The Joys of Sobriety

Good morning. I hope the two-part series on PTSD despair brought you solace… comfort, and that you were able to see there are actions you can take to help you out of despair.  Today nothing really jumped out at me in the search terms, and I am going to write about the joys of sobriety.

Perhaps the biggest joy initially for me was the lack of hangovers. Mine had been extremely severe for about seven years, so not having them was a very welcomed relief. Today, it is nice to wake up clear and wide-eyed, ready to enjoy the new day without nausea, without vomiting, without a splitting headache. You, too, will revel in this new-found result of sobriety.

The faces of my sobriety changed as time went on, and for about six months, I was on what is referred to as a pink cloud, where everything is grand, where everything was so exciting, seen for the first time in years with eyes of wonder and awe. Yes, I felt the pain of my grief from the unrequited love, but it was interspersed with the joy of sobriety, so much so that it gave me the overall sense of well-being for a few months.

You may experience the pink cloud. If and when you do, enjoy it to the fullest. It is helpful to combat the feelings of angst that will arise as you begin to feel more and more of your feelings. Speaking of the angst that will appear in sobriety, know that it is passing, it will pass, and what you are left with is incredible freedom, incredible peace.

Think of the period of angst as one in which you are healing from old wounds so you can start fresh, start anew with your life. Stick with sobriety through this difficult period because the rewards are tremendous. First is the lack of hangovers, as we said, and then the pink cloud. Then, there is a depth to everything you do, everything you see, where you feel connected to the world around you, as well as the people in it.

In sobriety, you become able to see others with softness, gentleness, kindness, and compassion. When you heal, you become more and more interested in helping others, in being of service. You think less and less about making sure you get what you want, because it just comes to you.  You become more in-tune with the physical world around you, as you begin to notice plant life, architecture, scenery.

Sobriety leads to a positive attitude, an attitude of gratitude. You see everything that comes along with gratitude… you are grateful for all that occurs, as you know it is for your highest good, even though it may not feel like that at times. Sobriety helps your relationships, as you are less judgmental and critical of yourself and others. You have less to argue about, less fault to find.

In fact, sobriety eventually allows you to take full responsibility for your feelings, your actions and behaviors, and you are fueled by this in your ability to maintain a positive, grateful attitude. You look forward to life unfolding for you, taking action, while letting go of results and letting life flow to you.

Yes, sobriety is filled with joy after you go through the angst of examining and repairing the past. Perhaps the best thing is the feelings of goodwill that you have toward yourself. Your self-pity will have resolved. You will feel good about who you are and you will recognize you are worthy of good things, that you are a worthwhile person, not the worthless one you were told you were.

There is a saying in recovery circles, “Don’t leave before the miracle happens,” and that is so true. I invite you to stick with your sobriety so that you, too, can experience the miracles and joys of sobriety.

 

 

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A Day of Gratitude

“Good morning,” she says while it is still barely morning… and Happy Thanksgiving, a day of gratitude. It’s almost noon and I haven’t gotten around to blogging yet. Yikes! Today, let’s talk again about gratitude, seeing as this is the day of Thanksgiving. I’d like to share with you the things for which I am grateful.

First, my home. After having lived in a van for three years and often not knowing where I was going to park for the night, worried all the time about the police coming in the middle of the night, I am so grateful to have my own house. I am grateful for the way I have it decorated, for it feeds my soul.

I have much gratitude for my kitty, Izzy, for letting me pet her often. You see, she is a feral and is shy of me, even after seven or eight years. She will not allow me to hold her, nor does she come onto my lap, but she walks in front of me all the time for pets. I feel so grateful to be shown her affection and for me to have a being on whom I can bestow my overflowing affection.

My sobriety is a source of gratitude, hugely, if that is a word. Without my sobriety, I would be dead, most likely. And, if not, then I’d be out on the streets. I show gratitude every day for waking up without a hang-over, clear-headed… That gratitude stretches to the healing that has occurred in the past twelve years. Much of that occurred after the fifth and sixth years, and I am so grateful for that. I would like to express gratitude over the forgiveness I discovered, which has led me to great peace and freedom.

I have gratitude for my 91 Honda wagon with the purple interior and faded paint on the hood and roof, for it is a great car, still going strong with 190,000+ on it. It suits me so well and has lots of room to cart my books around, in addition to everything I need when I do a speaking gig.

