“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 for Gratitude

As I’ve previously mentioned, I have decided to not post my daily gratitude list anymore. In doing so, I have to admit, that my gratitude lists have become more authentic.

It’s not that I ever listed something I was not grateful for, but what I wrote was influenced by the simple knowledge that I was posting it for others to read. What I realised, is that I began to write lists to be of service to others and carry a message of recovery. I also took into consideration how someone might react to certain things and would therefore be careful about what I wrote and how I wrote it.

Neither ‘being of service’ or ‘consideration for others’ are bad, in fact they are two things I thrive for on a daily basis. But despite my good intentions, they did have an effect on what I wrote and therefore my gratitude wasn’t always entirely authentic. I can continue to be of service to others and continue to use consideration, but in other ways.

I have also come to realise that ‘people pleasing’ had a huge part to play in this. If I didn’t suffer from people pleasing then my gratitude lists would have stayed true. They wouldn’t have been swayed in the way they were. Again, wanting to please people is not a bad thing, unless by doing so it effects my own recovery, and through tainting my gratitude lists, it had.

Today I am grateful that my gratitude contains gratitude and nothing else.

Gratitude for gratitude.

And just like that, I feel better

It’s been a funny day so far. In fact it’s been a funny week. I feel like I’ve been walking a tightrope and the smallest of gusts have been able to knock me off. Despite the beautiful English weather it has been a bit breezy!

It’s not global warming bringing this unwanted force, but the unrelenting force of nature commonly known as ‘self’. I’ve been a tad off my program, mainly due to being super busy at work, but boy have I felt the difference. Quite simply, less of God’s will and more of my own. I think God has a sense of humour, because life’s challenges seem to coincide with my occasional dips. Consequently, I don’t tend to deal with these as well as I would like. Or, is it the fact that when I’m on my program and I am spiritually well, I deal with the same challenges that much better that I don’t even notice them? Food for thought.

Either way, upon reflection I can take some huge positives. In comparison to just a few years ago I am a walking, breathing miracle! My instinctive reactions have progressed so much and my awareness of arising defects has too. It is in these struggles that recovery really shines through.

Quick side story, so into this blog that I’ve just missed my stop!! I need to focus otherwise I’ll do it again on my return route, I have previous in this!

Anyway, after writing this I am in a completely different mood. Feeling blessed.

Something new….

Yesterday was the first time in a long, long time I didn’t blog my daily gratitude list. It’s not that I didn’t do one, I just decided not to post it. The lists will continue to be a vital part of my recovery program, but from today, my blog will look somewhat different. I’m not entirely sure what I will blog about, I’ll just have to wait and find out….

Saturday just gone took me and my partner to a friends 40th birthday party. Prior to going we had already resigned ourselves to the fact we were going to have a few drinks and promptly booked a room to assist in our post night out rehabilitation. Both my partner and I are blessed in a sense that we do not (currently) have an issue with drinking alcohol. We don’t drink that much, on average we drink a unit or two every couple of months and nights out like this are a rare occasion.

So Saturday came and went and despite my amateur status I surprisingly held my drink well. I was able to control the amount I was drinking – control being something I cannot exercise in other aspects of my life. As a result, I felt feel physically well (ish) in the morning.

It’s now Monday morning and as I reflect on my Sunday I have realised how much the alcohol had indeed effected me. Although I didn’t suffer with the stereo-typical physical symptoms of a hangover I did suffer spiritually and emotionally. I just wasn’t myself all day. I was argumentative, snappy and bloody lazy! Although the latter can be a common Sunday occurrence.

I’ve always known that alcohol is a drug, but yesterday was the first time I’ve really felt it and admitted it. It shouldn’t be a revelation but like many other ‘in your face obvious things’ I’ve discovered in recovery, it was.

Gratitude List 21/03/2019: Right this second

Gratitude List 21/03/2019

Right this second I am tired. I have another long day ahead of me. I’m fighting the urge to eat a crappy breakfast. I have a few niggling fears. I can’t be bothered. It’s cold. It’s grey. Yes I am a little grumpy!

