From the BlogMeet Ron

Happy Presidents day

Love can be its own reward.
–Arnold Label

The feeling of attachment, of being related, of caring about someone, is what life is all about. Before recovery, we may have feared we could not love anyone. When we feel love, we may also feel cheated because our affections aren’t returned, as we want them to be. Or we may think relationships are just too complicated and painful. It’s true that relationships are difficult at times. The only thing more difficult is having none.
In this quiet moment, let’s reflect on our relationships. Close attachments to both men and women are essential to our progress. Without them, we would not be in recovery. We don’t need to say to our friends, “What have you done for me?” We can feel an inner fullness and satisfaction, knowing we have relationships we truly care about and we are accepted as we are. That alone is a remarkable reward.

I appreciate the joys my relationships bring.
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Twelve Warnings

The book Alcoholics Anonymous contains a series of propositions and proposals, the successful outcome of these depends upon the actions of the reader.
The book directs us as to what we must start doing, what we must stop doing, what happens when we fulfill the propositions and proposals and what will happen if we fail to fulfill them.
These are the Twelve Warnings as to what will happen if we fail to heed the directions.

1. For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. (p14)

2. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined. (p17)

3. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness, we must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. (p62)

4. Though our decision (Step 3) was a vital and crucial Step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face and be rid of, the things in our lives which had been blocking us. (p64)

5. It is plain that a life, which includes deep resentment, leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and with us to drink is to die. (p66)

6. Concerning sex. Suppose we fall short of the chosen ideal and stumble? Does this mean we are going to get drunk? Some people tell us so. But this is only a half-truth. It depends on us and our motives. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned a lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. We are not theorizing. These are facts about our experience. (p70)

7. If we skip this vital Step (5), we may not overcome drinking. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk. (p.72)

8. We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them. (p78)

9. We feel that a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. (p.82)

10. It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. (p.85)

11. Our rule is not to avoid a place where there is drinking, if we have a legitimate reason for being there. That includes bars, nightclubs, dances, receptions, weddings, even plain ordinary whoopee parties. To a person who has had experience with an alcoholic, this may seem like tempting Providence , but it isn’t. You will note that we made an important qualification. Therefore, ask yourself on each occasion, “Have I a good social, business, or personal reason for going to this place? Or am I expecting to steal a little vicarious pleasure from the atmosphere of such places?” If you have answered these questions satisfactorily, you need have no apprehension. Go or stay away, whichever seems best. But be sure you are on solid spiritual ground before you start and that your motive in going is thoroughly good. Do not think of what you will get out of the occasion. Think of what you can bring to it. But if you are shaky, you had better work with another alcoholic instead! (p.101)

12. The head of the house ought to remember that he is mainly to blame for what befell his home. He can scarcely square the account in his lifetime. But he must see the danger of over-concentration on financial success. Although financial recovery is on the way for many of us, we found we could not place money first. For us, material well-being always followed spiritual progress, it never preceded. (p127)
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Being Right

Recovery is not about being right; it’s about allowing ourselves to be who we are and accepting others as they are.

That concept can be difficult for many of us if we have lived in systems that functioned on the “right wrong” justice scale. The person who was right was okay; the person who was wrong was shamed. All value and worth may have depended on being right; to be wrong meant annihilation of self and self-esteem.

In recovery, we are learning how to strive for love in our relationships, not superiority. Yes, we may need to make decisions about people’s behavior from time to time. If someone is hurting us, we need to stand up for ourselves. We have a responsibility to set boundaries and take care of ourselves. But we do not need to justify taking care of ourselves by condemning someone else. We can avoid the trap of focusing on others instead of ourselves.

In recovery, we are learning that what we do needs to be right only for us. What others do is their business and needs to be right only for them. It’s tempting to rest in the superiority of being right and in analyzing other people’s motives and actions, but it’s more rewarding to look deeper.

Today, I will remember that I don’t have to hide behind being right. I don’t have to justify what I want and need with saying something is “right” or “wrong.” I can let myself be who I am.
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Remember how to play

We don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing.–Herbert Spencer

I was sitting in my back porch watching a group of children playing in the surf. As the waves came surging in, they would turn to face the shore on their body boards and paddle like heck to try to catch the wave. I watched the surf crash down on top of them, one by one. There would be nothing for a few moments but the torrent of water, and then a little while later a green foam board would pop up and a little while later, a laughing head and body. They’d shriek and laugh, then one by one turn around, go back out, and do it again.

Later toward sunset, I saw two gray-haired men in ocean kayaks paddling near the shore. They would wait for the perfect wave and then paddle as hard as they could, trying to catch it and ride it into shore. Again I watched as the waves reared up and crashed down on the little boats. A kayak would get pushed up on the beach, followed a few moments later by a laughing gray-haired man, who would then paddle back out and do it again.

I have a friend in his thirties who is determined to make it. He doesn’t know where he’s going; he just knows that he is going somewhere. And no, he doesn’t have time to go to a basketball game or Magic Mountain. He’s busy and doesn’t have time to play.

I have a friend in his fifties. He’s in excellent health. He sits in his house, feeds the dog, and complains about the pain and the shortness of life. He doesn’t play because his poor body just isn’t what it used to be.

We can play or we can not play. It doesn’t make any difference one way or another, except that at the end, you will have had a much more enjoyable time if you did.

God, help me start having some fun.
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