Shake it out


And I've been a fool and I've been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I'm always dragging that horse around

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

Florence and the Machine — Shake it Out

When I continue to carry the past with me, when I keep on dragging that horse, and when the devil is still on my back, I cannot dance. I cannot find serenity.

My recovery includes shedding the burdens of the past, letting go of old resentments, forgiving the hurts done to me by others and amending the hurts I did. Only then can I shake the devil off my back.

A meditation for December 6, 2012.

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What will I do?


I saw a cartoon of two Al-Anon members talking. The one is saying “But if he starts taking care of himself, what will I do?”

Many of us have defined and shaped our lives around taking care of other people. What would our lives be like if we took care of ourselves first? Can we separate the concept of “care-taking” from “being of service”, seeing the first as a problematic behavior (a “character defect”) and the second as healthy?

Just for today, I will take care of my own needs.
Just for today, I will not do for others what they can do for themselves.
Just for today, I will let my loved ones follow their own paths, even when I think I know a better way.
Just for today, I will let them fail, so that they may learn and grow.
Just for today, I will make commitments only when I have the time, energy, and expertise to follow through on them.
Just for today, I will view service to others as a gift, not an obligation.

Devils and Dust


I got God on my side
And I'm just trying to survive
What if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love
Fear's a powerful thing, baby
It can turn your heart black you can trust
It'll take your God filled soul
And fill it with devils and dust

Devils & Dust — Bruce Springsteen

Before I found recovery, fear filled my soul with devils and dust. Now, I can fill it with God instead.

A meditation for December 3, 2012

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Character defects


“A nun I know once told me she kept begging God to take her character defects away from her. After years of this prayer, God finally got back to her: I'm not going to take anything away from you, you have to give it to me.” — Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow: the Three Essential Prayers

To me, this captures the key to Steps 6 and 7. Our Higher Power will not take our defects from us until we are ready and until we ask. I have found this to be true in my life.