March 31, 2008

"GIVE ALL YOUR PROBLEMS TO GOD -- HE'LL BE UP ALL NIGHT ANYWAY!"

When I first heard this saying I instantly thought of all the nights I used to lay in bed worrying, rehashing, or trying to solve all my problems. In fact, before early recovery it was actually easier to sleep because I would use drugs or alcohol or even enmeshment with other people to help distract me. But when I entered the program, it seemed like it was just me and my problems - I didn't get a lot of sleep!

It took a long time for me to develop enough faith to turn my will and my life (and problems) over to my Higher Power. The idea of it sounded good, but it proved very difficult to do in practice. Oh I could turn it over in my morning meditation, but by noon I had usually taken it all back. And by night? Whew! It was just me and my problems again!

As I progressed in my recovery, I learned that the definition of faith is believing what you cannot see, and the reward of faith is seeing what you believe. Through faith and a developing practice of turning situations, people and problems over to God, I've been rewarded with a life that is, for the most part, happy, joyous and free.

And now when I go to sleep, I give all my problems to God because my faith tells me he'll be up all night anyway!

March 25, 2008

"THINGS AREN'T NECESSARILY GOING WRONG JUST BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT GOING MY WAY."

This is still hard for me to accept. My ego tells me that my plans and ideas about how things should go, and how you should act, are 99% right, and that if everybody would just fall in line, then everything would be great and I'd be happy. But how many times has my self will twisted or bullied things into place and got me what I thought I wanted, when I'd eventually realize it wasn't what I wanted? Most of the time is the short answer.

There's an old gypsy curse that goes, "May you get everything you want." Once again, my ego hears that and says, "That doesn't sound like a curse!" but my experience understands the wisdom in it. And one of the gifts I've received in recovery is the willingness to pray for the knowledge of God's will (not mine) and the power to carry that out.

And that's when the miracle truly happens for me and countless others. You see, the wants and needs of my ego are limited and short sighted. But God's will is vast and includes infinite possibilities for happiness and fulfillment. By developing the faith to truly seek God's will, I've been able to let go of controlling others, to show up and look for ways to be of service, and to let go of expectations.

And doing this has enabled me to see that, "Things aren't necessarily going wrong just because they're not going my way."

March 17, 2008

"GOING TO MEETINGS IS LIKE TAKING ASPIRIN BEFORE A HEADACHE."

I was reminded of how true this is just yesterday. I have been really sick this past week - I mean in bed sick. As such, I haven't been to a meeting all week which is unheard of for me as 3 meetings a week is my usual minimum, while 4-5 is more common. So there I was at my local Rite-Aid staring down the cough syrups when all of the sudden I saw one that said "Alcohol-free". So that's the one I automatically choose, right? Not at all!

You see, because I hadn't been to a meeting in a week, my key alcoholic mind was thinking again. And without my conscious permission, it was arguing with me as to why the non-alcoholic version obviously couldn't be as good as the one with alcohol. In a flash it had me convinced that it must be the watered down version, probably didn't have as much of the active ingredient in it, and without the alcohol I wouldn't even get the rest I so desperately needed to get better. I was sold...

As my hand reached down to get the 'right cough syrup', a tiny, far away 12-year sober voice whispered, "That might not be such a good idea." I almost didn't hear it, but its truth was powerful. I snapped out of it and in a moment of clarity, grabbed the 'Alcohol-free' one and quickly got out of there. Now I'm pretty sure that if I had been to my regular meetings that week, the choice would have been clear.

It just goes to show that if you don't want a (Major!) headache, then keep taking your aspirin regularly.

March 10, 2008

"IF GOD IS YOUR CO-PILOT, CHANGE SEATS."

Before the program, I wouldn't even let God on the plane. I was the pilot and co-pilot of my life and, fueled by self-will and self seeking, I took off and flew through the lives of others like a tornado. My thoughts were all about what I could get, take, or how I could control you to get what I wanted. What seemed strange to me at the time was the harder I tried, the less I got what I needed or wanted.

When I started working my program, the idea of putting God in charge of my life seemed downright irresponsible. Fueled by a hundred forms of self-centered fear, I couldn't fathom giving up control of my life. I was still under the delusion that I controlled not only my thoughts and actions, but the results as well. For me, faith was slow in coming. The key was willingness, and the more I turned over, the better my life got.

Today, one of the biggest gifts I have been given is a life of true freedom as the result of turning my will and life over to the care of my Higher Power. Through proven experience, time and time again, my life and the lives of those around me always flow more smoothly and turn out better when God is the pilot. Plus, it's easier being the co-pilot, I'll tell you. My job now is just to suit up and show up and let God take care of the rest. And He always does.

These days, when my life is getting a little turbulent, I look to see if God is my co-pilot, and if he is, I change seats!

March 3, 2008

"WE MAY BE POWERLESS, BUT WE'RE NOT HELPLESS."

Accepting that I was powerless over people, places and things was a concept I rebelled against on almost every level in the beginning. Before recovery, I labored under the belief that I could not only control others (especially those I loved and cared for), but that it was my duty to do so. Despite the fact that it rarely worked, I stubbornly persisted, frustrating myself and irritating and alienating those I was trying to control - er, I mean help.

When I entered Al-Anon, I was told that the reason I had been unable to influence, help or control another was because I was in fact powerless over other people, places and things. "If that's true, then there is absolutely no hope for this situation!" I thought. Accepting this was contrary to everything I believed and meant complete defeat and sure ruin. What was I to do?

By working my program, I soon learned that surrendering to this powerlessness was actually the gateway to a new freedom. Once the untenable burden of controlling or fixing others was lifted, I was suddenly free to invest my energy where I did have some power and influence - over my own life. And that's when I realized I was no longer helpless to really fix my life and situation.

Today I understand and truly appreciate that I may be powerless, but I'm not helpless.