Mental blank spots

Gratitude List 21/10/2018

Mental blank spots. To me, that means there is nothing, absolutely nothing I can do about it. That’s why they’re called mental blank spots – I do not possess the ability to think rationally, no matter how much self knowledge and will power I have. I do not even know they’re happening until it’s too late. In hindsight I have much experience in these moments of powerlessness.

Thankfully, I have found a spiritual connection with a power greater than myself that does have that ability and the required power to guide me to rational thinking.

Today I am grateful for my spiritual connection.

Today I am grateful for how it was always there waiting for me to do my bit.

Today I am grateful for someone showing me how to do my bit.

Today I am grateful for how it will always be there for me as long as I want it.

Today I am grateful I want it.

Today I am grateful for the feeling of being connected. Hard to put into words but there’s a sense of extreme serenity, love and humility.

Today I am grateful that my efforts to pray and meditate keep me connected even when I don’t feel it.

Whose to say I haven’t experienced mental blank spots in the last couple of years, but because I am spiritually connected I have subconsciously had the power and ability to make the right decision?? I choose to believe I have been saved many times over. I can’t, God and I can.

Grateful for the memory

Eiffel Tower, Paris, 2016

I Can Only Imagine

Gratitude List 20/10/2018

Last night my kids and I watched a very touching film called ‘I Can Only Imagine’. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. A film about a Christian singer with a strong underlying message of faith, divine intervention, change, forgiveness and love. Afterwards, when I climbed into bed, I shed a tear or ten for my mum. If you’ve seen or watch the film, you’ll know why. I miss her dearly. Why am I writing about this in my gratitude list? This is why….

I am grateful I am in touch with my emotions. Good and bad. I am no longer emotionless.

I am grateful I can cry in front of my girlfriend.

I am grateful that I woke up this morning and read a message from a friend expressing gratitude towards his mum on her birthday. So happy for them.

I am grateful I feel I connected with my mum. I can feel her around me. I can feel her warmth. I can feel her love. I can feel her in my heart.

I am grateful that when I think of her, I smile.

I am grateful I believe she can hear me.

I am grateful to still have my dad and that our relationship is stronger than ever.

I am grateful I believe my mum is looking down at me with pride. I always believed she could see me when I was causing harm and destruction.

I am grateful I feel she has forgiven me.

I am grateful I have very fond memories of my mum and plenty of photos to back them up.

I am grateful for the 28 years we shared together.

Grateful for the memory

Highgate Woods, this morning.

My day ahead

Gratitude List 18/10/2018

Another gratitude list which reflects how things have changed for me. Today, I had an early start at work. An early start means an early finish. An early finish used to mean woooohooooo! Bonus hours all to myself! I can do as I please! Time to feed my compulsions!

My plans for this afternoon are completely different – in fact they’re polar opposites. I’m still excited for the day ahead but for completely different reasons.

Today I am grateful I am currently on my way to meet a friend for lunch and some two-way recovery work.

Today I am grateful I have then planned to have a slow walk around this wonderful city and enjoy the beauty it has to offer.

Today I am grateful I have then planned to meet up with another friend for some more two-way step work.

Today I am grateful I have then planned to meet up with a group of like-minded friends for some experience, strength and hope.

Today I am grateful I have then planned to meet, what can only be described as a crowd of like-minded friends, as well as family and loved ones for more experience, strength and hope. Furthermore I get to do service, this is vital for my recovery. Further-furthermore, I get to join in and celebrate personal milestones. Further-further-furthermore I get to enjoy some food and drinks with all these lovely people.

Today I am grateful I have then planned to do my inventory, pray and sleep soundly.

God willing of course.

Grateful for the memory

Cornwall, UK, summer evening 2016

Out of a slumber

Gratitude List 17/10/2018

Yesterday, I woke my body up from it’s slumber by going to the gym for the first time in about ten days. Ten days!! I reiterate because this is a good thing. A great thing. In the past, if I slipped into a bad habit, it could take months if not years for me to renew my efforts and try again. The longer it went on, the harder it would be to restart. More proof that the recovery program and my connection with a greater power is working. This enables me to recognise the fact my ‘self’ has retaken some control. It also gives me the strength and courage to take the necessary action.

Today I am grateful:

– for being open and honest about my slip with others, which gave me a release and some accountability.

– for the ability to nip things in the bud sooner rather than later.

