Category Archives: Reflection

Courage to Change

Courage to Change

Page 274.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Serenity Prayer.

Serenity Prayer
Serenity Prayer

Serenity Prayer
Recovery involves change, and change means doing things differently. The problem is, many of us resist doing things differently; what we’re doing may not be working, but at least we’re familiar with it. It takes courage to step out into the unknown. How do we find that courage?

We can look around ourselves at NA meetings. There we see others who found they needed to change what they were doing and they have done so successfully. Not only does that help quiet our fear that “change, any change” spells disaster, it also gives us the benefit of their experience with what does work, experience we can use in changing what doesn’t.

We can also look at our own recovery experience. Even if that experience, so far, has been limited to stopping the use of drugs, still we have made many changes in our lives-changes for the good. Whatever aspects of our lives we have applied the steps to, we have always found surrender better than denial, recovery superior to addiction. Our own experience and the experience of others in NA tells us that “changing the things I can” is a big part of what recovery is all about. The steps and the power to practice them give us the direction and courage we need to change. We have nothing to fear.

Just for Today: I welcome change. With the help of my Higher Power, I will find the courage to change the things I can.
(c) 2015 NA World Services,

Serenity Prayer
Reinhold Neibur.
Rhythms of Grace.

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Amen.

H.P. as Guide

H.P. AS GUIDE
See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. – ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 164. A.A. Big Book.

Higher Power
Higher Power coin

Having a right relationship with God seemed to be an impossible order. My chaotic past had left me filled with guilt and remorse and I wondered how this “God business” could work. A.A. told me that I must turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understand Him. With nowhere else to turn, I went down on my knees and cried, “God, I can’t do this. Please help me!” It was when I admitted my powerlessness that a glimmer of light began to touch my soul, and then a willingness emerged to let God control my life. With Him as my guide, great events began to happen, and I found the beginning of sobriety. – Daily Reflection. © 1990. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services.

Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.

“Higher Power” is a term given significance in the 1930s in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and is used in other twelve-step programs. It is also sometimes referred to as a power greater than ourselves and is frequently abbreviated to “HP.” The term refers to a spiritual supreme being.

“I rely on My Higher Power to give me what I need and I am grateful I do not get some things I deserve.” Shirley. (2016).

“Higher Power” is one of three new songs Boston recorded for their Greatest Hits album. This track features their original lead singer Brad Delp. Boston leader Tom Scholz wrote this with bass player David Sikes. The “Higher Power” is a concept in Alcoholics Anonymous to help participants deal with their addiction. In this song, Delp sings about looking beyond himself for guidance. We hear Serenity Prayer right before the guitar solo.

Higher Power
Boston (1997).

Hey, my higher power
Yeah, give me the power

Let me love you
Take me home to your religion for the night
Let me touch you
Teach me how to see your vision through my eyes
Turn the pages
Tell my story, let me face another day
Safe embraces, I feel it comin’ now
My captain’s on his way

Hey, my higher power
The world is spinnin’, but I’m not afraid
Yeah, give me the power
It’s the beginnin’, the beginnin’ of another day

Yeah!

Let me hold you
Take me back into the secrets of my mind
Let me know you
Come and save me Lord
Don’t let me cross the line.

Hey, my higher power
The world is spinnin’, but I’m not afraid
Yeah, give me the power
It’s the beginnin’, the beginnin’ of another day.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things
I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference
And may your love shining down, amen.

Filling the Emptiness

Filling the emptiness

Page 269.
“We think that if we can just get enough food, enough sex, or enough money, we will be satisfied and everything will be alright.”

Basic Text, p.80.
In our addiction, we could never get enough drugs, or money, or sex, or anything else. Even too much was never enough! There was a spiritual emptiness inside us. Though we tried as hard as we could to fill that emptiness ourselves, we never succeeded. In the end, we realized that we lacked the power to fill it; it would take a Power greater than ourselves to do that.

Emptiness
Emptiness

So we stopped using, and we stopped trying to fill the emptiness in our gut with things. We turned to our Higher Power, asking for its care, strength, and direction. We surrendered and made way for that Power to begin the process of filling our inner void. We stopped grabbing things and started receiving the free gift of love our Higher Power had for us. Slowly, our inner emptiness was being filled.

