When I was new to recovery meetings, people suggested that I get a job in the group. These jobs can consist of greeting people at the door as they walk in, selling raffle tickets, handling money, reading things from the podium, handing out chips/key tags,making coffee…and many other small tasks.
These are called service positions and it helps give the new comer a sense of purpose and belonging. Something that many of us had not felt in years.
When I was new I was frightened and very shy. My eyes were covered by my baseball hatand I would rather look at the floor than at anyone else.
So of course I was asked to sell raffle tickets which was a nightmare for me. That meant I had to get up out of my chair and walk around and talk to people.
I was given the position for a month and at first I despised it. But then….I started to meet the others, I started to learn who would always buy the tickets and I would go to them first. People started learning my name and saying hi to me.
I felt such a sense of connection from that job.
UNTIL….an older woman named Fran stopped me one day and said “You need to stop talking so much dear and sell more tickets.”
I was devastated. I cried to my sponsor at the time and she said that Fran was out of line.
Today I laugh at this and I am happy to have grown a bit emotionally.
But it makes me think of just how sensitive some who are new in recovery are….and to ENCOURAGE them and not DISCOURAGE them.
Fran has long since passed and I have learned from that experience. As Maya Angelou once stated “When you know better – you do better.”
I am blessed to have an 18 year old person in my life who I get to call my son.
I had many preconceived notions before he was born of exactly how I think he should be and would be. We were going to play sports together and I would coach him to become the perfect athlete in the sport of “his” choice.
What god gave me instead was a huge bond with a person that would change my life…and on some level…save my life.
It was my sons pain and the grace of god to allow me to see it….that prompted me to go get help for my substance abuse.
My son Tyler, has stood his ground over the years going up against society, teachers, parents, and his piers to becoming EXACTLY WHO HE WANTS TO BE – and not what anyone else (including me) wants him to be.
He was diagnosed with Autism an identity he refuses to take on. Not because he is ashamed…but because he is not that label.
He has fought for his freedom to be himself….and for that he has taught me to do the same.
When I think back of my days in active addiction and of just how much I relied on a drink or a drug to dictate the way I was going to feel, it’s astounding.
I relied on the liquor store man, the pill lady, the physicians prescription, the people I associated myself with…the certain hole in the wall restaurants I would take my child to…..I relied on it all to make ME feel better.
Then stripped of all of those people, places and things…I came into recovery and it was suggested to start relying on something that I cannot see…a higher power.
To rely on god for me today means to try and feel and connect with that source of energy that is everything. It creates everything is in everything and is just indescribable peace, contentment and harmony.
It’s freedom from desire…because everything I seek I already have.
It blows my mind that I, who was once so reliant upon getting high…need none of that today.
Recovery for me is a true process of learning to rely on a higher power and continuously awakening to the miracleson my path.
I wanted to share a simple tool that helps me to relieve anger, stress and frustration in my life. When I find myself upset by something that another person has done or said I try to put myself in their shoes.
I know it’s an age old saying. But I find this really works.
The disease of addiction lives, breathes and thrives in “self centered fear”. A useful way to try to combat the disease is to get out of self and to squash the fear.
For example: if someone lies to me, and my feelings become hurt…after I have a good cry or tantrum I will try to release the hurt using this tool.
I will say to myself “Danielle – have you ever lied before…and then why?” Obviously …yes and usually due to self centered fear.
It’s a tough pill to swallow but it brings me closer to forgiveness and then closer to feeling better.
I also have to say “Danielle if you make a mistake against another….how would you want them to treat you?” And I obviously would want to be treated with kindness, compassion and understanding.
The spiritual principles of recovery always bring me back to peace and freedom. It might not happen right away…but when I point my heart in that direction and start moving …then I am bound to get there.
This story really touched my heart. The mother was a “step ahead” with her kindness.
Sometimes I feel like my life is moving so fast that I am trying to be a “step ahead” with finances, house cleaning, groceries….all for me and MY family.
But what if I could be forward thinking in my gestures of kindness. If I could “SLOW DOWN AND GET KIND.”
If my focus can shift to “how can I serve” as opposed to “what do I need” then my whole being will feel better.
When someone is feeling uncomfortable in recovery and I see it….I can reach out and listen. When I know a fellow addict might not have enough money for a cup of coffee…I can kindly bring them one.
Recovery has taught me that self forgetting leads to freedom. Freedom from suffering on this earth. My spirit wants to give and be open to love. My spirit knows that giving and self forgetting brings joy. – And I just LOVE joy!