I am Grateful, Thank-you

I remember being at meetings early in recovery and people said that they were grateful to be there, grateful for their disease, grateful that they got to be in recovery. I didn’t get it. I wanted to slap them up the side of the head to knock some sense into them. I sure couldn’t find anything to be grateful about! I had basically sentenced myself to a life of boredom and gloom. Yes, the party was over. But I really didn’t want it to stop.

Flash forward a year and my group asked me what I would like engraved on my first year medallion. Without hesitating, I said ‘Gratitude’. Now I was the face that some new guy wanted to slap. So what changed?

My attitude.

The process of going through the twelve steps of recovery changed me. I saw that everything in my past was just part of a larger puzzle that ended with me finding myself and resetting my personality to someone that I could look in the mirror and say that I liked. It was my disease that brought me to the point where I was finally able to learn some tough lessons about life. By doing the inventory and making amends, I now had a base; I knew who I was and could work from there. After all, when you hit bottom, things can only get better.

One of the best things that my sponsor shared with me is this:

“There is no room for resentment, anger or fear in a heart that is full of gratitude.”

If I live with gratitude I am out of myself. I see what has been done by others. I know that alone, I couldn’t have risen above that lowest sense of self where I found myself the morning before my first meeting. At first I was grateful that I could make it 24 hours without, then I was grateful that I could make it for 24 hours without thinking about it. Gradually I became grateful for what I still had and for what I was being given. Like the heart of the Grinch at Christmas, my sense of thankfulness grew to where I could say I am grateful that I have the disease of addiction because it has brought me to where i am today.

I speak gratitude daily. I write it in my journal. When I am feeling low, I make gratitude lists.  I even make them when I am feeling wonderful! I like going to gratitude meetings. I like to find things to be grateful for when I am alone and with friends. I do it because it really works for me. When my heart is in that place, the troubles I think I have vanish. My need to be ‘right’ doesn’t seem as important. And I know that tomorrow will work out fine because I can look in the mirror and see that in spite of everything I did in the past, I am still here, carefully looked over by my Higher Power.

To my friend from the USA and everyone, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Day. Gratitude isn’t for the month of November or a single day; it is too wonderful for just a day. I give thanks everyday!  Gracias, Amén!

Mother's Day Bird Gratitude Twitter Luck Thank You

Mother’s Day Bird Gratitude Twitter Luck Thank You

Do It Any Way

Larry was in recovery for over 25 years before he left us for the big meeting in the sky. He died as he wanted, sober and with two close friends, who are also members of his home group, at his side.

He was the group philosopher. Though he accused himself of over thinking things, he always had something worth an ear. He was a larger than life character who towered above most everyone and who never failed to help another member. His big old bear hugs were smothering but always honest and genuine. And though he’s been gone for well over a year, his bits of wisdom which were gleaned from his own experience are still echoing in the rooms of the city.

“Do it anyway,” he’d often say at a meeting, “or do it any way.” It was Larry’s manner of encouragement. Find a way to get done what needs to be done. There might be an “I don’t want to,” or an” I don’t think I can,” but when it came to the program, friends as well as sponsees heard this wise words to push forward regardless.

Sometimes in life it isn’t about desire or want. It’s about need. Larry’s words are for those things we need to do, the things we fear doing, the things we don’t even know how to do. Do it any way.

Commitment, consistency and courage are behind these words. Sticking to one’s convictions day by day regardless of what happens. This is how we live a life in recovery. This is the example Larry set for us. It is also the challenge he left with us.

“Do it anyway, do it any way.”

Thank you Larry.

Stepping through Fear

Fear

Reams of paper have been used to expound on the subject of fear. The more I delve into discovering more about fear, the more material I find. It is pervasive in people’s thoughts and it subtly, and sometimes obviously, colours our actions. It changes how we feel and react to others. It causes arguments and wars. It runs the spectrum from a small anxiety about say, meeting a new person, to full blown paranoid phobias that can paralyze completely.

With all fear is the sense of a threat to me, my self, my ego and I allow it to affect me, how I feel about myself and what I do. ‘What if?’ ‘Maybe?’ My ego is always telling me that dismemberment and death is just around the corner, that everyone is trying to get me, that I will disappoint and that I can never do that! Fear is my ego saying to me: “That’s going to destroy, or belittle me in some way! Avoid it at all costs!” It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, real or imagined, fear, once it’s in charge is felt the same way and will take charge.

So…What happens?

I stay in my tiny comfort zone. I don’t try new things. I miss out on experiences. I don’t trust others. I don’t trust myself. I don’t risk anything.

So….Nothing happens.

Live in the moment!

When I am in fear, I am not in the present, rather, I am in the future. I am think of what ‘might’ happen. I am in the realm of endless possibilities and I can allow my fears to stop me cold.

“You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection – you cannot cope with the future.”  Eckhart Tolle

I am learning that I will never be able to cover all the bases, make sure that all the contingencies are in place. I can’t know the unknown; I can’t project what will happen in the future.  My ego says to me that I dare not go and my faith tells me to go boldly forth. Yes faith. I am learning to trust my Higher Power.

When I look back on my life, I can see that my Higher Power has always been there. The fact that I am here today writing this is proof that I have always been looked after by something greater than me. If that is true: I am here today,  and I know it, then why would I think that my Higher Power is going to suddenly vanish and stop looking after me tomorrow?

I am finding it much easier to simply live in the moment: in the NOW and not in the future. I can face and cope with what I need to do right now. Spending time in the future can stop me from doing anything in the now. If I focus on tomorrow I am losing the beauty of today.

Some days I am more successful than others. I usually see when I am focused on fear and can do something about it, like looking at the task at hand, staying in the now. I don’t know if I will ever wipe fear out of my life, but I can open the door to let faith in. Ego may always be there insisting that there are threats everywhere. My Higher Power is always there too giving me the courage to step through fear and move forward, knowing that I can cope with whatever is happening now.

I am grateful.