Gratitude – Episode 129

DSC_0053Have you heard someone say they were grateful for the alcoholics in their life? How do you practice gratitude? Can you find gifts in the “punishments” of your life?

I reflect on gratitude while walking in the woods on a beautiful fall day.

  • (How) can I say I am grateful for my loved one’s alcoholism?
    • it is part of who she is — her personality
    • I am the person I am now
  • (How) can I find gratitude for pain in my life.
    • Colbert: “‘You have to learn to love the bomb.’ It took me a long time to really understand what that meant. It wasn’t ‘Laugh it off.’ No, it means what it says. You gotta learn to love when you’re failing… The embracing of that, the discomfort of failing in front of an audience, leads you to penetrate through the fear that blinds you. Fear is the mind killer.”
    • “What punishments of God are not gifts? … So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”
    • ”It’s our choice whether to hate something in our lives or to love every moment of them, even the parts that bring us pain. At every moment, we are volunteers.”
    • http://www.gq.com/story/stephen-colbert-gq-cover-story
  • What am I grateful for today.
    • I have a home to live in and food to eat and energy to keep me comfortable.
    • I have a family who loves me and who I love.
    • My body-self is reasonably healthy, despite the minor aches and pains I complain of daily.
    • The day is beautiful, crisp, clear with bright fall colors.
    • I have a program that helps me to grow spiritually and to become more of the person I want to be.
    • I am the sum of my live experiences. I would not be who I am without them.
  • What are you grateful for today? Can you find gifts in your “punishments”?

Upcoming topics include living with lies; clearing a path; and recovering from the death of a loved one who did not find 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.

amends – a meditation

 

The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.

John Green, Looking for Alaska

I have had a lot of anger towards loved ones in the past. I remember that I used to write down the resentments against them when I took my inventory. I was so upset from the harms that I perceived had been committed against me – even if they were decades old. I had heard in the meeting rooms that forgiveness is key to finding peace. And I kept telling myself to forgive these people. I would even chant it to myself or act as if I had forgiven them. Nothing helped. My resentments remained and I felt frustrated.

Eventually, I got to the 8th Step in my Stepwork with my Sponsor. To do the 8th Step, I had to make a list of all persons I had harmed and become willing to make amends to them all. I listed everyone on my resentment list and listed my anger and judgment against them to be reasons for my amends. Thankfully, I had a wonderful Sponsor that asked me where my amends to myself was on the list. I realized I had no amends to myself – not really. I had hastily scribbled my name on the last page in the margin. My Sponsor reminded me that I was not really honoring  and respecting myself by ignoring my self-amends. I took her suggestion and sat and wrote a proper amends to myself. In the amends, I apologized for not standing up for myself in the past. I apologized for lying about my feelings  to myself and others. I apologized for ignoring my own needs. I apologized for giving up my power to other people. And then I cried because I had just been given an amends by the one person with whom I actually angry, myself.

As I cried, the pain left me and the suffering left me and my wounds started to close. Since then, every day that I am honest about my feelings, every time I honor my needs, and every time I stand up for myself, the wounds close a little more and open up more space for gratitude and love and even more forgiveness. And as I heal and forgive myself, forgiveness for others comes so easily. I think this is because my reality exists within me and I project that reality onto the world around me. Now that my reality is that I am responsible for loving myself, so I am able to seeking external validation and resenting people when I do not receive it.

Today, my Higher Power blessed me with happiness and peace as well as pain and fear. All four blessings are always present for me; some offer comfort and some offer opportunity. When I can see all of these as equal, one not better than another, I can stop feeling like a victim and be accepting, grateful, and forgiving.

A meditation for September 29, 2013

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love – a meditation

 

Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.

Iris Murdoch

For me, there are two places from which my actions can come: 1) fear or 2) love. Until I came to the program, I always acted out of fear. And that bred resentment and suffering until I was filled with only those three things – fear, resentment, and suffering. I had no idea how to undo it.

Then I came into the program and learned about love. I thought love was something that I had been denied for many years. And whether or not I consciously knew it, I had decided that I had to take care of my needs and I couldn’t trust anyone else for anything – not even to take care of themselves. This was extremely unhealthy. I made choices that I would not make today, in recovery. I stopped addressing anything else around me as real or anyone as human. I was in survival mode and in survival mode it was me vs. the world.

Today in recovery, I learned what love is. Love is seeing myself as human and seeing others as human. Love is respect and trust and acceptance. And strength was in vulnerability. All of these concepts were foreign to me before the program. Today, through the 12 Steps, direct sponsorship, and the fellowship of recovery, I learned how to love. And I did it by seeing the world rather that shutting it out. Once I did, I was able to act out of love, and little by little, one day at a time, the fear, resentment, and suffering started to go away.

A meditation for July 24, 2013.

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change – a meditation

 

Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.

Robert Tew

I do not like change. I know exactly why – it is because I grew up with the idea that the devil I know is better than the devil I don’t. But being in recovery, I no longer look for the devil around every corner. I see, instead, my Higher Power everywhere. Whether I deem it as “good” or “bad”, for me, it’s all the act and will of my Higher Power. There aren’t any devils in my life. There is my Higher Power reaching out to me in ways that can help me see and help me grow.

Still, I find myself fearing change from time to time because I am afraid that the change will bring me more pain. So, I find myself clinging to things or ideas or people that I think will prevent me from suffering. At times like these, I make a gratitude list to cover all the things that I love in my life right now. Then I look back over the entire course of my life and think about all the things that I had to lose to get here. And I remember how much I clung to those things. If I had known then that letting go of those things would have brought me here, I would not have hesitated to do so.

Today, I realize that when I fear change, I again find myself in that position of clinging to certain things. But when I look at this change in perspective over the course of my life, I can trust my Higher Power and let go. My Higher Power took care of me, kept me safe, and brought me here. I know that my Higher Power will continue to do so. Whatever my Higher Power removes from my life, is removed to make room for something better. Now I know that in order to accept change, I don’t need to trust the devil I don’t know. I just need to trust my Higher Power.

A meditation for July 22, 2013.

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