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Each day offers 1,440 minutes of choices; every minute of this day requires a decision to choose peace over chaos, joy over despair and love over all other negative emotions. You don't have to decide alone! Join the B Here Today community--learn with us and share your experience, strength and hope about being present to ALL your moments. Enter your email address below to receive weekly articles, free resources and TONS of inspiration!

Waiting for a Miracle

I’ve been known to say in 12-step meetings, “If all I am today is sober, somebody please shoot me.”

I don’t want to just get by, to survive.  I want to thrive in sobriety as I deal with the proverbial life on life’s terms.  And thriving sometimes means hanging on with your fingertips to an idea that things won’t always be the way they are right now.

I’ve also been known to talk about this theory I have that many of us in sobriety are often more challenged by the dog gnawing through new sneakers or backing the car over the garbage can than on major life events.

But right now I think that theory sucks.  I also think that anyone who says in a meeting, “Honey, you’ll be all right.  You’re right where you need to be.  Remember, there are no big deals,” needs to be taken out back and whacked over the head with a Big Book.

There ARE big deals and staying sober through gut-wrenching pain may not necessarily be any more difficult than when you find your new Nikes between the dog’s paws, but it’s quite possibly more miraculous. 

I believe that a miracle is a shift in perception.  But sometimes shifting that perception–particularly when grief and loss is involved–is an overwhelming task that is far bigger than my abilities.  Talk about “what an order!  I can’t go through with it!”

Wouldn’t it be easier to simply react in the one way that comes naturally to me?  Of course it would–returning to my addiction would be a simple, if not cowardly, way of dealing with a boatload of emotional circumstances.  I’m told that my disease of addiction is lurking in that dark alley of despair, waiting for me to step in so that it can once again consume me.  But one valuable thing I’ve learned in these years of staying sober is that despair eventually passes.  Daylight does return to illumine the alley’s darkness so that I can clearly see that it’s not I place where I want to return.

The really cool thing about miracles is they do arrive.  I believe they are promises from God.  During those times when the darkness can’t possibly get any more pitch black, if I can simply hold on, my miracle will arrive.  Every single time it does–and in 19 years a miracle has always appeared at the exact moment it was supposed to, and always in spite of me–I am humbled, amazed and awed by God’s grace.

If you’re having a moment of darkness that seems to stretch into eternity, please wait.  I promise you that the miracle you need will arrive.

Avoiding the Void

How does one grow in spiritual understanding?

My sponsor pointed out to me last night that even after the alcoholic obsession is lifted, we still try to fill a so-called void with temporary fixes.  Food is the big one for me right now.

Then I justify and rationalize that I somehow deserve this one thing–ice cream, cake, M&Ms, whatever–as a payoff for all the emotional garbage I’m dealing with.

So here’s the question:  If I acknowledge that I’m behaving destructively to mask feelings about my stuff, then why can’t I, just as easily, make a decision not to behave destructively?

And just what does that decision look like? 

There is only one decision that trumps all the self-destructive ones.  One word answer:  God.  Let God fill the void.

Is it that simple, a mere invitation?  That is what I’m told by tons of men and women far wiser than I.

I think the invitation is a meditative practice, a quiet focusing on God as I breathe, letting Spirit fill me, expanding into that void so that there is no room for anything else.  In truth, nothing else is needed, contrary to the b.s. my ego feeds me.

Where am I now?  I’m in that murky area of wishing and wanting things to be different, struggling to think that I can’t–CAN’T–take any more stress in my life.  As always, trying to make things too hard.  That’s my history, afterall, anything worth having has to be gained through hard work, sweat and dogged determination.

Or does it?  How difficult can a decision be?  Especially if THE decision can be broken down into Mini-D’s (just couldn’t bring myself to write mini-bites).  Maybe the first Mini-D is done.  I can change the way I approach the consumption of food.

Second Mini-D:  I’ll ask for help.

Third Mini-D:  Breathe God in.  Nothing formal.  No big “ohm” moment.  Just relax and breathe God in.

