Back when I thought abstinence was the key to all my troubles, this ‘cyclone’ analogy fitted me perfectly. I genuinely believed once I was clean from gambling everything would be fine. I was definitely unthinking in terms of the extent of destruction I had left behind. Thankfully, I am no longer that farmer. I now work a program involving service, unity and recovery. This action is progressively clearing the debris, repairing the damage, mending broken hearts, strengthening relationships and replanting seeds of affection which now fill my home with love and kindness.
They are daily for a reason.
What if I don’t drink any water today? Does my body hydrate itself?
What happens if I don’t brush my teeth in the morning? Do they clean themselves?
What if I don’t wash my hands with soap? Does the bacteria just jump off?
These are but a few “suggestions” that better my physical health. If I don’t do them, it will be to my own physical detriment in some way or another. And the longer I neglect them, the more they disintegrate. They are all suggestions in a sense that nobody forces me to do them, yet I do them day after day. They have become non-negotiable habits.
But what of my spiritual health? The very thing that brings me serenity, humility, courage, acceptance, sanity, happiness, gratitude, honesty, faith, forgiveness and love. Why would I neglect my spiritual growth? Well I did for decades. I was stuck in ‘self’ and quite simply my life as a result wasn’t pretty reading. Not surprisingly, instead of living alongside the strengths above, I constantly lived in the spiritual malady with defects like resentment, fear, selfishness and dishonesty.
A quote on the word ‘spiritual’ from page 28 in the Orange Book reads ‘Simply stated, the word can be said to describe that characteristic of the human mind which is marked by the highest and finest qualities such as generosity, honesty, tolerance and humility.’
In my humble opinion, and bear in mind I know very little, this is what I get in return for embracing, taking advantage of and practicing each suggestion.
Prayer – humility, gratitude, thankfulness, selflessness, faith
Meditation – calmness, open-mindedness, serenity, mindfulness, high mindedness, spirituality
Gratitude List – gratitude, appreciation, serenity, happiness, contentment
Reading – wisdom, knowledge, open-mindedness, inspiration, motivation
Calling my Sponsor – honesty, willingness, commitment, humility, open-mindedness
Calling Two Members – selflessness, generosity, unity, service, love, compassion, kindness
Inventory – honesty, self-honesty, humility, self-evaluation, looking for the good
The Daily Suggestions, as they are fondly known, aren’t just thrown together without any thought. They are proven. They have worked for thousands of others. They each have the ability to take me out of self and better my spiritual health. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t want to go a day without sleeping, why would I want to skip on suggestions that give so much back?
Spiritual health is not something I can reach, collect the certificate, and then put down again. Like going to the gym, I can’t get spiritually fit, stop working it and expect to stay that way. I need to look after and nurture it. They say ‘faith without works is dead’, well so is my spiritual health. My illness does not stop. To quote a fellow, ‘my illness is always there in the background doing press-ups’ waiting for me to take my foot off the gas.
Hence these suggestions are daily.
Disclaimer – other than the quote from the Orange Book the views above are expressed by me, an addict who cannot manage his own life, they are not the view of any fellowship as a whole, so take it as you please with a big pinch of salt 😉
Terms and conditions – the daily suggestions work best when part of a bigger program including the 12 steps, 2 home meetings with service and sponsorship 😉
How It’s Working
Today I am grateful I can completely give myself to this simple program
Today I am grateful I am constitutionally capable of being honest with myself
Today I am grateful I am naturally capable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty
Today I am grateful I decided I want what you have and am willing to go to any length to get it
Today I am grateful I am not trying to find an easier, softer way
Today I am grateful I was fearless and thorough from the very start
Today I am grateful I did not try to hold on to my old ideas
Today I am grateful I found Him
Today I am grateful I experienced half measures availed me nothing
Today I am grateful I stood at the turning point. I asked His protection and care with complete abandon
Today is a good day
Gratitude List 26/04/2019
“In the late stages of our drinking, the will to resist has fled. Yet when we admit complete defeat and when we become entirely ready to try A.A. principles, our obsession leaves us and we enter a new dimension—freedom under God as we understand Him.”
— AS BILL SEES IT, p. 283
Today I am grateful I haven’t forgotten the late stages of my addiction and how my will to resist was non-existent. There was no fight.
Today I am grateful the late stages led to my own admission of complete defeat. To admit my complete powerlessness and completely surrender.
Today I am grateful my surrender led to me being entirely ready to try the principles. Principles that had worked for thousands of others. I had tried everything in my own power and nothing had worked. I had to try something completely different, something I was uncomfortable with.
Today I am grateful that by doing so my obsession left me. Almost like a switch, the principles worked instantly.
Today I am grateful that these principles led to spiritual growth, which for me was like entering a new dimension.
Today I am grateful that upon entering this dimension I found my very first understanding of God. I went from a cynic to someone willing, an agnostic to a believer, a believer to someone with faith.
Today I am grateful my understanding of God is mine and mine alone. I can choose my own. As long as it’s greater than me – I have a big choice!
Today I am grateful that under God I too found freedom. Freedom from my obsession. Freedom from my insanity. Freedom from my self.
Today I am grateful that Bill wasn’t scared to use the words ‘we’ and ‘our’. He was the voice of thousands who shared a common solution.
Gratitude List 22/03/2019
After yet another buzzing session this morning, my gratitude must reflect on a single moment that occured back in the 1930s.
Today I am grateful that someone suddenly realised that passing on the message to another was essential in his efforts to sustain his own abstinence and recovery. I have no idea why he thought this selfless act was so vital. What if he didn’t have this sudden realisation? What if working the program on a daily basis and his spiritual awakening were enough to keep him from his compulsions? That was a possible scenario wasn’t it? If it had panned out that way, would I even belong to a fellowship? Would I be where I am today, living a life beyond my wildest dreams?
I’d like to believe that this sudden realisation was his God at work, planting a seed of thought which gave him a nudge in the right direction.
What I do know is that thousands upon thousands of people’s lives have changed for the better because of it and I am truly grateful to be one of them. I can confirm that passing on the message to another has proved absolutely vital to my own recovery. There is nothing quite like it. Each session is a truly amazing experience born from a single moment almost 90 years ago.
Everyday, somewhere in the world, another journey into recovery begins. One addict is sitting with another, passing on the same message. As a result, that other person is taking his/her first step. I will be eternally grateful I took mine.