Wanted: Help

Gratitude List 30/09/2018

I needed my parents to show me how to talk, I needed a teacher to teach me how to read and write, I needed a tutor to show me how to drive, I needed a doctor to prescribe me with the right medicine to overcome an infection. I could go on and on. Throughout my life, I have learnt how to do things with the help and guidance of someone with experience. Why oh why did I think I could recover from a cunning, baffling and insidious illness all by myself?

– Today I am grateful I finally realised I needed help.

– Today I am grateful I found the courage to ask for help.

– Today I am grateful help was there waiting. (Imagine it wasn’t)

– Today I am grateful this help came in the form of someone who had what I wanted.

– Today I am grateful this person had the experience through being guided by someone else who had the experience through being guided by someone else who had….. and so on and so on.

– Today I am grateful that this person was willing to give his time to guide me in exactly the same way he once was.

– Today I am grateful it’s far easier to learn from someone. I can stop thinking, stop deciding and simply follow their instructions.

– Today I am grateful that like every other thing I have been taught, learning from another on how to recover from this very serious illness is no different – it works!!

– Today I am grateful I have learnt that ‘thinking I could do it by myself’ was yet another symptom.

Grateful for the memory

Blackfriars, London, 2016

Push the right button

Gratitude List 29/09/2018

People will continue to push my buttons. How I react to these tests is vastly improving. Until recovery my normal response would have been to hit the ‘f**k it’ button myself. Safe to say, that never made things better and consistently made them worse. Today, I can reflect on the noticeable improvement in my reactions.

Today I am grateful for:

far less anger and resentment.
– far more calmness and humility.
– far less self pity and isolation.
– far more hope and unity.
– far less frustration and judgement.
– far more consideration and tolerance.
– far less depression.
– far more happiness.
– far less hate.
– far more love.

As a bonus, this often is the same for the other person.

There is still room for improvement, but as long as I keep working it, I will keep progressing.


Grateful for the memory

Montserrat, Catalunya, 2016

Just do

Gratitude List 28/09/2018

I spent 90% of my life doing the bare minimum. At school I didn’t study enough, in sports I didn’t practice enough, at work I didn’t work enough. My attitude towards putting in the required time and effort has been lacklustre to say the least. My attitude can be expressed in many ways:

‘I can’t be bothered.’

‘I’m not in the right mood.’

‘I’d rather do something else.’

‘I don’t need to do it.’

‘I don’t have the time.’

‘Why should I have to do it?’

‘What’s the point of it?’

‘Do I have to?’

Thankfully I found the motivation to put in the diligent effort needed for my recovery. The first time in my life I have really tried. ‘May I do thy will always’ springs to mind.

I am no way near perfect and my sluggish attitude still rears it’s ugly head, almost on a daily basis. And when I’m in that frame of mind, I find it very difficult to turn it around. Today my gratitude reflects on the wisdom I have picked up over the last couple of years. Wisdom that gives me the strength to change my attitude – attitude that leads to action.

‘Change is possible.’

‘I don’t have to be that way.’

‘What else am I going to do?’

‘I don’t need to want to. Just do.’

‘Just pick up the pen and start writing.’

‘One baby step at a time.’

‘Take a leap of faith.’

‘What’s the worst that can happen?’

‘I know I can do it. I’ve done it before.’

‘I know I can do it. I’ve witnessed it.’

‘Nobody else will do it.’

‘This is good for me. I know it is.’

‘What’s stopping me?’

‘Don’t project, just focus on the present.’

‘It works if you work it so work it you’re worth it.’

Grateful for the memory The Red Arrows, London, Summer (yes summer πŸ˜‚) 2012


Gratitude List 27/09/2018

Today’s reflection spoke of dependency. This got me thinking about how much of my life depended on my addiction. Being co-dependant on an addiction was not a good place to be.

Today I am grateful:

– that my happiness and enjoyment does not depend on my addiction.

– that my sanity does not depend on my addiction.

– that my serenity does not depend on my addiction.

– that my health does not depend on my addiction.

– that my life does not depend on my addiction.

– that my financial security does not depend on my addiction.

