Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Give It Up for Lent

In the Christian tradition tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. This day is the beginning of Lent—a forty-day period preceding Easter and the resurrection.

For all of my childhood, and many years after that, Lent meant giving something up. I gave up chewing gum, eating candy, fighting with my brothers, swearing. (None of those lasted but a few days) As an adult—before recovery-- I gave up substances, bad behaviors and even bad men.

Now I look at this 40-day window as a grace period and try to apply some new recovery to the “giving up” idea. Giving up cruel self-talk, or giving up missing my favorite meetings, etc. Sometimes I can turn it around: Read a few pages of the Big Book each day for Lent, or call my sponsor every day—new positive behaviors that I wanted to make into habits.

Now, as I work an AA and an Alanon program I’m thinking about giving up my unrealistic to-do list that I make each morning and punish myself for each night. And maybe I’ll give up staying up past 10pm when I know that I live and love best when I get eight hours sleep.

What will you let go of for Lent? What new behavior will you give to yourself? What goodness and recovery will you allow? All sober people have already experienced one resurrection. With new behavior and new layers of change we get to have our spirits lifted up again and again.

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