“If We Are Painstaking…”

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development…” (p. 83 Alcoholics Anonymous)

Painstaking. It’s a word that’s always stood out to me from the time I first heard it read in the above excerpt, which is taken from the section of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous known as The Promises. It’s also the main word I primarily ignored each time those promises were read in just about every 12 Step meeting I attended. Because of this, it took me a very long time to establish a healthy recovery and life.

The definition of painstaking is “when something is done with or employing great care and thoroughness.” To put it rather bluntly, I rarely did anything with great care and thoroughness for most of my life unless it was pursuing some person, place, or thing to make me happy, i.e. an addiction. But in regards to me placing any great care or thoroughness into the work that always comes with doing the 12 Steps, I balked.

Honestly, doing step work isn’t easy. It forces a person to face themselves and all their messes they created in life. It forces them to see their character defects and all their acts of selfishness and self-centeredness. And it forces them to look at their dishonesty and all their fears as well. Trust me, looking at any of these things is extremely difficult, especially when there’s no immediate payout or benefit to bringing it all to light.

The only reason why I was painstaking in my pursuance of alcohol, drugs, sex, love, shopping, and the like is only for the fact that I was getting something instantly out of each of them. With the 12 Steps though, that’s often not the case. The payout comes in the long run the more one sticks and persists with the work, even when it feels like nothing good is coming out of it.

That’s really what being painstaking is all about when it comes to recovery from an addiction. It’s about trudging through the 12 Steps and taking a good, hard look at one self, even when it feels like crap. It’s about being as thorough as possible, even when one might be totally afraid to fully see their real self.

So while I might not have been painstaking with my recovery in the past, I am today, and because of it, those promises seem to be finally coming true for me and I thank my Higher Power for that…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

January’s Questions For You To Ponder

It’s been awhile since I last posed an entry with a bunch of spiritual questions for each to ponder. Given that I’ve been in quite the introspective and philosophical mood as of late, I felt today might be a good day to do this exercise again. I also decided from this point forward to repeat this exercise once a month, as it seems to stimulate great discussions each time I do. I hope each of you will take a moment to answer them and maybe even share a few of your responses back with me…

1.  What song(s) have stirred your heart to greater unconditional love when you’ve heard them?

2.  Which movie(s) have moved your heart to greater unconditional love when you’ve watched them?

3.  If you could communicate to one deceased person for only a few minutes, what would you say?

4.  If you could spend one more day with a deceased person, whom would it be with?

5.  If you could change one thing in your past, would you, and if so, what would it be?

6.  If you could ensure one thing would happen in your future, would you, and if so, what would it be?

7.  If you could find out the exact details of when and how you will die, would you?

8.  If you knew the exact details of when and how the person closest to you would die, would you tell them?

9.  If you could own a profitable business that would help make the world a better place, what would it be?

10. If you could become best friends with one person  you’re not already best friends with, who would it be?

And one more question for good measure…

11. What is the one thing that always seems to unravel your peace and serenity in life most often?

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Harboring Hatred Towards Anyone Isn’t Healthy

I heard someone share recently in a recovery meeting where the topic was on “tolerance”, about how much they truly hated a small number of people in life, but loved mostly everyone else. As far as I’m concerned, hating anyone only condemns me to living a life that’s moving me in the exact opposite direction of where my recovery and spirituality is trying to send me.

I’m a firm believer that a life recovery and spirituality lead a person to love unconditionally. I also believe they lead a person to a life of peace and serenity as well. But when hate occupies any part of the mind, body, or soul, it’s impossible to be any of those things. I should know given that I spent a good chunk of my life hating so many people.

Today, I do my best to love everyone because I truly believe that a piece of God lives within each and every one of us. Unfortunately, some people block out this sunlight of their spirit through toxic behaviors and means. The more they continue to do this, the darker they become. And the darker they become, the more they fill themselves up with that feeling of hate. And the more they fill themselves up with that feeling of hate, the more they move themselves away from that life of recovery and spirituality. Thus anyone who’s still harboring hatred towards even a single soul on this planet says but one thing. It says they are blocking out God’s light within themselves in some way and moving in the completely wrong direction.

Thankfully, I’m not one of those people who are doing this anymore as I learned my lesson on how sick I became in life by doing so. But I have met many others who still do, and I keep my distance from all of them. While I still love them from afar because God still lives somewhere within each of them, I do not wish to subject myself to their hatred, or any of their other dark behaviors or mannerisms.

The only people I surround myself with these days are those who are doing everything they can to unconditionally love everyone around them. I find that those who do are usually filled with the same peace and serenity I seek in life. But anyone who is advocating hatred in any way, shape, or form is really just someone that’s shunning themselves from the love of God and getting nothing more out of it except growing sicker the more they do so.

The bottom line is this. Harboring hatred towards anyone isn’t healthy for someone who’s trying to live a life of recovery and spirituality. So if you happen to still have any hatred within yourself, I encourage you to take a moment, breathe, and do everything you can to free yourself from all of it. And know in doing so, that you’ll be heading in the right direction, which is towards God’s love and light.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson