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.