Growing up, I wanted people to like me. I considered it a personal challenge to win people over. And I wanted to feel connected to those people. I was intrigued by spirituality, and how it might make me feel connected, so I would “meditate.” But really I was just getting high, contemplating not my place in the vast continuum, but rather how a fish might have a swordfight with a bee.
Facing the new and the uncomfortable can be hard and terrifying work! This life in recovery has so many blessings and rewards, but it’s not always easy to walk the path in front of you in order to reach deeper understanding and more beautiful moments of growth in life. We must move through the hard and uncomfortable, knowing it is temporary, to keep growing spiritually and enjoy the blessings that await.
I just returned from a trip to Scotland with my family. We visited the ancestral home of the MacDougalls, in Argyll, near Oban, as well as in Edinburgh, where my grandfather was born in 1888.
I have heard this wishful thinking many times over the past three years, since I came to work at The Retreat full time in May 2014. Many people who are sober in AA have a sense that their program isn’t all that it could be. They want more, but aren’t sure how to get it. Our Big Book says that it is easy to be vague about the matter of prayer and meditation, and then it goes on to make some “definite and valuable suggestions.” (page 86). The Retreat is all about those “definite and valuable suggestions” that we find in the Big Book.
In 2013, my wife Priscilla persuaded me to write a book, that I called “Being Sober and Becoming Happy.” I had worked at the Hazelden treatment center for 19 years, as Director of Spiritual Guidance. I did a lot of patient lectures, and had developed a long list of lectures. Priscilla kept saying “You have to write these things down.” I said, “I’m a talker, not a writer.” She kept after me. After about a year, she said “You’re getting old. Eventually you’ll die. All the lectures will be lost. You should write this stuff down.” So, I agreed.
Accepting the things I cannot change, trying to change the things I can’t accept.