‘.. the program is a road not a resting place’……’For life is not flat but a slope upwards’…

‘.. the program is a road not a resting place’……’For life is not flat but a slope upwards’…

I love this. It reminds me that I need to keep working in order for me to keep progressing.

Before recovery I was walking the road through Hell. Not that I knew it, my mind was entirely focused on self. Like tunnel vision I did not notice what was around. I did not notice the destruction that surrounded me, the view was too ugly to bear, I’d rather not look. Neither did I notice the glimmers of beauty that were trying to break through, I had no time to appreciate them, I had a purpose to fulfil. For many, many years I walked down the same road.

In February 2017 I came across a man, he was neither friend nor family but he was willing to help me. He assured me there was a another way and that I didn’t need to continue down the same dubious path. He had been shown another way, a road of recovery. He spoke of a new life, a life of serenity and happiness and he offered to walk with me as long as I was willing to walk the walk. I stood and looked in the direction he was pointing, I couldn’t see what lied ahead (the future is like that) but after decades of experience I knew where my old road was leading so I thought ‘what the hell’ and took a step into the unknown.

What I can say now, is that leap of faith has been the best decision I have made. So unlike me to make a decision like that, I often wonder if I was given a big nudge by a divine hand. Walking the walk has meant dilligent effort on a daily basis but boy it’s worth it, the views are gorgeous. No longer is my vison tunneled. My eyes have been opened and I now look around me with gratitude, I can see the beauty the world has to offer. So beautiful is the world it is often tempting to stop. But the man, who is still with me, tells me things get even better and the slope back down can get slippery if I stay too long. I still have no idea what lies ahead but my belief has turned into faith and my faith is fast turning to trust. I trust that there is a never ending road ahead of me and I trust that the road just gets more and more beautiful. The colours become more vibrant, the good in people becomes more evident, I become more joyous and free. All I need to do is keep walking the walk.

Let’s stick together

My name is *** and I am an addict.

In my experience, when life has thrown a challenge my way, it has effected my motivation to do the next right thing. Suggestions can become lackadaisical, I can start to think about the steps rather than act upon them, meetings can become a chore and my priorities can get turned on their head.

But why? Surely in difficult times it is even more necessary to work a solid program? I know it works if I work it, so why in tough times can I take my foot off the pedal? Truly baffling I can be.

When I do not put in the daily diligent effort I can very easily become resentful and/or fearful. Selfish and dishonest behaviours aren’t far behind. A perilous way for an addict to live.

I am as much an addict as I ever was. This will never not be the case. NEVER. The 20 questions still apply to me now and always will. ALWAYS.

Why am I sharing this now? Because, we are all being challenged in one way or another right now and it appears to be set to last for a considerable amount of time.

It is my belief, that like it or not, us addicts find ourselves in a potentially vulnerable position. Vulnerable to relapse. Vulnerable to causing further harm and destruction to ourselves and our loved ones. BUT only if we allow it too. It DOES NOT have to be that way.

Please consider the following:

– Keep in constant contact with fellows. Reach out to someone who will appreciate your call. Be of service to the fellowships that have done so much for us.

– Attend (in person or online) as many meetings per week. Get things off your chest. Talk about your feelings. Give service by listening to and sharing the message of experience, strength and hope.

– SMASH the suggestions to pieces! Do two gratitude lists if you have to! Mediate three times a day if it helps! Call ten fellows and not just two! Smash them all.

– Pray, pray, pray, pray and pray again to your higher power. If you do not have your own concept of God, choose someone in your life you believe has faith and pray to theirs.

– Do not delay the steps. If it is impossible for you to physically meet with your sponsor, don’t waste any time. We are blessed with technology which allows calls and video calls. Use them.

– If you are interested in sponsorship and willing to go to any lengths then start now! Do not wait, sponsorship has proven it can work from country to country. We are blessed to have many available sponsors who can be (somewhat) flexible in their delivery.

