November 8, 2011

Strategic Thinking: I Will Have a Program (Plan)

Program enables me to practice Strategic Thinking, even before I accept the powerlessness of my old ways in Step One.  

I use each of the Just For Todays (JFT) in the EA program, for to me, they point out Strategies that gently prepare to do my best with what I have. Strategic thinking helps me to simplify the difficult, encouraging me to "plan out" my best path for each day.   

Each JFT is part of a practical plan of action. Through using any one of them, I can begin focusing on this one day.  JFT #1 makes this goal particularly clear: all I need do is focus on getting through this one day, allowing myself to face discouragement, knowing This Too Shall Pass.  Definitely a strategy for early recovery. I find it beautiful and balanced that JFT #12 reiterates the goal of #1. Success really is living "just this one day." 

JFT #7 speaks about the basics of planning the details of the day,  "I shall have a Program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests, hurry and indecision."  Interestingly for me, hurry and indecision are the hallmarks of my malaise: anxiety.

Another strategy for me, in early recovery is to use JFT #9, each day.   This JFT reads, "...I will have a quiet time of meditation, wherein I shall think of my Higher Power, of myself, and of my neighbor. I shall relax and seek truth." This begins to create the space and structure for making Step Eleven a part of my life. 

JFT #10, is a especially suitable for my particular malaise of anxiety.  It is direct: "...I shall be unafraid." It provides the antidote too... "...particularly I shall be unafraid to be happy, [by enjoying] what is good, what is beautiful, what is lovely in life."

Whenever I struggle with anxiety, I am glad for three strategies in dealing with it that are outlined in JFT #4: "...I will take care of my physical health; I will exercise my mind [and body];  I will read something spiritual."

I have learned that to manage my anxiety means making physical health a priority, through maintaining steady blood sugar, not imbibing caffeine after noon, as well as making sure I get my B-vitamins, magnesium and other minerals. I also am careful to avoid crash and burn, by not eating carbohydrates alone.  I also exercise my mind with right thinking,  a daily puzzle I enjoy with my DH and learning something new every day. I choose some kind of vigorous/joyous physical exercise to help regulate my emotions and brain.  (A strategy I found during a particularly anxious time when I lost my first uncle to pancreatic cancer, and I was having tummy problems.)  I read something spiritual, even if it is simply the Bible verse that is on the wall at the gym to which I belong. But I usually carry with me a daily program reader for spare moments, or as daytime exercise, I consider how some piece of additional (outside) reading reinforces some idea or principle in our program.  

I further internalize and celebrate my work, by writing about it or sharing in a meeting.   Writing and sharing also are Strategic, for we gain in this program only by giving away the lessons that have helped us.    

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