gratitude

My First 12 Step Visit and the Hugs

Lately, I've been thinking about the very first time I walked into a meeting of a 12 Step group.  I was greeted outside by a woman who had met with my husband and I previously.  She walked up to me with a huge smile and arms wide open and asked "can I hug you?",  I quickly said sure.  This was the first of many hugs.  I didn't expect that and honesty wasn't sure how to take it, but I went with it and walked up the stairs into an all ladies meeting.  The butterflies where wild in me and I was shocked at what I saw.  All kinds of women, laughing, smiling, chatting, making coffee, organizing books and binders and chit chatting away.  They were so foreign to me, is this what 12 Step looked like?  Is this what alcoholic women sounded like, happy, joyous, alive, free and beautiful?  Safety comes to mind.  I felt safe in a very strange way.  I felt like I oddly fit in.  Geeze, I didn't want to belong here, but every instinct within me screamed I did! 

Quickly the buzzing, chatting women sat down, more came in and the woman at the head of the room, with all the books and binders in front of her, spoke.  My sweet new friend, touched me and said "the meeting is starting".  I was excited and fearful all at the same time.

Women began sharing and talking about their relationship with alcohol.  What it was like, what happened and how they came to a 12 Step Group and what their lives where like in sobriety.  I have no idea exactly what they said, but I do remember how I felt, safe.  I felt love.  I felt hope.  I felt relief.  I felt apart of.  I felt here was my answer to my drinking.

The close of the meeting was announced and we all stood, took hands and shared in the Serenity prayer.  My sweet new friend hugged me again and said "keep coming back".  More women came up to me and hugged and welcomed me. I was so overwhelmed by love.  I left with a new book and a two page list of women's names and phone numbers I could call at any time.  Their love, honesty and hope shocked me.  I wanted what they had, so I kept going, in spite of myself.  In spite of my ego and fear, I kept going.

Are you willing, in spite of yourself, to have your first 12 Step visit?

Gratitude... How to Start

We sometimes have a hard time starting a ritual for being grateful. Here is a great 'How to' on creating a Grateful Ritual!

So that's what I want to reflect on today – some quick reminders about the things you, too, likely forget to say "thank you" for:

"Thank you for life's surprises." – Notice and cherish life's surprises.  Just because it's not what you were expecting, doesn't mean it's not everything you've been waiting for. 

Change in Attitudes, Ideas, and Emotions

It struck me last week, while I was surrounded by my tribe, I have learned a new language.  A language that has changed my attitudes, ideas and emotions.  A language that has provided the safety to come out of my hiding place.  A language that has given me the strength to face my Giant.

This language is the language of the heart.  It speaks of love, gratitude, forgiveness, trust, kindness, acceptance, empathy, compassion and understanding.

A language that has guided me from the beginning and spoken in two different environments.

How to create joy in your life - 4 Steps to Joy

Joy and happiness are not the same thing, joy includes happiness. Joy is found within each of us, while happiness is external.

Feelings, environment, people can create happiness but as soon as the feelings change, our environment changes, people change the happiness that was tied to those externals is gone. Happiness is of the flesh, it is the "what" will make me happy.