Better

I have been sick recently. I haven’t been blogging, attending recovery meetings, or church services very much. It isn’t just being sick that kept me from doing those important things. We also purchased a home and work has had a few surprises too with overtime that was totally unexpected…la substance de la vie. I am only able to focus on getting better.

Funny how sickness slows you down to think, to resolve, and to change. The first thing that happens as I get better, is looking inside myself for answers on how to NOT experience this illness again, and making life changes to heal those other sick areas in myself.

Here are some things I truly plan to do BETTER in 2014:

  • I want to be a better person
  • … to be a better husband
  • …better father
  • …better son
  • …better sponsor
  • …better employee

…better church member

Body, Soul, Spirit
It takes quite a bit of study and experience to understand la substance de la vie, (the stuff of life), when you are as hard-headed as I am. It was the book of Proverbs that opened my eyes to the true wisdom of living, in simple words.

“The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces”….”people who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray”…”the blessings of the Lord makes a person rich, and He adds no sorrow with it”.  Proverbs 10:11,17,21 NLT

Healing the whole me is real wisdom God reveals in Proverbs. Many people improve themselves through personal determination. In most cases only the mind, or the body, or the spiritual side improves. But in surrendering of self to God’s plan in humility, knowing I cannot fix me, He can and will teach me the “imago Dei,” (image of God), that I am, developing body, soul, and spirit. I could place emphasis on the body, get fit, feel good. Who does that help? Just me.I could be the spiritual know-it-all, and truly help others…then drop dead from ignoring the body. The whole self is a mission only God performs to make me better.

Have you set any goals for 2014? If you have, I suggest commit them to paper and placing them where you see them every day. Don’t allow past failures to stop you from thinking, planning and acting. “If you aim for nothing, you will hit the target.”

Here are my aims at being “Better” in the year ahead. (If I can, I want to expound on some other insights on being better in posts for the next few, so stay tuned.)

2014, Better Spiritually
I am convinced Jesus Christ is Lord, but became a servant and suffered, died, and rose to life for all. I want to be like Him, have the same attitude toward lost humanity, and the body of followers..no matter their denomination. I want to become more acquainted with God as Abba, and friend, and imitate Him. (Eph.5:1)  I want to be better to realize the Holy Spirit is inside me guiding, teaching, warning, me…making the Word reality, and giving me the words to speak, or not to speak at all.

2014, Better Physically
This is a biggie for me. Getting back to walking 4-5 times per week requires real time-balance, setting the time ahead of time and not wavering…just do it. Eat better, drink more water, and exercise.

2014, Better Mentally
The removal of bad habits leaves an empty spot in me, that has to be filled with a good habit. I like to read, and I’m convinced it can be garbage in garbage out, or life in, life out. Whatever I put inside my heart and mind produces the same. The Bible is my fave, but I also read scores of blogs, and other books. There’s no time for wasting so I only want readings that uplift and build, or bios and stories that have a point, or direction. Quiet meditation on good things read is life-changing.

2014, Better Recovery
It can be a paradox. Talking about self-improvement and serving in recovery. That is saying, take better care of yourself you are giving away. Recovery depends on giving back what you have been given…even more than you have been given. It is a balancing act that takes God’s help to achieve. Knowing when to stop and rest, and knowing when to go when you do not feel like moving must come from a power greater than me, or I become of no use to anyone.
I want this to be my way in 2014:

  • work closer with those I sponsor, less texts, more face-to-face, or phone
  • be consistent with meetings
  • arrive earlier, stay later
  • listen more intently
  • be un-controlling, admit it when I don’t have an answer
  • be totally honest, call bad behavior, bad behavior
  • encourage and rebuke…both in love and with empathy
  • give, give, and give Jesus at every opportunity

None of my 2014 hopes can be realized if I try to do these within myself. I need God’s help. I need to seek help from others. 8% of all resolutions are achieved. These are slated for 2014, the reality is they take a lifetime to achieve…one day at a time.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all…happy new life!

7 thoughts on “Better

  1. This is great — both encouraging and challenging — I will say a prayer now for God’s blessing on your desire to have a “better” 2014. I was also sick this week but didn’t do as well at finding this type of purposeful meditation in it. I confess that when I’m feeling sick, sometimes I just get blah and don’t want to do anything requiring any type of thought. Anyhow, one of my main goals for 2014 is to somehow grow in my relationship with God . . . and another goal is to become more healthy. I am significantly overweight, but I don’t want to make this about a # as much as knowing that I need a healthier relationship with food & my body. It can be so difficult to quiet my spirit sometimes enough to take “good stuff in” — I’ll be reading more of your blog as you go along this year, and I hope your recovery will continue to grow!

