Windows of Opportunities

Windows of Opportunities

My experience in the fellowship has been one full of opportunities. I have taken many but missed many too. Nearly every time, the window of opportunity opens up before me without warning and if I don’t take the leap of faith and grab it with both hands, before I know it, the window will close and the opportunity will be gone. Through trial and error, I have learnt the importance of taking these opportunities as soon as they present themselves.

This is best summed up in my experience of getting a sponsor. A taken opportunity that has turned my life around.

I came back to the meetings in September 2016 after relapsing from several years of abstinence. At that point, I was a mess, I had found another rock bottom, I had caused a huge amount of harm to the ones I love and I would’ve done anything to stop. I had ‘the gift of desperation’. Had I been directly offered sponsorship on that first meeting back I may have taken it. (It should be noted, unlike today, the chances of being offered sponsorship on your first meeting was slim at best) For me, I can say with a degree of certainty that first window closed on me with the serenity prayer that very same evening. Why? Because the magic of that meeting worked, the obsession to gamble lifted, I felt better, I felt strong, I felt recovered, I was cured. I didn’t need the steps and sponsorship. Life was great again. Window closed. Clearly the obsession that I am not an addict got the better of me once again.

For others, that gift of desperation may have lasted for another week or two. Everyone is different, but it is my belief that sooner or later the window will close. I had to wait another 6 months before this particular window reopened. Thankfully I kept ‘coming back’ to meetings. Eventually, the consistent message of recovery coincided with another gift of desperation in the form of a sudden realisation that I, despite my past and present abstinence, had not changed a single bit. I was still the same fearful, resentful, lustful, dishonest person. I didn’t like who I was, gambling or not, and I was desperate for change. The window was ajar for the second time.

That evening, I never had the courage to ask for a sponsor but I gave the most honest and desperate share of my life. At the end of the meeting, and before the window shut in my face again, God placed before me my sponsor, who promptly proceeded to give me a clear idea of what being a sponsee entailed. I’m genuinely not sure what came over me, but despite my many reservations, I took that leap of faith, something I had never done before, and took the opportunity that presented itself. Had I not, I have no idea how long that window of opportunity would have stayed open. Knowing me, not long.

This is just one of many examples. Some windows come along every few months or so, some on a weekly basis and some every single day. Whether it be an opportunity to attend an extra meeting, or reach out to a struggling member, or make amends to someone I’ve harmed, or tell someone I love them, I try to take the opportunity before it disappears for some reason or another – because it will.

When God speaks to me, however I hear his words, I need to act before the idea of not doing so becomes an overpowering comfortable one.

Windows of Opportunities….. I assume they call it Windows because they open……. And close.

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Gratitude for Gratitude

As I’ve previously mentioned, I have decided to not post my daily gratitude list anymore. In doing so, I have to admit, that my gratitude lists have become more authentic.

It’s not that I ever listed something I was not grateful for, but what I wrote was influenced by the simple knowledge that I was posting it for others to read. What I realised, is that I began to write lists to be of service to others and carry a message of recovery. I also took into consideration how someone might react to certain things and would therefore be careful about what I wrote and how I wrote it.

Neither ‘being of service’ or ‘consideration for others’ are bad, in fact they are two things I thrive for on a daily basis. But despite my good intentions, they did have an effect on what I wrote and therefore my gratitude wasn’t always entirely authentic. I can continue to be of service to others and continue to use consideration, but in other ways.

I have also come to realise that ‘people pleasing’ had a huge part to play in this. If I didn’t suffer from people pleasing then my gratitude lists would have stayed true. They wouldn’t have been swayed in the way they were. Again, wanting to please people is not a bad thing, unless by doing so it effects my own recovery, and through tainting my gratitude lists, it had.

Today I am grateful that my gratitude contains gratitude and nothing else.

Gratitude for gratitude.

Gratitude List 29/06/2019

Gratitude List 29/06/2019

Today I am grateful for the English weather. Sometimes cold, sometimes hot, sometimes wet, sometimes dry and highly possible to experience all four seasons in one day. But it’s rarely severe to the point lives are lost.

Today I am grateful to be up with the birds and on my way to better myself with some recovery work. An early morning spiritual gym workout!

Today I am grateful my willingness to put in diligent effort is as strong as it was when I started my spiritual journey two and a bit years ago.

Today I am grateful to be able to close my eyes wherever I am (currently on a bus) and improve my conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation.

Today I am grateful for how much God has been speaking to me (through God’s conscience – gut instinct) and for how much I have been listening to him.

Today I am grateful for recently witnessing how recovery has helped people come through some very difficult times. It’s absolutely miraculous.

Today I am grateful for who I am. For my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. My outlook upon my self has completely changed.

Today I am grateful that despite with being happy with who I am, I will not stop working. For two reasons, one I can still progress further – I am no saint, and two if I stop I will surely degress.

Today I am grateful that one thought of recovery and all of a sudden my gratitude list goes off on another spiritual tangen. I started with the weather! Can’t help it! I have so much gratitude for it.

Today I am grateful for all the poeple in my life who have helped shape me into the person I am today. Good or bad experiences, I have learnt from you all.

Gratitude List 28/06/2019

Gratitude List 28/06/2019

Addiction demanded so much of me. It demanded my time, my money, my thoughts, my sanity, my happiness. It demanded dishonesty, selfishness, fear and resentment. It demanded me to break relationships, lose trust and isolate. It demands I get nothing in return. Nothing.

Recovery made no such demands of me, in fact it made suggestions.

Today I am grateful recovery suggests I attend meetings regularly.

Today I am grateful recovery suggests I share how I am feeling.

Today I am grateful recovery suggests I do service at the meetings.

Today I am grateful recovery suggests I work through the 12 steps.

Today I am grateful recovery suggests I do so with a sponsor.

Today I am grateful recovery suggests I carry the message to another.

Today I am grateful recovery suggests I am honest, open-minded and willing.

Today I am grateful recovery suggests I believe in a power greater than myself.

Today I am grateful recovery suggests I am loving, caring and forgiving.

Today I am grateful recovery suggests I complete a simple set of suggestions.

In comparison, these suggestions are far less taxing than the demands gambling made. Truthfully, they’re not taxing at all. They aren’t chores. They are blessed opportunities. Unlike addiction, I get an abundance in return – I get serenity, happiness, hope, humility, trust, maturity, faith, self-esteem, emotional security, purpose, tolerance, love, etc etc etc.

If only these suggestions were demands 😉

👍🏻💪🏻❤😊🙏🏻

Gratitude List 27/06/2019

Gratitude List 27/06/2019

Today I am grateful I took my car in for it’s MOT before it expired!! Woop woop! Responsible me! Haha!

Today I am grateful that not a lot of work needed to be done. I don’t know how. I should really make amends to my car, I’ve caused a lot of harm through neglect over the years.

Today I am grateful I agreed to get the brake pads replaced even if it would have passed the MOT anyway. No way I would’ve done this in the past, I would’ve run the risk!

Today I am grateful for the school run this morning with my daughter. Always has been one of my favourite parts of my day. Saying goodbye always tugs at the heart strings.

Today I am grateful my son is comfortable in our new home. He was more than happy to stay in bed, have a lie in and then make his way home a bit later.

Today I am grateful for the lovely evening we had last night. After dinner we went outside in the garden and just talked. No TV, no phones, just interaction.

Today I am grateful to reach day 4 in my food related abstinence. The obsession is not there at the moment and when it is, I am able to surrender to God’s will.

Today I am grateful for the day ahead of me. If all goes to plan, I’ll finish work mid afternoon and follow it up with several hours of service, recovery and unity.

Today I am grateful for this opportunity. For this void in my day to do this suggestion. I’m grateful I haven’t filled it with something not so positive.

Today I am grateful for the smile on my face, the serenity in my mind and the bounce in my step. It really does work if I work it.

Gratitude List 26/06/2019: No longer

Gratitude List 26/06/2019

Yesterday, I had to make a card payment over the internet. To complete it, I had to take my card out of my wallet to find out the card number etc.

Today I am grateful I no longer know all the details of my bank cards off by heart. This wasn’t autistic behaviour, it was a result of continuous online deposits.

Today I am grateful I no longer have to write frantically whilst looking at a TV screen instead of what I’m writing on.

Today I am grateful I no longer have to go outside to answer my phone. “Sorry darling, I’m stuck in traffic.”

Today I am grateful I no longer have to jump behind some furniture when certain people walk past. Staff must’ve thought I was mad.

Today I am grateful I no longer have to cough whilst in bed to hide any sounds the online roulette machine makes.

Today I am grateful I no longer have to hide under the duvet and dim the phone light.

Today I am grateful I no longer know what number it will be just by where the ball comes out. And let everyone know about it too!

Today I am grateful I no longer have to transfer pence from on account to another to make up a withdrawable amount.

Today I am grateful I no longer have to queue up in a bank with my drivers licence because I had found the strength to leave my bank cards at home.

Today I am grateful I no longer have to use the work printer to scan my identity because my online accounts had been blocked due to suspected fraudulent activity. It was just me and my insanity!

Gratitude List 25/06/2019

Gratitude List 25/06/2019

Today I am grateful to hear the sound of the rain hitting the window. It’s very tranquil.

Today I am grateful to be surrounded by life. So much of what is around me is alive like I am.

Today I am grateful I feel a part of the life around me. I can connect to it and tap in to its power.

Today I am grateful for how my outlook upon has changed, is continuing to change.

Today I am grateful I can learn from my past, make the most of the present and have hope for the future.

Today I am grateful that my conscious contact with God as I understand Him is improving. Something magical is happening.

Today I am grateful I am surrendering to His will. This thought process has made it easier to do the right thing.

Today I am grateful for the plans I have made for today. Thinking of others is my motto.

Today I am grateful my daughter has been given her first phone – she’s better at answering it than my son, that’s for sure.

Today I am grateful for how at peace I feel.

The rain can add to the beauty.

An audio clip of the sounds I can here right now.