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:

  1. I picked this selection for selfish reasons
  2. 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!

Today’s Miracle:

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!

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Posted on June 8, 2015, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. It’s bizarre how similar topics come up in so many blogs. Self acceptance and self hatred seem to be popular this week! I love how you use your groups insights and assistance for growth. That is inspiring.

    My personal journey has taken me from the depths of self hatred to a place of true peace.
    I think many of us drinkers strive for perfection because it provides a defence mechanism for criticism. The more perfect I am the less anyone can hurt me. Or tell me what to do. I’m fine on my own.

    Of course, eventually this become way too tiring and we need to accept it is a lonely and sad life.

    My word last year was acceptance. That meant accepting what is. Not striving for a personal best. Not being better today than yesterday. Just accepting me as I am.

    It took many arguments with my therapist to concede that it is the answer. I can’t change where I am now right now. So if I truly want peace and relaxation I must find it in this moment.

    This continues to be a work in progress. I slide into wanting things to be different too. But returning my thoughts gently back to my breathing and to where I am, in this moment, really works for me.

    I am fulfilled. I can still have goals, but they do not define me today as anything less.

    I hope that makes some sense!

    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been blogging now for over 3 years, and it never ceases to amaze me how the themes ebb and flow among us. It’s the exact same amazement I have at meetings, this morning’s included, where I admit something I think sounds crazy, and it turns out EVERYONE FEELS THE SAME!

      Anne, you and one of the top inspirations I have for pushing through with therapy and the other self-development practices I am tacking. We obviously share a lot in common, and, simply put, I want what you have in terms of self-acceptance.

      Bottom line: yes, you make sense, and I thank you, as always, for your wisdom!

      Like

  2. Journey!! Awesome 😀 Thanks for that blast from the past on this Monday! I’m planning to change up my routine a little this evening by doing yoga instead of riding my stationary bike, which I do every Monday–I think it might be “good for myself”!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was a journey freak in 8th grade through high school, glad I found a friend!

      I LOVE the idea of switching up this evening’s exercise, you just made me smile ear to ear. I hope it goes well. Plus you are inspiring me… people who look forward to yoga blow my mind!

      Like

  3. Untipsyteacher

    My lack of self-care also came because I was a workaholic.
    When I was teaching all I did was lesson plans each night, as well as teach all day, and went into my classroom each weekend.
    My only self-care was drinking.
    So I am learning all new ways to do this!!
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the “isms” rarely stop with alcohol, do they? I have a laundry list myself!

      Glad to read that you are open to learning, and now I’m thinking a post about the different ways to practice self-care may be in order. Thanks for getting me thinking!

      Like

  4. I love Living Sober. When I was new about I took up the literature secretary position in one of my home groups. I asked someone about living sober – I was about 5 months sober then. They said “Oh you’re past that stage now”. My ego soared, of course I was… I “borrowed” a copy from the groups stock (the value of literature secretary – I still suggest it to newcomers) and read it. Next week I put the cost in the pot and ordered one more of the group stock! LOVED IT – still do. Now one of my regular groups reads from it every week – it is still invaluable advice most times.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Terrific song btw! If you like Journey try out the new Revolution Saints band and album of the same name…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ho. Lee. Shit! Excuse the language, but dear God they sound just like Journey!!! Are they some kind of compilation band, and one of them is from Journey? The only Journey members I remember are Neil Schon and Steve Perry (of course, back in my swooning teenage days I could have told you every band member and all of their life stories!). I don’t recognize any of them, but every one of them sounds familiar, and the style of music is extremely familiar! I listened to Turn Back Time, but I’ll be listening to more.

      Thanks so much for this recommendation. I think I’ll go look up now to see if I know any of these cats from other bands…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dean drummer and many singer is ex Journey Doug guitar is ex Whitesnake and Dio. Brilliant aren’t they… Schon makes a guest appearance as does current journey singer on the album. Enjoy

        Like

  6. Wow this post and this thread is rich with such valuable insights…I love the idea that sobriety is self-care. I am (ironically) hard on myself about not being better about self care…I struggle to find balance with eating, and not working too much, etc. When I read your paragraph above that sobriety IS self-care, and progress not perfection (stuff I’m sure I heard before, but I just didn’t HEAR it really)…I realize that I too have already made leaps and bounds of progress with self-care. I used to drink until it hurt, and be so sick and so hungover that I had no idea how I even functioned…now in my 5th (almost 6th!!!!) month I am realizing each day by comparison how awfully I was living. The basics of taking care of myself are starting to seem normal to me. I am beginning to value myself enough to take care of myself.

    I am struggling with the idea of accepting where I am…because in working toward a healthier life, I’ve discovered that if I were to keep living the same way, I’d almost surely drink again, or die of an anxiety attack. My drinking facilitated me ignoring some pretty bad treatment from other people, and some increasingly unacceptable circumstances. I guess I spent a lot of time drinking at things I can’t change, and then by numbing myself I didn’t take the actions in life over things I can control..HA! Answered my own question LOL.
    I want to find acceptance of life as it is right now, but at the same time, I am “waking up” from the haze of drinking and finding that many parts of the life I was living leave me feeling like I just bathed in moral and actual sewage.
    Sorry I digressed and hijacked your post….thank you for your insight I look forward to what you write each week.
    Jenn

    Liked by 1 person

    • Never apologize for “hijacking” a post, I LOVE comments like these! And I’m so glad you got something out of this post, I know I did when at the meeting, and again in summarizing for the blog.

      The idea of accepting where you are when you find your current circumstances unacceptable… boy can I relate to this. The only advice I have, because it’s what’s being given to me, is that accepting the situation does not mean you agree with it, does not mean you won’t strive to change, grow, etc., it just means you believe you are where you are meant to be. And when I think of it that way, I realize that I can fight my circumstances all I want, but they won’t change right here, right now.

      And that gives me some peace.

      Until the monkey mind kicks back in, that is 🙂

      Thanks so much for the comment, HJ, and I wish you success in working towards a healthy self-acceptance!

      Like

  7. Josie,
    You always know what to say. THIS is one I’ll be printing and keeping on my bulletin board. First of all, I loved how open and honest you are with your group. As a facilitator of classes, myself – it’s not easy to admit that we don’t know everything. If only I could practice what I preach around self-care and self-compassion. I’m working on it. This post reminds me how important it is. Thank you!
    Please pass the rhubarb pie – it’s one of my favorites!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks,Michelle. The honesty thing is like ripping off a bandaid… an initial sting, and then the relief of having everything out of the open is so wonderful! And the pie was almost as wonderful, how lucky am I to have a baker come to the meeting?!?

      Like

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