If there is one thing people learn in the rooms of recovery, it’s how to talk. I’m fully behind the importance of talking through problems to help one another, but only if it brings people to a place of action. Otherwise you are left consistently spinning your wheels, leaving you stuck ruminating on thoughts and emotions that might drive you to hysteria. Sure, you may be able to put together a powerful share on how newcomers need to do to recover, but you know damn well you aren’t putting your own words of wisdom into practice in your own life.
I recognize that we can’t be “on” every week, and that there are ebb and flows to life, but for a lot of people cheap chatter is the Alpha and Omega of their recovery. No daily prayer, no surrender, zero meditation, and of course rarely do they serve others. There is a huge disconnect when an individual starts to share out of ideals, rather than there actual experience. I truly believe most people are far more clever than we give them credit for, and can easily sift through all the unequivocal bullshit that is being spewed out during meetings. There is a certain vibration that seems to be produced by when people share honesty, and this intangible force is universally recognized.
I clearly remember the day when this mental masturbation was finally drawn to my attention by one of the most influential men in my life to date. He sat me down and pulled out the Big Book and ripped through the pages straight to page.88 where it clearly states, “We alcoholics are undisciplined.” In a matter of fact tone, he asked if I thought this only applied to ‘those other’ alcoholics in the rooms?
In true Alcoholic fashion I rejected his insane thought that I could possibly be one of these undisciplined individuals. Fortunately for me, the clouds of denial parted only a few days later, and at that point I knew the gig was up. I too had the stark realization that discipline wasn’t one of my salient features.
When someone feels like they are smarter than everyone else for most of their life, it feels like the carpet is being ripped from under your feet after going through the ego deflating process of the 12 steps. Building oneself back up without such powerful resources of arrogance and entitlement is a very challenging process that needs massive vigilance (step10). This awkward emotional/spiritual fresh start is filled with several awakenings like I experienced that day. When you are as mentally gifted as I was, or so I thought, “action and more action” was a tough pill to swallow whole.
To this day, I still recall the mental defence that was instantly activated when being called out on my shit. Instead of absorbing the blow of reality, I once again turned to the convoluted defence strategy that kept me sick. There is a part of my that so desperately wants to hold on to the familiar approach to life that is failing me, rather than jump into a way of life that is far more prosperous. Sure, up until that date I had got through a set of steps and remained sober for close to two years, but I had absolutely no connection with God. I wasn’t really seeking a connection with God either, but my meeting attendance was sure on point! And you probably guessed it, I was still trying to make sense of what they meant when they said,”our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us” on page.77?
I had read the Big Book several times by the time I met Doug, but I swear those sentences weren’t in the copy of my text. When he read those sentences out to me, it was like he was reading out of a totally different book. “Nothing changes, if nothing changes Kael! Open your eyes!” It’s no wonder I still felt so miserable in life at that point; I hadn’t been following the program properly.
Years later I still struggle from time to time with discipline, but now I have accountability tools that help me hold up on my end of the bargain when it comes to recovery. If I want more, I must do more. As the old adage goes, God helps those who help themselves! It is quite apparent to me now that if I fall short on a few small commitments each week I eventually unfortunately fall back into feelings of discontentment. At this point in my life I am determined to subject myself to that state of being as least as possible. The catchphrase you will now see me hollering is, “Protect Your Peace”.
Many of you are probably wanting to know what that looks like, and how one might go about activating such a state of being. Not to worry, I will share my inner genius with you below in hopes of you easily applying it in your own life.
Money sure doesn’t buy you happiness, but it can but you a white board. At this point in my life I have yet earned enough money to hire a life coach who calls me daily keeping me on the straight and narrow when it comes to accomplishing goals. Presuming many of you out there might be in that same position, I will share with you something I use daily to keep me accountable and moving forward.
Understanding the importance of mini wins when it comes to creating momentum and habits in life, I strategically hung a two foot by three foot whiteboard on the wall directly in front of my bed. The reason why Starbucks sells so well is due to their winning marketing, that positions themselves everywhere. The constant reminder of the brand is what keeps their customers coming through the doors, and I wanted to see if I could apply that method of marketing to myself. What better way to gently keep myself from slipping back into complacency than to place this board of well-being in a place I walk past several times a day.On this board I created a small chart with the days of the week written across the top and a small list of mandatory activities going down the left hand side. In the middle of this chart are corresponding boxes that I check off at the end of the day after completely each task.
Keep these Mandatory Tasks simple to start with:
Did you pray today?
Did you exercise?
Did you meditate?
We use the brick by brick approach to building the wall. This is of course a nondiscriminatory wall that will help you protect your peace. I personally have become so habituated to praying daily, so I replaced that activity with a daily mood log. I bought a calendar and jot down a few points about how I was feeling that day to help track my mood. The weekly minimums: 4 days of meditation(20 minutes each), 4 days of exercise, and a daily entry into the mood calendar! Sure this sounds like a trivial exercise in consistency, but you would amazed at the results after a month or two. The momentum you gain from daily mini wins is very real.
Side Note. There is still a part of me that tries to take the easy way out, providing myself with a plethora of excuses on why I don’t have time to do X and Y, so if you are feeling resistance you are on the right path. After a few weeks you will be in a rhythm and a lot of that frustration and excuses toward the tasks will subside.