Do you ever have difficult weeks where every walk seems uphill, every stroke of the paddle is upstream, and every ride is against the wind? I’m not much for complaining; it’s sort of embarrassing for me. I’m more likely to keep it to myself and quietly move forward. For me, it has been a week where my friendship wasn’t accepted, my motives misinterpreted, I didn’t get all my reports written, my friends bickered among themselves, my goldfish died, and I got caught in the rain. I’m just kidding about my goldfish, but you get my point.
Working To Be Better Not Bitter
In the treatment centers that I’m part of, the difficulties we regularly see include people leaving treatment early, funding setbacks for a client, and finding out someone who was recently discharged has relapsed. These things and other hardships, struggles, and difficulties are inevitable, yet may feel like they are grinding against you in a way that threatens to defeat you. I believe this grinding can shape us into something better, rather than wear us down into nothing. Here are some guiding principles that have helped me live above my circumstances.
1. What happens in me is more important than what happens to me.
I focus on my character and not just successful performance. I try to get my eyes off the immediate situation and the negative circumstances. My goal in any and every circumstance is to be kind, patient, and understanding. I don’t want to focus on the things that lie outside of my control, but instead, I focus on the things I can control like my attitude, disposition, and character.
2. The noise outside of me is best managed through the quietness within me.
I sometimes wish people would hand me situations where I would never be anxious, insecure, or unsure. Also, if they could create a world where I would never be frustrated, irritated, or upset, I would be happy. And likewise, if there were no scenarios that made me feel sad, disappointed, despairing or depressed I would be grateful. The truth is I am unable to control the entire world, reduce the chaos, decrease the stream of constant disturbances, or eliminate the noise of the outside world. The good news is I can choose to quiet myself instead. If my inner peace is only found when there are no storms or challenging things in my life, I would be in trouble; peace needs to be found in the midst of difficult things. And in this case, finding agreement and living in peace is better than winning a war.
Recovery is a journey. Enjoy the ride!