Discovering the Key to Hope

I am one month into committing myself into working on my emotional sobreity and mental sanity. My sponsor convinced me of the hope and relief he had found in the 12 steps program, and I thought I’d give it a shot because I was quite desperate. I remember the desperation for a break as recently as 2 weeks ago, as I felt my world crumbling around me. It felt like I was running into a wall every direction that I turned.

After several hours of phone call conversations, reading and re-reading portions of the Emotions Anonymous book, being diligent in working one step at a time, praying every day, taking my thoughts captive, and constantly reminding myself of the promises of God and of the 12 steps program I can say I am equipped to use tools to achieve emotional sobreity.

There were several instances where I doubted the authenticity and self application of the program, a fear if it may not work for me, and the fear of committing to something I didn’t fully understand.

Two weeks later, however, I can say I am not desperate for a break, I am confident to face one day at a time, I find joy in the little things, and I can definitely sense a change in my surroundings that used to be highly stressful and triggering previously.
My depression is lifted, and I have hope.

I believe that it is my God who is doing for me what I cannot do for myself.

A New Hope

Today, I pray for sensitivity and appreciation of the little and subtle ways God does things for me that I cannot do for myself. I am powerless, and I cannot manage my life on my own strength. I realise more everyday that I need God to be emotionally sober, and to be freed from self-centeredness.

I reflected on this particular part of the serenity prayer “trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.”

I am pleasantly surprised and encouraged to be filled with this hope that I am reminded of throughout the day. It is very different from the kind of thoughts that filled my mind as recent as 2 weeks ago.

I’m Working On It

Today, first thing, I rolled out of bed onto my knees and said the Third Step Prayer, “God I offer myself to Thee to do with me as Thou wilt…”. This was not so much due to my diligence to work the program as it was to feeling somewhat committed to do what I’ve recently asked my new sponsee to do. Still, I found it helpful – as I have found so many practices that I have recently begun again after finding myself slowly dropping them over the past couple of years – practices such as daily prayers and meditation, attending 12 step meetings, actively working steps with a sponsor, service. It was clear that as I dropped these practices my spiritual fitness suffered. I had grown more and more restless, irritible, and discontent. But a few months ago, as I began renewing my efforts to work a rigorous program I found serenity returning. And today I pray that I remain, as the AA Big Book says, “desperate” enough for this peacefulness, to diligently continue the work.

I Have Knots In My Stomach

I continue to work a 12 step program which freed me from depression nearly 10 years ago. Still I have found myself under extra stress the past few months and falling into some old unhealthy behavior patterns, i.e. cursing and self beratement. So I began seeing a therapist who suggested when an unpleasant feeling arises, e.g. feeling unsettled, that instead of launching into telling myself how inadequate and incompetent I am – redirect my mind to the sensation in my body, mentally name it, and breathe into the feeling. So this morning I woke up and had that sometime familiar feeling – unsettled. I remembered, and paused, and redirected my mind to the sensations in my body: knots in my stomach. I had never noticed that before. I just sat on the couch and breathed and felt those knots. During the day, as I felt uneasy at times, I just focused on those distinct but loosening knots, instead of experiencing an emotional outburst. Mid afternoon they dissipated altogether – and I became my old comfortable self again. So I am learning another tool in my program and will be ready to use it again.