Tag Archive: Mindfulness


In my last post, I borrowed the words from an old hymn to use in a metaphor for ‘the will to recover’.

I wanted to highlight(no pun intended) the importance of keeping that will alive, making it flare up and then harnessing it to use as a source of power and light as we progress on the dark journey towards recovery.

Not easy when the illness or addiction is playing King in your mind and all will and all incentive is laid prostrate before it, bent and unable to muster so much as a whisper of it’s own volition.

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Anyway, as I thought about my last post, I was nagged by the thought that it’s all well and good writing about keeping our oil topped up; keeping our willpower alive; maintaining the hope for recovery and keeping that spark that drives us clear and strong…

but

what IS the oil…  and WHERE do we GET it from?

I started to question how I fuel the drive towards recovery, and wondered what I needed to use more of.

And I came up with these:

  • Prayer

  • Mindfulness exercises I was taught in hospitallight-tunnel-01-220x130

  • my family

  • friends who are ahead of me on the journey back to a future that looks something near normal

  • allowing myself to risk dreaming of what ‘could’ be…

  • Music – Particularly songs with lyrics which inspire me

It might (or might not) be useful to think of things to turn to as sources of power when you feel like your will to make it is running dry…

I wondered, if it’s not too personal,  if anyone had any that they would share?

You never know, your oil could help to fuel someone else.

So This Is Beauty...

The sense of wonder that we can tap into as we observe nature is so powerful it can stun us into moments that stand far from the ache of our life’s problems.
Today, let’s just try to take one moment out of our complex minds to carefully observe something in the outside world.
Start by looking closer than you’ve ever looked before. Take the camera on your phone and zoom in on something, carefully showing tiny details. If you don’t have that, just pretend your eyes have a ‘zoom’ and focus on something new.
As we move outside of ourselves, we are freed from all that hinders us.
Just for a moment.
Natural beauty is healing. I swear to it.

…Maybe there IS. Maybe there isn’t.Allowing for Possibility

Either way, if we don’t allow ourselves to entertain the possibility that there COULD be a different way of living life, and there MIGHT be a different way of thinking about things, we will never know.

I’m not the hippy type. I promise.

I don’t hug trees, I don’t take herbal hayfever tablets, I ‘m not a vegetarian, I’m not a member of Greenpeace, I don’t do yoga, I don’t wear clothing woven in South America and I’ve never tried Arnica.

But (there had to be, right?) BUT, I do believe that we get into certain patterns of thinking. Even scientists report that there are certain ‘neural pathways’ in the brain, which is a technical way of saying that our thoughts get used to travelling along particular alleyways, leading to familiar places, default settings, if you like. Humans are creatures of habit, brains follow suit.

What are the implications of all this for those of us in recovery?

A friend recently told me that, although they’d like to believe in something bigger, they just COULDN’T and I sympathised because I, of all people, understand doubt, unbelief and wanting something more than myself. Later, I returned to our conversation in my mind and came to the realisation that the word ‘couldn’t’ would probably act as a barrier in her mind.

To be truly open to something, like the possibility of recovery, is to allow it to rattle round our minds without any thing as concrete as ‘words’ attached to it. Just as if you are rolling a ball round a clean floor; no mud, no dust, nothing to stick to it…

Sometimes, I wonder if it’s in this act of ‘allowing’, that hope filters in… unseen… unheard and then… suddenly:  there.

Opening up old wardrobe doors. No thoughts. No can’ts, cans, couldn’t, wouldn’t, must, should or shouldn’ts.  Just opening something up.

It has to be worth a try.

Continue reading

“Who is this?”  I was phoning an unnamed number after someone left an alarming message on my mobile. Turns out it was an ex colleague who had phoned the wrong person in a moment of ethyl-sodden desperation.

I listened for the next ten minutes as he told me parts of his story; his descent into the pit of alcoholism; his tentative exploration of methods of recovery. As he spoke, his words painted a picture of a broken man, one arm outstretched, the other still grasping the bottle.

“AA?”, I tested. Careful.

“Tried it. Couldn’t get on with all the Higher Power stuff”

And suddenly, I saw the light! – How difficult it is for a person struggling to recover to open your mind to something different.

People who battle addictions, OCD and Eating Disorders so often have rigid patterns of thought, unbending ‘rules’.  Without realising it, our minds can be so closed to new ways of thinking, of seeing our world, of experiencing other perspectives. We give up quickly and often dismiss possibilities; “I’ll never be able to…”  “Other people might manage that but I can’t…”   “All that fluffy stuff… it’s not for me… I’m not LIKE that…”

It’s that dismissive thinking, that hopelessness, that makes the addict’s recovery process so difficult. Just like a horse with blinkers, the world is so small, so narrowed. How much do I miss when I refuse / can’t open my mind?

There’s a whole world out there, one which is, as yet, unfamiliar. We need to step through the wardrobe… A different world to the one in which we lived before, lies in wait.

Why not chance it? Dare to consider it? Risk NOT dismissing it?

Hold On – Paul Brandt.  Continue reading

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An interlude in my journey

Sometimes we have ‘enforced moments’… And they can be beautiful too! Don’t get me wrong… I huff and sigh at the flat – cap -wearing old bloke whose milometer hasn’t pointed to 50 for at least a decade.  And who hasn’t felt the sheer rush of triumph as they got served quicker than the person they picked as a ‘marker’ in a different supermarket queue…

But honestly, most days will contain an ‘enforced moment’ (or two) and instead of the tension at the steering wheel, or the unhappy shuffling and (internal) eye rolling when someone takes ‘too long’, we’d do better to discipline ourselves to look for some beauty and to take the moment as a gift. After all, what’s the hurry really? We’ve got our whole lives.