– Be selfless. Think of others less fortunate than you, that includes the elderly, the homeless, our families and everyone not in a fellowship (in my opinion). Even if it’s to listen to them share their feelings and get things off there chest, let’s do what we can.

– Put the effort in on a daily basis. 6 days per week is not enough.

By keeping our foot flat out on the pedal we will improve our chances of being abstinent and reduce the chance of harming others and leaving destruction on our paths. Through God or the simple higher power of the fellowship, we can be the best version of ourselves and of best use to the people around us.

Grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, Courage to change the things we can and the Wisdom to know the difference.

‘Who are you to say there is no God?’

‘Who are you to say there is no God?’ pg 56 AA’s Big Book

Am I the only one who reads this and thinks of Miracle on 34th Street?

In all seriousness, the ‘We Agnostics’ chapter and in particular this line, provided the foundation to my belief in a greater power than myself. As well as bringing Richard Attenborough’s festive smile to mind, it gave me humility. How egocentric was I for this to have such a profound impact on me? Did I really think I knew everything? I am not the almighty. I am not celestial. I am not all powerful.

And it’s this humility which is the over riding thought when I get on my knees and pray. I have no idea who or what I pray to but I do know its not me. There is plenty of things more powerful and that is enough for me.

Gratitude List 14/03/2019: The world WAS my ego’s oyster.

Gratitude List 14/03/2019

Filling the void is easier said than done. But every time I successfully fill it with something positive, especially when temptation wants to take me in the opposite direction, I am very grateful. I’m grateful because I feel great afterwards instead of feeling crap. I know I’ve reflected on this before, but yesterday it happened again.

After work I had a little under 2 hours to myself before my girlfriend came home. Out of nowhere, my mind began to fill with all the things I could do and none were positive – eat junk food, watch trash TV, watch pornography, flick through social media – the world was my ego’s oyster.

Today I am grateful I did something I could have easily procrastinated until the following day. It needed to be done and now it doesn’t.

Today I am grateful I walked home from the station instead of getting on the bus. This gave me time to reflect on my day, clear my mind and appreciate my surroundings.

Today I am grateful I called and connected with fellows. The timing of a call back inspired me to walk past the chippy. No such thing as coincidence!

Today I am grateful I I put the washing away. A job I dislike a lot. But I did it with no expectation of a thank you. It did go unnoticed and I’m happy about that.

Today I am grateful I sat in the garden and meditated. It felt great to switch off and improve my conscious contact with my greater power.

Today I am grateful I prepared dinner for when my girlfriend got home. Cooking is something I love. I’m no chef but enjoy it, especially cooking for others.

Today I am grateful that before I knew it the void had passed. The success of filling this void will add to the strength I need for next time.

Today I am grateful my girlfriend came home to a spiritually well boyfriend and not one, who because of his misdemeanours, would have been feeling low and very touchy if he was questioned about it.

Gratitude List 09/02/2019: Appreciate

Gratitude List 09/02/2019

What this picture doesn’t show is the young female who moments ago had her arm deep inside the bin only to pull out an empty coffee cup that somebody just discarded. I can only assume it was to beg with as she then joined a young male sitting on the drenched pavement.

What it also doesn’t show is me sitting in a warm and dry coffee shop, still with my thick, waterproof coat on, eating something I really don’t need to be eating.

Today I am grateful I realise how lucky I am and for how much I appreciate what I have.

Today I am grateful that buying them something warm to eat wasn’t an after thought.

Today I am grateful I had a desire to invite them in and get what they wanted so they could sit in the dry. I didn’t, but the thought was there.

Today I am grateful for the few words we shared together. Human being to human being.

Today I am grateful for then meeting an amazing fellow at the tube station across the road. Such a lovely guy.

Today I am grateful the rucksack he was wearing reminded me I’d left my own at the coffee shop.

Today I am grateful for the man who indicated he put my bag behind the counter. There was a lot of important and personal belongings inside.

Today I am grateful for karma.