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
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
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
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
Try to remember
to Pause a few times each day.
Stop and have a look at what you
are about. Question your need
write ‘Pause’ on sticky
notes - and put them where I will
find them throughout the day.
I don’t stop for a moment
when I find one, I know that I
am losing touch with what is important
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.
should be able to learn how to
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
“ 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
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.
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.
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.
the habits of your mind and feelings.
Much of what we think is unique
and just me is really just habit.
friend of mine at work told me
how much she enjoyed working with
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.
hadn’t realized I was still
carrying around that much shame.
I have done so much for myself
since those days.
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?
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
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
almost said okay. But I caught
myself this time and said no.
can’t believe how guilty
I felt. I wondered if she would
ever call me again. Would she
tell people how insensitive I
was all that I could do to not
phone her back and say that I
learned a lot about myself that
night - much more than I ever
would have imagined.”
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.
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
“ So much of the recovery stuff
sounded too simple to deal with
all of the problems in my life.
if writing in a journal was going
to help me with my rage.
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.
was all just pride before. I was
too complicated - too unique for
that simple stuff to work.
I’m the lucky one. So many
of my friends are dead. They wore
their pride to an early grave.”
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.
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.
again I suppose - as soon as I
had some cash in my pocket.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Stay in the
day - ground yourself in who you
are and what you need to do.
to the difference between a priority
and a distraction.
Your Self - Talk. Journal.
Cry. Create. Let it out and let
it go. Speak up for yourself.
for a better day. Express yourself
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 the right
thing and grow beyond past feelings
of guilt and shame. Feel the honor
of your recovery today.