M(3), 3/9/15: Easy Does It
And a great Monday it is: it feels spring-like (well, relative to what we’ve been experiencing of late), it’s SUNNY, snow is melting, and we had a nice turnout at the morning’s meeting. AND I’m heading up to spend a hooky day with my BFF in NYC… it doesn’t get better than this!
Second Mondays of the month feature selections from the book Living Sober; today’s chapter is entitled “Easy Does It.” I selected that chapter on the fly based upon a situation one of my friends shared with me before the meeting, I assumed based on the title it would be just what she needed to read. Turns out, I needed to read it too!
Here are some of the typical examples of how people who identify as alcoholics tend NOT to employ the strategy of easy does it:
- Feeling the need to finish the last drop of a drink, be it alcoholic one or soft
- Needing to read a book to its finish in as close to one sitting as humanly possible
- Taking on too many projects/responsibilities/commitments at once
- Finding it difficult to relax
Any of these sound familiar? I was unpleasantly surprised to find out that they are all familiar, both during active addiction, and in sobriety.
For me, several of the strategies listed in the chapter sound like they could be useful for me to practice a bit more “easy does it” in my own life. The first, and most important, is to keep goals realistic and reasonable. I can’t tell you how many diet or fitness regimens I started and ended because I wasn’t meeting my pie-in-the-sky goals by the end of week one. Next, the chapter talks about creating a to-do list for the day, then deliberately discarding half of it. Fascinating concept, and one I think I will try… I’ll get back to you on how effective I find that one to be. Finally, and this is one I have been trying, is spending a few quiet moments with myself. I have been attempting to incorporate meditation into my life for several weeks now. I am by no means doing it daily, certainly not for very long, and probably not very effectively, but I am trying, and I do feel a sense of calm when I do. It’s good to know this practice will help with the overall goal of trying to take things a bit easier.
The woman who shared next said the word that came to her mind while reading this chapter is balance. For her, it’s about taking stock of her overall life, and her feeling about her life, and making sure she is attending to each area. Particularly in terms of sobriety, she finds that when she does not keep that part of her life in balance, which for her means attending enough meetings, sharing what’s going on with her sober support network, praying, and reading literature, she feels it in all areas of her life. Making sure she is in balance with her program of recovery usually means the rest of her life stays in balance as well.
A gentleman who just celebrated his 8-month anniversary said he could benefit from the application of this slogan to his personal program of recovery, specifically, working the 12 steps. He originally felt frantic about getting through all the steps in as short a time frame as possible; in his mind, everyone around him had less sober time but were on the latter steps. He rushed through steps 1 through 3, then completely stalled out on step 4. Finally, he realized that there is no race to finish the steps, there is no graduation from the program of recovery, and the only person with whom he should compete is himself. When he reframed his perspective this way, he became proud of his accomplishments, and realized he needed to start over and thoroughly go through those first 3 steps. Once he did that, step 4 became a breeze to sit down and complete!
A long-timer in recovery had spent all of his morning prior to the meeting playing catch-up with some of his work responsibilities, so when he saw the selection I had chosen, his reaction was one of annoyance. He said that a paragraph in particular stood out to his as we were reading:
When we do find ourselves up-tight and even frantic, we can ask ourselves occasionally, “Am I really that indispensable?” or “Is this hurry really necessary?” What a relief to find the honest answer is frequently no! And such devices actually serve, in the long run, not only to help us get over our drinking problem and its old ways; they also enable us to become far more productive, because we conserve and channel our energy better. We arrange priorities more sensibly. We learn that many actions once considered vital can be eliminated if they are thoughtfully reexamined. “How much does it really matter?” is a very good question. -Ch. 18, Living Sober
Ouch! Message received. He realized this is precisely what he needed to read today!
This is one of those readings that would benefit all of humanity, not just those of us who choose to remain sober. I shall try to employ these strategies immediately as I head up to the Big Apple later today!
Choosing a reading selection that speaks personally to every person in a meeting, myself included, is an awesome thing!
Posted on March 9, 2015, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged 12 steps, AA, Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, easy does it, fellowship, Living Sober, Meeting, Miracle, Monday, Recovery, Sobriety, Support group, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.