December 18: Savor each moment

Enjoy each moment as it comes.

It’s so easy to relish that final moment, when the project is finished and the work is turned in. It’s easy to trick ourselves into thinking that peak moments in life are the only ones that count.

In Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh, Pooh talks about the anticipation of eating his honey. The moment when the honey touches your lips is good, Pooh says. But there’s the moment right before, that moment of anticipation, that might be just as good if not better.

Go for your dreams. Go for those peak moments of performance and pleasure, too. The day you get your ten-year medallion for sobriety is a good day. Achieving that success in your career—that special award—is a wonderful moment, indeed. And those peak moments in love are indescribably delicious to experience and reminisce about.

While many people talk about being in that peak zone of pleasure all the time, most of us know that peak moments are only a very small fraction of our lives. If we only enjoy those peak moments, or those moments just before, we’ll forget to notice the importance of a lot of our lives.

Go for peak moments. But open up your heart and let the sheer raw beauty of all the moments in. When you stop looking and waiting for those peak experiences, you might find out how sweet and delicious each single moment really is.

Savor each moment of your life.

God, help me let go of anything that’s sabotaging my joy. Help me release the belief that I can only find happiness, pleasure, and joy when I’m on top of a peak

December 17

Sometimes I feel as if life is prodding me, poking me, pushing me. It hurts sometimes. But then I think, “Oh, I get it. I’m not supposed to ignore the pain. Pain can motivate me to change.”

Prayer: Guide me into taking the actions you want me to take.

DECEMBER 16: Be an Angel

I often imagine that we keep the angels very busy. They tell us to turn here or there, warn us of dangers, say Listen! and Look! They tell us things will be okay, and they’re sorry we hurt. Angels in our lives encourage us to hope, dream, dare, and trust. They point out beautiful sights. They shine a light on our path, so we know where to step next.

Most of us are not as sure of ourselves as we’d like others to think. We need guidance, faith, and hope. We need to know we’re on track and that someone cares. We need the angels to help us.

The angels in our lives give us a kind word, share a kind thought, offer a helping hand and a warm smile. Their words empower and comfort us. Their touch heals, their loving looks warm our hearts. They radiate love and faith.

“I’ve learned it’s easy to be loving,” one man said. “What takes work is to be kind.”

Make it easier for the angels, and easier for others.
Practice being loving and kind. Be an angel, too.

December 14: You’re not a survivor anymore

Many years ago, I asked a fellow therapist what the one thing was that hallmarked the unhappy state of being many of us have come to label as codependency.

“It’s the Karpman Drama Triangle,” he said. “People rescue someone by doing something they don’t want to do, or it’s not their business to do. Then they get angry and persecute the person. Then they walk away, feeling like a victim. Again.”

A light went on in that moment. Like a gerbil on a wheel, I could see myself spinning around this triangle. I was regularly rescuing somebody, then getting angry, and ultimately feeling victimized by it all.

I was creating the pain and the drama in my life.

Over the years, I stopped rescuing alcoholics. Many of us have gotten off that painful wheel. We know we can’t control another person’s chemical dependency, depression, problems, or life. But we may have stepped off that wheel and gotten ourselves into another more subtle drama spin.

A friend recently cleaned out his entire house—closets, garage, drawers. He had to hire a truck to come and take everything away.

“I can’t believe everything I collected and hung onto,” he said. “Most of it was junk that I didn’t want in the first place. I guess that came from being poor and going without for so long. I convinced myself that if it was free or cheap, I’d better grab it and take it home.”

Many of us were survivors at one time. We either genuinely didn’t have a choice or convinced ourselves we didn’t. So we clung to whoever and whatever came along our path.

You may have survived what you went through, but you’re not a survivor anymore. There is no need to desperately cling to whatever comes along. You’re living now. You’re living fully and freely.

Choose what you want.

God, help me give myself permission to walk a path with heart.

December 13

I’ve heard it said that we never need to do anything that we won’t be given the power and strength to do. That’s true. But sometimes to get past our fear and nervousness, we need a little push.

Gratitude Focus: We can be grateful for all the pushes life gives us to change.

DECEMBER 12: Protect Your Energy

Just as we strive to protect and conserve earth’s energy resources, we can strive to protect and conserve our own. Become more aware of the impact of things, people, and activities on you and your energy. What feeds you, charges you? What drains and depletes you?

As you grow and become more sensitive to how things feel to you, you’ll naturally grow to dislike and be uncomfortable with whatever drains or negatively impacts your energy. Yes, some difficult, draining situations are inevitable. But we can learn to protect ourselves in those situations. Sometimes we need to let go of people, places, and behaviors that don’t work for us anymore, that drain, exhaust, and deplete us.

Pay attention to the impact of certain people, places, behaviors, and events on your energy. Pay attention to how you feel when you eat certain foods, drink certain beverages, go certain places. Learn to listen to your body, your emotions, and your heart. Be prepared to let go of some things and people along the way. Be gentle with yourself while you do.

Learn to conserve your energy.
It is a precious, valuable resource.

Affirmations: December 11

One of our choices in recovery is choosing what we want to think—using our mental energy positively.

Positive mental energy, positive thinking, does not mean we think unrealistically or revert to denial. If we don’t like something, we respect our own opinion. If we spot a problem, we’re honest about it. If something isn’t working out, we accept reality. But we don’t dwell on the negative parts of our experience.

Whatever we give energy to, we empower.

There is magic in empowering the good, because whatever we empower grows bigger. One way to empower the good is through affirmations: simple positive statements we make to ourselves: I love myself…. I’m good enough…. My life is good…. I’m glad I’m alive today…. What I want and need is coming to me…. I can….

Our choice in recovery is not whether to use affirmations. We’ve been affirming thoughts and beliefs since we were old enough to speak. The choice in recovery is what we want to affirm.

Today, I will empower the good in myself, others, and life. I’m willing to release, or let go of, negative thought patterns and replace them with positive ones. I will choose what I want to affirm, and I will make it good.

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