Archive for April, 2010

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Thanks God, I’ll take it from here.

April 30, 2010

I often “term” the patterns of thought and behaviour I come to recognize in recovery and life in general.  One such behaviour I have termed the, “Thanks God, I’ll take it from here”, pattern. 

This is where we have recently had a profound enlightenment of some kind.  A realization, awakening, breakthrough, or victory.  Something life-changing.  Often, served up to us under unlikely and undeserving circumstances.  We are instantly grateful to any and all persons and powers who helped us.  We are for a time, truly humble in our brokenness.

It is not uncommon then for a sense of self-confidence to sprout.  Something in our subconscious mind suggests to us that we have in a small way arrived.  Yet we don’t often say it outright.  But we sense it and act as if we have. 

This sense of arrival often then overshadows the enlightenment and humility that followed.  And we end up with the mistaken notion that the source of the enlightenment wasn’t really worthy of the credit we previously gave them.  We forget from where we came.

What usually happens next? Some form of failure.  A relapse perhaps for those of us once addicted.  A reversal of progress for sure.  The one step back after the two steps forward.  Then comes time for another enlightenment.  Then repeat.

Is this a tragedy or just the nature of growth and learning?  I think the latter.

Ciao.

Chaz

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What if I don’t?

April 17, 2010

When faced with the temptation to habitually do something I feel is unwise, I find simply asking the question, “what if I don’t”? to be the most amazing simple solution to the dilemma.

When I first started sobering up, I asked this question of my desire to drink.  Not once did the answer to “what if I don’t” return a negative or painful response.

Fast forward a few years, if I find myself slipping into negative thinking patterns like dread, resentment, or regret, I simply ask myself the question, “what if I don’t (dread, resent, regret)”?  Same result.  Not once has the answer to this question resulted in pain or negativity in any way.

In fact, it is now a game I play with my thinking.  I turn it around and say, “I wonder what is on the other side of this dread, resentment, regret”?  Then I push through to discover the answer.

It is like a gateway to a whole new world that I never suspected existed.  And my thinking is beginning to change.  I dread, regret, and resent far less than I used to.  And I seldom get swept away in the current of these thought patterns anymore.

This to me is “keeping it simple”, and “progress, not perfection” applied.

Ciao.

Chaz

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Barometer of progress

April 11, 2010

How do we measure progress in recovery or simple growth as a person?  I am not sure how to quantify this progress, yet I have discovered observable indicators that I see on a frequent basis that tell me that life is changing, progressing, and that I am growing.

I woke this morning to find my car having been ransacked last night.  I lost a bag full of work-related papers, a pair of prescription sunglasses, and a ring I had bought my daughter for her birthday I had left in the glove box and was going to give her tomorrow.  All told, probably $700 worth of belongings.

My reaction? Smirk, and a quietly verbalized “niiiicee”, as I stood there in the driveway looking at the open door of my car with remaining contents of my glove box on the passenger seat and floor.  I smirked further at the thought of the thieves trying to wear the sunglasses.  They are prescription lenses… they will not have any fun with them.

The telling part was my initial reactions did not include rage.  Nor did they include feelings of deep loss for these items.  I sit here disappointed at the inconvenience and forthcoming expenditures.  But that is it.  I am not furious.  I am not panicking.  In fact, I am blogging over it.  Thats it.  In days and weeks to come, I will replace the items and move on.  Even though I paying for all of these things is not something I can easily do at the drop of a hat.  But so what.  I have lost things in the past and I will lose things in the future.  So did millions of others throughout history.

Some of my barometers of progress include:

  • Road rage: Am I getting any better at how I behave in traffic?  Can I apply the principles of recovery such as acceptance, tolerance, and surrender to the behaviours of others in traffic?  My answer is yes.  More than ever.
  • Relationships: This is the big one.  As far as I am concerned, recovery expresses itself the greatest in how our relationships are going. Any one relationship can have trouble.  The more important question is, are our relationships in general improving?  Do we have more positive interactions in our lives?  Do we connect with stronger and better people more frequently?  Do we have people who can speak honestly with love into our lives?  Do we have any less flare-ups with people than we used to?
  • Handling change:  How do we handle change and crisis now?  Is it any better.  Do we “lose it” as often?  Feel the victim? Go into a rage? Sulk? Whine? Gossip? Self-pity?

 

Recovery is not something we do “in the rooms” or while we are working steps.  Recovery is how everyday life changes and improves.

So I hope someone out there is enjoying my prescription sunglasses.  And I hope they get a good buck at the pawn shop for the ring.  Summer is a ways off and I can easily replace the glasses by then.  My daughter is in my life and tells me she loves me every time I see her.  The ring can be replaced too.

Today is a beautiful day.  The final round of the Masters Tournament starts soon.  I will see my kids tonight.  I love my wife, and I am healthy.

Ciao.

Chaz