Pretty much every recovering addict knows about 12-step meetings, sponsorship, working the steps, and going to therapy. And much of the time those tools are enough to establish and maintain early sobriety. Over time, however, addicts inevitably encounter situations where those highly useful forms of support are not available. In such cases, it is wise to have at least a few other tools of sobriety on which to rely.
With deep appreciation, I look back and reflect on this precious month, grateful for all the ups and downs of my human experience, and grateful for the perfection of my spiritual experience. I am extremely grateful to be in recovery, free from addictive substance and behavior, and grateful for the freedom I have to choose empowering thoughts, ideas, and actions in all situations. I am thankful for everything and everyone that serve as my teachers and remind me to open my eyes and stay awake to the lessons and blessings that surround me.
We are entering the time of year when parties, family get-togethers, and excessive eating, drinking and merriment can create difficult or at least tricky situations for those in recovery. Thanksgiving in particular can be a challenging time. Family interaction is often expected and it may be the first family get-together in a while.
For a second I forgot that I am not running the show. Phew, what a relief! My house on Thanksgiving will be a house divided. About half the people showing up are happy, the other half horrified with the election results, mimicking the nation’s mood. This will be the first time this particular constellation of people will be together.
Radical acceptance is an alternative to labeling situations, things, or people as “good” and “bad.” It’s settling into the space that opens up when we stop reacting so strongly to outcomes. This space for me takes the form of my thoughts, breathing, and sight slowing to a pace where I can take in and touch the sense of immense beauty and wonder in the world: the breeze against the trees, a smile on my loved ones face, opportunity that can come from loss, and the little things to be grateful for throughout my busy days.
Immersed in an energy of addiction for the past year and a half, it’s been about the campaign, the debates, and the “panels of experts” on CNN, and at the end, even Fox News. I sensed I had crossed the line at that point. And then there was the election itself. I did enjoy hearing various opinions on both sides – I hope I can reclaim that in a healthy way.
If you are, or were, a 12-Stepper, you know that the 12-Steps of Recovery start off in a kinda “Think-ey” way. But, it’s a trap! That’s how they getcha. They ease you into it and then — BOOM. They hit you with Step 4, hard, like a cast iron skillet to the head. Working Step 4 (a rigorously honest moral inventory), things get pretty action oriented . . .
How grateful am I to have a roadmap called the 12 steps. The spiritual principles they’re built around have become embedded in my own spiritual program. They serve as my guideposts to help me know I am on track. Basically they are honesty, acceptance, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, forgiveness, sincerity, perseverance, serenity, and service.