You don’t have to say “Yes”

(From the archives)

You don’t have to say “yes”, just stop saying “no.” 🤗

An incredibly large percentage of the people I’ve spoken with in recovery about God have a similar story to tell. In one way or another, they feel that God has let them down, or betrayed them, or they blame God for the actions of people claiming to represent Him.

In my case, I had been taught that God was angry and short-tempered; He watched my every move just waiting for the next time I screwed up. I came into The Rooms with the belief that my purpose was to be a “Whipping boy” whenever He felt like punishing someone. I certainly was never anywhere near perfect, so I knew that I deserved every bit of pain and sorrow that I received.
Not coincidentally, my vision of who God was looked remarkably like my Dad: overbearing, rageful, impatient, and entirely frightening. 😢

As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of something a friend said to me many years ago, in regards to establishing a relationship with my Creator.
I was in perpetual “bowing and scraping” mode. I was way too ashamed and fearful and guilt-ridden to even consider approaching God. Rather than beginning, I would stay stuck in the endless reasons I had for why He would not welcome any interaction with me. I was positive that I was better off doing everything I could to stay invisible to Him.

My friend told me that as far as this “introduction” to (hopefully) a loving God went, I didn’t have to put my foot on the gas pedal: I simply had to take it off of the brakes.

Instead of fighting to keep God at a distance, perhaps I just needed to stop running away, and stand still. 🤔

There have been periods in my recovery where I’ve done a better job at coasting than others.
I was talking about the “g” word with a friend recently, and she said that she was ready to start moving closer to God. It sounded like she was seriously standing on the brakes…but there is a lot to be said for “acting as if”!(You do NOT NEED to understand. Just follow directions.)

I get it. Apprehension and trepidation were my closest associates in my early days of sobriety. All I can do, after all, is share my experience, strength and hope. One of the most amazing parts of early sobriety, for me, was the (gradual) realization that I was not God. I’m gonna try not to interfere as He works His loving ways with my friend. I just hope I’ll get to watch, and that I might somehow be helpful as she inches toward the loving Father of Whom she’s in desperate need.

He knows what skittish little kittens we can be. I imagine Him sitting still with His back to us as we creep ever so silently toward Him…letting us take all the time we need, while gently coaxing us to come nearer so He can rub our fur and scratch us in the best spots.

In considering “the God part” of your recovery, I would suggest that, rather than the thought of throwing the door wide open to “whatever” may be on the other side of it, maybe just open it a crack, and then pause.

Rather than focusing on all of my “problems with God” (things that I don’t understand/agree with), my life has progressed in a positive direction when I concentrate on learning about the simplicities of His character. He wrote a book as an introduction, but for so many years I believed the hype instead of SEEING FOR MYSELF.

I’ve gotta tell you, it’s been worth it, to investigate for myself. Standing on the brakes get tiring. He hasn’t steered me wrong. Not even once.

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Sprouting

I want to write. I know that writing can be a positive way to handle…life. Pain. Hurts. Feelings in general.

I do have things to say, I suppose. But I don’t know that I can express myself. Well. Any more.

If I knew all the words for all the emotions with which I’ve been wrestling, I could have written a novel. In just the last 5 months.

But I don’t.

I have been using other people’s words to try and share my feelings. This helps.

But they’re not MY words.

I seem to have misplaced my ability to string together words in a consecutive order, with which to accurately share what’s on my heart and mind.

I suppose it’s fear that stops me. I’m afraid of judgment. That usually comes from my own tendency to judge other folks. I do that.

Judging comes from my defensiveness, because I feel inadequate and insecure. I guess at this point I’m afraid of what else is going to be ripped away from me.

I admit that this is where trusting God has to come in. Don’t I trust Him, though? I do.

Someone said that “faith and fear can’t co-exist in the same place”. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I have faith that God is in control. I also know that He is working things together for my BEST.

I also know that the process of growth and change can sometimes include great pain.

Growing Pains.

I don’t have as many words as I once did. I can’t think, as I once did. I am not the same person as I once was.

Not worse or less than, as a person. Just different.

Very much different.

