Tag Archives: recovery

Following Our Higher Power’s Voice

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, November 28, 2015

Higher Power - coin

Following Our Higher Power’s Voice

“Happiness is not an accident. It comes from following the spiritual voice found in each of us. This isn’t always easy.” [1]

Many people familiar with the Twelve Steps and the practices of Recovery know about “Do the Next Right Thing.” When clean and sober people are not exactly sure of what to do, this slogan serves as a help and assistance.

I can do that one better. My friend Bill (now, sadly, in that Big Meeting in the sky) had something he would regularly say. “Do the Next Loving Thing.” This always made a great deal of sense to me. God as I understand God (that is, the Christian understanding) had quite a bit to say about loving others.

In fact, God mentions in the Bible that the most important command given in all of the Biblical Law Code is a two-part law: love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. Loving in the vertical plane, and loving in the horizontal plane, too.

So, following the spiritual voice, following God as I understand God, is staying in ‘conscious contact’ with God. Following Step Eleven, too.

Today is the last day that I will be considering our daily meditation book, Keep It Simple. Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent in the Liturgical Year. I’ll be switching gears, and taking a look at what Father Henri Nouwen has to say about our Advent and Christmas journey through the month of December. Oh, and the last two days of November, too.

But for now, I am still listening and meditating on Keep It Simple. I will close with the Action for the Day: “Today, I’ll meditate and listen to my Higher Power’s gentle voice.” [2]

Dear God, help me do the Next Loving Thing. So help me, God.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

(also published at http://www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 29 reading.

[2] Ibid.

Building Blocks for a New Way of Life.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, November 27, 2015

live one day at a time

Building Blocks for a New Way of Life.

“Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by day, in all the thousand, small, uncaring ways.” Stephen V. Benet

The Twelve Steps promises a new way of living. A departure from unmanageability, hopelessness, loneliness and despair. But, only if a person works for it. Decides to go for it.

Ah, the key of willingness. It just takes a small amount of willingness to begin the way of new life, to begin the way of Twelve Step living. Very small. But if willingness is present, all kinds of possibilities open up!

Today’s meditation from the book Keep It Simple has a remarkable insight: “The more we use a tool, the easier it is to use. The same goes for the Twelve Steps. We need to depend on the Twelve Steps, just as carpenters depend on their tools. If we only wait for the new way of life, it’ll never come.” [1]

Oh, too true! Sitting back on your hands and waiting for the Twelve Steps to start working (almost by osmosis) is pretty stupid. I have rarely heard of anyone who sat twiddling their thumbs and had the Program of the Twelve Steps work in their lives. Work well, that is.

Although, just from attending meetings, that still is worth something. But for the whole nine yards? The whole shmear? That takes some work. “If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to take certain steps. … Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery.” [2]

Yes, it takes work. And yes, it is worth it. The Promises say so. God as each of us understands God says so, too.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

(also published at http://www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 27 reading.

[2] Alcoholics Anonymous (New York City, Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc.: 2001), 58-59.

Help Through the Hard Times

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, November 17, 2015

daisy growing through difficulties

Help Through the Hard Times

Recovery can be a difficult thing. A hard time. Challenging, and stressful. It isn’t all a walk in the park, to be sure. And watching a loved one battle addiction and alcoholism? That can be difficult, too.

I attended a talk and a brief panel discussion led by an acquaintance of mine, tonight. She is one of those who is (and has been) dealing with a loved one’s active addiction. Getting clean time, and then slipping back into the horrible trap of addiction. Over, and over, and over again.

But, that’s one situation. One personal acquaintance.

The hardship and heartbreak can be multiplied and compounded, time and time again. And then, finally recovery takes hold!

Friends, I have news for you: recovery is not easy. Simple, yes. Easy, no. One bright spot? We do have a Higher Power, ready and able to give us a hand. Help through the hard times. We have other people who are on this same journey. (It sure is easy when we know we are not alone.)

Help is ready to come our way, through friends—through the We of the Program, and through the God of our understanding.

Today’s prayer as listed in the meditation book Keep It Simple: “Higher Power, help me through the hard times. Help me trust in Your love and care.”[1] Good words, God! Lord, in Your mercy, grace and love, hear our prayer.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 17 reading.

In Which I Take Advice. Or Not.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, November 13, 2015

sunset footprints

In Which I Take Advice. Or Not.

This daily meditation and prayer book, Keep It Simple, really hits me between the eyes, sometimes. Like today, for example.

This book is written to help alcoholics and addicts in recovery. Each of the twelve months of the year has a different focus. Since November is the eleventh month, we reflect and meditate on Step Eleven from the Twelve Steps of recovery. (Step Eleven is: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.”)

Back to today’s reading. It is all about learning things the hard way.

