We all experience times of discomfort. Sometimes we worry or feel fearful. Other times we can be filled with regret or embarrassment. Either way, we are uncomfortable. Those of us who have used alcohol or drugs as a ay to change or dull what we are feeling are often uncomfortable when unpleasant feelings occur. That can cause relapse if we are not taught – and use – tools to cope.
A very useful tool is one that we hear in meetings.
Stay in today. Stay wherever your feet are.
When we are in fear, it is typically about something that might occur in the future. How will I pay my bills? What if my kids get into trouble? Will I ever be able to retire? What if….? When we drift into shame or regret, it typically has to deal with the past. “Oh, my goodness! Did I really do that?” Typically though, our “right now” is just fine. Even in early sobriety, we are not doing anything IN THAT MOMENT to feel regret about and IN THAT MOMENT nothing bad is happening to us.
Unless we are having a root canal or being arrested, our ‘right nows” are just fine. Most of us have a roof over our head. We are not hurting anyone. I do not know the actual percentages but the majority of things we worry about never happen!
Try this. If you are feeling discontented or unhappy, ask yourself if you are thinking about the past or the future. A friend of mine used to say to me when I was complaining, ”Claudia, what is wrong with today?” My answer would be “Nothing but….” And she would say, “So just stay here. Stay where your feet are!” Sometimes I would have to get quite literal. “Ok, I am driving in my car and I am at a stoplight” or “ I am sitting at my desk with a Diet Coke in front of me” but at that moment, all was well.
This is where reciting the Serenity Prayer which is, to me, the Twelve Step program in “Cliff Notes.” This can be very useful.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (the past, other people, etc…), the courage to change the things I can (my attitude, my actions), and the wisdom to know the difference.
I hope this is helpful to you. If necessary, try putting a rubber band on your wrist. If you drift in to remorse or regret or into worry, snap it to bring you back to right now. I will bet that you are just fine, right now.
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