I went down to the banks of “Ma Ganga” (The Ganges River) to accompany my dear friend who had expressed his desire to dip into the sacred waters… we heard some chanting nearby… a small group gathered around a teacher chanting devotedly to God. In a few moments the chanting ended, and the teacher began to speak enthusiastically about relating to God: “When you are in the state of surrender, you will reject anything that gets between you and your relationship with God.” With this one sentence, my view of surrender had been transformed forever.
My cell phone charger was left behind recently for a 2-day conference away from home. I hadn’t brought my laptop because I figured why schlep it around since I’d have little time to use it… That first morning, heading to the event from the parking garage, I must admit I felt a wonderful sense of freedom and lightness in my being. One less thing to nag at me or call me away from the present moment… That sense of freedom got me thinking. Am I addicted to my cell phone and all that it connects me to?
To quote one of our posts from earlier this year, Recovery Consciousness is “the mindful awareness and realization . . . that we can continue to uncover, discover, and recover that which is ours, but has likely been numbed out and presumed lost.” Lost to “alcoholic thinking” is implicit in that statement. What is alcoholic thinking? Allow our guest post today, curated from the Holistic Recovery Centers blog, to explain.
I stumbled onto Science of Mind before AA. Probably literally stumbled as I was drinking pretty heavily in those days. But I was “fine. (sure.) This New Thought teaching was my entry into self-awareness from a higher place, not from the lowly self-conscious, self-centered, self-judgement-y place that was all I knew. It was the first time I heard in real words “you are whole perfect and complete.” I sensed I was indeed in the perfect place to hear what I was hearing, even though the meaning of what I was hearing was fuzzy. For whatever divine reason, one little corner of my mind bought in. I am sure I celebrated with alcohol or pot to have found something to hold on to, but it was a start.
It was in this moment that I realized there was no way that I could do this alone. I closed my eyes and asked the universe for more strength. With every step I took I had to ask for the power to take another step. And every step granted to me brought me closer and closer to the top of that mountain. I know that it is not my own willpower that carried me to the top… I firmly believe that the universe knew how much I needed this victory to revive my motivation in my own life…. I have to draw power from a source greater than myself, a power that would not have brought me this far just to drop me on my head with the finish line in sight.
Before Recovery Consciousness, thinking and speaking in positive, life-giving ways does not come naturally for most people. What a blessing to be open and teachable, caring and loving, and confident and optimistic in sobriety. As the Promises state, “Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.” What can you add to this list?
Step eleven, like step ten, is not a step that is worked once and then forgotten. Instead, it is part of an ongoing (usually daily) ritual of recovery. That said, recovering addicts often find “prayer” and “meditation” to be somewhat baffling concepts. And some, especially those who began the recovery process as agnostics or atheists, may still be struggling with the idea of having a higher power at all. For these reasons (and many others), step eleven can be a difficult one to work. If you find yourself struggling with this step, take heart in the fact that you are not alone. Even the most devoutly spiritual and/or religious members of twelve-step recovery groups sometimes lose their way here.
With deep gratitude for everything this short month has brought and for all that waits in the wings to unfold in March, I breathe in and honor my sobriety, serenity, and strength. In my next breath, I open my arms wide and gratefully welcome the next turn of the calendar page, already filled with love, light, and limitless possibility. I am strong, I am open, and I receive and deserve all the gifts that life has to offer including health, joy, acceptance, and wisdom.