Serenity Every Day

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From Hope for Today, November 12:

“Serenity? What is that? For years I was like a weather vane that spun around according to the air currents that other people generated… I attributed these mood swings to nervousness, lack of assurance, and whoever else occupied the room at the time. Serenity always seemed beyond my control… Where does this serenity come from? It comes from trusting that everything in my life is exactly as it should be… It comes when I choose to care for myself rather than to fix someone else…

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: I am powerless over many things, but my serenity is not one of them.”

“Trusting that everything in my life is exactly as it should be…” That’s the hard part, because everything in my life is not great. My daughter Angie is lost to me and has been, on and off for seventeen years. How does one learn to live with that? Everyone is different, but I find serenity by focusing on my blessings. They’re all around me: my other children, my grandchildren, and nature. The honeysuckle just blows me away with its fragrance, and the Spanish broom is an explosion of bright yellow in my back yard. My friends and my partner Gene are my daily supports. And God—he pilots my ship. In spite of my loss, I find myself saying all the time, and feeling sincerely in my heart, that life is good. And I’m filled with the elevating power of gratitude.

Finding A Healthy Solution

From Each Day A New Beginning, April 11:

“’An element of recovery is learning that we deserve success, the good things that come to us, and also that pain is a reality. We have the strength to deal with that reality, and it will pass.’ ~Dudley Martineau

Many of us didn’t understand the changing variables in being human. Our coping skills were at a minimum until we discovered what alcohol or pills, even food, could do for us. And then, a drink or two—or six, maybe—got us through many a lonely evening.

The desire for an easy solution might still haunt us, but time, new experiences, and program friends have taught us that our past habits weren’t really easy solutions. In reality they increased our problems and led us nowhere.”

Some of us who love addicts have found comfort in substances ourselves. But when I make an effort to walk the spiritual path I have chosen, I no longer seek those easy solutions. As they say in the rooms, “My best thinking got me here.” I need to remember that and cease thinking that I have the best answers. Putting my faith in something greater than myself, I can let go of my human frailties. And all will be well.

The Comfort Of Faith

From Each Day A New Beginning, November 24:

“’If onlys are lonely.’ ~Morgan Jennings

“The circumstances of our lives seldom live up to our expectations or desires. However, in each circumstance we are offered an opportunity for growth or change, a chance for greater understanding of life’s heights and pitfalls. Each time we choose to lament what isn’t, we close the door on the invitation to a better existence…

The experiences we are offered will fail to satisfy our expectations because we expect so much less than God has planned for us in the days ahead…

I will breathe deeply and relax. At this moment my every need is being attended to. My life is unfolding exactly as it should.”

I’ve wrestled with my faith most of my life, always too self-reliant for my own good. But as I’ve watched my daughter succumb to heroin addiction, it has been a great comfort to me to learn how to harness a newfound belief in the power of something outside of myself, something I can turn to in my despair and know that something beautiful will come out of it. And it has: my whole life, and how I choose to live it now, is a miracle.

Just For Today

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps todays of its strength.” ~A.J. Cronin

Wow, it takes tremendous discipline to stay grounded in the present. To live “just for today.” On any given day, how do my thoughts wander back to past times, and the inevitable regrets that crop up from time to time? And if I’m not looking backwards, I’m projecting into a future that hasn’t even happened yet. This is natural for some of us who have an addicted loved one. It’s called “anticipatory grief,” and it’s meant to prepare us for the worst.

And though it may be a way to soften future blows, the act of being there in a sad future keeps me from smelling the roses under my nose.  Today the sun came up over the mountain and last night there was a beautiful crescent moon. My friend has pneumonia and I’m going to take her flowers in the hospital. I’m reminded to be grateful for my good health. My friends and family in our recovery program are a great comfort to me as I move forward in my life.

When I remember to stay focused on the present day and all the blessings that fill my days, I can step out with confidence and faith in my Higher Power, assured that all is well.

Darkness And Light

From Courage to Change, November 27:

“’When it’s dark enough, you can see the stars.’ ~Charles A. Beard      

Though I once viewed my life with tragedy, I now have a different perspective on those experiences. I know that I am a stronger person as a result of what I’ve been through.

Those of us who love addicts have been sorely tested. But it’s what I’ve come away with that makes my life in recovery worthwhile: kindness, compassion, and understanding.

Now I can discern the stars.

Anyone But Me

From Each Day A New Beginning, February 19:

“’God knows no distance.’ ~Charleszetta Waddles

Relying on God, however we understand God’s presence, is foreign to many of us. We were encouraged from early childhood to be self-reliant. Even when we desperately needed another’s help, we feared asking for it. When confidence wavered, as it so often did, we hid the fear—sometimes with alcohol, sometimes with pills, Sometimes we simply hid at home. Our fears never fully abated…Slowly and with practice it will become natural to turn within, to be God-reliant rather than self-reliant

There’s a joke in the Program that “our best thinking got us here (into the rooms of recovery).” And it’s so true! I joke at meetings that I’ve always been “CSR,” compulsively self-reliant.” I have been for much of my life, afraid to ask for help and even more afraid to accept it. As a child I had to rely on myself for so many things, and that became a survival strategy. But as an adult, that very façade of strength can become a terrible defect. Appearing as a formidable wall of arrogance, it only served to isolate me and separate me from my peers. I had to tear down that wall.

And when I did, when I found the courage to bare my fears and vulnerabilities and ask for help when I needed it, I found my humanity. My faith in a power greater than myself enabled me to let go of my self-reliance and join hands with others as we reached out and helped one another.

It hasn’t removed the problems from my life. But it has made facing them so much easier.

Fear vs. Faith

From Each Day A New Beginning, September 27:

“’The wisdom of all ages and cultures emphasizes the tremendous power our thoughts have over our character and circumstances.’  ~Liane Cordes

We are gifted with the personal power to make thoughtful choices…Our minds work powerfully for our good. And just as powerfully to our detriment, when fears intrude on all our thoughts…My outlook and attitude toward life reveals the strength of my connection to God.”

 

I’ve read that fear and anxiety are at the base of many addictions. I can’t speak for all of them, or for everyone, but I can speak for myself. Fear precipitated every single addiction I’ve been subject to.

And it was fear that kept me addicted to my daughter Angie. Fear for her well-being—and for mine.

Letting go of my obsession and fear—replacing them both with faith—has brought peace into my life.

Lessons From Nature

“Take rest; a field that is rested gives a beautiful crop.” ~Ovid

I was blindsided by my daughter’s drug addiction. Maybe I shouldn’t have been, but I was. So I went into high gear from the beginning in an effort to save her. I did what many parents do. We all do what we can because we love our children and we want them to be okay. But I exhausted myself and I crashed hard. I had to make some serious changes in my life in order to survive the strain of being an addict’s mom.

With much gratitude I embrace my recovery program now. In the rooms I have learned so many things: to let go of my guilt; to accept that addiction in a loved one isn’t my fault; to detach with love; to cease obsessing about my addict and focus more on myself, changing my attitudes, and making my life better; taking care of myself; resting my mind and my body.

There’s a lot of peace from accepting what I can’t change, as much as that hurts. I’ve stopped wearing myself out trying to convince Angie to reenter recovery from her addiction. Only she can make that decision; I accept that now without resistance and recognize my powerlessness.

Life is unfolding as it was meant to. I believe things happen for a reason, and I hold onto that faith.