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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Step 10 – Inventory – Episode 48

gentleDo you struggle to admit that you are “wrong” in the moment? Have you found an effective way to take a daily inventory?  How do you feel about admitting your wrongs?  What exactly does this step mean by “promptly”?  Do you feel better when you make a 10th step amends? Then stick around, because  today, we’re going to talk about Step 10.

 Spencer, Maria, and Erika discuss our experience with Step 10, Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. We were guided by these questions:

  • What is your understanding of a “daily inventory”?
  • What are some ways you might do a daily inventory? (Have you found an effective way to take a daily inventory?)
  • What is a “spot inventory”?
  • Do you take a daily inventory?
  • The second part of Step 10, “and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it” seems pretty clear?
  • What does “promptly” mean to you?
  • In what ways might you “admit it”?
  • Do you struggle to admit that you are “wrong” in the moment?
  • How do you feel about admitting your wrongs?
  • Do you feel better when you make a 10th step amends?

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.
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acceptance – a guest meditation by Scott B.

 

“Every good thought you think is contributing its share to the ultimate result of your life.”
Grenville Kleiser, Courage to Change P. 176
My first months in program, I couldn’t gather new tools fast enough. I tried everything I could, anything anyone recommended. One of the personal methods suggested was to repeat to myself; “I am good. I am unique. I am beautiful. I love you,” while looking in a mirror. I had the initial thought that it was cheesy, something crazy people said to themselves. Well, I was feeling crazy, so I took a deep breath, and said it out loud to my reflection. With my low self-worth and self-esteem, I didn’t feel comfortable. I felt awkward, embarrassed and ashamed even in the privacy of my home.
In spite of my mixed emotions, I said each of these four sentences again and again, day after day. I would say it in my car rear-view mirror while stopped at a light, (heaven forbid, never when another car was beside me) worried that someone might see me talking to myself. Faithfully, I kept repeating these phrases even without a mirror, now memorized by rote from many weeks of repetition. The words almost became a mantra.  Internally, I didn’t approach the place of transforming love I had expected to reach (and I expected to reach someplace, anyplace, much sooner). I felt no comfort from my repeated efforts over time.
Disheartened, I concluded that saying these simple things could not possibly work and there was no use in continuing. As time in recovery went by, I would occasionally break out a simple, “I love you.” in the mirror. Still, after all this time, I felt the awkwardness spread through me and my stomach tensed as I looked away. Forgotten in the depths of my mind (lost in one of those bad neighborhoods) my affirmations faded, though I continued going to meetings.
When I experienced what seemed like a long period of no growth in my program, I figured I had plateaued. A friend shared during a meeting that change, lasting change, happens on her Higher Power’s time. All she needs to do is her footwork, go to meetings and be patient. This stuck in my brain like a burr. It would not go away. It echoed in my head daily.
That summer I went on an eight mile walk, in eighty degree heat.  I rested, but I had run out of water about 3 miles from home. Dehydrated, I arrived at my house, filled up on water and poured an ice-cold glass of milk. I sat down in front of my computer. I reached for my mug of milk, my hand moved way too fast, and I spilled the white liquid all over my laptop. The screen went half black, the other half froze and I turned the laptop on its side, unplugged it, and ejected the battery.
Anger rushed through me. Powerlessness surrounded me. The feelings were coming and I couldn’t stop them. I felt overwhelmed. I had heard so many times not to try to stop feelings. It was best to recognize them, feel them and let them go. But I made a mistake! And not just a little one! How could I of all people, be human? The turmoil inside me swirled. Old tapes told me to shame myself. New behaviors told me to laugh and accept it. Before program I would spend months, even years beating myself up over such an incident. Which direction should I take? Help me God, what do I do, where do I go?
The mirror. The mirror? Now? Really? My gut feeling was to walk into the living room and stand in front of the mirror. I felt nudged. I looked deep into my own panicked eyes and said, “I love you, Scott and there’s nothing you can ever do to make me stop loving you.” There was no awkward pause, no feeling of inadequacy. I held my gaze and didn’t look away. A wave of gratitude washed over me. Tears welled in my eyes as I cried and laughed at the same time. My gaze was unwavering until it was blurry and I couldn’t see. Thank-you, God. Thank-you. I kept thinking that the feeling would leave, but there it was; solid in my Higher Power’s Love.
Only in looking back from now can I see that everything contributed to my growth; every meeting, every coffee, lunch and potluck. Each email, text and affirmation. Every conversation, every call to my sponsors, every vulnerable moment. All the Concepts, Traditions and every Step along the way. My Higher Power takes it all in and uses my experiences to change me into who I’m meant to be.
A meditation for October 16, 2013.

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living fully here and now – a meditation

listen!

 

We are not to retreat from life, pinning our hopes on ‘elsewhere,’ but to know that we will come to that final destination best by living fully here and now, be it through joy, or pain, or a mix of both.

– Madeleine L’Engle, The Rock That Is Higher

I spent much of my life trying to get fulfillment and happiness from other people. I needed you to be happy so that I could be happy. I needed you to like me so that I could like me. I needed your approval so that I could approve of myself. I needed your attention so that I would not be alone with myself. You were the ‘elsewhere’ on which I pinned my hopes.

Through the Steps, I am finding my way to a life that is supported from within me, with the aid of my Higher Power. I have learned that I control my own happiness, and I am not responsible for yours. The love that my Higher Power has for me is helping me to love myself. Through Steps 4-9, I see my strengths and assets, have asked my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings, and am amending my behaviors to a way of living that is consonant with my values. Step 11 is helping me to be comfortable in my skin, and to find serenity in solitude and calm. Through my continuing spiritual awakening, I spend more time living fully in the here and now, more time as myself. I find myself less in need of you to define who I am, and am thus able to enjoy your companionship for what it is, enriching rather than shaping my life.

A meditation for September 19, 2013.

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The Family Afterwards, part 2 – Speaker talk


Bob and Linda B. speak in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2004, on how the programs work in their family. They trade off during this two part talk, speaking of their experience, strength, and hope through the 12 steps. Part 2 takes us through the rest of the steps.