But…

Right this second I am grateful for all the seconds in my day. If need be, each one is an opportunity to change my direction, flip my mood, look with different eyes and bring a smile to my face.

Right this second I am grateful to have the knowledge and tools to lift my spirits.

Right this second I am grateful to be alive.

Right this second I am grateful to be abstinent from my compulsions.

Right this second I am grateful to be in recovery.

Right this second I am grateful to be in good health.

Right this second I am grateful to be on my way to a job.

Right this second I am grateful to have a home to return to.

Right this second I am grateful to be able to walk, talk, taste, feel, smell, hear and see.

Right this second I am grateful to have food in the cupboard, water on tap, money in my pocket and clothes on my back.

Right this second I am grateful to be sane and growing in serenity.

Right this second I am grateful to have a Higher Power in my life.

Right this second I am grateful to be writing this list. It has the power to change my mood.

Right this second I am grateful to be grateful.

Gratitude List 19/02/2019: Awareness

Gratitude List 19/02/2019

This gratitude list refers to my awareness of a particular struggle I’m going through. At this point, I have an awareness and a desire, but no power. Its about time I held my hands up and admitted defeat again. This powerlessness refers to food, and some (including me) may think ‘oh well, it’s not that bad.’ But there are so many similarities between this and my primary addiction and the concerning fact is the similarities are increasing. I need to be honest with myself and get this down in writing.

Today I am grateful I have a growing awareness of the certain’ trigger’ foods I need to abstain from.

Today I am grateful I have an awareness that despite my growing knowledge of certain trigger foods, I am powerlessness over that first purchase/pick up/bite.

Today I am grateful I have an awareness of my powerlessness over the phenomenon of craving. Once I start I cannot stop.

Today I am grateful I am aware I have crossed that invisible line into compulsive eating. I am now, not a normal eater.

Today I am grateful I have a growing awareness of the insanity around my thinking when it comes to my eating.

Today I am grateful I am aware that my compulsive eating is becoming more secretive. As soon as there’s an opportunity to be alone, my mind starts to get excited about what I can eat. I’ve felt this before!

Today I am grateful I have an awareness that being secretive means I’m being dishonest. Not just on a food front but I’m spending money I shouldn’t too.

Today I am grateful I have an awareness of the lack of fight and will power when it comes to eating.

Today I am grateful I am aware of that feeling of inevitability. Accepting I’ve already done the deed before I have. Truly baffling.

Today I am grateful I have an awareness of what I need to do (recovery, unity and service) and what I need to less of (trying to deal with it by myself).

Today I am grateful this awareness and self-honesty has given me some power. Going to Greggs on my way to work seemed inevitable earlier but I’ve managed to walk past with some fight to spare.

Gratitude List 15/02/2019: Defining moments

Gratitude List 15/02/2019

Defining moments.

There have been quite a few defining moments during my recovery.

Today I am grateful my three good friends who declined to lend me money. Initially I was so angry because I knew they had it. Thankfully two of them got together and spoke, one knew a little about addiction and knew the money wouldn’t go to good use.

Today I am grateful for being backed into a corner with no way out. The only way was to come clean. Had there been the slightest of gaps I would’ve got through it and caused even more destruction.

Today I am grateful for the unwarranted understanding and support I was given by so many people I’d harmed so much.

Today I am grateful for the female who decades ago made me aware of the fellowships. From that point on, I knew there was somewhere to go.

Today I am grateful for message of recovery which eventually sunk in through my ego. The realisation that despite some abstinence I hadn’t changed at all. I didn’t like who I was. The problem was me.

Today I am grateful for meeting my now sponsor for the first time and the leap of faith I took. He was there offering a selfless service but my ego wanted me to resist. My gut instinct was to think ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ I took that first step.

Today I am grateful for discovering a willingness to believe in a God of my own understanding. Quite simply, ‘who am I to say there’s no God’.

In hindsight, I can clearly see that these defining moments were acts of my God as I understand Him. I know He’s been with me all the way, doing what He needed to do for me to see the light. Since then I have experienced many other defining moments that Unity, Recovery and Service has brought me.