Daily Homework

Let there be peace on earth

A few months ago, I started a new prayer practice, based on a suggestion by Pope Francis. In addition to the 3rd and 7th step prayers, I was to pray for peace on earth at specifically 1pm every day. This goes along with the 11th step prayers and practice, and I decided to make this small change.

I set an alarm on my phone, and proceeded. With my phone, I can use songs as alarms, and I chose “Jesus take the wheel” as my first song. Over time, I switched out songs, and eventually settled on Vince Gill’s “Let there be peace on earth.” 

I have noticed a major change as I have been doing this prayer. When the alarm goes off, regardless of what I am doing, I simply ask God for peace on earth. Sometimes, I sing the songs I use as an alarm, sometimes I just spend the moment in silent prayer while the music plays.

The major change relates back to my personality, and it goes into my sobriety life as well. I am less angry. I am much less angry. I also am much more polite. I am learning about who God wants me to be, versus who I wanted to be all those years ago. I am changing, becoming much more laid back and relaxed.

All from some simple prayer.

That feels good. 

Thank You for reading, if you have any questions, please leave a comment below. 


Recovery Notebook an essay with photos

A recovery notebook is much more personal than a simple diary. Inside you will find things which normally are not disclosed to anyone expect maybe a priest or sponsor. It is hard, trusting the wild ball of spaghetti from inside my head to a piece of paper and a pen.

All of the recovery notebooks I have ever done have started in this exact way, dealing with trust. I have lived with others for the last 13 years of my life. Luckily, my spouse and my father have no desire to know what has crawled out, battered and bloody, from the wars going on inside my head and onto the paper.

My first recovery notebook, long since gone, was a spiral bound notebook. I have journaled since I was a child. So pouring my disease onto paper was easy enough. That early notebook was filled with resentment, the world is wrong, and suicidal thoughts. I had spun wildly out of control, and my command of the English language had been fried. I couldn’t come up with the words to write, not able to remember the words to describe things. Yet, it was that recovery notebook, with strange words and ideas, that helped bring me back enough to run a blog. 

Why to use one? At first it was because I lived long distance from my sponsor, and could not afford a phone call. I could write things down that my sponsor would never hear. Later, I learned that some sponsors would not appreciate a 3 am phone call when my mind was whirling out of control. I learned to write, and keep writing until the urge to drink passed. I also learned to write until the suicidal urge passed. Eventually, as the homework was piled on, I put my step work in there. 

I have used many types of notebooks. At one especially stupid moment, I even paid $50 for a special two page per day planner. The problem? I needed five or six pages per day, and regular notebooks are much cheaper.

Thankfully, due to the chaos and flow of life, I do not have all of my recovery notebooks. Those things just don’t stand up to the test of time. Flooding took the first 4 years worth. The garbage truck took several of them. I personally burn the older ones now. I no longer need the notes from a meeting from 10 years ago.

What do I keep in a recovery notebook? What system do I use? I keep almost everything in my recovery notebook. I have been bullet journaling for 4 years now. In putting my life down on paper, I can see in black and white, or vivid color those areas of my life that need more attention.

So, now for the journal porn. I’ve gone through and looked at the photos of my journals. I’m including several here, along with a description. 

My favorite journal cover. The walmart 67 cent notebooks fit perfectly inside. 

An example of one of my habit trackers. It isn’t as inclusive as it is today.

I put my daily routines in my notebooks, as well as quite a few brain dumps. I miss this notebook the most. I loved those eccolo notebooks.

An example of the monthly spread. I made sure to schedule my meetings first.

Above you will find a weekly spread from my bujo. This one is simple enough for me.

This was a daily spread I used for quite some time. Included is so much of the daily homework. 

This was a daily emotions tracker I tried early on.

Another version of a daily spread. I couldn’t find my markers that day, so crayons had to do.

Here the daily spread evolved to add a ‘tada’ list. That’s a list of things I didn’t think I could do, but I did get done all by myself.

An early meal tracker.

An example of a pain tracker.

And lastly, another example of a daily tracker. The ruler I use is a log book template I bought at a truck stop back when I went to trucking school.
So that’s it. I hope this essay and photos help you a bit. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at justanotheralcoholic@yahoo.com

Daily Homework Tracker for Bullet Journaling

Using my iPad, and the Notes Plus app, I decided to show an example of using a Bullet Journal to track daily homework. Now, since I am Catholic and Diabetic, I also included things to reference that as well. This duplicates work I have done in my own Bullet Journal.

Here you see the majority of Daily Cares listed in the Daily Homework Section of this blog.

You will see that the personal cares are on the left, including medical conditions. I usually just check off the daily cares in my BuJo (bullet journal) when they are done. On the right is most of the list from the morning and evening homework. Below you will find the end of the lists. Again, I just check off when they are done.

I also included some of the regular chores I do, and things I track as an example.

Again, this isn’t a “pretty” BuJo, it’s an example that may help you on your journey. 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at justanotheralcoholic@yahoo.com

On Gratitude, an essay

Good Afternoon:

One of the old sots I met early on in recovery was named Grover. He passed away over ten years ago now, but he taught an important lesson to this alcoholic.

This lesson was on Gratitude. He said, “Get a roll of toilet paper.” The assignment was, on each sheet, every day, write down ten things you are grateful for. When you get to the end of the roll, write on the other side. 

Back then, double rolls had just come out, so I knew I was in trouble. 

I didn’t follow his homework assignment exactly back in those days. I just wrote my gratitude list on ordinary notebook paper in my journals. This was the first daily homework assignment I had been given, and I still do it, 18 years into my sobriety. 

