To my former and un-recovering self, it was simply subtle semantics between non-attachment and detachment but I discovered a lot of hidden power lurking there once I realized the difference. Non-attachment is something I strive for. Detachment is not, according to my perception of their meanings. When I get attached to specific outcomes, aka have expectations, it’s very likely that disappointment and future resentments will follow. Expectations are resentments on deck, waiting to step up and hit.
I don’t know what it’s like for those who don’t suffer from anxiety and depression, but for me, mood and motivation remains a constant roller coaster. I swing high for a period of time, and then crash down into varying degrees of low. When you’re trying to stay sober, this adds an added layer to the challenges. A week or two ago, I felt like a different person. Now, as we round out the second week of the new year, I’m having to deal with old demons once again.
Seems like month 1 is the perfect time to take an honest re-view of where I am in my life. Can I recognize or redefine any newer and stronger truths for me now after the “I am?” In AA meetings, I say “I am Lena and I’m an alcoholic.” Though true, I like to add “I am a sober, thriving, creative, expanding, evolving woman.” (I say this in my head actually, as I don’t feel the liberty to go off script.) “I AM becoming bolder” though; maybe someday I’ll add that out loud.
Everybody is posting New Year’s resolutions via social media. Meanwhile, my 41 year old butt is over here thinking, “Hahahaha, clearly these folks aren’t in a 12 step group or have learned from years of failed resolutions like myself!” Maybe I’m being a bit judgmental but if I asked for a show of hands what percentage of folks kept those resolutions all year long; my guess would be very few hands would be raised.
I forgot to pack my cell phone charger recently for a two-day conference away from home. Probably because I didn’t bring my laptop (gulp… immediate separation anxiety and much inner dialogue there) but I concluded it was best to not schlep it around since I’d have little time to use it. Besides, I’d have my phone for social media check-ins, emails, emergencies, etc. But since I didn’t bring my usual computer case where I typically stash all my plugs and electronics, my cell phone charger was left behind. Yeah I could have purchased one on the road, but decided to use this situation as an observational experiment.
Remember that pivotal scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary when she tells her friends that Mark Darcy has told her he likes her “very much – just as you are“? They react with wide-eyed amazement. “Just as you freakin’ are?” one of them repeats with disbelief. It’s so simple yet rare to have that kind of love, right?
Be honest with what is needed and wanted… Be specific in my desired outcome… Stretch myself in ways that feel challenging, empowering, and also doable… Be willing to use my will and my Higher Power / God’s will to continually envision the desired outcome… Be gentle but firm with myself (like training a puppy.)
Though it may be hard to believe at first, being sober over the holidays doesn’t have to be dull. When you come up with a plan, and stop and focus on the reasoning behind your sobriety, you’ll remember why it’s important. And once the holidays pass, you’ll be glad you didn’t give in to temptations. That’s a promise.