Now that we’ve been given our Higher Power’s gift of love, what do we do with it? If we clasp that gift tightly to ourselves, we will smother it. We must remember that love grows only when it is shared. We can only keep this gift by freely giving it away. The world of addiction is a world of taking and being taken; the world of recovery is a world of giving and being given. In which world do we choose to live?

Just for Today: I choose to live in the fullness of recovery. I will celebrate my conscious contact with the God of my understanding by freely sharing with others that which has been freely shared with me.  – (c) 2015 NA World Services.

Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we try to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. – N.A. Twelve Steps.

Emptiness (Phir Suna).
Gajendra Verma.
performed by Rohan Rathore (2012).

Oh, love of mine
With a song and a whine
You’re harsh and divine
Like truths and a lie.

But the tale ends not here
I have nothing to fear
For my love is yell of giving and hold on.

If emotions have sound, that will be called music. This is the belief Gajendra Verma grew up with. Gajendra was born in a small town Sirsa in Haryana. He is blessed by a musical family and that is how music is imbibed in him.
During Gajendra’s journey through life he had his share of bittersweet experiences in the competitive world of Music, where every new tune is as precious as a pearl in the sea. Gajendra’s song “Emptiness” also known as “Tune mere jaana” got leaked on internet with a fake sympathetic story of a dying IIT student named Rohan Rathod and had instant liking by 3 million music lovers across the nation. This was followed by Gajendra going through the process claiming his right to the song. This became big news.

Bend with the Wind

Bend with the wind

Page 265.
“We learn to become flexible.. As new things are revealed, we feel renewed.”

Bend with the Wind Fred Rogers
Bend with the Wind Fred Rogers

Basic Text, p.102.
“Flexibility” was not a part of the vocabulary we used in our using days. We would become obsessed with the raw pleasure of our drugs and hardened to all the softer, subtler, more infinitely varied pleasures of the world around us. Our disease turned life itself into a constant threat of jails, institutions, and death, a threat against which we hardened ourselves all the more. In the end we became brittle. With the merest breath of life’s wind we crumbled at last, broken, defeated, with no choice but to surrender.

But the beautiful irony of recovery is that, in our surrender, we found the flexibility we had lost in our addiction, the very lack of which had defeated us. We regained the ability to bend in life’s breeze without breaking. When the wind blew, we felt its loving caress against our skin, where once we would have hardened ourselves as if against the onrush of a storm.

The winds of life blow new airs our way each moment, and with them new fragrances, new pleasures, varied, subtly different. As we bend with life’s wind, we feel and hear and touch and smell and taste all it has to offer us. And as new winds blow, we feel renewed.

Just for Today: Higher Power, help me bend with life’s wind and glory in its passing. Free me from rigidity.  – (c) 2015 NA World Services.

Blowin in the Wind
Bob Dylan (1962).
performed by Peter Paul and Mary

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

“Blowin in the Wind” poses a series of rhetorical questions about peace, war and freedom. The refrain “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind” has been described as “impenetrably ambiguous: either the answer is so obvious it is right in your face, or the answer is as intangible as the wind”.

Bring the Message Home

Bring the Message Home

Can we bring the same Spirit of Love and Tolerance into our sometimes deranged family lives that we bring to our A.A. group? – TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp.111-12.

Practice Spirit of Love and Tolerance
Practice Spirit of Love and Tolerance

My family members suffer from the effects of my disease. Loving and accepting them as they are just as I love and accept A.A. members fosters a return of love, tolerance and harmony to my life. Using common courtesy and respecting others’ personal boundaries are necessary practices for all areas of my life. – Daily Reflections. © 1990 Alcoholics Anonymous A.A. World Services.

Acceptance is the Key to Serenity.

Turn Turn Turn
Pete Seeger (1965).
performed by The Byrds

To everything, turn, turn, turn.
There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
And a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, a time to die.
A time to plant, a time to reap.
A time to kill, a time to heal.
A time to laugh, a time to weep.

To everything, turn, turn, turn.
There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
And a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to build up, a time to break down.
A time to dance, a time to mourn.
A time to cast away stones.
A time to gather stones together.

