My Angel

Gratitude List 31/10/2018

13 years ago today my mum passed away. She was an absolute diamond, incredibly kind and completely loving. Although I occasionally put her through the wringer, all in all, I believe we shared a special relationship.

My mum’s ‘anniversary’ has come and gone over the years and in all honesty they done so without me thinking too much about her. Yes, life goes on and I don’t want to isolate myself and be sad all day, but that’s not my excuse. My excuse is, whilst suffering from my illness, I was emotionally numb, even towards grief and pain. I wasn’t completely neglect of feelings and I did shed some tears, but I know in my heart something wasn’t quite right. I’m not even sure I’ve grieved properly.

The last couple of years have been completely different though. Through doing recovery work I have become open to all types of emotions. Not in a fragile way, but in a normal way – a normal way of thinking and living.

Today I am grateful I am thinking of my mum right now.

And that I miss her dearly. Sorely.

That in my next breath, the thought of her brought a huge smile to my face

That I can still picture her face, hear her voice and feel her love.

I am grateful for the years we had together and the memories we created.

For her direction, guidance, support and understanding. Only now am I fully appreciating how much she did.

I am grateful for how connected I feel to her. I’m not exaggerating when I say I can feel her warmth and love. She is one of my higher powers.

I am grateful I have a few special places I can go to. Places that strengthen our connection even more.

I am grateful that I believe she is proud of what I am trying to do. I believe she has forgiven me.

I am grateful for still having my dad.

Grateful for the memory

My angel

Honesty

Gratitude List 30/10/2018

Last night there was a lot of talk about honesty. Until last year I was rarely honest with myself or with others. It took me to learn how to be honest for me to realise how rare it was. I now practice being honest and I say practice, because it’s still not natural for me to be so. Although, it is slowly but surely becoming a habit.

Being honest with others causes less harm despite what fears my mind has concocted surrounding telling a truth. Being honest with myself is absolutely vital for my recovery. I cannot progress if I deny or ignore what’s really going on.

Holding a truth inside, sometimes deep inside, will eat away at me. It needs to be released. The rewards of being honest are spiritually, emotionally and physically good for me.

Today I am grateful for being shown how to be fearlessly honest. If it was down to me I would have just skimmed the top.

Today I am grateful for the magic of putting something down on paper. For me, it brings my thoughts to my own attention – an extra and vital step in being honest with myself.

Today I am grateful for all the revelations being honest with myself gives me. Each revelation is another tool in my toolbox ready to use in my daily life.

Today I am grateful for nightly and spot inventories that keep the self honesty levels up and the toolbox full.

Today I am grateful for the lack of harm I have caused others recently. Furthermore, the honesty is often met with appreciation.

Today I am grateful for the lack of inner turmoil of my stomach turning and the overworking washing machine in my head – all caused from the habit of lying and the fear of being truthful.

Today I am grateful for the humility I will gain as a result of being honest. For me, there’s nothing more humbling.

Today I am grateful for the vulnerability shown by others when being brutely honest. This inspires me and gives me the courage to do the same.

Grateful for the memory

London’S effort at Ice Hockey! 2017

My default gratitude

Gratitude List 29/10/2018

I’ve sat here with ‘ Gratitude List 29/10/2018’ on my screen for some time now. To be honest, I’m not sure what to write about. It’s not that I haven’t anything to be grateful for, as I have plenty. I just haven’t been in the right frame of mind. A lack of serenity for some reason.

Time for some mindful thinking and simple gratitude.

Today I am grateful for the air in my lungs.

Today I am grateful for the lack of harm and destruction I have caused today.

Today I am grateful for the sun, its light, its warmth, its awe, its power, its reminder of what and where I am.

Today I am grateful for my abilities.

Today I am grateful for my health. It could be better but it could definitely be worse.

Today I am grateful for my circumstances.

Today I am grateful for the health and happiness of the people I know and care for.

Today I am grateful for the nutrition from my food and water.

Today I am grateful for the shelter and security given to me by my home.

Today I am grateful for my warm clothing.

Today I am grateful for my freedom.

Today I am grateful for my sanity.

Today I grateful I have a choice.

Today I am grateful for my returning serenity.

Grateful for the message

WE’re only human

Gratitude List 28/10/2018

How I react to life’s challenges has dramatically changed. Which is handy as these challenges come at me on a daily basis. I’m surrounded by human beings so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. As much as ‘I’m only human’ can be a reason for my defects, it’s only right for me to reason in the same way when others show theirs. I can’t keep having one rule for me, one rule for another.

