A New Meditation Book
Castle Craig has recently published Recovery Days, a book of daily thoughts for living in recovery.
The inspiration for Recovery Days was the original book of meditations for recovering people – Twenty-Four Hours A Day – first produced by a member of Alcoholics Anonymous in the USA after World War Two in the 1940s, and now published by Hazelden Foundation. The writer of Recovery Days, Chris B has produced a book of daily readings with a contemporary feel. It highlights positive recovery and the idea that sobriety is to be enjoyed. But it also sticks to the principles behind that first book – honesty, openness and willingness to change, and the Twelve Steps, the Twelve Traditions and the Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity and Service.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” (Victor Frankel, Man’s Search for Meaning). Personal change and spiritual growth are what life’s journey is about – Recovery Days is offered as your guide.
Here is a typical page:
* January 17 *
On this day in1919, Prohibition became law in USA
“I wouldn’t want to join a club that would have me as a member” is more than just a funny quip from Groucho Marx. It also sounds like the sad cry of a person stuck in self-pity and self-dislike. That’s probably why it resonates with many who struggle with addiction. Recovery is about coming out of our comfort zones, something many desperate people are reluctant to do, because their familiar unhappiness is less challenging than the idea of change. Even if we have problems with our self-image, we should dig deep to risk doing something new. Am I ready to come out of my comfort zone?
Today I reflect on the difference between being a fully paid-up member of a team or club, and being an outsider, a mere spectator. To feel myself part of a team is inspiring because I know our hopes and fears are the same, I know that we care for and support each other. I recognise the example we give. We will not let each other down. To the spectator, our band of brothers is enviable. When I was a spectator, I knew I was missing something, but I didn’t know how to get it. I should have asked, but my denial held me back. Today, I know better. Today I give thanks for a fellowship that welcomes me as a member, with true understanding of who I am.
Meditation and exploring our spiritual side may be strange for some of us, but there should be no cause for alarm. If we try to keep an open mind, we can discover a new way of seeing the world. There is no attempt here to promote any specific religion – the words God and Higher Power refer in this book to the same idea – that we need powerful outside help if we are to overcome the evil of addiction. Here is a page that talks about the idea of a Higher Power:
* July 31 *
Remember Mindfulness – feel your body from top to toes
Making sense of a Power greater than ourselves causes some people difficulty. That is understandable. It is sometimes explained like this:
- Addiction is powerful, more powerful than us.
- We were unable to beat it until we asked for help.
- With help, we succeeded – that took some power to achieve.
- The power was in other people – fellowships and elsewhere.
- Perhaps that power came from elsewhere into them.
- What sort of power? It doesn’t matter. It’s there.
Can I accept the existence of a Power greater than myself even if I can’t put a label on it?
There are many atheists and agnostics in the Twelve Step fellowships. But taken together, we share more similarities than differences. Our primary purpose is not to promote any kind of religious belief but to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety. In our differences lies our strength, because we can appeal to all people and exclude none. Not all organisations can say the same. I give thanks for the recovery fellowships to which I belong.
* July 5 *
Remember Mindfulness – close eyes briefly
Help to change
Honesty, openness and willingness to change are three essential characteristics of successful recovery. Openness is important because it allows us to accept new ideas. These can take many forms but one of the most surprising for some people is the idea of a Higher Power. Yet, anyone looking back at our past and the change that has happened since, might conclude that they see something pretty miraculous. How do people who have been written off as hopelessly addicted manage to turn their lives around? Since we were unable to help ourselves at that time, some other powerful force must have appeared.
A miracle is an extraordinary event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws. There are many such miracles in the world around us. Life itself is one – nobody has been able to explain scientifically how it first happened. I am not being asked to believe in a specific source of power in the universe whether that be in a religious context or not. I am simply asked to open my mind to the idea that there is a power of some kind that is greater than me and which helps me if asked. I can feel that power in the experience, strength and support of other people. May it always be there for us all, so that what I see darkly, I will see face to face one day.
A lot of addicted people have had chaotic lifestyles and recovery puts some structure back and helps build a sense of purpose and self-esteem. Recovery is about re-connection too, and a meditation book can become a familiar landmark in the day, to turn to regularly for hope and reassurance.
A smile now and then can be welcome too, as in this page on connection and praying:
* August 16 *
Remember Mindfulness – close eyes and relax
Prayer is a multipurpose tool. Spiritual teacher Anthony de Mello told the story of the poor farmer who found himself stuck in the remote countryside without his prayer book. The simple man could not remember any prayers from the book, so he made this offering: “Lord, I am without my prayer book and my memory is so bad that I cannot remember any. So, I will recite the alphabet five times very slowly and you, to whom all prayers are known, can put the letters together to form the prayers I want to say, but can’t.” In other words, sincerity and connection are more important than mere words. We can pray simply when are actions are well-intentioned. Whatever my concept of a Higher Power, I need to establish lines of communication. Do I understand that in spiritual matters, words are less important than a sincere effort to communicate?
A rich businessman living in London some years ago would keep a permanently open telephone line to his mother in Italy so they could chat whenever they felt like it. Prayer does not have to be a ritual, it can be casual, intimate or public and it can happen at any time, but the more permanent the connection, the better. Today I will work to establish an open connection with my Higher Power.
Here is one reader’s reaction to Recovery Days:
‘If you’ve ever been on a journey – whether it’s physical, emotional, or spiritual – you’ll know that having a guide or a daily companion can make all the difference. And if that journey happens to be about recovery, you need to make sure your guide is a good one.Anonymous
It's fascinating how a book can mirror the human experience. Some entries made me pause, reflect, and even shed a tear or two. Others - they put a smile on my face and made me feel invincible! It's this dance between profound insights and uplifting messages, that makes "Recovery Days" so readable.
Have you ever had those moments when you’re just looking for a sign? A nudge? A reminder that you’re not alone? This book was that sign for me. Each page brought with it an anecdote, a reflection, or a pearl of wisdom that felt like it was personal. – Anonymous
I’ve started gifting this book to friends and loved ones, not just for those on a recovery journey, but for anyone looking for some positive affirmation. And if there’s one thing we all can use in these challenging times, it’s a reminder of our inner strength and resilience.’(W.F)
If you’re looking for some thought-provoking inspiration, a book that will talk to you, why not make this one a small but familiar part of your daily routine? Or, just dip in on a day you are not feeling your best. Either way, it is a worthwhile investment and also makes a thoughtful gift for friends and loved ones. Not because they’re necessarily on a recovery journey – it can be a great source of hope and support for the well-being of any person.
You can read more about the book and how it was written on the Recovery Days website:
Recovery Days can be purchased from Amazon in Paperback or Kindle format.
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