Daily Reading from Recovery Days July 12th by Chris B

Remember Mindfulness – feel your body from top to toes

Positive, affirmative action

Three frogs sat on a log in a pond. One decided to jump into the water. How many frogs were left on the log? Three, because none actually jumped. There is no point in deciding to take action unless you act. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Half-truths are a way of avoiding action. Saying you will ‘try’ is no good. Trying is lying, as they say in the fellowships. There is no substitute. We should do what we say we will do. That way, we gain selfesteem and respect. Will I be a positive person who always does what I say I will do?

I must strive to be the kind of person that does not act just to seek the approval of others. If I feel that what I do is morally right, then it should not matter if I am approved or ridiculed, because I have peace of mind. If I ask my Higher Power to guide me in all, and not worry about the views of the world but simply do what is right, I will have the courage of my convictions. I ask that in doing so, I will become an example to others and thus be giving of myself.

Daily Reading from Recovery Days July 11th by Chris B

Remember Mindfulness – close eyes briefly

Understanding the obsession of addiction

JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has been cited by some as a metaphor for addiction. The Ring works its magic on all who seek it, rendering some hopelessly obsessed. The effect it has in particular on its custodian Gollum’s personality and physique are reminiscent of drugs such as heroin. Gollum is entirely consumed by his attachment to the Ring. Nothing else is as important and his mental and moral standards deteriorate markedly. Interestingly, the power of the Ring to corrupt the likes of Gollum was not equal to ensnaring the ‘good’ characters of Gandalf and Frodo. They seem to have won through largely because of the support, strength, and unity they found in each other’s company – a bit like AA. There is no evidence that Tolkien had drugs in mind. Am I ready to learn lessons of recovery from many sources?

I must never forget the corrupting power of alcohol and drugs. A glass of beer or a puff of weed can seem such a minor event but their potential for mayhem is immense. Regular drug use can impair a person’s ability to choose right from wrong. Empathy and the understanding of other people’s emotions are also found at reduced levels in drug users. I will remember that a small drink of alcohol does no harm to some people, but it contains the potential to change me from Gandalf into Gollum.

Daily Reading from Recovery Days July 10th by Chris B

        

Remember Mindfulness – relax your whole body

Dangerous relapse situations

Talk of having a ‘slip’ can minimise its seriousness. We can all get thoughts about drinking. Our addiction keeps trying to stage a comeback. The crucial moment is when the thought first appears. We must be quick to root it out and not entertain it because once we start dreaming about drinking or using, we are unconsciously grooming ourselves to embrace the notion. A cool glass of beer on a hot day can be a delightful thought as we struggle down a crowded city street but where would it lead us? It is vital that we banish such thoughts immediately and have a prearranged plan for doing so – a person to call or a task to change our mindset. Do I have a plan to deal with ideas of drinking and using?

As soon as I start to think that I am in control of my life, that even subconsciously, I have no real need for my Higher Power, then I am in danger. I must carry out a reality check – back to basics: I am addicted, probably no human power could have relieved my addiction, but my Higher Power has helped me do so, when asked. How can I think, when I look at the past, that I can succeed on my own?

Daily Reading from Recovery Days July 9th by Chris B

Remember Mindfulness – sit comfortably

The child within

Daily Reading from Recovery Days July 8th by Chris B

Daily Reading from Recovery Days July 7th by Chris B

Daily Reading from Recovery Days July 6th by Chris B

Remember Mindfulness – feel your body from top to toes

Power of example

Everything we say and write comes in one of four forms: statement, question, exclamation or command. The Twelve Steps are written in the form of a statement: Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a programme of recovery. Before the AA Big Book was published, in 1939, the authors were advised to make the tone of the work less directive: a lot of ‘musts’ were replaced by ‘should’ or ‘we suggest’. Remarkably, the approach worked. Perhaps alcoholics are people who don’t like being told what to do. If you compare the Twelve Steps of AA to the Ten Commandments in the Christian Bible, you will see a marked difference in tone.

Reading the AA Big Book widens our knowledge of Alcoholics Anonymous and of addiction itself. There is something very moving about reading the lives and experiences of people just like us who struggled with addiction nearly a hundred years ago. Their problem was mine and all of their stories are truly inspirational. I am proud and grateful to follow in their footsteps. I will try to be open to the possibilities of change so that with humility and love I too can be an example to others.

Daily Reading from Recovery Days July 5th by Chris B

Remember Mindfulness close eyes briefly

Help to change

Honesty, openness and willingness to change are three essentials of successful recovery. Openness is important because it allows us to accept new ideas. These can take many forms but one of the most surprising for some people is the idea of a Higher Power. Yet, anyone looking back at our past and the change that has happened since, might conclude that they see something pretty miraculous. How do people who have been written off as hopelessly addicted manage to turn their lives around? Since we were unable to help ourselves at that time, some other powerful force must have appeared.

A miracle is an extraordinary event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws. Life itself is one – nobody has been able to explain scientifically how it first happened. I am not being asked to believe in a specific source of power in the universe. I am simply asked to open my mind to the idea that there is a power of some kind that is greater than me and which helps me if asked. I can feel that power in the experience, strength and support of other people. May it always be there for us all, so that what I see darkly, I will see face to face one day.

Daily Reading from Recovery Days July 4th by Chris B

Remember Mindfulness relax your whole body gradually

Enjoy the simple things in life

Happiness and good self-esteem are legitimate goals in life and recovery gives us a second chance. In that sense, we are truly fortunate. Life may be difficult, but recovery should most certainly be enjoyable, otherwise – what is the point? Our goal should be to become ‘Better than Well’. If we keep things simple and just try to do the right thing, we will reach our goal in the end. Poet William Blake wrote about the simple things of creation and the need to know right from wrong:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the Palm of your Hand And Eternity in an Hour

William Blake.

There is a choice in life between the material and the spiritual – between wealth, pride and status on the one hand and honesty, love and service on the other. Which will be the dominant principle in my life? It is difficult to try to achieve both. Wealth and status are not necessarily evil, but I need to choose whatever brings peace of mind and happiness.

Daily Reading from Recovery Days July 3rd by Chris B

Remember Mindfulness close eyes briefly

Step Seven

Step Seven is about humility and also about reinforcing our commitment to change. I have committed to moving forward in life without these old behaviours is the basic message behind this important Step. If you can realistically appreciate your place in the world and your unique personality, then you are accepting life on life’s terms. You have no cause to be vain or arrogant but equally no cause to be ashamed. Can I take my place in the world without false pride or humility?