First Segment - Principle 10 - Trust - How do I live not knowing outcomes?
RECOVERY TEACHES US—and sometimes forces us—to trust. We learn to trust others. We learn to trust ourselves. We learn to trust an ongoing process of renewal. We give ourselves over to uncertainty, free fall, and the care of a Higher Power.
This is not always a warm and fuzzy experience. Sometimes we trust only because we are desperate or have no other choice. Yet we have reliable maps—the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Principles—and we can always call on our Higher Power for guidance.
- How difficult has it been for you to trust others in recovery? Do you feel like you have reliable maps?
At times we’ll be anxious or frightened. At times life will seem to be falling apart around us. But we are learning to live with our fear and anxiety, and to practice courage and trust in the face of them. Meanwhile, our inner observer has learned to stay mindful and alert, steering us away from reactivity and focusing us on the next right thing we need to do.
This emphasis on doing is essential. Trust is active, not passive. It emboldens us to speak up, to take a stand, to make decisions, and to move forward into a future we can neither foresee nor control. It prompts us to take one leap of faith after another.
- Trusting our inner observer means learning to trust ourselves. Do you trust yourself? Would you speak out if you thought it would help someone?
As we monitor our speech and behavior and practice honesty on a daily basis, we give others more reasons to trust us. Day by day, we continue to rebuild the trust that our addiction destroyed.
This takes time, especially with partners, family members, and close friends, because these are usually the people we hurt and betrayed the most. Because of this, the minute we slip from full integrity even a bit, many of them will notice, admonish us, and pull back. As we establish this practice over time, the important people in our lives will learn that they can trust us and will be more forgiving when we slip up.
- Do those closest to you now trust you? How important is it to regain their full trust? Do you think that is possible?
And we will slip occasionally, because living the Principles consistently requires ongoing focus and effort. One day at a time, however, we can become steadily more trustworthy in our dealings with others and with ourselves. We can acknowledge our successes and continue to build on them. And when we do slip, we can ask for help from trustworthy people and from our Higher Power. We can rebuild our trustworthiness in the same way an athlete builds endurance—by working at it every day. In the process, we trust our Higher Power more and more, and we get better at discerning which people to trust and which ones not to. We also rebuild a reservoir of self-trust. Our self-confidence—but not our arrogance—begins to return.
- Do you welcome your setbacks as life lessons and know that they are part of the human experience? Do you appreciate each day’s progress, including the back and forth?
CASCADES OF TRUST
We experience trust in the present, but the actions that build trust can ripple outward for months, years, or centuries. A single act that builds trust can open up the acceptance or empowerment that can change someone’s life for the better; that person, in turn, can love and empower hundreds of others. That initial caring act can engender an ongoing cascade of healing events.
Recovery typically creates such a cascade. We may have had a painful and difficult life; we may have struggled for years or decades with addiction; we may have come from a long line of addicts—but the work we do in recovery may spare our children, and their children, and their grandchildren much of the suffering that we endured. Through our own recovery, we may give future generations a chance at a better life.
Or we may not. Nothing is wasted and we can never know what a Higher Power has in store for anyone. Sometimes, in spite of all our efforts and support, our kids may make the same mistakes we did—or worse ones. We also need to remember the lesson of the Chinese farmer: what looks like a blessing can be a problem, and vice versa. Still, we are always wise to envision how our actions and decisions today will affect the next generation, and the generation after that, and the many generations after that. When we take this long view, we are much more likely to help others—and our planet—heal and thrive.
- The idea of giving future generations a chance at a better life and helping other people do that can lead to thoughts of saving people. Do you keep your ego in check when you are called upon to help, not only others in the program, but also yourself?
Second Segment - Topic Of The Week
A victim mentality can take a toll on emotional well-being. People with this mindset might feel: frustrated and angry with a world that seems against them. hopeless about their circumstances never changing. hurt when they believe loved ones don't care.
A survivor mentality focuses on overcoming the negative activating events and promotes the individual's adaptive behaviours. A survivor mentality includes thoughts like: I am a survivor. I can adapt. I am resilient.
A conqueror mentality is not some materialistic obsession driven by avarice and greed. Rather, it is a mindset that will allow you to experience great success in your life and do great things for the ones you love.
- How would you describe your mentality before you started gambling/drinking etc?
How would you describe your mentality whilst in active addiction?
How would you describe your mentality now that you’re in recovery? Is this a mentality you want to change? If so, how will you change it?
Third Segment - Quote Of The Week
“Advice is what you ask for when you already know the answer but wish you didn’t.” Erica Jong (born 1942)
Ouch, that hurts! According to Buddhist teachings, our enlightenment is to be mined from within—not inserted from outside. How often does a guru answer a question with a question? They don’t provide answers; they provide broader ways to frame our situations and different ways to look at them. We are helped to see beyond our blind spots.
When we are new it is sometimes hard to sort out automatic thoughts (the addictive cycle) and our inherent truths (what many experience as the guidance of a Higher Power). Inside our heads it isn’t one cross-legged skinny guru on the top of a mountain; it’s a committee of lobbyists pleading for our attention. What voice do we focus on? (“Yes,” “no,” “hurry,” “wait,” “do it,” “don’t do it,” “don’t be stupid,” “don’t be so scared!”)
When we are new a regular day is one of dread, impulse, uncertainty and chaos. Maybe that’s where a sponsor isn’t such a bad idea. If we don’t have sponsors we check in with our running mates or best friends. Most decisions don’t have to be rushed and most wrong decisions can be corrected. Creating melodrama only makes our predicaments worse.
As sponsors, we don’t always tell others what we know. Our job is to listen with compassion and let them find their own way. We encourage inquiry instead of impulse. We don’t give someone a fish and feed them for a day; we teach them to fish, feeding them for a lifetime.
- How good am I at waiting out the truth for myself? How am I at letting others find their own truth?