Updated: Mar 15
I love to read, but a whole book was daunting back in the state of mind and condition I was in before getting sober. I had plenty of them on my shelves, with all sorts of self-help, addiction, sobriety, mental health, mystic, religious, and spiritual topics; but they always just sat there. Staring at me with their wisdom radiating with Light from the seams and I just couldn’t manage to pick them up!
At meetings I would go to, they would often start with reading a passage from a book. These passages spoke to me, challenged me, and got my mind thinking in a new direction other than the disgust for my life and ever-growing self-pity. I came to know that these little books were called devotionals with shortly written pages meant to be read just one day at a time. And they have changed my life forever better!!
#1: Language of Letting Go - Daily Meditations on Co-Dependency by Melody Beattie
The Language of Letting Go is my first devotional love. As I would read from it each day, I started to understand a side of me that perpetuated most of my life and my using habits. I have a need to be loved, liked, and accepted like many people do, however it had grown into a bitter dependency on others for my self-worth and identity. These pages spoke directly to those thoughts I never wanted
to think or share about myself. The stories and situations were so familiar, but then the pages shifted to a new way to look at these issues. To look inside and see a different perspective. During those moments of reading, rereading, and reflecting on the words of Melody Beattie, my soul began to crack open. I allowed the Light of her words to shine in. Soon that Light began to radiate out of me, and I will never be the same person I was before picking up this book.
#2: Twenty-Four Hours a Day - Anonymous
Twenty-Four Hours a Day was the first devotional I heard people reading from at my meetings. It’s a small book, just 6”x3”, with a simple black cover, but it’s packed with both reality and hope about addiction and faith. There’s a section that always ends with a question to ask yourself, prompting introspection. I was terrified of asking these questions to myself, let alone having to comment on them to a room full of strangers. I stayed silent in those rooms, stayed in my mind, and passed when it was my turn to share. I just couldn’t bear to accept that these things I was reading, these things others were saying, were the truth and reality of my own life. How did this happen whispered loudly in my self-defeated ears over and over again. After years of resisting the words, I finally surrendered and was struck with a miraculous lightning bolt. My soul cracked open even further and I felt like I was broken open to the depths of my core, but it didn't hurt like I thought it would. It was the biggest release of burdens I'd ever felt. As I read, reread, and hear others share from this book those cracks continually fill in and restore me for another 24.
#3: Love Out Loud - 365 Devotions for Loving God, Loving Yourself and Loving Others by Joyce Meyer
Man, I struggled with this one for years. It was given to me by my sister-in-law when the unraveling of my life began. At the time I just couldn’t relate to it and that made me angry.
So I’d pick it up, read it, not like it, and put it back down again. Written by Joyce Meyer who is renowned for being able to relate to people and bring understanding out of the most popular book in the World, just wasn’t speaking to me. Up until about this same time, Christianity was my most studied spiritual practice and it wasn’t sinking in, it felt like all I had relied on up to now was failing me. But it wasn’t, I was failing myself. Sure, I could love others, but love myself? After everything, I had done? With the synergy of my other devotionals, Love Out Loud took me back to the roots of my faith and cracked the door of my heart open to real love. Love of myself, of others, and of God. P.S. Now I've read this so much the pages are falling out!
#4: Buddhism & the Twelve Steps - Daily Reflections by Kevin Griffin
As I was healing, growing into my recovery, and my faith, I started to practice yoga. From these classes, I was introduced to many of the teachings and philosophies of Eastern spiritualities. Once again, my heart was opened up to another facet of faith. I discovered awareness, presence, and clarity from Buddhism & the Twelve Steps Daily Reflections that took my spirituality and recovery to yet another deeper level. There’s an ease, peace, and serenity to these practices that seemed to dissipate from the pages right into my being. I’m eternally grateful for the equanimity I’ve learned to embody from Kevin Griffin's words and look forward to growing in this area of spirituality for years to come!
#5 - The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman
I never knew. I never even thought that Emperors, Kings, philosophers, and former slaves alike could internally be struggling with the same exact emotions I do. Until I read The Daily Stoic, this true commonality hadn't sunk in this way. All of these feelings, all of these emotions and behaviors every single one of us feels, feel the same things. Literally from the beginning of time and every day since the wisdom of our feelings and behaviors has been recorded over and over again. The Daily Stoic approached this in a completely new way for me, from completely new luminaries that challenged and strengthened my faith in a completely new direction. I'm learning more deeply that despite our worldly circumstances, internally we are all on the same journey of discovering this magic that lies inside and around us. I'm so blessed to have stumbled across these wise words!
In writing this post and thinking back to how impactful these books have been for me, it was yet another time they’ve brought me healing. It was still painful again to revisit those feelings and places of myself that were once so raw, unknown, and scary. But then that magic of them also shone through as I realized I wasn’t there anymore and how far I'd come.
And as I continue to read these devotionals to this day a new layer of growth always happens. As I’m faced with new challenges, I still find each day of reading so applicable, so insightful, and revealing. It’s as if the passages in these books are creating layers of myself that stack like layers of bricks for me to climb every day until I reach my next dimension. Wisdom of the ages wrapped up as gifts beneath my feet each and every 'present' day. I hope you pick some up and join the climb with me!
With Blessings & Bliss, Elizabeth
Have you read any of these? I'd love to hear what you think about them below!! Have a different favorite? Please share that too, I'm always up for a new one to add to the "brick" pile. ;)