Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Beth Hartley 4th Edition Big Book - Empty On The Inside #essentialsofrecovery

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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrec


It may be possible to find explanations of spiritual experiences such as ours, but I have often tried to explain my own and have succeeded only in giving the story of it. I know the feeling it gave me and the results it has brought, but I realize I may never fully understand its deeper why and how.


I had a profound spiritual experience during an open A.A. meeting, which led me to blurt out. “I’m an alcoholic!” I have not had a drink since that day. I can tell you the words I heard just prior to my admission, and how those words affected me, but as to why it happened, I do not know. I believe a power greater than myself chose me to recover, yet I do not know why. I try not to worry or wonder about what I do not yet know; instead, I trust that if I continue to work the Steps, practice the A.A. principles in my life, and share my story, I will be guided lovingly toward a deep and mature spirituality in which more will be revealed to me. For the time being, it is a gift for me to trust God, work the Steps and help others.
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Just For Today #essentialsofrec

Seeking God’s Will

“We learn to be careful of praying for specific things.”

Basic Text p. 45

In our active addiction, we usually did not pray for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out. On the contrary, most of our prayers were for God to get us out of the mess we had made for ourselves. We expected miracles on demand. That kind of thinking and praying changes when we begin practicing the Eleventh Step. The only way out of the trouble we have made for ourselves is through surrender to a Power greater than ourselves.

In recovery, we learn acceptance. We seek knowledge in our prayers and meditation of how we are to greet the circumstances that come our way. We stop fighting, surrender our own ideas of how things should be, ask for knowledge, and listen for the answers. The answers usually won’t come in a flash of white light accompanied by a drum roll. Usually, the answers will come merely with a quiet sense of assurance that our lives are on course, that a Power greater than ourselves is guiding us on our paths.

We have a choice. We can spend all our time fighting to make things come out our way, or we can surrender to God’s will. Peace can be found in accepting the ebb and flow of life.

Just for today: I will surrender my expectations, look to my Higher Power for guidance, and accept life. 
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrec

Looking for Lost Faith, p. 235

Any number of A.A.’s can say, “We were diverted from our childhood faith. As material success began to come, we felt we were winning at the game of life. This was exhilarating, and it made us happy.

“Why should we be bothered with theological abstractions and religious duties, or with the state of our souls, here or hereafter? The will to win should carry us through.

“But then alcohol began to have its way with us. Finally, when all our score cards read ‘zero,’ and we saw that one more strike would put us out of the game forever, we had to look for our lost faith. It was in A.A. that we rediscovered it.”

12 & 12, pp. 28-29 
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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrec

A.A. Thought For The Day

“When we saw our faults, we listed them. We placed them before us in black and white. We admitted our wrongs honestly and we were willing to set these matters straight. We reviewed our fears thoroughly. We asked God to remove our fears and we commenced to outgrow fear.  Many of us needed an overhauling in regard to sex. We came to believe that sex powers were God-given and therefore good, if used properly. Sex is never to be used lightly or selfishly, nor is it to be despised or loathed. If sex is troublesome, we throw ourselves the harder into helping others, and so take our minds off ourselves.” Am I facing my sex problems in the proper way?

Meditation For The Day

Cling to the belief that all things are possible with God. If this belief is truly accepted, it is the ladder upon which a human soul can climb from the lowest pit of despair to the sublime heights of peace of mind. It is possible for God to change your way of living.  When you see the change in another person through the grace of God, you cannot doubt that all things are possible in the lives of people through the strength that comes from faith in Him who rules us all.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may live expectantly. I pray that I may believe deeply that all things are possible with God. 
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Walk In Dry Places #essentialsofrec

Is Life Unfair?

The glib remark “Life is Unfair” is sometimes used to dismiss any concern about trouble or seeming injustice. This usually implies that all such matters are part of God’s plan….. that somehow God couldn’t create life without making it unfair. But nobody really knows whether life is unfair or not, since what we see is only a small part of it.

We should know, however, that we can practice fairness ourselves. We will live better if we forget how unfair life can be and make the best of the opportunities we have.

Some of us could even argue that life treated us unfairly by giving us a susceptibility to alcoholism. In the long run, this turned out to be an opportunity to live the Twelve Step program. Some of us even consider this to be outworking of divine justice that has proved to be eminently fair. As one AA member put it, It was a case of one of the worst things becoming one of the best that ever happened to me !

I’ll not let any seeming unfairness or injustice keep me from doing my best today. My real belief is that there is an eternal justice underlying all things.

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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrec

The work of adult life is not easy.

—Gail Sheehy

We used to look for a easier, softer way. We tried to take care of ourselves by staying clear of hard task. The result? We haven’t known what the work of adult life is.

