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Posted by on in Alcoholism

I am honored to be the December Expert particularly because this first day happens to be my birthday. Yet the date does not mark the only time I was shifted from a place of comfort to a visceral shock to the system.

I’ve been given the most precious gift of life three times. I was physically born in December of 1961, almost died in 2001 and then tested fate again in 2008. The 46-year journey was a roller coaster of addiction, emotional chaos and nonstop searching for a way out.

Although I can't remember the first few celebrations of the date I entered this world, all accounts indicated they were joyous, happy and fun. I’ve been told people poured attention on me with beautifully wrapped boxes to open and cards read by others with messages for a future far better than their own.

 

 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Wilting FlowerWhen I was very new in sobriety, I put forth almost no effort. I went to meetings, and that was about it. As I began to work the steps and grow fond of sobriety, I gave it my all. I had 4 service commitments a week, attended at least 10 meetings a week, was active with Hospitals and Institutions, and took my sobriety extremely seriously. I gave it my all, as I wanted so badly to remain sober.

As time went on, the effort in sobriety I have put forth has fluctuated. When I find myself in an unpleasant place, I often work extremely hard. When everything is going well, I slack. This cycle of effort reflects my ups and downs. I don't always put 100% in, and I don't always feel 100%. Things work like this in my life, and I am okay with it.

I think it is important to note that I don't need to give it absolutely 100% in order to stay sober, grow, and progress. When I look at my effort in sobriety, I see that I have always given some of myself to my program. No matter how little of a program I was working, I always went to meetings, was of service, and meditated. I never put no effort in.

When I was new and putting forth a great amount of effort in sobriety, I would not necessarily have benefited from knowing this information. But now, I am grateful that I know that I don't have to stress about how perfect of a program I am working. To me, that is the point... I don't have to work a perfect program. It is okay that I don't give it my all every single moment. It is okay that I don't work my program without error. I do put forth effort in my sobriety consistently, and I never give up.

With the ups and downs, I am able to find peace in the reality that I may choose to work my program to fit my needs. I know that at the very least, my needs are that I stay sober, help others, and continue going to meetings. I have learned about myself enough through the Twelve Steps and my meditation practice that I know when I need to put more effort forth. Similarly, I am beginning to recognize when I am expecting too much of myself.

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