12/12/16: Be Good to Yourself

The title of this blog post, which also happens to be the title of the chapter we read in the morning’s meeting (from the book Living Sober) might seem counterintuitive given the endless tasks of the current holiday season.  Who has time to take care of themselves when there are gifts to be bought, presents to be wrapped, cookies to be baked, parties to attend, and all of this amidst our daily lives?

And the answer is:  make the time.  You can’t transmit what you haven’t got.  And if you don’t take the time to acquire the holiday spirit, then all the cooking, baking and shopping in the world isn’t going to give it to you.

Interestingly, this reading selection was not picked by me, but by a regular attendee of the meeting.  And he did not select this reading in deference to holiday madness; rather, he selected it in deference to my madness, and the madness that surrounds my ongoing foot troubles.

So let me back it up a few steps and fill you in on exactly what’s happening with the foot.  For several years now, I’ve had a problem with foot pain.  The more I exercise, the worse it gets.   Over the summer I joined a gym that is the most intense workout that I’ve personally endured, and so the recurring foot problem reared its ugly head.

Long story short, I finally went and had the problem diagnosed, found out there is a very simple outpatient procedure that can fix the problem, and scheduled to have it done in early November.  I was uncharacteristically on the ball with the whole process… asked in-depth questions, looked out in the calendar to get the best 5 day window for the healing process, organized my life accordingly.

And I had the surgery, and was told it was a success.  Except… my foot had more pain than before I started.  And so the last several weeks have been spent trying to figure out exactly why this is so.  This afternoon I have an appointment where the doctor will read the MRI and hopefully give me a firm diagnosis and solution.

This process… and I dislike wrapping it up like this, as if the process is complete, which it by no means is… has been inconvenient, frustrating, anxiety-producing, and has forced me to reach out for help in ways that make me extremely uncomfortable.

So when my friend first suggested the reading, I wanted to roll my eyes to the ceiling.  “Being good to myself” is all I’ve been doing, since I don’t have much of a choice to do anything else… my foot won’t let me!

Plus the chapter is all about sobriety, so I doubted it would have much relatability to my current state of affairs.

Then I read this section:

Now that we know alcoholism is not immoral behavior, we have found it essential to readjust our attitudes. We have learned that one of the persons least likely to treat the alcoholic like a sick person is, somewhat surprisingly, the alcoholic herself (or himself). Once again, our old thinking habits are cropping up.

It’s often said that problem drinkers are perfectionists, impatient about any shortcomings, especially our own. Setting impossible goals for ourselves, we nevertheless struggle fiercely to reach these unattainable ideals.

Then, since no human being could possibly maintain the extremely high standards we often demand, we find ourselves falling short, as all people must whose aims are unrealistic. And discouragement and depression set in. We angrily punish ourselves for being less than super-perfect.

That is precisely where we can start being good—at least fair—to ourselves. We would not demand of a child or of any handicapped person more than is reasonable. It seems to us we have no right to expect such miracles of ourselves as recovering alcoholics, either.

Impatient to get completely well by Tuesday, we find ourselves still convalescing on Wednesday, and start blaming ourselves. That’s a good time to back off, mentally, and look at ourselves in as detached, objective a way as we can. What would we do if a sick loved one or friend got discouraged about slow recuperation progress, and began to refuse medicine?  -pg. 42
So much for no relatability!  I have been beating myself up for all of this… it’s my own fault!  I should have never gotten the surgery!  And all that guilt gets me is more angst.  Thank goodness for the wise people in my meeting, and for their compassion and understanding.
So that’s me, and what I needed from this morning’s meeting.  The group had a really interesting discussion about the balance between being good to yourself and being self-absorbed.  Some worried that we, in our tendency to be all-or-nothing thinkers, might take the advice in this chapter too far, and find ourselves wallowing in self-pity disguised as self-care.
But the long-timers in the room had an entirely different perspective, and it’s the one I referenced at the beginning of the post.  You can’t take care of anyone else until you’ve taken care of yourself.  Once I get myself settled physically, mentally and spiritually, only then am I best able to reach out to others and provide service.  Doing it backwards short changes everyone involved.
Finally, and I’m ending on this because the story moved me so much… a woman shared that she’s been troubled by people asking for help but not being as honest as they could be, and the conflict that brings about for the woman herself.  Should she help someone when they are dishonest?
Another woman raised her hand and offered a true story she had been told some years ago.  There was a professional baseball player known for his generosity.  One day he was approached in the parking lot by a woman in need.  She told him her child was in desperate need of surgery, but she had no insurance and no way to afford the proper medical care.  He asked how much was needed, she told him, and without hesitation he gave her the money she needed.
Later his team mates criticized him, and told him, “Don’t you know she conned you?  There is no sick child!  She just wanted money!”
His immediate response:  “Wait… there’s no sick child?”
“That’s WONDERFUL news!”
For the baseball player, there was no confusion.  He wants to help others.  If they choose to be dishonest or take advantage of his generosity, that is out of his control.  He can only control his own actions, and that is what brings him peace.
Today’s Miracle:
That story made brightened my day, I hope it brightened yours as well!
Advertisements

Posted on December 12, 2016, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Yes, the story DID brighten my day! 🙂 Take care of that foot!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I believe helping others feeds my karma. What they do with my help is their karma.

    In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna instructs arjuna to act wholeheartedly and to not let the outcome weigh on him. When we give without strings we are practicing true yoga.

    Otherwise I would become jaded and suspicious. And that does not help me one bit!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ps. Sorry about the foot. I expect that second guessing of what you should have done is undermining your peace of mind. It is ok to be disappointed that the surgery didn’t work. It is ok to rest and recover. And to maybe have to change you work outs long term. Pain isn’t fun.
    Hug.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I too, hope your foot can be painless soon!
    Giving without strings is hard sometimes, but I know when I do that, I feel free.
    We really can’t give of ourselves if we don’t like ourselves, or take care of ourselves.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Josie…I’m sorry to hear about your foot and I am sending wishes of healing and care your way. And thank you for sharing this post. I’m glad I looked back and read it (I missed it when you posted it). It is hard to accept that healing…both physical and the non-physical kinds, takes its own time. And we can only help it along but we really can’t control it.
    Have a wonderful holiday and take care of you.
    Jenn

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

losing anonymously

My journey to lose weight, love exercise, and live healthy one day at a time.

Oh for the love of...me

Just another 50+ woman trying to get her shit together.

Guitars and Life

Blog about life by a music obsessed middle aged recovering alcoholic from South East England

Off-Dry

Sober girl, loopy world.

HealthyJenn

From daily wine drinker to alcohol free living...this is my journey.

Vodka Goggles

No longer seeing the world through vodka colored glasses..

Pickled Fish

Musings on life and sobriety

katie macbride

Fiction and freelance writer covering addiction, mental health, politics, culture, and the arts

Mindfulbalance

An Irish Mindfulness Meditation Blog: Stillness, non-doing, self-discovery and personal development.

SOBERLEARNING

Working one day at a time on sobriety, often winning, but sometimes losing.

viatoday

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Starting today I am on my way.

ainsobriety

Trying to ace sober living

Emotional Sobriety And Food

"... to be able to Twelfth Step ourselves and others into emotional sobriety" -- living, loving & letting go.

girl gone sober.

a blog about living sober. i didn't always drink beer but when i did i drank a lot of it. stay sober my friends.

%d bloggers like this: