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When I was younger, a few people mocked me for being too positive.
I was too much of a Pollyanna, it was nauseating and I was naive. Or at least that’s what I was told.
I don’t know why it affected me the way it did. None of those people are still in my life, and I didn’t look up to any of them. But it stuck.
Now I’m in my early thirties, and I still fight the urge to apologize for being too positive, or for being too goal-oriented. I’ve been a self-improvement junkie as long as I can remember, but at some point I became apologetic about it to others. Sheepish. I felt like I should acknowledge how dumb the whole idea is every time I post or talk about goals, habits, improvements.
Nope. Done with that.
Working to be a better person every day lights me up like nobody’s business. You want to talk goals? Let’s talk goals. You want to show me your new planner? Omg. I love planners, let’s see it. Do you need somebody to check in with you to make sure you ran today, or made your bed, or whatever? I love telling people what to do! I’m your girl!
Of course, I don’t always feel this way. Depression and anxiety are always waiting to pounce on me, and I fight regularly to keep them at bay. There are times when I win. Sometimes, they take over for a time. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, or known me at all, you know I’ve been through some pretty difficult days, months, and years. I don’t pretend to be ok when I’m not. I’ve finally learned that even when motivation and enthusiasm dips, I can get back to it with lots of patience and baby steps.
I won’t apologize for working to stay positive and focused on improving myself.
No more sheepishness from me – and I hope not you, either. I won’t pressure myself to be “balls to the wall” all the time, but when I do feel energetic and like I can take on the world, I’m going to do so unapologetically and without reservation.
First, though: my sobriety goes deeper than mere self-improvement.
Recovery is much bigger than just another habit I can check off my list. My relationship with God and my sobriety are intertwined, and I can’t say the same about exercise, healthy eating, writing, or anything else.
I’ve “gotten my life together” in waves throughout my life. 2012 was one of the best years of my pre-divorce life. I set goals and flew past them like a boss, and I felt like I could take on the world. It was real, too. I drank, but I wasn’t too far down the rabbit hole – yet. My health was a bigger priority and life was going great.
It’s a really long fall from the top of the world, apparently.
I didn’t know how to cope with negative emotions when they came, as they always do. I didn’t know how to surrender, let things be. As I got in better shape, my insecurities in other areas grew larger. There was a constant gnawing need for validation, and it would never be satisfied where I was looking. God wasn’t even a thought in my head, except as a concept I ignored.
“Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.”– The Big Book of AA, pg. 64
Alcohol didn’t cause all of my problems – it’s what I turned to when I didn’t know how to deal with life. It helped create a ton of new problems, but it wasn’t the beginning of everything. Not at all.
As much as I geek out over self-improvement, I keep my mindset surrounding recovery on a different field altogether. I’ve accepted that I cannot drink just a little here and there, and I have to remember that. There is a complete spiritual foundation to my recovery, and without God, I wouldn’t be sober today.
Recovery is more than checklists and tips and tricks.
All very well-intentioned, don’t get me wrong. I’ve written my share of lists, and they’ve helped me out also. But there is a spiritual component -for me- that isn’t the same as starting an exercise routine, or meal planning, or whatever. It’s important for me to remember that.
New, healthier habits and self-improvements are only really possible because I’m sober. I’ve improved my life while drinking in the past, but like I said, the alcohol helped create brand new problems. I don’t really need help making my life more difficult for myself, either. Removing alcohol doesn’t make everything perfect, but it does clear the air and help me improve things for real. Not just briefly in a fit of energy before I burn out.
This month (and probably the first quarter of this year), most of my focus is on my physical health. Jay and I are committed to eating at home, or packing meals for work, this entire month. Going from eating out almost 2-3 times per day to 0 times in a whole month is quite an adjustment, but a necessary one for both our waistlines and our wallets.
I look forward to learning more about meal planning, prepping, all that domestic stuff I keep dabbling with. So far so good about a week in, but it’s going to be a long month I think. One day at a time, eh? ;D
And that’s all, folks.
(Maybe that will just be my new post ending every time. The Looney Tunes have never failed me)
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Hi! I'm Ashley, and my sobriety date is May 6, 2015. I write to share my experience, strength, and hope in recovery. On any given day, you can find me developing websites, writing, or chauffeuring kids around. Read my story...
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