In recovery I find that I’m often my own worst enemy because when I feel good I throw my rule book out the window and forget to do the things that I’ve been doing that are helping me feel good.
Even though I’m an introvert and a very quiet and mindful person, I have a tendency, when I’m feeling on good form, to speak too quickly. I let my mouth continue from where my brain has got to and because I’m then making stuff up on the fly I seem to get myself into trouble.
It’s a trick that I’ve been unknowingly doing for many years. In letting my mouth run away with my thoughts I seem to unwittingly set some sort of false expectation in my own head. I feel like I’ve made a commitment to myself and to the person I’ve been talking to. When my mood then deteriorates I find that I’m almost ashamed and guilty that I’m not going to be able to meet the expectations that I’ve just set for myself.
Rather than be honest with myself and with others, I turn inwards and begin the process of isolating myself again, hoping that no one will notice that I’m not the amazing super hero I’ve just been making myself out to be.
It’s like I set myself up for a fall, every single time and every single time I fall.
I’m learning that in order to look after myself and maintain balance, that I don’t let my mouth sign me up for promises that my body, mind and spirit just can’t keep.
It’s different when I’m talking to my therapist because she will reign me in and more often than not know when I’m deluding myself, but talking to untrained people can be dangerous.
Because most of the time they don’t really understand what’s going on inside my head I feel obliged to explain it to them. Because I’m in recovery, I’m not always entirely sure what’s going on inside my own head either, so I verbalise things that I haven’t fully thought through in order to try and make sense of them. This is when the problems start, because what I thought I knew can quickly go out the window and get replaced with stuff that I’m unsure about.
I enjoy sitting and listening to people in both AA and SAA because I’m always learning something new about myself. Some great advice that I was given at one of my first meetings was, ‘try not to look for the differences but see the similarities between us all and our stories’.
The thing that connects me to people in SAA and AA is that we all have the same underlying, common, problems. Even though the stories and the root causes may be different, the end results are usually always very similar. Deciding to see the similarities rather than the differences has allowed me to connect with people far easier than if I had continued to think I was different and thus isolated from everyone.
Most importantly of all I have learnt that expectations can be a curse. If you are going to do a thing it is much easier to quietly get on and do it than to say you are going to do a thing and then try and live up to the expectation you have set for yourself.
This is what is meant in the fellowships when we say ‘one day at a time’. It’s far easier to stay clean and sober one day at a time than it is to stay clean and sober for a lifetime.