A friend in recovery recently expressed interest in my writing habits. He said he was curious about my routine and my method of finding material for each day’s blog.
This friend is a college professor, and has complimented my writing. The fact that anyone takes time to read it is compliment enough. Yet he takes time to read it and offer feedback. His interest in my writing has helped me become better at something I have grown to cherish.
This form of self-expression helps me center myself at the start of each day. It is not only a form of meditation for me, but also helps me work out a daily tenth step as I reflect on how recovery is shaping my life. (That part about a daily 10th step was pointed out by another friend in recovery during a recent phone conversation about that step.)
My system is fairly simple. It is really more of a routine. The first thing I do upon waking up, when we are together at least, is kiss Amanda, telling her how much I love her and how glad I am to be her husband. She’s almost always asleep for this first part of the morning, so the act is as much a prayer of gratitude as it is a sign of affection. This simple act helps me remember how grateful I am for another good night’s rest. The rest I only can get when I’m clean.
Since I use a French press to make my coffee, my first steps take me to the kitchen to begin heating water in the kettle. I then prepare the coffee in the press, and take care of any personal needs while waiting for the water to heat. By the time I’m back, the water is just right, hot but not boiling. I fill the press with water, position the strainer /top in place. With cup and French Press in hand I make my way to my balcony.
Ah the balcony… my bastion. My retreat. My peace of mind. What would I do without my balcony? From my perch on this outdoor retreat, I can see ten similar balconies belonging to my neighbors. It’s sad, but in the months Amanda and I have lived here, rarely have I seen neighbors use their balconies. Oh are they missing out.
Sorry, I digress…
Once seated, I select my spiritual principle for the day. Today, for example, I drew “Trust” as the principle that is to be my focus for the day. A simple prayer always follows: Take my will and my life. Guide me in my recovery, and show me how to live, a life of trust. It is the third step prayer of Narcotics Anonymous. The part in bold is something I add on to the end.
Next up, the daily meditation from the “Just For Today” book. I admire the brevity of the writers who contributed to this book containing 366 inspirational readings. They pack a powerful message into just a couple paragraphs. That kind of brevity is something with which I have not been gifted!
By the time my reading is complete, my coffee has steeped. I push the plunger, slowly forcing the grounds to the bottom of the French press, and voila, coffee.
Then comes the fun part. I sit. Quietly waiting for inspiration. I take time. I listen to songbirds. Watch as the world comes to life. All the while, paying attention to my thoughts. Patiently waiting for the thought or memory that will become my writing du jour.
Sometimes it comes right away. Other times, I may sit for fifteen or twenty minutes, meditating, seeking inspiration from the God of my understanding. Trusting that if I wait, something will come to me. The thoughts I need to express will eventually flow, so long as I am attentive to God’s prompting.
When the thoughts do flow, I write. I always write on my iPhone. Oh my poor thumbs, they do get a workout. I guess I could use my laptop at times, but then my writing would be even longer I’m sure!
The most important part of this daily routine is that I am faithful to practice it every day. If weather or travels force me from my balcony, I find another comfy spot from which to write. Self-serve hotel coffee sometimes replaces my French press brew. Regardless of any obstacles, I write.
For almost three hundred consecutive days this has been my routine. Whether I feel on top of the world, or have the flu. Whether at home or away. Even while on our honeymoon, my writing was a daily priority. It always receives the first hour or two of my day.
The other thing about my writing may come as a shock. I write for me. This is my time, my activity. My refuge. It is perhaps the most selfish part of my day.
I share my writing with a few. Some readers seem to enjoy my stories. That’s like the icing on the cake. My main audience is Kent.
This time spent writing is as valuable to my recovery as anything else I do. I know that will ruffle the feathers of some. Yes, I do all that other stuff that NA recommends, and it too is vital, but my writing helps restore my sanity on a daily basis.
Like my writing, my recovery is for me. While others may benefit from it, I stay clean for Kent. I work steps for Kent. I practice spiritual principles for Kent.
Like my writing, recovery must be a daily priority in my life. There can be no such thing as occasional recovery. I cannot drift in and out of the rooms of NA, hoping to gather strength and inspiration to last me for days.
Like my writing, recovery doesn’t call in sick. It doesn’t go away on business trips. It doesn’t step aside on holidays or even on a honeymoon. Recovery happens each and every day.
Most addicts I have gotten to know have something in their lives that is to them what writing is to me. Whether it is time spent on a Harley, or time spent building into the lives of children, there is something that helps each of us find purpose and peace.
If you are reading this message, and have yet to find that something for your life, I can only encourage you to keep looking. Trust your Higher Power to reveal something to you that will bring passion to your life. Something that will allow you to…
Have a remarkable day!