– that the harm I cause myself, and the potential harm I could cause others, is shorter lived.

– that I feel so much better and inspired to take more positive action.

– for previous successes that gave me the confidence to make that vital first step.

– that this success will provide further confidence for doing more of the same in the future.

– for the fact and knowing that recovery works.

Grateful for the memory

Sunset, Northaw, UK 2016

A golfing analogy

Gratitude List 16/10/2018

I loved today’s reading. It spoke of the importance of the minds direction. If my mind’s direction is good then progress is sure to follow. By the same token, if my mind’s direction is wrong then I still progress, but in the wrong direction. That doesn’t mean I can’t alter that direction.

I’ve heard someone refer to this using a golf analogy. As a keen golfer I’d like to expand. Apologies to those who don’t walk the fairways. Like the perfect golf shot, if the golfer’s set-up is correct and the clubhead at impact is straight, the ball will start on and continue to follow a true path, progressing in the right direction. There could be an occasional gust of wind but this we accept and as any golfer will know, a true shot travelling in a true direction is less effected. And then we have the wild golf shot. When the set-up is array and the clubhead is askew at impact, the golf ball will instantly start in the wrong direction. The ball will continue on this path, progressing further off course and away from our intended target. Now we are praying for that gust of wind, we lean our bodies in the opposite direction as if we have some power over the wind and gravity. As a last resort we can shout at a tree and ask it to ‘spit it out!’ Thankfully, miracles and interventions do happen.

Once that shot is done I need to hit another. If my previous shot was true, I may feel positive, my confidence may be high and I may flow from one good shot to another. Or, I could be feeling a little negative after a bad start. If so, I need to keep to the suggestions that I’ve learnt in my lessons. Suggestions given by someone who knows better. Suggestions that could change the direction of my round. I need to keep making the same efforts. Practice, practice, practice.

I’m very grateful for this and many other messages that make so much sense to me. There was another message within today’s reading – to think of others. That was all I needed to change the direction of my mind this morning.

Grateful for the memory

Whipsnade Zoo, UK, Summer 2015


Gratitude List 15/10/2018

This morning I have woken with gratitude towards my sanity. I have no idea what my sanity levels are, but whatever they are, I’m happy with them. I’m happy because I know they’ve been lower. I have experienced a degree of insanity in the past. Whilst in action I went against rationale and logic and made the wrong decision again and again as my illness overpowered me on a daily basis. I also see the pain in the faces of others when they want to feel a certain way but it’s impossible for them to do so, no matter how hard they try. That feeling of not knowing what’s happening and why. Also, via the media, I hear, see and read of people who suffer from extreme levels of insanity.

Today I feel, thanks to a greater power and the recovery program, that my sanity has been restored. There are still moments when it occasionally leaves me, but for the main, I feel I have the power to make sane decisions and express how I truly feel. It’s a true blessing that is easily taken for granted.

Today I am grateful for all the things I can do to keep my sanity at a decent level:

– I can connect with a greater power on a regular basis through prayer and meditation.

– I can stay connected with other people and not isolate myself.

– I can continue to take an honest and morale look at myself and learn from my mistakes.

– I can be open and honest and not surpress everything.

– I can take the time to read inspiring recovery based literature.

– I can remain willing and open-minded to all possibilities.

– I can continue to do my daily suggestions and work the recovery program to the best of my ability.

– I can continue to do service and think of others.

Grateful for the memory

Paris, November 2017

Not the greatest. But still damn good.

Gratitude List 14/10/2018

Not the greatest of days for me. Nothing particularly productive has been done and as a result a few defects have come out. On reflection, when I compare today to a ‘bad day’ a couple of years ago – this is a brilliant day and there is lots to be grateful for.

Today, despite a slight dip in mood, I am still very grateful:

– for doing this list. Along with other suggestions, these lists have become non-negotiable habits.

– that these habits are keeping me more serene than I realise. I think I can be my harshest critic.

– that these habits are inspiring and motivating me to have a better day tomorrow.

– for the growing ability to spot my defects and realise I have slipped into self mode.

– that as a result of these habits, my defects are less defective.

– that I was much quicker to apologise and admit I had been wrong.

– for realising, again, that forgiveness can change my attitude almost instantly.

– that my happiness and serenity has returned. Even more so as I do this list.


Gratitude List 13/10/2018

Yesterday, I heard from a close friend who received some well earned, long awaited good news. I’m so happy for him. Genuinely happy. Recovery has taught me how to think of others and be happy for them. Their happiness puts a smile on my face. No more jealousy and envy.

