Gratitude List 31/01/2019: Moving forward

Gratitude List 31/01/2019

In contrast to the deterioration of my past, my life is now heading in the right direction.

Today I am grateful as time goes by my defects are playing a lesser role in my life.

Today I am grateful as time goes by my strengths are playing a bigger role.

Today I am grateful as time goes by my spirituality is growing.

Today I am grateful as time goes by my ego is taking a bashing.

Today I am grateful as time goes by my financial situation is settling.

Today I am grateful as time goes by my fears are lessening in frequency and strength.

Today I am grateful as time goes by my desire to improve further is more consistent.

Today I am grateful as time goes by I am becoming more aware.

Today I am grateful as time goes by I am making more of a diligent effort.

Today I am grateful as time goes by my relationships are improving.

Today I am grateful as time goes by I resent fewer people.

Today I am grateful as time goes by I am becoming more humble.

Today I am grateful as time goes by my faith in a higher power is getting stronger.

Today I am grateful as time goes by my defence against acting out is becoming more powerful.

Today I am grateful as time goes by I am living more in the moment.

Today I am grateful as time goes by I am not assuming the worse case scenario.

Today I am grateful as time goes by my happiness is lasting longer.

Today I am grateful as time goes by there is more peace in my mind.

Today I am grateful as time goes by I am becoming more hopeful.

Today I am grateful as time goes by I am becoming more grateful.

Today I am grateful as time goes by I am loving life more and more.

Life isn’t perfect, nor will it ever be but the progression is clear. This progression is down to three things – Unity , Service and Recovery. Not forgetting the essential guidance from my greater power.

Gratitude List 30/01/2019: ‘I can’t. We can.’

Gratitude List 30/01/2019

‘I can’t. We can.’

I have no idea of the science behind unity or whether there is any. But what is absolutely certain, is it works. Unity is empowering. Through unity I have been able to do things I could never do by myself, no matter how hard I tried, no matter what promises I made, no matter what lives I swore on.

All I have to do to practice unity is complete some simple actions. I can attend meetings with like minded fellows, share my experience, express how I am feeling, listen and relate to others, make phonecalls and meet up. When I look at each individual action, why is it I can gain power through unity? Should listening to someone give me power? Should sitting in a room full of like minded people give me power? I can’t see why they should, but they do!! Not just a bit of power, we are talking about an abundance of power which overpowers my compulsion to my illness. Something I am completely powerless over. Fellowships and their meetings have often been described as being magic and I truly believe that.

Unity, through doing some simple achievable actions has given me power. This power didn’t emulate from myself, but from the unity of the fellowship. If I can gain power from unity then I can gain even more through another greater power that can’t be explained? God perhaps.

Today I am grateful you guys and gals.

Gratitude List 29/01/2019: My illness v Recovery

Gratitude List 29/01/2019

My illness v Recovery

A daily battle in my life. Today, the victor was ‘Recovery’. Let me share with you how.

I needed to be honest and tell someone something. My illness created a fear and projected the worse case scenario, as it always does. This led to procrastination which then allowed time for me to become agitated and uncomfortable. Before I knew it, my head was spinning with devious plans to escape.

Prior to working the recovery program, I would have had no answers. I would have continued to suffer in silence. I would have slipped into self-pity and self-resentment. These defects would have festered inside of me and evolved into intolerance and anger. Once boiling point was reached I would have gone about it in completely the wrong way, at the wrong time and hugely harmed this person in the process. I would have stormed off, arrogantly certain I was in the right. That was of course, until the emotional hangover slapped me round the face the following morning as I started to comprehend my actions. ‘What was I thinking?’ I began to ask myself.

Today I am grateful I did not react in this way. Recovery’s counter attack to this fear was to first take me to a meeting, practice unity and give back to the fellowship that saved my life. Once there, the option to chair the meeting was made available to me. Knowing how much selfless acts including service can help my recovery, I wasted no time in grasping this opportunity. Shared experiences reminded me of how far I’ve come and made me realise how small this fear is in comparison to the ones that used to dictate my life. Further service followed as I chose to share the message and not the mess. A suffering newcomer needed to hear it. Leaving the meeting inspired, motivated and spiritually connected I wasted no time in praying to my greater power to remove my fear and direct my attention to what He would have me be. Almost mantra style, I also humbly repeated the third and seventh step prayers. Each time I said them, I felt my serenity, courage and wisdom build up. By the time the conversation came around, I was calm, composed, confident and connected. It wasn’t all easy but the conversation couldn’t have gone better. I was able to remain patient, considerate, tolerant and be 100% honest. I didn’t harm myself and as far as I know, I didn’t harm the other person either. Afterwards, I honestly reflected on this and the rest of my day by doing a daily inventory, promptly admitting when I was wrong. More prayers followed including a sincere thanks to my greater power for my abstinence and recovery. Finally, this list and sleep. It really works if you work it. Sweet dreams all.

