I’ve learned recently that my recovery isn’t just about admitting I’m powerless over my addictions. It’s really about admitting I’m powerless over life in general. Life happens. I’m learning how to live it on life terms, not the terms of a meth addict. In doing so, I must learn to give up control. Otherwise, the stress and futility of being back in the driver’s seat will drive me to drink or use again. Literally.
As I learned this painful lesson, I started to incorporate admitting I’m powerless over x, y, z in life into my daily prayers. Every morning now, I turn over the sale of my house, my job search, and my legal situations to my Higher Power, admitting I’m powerless over their outcomes and leaving them in His hands. I do the legwork — “do the next right thing” to make sure I’m doing my part. But, beyond that, it’s out of my hands.
I do pretty well with the legal situation – because in my heart, I know I’m truly incapable of influencing the outcome. The best I can do is stay clean and sober — the rest is up to the lawyers and the judge. But, in situations like the sale of my house, it’s easy for me to get “conned” into taking control back over. That happened this week for me – and it was a lesson in self-will.
I had a project to finish – laying flooring in one room. It’s been a need long before I got clean and sober — another unfinished project. As an active addict, I didn’t care. As a recovering addict, I still fall into those patterns of thinking sometimes. But, I realize that I’m also afraid of failure – of screwing it up. Without realizing it, that fear grips me and keeps me sometimes from even starting, from even trying. I’m also a perfectionist. And again, without realizing it, sometimes the fear of not doing something perfectly keeps me from doing it at all. Sound logic right – if I never do something, I can’t fail…and I can’t do it incorrectly (not perfectly) if I don’t do it at all! (And sometimes I question whether I really need to be restored to sanity – to sound thinking, with sound judgement!!!)
I know that approach is not realistic…and it’s not living life on life’s terms!
But more importantly this time, I now realize that I put SO much pressure on myself to get the project done before the next showing that I started to believe that the outcome of the next showing was 100% dependent on the project being done. If I didn’t do this, the house wouldn’t sell! I had taking back control of the house sale. It wasn’t the realtor, it wasn’t the buyer, it wasn’t my Higher Power controlling the outcome. It was CT — and the awaiting floors. About mid-way through the project — when it was clear I wasn’t going to finish in time, after procrastinating and dawdling, I kinda lost it. I got frustrated and stressed enough that I threw the hammer down (on the sub-flooring thank goodness!) and screamed out loud — “I can’t do this – this is crazy.” In my mind, I was telling myself I was stupid, incapable, hopeless…nothing had changed and I was just as crazy as before. The next thought in that sequence would be “so I might as well go back and use, cause at least I’d feel good!”
I stopped, and took a deep breath. By God’s grace, I realized I needed to shift my thinking…or this would continue, and that next thought would come to mind and perhaps, get played out. That was my normal pattern – – get frustrated and overwhelmed, but in true competitive spirit, never admit defeat. With the tools of recovery, I had a choice. I could change the direction of my stinking thinking!
So, I stood up and stopped. I went downstairs and laid down. I started to pray, to re-center on my Higher Power and the spiritual truth that I wasn’t in control – He was. The outcome of the house sale wasn’t in my hands – it was in His. The sale did NOT depend, as arrogant and self-centered as it now sounds, on the sole effort of laying new flooring in the room!
I let go, and let God back in.
Now, do I still need to do the legwork – yes. Should I continue to procrastinate and let fear grip me – no. But, can I do the legwork in a calm, peaceful and joyful manner, knowing where it fits into the bigger picture? Absolutely.
So, I think I’ll hop out (again) of the driver’s seat and settle back in for the ride. I have a much better chance of getting where I need to go! 😉