Pain is Mandatory, Suffering is Optional

All of us have experienced the travails of life. Sometimes they are minor like being stuck in traffic or a spilled cup of coffee. Sometimes they are major like the loss of a job, a dissolved marriage or the loss of a loved one. Getting sober doesn’t mean that you won’t be encountering the viscitudes of daily living. It is impossible for a person to.escape life’s pains. That is why we say pain is mandatory. The question is how long are you going to hold onto that pain? How deeply are you going to let that pain affect you. That’s where suffering comes in. Are you holding on to your pain to the point where it has become suffering. Do you still need to carry it around? Perhaps you can share it with another member in program or even speak to your Higher Power about it. Reducing our level of suffering is in our hands.

Personal Reflection: What suffering am I ready to let go of today?

Seven Days Without a Meeting Makes One Weak


Upon entering the program many of us were told by our sponsor or a member of the group that we had to make 90 meetings in 90 days. It seemed like an almost impossible task. While we were active, we had struggled with making commitments. Now we were being asked to maintain a commitment for 90 days. Yet somehow, we were able to pull it off and honored our word. As we gained some time, life seemed to get more complicated. We began to find excuses for not making meetings. The excuses seemed like good ones. They included, kids, work and family time. Before we knew it, we might go an entire week without making a meeting. Then something strange began to happen. We found ourselves reverting back to some of our old behaviors. We might not be using our drug of choice, but we observed ourselves acting out like in the old days. We realized that true sobriety could only be achieved by regularly attending meetings; where we could talk about our feelings, and gain from the collective wisdom in the rooms. 

Personal reflection: Do I need to start making more meetings?


Dirty Laundry

A man and his wife moved into their new home. Upon awakening in the morning, they looked out their living room window. They were distressed to see the dirtiest load of wash they had ever seen hanging on their neighbor’s clothes line. “Perhaps there is something wrong with her washing machine”, the wife said. The next morning they looked out their window and once again there was a new load of dirty, grimy clothes hanging. “I can’t stand it. It just looks so horrible”, the wife exclaimed. She looked at her husband and said, “maybe you should go and speak with her about her disgusting wash”. The husband shook his head and told her “no” because he felt uncomfortable about approaching the neighbor about it. The next morning, when they looked out their windows they saw a spotless load of wash hanging on the line. “Did you speak to our neighbor about the laundry”, asked the wife? “No” replied the husband. “I cleaned the windows in our living room”.

Personal Reflection: Have you cleaned your windows today?

Expectations are Resentments in Training

We often say in the program that resentments are the number one offender. Yet, none of us gets up in the morning wanting to be in resentment. Yet by the end of the day we often find ourselves full of the very resentments we claimed we wanted to avoid. How did we get there? Often, the root cause are the expectations we have of other people. As addicts, we often said, “if only he or she would do it the way I want it done, then everything would be fine”. The reality is that rarely happened. When we are able to lower our expectations of others, there is less room for judgement and resentment to come in.

Personal Reflection: How have my expectations of others today caused me to be resentful?