Beaten up

Gratitude List 10/10/2018

Today I am suffering with the severe illness that is – man-flu! 😉 Sympathy is welcome haha. In all seriousness, with plenty of water and a few paracetamol I’ll be fine, that surity is a blessing in itself.

It is this flu that has prompted my gratitude list today. I feel knocked out. Shattered. Beaten up. Dazed. It reminds me of how I felt when I was in action.

So today my list again reflects on the things I no longer have to put up with.

Today I am grateful:

– I no longer come out with clammy pale skin, my mouth slightly open, empty vacant eyes, feeling light headed and unsteady on my feet.

– I no longer come out with gritted teeth, hot and flustered, sweating, feeling dirty and talking to myself.

– I no longer swear at the top of my voice and pull my hair while I punch the steering wheel again and again.

– I no longer run back and forth to the ATM, I no longer run home to collect what I promised myself I wouldn’t and then deliriously skip back with excitement and an extra bounce in my step.

– I no longer come out with the choice to either laugh or cry. My ego wouldn’t let me cry in public, so laugh like it’s all a big joke is what I had to do.

– I no longer suffer with tight chest pains, the shakes, a rapid pulse and the insane thought that if I did have a heart attack, at least I’d get some sympathy.

– I no longer lie in my bed shocked, dazed and in utter disbelief. Motionless. Emotionless.

Today I am so glad it’s the flu that has made me feel s**t and not myself. Sometimes, I need these reminders of the pain, suffering and insanity. It’s these reminders that keep me on my toes and keeps my foot on the pedal. Again, my gratitude goes to the miraculous recovery program and the fellowship who without them I’d be extremely vulnerable to more than just the man-flu!

Grateful for the memory
Stormy London, 2016


Gratitude List 09/10/2018

Just recently I have struggled with my food…. Again. I have been waking up with so much will-power and a strong desire to have a good healthy day. But it doesn’t take long at all for me to be tempted or put in a situation where my will-power is tested. No matter how much I tell myself it’s wrong, the compulsion overpowers my will with ease. Most of the time I had already accepted the fact it was going to happen. The f**k it button had already been pressed. From this point, it will take a divine intervention to stop me.

I’ve been aware of the answer for some time now. The same answer that has successfully assisted me before. The problem is I forgot it, or more precisely my self-will blocked me from seeing it. I fearfully asked myself last night, ‘why am I struggling?’ ‘I am trying so hard.’ ‘I really don’t want to.’

Like an ‘obvious slap’ in the face, the answer once again revealed itself to me. I need to stop trying to do this by myself. I am clearly powerless over this. I need to let it go. I need to hand this over to my greater power. A power I have faith in because it has already helped me in the past. So last night, I got on my hands and knees and humbly handed it over.

As before, after connecting with my higher power, I all of a sudden sparked into action. Action I know will help. Action that I alone couldn’t bring myself to do. But with my higher powers strength and guidance I can.

Today I am grateful for:

– the power I feel inside of me. It’s different to the empty promises I woke with yesterday. I can’t, we can.

– the fact I am writing about it now. Being honest, open and vulnerable. Plus I have a desire to speak about it.

– stepping on the scales again. Why is it so hard to step on them when I’m struggling?

– using my calorie/exercise monitoring app again. It’s no surprise my slip coincides with not wanting to be honest and not inputting what I have eaten.

– booking a gym class. I have kept going but there’s no doubt my motivation had been waning.

I wouldn’t have done the above if I was trying to solve this by myself.

But, even now, after all I’ve written above, my self-will is trying to sneak back in and take control. I must stay connected throughout the day through prayer and meditation. I’m a completely different person when I’m connected. I feel serene. I feel strong.

Grateful for the memory

Lake District, UK, Summer 2016


Gratitude List 08/10/2018

Yesterday, someone told me something that caused me harm and as a result I suffered with resentment. This morning I reflected on how I dealt with the resentment and how differently I would have dealt with it a couple of years ago. Through decades of experience I can say with a degree of certainty, I would have met this resentment with frustration, anger, self-pity, manipulation and controlling behaviour. I would have made it all about me, and undoubtedly caused further harm to the other person and further harm to myself.

Yesterday, I was still harmed and I still suffered with resentment. I am no saint, I am a human being. But it was different. To start with, the resentment itself was far less potent. The real miracle though, was how I dealt with it. I was promised that if I worked the recovery program, I would gain a set of tools that will help me deal with life. It appears this promise is coming to fruition. Within seconds of suffering this resentment, these tools kicked into action. I recognised that my mind was working differently, like the cogs were working in the opposite direction. It was surreal. Another spiritual experience?

