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STEP/TRADITION OF THE MONTH 2023 - Step One


Surrender to Win; to win, surrender.


To cease resistance…. We have heard it said that surrender means we don’t have to fight anymore…. But for many of us, this really meant that we got our ass beat by our addiction, which also meant there was guilt, shame, worthlessness, confusion, and embarrassment telling ourselves… “This isn’t the way my life was supposed to go. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be.” As one friend told me, “The only thing worse than saying we’re sorry for what we did in our addiction is holding onto old addict attitudes and behavior and having to apologize again and again, clean!” This can apply whether we don’t have much time in the program or multiple years, especially if we’re still caught up in self-limiting, self-harming behavior; that seems to follow or haunt us.


In the process of healing, the surrender that leads to victory, instead of seeing ourselves as hopeless, helpless, and useless is the one we seek. That new definition could be ‘Letting go of everything the thoughts think they know about us and our ability to heal and live happy, joyous, and free from the inside out, instead of trying to force happiness from the outside in.’ Another definition could be, “We stop fighting the help, support, directions and suggestions, and love that result in being fully whole and wholly free.”


Surrender, in this context, says there is no such thing as the “self-made person”. Indeed the opposite adage “no person is an island unto themselves,” applies to the reality of our existence. We cannot do not stand alone. We are all together. We make a spiritual surrender… entirely realizing that it is in the small self of the ego that we are powerless, alone we can never achieve our heart’s desire.

So, we see that the underlying cause of all suffering is uninterrupted self-obsession followed by self-centeredness. Whatever our suffering is, we can safely say its roots lie in the small self (self-centered insecurity and fear). In considering abstinence, we look at our own suffering and the suffering that we may be causing others and decide what to set aside. Some general guidelines are to abstain from harming ourselves and others. This would include not causing direct physical harm or mental anguish.


If, in the past, we have taken what was not freely given (stealing), we stop right now. Involvement in irresponsible sexual behavior can sabotage our recovery process and harm the entire community inside and outside recovery rooms, even if we don’t necessarily understand how, so we cease that. We recognize that our unskillful, unthoughtful speech has often gotten us into trouble, so we make an effort to stop lying, dissembling, exaggerating, minimizing, gossiping, and complaining. Substances that cloud the mind or feed addiction have hopefully already been laid aside. Consider also abstaining from the mind poisons of the media. Constant contact on social media can divert our attention to present moment experience.


Wow! That seems like a lot, and maybe we don’t think we have a problem with one thing or another. In that case, we should pay close attention to their ongoing effects and also remember that these abstentions are voluntary and renewed on a daily basis.


4-FOLD PRACTICE:


Physical: Abstain. “When we use, we lose.” Don't react to outside stimuli (Stop, don't do anything rash)


Mental: Acknowledge and admit that the mind's limited, self-centered perception is causing any present suffering. We can remember that pain and suffering are not the same things. Suffering is the stories the mind tells us about painful circumstances we can notice ourselves in at any given moment.


Emotional: Instead of following emotional urges pushing us to fall back into acting out on our addiction, we could *Immediately* call someone in the program, “tell on our disease,” and ask for help. Our isolation and silence about what we’re going through can be a form of self-harming behavior. I remember a predecessor telling me, “What’s difficult and immovable for one person is lightweight work for our recovery web of support. That’s the dictionary definition of the therapeutic value of one addict in recovery; helping another addict is without parallel.”


Spiritual: Accept the gift of Power. That power is the freely gifted goodwill of others that tends to manifest as compassion, positive action, respect, and empathy because we’re never alone in our chosen fellowship unless we choose to be. Whatever we look for, we will find. If it’s people to lift us up, we’ll find them. If we’re looking for someone to collaborate in giving up and going back out, that will happen too.


We can also pray, whether we believe in it or not. I didn’t believe in it when first coming to recovery. When I asked a long-timer in the program about it, he said, “Whether you believe in it or not… you’re talking to the mind’s fear, inviting it to change its direction, even if it’s just a little bit, so that you don’t have to run or freeze in your recovery.”


TRADITION ONE


I am a part of something greater than my small self. Previously we may have been convinced that we were apart from everything, but today we can see that we are part of something greater.


Awakening from alone-ness into an integrated consciousness: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, we realize that Unity has always been present. It is impossible to divide reality into pieces. Unity is… period.


The care, relatedness, friendship, and support of others have given us new life; We revel in the life that is within us and the life that is all around us. The loneliness of self is healed in the togetherness of a community focused on healthy change, instead of going down old streets only to fall into the same holes we and other circumstances created.


We each have great value and can contribute that value to each other and all other living things in the present moment. When we give our best to life, life gives the best to us. Although sometimes we don’t see it, Unity is always offering benefits. The strength of fellowship often is a power greater than the individual's powerlessness, stuck in the thought loops and spirals of suffering manifested by the disease of addiction. We are never alone, recovery members are always present, and all living things are with us and hold space with us.


We are appreciative, so we give to the common welfare as an expression of gratitude. Today, let us give our best to those around us. We can experience our gifts to others as gifts to ourselves, family, friends, and humanity. We can approach our service to others as abundance and generosity. We show our appreciation for our gifts by giving. We can express our thankfulness in many ways, large and small, but when we extend love and generosity, our gratitude is most clear. Gifts given with a sense of connection, with a strong desire for the well-being of those around us, are the best.


We need not worry about losing; we can release all thoughts of sacrifice or lack. We are assured that when we give freely, more gifts flow to us. It is a joy to give our best at home, our best in the workplace, and our best in the community. The good in us wants to express itself through us; today, we can allow it. We free ourselves of suffering when we focus on being and giving our best.


一Thanks for Letting Me Share... I pass!

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