Appreciation (choosing life)

To appreciate is to be able to focus our attention on something in such a way as it brings joy, uplift or pleasure to our soul. It is also a recognition that something has value and meaning and that we are open in some way to seeing that and breathing it in. Lately as tough as I see my past was and as dark as the places it took me to I am making an effort to appreciate what I do have now. In some way facing the pain, allowing myself the anger, has helped, sadly though I see my anger over things I could not change, did not change anything and often it only caused me damage or injury, as a child so many invasion and injuries to my body made life very painful and feel unsafe.

Considering what happened a few weeks ago with Will Smith I am a bit flabbergasted at the part of me that felt Chris Rock in some way deserved a slap. What does that say about me? That its okay to take my anger out on others? What about finding other forms of protest or being wise enough to detach?

I learned in Al Anon that in time I had a choice whether or not to ‘take offence’ at someone’s behavior.. The fact that it was hooking me said more about my reactions or inner collapsed sense of self value, as well as my own inability to see often it was about the other person judging something.. And in Al Anon I also leaned I could not expect acceptable behavior from everyone but that it was also okay to set reasonable boundaries against it. Often I felt I had no choice but to take on and ingest what you sent out in the form of criticism and I am sure some of those criticism’s were valid.

Today I can appreciate that you are not me, that you may have a different take on life, that take will come out of your experience, opinions and beliefs. Ekhart Tolle talks a lot about not attaching too much to our opinions, at the same time I can appreciate that others have them and I do too, and at times they may not be ‘right’ just my opinion.

It’s been a relief today to wake without that sense of deep loneliness I used to live inside. When I look back I see like a ghost it haunted me for many years, it was not just mine but my Mum’s and Dad’s as well. When my Dad died he died on the operating table all alone undergoing a procedure, at the end I never got to see his body or say goodbye as my brother stepped in to take control, as he did when Mum died.. You could say that I carried unresolved grief around inside of me for many years. I think if you look at most addicts you will find some kind of deep grief hidden inside them at the base of their addiction.

I was listening to an older interview from 2007 with Australian musician from the 80s band The Models, James Freud, yesterday and it focused on him getting sober two and a half years earlier.. In the program he talked of all the amends he owed, how he hoped to go to Hawaii alone to die when it appeared his addiction may kill him if he did not stop, before that happened his friends and family staged an intervention and got him into rehab. The thing that hit me hard was to hear at the end of the interview that James died only 3 years later.. I do not know how or why, but I left me with a lot of questions. For the things underlying our addiction and need to numb or check out or seek artificial ways of coming alive may be deep. Maybe Jame’s soul chose that before he came here, that he would only know those later 5 and a half or so sober years with his loving family.

To be honest hearing the interview made me appreciate my own sobriety so much. .. It also made me realise how grateful I have been to be able to do the inner work to explore my past. I am also grateful today I can embrace myself as a flawed human being who at one time felt so broken it felt impossible to stand. Looking back the breaking was necessary and each and every tear and rage had value.. But now I just appreciate and accept it all while knowing it was tough at times but also how much I also made it tougher at times by the way I fought and yet, all along I was on the road to serenity and peace.. I just had to keep going forward a step at a time on any day and keep choosing life.

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