Adventures

When I was a kid I found this creek in the woods of my neighborhood. At the beginning, I was satisfied with seeing all the little fish swimming around. I would ride down on my bike and catch them out with a fishing pole my dad had in the garage. I thought to myself I had found paradise. After coming for a few weeks I began to wonder where the creek went too. I thought maybe if I followed it I might find bigger fish.

One morning and I started our journey by going up the right side of the creek. I was a lot of fun as we splashed in the shallow waters and took turns jumping across from bank to bank. Our journey was short-lived as we found barb wired fence blocking the way. On a dare, I went under the fence only to have my shirt get caught, which was enough to scare me back to the other side.

Disappointed that our journey had come to an end, it was suggested that we go up the left side. Wow, this time we had a true adventure on our hands. The water went from shallow to deep fast. Sometimes we had to swim to keep going. We were amazed to see some big fish swim past us but the adventure took a scary turn when we saw two water snakes swim by.

We decided to turn back. A couple days later we gathered the courage to try again. Fearing the snakes we stayed up on the bank but this time we found ourselves surrounded by briars and poison ivy. My friend ended up covered in itchy bumps and I had some nice battle scars my parents were not pleased with.

Two times we had tried to see how far we could make it but each time we had been scared back home. I still never hit a barb wired fence or a No trespassing sign, so one last time I gathered together a bigger group of friends with the promise of making to our unknown destination.

We splash and played but after what felt like over an hour some of the others wanted to turn back. “This is stupid one replied” I responded with “No way man we have to finish.” Not 5 minutes later the woods began to open up and we could see the sun shining in the clear blue sky.

“We made it!” I cried. We all began to sprint up the creek to find ourselves in the lake a couple neighborhoods over.

Doesn’t seem like much now, but it was that kind of perseverance that I lack as an adult sometimes. I’ve been alive long enough to know the difference between Stop and keep going. Life is full of challenges but until there is a defining road block maybe I should keep going. I’m amazed when I keep following a path only to see it open into a brand new world.

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Finding Happiness In My Day

I always want to start a new project, because i feel that the current one I’m working on doesn’t give me enough creative freedom. I’m constantly think this audience won’t understand or this just doesn’t go together. When I slow my mind down it’s easy to see how many excuses I can come up with just to avoid what is in front of me.

When I’m truly honest this attitude is a reflection of how I feel about myself. One day I think “Wow I’m so blessed” and the next day I’m more like “Things would be better if …”. Recovery is teaching me that I have everything I need. The key is trust my Higher Power and using my resources to get the most out of myself.

My life usually doesn’t  seem challenging until I’m drowning. I’m amazed by how many times I fail to recognize the holes in my ship. Recovery is teaching me how to better manage what I take on, rather than stacking.

Maintenance is another crucial step in making sure I stay balanced. I have to challenge myself to work my program of recovery not just show up. Making sure I’m stepping into service opportunities and being available for others is vital to my growth as a person. When I’m truly involved I’m more likely to be happy.

One Day At A Time is a slogan to live by. Remember that all i have to do is complete the next 24 hours. By staying in the moment and focusing on what’s happening now, I don’t have time to worry about tomorrow. Happiness is a discipline and my higher power is there to help me find what works best for me.

It’s Not Me It’sYou 

“Good Morning Everyone” I shout as I come through the back door of the office. I hear a few distinct replays and immediately take notice that Jim didn’t reply. 

Knowing I’m the center of the universe I walk Down to Kim’s office to find him huddled behind a computer screen. ” so how you doing this morning Jim” Jim gives a quick nod says “not bad you”? Thinking he cares I pull up a chair and start rambling on until Jim abruptly say “I’m kind of busy this morning can we talk later?”

I knew it I think to myself, Jim doesn’t like me! So I spend the rest of the day giving Jim the cold shoulder even when he attempts to be polite and apologize for being wrapped up in work.

It never occurs to me that Jim and I never talk any ways. It’s not like we even get lunch together. 

Recovery has helped me to not be so self absorbed. If I choose to say hello and someone doesn’t respond maybe they didn’t hear me. Even if someone doesn’t want to talk with me I have to ask myself is it really a big deal.

This may seem like a silly example but my life before recovery was all about waiting for approval. Today I’m learning to stand on my own two feet and accept my place in the world.

If I expect everyone to live their lives around me then I’m a fool. The more I pay attention to myself and my character defects the more I can accept others.

Maybe I won’t be friends with everyone I meet but I don’t have to be as long as I’m my friend. 

Quiet Moments

I don’t put a whole lot of thought into the meaning of my dreams, but lately, they have been rough. I feel that I have been falling and I can’t catch myself everything seems to be going wrong in my dream land and some mornings these vivid dreams put me in a funk. It is interesting to have a month of feeling this way but one thing I’ve come to see accept is they are not reality.

