Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
It is truly wonderful to read how you are all practicing the principles of recovery in all of your affairs. Whether you are sharing with us all on a weekly basis, or only periodically, or only with your sponsor, what matters is that we keep endeavoring to practice the principles in all areas of life. There is no room for perfectionism in recovery: we do the best we can today, trusting that as we abstain, work the steps and practice the principles, tomorrow we will be just a teeny weeny bit more spiritually fit.
That is provided we keep doing one thing that addicts like me hate doing: persevere. The principle behind step ten is perseverance. We must continue to take personal inventory, admit when we are wrong, and practice the principles of honest living meal after meal, day after day, week after week and year after year.
In my disease, I was a great starter. I would get a new organizer and a shiny new notebook. And I would make a plan: January 1st was the day my new life would begin! I would suddenly be inspired to eat right, exercise daily, manage my finances perfectly, have a spotless house, oh, and be a spiritually enlightened being. The fantasy was something like wanting to be a cross between Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. Lovely as an ambition, but hardly likely for one small but important reason: I was not meant to be these women, I was meant to be who my HP intended me to be. That is an abstinent and sane woman living a life of happy usefulness.
So when by January 3rd of each year I had inevitably eaten a piece of chocolate or had failed to organize a perfect financial filing system, I would give up. Just like that. If I couldnít do it perfectly, I just didnít do it.
That system resulted in a life that got smaller and smaller and smaller, and more and more unmanageable.
In recovery I have learned that perseverance is far more effective in getting long-term sanity and manageability in my life that being a great starter. Some days I live up to my top line behaviors: I do my prayer and meditation, writing, step work and food plan in the morning, eat a cleanly abstinent food plan, do service, exercise, make outreach calls, call my sponsor, go to a meeting, practice the principles in all my affairs and am of maximum usefulness to others. On other days, I can barely say my prayers in the morning and maintain my bottom line abstinence of no recreational sugar. But no matter what each individual day might look (or feel like) what program has taught me is the value and importance of persevering, not just when I get the results I want (like losing weight, for example) but even when I donít.
On this point, I have to say that my experience has been that if I persevere and honestly do the footwork of recovery, the food ALWAYS takes care of itself eventually. I have shared this with sponsees, too: focus on asking your HP for the willingness to do the footwork of taking the recovery actions (like this step study!), and trust that, in HPís time, the results will happen.
Of course, the challenge is that too often we give up before the results happen. This is why we say in the rooms, ďDonít leave before the miracle happens!Ē That, too, is one of the promises of Step 10: being placed in a position of safe neutrality vis-ŗ-vis our alcoholic foods where we are no longer fighting them or anyone. That kind of safe neutrality can happen only if we persevere with taking recovery footsteps daily.
Sometimes there are occasions when we think we just donít have any more willingness to persevere or to surrender more of our will and our lives over to the care of a HP. There is one strategy I have found enormously helpful when seeking greater willingness to do HPís will, whether it is to surrender to more structure with my food, to respond with greater faith in my dealings with my mother, to show up for a job interview when I am not well-rested because I was in the emergency room the night before (which happened this week): expressing gratitude for the willingness I DO have. Right now I am willing to abstain, to do this service, to record my food intake, to get to meeting, to make plans to talk to my sponsor tomorrow, and to get to bed early. When I can thank HP for the willingness I do have, I can always ask for more. And when I do Ė if I persevere in expressing my gratitude (even when I donít wanna or feel like it isnít good enough) Ė more always comes.
Here are some questions and assignments for you this week.
Have you ceased fighting anything or anyone, even food?
What are the results of perseverance in your life today?
Have you expressed gratitude for the willingness you do have today? Can you share what you ARE willing to surrender today? Where would you like greater willingness in your life?
ďThere is no room for perfectionism in recovery: we do the best we can today, trusting that as we abstain, work the steps and practice the principles, tomorrow we will be just a teeny weeny bit more spiritually fit.Ē Has been this your experience or not in recovery? Can you please share where you are today in your recovery compared to what you were like when you came in to program?
Were you a great starter in your disease? How have you grown into greater perseverance in recovery?
What are your top-line recovery days look like? What about your bottom-line recovery days? How do you manage to persevere through them all without getting discouraged?
What do you do when you donít want to persevere? Where do you get the power to keep on, keeping on?
Has the miracle of recovery happened for you? What did you have to do and how long did you have to persevere for it to happen?
If the miracle of recovery has not happened for you, are you willing to fully commit yourself 100% JUST FOR TODAY to practicing the principles in all your affairs and working all the tools as you work the steps? JUST for one day will you persevere? The miracle may happen tomorrow for you: donít you want to be here for it?
Did you food get sorted out before you did the footwork of using the steps and tools? Or did your food get cleaner as the result of practicing the principles of your affairs? Please share your experience with us: your service could save somebodyís life.
Read Step Ten in the OA 12 and 12 and the AA 12 and 12
The Twelve Steps
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