– that my home does not depend on my addiction.

– that my job does not depend on my addiction.

– that my paternal responsibility does not depend on my addiction.

– that my work ethic does not depend on my addiction.

– that my relationships do not depend on my addiction.

– that my maturity does not depend on my addiction.

– that the financial security, home, happiness, enjoyment, serenity, sanity, health and lives of those around me do not depend on my addiction.

I would much prefer all of the above to depend on my higher power!

Grateful for the memory

Manyonga. Legend. London World Athletics Championship, 2017

What a diamond

Gratitude List 26/09/2018

My daughter celebrates her 10th birthday today. Wow, how time flies! Unsurprisingly, my list today reflects on how amazing she is. As much as I hope some of my strengths rub off on her, the law of attraction goes both ways. This teacher remains teachable and I’m learning loads from this little bundle of joy.

– Today I am grateful for her smile. It’s incredibly infectious. I can picture it now.

– Today I am grateful for her affectionate hugs. So much love is felt and I can’t wait to have my cuddle this evening.

– Today I am grateful for her happiness – it’s rarely effected. If it is, it bounces back within seconds.

– Today I am grateful for her forgiveness. Its upsetting but incredibly humbling that she has forgiven me so much already.

– Today I am grateful for how she has dealt with her parents separating. I hope she’s as ok on the inside.

– Today I am grateful for her open-mindedness and willingness to embrace my relationship with my girlfriend with all her heart.

– Today I am grateful for her honesty. Children can be very awkwardly blunt sometimes. It’s funny and refreshing.

Lastly I am grateful for my time with her. I am determined to enjoy every second.

Grateful for the memory

Best daughter I could ever dream of


Gratitude List 25/09/2018

Let me start by saying ‘if I can do this then so can you’. A clichΓ© I know, but I sincerely mean it. Just over two years ago I would have never wrote what I’m about to write, nor would I have believed I ever would. If I had read this I would have (a) laughed, (b) resented and (c) deleted the message. My advice to anyone who feels the same, Google open-mindedness and willingness – I should have done this decades ago.

When I started the recovery program, I was promised a spiritual experience. I assumed this meant I’d just have the one. Little did I know that this experience was going to be continuous. I’ve heard others describe their own experiences in many different ways and I can relate to that. Mine have differed hugely. I have had a few hair raising moments and plenty of more subtle ones. They’re all different but they do have one similarity – I had little to do with them.

Today I am grateful for the action I take that connects me to a power greater than myself – these lists, daily inventories, prayer, meditation, reading literature, connecting with others, working the steps, attending meetings, doing service. These actions take me out of self. All of them play a special and vital part in me letting go. Once connected, once my will has been handed over, I will be living within a spiritual experience.

Today I am grateful for the wisdom I have gathered by listening to others. Wisdom that has led me to have a better understanding in recognising whether I’m running the show or if my God is. I hand over my will every morning but that doesn’t stop it retaking control many times throughout the day. Thankfully I am recognising when it does and I can reconnect through a little prayer. Almost instantly I am living in the spiritual world once more.

Today I am grateful that I don’t put everything down to coincidence. I could choose to, but I simply choose not to. There is as much tangible evidence to support coincidence as there is to support a spiritual experience – none. So when those peculiar moments happen, instead of defaulting to coincidence I simply choose to believe a power greater than myself is at work.

Today I am grateful for acknowledging my higher power at work. When I reflect on my time in recovery I realise that I am now doing things I could not do by myself. I have changed. Massively. In ways I have never been able to change before. I acknowledge these changes as what they are – spiritual experiences.

Today I am grateful for gratitude. To say I view life differently today is an understatement. Practising gratitude has played a huge part in this. The serenity I get from my daily writing is both surreal and very humbling. This, amongst those hair raising moments, is the time when I feel most connected.

Talking of hair raising moments, today I am grateful for absolute honesty. Honesty in itself relieves me, but I’m talking about the release I get from sharing my deepest darkest secrets – the things I assumed I would take to my grave. It’s in these releases my hair has stood up. If I ever wanted physical evidence of a spiritual experience then this was it. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

If you got to this point, then you are a step ahead of where I was. Just three more words – Honesty. Open-mindedness. Willingness.

