Struggled with Meditation

Struggled with Meditation

“… in meditation… Our mind will gradually quiet down… take time today to be still…” — In God’s Care

Why is is so darn hard for some of us to meditate? It takes no real special talents. No experience is necessary. It only requires a few minutes, at the very least, out of our day. Then why so much resistance?

I believe I’m sort of an expert when it comes to avoiding meditation. I managed to not do that particular part of step 11 for the first 33 years in the program. For whatever reason I just couldn’t make time for, or get into, meditation. Maybe it’s my ADD. Maybe it’s my ADHD. Whatever the reason, I just couldn’t get into consistently meditating on a daily basis.

My first real attempt to meditate was by using an app called Simply Being in 2016. I set it up for 5 minutes, picked the voice and background music I liked, got quiet and listened. I usually did this while sitting at Starbucks, just before doing my rituals, and once I had my Chai Latte in my hands.

If I were to guess, I probably meditated with this app about 50 days out of the year. Still, not bad for a newbie with only 34 years in program.

But several months back, while on a trip to Florida, a sponsee told me about a 21 day free Oprah/Deepak meditation challenge. I love challenges, so I downloaded the app and did it.

That experience ushered meditation into my life in a completely new way. Closing my eyes, breathing, and listening to ways in which I can invite peace, abundance, acceptance, love, kindness, and optimistic abundance into my life is having a profound affect on my life. In those 21 days, the words spoken, both by Oprah and Deepak, were inspirational and, when listened to first thing each morning, helped me start my day off feeling open to all the joyous possibilities life can offer me.

So I began searching YouTube for other inspirational morning meditations (usually 10 minutes or less, lol). These days I have a few favorites that I’m listening to every morning in bed. Sometimes I even play them after I get out of bed, on my Bluetooth speaker when I’m in the shower and getting ready for the day. Hearing messages about how amazing life is and how much love is coming my direction is an awesome way to get going each day.

So I guess you could say that I’ve gone from a guy that never meditated, who had a real difficult time inviting meditation into my life, to a guy that loves starting his day off in meditation. It’s probably because that this trope of inspirational meditation fills me up with a sense of gratitude and the belief that today will be a wonderful day. And when I feel like that… ILML!

— JamieQ

The Essence of the Program

The Essence of the Program

“During the first six months of 1935, I was hospitalized eight times for intoxication. I was moved into another room, where my wife was waiting. She said, “You are going to quit. There are two drunks who have a plan to quit drinking. Part of their plan is to tell the plan to another drunk. This will help them stay sober.” I felt as if I would be a real stinker if I did not listen to a couple of fellows for a short time, if it would cure them. My wife also said I could not pay them even if I had money, which I did not.” — Adapted from the Big Book, Alcoholic #3

This is the essence of our program.

I share my story with others who have suffered like me. This is my experience.

I share what I had to do, and the dedication and commitment I made, and continue to make, to get better. This is my strength.

Then I share what happened as a result of working the program, how my life has transformed and gotten better. How I now love my life. This is my hope.

Then I offer myself, to guide them through the program, at no charge whatsoever. This is my service.

And through this process I’ve tapped into the wonderful, good and loving part of myself, my self-esteem was restored, I found a purpose, I’m actively pursuing it, and… ILML!

— JamieQ

A Program of Action

“Then they outlined the spiritual answer and program of action which a hundred of them had followed successfully.” — Big Book p.47

They outlined a spiritual answer. I believe that the founders were speaking of providing answers to help others, like me, who, through the effects of alcohol, had warped our sense of identity, lost our emotional stability and abandoned some or all of our moral convictions in the face of the disease.

And they outlined a program of action. In early sobriety a sponsor holds our hand and shows us that program of action. But at 20 years I found myself sober, in AA, with a sponsor, with sponsees, and without a solid program consisting of daily actions that kept me evolving into a better man. I needed something more and different than what I did in my first year. So I searched and searched, until I found one.

