Staying Green

scenic view of rice paddy
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My favorite slogan


Soon after I found myself inducted into a twelve-step program, I discovered a whole new world of viable slogans.  In the beginning, I thought they were rather corny;  One day at a time, Easy does it, No pain no gain, Live and let live, they seemed to go on forever, a litany of foreign concepts.

But as I progressed in the program, without even noticing it, I found myself slowly incorporating them into my life,  applying them to a variety of problems,  even depending on them to reawaken the way I viewed things.

Recovery was allowing me to see life through a different lens and the slogans not only gave me a new perspective, but they could be quickly retrieved from my new toolbox.  It was like becoming fluent in a second language.

Overwhelmed by what might happen tomorrow?  One day at a time.  Uh oh:  House needs to be cleaned, kids got a ball game, report due tomorrow, fridge empty.  Feel a stroke coming on.  Where’s my Easy does it? 

No pain no gain was a bit more difficult.  As a matter of fact, I cringed every time I heard it.  Why in the hell was suffering of any kind necessary to my recovery?  But after a while, as I stumbled through disappointments and my share of life’s hardships, I realized it was those very upsets that drove me to get off my derriere, pick myself up and work my program.  Did it hurt?  Sure it did.  But if the pain hadn’t had driven me to look for solutions instead of drowning in self-pity, I would either remain stagnant or drift backward.

I had a slightly different version of live and let live.  Believing I was always open-minded,  I didn’t judge others or care what they did.  But buried in that belief, which I often prided myself on, was the mistaken assumption that it would prevent you from judging me.  As usual, I had an agenda.  Today I try to apply it to my inclination to put my nose where it doesn’t belong; like in my children’s business.

My favorite slogan and the one constant that I continually fall back on is Staying green.  It may be the very one that enhances the quality of my sobriety and prevents me from becoming apathetic about my recovery.  There is no graduation in a twelve-step program.  We are continually learning and hopefully improving.  Maintaining sobriety requires effort and a bit of creativity. 

Sticking to the basics; meetings, daily meditations, calling our sponsors and working the steps can sometimes seem so boring that we begin to wilt. So why not change up the meetings, take a road trip, go out of town, meet some new people.  Are your meditation books bound in rubber bands because they have come unglued from their spines?  Visit your favorite book store and splurge on a new one.   Only call your sponsor when you have a problem?  Try calling her with some good news,  or just to say Hi.

Not everyone works the steps the same.  But if it has been some time since you have formally worked them, try putting each one on a small sheet of paper, fold it over and place it in a help jar.  Then, when you are faced with a problem that needs to be resolved, pull one out.  You might be amazed to find that whichever step you selected, it will do the trick.

Staying green will quench your thirst when your program begins to feel a bit stale.  It is as simple as hitting the refresh button on your computer. The only requirement is that you open the browser.


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