The Power Of Positive Thinking

From Each Day A New Beginning, November 12:

“Our minds mold who we become. Our thoughts not only contribute to our achievements, they determine the posture of our lives. How very powerful they are. Fortunately we have the power to think the thoughts new choose, which means our lives will unfold much as we expect…

Our minds prepare us for success. They also prepare us for failure if we let our thoughts become negative.”


I’ve seen so clearly in my own life how sadness and negative posturing can cripple us and keep us from moving forward. There’s just no percentage in clinging to our pain. If there were, I’d happily wear it as a cloak for all to see. But it doesn’t. It just keeps me from my own capacity for joy.

We’re all in the same boat here. Addiction and its consequences have stolen much from our lives. But recovery from it has brought into sharper focus all that it has left me in its wake. I’m left now with gratitude for all the blessings in my life. At this time of year, let’s all celebrate something to be thankful for. And try to remain positive and hopeful about the future.

Remember: “Thoughts become things; choose the good ones.”

My Recovery Is Grounded In Gratitude

take the good with the bad

Dear friends,

It’s that challenging time of year again when holidays and all they symbolize beckon us into that place of remembrance. Sometimes happy memories are hard to bear amid our disappointments. S this is the time of year when I really step up my program. A spirit of gratitude has been the one tool that has always worked to elevate me from my despair around Angie. So I hope that all of us can bring that spirit into our lives during this season of thanksgiving and count our blessings. We’ve all lost loved ones one way or another to the cruel disease of addiction.

But the sun still comes up every day and sets every night. Life goes on—and we with it. Let’s keep hope alive and live every day as best we can. Blessings to you all!

Words Of Wisdom From A Great American Historian

“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

― Howard Zinn

Enabling Is Not Helping

From Thirty-One Days in Naranon, Day 6:

“It was difficult for me to understand enabling and to realize that instead of helping the addict to get better, I was really helping him to continue to use. Enabling was what I used to do by loaning him the car, covering his bad checks, replacing the things he “lost,” making excuses for the things he did wrong, and hosting his parties. I thought that by being kind and helpful, everything would be okay.

It was the Nar-Anon program and group members who opened my eyes. It felt good to learn that by enabling the addict, I was performing tasks for which he was responsible. It didn’t matter what my reason for enabling him was, I was preventing him from suffering the consequences of his own actions.”

In my memoir, I wrote, “Years later in one of my support groups in New Mexico, a friend shared how she had to lock everything up in her house. She’d lock the jewelry here, the silver there. She had a different key for everything place, and one time she was so flummoxed by her son that she lost all her keys! We laughed together at that one, grateful that we could still laugh. This is what it comes to for many of us parents. We erect walls to protect ourselves, keeping the addicts out. And then, of course, we feel guilty about doing that.”

In the rooms I’ve heard many times: “What we allow will continue.” So I don’t allow Angie to abuse our relationship anymore. We are no longer dependent on each other. I’m on my journey and she must follow her own path. At this fork in the road, when parents stop making life easy for their addict, many of them are forced to see themselves more honestly and attempt recovery. Many succeed.

This was a very difficult choice for me, but I was drowning in my codependence. I needed to pay attention to the rest of my life and let go of Angie. As I have found peace on my spiritual path, I pray she will too someday.

“Changed Attitudes Can Aid Recovery”

From Each Day A New Beginning, June 29:

“Self-pity is a parasite that feeds on itself. Many of us are inclined toward self-pity, not allowing for the balance of life’s natural tragedies. We will face good and bad times—and they will pass. With certainty they will pass…

Recovery is learning new responses, feeling and behaving in healthier ways. We need not get caught by self-pity. We can always feel it coming on. And we can let it go.”

In my recovery program, I’ve leaned that I have choices. I don’t have to be on automatic pilot anymore. “Awareness, acceptance, action”—the 3 A’s. I can choose new attitudes. I can choose acceptance and gratitude. Then happiness will follow me.

“Is It Working For You?”

From The Forum, June, 2015:

“The Suggested Preamble to the Twelve Steps have been the most helpful in my recovery: ‘We believe alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery.’ That is to say, it is our attitudes, not our situation, that cause our unhappiness.

When I first came to Al-Anon, and heard these words being read, it was like listening to a foreign language that I did not speak. It was beyond my comprehension that I could find peace and happiness through a change in my own attitude. As I heard these words being read week after week and meeting upon meeting, I resisted the suggestion that I could find peace and contentment if I would become willing to change the attitudes that kept me a prisoner of pain and suffering.

First of all, I didn’t know that I had any particular attitude. My thinking made perfect sense to me. There was nothing wrong with my attitude. I didn’t even understand what my attitude was. Slowly, as I listened in meetings and began working the Steps with my Sponsor, my attitude did begin to change. I was not consciously aware of the change, but I did recognize that my life was less stressful and I was finding periods of happiness and serenity.

One night, a few years into the program, it hit me. I was leading a meeting and as I read the Suggested Preamble to the Twelve Steps, these words ‘…changed attitudes can aid recovery’ struck me. I wanted to laugh out loud and say, ‘Duh…do you think?’ It was so completely clear to me. I got it. I really got it!

Although up to that point, I had changed in many ways, I really believe that this singular, amazing, and powerful moment of clarity was the turning point in my recovery. Reflecting on that moment and remembering the words ‘changed attitudes can aid recovery’ during personal struggles and moments of frustration, kept me willing to continue my journey of self-discovery and brought me a spiritual awakening I would never have thought possible.”


Beautifully spoken by Paula w. of Arizona. I can’t really add much to that, except something my sponsor told me to always ask myself when complaining about a situation that I find myself in: “Is it working for you?” I should always ask myself, and if it’s not, what can I do to change it? Often it’s a change in my behavior, but when that proves fruitless then sometimes a change in attitude is all I need to get a good night’s sleep. Is it a problem I have any control over? No? Then let go and let God. Go to sleep. Maybe other solutions will present themselves tomorrow. But for now, give yourself a good night’s rest—because you’re worth it.