Today my program includes the following actions: In the mornings I roll out of bed and pray and at night I stop to pray again before getting into bed, I take time to hit the pause button on life—even for just a few minutes—to meditate, I say positive affirmations out loud, I keep a spiritual backpack at my side, filled with C.A.L. and other books that enlighten me as a read, highlight and share the passages along with my experience, strength and hope, I write and share gratitude lists with others, I write a daily 10th step in my journal, I make immediate amends, whenever my disease isn’t getting the best of me, except if it hurts another, I actively work the steps and traditions over and over each year, I share what I learn in recovery, I attend both AA and AlAnon meetings regularly, I engage in fellowship with others in recovery, I sponsor others and seek my sponsor’s help and direction as needed, I am involved in service work, I work to be self-supporting financially, I spend time with my family, I exercise and stretch, I eat healthy (and give myself the gift of some cheats too), I keep my body and my surroundings clean and tidy, I practice self-care, I set healthy boundaries, I am a man of my word, I detach from toxic people and situations, I love others but not at the expense of being loving toward myself, I have and engage in hobbies and recreation, and I get 8 hours of sleep.

Holy mackerel! And that’s not even my entire list! But here’s the deal, and you already know this: we get out what we put in. The more action we take in our program, the more gifts of recovery we receive, the happier we are, the easier life is, the more successful our lives become, and the more we love our lives.

As a result of seeking a spiritual solution and taking actions in recovery, I have a life beyond my wildest dreams, and… ILML!

— JamieQ

Feeling the Feelings

“There are times when I have to hurt through a situation and when this happens, the choice is not whether to hurt or not to hurt, but what to do while I am hurting” In All Our Affairs – AlAnon

One thing I’ve learned in recovery is that, eventually the feelings will come – all of them. Sometimes we are bound to feel hurt, sad, angry, scared, frustrated, lost, lonely, hopeless, anxious, overwhelmed and insecure. Without our addictive behaviors there to mask them (feeling number outlets), we get to experience the entire rainbow of emotions – to finally fully live life on life’s terms. These feelings are uncomfortable, but we have a way out – a way to get back to feeling safe, hopeful, content, grateful, happy, inspired and even blissful. We can simply do the things that have proved successful to millions of others in our program, and brought them back into the light when they had fallen into darkness. These tools are here for all of us, and when we pick them up and use them, the rewards are consistently, at least for me, beyond my wildest dreams. Loving life in Maui. – James

Inviting God

“When I invite God into my life through prayer, meditation and conversation, I open myself up to infinite possibilities.” – Hope for Today of 37

Most mornings, during my Golden Hour I journal, writing what’s up, identifying things I would like to work on, achievements I’m proud of, amends that need making and gratitude. This morning I found myself running late, and while writing noticing some fear its affect on how I feel. Then I wrote the following:

“I invite more God. More love. More faith. More gratitude. Less fear. I will repeat the words ‘Everything is great! It will continue to be great. It’s going to be fine. You’re great. I got your back James – I’m God & I love you – trust me.’

Thank you God for all you do for me – I love you.’

I choose to breathe, eat, live, sleep, dream and believe these words. They shall be my mantra for today.

My discomfort did not suddenly disappear. However, it subsided a little. I can now breathe a little better. I have begun to think that things actually may be ok today. If I keep these words at the top of my consciousness, I believe I can get back to really loving my life very soon. Right now, honestly, I’m about 70% of where I like to be on the life loving scale, but I know it will keep getting better, because regardless of how I may feel moment to moment, I really do LML! – James

Bad versus Good

“Bad makes its living trying to make you forget about what is good! Bad is not going to pass you by because you read self-help books … Bad is going to show up … Show bad that you have unshakable faith … Put on your faith boots! … Pull out your faith tools, and be willing to stand in the faith of good. If you feel a little weary, take a break. Allow yourself to take a meditative pause. Indulge yourself with a deep breath and tune up your faith… Just for today, flex your faith muscles and shake your good fist in bad’s face.” -Until Today

I don’t like to look at things as bad and good, just different opportunities to experience and grow in life. Some are more challenging than others – those we grow more from. But I get this quote and like it. I won’t let unmet expectations and tough challenges take me down. I’ll just tighten up the laces on my faith boots and insist that ILML!!! – James

Pause & Breathe

From Until Today! “What you do when your back is against the wall speaks volumes about the nature of your character. Every human weakness is strengthened by experience.”

I am sometimes hasty to react. I forget to pause and breathe and that moment of quiet reflection is misplaced. BUT, when I am aligned with a greater purpose, my reaction to adversity is just the opposite. I am capable of believing in the bigger picture and trusting God’s plan. iLmL – Richie