The list of things I am grateful for can vary, depending on the day. For example, today, I am grateful for a strange pair of wrap around sunglasses my step daughter gave me for Christmas one year. Today, it helps me to deal with computer screens and migraines. I can safely work on the computer, and not go blind and have to spend the afternoon in bed. Something that I thought little of when I first got it, (it didn’t work well with my prescription glasses) is saving my bacon today.

Another thing on today’s gratitude list: Years ago, I bought Dad a listen up sound amplifier. It allowed him to hear the homily at church and other things. Over time, he set it to the side. This morning, I found it, replaced the battery, and it still works exceptionally well. His hearing is worse today than it was when he received it, and he now listens to his music at a much lower level. This saves my migraine infested head from severe pounding when he plays Polka music. 

The list goes on and on. 

My siblings, 6 of them, are awesome, very busy people, but they have each made time to help me in specific ways over the years. I am grateful for them too. 

The gratitude list pulls me up when I am down and suffering. I keep it always in my heart, and reflect on it cheerfully every day.

Thank You Grover, for the lesson. You rock man!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at justanotheralcoholic@yahoo.com

Jumping down the rabbit hole of Bullet Journaling and applying it to recovery an Essay

I knew it would come to this at some point, that I would write this essay on Bullet Journals, and recovery.  I just didn’t expect it to be tonight that I did the leap. So, here we go.

So much of recovery revolves around homework, planning, meetings, lots of step work, lists and the like. We are trying to turn our lives around from focusing on the booze and the drugs, and instead focusing on being a productive member of society.

Part of the problem I ran into early on in recovery is that there just was not a good way of keeping track of what I was doing in both my sobriety and in my day to day life. Most planners I found were next to worthless for the dual purpose I needed. I also needed to track my medical problems and give accurate reports on everything to my Doctor.

How the heck does one do it all?

Well, after just keeping lots of notebooks for years, trying to snarl my way through on both a laptop and or handheld devices, I was about to pull my hair out. I found, well stumbled into bullet journaling. I also found travelers notebooks at the same time.

Bullet journaling is as simple, or as complicated as you want to make it to be. You can go all out, and spend hundreds of dollars on pens, journals, washi tape, and thousands of hours on Amazon and in groups online trying to make it “purdy” or colorful. 

However, what I needed was a simple system to track the following:

  1. Schedule, including meetings and phone lists. I track my own appointments, Dad’s appointments, and my Spouse’s appointments. I also keep track of Sponsee’s sobriety dates, Sponsor call times, and family events.
  2. I needed a simple system to track my meals, blood sugars, insulin injections, medications and other symptoms for my physician.
  3. I needed a place to keep track of todo lists, “tada lists””” (things I did that I can be proud of), projects, work, grocery lists, sizes of family members, vehicle maintenance records, and the like.
  4. I needed a place for my daily homework, my journaling, and my step work. I also needed a place to track my meeting notes, my step studies, and homework assignments I give my sponsees.

I have many more things I track, but you get the idea.

A bullet journal solved that problem for me, and made my life much easier. 

Above is a sample sheet from my bullet journal. It was from much earlier in the year, when the daily high was only 32* F or 0* C out. I know also that it was from a Tuesday, simply because if I was going to the Library that day, and an 8PM meeting, Tuesday is the only day that that works out for me.

The arrows on the list are things I migrated forward from the day or even week before. I can guarantee you that on that day, I didn’t get all of that work done, but I did get quite a bit of it accomplished.

Now, for the recovery part. I use a traveler’s notebook now, and I have separate inserts for my daily homework, my study work, and step work. There is an insert for meeting notes alone. It’s all up to you what you want to do with your homework, your journal, and your life. This is just a system that works for this alcoholic.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at justanotheralcoholic@yahoo.com

I will revisit this topic and post more photos of my current journaling system at a later date.

Time limits on step work: I.E. deadlines, an essay

I assign time limits for step style homework to those I sponsor. 

Why on earth would I do that?

The reason is simple: Procrastination breeds procrastination. The mess is still going to be there whether you put it off one day or ten months. Procrastination also breeds doubt in myself. The longer I put off doing some vital recovery work, the larger the homework becomes in my head. Read pages 417 through 420 in the Big Book if you want a reference for this.

I, like the author of Acceptance was the answer, have a magic magnifying mind. I can make mountains out of molehills in seconds. The longer I put things off, the worse the problem becomes. So, the sooner I get off my dead arse and get busy, the healthier I will become.

So, I give deadlines to myself, as well as to the people I sponsor. Extending those deadlines, I have learned, only prolongs the ripping off of the bandaids, and is not a kindness. I am not an advocate of working one step per year. I am an advocate of starting step 2 the day step 1 is finished etc..

That’s all for now.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at justanotheralcoholic@yahoo.com

Daily Homework: During the day edition

When you get agitated or doubtful, ask God for the right thought or action.

Dr Bob used the following “yardsticks” to help him in recovery on a day to day basis.

Is thing thing I’m about to say or do….

  1. Absolutely Honest?
  2. Absolutely Unselfish?
  3. Absolutely Pure?
  4. Done with Absolute Love?

If yes, you are fine….

Remind yourself Constantly –> You are no longer running the show, that you have a new Employer, and that Employer is God, Pray “Thy will be done.”
Take time to study the literature:

  • Study for at least 15 minutes per day.
  • Highlight in your book, the things that stand out to you.
  • Take notes.
  • Look up the definitions to the words you do not understand. Write the definitions in the margins of your book.
  • Start with the inside of the front cover, and don’t stop until you get to the back cover.

Huggage! You can absolutely do this. I have faith in you! If you have any questions, feel free to email me at justanotheralcoholic@yahoo.com