Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Longterm Benefit of Writing in Books

I have been reading from the same meditation book for more than 20 years. It is Melody Beatty’s “The Language of Letting Go” and it is one of many “non-conference-approved” books that I rank high in my lifesaving library.

Beatty’s daily meditation book has a page a day with a brief essay on a recovery topic and some quotes or affirmations. I am so aware of the gift of seeing the same messages over and over, year after year—thru at least 20 years of my recovery. And today I am especially glad for the habit of writing in my books.

When I open this well-worn, broke-back, coffee (and tear) stained paperback—I can see the notes I scribbled in 1990, 1993, 2001, and 2003 and on and on. What makes me laugh now is to see the names of people (often coworkers or neighbors or boyfriends) that I was praying about. (Those anguished “help me” prayers) When I read them now I can’t quite remember what the big offenses or fears were about or I can see (humility) exactly why I was having an issue with that person—or kind of person.

I have this daily, written record of what has changed thru the course of my recovery—and most compelling what has not changed. When I come to my meditation altar and open this book today and see that ten and five and two years ago I had a similar issue with a different person I get a clear lesson in who (yes, me) has the issue. And it’s fresher than a journal because I am guaranteed to come to each of these pages at least once every 365 days.

Beatty’s lessons are all about denial, acceptance, detachment and letting go. But I am so glad that I never let go of this book so I have pure evidence—in my own handwriting—of how far I have come and what still lies ahead in my journey of recovery.

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