I am grateful for my family and friends, that they have stuck by me through thick and thin. Again, I have so much gratitude for the forgiveness I accidentally discovered, and have been able to forgive my parents. That has set me free.

There are many more things for which I have gratitude… my clarity, my health, the ability to walk and talk, to reason, to feel my emotions, to feel both joy and disappointment, and more.

And how about you? For what do you have gratitude? Leave a comment and let us know. 🙂

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Gratitude for Waking Up Sober

“Gratitude for waking up sober” just jumped off the page for me, so I want to address that today. Boy, where to start? It is hard to know, because I am so overwhelmingly grateful for my sobriety. But for me, perhaps the most prevalent thing I am grateful for is that I do not have a hang over. I awaken clear-headed and I have so much gratitude for that!

I have gratitude that I can drive any time I want to, and I am not under the influence. I have gratitude that I can feel the range and host of feelings that I do. I have gratitude today for just about everything. But it wasn’t always this way. Oh, no, it wasn’t.

It used to be that early in sobriety, when I was going to 4-5 meetings a day, I would often meet my roommate either coming or going to the meeting. The one going would ask the one coming what the topic was, and that person often said “Gratitude,” to which the one going would say, “Oh, not again!”

You see, when I was early in sobriety, perhaps until the first few years were over, I was unable to be grateful. Well, with the exception of my gratitude for not having a hang over, that is. I saw nothing for which to express gratitude. I was still so mired in my hurt, confusion, and rage over my up-bringing, my past, so filled with grief over an unrequited love. It colored everything I did, everything I thought. Even writing gratitude lists as suggested didn’t work for me.

What did work was allowing time to pass and with that, healing occurred. As I began to heal, I began to have the ability to look around, to really see what was around me – the people, the love and support. A whole new world opened up when I became grateful and today, I am grateful for just about everything that occurs around me. And at the core of that, at the core of everything, is my sobriety. It is from this that everything flows.

How about you? For what are you grateful? As we move into Thanksgiving, the day of gratitude, what are your reflections, what do you see? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Quotes on Life with Images

This, “quotes on life with images,” was a search term that found my website this morning. I recall using that as a keyword phrase, perhaps… What I what to really focus on is the term, because what I have to offer you today is quotes on life with images. They are taken from my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Carolyn Jones

All Rights Reserved

Visions of Gratitude

When seen with eyes and heart that appreciate,

everything around and within me becomes more pleasing, more beautiful.

Moments of Wonder

 Do you suppose there has always been such richness, such beauty in the world?

Perhaps it has been there all along,

waiting to be noticed, to be seen, with the eyes of the heart.

If we as individuals cannot speak to each other,

how, then, can we as nations achieve peace?

Warmth of Humility

 Rather than take on everyone else’s dreams, desires, and expectations,

can I not look humbly at what has been placed before me?

We will grow through the barriers of our heart and

be able to fully experience the richness of life.

Promise of Peace

When I practice the principles of love for myself and others,

the gates of my heart melt into the glow of dusk,

and peace rises to greet me.

Balance of Serenity

I am serene, carried by the winds to places where

I am held in balance with great beauty and strength.

Burst of Joy

My heart bursts with joy!

 

 

 

 

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The Power of Gratitude

When put to use, gratitude is very powerful. Even more so, it is magical.

I will move into gratitude today for two reasons – 1) it was a search term and 2) it enhances everything you do in life, and it can help you maintain sobriety. Gratitude assists in the forgiveness process, too.

What is gratitude? According to Webster, it is a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits. To me, gratitude is pleasing and I am thankful for what I have received, whether I have asked for it or not. I am thanking a higher being, or source, showing and sharing my gratitude.

There was a long period in sobriety during which I could not be grateful for anything. In fact, my roommate and I used to meet each other while one was on the way from a meeting and one was on her way to a meeting. The question would always be, “What was the topic?” The answer invariably was “Gratitude,” to which the other would exclaim, “Gratitude AGAIN??”

The thing is, I could not get past the hurt and pain of my past enough to be grateful for anything. It took me several years sober before I seemingly overnight, began to have extreme gratitude. Oh, but I remember the incident vividly. It is the same day that I realized my life’s purpose and my calling.

