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Author: James Reho

Uncovering Recovery: The Platitude of Gratitude

“One way, then, to edge out the space resentment seeks to claim in our hearts and in our lives is to cultivate gratitude.  Recovery spirituality is clear that we do not have the power to remove our own shortcomings or malformed patterns of thinking (like resentfulness)—only our Higher Power can do that.  However, what we can do is to cultivate virtues that edge out our shortcomings.  So if I want to avoid the poison of resentment in my life, I can cultivate gratitude.”

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Uncovering Recovery: Directionally Challenged

“Paradoxically, when we begin to decide and choose under the care of God, much of our anxiety falls away… we are no longer obsessed with getting what we want or avoiding what we don’t, which is probably, eventually, what lies at the root of our anxiety.  Paradoxically, when we begin to choose under the care of God, decisions become much clearer.  Often our minds become clouded because of excessive emotional entanglement in our decisions and choices due to the urgency and craving of the Ego.  As the Ego’s part diminishes, the fog or paralysis also vanishes.”

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Uncovering Recovery: Shame on You!

“The crushing pain of shame need not keep us from the sunlight of the spirit.  Shame need not keep us fleeing from ourselves in addiction, even if that addiction is as subtle as projecting our shadows onto others (well, sometimes that’s not too subtle, actually) or constantly keeping ourselves busy so that we never dwell within our own center.  Whatever bad things we have done—even if we have urinated in the janitor’s bucket—we are not a bad thing.  Guilt is meant to be temporary, something to work through, and we need not split off parts of ourselves that we hide and bury in sick secrets.”

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Uncovering Recovery: The Coiled Spring

“This is because the problem of the alcoholic is not alcohol; it’s alcoholism.  Alcohol (or ice cream or dice or sex or banging on the steering wheel) is not the problem… in fact, it’s a solution, a way of medicating the problem.  The problem is what Bob D. calls “the coiled spring.”  Bob, a national-level speaker within the recovery community, says that inside every alcoholic/addict there is a spring in the gut that gets wound tighter and tighter.  Each resentment, each emotional wound, each baffling situation, increases the tension on the spring.  Our fear and anxiety continue to grow, and we suffer.  At some point, our suffering is great enough that we need relief.  The alcoholic or addict finds (temporary) relief/escape through their addictive behaviors.”

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Uncovering Recovery: Yes!: The Spirituality of Surrender

“Those in recovery from addictions know that surrender is a choice of life or death (and of joy or suffering).  In admitting powerlessness over addiction and in surrendering to a Higher Power, addicts open the door of their lives to an immense, transformative power.  The catch is that, in order to enact this surrender, we have to become willing to turn our will and lives over to that Higher Power (God).”

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Uncovering Recovery: Control-Alt-Delete

“Praying for the faith to release our loved ones to God, opening ourselves to accepting their choices, and disciplining ourselves to give our opinions only when asked are all difficult practices but definitely worth the work.  And let’s add to our to-do list the removal of the subtle guilt trips, looks of disappointment, and easily readable body language that can also be powerful forms of control.”

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Uncovering Recovery: The Shifty Self, Part 2

“The “less” I become, the “more” I become.  The less I focus on protecting, puffing up, or advancing my small self—my egoic self made of my character defects and deluded into thinking it is actually separate from other selves—the more I identify with, participate in, and expand into, other persons and other modes of being.   The more I “lose my life” the more I “find” it, in greater form.”

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Uncovering Recovery: The Shifty Self, Part I

Each morning as my wife and I brushed our teeth, washed our faces, and fixed our hair, our minds already beginning to spin around the challenges and chances of the day, we were addressed by a small brick-red sticker taped to our bathroom mirror.  In bold white letters the sticker affirmed, “You are looking at the only problem you’ll have today.” 

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The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

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