It is a little chilly outside. But warm enough for shirtsleeves. The weather is bobbing between rain and sun for the next few days. Today was a beautiful day. And days are usually quiet and serene.
My guys are traveling out of town tonight and tomorrow. It will be a weekend of checking in from far flung places. But they are good to go. This evening I called my sponsor and he is very interested in how I keep things so calm and serene. This is the ongoing conversation that we have been having. It took a long time to get here.
And it goes with the reading for tonight from “Came to Believe,” Getting Ahead …
“… I did not know then that if you want to get ahead with any degree of peace, you must first learn to Stay Here. It takes guts to stay here; it takes self-discipline and resolution. Anyone with sufficient energy and a one track mind can get ahead; witness the robber barons, the dictators, the demagogues.
But to Stay Here, you must know where you are before you can know where you are going. You must seek before you can find, and you must ask before you really learn to seek. It take humility to ask, patience to wait for the answer, and faith that the answer will come. These, it strikes me, are hardly bulldozer “Virtues.”
We have newbies in the room, and I picked up my Big Book earlier in the week as I was pondering what we would read, and we have rehashed so much Book, that I was bored with it already. So I went with the Red Book instead.
The first time you get sober is a gift, the second and subsequent times, you have to work for it. And that adage has proven true for some of us, who got second and third kicks at the can.
The first lesson that came after a few months of settling in was to “Stay in my day” and to work with the 24 hours afforded me on a daily basis. To keep my mind from returning over and over to the past, and also to keep my head out of worrying about the future or Tomorrow…
This is not an easy task at first.
Because we are hard wired by our feelings, and in the beginning I was saddled with thoughts and feelings that were about yesterday and tomorrow. And they kept telling me to keep coming back and to stay in my day. I mean really, I can go one of two ways … Depression that keeps me in the past or Anxiety that wires me to the future.
Why can’t I stay in the day?
It took a good eighteen months to learn this lesson, one day at a time. I am no longer ruled or saddled by the past, and I am not anxious about the future. Once I learned how to be good with the day I don’t have to worry (as much). It isn’t realistic to think that I don’t worry about tomorrow. I do. It just doesn’t consume me or occupy my mind for long periods during the day.
Things are good. I have been on a good run for a long time. I do what I have to do on a daily basis. My days have routine. (again, that was learned). I hit my meetings, talk to my sponsor and my sponsees on a daily basis. I keep it simple (stupid). And that tends to work. Much to my sponsors dismay.
He is fascinated with my ability to stay calm, because what alcoholic do you know, that can remain calm amid a disease of the mind? This is a work in progress. Daily work and progress.
Getting honest. Humility to ask for help. Patience to wait for an answer.
The practice (daily practice) of prayer … Saying the words, Meditation … waiting for an answer, is something we learn to do. Most people balk at this stage saying that they don’t have time to pray or to sit and wait for an answer.
Well, God speaks in many ways. Cultivating an ear to hear is the key.
We might pray in the morning and meditate for a few minutes, then we go on with our days. Meanwhile, we spend our days waiting for that answer. And you never know, when you sit in a meeting that the answer might come, from someone, not necessarily from God himself, and if you aren’t paying attention, you might miss the communication.
It is good to have a routine. To have things to do every day. To keep us busy.
Because left to our own devices, helter skelter is the norm.
We want to Get Ahead. And there is a way to do that.
Stick around until the miracle happens.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned …