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Jump Start 40: A Survivor's Guide continues...

Yet, somehow from somewhere, I have a voice inside me that says, "There is hope. There is joy. There is love. Lighten up. Let go. It is possible to have happiness in the most seemingly hopeless situations. Enthusiasm is not dead, only missing in action."

Sometimes what gets me back to sanity is an item I pick up from one of my files. And it may be the most unusual comment that gets my attention.

For example, a friend once told me, "Remember, it gets darkest before it gets pitch, F. black." I'm sure to some that hardly seems like a very positive statement. And yet it has gotten me through some of the darkest of times.

During those periods, I rant and rave at God. Something tells me God prefers for me to take it out on him-his shoulders are big enough-and not on his creations.

So, I begin a monologue with God which goes something like this, "Is this pitch black? It better be. If it's not, I'm not going to make it. I keep telling you God that you have me confused with someone who can shoulder more of a burden than I can. I know all that stuff about crosses and horses, and I'm telling You, You have the size of my cross confused with some other horse. So give me a break. Please, please, please let this be pitch black. I'm counting on you. And remember, if it's not, You'll have to do it all by Yourself. I can't take it anymore. Help. Do something God. I'm out of the picture."

This is not the gentlest way to "Let go and let God," and yet it works for me when I've reached the end. And I wouldn't have known where to begin had it not been for my friend's comment.

When I worked as educational coordinator for the local Council on Alcoholism/Drug Abuse, I watched people work through their denial.

I saw the light return to their eyes as they began to seek their own freedom by focusing their attention away from how they could change others and onto what they could do about themselves.

By watching others I learned recovery does not happen in a vacuum. God works through people. Yet, it never dawned on me until told by others that someone else might profit from the items I have stuffed in my files.

Faith is operating with one foot on the ground and the other in the air. That's what Mother Angelica told me when I interviewed her for a newspaper feature. She also said, most people who are seeking help have inspirational thoughts which often involve their time, energy and perhaps their money. Instead of acting on these inspirations, their so-called common sense talks them out of it first. She said many of us spend our time talking ourselves out of what God wanted us to do in the first place.

Those who know the story of Mother Angelica and her successful television ministry, recognize her life is based on the faith she describes. She started her television ministry without money or knowledge of how cable television works. She began with an inspiration, took the action and the rest fell into place.

So I had an inspiration. Did I act on it? No. I did exactly what Mother Angelica said most people do. The twist I used went something like this: "It's a great idea, and I'll do it when I find the time."

Now, the time has found me, and the items are forming themselves into a book entitled Jump Start Forty: A Survivor's Guide. Recovery in the Fast Lane. What lies on the pages which follow will be called cliches by some, lifesavers by others.

I think of them as bandages. They won't ease the pain of a wound which has been unattended. They can cover the wound and make it possible to function temporarily until greater help is found. Once the wound is properly treated, they can provide cover to save the injury from greater harm and serve as a reminder to treat that area with care.

Next: Jump Start 40: Acceptance

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