By: Ben Rose
GENEROSITY OF THE SEASON
Ramadan Kareem translates to, “Have a generous Ramadan.” Allahu Akram often follows this greeting, “The Lord is much more generous.” This greeting and response are standard this time of year in The Muslim faith. Fasting from sunrise to sunset to celebrate the revelation of the Quran, I am drawn primarily by the response, “The Lord is much more generous.”
As one in recovery, I can’t imagine a greater generosity than to be freed from addiction and my character defects and shortcomings. I also believe that fasting has a place. Fasting need not be only a food fast, in my experience. I take medication that requires me to eat, so a food fast would be detrimental to my overall health.
I can, however, forgo watching TV, visiting social media, or other activities and instead pray more. I can use the time to study The Big Book of AA or The Basic Text of NA. I can make extra meetings on Zoom. In this way, through prayer and meditation, I believe I am showing gratitude for the utmost generosity of The Lord.
LET MY PEOPLE GO
The celebration of Passover is a celebration of freedom from bondage. Many types of bondage exist. There is slavery that existed in Egypt and the United States and still exists in the form of human trafficking. This type of bondage must be met head-on and eradicated, if only by studying the past sins and doing our utmost to protect those suffering in our present day.
There is the bondage of poverty. So many in this world can barely afford rent and food. Many must forgo one to have the other. We can help eradicate this through our own generosity and through supporting social programs. And then there is the bondage of addiction.
Addiction is a bondage that seemingly can only be alleviated, not eradicated. Once an addict, always an addict. However, there is recovery. Recovery appears to require a spiritual awakening and a willingness to turn one’s life and will over to the care of a power greater than oneself. I have never met a person who has found true freedom in recovery without some spiritual program, even if it was not a traditional path.
As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith led alcoholics into a new spiritual land wherein they could not only find freedom, but they could also free others.
Jimmy Kinnon did the same thing for drug addicts in 1953. In both cases, their Higher Power or the God of their understanding led them to lead others out of bondage. It wasn’t especially easy for Moses, and it wasn’t easy for Bill, Bob, and Jimmy. Recovery isn’t about easy. It is about necessity.
BEHOLD THE EMPTY GRAVE
The celebration of Easter is one of resurrection. Jesus came to Earth and preached that people should love their neighbors by feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, and visiting the destitute and those in prison. People should do everything in their power and beyond their human power to love even their enemies. Jesus demonstrated his great love when he gave his very life to save humanity from their sins.
As addicts, we were once dead. There is truly no other way that one can describe the disease of addiction. Drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, sex, whatever the addiction, enslaved us. We were not living and functioning outside of our addiction. Then came the point for those in recovery where we had an awakening. As Jesus was raised from the grave, we were also lifted out of our personal Hells. We, too, were resurrected.
SPRING HAS SPRUNG
For those who are not on a traditional path and those who do not follow the “three major faiths,” there is still a renewal in Spring. April and May are a time of blooming flowers and warmer weather when we plant gardens, till the soil, plant crops, shed our winter coats, and enjoy the sun.
In recovery, we also can enjoy a time of renewal. We can make an effort to go outside more, to perhaps attend meetings outside (socially distanced), and to give thanks for our lives that are far freer without the bondage of addiction.
No longer trapped inside by inclement weather, we can visit and carry a meeting to those in recovery who might be homebound or in care facilities. There is so much that Spring offers us if we only pay attention and give gratitude to a Power greater than ourselves.
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW…
Whether you celebrate Ramadan, Passover, Easter, or another holiday this season, it is an excellent time to remember gratitude. It is a perfect time to show love and compassion for others.
We, as a world, have suffered through two years of isolation, panic, worry, and fear due to a pandemic over which we had no control, which made our lives unmanageable. We see sunlight on the horizon. We are seeing a possibility of returning to something we have been missing. While we return, let us not lose the lessons of this season.
Our Higher Power is more than generous with us, we are free from bondage if we want to be, and we can be resurrected from our personal Hells.
There are gardens to plant, flowers to enjoy, and people to love. I offer my best hopes and wishes for a continued wonderful year.
Bio: Ben Rose
Ben is an Oregon native who currently resides on The Florida Gulf. He has traveled extensively by bus, car, freight train, Amtrak, and foot to see America and find stories to write.
He was born at the end of the turbulent sixties, and much of that is reflected in his writing. In addition, his travels started in his formative years. Early in life, he developed a love of cheap motels, greasy spoons, and great comedians.
He speaks fluent hipster as well as English and a smattering of French. He is an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, a supporter of human rights, and a believer in racial and gender equality. As one with Asperger’s, GAD, and PTSD, he has seen his share of hard traveling, abuse, and bullying, also reflected in his literary works.
He currently resides with his beautiful, better half and their emotional support cat.
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Your Words Can Give Someone Hope and Encouragement
Some of us were forced to accept that we had an addiction. Others willingly acknowledged that they had a problem.
Regardless of our bottom, forced or self-realized, most of us came into recovery afraid, lonely, and uncertain.
When you share your experience, strength, and hope with someone struggling in their addiction or recovery, you are doing what the founders of 12-Steps wanted – one addict or alcoholic helping another.
Writing and Recovery Heal the Heart