“We will know a new freedom and happiness”, promises the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. In a list of other promises, the authors tell us that by doing “the work”, however quickly or slowly, we will see results manifest before we can even recognize them. It is critical, though, that we choose to diligently do the work that comes with recovery.
Inherently, our choices are dualistic. When we choose something we are almost always not choosing something else. We don’t always realize this, often because we get wrapped up in the benefit of what we are choosing. Before making a choice, evaluate your not-choice. For example, if you get asked to take on another commitment at a twelve step meeting when you already have a few, you might be not-choosing balance, energy, and serenity. Commitments are important but not at the sake of your well being. Especially in the early recovery time period (30 days to 6 months), making balanced choices is important. We need sleep, rest, time to engage in our spiritual disciplines, and self-care.
We also need to choose our thoughts, behaviors, and actions very carefully. When we choose to feel resentment and anger, then choose to hold on to it, we actively choose to cause ourselves pain. We actively choose to suppress feeling freedom, liberation, and serenity. In contrast, sometimes we choose to be overly happy to ignore an uncomfortable feeling. We then choose against processing important emotions and gaining wisdom about a situation.
Some of that wisdom we gain from making careful choices with our thinking illuminates the difference between self-consciousness and self-obsession. Alcoholism and addiction are diseases of the “self”. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states that “selfishness and self-centeredness” were the roots of our greater symptom- substance abuse. Self-consciousness isn’t limited to insecurity, shyness, or doubt. We get self-conscious when social groups form in our treatment centers and we feel excluded. We get self-conscious when a parent doesn’t praise us the way we need or embarasses us. When we ruminate about these instances, we spend an awful lot of time thinking about ourselves. Assumedly, we make believe that every other person’s actions revolve around us somehow. This simply isn’t the case. It is often said that we might be less concerned about what people thought about us if we knew how little they did.
Enlightened Solutions believes there is a path to freedom within the spiritual philosophy of the 12 steps. We infuse our holistic and evidence-based program of treatment with 12 step theory and practical application. Our program is open to men and women seeking recovery from their addiction to drugs and alcohol, in addition to co-occurring disorders. For more information call 833-801-5483.
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