Today I am grateful for the many tools recovery has given me which enable me to connect and unite better with others.

– I can call them. Before recovery, actually calling and speaking to people was a very rare occurrence. I still find it strangely difficult sometimes, which is crazy, because every time I do I feel better.

– I can be the instigator. Always. In the past if someone hadn’t replied or called me back there was no chance I would reach out again. That small but significant resentment only caused me pain. Today, I’m more than happy to make the effort and keep the unity going. I love and care for these people, why would I let something like that get in the way.

– I can pray for others. And I do. All of you. Every night I will get on my hands and knees and pray for your health, strength, happiness and serenity. Whether you’re in a good place or currently facing challenges I will pray for you.

– I can tell them I love them. I know when someone tells me, it means the world. I love a lot of people so why not tell them. For some, it had been some time due to resentments. It was great to tell them again.

– I can be there for them. Be there to support. Be there to listen. Be there to give a hand. I can also turn up to birthdays with a card and not make a crap excuse for how I forgot it at home.


Gratitude List 12/10/2018

I used to struggle so much with being honest. People pleasing played a major part as I feared the consequences of being truthful. What do I say? When do I say it? How do I say it? Can I hold something back? Telling lies always seemed the best action, like I was protecting the person I was lying to – until it inevitably blew up in our faces. As a result, a day without being dishonest was a very rare occurrence. It became second nature to me.

Today, I’m still not perfect but more often than not, when I ask myself at the end of each day ‘if I had been dishonest?’, my answer is no. Again I can reflect on this miraculous change with gratitude towards the recovery program and how it works within my life.

Today I am grateful

1 – I can admit my powerlessness over other people and admit that when I try to make difficult decisions – it all goes wrong.

2 – I have a strong belief in a power greater than myself and that He can help me think normally.

3 – I can hand these decisions over to a greater power, having faith that the right answer will come.

4 – I have a knowledge of dishonesty, the destruction it has caused in my past, how it links with other defects, how it effects my strengths and happiness, and how I can rid my self of the underlying fear.

5 – I have had a spiritual experience through being honest and opening up my deepest darkest secrets. I know honesty is good for me.

6 – I became and am still entirely ready to have my dishonesty removed. It’s a defect that causes so much harm.

7 – I can humbly get on my knees and hand over dishonesty to a greater power. If I need to, I can do this again and again and again.

8 – I walked a mile in the other person’s shoes, gaining an idea of the pain dishonesty can cause. The loss of trust. The loss of respect. The loss of love.

9 – I have made amends to these others. In doing so I have realised that ‘the mile I walked’ didn’t do the harm I caused justice. It’s always been worse.

10 – I continue to take inventory, admitting every night if I have been dishonest. Purposely avoiding this, is dishonesty to myself.

11 – I connect with a greater power, through prayer and meditation, praying for His will and the power to carry it out.

12 – I can carry this message to others by being as honest as I possibly can be. Honesty tends to breed honesty.

Grateful for the memory

Passenger at Somerset House, London 2018

We can

Gratitude List 11/10/2018

‘I can’t. We can.’

A phrase I hear a lot. For me, ‘we’ includes my greater power, my fellows, my family, my friends and not forgetting myself. There is no we without I. I need all the help I can get but today my list reflects on my fellows. There is a buzz in the fellowship at the moment. A transition of momentum towards the solution and towards hope.

Today I am grateful for:

– everyone who has been vulnerably honest, giving me the courage to do the same.

– everyone who have bravely shared their pain, empowering me to do the same.

– everyone who speak of their powerlessness and humility, reminding me to do the same.

– everyone who clearly puts in diligent effort and works a hard program, motivating me to do the same.

– everyone who has selflessly given service and thought of others, suggesting I should do the same.

– everyone who has found and believes in a power greater than themselves, opening my mind to do the same.

– everyone who is working the recovery program, becoming better people and proving that change is possible, willing me to do the same.

‘Listen to the similarities.’

Another phrase I hear a lot. And I totally get why – it’s vital. But each strength on my list today – honesty, bravery, humility, diligent effort, selfless thinking, open-mindedness, willingness – we’re completely alien to me and different. I am very grateful I learnt to first tolerate and then also listen to ‘the differences.’

Grateful for the memory

North London Hospice, Winter 2016