I come from a family of extremely stubborn people. I am stubborn. I am married to a stubborn person, and his family is extremely stubborn. I have stubbornness all around me. Yet—this reading lets me know that taking advice is a good thing. Beneficial, positive.

I am also reminded of the recovery definition of insanity: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” Sure, I can be extremely stubborn. I can go my own way, not listening to anyone. Not following anyone’s advice. And, I can lose opportunities. I can lose friends. I can lose work. I can lose all kinds of things and relationships.

But the other side of advice is this: “We don’t have to use [the advice we get.] But if it comes from people who love and understand us, we can try to listen.” [1]

Dear Lord, gracious God, I am trying to listen to You, each and every day. Help me listen. Help me hear clearly. And, help me help others to listen, too.

In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 13 reading.

On Taking the Joy with the Sorrow

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, November 11, 2015

JOY today I choose joy

On Taking the Joy with the Sorrow

I need to get used to living life on life’s terms. Yes, life comes my way, complete with joy and sorrow.

I can so relate to today’s reading from Keep It Simple, the reading that says so many people in recovery want the joy from life without getting any of the sorrow. In other words, all of the up sides of life, without any downs. But—what will happen if life is all sunshine and flowers?

“ … we can learn from hard times, maybe more than we do in easy times. Often, getting through hard times helps us grow.” [1]

Wow. I know that, first hand. I have been through some challenging, even difficult times. Even though I have always had a belief in God as my Higher Power, a belief in God as I understand God, my life has not always been a bed of roses. Sure, I have had hard times. (For several extended periods in my life, too.) But, God has been there.

There have been times when God seemed far away. Or ignoring me. Or powerless to help me. Those are the times when it was like God was behind a cloud. Or, hiding. Or, completely silent.

This reading lets me know that this may very well describe our “conscious contact” from Step Eleven. Yes, “as this constant contact grows, our courage grows. And, we find the strength to face hard times.” [2]

God willing, I will be able to depend on my Higher Power. I will find the strength to have faith in God, as I understand God.

Praise be to Your name, O Lord Jesus Christ.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 11 reading.

[2] Ibid.

On the Right Track, with God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Be in the Moment credit - the High Calling blog

Be in the Moment
credit – the High Calling blog

On the Right Track, with God

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers. [1]

Ever have the feeling that if you stand (or sit) still, you’ll get run over? That is exactly what Will Rogers says here. That is the way life often treats me. And, I need to be careful lest I get trampled. Or, even worse, run over by a speeding locomotive racing through life.

That’s just dealing with life in normal situations. But what about people in recovery? People who are acclimating to life without drugs and alcohol, life in recovery, face extra challenges. Even higher hurdles, sometimes.

Life in recovery? Dealing with life on life’s terms. Yes, the world has opened up! It’s marvelous, and scary, a wonderful adventure, and a frightening prospect. Sometimes, all at once. But, in recovery, you and I have the opportunity to better ourselves. To serve others. To go new places and try new things. One day at a time, and one step at a time.

The second chance those in recovery have been given? A wonderful opportunity. I know people in recovery who have run triathlons, swum long distances, finished graduate degrees, climbed mountains. They never could have done any of those wonderful things if they had not been given that second chance. The chance recovery offers.

Am I busy in life? You bet! I strive to be the best Elizabeth I can be. I don’t need to be any of my three sisters, or anyone else—I need to be me. The best me I can be. And, my Higher Power will help me to stay on the right track. God willing, I can live life to the fullest, one day at a time.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 10 reading.

Doing Things God’s Way—the Honest Way

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, November 7, 2015

honesty got me sober

Doing Things God’s Way—the Honest Way

Sometimes it’s a challenge to be honest. I mean, completely honest. (Some might say rigorously honest.)

Sometimes it’s easier to bend the truth, or only tell a half truth. Someone might get mad, or be embarrassed. Sometimes I might want someone off of my back or out of my hair.

But, what if I end up telling half of my friends one story, and the other half something else? Then, not only do I need to remember who I told what, but also keeping the story straight. I might get into big trouble, trying to remember all the half-truths and who I told what, when.

On top of that, the recovery program lets me know that honesty is not only the best policy, but it is the easiest policy, too. Telling the truth, in the long run, is the healthiest choice for me. Not only in terms of how I live my life, but in terms of sobriety, too. In terms of faith, and in terms of relationships, as well.

Since this month I am focusing on Step Eleven in the recovery program, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand God,” I need to consider staying honest as improving my relationship with my Higher Power. That’s the vertical part of the relationship piece. If I concentrate on improving my relationship with others, that can only help me, too. (The horizontal piece.)

Let’s pray. Gracious God, Higher Power, I thank You for the versatility and usefulness of this Step. Thanks for the countless thousands and thousands of people who have worked the steps before me. Thank you for this meditation today, bringing my mind, heart and soul to the task at hand: doing things God’s way—the honest way.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er