Monthly Archives: March 2014

March 16

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Living Sober through the Psalms

Sober Thought of the Day
“We were not a hugging people. In terms of emotional comfort it was our belief that no amount of physical contact could match the healing powers of a well made cocktail.”
David Sedaris , Naked

It’s so true how in the beginning alcohol really did seem to solve all my inside problems, the uncomfortability, the lack of confidence in social situations. In this quote we’re reminded that for many of us alcohol did become a good substitute for emotional comfort. But only for a while. Number 9

Psalm of the Day
Responsorial Psalm PS 7:2-3, 9BC-10, 11-12

R. (2a) O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.

O LORD, my God, in you I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and rescue me,
Lest I become like the lion’s prey,
to be torn to pieces, with no one to rescue me.

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March 15

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Sober Thought of the Day
“I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.” Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

This psalm gives me great comfort. “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted.” Ain’t that the truth? An alcoholic who has experienced the depths of their addiction and cried out to God for help can certainly attest to the truth here. Number 9

Psalm of the Day
Responsorial Psalm PS 34:17-18, 19-20, 21 AND 23

R. (19a) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

He watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

Today’s Saint
“No one knows what he himself is made of, except his own spirit within him, yet there is still some part of him which remains hidden even from his own spirit; but you, Lord, know everything about a human being because you have made him…Let me, then, confess what I know about myself, and confess too what I do not know, because what I know of myself I know only because you shed light on me, and what I do not know I shall remain ignorant about until my darkness becomes like bright noon before your face.” Saint Augustine

March 14

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Sober Thought of the Day
“I like to change liquor stores frequently because the clerks got to know your habits if you went in night and day and bought huge quantities. I could feel them wondering why I wasn’t dead yet and it made me uncomfortable. They probably weren’t thinking any such thing, but then a man gets paranoid when he has 300 hangovers a year.” Charles Bukowski, Women

I used to do this with convenience stores. I would never buy beer at the same store two days in a row. But it didn’t matter. The clerks know which customers are the ones with problems. Number 9

Psalm of the Day
Responsorial Psalm PS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Today’s Saint
“I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible”
-St. Ignatius of Antioch

March 13

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Sober Thought of the Day
“I don’t have a drinking problem ‘Cept when I can’t get a drink.”
Tom Waits

I remember the times I couldn’t get a drink. I’d be at a work event or out with normal drinkers. After sharing a bottle of wine, I’d obsess wondering when somebody would order more. And nobody would. For them, one glass was enough. And I wouldn’t order any either because then what would they think of me? And I was miserable. Number 9

Psalm of the Day
Responsorial Psalm PS 145:8-9, 13CD-14, 17-18

R. (8a) The Lord is gracious and merciful.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Today’s Saint
“For me prayer is a surge of the heart, it is a simple look towards Heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”
St. Therese of Lisieux

March 12

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Sober Thought of the Day
“Follow seven beers with a couple of scotches, and it’s funny how sleep just sort of comes on its own. Often I never even made it to the bed. I’d squat down to pet the cat and wake up on the floor eight hours later, having lost a perfectly good excuse to change my clothes. I’m now told that this is not called “going to sleep” but rather “passing out,” a phrase that carries a distinct hint of judgment.” David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day

Ah, sleep! I’d venture to say one of the best things about early sobriety is the benefits felt from a “real” good night’s sleep. Number 9

Psalm of the Day
Responsorial Psalm PS 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
R. (8) The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Today’s Saint
“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”
-Venerable John Paul II

March 7

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Sober Thought of the Day
“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

This quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald nails it. It aptly describes the progression of the disease of alcoholism where over time, perhaps years, drinking goes from being a choice to a necessity. Number 9

Psalm of the Day
Responsorial Psalm PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Today’s Saint

“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”Thérèse de Lisieux

March 6

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Sober Thought of the Day
“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” W.C. Fields

One of the “benefits” of 12-Step programs for the Catholic/Christian alcoholic is the fellowship of other alcoholics in meetings. Through our faith and religious practices, we may be able to work our own versions of the Steps; but the 2nd component of talking through things with another alcoholic cannot be measured in its importance in my sobriety. Number 9

Psalm of the Day
Responsorial Psalm PS 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20

R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
He spreads snow like wool;
frost he strews like ashes.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Today’s Saint

“And let them first pray together, that so they may associate in peace.” St. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of Saint Benedict

March 2

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Sober Thought of the Day
“Ho! Ho! Ho! To the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe
Rain may fall, and wind may blow
And many miles be still to go
But under a tall tree will I lie
And let the clouds go sailing by”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

The last stanza of this Psalm stands out to me where it talks about God putting our sin as far away from us as the east is to the west. There is a song I love called East to West by Casting Crown. When I was sober the first time and struggling, I remember this song was so meaningful because of the line, “Today I feel like I’m just one mistake away, from you leaving me again.. I can’t bear to find the man I’ve been come rising up in me again…” Number 9

Psalm of the Day
Responsorial Psalm PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Today’s Saint
“O unhappy and cruel man, why do you want to persuade me by foolish arguments to sin against God and my vow of virginity? Do you think, O lonely king, that a love of worldly pleasures will make me renounce my firm purpose and offend my Spouse, Jesus Christ, by defiling my body? Do not for a moment believe that because I am a helpless girl I shall give in to your evil suggestions. I despise the false glory of the world, and with all my heart I love Jesus Christ and trust in His promises. I want no part of the honor of being numbered among the goddesses of your kingdom. Do not try to force me with flattering words. I am determined to keep the treasure of my purity, and I am willing to protect it with my life.” Saint Dymphna

March 1

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Sober Thought of the Day
“I have absolutely no pleasure in (alcohol) in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
Edgar Allan Poe

It’s true that in the end of my drinking days there was no pleasure in it. There was compulsion and repetition and daily drinking, but I could never drink enough to achieve the high drinking had given me in the beginning. Number 9

Psalm of the Day
Responsorial Psalm PS 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21

R. (5a) Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

When the LORD called down a famine on the land
and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,
Joseph, sold as a slave.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

They had weighed him down with fetters,
and he was bound with chains,
Till his prediction came to pass
and the word of the LORD proved him true.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

The king sent and released him,
the ruler of the peoples set him free.
He made him lord of his house
and ruler of all his possessions.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

Today’s Saint
“Liturgical action is given a more noble form when sacred rites are solemnized in song, with the assistance of sacred ministers and the active participation of the people.” Saint Cecilia, patron saint of musicians