Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Changed attitudes can aid recovery

I don't know what it is, but I feel content today.  I have enough of everything and feel centered within.  This must be one of the promises of recovery coming true. 

For me, a changed attitude is recovery. I don't feel miserable or like reacting to behaviors of others.  If I work the program, my life is more about acting on behalf of myself rather than reacting to the actions and behaviors of others. I can regard every day as a blank canvas on which I can begin painting again at any time.

I can see that by taking care of myself and not buying into what others are doing,  I have learned to be fairly happy on the inside.  I believe in the spiritual law that says : "When I change, those around me will either change or go away." I think that positive energy given out to the universe attracts positive energy in return.  Maybe my joie de vivre may be a bit much sometimes, but it is who I am.

This is a tough time of year for many.  I don't know why.  Maybe it is the expectations that are leading to disappointment and eventually to resentment.  I know about those things because I have felt them and not just at Christmas. It used to be an every day thing for me.  What a drag that was. 
Now I have the ability to see a different way to live. If others don't do as I would like, what good does it do for me to feel angry? I don't have to be around them unless I choose to.  Their being stuck in misery really has nothing to do with me.  

Here are a few things that I find to be particularly helpful in this journey of changed attitudes: 
  • I keep practicing being positive, thinking each day about a few things for which I am grateful.
  • Create a new reality based on the truths I've learned about myself and not what I think the truth of others might be. Others have their own truths. I have mine that comes from within and from the unconditional love and support of myHigher Power.  
  • Being willing to try new experiences and risking what I used to think in exchange for a different set of principles that I have learned in recovery.  For me at least, this is how I learned what I liked and didn't, what I was deserving of and when I was taking less than what I deserved.
  • To say what I mean, mean what I say and not say it mean.
  • Not to stuff my feelings; let them flow through; process them; and then move on. The feelings won't kill me.  
  • Not to cruelly punish others but to detach from them and yet still love them.  Retribution never did me any good. In fact, it made me feel miserable.
  • Not sink their ship but don't try to keep it afloat.  Let them navigate their own route.  Maybe we will meet up again along the journey.
  • Allow others the dignity to face their own consequences -- as it is of their own making.
  • And most important put the focus back on myself. That is how I will keep a positive attitude going. If I look to other people to make me happy, I am going to be in a perpetual state of disappointment, anger, and frustration, and then look back and wonder where my life went.
Knowing my higher power is always there to ask for help as are those in this program is a very positive force in my life. So....even though I once wondered how people in Al-Anon ever got to that place of feeling serene with just an occasional slip, today I know or at least believe that a combination of what I've written above has brought me to that place too.

I am trying to look at life as one big ball of imperfect humanity of which I am a part. Working the program has helped me find humor in even the worst situations because .......well, there's no denying that some things are just funny (maybe a little more so when its over and I've gotten through it).

All I know is that building on the negativity and the miserable aspects of a situation only digs a deeper hole for me. Staying hopeful and looking to build on constructive possibilities, like what was learned from an uncomfortable experience, seems like a better bet than going into a downward spiral of self-pity. It doesn't mean I change the facts, it doesn't mean deciding everyone is a good person and not taking care of myself; rather, it means that I have an open mind when listening to others and that I ask my HP to help me identify my real feelings and to be true to myself.


  1. the self worth is important.I struggle with self worth every day. I know I am worthy of staying sober,the rest of things well not so much.the Down side of my Bi-polar has been dominate for so long it is not funny. I have been binging on food and most of the weight gain I had is gone. I'm back up to 290 again.

  2. thanks so much for sharing this. it was so inspirational. especially, "Allow others the dignity to face their own consequences -- as it is of their own making"

  3. I also like the saying "being self centered is entirely different from centering on self" and I think your entry here describes the healthy centering on self.
    Have a wonderful Holiday, Syd.

  4. some really good stuff syd...i have some growing to do in this area...

  5. You tawkin' to ME?
    Someone should.

  6. Thanks for this, Syd. I've gotten away from the gratitude lists, and I should pick that back up, again, because it's such a simple and effective way to make a positive change to the one thing I do have control over - my attitude. Also, love the quote, "when I change those around me either change or go away," LOL Might have to borrow that if you don't mind!

  7. I posted today about the power we are given in recovery to change our minds. The Indian legend calls the battle between negative and positive "the feeding of the wolf."
    Two wolves inside of us do battle. The one who wins is the one we feed. We're talking about the same thing, you and I. It all begins with the realization that our own attitudes are responsible for our feelings, and we can change the attitudes we feed. Lovely post, Syd. Good tidings to you.

  8. Hi Syd!! Just spent some time catching up here. My attitude has changed a lot too and it does make a difference.

    Merry Christmas to you and your lovely wife!

  9. Such a wise post Syd -- looking to others or alcohol to make us happy is a destructive illusion.

  10. This is a very helpful post, Syd. Thank you.

  11. Syd, I am going to be so busy for the next few days so I wanted to be sure I wished you a very Merry Christmas to you and your wife. Happy New Year as well.

  12. You say "Create a new reality based on the truths I've learned about myself and not what I think the truth of others might be." Part of my recovery has been to believe in my behavior changes. Those around me see me like I was before and not as I have become through all the hard work. Instead of resenting their keeping me in my old box, I have to let it go and believe in what has been accomplished and that I am working on recovery every day.

  13. awesome post! I'm going through the same process, a different sort of recovery but the process is similar.

    "To say what I mean, mean what I say and not say it mean." This reminded me of the " Can't Keep it in" song by Cat Stevens.. it is my "feel good" song when I'm slipping.

    I loved reading this post. I read it a few times actually :)

  14. What an awesome post, and I am so happy that you feel content. The promises do come true! Thank you for sharing the utter truth on what is so important in all our recoveries! Peace today and always....

  15. Syd, I am showing this to my sponsoree. Oh well, the kid I sponsor. In five years the longest stretch he was ever sober (Not counting times in rehab) is about a week.

    I keep telling him he really has to want it and he has to change his life, but he won't take the active steps to change his life and I fear he will be dead by the time he is 40.

    I think this one might actually help him, I know it did me.

  16. Thank you Syd. You help me when my small sailing ship loses it's way. You are appreciated.

  17. Hi Syd, I did a main share yesterday at my al anon meeting. I read this out to them. Everyone enjoyed the share and got a lot out of it. I gave them the address of this blog which they will be looking at over the weekend. Kind Regards Shane


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.