By:  Vince DiPasquale

Living on the East Coast we are given the great experience of the four seasons of life.  Winter is a time of the womb; Spring the time of birth; Summer a time of growth; Fall is the golden years of beauty.  Take the time during the special month of February to reflect on the journey of life.  God gives us so many lessons that we can learn from nature.  The early Indians and Pilgrims understood their deep connection to nature.  Even the animals understood God’s plan.  Winter was a time to hibernate, rest, and get ready for birth.  As I look out at the barren beach in the cold morning it’s as though Mother Nature is getting us ready for new birth and a new beginning.

Winter tells us to take time to pull back, reflect, restart and work on our spirit.  We are God’s creatures getting ready for the journey.  Winter reminds me that at the end of each day we go to sleep and retreat back to the womb for rest and a real sense of letting go and trusting in our Creator.  Sleep is a time for our next journey.  Our 12-Step programs tell us in the 10th Step to do a daily inventory, turn the day over to our Creator and say good night with prayers of gratitude for the day.  Let’s look at winter in a positive way.  We all need time to hibernate in our caves and be open to learn the lessons of each day.   Winter is definitely telling us to Let Go and Let God.

Spring is a time of new birth.  It is nature’s coming out party.  Everything around us seems to come alive and help us to look at the wonderful message of God’s creation.  We are told to wake up and smell the roses.  For the early settlers it was a time to plant and nurture the land for their future food supply.  They were living off the land as God intended us to do.  For those in recovery it’s a time to wake up and begin our day with prayer and meditation.  Try to wake refreshed and with a spirit of gratitude and humility and hopefully to be open to God’s plan for us.  Spring reminds us to spring forward.  We are taught in our 3rd, 7th and 11th Step prayers to be grateful for the gift of life each day and to be open to whatever God’s will is for us.  Try to begin each day with an attitude of gratitude and the spirit of humility and learning.  Each day is the first day of the rest of your life.

Summer is a time of growth, play and celebration.  As a child it was a time to be outdoors, go to the beach and enjoy life.  To the early settlers it was a time to watch the earth begin to blossom and to enjoy the fruits of their labors.  It was a time for picnics with neighbors and to enjoy each other.  In recovery we are reminded to continue to grow and discover the wonderful gifts of life.  To grow in knowledge and learning is our birthright so we face our history and learn to accept the gift of self.  Also it’s a time to remind us to play and celebrate with our friends and family once again.   We all have so much to celebrate.  We have been given so many rewards because we have faced our pain and earned our lessons through the experiences of life.  Enjoy the spirit of summer.  Life is to be lived and to develop the willingness to enjoy the rewards of our work.

Fall with its changes and beautiful colors, reminds us that everything has a beginning and an end.  In nature we experience the harvest and the preparation for winter.  It’s a time to remind us that we are all given so many lessons in life.  Fall reminds us of the

sadness of ending and closure.  It reminds us of the golden years.  They are a chance to enjoy the fruits of our labor.  In recovery we are taught we will receive so many rewards if we are only willing to be open to change and to grow.  We are all God’s children.  We have so many miracles inside of us.  The fall season reminds us to celebrate all life’s gifts, a time to do closure, make settlement and bring things to a conclusion.  It’s a time to remind us to mature and celebrate the mysteries of life.  Let’s take all that we’ve learned and nurture it each day.  Make it a time to enjoy life and its rewards.

The seasons of the year remind us in recovery how the 12 Steps work.  To  summarize:

Winter is the journey from denial to struggle and to surrender. The1st Step reminds us that we are powerless over so many things and many situations in life.  Don’t be afraid of struggle, it will lead us to growth.

Spring is a time to come alive and to be open to a power greater than ourselves.  We come to believe and learn the value to Let Go and Let God.   It’s a time to experience the miracle of life through all of God’s beauty.

Summer is our journey through Steps 4-9.  It’s a time to do our work, take inventory and learn how to heal and accept our humanness.  It’s also a time of forgiveness for us and others.

Fall is the time to reap the rewards of our work.  We experience in Steps 10-12 the spirit of gratitude and openness to God’s will for us.

Enjoy the seasons of life.  We are a people in progress and growth.  Let’s all be open to life’s changes as we experience the seasons of nature.  May our journey be blessed in all that we strive to accomplish.