Once I did, the whole world changed for me in my ability to be grateful for all the gifts I was receiving. In fact, I began to look at my experiences as gifts from which to learn and grow, to heal and thrive.

I still do today… look at experiences as gifts for my learning, healing, and growing, and I see them with gratitude. Sometimes, when I am in the middle of it, I don’t see it as a gift, though. But it works its way through, and I begin to see the gift. Staying sober helps a great deal with that, and that’s the topic of another blog.

If you’re having difficulty being grateful, expressing gratitude, then try this. Every morning when you wake up, whether you lie awake for awhile, or bound right out of bed, feel gratitude for waking up. That’s it, just for waking up.

Even if you would rather not continue with life and not waking up sounds like the solution for you, set that aside for a bit if you can, and just be grateful you woke up on this day, that you have one more day to hope that things will turn around today, or one more day to stay sober. Whatever your difficulty, think of it as one more day to have things change.

It takes courage, and a lot of willingness. And if you’re beat down so low, perhaps those are the only games in town. You have a choice to grab hold of willingness and courage, or keep with the status quo.

Back to our daily exercise. Practice greeting the day with gratitude for two weeks. For the following two weeks, keep doing that and add this: throughout each day, remember back to waking up and being grateful that morning. When you can remember what that  felt like for you, be grateful you were able to experience gratitude, able to be grateful. Be grateful for the courage and willingness you used.

After a while, you will find yourself showing gratitude for getting great parking spaces. It works to elevate your mood, and it’s easier to be around others, and they around you. Remember, gratitude begets gratitude.

How does gratitude manifest for you? Are you able to express it already? If not, was the exercise helpful? Leave a comment and let us know.

 

Are you resistant to this or even to the exercise?

 

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Find Peace – Keys to Unlock the Gates of Your Heart

Good morning! I hope this finds you well, and on your way to creating peace in your life!

Yesterday’s search term that caught my attention was “an invitation to the opening.” Very interesting, given that we are dealing with the keys to unlock, then open, the gates of your heart. And, I invite you to join in our journey, the search for peace about which I am blogging.

The journey involves first using the keys to unlock the gates of your heart. These can be used all the time. In fact, I recommend that you DO use them all the time. It will further your ability to create peace in your life.

The first and most important key is willingness. You must be willing to take the journey, willing to look at things with new eyes. Are you willing? You can be willing at any time, all the time… willing and eager for new information. I cannot stress how far willingness will take you.

Then there’s surrender. I used to think surrender meant giving up in despair. But it means giving in, letting go, of just about everything… the need to control and manage everyone and everything, the need to control and manage your feelings, to look good to others. It means letting go of trying to control the course of your life.

This is different than taking action. You want to take action in all areas of your life, but then, after taking that action, you will want to let go of the results and let them occur naturally. If things are meant to happen, they will, without your prodding and pushing.

The next key to unlock the gates of your heart is gratitude. Gratitude turns your life to gold, everywhere you look, with everything you touch. You see, if you are grateful for the little things, the littlest of events, your life will begin to transform and you will experience peace more and more. If you have difficulty seeing the world with gratitude, practice waking up and being grateful that you woke up, given the chance to live another day.

When you’re in despair or having feelings of worthlessness, waking up won’t be something to be grateful for, most likely. I know I experienced that, at any rate. In that case, learn to be grateful for one little thing in your life and hang onto that gratitude. Openly thank Source for that one thing, over and over again.  Over time, you will be able to expend that gratitude to other things.

There will even become a point when you will be grateful for even the tough times, as you will realize there is a gift in them, a lesson to be learned. When you reach this point, then you will have mastered gratitude. Work toward this goal and when you reach it, you will be knowing peace.

But don’t try to fake it. Be real and authentic with your thoughts and feelings that you tell yourself or others. Admit to having a bad day. Be careful not to slip into self-pity, however. Just state facts about your situation, without pity, without remorse. Be sad or whatever you are at the time, but catch yourself short of wallowing in pity for yourself. This is a non-productive and energy-sucking place to go.

These are the three main keys to unlock the gates of your heart that will lead you to peace. There are other keys, such as humility, courage, honesty, and having an open heart and mind. Over time, as you practice these keys, they will become automatic. They are something you can do all the time.