Gratitude List 28/01/2019: Family time

Gratitude List 28/01/2019

Yesterday we went out as a family to celebrate two birthdays. Today, my gratitude is based on the simple fact I can enjoy these special occasions.

Today I am grateful I was able to afford a couple of cards and a small gift each rather than turning up empty handed. Again.

Today I am grateful I showed responsibility and didn’t spend more than I could. I stayed within my means rather than feeling guilty and trying to make amends for previous years.

Today I am grateful I didn’t have to manipulate another to help out me out financially so I could pay my share of the food bill.

Today I am grateful I was present and taking in the friendship, love and atmosphere rather than thinking and wishing I was somewhere else.

Today I am grateful for my senses. I was able to see the happiness, hear the laughter, taste and smell the lovely food, and feel the love.

Today I am grateful I was truly happy, enjoying the moment and not having to hide my true emotions with a fake smile.

Today I am grateful I realise how lucky I am to have a family. Its a true blessing. I love them all so much. I am grateful that my illness didn’t ruin any of our relationships. Those that found out have been nothing but supportive and understanding.

Gratitude List 27/01/2019: The Jaywalker

Gratitude List 27/01/2019

Last night served up a reminder of one of the many stories that helped my recovery. Almost 2 years ago, I began to go through the Big Book. I don’t have a drinking problem (yet) but it made no difference at all that the book was initially written for the alcoholic. By simply substituting one word to another I could relate to the contents almost 100%. The words are magic to me and played a huge role in changing my life. Today I am grateful for this amazing text. Text that, despite there being 4 editions, has been left untouched (bar the experiences shared in the back) for 90 years. Today I would like to share the story of the Jaywalker. This story helped me understand that all addictions share huge similarities, and therefore share one solution.

“Our behavior is as absurd and incomprehensible with respect to the first drink as that of an individual with a passion, say, for jay-walking. He gets a thrill out of skipping in front of fast-moving vehicles. He enjoys himself for a few years in spite of friendly warnings. Up to this point you would label him as a foolish chap having queer ideas of fun. Luck then deserts him and he is slightly injured several times in succession. You would expect him, if he were normal, to cut it out. Presently he is hit again and this time has a fractured skull. Within a week after leaving the hospital a fast-moving trolley car breaks his arm. He tells you he has decided to stop jay-walking for good, but in a few weeks he breaks both legs.”

“On through the years this conduct continues, accompanied by his continual promises to be careful or to keep off the streets altogether. Finally, he can no longer work, his wife gets a divorce and he is held up to ridicule. He tries every known means to get the jaywalking idea out of his head. He shuts himself up in an asylum, hoping to mend his ways. But the day he comes out he races in front of a fire engine, which breaks his back. Such a man would be crazy, wouldn’t he?”

“You may think our illustration is too ridiculous. But is it? We, who have been through the wringer, have to admit if we substituted alcoholism or any addiction for jay-walking, the illustration would fit exactly. However intelligent we may have been in other respects, where alcohol has been involved, we have been strangely insane. It’s strong language but isn’t it true?”

Gratitude List 26/01/2019: Exactly where I should be

Gratitude List 26/01/2019

What if Bill’s brother-in-law took him to a different hospital? One without Dr Silkworth?

What if Rowland and Celebra went to the wrong court house?

What if Bill never answered that call from Ebby?

What if Bill wasn’t compelled to help another alcoholic in Dr Bob?

What if the fellowship didn’t publish the Big Book?

What if there wasn’t a chance meeting in January 1957?

What if the publicity by a prominent newspaper columnist and TV commentator wasn’t favourable?

What if GA decided not to use the 12 Step Program derived from AA?

What if my friends had lent me the money I begged for?

What if ‘Question 20’ was more than just a fleeting thought?

What if I didn’t attend the meeting when I heard that strong message? When the coin finally dropped?

What if my now sponsor wasn’t present to witness my desperation?

I am where I am today because of everything that has happened. The above situations are just a few that have led me to recovery. If just one went differently I may not be enjoying life as much as I am right now. I might still be in action. Furthermore, outside of recovery, millions of scenarios, good and bad, have played out and each one has had a bearing on my current circumstances. I truly believe I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing.

Today I am grateful for my past and where it has taken me.

