Let go and let God

Control is an issue for a lot of people – particularly addicts.  It’s one of the reasons why we have an addiction in the first place.  If that’s true, then, what is it we’re trying to control?

 My life seemed to be out of control; at least, that’s what I told myself.  There were many things that I couldn’t manage; one of them was my emotions.  The way I felt most days.  I guess you could say I struggled with depression.

 The best way I knew how to control how I felt was to act out.  But that has proven to be the worst kind of prison.  In fact, it was the addiction that eventually controlled me!

 Giving up control – letting go – can seem like stepping off a cliff into oblivion.  Scary stuff.  But letting go is absolutely necessary if you are going to break free of the icy grip of addiction.

 Actually, you’re not giving up control.  You never really had it in the first place.  What you’re giving up is the illusion of control.  And you’re giving up the possibility that you could ever be in complete control of what’s going on around you.

 I was able to breathe a sigh of relief when I finally gave up trying to juggle everything going on around me.  What a breakthrough that was!  Nothing mattered anymore.  I didn’t have to be right – it wasn’t important to win an argument. 

 Are you tired of working hard at keeping it all together?  Why don’t you stop trying so hard?  Give yourself a break, and let your Higher Power take over.  Stop resisting.  Learn to be okay with who you are. 

 It’s okay to feel.  And it’s certainly possible to love ‘what is’ and everything that is happening in this present moment.

This Present moment is all that matters

I still remember what life was like for me as a kid.

 I had no concept of time when I was out in the school yard playing with my classmates.  If it wasn’t for the school bell we would have continued playing indefinitely.  Even then, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the sun going down until it was too dark to see anything.

Time only became a factor when I was in science class – bored out of my tree!  That class seemed to take forever.  And for some reason I often got into trouble.  I was merely trying to liven things up by playing practical jokes on my best friend who sat in the next desk over.

Not until art class did I finally find some relief.  I enjoyed drawing pictures, and it showed.  You could say I got pretty good at it – better than the average kid .  It was the same feeling I got when I was out playing ball with my buddies.  No sense of time.  Just this wonderful experience of being lost in the moment.

I didn’t obsess about yesterday’s failures and disappointments.  Nor did I worry about tomorrow.  All that mattered was right now – this present moment.

No one had to teach me how to do it.  It just came naturally.  I knew who I was, and what mattered to me in the moment.  I was at peace with myself and the world around me, fully engaged in the moment.  It was effortless.

Somewhere along the line I lost that ability to remain in the moment.  Yesterday’s failures and tomorrow fears took its toll, and I found myself slipping away into addiction.

Addiction soon became my substitute for the real thing.  It felt like this present moment while I was engaged in acting out.  But the regrets and the fears would return, and I needed to act out again.

Today, in recovery, I try to live one day at a time.  It’s in this present moment – today – that I find peace and serenity.  And it is where I find God.

“Make the most of today, for today is all we have.”

Don’t just let it happen… make it happen!

The future is not yet born.  It has not yet happened.  Just like the past it doesn’t exist either.  But you do have a choice about your future:  You can let it happen, or you can make it happen.

 I must confess that too often I have just let it happen. 

 If I allow yesterday’s regrets become tomorrow’s fears I end up in ambivalence – unable to decide what to do, frozen.  And the only decision I can make is to procrastinate – put things off till ‘tomorrow.’

 This is called ‘letting it happen.’  Yesterday’s regrets and tomorrow’s fear will repeat themselves.  The cycle of shame continues indefinitely until you able to make a decision.

 When you make a decision to do something and act upon it, something wonderful happens:  You take control of your future and you make it happen!

 Personally, I would rather make it happen.

 And I can do this by continuing to make decisions right now – in this present moment – in this present circumstance in which I find myself. 

 You can have a better tomorrow if you decide today how that’s going to look.

What’s done is done; let go of the past

 What does it mean to live in the past?  How can anyone ‘live’ in the past if the past doesn’t exist? 

The past does not exist.  What happened, happened once.  And you cannot go back to change it; you cannot un-ring the bell.  What’s done is done. 

 The only way to live in the past is in your head.  That is where the past ‘exists’ – in your memory.  The way we keep the past alive is by repeating the past hurts and resentments in the present.  First in our minds, and then in our actions.  But we cannot repeat these past regrets unless we ‘live’ in the past. 

 By living in the past we project our regrets and hurts into the future.  And the future (which also exists in our imagination) becomes our present circumstances.  By living in the past we are unable to shake our present circumstances.

 So, by living in the past you repeat in the present everything you have obsessed about. And your actions in this present moment will help determine your future.

 I refuse to live in the past;  instead, I choose to let go of the past – all of its regrets, hurts and resentments.  And when I let go, my future begins to look a whole lot brighter.

Choosing to live ‘one day at a time’

As I consider the New Year ahead of me, I am struck with two thoughts:

  1. What will become of me?
  2. What are the possibilities?

Two emotions, really.  Both in opposition to each other.  “What will become of me?” is fear.  A combination of past regrets and anxiety over what might be repeated.  But thinking about the possibilities is quite exciting, exhilarating.

I can choose to dwell on the past; and I can easily obsess about the future.  But reviewing past failures won’t help me to stay sober because then I will begin to question my resolve to stay sober.  In fact, it will lead me back to where I was before – lost in addiction.

On the other hand, I can also choose to dwell on the possibilities, and look forward to better days, successful days.

The difference between the two is ‘this present moment.’  What do I choose to do?  What do I choose to think about?  If I naval gaze about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow I quite literally live in these two make-believe eternities that don’t exist – except in my mind.  In effect, I live in fear and invite death into my experience.

When I ask myself, “What are the possibilities?” I can remain in this present moment where all things are positive and real.  In so doing, I invite life into my experience.

Today, I choose life.  And that’s why I choose to live ‘one day at a time.’