    • Goals are wonderful Nicole. I try to set few other than live sober today in Christ, be diligent, and walk in love. The best way for me to hit a goal is surrender it to Christ. Without Him I can do nothing. I really appreciate you!

  2. Hi Keith…. thanks for sharing these thoughts on 2014. I too seek to be better in many areas this coming year. One thing I relate to in your post is improvement in multiple areas of your life. I have often felt that AA can, by virtue of its structure, leave areas of one’s life left to go out of balance.

    This is not a criticism of AA/12 step. It simply appears to be the downside of one of the strengths of AA/12 step. One of the things that has kept AA alive and effective for all these years is the practice of not trying to be all things to all people. It stays focused on its primary purpose of helping alcoholics get/stay sober. Which AA has done tremendously. And by its own time-testing, AA remains convinced that this is the limit of its scope, and to broaden it has never been effective.

    Sadly, many people are satisfied with simple sobriety because that is all AA offers. Yet, like you, I desire a much more encompassing recovery. I too seek to include physical, mental, and my spiritual growth which for both of us appears to be growing in our following of Jesus.

    I find it saddening, and I shy away from, AA members who get sober, grow to the point of having an ok life, then spend their lives hanging around the recovery club smoking, eating bad, flirting, and having mediocre health, relationships, morality, and employment. Yet, technically, they are working a successful AA program in its simplest form.

    I often refer to when sharing in meetings, the “often overlooked” part of step 12. Step 12 seems most often connected with only the part that talks about carrying the message to others, and overlooks the part about “practicing these principles in all of our affairs”. Which to me refers to the other areas of our lives. Including but not limited to health, relationships, morality, and employment.

    God has so much more for us in this life. We really ought not waste it, but rather take every opportunity he puts in front of us. It is indeed a blessed life if we accept it to be.

    Ciao.

    Chaz

    • Very well said Chaz, and great thoughts here. I have had so many of the same thoughts over time regarding AA leaders and members. The seem so carnal about life and recovery as though getting sober was all that mattered to them. Like they are saying “thanks for the help Lord, that’s enough though.” resuming ther normal life but without drinking or drugging. Jesus is offensive to many in AA and NA. Yet I feel more drawn to involvement after becoming nearly exclusive to CR over the past year.
      After my book came out, Under The Influence, I was mostly shunned by AA’s. People I had worked with, the particular club I attended the most, people avoided me like a plague. But I want to help in AA more today than I ever have. Millions of lives have been changed by God through AA. But AA can be better. NA and CA can be better.
      My conclusion is this…Jesus. I want to see Him, not programs, not people, not their or my failures, just Him. If I am focused on Christ alone, I am driven to any recovery group, to be silent or to talk, to attend or to serve, to give not get. He makes all of the difference, He makes me better.
      Thanks again Chaz, fantastic comments! Blessings!

  3. Hey Again Keith…. thanks for the great dialogue.

    Your comment, “Like they are saying ‘thanks for the help Lord, that’s enough though’.” … brings to mind something I hadn’t thought of for a while.

    I remember vividly learning based on my own experience and then seeing it in others, what I eventually began calling the, “Thanks God, I’ll take it from here”, principle that can kick in at a number of stages of recovery.

    First and most obvious is early recovery where we string together a few days, weeks or months, and find ourselves slipping into the mistaken impression that we did it and can now be lax and even cocky.

    Yet more relevant to our dialogue is a different phase of TGITIFH principle that can kick in when we are a mid-timer or old-timer with years under our belts. We enjoy the sense of seniority we are endowed with from having been around for a while. We slowly begin to believe our own reputations and figurative headlines and adopt somewhat of a know-it-all attitude, even if it is subtle.

    We then get away with being lax in areas of our lives because we are pumped up by others because of our tenure and consistency of attendance in the rooms and at the club. We are a very small c celebrity and in tiny subtle ways, we begin to act like it.

    To me, this is the sum of all fears in AA or any other organization. To crystalize and become comfortable and complacent. Figuratively fat, lazy, and entitled. This is everything I do not want to become in AA. And I do not sense this was ever what the originators steered people toward.

    So am glad to hear another proponent of macro-recovery… meaning multi-dimensional. Imagine, we were on the road to a miserable death of pain for us and those around us. And we were spared, given a second chance.

    Are we going to celebrate that by just being sober? Wow. Not at all honouring to what God has done for us, would it be?

    Will look around your blog for info about your book. Am on holidays in early Feb and usually read a book on the beach during that time. Or post a link to my “Chaz Who?” page of my blog.

    Thanks for the healthy dialogue!

    Chaz

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