreams with things like happiness, self-esteem, and friendship. I have an amazing life because I am able to take care of all my responsibilities and still find time to give away that which I have received from others so freely. ILML!


A Feeling of Separation

“… the problem is the feeling of conscious separation from… from everything… It’s the best definition of human ego you’ll ever hear.” Chuck C, Chuck C., Spiritual Way of Life

As a child I experienced a feeling of separation. As a teen I discovered alcohol and drugs, which allieved that feeling temporarily. Eventually the consequences of drinking & using outweighed the need for relief, so I quit and again felt separated and alone. Then I walked into the rooms. The welcome, guidance, fellowship and opportunity to help others finally tamed my ego, allowing me to fit in and feel comfortable in my own skin. I am so lucky to have the program and all of you. Thank you for sharing this amazing journey with me. ILML!

- JamesQ

If you are interested in watching Chuck C’s video here is the link: