January 13, 2014

AA Step Ten - Continued to Take Personal Inventory Part 2

AA Step Ten - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. -Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Step Ten  

In the first post on step 10, AA Step Ten - Continued to Take Personal Inventory, I had pulled out few lines from the Twelve Steps and Twelve traditions that really resonated with me and that I believe are crucial to our growth as human beings. So in this post I'd like to focus on the actual personal inventory. 

It's a good idea to do the inventory at the end of the day, but really you can do it at any time of the day. It's meant to be a spot check inventory which would help us keep our side of the street clean and begin a journey to a closer connection with our Higher Power.

When starting the personal inventory we foremost must watch out for our old friend - justification - which sweeps in and attempts to give us a legitimate reason for our conduct which was really wrong. Maybe we have "constructively" criticized someone who needed it but in fact we did it to feel superior. Or we appeared helpful just to prosper from the gain ourselves. Maybe our fear has put us against someone who was trying to help us and we saw it as an attack. In these instances only the closest scrutiny will reveal our true motives.

To help us with our inventory we ask ourselves the following questions listed in Alcoholics Anonymous, Big Book (pp. 84-86):

Was I resentful? Selfish? Dishonest? Afraid?

Do I owe an apology?
Have I kept something to myself which should be discussed with another person at once?
Was I kind and loving toward all?
What could I have done better?
Was I thinking of myself most of the time?
Or was I thinking of what I could do for others, what I could pack into the mainstream of life?

It's truly important to also remember all the good that we have done during the day, for using this inventory as a pity party would only turn to be more harmful than helpful. Here we need to take the inventory to help us grow and become better people. To abandon self and focus on helping others. "Love and tolerance of others is our code." We can reach out to those that we dislike and practice courtesy and kindness and even begin to understand them and help them when needed.
Such a radical change in our outlook will take time, maybe a lot of time. Not many people can truly assert that they love everybody. Twelve Steps and twelve Traditions, Step Ten, pg. 92.
This is meant to be a lifetime journey. At all times we continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. And as always we are reminded:
An honest regret for harms done, a genuine gratitude for blessings received, and a willingness to try for better things tomorrow will be the permanent assets we shall seek. - Twelve Steps and twelve Traditions, Step Ten, pg. 95.

January 6, 2014

2014 - One Day at a Time

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a wonderful, sober holiday season!

I have been thinking really hard about this post, I think almost too hard! And I wish I had a very exciting stuff to write about; maybe I could write about all the amazing things I have in store for the new year, all these things that I always wanted to get done, you know like get healthier and slimmer, or all those remarkable actions I would like to get involved in, like run a marathon or climb a mountain. I wish had a handful of New Year resolutions to share with you and get really pumped up about and ready to start!

But… I don’t!

I have no resolutions, no plans, and no goals! It feels very strange, it actually feels a bit uncomfortable. I am a planner, and organizer, a doer, a self-made overachiever, and a perfectionist! How can I not have any plans for my future?!

But... I really have none.

I know tomorrow I will get up, take the kids to school, go to work, sit through several meetings, leave work around 5:30 pm and get home to have dinner with everyone and tuck the kids to bed. Will it be a good day? Yes, it will!

I have truly started living one day at a time. I do plan and have a calendar filled with reminders and I have another one on the wall in the kitchen for my husband. And every night I look at it for the notes for the next day, and that’s it. Really! I am not sure how this happened. It just has become a way of life. I am so grateful that it did, but also I am at wow, that what seemed absolutely unattainable is now happening every day.

I was looking back the other day and come up on a post I wrote back on 6/24/2011:
And so this is my lesson in acceptance and living one day at a time. And since I have decided to focus on the moment I haven't felt like a drink. It has been a good week relatively speaking...well not entirely...my friend's mom died on Tuesday and that threw me in a tail spin for a bit. But at the same time I felt like it was even more crucial for me to live in the moment. Because my mind can take me from here now to dead and buried myself in a matter of seconds! It's scary and it includes all kinds of bad things in the middle. It's very exhausting and dangerous because then fear kicks up, ego gets inflated and I am a complete mess! Then I can't deal with anything. Then I have to rely on my HP and that everything will work out the way it is supposed to work out! One day at a time.
And that is so very true still! The more faith I put in my Higher Power, knowing that things always work out, has completely put my mind at ease. I no longer spend sleepless nights wondering about all the different path a situation can take, or obsessing about what will happen in a month or a year. I don’t contemplate the future of my children or my aging parents. But don’t get me wrong, my life is by no means perfect; I have most definitely had few turbulent situations here and there. And in those times, I was actually more capable of dealing with them instead of agonizing over them. Living in the solution not the problem has been a definite turning point for me last year and I am looking forward to continuing this trend.

And as for a goal for this year... well, I hope for another 365 days sober… one day at a time!