How many times have I heard one of the platitudes or sayings which are an intricate part of 12 step recovery programs and thought to myself; “yeah….sure, maybe others but not me”. Many, is the answer, that is until that particular saying came true. Then my thought was something similar to; “why not me?” What a wishy-washy set of thinking it seems in retrospect. The following situation or circumstance from my past should show precisely what I mean.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
"Are they just trite sayings"?
In the fall of 1988 which would be the 14th year of sobriety or as I like to characterize it; “not drinking time at best”, my former wife had open heart surgery in Orlando, Fl. At this time I was retired from the U.S. Navy for 3 years and was employed as a City Letter Carrier by the U.S. Postal Service…from one uniform to another. From one guaranteed paycheck to another. “…fear of economic security” will be the subject of another post later.
As I visited my wife on a Sunday afternoon in the cardiac surgery center one afternoon, in her weakened state she asked me; “does this mean you will quit smoking now?” I thought that was an interesting question since she still was a nearly pack a day smoker herself. My response was in retrospect just a little callous possibly. I stated; “No, this seems to be your life problem not mine, I know that “things” I give up or quit for another never works, I need to do things like that for myself”. While this did not seem to sit well with her, what could she say? It really was her problem. I totally did not have any ideas or thoughts of quitting smoking. It was my right! I was allowed! It is my lungs! As you can see I was steeped in fear of trying to stop yet another addiction which I had failed at miserably before in my life.
My cigarette addiction had become a pack and one-half a day habit. Smoking preceded or superseded everything in my life it seemed. When I arose on Monday morning something deep within me signaled that the time was near for me to stop smoking. I tried to beat this voice back and or ignore it. Yet I told my oldest daughter that when this pack of cigarettes I was working on was empty that she would wash the ashtrays in our home and put them away. I sincerely thought I was possessed. That could not be “ME” saying this. Then the good conscious mind kicked in and said; “uh, yeah”.
Well that pack of cigarettes which should have been done and gone by noon time lasted until Friday morning around 10:00AM. Wait. Did I just say Friday morning? Yuppp. It had to be some form of spiritual witchcraft. A not nearly full pack of cigarettes lasting nearly 5 days? Yes. It would seem without me knowing it or “requesting it” consciously, God was doing for me that which I had never ever be able to do, quit smoking on my own. Being a good daughter, she washed and put away all the ashtrays. I have not had a cigarette since then. Of course this is just to easy right? Again,yupppp.
While I never again smoked I did devour a lot and I mean a lot of Lifesavers. I would have been smart to buy stock in the company. I gained nearly 10 pounds in the next six months. I had not gained weight in over 30 years. Smoking it seems was a good weight control program. It seems I was to accept that I could lose some weight or go to a dentist to repair my physical maladies. I could not repair death from cigarette usage. So it seems that the little ditty; “God is doing for us that which we could not do for ourselves” was true and correct. When taken in conjunction with another cutie “…more will be revealed”, it can be a moving Divine experience. So, “…more was revealed”.
As I said at this time I was employed by the U.S. Postal Service which still allowed smoking under certain conditions in their facilities. I had been off for 10 days taking care of children while my wife had her open heart surgery. I had followed God’s direction and quit smoking at the end of the 10 days just prior to returning to work. As I walked back into the U.S Postal Service facility where I worked all my friends and well wishers seemed very quiet and subdued. I was not sure what was going on, with the Postal Service, one never knew what was happening. As I returned to my assigned work area I noticed that all of my smoking buddies were not smoking and all the metal clip-on ashtrays had been removed.
It seemed to me that “more really was about to be revealed”. It seems that the Friday that The Divine enabled me to stop smoking of my own volition, the U.S. Postal Service in a surprise, swift and final move declared all of their facilities a NON SMOKING area. Nowhere on Postal grounds was it now allowed. Many of my contemporaries were hostile, were belligerent and downright hostile at this decision. I was in fact watching myself if I had not stopped smoking. I was a “take not hostages nor prisoners and kill all” type of guy when it came to smoking. I know for a fact in my heart and mind, had I walked into work that morning and still been a smoker I would have turned around and left and quit. That was my typical attitude. It is my right! I am allowed! It is my lungs! Indeed more had been revealed.
Today when these two and other sayings pop into my head I simply smile that smile of knowing and try to sit back in life and wait for the next Divine Occurrence which is coming. I have found out for me that The Source of Life does not bluff. When “IT” makes an announcement or statement in my Mind, I know it is a done deal. I just need to hang around and “let it happen”. Why fight it? It will happen in spite of me. This it turns out is indeed; “The easier softer way”.
Trite sayings? Platitudes? No, not in my current thinking. More like advance notices from the Creator of Life and Love. I just need to be ready and willing to let Life occur in and around me and enjoy contented sobriety as opposed to neurotic dryness. Oh oh, I just had an intuitive thought aka. message, something like; “…just do it !”. I think my relaxation in life is over for the time being. Hmmmm, just do what? Living in the mystery still.
Love and light
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