Gratitude List 05/02/2019: The Simple Things

Gratitude List 05/02/2019

When recovery becomes such a big part of one’s life, its hard not to include it within a gratitude list. Well it is for me. Today I will express in words the simple things I should be grateful for on a daily basis.

Today I am grateful for my living body – my beating heart, functioning organs, pumping blood, breathing lungs and active brain.

Today I am grateful for senses – my sight, touch, smell, taste and my hearing.

Today I am grateful for the possibilities, opportunities, choices and my abilities and freedom to take advantage of them.

Today I am grateful I can be at peace and sleep well. (the one question I answered ‘no’ to)

Today I am grateful for the food in the cupboards and the water I have on tap.

Today I am grateful for my job – the income, the security, the knowledge, the skills and the camaraderie.

Today I am grateful for my home sweet home – my dry bed, the hearing, the hot water, the comfort, the memories.

Today I am grateful for the people I have in my life – my children, my girlfriend, my family, my friends, my colleagues, the bus driver and the people I pass on the street.

Today I am grateful for my upbringing – my education, the love, the support, the guidance, the safety, the memories.

Today I am grateful for my life and the lessons its taught me so far.

Today I am grateful for my characteristics, in particular honesty, tolerance, consideration, selflessness and unity.

Today I am grateful for my emotions – in particular love, forgiveness, empathy, serenity and happiness.

Today I am grateful for my greater powers – their support, their guidance, their direction, their strength, their power, my open-mindedness, my willingness, my belief, my faith.

Today I am grateful for life. An absolute miracle that surrounds me and my world.

I could go on and on….. And yes, without recovery I wouldn’t have acknowledged any of this. So recovery has made it again! 😉

Gratitude List 04/02/2019: Continued…

Gratitude List 04/02/2019

Further to yesterday.

I woke this morning feeling a little drained, emotionally drained. Yesterday, I was met with my biggest test yet since being in recovery. Despite the challenge, as time has passed, I have been able to see plenty of positives. That has continued to be the case today and, upon reflection, I am full of gratitude.

Today I am grateful that this challenge has not led to me acting out in a negative way. Who knows what this could’ve led to. Working the program means I was less vulnerable.

Today I am grateful that my humility and consideration overpowered any resentments that briefly came to mind.

Today I am grateful I have been in recovery for the last year. Had I not been, I seriously believe I would be in a very, very dark place today.

Today I am grateful that my reaction has been to carry on as normal – which has been to work the program in my daily life. Being in recovery means that no desperate or drastic changes to my behaviour were necessary.

Today I am grateful I intuitively knew how to deal with this test (that would’ve previously baffled me). On reflection, the tools I have gained through this program were working without any conscience thought of my own. It was a miracle.

Today I am grateful my ego and self-will was not in control. Instead, my greater power carried me through. Under pressure, it would’ve definitely been the other way round. Does this mean my natural behaviour/reactions have changed?

Today I am grateful that this has reinforced my faith in this program and that ‘it works if I work it.’

Today I am grateful for that ‘moment of silence to remind myself why I am here’. I’m here because I need to be!

Today I am grateful I am not alone. Thanks to the honesty I have practiced, I have been able to share this situation with my partner, my fellows and my sponsor. Such a blessing to have this support instead of suffering alone.

Today I am mostly grateful that two people, who I severely harmed in the past, have had some release. They have been suffering and this would have been a big lift for both of them. I pray that my future conduct will assist in further amends.

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.

Gratitude List 26/01/2019: Exactly where I should be

Gratitude List 26/01/2019

What if Bill’s brother-in-law took him to a different hospital? One without Dr Silkworth?

What if Rowland and Celebra went to the wrong court house?

What if Bill never answered that call from Ebby?

What if Bill wasn’t compelled to help another alcoholic in Dr Bob?

What if the fellowship didn’t publish the Big Book?

What if there wasn’t a chance meeting in January 1957?

What if the publicity by a prominent newspaper columnist and TV commentator wasn’t favourable?

What if GA decided not to use the 12 Step Program derived from AA?

What if my friends had lent me the money I begged for?

What if ‘Question 20’ was more than just a fleeting thought?

What if I didn’t attend the meeting when I heard that strong message? When the coin finally dropped?

What if my now sponsor wasn’t present to witness my desperation?

