When I was still in the throws of my addictions I only had a faint idea of what I was really doing to myself; the physical, emotional and mental harm I caused, not only to me, but those who cared about me. Part of that is because I spent most of my time seeking out and planning out the next ‘party’ and part of it was because of my ‘buddies’ at the time. I hung around folks who acted like me and thought like me. One of the first ‘suggestions’ I received in recovery was to step away from those people, places and things that were part of my life that I wished to leave behind; close that door and open a new one. Simple enough advice, but why did it take decades to realize it?
In order to change how I was living, I had to change how I was living.
I replaced my barstool for a chair in a meeting room and changed what I thought about by listening to and reading recovery literature. I started to listen to others in recovery. I started to talk to others about what I was going through. I helped out with cleaning up after the meetings and did some socializing with the new people I was meeting. I got myself an excellent sponsor and I began to study the Twelve Steps of Recovery with him. Over the course of the next six months I changed a great deal. The change was gradual, almost imperceptible to me, but very obvious to those that I hadn’t frightened off in the previous years. I changed my perspective, what I was looking at, and everything changed.
G.I.G.O.: Garbage In: Garbage Out…..or…..GOOD IN: GOOD OUT!
Every one of us is the direct result of what we put into our bodies, minds and spirit. Western society’s fixation of fast cheap food had pushed obesity to the extreme. You simply can’t have a healthy body if you continue to put unhealthy food into it. Same with the mind. If you want a healthy mind, be aware of what you are putting into it. What are you watching, reading, listening to? Who are your buddies? Where are you spending most of your time? As the saying goes; tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are!
It takes mindfulness, conscious action and a determination to build the life you want to have. I used to put the cart ahead of the horse. I thought that if I had x, y, and z then I would be happy. I have discovered that happiness is the result of living according to my values and principles. Happiness is the realization that I am living right. When I am happy, the x, y and z will come to me, or, more likely, I will discover that I while I may ‘want’ those things, I really don’t ‘need’ them.
Yes, I had to leave my old buddies behind when I came into recovery. I found new ones who honoured my recovery and who helped me along the way. I let the old buddies know where I was and what I was doing and left the door open for them to come through but made it clear that I had no intention of walking back through that door and onto my old barstool. And as long as I continue to pursue new ‘Good’ to put into my body, mind and soul, I know that I will continue to move forward in life.
The ‘Tim’ of the past is gone.
One of the most profound lessons I had to learn in recovery was that I had to let go of the ‘Tim’ that I knew in order for a new person to emerge. This is a lesson that I repeat daily, asking my Higher Power to ‘relieve me of the bondage of self’: to free me from my ego’s enslavement. If I wish to continue to grow today I must shed the old skin of yesterday and I do that by being mindful and aware of the people, places and things I’m spending my time with. Only by this daily renewal do I continue to move forward in this incredible journey of discovery that is life.