A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown. -Denis Waitley

Dream! Plan! See a future that you want for yourself! What are your hopes and aspirations? What are your goals? Where would you like to see yourself in five years? Ten years?

What? You don’t see it as possible? Then you haven’t looked around you. Miracles happen, wishes come true and dreams are realized because people make them. I sit in a room full of people who had no dreams and little hope and here they are clean and sober and living lives beyond their wildest imagination. I can read online everyday success stories of people who came out of abject poverty and yet created a completely new world for themselves. The skyscraper you see glittering in the sun or the castle overlooking the valley were once dreams in the minds of their creators that have now been realized.

Not possible for you? Then you don’t know the process for fulfilling a dream. As addicts and alcoholics we spent hours solving the problems of the world and sharing with everyone who had the patience to hear what we might have done and what we were going to do. Unfortunately we never picked ourselves out of the gutter or got off of the barstools to make those ideas come true. We came back to the same place day after day and said the same things over and over again. If we do thing same things we get the same results. No one has ever married the person of their dreams, bought a house on a tropical island, written a book or fulfilled any dream by sitting on the barstool. You have to step away from what is and walk towards what can be.

Fulfilling a dream takes work. It takes patience. It takes humility. People often tell me that they wish they could live in the rainforest near the ocean as I do. I tell them that they can do so if they want to. “It’s not impossible.” They reply that they can’t, they have a job and family and a mortgage. What they are really saying is that they don’t want to risk a change of what they have to get what they want. They might like the idea of stepping out of their comfort zone, but they really don’t want to make the necessary changes. They don’t want to do the work needed or the time to do it so it’s all really just pie in the sky. What they are really dreaming about is finding a genie in a bottle or a visit from their fairy godmother.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Chinese proverb.

I’ve learned in my program of recovery to enjoy the moment, live in the present and trust the process. And I can still dream. I am learning not to live in the future, rather work toward it. If I want a sober and clean life it begins one day at a time and gradually the days begin to add up. At first it’s difficult. It’s change from the norm and out of my comfort zone.  With the Twelve Steps, it gets easier. I have to do the work. My dreams are the same. I have to work at them. I have to take that first step toward them today and another step tomorrow. And it all starts by stepping off the stool.

Be Good to Yourself

I’m not sure why, but I find it so easy to be hard on myself. I often feel that I don’t measure up to what I should be doing and where I am in life.  I still sometimes ‘should’ myself into depression and anxiety. Could’a, would’a and should’a are all expressions that pull me out of the present moment and drop me unceremoniously in the past…PLOP!

Part of it has to do with my impatience. I want what I want and I want it now. If I don’t get it, which is often, it’s because I didn’t do what I needed to do. In other words, my procrastination doesn’t help with my impatience and visa versa. And then I just get down on myself. My program tells me what I need to do: the next right thing.  What is the next right thing? I’m learning it’s what I ‘know’ I need to do. I have to remember that ‘Easy does it’ still means I need to ‘do’ it! It takes time to find the balance, but it is possible to get to an equilibrium in life.

I need to remember to enjoy life. Play, joke, go for walks, see a movie, chat with a friend, go out for dinner,  walk on a beach, climb a mountain, hug the dog.  Life is meant to be lived and we are not a glum lot. Keeping up my spirit is important.  I have a tendency to isolate myself from others, not participate in activities and events. Here too I need to find balance.  My mind, all alone, can be a very dangerous space if I spend all of my time there.  Getting out and enjoying life, playing, creating are ways that I find the happiness and joy in my life.

Another way to be good to yourself is to stop looking at how far you have to go to get to the goals you have in life. Rather, focus on how far you have come.  Yes, there is still more work to do in my life of sobriety, especially when I am starting out. I constantly remind sponsees to be grateful for how far they have come in their program. I have to remind myself sometimes how far I’ve come too. Like my sponsees, I still have to apply my program on a daily basis, but I have come very far. I regularly see my character flaws grow and blossom and I think I will never be through with them. I have a choice though: I can become morose about how much work I still have todo, or, I can look back and be grateful for how much I’ve changed as a result of my program of recovery. I am not the same person that walked into that first meeting. That is something to be grateful for.

Finally, give yourself time. We didn’t become addicts and alcoholics over night and we can’t expect to stop one day and find everything is back to normal the next. It just won’t work that way. It takes time to go through the steps of recovery. Be patient with yourself and your progress. Even a relapse can be a very important learning experience.

In order to be a success, all I have to do is get up one more time than I fall. So as long as I’m trudging that road, putting one foot ahead of the other, I’m heading in the right direction and doing just fine!

I am Grateful.