It's September, and it's my turn to contribute to IOCC. On the Jewish calender, we happen to be just eight days away from a new year. Rosh Hashanah (which this year begins at sunset on September 8, 2010) is the anniversary of Creation. It is a time for renewal and a time for taking stock.
In recovery, we are familiar with the major inventory of the Fourth Step and the continued "mini-inventory" of the Tenth Step. It is interesting that in the Big Book, the way it describes the Eleventh Step meditation is also as an inventory of what's to be done during the day ahead upon arising and of how the day was actually spent upon retiring.
In the days leading up to the New Year, we Jews have a custom of doing a yearly inventory.
When I look back at last year, I see a lot of changes. Notably, our family moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (where we had lived for six years) and relocated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Soon after that, we were blessed with the birth of -- thank G-d -- our fourth child, a daughter named, Chaya Mushka (which literally means "the spice of life.") Professionally, the nature of my work has changed quite a bit and I am now more focussed on writing and speaking all over the world as opposed to staying in one place and building a community. On a very exciting note, my book entitled G-d of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction is due to be released next month. (I will, G-d willing, post more about the book later.)
All of these changes are blessings. Change is life. But change can be scary. And that's why we rely so much on G-d so that we may have the "courage to change." When we remember to let G-d do His thing, and we just focus on doing our thing, then change becomes much more fluid, much more peaceful. In other words, life's gonna change regardless. How I deal with change is all in my head.
Indeed, the Hebrew word Rosh Hashanah which literally means "Head of the Year" also means "Head of the Change" since the words for "year" and "change" in Hebrew are so closely related. This Rosh Hashanah, I ask G-d to help me have a "head of change" -- a head that is able to deal with the movement of life and not get entrenched in what makes me comfortable now or how I want things to be. Having a head of change also means being able to quickly let go of opinions that I fought so hard to hold on to. I ask G-d to give me the maturity to realize when my outlook has been wrong and to quickly, gracefully move way from old ideas and thoughts.
And I ask to be able to see what it is that I can change in the world around me. Although "fixing" has gotten us into so much trouble in the past, there's a whole lot that we can fix, too. I can be of use to others. I can make someone's life better. Not because I have the power to change things for other people but because G-d who has all power sometimes chooses me as His agent to bring help to a fellow human being.
May your new year be full of new things and may you enjoy every minute of it.
Rabbi Shais Taub