It can be a bit disheartening when life throws you a curve ball—but all is not lost. It never is. Sobriety doesn’t promise us a bed of roses. Rather, like the natural rhythm of life, it is akin to a piece of music perfectly arranged with highs, lows and "in-betweens."
When you find it difficult to be grateful during hard times, just know that you’re not alone. Here are 5 truths to reflect on when you think you’ve reached a dead end.
1. There’s always someone who has it worse.
When I would get fussy about not having something I wanted as a child, my mother would always say, “There was a woman who cried because she had no shoes until she saw a man who had no feet.” Sayings such as this really stuck with me, and they’re a reminder to be grateful for what we have because there’s always someone else worse off than we are.
Besides, if you’re sober today, that counts for something. Love yourself for who you are and hold your head up high. Somewhere there’s a person still stuck in alcoholism and addiction wishing they had what you have now—sobriety and peace of mind.
2. Your grass is the only one that matters.
It’s never a good idea to compare your “insides” to other people’s “outsides.” It’s common to think that the grass is always greener on the other side, but let’s not forget: you are only in charge of your own lawn. This means that the more time you spend thinking about other people’s properties, the less time you have watering and tending your own.
While others may seem to be having all of the luck, opportunities or financial success, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re happy. For instance, celebrities like Robin Williams, Whitney Houston, Alexander McQueen and Heath Ledger all appeared to have what everyone wants—money, property and prestige. Yet, in one way or another, they suffered from depression, addiction or physical pain.
Watering your own grass means loving yourself whether that’s going to meetings, taking a class, tapping into your creative energy or living one-day-at-a-time. After all, sobriety is an inside job.
3. You still have the power to inspire others.
Do you have Twitter or Facebook? Social networking is a great platform to make a difference and brighten someone else’s day. Highlight an inspirational quote for the day or post what you’re grateful for once a week. Getting into this habit will not only create positive vibes for others to soak in but also keep your own perspective on track. Instagram is also a great place to send out motivational photos or cartoons. You never know, someone in your circle just might need a bit of hope.
4. Nothing is too big for you to handle.
You hear it all the time in recovery: “Until you know what the problem is, there is no solution.” The wonderful thing about the spiritual tools contained within The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions is that they can be applied to any area of our lives. If you know what’s making you unhappy—you can change it. It may not happen overnight, but you can retrain your mind to focus on solutions by setting goals.
What can you do in the next month to begin to change your situation and how you feel? Get clear about it through writing first, and then post your goal on the bathroom mirror where you can see it every day. It can be something as simple as committing to meditation or improving your job skills. Do this each month with another new goal.
And last, but certainly not least…
5. You’re free from the bondage of addiction.
If none of the truths hit home for you somehow, we’ll leave you with this one that is undeniable. Today, you are sober. You’re not going to the liquor store or any other unsavory places. You’re not in bondage to anyone or anything. You’re free and when have this knowledge of yourself—anything is possible.