It’s been in the last couple of months I finally started getting what people with a lot of time in 12-step meant by saying, “My life got really full.” Recently, my life has gotten very full.
Back a couple of years ago when I started recovery, I couldn’t tell you what I truly loved. I couldn’t tell you if I liked to rock climb, or mountain bike, or run, or take photos. I had lost myself completely, within my addiction and with the addiction of others in my life. (On that note, I definitely qualify for Al-Anon; someday I will work a set of steps in there, but AFTER I finish up my steps for my other 2 programs)
Well let me tell you what I’ve been up to.
First of all, there’s the random business of trying to get my blog out there, which takes a lot of work. Also, I’m trying to get a promotion at my job. I had my first interview this week and have a second one next Tuesday. So I’ve felt like I have to be on top of my game completely at work right now. Between both of those, that’s kept me a bit crazy.
Last Friday night (the 21st), I read a spoken-word poem at a poetry slam. I then left the poetry slam, went to a local coffee shop, and on impulse read the poem AGAIN to all the coffee shop patrons. I love spoken word poetry terribly much… at my first slam I knew that these were MY people. They got everything I’ve ever thought since I was 15 years old. It was like walking into a 12-step meeting for the first time, except slightly different.
On Monday night, I attended my Buddhist sangha that I am a part of and, thankfully, sat and meditated with my community for awhile. Lovely.
Then I went to a philosophy discussion group at a local coffeeshop, with a old friend turned new friend (long but awesome back story). We read a philosophy text before coming, and then discuss. Intellectual stimulation for the win!
The next morning, Tuesday, I had coffee with my mom before work. Just needed to reconnect with my mama, who I haven’t seen in awhile. 🙂
Tuesday night, had dinner with aforementioned friend and her husband, one of the bright spots of my week. Her husband is the main person who was by my side the day of the shooting. We haven’t really connected again since, but I keep running into Candace, his wife, and we have so much in common it’s ridiculous. We talk about Rachel Held Evans and fundamentalism recovery and conflict resolution and feminism. It’s pretty much fantastic. So we decided to make it all official and be for real friends (haha). The whole night was fantastic and I’m still jazzed thinking about it.
I did make kind of a mistake on Thursday night when I went out with a work friend. She got drunk in front of me. I probably should have left earlier than I did. I didn’t feel at ALL jealous. In fact I was so glad that I wasn’t going to be regretting what I was saying the next morning, or feeling super nauseous, which when I’m in my spiritually fit mind, I HATE feeling – nausea is the worst (My drunk mind doesn’t give a f*ck, in fact it’s like it wants me to be nauseous). So it wasn’t the jealousy factor. It was just that, I have been really busy and honestly, have not been taking time in the morning to center myself. Being around that un-sober energy was really unsettling.
However, it showed me that prioritizing is very important for me. I’ve gotten off center a bit this week because I want to be open, friendly, giving, generous. Those are ALL good things. The problem is when I ignore the inner voice that says “you need to say no to this right now.” I ignored that voice on Thursday night and had to really work to re-center myself. I’ve ignored that voice, too, that says I need to slow it down a little and take a little more time for myself, to ground myself in the mornings at least. (Good timing, too… I’m on Step 11 in my love addiction work – HA, Higher Power!)
I’ve learned a little though. I tried not to stay in self hatred about it. I pulled myself towards compassion today and just realized that centering myself is a huge priority for me, because I grew up in an environment where I was centered around someone else. It’s extremely important, vital really, for me to watch that now. But also to be gentle when I get off center because it’s such an ingrained pattern of mine. I learned it very well for 20+ years. So, it’s really okay, Laurie, that you’re off center right now. This feels normal for you so you just stepped back into an old role. Those were my sweet words to myself on Friday.
So then I went and saw a recovery friend. Talked to one of my sponsors. And went to a combined AA and Al-Anon meeting Friday night. A meeting Saturday morning. A meeting Saturday night. A meeting this morning. In other words, I made my recovery and my Higher Power a priority for me.
Today, I get why people say that their life is full and they have to make sure to keep recovery a priority. It’s happening to me. It’s beautiful, a miracle really! I couldn’t have imagined I would ever get to this place in life! I am beyond thrilled to have such amazing friends, such a lovely community both in and out of my 12-step work.
But it’s also really vital for me to remember why I got here in the first place. To touch back with my recovery community, with my program, with my step work. If I can stay in touch with that, and re-center myself with my Higher Power, I can keep the strength to say no when I need. I can say to friends, “No, I’m sorry, I need to go home now,” instead of pulling a Thursday night and staying in a place that’s pulling me away from myself.
Like the old-timers like to say… I have to make my recovery, and my spirituality, a priority. When I do that, all the rest will fall into place.