“There can be times in our recovery when we focus more on what we’re doing wrong than on what we’re doing right. While it’s certainly important to find and correct the things that made us unhappy in life and with ourselves. It’s equally important to see the good things we do. Eventually, as this process continues. We find less things that need correcting. More things to be happy about. And more reasons to love ourselves.”
I am happy to post what I consider a work in progress (I believe there is always room for improvement in certain things we do) that I hope will help others. I have written Five Basic Concepts that helped me remain sober and find greater happiness in my life. You can click here or the tab above to see how the idea was formed.
I wrote about this in my book, and for those who read it, let me add that although I tried to be something I wasn’t throughout my drinking days, and even in my early sobriety, I am not doing that now. I am actually worried that maybe I’m asking too much of myself—I feel fearful at times about trying to start these meetings/discussion groups.
I may not know what my future holds in this endeavor. But I know that besides believing in myself, trying to believe that something created life and the universe for a reason will also be a part of it.
Currently my faith isn’t as strong as it’s been in the past. In truth, being happy with who I am has been sustaining me while toiling away at a job that I like, but that I’m not fulfilled in. I’m actually thinking about moving back to my home town next year to find people who can help me get this started, that’s how serious I am about it.
Of course, thinking about doing this adds to my fear. But when you write a book called Facing Our Fears, well, I think you get the point.
Here are the Five Basic Concepts of Creating Our Path.
1. We are capable of creating our happiness through the Six Selves
Self-Awareness– Understanding the emotions behind our thoughts and behaviors. Knowing our strengths, but also where we need to grow.
Self-Improvement– Changing negative thoughts and behaviors to positive ones. Seek knowledge in a variety of subjects. Search for answers needed to grow as a person. Be open-minded to others values and beliefs. Practice love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance toward others.
Self-Confidence/Self-Esteem– What do we like about ourselves?
Practice love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance toward ourselves.
Self-Love– the instinct or desire to promote one’s own well-being; regard for or love of one’s self.
Self-Actualization– the realization or fulfillment of ones talents and potentialities; considered as a drive or need.
2. We are capable of changing ourselves for the better
We understand the power of changing any negative thoughts and beliefs we hold about ourselves, others, and life in general.
3. We are capable of changing our lives for the better
We understand how important behaving and living differently is to our sobriety and happiness.
4. We are capable of loving ourselves and others
We become more receptive and excepting of love.
We are able to forgive ourselves and others more quickly.
5. We are capable of being happy with who we are
We realize how being happy with ourselves sustains us in times of uncertainty and unwanted circumstances.
We are able to laugh at ourselves and embrace all that we are.
My heart goes out to people with substance abuse problems and their loved ones. It saddens me when I hear about the damage addiction has done to an individual and their families. However, I have to admit that it makes me grateful to be sober and no longer a slave to alcohol. I simply feel that no matter what I go through in life, the ups, the downs, and everything in between, that alcohol will always fail on its promise to make things better.
I didn’t drink everyday, and I didn’t lose everything. But the illusion that alcohol was my friend went hand in hand with another illusion—my drug of choice made me happier in life.
My sobriety has proven both of these illusions to be false. And it’s this knowledge more than anything else that keeps me moving forward in my quest to help others understand the harm drug use can do. An emotional harm that may not manifest right away, or cause family problems, but can still produce dire consequences in our lives.
We can tell our-selves we’re not causing any harm, and go on using a substance without restraint. But somewhere along the way the consequences begin to catch up with us. There are no more ups, only downs. And although we still might not be able to completely see the damage our abuse is doing. We do know that our drug of choice is no longer our friend, and that our happiness is nothing more than an illusion.