Do It

I took a slice off the end of my thumb the other day.  Nothing serious, just the top layer of skin peeled back. I still do some work with wood and this is something that happens every once in a while. Yesterday there was teeny piece of dry skin that was still attached to my thumb and was driving my crazy.  Every time I moved or did something something caught onto that little, smaller than the head of a pin, piece of dry skin. It didn’t hurt, but I was always aware of its presence. But I was doing some painting when it happened or I was doing some cleaning but for several hours I it was there reminding me of what I needed to do. Finally I got the nail clippers and cut it off. It will still be a week or so before everything heals back.

A teeny tab of dead skin kept reminding me that I needed to do something until I made it a priority and got it done. I was reminded of those things in life that niggle and gnaw at us until we finally do them. Doing them is nothing. It takes no time at all to accomplish a small task, yet I seem to put it off because I am sure that what I am doing right now is more important. Big things, sure, I know they take priority. I have gone to the emergency ward more than enough times for stitches on cuts as a result of my ‘handiwork’. When something big happens in life we usually recognize we need to look after it right away. It’s when it’s small and seemingly insignificant that we let it slide. Let those small insignificant things slide and they seem to add up until we actually do something about them.

In recovery I have seen people live through death and divorce without a relapse; their friends gather around and they receive the support they need to make it through. It is the small little incidentals that add up to a relapse. Missing meetings, not taking to sponsors, not having time for a little prayer or meditation, allowing a resentment to grow. Each little thing, on its own, isn’t much, but they add up. I could resolve them in two minutes or less, but I don’t take the time until it’s driving me completely crazy. When I am in that state, I usually know it, but for some reason the little bit of effort needed for such a small task can be put off for now…then it’s too late.

I read this morning that it’s easier to give 100% to something than to give 98% to it. The point is that when I am fully committed to something, I can stick with it, I have resolve and my decision is final. However, if I am only 98% committed to it, then I have to judge if this is a situation when I have to stick with my commitment or does this fall into that 2% where there is some flexibility.

I know for myself, when I break with 100% commitment it is far easier the next time to give in the next time. About six months ago I committed to not eating food that contain refined sugar. Initially, I was very good at sticking to my decision. But then I had to have a taste, a bit or sliver. Now it’s so much easier to slip or cheat on my commitment not to eat refined sugar. If I had stuck to it a 100% there would be no question, no option or choice. Now there is because I don’t eat refined sugar 98% of the time. And from experience I know that the 2% has a chance to grow to 4% then 7%. You get the picture.

With my addiction I know I have to be 100% committed to it if I want to stay happy, joyous and free in recovery. However, remember that little tab of skin? That can create an opening for the 2% of non-commitment. I have to do the little things to add up to the big thing. Taking care of the details helps to maintain the complete picture. If you’ve let things slip, recommit yourself to 100%. Get back to meetings, talk to your sponsor, connect with your Higher Power. It will be much easier when your back on the road of 100%.

As I Am

I am always amazed at how much we try to impress others. We think we have to dress a particular way, drive a special car, live in an upscale neighbourhood, speak in a certain way or dress in the newest fashions. We have a need to make ourselves appear more than what we are. I think it goes beyond ego to something instinctual; a need to show off and impress, sort of like the mating rituals of birds or the rutting contests of rams.

Life doesn’t have to be such as contest, It can be absolutely wonderful when I keep it simple. Some of the best meals I’ve eaten have been well prepared good food eaten in great company. The beauty of a sunset or the gait of a majestic horse are simple, plain and yet very memorable. A walk with a friend by a river or a stroll through a park can give me peace of mind. And these are all simple, unadorned things. I don’t need to impress. I am perfect just the way I am.

It’s taken a long time to get to this point in my life. And I admit that I can easily slip back into old habits of ‘dress to impress’, or ‘be there or be square!’ But I’ve learned that most people aren’t thinking about me; they’re wondering about what others are thinking about them! Like the young boy whistling in the dark, trying to convince himself that he’s not afraid, we strut and pose hoping that people won’t notice that we might not ‘fit in’ with the ‘in’ crowd. In recovery, I’m discovering that perhaps I don’t want to fit in, and that the in crowd is way out of where I want to be.

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” Dr. Seuss

I’m learning in the program to become right sized. I need to keep my ego in check; I am neither more nor less than who I am. I need not impress others. I am fine just the way I am: a human being trying to be whole and authentic. If others don’t like the direction I’m heading, that’s fine. I’m not responsible for what others think and say about me. I’m learning to let that go.

Today I prefer simple. I like honest. I seek knowledge. What I drive, where I live or who I hang out with are no longer my priorities. Yes, I prefer certain things in life, but they don’t make my life. I could lose them all tomorrow and I will still be just fine. I am learning to carry with me the memories and the lessons of life that never fall out of fashion. I am grateful.