In real life, things are pretty good. I can honestly my life is a whole lot better than my dreams so why am I dreaming these things. As I said I don’t put a whole lot into the meaning behind specific things I dream but the overall message can be an indication of what’s going on behind the scene.

I have found myself feeling uneasy lately. My mind has been racing and I sometimes struggle to focus. I’ve learned in my recovery program to slow down and start looking for the source. The truth is this time I believe I just have too much caffeine intake.

So if you’re reading this you may wonder what is the point of this rambling. Sometimes the toughest thing is for me not to create a problem that is not there. Even when things are quite a life can bully me if I let it. I don’t have a looming dragon waiting to devour me but it doesn’t mean that I don’t need to work my program. Every thing is great but I’m reminded even the quiet times in life need attention.

My strength is gained day by day so I will cherish the quiet days and take nothing for granted.

Finding New Stories

Up is the opposite of down, however when I let myself Dwell on situations the lines my blur leaving me feeling helpless.

This week there has a been a lot of discussion about dealing with times in our lives where we feel confused. Maybe it’s a tough discussion I have to make or maybe it’s just feeling stuck in time. Time and Time again I heard the solution is to Let go and Let God along with keep doing your recovery program.

For the longest time I felt like all of my stories came from college. I know people close to me got tired of hearing about them as they heard them for the past decade or so, but that to me was a life changing time. After College I felt as if life stopped. I went through a lot of painful experiences and I often coped by looking to past times of being happy.

As I work my recovery program my stories are changing. I’m finding that I’m talking more about recent times, even finding joy in that period after college that seemed so painful to me. I can look back with gratitude knowing what I gained from challenging times.

Life may not always be easy but in recovery I’m finding moments of hope in the midst of chaos. I also know that in times I’m confused that it may not be time for me to move forward. Relying on my higher power and using recovery resources are a good way to keep my head above water.

Simple Math

Today is an addition to the rest of my life, but it is only one day. No matter how good or bad today’s total equals ONE DAY.

My life can get out of control fast, so it’s important for me to break things down to simple math. 1+1 is a whole lot easier then getting into complex equations that involve percentages and variables I may not fully understand.

The literature of my recovery program often reminds me with Slogans such as “Just for Today” and “One Day at a Time”. It’s hard for me to grasp sometimes but with time this gets easier. Never have I been able to predict my future accurately even when I had calculated all of the possible out comes. After losing nights of sleep I found that I no longer had energy to live outside of the day.

Everyday has a beginning and an end. A day in our world is made up of 24 hours and nothing more. I know a lot can happen in 24 hours so sometimes I have to keep my mind with in sixty minutes because my key to success is found within the Now.

My Past is part of this moment. I find that my Past can help me learn my part so that I can grow as a person but I cannot allow it to rob me of what comes next. Guilt and shame are often symptoms of dwelling in the past but the past doesn’t have to hold weight over my today.  Just for Today I can be here in this moment and let go of the ghosts that haunt me.

My Future doesn’t have to be so intimidating. I’m learning that Expectations fueled by Fear don’t have to control my every moment. I may not control much but I can let go of what I don’t and Just for Today do only what is within my control.

1 day might not seem like a lot but it can be the start. I don’t have to continue to make mistakes of living in the shame of the past or fear of the unknown future. I’m learning that if I am present in this moment I can add more value to my life, so Just for Today I will Trust that a Power greater than myself can guide me along my journey.

Being Good To Myself

It’s so easy for me to get mad at someone but I often get to the point thirty seconds later where I don’t care anymore. I’ve had moments where I have been prone to anger easily but one thing I’m grateful for is the ability to calm down. I chose not to say get over because that’s still a process for me as it’s easy for me to hold resentments. For the longest time, I didn’t think this was true but it is.

Saying sorry for me can be for the sole purpose of making me feel better. There is nothing worse than that pit in my stomach after I feel guilty and no matter the costs sometimes I lose focus by trying to feel righteous again. One of my biggest character flaws is that I’m always looking for people to like me. The funny part is I spend most of my life no liking me so why would others.

If I’m working an 8th and 9th step making a list then dealing with amends I often have to work hard to remember myself. I often pick on me harder than anyone else although the more I beat myself down the less I strive to accomplish things. Criticism doesn’t help me so If i treat myself that way I feel I’m more likely to be generous with others.

Everything goes back to how I see myself and if I’m going to truly grow I have to take notes and learn along the way. I feel that I play a part in everything that happens around me both good and bad.  My higher power has put me there for a reason so acceptance has been a key for me to move forward on my journey.

I guess what i’m trying to say is how I am towards myself greatly reflects on others. It seems complicated but really it’s simple. Making amends it’s totally for me to move forward but it’s also the right thing to do. I just have to make sure I’m in a right place before I reach out to another person. Otherwise it may not be genuine.

