Gratitude List 27/01/2019: The Jaywalker

Gratitude List 27/01/2019

Last night served up a reminder of one of the many stories that helped my recovery. Almost 2 years ago, I began to go through the Big Book. I don’t have a drinking problem (yet) but it made no difference at all that the book was initially written for the alcoholic. By simply substituting one word to another I could relate to the contents almost 100%. The words are magic to me and played a huge role in changing my life. Today I am grateful for this amazing text. Text that, despite there being 4 editions, has been left untouched (bar the experiences shared in the back) for 90 years. Today I would like to share the story of the Jaywalker. This story helped me understand that all addictions share huge similarities, and therefore share one solution.

“Our behavior is as absurd and incomprehensible with respect to the first drink as that of an individual with a passion, say, for jay-walking. He gets a thrill out of skipping in front of fast-moving vehicles. He enjoys himself for a few years in spite of friendly warnings. Up to this point you would label him as a foolish chap having queer ideas of fun. Luck then deserts him and he is slightly injured several times in succession. You would expect him, if he were normal, to cut it out. Presently he is hit again and this time has a fractured skull. Within a week after leaving the hospital a fast-moving trolley car breaks his arm. He tells you he has decided to stop jay-walking for good, but in a few weeks he breaks both legs.”

“On through the years this conduct continues, accompanied by his continual promises to be careful or to keep off the streets altogether. Finally, he can no longer work, his wife gets a divorce and he is held up to ridicule. He tries every known means to get the jaywalking idea out of his head. He shuts himself up in an asylum, hoping to mend his ways. But the day he comes out he races in front of a fire engine, which breaks his back. Such a man would be crazy, wouldn’t he?”

“You may think our illustration is too ridiculous. But is it? We, who have been through the wringer, have to admit if we substituted alcoholism or any addiction for jay-walking, the illustration would fit exactly. However intelligent we may have been in other respects, where alcohol has been involved, we have been strangely insane. It’s strong language but isn’t it true?”

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.