12-4-22 From Abstinence to Recovery Action

From Abstinence to Recovery Action

Abstinence – The act or practice of refraining from (a non-action; to not do something).

Recovery – The act or practice of regaining or restoring (an action, a positive engagement).

3 stages of the recovery process:

1.  We stop engaging in our addiction. This leaves a large hole; we are no longer indulging in an old established behavior and it is difficult, confusing.

2.  We begin taking an honest look at who we are, who we have been, and begin to realize the possibility of a healthier life, beyond all that.

3.  We commit to taking action, every day, in order to embrace an honest, rich life.

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together, all things connect. If we feel disconnected, covered in fear, that is our doing. It takes courage to step into the sunlight, and deny the darkness that has dominated us. 

“It’s odd that we should come into recovery thinking that we will feel wonderful right away or no longer have any difficulty handling life’s twists and turns as soon as we are abstinent from our addiction for a little while. We expect — our physical problems to correct themselves, our thinking to become rational, and a fully developed spiritual life to manifest itself overnight. We forget that we spent years abusing our bodies, numbing our minds, and suppressing our awareness of a Higher Power. We cannot undo the damage in a day. We can, however, apply the next step, go to the next meeting, help the next newcomer. We heal and recover bit by bit-not overnight, but over time. Just for Today: Daily Meditations for Recovering Addicts

Sometimes it seems as if our recovery is growing much too slowly. We struggle with the steps, we wrestle with the same problems over and over, we labor under the same uncomfortable feelings day after day. We wish that recovery would move a little faster so we could find some comfort! But wishing doesn’t work in recovery; this isn’t a program of magic. If wishes cured addiction, we all would have been well long ago!

We step slowly into the actions of recovery, which take courage and patience. We will have a long road of reconstruction ahead. Each positive step brings more recovery to our lives. Prayer, meditation and compassion for ourselves and others keeps us connected to our Higher Power and well-grounded in recovery. If we do not continuously engage our practices as a lifestyle, we will slip into a passive “good enough” mentality, which is not a full life, but is merely staying alive. And, even if we don’t relapse to our old addiction, we may continue to display our feelings of unworthiness by acting fearful, selfish, inconsiderate, and judgmental in our everyday life. And then wonder why we are so unhappy, even though we have stopped our primary addiction. Our addiction was but a symptom…a message to wake up, fully.

I began my recovery out of desperation; I wanted to stop the pain and live! Slowly as my eyes began to open, my body healed, and my heart started to let the world and other people into my life, I saw the possibility of not just living—remaining alive—but of embracing life in all its ups and downs. As I grew, I realized I needed to do more than just go to a meeting occasionally, do the spiritual work sometimes, and hope for the best. I had decades of wrong attitudes, fear and selfishness to replace. My “Recovery Program” went from not harming myself and others—a non-action—to a philosophy and lifestyle that I Actively embraced and began LIVING.

When we’re at peace, we radiate a different kind of energy than when we’re stressed or depressed. The more peaceful we become, the more easily we can deflect the negative energies we encounter. Our meditation practice helps us to discover and engage in those positive energies, and relate to negative energies as messengers to learn from. Furthermore, our sense of peace will bring others into harmony with us.

“The only true method of an authentic life is to embrace each day, no matter what perceived problems one has, with all the love and gusto and gratitude that one can muster. Then take a deep breath of that air that even the richest person who died yesterday cannot savor today, take that breath, look up, thank the heavens for the gift of a new day.” (Paraphrased) — Og Mandino

When we don’t embrace the world and ourselves with loving-kindness, we feel the regression to fear and selfishness. We don’t need to beat ourselves up for not being perfect…that’s old bullshit. We let difficult times inform us that we need to reapply the new and life-affirming behaviors we’ve begun to grasp. We have learned to not give into resentments or fear when they arise (which they will). We do not let the past continue to be a burden, to feed a sense of unworthiness, rather we are able to recognize the past as a learning experience, accept it, and move forward with faith, a sense of wholeness, and a fresh start everyday. We choose to be healthier rather than permit what has been, to be our present also. Though we all experience emotional binges, fears and resentments, we are NOT overwhelmed and controlled by that negativity anymore. We accept them and WORK with them. How precious to now have an alternative to self-pity and pain. To accept our imperfect humanness and embrace it all.

Ask yourself, what am I doing to progress? What am I doing or not doing, that inhibits my progress? How can I begin engaging on a daily basis to grow, to feel whole and embrace the richness of life that is available? Consider the questions honestly and have the courage to begin — everyday.

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, and for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.”  — Chief Tecumseh

“…We became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in what we could contribute to life.” Alcoholics Anonymous, p.63

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.

Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com