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Friday, September 30, 2011

And So It Begins...

Often, with the night-time schedule I have, it is difficult to know exactly when one day ends and the other officially begins. Because I frequently only sleep in short increments of 25 minutes or so from midnight until 3a give or take...then periodically "cat-nap" into the new can be confusing and difficult to tell. But as awful as that sounds to some has become a familiar pattern and yes, even a routine that I am comfortable with now . I enjoy the quiet solitude, the "private" sunrises as it were. So it is truly the natural beginning of my day.

I still happen to be one who enjoys the feel of a real newspaper in my hand so around 4:30a each morn I sit with coffee and the paper for an hour or so before spending some time in quiet reflection. Having this quiet reflection or "prayer time" used to be nearly impossible for me because I could not physically SIT STILL. Nor could I shut the hundreds of spinning thought-wheels in my brain from churning out thoughts, questions and answers at a mile a minute. I couldn't concentrate longmenough to clear my mind...

That is still an issue with me even today though it is getting better by degrees. I just keep sitting quietly while silently praying a simple prayer for guidance or peace or understanding. God will usually take over from there. Over time, the cacophony of sound in my mind  has diminished somewhat as the Creator has claimed my mornings, as well as the rest of my day(s)...for HIMSELF.

At this point in the story of how I start my day...I have found it necessary to come clean on a strange habit or activity of mine. At the risk of spilling TOO much information about myself, I confess that I am a "bath-room" reader. Yep I read while nature calls. I'm not talking about a paragraph or, I'm talking whole books.

Even though I was a guy who would pick up a magazine or newspaper if there was already one in the rest series of stomach illnesses over the last couple of years put me in the bathroom for long, unpleasant stretches at a time and being able to read actually made a very painful and unpleasant situation for me tolerable. So while i was sick I really started to read and that habit has stayed with me...

So I usually do what I call my "morning meditation" reading in the bathroom. I typically go through a daily reader type book with a recovery focus. It has an entry for every single day of the year. Usually it starts with a quote from a recovery oriented book followed by a person's synopsis of what that passage means to them. I have used that same particular book called Daily Reflections since I got sober and it has been a real benefit to me. I think it also helps me a great deal to read it at the very start of my day...before I even go outside to walk,  run errands or do any chores. It is written by AA Members but is a useful text for anyone who may be in recovery from any of life's maladies...

Establishing those little daily routines were critically important for me in my sobriety. Because I had NO discipline in my life when I sobered up and I basically had to start know, throw a dart! I know it may sound pathetic today but doing my daily reading each day without fail was a great accomplishment for me back then and I was really proud of it. Every daily routine I do regularly branched off of that one simple daily task.

When you are re-building your life from scratch..literally you realize that it really begins with a single, solitary brick of action to begin to build that foundation. The foundation of daily discipline for me was begun and solidified each day on the toilet as I did my daily reading. Funny, I know...I think it's hilarious now but it's TRUE...a very true story!    

I still follow this basic routine each day, even when I travel. It is a lot easier today of course, I do it almost without thinking about it but if I skip it for some reason, I REALLY notice it and typically it isn't a positive experience when I do.

 So I usually start my day with some coffee and personal  newspaper reading time, followed then by prayer/meditation time and some recovery/spiritual reading after that. All before I start my day out in the "big bad world". I have found that routine provides me with a solid start (a foundation really) to a healthy, productive day and I've discovered that for me this daily routine is really a good thing for me.

Not sure why I chose today to describe the start of my day but last night I had realized that I have never blogged about the nuts and bolts details of how I begin my day. If you are brand-new to sobriety...this is my sincere suggestion of how to start your day...the details of your reading/quiet time may be totally different and that is cool, but I think the true key is the DAILY ROUTINE itself because of the stability it provides and the discipline it begins to build. Just a little (Pre-breakfast) food for thought this morning!