Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Do Not Feed the Crocodiles

“The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of
the mind” - William Blake

While I was doing the steps in early recovery, my online sponsor used to set homework assignments which usually were summaries of the pages we were covering in the Big Book.  One day she asked me to read up and summarize the differences between crocodiles and alligators.  I also had to go out and buy a white board with a marker pen.
Rather bewildered, I set about searching the internet for the information.  I found out where they normally lurk, what they eat, how long they were, the size of their jaws, how many teeth they had and a whole load of rather informative information.  I summarized it and put it into a word document and emailed it to her.  Then, even more puzzled, I went off and found the cheapest white board together with pen and eraser in a kiddies shop.
The next day she asked me what I had learned.  I said “They are really dangerous – I wouldn’t want to come face to face with one of those!”  She then instructed me to write this on my board in large letters and keep it wherever I spend most of my time:
It suddenly dawned on me what this was all about.  The crocodiles were a symbol of negative thinking which for an alcoholic, is a very dangerous place to be.  Should I find myself in a situation that provokes anger or resentment, I must sort it out immediately.  Should feelings of inadequacy or self-pity arise, I must pull myself together and think positively.  I must say that that little board travelled around with me for a few days and eventually ended up on the wall above my computer.
God works in mysterious ways.  About a month later, I was invited to go on holiday with my brother and his wife.  We were going to be joined by other people I didn’t really know.  It was a fishing trip and due to the drought that year, I knew that the lake would not have much water in it and I was worried about the others drinking the holiday away.  After many excuses and much consideration, I made up my mind I would go.  Armed with my Big Book, my laptop with my speaker tapes on it and my crocodile board, I put those negative feelings aside and off we went.
The second day, we decided to take the boat down to the lake.  Just as I had thought, it was not worth trying to launch the boat, so we set down a blanket and opened up the packed lunch we had bought with.  Low and behold, right next to where we were sitting was a sign that said:

So I took a picture.  The little white board had now been replaced with it and is still a screen saver on my laptop and a printed version sits above my work desk.  The holiday was an awesome break and there was not much drinking except in the evenings which did not worry me one little bit!
Life does get us down at times and we can also start thinking the worst of things that can happen.  We also get hurt and we can sit and feel sorry for ourselves or we can accept it as positive input and move on.  Anything that happens in our world is for a reason.  If we keep feeding our minds with negative thoughts, we will only attract negative people and negative things.  Every stumbling block we come across is an opportunity for change for the better.  We just need to learn to reprogram our thought process.  Using affirmations helps us to do this. Together with the serenity prayer which I use all the time is this one:

God, Higher Power, Creator of the Universe
Please direct my thoughts, words, actions and emotions this day.
Please put the people places & things in my path that you see relevant
And allow me to see the relevance, the love and the lesson!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. It is echoing the theme that is all over my life these days.