Today, take some time to practice being willing, surrendering, and being grateful. These three things alone will lead you to more peace. I wish you well in your efforts to unlock the gates of your heart.

 

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Enhance Your Sobriety with Gratitude

Visions of Gratitude

Good morning. I have been gone for several days, getting my old computer more up to snuff, keeping at bay the need to get a new one… Thank you to those of you that continued to visit , despite the lull in new posts.

As a result of the lull, we have had a break in the flow of my posts and I am afraid that will have broken the momentum we had going.

I was going to do a review, in order to get our momentum back, yet the next topic about which to write is gratitude, and I believe we can slide back into the swing of it with this topic. Allow me to continue…

When we see things with eyes that appreciate, everything around and within us becomes more pleasing, more beautiful. Such is the case with gratitude. It becomes a way of life, whereby we are grateful for everything we have and do.

When living a life of gratitude, we begin the day by being grateful for another day, for waking up. Then we can be grateful for our sight, that we can see a myriad of colors and objects when we awake in the morning. And so forth throughout the day.

When we can live this way, our sobriety becomes easier and richer, and we are able to find serenity and peace.

But if you’re like I was in early sobriety, you are not able to be grateful. You do not see anything for which to be grateful. However, if you have followed the process we have been discussing, in the order it was presented, then you will have had a chance to look at old resentments, and hopefully, to resolve them.

With them resolved, hopefully you were able to forgive. Even if you have not gotten to the forgiveness stage, however, it is possible to see the world around you with gratitude. 

Start by making a gratitude list every morning or every evening, whichever is the time for you that writing flows. Your list will be obvious things at first, like… you are grateful for a home, food, family and friends, your job. Keep doing this every day.

Really reach within for things about which you are grateful. After a while, you may notice a change in your list. You may begin to add things like your sobriety, your belief in a power greater than yourself, the guidance you receive from that power.

You may begin to feel gratitude for things such as the expansive feelings in your heart that you feel toward others you meet in your day. You may be grateful you are an alcoholic, for it brought you to this journey of healing.

Gratitude may well up inside as you consider that your difficult past occurred so that you could heal from it and then pass your message of healing along to others, to be of use to them.

When you can live with gratitude as the foremost thing in your heart, the road becomes easier and joyful. 

Today, consider all the things for which you are grateful. Make a list of those things. Let your heart sing as you write each thing down. Really feel that gratitude as a deep feeling. If you are having difficulty with this, just start where you are and write down what you can.

Continue this as a daily practice until being grateful for the things in your life is second nature and happens easily. Feel that freeing feeling, that feeling of deep satisfaction and peace. You are experiencing gratitude as a way of life.

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Have Gratitude For Your Dream

Visions of Gratitude

Another thing which will further your dream goal is to have gratitude for its presence in your heart. By having gratitude, you will experience even more good things for which to be grateful.

That’s the thing about it. The more you are grateful, the more comes your way for which to be grateful. It has a snowball effect.

Some people have difficulty being grateful because of the negative which is in their lives. They focus on the negative. They look at life as the glass half empty instead of half full.

If this is you, I invite you to look with new eyes. I invite you to start your day by being grateful you can see when you first wake up in the morning, that you can see the myriad of colors.

This may sound ridiculous. Why would you be grateful for an every day thing? Because that attitude then pervades every fiber of your existence, and it lifts you up rather than bring you down. It is a choice you make, an attitude shift.

Once you establish gratitude for the basic things in your everyday life, you can see the smallest things with gratitude.

The reason I advocate gratitude for your dream is that your dream is your soul speaking. Your dream is your purpose in life, what you were sent here to do with your life for others. Be grateful that the Universe is showing the way through your dream.

Today, practice gratitude for everything in your life. Look at everything from the side of being grateful, as opposed to finding the negative. You will feel more peace in your life if you do.

