“It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do… What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” — Alcoholic Anonymous p.85

Did you ever wonder where the phrase resting on our laurels came from? Well, here’s the answer. During the 6th century BC in Ancient Greece, winners competing in arts and dance in the Pythian Games received a wreath made from bay laurel leaves, sacred to Apollo.

Resting on your laurels means to be satisfied with one’s past success and to consider further effort unnecessary. This is a dangerous proposition for those of us seeking enhanced spiritual growth, an increase in the joy of living, and better relationships with others.

Frequently we see individuals come into the rooms of 12 step program seeking recovery from their situation and feelings. At first they hunger with willingness and determination, going to any length to improve the way the feel and their circumstances. But as life gets better, a good job comes along, some money starts rolling in, they get a new place to live, or fall in love and eventually these new responsibilities and enjoyable activities begin to pull them away from the program and fellowship.

Often they think, “Life is great now, I don’t need to go to as many meetings, or journal regularly, or read from those books, or meditate, or call my sponsor so often, or have service commitments, or sponsor others, or do my daily affirmations.”

We’ve all seen what happens next. It’s just a matter of time until the hammer falls, and their world cracks open, and they come hobbling back in, broken, devastated, and seeking help. Or worse, they don’t make it back. Ever.

As Eleanor Roosevelt so wisely once said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” With regard to spiritual action, I’m taking her advice. When I stick close to my program of action, instead of resting on my laurels… ILML!

— JamieQ

An Easier, Softer Way

“I instinctively want to fix problems, and they don’t have to be mine. In fact, most of the time they’re not… doing for others what they need to do for themselves… enabled them to be irresponsible… robs others of the self-esteem that comes from struggling with and conquering the challenges…” Hope For Today

I can’t speak for women, but as a man, and a sponsor of many other men, I can tell you that this desire to “fix” runs very deep for many of us. It’s actually been one of the biggest problems in my relationship with others. Instead of listening and having empathy (or at least compassion), I offer solutions. Today I realize that, unless I’m asked for help, usually others just want me to listen and love. When I do this, instead of trying to offer my unsolicited opinion and advice, my relationships go a whole lot smoother. Grateful for all these wonderful tools. ILML! – James

Look at the Best

“…when we get stuck in a rut of negativity about our mate, all the loving things that he or she is actually doing may be invisible to us. Assume the best about your partner. Otherwise you may end up throwing away something of value because you have deemed it worthless.” – YCMMA p92

This is very important for me in all relationships. When I focus on good, good happens. Along with setting healthy boundaries, it seems good relationships are inevitable with this attitude. Ilml!