M(3), 6/8/15: Be Good to Yourself
I walked into my Monday meeting this morning with only a few minutes to share, and there were only TWO ATTENDEES! My heart, I must admit, sank, because I haven’t seen those kinds of low numbers for a long time. Then I remembered it was summer, plus, it’s not the quantity, it’s the quality! And before we got to the reading itself we had 6 more join us, one carrying a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie, so life is good!
Being the second Monday of the month, we read from the book Living Sober, the book I recommend for anyone new to sobriety, whether or not you choose to participate in a 12-step fellowship. I selected the chapter a bit selfishly, in deference to my new commitment to self-acceptance (see last post for details): Being Good to Yourself.
As we read the chapter, I mentally switched gears to apply the chapter to my sobriety. Either I never read this chapter before, or I did not take it seriously, but I completely disregarded these suggestions when I first got sober. I was shocked as I read, then I laughed at my shock. If I need to work as hard as I am on this endeavor more than 3 years into sobriety, then it should come as no surprise that I didn’t learn it along the way!
So I admitted to the group that:
- I picked this selection for selfish reasons
- I had nothing meaningful to contribute from my own personal experiences
Luckily the group had my back, and had some wonderful insights that really helped me:
- The biggest take-away I received, and this was really from every member of the group (because every member had a chance to share, this is the great part of a smaller meeting): the tendency to be hard on oneself is a common trait among alcoholics. We have shame that we drink, we don’t like that shame, we drink to escape the shame, we feel bad physically, we drink some more. Getting off the alcoholic merry-go-round does not necessarily mean we take away the tendency to be hard on ourselves, we just find different means with which to perpetuate the cycle. Yet another reminder why self-care is so important to cultivate.
- The second most important insight: self-care is another arena in which the phrase “progress, not perfection” applies. Consider the self-care of active addiction versus the self-care of sobriety. I will speak for myself when I say there is no comparison! Not only was I ingesting substances that essentially poisoned my body, those substances caused insomnia, loss of appetite, and created a complete lack of energy. I had no meaningful connection with other humans, since I was always in some state of denial, and I had no remote thought of a spiritual life. By comparison, my self-care of today is exemplary. Good to remember next time I’m beating myself up for beating myself up!
- One attendee (the baker of the strawberry rhubarb pie) believes the most important thing he does everyday towards self-care is not drink. No matter what else, this act must come first.
- Another friend remembered well the feeling of perfectionism being a catalyst for his addiction: “Well, I can’t seem to do anything perfectly, might as well drink and not bother at all!” In recovery, he works hard to strike the balance between trying his hardest and fighting his tendency towards perfectionism.
- The struggle against perfectionism came up with every person who shared this morning. One person shared he strives for excellence rather than perfection; for doing his personal best rather than “the best.”
All great stuff, as usual, now I need to take it out my pocket and put it to good use. Happy Monday!
After a fairly long hiatus from getting all my morning “good for you” stuff done (exercise, meditation and the like), this Monday I checked every item off the list. Not surprisingly, I feel good about being good to myself!
Posted on June 8, 2015, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged 12 step program, 12 steps, AA, Acceptance, Addictions, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, fellowship, Living Sober, Meeting, Miracle, Monday, Recovery, Self care, Sobriety, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.