E is for Easy Does It
Easy does it? Easier said than done . As alcoholics we go hard. Often we pride ourselves on our stamina and wherewithal when it comes to all-nighters, days long benders and our ability to "function" while in active alcoholism. This eventually comes to an end for all of us. For those of us fortunate enough to seek recovery we get an opportunity to pull ourselves out of the mess we created but we are still using the same tools in sobriety that we used in our drinking days. This is not sustainable and can leave us prone to relapse.
One of the hardest things to learn for me has been forgiveness, especially for myself. Many of the strong, negative voices in my head still pop up. The strongest and most negative come from my father. I believe a lot of the childhood trauma at his hand and words encouraged the alcoholic gene and subsequent behavior in me. Long after he passed away in 2011 and well into my early sobriety I held on to a great many resentments and anger for all the shit he put me and my brother through. I was unable to let go and forgive. Last year that I heard a man share about his mother. For a long time she had been on medication that had severe mental side effects that led to her physical and emotional abuse of him and his siblings. Chemical reactions in her brain that she was oblivious to and out of her control. My father was on this same medication for most of his adult life. The realization struck me. It is quite possible that through all the sickness, pain and mental illness that he may have been doing the best he could with what he had. With this realization came the first bit of forgiveness I had ever been able to muster for my father. Forgiveness and understanding washed over me as I listened to this man share about his mother. It was also the first time I ever thought that quieting those voices could be possible. Little by little I have been able to lose some of the negative self-talk. I have been able to soften my heart and forgive the old man. I have begun the hard work of removing, replacing and rebuilding some of the hurtful and mean mantras I had been creating for myself compounding the alcoholic behavior.
I slept horribly last night and my leg has been in a fair amount of pain the last couple of days. I didn't go to my meeting. I didn't go for a run either. In the past this would have been cause to call the day and myself a failure before it even started. I would have called myself all kinds of names, probably overeaten and wallowed in what a waste I had allowed the the day to become. None of that is helpful. Instead I slept, stretched and wrote. Honestly, being kind to myself just feels so much better. I have no guilt. There are other meetings and there will be plenty more miles ahead.
I not only get to be more kind and forgiving to myself but I get to vary my metrics of success. I am still productive, active and even happy! There are going to be plenty of days that require going hard so today I will fully embrace taking it easy.