People, places and things

The following is based on my experience….

A person very close to me has been showing symptoms of compulsive behaviour. Symptoms that are recognisable to an addict like myself. This compulsion has been progressing over the last couple of years and despite my good intentions the effect I have had over it is minimal at best. Over the last week I have spent a lot of time with this person and subsequently seen first hand how far his compulsion has developed.

For the first four days or so, I had decided (emphasis on the ‘I’) not to act and instead seek guidance from those with experience at the end of the week. As a result, I allowed his compulsive behaviour to continue on the basis that I had no idea how to deal with it so why bother trying. At the time I genuinely believed this to be the right course of action. And maybe it was, maybe I had to do something wrong (or paradoxically right) to learn from it and progress.

I continued to pray and meditate around this subject and by the fifth day, an answer began to dawn on me. I became aware that I had been feeling an almost constant resentment in the form of frustration and disappointment towards this person. I could also sense two others were holding similar resentments towards him and further resentments towards me for not doing anything about it. I then resented them for resenting me! Last but not least, the person himself could feel the negativity that surrounded him, so probably resented the three of us in return!!

So, in this particular situation (because every situation is different) by doing nothing, I had allowed the situation to fester. Four people were now suffering with resentment – a crippling defect of character. The four of us ended up, in a way, against each other. And why? Because I feared for this person’s welfare. I feared failure. I feared powerlessness. I feared making this person unhappy. I feared being disliked. I feared I would ruin the time we were spending together. I feared a negative effect on the impossible perfection.

This sudden, somewhat obvious, realisation slapped me round the face (not the first time recovery has provided this kind of wake up call). I realised that ‘I’ had made the decision to do nothing. This decision was born out of fear and not out of the powerlessness over people, places and things which is what I originally thought. And ever since I did, I had unintentionally made the whole experience about me. I hadn’t been thinking of this person – the one who is actually struggling, or anyone else involved at all. Just me and my fears.

Along with this realisation was a guidance towards action. I still need to explore the available help and support from someone with experience, but I also needed to act now – in the form of being honest with this person. Being truthful can sometimes be tough for the person on the receiving end, but some situations warrant hard truths. I needed to pray for my fears to be removed. I needed to pray for the courage to change the things I can – by being honest. I needed to pray for the acceptance that I might not be this person’s ‘favourite person’ for a while.

So, on that fifth day, the honesty card was played and I can confirm I wasn’t this person’s ‘favourite person’. But only for an hour or so.

This resulted in vast improvement. Firstly whilst being honest I felt (for the first time) that I was actually thinking of this person and the others involved too. Secondly, the person took the hard truths on board and showed a degree of willingness and desire to progress. Thirdly, everyone seemed happier.

I must add that this particular action is by no means set in black and white. It is of my opinion that each situation is wholly different no matter the similarities. Action or no action, acceptance or courage, form the greyest of grey areas. Especially when it comes to people, places and things. It is why I continuously pray for ‘the wisdom to know the difference’. That said, being honest is very rarely the wrong thing to do. One exception I can think of is being honest to save my own skin.

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“Can we have a chat later?”

This morning I was greeted with that dreaded question…

“Can we have a chat later?”

This is never good news, is it?

Based on personal experience, no, it is not good news. What have I done wrong now? What faults are she going to bring up? What situations can I bring to the table to counter hers? These are just a few of the questions that would be spinning around my head in the meantime. That is if I allowed it to be delayed till ‘later’. Normally, I would insist that she said what she needed to say immediately. Why should I be made to wait and suffer?

Well today, I am grateful to have not reacted this way. How I’ve reacted goes to show how far recovery has taken me.

These are just a few of my thoughts…

– This is probably an opportunity for her to get things off her chest and share how she is feeling. Something I am blessed to do several times a week at meetings.

– This could be an opportunity for me to listen and learn from whatever she has to say. Another chance to progress.

– This could be an opportunity for me to practice strengths of character like tolerance, patience, consideration, love and humility.

– This could be another opportunity for me to make amends if I have caused any harm.

– This is an opportunity for me to use the ‘meantime’ to pray and meditate and prepare myself spiritually, rather than acting on impulse (self).

– This could be an opportunity for her to bear witness to my difficulties being removed and see God’s power shine through.

– This is another opportunity for me to accept the things I cannot change and have the courage to change the things I can.