Grateful for the memory

Devoke Water, UK, summer 2016

A spiritual connection

Gratitude List 24/09/2018

‘We seek spiritual progression, not spiritual perfection.’

Such an important phrase in my recovery.

‘To the best of my ability.’

Just as important.

Personally, I can find this to be a bit of a balancing act – I can’t beat myself up for not being perfect, but I also can’t use that imperfection as an excuse for not doing my best. I have to accept that my best ability will never be enough for perfection, I need to find the courage to do my best nevertheless, and I need the wisdom to know whether to use acceptance, use courage or use a bit of both.

Thankfully I have a power greater than myself to help me decipher this complicated conundrum my mind has created. Just let the decision go. Just let it go.

Today I am grateful for:

– the knowledge, gained through reading listening, life experience and a spiritual connection

– the acceptance of progression, gained through finding humility and a spiritual connection.

– the courage to do, gained through honesty, motivation, inspiration and a spiritual connection.

– the wisdom to know the difference, gained through practice, habit and a spiritual connection.

– guidance and strength, gained through prayer, meditation and yes, a spiritual connection.

A clear indication of how important my spiritual connection is. I can only speak for myself, but I am lost without it, I need it.

Back in the flow

Gratitude List 23/09/2018

From my own little world I have stepped back into the flow of life. That’s how I feel right now as I travel to work on the London underground. I look at the people around me and I feel a part. Just as they are part of mankind, I am too. From this place I am able to enjoy all aspects of life.

Today I am grateful:

– I can enjoy opportunities rather than endure limitations.

– my mind is open to all possibilities and not closed to any outside inference.

– I can embrace the good instead of being blind to it and only seeing the worse.

– I can see the bigger picture and not suffer with tunnel vision.

– I acknowledge beauty instead of ignorantly passing it by.

– I know change is possible and I am not stuck with who I am.

– my life is guided by a power greater than myself rather than being dictated by my compulsions, fear and resentment.

– I choose gratitude over expectations.

– I feel connected and not alone.

Grateful for the memory

My award winning son, Summer 2018

Love thy neighbour

Gratitude List 22/09/2018

Today my gratitude reflects on what other people have in their lives. I’ve always wished others good health and happiness but going beyond that hasn’t always come naturally to me, I was so self-orientated and suffered hugely from resentment, jealousy and envy. Today I am genuinely happy for other people.

Love thy neighbour as thyself.

Today I am grateful for:

– their success.

– their abstinence.

– their confidence.

– their ambition.

– their contentment.

– their recovery.

– their intelligence.

– their honesty.

– their finances.

– their possessions.

– their faith.

Not being grateful for the above shows what mental state I was once in. How things have changed 😊

Appreciate the now

Gratitude List 21/09/2018

Although it will take me a solid twenty minutes to put into words, this list reflects on just a few seconds of mindfulness whilst I lay on my bed. I love to just stop wherever I am and take in my surroundings. What can I see? What can I hear? What can I feel? What can I smell? By doing so, I am showing a deep appreciation for the present moment and as a bonus my mind is unable to dwell in the past or project into the future.

Today I am grateful for what I can see:

– a beautiful vast blue sky.

– the miracle of life within nature.

– memories exhibited in photographs.

– a wardrobe full of clothes.

– colour.

Today I am grateful for what I can hear:

– the wind blowing.

– the birds whistling.

– distant joy of children at break-time.

– the silence and calmness that surrounds the noise.

Today I am grateful for what I can feel:

– painfree(ish), calm, comfortable, warm, clean, supported, motivated, inspired, serene, sane, free, secure, safe, hopeful.

Today I am grateful for what I can smell:

nothing. Ok I can’t smell a nice dinner being cooked, or a nice flower or scent but nothing can be good. Nothing means I can’t smell anything bad – no sewers, no poisoness fumes, no lethal gases, no burning, no chemical weapons, no blood, no death. Some people smell things like this everyday.

Ok make that a solid thirty minutes!! 😊

Grateful for the memoryDeal, UK, summer 2018