The work of adult life is this: to become spiritually centered. And to do this, we work at getting rid of our self-will. There will be many great rewards for doing this. We will wake up spiritually. We will connect with those we love. The result? We will receive self-love to replace self-will. Our work will not be easy, but it will be rewarding.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to give all to my recovery program. Then help me to be open to the rewards this will bring.

Action for the Day: I will list the hard parts of my program. Then I’ll talk about them with my sponsor, friends, family, and Higher Power. 
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrec

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Oscar Wilde

There’s a big difference between being self-centered and having self love. We’re self-centered when we think we don’t need people. We might think, “I’m more important than others.” Being self-centered ends up hurting us.

It makes us lonely. It keeps us from our Higher Power. Addiction is about being self-centered.

Recovery and the Twelve Steps are about self-love. If we love ourselves, we say, “We’re all equal and in need of each other.” Self-love includes having good relationships.

It includes trusting that they we’ll do what is best, with the help of our Higher Power. We must believe in ourselves to trust others.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me love myself as You love me. Help me take good care of myself.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list three things I like about myself. I’ll talk with a friend and share these things. I’ll ask my friend what he or she likes about me. 
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrec


“This great misfortune — to be incapable of solitude.”
–Jean de la Bruyere

Today I am able to live with my loneliness. I know the difference between being “alone” and being “lonely” — and even in sobriety I experience loneliness. But today I can live with it.

When I was drinking, I had an overwhelming feeling of being lost and isolated; today it is tolerable. I can live with it. It is part of being “imperfect”. I am not God.

The reality of spirituality demands that I do not escape into a fantasy that denies my feelings of loneliness. It is part of my journey towards God. I will never appreciate perfect happiness until I rest in God. This I accept. In sobriety I have many days of happiness and moments of joy — but I am, at times, lonely — with feelings of being lost. Today I can accept this — and talk about it.

I accept that part of me will be forever lost until I rest in God. 
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrec

Reflection For The Day

How, exactly, can a person turn his own will and his own life over to the care of a Power greater than himself?  All that’s needed is a beginning, no matter how small.  The minute we put the key of willingness in the lock, the latch springs open.  Then the door itself starts to open, perhaps even so slightly;  in time we find that we can always open it wider.  Self-will may slam the door shut again, and it often does.  But the door can always be reopened, time and time again if necessary, so long as we use our key of willingness.  Have I reaffirmed my decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him?

Today I Pray

May I reaffirm my decision to turn my will and my life over to a Higher Power.  May my faith be staunch enough to keep me knowing that there is, indeed, a power greater than I am.  May I avail myself of that Power simply by being willing to “walk humbly with my Lord.”

Today I Will Remember

Self-will minus self equals will. 
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One Day At A Time #essentialsofrec


“Destiny is not a matter of chance;  it is a matter of choice.
It is not a thing to be waited for;  it is a thing to be achieved.”
–William Jennings Bryan

I have often wished that my life were easier. I have resented the fact that others seemed to have been given a free ride, whereas I have had to walk the distance. I often prayed that on waking one morning, I would find that the shadow I cast the day before had been vastly reduced overnight.

Wallowing in self-pity has taken me nowhere. It has wasted time that I could have spent reaching my recovery. I could choose to waste my days wishing for something that I obviously don’t have — and will never have — unless I actively do the legwork to obtain it. I could sit back and expect the world to come to my door, but I would find that it passes me by.

Often I find myself slipping down the emotional slide into the depths of depression. In those dark times, walking through life is as easy as walking waist-deep through wet tar. It’s a place where the sun never shines, thus its warm rays don’t land on my skin.

Recovery comes only when I make the choice and do the work needed to attain it.

One day at a time …
I choose to use the wisdom, strength and shelter of God; my Higher Power. I choose to follow the Twelve Steps and use the tools provided in the recovery program. I choose to be guided by the Big Book. In essence … I choose life

~ Sue G 
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrec

“Life is like a path…and we all have to walk the path… As we walk… we’ll find experiences like little scraps of paper in front of us along the way. We must pick up those pieces of scrap paper and put them in our pocket… Then, one day, we will have enough scraps of papers to put together and see what they say… Read the information and take it to heart.”

–Uncle Frank Davis (quoting his mother), PAWNEE

The Creator designed us to learn by trial and error. The path of life we walk is very wide. Everything on the path is sacred – what we do right is sacred – but our mistakes are also sacred. This is the Creator’s way of teaching spiritual people. To criticize ourselves when we make mistakes is not part of the spiritual path. To criticize mistakes is not the Indian way. To learn from our mistakes is the Indian way. The definition of a spiritual person is someone who makes 30-50 mistakes each day and talks to the Creator after each one to see what to do next time. This is the way of the Warrior.

Today let me see my mistakes as a positive process. Let me learn the aha’s of life… Awaken my awareness so I can see the great learning that You, my Creator, have designed for my life. 
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Today’s Gift #essentialsofrec

I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.

—Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a Black woman who devoted her life to helping slaves escape their bondage. In her youth, she had been hit on the head so she suffered dizzy spells for the rest of her life. In spite of this, and at great risk to her own life, she guided many slaves on the Underground Railroad to freedom.

Freedom from slavery is different today but just as necessary. It may mean freedom from being a slave to what others think of us, freedom from eating more than is healthy for us, freedom from jealousy, and freedom from trying to force others to do what we want them to do.

We are free to be the very best persons we can be. Our own freedom can be even more fulfilling when we welcome others enthusiastically into that land of freedom by allowing them the room to be themselves without fear of judgment. In this way, by freeing ourselves, we free one another.

How can I free myself today? 
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Daily Tao / 236 – Imprisonment #essentialsofrec

Our subjectivity
Is a mirrored,
Spiked casket.

We surround ourselves with the reflections of our own identities. We think only of ourselves, not of Tao. All we care about is survival and gratification. When will we see that all we have done is to surround ourselves with our own illusions?

We do not see the world as it truly is. We ignore the dilemma of our existence. We are like preening idiots inside a mirrored casket. As we build upon our illusions, the box gets smaller. Soon it develops spikes — the spears of our own egotism — only we are so self-absorbed that we do not notice the points. We are too in love with ourselves. We prance around, we fluff our hair. And still the casket gets smaller and smaller.

Some succeed in getting out of this trap, but they are so attached that they drag their casket behind them for a long time. Those who drag their illusions with them are only a step better than those who are trapped in them. Only when we realize our true nature does the casket disappear.
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DAILY ZEN #essentialsofrec

[The] defilements are like a cat. If you feed it, it will keep coming around. Stop feeding it, and eventually it will not bother to come around anymore.

-Ajahn Chah, "Still Forest Pool"
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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

How Chronic Pain Can Lead to Addiction and Depression #essentialsoffrecovery

How Chronic Pain Can Lead to Addiction and Depression

Approximately 116 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain can lead to both depression and addiction, and addiction is difficult to detect in a chronic pain sufferer. Those who are living with chronic pain often share some of the same clinical features as those who are addicted to opioids, which makes it tough to diagnose the addiction. Likewise, depression frequently goes undiagnosed in chronic pain sufferers, because chronic pain usually takes center stage.

Chronic Pain Leading to Addiction

People are worried about addiction and for good reason. Patients and doctors face a serious dilemma when it comes to treating chronic pain. One of the main difficulties of treating chronic pain is that the longer you’re taking a pain medication, the more likely you are to become addicted

Another problem is that if you’re on long-term treatment, you may develop a tolerance to the drug, meaning that your body is used to the substance and requires higher doses in order to achieve the same level of pain relief. Yet another concern in the management of chronic pain is hyperalgesia, which is an increase in pain sensitivity. Many patients have been worried about these consequences and reluctant to take pain medications even when prescribed for legitimate pain.

To help reduce the risk of addiction, discuss your history with your doctor openly and honestly. Your doctor needs to be made aware of any personal or family history of mental illness, substance abuse, or addiction. Don’t take any of these questions personally; they are essential for your treatment. Your doctor will be able to take these facts into consideration when prescribing medications or other treatments.

Hopefully these open lines of communication will help to avoid addiction, but unfortunately, there are no guarantees. It is difficult to detect an addiction, especially when it comes to a person living with chronic pain, as the two conditions share similar signs and symptoms such as:

A high level of stress

Functional losses


Substance use

Mood disturbances

Sleep disturbances

Chronic Pain Leading to Depression

Depression is one of the most frequent psychological issues that chronic pain sufferers face. Chronic pain causes physical changes in your brain which often lead to depression, which in turn may lead to additional pain-related symptoms. Depression is even more likely if your independence is limited due to severe chronic pain impacting your daily functioning.

Depression often goes undiagnosed in chronic pain patients, and as a result often goes untreated. Chronic pain is such a priority for those who suffer from it that it takes precedence during healthcare appointments. When depressed, patients often find themselves with:

A decrease in physical activity

A lack of energy

A loss of appetite

Sleep disturbances

Finding Relief

One of the things that chronic pain, addiction, and depression have in common is sleep disturbances. Sleep plays an important role in your emotional, mental, and physical health. It is crucial to get enough quality sleep every night, particularly if you suffer from chronic pain or other medical conditions.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, speak with your doctor. If you’re a chronic pain sufferer and believe you may be addicted to your pain medications or that you may be depressed, being open and honest with your physician will help them help you achieve recovery.

Jennifer Woodson enjoys serving the public as a writer for The site is dedicated to putting the public back into public health by serving as a hub of reputable and useful public information on health topics.

Images via Pixabay by geralt