I chose the porridge

Gratitude List 12/01/2019

Today I am grateful I chose the porridge.

You’ll have to excuse me today. Trust me, there’s a point behind what follows, hopefully I’m able to put it into words and make some sense. In short, the other day, I went to McDonalds with my son and ordered porridge. I do struggle with what I eat and my powerlessness over food highly resembles the lack of power I have over gambling – so this was a big success for me.

A previous reaction I only know too well would have gone something like this:

– I would have accepted, before it even happened, that me eating junk food was inevitable. As far as I was concerned the deed was done and it was pointless trying to fight it.

– I would have convinved myself that this would be my treat for the day and for the rest of the day I would eat healthy and make up for it. ‘I am a normal eater,’ I would have told myself.

– I would have told myself to keep it sensible and try to be semi-healthy. Then at the vital moment (at the counter) I would order whatever I craved and even something extra, something sweet. Along came the first thoughts of ‘what am I doing?!’

– I would then sit down and not even enjoy it. I’m sure I scoff down junk food because I subconsciously know it tastes awful.

– I would then ponder the questions ‘Where was the fight? What happened to the promises I made to myself? Did I even have a choice?’

– I would then leave and as I did the following thought would have suddenly popped into my head ‘ah crap! I could’ve ordered the porridge!’ A good idea but too late now. If only I had thought of that earlier.

– I would then, with a degree of certainty, have carried on eating in the same way for the rest of the day. I had already hit that f**k it button so what’s the point. The day was ruined anyway.

As I write this, the similarities between my powerlessness over food and gambling are clearly highlighted. The spiritual malady is exactly the same.

Today I am grateful my day didn’t pan out how it has done so many times before.

Today I am grateful for my few days of abstinence. Abstinence that gave me a bit of strength.

Today I am grateful for the action I’m putting in. Going to the gym, recording what food I am eating and sharing my food compulsion stories with another like minded fellow. I can still do more.

Today I am mostly grateful for my recent efforts to improve my conscious contact with God through meditation and prayer. It’s this improved spiritual connection that fought (and won) against the spiritual malady. I genuinely believe that’s why I made the logical, rationale and sane choice. I believe its why I had a choice in the first place. I believe it’s why that choice came at the right time. And I believe it’s exactly the same spiritual connection and its power that will stop me putting on that first bet.

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3 years ago

Gratitude List 11/01/2019

Three years ago my girlfriend and I were preparing to move in together for the first time. I was also knee… no neck deep in a relapse. What should have been an exciting prospect was stressful, extremely fearful and zero fun. Three years on and my now fiancĂ©e and I are on the move again.

Today I am grateful that this time coincides with abstinence and recovery.

Today I am grateful I am not sweating over the credit checks and where the deposit money will come from.

Today I am grateful there’s no need to intercept the postman with the final gas, electricity, water and council tax bills.

Today I am grateful I have nothing to hide. I get to enjoy this move. I’m genuinely excited about it.

Today I am grateful for the fellowship and how it opened up possibilities like this.

Today I am grateful for the recovery program that made these dreams reality.

Today I am grateful I put my recovery ahead of my dreams.

Today I am grateful for the hope recovery gives me. For a good two decades I did my best to ruin the rest of my life. In a little over two years recovery has given my life back. I don’t want my addiction to steal it back so I’m more than happy to put in the required effort for the rest of my life. Its easy for me to see recovery in others but examples like this prove to me how far I’ve come.

Most of all I am grateful that I go into this move with no fear for our relationship. I do not fear her unhappiness, I do not fear mine, I do not fear letting her down, I do not fear us arguing all the time, I do not fear wrecking her life, I do not fear her leaving me, I do not fear me leaving her, I do not fear for our future. Through recovery my relationships have become stronger, closer and more loving.

Encompassing

Gratitude List 10/01/2019

Today’s reflection spoke of the serenity prayer. It is said that the serenity prayer encompasses all of life’s situations. When I reflect on my day I realise how very true this is.

Today I am grateful I had the serenity to accept people I interacted with for who they are and not try to change them to how I want them to be.

Today I am grateful I had the courage to change the only person I could – Myself.

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

Today I am grateful I had the serenity to accept who I am. I can’t change my past and where it has led me.

Today I am grateful I had the courage to do my daily suggestions giving me the best chance of progression.

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

Today I am grateful I had the serenity to accept my financial situation which will be tough for several years to come.

Today I am grateful I had the courage to be financially responsible when I needed to and not spend money unnecessarily.

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

Today I am grateful I had the serenity to accept I cannot please everyone.

Today I am grateful I had the courage and awareness of my defects so I could do my best.

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

Today I am grateful I had the serenity to accept that God, as I choose to understand him, is always there for me and always has been.

Today I am grateful I had the courage to improve my conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation.

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

And lastly….

Today I am grateful I had the serenity to accept I am not perfect and therefore I will not always have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can or the wisdom to know the difference.

How I look at others

Gratitude List 09/01/2019

Through the Recovery Program, I am learning how to look at others completely differently. By doing this, my serenity is less affected by their actions. It is a learning process and there’s a long way to go still but I’m grateful for the progress I have made.

