Happy weekend again and it looks like a good one! We had a very busy week last week hosting my husband's study group here in Michigan. What a great group of people from all over the US. This is a business thing, but every time we get together I get to know someone better and I love that! Catching up on their family and hearing about where they live is always so interesting. There is never a dull conversation and you hear a lot of different accents.
The party we hosted for them last Friday went so well! The weather was fantastic and we were able to spend a beautiful summer evening on the deck.It went way too fast! Then, on Saturday, we said our goodbyes and basically crashed until Sunday night. We went into an Olympic coma around here. Every time I woke up, I had missed something so I finally gave up.
And then came Monday! Craig took the day off and we had renewed energy! Our day was packed. We went out for breakfast, biked the Sleeping Bear Dunes Trail, went to a farmers' market, grabbed an early dinner, bought shoes, what? ( I told you it was a good day,) and made it back on time to watch the sunset on our boat. I called it our official staycation day and we made the most of it. It was a beautiful summer day and one I will remember for a long time.
So here we are; another weekend, another step.
Here’s our weekly review:
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our problems-that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 3: We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.
Step 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step 5: We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step 7: We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
Step 8: We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them.
Step 9: We made direct amends to people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.
Step 10: We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
First thought here, “I do this all the time!” Then there’s part two, “When we were wrong promptly admitted it." Great, I probably don’t do that enough. So let’s dive into step 10.
Step 10 is all about accountability. Accountability is so important to anyone in recovery. There are those of us on this earth that need to be accountable to someone and I am one of them. I need that safe person that I can call when I might be struggling or want to just talk through something. For me, that person is my husband. For others, it is a friend or a sponsor. For all of us, it can and should be God on a daily basis.
Now, we can use accountably for different things. Two are always stronger together! I had “that” person when it came to training for the Ride4Life every year, when I did the whole 40, when I had to work on giving up sugar, getting to the gym, or had agreed to pray specifically for someone. I also always have someone in my corner to call when I have been tempted to drink. There are so many things in life that I want and need to be held accountable for. All of those situations called for a different accountability person, but whoever it was, we always both benefited.
Accountability doesn’t have to be a burden it can be a bonus too! An accountability person will be there to encourage you, teach you, celebrate with you, and cry with you. So who and what does that look like for you? What do you need to be held accountable for? Or rather what do you want to be held accountable for? It is a great way to support yourself or someone else in something either of you are struggling with.
Step 10 is not about constantly beating yourself up for how you messed up that day, and then having to call someone and tell them what a screwup you are. It's about how to make the next 24 hours the best they can be. I know, I l know. It sounds a little like Mary Poppins here, but stay with me.
There is a shift somewhere in this journey of life, at least there was for me. The shift was not how to get through it, but how to live it. How to live it well! There is always hard stuff going on in life. We are all in different stages of recovery in some way, shape, or form. The shift is when you are no longer going to bed at night thankful that the day is done, and you have survived. It’s when you go to bed and know you did the best you could that day.
I have a lot to be thankful for and am proud of myself for many things. They no longer have to be these big things like 700 mile bike rides in a week, or checking off everything I wanted to get done on my list. You know that moment right? I always expect to hear some sort of applause when I get everything done!
Usually when I do that though, I haven't left a lot of room for what is really important. Like the people I should have given some time to. The accomplished days are not about any of those things. They are about the friend I lent a listening ear to. The elderly woman (who had written a check at the checkout line, grrrrr) who I walked out to her car with at the grocery store because she wouldn't stop talking, even though I was in a hurry. When someone I love gets my full attention for as long as they want it.
I love seeking the joy and peace each day brings. Not to say there aren't those days. You know the ones; where things snowball and the day just keeps getting worse. Then all of a sudden, you find yourself with a bowl of fresh cookie dough you have no intention of actually baking. My best advice for those days is this: finish the cookie dough, get some air, text a friend and start over. God gives us enough grace every day for as many do overs as we need.
Step 10 is about making self examination a tireless, daily, habit. I found a tenth step app! And yes, I did put it on my phone. It is quite simple and could be as used as a guided prayer and meditation. It asks you to answer some simple questions at the end of every day. So I tried it. Not as simple as I thought. You can tell by my answers because it got a little long.
This is how it went going through the app for the first time:
Was I resentful? Am I holding a grudge against someone or something for a real or imagined injustice? I instantly thought of a saying that I ask myself often, "Am I creating a scenario that doesn't even exist?" Making something so much bigger that what it really is??? Possibly…and I need to get to the bottom of it.
Was I dishonest? Good one. I spent a lot of my life living a lie. I am very conscious of this one and do my best to live a very honest life. Not always easy, but I think I got this one.
Did I promptly admit where I was wrong today? Me? Wrong? Moi?
Do I owe anyone an apology? Umm yes, dang it. I'm sending them a text right now.
Did I do or say something today out of fear? Yes, always. Too many to list. I’d be up all night.
Have I kept something to myself which should be discussed with another person at once? At once? Sorry Craig, better wake up.
Did I think today of what I could do for others? Does making dinner count? Maybe not, I had to eat too. Maybe I had good intentions, but I could definitely do better tomorrow.
Was I kind and loving towards all? Enough already, Lord knows I try. Now I’m tired and not feeling very kind or loving at all. This app is starting to annoy me.
Did I reach out to someone in recovery today to see how they were doing? I wrote a blog, and hope somebody reads it. That should count.
Did I take the time today to connect with God? Finally, an easy one! Yes, it's how I start every day, but wait did I stay there all day??????
Thanks-that's what the app said after the last question. Thanks? For what? I’m a little worked up and now you say thanks? Does this app come with a prescription for Ambient because now I have a lot to think about.
That's probably the whole point…
I think it would be helpful to look at these questions in the morning when I do my devotions, it would help in setting up my day. I constantly need reminders in front of me. Maybe if I had one of my infamous index cards on the counter that said, “Today, what can I do for others?”
That might work a little better for me.
I in no way want to make light of any of these steps, but all of those questions really sum up one basic idea. This is where we are supposed to live! That’s what God created us for. Do you see where this is all going? It's about doing life in 24 hour increments, the one day at a time thing. Living a life that prioritizes loving one another. This is a day-by-day process that never ends. You don't graduate. There is no certificate. What you have is a platform for a way of life that you can live out daily.
I talked a little about our staycation vacation one day adventure. You know, that whole you-can’t-get-back-yesterday saying. The last thing we did that day was watch the sunset together. We were out on our boat and I felt sad as the sun disappeared into Lake Michigan. I was already wishing the whole day could start over again when I woke up the next morning. It was such a great day! Here’s the rainbow. It feels amazing to be sorry when a day was so good, so so so good that I want it back simply because it was a good day.
I bet there are more ahead if I look for them.
Blessings & Peace on all you do this weekend,
*Here’s my weekly AA caveat. In AA these steps are done with a sponsor which I did not choose to do. However the track record of success in doing these steps with a sponsor in relation to drugs and alcohol has proven to have had great success in moving someone into living a life of sobriety. So, if you are interested in looking at this from an AA perspective I encourage you to pursue it! There is a ton of information out there.