Drama

I’ll admit that I can get addicted to the Drama in my life. For the longest time if there wasn’t something bad going on I looked for the opportunity to make something go wrong. Let’s just say I was a backwards individual, even though honestly I don’t feel that I knew any better.

I like to imagine fishing with a lure. I get so excited seeing the fish come out of the water to bite anything I threw in no matter how ridiculous it looked. I felt the same as those fish in the pond ready to strike at the first flash of hostility. Looking back at these times I’m surprised anyone gave me the time of day. I was crazy.

I realize today that being in dysfunctional relationships enhanced some of my defense systems. I was doing exactly what I had seen around me. If I didn’t understand something I would yell at it or question it in to submission otherwise I felt like I was not doing my part. I never realized that I was making a situation worse.

Time has been the only cure to unraveling the mess that had become my life. I had to get to a point where I was tired of being angry all the time. I mean I didn’t feel like an angry person yet my actions said other wise.

The hard part of my recovery has been setting boundaries. I’m the type of person who never wants to miss out on anything and it has been a tough pill to swallow that somethings are none of my business. This may sound corny but I’ve had to find my Inner Peace. I’ve had to learn that when I feel tempted to intervene I have to pray about it and sometimes the only action I can take is to LET IT GO.

 

Key to My Happiness

I was asked a funny question the other night. Someone asked me when I began to feel a difference in my life after starting a recovery program. I used to hate these type of questions but now days I just seem to go with the flow knowing that there is   with a buzzer waiting to interject and say that is an “incorrect answer”.

For me it took a while to see the changes kind of like working out. I have never went to the gym and immediately seen results. Most times after I’ve been sticking to a work routine I’m caught off guard when I look in the mirror getting out of the shower one day.

I’m finding more and more just to trust my recovery program. I don’t try to keep score on behaviors as if judging form in an Olympic diving contest. I know that if I put in the work I have a better chance of reacting different during a crisis.

For me recovery has not been about becoming a new person. Instead it’s been getting to know and embrace who I am. I understand that the more I accept my character flaws and set boundaries with situations that may be sticky, I’m more likely to keep my serenity.

Victory for me is defined by the ability to stay close to calm in the midst of chaos. Sometimes emotions are going to be an impulse reactions but the more I’m aware of how I react in certain situations I’m better equipped to side step what used to sack me in the back field for a loss.

The great thing about recovery is there is not time line to get better and every one has their own Higher Power go guide them. I do believe 12 step programs are essential in my life but I completely understand and respect others who find their own way. This statement alone has taking me quite some time to say but today I’m learning that all I can control is me and what someone else does is not my business.

In Recovery I find happiness more frequently because I know that It’s with in myself rather than seeking it out in a world full of things I don’t understand.

Authenticity

I had the opportunity to listen to some people over the past week share some of their takes on recovery and it’s amazing how everything I hear expands what I already have. If I have said it before take what you like and leave the rest is one of my favorite suggestions in my recovery program. It’s reassuring to know that I don’t have to hold the same views as everyone in the room, but at the same time, some part of what they say may be applicable to my situation.

Context is a funny thing. I often wonder what people get when I share from certain parts of my life that might not be as relatable. For example, I often talk about some of my nerdy hobbies and tie in Alanon principles to get a point across. Part of me thinks well I shouldn’t have shared that the I remember my favorite phrase. Maybe what I shared meant one thing to me but it might dig up something else for the person across from me.

It’s important for me to realize not just in recovery group but in life that I only represent me. On one hand that can make me feel powerful to have and opinion and on the other hand I feel lost in can feel lost in a sea of others feelings. I’ve come to realize that what I share is for me, but it’s taken me time to be genuine.

So many times I approached stories like I was trying out for a talent show. Maybe it was a new comer in the room or just a bunch of people I wanted to impress with my recovery knowledge. I felt like the more I tried to spruce up a mediocre story the less I got out of the night. This made sense because I was used to only doing things to get a certain reaction so it was natural that this unhealthy behavior would follow me into my attempts at recovery.

The cool thing is that over time I realized what I was doing, then came the hard part. I had to understand that I had a choice to continue doing what I was doing or try to dig deeper. The next couple meetings I went to I really tried to listen to what people were saying and that helped me to realize why I enjoyed meetings so much.

What I loved most about the meetings was the raw genuine feeling people put on display. They were not actors reading from a script. These people around the table from me were attempting to live life in a better way. The things they said were not meant to make me feel a certain way. People where sharing so that they could grow and be apart of something bigger than them, even if they didn’t realize it.

Meetings are a small part of my life but they make an impact. I’m learning to be genuinely me and by doing so someone one might hear something they need. The hardest thing for me to understand is that my recovery is about me. I have to remember to keep the focus on myself and stay away from doing what I think is best for someone else..