Inspiration can be defined as “Divine guidance or influence exerted directly on the mind and soul.” Sometimes we find this type of inspiration through people, a TV show, a magazine article, or a song. And sometimes we have to search within ourselves. But no matter where we find it, inspiration can help us focus on the good things in life, and in some cases, even help us believe there’s something that guides and influences us.

Here’s a song I listen to now and then for inspiration with my writing. It reminds me of times in my early sobriety when all I could do was hold on and have hope everything would be all right.

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Negative Thinking

“When it rains it pours.”  “That’s just my luck.”  “Why do things always have to happen to me?”  Do you or someone you know say any of these things when something goes wrong in life? Although statements like these may seem harmless, studies show that speaking negatively can actually help perpetuate negative events in our lives. Studies also show that not only should we be careful with what we say, but more importantly what we think. Our thoughts are more powerful than you might imagine, and when we think and speak negatively, it can lead to a very problematic life.

It took a few years in my sobriety before I started changing my thoughts to more positive ones, and it was well worth the effort. Today, I have very few problems in my life, and even when I do, I use them as a chance to grow.  

I’ve learned that stopping negative thoughts as quickly as I can and watching what I say helps me live a happier and more useful life.  Not a  perfect one, but a better one than when I was drinking.  That life, while not always miserable, sure seemed that way because of my negative thinking.

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A Simple Reason for Fear

I thought I’d share something that I read in the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous years ago about having fears. It basically states that we are afraid we won’t get something we want or will lose something we already have.  I like this because it gives a simple reason for why we can feel fearful from time to time.

One of the things that helps me with my fear is trying to believe that there is something (rather than nothing) that created life and the universe for a reason.

I try to believe as hard as I can that there is something more than just this world, but I also try to believe in myself. I find that when my belief in a creator and myself are strong, I’m less fearful and more joyful in life.

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Sometimes Regrets are Good

I learned many things about myself when I used to go to Alcoholic’s Anonymous and do the Steps, but I didn’t always agree with everything I read in the literature. One of those things was one of the Promises written in the Big Book…”we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” Even with thirteen years of continuous sobriety under my belt, I still feel some regret for not being a better father and husband than I was.

I do, however, agree with the last part of that Promise, and I actually use the way I feel to help others. I explain to people that we can use the sadness, and in many cases anger we feel towards ourselves, to help motivate us to be a better person today.

I get emotional at times when speaking about my past, but quite a few people have told me they feel a connection when I cry. You’d be surprised at how many people relate to feelings of sadness and anger for past regrets, and how much better they feel hearing someone talk about it.

Sometimes regrets are good. Especially when they can help us remember we’re no longer who we used to be. I’m not the same person I was in my drinking days and I’m glad I’m able to use the way I feel about my past to help others.

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A Reason for Everything?

When something good happens it’s fairly easy to say there was a reason for it. However, when some random tragedy occurs that doesn’t seem to have any meaning to it, can we possibly say there’s a reason for everything?

When I consider some of the tragic events that take place in people’s lives, and the world, I wonder what meaning any of it could have. However, tragedies aside, I have learned to use unwanted circumstances in my life as a way to grow stronger, and find meaning to why I went through what I did.

Maintaining gratefulness for what’s good in my life during rough times helps, and so does talking to people who have gone through far worse things than us. I’ve met people who lost children and became inspired by their stories. They not only spoke of their tragedy, but how they fought to make sense of it. The end result was that they found a way to survive one of the hardest things a parent can go through, and eventually return to some level of happiness again.   

I don’t pretend to fully understand why some people go through the awful things they do, or why there has to be tragedy in the world at all, but I still try to believe there’s a reason for everything. I remind myself of the good things that happen in our world, and think about all the stories I’ve heard from people who survived horrific events and were able to find meaning to them. Stories that may not prove there’s a reason for everything, but hopefully inspires us all to be more grateful in life and see how our experiences can help others.

Perhaps this is the best way for us to add meaning to our lives, and the events that take place in them. The good things, the bad things, and the things we don’t understand.

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Grateful To Have Met You

It’s hard for me to accept negative events in my life, and I hope I never have to go through any of the tragic, and often traumatic events that some people do. But I’ve met those who have experienced horrific things in their life and made it through them. Some said they actually became stronger because of their ordeal, and gave credit to not being afraid to ask for the help they needed. They also told me they were able to find some level of happiness in their lives again.

Although seeking help can be hard for some people, the choice to be happy can be even harder.  However, the people I mentioned did make a choice, and some said they were also eventually able to feel grateful for the good things in their lives again. I want to thank them because their stories give me hope that if I were to ever experience a tragedy in my life, I too could make it through and perhaps also find happiness again.

I’m certainly grateful to have met these people, and promise to pass their inspirational stories along to others who need to hear them.

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Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect But…

Although I’ve made a lot progress in not doing things that make me feel bad, there are still times when I behave in ways I don’t like myself for.  I realize, however, that I’m not perfect and that these types behavior can actually help me get back on the road to happiness.

For example; without the wrongs I’ve done in the past and the unhappiness they brought, I wouldn’t know how wonderful it feels when I do something good in my life.  Also, without the negative behaviors I sometimes still display, I wouldn’t know how great it feels when I act in more positive and loving ways.

Without the negative we can’t experience the positive, but we can limit the negative by trying to be a better a person than we were before. I do this by practicing love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance toward others, and more importantly, toward myself on days when I’m not being the best me.

I may not be perfect, but when I practice these things as best I can, I feel happier in life and make others happier too.

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