A newcomer asked me recently what a spiritual awakening means. What a great question… The spirit does not wake with a start. There is no spiritual alarm clock to set. In my experience, a spiritual awakening is a gradual process. Of course, there is the burning bush experience, the vision. And while I experienced a mystical jolt of the soul while detoxifying in Mexico, I’ve come to trust my knowledge from practical experience more than that fever dream, that hallucinogenic product of my delirium.
Balance. Middle Ground. That’s seems almost as elusive as perfection to me, but a much more worthy aim. And the good news is, there’s more of a range to aim for. It’s not an absolute, finite spot to hit or miss. The only absolute I need is that I absolutely may not drink alcohol or do recreational drugs. Ever. And even that’s getting easier to conceive of and accept. I no longer miss those things – even though “one day at a time” does have a nice ring and is a reliable mantra for so much more than addictions. I realize that my “go-to fix” is not anything outside myself anymore.
In AA they often say that the alcoholic has to hit rock bottom before they can get sober. Makes you think of social services, homelessness, and the park bench stereotype. I prefer to think of it as my turning point because it wasn’t a big or dramatic event, it was simply a combination of mainly two things: I’d had it with drinking, and at the right moment, I saw my life line. I was desperate to stop, and just when I needed it, there was a chance for me to ask for help so I did. Oh, and a third ingredient: a tiny bit of hope.
With deep appreciation, I look ahead and honor this precious month, the one that honors love. I gratefully open my heart and easily give and receive love in all its various forms. My heart beats in healthy rhythm to the beat of the Universe. I deeply and truly love my life, even with all its ups and downs… I breathe in and appreciate this short but sweet month with hearts displayed everywhere to remind me to love and be loved. I open my arms wide and gratefully welcome it, already filled with love, light, and limitless possibility…
I had worked on sobriety for quite some time before I understood that I was missing the magic ingredient of other people. I did not want to trouble anyone. I did not want to be different than anyone. And I felt no personal connection to women in recovery. I wanted to quietly change one tiny part of my life and then get on with the rest of it. So I took the isolated approach. I troubled no one; was no different than anyone; and developed no personal connections.
Here are some examples of contrary actions for “Life’s Little Moments”––what would you add to this list?
Take a walk instead of a nap… Take some deep breaths instead of speaking out in anger at someone… Give someone a compliment when feeling envious or less-than… Make amends instead of plotting revenge… Engage in visualizing the life of your dreams instead of engaging in “morbid reflection…”
Why is the idea of “belonging to something greater than oneself” such an intense psychosocial need? More importantly, is “God” the only path to that sort of belonging? And is sobriety — and even regular garden-variety self-improvement — really out of reach if one does not believe in the supernatural? Many people believe so… What is the benefit of twining religion with addiction recovery? And is there hope for addicts who prefer a different type of motivation than “spiritual guidance” for turning their life around?
If a picture is worth 1000 words, then a word is worth 1000 pictures. Since waking up to this, I’m more selective with my words, whether uttered or just in thought. In the past, words tumbled mindlessly around in my head stirring up emotions, frequently negative, that would spontaneously combust into a tirade or a tantrum, or simmer as internal gloom, fear, or resentment. And I thought it was real. I simply wasn’t paying attention.