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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Gratitude List 27/03/2019: Self-love

Gratitude List 27/03/2019

Self-love – regard for one’s own well-being and happiness

Good morning all. Presently, I am looking after myself – mentally, physically and spiritually and it feels good. I say presently, because I know through a lifetime’s worth of experience how easily it can change. The difference today is I have some tools which I believe can prolong and also enhance this feeling of self-love.

Today I am grateful I am currently eating better. I’ve come to realise how much and how badly I eat in between meals and how insane my thinking can be around it all. Today is just my 9th day abstinent from snacking but I feel so much better for it. I am also aware of trying to fill my body with decent, nutritious food (and drink) that is good for me.

Today I am grateful I am growing spiritually. Whether it be through prayer and meditation, reading inspirational literature or the practicing of spiritual principles like honesty, kindness and love. By doing so I am filling my mind with peace, happiness, gratitude and serenity as well as improving my conscious contact with God as I understand Him.

Today I am grateful I have the willingness to learn. I want to learn something new, like a new language. I fully admit I haven’t properly started yet and it’s all words no action but at least the desire is there. What I am doing on a daily basis is remaining teachable. Life is a daily education and today I am open to learn from both the ups and the downs.

Today I am grateful I have started to exercise a little more. I am conscious of the need to remain active, even if its getting off my chair and walking around a bit, walking up the escalators or doing a bit of gardening. I’ve gone back to the gym but I need to get back for the second time before I lose momentum – I know what I’m like!

Today I am grateful I have started to look after my health by getting myself to the doctor when I need to. In the past I would surpress my fears and simply hope the pain or discomfort would go away. Today I am more willing to get the professional help I need. Next up, the dentist!

Today I am grateful I choose to look becomingly. Well, I wouldn’t say I took too much care at 5:30 this morning but I and my clothes are at the very least washed and clean. I still need to take the time to sort out my crazy hair but it’s a far cry from the dishevelled look I used to grace the world with!

Today I am grateful I am filling the voids of my day with positive action. No longer am I wasting time doing s**t (sorry couldn’t think of a more appropriate word) that does nothing for my personal growth. I have a busy life so these moments are precious to me.

Today I am grateful that if I was to dissect myself right now I’d like to think my body is predominantly full of goodness. Goodness in terms of my mentality, my physicality and my spirituality.

Gratitude List 22/02/2019: Greater Powers

Gratitude List 22/02/2019

I hope this makes sense…. There’s a point in there somewhere…

Came to believe in power greater than myself. The second step in the program and one I used to stumble on.

Step one was far easier – admitting I was powerless over my addiction and that my life had become unmanageable. But by completing step one, hadn’t I already acknowledged a power greater than myself – my addiction? I’m not suggesting that anyone should hand their lives over to their compulsions, that’s what got me into trouble in the first place. But what of the polar opposite – recovery? In my own experience recovery has overpowered my addiction, it is stronger. Therefore the concept of ‘recovery’ can definitely be one of my greater powers. Recovery is a God of my own understanding. Like my addiction, recovery has given me experiences I never thought possible, so making a decision to turn my will over to the concept of ‘recovery’ is an easy choice and one I have faith in.

My addiction is but one of the many things I can struggle with. My life was unmanageable because of them. Each of them can overpower me if my spiritual connection is low. But today I am grateful for the fact that every negative has an opposite which is positive and even more powerful. I am therefore, surrounded by things that are more powerful than me.

Where there’s addiction there is recovery.

Where there is insanity there is sanity.

Where there is fear there is serenity.

Where there is isolation there is unity.

Where there is self there is selfless.

Where there is dishonesty there is sincerity.

Where there is arrogance there is humility.

Where there’s hate there is love.

Where there is a rock bottom there is hope.

Where there is death there is life.

I would happily get down on my knees and pray to any of them. And do it with a faith that help will come.

Gratitude List 07/02/2019: I am me, inside and out.

Gratitude List 07/02/2019

Today’s reflection of the day spoke of honesty. As a result I find myself reflecting on how honesty has come into my life.

My life prior to recovery overflowed with dishonesty. It infiltrated my thoughts, words, behaviours and actions. For me, having a days abstinence with regards to dishonesty is as big a miracle as a day off from my addiction.

Today I am grateful I am honest with myself. Accepting who I am, what I do, when I have power and when I need help.

Today I am grateful I no longer wear a different mask to suit different situations. I am me, inside and out.

Today I am grateful I am more honest with others. Through my thoughts, words, behaviours and actions.

Today I am grateful I do not fear being honest. I used to fear the consequences which were always much smaller than those resulting from dishonesty.

Today I am grateful I rarely answer ‘yes’ on my daily inventory when I ask myself if I’ve been dishonest. As I said, a day of honesty is a miracle for me.

Today I am grateful I don’t manipulate people anymore. No more do I twist and turn people’s emotions and decisions to get what I want.

Today I am grateful I can be honest with another with regards to how they made me feel (if that’s what God has guided me to do – to use courage instead of acceptance).

Today I am grateful, an honest life is much simpler.