Choices – Episode 5

Do we have choices in our lives? What kinds of choices do we have? How have we found choices in recovery? Kelli, Swetha, and Spencer discuss our experience, strength, and hope about finding and making choices in our lives, before and after we found recovery.

Kelli, Swetha, and Spencer talk about choices. In the past, we did not understand that we had choices. Much of the time, we felt that there was no choice. We may have thought that any decision must be black and white, good and bad, or that we must make a decision right away. Much of the time, we felt constrained by the decisions made by others, such as our parents. Spencer talks about making decisions such as what house to buy, where to go to school, with very little thought. He relates that, when he was early in Al-Anon, that he was told that he did not have to make a choice immediately, that he could wait. Swetha talks about feeling that any choice must be a permanent choice, that if she chose chocolate ice cream one day, she was committed to chocolate forever. When Kelli began to understand that she had choices, she found the idea scary.

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Perspective– a meditation

 

Our thoughts form what we believe to be reality.

― Isabel Allende

I recall being extremely unhappy in the past. Interestingly, I did not realize how unhappy I was. Others around me did. I was always complaining. I always managed to find something bad about any situation. To connect with others, I would share painful or negative experiences so that we could wallow in misery together, not to find a solution. I saw life as something for which I just had to grit my teeth and get it over with. When I got into recovery and met people in the program, I saw everyone laughing and joyous. I so wanted to be like them, but I was confused as to how. It is not that they had a “better” life than me. I heard their stories and their shares and they had difficulties in their life as I did. Rather than complain, though, I found they laughed and connected with each other through humor and solution-oriented behavior. They managed to see the good in every situation. As a result, they saw life as an adventure! I slowly learned to change my perspective to be more positive. Now, if it rains outside, I am thankful that I remembered my umbrella rather than cursing the sky. As a result, I am a much happier person and I can see how much there is to appreciate and learn from in my life.

A meditation for January 5, 2013.

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Fate – a meditation

 

“Do not be afraid; our fate
Cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.”

― Dante Alighieri, Inferno

When I resort to controlling behavior or start feeling stressed over a particular situation, I now know that, in those cases, I am focused on the result of the situation. Before recovery, I thought that the only thing that should be focused on is the result and that I should do everything possible to ensure that a certain outcome will be reached. Now that I know that outcomes are not in my power to control. All I can do is keep my side of the street clean and do what is right for me. At first, the idea of outcomes not being in my control terrified me. But, put in practice, I feel relieved and free. It is not my job to make everything happen a certain way. Nor do I know the best way for any situation to occur, because I am not omniscient. Instead, I choose simply to accept the circumstances that are presented to me and either try learn from it or be content with it. Through this perspective, for me, every moment is a gift.

 

A meditation for January 4, 2013.

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humility – a meditation

 

“Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars”

― Serbian proverb

Most of my life, I have engaged in black-and-white thinking and saw the world in absolutes. This included my behavior. If I was “right” about something, I would extremely proud and quite egotistical. If I was ever shown to be “wrong,” I would be ashamed and completely deferential. There was no middle ground. I based my entire self-worth on how “correct” I was in any given moment. Since no one could be “right” all of the time,  my peace of mind suffered greatly because this was how I chose to value myself. I was exhausted, and perpetually worried about what the next moment would bring. Through recovery, I was able to realize that simply the fact that I exist means I have a right to be, just like everyone else. I do not need to prove my right to exist. I do not need to be right to be respected.  Nor do I need to be egotistical any more than I need to be ashamed of myself. I, now, love and value myself always – regardless of whether I am right or wrong. And I extend this acceptance to all of those around me. Today, I see that most of the world is a middle ground. I am humble without feeling humiliated.  There isn't just black and white everywhere, for me. My world is now filled with colors!

A meditation for January 3, 2013.

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Gentleness – a meditation

 

“Little by little, one travels far.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

Today, I had to walk several miles to get home. Though the task felt daunting, I realized that every step that I took was a step closer to my destination. I was patient with myself and took note of how I felt every step of the way. If I felt tired, I allowed myself a break. If I injured myself, I tended to the wound. If I got lost, I asked for guidance. Once I arrived home, I marveled at how pleasant the journey was because I did these things. With my journey in recovery, I realize that these same principles can apply. I will never be perfect. Instead, daily, I progress little by little. This journey is helped along when I stop and listen to myself to address my needs and, if needed, ask for guidance. Knowing this, I am more able to be gentle with myself, today.  Looking back on the little steps I have taken and the small increments in my growth since the I entered the program, I realize how far I have come already. And I am glad to have these tools as I take more steps forward in recovery.

A meditation for January 2, 2013.

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