M(3), 3/21/16: Spot Check

back_in_the_saddle

Happy Spring!

It’s getting happy, though not quite there yet.  It’s sunny, but cold, I am mending from an illness, though not yet 100%.  Sorry I missed last week’s post, I missed the meeting as well.

Since time moves along whether I am sick or I am well, this week we covered Step 10 in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.  For those unfamiliar,


Step 10:

Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it


Reading this step is timely, as I have been struggling of late with those self-critical voices that dog all of us to a greater or lesser degree.  My voices start out very innocently, and are disguised as The Objective Devil’s Advocate…

Are you sure you’re exercising as hard as you could?  I’m sure you’ve got more left in the tank.

Which turns into…

Of course you can do more, if you don’t then you have clearly failed to exercise properly.

Which can easily morph into…

You suck at exercise!

Now, this is one very small example, but multiply that by 1,000 and include every area of life, and you’ve got the inner workings of my negative brain gone haywire.

So reading step 10, and remembering some of its fundamental tenets, was particularly helpful this morning.   Things like:

Focusing on nothing but the negative is not the point of any inventory

A true and honest appraisal must, but its very definition, include the good that is happening.  It could probably go without saying, but once I start to look at the good that is happening in my life, I realize that it far outweighs the bad, and severely limits the negative chatter.

We need to look at progress, not perfection

This lesson can’t be taught enough for me.  It is so easy to wonder why I can’t do more, achieve more, be more, but what about what I’ve done compared to where I was?

In fact, the very nature of my share this morning had to do with the discontent I’ve felt while I’ve been sick… how it messed with my head, made me feel unnecessarily down on myself, and how I am looking to regain my serenity after visiting the doctor and having to take medicine.

A gentleman who shared after me talked about having the opposite experience, how the first time he went to the doctor in sobriety he was elated, because he could actually tell he was sick, since he was no longer self-medicating with alcohol.

Excellent point, one I had forgotten in my low physical state.

After that a newcomer shared, and said she looks forward to the day where she can feel sick in a legitimate way.  Currently even if she does feel under the weather, she will lie to her husband and say she feels okay so that he doesn’t question her drinking wine with dinner.

Message received, Universe:  there has been progress for this alcoholic!

Courtesy, kindness, justice and love is the way to handle pretty much anybody and everybody with whom we come in contact

Really, enough said here.  Well, one more thing… I need to include how I treat myself in that list!

A long-timer talked about how he favors step 10 above all else, because it is one that is so universal, and so easy to make progress.  In early sobriety, he could not think of something as daunting as putting pen to paper and writing a lifelong inventory, but he could look at the day and see what he did right and wrong.  By starting small, he was able to build up to the other, more labor-intensive steps.

Another attendee focused on the notion of justifiable anger, and whether we in recovery are entitled to it.  He has decided that for him, the answer is no… there is no excuse for holding onto anger in recovery.  In any situation where he finds himself resentful, he looks to correct his part in the situation, and let go of the parts where others are responsible.  Like everything else, this practice takes time and patience to cultivate.

Another gentleman talked about the gift he received from the regular practice of step 10:  self-awareness.  Knowing when to take action and when to sit back, when to open his mouth and when to keep it shut, when to push himself and when to rest, these are the fruits of the labor involved in a regular self-inventory.

So there’s hope for me yet.

As always, there was so much more shared than I can write down in one blog post.  I’m just glad to be back in the saddle!

Today’s Miracle:

Sitting upright and writing a blog post after having chaired a meeting.  After the past week, I can say that all counts as a miracle!

 

 

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Posted on March 21, 2016, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Progress not perfection – one of my (many) favourite sayings.
    I love how you talk about the inventory needing to balance negative and positive – too true! I’m glad you’re back in the saddle – this was an inspiring post for me to read today

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am glad you are on the mend!
    I love Step 10 because it helps me keep just today in my mind.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you are back! I missed you last week.

    I’m a bit more like you. I can see the importance of self compassion and kindness, and I would encourage you to treat yourself well, but I might be disappointed in myself for being sick, etc. Somehow I fall into the thought I am not as deserving of down time as others are. I should know, do, be better.

    Remembering to apply gentle and kind to myself is a continued process. It ALWAYS helps. I do deserve it.

    Hug. Take care.

    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love and tolerance is our code.

    Justifiable anger is an area I need continued work in. It still gives me this perverse pleasure. You’re thoughts on letting go of anger are appreciated…

    Mark

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Mark, yes this is a tough one, isn’t it? The best advice I have ever been given on this is a 2-step process. The first is to pray for the person with whom you hold a resentment, just like it says to in the big book. Every day, until resentment is gone. Second, consider that for which you are grateful in life. Both these things, which are incredibly difficult when justifiable anger are high, mind you… but when you attempt to do them with sincerity, have helped me enormously. Hope this helps!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad you’re feeling better Josie!
    Step 10 is something I don’t do daily, formally at least, but I would like to think that I catch myself when I am disturbed and wondering why – I can see when I am coming from fear, or resentment or what not. I sometimes let things sit a little bit longer than they should, even when I know what’s happening. That’s crazy, but I see some progress in how long I allow myself to sit in things like self-pity and such.

    Anyway, great stuff Josie!

    Hope you are well!

    Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always, ALWAYS, great to hear from you, Paul 🙂

      I’m like you.. nothing formal, but the minute I catch that old familiar angst, I stop and process. Sometimes I catch it quickly, sometimes I’m neck deep, but the very notion that there is a solution is a miracle!

      My day has been made, reading a comment from you 🙂

      Like

  6. Hi Josie!
    I’m glad that you’re back in the saddle, too! Sorry that you’ve been sick – crazy how that can play with our heads, right?
    You always have the best messages and I seem to read them just when I need them the most. Thank you, as always, for being the very special you I know and love. xo

    Liked by 1 person

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