I am where I am today because of everything that has happened. The above situations are just a few that have led me to recovery. If just one went differently I may not be enjoying life as much as I am right now. I might still be in action. Furthermore, outside of recovery, millions of scenarios, good and bad, have played out and each one has had a bearing on my current circumstances. I truly believe I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing.

Today I am grateful for my past and where it has taken me.

The line

Gratitude List 23/01/2019

Today I am grateful for poems like this…

Every minute someone leaves this world behind.

Age has nothing to do with it.

We are all in this the line without realizing it.

We never know how many people are before us. We can not move to the back of the line.

We can not step out of the line.

We can not avoid the line.

So while we wait in line –

Make moments count.

Make a difference.

Make the call.

Make priorities.

Make the time.

Make your gifts known.

Make a nobody feel like a somebody.

Make your voice heard.

Make the small things big.

Make someone smile.

Make the change.

Make yourself a priority.

Make love.

Make up.

Make peace.

Make sure to tell your people they are loved.

Make waves.

Make sure to have no regrets.

Less vulnerable

Gratitude List 22/01/2019

When I look back at the person I once was, it’s not surprising I did some of the things I did. I was riddled with defects – dishonesty, resentment, fear, intolerance, discontentment, courseness, irritability, lustfulness, laziness, arrogance, impatience, selfishness, self-centeredness etc etc etc the list goes on and on. Of course I had strengths of character too, but they were overwhelmed by the defects that were being empowered by my ego and controlled by my self-will. As a result I was very vulnerable to a number of negative reactions.

Through working the recovery program I have learnt how to lessen my defects and strengthen my strengths. Through practicing the principles in my daily life, having faith in a greater power and completing some simple suggestions I gain spirituality. I am improving as a person and that spirituality surrounds me like an invisible forcefield. This, along with the strengths of character that now play a more significant role in my life, I am less vulnerable to my negative reactions that more often than not, used to harm me and others.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to relapsing.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to unnecessarily snapping at my kids.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to telling a lie.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to people pleasing.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to fear and resentment.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to being arrested for a dishonest act.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to acting out on my lustful thoughts.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to living on the streets.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to going insane.

Today I am grateful I am less vulnerable to self harm or suicide.

The last couple of years in recovery have proven I cannot take my foot off the pedal in terms of my recovery. If I do I simply become vulnerable to all of the above and I do not want any of them anymore!

Morals

Gratitude List 21/01/2019

Morals – ‘standards of behaviour; principles of right and wrong.’

I once lived very few morals. Its not like I purposely went about life without them, it was more a case of having very little awareness. Going through the ‘Who Am I?’ book educated me. It taught me about the strengths and defects of character I possess and the morals behind them.

I am not a Saint nor will I ever be, but when I practice good morals, it makes me feel good, and when I act with bad morals it makes me feel bad. It’s as simple as that. So knowing what I should be doing and what I shouldn’t hugely benefits my recovery.

Today I am grateful I am aware it’s morally right to love. Thanks to this awareness I strive to express love as much as possible and forgive as soon as I can.

Today I am grateful I am aware it’s morally wrong to gossip and talk behind someone’s back. Thanks to this awareness I strive to not partake.

Today I am grateful I am aware it’s morally right to see the good in people. Thanks to this awareness I will remind myself when I’m only seeing the bad.

Today I am grateful I am aware it’s morally wrong to act like a complete hooligan when watching football. Thanks to this awareness I strive to just enjoy the beautiful game.

Today I am grateful I am aware it’s morally right to be tolerant. Thanks to this awareness I strive to take a deep breath, remain calm and let it go.

Today I am grateful I am aware it’s morally wrong to watch pornography and look at women in a lustful way in the street. Thanks to this awareness I strive to treat women with more respect.

Today I am grateful I am aware it’s morally right to be honest. Thanks to this awareness I strive to tell the truth, be sincere and omit nothing.

Today I am grateful I am aware it’s morally wrong to blame and judge people. Thanks to this awareness I strive to remain humble and accept people for who they are.

Today I am grateful I am aware it’s morally right to show gratitude towards the things I have. Thanks to this awareness I strive to expect nothing.

My reactions

Gratitude List 20/01/2019

How I react to life determines the effect it has on me. At this very moment, things are occurring and I am reacting. My reactions are determining my current emotions.

Today I am grateful I react to things that could scare me by facing those fears, writing and sharing about them, action and prayer.

