I promise to put others before myself. I will not drink. I will be motivated. I will take care of myself and those around me. I can push myself just a little bit harder.
The thing is, I need to do all of these things every day. But big goals are accomplished with small victories! Without intentionally setting out to do these things today, how will they ever become a habit that continues on? How do I stop being so selfish unless I first start thinking of others before myself? How do I get motivated to lose weight when I’m not even willing to take a long walk? How will I make my dreams come true if I’m too scared to make that first move?
Small steps. Just for today. Take a small step in the right direction and who knows where it will lead you.
What a nasty word…Fear! Just thinking about the word brings up memories of horror movies that have made me cringe in my seat, times in my life I’ve wanted to forget, and things in the future I have absolutely no control over. Yes, fear can be a very powerful emotion.
But, although it can be crippling, that’s all fear is…an emotion. It’s not going to kill you. It’s not going to jump out at you and scream “Boo!” Fear is within us. Fear is part of who we are as humans. However, fear can be controlled. This of course takes disciple, practice, and an action plan.
Whenever I watch a scary movie, which isn’t very often, I know to brace when the main character walks into a dark room with weird sounds or absolute silence. I know something is going to jump out and scare me! It’s inevitable, but I have control over how I will react to it (well, except for the times I involuntarily scream).
I have an action plan for my fears now. I know certain situations where I feel uncomfortable. I know when I’m around certain people I don’t particularly like to have a plan of how I will react. I know when I’m starting to get anxious and fearful, it’s time to put my plan into motion.
What do you do when fear creeps in? Do you shut down mentally and possibly even physically? Do you succumb powerlessly over to fear? Do you just go with the flow because it’s what you’ve always done?
I’m here to tell you that no matter how long you’ve given into your fears, you CAN overcome them! You can lean into them and emerge on the other side victoriously! I challenge you to write down the fears you want to overcome and then plan out the actions you want to make to take fear down. You can do it!
I used to be afraid of big goals and big dreams. One of the attitudes I’ve seen time and time again in people I’ve met in recovery is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the future. Fear of the past. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of being inadequate. Fear of failing. Fear of succeeding.
I have finally realized I am only responsible for working towards my goals. My HP is the only one who can make them happen. Sometimes doors open and sometimes they get slammed in your face, but giving up isn’t an option. I’ve read amazing stories about people who used to be homeless and on their last leg of this life, only to completely turn their life around and become the amazing person who was trapped inside of them all along.
Big goals and big dreams should be part of our daily lives. Even if your only goal today is to not have a drink, that’s a pretty big goal! There’s nothing too small for my HP to handle and there’s nothing too big either. Ask your HP to fulfill all of your heart’s desires.
Have you ever fell face down and realized it was your own fault? To be completely honest, I can’t even count how many times this has happened to me. I try to do things my way and time and time again I’m reminded I’m not the one calling all of the shots.
Don’t get me wrong. There is something to be said about personal responsibility, but I’m talking about after you’ve shown up and done what you’re supposed to do. You dotted your “i’s” and crossed your “t’s”, but then you got impatient. You tried to make decisions that were out of your control so the odds would swing in your favor. (By the way when I say “you”, I’m speaking to myself more so than anyone reading this.)
I’ve done this so often that it’s comical when I actually sit down to reflect on the wreckage in my life and realize “Hey…you did this yourself!! You got impatient and jumped from step 2 to step 46 and thought no one would notice.” (Not much gets passed my HP, in case you were wondering.)
I’m reminded to share because I recently was humbled by my HP and I’m grateful for the experience. I’m grateful to know that even though I think I’m calling the shots, there is still a power way beyond me capable of doing and seeing things I can’t even imagine. My job is to show up day after day ready and willing to do the work.
There are so many reasons to write what you are grateful for, but I’m going to share my story of how it changed my life.
Last January, I started a New Years’ resolution (I actually kept one!) to write down 3 things I’m grateful for every day. Although I didn’t do this for 365 days of the year, I managed about 300 days (more or less) and I’m pretty happy with those numbers.
I wrote something every day and I tried not to repeat my blessings. Most days, it was the mundane and simple things that made it to my paper: coffee, a sunny day, and a healthy family appeared a few times. Other days, my perspective changed entirely from things I “had to do” to things I “get to do”.
I no longer viewed laundry as this huge task, rather, I looked at it through the lens of being surrounded by these little people I love and a husband who works hard. I have a healthy family and I’m at home doing laundry for them when other people would do anything to have messy children to clean up after. There is someone somewhere right now who wishes all they had to do was laundry for a family of 5 today instead of sitting in a hospital hanging onto their dear ones.
Yes, my perspective has changed on many things. I complain a lot less than I used to and I can’t help but let thoughts of gratitude seep into my mind when that spoiled little brat in my head wants to complain about someone spilling their juice again for the third time today.
So I challenge you to write down 3 things every day you’re grateful for. Do it on your phone, do it on a post-it, or do it on a napkin, but just do it. I’m sure you can find something to be grateful for today.
**I’ll get you started if you need help:
1) You’re alive
2) The Earth revolved around the sun yet another day
3) You have the means to be on the internet when there are people in the world who have never even seen a computer
I didn’t understand this concept until my husband started with his list. There were events from the past, stuff from the present, and many things he hadn’t thought about in a long, long time. I think I’ve done this list, mentally and without a sponsor, for a while now. Let’s just say, left unsupervised and without a plan, this process can be very messy!
I’ve had things come into my mind here and there, but I ignore them or pretend they don’t really need my attention. Ha…as you can imagine, this doesn’t end well for anyone.
I’m in the process now of making my own amends. It’s hard. It sucks at times, but at the end of the day…knowing I’ve done the right thing beats the hell out of any uncomfortable feelings I have dealing with my past.
So I wish you luck in making your own amends. You can do it. Faith over fear. Don’t let that nasty monster fear take control of your life. You can do it! I can do it!
Oh, and happy new year!
So, I know the entire purpose of AA is to create a safe environment for people to share everything without scrutiny or ridicule. And I know Al-Anon was created for the same purpose. But what about friends you become close with over time? People outside of your 12-Step circle.
We moved about 3 years ago to a new area of our state and starting over making new friends has been a challenge for all of us. I finally have a few close, quality friendships and I feel like not sharing this part of my life with them isn’t necessarily a lie, but an omission of truth. This is such a big part of my life, my past, and my lifestyle that I feel like I should share with one friend in particular.
I realize by sharing with people outside of the understanding crowds I am opening myself up to the possibility of judgement, but at the same time I know to not share this information with people who would take advantage of me and my story.
Maybe no one else feels this way, but I get awkward and squirmy (internally) when close friends mention, “We all need to go to this great Mexican restaurant with free margaritas!” or when telling me about a fun party she recently attended with the fancy wine out on the table.
My husband tells me just to say “We don’t drink” and leave it at that, but with a close friendship I feel compelled to explain myself. Anyone else have a situation like this?