We turn to booze and drugs to forget the stresses of life. And they do a great job… until they don’t. Until the consequences get worse than the problems you’re trying to blot out.
For those who have quit all together, like me, 12-step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous initially seem terrifyingly Bible-based (there’s a ‘Big Book’ for chrissakes!) and the conversation in meetings is loaded with slogans and acronyms. It’s totally perplexing at first, until you notice the influences of pop Buddhism, CBT, NPL and mindfulness practices which have infiltrated recovery in recent years – all designed to make your life E.A.S.I.E.R..
You don’t have to go sober to take advantage of the one-liner epiphanies these programs have to offer – take ten from me for nothing.
1. Progress Not Perfection
Basically, chill TFO. If you’ve got sky-high expectations of yourself then life is gonna be one big fail. You’re a human being. You’re not going to be perfect – you’re not meant to be perfect.
See also: Let It Go – although this can also refer to your frustration with someone else’s behaviour. Is anyone benefitting by you flipping your wig? Thought not.
2. The Only Thing I Can Control Is My Actions
You’ve NO control over other people’s selfish/rude/cruel behaviour, so don’t waste your time trying – focus on how you choose to react.
See also: Quit Playing God – we’re like an actor trying to run the whole show, from the lights to the scenery to the rest of the players. But life doesn’t play along.
3. Stinking Thinking
You might think sobriety is all about not picking up a drink but so much of it is about managing our thoughts. Every time people relapse they make that decision while sober, so clearly our thoughts are the problem – not the booze.
Unhelpful thoughts pop into our heads all the time. You can choose whether you ignore them, replace them or entertain them. And next time you have a drastic life-changing idea, check in with another human being before you take action. If their face says WTF then maybe rethink.