While I drove home after church this morning, I was thinking about everything that’s happened to me this month and realized something.
My recovery isn’t limited to the 2 or 3 hours I devote to self therapy and writing every day.
My recovery is 24/7, 365 days a year. What that means is my self therapy goes with me everywhere I go. It’s means I need to be working on changing my attitudes, being mindful at all times, seeing things with this new perspective I’ve gained, and putting into practice every day the things I have learned since the day I became self aware.
I have the tools, but I need to put them into practice in my daily life.
This was put to the test today, when around 2:00 this afternoon I got a phone call from my landlord. I was tired and had been trying to take a nap. He told me he needed help clearing out and cleaning up one of his properties the tenants had destroyed by allowing 8 dogs to live there. They’d also been running a meth lab out of the house. I really didn’t feel like going even though I would be paid. The last thing I wanted to do was go in some flea-ridden filthy house on the other side of town and start hauling trash and scrubbing dog shit off the floors. But he was desperate and couldn’t do the work all by himself and everyone else had begged off.
Normally I would have blown him off, even though money was involved. I’m lazy, introverted, and selfish, and don’t like my solitary routines and my writing sessions interrupted. But something told me to go, so I threw on some old clothes and went, and actually felt good about going. When I arrived, I donned a Hazmat suit and got to work. I imagined each bag of trash I hauled out to the back of the truck was part of my False Self I was discarding.
Afterwards my landlord paid me and took me out for dinner as thanks. I’m going again on Wednesday. I felt like I was doing the right thing, and I needed to get out of the house anyway. So that’s an example of how my attitude has already changed. I did something willingly because someone else needed some help.
Putting into practice the insights I’ve had in every day situations is changing me.
It’s so simple but so important. If you have become self aware and are getting amazing new insights all the time (as I hear tends to happen), they’re not being given to you so you can ooh and aah at them during your free time, and then go out in the world and still act like a selfish narcissistic jerk. Your recovery isn’t for you alone. It’s so you can give back something to the world, sometimes even when you don’t feel like it.
I promise you won’t regret it. You’ll feel proud of yourself. It’s all part of recovery and engaging with life again.