Please don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t want pity. Pity is really a BAD thing. I don’t pity me. I don’t feel much at all for myself, really. But certainly not pity.

So, for now, I allow myself to be numb, emotionally, as much as possible. The more I can get through today, without thoughts of tomorrow or yesterday, the better. That’s what spirituality is, right? Staying. In. The. Moment.

The good news is, while I may have been placed in a hole, and covered with dirt…I am, in fact, just about to start sprouting.

I’d love to know I’m not alone…please comment below.

Gifts to Grow On

All we are asked to bear, we can bear. That is a law of the spiritual life. The only hindrance to the working of this law, as of all benign laws, is fear.
—Elizabeth Goudge

There is no problem too difficult to handle with all the help available to us. Let’s not be overwhelmed. The program tells us to “Let go and let God,” to turn it over. And that’s where the solution lies.

Our challenges, the stumbling blocks in our way, beckon us toward the spiritual working-out of the problem which moves us closer toward being the women we are meant to be. Our fear comes from not trusting in the Power greater than ourselves to provide the direction we need, to make known the solution.

Every day we will have challenges. We have lessons to learn which means growing pains. If we could but remember that our challenges are gifts to grow on and that within every problem lies the solution.

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I will not be given more than I and my Higher Power can handle today, or any day.

On this, the 5 month mark after my son’s death…I can do all things through JESUS.

From the book Each Day a New Beginning

Let your mind guard your heart

Early in my sobriety, a wise woman taught me “I over E”. Intellect over Emotion.

Most people seem to live quite differently from this. Perhaps being able to apply this formula is a step toward emotional maturity…I don’t know.

What I do know is that when I’m confronted with a situation in which I have a knee-jerk reaction, an emotional response, it usually turns out better if I don’t.

Maybe that’s what separates the average mammal from higher-functioning humans. (Notice I didn’t say Humans, in general.) Animals who are considered to have higher intellect, ie trainable, are those with some measure of the ability to override their instinctual/emotional reactions. Instead of biting the person that seems to be a threat, Fido reasons that since Owner said “No”, that he will respond accordingly. Or when my cat is afraid, and wants to run away and hide, he remembers that I am a safe person and instead he stays put.

When I was active in my addiction, I rationalised and justified acting on my feelings every time. I felt X, so of course I did Y. There was never any thought between X and Y. Just feeling + action.

In the end, because I was so unable to successfully handle my feelings, no matter what X was, Y always equalled a drink or a drug.

Recently, I had an experience that effectively sliced my heart open with the skill of a top-rated surgeon. I never saw it coming. My emotions were laid out, raw. They flowed out of me like a flooded river. I’m human, after all. Feeling things is a part of that.

Then after a time, I came to a lull in the rapid flowing pain, and I was able to lift up my head and gasp a breath of air. With that moment of clarity, I became aware that I had options.

I could choose to let the waters keep throwing me further downstream, hitting the rocks on the bottom and feeling the burn of lungs aching for air,

OR

I could reach up, the next time I surfaced, and grasp for…anything with which I might be able to pull myself ashore.

After so much time in the current, being beaten and tossed about, I really am exhausted. It’s hard to think. So, in planning my course from here, I decide to rest a bit. My body certainly needs time to heal from to plethora of cuts and bruises.

This is where I over E comes in.

Left to my feelings, I am in a never-ending fight. I circle a sewage drain of anger, regret, fear, and more. I am a slave to emotion when I’m tired and weak. My mind tells me that this is going to end in the destruction of my life and any relationship that I care about, unless I (daily) take the control from my emotions and hand it back to my intellect.

If animals can control their instincts, their emotions, and choose to lead with what they KNOW, then I can, too. We can, too.

Just because someone or something pushes my button, our buttons, does NOT mean we have to react. We can pause. Pray. Breathe. And choose to RESPOND.

I over E.

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A great thing to stick on a note and post beside your mirror. It works for me.

The Power of Addiction

The Power of Addiction

This is the power of addiction. Whatever the object of our addiction is, it attaches itself to our intense desire for eternal and intimate communion with God and each other in the midst of Paradise—the desire that Jesus himself placed in us before the beginning of the world. Nothing less than this kind of unfallen communion will ever satisfy our desire or allow it to drink freely without imprisoning it and us. Once we allow our heart to drink water from these less-than-eternal wells with the goal of finding the life we were made for, it overpowers our will, and becomes, as Jonathan Edwards said, “like a viper, hissing and spitting at God” and us if we try to restrain it.

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“Nothing is less in power than the heart and far from commanding, we are forced to obey it,” said Jean Rousseau. Our heart will carry us either to God or to addiction.

“Addiction is the most powerful psychic enemy of humanity’s desire for God,” says Gerald May in Addiction and Grace, which is no doubt why it is one of our adversary’s favorite ways to imprison us. Once taken captive, trying to free ourselves through willpower is futile. Only God’s Spirit himself can free us or even bring us to our senses.

 

 

 

Original author, unknown.

Trees

Rough weather makes good timber.

—Appalachian adage

When you journey up a mountain path, you see many types of tree growth. In the lower part of the mountain are small saplings just starting their growth as well as towering trees. Higher up, trees are smaller. Some cling precariously to the side of the mountain, growing out of a small patch of earth between cracks in a rock.

Journey up the same path after a spring snowmelt and you may see a different view. In the lower regions, once towering trees have been felled by the power of raging water, and small saplings have been snapped at their base. But up higher, small trees are still firmly in place, steadfast in their grip between the rocks.

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The lesson in this is that the strongest can survive. Like the trees, you are ever-exposed to the storms and difficulties of daily life. Will you be overwhelmed by life’s adversities, easily felled by such things, or will you develop an inner strength and resiliency that will enable you to work through each difficulty? Today recognize that challenges in life are inevitable. Brace yourself for them, hold firm to your position, and never let them dislodge you.

I am a survivor who can withstand the difficulties in life. I do this with strength and with dignity.

Quoted from the books Morning Light and Night Light by Amy E. Dean.

Find recovery resources at Hazelden.org.

Thoughts on a Friday evening

Today was a good day.

I went outside this morning, and the sun was shining, birds were singing, and it really FELT like Spring. (Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons, btw)

Then I decided to go to a noon (AA) meeting that I’d not attended before. It was in a remote little place, between towns, in a church I’ve driven past hundreds of times. I had no idea that, at any given time, there was a group of folks saving one another’s lives inside.

When I walked in the chair person was reading from a recent Grapevine, which always encourages me. I had an article published in that publication, many years ago, and so of course I have always been fond of “Our meeting in print”.

The room looked like it could ordinarily be used as a Rec room for the churches’youth group. I spied an Air Hockey table, a jukebox, and a small setting area on one side with comfy coiches and chairs. There was a kitchen on the other side, and the bar area had 4 kind’s of cookies and a coffee maker, along with the usual literature options.

It was as if I’d strolled into a pleasant memory. If you’ve never been to an AA meeting, suffice it to say that by simply walking into the room, no matter what else is going on, or whether or not you feel any kind of way about being there, you are welcome.

Sick and worn out? Welcome.

Stinky and unbathed? Welcome.

In need of psychiatric meds but managing to somehow keep your shit more or less together? Welcome.

Nobody walks into an AA meeting by mistake.

It was nice to see a majority of gray-heads at this particular place. I haven’t been to many meetings of late where many of the attendees had over a year sober, and this cup looked to be running over with sobriety. With the emotional roller coaster I’ve been living in, it felt like a gift from God to slip into a seat at the back of the room, and listen.

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The coffee was hot, and someone had brought some carrot cake, with cream cheese icing. It was almost as if I’d called ahead and put in my order.

I think going to a meeting on any day that I’m not employed is a Good Thing. I left that meeting feeling hopeful and happy. Some one once said that you could think of “G.o.d.” as

Group

Of

Drunks.

I know that whenever I’m in a group of people working on a spiritual solution for the problem of alcoholism  (or addiction, thank you), my God meets me there.

I’m a greatful recovering alkie/druggie, today, and my name is Abbie.