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Awareness and acceptance of this moment are the cornerstones of healing in recovery. Healing occurs now - not in our past life or in some imagined future.

Recovery teaches us to accept who we are today - right now. It is a perspective that where we are now is just where we are supposed to be - where the realities of our life and the choices we have made have led us. There is no other way than the way things are.

The more that we resist the reality of who and where we are right now - the more we lose ourselves in the sickness of our imagination. We either neglect - or overly dwell upon - that which does not fit with who or where we believe that we should be. We imagine that we have made mistakes, not choices.

We give the power of our present life over to a mind that meanders endlessly within itself - preoccupied with past and future - despairing and distracted from this moment of our life.

The principles of recovery open a world of ways to heal. These do not immediately solve every problem that we think we have today. These problems are the result of a lifetime of circumstance and choice. They are sustained by our non acceptance of today.

Recovery offers us the ways to begin healing today. It is a guide to healthier choices today and less likelihood of further crises. It is a letting go of the grip of the past and a celebration of the freedom of life in this moment.

Recovery is at the same time, a treatment for addiction and a path of health and healing. Many concurrent disorder of mood and anxiety may be greatly helped by these principles and practices.

Pause - The rushed pace of life, work and family seems unending. There is little time for reflection - little space in the day. The life of addiction is hectic - pressured, hurried and restless.

Try to remember to Pause a few times each day. Stop and have a look at what you are about. Question your need to rush.

I write ‘Pause’ on sticky notes - and put them where I will find them throughout the day.

If I don’t stop for a moment when I find one, I know that I am losing touch with what is important for me.

Check your body for muscle tension. Take a breath deep into your abdomen. Then let it go. Bring your mind back from wherever it is wandering. Say the Serenity Prayer.

Enjoy the moment. Then do it all over again - it is not healthy to rush.

Listen - There is meaning in all that you hear. Listen to the stories of others in recovery. Reflect on their meaning to you. Learn how others have faced a situation like yours. Don’t let your head get in the way - by comparing and distancing yourself.

Listen to the signals within. Feelings express themselves in your body.

My dog can tell when I am angry.

I should be able to learn how to see it.

Notice if your muscles are tense, when flames of anger rise in your chest or the shortening of breath in anxiety. Listen for these signals. Consider their cause and notice your response.

Watch - We spend much of our day lost in a wandering mind. We imagine the future and relive the past. Anger, shame, fear and dread are stirred by thoughts so automatic that we don’t notice until we are consumed by these feelings of sickness.

I never knew how much my mind danced around - until I tried to meditate for a few minutes. They said to just watch what was happening in my mind and in my body.

I lasted for a few seconds at most. Then I’d be lost in some fantasy - reliving an event of years ago - or planning what I was going to have for dinner.

I was shocked. I thought I had a clear presence of mind.”

Watch your thoughts as they come and go. You will soon lose yourself again in the mind’s imaginary world. But step back and just watch whenever you can. Notice the way that memories stir feelings. And that feelings stir impulse. Watch and learn of the connections between the rich world inside yourself.

Question - So much of what we do is automatic, over learned and leftover habit. You challenge me - I back down. Not because I need to back away - but because I learned decades ago that the safest thing to do was to back away when challenged.

Pay attention to your responses. Question if the way you always do things is the best way for you now. Wonder if you might do something different. Consider how someone else might respond to the same situation. Open your mind to all of the possibilities.

Also question the habits of your mind and feelings. Much of what we think is unique and just me is really just habit.

A friend of mine at work told me how much she enjoyed working with me.

But in my head, all I could think was ‘Yes - but you don’t really know me.’ I was thinking about things I had done years ago in my addiction.

I hadn’t realized I was still carrying around that much shame. I have done so much for myself since those days.

Its time to give myself a break. I left her a card the next day to thank her for her comment.

Plans are changed at the last minute. I notice a fleeting burn in the pit of my stomach. Am I feeling angry? Am I really so much in need of control - as to be angry over this? Has my person been disrespected by another? Or is it only my pride that’s been hurt?

