Posts Tagged "12 steps"

Musings on My Faith Journey

A recent lesson: When I say yes to the Universe, a spiritual vortex activates and I can absolutely trust that whatever I think about my perceived lack of time gets nullified. God steps in, says, “I’ve got this,” and I just show up. Thank you Kathryn and Christie.

One of my recent aha’s has been around how I’m the only one making choices for my good. It seems like a simple idea, yet one that is so hard to consistently execute! I even have the bonus of working a 12-step program that allows me the ultimate freedom to stay on the spiritual beam and yet I still spend too much time face-planted in the mat.

However, a recent meeting reminded me that being present to the 12 steps is something I forget–regularly. I get waaayy too busy and full of my self-importance to put God ahead of my plans.

The voices I hear in the shadows of doubt and the storms of news cycles sometimes make it hard to come back into the sunlight of the spirit. I wonder if that happens to anyone else.

When I say I’m a sensitive sort, I don’t just mean that I tend to get my feelings hurt easily. I mean that I get drawn in to others’ drama and chaos and pain, not in a let-me-fix-you way, but in a way that my soul absorbs angst and hurt and lets those things affect my present moments.

I don’t like this one little bit because feeling hopeful in those moments is nearly impossible and without hope, I really have nothing.

Oh, what to do, cries my tortured psyche! The answer is simple, but not easy . . .

Plugging into my spiritual connection, which includes living in the sunlight of the 12 steps, keeps me God-centered. I am grounded. I function where my feet are planted.

I become much less prone to worry and stress because I am trusting God in all things. My purpose is to be right here, right now, and to affect others with my good energy. If God and I are in sync, what I’m presenting are God traits of sweet love, compassion and joy.

The sunlight of the spirit is available to me all the time. Even when I forget. Even when I fall into the world’s stresses or get caught up in politics or social media or, man’s inhumanity to man.

These days, there is a channel for spreading hate that seems vicious and loud and always on. At times, it drowns out the Love Channel where soothing voices tell universal stories of redemption and truth.

Is it time to turn up the volume on our stories? Or convince others to share their personal stories?

I think so because the voices of doom and gloom are insidious and they come from bullies who believe they can shout us into silence, wear us down with their intentional divisiveness.

Standing and amplifying our voices is hard work. It’s easier to just go along, but that choice is becoming less acceptable, not when we’re in a war for love and kindness. Instead, lets get familiar with each other’s stories and raise the energy of peace and empathy for our fellow travelers.

Ready to walk? Say yes!

K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Sweetie

_DSC0862One of my early recovery mentors was a diminutive woman named Shirley Rapp who lived and breathed the 12 steps.

Shirley, who died a few years ago, wrapped her recovery around me when I was new and scared. She’d say, “Now honey, you’re gonna be alright. All you have to do right now is stay sober and God will take care of everything else. Just keep it simple, sweetie.”

An acronym of love

I don’t think KISS–originally known as Keep It Simple, Stupid–is talked about much anymore. I never liked that version of the acronym anyway. Shirley’s version–Keep It Simple, Sweetie, is much gentler and more loving.

When you’re new to recovery, keeping things simple is a really, really good idea (not a bad plan for long-term recovery either!) but attaching a derogatory term like stupid only emphasizes a recovering person’s low self-image and esteem.

Instead, using sweetie eliminates the negative connotation. It’s softer and helps me take it easy on myself.

Most recently, Keep It Simple, Sweetie has opened my eyes to the beautiful surroundings of working the 12 steps all over again with a woman who reminds me a little bit of Shirley.

Step One: Powerlessness and Unmanageability

Working through the steps with a couple of decades of sobriety is an interesting proposition. For instance, I didn’t really understand that honesty is involved in becoming aware of my lack of power and seeing how my life is unmanageable.

Digging into what honesty means is daunting. Think about this one: Dishonesty includes the delusion of control.

Being honest implies telling the truth which is fairly easy until you begin to consider all the lies we tell ourselves, like: we’re happy when we’re not, we’re satisfied when we’re not or we’re okay when we’re not.

So, are you completely honest today?

Acceptance is the key

The trick is to do this work with no judgment. Any thought I have like, I should know this already with 24 years in recovery needs to exit the head space.

Instead, I keep it simple, sweetie. Go easy, be loving, be gentle. Listen to the words of Melody Beattie as you say then aloud:

We do not move forward by resisting what is undesirable in our life today. We move forward, we grow, we change by acceptance.

And these words:

Overcome not by force. Overcome by surrender.

Just as I never really thought about Step One including honesty, I also didn’t realize that it included acceptance.

I’ve always just plowed through the first step as it’s written: I am powerless over alcohol and my life is unmanageable.

There’s a fairly famous story in the book Alcoholics Anonymous called “Acceptance Was the Answer” (fka “Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict”) in which the author describes finally getting to the core understanding of how it is possible to stay sober.

Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept my life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Indeed, acceptance is the necessary response to  all my problems–real or perceived–today.

Now that’s what I call keeping it simple, sweetie.

Photo courtesy of scottsann