“Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievements
Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!” ~Kalidasa
These words, “And today, well-lived, makes yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope,” are a great way to start 2018. My recovery program teaches me how to live well. It encourages me to let go of any negative energy remaining from past events. To let go and move on to the present. I focus on what I can see now—what’s right in front of me—and count my blessings.
Tomorrow hasn’t happened yet and therein lies my hope for good things to come. But whatever happens in the future, if I remain grounded in the present, I will accept whatever comes my way with grace and, yes, even gratitude. Maybe it’s the retired teacher in me, but I see every challenge in my life as a lesson to be learned. And if I keep an open mind, the learning never stops.
Happy New Year, everyone! Blessings to you all!
What I love about spiritual recovery is looking outside of myself for power and inspiration. It’s a conscious choice I make. I’m not a victim of past mishaps or present circumstances, but I need help to guide me toward living well. So I turn to Spirit, God, Higher Power, whatever you want to call Him/Her. I’m grateful there is a Being to lead me out of my spiritual darkness. I’m happier if I actively turn my head toward the light and hold onto a positive attitude, regardless of the storms raging around me. If I keep my faith alive, I know that I’m going to be okay.
“Thank You For My Recovery”
I always end my shares at meetings with these words. Why am I thanking the people there for my recovery? Because they and so many others are the mirrors I need to see myself as I really am and grow.
Before my recovery in the rooms, I was depressed and very isolated. I still saw people, I worked, I had friends. But on what level was I operating a lot of the time? I was often very dishonest, with myself most of all. So I shuffled through life, bewildered, often feeling like a victim, sad, and unaware of the tools out there that, if utilized, gave me the power to be happy.
The 12-Steps and other tools I’ve picked up in the rooms are my guidepost for living. They encourage me to review my life but not to stay stuck in the past. They ask me to look at my imperfections, ways I may have hurt others, make amends to them, and move on. This is where the mirrors I mentioned are especially critical, why it’s helpful to have a sponsor and other friends who can give me honest feedback about myself. Help me to be accountable. To grow. Up. Shed any illusions about myself that may have been getting in my way.
I got my life back in the rooms. Regardless of the storms whirling around me, and we all know what that’s like, if I have myself and my health and wellbeing to anchor me, I’m much stronger to weather my difficulties.
From Courage to Change, January 11:
‘For me, alcoholism has proven to be a bittersweet legacy—bitter because of the pain I suffered, and sweet, because if it weren’t for that pain, I wouldn’t have searched for and found a better way of living.’ “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism”
Some say they’re grateful to the addict for bringing us into the rooms. It’s one of my life’s greatest ironies. How can I be grateful for my recovery when it was the loss of my daughter Angie that motivated me to embrace it?
There’s no easy answer to that question. So, I take refuge in my faith. I believe that God has a plan for us all, and his plan for me and Angie is being fulfilled.
“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today…unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy.” (The Big Book, p. 417)
I try every day to hold onto the serenity I’ve found. I want that for all of us struggling through the despair of addiction. Praying we can find some peace in the midst of this cruel disease, through any means possible.
From Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses, p. 174:
“Alcoholism has been called a robber and a thief because it steals so much from those of us affected by it. I have faced many losses as a result of growing up with this family disease. First and foremost, alcoholism robbed me of my capacity to feel my emotions. So, when my parents divorced, I tried not to feel anything. When my father left, I blocked my grief. Each time another loss surfaced over the years, I succeeded in burying it.
Years later, I entered the rooms of Al-Anon and very slowly began to thaw out from this emotionally frozen condition. As time passed, divorce, geographic separation, and death brought losses to my life. With each loss, the Al-Anon tools and fellowship were there to support me, but only to the extent that I allowed.”
That disclaimer at the end is important to acknowledge because the tools in the program are available to me even though I don’t always use them. But like any other habit that I incorporate into my life for my own betterment—like healthy eating and exercise—I need to keep at it with regular practice. And eventually, like breathing and feeling grateful for the abundance in my life, it becomes second nature. “I keep coming back; I work it cuz I’m worth it!”
From Each Day A New Beginning, October 29:
“Perfectionism may be our bane, as it is for so many of us in the program. We’ve learned to push, push harder, and even harder yet, not only ourselves but those around us. We must be better, we think, and we tighten our hold on life. The program can teach us to loosen our grip, if we’ll let it. The magic is that when we loosen our grip on this day, this activity, this person, we get carried gently along and find that which we struggled to control happening smoothly and naturally. Life is a series of ironies.”
I like the word “gently.” I enjoy my ability to take deep breaths and relax more. What I do or don’t do in life isn’t that important in the scheme of things. I do well to remember that, to remember my place. To honor my responsibilities, but not to take on what is not mine to do. I don’t need to be perfect in any way, and I will laugh at my frailties. With this attitude, I feel welcomed into the human race—not isolated from it.
Letting go is a constant process, and necessary for continued growth. I swept through my closet recently and purged it of clothes I no longer wear. As I get older, I find I need to let go of more and more things.
People, character defects, outdated attitudes—they are all subject to my scrutiny. And I am continually trying to let go of things that no longer serve my well-being. It’s hard to release my hold on some things. But when I do, I make room for new growth in my life. (and closet, lol!)