Stepping Stones to Serenity Part 4 – Episode 165


perfectThis is part 4 of a 4-part seminar titled “Stepping Stones to Serenity”, presented by Ellen C in 2008. This part covers steps 10 through 12.

The previous episodes are

Continue reading “Stepping Stones to Serenity Part 4 – Episode 165”

Life on Purpose – Episode 156

Can you say what is your purpose? How do you decide what to do on a daily basis? What do you want to be “when you grow up”?

This episode is inspired by the book Life on Purpose.

  • How has recovery challenged me to articulate my values and my purpose?
  • What is the purpose of “purpose”?
    • Give direction and meaning to my life
    • Articulate what matters to me
  • Creating my life vs taking life for granted.
  • Live a longer and healthier life?
  • “So let’s imagine a drug that was shown to add years to your life; reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke; cut your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by more than half; help you relax during the day and sleep better at night; double your chances of staying drug- and alcohol-free after treatment; activate your natural killer cells; diminish your inflammatory cells; increase your good cholesterol; and repair your DNA. What if this imaginary drug reduced hospital stays so much that it put a dent in the national health-care crisis? Oh, and as a bonus, gave you better sex? The pharmaceutical company who made the drug would be worth billions. The inventors of the drug would receive Nobel Prizes and have institutes named for them! But it’s not a drug. It’s purpose. And it’s free. Oh, and the side effects? More friends. More happiness. Deeper engagement in life. And did I mention better sex?”
  • Eudaimonic (self-transcending) vs Hedonic (self-enhancing) pleasure.
    • Eudaimonic pleasure: Connecting with our (inner) divinity, living in harmony with it.
    • Hedonic pleasure: gratifying short-term desires.
    • How do we do this in recovery? Step 11!
  • How do I find and describe my purpose?
    • Consider my different roles? Do I have a purpose in each of those roles?
      • Community
      • Work
      • Family
      • Self
    • What do I want written on my headstone? (“Mentor, Husband and Father”? Or “Highest score in Candy Crush”?)
  • What are my values?
    • From episode 101: Integrity, Commitment, Acceptance, Love
    • How do these drive my purpose?
    • What other values might be part of my purpose?
    • What are the values of people I admire? How do they live their purposes?
  • Affirming values as a reason for behavior change enhances the ability to make that change. (Connecting to Steps 6 & 7.)
    • A positive approach to behavior change.
    • From AA Big Book: “On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.”
    • And “When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.”
  • What are my goals (based on my values)? (Statements starting with “To…”)
    • To lead others into recovery. (Community)
    • To create software that makes a difference in people’s lives. (Work)
    • To be a loving and committed husband, father, and son. (Family)
    • To be fully present and to enjoy life. (Personal)
  • Self-transcendance
    • Step 3 – Living according to my Higher Power’s will.
    • “Make the other band members look and sound good. Bring out the best in them; that’s your job.” – CHRISSIE HYNDE
    • Find a self-transcending “why” for what I do, and I will do better!
    • But also: set good boundaries!
  • Time management or Energy management?
    • It’s really about energy management.
    • Positive affirmation of values and purpose can increase energy. (also “gratitude list”)
    • But not just energy – it needs direction. Without a direction, all the energy in the world is unlikely to accomplish something.
    • Roughly two thousand years ago, the Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote, “When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”
  • Sources of energy
    • Positive emotions or actions.
    • Beauty
    • Doing things for myself
    • SPACE acronym:
    • Physical activity
    • Eating well
    • Sleeping well
    • Presence
    • Creativity
  • Willpower
    • “Now don’t say you can’t swear off drinking; it’s easy. I’ve done it a thousand times.” W. C. FIELDS
    • Positive energy, affirming values, and considering purpose increases will power. (Also SPACE.)
    • “ psychologists have found that willpower acts in a similar manner to a muscle: it can be depleted after mental exertion, it can be strengthened, and it can be fueled.”
  • Using and achieving purpose
    • “The life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it.” SENECA
    • Steps 10, 11, 12.

Upcoming topics include Step 1. 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.
Continue reading “Life on Purpose – Episode 156”

Intuition or God’s Will? – Episode 61

4573663924_fc40cceefd_bHow do I know my Higher Power’s will, which I am told to pray for in Step 11? Is Intuition the same thing?

