High Fiving Myself

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault
With all the glitz and glammer marketing throws at us everyday, it’s easy to imagine why we grow up thinking the prize is the big thing. Having a nice house, a fat bank account, an expensive new car or truck, or a job with a big salary. Don’t get me wrong, those things are great. But they are also often how we, and many others, measure our success. 

People are likely to give us props when they find out we got a high paying job. But when they discover we’re singing and dancing every morning upon awakening, most people rarely rush over to give us a high five. But loving life is, at least for me, the true measure of success. So I make it a point to congratulate myself for doing things which make me feel great about myself, and going out of my way to help others. Because when I remember that loving me, others and my life is the ultimate prize, and I try my best to always have my thoughts, actions and words in alignment with those goals, ILML! 

– JamieQ

From Misery to Happiness

“Look into any phase of my life and you will see joy and happiness, a sense of usefulness in the scheme of things, where formerly there was fear, sorrow and utter futility.” – ‘A Businessman’s Recovery’ from AA’s Big Book

When the steps, tools, principles and slogans of AA and AlAnon are diligently applied, no problem is too great to be lessened. No situation is hopeless. Think about that for a second. Those are what I call some epic promises. And the price we must pay? Consistency, diligence, and dedication to working our program every day. Of course, we need someone to show us the way, but that’s just another gift. We find someone to guide us, we take direction and practice it, the promises are fulfilled in our life, and then we show others how to do it. The byproduct of this is that we begin to develop self-esteem and love ourselves. Like the businessman in the Big Book, as a result of doing the deal,  I’ve had the perceptual shift from misery to happiness, and today… ILML! 

– JamieQ

An Exercise in Misery or…

“The only way to ease our fear and be truly happy is to acknowledge it and look at it’s source.” – Thitch Near Han
No one in the world escapes being afraid. Sometimes fear is good for me, in that it can motivate me to take action or change. But being worried about something that I have no control over is an exercise in misery. My magic mind, focused on the fear, imprisons me in an endless cycle of potential devastation, rendering me emotionally hungover for hours, days or even weeks. Instead, if I simply put pen to paper, articulate the fear, acknowledge that it’s only one potential outcome, write down the words “I WILL be ok even if that fear materializes”, and follow it up by composing a deep gratitude list, I am able to walk though (and then let go of) my fear. And when I’m fear-free, knowing for sure that I’ll be great no matter what, ILML! 

– JamesQ

Play Well with Others

“… I took another step to maturity as I continue to recover from my illness of not listening.” – Hope for Today

Today’s reading was spot on for me. It says that somehow I developed this idea that, since my opinions were inseparable from my self-image, I needed for them to be right – otherwise I was wrong, which meant I wasn’t good enough. And so intolerance of others’ views crept in, I developed a black and white way of thinking, and attempted to convince others that my way was THE WAY to think. I became great at debating people until they gave in or gave up. This defect was rooted in fear and insecurity. The reading reminds me that I can get healthier. I can listen, allow others to speak their opinions without needing to debate them, and if I’m really spiritually centered, even say “You may be right.” When I practice the program and do my best to play well with others, ILML! 

– JamieQ

Reframing into Gratitude

“Happiness is not a matter of good fortune or worldly possessions. It’s a mental attitude.It comes from appreciating what we have, instead of being miserable about what we don’t have.” – 12 Step Prayer Book 

I have had great big moments of unhappiness in my life. I felt alone, unloved and misunderstood often as a child, abandoned as a teenager, devastated upon the death of my mother and later upon that of my little brother. But I have miraculously been able to feel a sense of appreciation from every event in my life, even the ones that initially triggered a feeling of sadness. Unhappiness is as intrinsic to being a human as is the feeling of joy. The gift of the program is that I have learned to reframe everything into gratitude, and as a result, my periods of suffering have become dramatically shortened, allowing me to feel better sooner. And for that ability I shall forever be grateful. ILML! 

– JamieQ

Avoiding Unsolicited Advice, Opinions & Help

“When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help… Let It Begin With Me.” – AlAnon
I love this concept – it’s from a tent card we read at the end of one of my regular meetings. But it works best with another Alanon saying “Did they ask?” These reminders make it clear that, although I am always ready and willing to be of service, I am not obligated to, nor should I, provide help to others UNLESS and UNTIL they specifically ask for my help – EVEN if I think it’s really important for them to have my help or opinion. By refraining from helping when not asked and refraining from offering my unsolicited opinions and advice, I allow others the dignity to experience their own process, even if that includes a small burn from the stove. And when asked for advice, often the best answer is to simply ask them what they think is the best course of action. By giving this type of respect to others, my relationships blossom, I’m happier with my behavior, and ILML! 

– JamieQ

Step Up To The Plate

“Most folks are as happy as they make their minds to be… The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” – Abraham Lincoln

It’s sort of surprising that good old Abe wasn’t in a 12 step program, right? He understood that living one day at a time gives us the best hope for a great future. He also understood that our happiness is dependent upon our state of mind, which we actually have the power to change. We can invite happiness in at any time – even in those moments where things appear the bleakest. I have been so fortunate to be a part of a fellowship that has encouraged me to discover the art of being happy. And because I’m willing to practice each an every day, when I step up to the plate and swing the bat, I end up getting in some pretty good hits, which makes me smile, knowing that ILML! 

– JamieQ