“Resentment is like swallowing poison, and hoping the other person dies.”

Have you ever swallowed something bad – even poisonous – without knowing it? 

 I have.  As a kid I ate all kinds of things that made me sick for days.  And as an adult I’ve had food poisoning from eating certain foods – like seafood… mussels, to be exact!

 There’s a kind of poison that we all swallow from time to time.  We swallow this poison willingly – no one is making us do it.  That’s because:  We don’t know that it’s poison.

 There are a lot of things we do to ourselves that are not good for us; but we do them without knowing what we are doing.  We simply want to do them!  And we can’t help but do them.

 This poison we swallow comes to us in the form of small-minded, critical, negative beliefs.  It’s this set of negative beliefs that offer up to us a smorgasbord of emotional problems and feelings that limit us, and separate us from those we love.

 That’s why we must “let go and let God” every day. 

 Your Higher Power is asking that you surrender your will and your life.  Which can be frightening.  The feeling of vulnerability and helplessness can creep in when you least expect it. 

 But true surrender is a good thing and, when embraced, feels like the world has been lifted off your shoulders.  So, what is surrender?

 Surrender is learning to enjoy and use what you have without being owned by it.  It’s discovering new levels of caring with the people you love. 

 When you surrender, your mind opens up to receive an incredible wisdom that is beyond understanding or description.  All your desires are satisfied; and a oneness with others will emerge.

 Surrendering does not mean losing yourself; on the contrary, you are gaining your self and becoming who you truly are!

 If you have truly surrendered to God, you will no longer need to swallow the poison of resentment ever again.

“Are you a taker, or a giver?”

The addict is a taker.  The addict has no other choice but to take.

This may sound harsh and a little judgmental, but it is the nature of addiction to take – not give.  There is only one thing that the addict cares about:  The addiction.

The addict has nothing to give.  It continues to use up all its resources trying to keep the addiction well fed.  Nothing else matters.  Keeping this hungry beast fed is more important than family, or friends, more important than keeping a good job, staying healthy, or even life itself.

But no matter how hard the addict tries, the addiction is never satisfied.  It wants, it wants, it wants.  Imagine a hole the size of the Grand Canyon; that is your addiction.  You could spend the rest of your life trying to fill it.  And die trying.

In recovery, we learn to be givers.  That is our natural state, and a result of our new found freedom.  No longer are we looking out for number one.

After a spiritual awakening, an addict is now able to give back because he/she wants to do so.  Love’s power takes over and the heart is now peaceful and quiet.

Step twelve is the final work of recovery.  How is your recovery?

Are you a taker, or a giver?

 

“When you struggle, stop and pray; and know that help is on the way”

Sometimes I get tired of my recovery.

It’s an awesome task when you think of it.  I was so accustomed to my addictive ways;  every day – every moment – spent either acting out or planning for the next spree.  And now, I find myself in recovery trying to undo a life of ‘self will run riot.’

I found it much easier to ‘act out’ than have to face reality.  Every bone in my body ached for the relief that my addiction gave me.  Most of the time I remained numb to the pain of just being human.

When I awakened to the fact that I was killing myself slowly with this addiction, I sought help.  Upon reaching out, I discovered a community of helpers ready to assist me.  And I discovered that I need not go it alone.

Are you getting tired of recovery?  Do you wish you could return to the old life of acting out?  Wouldn’t that be easier?

Don’t forget:  “You alone must do it, but you must not do it alone!”

If you try to remain isolated from God and others, you will surely fail.  Recovery from addiction is not accomplished on an island somewhere.  Recovery is a return to sanity, and a return to community.

Your Higher Power is not some fairy tale; your Higher Power is as real as the air you breathe.  When you pray, expect an answer.  There are a thousand angels ready to rush to your aid if you would but ask.

Be encouraged:  When you struggle, stop and pray; and know that help is on the way.

“What’s the big deal?”

“I’m not hurting anyone, am I?”

These are words I used to rationalize my behavior whenever my conscience protested.  It was my secret.  No one else needed to know about it.

If I was abusing anyone, it was myself.  But I felt great – especially when I was acting out!  Whenever I felt lonely, or mad, or bored… I had my addiction to turn to help me through.

It wasn’t until much later on (like about thirty years later) that I knew what this addiction was doing to me.  And what it was doing to my family!

My addiction robbed me of being present to each moment.  And it robbed my family – my wife and kids – of who I was truly.  They didn’t know who I was because they’d never seen it before.

The addiction had done such a great job of covering over my bad feelings that I couldn’t feel the good ones either.  I was just numb.  I really couldn’t feel much of anything.

What’s the big deal?

The big deal is this:  When you spend your time ‘protecting’ yourself from feeling anything, you isolate yourself from everyone – even yourself.  And when you can’t feel, you can’t really live.

You were put here to express yourself, and to offer to others all that God has given you.  If you don’t get into recovery you will rob the world of who you are, and all that you have to offer to others.

And when you rob others of who you are, you ultimately rob yourself of life as it was meant to be lived.

A lot is at stake for you and your loved ones.  Addiction is a big deal!

Are you in it to win it?

I was stuck in a rut.

 I didn’t know I was stuck until I tried to move on.  Digging myself out of the hole I was in – the hole that I dug for myself – proved to be impossible.

 The more I tried to get out, the harder it got.  The harder it got, the more I became angry and depressed.  I found myself just spinning my wheels until I exhausted myself emotionally.

 Trying to kick a sexual addiction is no small task; trying to kick any addiction is far beyond the ability of any one person. 

 I wanted to beat my addiction all on my own.  And I convinced myself that I could somehow do it – but not today.  Maybe tomorrow.  I had no idea what I was up against. 

 An addiction is like a 300 pound gorilla; you are in the ring trying to wrestle it to the floor.  What do you think the chances are you will win?

 It wasn’t until I joined a 12 Step fellowship that I began to see how it’s done.  I learned that I could gain strength from the other members.  And it was there I found God’s power and grace.

 But I had to ask for help.  I had to admit defeat and reach out for assistance.  A common phrase in 12 Step circles is:  “You alone must do it; but you must not do it alone!”

 If you think you can go it alone – think again.  But if you are prepared to do whatever it takes, then you are prepared to get the help you need.

 Are you going to climb out of the rut you are in, and move on?   Are you in it to win it?

Work on the solution, not the problem!

“You’re either part of the solution, or you’re part of the problem.” 

 This is a familiar slogan used in Presidential speeches and the media.  There’s nothing neutral about our lives.  You can’t just sit on the fence. 

 If this is true, then there are only two concerns in this life:  The solution and problem.  It’s either/or.  Do your thoughts center around the problem or the solution?

 It’s all about focus.  What are you focused on?  Working on the problem has gotten us nowhere – just more of the same.  I’ve proven to myself that focusing on the pain, the struggle, the heartache – all the stuff I don’t want – has attracted even more pain, struggle and heartache.

 Working on the problem left me exhausted.  That’s because I tried not to think of my obsessions and compulsions.  But the more I tried not to think of my obsessions, the more I obsessed about them! 

 Focusing on the addiction itself brought me more addiction.  Trying to resist the obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior only made things worse.  Trying not to think about it made it even stronger.

 All my own efforts to change proved to be fruitless.  I was too focused on the problem:  I thought I could wrestle it to the ground.  But instead, it had me begging for mercy every time. 

 It wasn’t until I found a 12 step fellowship that I discovered the solution.  And with the help of a sponsor, I learned to focus on the solution.  Working the 12 Steps always centered on the solution – the way out. 

 If you want freedom from your obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior, start focusing on the solution; get working on the 12 Steps.