It’s not yet natural for me to show consideration to others and what they may be going through, but I am getting better. The only reason I’m getting better is because of the step work.

Today I am grateful:

– I took the time to learn what consideration actually meant and the morales behind it.

– I revealed to myself through the step work how inconsiderate I can be.

– I took this revelation as a positive, knowing I can use this understanding to be more considerate in the future.

– that disagreements do not progress in the wrong direction and instead they seem to resolve a lot quicker.

– that others aren’t harmed as a result of any resentment I have.

– that I am not harmed as a result of any resentment I have.

– that having this consideration can lead to serenity and the subsequent acceptance of others as they are.

– that having this consideration could lead to me asking for the courage to change the things I can.

– that I always try to consider what part I have played.

I like me!

Gratitude List 27/10/2018

Back in February 2017 I spoke, for probably the first time, with absolute honesty. I remember it clearly, how I felt, how desperate I was for change, how much I didn’t like who I was. Thankfully, this moment was the end of one life and the beginning of another. That same night I found a sponsor and began to work the recovery program.

A good friend often says… ‘Today I woke up and I like Niall.’ Today, I am grateful I too ‘woke up and like myself.’

I’m not perfect in any way shape or form and there will always be room for improvement, but today:

– I like who I am.

– I like who I’m trying to be.

– I like the way I think.

– I like the way I behave.

– I like the way I act.

– I like the way I love.

– I like the way I dress.

– I like the way I talk.

– I like how I treat people.

– I like the partner I have become.

– I like the father I have become.

– I like the partner I have become.

– I like the brother I have become.

– I like the friend I have become.

– I like the fellow I have become.

– I like the employee I have become.

– I like my morales.

– I like how serene I am.

– I like how happy I am.

– I like how hopeful I am.

Suffering

Gratitude List 26/10/2018

Yesterday I bumped into someone I caused harm to several years ago. It’s not the first time our paths have crossed as we live fairly close to each other. Each time we do, I can see the hate in his eyes. Fair enough, the harm I caused was pretty horrendous. Within a second my mind was taken back to the horrible person I once was. Despite this wrenching my stomach, my reaction to bumping into each other has significantly changed.

Today I am grateful that my reaction to his resentment is not to resent in return.

Today I am grateful that because I wasn’t resentful, I didn’t suffer from hate, anger or self-pity.

Today I am grateful that I see his hate as a front for the pain that I have caused him. He suffers when he sees me and has done for many years. I feel for him.

Today I am grateful that I get to make amends to him soon. Its been a long time coming. He may not want to hear me but I’ll give it my best shot. I owe him that.

Today I am grateful I prayed for his happiness and serenity last night. I prayed that our paths crossing doesn’t ruin his time with his family.

Today I am grateful that I prayed in hope he will one day be able to forgive me. Not for selfish reasons, but because I know, through experience that it will ease his own suffering.

Today I am grateful I was able to share this story almost instantly and get it off my chest. This is an absolute blessing.

Today I am grateful for this complete reversal in the way I think. As a result I am more serene. With that serenity the chances of me taking further positive action has improved tenfold.

Grateful for the memory

Hiking through the Lake District, summer 2018

What gave what?

Gratitude List 25/10/2018

What my illness gave me:

Pain, harm, destruction, resentment, fear, denial, surpression, anger, hate, intolerance, expectation, projection, impatience, insanity, risk, harmful thoughts, dishonesty, ego, loss…..

What the fellowship gave me:

Togetherness, opportunities, resonation, friends, experience, vulnerability, confidence, knowledge, service, a place to go, people to call, the message, the recovery program, a sponsor…..

What working the recovery program with a sponsor has given me:

Hope, belief, faith, strength, sanity, serenity, humility, honesty, tolerance, patience, self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-worth, connection, prayer, meditation, mindfulness, spirituality, release, industriousness, freedom, safety, health, gratitude, simplicity, peace, acceptance, responsibility, security, maturity, courage, consideration, wisdom, happiness, love, joy, amends, better relationships, better work ethic, forgiveness, change, guidance, direction, purpose, trust, power, recovery, my mind, my soul, my life……

I wonder why I do what I do???

👍🏻🙏🏻❤💪🏻

Grateful for the memory Buttermere, Lake District, UK, summer 2018

Woop woop!