Pause. Listen. Look. Watch. Reflect - and Question.

These are the healing tools of recovery - and the therapy of everyday life.

Change - Do something different today. Change something - anything. Just do something different and notice what happens to you afterwards. Notice the thoughts on your mind and the feelings in your body. Notice the sense of freedom, anxiety or dread.

Do you always walk the same way to work. Take a different route and see what you have been missing. Do you tend to agree when others are talking. Pause for a moment to consider what you really think. Then say it. Are you worried about what others may now think of you? Feeling they may laugh at you?

When was the last time you just said No? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Too much on your shoulders? Ready to run?

A friend called to ask if I would help her move this next weekend. It was short notice. And I had other things that I needed to do.

I almost said okay. But I caught myself this time and said no.

I can’t believe how guilty I felt. I wondered if she would ever call me again. Would she tell people how insensitive I was?

It was all that I could do to not phone her back and say that I would help.

I learned a lot about myself that night - much more than I ever would have imagined.

What happens inside you when you say No. Guilt? Shame? Fear? Relief? Or maybe you just don’t know what to do with yourself - if you are not helping somebody else with a problem of theirs.

Habits cover and detach us from our thoughts, preferences, feelings and desires. Change a habit today and explore what is underneath. You might be surprised by what you learn.

Just Do It - Know in your heart what you need to do. Just do it. Get on with it and get it done. Free your mind from fretful worry about all that you imagine may happen.

So much of the recovery stuff sounded too simple to deal with all of the problems in my life.

As if writing in a journal was going to help me with my rage.

I ended up in a place where there was nothing but time and little to do. I started to write one day. That was a year ago. Now I can’t imagine the day without my writing.

It was all just pride before. I was too complicated - too unique for that simple stuff to work.

Still, I’m the lucky one. So many of my friends are dead. They wore their pride to an early grave.”

Stop making excuses to put it off until tomorrow. Do what you need to do today.

Learn - Always tense in your shoulders? Did you know that people who express stress in their muscles do well with aerobic exercise, yoga or tai chi? It is true. But you might not know this if you were not reading this page.

Get to the library. Ask questions of others. Take an evening course. Go to a recovery meeting and listen.

I was staying at the mission - again - and wondering what I was going to do next.

Run again I suppose - as soon as I had some cash in my pocket.

But there was a meeting there that night. Something took me to it. I listened to a speaker - his life sounded so much like mine that I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

It occurred to me that maybe the sign on the wall meant something to me - that maybe I was not alone - and that maybe this time I could do something different with myself - like the speaker had done.”

Learn the ways to relax the tense muscles in your shoulders. Learn about the many healthy ways that people relieve themselves from stress.

Look After Your Self - Don’t let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Look after yourself. Stop pushing yourself over the edge - and then wondering why you feel worn out. Take a break. Get some exercise. Go to bed and get up at a regular time each day.

Look after yourself in these and so many other ways. Care for yourself. Stop waiting for others to give you a break. Avoid the path of resentment and regret. Enjoy a moment for yourself now.

Define - Your priorities. Your needs. Your goals. Your responsibilities. Your chores for this day. Write these down. Post them on your refrigerator - wherever you will see them often.

Clarify what things you now do - that are really the responsibility of others. Don’t stop caring - but consider to stop care taking. Let others learn what they can for themselves.

Stay in the day - ground yourself in who you are and what you need to do.

Be alert to the difference between a priority and a distraction.

Express Your Self - Talk. Journal. Cry. Create. Let it out and let it go. Speak up for yourself.

Stop waiting for a better day. Express yourself - today.

Do the Right Thing - Steal every day for a week and you will feel like a thief. Gossip about others and you will come to think that everybody else is talking about you. It is hard to find peace in life when you spend your day manipulating and cheating others.

Do the right thing today. Talk about what is really going on with you. Tell your counselor or doctor the truth. Take responsibility for your actions. Do what you say and say what you do.

Do the right thing and grow beyond past feelings of guilt and shame. Feel the honor of your recovery today.