Be Good To Yourself
Don’t you love when an issue plays out in your life like a story arc on television? A problem is presented, you puzzle over it, and, after a hopefully brief time, the issue resolves itself? A situation like that just happened with me.
Saturday night, I’m at Mass, and during the homily the priest says, “There are two different questions you need to answer. First, do you want to be a disciple of Christ? The second, completely separate question: are you willing to do what it takes to be a follower?” He proceeds with the homily, but I instantly relate these questions to my experience with recovery from addiction. In active addiction, I dreamed of recovery too many times to count. I could easily imagine a fantasy life where I was free of the obsession to drink or use drugs. I could see that end point as clearly as I could see whatever happened to be in front of me at the moment.
The trouble was, I had a problem with the second piece of that puzzle… I was not willing to do what it took to get to that finish line. I wanted the prize, but I was not willing to put in the work… back then. Now, of course, there is a happy ending. Nineteen months sober, actively involved in a 12-step program, life is good.
So why was Saturday night’s homily still on my mind? I could not figure it out. When I think about my life from a recovery stand point, I feel very centered, balanced, right on point, which is a miracle in and of itself. Nothing crazy is happening in my life, family and friends are well. So what part of those questions is still niggling?
This morning I held my Monday morning meeting. The literature we read from is a book called Living Sober. It is an easy-to-read book that gives practical advice for the newly sober. I absolutely loved this book when I just started out, and I thought I had read every chapter. So I asked one of my regular attendees to pick a selection that he thought spoke to him this morning. He selected a chapter titled “Be Good To Yourself.” It talks about the importance of giving yourself credit for the good you are doing. Alcoholics tend to want to rush everything… once you figure out that you are alcoholic, you tend to think, “Okay! Problem solved, let’s move on!” But addiction does not work like that; it a problem that took time to develop, and it takes time to recover, and so patience and self-love are critical components when you are newly sober.
And, just like that, a light bulb went off in my head, what had been bothering me since Saturday night.
As I have written about quite a few times, I have been working on a fitness program for myself. Of late, the program has been building to participating in a Recovery 5K, which is quickly approaching. When I first mentioned this 5K, about 5 weeks ago, my plan was to build up to doing some sort of running/walking combination. Through the course of my training, however, I injured my leg, and, try as I might, the only way that I can participate is to walk the whole race. Not at all problematic, as this particular 5K offers both options, so all I had to do was register as a walker.
The problem, however, is (as usual) all in my head. And what was niggling for me, since Saturday night, is that I keep playing back that second question (are you willing to do what it takes?), and I keep thinking that I’m not. All I have been focusing on these past few weeks is what I am not doing… running. All my head keeps saying to me is: you’re not trying hard enough. You are not pushing through the pain. You could do this, but you’re choosing not to. That insidious, persistent monkey mind has been at work, full-time, and I have been doing nothing to shut it up.
I haven’t wanted to even talk about it, because (and I’m sure this is the monkey mind at work) I feel like admitting what I am thinking is akin to fishing for compliments… please tell me how good I’ve been doing! Point out all the positive changes!
And I’m really not, because all the external praise in the world is but a soft whisper to the roar of the monkey mind. The monkey mind is a complete know-it-all, and there is only one person that can shut that monkey up, and that person is me.
So, for the rest of this week, I am going to continue training for my walking 5K, and I am going to celebrate that I am:
- sticking to a commitment
- doing regular, consistent exercise
- enjoying some really fabulous fall weather, and, most important,
- participating in something I would have never dreamed possible for myself, an athletic event! Talk about the idea that anything is possible!
Admitting these thoughts at all is a miracle, I am embarrassed just reading back through them, but the truth shall hopefully set me free!
Posted on September 9, 2013, in Monday Meeting Miracles and tagged 5K, Addiction, Book, Christ, Living Sober, Mass, Monday, Question, Recovery, running, Saturday, Sobriety, Thought, Twelve-Step Program, walking. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.