Gratitude List 24/10/2018

After work today I am off to collect my kids for a day and a half. I can’t wait! Naturally, in an ideal world I would get to see them everyday but due to my ‘old self’ that is not the case. I’m determined, and I have been for some time, to cherish every minute I spend with them.

Today I am grateful that I get to see them. Even if it is just 2 nights a week, I know for many different reasons, some aren’t that lucky.

Today I am grateful for our relationship. They never complain having to come to their dad’s and I believe they enjoy it.

Today I am grateful that my girlfriend is the perfect stepmum. I know this can be difficult and I can’t believe how well it has gone. There is a strong bond between them and I believe they love and care for each other. What else could I ask for.

Today I am grateful that despite my best efforts I still have an amicable relationship with their mum. In the thick of things I treated her with zero respect.

Today I am grateful that I do miss them when I’m not with them. It’s sad to say, when my ‘old self’ was in control there were too many times when they didn’t even cross my mind.

Today I am grateful I tell them I love them every time I see them and everyday I call them.

Today I am grateful our relationship is getting better and better. It’s strange that I found this of all relationships the toughest when it came to my defects coming out. I am finding my tolerance and patience is improving.

And finally, I am grateful for recovery and gratitude. Without them I wouldn’t be seeing the best in situations as I I do now. I wouldn’t recognise my defects. I wouldn’t have the humility to admit I was wrong. I wouldn’t have the support or the connection I have.

Sneaky fears!!

Gratitude List 23/10/2018

There’s still certain things in life I try and deal with by myself instead of asking for help. Crazy things like my health. I’ve been suffering with a couple of concerns (nothing serious) for a while now and I realised this morning I’ve gone back to my default setting of surpressing. I can’t just ignore these concerns and hope they’ll go away. Completely irrational thinking, I know the help is there waiting for me – I’ve felt this before!

Today I am grateful for this simple but often easily missed recognition that my self will has retaken control. Surpression is clearly not my greater God’s will.

Today I am grateful for all the other simple and obvious signs that remind me to hand things over – being dishonest, being over-indulgent, slipping into self pity, dwelling in resentment, being fearful – again none of these are God’s will.

Today I am grateful I fully intend to call the doctor and make an appointment. The intention is the second baby step, after the recognition.

Today I am grateful I have some wisdom and know the difference between letting something go and surpressing it. For me, it can be a fine line.

Today I am grateful to also acknowledge that this is fear based. I fear knowing what’s wrong.

Today I am grateful I know how to handle my fears. I know there’s some action to take and I know there’s some praying to be done.

Today I am grateful that God’s words entered my mind this morning as I wrote the title to this list.

Today I am grateful for putting this down in writing. There is definitely something unexplainable and magical about doing so. It’s like I’m fully admitting something and being honest with myself.

Grateful for the memory Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, UK, Spring 2015

Today I say NO!

Gratitude List 22/10/2018

Yet another day where the seriousness of this illness has come to light. Another reminder that all outcomes are REAL, this isn’t a myth, this isn’t Hollywood. Another reminder to put in the diligent effort and to go to any lengths. Another reminder that I am not dealing with a common cold, no matter how much the illness wants me to believe it is.

I have no idea where I will be in the future, whether it be in a decades time or tomorrow. All I can do, is do what I know is good for me right now and give myself the best fighting chance. I am grateful I am currently writing this list. God willing I will continue to put in the required action throughout today.

There have been times where I can’t be bothered to do any recovery work because I prioritise watching trash TV, or looking at Facebook for the umpteenth time. Today I am grateful, I say NO to my illness, I will NOT listen to you. I will NOT procrastinate. I will NOT be complacent. I’m going to work my arse off, work the program to the best of my ability (the best!) and reconnect to a greater power – a power greater than me and a power greater than my illness.

I am so grateful to be where I am and have the building blocks set in front of me, many are not so fortunate. These blocks have been placed before me by thousands of people who have shared a strong, proven message. I’d be insane to ignore them. To give myself the best chance of survival all I need to do is pick these blocks up and reinforce the fortress around me. The stronger the walls, the less chance the illness will have in penetrating into my soul. I don’t want to lose this battle. I know this illness will not stop fighting (it’s a master tactitian). I can’t stop fighting either.

Today I tell my illness ‘NOT TODAY!’

Grateful for the memory

Highgate Woods, London, UK. Autumn 2018