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.

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.

Gratitude List 23/05/2019: Overspill

Gratitude List 23/05/2019

Today I am grateful that by attending fellowship meetings I have learnt so much. What happens in those rooms is nothing short of magical. The blessing is, if I work it, the magic overspills into my life outside the rooms.

Today I am grateful that by sharing and listening in the rooms, I now communicate better with my family, friends and loved ones.

Today I am grateful that by continuously speaking aloud in the rooms, I am more confident in speaking in front of people at work.

Today I am grateful that by practicing anonymity in the rooms, I have become a more trustworthy friend and less of a gossip.

Today I am grateful that by being honest in the rooms, I am now more comfortable in telling my family how I feel.

Today I am grateful that by doing service for others in the rooms, I can do things for my girlfriend without expecting thanks.

Today I am grateful that by using open-mindedness in the rooms, I am able to remain open-minded when I come across spiritually sick people.

Today I am grateful that by reading Just For Today in the rooms, I am not afraid to enjoy the beautiful world around me.

Today I am grateful that by being vulnerable and admitting my own flaws in the rooms, I judge less the people who harm me.

Today I am grateful that by saying the serenity prayer at the end of each meeting, I can accept the things I cannot change, I can change the things I can and the wisdom in knowing the difference is forever growing.

Gratitude List 21/05/2019: WILL

Gratitude List 21/05/2019

Today I am grateful I am, to the best of my ability, doing all I can to be the best father I can possibly be.

Today I am grateful I am, to the best of my ability, doing all I can to be the best son I can possibly be.

Today I am grateful I am, to the best of my ability, doing all I can to be the best brother I can possibly be.

Today I am grateful I am, to the best of my ability, doing all I can to be the best boyfriend I can possibly be.

Today I am grateful I am, to the best of my ability, doing all I can to be the best friend I can possibly be.

Today I am grateful I am, to the best of my ability, doing all I can to be the best member of the community I can possibly be.

Today I am grateful I am, to the best of my ability, doing all I can to be the best colleague I can possibly be.

Today I am grateful I am, to the best of my ability, doing all I can to be the best fellow I can possibly be.

Today I am grateful I am, to the best of my ability, doing all I can to be the best version of me.

Today I am grateful I am aware that to be the best version and live a life beyond my wildest dreams, full of happiness, serenity and success, I need only focus on one thing – recovery.

From experience…

if I try to be the best father I WON’T.

if I try to be the best fellow I WON’T.

if I try to be happy I WON’T.

But….

if I hand over my life to a Greater Power

if I do my daily suggestions

if I complete and then work the steps

if I practice unity

if I serve others

I WILL grow spiritually and I WILL give myself the best possible chance.

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.