The Best Words To Use

If I repeatedly make similar suggestions… I am probably trying to control… Trying to control other people only gets me in trouble.”

— Courage to Change

The problem for me is that I really would like them to change their behavior because, at least in my opinion, it’s unacceptable. But I’ve found the word “unacceptable” is, well, unacceptable, since I believe that acceptance is the first part of the answer to all my problems. The second part is either to take reasonable action or let it go.

A better solution for me is as follows: First I identify what behaviors from others make me uncomfortable. (Hint: writing these down helps.) Next I let others know—in a kind way—when it occurs (they don’t have ESP), and how I will handle it. Finally, I practice consistency in identifying the uncomfortable behavior and detaching, allowing others to learn what is, and is not, ok with me (in other words, they usually get tired of me detaching and stop behaving in ways that make me uncomfortable and cause me to detach).

In detaching I’ve found the best words to use with others are something like:

I’m uncomfortable and need a little space to work my Program. We can talk later.

Then I must quickly separate myself physically from that person before I react. In this way I take myself out of the problem and into the solution. I let the other person clearly know that I’m uncomfortable without blaming, and simultaneously keep my side of the street clean (no amends required).

Each time I do this, I celebrate a little victory, because whenever I apply the principles of the program… ILML!

— JamieQ

What an Idiot

If you keep saying things are going to be bad, you have a good chance of bing a prophet.” 

– Issac B. Singer

Sounds pretty similar to what I say frequently, “Be careful of what you’re saying out loud and to yourself, because your mind is listening and it believes you.”

Of course, it’s impossible to always think and say things that are positive. But what is possible is to catch ourselves when we do think or say things that are negative, and then take contrary actions.

Here’s a very clear example of how I practice living in the solution and getting out of negativity: 

After spilling the milk at home alone, I say out loud “What an idiot!”

Awareness hits me and I think to myself, “I just called myself an idiot, that’s not kind or productive.”

Which prompts me to take action by saying the contrary thing out loud, “Actually, I’m not an idiot, I’m a really smart guy who just made a mistake because we human beings do that, we make mistakes.”

Which evokes a feeling of success and celebration, causing me to yell out, “I’m stoked I caught myself, that’s a victory, you rock James, I love my life.”

Which puts a big smile on my face. I’m smiling after spilling the milk. That’s rad!

This process, once practiced, can become an automatic way of life, regardless of who, what or where the negativity is directed.

So the next time you start thinking upsetting thoughts, or speaking things that are fearful or unkind, give it a shot. And remember, it all starts with awareness.

Whenever I use the tools of the program to change the way I think and speak, from negative to positive, ILML!

— JamieQ

My Own Private Purgatory

“I suspect that if I reclaimed all the minutes, hours, and days I’ve sacrificed to worry and fear, I’d add years to my life.” — Courage To Change

As you can see by the attached image, this is my favorite page in the book. I particularly love the line “break the cycle of worry and fear.” That’s one of the gifts the program has given me: a way to break that vortex of insanity. Me and my life are wasted away in those moments when I mindlessly recycle thoughts self-pity, resentment, frustration, inadequacy, fear, debasement, and indolence.

And in that process, I’m not the only one that loses out. All those that love, care and depend upon me lose out as well, while I check out of life and into my own private purgatory. Luckily, AA and AlAnon provide the lifeline back to sanity, love and life.

The more I dig into the program, the stronger and more accessible that lifeline becomes. For I believe that, no matter how spiritually and emotionally fit I become, there will undoubtably come a time when I will need help to get back. And when I do, I’ll reach out for that lifeline, discover it’s there, and allow myself to be pulled back into safety by the Program and all of you, where I am returned to sanity, and once again… ILML!

– JamieQ

Desires or Peace

“Sometimes… we wonder if our desires will ever be fulfilled… But some things take time. Be patient. Relax and trust. Let go. Then, let go some more. Good things are planned for us. Relax and trust.” – The Language of Letting Go

Today I know that not all my desires will lead to happiness. Some, if fulfilled, would cause me pain. Having faith that the loving energy of life (my HP) brings to me only the ones that help me love my life, is a great comfort today. In the past I’ve push and struggled to get the others, only to suffer later when I got what I asked for. Today, I relax and search for peace more than the fulfillment of my desires. And when I approach life like this, I can’t help but be grateful. ‘Thank you God for what you have given me, thank you for what you have taken away, but mostly, thank you for what is here now.’ ILML – James

Eternally Grateful

“Through prayer, and meditation I open channels, then establish and improve my conscious contact with God… By maintaining my spiritual condition, by giving away what had been so freely given to me, I am granted a daily reprieve.” – Daily Reflections

When I have it, money is nice. So is being married to my wonderful wife. As is owning a small business and being the father of 4 great kids. I’m grateful to live in a safe, cozy apartment (both in Maui and Santa Monica). But as great as it is to have these people, places and things in my life, they are the benefits of the peace I get from working the program, rather than the source of it. Without my commitment to the program, even if I had all these gifts, I couldn’t appreciate them or be happy. I thank the 12 steps and all of you for showing me the way. I am eternally grateful and ILML! – James

Peace of Mind

“We enjoy … real peace of mind. To those of us who have hitherto known only excitement, depression, or anxiety – in other words, to all of us – this newfound peace is a priceless gift…” 12&12

It took me some time to accept the fact that those three – excitement, depression, & anxiety – were very prevalent feelings in my life prior to recovery. Peace, serenity & balance were not goals I strived for (I thought they were boring). Today, my entire outlook of life has changed. Peace, serenity & balance are my best friends – and I derive delicious satisfaction and contentment from hanging out with them. The 12 steps have given me a new manual for living – a new purpose – and by following this simple design for living, I really have been launched into the 4th dimension. I know how truly lucky I am, which is why ILML so much! – James

Warrior Monk

“Meditation.. is essentially an individual adventure… it’s object is always the same: to improve our conscious contact with God… One if its fruits is emotional balance.” 12&12 p101-102

I was shown that how we discover a higher power, and what that higher power looks like, can be unique to each of us, if we want. That was the case for me. The same goes for meditation. I can easily get down on myself because I don’t meditate the way I think I’m supposed to (palms facing up on my crossed knees, sitting, back straight, eyes closed, like David Carradine in Kung Fu). But I’ve learned that I don’t need to be a warrior monk to meditate – even just closing my eyes and taking one slow deep breath in and out can be my meditation (try it now). Whatever brings peace in, is meditation – even just smiling, or writing this post. The adventure into recovery sure is fun – I never know where I’ll go, but I do know I will grow spiritually along the way! ILML – James