Monday, July 22, 2024

Recovery: Bringing us life's Riches

As I reflect on my recent trip to the Mexican Riviera, I'm reminded of the incredible journey I've been on for the past 33 years, marked by one significant choice: sobriety. Since January 13, 1991, I've embraced a life free from alcohol and drugs.  And the rewards have been abundant.

One of the most profound benefits of being clean for over three decades is the clarity and presence I bring to each moment. In the past, vacations were often clouded by excessive drinking, leading to missed experiences and regrettable decisions. Now, every trip, like my recent visit to the Mexican Riviera, is a vibrant tapestry of sights, sounds, and flavors that I savor fully.

Sobriety has not only enriched my travel experiences but has transformed my entire life. It has given me the gift of authentic relationships, as I no longer hide behind a veil of intoxication. Instead, I connect deeply with others, forging bonds based on genuine understanding and empathy.

Health has also been a cornerstone of my sober journey. Thirty-three years of sobriety mean I wake up each morning with vitality and energy, ready to embrace the day ahead. My physical and mental well-being are priorities, allowing me to pursue passions such as travel, learning, and exploring new cultures without limitations.

Moreover, sobriety has empowered me to achieve personal and professional goals that once seemed unattainable. Clarity of mind and steadfast determination have propelled me forward, leading to career successes and a sense of fulfillment that substances could never provide.

As I look forward to many more years of sobriety, I'm grateful for the freedom it has afforded me—the freedom to live authentically, to experience life's richness to the fullest, and to inspire others by example. Each day is a testament to the power of choice and the infinite possibilities that await when we embrace sobriety and all it has to offer.

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Friday, July 12, 2024

 John is on vacation for 10 days.  Back on the 22nd,

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Kindness to Newcomers

 Entering a 12-step meeting for the first time can be a daunting experience. Whether you're struggling with addiction or supporting someone who is, these gatherings serve as sanctuaries where individuals find solace, support, and a pathway to recovery. However, the atmosphere and reception newcomers receive can significantly influence their willingness to return and engage in their recovery journey. That's where kindness plays a crucial role.

Imagine walking into a room filled with strangers, each battling their own demons. The courage it takes to step through that door deserves acknowledgment and warmth. Kindness in this context isn't just a nicety; it's a lifeline. Here’s why:

First impressions matter. For someone battling addiction, the decision to seek help marks a pivotal moment. A warm smile, a friendly greeting, or a simple offer of a seat can ease the tension and make them feel welcome. This initial kindness sets the tone for their experience and can determine whether they decide to continue attending meetings.

Building trust and safety. Addiction often breeds feelings of shame and isolation. Kindness from peers can counteract these emotions, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance. When newcomers feel safe, they're more likely to open up, share their struggles, and seek the guidance they need to heal.

Setting an example for recovery. 12-step programs emphasize honesty, humility, and compassion—values that are exemplified through acts of kindness. By demonstrating these principles in action, members not only support newcomers but also reinforce the core tenets of recovery for everyone in the room.

Encouraging participation. Active participation is key to the effectiveness of 12-step meetings. Kindness encourages newcomers to speak up, ask questions, and seek guidance from sponsors and fellow members. This engagement is vital for their progress and the overall success of the group.

Ultimately, kindness at 12-step meetings isn't just about being polite; it's about embodying the spirit of empathy and solidarity that defines recovery communities. By extending a hand of kindness to newcomers, we create environments where healing can thrive, where people feel valued, and where the journey to recovery becomes a shared endeavor rather than a solitary struggle. So, the next time you see someone new at a meeting, remember: your kindness could be the beacon of hope that keeps them coming back, one meeting at a time.

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Thursday, July 4, 2024

Gratitude for our freedom

In the tapestry of life, few threads are as precious and significant as freedom. As we celebrate our independence, it’s a poignant moment to reflect on the profound privilege of living in a society where freedom is not just a dream but a reality we cherish daily.

Freedom isn’t merely the absence of constraints; it’s the presence of opportunity and the ability to make choices that define our paths. It’s the liberty to speak our minds, pursue our ambitions, and embrace diverse beliefs without fear of repression. This liberty fuels creativity, innovation, and progress, shaping vibrant communities where individuals thrive.

Moreover, freedom is intertwined with the sacrifices of countless individuals who have fought bravely, often at great personal cost, to secure and uphold our liberties. From historic struggles for national sovereignty to ongoing battles for civil rights, each chapter in our collective narrative underscores the value of freedom and the resilience required to preserve it.

Yet, amid the fireworks and festivities of Independence Day, it’s easy to overlook the everyday freedoms we enjoy: the ability to gather with loved ones, pursue education and career goals, practice our faith, and engage in activities that enrich our lives. These freedoms form the bedrock of our identity and the essence of what it means to live in a society that values human dignity and individual rights.

Being grateful for our freedom isn’t merely a nod to history; it’s an ongoing commitment to safeguarding and expanding these liberties for future generations. It’s a call to nurture empathy, understanding, and unity in the face of challenges, ensuring that the tapestry of freedom remains vibrant and inclusive for all.

As we commemorate this day, let’s take a moment to express gratitude for the precious gift of freedom—cherishing it not just today, but every day—as we strive to build a world where liberty and justice truly flourish for all.

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