I am planning to do a four-part series entitled “Paradoxes in Recovery.” Here are the topics you can expect.
Part 1: Freedom in Discipline
Part 2: Service to Others to Be “Selfist”
Part 3: Letting Go to Connect
Part 4: Humility to Regain Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem
Once a month, I will post musing on these topics with other amazing topics related to sugar sobriety and recovery in general EVERY week. Next week, look for my musings on “Selfist versus Selfish”.
Today is Part 1: Freedom in Discipline
What do I mean by this? Isn’t freedom being able to do whatever you want? How can there be freedom in “giving up/sacrificing” something? Where is the freedom when I have to fit in meetings, prayer, meditation, writing, service and meal prep PLUS the rest of my life (kids, job, showering, commuting)? Where is the freedom when I can’t say YES or NO to anything I want whenever I want?
So this brings us to the heart of a spiritual recovery program…. Indeed a spiritual life. One, we have accepted we are truly powerless to stop abusing sugar on our own. Two, we have come to believe that this addiction is a gift from something bigger than us for the purpose of drawing us back to our True Self (restore us to sanity).
Part of the answer lies right here: we are not sacrificing a thing! We are returning to the truth of who we are which is EVERYTHING. I don’t just mean that is a huge gift to remember our divinity. I mean we ARE everything! In this state of connection, we appreciate and are drawn to what truly serves us, body, mind and spirit.
Three, we have turned our will and our life over to a higher power – understanding that God’s will for us IS our will and our KEY TO HAPPINESS. Growing up Catholic, I had the faulty impression that God’s will always meant becoming a priest or a nun or a charity worker and that everything else was something wrong. Neale Donald Walsch of Conversations with God renown really helped me to understand that God’s purpose in creating us is to experience joy through us as us. If God’s purpose is joy, then so is ours!
So the short answer is that we are no longer interested in doing what the little “we/ego” wants. We are interested in God’s will for us – which is BEYOND what we can imagine or dream for ourselves. God’s freedom doesn’t lie in saying yes to the dessert or the drink. God’s freedom lies in your spiritual growth and your joy. In the spiritual plane (remember, we get rocketed to the 4th dimension when we do the deal), time is meaningless. Crazy, right?
I once again refer to Neale Donald Walsch who says (and I paraphrase here) that we can only experience our abundance when we give it away. In 12-step rooms, you hear people say, “I only get to keep my sobriety if I give what was freely given to me” meaning having another addict take them through the steps. NDW challenges us to give that which we think we do not have. For most of us that is TIME. TRUST that when we are in the flow of asking for God’s will and the power to carry it out, we will always have enough time.
Newly sober from alcohol, I had an experience meditating before work where I set the alarm on my phone for 20 minutes and when I came out of the meditation – no time had passed. Woooooooooo!
But usually, my experience of flow is more like what is happening now: my day job is crazy, I made a commitment to meditate daily and blog weekly, my sponsor and I set a schedule to do the steps again and BOOM: a sponsee manifests via a friend I haven’t heard from in months AND I get a text from someone who met me SEVEN years ago wondering if I am interested in some voice over work (which is my dream job and I had invested in doing some demos in quarantine). Woooooooooooo!
Am I always in flow? Don’t I wish! Or at least I don’t always recognize the flow. To borrow from another of my favorite spiritual teachers that you can find all over YouTube, Abraham Hicks: it is in the contrast (the exit from flow) that we are redirected or course corrected; that we “put new things into our vortex.”
I think this is another way of saying there is nothing that happens that is not FOR us. I think that in our humanity, we can only receive so much at once so we have the experience of a winding, bumpy path. We are forced to focus on one tiny piece of the picture so that we can appreciate it fully, then we pivot to another part of the picture and so on.
So HOW to get back on course when we wander off? As in all things, the answer lies in the question 😉 HOW: Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness. And remember, CONNECTION is the opposite of ADDICTION. We are connected whether we like it or not, so lets’ like it and nurture it!
Freedom is what we feel and experience when we know that whatever is going on around us, we have purpose where we are right now. This is a lot easier when things are going well. I often think of Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, who having experienced the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, reached the conclusion that when we find purpose and meaning (consider YOUR primary purpose as an addict) we are capable of experiencing freedom and happiness, even in captivity. Talk about paradoxes….
Enjoy this quotation from Frankl: ‘Paradoxically, by abandoning the desire to have “freedom from” we take the “freedom to” make the “decision for” one’s unique and singular life task.’ As sugar addicts, we get ‘freedom from’ cravings when we abstain, then we get the ‘freedom to’ pursue our soul’s purpose.
The discipline is 1) Abstaining from what blocks the sunlight of the spirit; 2) Actively asking for help and guidance from the the spirit; 3) Being happy and joyous by holding our boundaries, following our bliss and keeping our eyes open for that guidance; 4) Trusting our intuition is our guidance and acting on it, which is usually the path of least resistance.
The prayer, the meditation, the journaling, the meetings, the service are tools to cultivate the discipline that gets you to the experience of freedom that comes with connecting and acting on your purpose.
Do you feel called to sit still? Then that is how your guidance will come. Feel like going to meetings? Look for your guidance there. Feeling resistant to allll of the things?????? That is powerful guidance, too. I pray our guidance is clear and our willingness to recognize it is strong.
Feel free to leave comments with your questions or concerns. Back to the day job! Oh! And if you need a little inspiration on the go, I am linking to an inspirational wallpaper for your phone HERE.
Until next time,