– This is another opportunity for me to let go and live life on life’s terms.

There is nothing for me to fear. Furthermore, when reality plays out, there is rarely anything to fear in the first place.

In any case, wish me luck 😉

Gratitude List 08/05/2019: Hard truths

Gratitude List 08/05/2019

Despite the surge of judgement, self-pity, self-centeredness, resentment, anger and arrogance….

Today I am grateful I am able to hear some hard truths.

Today I am grateful for another’s courage to deliver them.

Today I am grateful for honesty.

Today I am grateful I can quickly park any ill feelings.

Today I am grateful for big servings of humble pie.

Today I am grateful for another lesson learnt.

Today I am grateful I know how to deal with arising fears.

Today I am grateful for guidance and strength.

Today I am grateful for the guided plan.

Today I am grateful for doing what is right today and only today.

Gratitude List 11/04/2019: Another Good Day

Gratitude List 11/04/2019

Another Good Day

06:35am Today I am grateful for the Reflection of the Day. What an incredibly comforting thought typified by this line – ‘May my restlessness be stilled by the unchanging nature of God, in whom I place my trust.’

06:36am Today I am grateful to have found some humility and as a result – a greater power. Only with this can I relate to the Reflection of the Day.

06:44am Today I am grateful to be listening to music. This morning it’s Mumford and Sons, they seem to amplify how I’m feeling right now – serene, happy and connected.

09:35am to 09:45am Today I am grateful for the very inspiring video, one for different reasons I can completely relate to.

11:14am Today I am grateful for the crystal blue sky today and the brilliant sun. It’s crisp but its beautiful. There is something comforting about facing the warmth of the sun.

12:45pm Today I am grateful for the lunch in my bag. It’s healthy, nutritious and plentiful.

13:30pm Today I am grateful for the comradery shared by the team at work. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy what I do.

15:03pm Today I am grateful for the understanding and support I have from my supervisors at work regarding some needed time off.

18:00pm Today I am grateful for the tools I have to deal with fear. They’re being put to good use right now.

20:00pm Today I am grateful for cooking my girlfriend a meal. It was nice to see her relaxing while I was doing something I enjoy.

Gratitude List 11/02/2019: Fear Less

Gratitude List 11/02/2019

I feel a case of deja-vu! I’m sure I’ve written about this before (even the title) but it’s something I’m very grateful for.

I really feel like I’m living a new life. A second chance. Two lifetimes in one. To most, my life on the outside would seem very much the same. How it feels on the inside though is completely different. One of the biggest differences is the fear. It’s not like fear doesn’t exist in my life now, but in comparison I feel as free as a bird!

Today I am grateful I’m in less fear when a company do a credit check on me.

Today I am grateful I’m not in fear when my bill due dates are up and coming.

Today I am grateful I fear much less speaking in public.

Today I am grateful I do not fear getting through the day. Today I am grateful I do not fear a relapse.

Today I am grateful I’m in less fear when my phone rings. I don’t have to have it on silent and face down anymore.

Today I am grateful I’m not in fear when I see post on our doorstep.

Today I am grateful I no longer fear being inadequate.

Today I am grateful I fear less being honest and open. A tough one as this fear was so ingrained. Definitely getting better though.

Today I am grateful I’m in less fear when it comes to letting someone down. I never intend to do so, but it is inevitable.

Today I am grateful I’m aware I still fear being late. The consequences are NEVER that bad. One I need to hand over again.

Today I am grateful I do not fear being caught.

Today I am very grateful I am not in fear about my future.

Gratitude List 10/02/2019: Waking a little low

Gratitude List 10/02/2019

Sometimes I wake up feeling a little low. Feeling like there’s something wrong. Am I in fear? Did I say something the night before, something I’m now regretting?

After a short while I reflect on my life, my day, my fears and my resentments. What I realise is there’s nothing wrong at all. My life is good, I have nothing to fear and I’m not suffering with an emotional hangover.

Maybe I awoke listening to Radio Me and all I needed to do was get on my knees and kick-start another day. Did I wake with the spiritual malady intact?

Whatever it is, I really don’t mind. Today I am grateful I am aware of who I am. I am aware that my life is good and I have a lot to be grateful for. I am aware that this is a daily program. I am aware if I don’t do the necessary suggestions then that spiritual malady can manifest throughout the day. Today I am grateful and aware of what I need to do to quickly turn my day around.

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.