Being Prepared

Being willing to achieve is not nearly as valuable as being prepared. ~ Anon

I saw this the other day, and it reminded me of getting and being sober. We spend years of hangovers and regrets swearing off then swearing on again. Our lives were consumed in pretending and promising to ourselves and others that we can act maturely when drinking, we can drink moderately in polite society, and we really mean no harm. To no avail. Many of us wanted to achieve sobriety. But, wanting and doing are totally different things as we have been humbled to learn.

Remember the acronym H.A.L.T.? Hungry, angry, lonely, and tired are the greatest bug-a-boos for any alcoholic. We cannot afford these feelings. I add S for sore (due to chronic pain). Life happens, and we will be confronted by these on a regular basis. For those who are new into recovery, I offer some tips and tricks: To avoid being hungry: eat breakfast, take healthful snacks to work, hydrate with water; not juice or pop. Drink warm lemon water before breakfast each day. To avoid anger: have some AA numbers entered on your phone and use them, take a walk, count to ten, do a step 10 inventory, and/or pray for the person. To avoid loneliness: go to a meeting, call until you get a human voice, walk around the mall, call someone who is struggling, or volunteer at an animal shelter or retirement home. And, to avoid tiredness: take daily naps, get to bed at a reasonable hour, avoid caffeine or cut back after noon, take 1/2 hour of quiet time before you sleep, move the TV/radio/stereo out of the bedroom, and consider not bringing work home with you. Preparation will reduce the exasperation and ensure continue sobriety.

Just Another Day

Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus. ~ Susan Longacre

People sometimes ask me how I stayed sober after all these years. I tell them the same thing I was always told when I asked old timers the same thing: Don’t drink and stay alive! No kidding. It is that simple. It is a simple program of recovery, but it is a hard one. The hard part is remaining teachable, recognizing you do not know everything, and having the willingness to accept and follow advice on how to do it differently.

Do you know how you can tell you are in recovery? You don’t. The people around you will notice that your behaviors are not so reactionary. Those who love you will be puzzled by the way you respond more lovingly. The banker and creditors will be shocked that they do not have to keep calling you and charging your accounts for late/missed payments. You bosses will enjoy more productivity, fewer “sick” days and more profits. Your kids and pets won’t be afraid when you walk through the door anymore. You may not notice, but they will. At first, you will feel uncomfortable, but soon this new lifestyle will feel more natural. Just look down at your shoes if you are not sure where you are or what direction you are going. Stay sober and stay alive. Pretty soon, you will be asked how you got where you are going.  Day after day, year after year….that is how you become an old timer.

Analysis is Paralysis

Analysis is Paralysis ~ anon

I spent a whole lot of money and time trying to get my head shrunk and figuring out why I was so miserable. There is no harm is getting outside help, but the real truth and answers came for me by taking my rightful spot in AA meetings, listening to others, doing that which I was told to do, and by not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. Most of the pain I suffered was of my own doing. And, the solutions to that pain was right in the literature and meetings that AA offered for free. Such a deal I got.

In AA we discovered that humility is simply an awareness of who we really are today and a willingness to become all that we can be. Genuine humility brings an end to the feelings of inadequacy, the self-absorption, and the status seeking. Humility places us neither above of below anyone else on an imaginary ladder of worth. We can be on equal footing with the rest of humans. And, we can be just be one of 7+ billion other schmoes who occupy this earth. Recovery for me means waking up each morning sober and looking into the mirror knowing where I was, who I was with, what I said, and what I did the night before. Isn’t that what we all want? Such a deal we got!

What is Humility?

Humility is an action, not an emotion. ~ Jan W. 

We wonder what the heck is humility. It sure isn’t humiliation; but rather an awareness that we are not the only being on this earth, that others matter, and that there is a great deal of people, places and things that we have no power over. I like to think there is a universal order of things, that each of us has an inner clock that is ticking, and there is just so much life to live. That keeps me humble and ready to embrace each moment as if it were my last one. Frankly, there is not enough time in life to get all that I want to accomplish done.

I got this from a 12 Step newsletter in St. Louis. It is one person’s thoughts on what is humility:

spirituality                                          I don’t know                  spontaneity

Curiosity                                              innocence                      openness

child-like nature                                tolerance                         patience

integrity                                               detachment                     letting go.

That is a good start. See how many more you can come up with. Have a good day. Stay cool. This too shall pass.

Practicing Humility

The 7th step calls for us to “adopt an attitude of humility”. You may wonder what on earth is humility. Laughingly, old timers will tell you it is half way between humiliation and pride!  It is not all that complicated. In fact, in working the first 6 steps, we have been practicing humility all along.

Step # 1: We admitted we were powerless, and that we were completely willing.

Step #2: We willing admitted we were insane and powerless.

Step #3: I became willing to let go and let G.O.D.

Step #4: We were willing to look at our part in each problem/issue.

Step #5: We were willing to share these wrongs with another person and G.O.D.

Step #6: We became willing to admit we had faults.

So, you see, this program is not all that complicated. It is hard, but it is not complicated. Keep it simple and keep coming back.