Spencer does this one solo, with written participation by Ruth and Adrienne. He starts from this outline:

  • What is intuition?
    • in·tu·i·tion
    • 1. the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
    • synonyms: instinct, intuitiveness
    • 2. a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.
  • How do I know the will of my higher power?
    • Step 11: “conscious contact” through prayer and meditation
    • Make time to listen to HP
    • Go to meetings
    • Calm. Gut feeling.
    • Daily surrender (Step 3 / 7 prayers)
  • Can intuition be the voice of my higher power?
    • “Conscious contact” vs “instinctive / without conscious reasoning”
    • “still small voice”
  • What are warning signs that it is not my HP’s will?
    • Trying to control
      • Another person
      • outcomes
    • Dropping/ignoring program actions (meetings, reading, P&M)
    • unmanageability, stress
    • scrambling, frenetic, frantic

Our topic for next week is changed attitudes. Can we change our attitudes? How? Is it something we can do consciously or does it “just happen” as we work the program? 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.

Continue reading “Intuition or God’s Will? – Episode 61”

Step 11 – Episode 50

Have you established a routine of prayer and meditation? Do you struggle with them? Are you not sure how to know God’s will? Yes! Today, we’re going to talk about Step 11, which says “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 it out.

Spencer and Maria talk about Step 11, guided by these questions:

  • What is your understanding of “prayer”? “meditation”?
  • How are these different from before the program? Early in the program?
  • Do you have a regular practice of prayer and meditation?
  • What is it?
  • How has it changed over time?
  • How have you sought to improve your conscious contact with your Higher Power?
  • How does praying only for knowledge of his will differ from how you prayed before the program?
  • How do you know if you understand God’s will?
  • Final thoughts — how is Step 11 working in your life?

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.
Continue reading “Step 11 – Episode 50”

letting go of denial – a guest meditation by Beth

Eye_Of_The_World1
Image source: http://carlprox.theworldrace.org/blogphotos/theworldrace/carlprox/Eye_Of_The_World1.jpg

 

Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world,
The heart has it’s beaches, it’s homeland and thoughts of its own.
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings,
But the heart has it’s seasons, it’s evenings and songs of its own.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own,
And sometimes we visit your country and live in your home,
Sometimes we ride on your horses, sometimes we walk alone,
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own.

 

Grateful Dead — Eyes of the World

 

Nothing inspires me to wake up and enjoy this glorious day and to take my rightful place in the world like this rejuvenating song.  Step 11 conscious contact with HP to the max.

Denial is something I am having a hard time letting go of.

In meditating this week about why this defense mechanism continues to creep back into my life, when I have long outgrown it, some very interesting things were revealed to me.

By admitting my powerlessness in step one, and asking god for help to accept the things i could not change by repeating the serenity prayer, i opened my heart to a new way of living. As a newcomer this was a dramatic and cleansing awakening. It was fall then too, and I saw that the leaves falling slowly down to earth were just like my worries, each drifting gently away as I let them go, one by one. Over time, I found the courage to see my character defects for what they were, and became willing to let them drift away too.

Today I can see clearly where I want to be, and understand very well the inescapable correctness in striving to live life on life’s terms, always aware of reality as it actually is, living in this moment and this moment only. Continually seeking to improve my conscious contact with the god of my understanding, to me right now, means striving to stay in that space where I see what IS, and accept true reality without judgement or argument. Practicing gratitude is an excellent tool to bring me back into the present as well.

I know I am returning to old bad habits when I am struggling inside, exhausting myself in an internal mental wrestling match. I am usually trying to change something that is not in my control, avoiding acceptance at all costs, or resisting seeing something i am denying. After a while, when i am good and tired, I stop. Because of the good habits I have learned over time from the good people in these rooms, from readings, and from time spent being truly honest with myself, I can see my struggle for what it is, and let it go. But see, often i don’t just go there in my head. When i am in a bad place mentally, i can say or do something I regret, and hurt someone I love very much.

That is why maintaining conscious contact with the god of my understanding is so important for my recovery. I need to over and over remember to see things as they ARE, and accept them, not fight them.
I came to these realizations because I was suffering, upset with myself for a hurt I caused while in denial. Denial for me is sneaky. It creeps in without my knowing it, and I learn painful lessons again and again. My denial comes in twin forms. I convince myself that things that are not present are really, definitely there, or I pretend something right in front of my face is not there at all.
Sometimes denial can save your life, because the reality of what is actually true is too painful to bear at that moment. And other times denial is just a bad habit easy to fall back into, a crutch I don’t need anymore, which hurts me more than the pain of seeing life for what it really is. I want to banish my destructive habit of denial, and replace it with loving acceptances once and for all, and striving for mindful, conscious contact with my higher power feels like a real solution, so that’s what I’m working on.

A meditation for November 7, 2013.

Continue reading “letting go of denial – a guest meditation by Beth”