I am searching for a few things that continue to elude me. Those “things” are: achieving a higher or perhaps different level of spirituality; identifying, with the help of my Higher Power, any deep-rooted resentments or feelings that keep me from feeling free; and most important, not only living life on life’s terms but living in the present—in the now.
No matter how many days, months, or years we have been in recovery, the fact that we can’t be perfect gives us an opportunity to get better all of the time. This is why we use the word “practice” so often. We “practice our principles in all our affairs”; we practice meditation and actually, we practice being the best person we can be daily. So my search is not frustrating although I must admit it requires patience. The difficult task for me is thinking that everyone else “gets it” and I don’t even though I know intellectually that is not true.
Within the past six months or so, every one of us has experienced or knows someone who has experienced a financial hardship. If you listen to the news on TV, read it in a newspaper or online or just notice the “closing” signs in storefronts, you can’t get away from doom and gloom and the naysayers who pronounce it. The choice, however, is to buy into it or not. I choose not. That doesn’t mean I withdraw from the “real” world. It means that I must do everything I can to practice positive thoughts, words, and actions. If ever I needed the tools of recovery, especially Step Three, it is now.
It is not a coincidence (because I don’t believe in them) that three different women who don’t even know each other sent this to me: “The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.” I think it is one of those emails that is making the rounds but who cares? I have been repeating this sentence as often as I say the Serenity Prayer. It works because I believe it. I can remain positive knowing that I have a Higher Power who loves and cares for me. My addictions (my enemies) don’t have a chance if I can stay focused and positive emotionally and spiritually.
The idea of being positive is what brought about the feelings that there is something deep that keeps me from real freedom. I don’t feel I have any resentments and I don’t feel angry or bitter toward any person. In other words, as honest and open as I have been in any of my Step Fours, something still holds me. My self-esteem, self-worth and self-image definitely keep me from being the best I can be. And so I am learning to affirm myself daily and am continuing to ask my Higher Power to help me accept myself as He accepts me.
Lastly, I want to live in the present. I want to live in the now. My Higher Power is insisting I work on this because, like the sentence sent to me by three different friends, I have come in contact with “now” many times. I should be ashamed to say this but I have never read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. I own it but never read it. It fell out of my closet twice within the last few days and I don’t know how it could have. I decided to begin reading it but stopped. Right now, I don’t get it. I almost feel like I did when prior to recovery I would read self-help books and wanted to understand but couldn’t. The level of spirituality just isn’t there. I know it is a beautiful book. I want to “get it”. I don’t want to merely read the words. I want to feel it in my heart and for whatever reason today that seems difficult. I have said before that my definition of serenity is to feel my soul smile. I want that serenity. Maybe the idea of living in the now eludes me because I tend to make much more out of it than there is. I know it doesn’t mean we never think ahead. We just don’t dwell on the future because the future belongs only to God.
Within a few days of the books falling out of the closet, my daughter and I went for a hike in the mountains near my home. As we walked, the trail became rockier and rockier. Personally, I was a bit uncomfortable. My daughter said, “You know, Mom, I love to run on trails like this. You have to be in the “now”. If you are not in the present, your mind drifts away from what you are doing and you will get hurt.” I really thought about that even though she felt she was only commenting on the trail. Yes. If we don’t live in the now, stay in the present, we get hurt. Not physically hurt but emotionally and spiritually. I got sober to enjoy life; to enjoy the gifts God has given me. I guess life is like that rocky path. It might be uncomfortable at times but if we focus and live for today we will get to the end unscathed!
So, my friends, I hope you can relate to these feelings and to my words. As usual, I do hope you find the similarities and that you can appreciate that all of us in recovery do trudge a similar road and we know that is the road of happy destiny!
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.
"Like" Grateful Recovery on Facebook. Kathy L. is the author of "The Intervention Book" (Conari Press)