Pete Seeger wrote this song inspired by the Book of Ecclesiastes in the 1950s. The storyline in the Book of Ecclesiastes has moved many religious leaders as a contemplative inward self-reflecting theme. The Book of Ecclesiastes centers on King Solomon who relates to many experiences we may all relate to in life.

Who is Watching

Who Is Watching

No matter where the athletes of the 2016 Olympics go in the city of Rio de Janeiro, they can see Jesus. Standing high above this Brazilian city and anchored to a 2,310-foot-high mountain called Corcovado is a 100-foot-tall sculpture called Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer). With arms spread wide, this massive figure is visible day and night from almost anywhere in the sprawling city.

Rio Christ
Rio Christ

As comforting as this iconic concrete and soapstone sculpture may be to all who can look up and see it, there is much greater comfort from this reality: the real Jesus sees us. In Psalm 34, David explained it like this: “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.” Ps. 34:15. He noted that when the righteous call out for His help, The Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:17–18.

God oversees our lives, and He hears the cries of those who trust Him.
Just who are the righteous? Those of us who place our trust in Jesus Christ, who Himself is our righteousness. 1 Cor. 1:30. Our God oversees our lives, and He hears the cries of those who trust Him. He is near to help in our greatest times of need.

Jesus has His eyes on you. – Dave Brannon. Daily Bread.

Sometimes, Lord, life seems out of control and I don’t know exactly which direction to take. Thank You for overseeing my life and prompting me in the right way through Your Word and Your Spirit.
The Lord never lets us out of His sight.
As a lone fugitive running from the jealous king Saul (1 Sam. 19:1–12), David took refuge in the Philistine territory of Gath. Not only was it a foolish thing to do, it was also very dangerous. Gath was the hometown of Goliath. 1 Sam. 17:4, 23. When the Philistines discovered he was the same David who had slain their champion Goliath (1 Sam. 18:6–7), they captured him. 1 Sam. 21:11–15. Aware that his life was in danger, David feigned insanity, foaming at the mouth as a sign of derangement. 1 Sam. 21:13. The ploy succeeded. David was released, and he made his escape. In response to God’s deliverance, David wrote Psalm 34 celebrating the God who answers prayers. I sought the Lord, and he answered me. Ps. 34:4.

 

Watching You
Rodney Atkins

Driving through town, just my boy and me
With a Happy Meal in his booster seat
Knowing that he couldn’t have the toy ’til his nuggets were gone.

A green traffic light turned straight to red
I hit my brakes and mumbled under my breath
His fries went a-flying and his orange drink covered his lap.

Well, then my four-year-old said a four letter word
That started with “s” and I was concerned
So I said, “Son, now where’d you learn to talk like that?”

Freedom from Guilt

Freedom from guilt

Page 223. N.A. Big Book.

“Our addiction enslaved us. We were prisoners of our own mind and were condemned by our own guilt.”

N.A. Basic Text, p. 7.

Guilt is one of the most commonly encountered stumbling blocks in recovery. One of the more notorious forms of guilt is the self-loathing that results when we try to forgive ourselves but don’t feel forgiven.

Sorrow
Sorrow

How can we forgive ourselves so we feel it? First, we remember that guilt and failure are not links in an unbreakable chain. Honestly sharing with a sponsor and with other addicts shows this to be true. Often the result of such sharing is a more sensible awareness of the part we ourselves have played in our affairs. Sometimes we realize that our expectations have been too high. We increase our willingness to participate in the solutions rather than dwelling on the problems.

Somewhere along the way, we discover who we really are. We usually find that we are neither the totally perfect nor the totally imperfect beings we have imagined ourselves to be. We need not live up to or down to our illusions; we need only live in reality.

Just for Today: I am grateful for my assets and accept my liabilities. Through willingness and humility, I am freed to progress in my recovery and achieve freedom from guilt. – (c) 2015 NA World Services

Guilty
NewsBoys
God’s Not Dead

When did it become breaking a rule
To say Your name out loud in school
When Your name is the only one that sets us free
When did it become incorrect
To speak the truth about life and death
When Your life gave us all eternity.

Even if it gets me convicted
I’ll be on my knees with my hands lifted.