In February as we honor the hallmark holiday of Valentine day I am reminded of the pressure I used to feel to get things to fulfill expectations of my Valentine’s day, and what meaning was in having or not having a partner to celebrate with, a place to go, and the thoughts went on and on.
Being in recovery I have been enlightened in many ways but when it comes to the ways of the world and unnecessary standards of pressure that comes along with certain days of the year it can be challenging to let go and just pause and be present to myself. I have to work at it but when I do the synergy and harmony I feel within myself is precious to me. I can’t say enough about the ability to look in the mirror and accept and like what is looking back at me. So as I have seen or heard that various commercials and overheard friends and family discuss their plans for February 14, I have decided to try a different plan this year. And here is what I am suggesting as a way to honor our goodness.
Forget the flowers, dinner out and the candy demonstrate love in other ways, have a conversation with someone you haven’t talked to, forgive or let go of a slight , take the time to apologize if you have neglected or possibly offended.
I have found that giving the gifts of my time to people is a gift that reaches places no material item could. I think in recovery we also need to give ourselves the gift of time. I know that when I don’t pause and breathe throughout the day I am less than favorable in interactions. A pause is simple but unbelievably powerful. There is a calm voice that I can hear these days, a sober voice, that whispers, you are good, you are enough, you are love and loved.
Today my colleague asked if I wanted to get coffee and I didn’t want coffee but in recovery I can more easily recognize that just because I don’t want coffee maybe just maybe my colleague needs me to be present and listen. Never in the midst of “when and how and I going to get my next drink” would the thought or inclination to be present to another be an option or remotely on my radar.
It’s different today and most days because when I take the time to settle my soul, breathe in and out slowly for 3 minutes I catch a glimpse of the world I want to live in where people take time for each other just because. And I make it a daily habit to enjoy smiling at people. I work in the city and I actually watch people’s expressions when I am walking and I can see the hurried and stressful looks of trying to get it all in on others’ faces. So I purposefully make eye contact and smile. When I was drinking there was no way I was going to engage in eye contact, selfish fear of being found out I guess. Well not today and chances are pretty good not tomorrow either.
Smiling and being present is a very nourishing gift and in my definition I like to describe these non-material gems as soul gifts. In being present and allowing someone to be their authentic self is one of the best gifts.
Early in recovery it was all I could do to sit still and for many months it felt like really bad sunburn and I felt so very sensitive. It was still about me and what I was getting, what people were thinking about what I was doing and on and on, the internal chatter was choking. So on this valentine’s day I came across something written by someone unfortunately they did share their name but none the less this is the gift I would like to share with others who I know and those who I don’t know. We are all
Breathe, Author Unknown
“When your inner critic gets too loud, it turns on the stress response and can make you feel insecure and overwhelmed. Learning to relax that critical voice can help in these moments. As you become aware of harsh words, locate the spots in your body that you feel tension. You might notice tightening in your stomach, your shoulders or your jaw. Place your hand in the middle of your chest and enjoy its warm, gentle weight amidst the discomfort of self-judgment. Let your breath come and meet this place from the inside. In other words, interrupt the critical tirade with some kindness. If you can’t quite believe these kind words, say other words that you do believe. Stay with this till you can feel your body and mind become calm and you can be more present with yourself and others.”
In early recovery for those in the addiction and those affected by the addiction, self-kindness may be lacking. However, in order to continue to grow stronger which is what we are trying to do when we are in recovery, we need to breathe, and find our goodness. It is there, sometimes, it’s blurry if we have done things that have created shame, guilt, regret or remorse, but I assure you it is there…we all have that goodness and what better way than Valentine’s Day to love and accept yourself period, no disclaimers just choose you and your goodness.
Article Courtesy of– “Manage Your Recovery”
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