I just deactivated the alarm I had set on my phone for this morning. It was set for 5:30, but when I awoke at 4:45, I was not able to go back to sleep.
Oh, trust me, I tried. I did everything I could to settle my mind, and return to sleep. Yet, after 15 minutes of trying, I knew my efforts were going to be futile. I was awake. I am awake.
So, I came down to the lobby of my hotel, as I so often do, for coffee, and to begin my morning routine. When I asked the front desk clerk if coffee was available yet, his answer was a bit abrupt. “Coffee isn’t available until six.” I’m guessing he gets that question a lot each morning!.
In my mind, there was a tiny bit of rebellion that didn’t like that answer. But I’m used to having coffee when I get up in the morning. The hotels I usually stay at always have it. Why don’t you???
Despite my rebellious thoughts, I just thanked him, and found a comfortable place to sit down. Coffee could, after all, wait. Certainly until six anyway!
A little less sleep, and a lack of coffee, are two very minor things. Barely hiccups in the start of my day. Yet, with the wrong attitude, such little things can build. They can accumulate, like straws on a camel’s back. Eventually, that camel’s back will break.
People have a variety of ways of coping with those minor little straws life hands us. Hobbies, fitness, travel, fishing… whatever people find themselves enjoying to relieve the stress of those daily straws. Annoyances that may often go unrecognized, but accumulate nonetheless. Healthy activities that are designed to relieve the daily stresses of life.
Unfortunately, my history of dealing with life’s straws became tainted. I discovered a shortcut that made those inconveniences seem to melt away. Of course, I’m speaking of the drugs I used to feed my addiction. With them, any burden created by life’s straws went unnoticed. My answer to even the slightest inconvenience was simple. “Must be time to get high.”
When I first attempted to stop using, I discovered that I had entered into a terrible new reality. My old go-to relief from those inconveniences, cycling, no longer offered the relief it once had. Addiction was stronger than my bicycle. Stronger than my willpower. It kept demanding that I seek relief from drugs.
That is one of the most disheartening feelings I’ve ever had. Addiction had its hooks in me, and it seemed I was powerless to free myself. Those straws just continued to accumulate until I would finally brake.
When I finally grew frustrated by the cycle of stopping and restarting my drug use, I became willing to work through the twelve steps with a sponsor. What I discovered was life-changing. I no longer found a way to cope with those straws. Instead, I discovered that through a life centered in practicing spiritual principles, I could let them go!
Open-mindedness is one of the key principles that allows me to let go of those daily pressures or disappointments. Can’t sleep? Well, I guess God has a reason for me to get up this early. No coffee until six? That’s ok, not every hotel has to do things the same way… I’ll live.
No, I do not practice these principles perfectly. Open-mindedness can still be a struggle at times. I guess it will always take practice. However, by persevering in my efforts to apply spiritual principles in my life, my burden is much lighter. I no longer feel the need to escape those burdens through drugs. Instead, I do my best to let them fall to the ground.
Have a remarkable day!