Today I am grateful I react to things that lead to projection and thinking the worse by practicing mindfulness and gratitude.

Today I am grateful I react to things that worry me by accepting the things I cannot change.

Today I am grateful I react to things that cause resentment by looking at the harm its caused me, where I was to blame and some action.

Today I am grateful I react to things that cause me pain by remaining humble and using my courage to seek help and guidance.

Today I am grateful I react to things that stress me out by taking a deep breath, staying calm and reminding myself of the serenity prayer.

Today I am grateful I react to things I want to procrastinate by just doing them and remembering how good it feels when I do and how bad it feels when I don’t.

Today I am grateful I react to things that tempt me by connecting with a power that is greater than me and doing something I know will strengthen that connection.

Today I am grateful I react to things that could lead to self pity by looking around at what I have and where I have come from.

With hindsight

Gratitude List 19/01/2019

It occured to me recently that a lot of what I enjoy in my life today is due to my past actions. That’s obvious, you may think and that would be true. I didn’t suddenly grasp happiness, serenity and hope from thin air did I?

Most of these actions were given to me as suggestions. Suggestions to recover. Suggestions that have been proven to work. Despite this, I met each suggestion with scrutiny, some I even resented. But something deep inside my conscience told me to take a leap of faith and just do them, no questions asked. Maybe it was the gift of desperation I had at that very moment? The fact I would try anything to make me feel better.

Today I am grateful I call my sponsor. With hindsight I have come to realise I have been practicing honesty and humility as I share my difficulties and humbly ask for guidance.

Today I am grateful I am grateful I read recovery based literature. With hindsight I have come to realise my knowledge surrounding my illness has been growing. The words have also played a major role in my current motivation and inspiration.

Today I am grateful I do these lists. With hindsight I have come to realise that gratitude has been replacing expectations which has led to increased happiness and serenity.

Today I am grateful I attend regular meetings and take up service positions. With hindsight I have come to realise that service and unity are absolute key components in the solution to my illness. Togetherness has been replacing isolation.

Today I am grateful I pick up the phone and call other fellows. With hindsight I have come to realise that thinking of others is a great way to take me out of self. I have been practicing selflessness.

Today I am grateful I do daily inventories. With hindsight I have come to realise the prompting questions highlight my shortcomings. Again, I get to practice honesty and in return I have been gaining humility and content for my evening prayer.

Today I am grateful I pray and meditate. With hindsight I have come to realise my connection has grown from willingness, to belief, to faith.

Each benefit I get from doing these suggestions has enabled me to grow within spiritual lines. It’s this spiritual growth that will prevent me from a relapse, keep me grateful, make me a better person and allow me enjoy life.

Lifestyle and habit

Gratitude List 18/01/2019

Habit – ‘A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.’

Through recovery’s design for life my regular ‘tendencies’ and ‘practices’ are changing. The once ‘settled’ bad habits are being disturbed. Some have been completely eradicated.

Today I am grateful the answer to breaking a habit of a lifetime is quite straightforward. That doesn’t make it easy, it takes diligent effort and action. It appears to me that every bad habit has an opposite, a good habit that counters the bad – commonly known in recovery as liabilities and assets or defects and strengths. For example, if I regularly practice honesty through my words, actions and behaviours then by default my tendency to be dishonest will be less regular. This will naturally lead to the unsettling of dishonesty as a bad habit and the forming of a new positive habit in honesty. Unfortunately, as my past has proven it can work in reverse too.

Today I am grateful that connecting with God through prayer and meditation is becoming habitual. This is the most important habit for me to possess as it takes me out of self. It’s my self-will that has a tendency to practice the bad habits, so in effect, the more I practice my connection with God, the easier it will be for me to practice any other good habits I maybe striving for.

Today I am grateful for the term ‘non negotiable’. This term has helped me create the good habits that bring so much joy to my current life. I can’t think of many good habits that weren’t initially difficult to do regularly. Being honest when I’ve consistently lied for decades is not easy. Praying when I’m not sure who or what I’m praying to is not easy. Calling other fellows when it feels so unnatural is not easy. Non negotiable, means I do it nevertheless, no matter how I feel. The last two and a bit years have proved to me that no matter how much I resist a good practice, if I just do it, without question, then a habit is always formed. As a result, the once difficulty disappears and in its place comes an understanding, enjoyment and not to forget, the benefits of serenity and happiness.