Today I am grateful for those tools that served me well last night:

– I quickly realised that this was most definitely not about me. This person had been harmed and I wasn’t going to make it worse. This helped knock self pity on the head.

– I quickly realised I was being intolerant. This was not helping me, the other person or the situation. Recognising this helped me take a deep breath, and remain calm and composed.

– I quickly realised I was not being considerate with regards to their feelings and their decisions. I began to consider this and my whole attitude changed.

– I quickly realised I was stuck in self. My thinking was selfish and self-centered. Recognising this allowed me to hand it over to a power greater than myself.

– I quickly realised my sanity was returning. I was thinking clearly and I was making more rational, more logical decisions.

– I quickly realised that showing love and forgiveness was the best action. My serenity was returning and the law of attraction began to work.

Grateful for the memory

London sunrise, November 2016

Living on a Prayer

Gratitude List 07/10/2018

The serenity prayer plays an important role in my life. It was the first and only prayer I ever learnt. It was the first prayer that I had an understanding of. It was the first prayer I got on my hands and knees for. It signifies the beginning of my new life. It signifies the unity and common welfare of thousands of like minded people.

A prayer of just 25 words, but for me, the most amazing prayer. A prayer that can be used in any given scenario.

Today I am grateful that this simple prayer has given me:

– the serenity to accept people for who they are and not react.

– the courage to react in the right way, at the right time.

– the wisdom to know the difference between management of others and the law of attraction.

– the serenity to accept my past.

– the courage to change my present.

– the wisdom to know how and to what extent.

– the serenity to bite my lip.

– the courage to be honest.

– the wisdom to say something or not.

– the serenity to accept the situation I find myself in, no matter how difficult.

– the courage to improve what I can.

– the wisdom to know what is possible and what I have to let go.

– the serenity to accept help.

– the courage to give help.

– the wisdom to know when help is not helpful.

– the serenity to accept I am a human being and therefore liable to mistakes.

– the courage to change and improve the human being I am.

– the wisdom to know when ‘being a human being’ becomes an excuse for not changing.

Grateful for the memory

Life, Lake District, 2018


Gratitude List 06/10/2018

I’m currently on my way back from an afternoon down Leicester Square with my girlfriend and daughter. We had bought tickets for my daughter’s birthday to go and see The Greatest Showman Singalong at the Prince Charles Cinema. I cannot begin to tell you how much joy we all had. My throat is sore from all the singing and my cheeks are aching from all the laughing. My two left feet even did a bit of dancing (contemporary without it meaning to be). A beautiful time with two beautiful people, inside and out.

Today I am grateful:

– I was looking forward to going and spending time with my loved ones. I remember this somewhat natural and obvious feeling wasn’t always the case.

– I am able to genuinely enjoy myself, instead of putting on my happy mask and hiding whatever inner turmoil my addiction had created. My body language rarely lies these days.

– their happiness means the world to me. It always has done, but my actions didn’t always reflect in the same way. Today my actions do.

– they get along so well. I was so scared they wouldn’t get on. I tried to manage that fear by managing their relationship. Safe to say, once I stopped doing that, it got better and my fear has diminished.

– that both of them make me laugh. Having fun and enjoying life is a true blessing. I’m very fortunate to have found happiness and joy. Finding gratitude has a lot to do with that!

– that both of them make me smile. They don’t have to do anything, just be. All I need to do is think of them and I feel truly blessed. Life is precious, and I want to spend most of it with a smile on my face.

Grateful for the memory

London, Sunrise in November 2016

The Strong Message

Gratitude List 04/10/2018

The Strong Message.

Not a message. THE STRONG message. That is what I am grateful for today. There is no doubt, every single message of experience, strength and hope have played a part in my recovery and I am very grateful for each one. But I was a very, very sick person and I need a very, very strong message. Anything less and both my abstinence and my life are vulnerable.

So no long list today. My deep gratitude goes to those who share the message that I need. The message that has saved my life and changed my life. I’d be absolutely lost without you.

London, UK

The Carrier

Gratitude List 05/10/2018

Yesterday, I expressed my gratitude towards the strong message that I desperately needed. The strong message I received which turned my life around. The strong message I continue to receive which keeps me progressing in the right direction.

Today my list reflects on the people who carry that strong message. I needed to hear that message again and again until my ears and mind finally opened. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for never ceasing to be that beacon of light.