Gratitude List 25/01/2019: What do I get?

Gratitude List 25/01/2019

What do I get when I look at this picture?

First and foremost I see an abundance of beauty. I see an array of stunning colours and patterns. Today I am grateful for the blessing of sight.

I see a much greater power than myself. The sun’s energy is clearly evident through it’s heat and light. Powers that I believe I can draw on. Today I am grateful for this connection.

I see that although the colours represent heat, it is bitterly cold outside. Today I am grateful for the warm home this picture was taken from.

I see a miracle that the sun is exactly the right distance away to support life here on Earth. Today I am grateful for this awareness.

I see a reminder that I am but one of billions standing on a planet, amongst thousands of others planets. Today I am grateful for this humility.

I see a city full of opportunities and a freedom to pursue them. In comparison to some, a very safe one too. Today I am grateful I don’t take this for granted.

I see a new dawning, which means I woke up. Today I am grateful to be alive.

People Pleasing

Gratitude List 24/01/2019

People pleasing and the serenity prayer.

I’ve always been a people pleaser and I’ve realised this is predominantly because I want to be a good person. But sometimes it’s based on a fear of letting people down. Like so many other things the serenity prayer seems to fit perfectly. When faced with this particular fear, I have asked my greater power for guidance through the serenity prayer. In return my greater power has directed me to the following three steps which have helped me hugely.

First Step – ACCEPT. In my experience, something must’ve happened for the fear to be created – examples are running late for an appointment due to traffic or being put in a difficult situation, either by myself or another, whereby someone’s values will be challenged. Whatever it is, it’s in the past and therefore I have to accept it for what it is – I cannot change it.

Second Step – CHANGE. From that point, I ask ‘is there anything I can change?’ First and foremost I can always put my fear down on paper, pray and hand it over to my greater power. If I’ve been guided towards further action, then while I’m on my knees I can pray for the required courage. Any following action needs to be within spiritual lines, there’s no point taking the easy way out with an insincere act. For example, a lie to cover a lie, or cause harm to another just to save my own neck.

Third Step – ACCEPT. If further action is required, then I need to remind myself I have no control as to how someone reacts to it. It maybe, that despite doing the next right thing, I could upset another. Fearing this could prevent me from doing what I need to. I need to accept the things I cannot change – that includes other people and how they react. I can’t please everyone.

No scenario is the same. Above is just one. When to accept? When to change? It’s never straightforward. That’s why there is so much importance on the prayer itself, I am asking my greater power for some help and willing to wait and listen for the answer through meditation.

Today I am grateful for the wisdom to know the difference.

The line

Gratitude List 23/01/2019

Today I am grateful for poems like this…

Every minute someone leaves this world behind.

Age has nothing to do with it.

We are all in this the line without realizing it.

We never know how many people are before us. We can not move to the back of the line.

We can not step out of the line.

We can not avoid the line.

So while we wait in line –

Make moments count.

Make a difference.

Make the call.

Make priorities.

Make the time.

Make your gifts known.

Make a nobody feel like a somebody.

Make your voice heard.

Make the small things big.

Make someone smile.

Make the change.

Make yourself a priority.

Make love.

Make up.

Make peace.

Make sure to tell your people they are loved.

Make waves.

Make sure to have no regrets.

Less vulnerable

Gratitude List 22/01/2019

When I look back at the person I once was, it’s not surprising I did some of the things I did. I was riddled with defects – dishonesty, resentment, fear, intolerance, discontentment, courseness, irritability, lustfulness, laziness, arrogance, impatience, selfishness, self-centeredness etc etc etc the list goes on and on. Of course I had strengths of character too, but they were overwhelmed by the defects that were being empowered by my ego and controlled by my self-will. As a result I was very vulnerable to a number of negative reactions.

Through working the recovery program I have learnt how to lessen my defects and strengthen my strengths. Through practicing the principles in my daily life, having faith in a greater power and completing some simple suggestions I gain spirituality. I am improving as a person and that spirituality surrounds me like an invisible forcefield. This, along with the strengths of character that now play a more significant role in my life, I am less vulnerable to my negative reactions that more often than not, used to harm me and others.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to relapsing.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to unnecessarily snapping at my kids.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to telling a lie.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to people pleasing.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to fear and resentment.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to being arrested for a dishonest act.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to acting out on my lustful thoughts.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to living on the streets.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to going insane.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to self harm or suicide.

The last couple of years in recovery have proven I cannot take my foot off the pedal in terms of my recovery. If I do I simply become vulnerable to all of the above and I do not want any of them anymore!