Start where you are – Episode 173

DSC_0379Start where you are. Bring your angry self. Bring your despairing self. Bring your resentful and frustrated self. Bring your confused self. And we will meet you there.

Sometimes I think I need to be “ready” before I can do something, before I can make a change. But that’s not true of our program. I was able to start where I was, and I can still start where I am. How does this work? How was I able to “start where I am” at each point along the path of recovery? Because recovery is a process, not an event.

  • Walking into my first meeting.
    • You met me where I was. You didn’t require that I know anything, that I agree to anything, you just welcomed me.
  • Step 1: We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
    • My first challenge – what does “powerless” mean? Can I admit that I am “powerless”? How do I recognize the unmanageability of my life? Is this where I am right now?
  • Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    • I start into this step where I am: questioning the very existence of a Higher Power. Some start into this step with a vengeful, angry God. No matter where we start, we can find an understanding of this step.
  • Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
    • If my starting point is “the meeting is my HP”, I can look for guidance and wisdom in the meeting, and try to follow that.
  • Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    • This step has always met me where I was. As my starting point has changed, the inventory has also changed. My new point of view has revealed other aspects of myself, which were not visible earlier.
  • Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
    • My first starting point for this step was “no way!” My second starting point was “there’s some stuff I’m just not going to talk about.” I *think* that, at this time, I’ve admitted all my wrongs, but I might be wrong about that.
    • Each time, there was power in the step, no matter where I started, and how “well” I did it. The point is to take the step, not to take it perfectly.
  • Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
    • Again, my starting point has “moved” with time. I’ve gone from “well, of course” to “um, not that one!” to “please help me to become willing”.
    • I didn’t understand this step the first time I “took” it, but I did it anyway.
  • Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
    • What does this step mean if I don’t have a concrete idea of G-o-d?
    • But, I found that, when I ask for help, I find it, and I change.
  • Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
    • The literature suggested that I can group my list into: people I am willing to make amends to, people I might be willing to make amends to, and those people who I was not willing to make amends to.
    • I started there, and found that my lists changed as I moved into Step 9.
  • Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
    • Do the easy ones first, and don’t worry about doing it perfectly!
  • Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
    • I started doing this step before I actually got to it. Because I didn’t want to add new things to my “Step 4 inventory.”
  • Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
    • Wow. What is prayer? How do I do it? You suggested I start with the Serenity prayer. And I was able to do that.
    • Meditation? How? When? “Just try. Sit with me. Breathe.” It’s a start.
  • Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
    • My awakening came gradually, as I moved in recovery, I became more awake, where I was.
  • Sponsorship!
    • I was not “ready” (in my mind) to be a sponsor the first time I was asked. But I said “yes” and did the best I could.
  • Gratitude
    • Finding gratitude in small things helped to to develop an “attitude of gratitude”.

So, start where you are, and we will meet you there and welcome you into the beginning of your path to recovery.

Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

spiritual awakening – a guest meditation from Beth

how much love?

 

 

Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

 

Step 12 of Al-Anon

 

I have heard many people in al anon say that they have had a spiritual awakening, thanks to this program, and that as a result, they have gotten their lives back. Thankfully, I can say that too. I am one of those lucky, happy people. But what does having my life back really mean for me? After years of not being present in my own life as a result of throwing myself headlong into the drama and chaos of trying to live other peoples’ lives FOR them, because of working this program, the crazy negative constant chatter in my head has subsided. I am peaceful where I was once obsessed. I am kind to myself where I once was my own worst enemy.

This internal quiet has become a part of my daily existence, and I now find myself open and available to receive the many joys life offers me each day. I observe, listen, and am present with myself and others in a way I have not experienced in a long, long time, maybe since I was a child. People say it is never too late to have a happy childhood. I am having mine now. I am happy to say that I am actually LIVING each day, and treasuring my life to the fullest.

This does not mean every day is a picnic. It just means that I am ok with it, whatever happens. I know by now that both the bad and the good will always come and go like the tides, because i embraced with my whole heart the wise slogan this too shall pass.

The pain and sadness I have endured have left me with a melancholy streak. That is ok. Because of my experiences I can offer true compassion to others who are in pain, like my son. I can allow him the space to walk his own path for himself with dignity. I can detach in love, with real hope for him in my heart because I know that the program works.

Because of the mistakes I have made, I have the humility to know that I don’t have all of the answers, and I am absolutely done forcing solutions.

How did all of this happen? My sanity and balance have been restored in large part by love. The love shared between members of this program is very powerful. You loved me when I could not love myself. The love I felt for you was real and heartfelt, and so i began to trust and believe that the love you showed me was real too. This helped a lot! It started me on my journey of learning to love myself again. The love a newcomer receives from members of this program is like a tidal wave, very powerful, and at first very unexpected. I am humbled and immensely grateful for the love freely given to me in these rooms. And I love being able to reflect all this goodness right back at all of you. But most of all i love being loving and kind to MYSELF.

The other primary source of my restored wellbeing was working the steps. The time and sweat that I put into writing my searching and fearless moral inventory was well spent. So was the energy I devoted to making amends. I felt reborn and freed from age old self-imposed shackles afterwards. I repeat a mini version of this process using step 10 continually in my life, and I always feel truer to myself and more whole as a result. The steps are a symphony, not a note wasted or unnecessary. This fellowship and it’s gifts are truly amazing.

So now that I am present in my life, spiritually awake, practicing the Al-Anon principles in all of my affairs, I get to see some really beautiful things. Here is what i saw the other day, something i would never have seen in my old obsessed crazy state. I would have been too busy micromanaging my son’s life, fully convinced that I not only could but should control every step he took, missing my own life while careening headlong toward exhaustion and failure.

Riding home on the train the other day, on a sunny lovely day, I looked out the window as the train stopped. Passengers were getting off at “highland station”, so named because the platform is a top a small hill. I saw a group of about ten young boys ranging in age from 5 to 8 outside my window. They were pushing bikes up this small grassy hill only to ride down it together in glee, over and over. Their happiness was so contagious that i found myself grinning. As they were making their way back up the hill towards me, I started waving. One boy tentatively waved back. I smiled bigger and waved harder. Then another waved back. Soon all were waving and smiling at me. Then, from the direction they were looking, I could tell that the conductor had started waving at them too. And some other passengers followed suit. By the time the train pulled away, everybody on the train was waving at the little boys, and all the boys were waving back with glee. It was so beautiful, and I started it all, because I was awake, living my own life.

Thanks to this program I am having my own happy childhood today, finding love to share around every corner.

A meditation for December 13, 2013

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