Today I am grateful for how I respond to harm done to me. Rather than letting any resentment drag on and fester, I have the tools to deal with them, and the love to forgive them.

Today I am grateful I consider that no one is perfect, nor should I expect them to be so. As such, each person has their own challenges and only they can tackle them.

Today I am grateful I see the good in people. Yes, I often see the bad too but at least there is now a positive counter balance. I try to remind myself of their qualities when I’m seeing their defects. Not easy in the heat of the moment, but it works for me.

Today I am grateful I accept that others are entitled to their opinion and it doesn’t need to be the same as mine. Right or wrong, I don’t need to offer mine in return.

Today I am grateful that I am not envious of the the ‘Mr Perfects’ of the world. In total contrast to me reacting with a good ‘piss take’ I am now genuinely happy for them. Instead, they inspire and motivate me.

Today I am grateful I am trying to stop controlling how others think, behave and act. I do a terrible job controlling my own life, why would I want to control anyone else’s?

Today I am grateful I accept that someone’s values do not have to match my own. I’ve realised (through my sponsor) that many disagreements, arguments and subsequent resentments are formed as a result of values clashing. Values are important to people and I have to learn to respect them.

Today I am grateful I am learning that I cannot and do not have to please everyone all of the time. The fear of letting people down is slowly but surely playing a lesser role in my life. My very next step may not please everyone and I’m learning that’s ok. I no longer fear being honest and as a result do less harm.

Just a nibble

Gratitude List 08/01/2019

I wanted to bite last night.

Today I am grateful I didn’t.

Today I am grateful for my tolerance levels. They could be better but they definitely have been worse.

Today I am grateful that temporarily raising my voice was my reaction to my emotions. I didn’t make things ten times worse.

Today I am grateful for my consideration of others. Something I never ever had. To consider why someone is behaving the way they are is new to me.

Today I am grateful I had enough serenity to think before I spoke.

Today I am grateful it was over before it started.

Today I am grateful I haven’t woken up with an emotional hangover.

Today I am grateful for the recovery work I have done over the last two years. Work that educated me about myself and better prepares me for life’s challenges.

Today I am grateful for the positive actions I put in throughout yesterday. Actions that I believe gave me serenity and enabled me to handle this resentment.

Today I am grateful for God’s will. I’ve noticed that even when I resume control, His will has had an influence on mine.

This wasn’t a big situation, but one of the many small challenges I could face on a daily basis. But it was proof again that this program works. The tools can be used to all situations, big or small. Its why I do the program, to make a difference, no matter how small it maybe.

Spiritual

Gratitude List 07/01/2019

‘Progress rather than perfection.’

A phrase I have heard, said and referred to many times. A phrase I have used in gratitude lists in the past. It appears in the ‘How It Works’ reading. Or does it? I’ve read or listened to ‘How It Works’ numerous times but, like many other common passages, it takes a while for me to take in every word. What it actually says is ‘We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.’

Today I am grateful I accepted that this is a spiritual recovery.

Today I am grateful for an understanding of what spiritual can mean.

Today I am grateful for finding a spiritual connection and taking that leap of faith. ‘Why not’ I thought.

Today I am grateful I have the tools to make that spiritual progress.

Today I am grateful for how good I feel when I am spiritually connected.

Today I am grateful for witnessing spirituality in others. Even if they don’t recognise it themselves.

Today I am grateful I no longer resent spirituality.

Today I am grateful I no longer fear spirituality.

Today I am grateful I now embrace my spirituality. I’m proud of it.

Up the downward escalator

Gratitude List 06/01/2019

Recovery, and life too, is like walking up a downward escalator. Well it is for me anyway. I’m not complaining, far from it, it’s not too difficult, not too tiresome and a couple of years ago I didn’t even know how to.

Today I am grateful for the tools I have acquired that keep me progressing upwards. Steadily and one day at a time. There is much to do but I am capable of doing what is asked – I just need to put in the action.

Today I am grateful I am not trying to run before I can walk. I haven’t forgotten how far down I have come from. This will be slow and in depth, I don’t care for short-cuts.

Today I am grateful I am aware that my emotional illness is the driving force behind the escalator’s downward direction. Its does not stop and never will. If I stop however, quite simply I’m going down with it.

Today I am grateful I have experienced that by doing the bare minimum I will not progress, and by taking my foot off the pedal completely, I will slowly but surely regress. Also, the longer I continue to do nothing, the escalator seems to speed up.

Today I am grateful I know there is no limit to progression. There is a limit to my regression, something, God willing I won’t experience. Some have.

Today I am grateful that my progression thus far has meant when I do stand still, I am higher up that escalator. As long as I recognise and admit my dip, I can act and soon progress to where I was…. and beyond.

Today I am grateful for unity and service. The togetherness, serenity, selflessness, spirit and humility that I get in return along with the will of my greater power are like two big hands pushing me up from below. Supporting me all the way and ready to catch me if I fall.

Today I am grateful I do not fear or dread the uphill task that lies ahead of me. I have no problem putting in the work it takes for me to progress. Like I said its not too difficult, in fact the further I progress the easier it has become. If recovery and life keeps giving back the way it has done, I am more than happy to walk up a downward escalator for the rest of my life.