Daily Suggestions

Daily Suggestions

They are daily for a reason.

What if I don’t drink any water today? Does my body hydrate itself?

What happens if I don’t brush my teeth in the morning? Do they clean themselves?

What if I don’t wash my hands with soap? Does the bacteria just jump off?

No

These are but a few “suggestions” that better my physical health. If I don’t do them, it will be to my own physical detriment in some way or another. And the longer I neglect them, the more they disintegrate. They are all suggestions in a sense that nobody forces me to do them, yet I do them day after day. They have become non-negotiable habits.

But what of my spiritual health? The very thing that brings me serenity, humility, courage, acceptance, sanity, happiness, gratitude, honesty, faith, forgiveness and love. Why would I neglect my spiritual growth? Well I did for decades. I was stuck in ‘self’ and quite simply my life as a result wasn’t pretty reading. Not surprisingly, instead of living alongside the strengths above, I constantly lived in the spiritual malady with defects like resentment, fear, selfishness and dishonesty.

A quote on the word ‘spiritual’ from page 28 in the Orange Book reads ‘Simply stated, the word can be said to describe that characteristic of the human mind which is marked by the highest and finest qualities such as generosity, honesty, tolerance and humility.’

In my humble opinion, and bear in mind I know very little, this is what I get in return for embracing, taking advantage of and practicing each suggestion.

Prayer – humility, gratitude, thankfulness, selflessness, faith

Meditation – calmness, open-mindedness, serenity, mindfulness, high mindedness, spirituality

Gratitude List – gratitude, appreciation, serenity, happiness, contentment

Reading – wisdom, knowledge, open-mindedness, inspiration, motivation

Calling my Sponsor – honesty, willingness, commitment, humility, open-mindedness

Calling Two Members – selflessness, generosity, unity, service, love, compassion, kindness

Inventory – honesty, self-honesty, humility, self-evaluation, looking for the good

The Daily Suggestions, as they are fondly known, aren’t just thrown together without any thought. They are proven. They have worked for thousands of others. They each have the ability to take me out of self and better my spiritual health. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t want to go a day without sleeping, why would I want to skip on suggestions that give so much back?

Spiritual health is not something I can reach, collect the certificate, and then put down again. Like going to the gym, I can’t get spiritually fit, stop working it and expect to stay that way. I need to look after and nurture it. They say ‘faith without works is dead’, well so is my spiritual health. My illness does not stop. To quote a fellow, ‘my illness is always there in the background doing press-ups’ waiting for me to take my foot off the gas.

Hence these suggestions are daily.

Disclaimer – other than the quote from the Orange Book the views above are expressed by me, an addict who cannot manage his own life, they are not the view of any fellowship as a whole, so take it as you please with a big pinch of salt 😉

Terms and conditions – the daily suggestions work best when part of a bigger program including the 12 steps, 2 home meetings with service and sponsorship 😉

My Ego Vs My Spiritual Self: The Forty Two Year Wars

My Ego Vs My Spiritual Self: The Forty Two Year Wars

For decades my ego enjoyed landslide victories in this war. So cunning were it’s triumphs I didn’t even know it sat upon the throne in complete control. Like a ghost puppet it pulled my strings into the darkest of places and mis-shaped my life.

Three years ago, at Rock Bottom, my desperate spiritual self produced a challenge that hurt my ego. Until this day any attempt had been nonchalantly brushed off with ease. This small cut, produced not by force but by a leap of faith, was a glimmer of hope and changed history.

Since that fateful day my spiritual self has not rested. With daily diligent effort, it’s army led by gallant knights such as Sir Love and Sir Humility has continued to grow with new soldiers enrolling every day. Coinciding with this progress, my ego has deflated into a regressing gang of pirates succeeding only in little ambushes. Insidious jabs which remind my spiritual self not to get too comfortable.

Update….

Further to yesterday “Can we have a chat later?”

So yesterday’s chat came and went. The content of the conversation was what I expected. I can say with a degree of certainty, based on personal experience, that had that conversation happened maybe a year ago, maybe even less, the way I reacted to it and the way the conversation flowed would have been completely different. I am not going to go into the nitty-gritty of what was spoken but it’s safe to say my old self would have hated the situation. Defects of character would have burst out of me like fireworks – arrogance, Intolerance, impatience, anger, self pity, judgement. These are just a few. Yesterday I spoke of how different my thoughts and feelings were in the build up to this conversation. I felt incredibly connected yesterday and it’s this connection that enabled me to think like that. Because the preceding hours weren’t filled with fear and self I was able to prepare spiritually and put into practice all of what the 12 steps have taught me. Subsequently none of those defects of character came out. Instead I sat, I listened, I really listened, I considered, I understood and I learnt a great deal. No harm was felt and none was caused. Feeling very blessed.

“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 😉

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 29/06/2019

Gratitude List 29/06/2019

Today I am grateful for the English weather. Sometimes cold, sometimes hot, sometimes wet, sometimes dry and highly possible to experience all four seasons in one day. But it’s rarely severe to the point lives are lost.

Today I am grateful to be up with the birds and on my way to better myself with some recovery work. An early morning spiritual gym workout!

Today I am grateful my willingness to put in diligent effort is as strong as it was when I started my spiritual journey two and a bit years ago.

Today I am grateful to be able to close my eyes wherever I am (currently on a bus) and improve my conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation.

Today I am grateful for how much God has been speaking to me (through God’s conscience – gut instinct) and for how much I have been listening to him.

Today I am grateful for recently witnessing how recovery has helped people come through some very difficult times. It’s absolutely miraculous.

Today I am grateful for who I am. For my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. My outlook upon my self has completely changed.

Today I am grateful that despite with being happy with who I am, I will not stop working. For two reasons, one I can still progress further – I am no saint, and two if I stop I will surely degress.

Today I am grateful that one thought of recovery and all of a sudden my gratitude list goes off on another spiritual tangen. I started with the weather! Can’t help it! I have so much gratitude for it.

Today I am grateful for all the poeple in my life who have helped shape me into the person I am today. Good or bad experiences, I have learnt from you all.

Gratitude List 23/06/2019

Gratitude List 23/06/2019

Today I am grateful for the lovely walk around the beautiful Walthamstow Wetlands.

Today I am grateful for the shots of blue and orange as a kingfisher darted across our viewpoint.

Today I am grateful for my colleagues at work. The teamwork and comradery is amazing.

Today I am grateful for the messages I receive on a daily basis from like minded fellows.

Today I am grateful I was able to surrender to God’s will tonight and listen to His guidance.

Today I am grateful I am not sleeping on the street. Over the last few hours, I’ve seen many who are.

Today I am grateful for the tube drivers who are up early and ready to take me home!

Today I am grateful for my bed. I am looking forward to climbing into it.

Today I am grateful that my girlfriend, my children and their love will be there when I wake up.

Today I am grateful to get on my knees and thank God for everything I have and for his continued guidance and strength.

Walthamstow Wetlands