Woo Hoo! Enough said.
Today’s reading came from Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, and focused on:
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
This was the first step where I realized these tools could be used for more than just staying sober… they were tools for a better way of life. It’s such a simple thing, self-inventory, but it brings truly powerful results. The kind of inventory this chapter talks about is a spot inventory, where you stop and consider what is going on, and your part in it, during times of distress. There are more in-depth inventories as well, but the Step 10 is one you perform on a daily basis.
Every part of this chapter is incredibly useful, but what stood out the most to me this morning is the idea of an emotional hangover:
But there is another kind of hangover which we all experience whether we are drinking or not. That is the emotional hangover, the direct result of yesterday’s and sometimes today’s excesses of negative emotion- anger, fear, jealousy and the like. -pg 88, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
I wrote last week of a variety of life issues that were causing me discontent. I predicted that they would all resolve by the same time the following week, though I doubted any of them would settle to my satisfaction. And I would say, by and large, that I was right on the money. It is one week later, and my part in those issues is done, none of them turned out the way I would have liked, and life is moving on.
When I was living in the throes of the negative emotions associated with the issues, I experienced emotional hangovers as a result. I did not sleep soundly, I was irritable, and I had a vague sense of discontent. But when I took the time to analyze the problem, figured out my part and acted accordingly, I felt better. Most important, at least most important for me, I determined where my part ends and I did my best to let it go. In taking the time to do this self-earching I more quickly move through the negative emotions, and am better able to let go of the resentments that develop as a result.
And since we all know that life issues rotate on a pretty regular basis, it helps to develop the practice of self-inventory. Like any ability, the more we practice, the better skilled we are!
Today’s meeting was a large one, close to 20 attendees, and everyone who shared agreed that this is one of the best steps for improving our daily lives. Here are some other great shares from this morning:
- Another great take-away from the reading this morning is the notion that every time we are disturbed, there is something wrong with us. This is a hard concept to grasp initially, but the more you ponder, the more sense it makes. If we are involved, then we play a part.
- Justifiable anger and justifiable resentments can be the downfall for many an alcoholic. We are best to leave the justifiable stuff to people who can handle it. Life becomes a lot simpler if we stop having to decide if a resentment is justifiable or not.
- The step does not say to make amends when we get around to it, it say to make amends promptly. When we take inventory and decide we’ve done wrong, we must make that amend as soon as possible. This practice leads to a greater sense of inner peace.
- The beauty of the 12 steps is in their simplicity. For a lot of us, the directions we’re given in early sobriety need to be as simple as possible for us to comprehend them. Luckily, there are wonderful people who have gone ahead of us who know how to tell us what to do in the simplest language possible. Keeping things simple is the key to success!
- This chapter emphasizes that learning the skills of effective self-inventory is a process, sometimes a lifelong one. The knowledge that we need not be perfect in figuring out our intentions and motives is a relief, and allows us to be gentle with ourselves as we learn.
- Another key point in the chapter is learning to restrain ourselves from impulsively taking the first action that occurs to us. Almost without fail our first response is not our best one, so cultivating the skill of restraint is incredibly important.
- Asking the very simple question, “Am I doing to others as I would have done to me?” is a simple and effective way to take self-inventory.
I hope everyone is enjoying this first day of Spring!
That my first day of Spring actually feels like Spring! After last week’s snow storm, I wasn’t sure it would ever warm up again!
I have been offline for a week now, and I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed this community! I have only just begun catching up, I feel like I’ve missed a gazillion great posts!
I am making this statement not just to say “hey!” to all the posts I’m late in reading, but also to bring up the point of today’s post. The reason I was absent last week was because I was preparing for my son’s 11th birthday. We were hosting a sit-down dinner for 15, followed by an ice cream party/sleep-over, followed by a trip to a trampoline place, followed by a lunch, I could go on for a while longer, but, suffice it to say: a busy weekend that required a lot of prep work. As a result, I was consumed with the details that involve making a weekend such as this one a success, and therefore let my usual sobriety-focused routines fall to the wayside. Nothing overly dramatic, as I’m only talking a week, but enough small “concessions” that by Sunday I was feeling the effects of a full-on emotional hangover: I was exhausted, cranky as all get-out, and reverting to behaviors in which I have not indulged in a really, really long time.
I woke up Monday, very excited to get back to a regular routine and lead my Monday meeting. And at that meeting the topic (pre-arranged) was Step 10: continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. If I were to attempt to highlight the portions of the chapter that directly applied to my life, I would, in fact, be re-typing the chapter. The focus of step 10 is to self-evaluate, at the very least daily, but, more specifically, when in any kind of turmoil. Because if I am feeling turmoil, I am the root cause, and the only way to resolve it is to look at my thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Guess what I failed to do the entire weekend?
The second part of step 10: and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. Quick side note: as I was typing that last sentence, my husband called to say hi. So I can now say that I have put into action the second part of step 10 as it relates to this past weekend. Again, there is nothing melodramatic that happened, I believe all who attended the dinner party had a great time, they ate well, and my son had a fantastic celebration. But only I am in my head, and I haven’t felt this out of sorts in a long, long time, and I don’t enjoy the feeling at all. When I think that this is how I used to live life daily, I shudder… how in the hell did I live like this? And I know, if I am feeling this bad, then there is no doubt that I am acting out of sorts as well, and so my husband, as usual, becomes my default punching bag. I already feel better for having promptly admitted my mistakes.
So the moral of today’s story: sharing your turbulent thoughts really does calm the mind, and try to keep constant the routines that keep you serene, even when you are stressed. Because avoiding routine during stressful times is like throwing gasoline on a fire, and there is that much more to douse at the end!
Since I posted a picture of last year’s birthday cake, I figured I could do it again… it was a work of art!