 

 

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Healing Through Nutrition and Gratitude

Today I have a special treat – guest blogger Tom Corson-Knowles. He presents to us a wonderful blog about nutrition and gratitude. Enjoy.
A mentor of mine once told me,
“Tom, you’d be amazed at how much you could achieve in life if you would just stop actively sabotaging yourself.”
I can tell you that this message hit home for me personally in a big way. And I’ve since shared that message with many of my health and nutrition coaching clients and podcast listeners. Why?
Because one of the biggest reasons people have trouble healing is their nutrition – and their self-sabotage. You see, “emotional eating” has become a common phrase these days and an even more common daily occurrence for hundreds of millions of people. But what is “emotional eating” really?
Emotional eating is, in essence, self-sabotage at its finest. We eat unhealthy foods (junk food, ice cream, whatever it is that makes us feel better in that moment) and we don’t eat that food because we’re hungry! No, we don’t even eat that food because it’s good for us. Just the opposite – we at that food emotionally because we know it will hurt us.
Why do we sabotage ourselve this way?
There are many reasons for emotional eating. Oftentimes, in my personal experience, it’s because deep down we don’t feel like we deserve to be healthy, or skinny, or beautiful, or happy or whatever it is. We feel like we’re just not good enough to have those great things in life so just when we’re about to have a breakthrough in our health or in our happiness, we resort to emotional eating to bring us back down.
This whole cycle is part of a big oscillation between two emotional extremes – being overly “happy” and being overly “sad.” I say these words in quotations because it’s probably not exactly those words, it’s different for each of us but it’s in essence a large emotional swing to one side or another (positive and negative).
You see, the secret to healing and the secret to inner peace is to walk the middle path. Being neither too excited when we have a great success in life nor too depressed when we face a setback in life is truly the key to healing and peace.
When we are in this middle bath, we realize that all things in life have a balance, have a duality. Good and bad, happy and sad, excited and afraid, love and hate, life and death, health and illness… this is just a fact of life. And should we fail to accept life the way it is, should we try only to have happiness and no sadness, I guarantee life will throw more sadness your way just to make sure your life is in balance!
That’s not to say that we can’t be more happy in life or have more peace – I believe we can truly live a much happier, more peaceful, more fulfilling life when we come to accept life for what it is – a mixture of both pain and pleasure, opportunity and difficulty. That’s what life is made of.
And when we truly accept life for what it is and have gratitude for the good AND the bad in life – that’s when true healing comes. That’s when we can be grateful for the emotional eating in the past. We can be grateful for the lessons we learned. And we can be grateful for the opportunity to heal and to make positive changes in our life.
Are you grateful for your life today?
This article written by Tom Corson-Knowles, founder of Authentic Health Coaching. You can learn more about Tom and his healthy weight loss tips on his blog.
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Gratitude As a Way of Life

Visions of Gratitude

When we see things with eyes that appreciate, everything around and within us becomes more pleasing, more beautiful. Such is the case with gratitude. It becomes a way of life, whereby we are grateful for everything we have and do.

When living a life of gratitude, we begin the day by being grateful for another day, for waking up. Then we can be grateful for our sight, that we can see a myriad of colors and objects when we awake in the morning. And so forth throughout the day.

When we can live this way, our sobriety becomes easier and richer, and we are able to find serenity and peace.

But if you’re like I was in early sobriety, you are not able to be grateful. You do not see anything for which to be grateful. However, if you have followed the process we have been discussing, in the order it was presented, then you will have had a chance to look at old resentments, and hopefully, to resolve them.

With them resolved, hopefully you were able to forgive. Even if you have not gotten to the forgiveness stage, however, it is possible to see the world around you with gratitude. 

Start by making a gratitude list every morning or every evening, whichever is the time for you that writing flows. Your list will be obvious things at first, like… you are grateful for a home, food, family and friends, your job. Keep doing this every day.

Really reach within for things about which you are grateful. After a while, you may notice a change in your list. You may begin to add things like your sobriety, your belief in a power greater than yourself, the guidance you receive from that power.

You may begin to feel gratitude for things such as the expansive feelings in your heart that you feel toward others you meet in your day. You may be grateful you are an alcoholic, for it brought you to this journey of healing.

Gratitude may well up inside as you consider that your difficult past occurred so that you could heal from it and then pass your message of healing along to others, to be of use to them.

When you can live with gratitude as the foremost thing in your heart, the road becomes easier and joyful. 

Today, consider all the things for which you are grateful. Make a list of those things. Let your heart sing as you write each thing down. Really feel that gratitude as a deep feeling. If you are having difficulty with this, just start where you are and write down what you can.

Continue this as a daily practice until being grateful for the things in your life is second nature and happens easily. Feel that freeing feeling, that feeling of deep satisfaction and peace. You are experiencing gratitude as a way of life.

 

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