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

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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.

Of Balloons and Balance

I’m discovering that my ‘self’ is a balloon and my ‘ego’ is the air in the balloon. I must constantly monitor the amount of air that I hold in my self. If I haven’t enough, I will lose my shape and be a wrinkled blob with no substance. Who wants a limp balloon? If I inflate it too much, then I can also deform it from the original shape and risk losing my ‘self’ in a terrific explosion. The trick is finding the balance that is right for me: just enough air to keep my shape. I think that when I find that point of equilibrium I discover humility.

ground orange balloon deflated

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Whenever I run into problems, my character defects shoot the surface or I find myself on an emotional rollercoaster, I’m also discovering that it has ego at its source. I’m discovering that my ego is either underinflated or way over inflated. and I need to get it back in balance. I am who I am: no more and no less. That balance of who I am is difficult to maintain. Like a scale, it only takes a grain of sand to cause it to tip one way or the other. So I need to be constantly maintaining the balance of ego within myself.

Years ago I could solve the problems of the world all from the regal perch of a bar stool. Of course, nothing happened because I did nothing. I was an ego full of hot air. Life isn’t handed to us on the proverbial silver platter. We have to go out and make it. I was reminded this week that our Higher Power does for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. However, if we can do it ourselves, then it’s up to us to do it. (Thank you Terry) And there are a lot of challenges in this world that I am up to resolving if I get off my butt and do the work rather than pontificate and expect the results to magically appear.

beach enjoyment fun leisure

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For me, it’s all part of knowing my ‘self’ and keeping my ego in check. I may not be able to move mountains with the wave of my hand, but I can still bring along a wheelbarrow and shovel. There are some things I can do to make my life, rather than waiting around for something to happen then complain when it doesn’t. I can’t do it all, but I can do my part. I don’t always get it right, but I don’t always get it wrong either and sometimes, I find the sweet spot of just the right amount of air in my balloon.

Gratitude in Action

“Self-made is an illusion. There are many people who played divine roles in you having the life that you have today. Be sure to let them know how grateful you are.”  Michael Fishman

In Step 8 and 9 of our program of recovery we make a list of those we have harmed, became willing to make amends for what we had done and then gone out to contact them to make amends. I clean up my side of the street, take ownership of my past and stop the blame game. It’s an integral part of our healing process and living the program of recovery.

My suggestion for today is to go one step further in recovery: make a list of all those who played significant roles in the life I have today and make a direct act of gratitude. I am who I am today because of the role models I have had throughout my life. My parents, especially my mom who is still an amazing example to me of strength of character and faith, helped to shape me into the person I am today. Yes, I did a Step Nine with mom because I had not been the son I should have been and today I live my amends to her, working toward faith and character. And I am grateful for the love and assistance I received even when I wasn’t anywhere near being worthy of it.

I am grateful to my brother and sisters as well. Each has given me lessons in living and I know will always be a support when I need it. I am grateful to my ex partners who have shown me love and affection. I am grateful to those who have sponsored me over the years in my recovery. They showed me by word and deed how I need to work my program. I am grateful to my sponsees who have continue to astound and challenge me to be a better person.

I am who I am today because of those others around me who stood by me. My success in life is as a result of all the wonderful assistance and examples of those around me. I am not a “self made man”. It takes a community to raise a child and a community to mentor its adults. There are many in my life who have played a ‘divine’ role in creating who I am today. And I am grateful to them.

My challenge is to spread the gratitude.  Let someone who helped you know how much you appreciate their support. Let them know what they did for you and how it helped you. Let them know that they helped to create the person you are today and that you are grateful for their assistance. I guarantee it will make someone’s day if you do it.

I am who I am and where I am today because I stand on the shoulders of those who lifted me up and continue to support me. I am grateful to my community.