Keep on Trudging

One of the primary reasons people stay in even life-threatening addictions is because they know the outcomes of their behavior. The human brain really likes being able to predict the future. Thus, people want their lives to be predictable even if what is predictable is absolutely painful and horrible and regretful.  Benjamin Hardy

As the saying goes, ‘better the hell you know than the hell you don’t’.

Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is difficult. It means change and change is always emotional. Somewhere along the line most of us developed a resistance to change. Trying something different removes the predictability in our lives and introduces the unknown and with the unknown comes the catastrophe mentality that it will turn out bad: it’s going to be a disaster we think. And we expect the worst possible outcome.

Taking that first step requires us to overcome fears: fear of the unknown, fear of what others might say about us, fear about the outcome, fear about our own abilities are a few of those fears. But the alternative to taking that next step? It’s staying where we are: if nothing changes, nothing changed. However, once you’ve done it, once you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone, you’ve expanded that very zone and made it part of your experience upon which you can draw strength. Now you can say to yourself, ‘I’ve gone skydiving,’ or ‘I’ve written a book’. You know what it’s about and that experience brings some stability back into your life.

Adventures only happen to the adventurous.  Benjamin Hardy

boulder cascade creek environment

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Staying in one spot might be fine if you’re a rock. At least you give the moss a spot to grow. But that’s not the path of people. We are meant to move, to grow and to inspire and we can’t do that if we are stuck in one place. We must move forward, take that step into the unknown, face our uncertainties and fears. It’s all part of the adventure of life. Tryinsomething new and taking risks

There’s a saying that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Another way of saying it is that we will survive everything until we don’t. And guess what? You have survived everyone of the catastrophes in your life so far because they weren’t catastrophes, only unfounded fears. I like to say that it’s not the end of the world until it’s the end of the world. It’s not just surviving, it’s growing and thriving. If I look at life as an adventure then I have adventure. I just can’t stay where I am and expect to change. I can’t be like the water in a stagnant pond, I have to flow and move in order to stay fresh and renew myself.

I want to grow. I want to expand. I want to learn.

Be Good to Yourself

I’m not sure why, but I find it so easy to be hard on myself. I often feel that I don’t measure up to what I should be doing and where I am in life.  I still sometimes ‘should’ myself into depression and anxiety. Could’a, would’a and should’a are all expressions that pull me out of the present moment and drop me unceremoniously in the past…PLOP!

Part of it has to do with my impatience. I want what I want and I want it now. If I don’t get it, which is often, it’s because I didn’t do what I needed to do. In other words, my procrastination doesn’t help with my impatience and visa versa. And then I just get down on myself. My program tells me what I need to do: the next right thing.  What is the next right thing? I’m learning it’s what I ‘know’ I need to do. I have to remember that ‘Easy does it’ still means I need to ‘do’ it! It takes time to find the balance, but it is possible to get to an equilibrium in life.

I need to remember to enjoy life. Play, joke, go for walks, see a movie, chat with a friend, go out for dinner,  walk on a beach, climb a mountain, hug the dog.  Life is meant to be lived and we are not a glum lot. Keeping up my spirit is important.  I have a tendency to isolate myself from others, not participate in activities and events. Here too I need to find balance.  My mind, all alone, can be a very dangerous space if I spend all of my time there.  Getting out and enjoying life, playing, creating are ways that I find the happiness and joy in my life.

Another way to be good to yourself is to stop looking at how far you have to go to get to the goals you have in life. Rather, focus on how far you have come.  Yes, there is still more work to do in my life of sobriety, especially when I am starting out. I constantly remind sponsees to be grateful for how far they have come in their program. I have to remind myself sometimes how far I’ve come too. Like my sponsees, I still have to apply my program on a daily basis, but I have come very far. I regularly see my character flaws grow and blossom and I think I will never be through with them. I have a choice though: I can become morose about how much work I still have todo, or, I can look back and be grateful for how much I’ve changed as a result of my program of recovery. I am not the same person that walked into that first meeting. That is something to be grateful for.

Finally, give yourself time. We didn’t become addicts and alcoholics over night and we can’t expect to stop one day and find everything is back to normal the next. It just won’t work that way. It takes time to go through the steps of recovery. Be patient with yourself and your progress. Even a relapse can be a very important learning experience.

In order to be a success, all I have to do is get up one more time than I fall. So as long as I’m trudging that road, putting one foot ahead of the other, I’m heading in the right direction and doing just fine!

I am Grateful.

 

Focus

“Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.~Māori Proverb

There was a stretch of lawn that ran alongside our gravel driveway on the farm. It’s here I learned to ride a bike. My father supported me and got me to pedal and my mother was several yards ahead of me encouraging me. ‘Don’t look down. Look at me,’ my mother encouraged. And when I finally stopped worrying about falling over and focused on my mother, where I was heading to, I learned to ride a bike.

I remember when I first heard someone say that we need to stop calling things problems and start calling them challenges. Ha! I thought, as if changing the word will change the reality of the situation. If I don’t have money to pay the electric bill, that’s a problem. Calling it a ‘challenge’ isn’t going to get the bills paid. I’ve since learned I was wrong.

Wherever I focus my thoughts, that’s where I end up. Focusing on the problem, the fact that I didn’t have the money to pay my bills, created a useless vortex spiraling downward. When I shift my focus to finding ways to get my bills paid, it creates a mental shift toward the solution and away from the problem. It’s like learning to ride a bike: I need to focus on where I wish to go, not be afraid of where I am. I look ahead to where I am going. If I focus on my feet I won’t see what’s ahead.

Focusing on the solution doesn’t change facts, but it can alter my mental ability to work with those facts. A problem is the tree in the path of my bike. Focusing on the problem only, I am going to hit the tree. Shifting focus to a solution is finding a way to avoid the tree.

It’s not easy to make the shift in perspective. There’s a lot of negativity in the world that focuses on darkness and shadows. News media might throw in a ‘feel good’ story into their reports once in a while, but it’s blood and guts that more often make the cut and ‘entertain’. I have learned that if I continually say how hard something will be to accomplish, or how much trouble it will be, or how many ways I can fail at it, I won’t even take the first step toward the solution. I have to focus on success, on resolving the challenge if I have any hope of getting off the ground.

Look toward the sun. See the realm of possibilities. Focus on the positive. Doing this might not change the facts of a situation, but they will change my mental outlook toward a solution and there’s a greater likelihood that I will take the first step.

Where do you want to go in life?