Fourth Mini-D:  Try to keep my God awareness centered; each time I think about my breathing, I think of God.

Fifth Mini-D:  Imagine God smiling.  The omnipresent spirit knows I am worthy and good and it seems as if the me in this exercise has a glimmer of belief too.

What do you use to fill the void that we used to plug with alcohol and drugs?  Is it constructive or destructive?  If it’s the latter, how do you do things differently to get yourself to a better place?

Why Did God Create Sponsors?

I believe God knew there would be sober children–and I’m not referring to chronological age–who would be regularly blustery and dumb-founded when it comes to living life without alcohol.

Is there anyone out there in recovery who knows how to have healthy, sober arguments?  I need help! 

How can I possibly know how to argue in sobriety when I never did it well when I was drinking?  Back then, my arguments were heated and often hurtful fights between two people capable only of screaming for what they believed was due or owed to them.

Even in long-term sobriety, I don’t know the social niceties of arguing.  Until recently, my primary relationship had no need for argument.  We agreed on everything.  All our opinions were exactly alike and they were usually mine.  I’m not placing blame there because I know I helped create that surface-level relationship.

I am no longer in that relationship because I need–and desire–healthy discourse in my life.  I need–and desire–exchanges that run the gamut of stating positions on current events to tearful, gut-level, old-wounds stuff.

And I don’t know how to have those discourses.  Or, to be more gentle with myself, I’m not very good at it. 

Here’s the good news.  I have learned to take direction well over the last few years and when things like this occur, I know to defer to the person who knows way more than I do–my sponsor.

The conversation generally goes something like this: 

Me:  Hey.

S:  Hey, yourself.

Me:  What’s going on?  How are you?

S:  I’m okay.  Did you really call to inquire about my well-being?  (She usually cuts right to the chase.)

Me:  Well, no.  I’ve got this thing going on.

S:  Yeah?

Me:  Yeah, and it’s making me a little crazy.

S:  That sounds about right.

(Insert heavy sigh from me.)

S:  Tell me what’s going on.  (So I do).

S:  You know, until you’re willing to do things differently, you’re going to continue to do them the only way you know how.  Recovery is about living life differently but it’s not expected that you’ll wake up one morning and Shazam!, you have all knowledge.  That’s not the way it works.  There is only one way that I know to get the willingness to change.

Me:  (Trying really hard not to sound sarcastic)  Oh yeah?  And what would that be?

S:  Not what, but who.  Go to God.  God will provide willingness when you’re ready to ask.  Now, I am really glad you called and I sure do love you.  We’ll talk again after your conversation with God.

Sponsors!  Am I the only one who wants to petulantly stick my tongue out at mine on a regular basis?

6,935 Todays

It’s tempting to write, “It was a dark and stormy night,” a la Snoopy, or “I was born a poor, black child,” quoting Steve Martin in The Jerk.
Or maybe I should compose more serious words, something subtly Hemingway-ish.
I have no idea how to begin the first post of a brand new blog and I’ll admit that I’m nervous. I’m also a perfectionist and I want you to like me. I want my blog to drip with brilliant pearls of wisdom and have everyone who reads it write a glowing comment about my wisdom and insight.
I want, I want, I want . . . can you relate?
If you’re a person in recovery, I hope you can.
My desire (notice I didn’t say “want” again) is to share my recovery journey with you. I don’t have a desire to share a drunkalogue, although I’m a huge fan of speakers sharing their stories of what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now. Instead, I’d like to have an ongoing conversation about what works and doesn’t work in staying sober day-by-day.
B Here Today. Boil sobriety down and what’s left in the bottom of the pot is a glop of daily moments that sometimes needs seasoning, sometimes tastes just right and sometimes needs to be tossed in the trash. My glop, my choice.
Each day is filled with choices, isn’t it?
Today, May 20, 2010, is my 19th sobriety birthday and I am supremely grateful that the God of my understanding allowed me to make the choice to be here today.
What choices are you making today? Want to share?