Most of us who have achieved long-term recovery will tell you that our early recovery was made up of stops and restarts, regardless of what we are recovering from. Few people can stop an unhealthy behavior one day and never, ever pick it up again. Good on those who do, but they are as rare as unicorns. I’m thankful to have learned the value of stopping destructive behaviors and even more grateful to have been able to stay stopped for many years. I only got here by stopping the behaviors for one day here, an hour there, or at times, one minute at a time. I’m okay with all the times that I couldn’t stop something because I know that recovery is a process, not an event. I hope you know that too. And I hope that if you stumble in your recovery, as I have done in mine, that you remember to have compassion for yourself, not judgment.
I add up all of the minutes, hours and days that I am moving in the right direction and celebrate them all.
Know Your Value
One of the symptoms of addiction is self-loathing, which translates effortlessly into low self worth. What might this look like? We accept less monetary compensation than we should for our work or our services, often for much longer than we should. We lack the confidence to even ask for more money. Other times, we give our time away freely and unconsciously, forgetting that time is our most valuable asset and can never be replenished.
To illustrate the point even better, switch out words like “money” and “compensation” and “work” and “services” for other, less tangible things like “appreciation” and “respect” and “support” and “love.” This is to show that the greatest way we undervalue ourselves is not transactional and has little to do with jobs and money. It’s about the inherent value that we place on ourselves. It’s much easier for us to identify the value that others bring into our lives. We know their worth because they model their belief in themselves. We need to start believing in our own intrinsic value and treat ourselves accordingly. The people around us will fall into line once they see the price tag that we are putting on our own worth. And they will stop expecting discounts.
Slowly but surely, I am recovering my sense of self-worth and acting accordingly.
Until I got honest about my addiction to drugs and alcohol, my codependency, my workaholism, there was no hope that I would recover from any of these things. Honesty about the things that are harming us can come in fits and starts for some of us. It starts with self-honesty, the inner knowing sometimes accompanied by a sinking feeling that the gig is up, coupled with the inner knowing that something has got to give, go, or change. Maybe you remember when that moment was for you? The moment that you got honest with yourself.
The other moment, equally powerful, is when we speak our truth aloud to someone else. Sometimes we get honest with a partner, another family member, friend, physician or therapist. Other times we share in a meeting full of strangers. Who did you get honest with, for the first time? It’s also possible that you haven’t had either of these moments of honesty, yet. That’s okay. Each in our own time.
Getting honest with ourselves and then others, are big steps.