Updated: Aug 19
On a recent episode of sober.coffee, the podcast, we reminisced about going to a concert and being so focused on capturing the moment on our phones that we missed the experience of the show. Doesn’t that define our lives so often?
We realized that while living in a state of inebriation, life happened to us, and we never connected to the preciousness of the instant.
Births, deaths, promotions, moves, events, communications, and other life events unfolded as we exerted effort to frame the engagement. We zipped by the action to get to the reaction. We weren’t aware that we weren’t aware.
How much life fell through our fingers as we bought into the lie that we could effectively multi-process or that our take trumped another?
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
There is no written manual for life, but lessons can be learned if we are open and willing to take a fresh approach to what it means to experience our existence fully.
For us, it came down to five fresh practices:
Start our day by building a basis. Page 86 of the big book frames out that day with a meditative state with the following statement:
On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.
Stay connected to our AA army. That time, we build a library, or resource room, that we can tap into in our time of need. These are only data points until we take them into application. And since we cannot read our own label, we use our sober network to ensure we stay on track.
Reach for gratitude. It's hard to frown with a smile on your face. Don't gripe about our job because we are grateful we have one period. We don't complain about our car because we are thankful for one. We don't minimize our relationships because we value them. The softer, easier way is to allow head trash to tell us things are bad when the facts point to the goodness of most situations.
Change the way we engage in conversation. We stopped mentally preparing our response and started to listen entirely to what the other was saying and how they were saying it. We realized that most people desire to be heard, not advised, but listened to.
Finish our day in honest reflection. Things go smoothly, and when did the train jump the rails? What was done well and what could be done better? Who needs an apology and what resentments need to be dealt with? Inspiration is found again on page 86 of the AA big book:
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, which would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review, we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.
Ultimately, we are all but one decision away from a new brighter lease on life. That decision to stop the negative cycle. That turn from using to usefulness. That pivot to serve rather than be served. The nod to listen rather than to talk. The call was at a crucial time—the ask.
We have found that the first five minutes make the matter. Decide and then play hard. Move past the head trash and form a new normal.
There is no guarantee that one will immediately “like” all outcomes. The point is that we will raise our average and experience life to its fullest.
Today, we choose to make life happen,
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from a sober.coffee podcast #125 “Living in the Moment…” the episode dropped on 8/16/2023 Click here to hear the podcast.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.