A Lesson Never Forgotten

“For it is in giving that we receive.” Prayer Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

Remember getting holiday gifts as a little kid? How exciting it was? I loved it, and it made me so happy. But in 1977, when I was 16 years old, I discovered an even greater happiness. It was Christmas morning and my parents awoke. We all opened gifts. Afterwards I led them to the den for a surprise: I had purchased and installed a Harman Kardon Hi-Fi stereo system. It had taken all night to do it. They turned it on and I knew they were happy and grateful. I felt good about me because I had sacrificed something important to me (my time and hard earned money) in order to make them feel good – a lesson never forgotten. Today I give away a lot of my time to others. I share my experience, strength and hope on everything I have to offer. I share my passion for life. As a result of consistently dedicating time to listen, care for and be there for others, ILML! 

– JamieQ

Inventory’s Great Rewards

“My mind is like a great big closets needing to be cleaned out on a regular basis.” — Reaching for Personal Freedom

A business website listed the following as some important reasons for taking regular inventory: Protects against excess demands, helps in providing service to others, aids in productivity, reduces losses, minimizes workload, protects against fluctuations, makes effective use of energy output, identifies dishonest actions such as theft and deceit, pinpoints strengths and weaknesses, uncovers oppporunities for increased earnings. Wow, those are some great rewards I keep receiving. I journal almost every day and… ILML!

— JamieQ

Cockroach & Butterfly

“The cockroach is as beautiful and miraculous as the butterfly.”

We have a tendency to be fearful of the things which we find ugly.

Be that physical objects such as insects or spiders or a homeless hunchback with boils on his head, or the mental aspects of our character; selfishness, sloth, self-centeredness, arrogance, dishonesty…
Many of us are so afraid to face these things that we find a way to cope and, mostly in vain, to avoid them. 

With a cockroach we may scream and run away or smash it to pieces with the nearest slipper. For the mental there is solace to be found in drugs and alcohol. We literally try to drown our sorrows. 

After all, drinking a bottle of vodka and having temporary relief from the pain is far easier than facing the fears head on, right?

As I grow in the 12 step programs of recovery I am beginning to understand what the phrase “life on life’s terms” really means. To stick with my analogy – you will inevitably encounter both cockroaches and butterflies as you go about your day. 

One of the gifts of spiritual fitness, gained through practicing the program, is that I realise I must take the good and bad in the same way. That I have nothing to fear. 

They are as equally whole as each other and both offer an experience from which I can learn and grow…

Provided, of course, that I don’t scream and run away!


— Adam

Why I Love My Life

“A.A. has given me serenity of purpose, the opportunity to be of service to God and to the people about me, and I am serene in the infallibility of these principles that provide the fulfillment of my purpose.” – AA, Freedom From Bondage

Regular readers of my blog and recovery texts know that I am not a religious man, but that I have a great relationship with the God of my understanding. That said, what struck me about this reading was the reality that this purpose they refer to is absolutely invaluable to me. In fact, I would go so far as to say that there are very few organizations in this world that you can join, which will give you the opportunity to love and be loved by so many other wonderful people. Where you can develop rich and rewarding friendships that will last a lifetime. My life has been forever blessed by AA and Al-Anon. Being a member of both programs, and embracing the principles to the best of my ability, is THE reason why ILML! 

Grieving & Loving Life

“… everything is always all right no matter what is, because it is exactly as it is supposed to be for the moment” – Cristin Whiting
But what if you lose a loved one? When my mom died I found a book called “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran by her bedside. I opened it up and read the following passage: 

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.” 

In other words, the more I loved, the deeper my well needed to be to hold that love. And when mom was gone, its depth held my tears. Would I have chosen a shallower well, one that wouldn’t have held so much love, if that meant my grieving wouldn’t be so painful?” The answer was no. Life is about change. Receiving gifts and letting them go. What her death taught me was to appreciate love but to stay in gratitude for it rather than expectation of it never leaving. When I can live in that wonderful space of thankfulness, peace and acceptance, no matter what happens, even if it means grieving for awhile, ILML! 

— JamieQ

Happy Wife, Happy Life

“… cultivate relationships that are free from manipulation and control.” —Reaching for Personal Freedom 

This morning my wife and I got into one of those disagreements. She wanted us to do one thing. I wanted us to do something else. In a relationship that’s equal, as opposed to hierarchical (parent/child, boss/employee, etc), resolving differences of opinion is challenging. Lucky for us, she is usually right (lol), and often times I come around to her way of thinking (probably because doing my will has frequently been the cause of suffering). Initially I interpret see her wanting her way as manipulation and control, when in fact, it’s usually an attempt to make healthy choices for us. It’s only through this program that I have learned to lower my defenses (a little) and try harder to listen to her. I sometimes still let my self-will run riot and do it my way (yes I’m stubborn). But when her decision is really what’s best for us, and I trust her, she is happier, we are happier and ILML! 

— JamieQ

Turning It Upside Down

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say 
Today was a very good day” 
(Now read it from bottom to top, the other way, nd see what I really feel about my day.) — Worst Day Ever? – by Chanie Gorkin

This perfect illustrates the idea that how we feel about our life matters much more than the circumstances of our life. When we learn to shift our perspective (completely turn it around or upside down) and search for the goodness in life — no matter what is happening — we can become optimist again. And that optimism has the power to change our circumstances for the better. When I take the actions necessary to shift my attitude back into gratitude, ILML! 

– JamieQ