The fear of being alone brings strange results. It may cause us to cling to arrangements and relationships that are unsatisfactory or destructive. Some of us become enablers for loved ones who are still drinking; quite often this can involve putting up with abuse we shouldn’t have to endure. We endure such relationships because we fear we’ll be alone and defenseless without them. We may even put up with friends who are manipulative or treacherous because we can’t visualize having happier, healthier friendships. When we recognize that we are holding on to unsatisfactory relationships for such reasons, we need to apply the program more diligently in our own lives. Usually, we need more self esteem–a belief that we deserve satisfactory relationships. We do not have to be alone, but neither do we have to endure what amounts to abuse and rejection. Whether I’m with people or alone today, I’ll know that all of my relationships should be satisfactory for everybody involved. I’ll let my Higher Power guide me to the relationships that are right for me.
Posts Tagged ‘Daily Recovery Readings’
Spirituality involves our attitudes and perceptions as well as our prayers. Spirituality requires a realistic awareness of what we need and what we have been given. Spirituality sees beyond the problems into the solution. Hope is a feeling that is based on a spiritual perception of life that shuns apathy and negativity. Everything can be used for good if it is perceived realistically; destructive experiences, painful moments and failed relationships can all be used to create a new tomorrow. The hope that stems from our ability to change requires a realistic understanding of what has happened. No aspect of life should be wasted because it can point to a glorious tomorrow.
One exercise that I practice is to try for a full inventory of my blessings and then for a right acceptance of the many gifts that are mine–both temporal and spiritual. Here I try to achieve a state of joyful gratitude. When such a brand of gratitude is repeatedly affirmed and pondered, it can finally displace the natural tendency to congratulate myself on whatever progress I may have been enabled to make in some areas of living. I try hard to hold fast to the truth that a full and thankful heart cannot entertain great conceits. When brimming with gratitude, one’s heartbeat must surely result in outgoing love, the finest emotion that we can never know
So long as I am sober I know that I am successful. But I also know that my sobriety is more than keeping away from the first drink. My sobriety requires that I be a creative and successful human being in all areas of my life — in my relationships, at work, with my family, my business ventures and in my acts of charity. The road to success is exactly that –it is a “road” that I am traveling along, and I will be on it until the day I die. I suppose the danger is in thinking that I have arrived. Then I get complacent and apathetic, I slow down and the energy for recovery is diminished. Today I know that I am successful so long as I keep moving along with my spiritual program
I am an individual. I am unique. I am special. Today I am able to enjoy my difference. I do not need to hide in alcohol, food or drugs. I do not have to put energy into being the same as friends or neighbors. I do not need to please people in order to feel good about myself. Today I am my own person. God made us varied and different in so many ways, and yet so many of us spend our time trying to be the same. The effort exerted to achieve the lowest common denominator is exactly that: the lowest. My spiritual program demands that I be honest with who I am and what I feel. My self-worth is rooted in my individuality. In my difference is my soul.
Once we are entirely ready to have our character defects removed, many of us are entirely ready! Ironically, that’s when the trouble really starts. The more we struggle to rid ourselves of a particular defect, the stronger that shortcoming seems to become. It is truly humbling to realize that not only are we powerless over our addiction, but even over our own defects of character. Finally, it clicks. The Seventh Step doesn’t suggest that we rid ourselves of our shortcomings, but that we ask our Higher Power to rid us of them. The focus of our daily prayers begins to shift. Admitting our inability to perfect ourselves, we plead with our Higher Power to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. And we wait. For many days, our program may stay on Step Seven. We may experience no sudden, total relief from defects – but we often do experience a subtle shift in our perceptions of ourselves and others. Through the eyes of the Seventh Step, we begin to see those around us in a less critical way. We know that, just like us, many of them are struggling with shortcomings they would dearly love to be rid of. We know that, just like us, they are powerless over their own defects. We wonder if they, too, humbly pray to have their defects removed. We begin evaluating others as we have learned to evaluate ourselves, with an empathy born of humility. As we watch others, and as we keep watch on ourselves, we can finally say, “I understand.”
Our happiness is not a present someone else holds in his or her hands. Our well-being is not held by another to be given or withheld at whim. If we reach out and try to force someone to give us what we believe he or she holds, we will be disappointed. We will discover that it is an illusion. The person didn’t hold it. He or she never shall. That beautifully wrapped box with the ribbon on it that we believed contained our happiness that someone was holding – it’s an illusion! In those moments when we are trying to reach out and force someone to stop our pain and create our joy, if we can find the courage to stop flailing about and instead stand still and deal with our issues, we will find our happiness. Yes, it is true that if someone steps on our foot, he or she is hurting us and therefore holds the power to stop our pain by removing his or her foot. But the pain is still ours. And so is the responsibility to tell someone to stop stepping on our feet. Healing will come when we’re aware of how we attempt to use others to stop our pain and create our happiness. We will heal from the past. We will receive insights that can change the course of our relationships. We will see that, all along, our happiness and our well-being have been in our hands. We have held that box. The contents are ours for the opening
“We’ll love you until you can learn to love yourself!” These words, heard so often in our meetings, promise a day we look forward to eagerly – the day when we’ll know how to love ourselves. Self-esteem, we all want this elusive quality as soon as we hear about it. Some of us seem to stumble upon it accidentally, while others embark on a course of action complete with affirmations made to our reflections in the mirror. But fix-it-yourself techniques and trendy psychological cures can only take us so far. There are some definite, practical steps we can take to show love for ourselves, whether we “feel” that love or not. We can take care of our personal responsibilities. We can do nice things for ourselves, as we would for a lover or a friend. We can start paying attention to our own needs. We can even pay attention to the qualities that we cherish in our friends – qualities like intelligence and humor – and look for those same qualities in ourselves. We’re sure to find that we really are lovable people, and once we do that, we’re well on our way.
When we refuse to take responsibility for our lives, we give away all of our personal power. We need to remember that we are powerless over our addiction, not our personal behavior. Many of us have misused the concept of powerlessness to avoid making decisions or to hold onto things we had outgrown. We have claimed powerlessness over our own actions. We have blamed others for our circumstances rather than taking positive action to change those circumstances. If we continue to avoid responsibility by claiming that we are “powerless;’ we set ourselves up for the same despair and misery we experienced in our active addiction. The potential for spending our recovery years feeling like victims is very real. Instead of living our lives by default, we can learn how to make responsible choices and take risks. We may make mistakes, but we can learn from these mistakes. A heightened awareness of ourselves and an increased willingness to accept personal responsibility gives us the freedom to change, to make choices, and to grow.
In our active addiction, we usually did not pray for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out. On the contrary, most of our prayers were for God to get us out of the mess we had made for ourselves. We expected miracles on demand. That kind of thinking and praying changes when we begin practicing the Eleventh Step. The only way out of the trouble we have made for ourselves is through surrender to a Power greater than ourselves. In recovery, we learn acceptance. We seek knowledge in our prayers and meditation of how we are to greet the circumstances that come our way. We stop fighting, surrender our own ideas of how things should be, ask for knowledge, and listen for the answers. The answers usually won’t come in a flash of white light accompanied by a drum roll. Usually, the answers will come merely with a quiet sense of assurance that our lives are on course, that a Power greater than ourselves is guiding us on our paths