And then there are the people who carry the message to another on a one-to-one basis. They give up their time and their guidance freely for which I am truly grateful. As a result the strong message has been passed on year after year, decade after decade through thousands of people. I feel blessed to be a part of it.

Today I am grateful for:

– the message of how they admitted their powerlessness and unmanageability.

– the message of how they came to believe that a power greater than themselves could restore them to a normal way of thinking and living.

– the message of how they decided to hand their will and lives over to this greater power of their own understanding.

– the message of how they took a searching, fearless, moral and financial inventory.

– the message of how they admitted to themselves and another the exact nature of their wrongs.

– the message of how they became entirely ready to have their defects of character removed.

– the message of how they humbly asked their greater power to remove their shortcomings.

– the message of how they made a list of those they harmed and became willing to make amends.

– the message of how they made direct amends to such people.

– the message of how they continued to take personal inventory and how they admitted it when they were wrong.

– the message of how they improved their conscious contact with their greater power through prayer and meditation.

– the message of their spiritual awakening, how they practice these principles in their daily lives, and how they have carried this strong message to others.

Thank God I was shown how. As a result I am blessed to be a small part of the strong message.

Grateful for the memory

Tower of London, UK

Baby steps

Gratitude List 03/10/2018

A conversation I had yesterday reminded me of the importance of taking that first step. No matter what I am hoping to achieve, I will not succeed until I take that first bit of action. It doesn’t need to be a big step either, the smallest act can be the start of a positive domino effect that more than often leads to success. In fact, for me, it works better if I break it down into the smallest step – that way there is less chance of me overthinking and procrastinating.

Today I am grateful:

– to pick up a book, I cannot read inspiring literature until I do.

– to unlock my phone, I cannot connect with my fellows and unite until I do.

– to put my phone down, I cannot appreciate someone’s company until I do.

– to write that first word, I cannot write my gratitude list and gain serenity until I do.

– to sit on my chair, I cannot witness recovery and gain hope until I do.

– to get off my chair, I cannot be honest and talk about my feelings until I do.

– to open my eyes, I cannot notice beauty until I do.

– to recognise my defects, I cannot work on them and improve as a person until I do.

– to turn the TV off, I cannot have a quiet half hour all by myself until I do.

– to be willing to believe, I cannot believe and have faith in a greater power until I do.

Grateful for the memory
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire, UK, Winter 2017

Brief but Plenty

Gratitude List 02/10/2018

I just this minute received a text from my ex saying both children are off school today. Nothing serious, my daughter has a sore throat and my son feels sick. A simple and brief moment in my life but upon reflection there is plenty to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful:

– I quickly let go my automatic assumption and resentment that they are both feigning their illness to get off going to school.

– I didn’t start quizzing them trying to prove that they are lying and to prove that my assumption was right.

– I dont care about being right. I want to be happy. I want them to be happy.

– I didn’t see or hear them get upset when their own dad didn’t believe their stories.

– I didn’t question my ex’s decision and responsibilities as a parent.

– I had it in me to thank her for looking after them instead.

The way I look at it, either,

(a) they are genuinely not well and I haven’t effected their happiness, or

(b) it isn’t genuine but I still haven’t effected their happiness.

I can do the parenting bit at the right time and at the right place.

Grateful for the memory

Barcelona, 2015


Gratitude List 01/10/2018

When I was blind to my self orientated ways I couldn’t possibly learn from them. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing wrong with me. Thankfully I found the courage to look deep within, scrape the bottom of the barrel and positively reflect on my past. What I learnt and continue to learn is my self-will can manifest itself in many different ways. In other words, many different defects. Acknowledgement of these defects in itself is a tool. Admitting them is another, and I need these two tools before I can gather further tools that will assist in fixing them.

Today I am grateful to have some self-knowledge and therefore a growing ability to acknowledge and admit self-manifested defects when they arise.

I know it’s not my higher power’s will when:

– I contemplate being dishonest with my girlfriend.

– I catch myself being lazy at work.

– I realise I’m not looking after my appearance.

– fear begins to fester in my mind.

– I put off doing things I know are good for me.

– the bare minimum is enough.

– I lack patience and tolerance with my kids.

– I am tempted by junk food.

– I am about to check Facebook for the second time within a minute.

– I catch my wandering eye.

– I begin to resent someone who is threatening my values.

– my ego wants me to join in with banter or gossip.

When these defects come up (which they will) it is absolutely vital I do two things – take action and reconnect with a power greater than myself.

Grateful for the memory

Paris, France, 2016